A PRISONER

Mi 17.07.1963, abends, Branham Tabernacle
Jeffersonville, Indiana, USA

Paulus, ein Gefangener Jesu Christi

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Transcript/text notes
Source transcript: VOGR

...here again, in the Name of the Lord Jesus, and to hear of the great and mighty works that You have done, before. And now we stand with anticipation, raises our faith and anoints us, to believe that what has been asked for tonight will be granted. Thou knowest each and every one of them, all that they have requested. And we pray for them, especially, Lord, those who are so near death. Bring peace to their soul if it isn’t already there. Bring healing to their body. Grant it, Lord.

Bless our coming together. We... we pray, Lord, on this Wednesday night prayer meeting, that, as we have assembled, knowing that wherever two or more are assembled together, You’ll be with us. And we ask You, Lord, to give us Your Word tonight. Speak to us, Lord, and warm our hearts, strangely, that we would know how to discipline ourselves for the great time that lays ahead, as we believe that we’re nearing the Coming of the Lord.

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We thank Thee for people now beginning to find faith dear to them, and knowing what faith means. And knowing, even thanking You for services yet ahead, believing that You’re going to do something. Lord, we’re waiting with anticipation, like the days of old, believing that the time is near when You’re going to just raise up the windows of Heaven and pour out the promises that God has promised in this last day.

Now we ask You, Lord, to... to be with all, around the nations, as today we heard so many around, everywhere, that’s in need. Grant them their requests, Lord. And we pray to see the great hand of God moving all over the world among those who are looking for this great thing.

Forgive us of our sin. Chasten us, Lord, with Thy Spirit and Thy Word, that we might discipline ourselves, obedient servants, obedient servants in the will of God. Let us remember, and try to think in our hearts, what the early Christians done. What type of people would we meet if we met those who had personally been in contact with You. How their faces must have lit up with faith and joy. How their lives must have been the living Word of God, just “written epistles read of all men,” as they walked in and among people. God, grant it once more.

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May our lives be so submitted to Thee, that the Holy Spirit will live Itself through us, and speak through us, Lord. May we remember, in our minds, as we walk upon the street and rub arms with the world, we’re not supposed to be like those. And we step aside and give them the place, Lord, in their rightful position here on earth. We’ll take the back seat, knowing that we are delegates from another world. We have a Kingdom that’s coming into power, Lord. And our great King will soon arrive and take over all the kingdoms that’s in His domain. And He shall rule and reign; with Him here on earth, thousand years, and be with Him forever.

With this in mind, Lord, now we look forward to the answer of our prayer. We look to our confession. If we have did anything, said anything, or thought anything, that was contrary to Your great will, let the Blood of Jesus Christ cleanse us.

Lead us, Lord, as the sister said tonight, about she and her husband on the road to Chicago. Lead them, Lord God, to the place that You can use them, that they might be beams of light to others who are groping in darkness, that knows not our Lord Jesus. Now we commit the service to You, and listening for Your Word of correction, that we might know how to prepare for this great hour, in Jesus’ Name we ask it. Amen.

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[Blank spot on tape. Brother Neville comments.]

Lord bless you. Thank you, brother.

I was little bit unexpected of this. I, being here at home, I felt like if I wasn’t really had to go somewhere, emergency, I’d feel very bad, me setting at home and not come to prayer meeting. And I kind of dropped in, unexpected, to myself, even to my family. I just got in, and took right off. And so I said, “I’m going down to prayer meeting.” And she didn’t even have time to get ready to come, so she didn’t know I was coming.

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So I’m happy to hear the sister’s testimony there, the brother, about that Light up at South Carolina or North Carolina, somewhere. Greenville, was it? [A sister says, “No. Southern Pines."] Southern Pines. Yes.

Brother Lee Vayle was just here today. I baptized him, today, in the baptismal service here today. Brother Lee Vayle you know, and the ministers there, Brother Parker Thomas. There was a...

I remember of... of the time, a sister being shadowed. It was a great confirmation, sister, to what the... The Holy Spirit sometimes will let us go ahead and test our faith, to see what... and test others’ faith. When you’re looking directly at something, and see something, and say it; others look and don’t see it, they say it’s not there. See? But it is there.

