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    FAQ 256
    Questions about the Olive Branch I
    New Covenant Messenger* Vol.1, No.3, 1 February 1996

    (1) If the C&C was closed and "sealed up", why was it re-opened again almost immediately?

    The Covenants & Commandments (C&C) wasn't opened up again. Sections 1-430 (Volume 1, or 1C&C) was a self-contained book of revelations covering an important phase of the Church's unfolding and ministry [Book 1 has now be considerably reduced in the current Olive Branch and consists of only 271 revelations].

    The second set of revelations was originally called the Book of Revelations and began with a new Section 1. As this title was not too popular, it was replaced with Second Book of Covenant & Commandments (or 2C&C).

    When the old Church [Independent Church] was dissolved in 1992 the Second Volume (containing Sections 431-570) was likewise closed or "sealed up" as this represented another phase in the Church's development [Book 2 is also considerable reduced in the new Olive Branch and consists of Sections 272-348].

    During the period 1992-1996 a Third Volume of Covenants & Commandments (3C&C) was created and likewise closed and "sealed up", containing Sections 571-624 [Sections 349-470 in the new Olive Branch]. This volume was never published as the revelations were not a part of the NCCF ministry. It's concluding words are, appropriately:

      "Stand firm, and be diligent, calling upon the Most High God in the Name of the Son in all things, and behold, I shall answer your prayers, and ye shall behold the glory of the Lord. Fear not, doubt not, for I am with you unto the end, and shall bless you according to every righteous desire and deed. I am the Lord your God, and I excuse Myself not. Therefore be true unto the end. Amen" (3C&C 624:24-25 or NC&C 388:37-40).

    There will be no more volumes of Covenants & Commandments though a selection is being made and arranged into The Olive Branch. This project will probably take a number of years to complete as each revelation is sifted, corrected (when necessary), amplified (when required), removed (if no longer relevant) and the language modified (when hard to understand) (see the Messenger, Vol.1, No.1, p.5-7, "Revelations to Be Published").

    (2) In a letter written to the Church on 15 August 1990 the Presiding Patriarch announced his resignation saying the saints needed to be on their own. Why did he then return as Patriarch later?

    This resignation of the Patriarch was done for two reasons: (1) To show the people their strengths and weaknesses, their progress and continuing needs, and the necessity of a Church father; and (2) To show the Presiding Patriarch that he was not called to abandon the flock, for he never wished the leadership position and often sought to abandon his responsibility.

    (3) The revelation concludes saying that the angel Enoch was sent to seal up the C&C. Who is/was Enoch?

    As has been explained in several places in New Covenant publications in the past, Enoch is both an historical person (the Patriarch who was taken to heaven with his people) as well as an office or a calling (much as Elijah was both an historical prophet and a call -- John the Baptist came in the "spirit of Elijah").

    The angel "Enoch" was none other than the Presiding Patriarch himself, this being one of his offices. Like the Patriarch Enoch, he has been called to establish a holy city where the people are living all of God's laws. This is sometimes called Zion. The name Enoch literally translates as "teacher" which has been the Presiding Patriarch's main calling since the Church was organised.

    An "angel", in its broadest meaning, is a "messenger" or even a "pastor" (see Rev.1:20 where the "seven angels" refer to the seven pastors of the seven colonies/churches in Asia Minor). Pastors, Evangelists and Apostles are all, technically speaking, "angels" or "messengers", though of the earthly (rather than the heavenly) variety.

    There are other "Enochs" associated with this work and their ministry is explained elsewhere. The Church has also been warned about "false Enochs" or the "Enochian Demons" who attempt to imitate this office and personage.

    As the "angel" or "messenger" of the Covenants & Commandments the Presiding Patriarch was given the right to "bind and loose" (halakhah), that is to say, "withdraw" or "publish" the revelations, over which he is the steward. It is also his stewardship to prepare them in their final form as the Olive Branch.

