Tuesday, April 30, 2013

William Branham, Searching for the Truth

I find myself in a straight between what I should believe and what I shouldn’t believe concerning the ministry of Brother William Branham. My quest is to be certain that my faith is on solid ground and not on the sinking sands that might cause me to lose the chance of obtaining the salvation of eternal life with God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Why do I find myself in this position concerning my belief? The reason is very clear to me insomuch that I recognize the fact that some of the things that Brother Branham taught from the pulpit differed from what I read in the bible scriptures. This is my quest, to determine where the truth lies and accept it as the complete truth concerning the bible and the Word of God.

Just for a little background I will recall my experiences with Brother Branham and the association of my family with him and his ministry. My earliest recollection is that my grandparents, who for the most part raised me, attend church at the Branham Tabernacle and became close friends with Brother Branham and his family. My grandfather was a deacon and a member of the church board of the Tabernacle. At some point my grandparents began to serve as the Secretary/Treasurer for Brother Branham’s Evangelistic crusades and worked very closely with Brother Branham to insure that his wishes were carried out concerning the responses to those who would write in to him from around the World.

It was in my early teenage years that I became more knowledgeable about Brother Branham and recognized that he was truly a man that devoted his life to serving God and God’s people. It was also at this time when I began to be friends with Brother Branham’s son, Billy Paul and we began to be buddies. I saw a lot of Brother Branham at that time as he frequently visited my grandparents home for reasons concerning his ministry.

Over the many years after those days I followed Brother Branham’s ministry and accepted his teaching of the bible as the true Word of God. I took such an interest in his teaching that I also began an in-depth study of the bible from Genesis to Revelations and recorded on paper everything that I was learning, to be maintained for future reference. I was so involved in bible study including the history of those things written about, that I would use every spare moment including vacation times following up on the study of the events told about in the bible confirming the details with secular historical writings.

Yes, I truly was a “message believer”, one who had accepted Brother Branham’s teaching a long time before I was converted to Christianity by accepting the Lord Jesus and submitted to water baptism by Brother Branham’s own brother, Doc Branham, at the Branham Tabernacle when at the time I was in my thirties, married and with children.

For years I felt the leading of the Lord in my life and on one particular day God spoke to my heart and informed me that a door would be opened for me to begin a ministry of my own. It was during this preparation for my ministry that I realized my inability to defend my teaching of the bible, using the bible only and not attempting to defend my position with Brother Branham’s teaching which had been my absolute up to that time. This awakening began a quest for me to enter into a search for the absolute truth which has continued until this day.

I recall when John the Baptist told the people that there was somebody coming that would baptize them with the Holy Spirit and with fire. It was about this time that I experienced this same phenomenon when a fire developed inside of me that drove me to a search for the truth of God’s Word and continues to fiercely burn inside of my heart unto this day. A flaming fire that can only be satisfied with the knowledge of all that God has me to know and understand the complete truth of His Word.

After completing an extensive word study of the bible from Genesis to Revelations, I then felt a need to search out and examine the ministry of Brother Branham by an intensive study of all of his meetings and messages. So I contacted Eagle Computing in Elizabethton Tennessee and ordered a CD with all of the sermons of Brother Branham on it. The person in charge of Eagle Computing, Neil Halava, said something very strange to me, he asked me to not use anything on the CD against Brother Branham. Obviously he knew something I didn’t know, but it was only my intention to understand his ministry in greater detail and not looking to find something to use against our Brother. Once again, it was my motive to completely understand why Brother Branham teaching on certain bible subjects was different than what the scriptures were saying to me.

Here was a man that I completely admired, a man of God that I respected and had such a tremendous ministry for God that I truly wanted to believe our differences in doctrine was because of my misunderstanding of what the bible was saying.

Before I get into what I have learned from Brother Branham’s preaching of his messages, I felt there were a few things that I needed to consider and keep in mind in order to assist me in my search for the truth of God’s Word.

Jesus spoke of being sure you know the capabilities of your adversary before engaging him. Of course our adversary is the devil and it behooves us to understand what he is capable of in order to avoid being overtaken by him.

My bible tells me that the devil was known as a high being in Heaven and at one time was esteemed by God and promoted into a high position to serve God before iniquity was found in him and caused his fall. Being in such a high position with God tells us that he was created with powers above other heavenly beings, but still inferior to the abilities of God. So with this knowledge, The bible also tells me that the devil has the ability to perform signs and wonders and can even cause fire to come down out of Heaven in the sight of men. So with this knowledge, I must be cautious that what I see and understand could be the results of the devil’s doings as well as the probability of God being behind whatever happens, it all depends whether it is for good or evil purposes in the long run.

One of the important thing that I must keep in mind is the intention of the devil to deceive man in order to cause him to disbelieve God’s Word. The perfect example was with his encounter with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. So the devil has demonstrated that he is a deceiver and a liar with the purpose of distorting God’s Word for his own gain.

