Isaiah 5: 11 Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink: that continue until night, till wine inflame them! 12 And the harp, and the viol, the babret, and pipe, and wine, are in their feasts: but they regard not the work of the lord, neither consider the operation of his hands. 13 Therefore my people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge: and their honorable men are famished, and their multitude dried up with thirst. 14 Therefore hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure: and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth, shall descend into it.
What a word this is! I was hoping for a shorter word for this evening but you could preach a decade on this. It is hard to know where to start but I am going to try to keep it short. There are so many ideas here. But I see the central theme for us this evening as being the 13th verse. “Therefore my people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge: and their honorable men are famished, and their multitude dried up with thirst.”
Notice here that God does not say the people, but “MY people” are gone into captivity. MY people! Not the world, not the denominations, not muslims or hindus, MY PEOPLE! The people of God, the church, the called out ones, are gone into captivity. We are supposed to be free. Jesus said the truth shall set us free. We have the word, and we have the message and yet Isaiah says we are being taken captive. How can this be? How can the church of the living God be taken captive in this day when we have the greatest light that has ever been? For the first time in history we not only have the entire Bible, but we have the entire Bible revealed. Even the Apostles didn’t have it. Luther didn’t have it. Wesley didn’t have it but we have it and today we also have captivity.
You might bed tempted to say “wait a minute, Isaiah is taking about his time”. The Bible says by two or three witnesses let all things be established.
Revelation 13: 8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. 9 If any man have an ear, let him hear. 10 he that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.
Is this Isaiah’s time? This is here and now. This is our age. He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity. Who is leading into captivity? Who is leading the saints into captivity? The preachers! Preaching off the word and preaching a second hand gospel and preaching their own dogmas. They are leading the children of God into captivity. Look at our scripture.
11 Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink: that continue until night, till wine inflame them!
He is not talking about drunks here. This isn’t alcoholism. He is talking about a religious spirit, a religious fervor. They rise early with a religious fervor, they are full of religious emotion to the point where they become intoxicated and inflamed with it. Inflamed by it. Set on fire. Excited! They dance all over the stage, jump up and down and shout and scream from the pulpit. And the people in the benches are even worse. They put on a big show with lots of emotion. Church has become a Broadway musical these days. They get charged up and charge up the people and everyone is jumping and dancing and shouting “Amen!” to every word and not even paying attention to check what is being said.
2 Peter 2:1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. 2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. 3 And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you; whose judgment now of a long time lingerth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.
There is your third witness. They with feigned words and fair speeches will lead into captivity. They will preach up a storm. There will be a huge emotional rush through the people. And they are doing it for money. Do you know how much they are making? Brother Branham refused to drive a Cadillac because he felt that he should not be driving a better car than the average man, and the cars they drive today put a Cadillac to shame. A brand new Cady would be a down payment for some of the cars, and jet airplanes, owned by preachers today. They have a religious spirit and the people sitting and listening will catch the same spirit and be taken captive by it. It is a very dangerous thing.
12 And the harp, and the viol, the babret, and pipe, and wine, are in their feasts: but they regard not the work of the lord, neither consider the operation of his hands.
The churches will have the best music programs, the best buildings, the most beautiful architecture, the most professional sound system, the most wonderful organization, but they also will “not regard the word of the Lord not consider the operation of his hands”. Quite a thought that such a big beautiful church who claims to follow the message and believe the word would be so far off from it as to not even consider it nor regard it. How can this be?
Matthew 15:8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. 9 Teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
There you have it. Religious hypocrisy! We can sing, and we can have the best orchestra filled with university graduated musicians. We can praise, and we can pray, and we can worship, and we can call out in Jesus name. We can read the Bible, and we can quote the prophet and put his picture up all over our churches and homes, but if we disregard the Revealed Word of God in favour of a doctrine of man, no matter how good it sounds, how logical it is, then all of our worship is in vain. It all starts at the pulpit.
