1 Thessalonians 4:16
This article is one in a series of studies on the doctrines of William Branham that pointed to himself - you are currently on the article that is in bold:
William Branham believed that 1 Thessalonians 4:16 was another passage that pointed to William Branham and his message.
The scriptural witness
Paul states in the first letter to the Thessalonians (KJV):
It is also important to read this in a more modern translation:
What does this mean?
As can be seen above, William Branham constantly pointed to himself. That should make one just a bit suspicious.
But is his interpretation of this passage correct?
Paul mentions the coming of the Lord several times in 1 Thessalonians:
The Greek word for coming used in these passages is "parousia" which had a long history in the Greek-speaking world as “the official term for a visit of a person of high rank, especially of kings and emperors visiting a province.
The Greek grammar of 1 Thessalonians 4:16
In 1 Thessalonians 4:16, Paul starts with a brief description of the nature of the Parousia itself, whose primary feature, “the Lord will come down from heaven,” can easily get lost in the surrounding sights and sounds, “sights” in the sense that Christ’s “coming down from heaven” is otherwise assumed to be visible to those who await him.
First of all, what is being described is “fanfare,” the boisterous display that the Thessalonians would recognize as that which accompanied the “coming” (= visit) of the emperor to their city. But Paul does this in part by using language from two key Old Testament texts:
Paul applies the language of the “Psalm of Ascent” to describe the coming from heaven of the truly Great King, the risen Lord, Jesus Christ, who is now seen as “descending” in a way similar to the “descent” of Yahweh at Sinai.
It is also important to note that there is an “and” between only the second and third members of this description; thus, as the ESV has it: “with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God.” In ordinary English this would mean that the Coming is accompanied in three ways: a command, an archangel’s voice, and God’s trumpet. However, what is the standard English practice for a list is not the style used by a Greek writer, who would ordinarily have had two “ands” between the three phrases.
What this indicates, in Greek grammar, is that the second and third items, “with the voice of an archangel and with the trumpet of God”, spell out how the “summons” or “cry of command” will occur at the Coming.
Thus, the Greek grammar of the passage stands over and against William Branham's narcissistic interpretation of the passage.
Quotes of William Branham
Notice: a shout, a voice, a trumpet. Let's read It now and see if that's right. See?
Three things happens. A voice… A shout, a voice, a trumpet, has to happen before Jesus appears. Now, a shout… Jesus does all three of them when He's—He's—He's—He's descending. A shout, what is the shout? It's the Message going forth, first, the living Bread of Life bringing forth the Bride.
Now, it's the first thing, is the sounding. The first thing is a trumpet and a… or a voice… A shout; and then a voice; and then a trumpet. Shout: a messenger getting the people ready. The second is a voice of the resurrection: the same voice, that, a loud voice in Saint John 11:38-44, that called Lazarus from the grave. Getting the Bride together; and then the resurrection of the dead, see; to be caught up with It. Now watch the three things takes place. The next is what? Was a trumpet. A voice… A shout; a voice; a trumpet.
...Therefore, the Message calls the Bride together, see, the shout. And the trumpet… The same One, He, with a loud voice, He screamed out with that shout and a voice, and woke Lazarus. With a loud voice He cried, "Lazarus, come forth." See? And the voice wakes up—wakes up the sleeping Bride, the sleeping dead.
And the trumpet, "with the sound of a trumpet." And, when it does, it calls. Always, a trumpet called Israel to the Feast of the Trumpets. See? Which, was a pentecostal Feast, the great Feast in the sky; and the Feast of the Trumpets. And, now, a trumpet do announce a calling together, "Come to the Feast." And now that is the—the Lamb's Supper in the sky.