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Now, there was no one could see that Light was hanging over Paul, but It was there. No one seen that dove coming down out of Heaven, in that Light, in a form, and hung over Jesus, but John himself. But It was there. See?

And so, then, later when I was telling the people about this Light being like a Pillar of Fire, no one wanted to believe it. But now the mechanical eye of the camera identified That, how It come.

And the evil spirit is dark.

It’s just like our lives, we’re shadows. And we are... If we’re a light, where if our lives cope with the Light of the day, we’re walking in Light.

It’s just like you look out and say, “I see the sun,” in the daytime. You... you see the shadow of the sun. It’s a reflection of the sun. It isn’t the sun, itself, but it proves that there is a sun. It proves there is a sun.

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And now when I see, like you setting out there, using fans, talking, that means you’re living, but it’s only a shadow of life.

Because, anything has got to have darkness in it, to make a shadow. See? Because, a shadow has to possess so much darkness and so much light, to make a shadow. And it can’t be altogether dark, and it can’t be altogether light. If it’s dark, it’s real dark. If it’s light, there’s no shadow, nothing to make a shadow. But if it’s mixed with dark and light, it makes a shadow.

So we are really shadows of light. Now you’re reflecting a life from somewhere. If you are, and Christian, this being a shadow, it only proves that there is a Life where you can’t die, because this life has death in it. See? But it’s a shadow, because you’re living, moving creature with abilities to see, think, move, and talk, and the five senses of the body. But yet you know, they, they’re dying. And there’s so much trouble. You know, it can only be the... It’s a reflection, see, that there’s life and death mixed together.

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The physical has to die. But if you are reflecting, by your mortal life, the Light of Heaven, then you’re reflecting the Eternal Life, God. Then when you die, you can no more than go to that Light, because That’s what you’ve reflected.

If you are of the dark world, you reflect that, and you can do, go no other way but to darkness. See? So we are in a reflection. So, we see that as sure as the Holy Spirit reflects Light and Life, so does death reflect darkness. And here they both are.

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Tomorr-... By end of the week, maybe by Sunday, we’re getting the small photograph blowed up to a large size, so it can be put on the billboard.

Where, your picture hangs out there on the billboard. I don’t know whether you noticed it, or not. And then...

And about a week ago, in... in Jamaica, where I was missionarying... We send tapes all over the world. And The Seven Seals has got back into... way back into the inlands of Jamaica, way in the interior. And it’s very primitive back in there, behind Blue Mountain. And the natives, sometimes, they have a... a tape recorder we get for them, that you have to... to, like the old Victrola, crank it, and then let... let it play like that. Then, every few minutes, somebody has to crank it.

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This group had a... a little battery, six-volt battery, or something another, playing the tape recorder. And they... they was all setting together, about what is here tonight, listening to those Seals, I believe it was. And while I was speaking, they noticed, coming in the room, came that same Pillar of Fire, moved over where the tape recorder was and settled down over the top of it. And they went and got a camera and took the picture of It. And just the same One, there It is, hanging right there over it. Now we’re getting it blowed up, so we can put it on the... the billboard out there, that you can see it.

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We are so grateful for the grace of God that’s been brought into our... us into His Presence in this day. Now we are grateful for many things.

Now I think I’ll look in here and see if I can find some, some notes or some, something another that I spoke on. Or, get us some kind of a... a... I got some text wrote out, anyway, back in here in a book. If I can find one, maybe the Lord will give me something to say on something, while we pray.

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Now, we’re under anticipation for Sunday.

I have been speaking in the Messages. And, Sunday, kept you here a long time, on, “Why criest thou unto Me? Speak to the people and go forward.”

Now, Sunday is the healing service where the sick is to be prayed for. Now, you get around to the sick, and there’s got to be some reason that the sick, when we pray for them, if they’re not healed. And I want to, if the Lord willing, for just a short sermon on Sunday morning, too. So, I’m going to have a healing service, and pray for all the people. And Billy Paul or some of them will be here Sunday morning, about eight o’clock, when the church opens, to give the people cards as they come in the door, or whenever they get in.

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And now, then, I want to try, I believe the Lord has somehow give me a little insight on the reasons why there is some people are not healed. And I... I believe it’s lack of understanding. And I... I believe, maybe, we’ll speak on that, Sunday morning, the Lord willing.

