William Branham's understanding of Jesus Christ

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William Branham was very confused when it came to his understanding of who Jesus Christ is. This can be demonstrated by looking closely at what the Bible says and then looking at what William Branham said. With respect to the Godhead, William Branham's doctrine was a mixture of dynamic monarchianism and modalistic monarchianism.

What the Bible says

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.[1]

John is clearly stating here that Jesus Christ is God and make 3 statements in this regard.

The first statement is that Jesus existed “in the beginning.” In other words, Jesus was preexistent. He was “before” all things. There are several ways in which the phrase “in the beginning” is used in the Bible. In 1 John it is used of the beginning of Christ’s earthly ministry. John writes, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life” (1 John 1:1). In the first verse of the Book of Genesis the phrase is used of the beginning of creation: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” The use of the phrase in John’s Gospel goes beyond even that, however, for John says that when you begin to talk about Jesus Christ you can do so properly only when you go back beyond his earthly life—back beyond the beginnings of creation—into eternity. That is where Jesus Christ was.

The second statement is that Jesus Christ was with God. This is an affirmation of Christ’s separate personality, and it is a very subtle statement. John wishes to say, and indeed he does say, that Jesus is fully God. He reports Jesus as saying, “anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). But John is aware also that there is a diversity within the Godhead. Thus he also expresses this truth in his statement.

The final phrase is a declaration that Jesus is fully divine, for John says, “and the Word was God,” or literally, “and God was the Word.” This means that everything that can be said about God the Father can be said about the Son. In Jesus dwells all the wisdom, glory, power, love, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth of the Father. In him, the Father is known. John then sums up his teaching by saying, “He was with God in the beginning” (v. 2). With these words the highly emphatic and unequivocal statement of the full divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ is ended.[2]

Who did William Branham think Jesus was?

When He was here on earth, how many knows that that was the Pillar of Fire that followed the children of Israel in the wilderness, that It was Christ, the Angel of the covenant? All right. And how many knows that that was Jesus in Jesus, that same Spirit?[3]

He was the Messiah. He was--He was Jesus when He was born. But when the Holy Ghost came upon Him after His baptism, He was anointed with God. God was in Him, 'cause He come to fulfill the Word.[4]

They said, "He couldn't be Deity and die." The Man (the body) was not Deity, but Deity was in the body. This body has to perish. The very Christ that's in you is the only thing that can raise you up. That's Deity, God in you.[5]

And this little Boy, twelve-year-old Child, no wisdom at all, why, but just a twelve-year-old Boy. The Father didn't dwell in Him at that time; because He come on the day when He baptized Him, "He saw the Spirit of God coming down, see, and went in Him." But, look, this little twelve-year-old Boy, being the Word; He was born the anointed One, see, to be the anointed. And here He was, "Know ye not that I must be about My Father's business?"[6]

Jesus was not God, but He was God. He was a Man, yet He was God. [7]

The Spirit left Him, in the Garden of Gethsemane. He had to die, a man. Remember, friends, He didn't have to do that. That was God. God anointed that flesh, which was human flesh. And He didn't... If He'd a went up there, as God, He'd have never died that kind of death; can't kill God. But He didn't have to do it.[8]

Some of Branham's followers carry his teaching into Adoptionism

...the church has made the great mistake in making Jesus equal to God — which he is in a certain way — but he’s not God. He’s not Deity. I’m sorry, but he’s not, because God is not in him. No way. What God was in him is not Deity, same as what God is in you is not Deity, concerning Deity Himself, which is Sovereign God and Creator and Maintainer.[9]

Did you know that Brother Branham never said "God was Jesus"? Not once in 1,200 sermons did he ever say that. Now he did say that Jesus was God, but then he would always go on to say Jesus was God because God was dwelling in Him. And then he would quote the Apostle Paul as saying, "God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself."

...And did you know that He only said IN one place that "God is Jesus" ? But, then he qualified how "God was Jesus".[10]

Most people will now revert to oneness doctrine to explain it. They will simply say that the man Jesus was God. He's not God, and they are wrong.[11]

Jesus cannot be supreme Deity. He’s not even Deity. When you talk of supreme Deity, you are talking of the word in the Greek, which is ‘theos’, which means ‘supreme Deity’. And, if Jesus is the Son of God, then he’s merely the son of supreme Deity. He is not supreme Deity.[12]

Other are essentially modalistic

Footnotes

  1. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Jn 1:1–2.
  2. James Montgomery Boice, The Gospel of John: An Expositional Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2005), 22-23.
  3. WE.WOULD.SEE.JESUS_ DALLAS.TEXAS THURSDAY_ 58-0612
  4. THE.MESSIAH_ SHREVEPORT.LA TUESDAY_ 61-0117
  5. GOD'S.GIFTS.ALWAYS.FIND.THEIR.PLACES_ JEFF.IN V-6 N-13 SUNDAY_ 63-1222
  6. PARADOX_ BAKERSFIELD.CA V-22 N-5 THURSDAY_ 64-0206B
  7. QUESTIONS.AND.ANSWERS.3_ JEFF.IN COD SUNDAY_ 64-0830M
  8. IT.IS.THE.RISING.OF.THE.SUN_ JEFF.IN V-3 N-12 SUNDAY_ 65-0418M
  9. Lee Vayle, Godhead: Tape #1500/11-05-2000, Godhead Q&A #4: Tangibility of God
  10. Brian Kocourek, #1 07 "IN", January 21st, 2007
  11. Brian Kocourek, #45 One Mediator Bewteen, April 4th, 1993
  12. Lee Vayle, The Supreme Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ, July 1, 2000


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