— Chapter 3 —
I Will Restore Saith the Lord
— In Vain Do They Worship Me —
Jesus Christ infuriated many of His Jewish listeners by informing them that Talmudic Judaism, the religion they so devoutly followed, was unacceptable to God. The reason for this startling denunciation was simply, "they taught for doctrines the commandments of men" (Mark 7:7). Over the years, they had introduced many traditions, interpretations and even laws which were not given by God and not a part of Holy Scripture. The average Israelite, reared under this mixture of Divine Law and human commandment, trusted the ministry and accepted it without question when it is in fact the antithesis of God's unchanging Word. The main promulgators of this tepid stew were the zealous denominations known as the Scribes and Pharisees. The Scribes were the Pharisee teachers of the Law of Moses, carefully distorted to comprise the Talmud: "There is greater stringency in respect to the teachings of the Scribes than in respect to the Torah—so that a Biblical law may be transgressed" (Sanhedrin 88b). Though unnoticed by the general public who were content with a second-hand religion, their heresy was foremost in the eyes of Jesus Who indicted them for altering God's immutable Word and thereby closing heaven, not only to themselves, but to all those who listened to and trusted in them (Matthew 23:13).
The Gentile church world William Branham stepped into, had drifted into the same unholy mixture. They had the Word of God from which the preachers drew their sermon texts. But overall the people had adopted a very lax attitude with respect to the authority and precision of Scripture. They ignored the admonition of "those noble Bereans" (Acts 17:11), taking it upon themselves to define major and minor doctrines, choosing which parts of God's Word are relevant and which no longer applied, placing complete trust in the interpretations of their particular denomination which became the ultimate arbiter on Scriptural issues. Consequently, permeating every church and interwoven with every church creed, was a collection of sayings, traditions and misinterpretations built upon the original apostatizing in the fourth century AD. No denomination was innocent in this regard and no denomination is capable of repenting because it is governed by organization and program, not led of the Spirit. Thus for the individual, repentance was to ultimately mean leaving the systems of man behind, in the same way as the followers of Jesus had to bid farewell to their beloved Judaism.
Revelation 17 and 18 teach us that by the time of the Lord's second or 'parousia' Coming, the true enemy of the Gospel is a great world church called the Great Harlot, Mystery Babylon, and the Mother of Harlots. She and her adulterous daughters are seen to have formed into a vast system, able to control politics, religion and commerce. This is the destiny of every man-made denomination which, like the first or mother church, vaunt their word above the Word of God. Such will be the momentary splendor of Rome and her (once) Protestant denominational daughters from which God will separate a true Word Bride so She can unite with her Word Groom.
I have selected three of the doctrines William Branham taught which serve to illustrate why it was essential for God to anoint this restoration ministry.
— "Unto what were you baptized?" (Acts 19:3) —
It is evident that sprinkling and infant baptism have no Scriptural foundation, but there is another even more prevalent error that has gone largely unchecked for centuries. The great majority of Christian churches, baptize using the Titles, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, believing they are obeying the commandment of Jesus in Matthew 28:19. They overlook the majestic truth expressed by the prophet Isaiah when he foretold that a Son would be born Who would have ONE (1) glorious Name that would embody all of the Titles and manifestations of God. "For unto us a Son is born, unto us a child is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His Name shall be CALLED (not is), Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." The disciples to whom this commission was given had the revelation that the NAME (singular) of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost was none other than LORD JESUS CHRIST. Consequently, every recorded baptism was done in that Name (Acts 2:38; 8:16; 10:48; 19:5).
Even secular history has no record of water baptism in three Titles until the time of the First Nicea Council. And according to page 59 of the New Catholic Encyclopaedia it was not until about 1100 that the false baptism in three Titles was adopted by the majority of the churches (at the point of a sword). (For more on water baptism see One God or Trinity).