Now, Wednesday night prayer meeting is just a short meeting where we get together and pray, as we have, and associate together.

Sometimes, I... I believe one of the great things that I find in this day, is the lack of sincerity of what we believe. See? See?

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If God, in the days of John Wesley, would have done in that day what He has done today, what would it have done; in the days of Martin Luther, or what-more? As what we see Him doing, both proven by the Church, by the Spirit, and by science, and every move, its... its... its emulsion has to recognize. And God’s Word here declaring It and telling It before It comes to pass. And then moving upon, and prophesying, and showing the very thing that He said, it’ll come to pass perfectly, exactly what He said. And still we sit kind of slothful, as if we wonder. “Well, wonder if that could mean me? Wonder if it could mean just the... the church, in whole? Or... or, wonder if I’m really included in This?” I think, Sunday morning, I’ll try to talk on some of those principles that might enlighten us a little.

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Now, tonight, I found something, just turn to it here, ’fore I come down. I thought, “What if Brother Neville, if I’d get down there, he happen to say, ‘Get up and speak,’ and just sit down?” See? I thought, “I better write down a couple Scriptures.” Because, I know, he, he’s such a lovely brother, and we... we appreciate him.

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Before we pray over the Word, I want to recognize a... a brother. I can’t even call his name at this time, two of them. They are here, friends of mine. The... They’re ministers and evangelists, in the field, going out. They heard these Messages by tape. And they’re out of different denominational churches, two young fellows. And the boy is so, one of them so interested, till he flew down, Tucson, just recently, in closing out a meeting. I believe I was in the Business Men’s Breakfast. And the young fellow, fine young fellow, come down. And he’s...

They’re from Kansas. And they come all the way here for me to marry them. I appreciate that. To think that people that believe in your prayers, enough, believe that God would hear and answer; young people starting out in life, like this. And when they got here for me to marry them, yesterday, to find out the state law of Indiana requires, that even though with their blood tests, to wait here in the state, three days, before they can be married. So, they cannot be married until Friday morning.

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And I’ll ask our brother there on the end, if he’ll just stand up and tell us who he is, and his lovely little lady there, and the next brother.

[The brother says, “Thank you, Brother Branham. Privileged to be here. And I’m Brother Roger O’Neil, live in Kansas, travel on the field, as an evangelist, telling, ‘Jesus saves, heals, by faith in Jesus ...?... ’ I’ve always packing ...?... This is my fiancee, Patricia Brown. We’re going to be married, Friday. This is my co-evangelist and co-worker, Brother Ronnie Hunt, here on the end. And this is his fiancee, Carol ...?... And we’re happy to be here tonight."]

Thank you, very much. We certainly wish these young ambassadors, for the work of the Lord Jesus, God’s blessings, to speed them on the way. And as I wondering, waiting for the Coming of the Lord, and see young men and young women with a purpose in heart, to serve Christ, that thrills me, see, to see them raise up like this. The Lord bless you, richly, my brother, sister.

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Now let us turn over to a little Book that I never spoke out of before, in my life. And it’s a very... Just one chapter, the Book of Philemon. And it’s a...

I’m just a little bit Irish, and I... and I do have a wire around my bottom teeth, to hold a couple in the back in place. I, I, sometimes I don’t pronounce these names right, when I do know what they are. And sometimes I can’t pronounce them right, for the lack of education. So, “Philemon,” someone said back there, which I think is really the correct pronunciation of it.

Now, the 1st verse, I want to take just a word or two from it:

Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ...

And that’s what I want to use tonight, as a text, the Lord willing, is: A Prisoner.

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Now, you could hardly imagine Paul regarding himself a prisoner. A born-free man, filled with the Holy Spirit, but yet he calls himself “a prisoner.”

And now we find out, when he’s addressing the Corinthians, “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ.” Another time, “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ by the will of God,” when he’s speaking to Timothy, different ones. Now when he’s writing here to Philemon, he said, “Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ.” “Paul, an apostle,” I’d like to preach one night on that. “Paul, a... a servant,” preach on that. And then, “Paul, a prisoner.”

