First of all, allow me clarify this point - I have no desire to "lift up" Jesus Christ or Brother Branham, according to the Scriptural meaning of the term. This may sound strange; but the reason is that people have an incorrect understanding of the meaning of this phrase. It is taken from John 12:32, where Jesus says:
Of course, the opponents of the Message of the Hour, are not accusing us of "lifting up" Brother Branham in the sense in which our Lord Jesus was "lifted up". But often, they accuse us, erroneously, of "lifting up" or "exalting" Brother Branham, above and beyond what "they" feel his ministry and calling was to this Age. Again, I have no desire to "lift up" or 'exalt' the man, William Branham, but I do desire to glorify God in him as they glorified God in Paul, in the first Church Age (Galatians 1:24).
Brother Branham, because of the 'uniqueness' of his ministry which sit him apart from all other ministries in this age, has been called everything from God to Satan. Yes, there is a tendency, though, for a few people to set about "making a man, God." But this attitude is not unique only to this generation. Man has been found doing this all down through the ages.
The Moslems, for instance, declared Mohammed, an Arabian prophet who lived in the period of 570 through 632 A.D., to be their Saviour. That is, they took a man and made him their Messiah. The Christians, on the other hand, state that Jesus Christ of Nazareth, born of the virgin Mary, is their Lord and Saviour, their Messiah, their Redeemer, the Lamb sacrifice, but was lifted up from the earth because others believed He made Himself God. The disciples were forbidden to call him Jesus, because His very name meant Jehovah, the Saviour. They were forbidden also to call him Immanuel which means "God with us." Truly, Jesus Christ of the New Testament was Jehovah God of the Old Testament. We know that all that was in God, He poured into Christ, and all that was in Christ, He poured it into His church.
Men, In Scripture Who Were Mistaken For God Or The Messiah
In Scripture we find a number of examples where men of God, with unique ministries, were mistaken to be the Messiah. The first is, of course, John the Baptist, who came in the spirit of Elijah to forerun the first Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ - the fulfillment of Malachi 3. He was testified to by Christ, Who said that this was the Elijah who was to come and turn the hearts of the fathers to the children. People mistook him for Christ because they were looking for the first appearance of the Lord.
Paul, shipwrecked, then bitten by a deadly viper, was looked upon by the people as a devil. They thought the snake surely was vengeance from God for his having escaped the shipwreck. Look how their attitude changed, however, when he didn't die of the snake bite. They changed their minds, and said that he [Paul] was a god. They also "honoured us with many honours" as Paul said, no doubt desiring to worship him for the wondrous deeds he did in their midst.
Peter, at the house of Cornelius the centurion, found himself being worshipped by the man, for Peter came in fulfillment of a vision given to Cornelius. Peter refused to accept this respect from the centurion, reserved only for God, and assured Cornelius that he was a man like himself.
In Revelation 19:10, John relates:
Paul, again, preaching at Lycaonia, suddenly perceived that a crippled man had faith to be healed and he "Said in a loud voice, Stand upright on thy feet. And he leaped and walked." The people seeing this immediately proclaimed that "The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men." They were about to offer sacrifice, believing Barnabas, who was with Paul, to be Jupiter, and Paul to be Mercurius. The two apostles, hearing of this, "rent their clothes and ran in among the people, crying out, and saying, 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 and unto the living God." Why did these poor, misled people do this? It was because they saw the power of God manifested in these two men, so they tried to make the men gods.
Now Jesus says in John 10:34:
William Branham's Reaction To Those Who Made Him 'God'
Brother Branham was called God, by some. In fact, Bro. Branham himself makes reference to this in a message entitled "Revelation Chapter Five - part One" - June 11, 1961, (previously titled, 'Bruised Serpent or Who is William Branham?'). He deliberately draws attention to this belief (expressed by a few of the people); and then he leaves no doubt about his hearty disapproval.
In this 'taped' Message he tells how a man approached him while he was in the south (United States), saying, "I believe that you are the Son of God." Again, in Canada, a man presented him with a card which said, "William Branham is my Lord." He even found people in these locations baptizing in the name of William Marrion Branham. (Remember how Paul said, "I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius; lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name.") Now John the Baptist, the forerunner of the first coming of Jesus Christ, was called God by some. For the type to hold true, it was necessary for some to call William Branham, the forerunner of the second coming, the Messiah also. Likewise, as the seventh church age messenger, he would have to be called God as was Paul, the first church age messenger.
In the sermon mentioned above, Brother Branham tells of a vision of a snake which he struck and wounded. His attention was distracted in the vision and before he could strike again the snake had crawled off into the water. (Brother Branham always taught that water represented people.) The interpretation of the vision was that the belief that he was the Son of God, the Messiah, would persist among the people, though he struck this belief with a mighty blow. But he said that we were to have nothing to do with this. He called it antichrist because it elevates him to the position of Christ.