In one of the many places William Branham expressed this truth, he said as follows:
"I admit that it takes a real revelation from the Holy Ghost to see the truth about the Godhead these days when we are in the midst of the perverting of so much Scripture. But the prevailing, overcoming church is built on revelation so we can expect God to reveal His truth to us. However, you actually don't need a revelation on water baptism. It is right there staring you in the face. Would it be possible for one minute for the apostles to be led astray from a direct command of the Lord to baptize in the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost and then find them in willful disobedience? They knew what the Name was, and there is not one place in Scripture where they baptized any other way than in the Name of Lord Jesus Christ. Common sense would tell you that the Book of Acts is the church in action, and if they baptized that way, then that is the way to baptize. Now if you think that is strong, what do you think of this? Anyone who was not baptized in the Name of the Lord Jesus had to be baptized over again.
Acts 19:1-6, "And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples He said unto them, "Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?" And they said unto him, "We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. And He said unto them, "Unto what then were ye baptized?" And they said, "Unto John's baptism." Then said Paul, "John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on Him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the Name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them and they spake with tongues and prophesied." There it is. These good people at Ephesus had heard about the coming Messiah. John had preached Him. They were baptized unto repentance of sins, looking forward to believing on Jesus. But now it was time to look back to Jesus and be baptized unto remission of sins. It was time to receive the Holy Ghost. And when they were baptized in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, Paul laid his hands on them and the Holy Ghost came upon them.
Oh, those dear folks at Ephesus were fine people; and if any one had a right to feel secure, they did. Notice how far they had come. They had come all the way up to accepting the coming Messiah. They were ready for Him. But don't you see that in spite of that they had missed Him? He had come and gone. They needed to be baptized in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ. They needed to be filled with the Holy Ghost.
If you have been baptized in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, God will fill you with His Spirit. That is the Word. Acts 19:6 which we read was the fulfilling of Acts 2:38, "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the Name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost." See, Paul, by the Holy Ghost, said exactly what Peter said by the Holy Ghost. And what was said cannot be changed. It has to be the same from Pentecost until the very last elected one has been baptized. Galatians 1:8, "But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed" (An Exposition of the Seven Church Ages, p. 26-27).
— ". . . The LORD our God is One Lord" (Mark 12:29) —
Directly associated with the understanding on water baptism is the truth about the Godhead. The churches "traditionally" believe in three separate or distinct persons in one God. This was the result of a misinterpretation of Scripture which mentions the deity of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost incorporated in a Trinitarian definition at the Hegelian dialectic of the fourth century meeting of the First Nicea Council.
Like the false so-called "baptismal formula," this "new" concept (with the help of armed might), swept Christendom, and over the centuries has become so embedded in Christian thought that to question its validity is tantamount to heresy.
The church lost the revelation that the one God, Jehovah, expressed Himself in the Old Testament as the Father, manifested Himself in the Gospels in the Son, Jesus, and revealed Himself in the Book of Acts as the Holy Spirit. In reality, it is three dispensations of the same God—God above us—God with us—God in us, NOT three persons, but one glorious Person finally and wonderfully unveiled (Hebrews 1:3).
The heathen intellectual minds of the theologians could not reconcile the appearance of the Son on earth to the Father remaining in heaven. Forgetting that God can be in heaven whilst at the same time manifesting Himself on earth (John 14:10), they decided there had to be at least two in the Godhead and the entrance of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2 made it three. They made the Son the second person of this Godhead, failing to realize that the Scriptures do not teach that Jesus is in the Godhead, rather that the Godhead is in Jesus. "For in Him dwells the fullness of the Godhead bodily" (Colossians 2:9). They could only see that the Father was a God and the Son was a God and missed the true concept that the Father was God and the Son was the flesh or Man in Whom that God dwelt to redeem Adam's fallen race and the beginning of God creating or unfolding Himself in the form of His Family—the New Testament saints in whom He will dwell and be worshipped through eternity (Luke 1:35; I Timothy 3:16; Revelation 3:14).
The ensuing three-personned deity is every bit as much a form of idolatry as were the various pagan gods the children of Israel would consistently begin to worship.
Through the ages, Bible Truth became increasingly obscured by ignorance and superstition forced upon what was once the Empire of Imperial Rome by a new mistress, the Roman Catholic church. Such was her power, kings submitted to her outrageous demands, and laity were forbidden to read the Bible on pain of excommunication or death. By her own records, and history she martyred over 68 million Christians during almost a thousand years of "Dark Ages" which ensued, many by unspeakable torture.