But, tonight, being it’d take hours to duly consider one of the subjects, I’d like to take, tonight, “Paul, the prisoner,” and take the subject of: "A Prisoner".

Now let us bow our heads just a moment.

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Lord Jesus, any man, that’s physically able, can pull back the pages of this Bible, but only the Holy Spirit can interpret It in the light that it’s been meant to. We ask Him to come now and help us to understand what this was, addressed, this great, mighty prophet, Paul, and yet call himself “a prisoner.” May the Holy Spirit reveal this to us as we wait on Him, in Jesus Christ’s Name. Amen.

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Now I can imagine, Paul, when he wrote this letter to Philemon, how he was sitting in jail, down there in the dungeon of this city, a... a... a prisoner. And he could well know, by his position what the word meant. He was surrounded by... by... by bars. He... he could only be let free as someone would let him go free. And he knew what it was to be a prisoner. And then, again, I believe that the... the apostle meant just a little... not exactly addressing it to his present condition, as being a prisoner of his... his physical being sitting here in this... in this jail. But I believe he was referring to his... his being, his... his... his spirit, his will, being a prisoner to Jesus Christ.

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Now, we’re all born, a free moral agent, to make any decision that we wish to. God justly does that. Because, He must put every man on the same basis, or He put the wrong man on... He put the first man on the wrong basis, that He put on free moral agency. See? We’re just exactly, tonight, like Adam and Eve. There’s no different. Right and wrong sets before either one of us. Life and death, we can make our choice; up to you, to make it. See?

That’s the way Adam and Eve did, and, see, and... and they made the wrong choice. And now, by that, put the whole race, of human race, under death, the penalty of death.

And then God came down in the form of man and took that death, and paid the penalty of death, that the... His subjects that desired to... to be free could go free.

Now, if He took us, without the same way that He did Adam and Eve, just pulled us through something, said, “I’ll save you whether you want saved or not,” then He put Adam and Eve on... on the wrong basis, you see. But each one of us has to choose, this day, between death and life. We can do it.

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As I just expressed, if your light will prove, your life will prove exactly what side you’re on. I don’t care what side you say you’re on. What you do, every day, proves what you are. You’ve heard the old saying, “Your life is so loud, I can’t hear your testimony.” See? Your... your actions is so loud.

I’ve always believed in shouting and jumping. But I’ve always said, “Don’t jump no higher than you live, ’cause the world is going to watch that.” You see? You must just jump as high as you live, so, because somebody is watching you. And now when...

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People won’t come to church. They... they, many of them, just won’t do it. And some of them, not coming, is sincere people. They seen so much corruption in the church, until they don’t want to have anything to do with it. And many times, we’re speaking on a flat thought of that, you can hardly blame them, see, because of... of the way the people act. They call themselves Christian. They’re the greatest stumbling block that the world has got, is the man and women who professes to be a Christian, and lives something different from their profession. Exactly right.

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Now, for the disappointments will be coming at the Judgment. Now, the sinner, the bootlegger, the gambler, the adulterous, he... he won’t be disappointed to hear his sentence read, “To depart into everlasting fire.” He won’t be disappointed. But that fellow who is trying to hide himself behind some kind of a church profession, that’s the boy is going to be disappointed at the Day of Judgment. See? That professes to be a Christian, and lives some other way. It’d be better for him that he never did even make any kind of profession, started off, than to start and live something different. Because, he’s the greatest stumbling block we got, is for that professor that says that he... he... he is a Christian, and lives something different.

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Always, don’t judge your life by how much power you have to perform miracles. And we don’t judge ourself by how much knowledge you have of the Word. But always judge yourself, look back and taking inventory of what kind of a fruit that the life you presently live now is bearing. See?

As I preached sometime ago, at a businessmen’s meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, of the reflection of Jesus, reflecting Christian Life. I said I was born up here in Kentucky, where it’s very primitive, especially back when I was a kid. And this certain little boy never had a... a... a... a home like we have here, where we had so many pretty ladies that have to look through mirrors, all through the house, to keep their hair just in place, and so forth. But he had one little mirror, just a little piece tacked on a tree on the outside, where the wash bench was, where his mother and father washed, and they combed their hair, and so forth, from this little piece of an old mirror tacked on a tree.

