Our Church History literally begins with Jesus as He set forth the Early Church when He chose His twelve disciples and began His ministry. James, the Lord's brother, with the disciples of the Early Church made an observation from Scripture in Acts 15:16-17 (quoting Amos 9:11,12) stating, "After this I will return and I will build again the Tabernacle of David which is fallen down and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up; that the residue of men might seek after the Lord and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things."
" Thou hast given a banner to them that
fear thee: that it may be displayed because
of the truth. Selah. (Psalm 60:4)"
Having this thought in mind, we will begin by giving you the Scripture in Isaiah 60:1-3 which states, "Arise shine for thy light is come and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee...And the Gentiles shall come to thy light..." This Scripture gives us information that these verses are addressed to The Church.
God's Word tells us here that there will be a church among the Gentiles to be walking in revelation knowledge (light) and the Glory of the Lord will be on it (The Church). God's plan has been in place before the foundations of the world as to how He would bring together a people who would worship God in Spirit and in Truth. We will, by the Holy Spirit's guidance, expound on some truths that will feed your soul and help you along in your walk with the Lord.
It began in 1903 when A. J. Tomlinson, an anointed prophet of the Lord, felt a call of God to go up onto a mountain in North Carolina named Burger Mountain to pray, seeking God's face. He did this because he was to fulfill the prophecy in Jeremiah 30:21 where the Scripture states, "...and I will cause 'him' to draw near, and 'he' shall approach unto me: for who is this that engaged 'his' heart to approach unto me, saith the Lord?" The words 'him, he, and his' in the English language are singular in nature and represent such -- they don't represent a 'body of believers' as some might suppose. We believe that Brother A. J. Tomlinson was that chosen one. Brother Tomlinson was led of the Holy Spirit to pursue this Scripture to its fullest potential--he believed the Bible, rightly divided and diligently pursued its teachings. Upon his return from prayer, there were some people gathered who wanted to know how they could be a part of what God was leading Brother A. J. Tomlinson to do, and he proceeded to make known God's Word to this small group of people. He asked them if they would believe the 'whole' Bible and practice its teachings rightly divided as he did, and they agreed to do so; thus, Brother Tomlinson explained to them that they were 'Church'.
This small group of people under the Holy Spirit's guidance and auspices of Brother Tomlinson as their leader, took a covenant with Jesus (and is what we now refer to as "the espousal". ) This "espousal" goes like this, "Will you sincerely promise in the presence of God and these witnesses that you will accept the Bible as the Word of God, believe and practice Its teachings; rightly divided--the New Testament being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets as your rule of faith, government, and discipline; and walk in the light of It to the best of your knowledge and ability? The answer is, "I will".
As is with all spiritual endeavors, as these people began to grow in the knowledge of The Word and in the Spirit of revelation, they began to receive the blessings of the Lord as well as the persecution of Satan. Because these people were 'walking in the light' to the best of their ability, the devil as always tried to stop this progression of perfection that Brother A. J. Tomlinson was moving in and so an uproar began. This uproar (which came from 10 of his 12 elders) made way for Brother A. J. Tomlinson to separate himself from those who brought accusation against him causing a Reformation in the church. This Reformation took place in 1923 causing a split and forming two congregations. Because neither congregation had an 'official' title, the congregation that remained with Brother A. J. Tomlinson was referred to as 'Tomlinson' Church of God, the other congregation that followed the ten elders was referred to in 'slang' as the 'Elder' Church of God. In 1952, it was made of legal effect that the congregation with Brother Tomlinson should add 'of Prophecy' to their name for separate identification and now we have a Church of God and a Church of God of Prophecy.
The body of believers of the Church of God of Prophecy were zealous for fulfilling God's prophetic Word. Progressing forward, God set in order for Brother A. J. Tomlinson to meet a young man in 1931 named Grady R. Kent (A few years later '1939', in a sermon preached by Brother Grady R. Kent in Cleveland, Tennessee, where Brother Grady R. Kent was pastor of a local church, it was revealed that these two men fulfilled the Scripture, "And of Zion it shall be said, This and that man was born of her:..." -- Psalms 87:5-6). These two men dedicated their lives in pursuing the prophetic call God had for each of them. After many years of preaching and teaching God's Word together, it was time for Brother A. J. Tomlinson to go forward and receive his reward; however, a few things had to be set in place before Brother A. J. Tomlinson could leave. Brother Grady R. Kent explained to Brother A. J. Tomlinson that they needed to purchase and place a marker on the property wherein the Church prophetically 'arose and shined' as related in Isaiah 60:1 and Jeremiah 2:2, and so it was done (This property is now known as, The Fields of The Wood, located in Cherokee, North Carolina) - (Psalms 132:6.)