Because the faith was thus lost, God "winked" at the ignorance of the saints during the Church Ages, provided they walked in the Light of the present Truth as it was restored. The ministry of the last angel was to fully restore the true understanding or faith (including the Godhead and water baptism) to the elect. (For more on the Godhead, see The Uniqueness of The Son of God).
I have selected some comments made by Brother Branham in his series on the Seven Church Ages:
"Now all these expressions, 'Him Which Is,' and 'Him Which Was,' and 'Is to Come,' and 'Faithful Witness,' and 'Firstborn from among the Dead,' and 'Prince of the Kings of the Earth,' and 'The Alpha and Omega,' and 'The Almighty,' are titles and descriptions of one and the same person, Who is the Lord Jesus Christ, Who washed us from our sins in His own blood.
The Spirit of God in John expressed thusly in order to set forth the supreme deity of Jesus Christ and to reveal the Godhead as ONE God. Today there is a gross error. It is that there are three gods instead of one. Thus, revelation as given to John by Jesus, Himself corrects that error. It is not that there are three Gods, but one God with three major offices or dispensation claims with the Titles, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. This mighty revelation is what the early church had, and it must he restored in this last day along with the correct formula of water baptism.
Now modern theologians won't agree with me for here is what was written in a great Christian magazine. "That teaching (on the Trinity) is at the very heart and core of the Old Testament. The New Testament is just as much opposed as the Old Testament is to the thought that there are more gods than one. Yet the New Testament with equal clearness teaches that the Father is God, and the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God, and that these three are NOT three aspects of the same Person, but three persons standing in a truly personal relationship to one another." There we have the great doctrine of the Three Persons but one God."
They also state, "God, according to the Bible, is just one person, but He is three persons in one God. That is the great mystery of the Trinity".
It sure is. How can three persons be in one God? Not only is there no Bible for it, but it shows even a lack of intelligent reasoning. Three distinct persons, though identical substances, make three gods, or language has lost its meaning entirely.
Just listen to these words again, "I am Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the Ending, saith the Lord, Which Is, and Which Was, and Which Is to Come, the Almighty." This is deity. This is not simply a prophet, a man. This is God. And it is not a revelation of three Gods, but one God, the Almighty. There can only be one All-mighty.
They didn't believe in three Gods in the beginning of the church. You can't find that sort of belief amongst the apostles. It was after the apostolic age that this theory came in and really became an issue and cardinal doctrine at the Nicene Council. The doctrine of the Godhead caused a two-way split at Nicea. And from that split there came two extremes. One actually went into polytheism, believing in three Gods, and the others went into Unitarianism. Of course, that was a little while in coming about, but it did, and we have it right today. But the revelation through John by the spirit to the churches was, "I am the Lord Jesus Christ, and I am ALL of It. There isn't any other God." And He put His seal on the Revelation.
Consider this: Who was the Father of Jesus? Matthew 1:18 says, "She was found with child of the Holy Ghost." But Jesus Himself, claimed that God was His Father. God the Father and God the Holy Ghost, as we often express these terms, make the Father and the Spirit ONE. Indeed they are, or else Jesus had two Fathers. But notice that Jesus said that He and His Father were one—not two. That makes ONE God.
Since this is historically and Scripturally true, people wonder where the three came from. It became a foundational doctrine at the Nicene Council in AD325. This trinity (an absolutely unscriptural word) was based upon the many gods of Rome. The Romans had many gods to whom they prayed. They also prayed to ancestors as mediators. It was just a step to give new names to old gods, so we have saints to make it more Biblical. Thus, instead of Jupiter, Venus, Mars, etc., we have Paul, Peter, Fatima, Christopher etc., etc. They could not make their pagan religion work out with just one god, so they split Him up into three, and they made intercessors of the saints as they had made intercessors of their ancestors.