We have lots of preachers but very few Word preachers. Jesus said it would be this way. He said the harvest is great and the labourers are few. Pray for labourers! Pray that the Lord God would call more Spirit filled men to the field who will actually consider the operations of God, and regard the works of the Lord, and not care about the money or the popularity. Pray for men who know God and have intimate knowledge of his ways and his Word. How can I introduce you to someone who I do not know myself? We need Holy Spirit filled, God sent, anointed preachers. We have too many religious men and not enough Godly men. It has always been that way. One Elijah to 450 prophets of Baal. One Elisha to a whole host of worldly prophets. One Micah to 400 prophets with lying spirits.
It is the even worse today!
And these false anointed preachers are taking the people captive by the millions. Good people, children of God are being taken captive by these religious spirits in religious preachers. And you might ask why is it that they are able to take the children of God captive? Good question.
13 Therefore my people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge: and their honorable men are famished, and their multitude dried up with thirst.
Knowledge! The people are gone into captivity “because they have no knowledge”. Surprised? No knowledge. That is God’s own words from the mouth of his holy anointed, spirit filled prophet, not mine. God says the people, the message people, the message preachers, have no knowledge. As I pointed out earlier, we have both the Bible in print and the Message that reveals the Bible, both in print and on tape, and we hear it over and over and can quote from 3,000 hours of preaching by a vindicated prophet of God, and the Lord God says we have no knowledge.
The message believers today have no knowledge!
Knowledge of God does not come with Bible reading. Knowledge of God does not come with church going. Knowledge of God does not come with message listening. You do not get knowledge of God by pressing the play button. That might rub some wrong but just wait a moment, bear with me, and you will see. Knowledge of God does not come with singing or playing an instrument. If any of those would bring you knowledge of God then Saul of Tarsus would have known God personally for he was the most educated theologian in all of Israel. Yet when Saul came face to face with the Lord Jesus in the pillar of fire, he realized that he did not know anything of God whatsoever.
Knowledge of God comes only from a personal experience with God!
Saul learned more of the Lord God in those three or four minutes in front of that pillar of fire than in many years of Bible School and Seminary. Moses learned more of God in a few moments with a burning bush than in 80 years of life and 40 years of the best education that the world had to offer. In order to know God, to have knowledge of who and what the Lord God is, we have to meet God personally. Some will point quite accurately to the fact that the prophet directed us not to preach until we have seen God personally. Amen! But if you look to the message he went even further to say that you are not even a Christian until you have met God personally. And if we have not met him then how can we know him and if we do not know him, and have no knowledge of him, then we will be taken into captivity.
Our scripture goes on to say that the honorable men are famished. Starved! They are not being fed. The preachers are preaching, the singers are singing and the righteous are starving for the Word of God. How can this be brothers and sisters?
Quoting another preacher, even a vindicated prophet, will never feed a true child of God. An eagle needs fresh meat, not left-overs chewed out from another man’s sermons. Brother Branham was a Word Prophet and as a Word Prophet he pointed us back to the Word of God alone. Every Word preacher will point you back to the Word of God alone as well. If the preacher has the same spirit as the prophet did, then he will preach the same way as the prophet did. The prophet preached from the Word.
Not only do the honorable suffer, but it says that the multitude is dried up with thirst. Thirst for the water of the spirit and a parched thirst for the moving of the spirit. There is a famine of hearing the Word of God and a thirst for the spirit that is not being met in the churches today. Remember the foolish virgins have no oil. The Laodicean church has no oil, only the Bride does. The church has no oil because they have no knowledge of God. And they have no knowledge of God because they have not met God. And they have not met God because they are not being told to seek him, and not being led to him. Right back to the pulpit again!
2 Timothy 2: 24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, 25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; If God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; 26 and that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.
Straight from the pulpit it comes. We must not fight and argue but teach the truth for that will lead men to repentance, and by repenting they will meet God and He shall recover them from the snare of the devil, the religious spirit, that takes them captive at will. If the people are not told, then the people will not know. The watchman is responsible to the people to warn of the enemy.