If I understand it correctly, Brother Branham taught that the true meaning of scripture could only be determined by a revelation from God and not by just reading and studying the bible. So with these things in mind, my search for the truth was to determine if what Brother Branham taught was the true interpretation of God’s Word which he taught because of the revelation of God’s Word that he received or not.

Brother Branham told about a voice that spoke to him all of his life, starting when he was just a young lad and was told by the voice that he had a work to do for him when he got older. At that young age, Brother Branham didn’t know whose voice it was and being so young and frightened by it, he didn’t ask who it was speaking to him.

The next time Brother Branham heard the voice speaking to him was while he was baptizing new converts after conducting a tent meeting in Jeffersonville Indiana. During the baptismal service a bright light that he described as a ball of fire came down above him and he heard that voice again say to him that his message would forerun the second coming of Christ. So I ask, what was the message that he had that would forerun Christ’s return. Was this the voice of God that spoke to him or even an angel that came down from the presence of God to deliver that message to him?

Brother Branham testified that his original calling was to do the work of an Evangelist. So what does an Evangelist do? An Evangelist preaches the Gospel of salvation to make new converts to Christianity. That’s just what Brother Branham was doing in that tent meeting, preaching a Gospel message of salvation. Could the voice from above have been referring to that same exact message of salvation or was it more far-reaching than that?

Then there was the day when he was out hunting for squirrels and hadn’t seen any when that voice spoke to him again and told him to say what he wanted and it would come to pass. So he asked for squirrels to appear in certain places and they did. Now would God really be that interested in producing some squirrels for Brother Branham to kill just to make his day? Can I really be certain that it was the voice of God or an angel of God?

One of the first and very important things that I read his testimony about was the time when he was visited by what he believed was an angel that came to give him a commission from God. It went like this.

In May of 1946 he was visited by a man that said he came from the presence of God and Brother Branham stated that the voice of this person was the same voice that he had heard all his life. This man that appeared to him didn’t introduce himself as an angel, Brother Branham just assumed that he was. There were times in the bible when an angel messenger would introduce himself by his name to the person who he was delivering a message to, but he didn’t introduce himself by name to Brother Branham and Brother Branham didn’t ask him who he was.

At this point I question the authenticity of this man or this angel who visited Brother Branham for the following reason. This person misquoted the scriptures by saying that Brother Branham was being given two signs to help him in his ministry just as Moses was given two signs. Well that was in error because Moses was given three signs not two as this visitor stated. Don’t you think that if this person actually came from the presence of God, he would have known scripture better than that? As I read the scripture in Exodus 4:1 thru 9, it describes three signs that God gave to Moses to convince the people of Israel that God has sent him to deliver them out of Egypt.

Without giving any consideration to the remainder of the conversation between Brother Branham and this messenger, this one error of the two or three signs became a stumbling block for me. How could a messenger that claimed to come from the presence of God make this kind of mistake in quoting scripture?

Brother Branham made the statement that the voice of this messenger was the same voice that had spoken to him when he was a young boy and had continued to speak to him all of his life. Now I just wondered if after this messenger made such a mistake in quoting scripture about Moses’ signs, what other things did he tell Brother Branham that were not true? The only conclusion that I could come to was that I don’t believe that this messenger actually came from the presence of God and would not believe anything that this messenger would ever say.

Then I wondered if this was the same angel and voice that Brother Branham heard speaking to him at the River baptismal scene and the other times when he heard the voice speaking to him about the squirrels in the woods, the part about Jesus in the New Testament being Jehovah in the Old Testament and many other things?

I read Brother Branham’s statements that his gifts would not work in the meetings unless this “angel” was present with him because he depended upon his presence for him to receive what he called an anointing for the success of the meetings even after being told that he was being given two signs to use in the meetings. Now I read that these signs won’t work unless this “angel” was present with him.

I can’t argue with the success of the healings that took place in his meetings because I believe that God would honor the faith of any believer and heal their bodies with or without the operation of certain signs. After all, the signs and wonders and healings were intended for one reason and that was to draw the people to believe the Gospel of Christ. Without drawing the people in to hear and believe the Word of God, these signs and wonders are of no permanent value.

Now I began to look at another subject concerning the belief that Brother Branham was the fulfillment of the prophecy of the return of Elijah to restore all things.

People today are looking for Elijah the Prophet to return to turn the hearts of the children back to the Fathers, but the understanding and the teaching of this is not according to what is written in the scriptures.

When the Prophet Malachi wrote about this, it was directed to the people of Israel and not to the Gentile Nations. Look at what it says in the first chapter and the first verse of the Book of Malachi. It says: “The burden of the Word of the Lord to Israel”. Yes it was spoken to the people of Israel, not to the people of the World.