Ever since then, people have failed to realize that there is one God according to Scripture, but they try to make it the fantastic theory that God is like a bunch of grapes: three persons with the same Divinity shared equally by all. But it plainly says here in Revelation that Jesus is "That Which Is, That Which Was, and That Which Is to Come," He is the "Alpha and Omega," which means He is the "A to Z" or THE ALL OF IT. He is everything—the Almighty. He is the Rose of Sharon, the Lily of the Valley, the Bright and Morning Star, the Righteous Branch, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. He is God, Almighty God. ONE GOD.
I Timothy 3:16 says, "And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached to the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up to Glory." This is what the Bible says. It doesn't say a thing about a first or second or third person here. It says God was manifest in flesh. One God. That One God was manifested in flesh. That ought to settle it. God came in a human form. That didn't make Him ANOTHER GOD. HE WAS GOD, THE SAME GOD. It was a revelation then, and it is a revelation now. One God (ibid. p. 17-19).
The third and perhaps the most scrutinized of all William Branham's teachings is the truth he restored on the original sin recorded in Genesis 1 – 4. "Now in the Garden of Eden there were two trees standing in the midst of it. One was the Tree of Life, the other was the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Man was to live by the Tree of Life; but he was not to touch the other tree or he would die. But man did partake of the other tree, and when he did, death entered into him by his sin, and he became separated from God.
Genesis 4:1 and 2 begins, "and Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain and said, I have gotten a man from the Lord. And she again bare his brother Abel. . ." Herein, we see Eve's great deception at the birth of her first son. Still believing the Serpent's lie, she actually thought Cain was the beginning of the creation of God, the Savior of mankind. However God acknowledged no direct relationship with Cain and he is from birth an outcast.
His name was to become synonymous with treachery and murder. The next mention of Cain is on this Wise: "But unto Cain and to his offering He had not respect" (Genesis 4:5). Not only was Cain's offering refused, but Cain was himself forbidden an approach that his brother Abel enjoyed. Why was Cain rejected? Also in relation to this—what was the fruit Adam and Eve partook? What role did the serpent play in the fall? What was the serpent seed of Genesis 3:15?
The answer to this mysterious riddle has remained hidden for centuries. Under this prophet's ministry, God has provided the solution:
Some have an idea that the two trees in the garden were just two more trees like unto the rest of those that God had placed there. But careful students know that this is not so. When John the Baptist cried that the ax was laid to the root of all trees, he was not talking of simply natural trees, but of spiritual principles. Now in I John 5:11 it says, "And this is the RECORD, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His son." Jesus said in John 5:40, "And ye will not come to Me, that ye might have life." Thus the record, God's Word, states plainly and clearly that LIFE, ETERNAL LIFE, is in the Son. It is no other place. I John 5:12, "He that hath the Son hath LIFE: and he that hath not the Son of God hath NOT Life." Now since the record cannot change, be taken from or added thereunto, then the record stands that THE LIFE IS IN THE SON . . . Since this is so. THE TREE IN THE GARDEN HAS TO BE JESUS.
Alright. If the Tree of Life is a person, then the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is a person ALSO. It can't be otherwise. Thus the Righteous One and the Wicked One stood side by side there in the midst of the Garden of Eden. Ezekiel 28:13a "Thou (Satan) hast been in Eden, the garden of God".
Here is where we receive the true revelation of the "serpent's seed." Here is what really happened in the Garden of Eden. The Word says that Eve was beguiled by the serpent. She was actually seduced by the serpent. It says in Genesis 3:1, "Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made." This beast was so close to a human being (and yet was pure animal) that he could reason and talk. He was an upright creature and was somewhere in between a chimpanzee and a man, but closer to a man. He was so close to being a human that his seed could, and did mingle with that of the woman and cause her to conceive. When this happened, God cursed the serpent. He changed every bone in the serpent's body so that he had to crawl like a snake. Science can try all it wants to, and it won't find the missing link. God saw to that. Man is smart and he can see an association of man with animal and he tries to prove it out of evolution. There isn't any evolution. But man and animal did mingle. That's one of the mysteries of God that has remained hidden, but here it is revealed. It happened right back there in the midst of Eden when Eve turned away from Life to accept Death.
