When the Lord revealed the celestial sign of His return in judgment to me, I knew I had to tell people. I had no idea who would really hear it, but I knew it was a monumental revelation about something that would surely change the world and I just had to tell people. I had no degree in Theology or any associations or affiliations or credentials that might commend me to anyone. I was a struggling floorcovering installer with a young family. Why would anyone in their right mind listen to me?
Former associates simply weren't interested, except for one couple, Ron and Kathleen. Our families met together for fellowship, home church and home schooling. In 1991, there was, of course, no public Internet; not even rumors of such a thing, in my recollection. I had no substantial affiliations or contacts of note, so I wrote letters and called whoever came to mind. A mailing went out with my most rational sounding approach, sent to all the local churches I could find listed in the Sacramento Yellow Pages. Follow up calls were made. I contacted all the prophetic ministries I knew about. I also wrote and called all the local papers. I even tried to contact Oprah. Yes, seriously. There was no lack of zeal to herald this news but none to receive it.
Did anyone respond to that radical effort? Yes, a few actually did. I followed through with the appointments I made with local pastors, two or maybe three in total. What fruit there was that resulted from that promotional effort was largely in what I learned in the experience, but I did make some interesting contacts in that season. I found a few local ministers of assemblies who might be considered as offshoots of Christian sects, fringe of the fringe. I was invited to speak before a small number of them. I was mostly interested in bearing testimony about the sign and what incidentals I was learning, wanting to discover what the Lord was really doing and bear witness to it.
A reporter for the local paper came to interview me at my home in Citrus Heights. Several pages were devoted to the article and over the following months people I did business with and others in the neighborhood would tell me they read it, and that was a great conversation starter, to be sure. As a floorcovering installer, I was doing mostly residential remodeling in that season, and I was in a lot of homes, always talking to people, “witnessing” as some would say, engaging people in thoughtful conversations to get to know them, their hunger for the Truth, planting seeds and watering, seeking the Lord for increase.
Perhaps the most notable result of that campaign was a relationship with J. R. Church, of Prophecy in the News. Although my excitement was due to the celestial sign of 1991, his only interest was in the celestial sign of Christ's birth. In the brief I had sent him, that aspect was merely the background for establishing the precident, but that's what caught his attention. I'm glad it did, because I had it wrong, like those I had learned it from. It was through J. R.'s insight into one of the symbols of Revelation 12 (the crown of 12 stars as Jupiter) that we came to correct a significant error. (You can read about it here. When Jesus was Born - The Celestial Signs) The correct date of His birth on Yom Teruah, 2 BC, would soon be validated. The Lord arranged by sovereign appointment to have a book by Dr. Stephen Jones put into my hands while on a job in Davis, California. Having the correct date for the Lord's birth would become instrumental in 1999, confirming my understanding of the relationship between the Shemitah cycles and biblical millennia, and the receipt of that revelation would be another personal sign.
At one point in that early season, a young man came to our home fellowship that was being held at Ron's house. He was taking a class in media productions in association with a local cable channel. His instructor gave an assignment to the students; produce a show for broadcast. He wanted to do a show with me, so we went out to a remote pond near Folsom Lake and did a shoot. It was a single episode kind of show, and I taught about the prophetic allegory in Acts 12 , which you may know as Passing Through the Iron Gate. The show was broadcast many times over the course of a few months, and it was really surprising how many people I knew or met actually watched that show.
I had become a minor celebrity in some respects, although fame and fortune definitely wasn't what that was all about. Certainly, folks were interested in controversy and celebrity, but not so much with the truth. The experience was for my learning, for my personal development and education, because it would be many years later that the work would really bear fruit. We've entered that season, as the Barley Bride is about to ripen and be harvested!
Much more could be written about that remarkable early season, but I'd like to continue with an overview of some notable milestones. More attention must be given to the history of the development of the content of The Open Scroll and the blog as I learned what you have been reading, but the context of that development is not unimportant.
When I began to minister independently, I chose a name for the official vehicle: Christian Research Ministries. When I decided to produce a newsletter, it was called, The Open Scroll. The first edition was published in November 1995. The catalyst for that work was a prophecy conference I attended in Irvine, CA, in mid-October of 1995. The list of speakers included Hal Lindsay, Chuck Missler and Grant Jeffrey. I had met Grant a few months earlier, when he spoke in Sacramento at one of the mega-churches, but Irvine's was the first prophecy conference I ever attended. I was inspired by the disappointing lack of significant insight offered by the panel of speakers. Some of the engaging conversations I enjoyed with other saints that weekend exposed the fact that their hunger for the truth wasn't being satisfied and that their level of expectation was really very low.
The Open Scroll newsletter was distributed through the postal service. There was perhaps a hundred subscribers, mostly US, and it was almost entirely gratis. Over time, the base grew to maybe 2 or 3 hundred. Ultimately 14 editions were produced. It had started out as a monthly production, but that was ambitious for this man with a young family and a physically demanding trade that generally required a 6 day work week, amid continued health issues and the wavering economy in the industry. The formatting of the newsletter began in WordPerfect 5.1, a DOS word processing program. It was quite an effort to use it for desktop publishing, and when I was pretty much forced to adopt Word 6.0, the costly learning curve continued. I couldn't sustain the effort of formatting, printing, stapling, folding, addressing and stamping, and associated production costs for very long, so the schedule soon stretched to every other month. After the 13th issue, almost a year passed before the final 14th issue was produced.
Prior to the newsletter, I had made an effort to interest Christian publishers in a book of my key studies and insights on the subject of prophecy. I acquired quite a collection of rejection letters in that failed campaign. With the advent of the Internet, the existing systems of print publication and distribution became less relevant. It had not made sense to me that the Lord would nearly completely squelch the promotion of what He had been revealing. With the arrival of the Internet and the explosion of its popularity, it began to make sense. You put stuff on a website and hungry people all over the world have access to it. I had a voice. Like with the Gutenberg Revolution, the Lord made a way. He had it in mind all along, and so it was that I remained largely independent of all the traditional networks of Christian promotion.
Just after the first issue of The Open Scroll newsletter was produced, I got online and began to develop a website and presence on the Internet. It was a very young Internet. I learned how to code HTML and make basic graphics so I could build and maintain the website, and I gave attention to publishing The Open Scroll online, with whatever other studies seemed most important. The eventual decision to drop the newsletter and devote my full effort to the website was unavoidable.
Eventually, I bought a domain name, theopenscroll.com. Years later, when blogging became popular, I experimented with the free blogger platform to learn how that might be beneficial. In 2009, I found a use for The Open Scroll Blog, where I was less constrained by the need to provide a higher level of structure to the content being published.
As for the development of the content on The Open Scroll, the Blog provides one obvious window of insight because, from post to post, it is maintained in chronological order. An overview of the development of the content through the years is going to be useful, and, Lord willing, that will get some traction in upcoming posts to this thread. I anticipate more discussion of the practical experience gained in life's many essential lessons, and attention given to the Lord's raising up of Aaron Hermann as a teammate and partner in this work.