Human Prophets and
(Elijah was a Man.)
In our sermon I will call these spirits of Satan "Deity Spirits". They are at work in the lives of some precious people that believe God sent Brother William Branham as the End-time Prophet. The goal of these spirits is to divert the worship of these believers from Christ to a man.
An instance of their workings is set before us in Acts chapter 14. There Paul and Barnabas found a certain man at Lystra impotent in his feet. The man heard Paul preach and received faith to be healed. Paul said with a loud voice, "Stand upright on thy feet", and he leaped and walked.
When the people saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices saying in the speech of the Lycaonia, "The Gods are come down to us in the likeness of men." Then the Priests of Jupiter brought oxen and garlands unto the gates and would have killed sacrifices unto Paul and Barnabas.
The actions of these priests were the result of spirits of Satan that I am referring to as Deity Spirits. These spirits strive to cause the worship of creatures rather than the CREATOR. In some countries they cause the worship of animals and statues; others are moved upon to worship the sun, moon, and stars. The motive of these spirits is to take away from the one true God, Jesus Christ.
In America, where the people cannot be made to worship such obviously wrong things, these spirits change their tactics. What better place could they find to work than among a people who are acquainted with the ministry of Brother William Branham. Here they could more easily fabricate the lie that he was the Christ. The facts concerning his ministry would seem to prove it. Never, since Jesus Christ Himself walked this earth, has there been a man that was given such power and authority with God. By the Spirit of Christ in him the dead were raised, twisted and deformed bodies were made every whit whole, and even words with the ability to create flowed from his mouth, even as with Moses. The past, present and future were revealed to him as he watched it in vision form. The thoughts and intentions in the hearts of the people that stood before him could not be hidden as God's anointing flowed through him. Just as in the days of the apostle Paul the people had certain grounds for believing that this man, William Branham, was more than a man. Yet, the truth is that he was just a man, a Kentuckian, subject to like passions as you and I. It was with him even as it was with the apostle Paul, when he cried out, "Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you." (Acts 14:15)
And so we ask again, what better place could these deity spirits of Satan find to work, than among a people who are so aware of the power of God that flowed out of the prophet, William Branham. It is a perfect setting for these devils to entice us to think more of a man than we should.
Therefore, we must walk down the "razors edge" so to speak. A proper balance must be maintained. To fall off on either side of this most narrow place, where we have been called to walk, is error. To believe that Brother William Branham was anything more than a man is wrong. On the other hand, to fail to see that he was given the exact same ministry that the Lord Jesus had is also to miss the revelation.
The very narrow road of truth is to understand that the ministry of THE SON OF MAN was again manifested on earth in A SON OF MAN. Two thousand years ago the Pharisees accused our Lord of being a man and trying to make Himself God. They had it exactly backwards. He was God who had made Himself into a man.
In this last day God again made Himself into a man. He came to earth in the body-form of a mighty prophet. But the one great difference between this Prophet and Christ of two thousand years ago was the manner of their birth. The man Jesus Christ was the result of a seed placed in the Virgin Mary by the Holy Ghost, while Brother William Branham was the result of a seed placed in Ella Branham by Charles Branham.
The Lord Jesus Christ was both God and man, while William Branham was only a man with God's Spirit in him. The Lord Jesus, being God, was and is worthy of worship. William Branham, being sex born, inherited the fallen nature of Adam, even as the rest of us. With this Adamic nature in him, he was subject to mistakes. According to the Scriptures, no man is worthy of worship. Isa.42:8, "My glory will I not give to another."
To some who will read this sermon it will seem to be a strange thing indeed that a message needs to be preached pointing out the humanity of God's prophet, William Branham. It seems so to this writer also, nevertheless, there is need for it.
We do not underestimate the power of evil spirits to deceive God's Elect. With all our hearts, we believe the Word that says the Elect cannot be fooled. But experience has taught that they can be temporarily on a side road. Who of us would like to testify that we have never had to be corrected in some of our beliefs? It's true, dear friends, the Elect can be temporarily deceived, but God will bring them back. Those who believe they cannot be so deceived are deceived already.