Soon afterwards (1943), Brother A. J. Tomlinson passed on, and under the new leadership of the Church of God of Prophecy (M. A. Tomlinson), Brother Grady R. Kent continued preaching and teaching God's Word. God began to open up the Book of Revelation to Brother Grady R. Kent, showing him in prophecy who he was and what he must fulfill as his divine calling upon this earth. The leadership of the Church of God of Prophecy disagreed with what Brother Grady R. Kent was unfolding regarding his 'office' and 'anointing', but Brother Grady R. Kent knew 'who he was' in God and continued to preach what God had laid before him in the Word (A book entitled, "Sixty Lashes After Midnight", gives a gruesome account of one particular incident of his suffering for the Gospel's sake and of Brother Kent's ministry.) Brother Grady R. Kent knew he must separate himself from the Church of God of Prophecy, so on February 13, 1957, another Reformation took place. This time, Brother Grady R. Kent boldly made his 'declaration' as to who he was in Bible prophecy and penned his testimony concerning his statements (which we have in print); thus, beginning what is now known as The Church of God-Jerusalem Acres located in Cleveland, Tennessee. Later on, in 1960, Brother Grady R. Kent revealed from Zechariah 13:8-9 regarding the 'cutting off' of two-parts: (the 'Elder' Church of God and the Church of God of Prophecy).
From that time on, Bishop Grady R. Kent continued to unfold Bible prophecy and many people believed and followed him in his ministry. He began to mark out Scripture in the natural things (Romans 1:20). He became known among those who were following his ministry as "The Marking Prophet". He took the visible things that were made to reveal the invisible. He marked out the automobile (Nahum 2:2), the motorcycle (Joel 2), the boat (Isaiah 60:8; Ezekiel 10; Ecclesiastes 10:2), and the Church flag (Psalms 60:4 - Banner), showing how each was revealed in prophecy and how they were a "sign" of the soon coming of Jesus. Bishop Kent shaved his head and beard and divided the hair in three parts (Ezekiel 5:1.) He also took cloaks, beards, stories, flags, gates, tabernacle, etc., to show God's New Jerusalem.
Let's go back to Jesus and the Early Church. You'll notice in Matthew 16:13-19 that Jesus said the "...gates of hell would not prevail against it (Church)." The Word 'prevail' as seen in the Greek Lexicon is defined as: 2509- to overpower, prevail: from 2506 (fig.) from extinction, destruction, pulling down...and 2507- cast, pull, put down. It clearly identifies that the Church would not be overpowered, destroyed, pulled down or made to be extinct. Jesus did not say, however, that the Church wouldn't fall 'asleep'. So, in order to continue on and 'awake' this mighty Church, there had to be a prophetic Word which would cause this Church to arise and so it did (Isaiah 60:1), and in 1903 this was fulfilled.
Amos 9 and Acts 15 talk about rebuilding the house. The Bible states that this 'Church' or (latter house) would be greater than the (former house) or Early Church (Haggai 2:9). Just as Jesus built the Early Church based on prophecy, there is going to be an "anointed one" on this end who will 'rebuild' this 'Latter House' in this day. This 'latter' house must also have an 'anointed one' (christ) to lead them, but it is not JESUS!!. Jesus completed the volume of Scripture that was written of Him in Psalm 40:5-7 (referencing His position as the "Sacrificial Lamb" to be slain for the sins of 'man'), but in the position as 'The Son of Man', Jesus DID NOT finish those works. There will have to return someone who will 'rebuild' or 'restore' all things (Elijah Ministry). The one returning will finish the Son of Man's works.
Remember! Jesus finished His work while on this earth as Saviour, yet, He was 'cut-off' in the midst of His week (Daniel 9) regarding His works as the Son of Man. Jesus made that very clear at the foot of the cross when He looked down and told John, "Son, behold thy Mother; and He looked at Mary, His Mother, and said, Woman, behold thy son!". Jesus was making John His brother as related in Isaiah 53:10 (to raise up seed). Two other Scriptures show verification of this statement as well: 1) Ruth 'regarding the near kinsman' and 2) Isaiah 63 regarding 'the avenger of blood'. Also reference the Scripture in John 21:22 wherein Jesus said, "...if I will that he (John) tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me!". This emphatically implies that John will 'again' be here on this 'end of the time period' to finish the works of Jesus, his Brother, which was prophetically left for the Son of Man to do.
Let's go over to the New Testament and look at the works of Paul which were meant for the Gentiles. You will note in the New Testament that Paul clearly identifies himself as being an apostle 'born out of due season'. He was physically born during the Early Church, but his 'ministry' was not to the Jews. It was carried over to the Gentiles (Revelation-Chapters 2-3). These are seven (7) churches (not seven church ages as some denominations teach). Paul was developing a mission field which would eventually spread worldwide. As briefly stated earlier regarding the 'Arise Shine', there will be a "CHURCH" here in our day which will fulfill Ezekiel 5:1-5 regarding the fourth part (Acts 13:8b; Isaiah 49:6). In Romans 11:25-26 it states, "...until the FULLNESS of the Gentiles be come in...".