For months every time I opened the Bible, any Bible, it always turned to the same spot, and every time I read it, it spoke loudly to me.
Ezekiel 13:1 And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, 2 Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel that prophesy, and say thou unto them that prophesy out of their own hearts, Hear ye the word of the Lord; 3 Thus saith the Lord God; Woe unto the foolish prophets, that follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing! 4 O Israel, thy prophets are like the foxes in the deserts. 5 They have not gone up into the gaps, neither made up the hedge for the house of Israel to stand in the battle in the day of the Lord. 6 They have seen vanity and lying divination, saying, The Lord saith: and the Lord hath not sent them: and they have made others to hope that they would confirm the word. 7 Have ye not seen a vain vision, and have ye not spoken a lying divination, whereas ye say, The Lord Saith it; albeit I have not spoken? 8 Therefore thus saith the Lord God; Because ye have spoken vanity, and seen lies, therefore, behold, I am against you saith the Lord God. 9 And mine hand shall be upon the prophets that see vanity, and that divine lies; they shall not be in the assembly of my people, neither shall they be written in the writing of the house of Israel, neither shall they enter into the land of Israel; and ye shall know that I am the Lord God.
Foolish teachers, ministers of any kind really, following their own spirit. They don’t stand in the breach. They are not sent of the Lord. they divine lies by preaching doctrines of men. They are taking the children of God captive by religion. These are not prophets of Baal that the Lord God is addressing here, these are prophets of spiritual Israel. These are not the denominations, these are the message preachers of today. Certainly there are good message preachers but this is not addressing them. This is quite accurately aimed at a select group of men that were not sent by God, but went according to their own ideas preaching for gain. And when these men get hold of a pulpit they will build big groups; huge groups, that have lots of religion, lots of emotion, but are starving for the Word and the Spirit of God.
We are just a little family here today but we desperately need to know this. If we do not come to know the Lord God personally through an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ, then we will be taken captive by a religious spirit. If we are in the wrong place, then we will be starved for the word, parched for the spirit, and surrounded by religious pomp and celebration. The Bible said that we are to offer up the sacrifice of praise, but if that sacrifice is not washed then it is an abomination to God. Religious pomp and celebration, no matter how skilled or sweet to the ear, if it is not sanctified by the Holy Spirit of God, it is an abomination unto him.
Luke 4:18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, 19 to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
There is our answer. Jesus! He alone can set us free. He alone can give us liberty. He alone can free us from the spirits that threaten to take us captive. And he does it personally, not by creed, not by dogmas, not by church going, but by meeting him personally and getting to know him personally. We must regard the work of the Lord. We must consider his operations. God is alive and well. He is a miracle God. He is the same yesterday today and forever. Everything that is written in the Bible about him is just as true today as it was the day it was written.
Don’t get caught up in emotion. Don’t get caught up in a big show. Don’t get distracted by large crowds. Do not let a fancy building catch your eye. Get caught up in the spirit of God. The songs and the worship and the celebration are all important and even vital, but without the Spirit of God, it is dead. Where are the gifts? Where are the miracles? God is a miracle God. We point to the signs, wonders and miracles in Brother Branham’s ministry, but where are they in our lives? In Jesus’ day they pointed to Moses. In our day they point to Brother Branham. Let us look instead to Jesus. Let’s be like Gideon, the mighty man of valour, let’s seek out God personally and seek out his moving in our lives personally.
God is here right now to meet us. His spirit, the pillar of fire, is right there in the room with you at this very moment. He is waiting to hear from you, waiting for your invitation. He is waiting for you to regard His works and to consider His operations. Let’s all come together in one accord to consider His operations. Let’s all agree to regard His works. And not the works and operations of yesterday, but God’s works today in our lives, in our midst, right there in that room at the moment you are reading this.
The Bible says that the Lord is closer to you than your own breath. He is right there with you. The pillar of fire is right before you. Can you feel him? He is there filling the room. Seek him! Cry out to him! Reach out to him!
Meet Him NOW!