    As of 1 April 1996 the old Covenants & Commandments become completely sealed again and their words are no longer binding upon the people. When officially re-released as the Olive Branch a new (secondary) canonical status will be assigned them in the Church.

    (4) What is the exact status of the Three Books of Abraham? Are they historical or just parables?

    The Three Books of Abraham [1] are (a) Pseudepigraphic expansions, and (b) Targumisations. They were written by three different authors. The third was written by the Presiding Patriarch and the second was re-translated by him.

    A pseudepigraphic expansion is an original historical story greatly expanded, and sometimes modified, by a later writer in order to meet the needs of the time. Most of the apocryphal works of the Old Testament period are of this nature. Though claiming to have been written by such eminent persons as "Adam", "Enoch", "Moses" and others, they are, in fact, the works of later writers.

    These works were in no way regarded as "deceptions", as our literalistic Western minds might be tempted to call them, but employed a perfectly accepted literary device commonly used in the two centuries before, and century after Christ. Fact and fiction freely mingled in order to create an atmosphere in which salient spiritual truths could be taught. They are, if you like, a mixture of real and parabolic events.

    All three Books of Abraham are of this nature, though the authors of the first two have denied this. Indeed the Third Book of Abraham, not wishing anyone to be under any illusions as to its purpose, concludes by saying that it is a parable of the love of God.

    Like other inspired apocryphal works, its purpose is to paint a picture of the Millennial world that is to come so as to implant an image, which is itself a goal, in the hearts and minds of its readers.

    Though this form is not readily accepted, yet alone understood, by the Western "scientific" mind (and has caused numerous problems with former members who have not understood the firstborn mind-frame), it is perfectly consistent with the nature of divine revelation. Just as the atonement of Jesus Christ reaches backwards into time canceling the sins of those who are repentant (He is the "Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world"), so too does the celestial Millennial World stretch backwards into the lives of those who anticipated and longed for it.

    Thus the Three Books of Abraham cannot be said to be "historical records" in the strictest sense of the term but rather reflect the longings and hopes of the earthly father of God's people. They are, therefore, in a way, not bounded by time or location, but represent the hope of God's people for the Heavenly City. At least this is the sense of the Third Book of Abraham. They are targums too -- paraphrases and interpretations of ancient events in the overall context of time. What matters is not so much historical events in works like these but the spirit they contain and convey. Judith's letter of Biqah belongs to this category too, a book regarded by many New Covenant Christians as the most beautiful produced by this Church.

    The authors of the other two Abrahamic books must, in the end, account for themselves.

    For New Covenant Christians schooled in the esoteric side of the Gospel what matters is not personalities but the Spirit. Thus for them it is not important whether the Spirit manifests itself through the story of an historical person like Abraham or imaginary characters like Lazarus and the rich man.

    It is for this reason that such works are little used in public by the Church anymore because of the exoteric expectations of ordinary people to measure the truthfulness of everything in terms of whether they are "historical" or "temporal", notwithstanding the numerous parables in the Bible. And this we do to avoid confusion and misunderstanding.

    Historical Footnote

    [1] The "First Book of Abraham" of this period is not the same "First Book of Abraham" currently used by the Church. Until 1992, during the Independent Church phase, the Restoration scripture, The Book of Abraham was regarded as canonical. It was withdrawn in 1992 and completely rejected during the 1995/6 reorganisation. In current New Covenant Church jargon, the "First Book of Abraham" is regarded as that part of the Book of Genesis which covers the live and ministry of the patriarch Abraham.

    (5) How can "Thus saith the Lord" statements appear in revelations and remain true if those revelations contain errors?

    When a prophet receives a revelation from God it is usually presented in conceptual form, that is, as a "picture", though sometimes (very rarely) God dictates verbally.

    As soon as the concept is received and the prophet is aware that it is from God, he prefixes what he writes with Thus saith the Lord... and then proceeds to translate the concepts into his own words. This phrase, Thus saith the Lord, is then periodically repeated throughout the revelation as part of what is, and was, a common Hebrew literary device to remind the reader that it is still God speaking.