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Frankly, that’s the type of home that we have. Anybody want to see a mirror, we kids, we had to get a box and get up on the wash bench, and look in this piece of a... of a mirror that I picked up, myself, in a dump. That wasn’t down in Kentucky. That’s here in Indiana, up on Utica Pike here.

Now, this little kid had never exactly seen himself like that. So, he come to the city, to visit his grandma. And at the... It’s on the tour of room, the grandma had a house that had a complete mirror on the door. And so, little boy, running through the... the room, seen another little boy in front of him. And the little boy was running, also. So he thought he should stop a few minutes and see what the little lad was going to do. And when he stopped, the little boy stopped. When he turned his head, the little boy turned his head. He scratched his head, the little boy scratched his. Finally, walked closer, to investigate. And he turned around. And his mother watching him, and his grandmother, with amazement. Said, “Why, mother, that’s me.”

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So I said, that, “We, too, are reflecting something.” See? Our life is reflected.

And now, if we lived in the days of Noah, whose side would we take? What side would we took in that great day that Noah lived? What side would we took in the days of Moses? What side in the days of Elijah, the prophet, when all the world was gulfed up in a... a great mass of... of modernism, like the modern Jezebel, and had rid all the servants of the Lord out into a worldly way? And the church and the priests was all bowing to her. Would you have took the side of popularity, or would you have stood with Elijah?

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Now, in the days of the Lord Jesus, when we would think of this unpopular Person, uneducated by the world, no schools they could ever find that He went to, and no... no seminary experience. And... and then raise up with a name of “illegitimate birth.” And then come out, preaching a Gospel that was contrary to anything that they had been taught. Very... And condemning the ministers and their organizations, and so forth.

And the organizations had made a... a... a statement, “If anybody even went to hear this so-called prophet, would be put out of the synagogue,” which was a... a mortal sin. They had to be accounted. Only way they could worship was under the blood of the lamb. They had to come to this sacrifice. And... and then they were outcasts, and what a great thing it was.

And this Man ignored such as that. And yet He was perfectly with the Scripture, but not in the way they knew It.

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What side would you have took? See? Now, don’t... Your life that you live now, reflects now just what you would have done then, because you still are possessed with the same spirit. See? If you take that side now, with them, you’d have done it then. Because, the same spirit that’s in you now was in people then. See?

The devil never takes his spirit; he just goes off of one man onto another.

God never takes His Spirit, neither; It goes from one to the other. See?

So, the very Spirit was upon Elijah come upon Elisha, same One on John the Baptist, and so forth.

The Holy Spirit, was upon Christ, come upon the disciples, all down, and still upon the people. You see? God never takes His Spirit.

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So there we are left, to make a choice.

And I... I can’t see here where Paul was regretting anything, and saying he was sorry he was a prisoner. But he was addressing hisself... I believe that Paul, as he wrote this letter with that pen, that it was the Holy Spirit causing him to write that. That, maybe, even to this night, that we might pull out the context of our text, to show why Paul did this. Because, it’s Scriptural, and Scriptural is Eternal. I believe, that, setting in this dingy old jail, that Paul wrote to his colleague here, that, his brother, that he was “a prisoner of Jesus Christ.” So, he could express it by seeing what was around him.

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Now, he was in jail, but that wasn’t what he was speaking to, this... this servant of Christ, a minister with him. He was speaking that he was a prisoner to the Word of Jesus Christ, ’cause Christ is the Word.

And Paul had been a great scholar in his day. He had great ambition. He was a... he was a... a... a man that had been trained with, by people, a fellow by the name of Gamaliel, which was a great teacher of his day, one of the greatest schools that he could have went to. For instance, like we say, Wheaton, or Bob Jones, or some great fundamental school. He had been taught as... as... as a minister of the Word. And he was well educated, and smart, and an intelligent boy with a great ambition of maybe someday becoming a priest or a high priest to his people.

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He had an ambition. And then to find, that, this great ambition he had been trained for, and had spent all of his life, from maybe the age of about eight or ten years old, up to about thirty or thirty-five, when he finished college and graduated; and had all of his diplomas and everything, and stood in good with all the... the clergy, even to the high priest at Jerusalem. He had orders from him, personal orders, written, and trusted with this great Saul, “To go down to Damascus and to find all those down there that worshipped God contrary to what he said, and to bind them and put them in jail.” If necessary, he had orders to put them to death, if he wanted to. He was... He had great ambition.