Notice what God said to them in the garden. Genesis 3:15, "And l will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed, and it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." If we give credit to the Word that the woman did have a seed then the serpent must have surely had a seed also. If the seed of the woman was a man-child apart from the man, then the seed of the serpent will have to be in the same pattern, and that is, another male must he born apart from human male instrumentality. There is no student who does not know the seed of the woman was the Christ Who came by the instrumentality of God, apart from human intercourse. It is also just as well known that the predicted bruising of the serpent's head was in actuality a prophecy concerning what Christ would accomplish against Satan at the cross. There at the cross, Christ would bruise the head of Satan while Satan would bruise the heel of the Lord.
This portion of Scripture is the revelation of how the literal seed of the serpent was sown in the earth, even as we have the account of Luke 1:26-35, wherein is set forth the exact account of how the seed of the woman came unto physical manifestation apart from the instrumentality of the human male. "And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin's name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, 'Hail thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women.' And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said unto her, 'Fear not, Mary; for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb and bring forth a Son, and shalt call His Name Jesus. He shall be great and shall be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God shall give unto Him the Throne of His father David: And He shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever: and of His kingdom there shall be no end. Then said Mary unto the angel, 'How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?' And the angel answered and said unto her, 'The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore also That Holy Thing Which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God'."
As the seed of the woman was literally God reproducing Himself in human flesh, so the seed of the serpent is the literal way that Satan found he was able to open the door to himself into the human race. It was impossible for Satan (for he is only a CREATED spirit-being) to reproduce himself in the manner which God reproduced Himself, so the Genesis account tells how he produced his seed and introduced or injected himself into the human race. Also recall that Satan is called the "serpent." It is his seed or injection into the human race we are speaking of.
Before Adam ever had carnal knowledge of Eve, the serpent had that knowledge ahead of him. And that one born of it was Cain. Cain was of (born of, begotten of) "that Wicked One" (I John 3:12). The Holy Spirit in John could not in one place call Adam the "Wicked One" (for that is what he would be if he fathered Cain) and in another place call Adam the "Son of God" which he was by creation (Luke 3:38). Cain turned out in character like his father, a bringer of death, a murderer. His utter defiance of God when faced by the Almighty in Genesis 4:5, 13-14, show him to be absolutely unhuman-like in characteristics, seeming even to surpass any account we have in Scripture concerning a confrontation of Satan with God. "But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. And the Lord said unto Cain, 'Where is Abel thy brother?' And he said, 'I know not; Am I my brother's keeper?' And Cain said unto the Lord, 'My punishment is greater than I can bear. Behold, Thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth: and from Thy face shall I be hid: and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me'."
Notice the exact way the record of God sets forth the account of the births of Cain, Abel and Seth. Genesis 4:1, "And Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, 'I have gotten a man from the Lord.' And she again bare his brother Abel." Genesis 4:25, "And Adam knew his wife again and she bare a son, and called his name Seth . . ." There are THREE sons born from TWO acts of carnal knowledge by Adam. Since the Bible is the exact and perfect Word of God, this is no mistake but a record for our illumination. Since THREE sons were born from TWO acts by Adam, you know POSITIVELY that ONE of those WAS NOT the son of Adam. God has recorded this in this exact manner to show us something. The truth of the matter is that Eve had in her womb TWO sons (twins from SEPARATE impregnations). She was carrying twins, with Cain's conception sometime previous to that of Abel's. TWINS again. Perfect type as always. To those who think that this is not possible, let it be known that the medical records are replete with cases where women have carried twins who were of separate ova and separate insemination with the fertilization of the eggs being days apart, and NOT ONLY SO, but some of the records show that the twins were fathered by separate males. Recently worldwide coverage was given to a Norwegian mother who was suing her husband for support for herself and her twins, one of which was white and the other black. She admitted that she had a Negro lover. The two conceptions were about three weeks apart. In Beaumont, Texas, in 1963, the records again set forth a multiple birth wherein pregnancies were many days apart, in fact so much so the woman almost died along with one child in childbirth (ibid. p. 97-100). proph03.htm
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"Now in the Garden of Eden there were two trees standing in the midst of it. One was the Tree of Life, the other was the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Man was to live by the Tree of Life; but he was not to touch the other tree or he would die. But man did partake of the other tree, and when he did, death entered into him by his sin, and he became separated from God.