This sermon is not to condemn those who may have elevated Brother Branham to a higher place than what God called him. The error is very grievous and desperately needs to be corrected, yet perhaps their sin is not as terrible as that of those who declare him to be of the devil. May God help us to see the proper balance.
A scripture in Ex. 4:16 will help us understand the role God planned for William Branham. God said to Moses, "Thou shall be to him (Aaron) instead of God." Was Moses God? Certainly not! But his ministry was as God's ministry. When God used the mouth of Moses, it was the same as God speaking.
Brother William Branham was not Jesus Christ, but his ministry was the same ministry that Jesus had two thousand years ago. When God used the mouth of William Branham, it was the same as God speaking. It was the same with every prophet in the scriptures, but none of them was God in the sense that they were to be worshipped, or thought of as deity.
To you, dear Brothers and Sisters, who have been led to think more of God's Prophet than is scriptural, and who say you believe his message, can you believe the following statement he made?
QUOTE: THE ANOINTED ONES AT THE END TIME, PAGE 63, "And you that listen to this tape, you might have thought today that I was trying to say that about myself, being that I was packing (bringing) this message. I have no more to do with it than nothing, no more than just a voice. And my voice, even against my better judgment (I didn't want to do it.).....I wanted to be a trapper. But it's the will of my Father that I declare to do, and am determined to do. I wasn't the one that appeared down on the river, I was only standing there when He appeared. I'm not the one who performs those things and foretells these things as perfect as they are. I'm only one that's near when He does it. I was only a voice that He used to say it. It wasn't what I knew, it's what I just surrendered myself to, (one) that He spoke through. It isn't me. It wasn't the Seventh Angel, Oh no! It was a manifestation of THE SON OF MAN. It wasn't the Angel, his message (It wasn't the Angel's message). It was the mystery that God unfolded. It's not a man, it's God. (God in a man.)
"The Angel was not The Son of Man, he was a messenger FROM THE SON OF MAN. The Son of Man is Christ. He is the One that you are feeding on. You are not feeding on a man. A man, his words will fail, but you're feeding on the unfailing BODY-WORD of THE SON OF MAN." (End quote)
We will give one more statement from the Prophet which should clear your minds forever as to what he thought about the false teaching declaring him to be Christ.
QUOTE: THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST, PAGES 720-721, "And that leads me to say something that I would rather run than say. It leads me to say something that grinds my heart to the bottom to say it. But what I say I am forced to say, realizing that this is being taped and the world will hear it, but I have left the Ministry, for a cause that I am sorry that I have to leave for. And perhaps many of you have heard it. I am closing my office and so forth and leaving the field.----There is something that rose up amongst the people that caused me to do it, that is, that I have been taken from my bracket of "A Minister" and am being called Jesus Christ-----and that would brand me as anti-christ. And I'll meet God as a quitter before I would meet Him as an anti-christ, to take away from Him."
PAGE 721, "I heard of it a few years ago and I thought it was a joke----Brethren, as much as I have tried to be a true servant of Christ, I would not that you would say such a thing as that-------. (End quote)
So much for the small group that believe Brother Branham was Jesus Christ. But the ministry of these Deity Spirits does not stop there. They have deceived a far larger group than just these few. For example, there are many who believe that everything Brother Branham said was "Thus Saith The Lord". But a prayerful consideration of this statement will at once show this belief to be wrong also. There has only been one person on earth who never spoke out of the Spirit at anytime, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Brother Branham had progressive revelation from the scriptures; he learned as he went. A careful study of his sermons from 1965 backwards will clearly show some things that he had to correct. After the Seals were opened, we have what I call "The Corrected Message." We must let God's prophet be a man, as were all other prophets in the Bible. He was a Kentuckian who made mistakes and spoke out of the Spirit at times.
To believe anything different than this is to have been fooled by a Deity Spirit. Although this second group will not openly say Brother Branham was Jesus Christ, they will declare that we must believe, "Every word the prophet said". Let me ask you dear friend, what is the difference between declaring him to be Christ, and in declaring that everything he said was, "THUS SAITH THE LORD." Both statements are saying that he was more than a human, and is the work of Deity Spirits.