He, like John the Baptist, declared "I must decrease, He must increase." He said that, 'before ALL in ALL comes in', there will be a prophet in the spirit of Elijah. He did not deny being that one but he emphatically denied being Jesus, the Christ, stating for all to hear that he, himself was like all men - a sinner, saved by the Grace of God. He left the people with a stern warning, in one of his "Questions and Answers" tapes, saying, "If you substitute me for Jesus Christ and say that I am the Lord Jesus Christ, you make me antichrist. I will face God as a quitter before I will face Him as an antichrist." But he uses a simple comparison to clarify the situation when he said, "If the spirit of Beethoven was in me, I would compose music like Beethoven, therefore, if you are saying that Christ dwells in me, I pray that you are one hundred percent correct."
On page 328, in the book "An Exposition Of The Seven Church Ages" Brother Branham says, "I would like to make one more comparison between the Seventh Messenger, the forerunner of the second coming of the Lord, and John the Baptist. This Seventh Church Age Messenger will have such power and authority with God that there wil1 be those who will mistake him for the Messiah, just as they did in John's day when they came out and asked if he [John] were the Messiah and he replied that he was not." But Brother Branham warns and charges us to remember that in the last days there will be a spirit that will deceive some into believing that the Seventh Messenger is the Messiah; but it will not deceive the elect because it is impossible for the elect to be deceived.
He again asserts that he is not the Lord Jesus Christ nor the Messiah; but he is your brother, a servant of the Lord - a prophet of God and he needs no greater place of honor than John the Baptist. Brother Branham goes on to explain that the 'tragic thing' is that the people who believe him to be God are not his enemies, but his friends. Enemies he could have forgotten, but these, his friends, were good people - his brethren, who loved him and would do everything he asked of them - except one thing - and that is when he asked them not to continue in this anti-Word belief and doctrine. After Brother Branham preached "Bruised Serpent -Who Is Wm. Branham?", these people came to him and apologized, saying that they would not mention it again. But, not being true to their promise, they continue steadfast in their error yet today.
Personal Experiences With A Powerful, Pervading Spirit Of Error
Brother Branham Explains about That Spirit
This belief that Brother Branham was God is a powerful, pervading spirit which in the late 1960's and the 70's accounted for much of the opposition to the Message of the Hour. I have personally experienced the influence of this spirit and I have been told accounts of other instances which I will relate in this chapter.
A certain family who were strong in the belief that Brother Branham was God were traveling across the country and had stopped in a certain motel room in a certain city - they stayed a night or two and then moved on. The day they moved on another family passed through the same city and, by coincidence, stayed (unknowingly) in the same motel and in exactly the same room in which the previous family had stayed. This second family believed the Truth - that Brother Branham was the 'prophet of God' but not God Himself.
During the night that the this second family stayed in the room, both the man and his wife were awakened several times during the night with something that kept coming to them, like a revelation, which said, "William Branham is God." They were greatly troubled in their spirits about this and discussed it with each other the next day. They were so disturbed by this experience that they told some friends about it, who, in turn, relayed the story to Brother Branham, asking him what it was all about.
Brother Branham, by the Spirit, explained the strange happening to them. "Here is what happened," he said, "Brother ??? and his family stayed in that motel room the night before and they have that spirit on them. That spirit was still in that room and that is what the second family heard and felt the night they were there."
To me, this proved that this 'deity doctrine' - false teaching of 'Brother Branham being God' was an evil spirit.
As further proof that the deity belief is a spirit, I recall Brother Branham's first visit to the Tucson Tabernacle on November 21, 1965. He had asked that I allow him about 5 minutes to explain some things. Brother Branham proceeded to explain to the congregation that he had asked me to come to Tucson, and that he was behind the tabernacle, that he claimed it to be "his" church. He went on to tell how the Lord had shown him the building before it was even rented.
Since it was known that Bro. Branham would be at the Tabernacle and that he was to give this little talk, those people who believed him to be God were present, naturally, in great numbers. Though I desired him to preach that morning, he was emphatic in his desire that I do the preaching in order that I take my place as pastor of the church. He wanted me to be independent, but with his backing where necessary.
That morning, as I brought my sermon, "God - How Great", and came to the Scripture about the Word being "sharper than a two-edged sword", and a "discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart", something spoke to me as I stood there in the pulpit and said, "A discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart, Brother Branham does that - there is God." Three times this was repeated to me. I resisted speaking it out.
Immediately after the service that morning, Brother Branham came down to a point directly in front of the pulpit and congratulated me on the message. Brother Roy Roberson came down and congratulated me on my ordination and was standing as witness with me when Brother Branham said these words to me, "Brother Pearry," he said (directly in front of the pulpit), "do you remember in Psalms 22 when David said 'my God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?' Who was that?"
"That was Christ on the cross," I answered readily. Then it dawned on me. "Brother Branham," I said, "You caught something in my spirit!"
"Three times," he answered.
"But Brother Branham," I said, "David was a mouthpiece - you're a mouthpiece of God."
"Brother Pearry, I have to say things in the first person - that's not me, it's Him."
Again I said, "Brother Branham, you're a prophet, you're a mouthpiece of God!"