And now, all that he had trained for, God had took it all out of him. See? And what his objective was, and what his father had spent his money for, and the ambitions of his father and mother, was all had been taken away from him because that... that God had something else. Therefore, he was a prisoner from his objective that he had in life, and he had become a prisoner to Jesus Christ, Who was the Word.

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That road to Damascus changed Paul. Going down, about eleven o’clock, perhaps, in a day, that he was stricken down. And he heard a Voice, saying, “Saul, why persecutest thou Me?” And he looked up. And looking up, being a Jew, and knowed that Pillar of Fire was the Lord that led the children of Israel, because he knew that’s what It was.

Remember, this Hebrew would have never called anything “Lord,” capital L-o-r-d, Elohim, unless he had been satisfied that that’s what It was, because he was trained scholar. And when he looked up, and he seen This, a Light, a Pillar of Fire that had led his people through the wilderness, and he said, “Lord,” Elohim, capital L-o-r-... “Lord, Who are You?”

And what a surprise it must have been to this theologian, to say, “I’m Jesus,” the very One that he was so against. What a... what a turnaround!

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Oh! Oh! It must have been something terrific for this man, that all of his ambitions that he had, to find out, all at once, he had been persecuting. His ambitions had drove him to... to farther away from the main thing that he meant to do. And what a... a great shock it must have been, for this apostle, when He said, “I am Jesus,” the very One that he was persecuting. “Why persecutest thou Me?”

Another little quotation we might drop in here. You see, as they make fun of the Church, they’re not really making fun of the Church, they are making fun of Jesus. “Why persecutest thou Me?” How could Paul then, with all his intellect, believe that This was... that this Group that he was persecuting was the very God that he claimed to be serving? I think that’s, without going into details, I think we’re all well trained enough to know what I mean here. The same thing is happening today.

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Paul, through ignorance, was yet intelligent and smart, much smarter than those uneducated Galileans that he was persecuting, that had already in their humility accepted this Man as Lord. But, Paul, in his great teaching and his intellectuals, could not accept That. And what a turnaround it must be to him, on this road. And he was stricken blind, so he would not carry out his commission, but was led down to a place in a street called Straight, and the house of one.

And then come the prophet down there, by the name of Ananias, who saw in a vision, him coming down, saw where he was at, went down to where he was, and went in. And said, “Brother Saul, the Lord appeared to you on the road down; sent me, that I might lay my hands upon you, and you receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Ghost.”

See where he was.

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What a... what a thing it must have been for Paul! See? All that he had been trained to do was vice versa. So now, with... with all the education he had, it... it was just become naught to him.

Now, he knew that he had an experience. So here is another good lesson for us, that, experience alone isn’t enough. It’s got to be experience according to the Word of the Lord. So, him seeing this, and know that It was a great Something, then, that somebody else had received It before him, he took three years and six months down in the... the desert in Arabia; taking the... the Bible, as It was then, the Old Testament, and going down there, to... to compare this experience that he had had, and see if It was Scriptural.

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Now what if he said, “Well, I guess that was just a little blowover,” and went on? “I’m going to follow my intellect”?

Now, he had to become imprisoned to something, a prisoner. So after comparing it, and seeing, no wonder he could write the Book of Hebrews, in a type. See? Three years and a half down there, laying in the Word, and finding out that the very God that called him was taking him back, and changing all of his intellects, changing all that he ever thought, all that he trained to be. All of his ambition, just wiped it away from him, and he became a prisoner. The love of God had been so tremendous, and such a... a revelation, that he could not get away from It.

That’s the true experience of every real believer who meets God. You... you come in contact with Something that’s so great, that you... that... that you become a... a prisoner, to everything else. See? You... you get away from everything, to imprison yourself to This.

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It’s expressed one time where Jesus said, “The Kingdom of Heaven is something like a man buying pearls. Then when he finds that great Pearl, he sells all that he’s got, to get that One.”

And that’s the way here. You... you have an intellectual conception, you have a... a... a... a theological experience; but when it comes to a time that when you... you... you really find the real Thing, you... you just sell out everything else, and you close yourself in to This.