It turns some message believers cold to say that Brother Branham made a mistake. It should not, because we do have a message, after the Seals were opened, that is "THUS SAITH THE LORD." We had better admit that he made some mistakes with the scriptures staring us in the face to prove it.
I talked with a precious brother now gone to be with the Lord, who said, "If Brother Branham said Enoch walked with God 500 years, then that's how it was." (And Brother Branham did say it, in fact he said it seven times.) But the scripture says, "All the days of Enoch were 365."
My Brother said that the fact of the Prophet saying 500 years seven times meant something. I replied, "Yes, it means that he made a mistake seven times in a row." If the enemy cannot deceive us into worshipping the sun, moon, and stars, or some animal or other object, than he will settle for us worshipping a prophet.
Now, let us look at another work of these Deity Spirits. If we can't be made to believe that Brother Branham was Christ, and if we refuse to believe that every word was "THUS SAITH THE LORD", these spirits are still around looking for an opening.
How many of us have preached the Prophet William Branham to lost people rather than Jesus Christ? I believe that in years past many of us have been guilty of putting the part of the Gospel pertaining to Brother Branham ahead of the Gospel pertaining to Jesus Christ and salvation.
Our love for our Prophet, along with being influenced by Deity Spirits, has caused this. The enemy well knows that belief in a prophet without an experience with Jesus Christ will avail us nothing. How often some of us have insisted on the people believing Brother Branham is the Malachi 4:5 prophet, rather than tending to our first duty of seeing them filled with the Holy Ghost.
What good does it do to believe in a Prophet if we are not first washed in the blood and filled with the Spirit. It is the experience of this writer that the Holy Ghost will lead us into all truth, once He has come in. (John 16:13)
I do not say that we can make a hard fast rule of never speaking of our Prophet to lost people, but I do say that according to the Word, the general order is take them first to the DOOR of the sheep-fold, Jesus Christ. (John 10:7) There is no doubt in my mind but what we have some good people in Message Churches that believe, intellectually, that Brother Branham was a prophet, and perhaps also believe he was the Malachi 4:5 prophet, but who still need to be born again. Minister Brothers, is not this our fault?
Dear Message Believer, believing in a prophet of itself, does not make us ready for the Rapture. No! It's believing in the cross and the shed blood first, then taking His yoke upon us. Many PROFESS both Christ and His Prophet, but have never taken His yoke upon themselves. Without the Holy Ghost His yoke is rejected.
These will miss the Rapture unless a change is made, because it is written, "Not everyone that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, BUT HE THAT DOETH THE WILL OF MY FATHER." (MATT 7:21)
The OFFICE that Brother Branham held was a high one indeed, but Brother Branham himself was just our brother. How often did he make that statement, "I am just your brother." He well knew human nature, and the work of evil spirits that would cause men to worship other men. Human nature has not changed since the days of Paul and Barnabas, when because of these great miracles, the people wanted to kill sacrifices to them. Neither have the evil spirits changed that would instigate such today.
We would do well in this Message to give the same advise that Paul and Barnabas gave 2000 years ago when they cried out, "Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein." (Acts 14:15)
Thank God our Prophet did cry out, even as these men of old. He was willing to quit the Ministry in an effort to stop such evil vanities. We are talking about Deity Spirits, who have a message geared to fool even the strongest Message believers, if it were possible.
Did not our Lord warn us when He was here in His flesh body? Matt. 24:23-27, "Then if any man shall say unto you, lo here is Christ, or there, believe it not." This is clearly a warning to those people who would listen to a spirit that pointed to a MAN, and would say, "Here is Christ." Jesus said, "Believe it not".
Jesus knew every jot and tittle of the Word. Therefore, he knew that after His ascension from the Mount of Olives, that Christ would not again set His feet on the earth until after the Rapture. He will not stand on Earth again until He returns WITH His Saints to fight the Battle of Armageddon.
This being the Word, Jesus could warn us not to believe any spirit that would come in the end time, declaring that some man was the Christ. When Christ stands on earth again, it will be with the Resurrected Bride.
Brother Branham also warned us about these Deity Spirits in the following statement.
