It was in the month of April 1950 that the Lord began to deal with my soul and I had to surrender my heart to him. A hunger began to build up in my heart not only to want to live for him, but also to know the truth of God’s word. It was from April 1950 through February 1952 that God began to teach me truths from His book, the bible.
One morning in February, 1952, I sat down on the living room sofa. As I picked up my bible, it fell open to the gospel of Luke in the first chapter. I read how Zacharias went into the temple to burn incense and to pray. The angel Gabriel appeared to him and told him that his wife Elizabeth was going to conceive and bare a son and the son’s name was to be John. The angel also told him that his son was to go before the coming of the Messiah in the power and the spirit of Elijah, to turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the spirit of wisdom to the just, and the angel never quoted the rest of the prophecy of Malachi 4:5-6. This stood out to me as clear as anything could be. I knew right then that God would send the spirit of Elijah again on someone here in the end time in order to turn the hearts of the children in this Grace Age back to the apostolic fathers.
That summer a gentleman came to my farm to squirrel hunt. He told me about a man who had an unusual ministry. He said the man’s name was William Branham. As this man told me what the spirit of God had spoken in 1933 while Bro. William Branham was baptizing in the Ohio River, something spoke to my heart, I knew if all this was true, then this must be the man that is to fulfill the end time ministry of Malachi 4:5-6.
It was just a few weeks later in August that I had the privilege of being in a meeting at the church where Bro. William Branham was pastor, in Jeffersonville, Indiana. Upon hearing him preach and seeing the way God used him, as I walked out of the church that night I knew within my heart this man was truly the Elijah spirit that was to come.
It was at this time that the spirit of God began to deal with my wife and myself about getting out of the Methodist church. While sitting under Bro. William Branham, he preached on the need for every true Christian to be filled with the Holy Ghost. In the months to follow, we both received this great gift and left the Methodist church. We began attending the Branham Tabernacle. We sat under Bro. William Branham’s ministry from 1952 – April 1955. I thank God for the privilege that he gave me during those years to be taught by Bro. William Branham. I am a firm believer in the life that Bro. William Branham lived and the ministry that God manifested in him. However, I am one of a few that sat under his ministry that never did deify the man and call him the Messiah. I know of many that did and they are still looking for him to come back again from the dead.
In April 1955, the Lord told me to start a church. I felt at first that this would be only a small mission that would last for but a short time. Little did I know that this was to be the beginning of something that God would use and it would grow into a fellowship that would one day be known throughout the world.
It was in January 1969 that we started printing the “Contender”. God has blessed this paper. At the present time, it is sent throughout all the world.
Bro. Raymond M. Jackson