Let's take a look at the end time or 'latter church' in prophecy and see who this Gentile anointed is based on Scripture. The "Son of Man" or 'manchild' in Revelation, Chapter 12 was caught up into Heaven to receive the 'rod of iron' so he could come back and 'dash the nations into pieces'. It also gives this "Son of Man" or 'manchild' the authority to 'rebuild' the house or Gentile (Church). This anointed (christ) will bring together the "BRIDE", the Lamb's Wife, and will preach the gospel to every nation. We have not yet preached the "GOSPEL" to every nation. We are proceeding to send the 'salvation' message to all the earth, but not the "GOSPEL" (This is another message within itself.) This anointed one (christ) will complete Daniel's 70th week (which is the week that Jesus was cut-off in). As stated earlier, this is just a brief synopsis of the 'whole' matter.
There are many more Scriptures to witness this revelation. I remember being told about a particular incident that took place where Brother Grady R. Kent received a 'reed' from a brother in the Lord who found this reed at a flea market in Atlanta, Georgia, and felt impressed with an urgency to bring it to Brother Grady R. Kent who was residing in Cleveland, Tennessee. This brother in the Lord gave Brother Grady R. Kent this 'reed' and related to Brother Grady R. Kent that he felt he needed to get that particular reed for him and bring the reed directly to Brother Grady R. Kent. When Brother Grady R. Kent received the 'reed' from this brother in the Lord he stated, "Thanks, I've been waiting for that (Revelation 11:1.)"
Then Bishop Grady R. Kent lived on this earth, he prophesied with the things that were made to foreshadow things that would be happening in the future. He also had a marker placed outside the walls of The Church of God--Jerusalem Acres. We could get into 'the moving of the Ark of the Covenant here', but that is another issue...He even put into place naturally what the Theocratic governmental structure of the Church will be like based on Revelation 21. Bishop Grady R. Kent revealed the Offices of the Twelve, Seven, and Seventy and Two prophets, and used men in these positions to show what the pattern would be like when it would be set-up in the future. He set-up the Chief Bishop's office, and many more offices that were established to show the complete New Jerusalem pattern. Bishop Grady R. Kent even traveled to Mount Hattin in Israel to mark the place where Jesus began His (Jewish House) Church (Mark 3:14-16). Bishop Grady R. Kent also prophesied regarding other Scriptures in front of those who understood and followed what God was speaking prophetically and to whom God had given revelation knowledge to, of whom Chief Bishop Grady R. Kent was 'in the Spirit'. His example of traveling in the 'side car' of the motorcycle was one point revealed as to his future work in this end time program. Lettered on the windshield of the side car were the words, "Conqueror" (Revelation 6:1.) Scriptural reference for the Gentile anointed is also found in Matthew 21:1-7, and Genesis 49:10, 11, where the information is presented about the colt (on which Jesus rode into Jerusalem) and the foal (on which Jesus did not ride on) and it states, "Blessed is he (singular person) who comes 'in the name of the Lord'". Jesus came in the Father's name...(Hint: someone else has to do this!)
From 1957 to 1964, Chief Bishop Grady R. Kent revealed God's Word and preached this revelation knowledge to those who would accept it (take it into their spirit); he was planting 'corn' (Psalm 72:16) into the ground. He understood God's prophetic revelation and was preparing remnant hearts to complete the work he had begun. When Chief Bishop Grady R. Kent had completed his earthly ministry here, he passed off the scene. Upon Chief Bishop Grady R. Kent's homecoming (exit), the Church went through its prophetic dilemmas and fulfilled its other prophetic down falls bringing it to the point to continue fulfilling Ezekiel 5:1-5. There were certain leadership controversies in need of being placed in their proper priority in order to continue carrying out The Vision of All as seen in Zechariah 4. Many of the leadership were teaching prophetic heresies and non-Scriptural doctrines that were not in line with the Word of God. So, in a certain Council of Apostles and Elders on August 18, 1980, Bishop Robert L. Jones, one of the Twelve (Emerald stone), who had been following Chief Bishop Grady R. Kent and listening and hiding this revelation knowledge in his spirit, identified, "The House of Joseph" and whom would fulfill the prophetic seat of Ephraim. When this information was presented to the Council of Apostles and Elders, the leadership at that time rejected Bishop Jones' answer and denied that it was in line with God's Word. And in so doing, excommunicated Bishop Jones and his two sons from The Church of God in Jerusalem Acres. This fulfilled Ezekiel 5:1 regarding the 'third part'. In August 1980, Bishop Jones with his two sons chartered what is now known as The (Ephesus) Church of God. But one might ask, "How is this relevant to Ezekiel 5:1?" If you will follow this Scripture in the original text of the Greek and Hebrew, you will find it states, "...and a fourth part was tucked in the hem..." There is where The (Ephesus) Church of God falls prophetically. We are continuing to progress towards The Vision of All - the Gentile House which God will use in this last day to bring about the end time program engrafting both Jew and Gentile together as one. The Battle Rages On...(an excerpt taken from one of Chief Bishop Kent's sermons) is what we are engaged in at this time.
Since the passing of Chief Bishop Robert L. Jones, his oldest son, Kenneth L. Jones has assumed leadership as the Presiding Elder of The Churches. The following is a special tribute to Chief Bishop, Robert L. Jones.