QUOTE: CHURCH AGE BOOK, PAGE 328, "I want to make one more comparison between the Laodician Prophet-Messenger and John (the Baptist) the Prophet-Messenger who preceded Jesus' first coming. The people in John's day mistook him for the Messiah. (John 1:19-20) Now this last day prophet will have such power before the Lord THAT THERE WILL BE THOSE WHO WILL MISTAKE HIM FOR THE LORD JESUS. THERE WILL BE A SPIRIT IN THE END TIME THAT WILL SEDUCE SOME AND MAKE THEM BELIEVE THIS. (Matt. 24:23-36)
"But don't you believe it, he is not Jesus Christ, he is not The Son of God. He is one of the brethren, a prophet, a messenger, a servant of God. He needs no greater honor bestowed on him than that which John received when he was the Voice that cried, "I am not He, but He is coming after me." (End quote)
We have already said that these Deity Spirits have a message geared to fool even the most spiritual people in this Message. These spirits cause some to take certain statements of the prophet and twist them until they become unscriptural.
For example, Brother Branham said, "Say only what the tapes say." Some have been fooled into thinking that they should only read quotes or play a tape. They are afraid they will put forth one of their own ideas. But this does away with the scriptural teaching concerning a five-fold ministry.
Ministers are called to seek God and then preach the thoughts God gives them for THEIR OWN CONGREGATIONS. Peter didn't say it like Paul did, John didn't say it like Mark did. Matthew didn't say it exactly like Luke. When Brother Branham said, "Say only what the tapes say", he meant take the general overall teaching, that was according to the Scriptures, and don't change from that!
A very fine minister once told me, "You can't say a thing (make a statement) unless you can find a quote for it." But if I can find where the scriptures says it (Where Paul taught it), I have a right to say it. It will be in the overall message somewhere, even if I haven't found it yet. The corrected message is our absolute, and it will always fit the scripture.
This Deity Spirit will go along with the teaching that the Spirit of Jesus came into the prophet, IF HE CAN'T TALK YOU OUT OF IT. He will even go along with the fact that THE Son of Man came in A Son of Man, IF HE CAN'T TALK YOU OUT OF IT. But then he will slyly add to the Word and say, "So then you can safely follow the prophet in everything he did."
If we fall for this teaching, we are wrong again! Paul said, "Follow me ONLY as I follow Christ." Brother Branham said the same thing, "If I ever tell you anything that does not fit the scriptures, don't you believe me." We know Brother William Branham was a mighty man of God. We know he lived a holy and clean life, yet we also know he was not perfect.
There were certain things in his life that we dare not follow. God showed us the prophet's humanity so that we would not make him our example. Jesus Christ is our example, and to follow anyone else is to be fooled by a Deity Spirit. Brother Branham warned us about taking a man's spirit.
A certain good brother once visited in my home, and at meal time came to the table with his hat on. He explained his behavior by reminding me that Brother Branham wore his hat to keep the drafts off the bald place on his head. Of course, we allowed our brother to wear his hat at the table, but I greatly feared that he had taken on the spirit of the Kentuckian. To follow the spirit of a man is wrong. To follow the Spirit of Christ in the man (the Word) is right.
On another occasion, I was entertaining some preachers who had come to visit. They seemed to be much more interested in hunting than in preaching the Gospel at DeWitt Tabernacle. When questioning them about this, I was reminded that Brother Branham spent a big part of his time hunting.
We know this is true, but we also know that it was a way of escape from the pressures of his Ministry. He, being human, had to have times of rest in order to keep his sanity. Hunting was his avenue of escape and his way of refreshing himself before the Lord. I wonder if our Ministry is such that it requires as many hunting trips as some go on, or are we following the Kentuckian, rather than the leading of the Holy Ghost.
Again, I hear so many ministers in this message testify to being a nervous person. Some seen to think it is a mark of spirituality. It's true that Brother Branham was a nervous person. His ministry was nerve racking to the natural man, but I never heard him boast of it. Nervousness is to be resisted, being from the enemy, and not something to claim. God does not give us a spirit of fear or nervousness, but of peace and a sound mind. To covet nervousness is to be fooled by a devil!