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Paul knew what it was. He... he found out that he was harnessed to Something. Like we put a... a... a horse in a harness, it’s to... it’s to pull something. And Paul knew, after this experience, and three years and a half of typing the... the experience he had, with the Bible, he realized that God had chosen him and had harnessed him by the Holy Spirit, the experience that he had, to pull the Gospel in the presence of the Gentiles. The Spirit, Itself, harnessed him.

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And, today, as servants of Christ, we become harnessed, hooked up. We can’t go. We’re logged in with It, harnessed to the Word. No matter what anyone else says, you’re harnessed to It. There is something about It, that you just can’t get away from It. You been yoked up with It, by the Holy Ghost, has yoked you to the Word. No matter what anyone else says, It’s the Word. That’s always harnessed up with It, put in the yoke with It. To the Word, by the Spirit, he was harnessed.

He had learned on the... the back side of the Arabian desert there. When, all his former things, and experiences, and ambition, that, he had been stripped of those things.

Now, that’s where we find, today, that we must be stripped, first. And people don’t want to be stripped. The Methodist brother wants to hold to a little bit of his Methodist teaching. Uh-huh. The Baptist brother wants to hold to a little bit of his Baptist teaching. See? But you’ve got to absolutely be stripped of everything, and just born again, afresh. And take up from there, let the Holy Spirit lead. You can’t say, “Well, now, my... my daddy said, when he got in, went in the church, he shook hands with the pastor. He, he’s a good loyal member.” That might have been all right for his race, but we’re another race. See?

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Now we must come back to the Bible times for this day.

The priests was harnessed, too. But, you see, they had come over into another dispensation, and they... they fail to strip off their old harness and put on a new harness.

And the same thing we find today. We did come through a denominational age, as we proved through the church ages, the Bible, and so forth, but we come now to a free age, where the Holy Spirit Himself comes down and vindicates Himself, and makes Himself known, makes every promise that He promised, come to pass. Oh, my! What a great time!

And he knew that, another thing, he knew he could not go to places, that, being harnessed to This, that he would not... that he did, but yet he wanted to go. He knew that his ambition drawed him amongst brethren where he was invited to come, and yet he was pressed in the Spirit to do something else. He wasn’t his own.

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Maybe somebody could say, “Brother Saul, Brother Paul, we want you to come over here, because we got the biggest church. We got the biggest congregation. Your offerings will be great, and so forth.”

But being pressed in the Spirit, he thought, “I got a brother over there. I’d like to go over and save this brother, get him to the Lord.” But, yet, the Spirit pressed him to go somewhere else. He was a prisoner. Correctly.

O God, make us prisoners like that, from our own selfish ambition, and from our own judgments and our better way of thinking, to be a prisoner of Jesus Christ. I think that was a great statement, that, “I’m a prisoner to Jesus Christ.”

And remember, He is the Word. See? No matter what anyone else thinks, it’s the Word. See? If you’re a prisoner to the Word, no denomination can sway you from It. It’s... it’s the Word. You’re just... You’re a prisoner to It, that’s all. You must act the way It acts.

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Now, he could not go certain places that he wanted, because (why?) the Spirit forbade him. You remember, many time, that Paul was trying to go some place, thinking, “There is where I could have a great meeting,” but the Spirit would forbid him. Now, does that clearly state and prove that Paul was a prisoner? [Congregation says, “Amen."] A prisoner to Jesus Christ, harnessed to His Word, by the Spirit! Oh! I like that. Uh-huh.

He was bound. He was bound by a chain, and by fetters of love, to do the will of God, and that only. He was a prisoner. He was in a fetters of love. He was in the yoke with Christ. He could yoke up with nothing else. He was yoked with Him. And where the Lead went, that’s where he had to go. Regardless of how green the pasture was, here on this side or that side, he had to go the way the Leader and the yoke went.