    During the process of translation the prophet may, if tired, negligent, or ignorant, allow human thoughts to intrude. If tired, he may wander in and out of the prophetic spirit, sometimes writing the Word of God, and sometimes his own.

    If negligent, meaning that he is so absorbed with a part of the revelatory concept that he focuses all his energy on putting that into words, he may forget or neglect other parts of the concept, thus making the revelation "unbalanced", i.e. by putting emphasis on one aspect at the expense of another.

    For example, the Lord might be calling a particular person to repentance. If the prophet is concerned that that person understand the justice of the Law, he might place undue emphasis on that at the expense of the mercy side, or vice versa, thus making the revelation seem too harsh or too weak. This is one of the most difficult aspects of revelatory translation and is only perfected as the prophet is himself matured.

    Or the prophet might simply be ignorant, allowing what is being communicated to him to be distorted by false theological beliefs. Not untypically, as a prophetic thought appears, the prophet's mind might suddenly call into remembrance a passage from a book which is not scripture and accidentally quote it as scripture. Of course, if the words are inspired, that does not matter, for even Paul quotes a pagan Greek philosopher.

    Where this can be a problem is if he subconsciously assumes -- or already believes -- that the book he is quoting from is pure scripture, and he states it as being so, mistaking the concepts or spiritual truths that the Lord wishes to communicate for the book itself which may contain much that is not true.

    This is undoubtedly what happened in some of the early revelations of the Church which (as I have remarked on earlier in this publication) called the first members to distribute a book called the Sealed Portion [1].

    Containing as it did many truths about the gathering of Israel in the latter days -- which message has always been central to the New Covenant Church's call -- the revelator, not knowing that the book was impure, but assuming it was in faith, mistook the book for the message contained in one part of that book which the Lord wished to be known to the House of Israel.

    This error was a costly one for a few of the very first members who came to the Church because of this record who assumed (wrongly) that distributing the Sealed Portion was one of the priorities of the Church when it was, in fact, the teaching of spiritually saving principles, some of which were indeed in the Sealed Portion (mixed in with misleading and dangerous principles).

    Not until later, in the light of experience, did the then young and immature prophet (in this respect) realise his error (based on a wrong assumption) and then as an older and wiser revelator make the necessary corrections.

    We have seen the same process at work in a young "revelator", the former Third Patriarch, who, building his theology on one or two false beliefs, has created a doctrinal system which totally distorts the Bible in almost every way. And this is, alas, the danger all young prophets face.

    Mercifully, God corrects us and allows us to make the necessary corrections to put faulty revelations right. And this, through His grace, we are now doing.

    It is unfortunate that those who are not aware of the prophetic process, and who yet see everything in black.and-white terms, are only too willing to "throw out the baby with the bath water" by rejecting all, or most of, the revelations en masse, and together with them, the Church.

    No doubt one day, when we have concluded our walk of faith in the dark corridors of this mortal sphere, we will be able to converse with the prophets of old like Peter and Moses, and learn how they, too, walked the precarious path of prophethood.

    Historical Footnote

    [1] Also known as the Oracles of Mohonri, this Restoration-derived text proved to be a occultic "counterfeit of a counterfeit" which influenced some of the first members of the old Independent Church. It ceased to be used after about 1989-90 and was totally discarded in 1992 as a false work. One or two of the earliest revelations from the late 1980's period contained references to it and were either discarded or the erroneous parts removed.


    *The New Covenant Messenger was a newsletter circulated internally amongst members in the early 1996 period following the 'Third Rebellion' to explain some of the changes taking place in the church during the 1995-6 reorganisation when the Church did some major "in-house cleaning up". It was at this time that the New Covenant Church broke all links -- doctrinal, practical and scriptural -- with the Restoration Movement.

    This page was created on 21 May 1998
    Last updated on 21 May 1998

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