QUOTE: FOOTPRINTS BOOK, PAGE 69, "To me everything that operates must come out of the Bible or it's not right-----it has to be proved in the Bible. Not just in one place, it has to come all the way through the Bible." (End quote)
QUOTE: HE THAT IS IN YOU, PAGE 21, "Now, when a voice speaks to you, watch the scripture. If it's not scriptural, leave it alone, no matter how plain it is." (End quote)
Question. Can't we then stay in the framework of the Message and say, "If Brother Branham said something contrary to the Word we are not to believe it?" How many of you would be angry if you were told that just because Brother Branham did a certain thing, or believed a certain, it did not necessarily mean that it was scriptural? Your anger could mean that a Deity Spirit has led you to think more of a man than you should. We want to get down to where you and I live and uncover this Deity Spirit in all his deceiving lies. We have seen where some other people are wrong, but now let's check up on ourselves.
Have you ever said, or heard it said, "Brother Branham did it so I guess it's all right for me to do it!" But wait! When did that prophet ever set himself up as our example? He always pointed us to Jesus and readily confessed his own sins. Yet some insist that if he did it, we can do it, and if he did not do it, then we can't do it.
Brother Branham tried to commit suicide two different times. We don't want to follow him in that do we? I know his broken heart drove him to take such action; nevertheless, we dare not follow in his steps; he was wrong.
He had Sister Meda to tell a story to the attorney on the phone by saying he was not in the house. I pray that none of us would follow his example in this. I know the attorneys had almost driven him out of his mind, but he was still in the wrong.
Except for God's intervention, there was a time when he would have left his post of duty and become a hermit in the north woods. I know it was because the Church world had rejected his message, but he was still wrong. We dare not follow him in that.
Once in Africa he let some preachers talk him into willfully disobeying the Voice of the Lord. He went with them to a place God had forbidden him to go. As a result he was stricken with a disease, and for months was deathly sick. We dare not follow him in that.
Brother Branham and his first wife, Hope, would not quit the denomination and follow the leading of the Lord. It was because of the pressure Sister Hope's mother put on them. We dare not follow that example.
Brother Branham's testimony was that, "When I get into the city limits of Jeffersonville, I start getting sick." And we know he did. He was not telling a story about it, but I am trying to point out his humanity. I am trying to show that he was subject to speaking out of the spirit at times, just as we are.
It is not "Thus saith the Lord" that we have to be sick when we enter certain cities. The Bible says, "Go ye into ALL THE WORLD and preach the Gospel." The Bible doesn't say, "Beloved, I wish above all things that you would prosper and be in HEALTH---except in certain cities." (III John 2) I know that Brother Branham was right when he said that conditions in the valley around Jeffersonville were not healthy. But I also know that all of us are required to believe the Word that says, "If you drink (or breath) any deadly thing (in the line of duty), it will not hurt you."
I do not intend to say that any of us could have done any better under any of the circumstances that I have mentioned. If I were to be pressed on the matter, I would have to say I don't believe we could have done as well. Nevertheless, God's mighty prophet was still only a man.
Let it be said that this writer loves and respects God's prophet as much as any man. To try and take away from the high calling of his office is the last thought in my mind. At the same time, I refuse the doctrine of devils that would make him more than a man.
Elijah was a man. He ran and hid from the woman, Jezebel. Moses was a man. He struck the rock in a fit of temper. David was a man. He committed adultery. Paul and Barnabas, were great men of God, yet they had such a heated argument that they could no longer travel together. We could go on about the humanity of God's prophets, but I pray that we have made our point.
Let's dig out our Prophet's THUS SAITH THE LORD message, while we let him be human. Let's forgive him for his mistakes, and stop trying to make a God out of him. In closing, I leave his own most important words with you.
QUOTE: HE THAT IS IN YOU, PAGE 16, "Don't look to me as a man. I am a man full of mistakes. But look to what I am saying about Him. It's Him, HE IS THE ONE." (End quote)
In this sermon I have tried to lay a foundation for what is to come next month in the sermon, "Two Plans for Healing" Stay tuned.