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Oh, tonight, if we, as the Branham Tabernacle, could only become prisoners; to our own selfish being, to our own ambition, that we could completely surrender ourself and be yoked to Him. No matter what the rest the world thinks, what the rest the world does, we’re yoked with fetters of love, we are prisoners. “My feet is so yoked to Christ, it won’t dance. My eyes is so yoked to Christ, till I, when I see these modern striptease on the street, It turns my head. My... my heart is so yoked in love to Him, till I can’t have love for this world, anymore. My will is so yoked to Him, till I don’t even know now what my ambitions are. Just, ‘Wherever You lead, I’ll follow, Lord.’ I’ll be a prisoner.” See?

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Paul was correctly a prisoner. He wasn’t making any wrong statement. He was trained by the Holy Ghost, again, to wait on the Word. Now, he had been trained one way, but... but God had trained him another way now. He was trained by the Holy Spirit to wait upon the Lord, no matter what his ambitions was.

Now I’m going to, help by the Holy Spirit, show you something. See? Now let’s just take an instance.

One day, Paul and Silas, coming down the street in a certain city where they was holding a revival. And a little, demon-possessed girl kept following him, crying out after him. And no doubt but what Paul knowed that he had the authority, as an apostle, to rebuke that evil spirit out of that woman. But did you notice? He waited, day after day, until, all of a sudden, the Holy Spirit spoke to him, said, “This is the hour.”

Then he said, “Thou spirit, come out of her.”

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See? He knowed to wait on the Lord. And there is where so many people today bring a reproach upon the Word. They go out with an ambition. How many revivals has been left flat because of a thing like that, because the evangelist don’t wait to see what the Lord has got to say! Some of them say, “Come over here,” and they... they go right now because the... the association said, “Go.” And the Holy Spirit would say something different. Yet, the ambition of the man to become the state presbyter, or... or something another, or some elder, or some bishop, or something would pull him, “You must go.” And, yet, he knows better. The Holy Spirit saying, “Go here.” See? He’s yoked to his organization. He’s a prisoner to the organization.

But if he’s yoked to Christ, he’s led by the Holy Ghost. He ...?... See? He, he’s yoked, a prisoner. Don’t make any difference what anything else says; it’s... it’s a... it’s a... a sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal. He hears only the Voice of God, and he speaks only when It comes out. He says nothing.

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Somebody say, “Oh, oh, Brother Jones!” Brother Roberts, or some, these great men in our land today, like Tommy Hicks, or... or... or Oral Roberts, or... or Brother Tommy Osborn, some of those great evangelists. If somebody would say, “Say, come over here, Tommy. You’re a great man of God.” (Or Oral.) “And I... I got a... a uncle that’s laying over here, that’s... that’s all bound. And he’s... he’s sick. I want you come over. I believe you have the strength to heal him.” See?

And maybe the Holy Spirit would say to him, “Not now.”

But, yet, to the friendship of that man, he’s duty bound to go with him. If he don’t, he becomes an enemy to that man. That man say, “Well, he went to so-and-so, heal that child or that boy. I know he did. And I been his friend, for years, see, and he wouldn’t come to my place.”

But if he’s constrained by the Holy Spirit not to go, he better not go, if he’s yoked to God. His friend, he love. But he better be led of the Holy Spirit to go there, because it won’t do any good, anyhow. I experience that so many time.

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But Paul just waited for the Spirit to tell him what to do. “Wait on the Spirit,” said. He stood one night, preaching. And he walked out of there. He seen a crippled man. And all at once, the Spirit spoke to him, and he said, “I perceive...“ How? The same way he perceived they was going to be wrecked, upon an island. See? “I perceive that you have faith to be healed. Stand up on your feet. Jesus Christ made you well.” See? There you are. He... he was... He was yoked. He might have held a week’s revival there and nothing had happened, but yet he waited for the Holy Spirit to say. See? He was yoked to that appeal.

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Now you say, “Brother Branham, you’re condemning what you said Sunday, about you been waiting all this time.”

And, but, you remember, it was the Holy Spirit that spoke to me up there on the road, and said, “I’m sending you back amongst the sick and afflicted.” See? It’s obedient to the Holy Spirit. Sure. I didn’t go until He told me to do it. I was waiting for THUS SAITH THE LORD, till I got THUS SAITH THE LORD. Now, that’s different. See? Now, It, That makes a difference. Yes.

He waited for the Word of the Lord. He was pressed in the Spirit, to do only God’s bidding, then he become a prisoner of Jesus Christ. Friends, if we could only become prisoners!