His final answer to this subject left no doubt as to where he stood and I will record it here in order that there be no mistake. There was no uncertainty in his voice when he said, "Brother Green, don't you ever forget, I'm a Kentuckian!"
Because I believe that a prophet of God spoke those words to me, I have not forgotten it. I believe William Branham was a prophet in whom God dwelt, visiting this generation and the voice of God for this generation. It is the "ministry" of Jesus Christ in the prophet, revealing the Son of Man today (Luke 17:30), just as He was revealed 2000 years ago in the ministry of Jesus, just as He was revealed at Abraham's tent exposing the secret of Sarah's heart with his back turned.
But I began to think about why it was that Brother Branham told me to remember that he was a Kentuckian. I puzzled over each point as it was revealed to me. I heard him preach sermons like "The Rapture", where he talked about his language. My attention was sharpened. Was there something about his language that should be noticed? I noted how those who believed him to be God would twist his words to prove their point. For example, after discerning the secrets of the heart in a prayer line, he would pray and the person would instantly be healed; then he would turn to the congregation and say, "Now, you know that no man can do that, only God." At this the misguided ones would prick up their ears and proclaim that if God only could do it and Brother Branham had done it, then that made him God. Brother Branham said that it was a "carnal interpretation of a spiritual revelation" which led the brethren to this conclusion. I saw clearly what he meant. To me he was simply saying, "I didn't do it. That's God doing it."
In many messages such as "The Mighty God Unveiled Unveiled Before Us", he would say that in Jesus, God dwelt in "a man", but since Pentecost, He has dwelt in man. He used the singular "man," rather than the plural "men." He did this in preaching and in personal conversation. It had nothing to do with an 'interpretation of Scripture', but rather it was just Brother Branham's way of expressing himself. He clearly told me, "Remember, Bro. Pearry, I'm a kentuckian!"
In listening to Brother Branham or in reading his sermons we would do well to heed the exhortation which Peter gave to his generation concerning the writings of Paul: "There are many things about our beloved brother Paul's writings which are hard to understand and there be those which are ignorant which do wrest with them as they do with the other Scriptures and bring on themselves damnation." In every Age there have been those on the scene who have taken the words of the Messenger of that Age and did wrest with them as they do with the other Scriptures and brought on themselves damnation.
The reason I have brought this out is simply because I want people to know that I don't dodge any of the issues. I don't deny that there are people who believe such things about William Branham. But I want you to know, and I want this to stand as record, I believe with all my heart that Brother Branham didn't agree with it. When he asked me to come to Tucson, he said, "Brother Green, those people are wrong, but they are good people. The reason they are wrong is that they have given a carnal interpretation to a spiritual revelation because they haven't had a pastor." I objected, saying that he had been their pastor. His reply was directly to the point, "I'm not a pastor-I'm a prophet. I'm supposed to go off into those mountains and hear from God and stomp out with 'thus saith the Lord,' and turn to go right back."
I received a greater insight into the problem as he went on to tell about his relationship with these people. He told me how they hung so close that he couldn't even park his car and go up for a visitation from God without a carload of them being there waiting for him when he came down, ready to ask him what happened. "Me being like I am," he said, "I always spill it. I ought not to do it." (It makes me weep today to think of it, the same as I did the day he first told it to me.)
But those who do not believe that Brother Branham was God's prophet, don't realize what a compliment it is for others to call him Jesus Christ. One man says it like this, "Most preachers preach Jesus Christ but William Branham lived Jesus Christ." Oh that I might live such a life that men would have difficulty distinguishing between Pearry Green and Jesus Christ. If men would not see me, but see Him.
No, some men could not tell the difference. When I hear someone say that he was Jesus Christ, it just confirms my respect for Brother Branham; for what a man of God he was that some men could not tell the difference.
Brother Branham taught that Christian baptism is in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ - the One that died for my sins, your sins, and Brother Branham's. But Brother Branham was a man sent from God, a man in whom God dwelt, a "holy man under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost" who spoke the Word of God to this generation. Just as John the Baptist was more than a prophet, so was our Brother Branham more than a prophet. He was the Seventh Church Age Messenger, a star in the hand of Jesus Christ. He is one of those "seven eyes" in Revelation that goes forth to reveal Jesus Christ the Lamb of God, slain from the foundation of the world; and he is also a messenger of the Covenant that God has made with His people, "If I go away, I shall so come again, in like manner. Make yourself ready to meet the Lord." He was also one "unto whom the word of God came," and therefore, according to John 10:34, it is not wrong to refer to him as the prophets of old were referred to, that is, "gods," because "the Scripture cannot be broken."
When Jesus Christ walked among the people in Galilee, He did many signs, wonders, and miracles, and spoke His doctrine, His Message of the resurrection, the Way, the Life, the Truth, bringing hope, reality, and life to the people. In great fear, they proclaimed that "God hath visited this generation in the life of a prophet." So can can say today that God visited this generation for He sent a mighty prophet - William Marrion Branham. We DO NOT exalt the man above and beyond his calling, but rather, recognizing his calling and ministry in the Scriptures, we glorify God in him.
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