When John the Baptist came to fulfill the first part of this prophecy, he came to the people of Israel. When the second part of this prophecy is fulfilled, whoever that person will be, he will go to the people of Israel for the purpose of “turning the hearts of the children of Israel back to their Fathers”. This has nothing to do with the Gentile Nations. Anyone who is looking for Elijah to return to preach to the Gentiles is looking for him in vain because that is not scriptural. The scriptures tell us that when Elijah does return, it will be in Jerusalem for him to preach to the Israelites and Moses will be with him. Why Moses and Elijah? First of all neither one of them saw death because they were raptured and secondly the two of them appeared on the Mount with Jesus. If you continue to look for Elijah when we are supposed to look for the return of Jesus, you might just miss the one who has purchased your salvation. You can call anybody you want to and say they are Elijah or a prophet, but that doesn’t make it true.

Now speaking of Brother Branham being a Prophet, I can only turn to what Brother Branham himself said about this.

Brother Branham said: “Now, here we are then, right up here to the end of the time when... If God did call me (Now listen, this is not to be repeated.), if He did call me to be His prophet, then I'm certainly not holding the office of one. Prophets don't evangelize. A prophet hides himself in the wilderness alone with God, until he gets exactly directly what God wants him do, and he stomps right out and gives his Message, and back into the wilderness he goes again. He's not an evangelist, holding meetings and getting cooperations and all these things like evangelists do. He don't teach like evangelists. He has THUS SAITH THE LORD, and that's it, and that's all. He gives it, throws it out, and lets the chips fall where it will, and then away he goes again. Nobody knows where he's at, and he's in isolation somewhere.” “Now, I cannot... or... If He's called me to be that, I cannot be an evangelist. And if He's called me to be evangelist, I cannot be a prophet. Now, you get what I mean?

“Now, as I have done the work of an evangelist (And here's my plea.), if that is pleasing to God, and I've done the work all right, trusting that I've pleased Him, asking forgiveness for all my mistakes, then He may be calling me from the field of evangelism to be His prophet. Then if it is, I'll leave evangelism. But if He calls me to be a prophet, I cannot be an evangelist. If I'm to be evangelist, I cannot be a prophet. I'm mixing the two offices; that's where I've always fussed about.” “A prophet stays back here till he stomps right into the hospital, or wherever he's going, with THUS SAITH THE LORD and say it and stomp back out again. He's no evangelist at all. He don't hold meetings and discuss things, he's got the Word of the Lord for whoever he's sent to. If he's sent to the White House, he stomps right up in front of the White House and it's THUS SAITH THE LORD. If it's to the Governor of the state, whoever it is, it's THUS SAITH THE LORD. He don't fool around with a group of churches, trying to get them to come in and take the Word, and preach these things like evangelists, he's not an evangelist. So you see, brethren, that's the reason I don't call myself a prophet. I'm not even in the office of one. See? Now, you understand what I mean? “

Now I can do nothing else but believe what Brother Branham said about this subject. I certainly am not going to say that he was wrong and didn’t know what he was talking about because what he said was based upon bible scripture.

Now there is a picture of Brother Branham that was developed showing a light above his head, which was taken in a Houston Texas meeting in 1950. I’m certain that we all have a copy of it and have been made to believe that it is evidence of a supernatural heavenly being. This might very well be true because God does have the ability to cause something like this to happen. One thing is certain in that is has provided many people with the evidence they needed which validates to them that God has vindicated Brother Branham’s ministry.

The fear that I have about this picture is that it could be serving as an idolatrous symbol which could cause a person to maintain an excessive admiration or devotion towards Brother Branham when our thoughts and devotion should be on the one who provided the way of salvation for us.

Yes as I said before, it could very well be of God, but it does has the possibility of being an anomaly or unusual occurrence produced by natural means of which I have no way of verifying myself. In any case, I would take caution about basing my belief on a picture instead of the Word of God which is the link to our eternal salvation.

In my search for the truth, there still exists differences between the doctrinal beliefs of mine verses what Brother Branham taught on certain subjects. My fear is that the visitor that he received in 1946 and misquoted scripture may very well have been responsible for some of our brother’s teaching that does not completely conform to what is clearly written in the bible. I suppose that all of this will be made clear when the day comes that Christ opens the book and explains everything to us. I look forward to the privilege of standing side by side with my brother and learning the truth with him as we stand together listening to the true story that only Christ can tell.

Until this life on Earth is concluded, I will continue my search for all the truth.

I have written several articles on this site outlining my position on a number of doctrinal issues that I invite everyone to read that is interested. Just click on the link below to review the “main index”.
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1 comment:

Bible Man said...

Thousands of my friends who are Message of the Hour believers were invited to read this article, but buried their heads in the sand afraid they might see the truth in what I have written.