William Branham and Arianism

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This article is one in a series of studies on William Branham and the Trinity - you are currently on the topic that is in bold:

Arianism is effectively a belief in two gods, an uncreated and a created, a supreme and a secondary god, and thus is really heathen polytheism. It holds Christ to be a mere creature, and yet the creator of the world.[1]

Some followers of William Branham, in particular Lee Vayle and his followers, preach a similar view of Jesus Christ. It is clear that Lee Vayle took his doctrine directly from the teachings of William Branham.

Did William Branham teach Arianism?

William Branham taught in numerous places that Jesus Christ was a created being:

He was God manifested in a flesh of His creative Son. See? Now, that's, God created the Son. [2]
I said, "Yes, He was Divine. He was the created Son of God." And I said, "God was in Him reconciling the world to Himself."[3]
Now notice! And after then the wise men identifying Him what He would be, and we find through the Scripture that's exactly what He was: Deity in service for death. What for? Deity in service to God for death. Jesus was Deity in service for death, to redeem the world. But what did the world do to It? They refused It. They rejected It. Why? Some of them, a big part of them, did that because this: because He did die! 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.[4]

This belief was originally taught by a man named Arius who was born in North Africa around 256 A.D. Arius became a church leader in Alexandria, Egypt and taught that Jesus was created. If Jesus was created by God the Father then there was a time when Jesus did not exist. This doctrine of Arius, referred to as Arianism spread and caused the church split into two groups.[5]

History in the Christian church

Arius (256–336 A.D.) was a presbyter in the Baucalis region of Alexandria, Egypt. He began a controversy around 318 over the nature of Christ’s relation to the Father.[6]

The view advanced by Arius was as follows:

  1. God was not always Father, but only after He begat (i.e. created) the Son.
  2. Wisdom and the Word (Logos) dwell within this God, but they are powers, not persons.
  3. To create the universe, God brought into being an independent substance as the instrument by which all things were created. This Being is termed, in Scripture, Wisdom, Son, Image, Word, etc.
  4. As regards His substance, the Son is a separate being from the Father, different from Him in substance and nature. Like all rational creatures, the Son is endowed with free will, and consequently capable of change.
  5. The Son is not truly God, but is only the so-called Word and Wisdom. He has no absolute, but only a relative, knowledge of the Father.
  6. The Son is not, however, a creature like other creatures. He is the perfect creature, and has become God, so that we may term Him ‘the only-begotten God,’ etc.
  7. Christ took a real body, but it had the Logos taking the place of the soul. From the Gospel record, we see that this Logos is not an absolutely perfect being, but is capable of suffering.
  8. Amongst other created beings, the Holy Ghost is to be placed beside the Son as a second, independent substance. According to Arius, apparently, the Spirit is the creation of the Son.

Such, then, was Arianism—a theory of the mutual relations of the Persons in the Trinity based nominally on the words of Scripture, but arrived at really by the methods of the heathen philosophers.[7]

The Council of Nicaea in AD 325 was involved in resolving the dispute over Arianism.

Lee Vayle's Arianism comes from William Branham's teaching

Lee Vayle denied the deity of Jesus Christ and preached a form of Arianism. It is also clear that he took this teaching directly from William Branham:

There are more verses on ‘Deity’, and you can see that Bro. Branham is not making Jesus ‘God’, as some would have it.[8]
...what I wanted to do was to bring to you the understanding that Jesus is not Deity. When Bro. Branham said, “He’s God, but he’s not God,” in our minds we placed that with the incarnation, and that is true. But, when you realize that in the incarnation, which is to come, when that Spirit that’s in our midst, and that’s the Spirit of God, He will become incarnate to us again.[9]

Lee Vayle also espoused this teaching as a means of describing William Branham as being similar to Christ:

The Son was already there. The Son was there before Adam was. The Son was there before there was anything else. He was the first-born of God. And as Bro. Branham has said, “That light came forth, like a child playing around his Father’s doorstep.” He began to create. And God would say, “That’s good. That’s fine.” And Bro. Branham went through the whole process of creation, and formation, and so on. ...And God came down and dwelt in His Son, Christ Jesus, making Him God on earth.
Now right in there you can see this body born, was born with a personality, the man, we call ‘Christ Jesus’, and at that time, God came in to his very being, and now, as Bro. Branham said, “You have a duality.”
The Father and the Son. “He that has seen me has seen the Father. You’re looking at him now.”
Remember, Bro. Branham was asked the question, “What does it mean, “I and my Father are one?” He said, “You’re looking at me, aren’t you?”
“Oh, I don’t think I can take that.”
Well, you don’t have to take it. Goodbye, it’s been nice knowing you, or not so nice knowing you. I simply don’t have pleasure in people that don’t believe Bro. Branham. I simply don’t. I’m back there in the Ephesian Church. I believe that God visited Paul. I believe He came down in a Pillar of Fire. I believe Bro. Branham said, “Just think, how wonderful. The same Pillar of Fire that brought the Word to Paul is here revealing It!” I believe that. And this is part of it. This is explaining Luke—the virgin birth. This is explaining God the Father, and not God the son, but the Son of God. This explains Emmanuel, how God became flesh and dwelt among us. And He did! And it was a duality! And the body He prepared for Himself was the same body He prepared for His Son.[10]

Like Arius, Vayle asserted that the Son of God was a subordinate entity to God the Father. A similar doctrine is also taught by Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons:

...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.[11]
Now with the subject of sovereignty, what I wanted to do was to bring to you the understanding that Jesus is not Deity. When Bro. Branham said, “He’s God, but he’s not God,” in our minds we placed that with the incarnation, and that is true. But, when you realize that in the incarnation, which is to come, when that Spirit that’s in our midst, and that’s the Spirit of God, He will become incarnate to us again.
...We’re going to talk about, as I said, in the fact of sovereignty, Jesus cannot be Deity. Now Jesus can’t be Deity when we consider true Deity.
...Jesus definitely is not God. He is the Son of God. And his form, as I’ve mentioned already, Bro. Branham said, “The only difference between God and His Son is that sons have beginnings.”
What do you mean, “sons have beginnings?” Well, sons are procreated. The thought of having a son does not give anybody the ability to create one. The substance must be there in order to be passed on to that person, to bring that person in the likeness of the progenitor.
So, Jesus was the Son of God, which he was. That life had to be already there, and that life simply had to be passed on in a mold, and that mold would have to be what was ever within the intrinsicality and essentiality of Almighty God. That’s why Jesus was the image of God. And that’s why, when God said, “Let us make man in our image,” it was made in the image of Jesus, and it came out a man. That’s why Bro. Branham said, “God was the first man; Jesus, the second; and Adam, the third,” because God comes in threes. What for? Not as persons: one, two, three gods, but in God doing what He did to bring forth Himself through children. As it is said by people, “Men and women achieve a certain immortality by having children.” But, if the line suddenly dies, the immortality is gone.
So, Jesus can’t be Deity, when we consider true Deity. He is the Son of Deity, Son of God, and since elevated by God, he is worthy of worship, but not as God is worshipped. He can’t be. It is wise to regard Jesus, Son of God, in the light of Hebrews, as written by Paul, and glorifying God for His wisdom and power, for so setting us all in divine order.
...And, how was he equal with God? Because he was the First-begotten Son of God. So therefore, positively, he was equal in the inheritance, because it split the kingdom right down the middle. But God didn’t split Himself down the middle. God didn’t split His sovereignty down the middle. He had an equality, the same as Bro. Branham says, “Satan was one time equal with God and led in the worship.”
Was he equal with God as per Godhead? Oh, don’t be ridiculous. Was he equal, then, in the majesty and the glory and the power? Don’t be ridiculous. He had to be a controller of some description, as the great CEOs are of all the money you’ve got invested in stock, and they act as though it were their own, with their golden parachutes, and their divvying up, and their perks, and God knows what.
...Now again, in Jn 14:6 - I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (So, he’s not the Father, and he’s not God. “There’s one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus.” [1 Tim 2:5])
And It places it right there that Jesus is not God. See? I’ll tell you: I believe calling Jesus ‘Deity’, which we’ve had people here do that, is an entire misunderstanding or no understanding of Seed: that God is the Father, the Progenitor, the Author, the All in all of a race of His Own children, genetically, legitimately, spiritually, physically, every single way. God is not our Creator; He is our Father; He is our Source; He is our Progenitor. Call it what you want. Out of the Great Fountain, God, came every one of His sons, and nothing else came from that Lifeline, because the Bible says, “In him was life.”[12]

Quotes of William Branham

The following quote is from 1964, after William Branham had rejected the doctrine of the Trinity. He clearly speaks of Jesus as a created being:

This, just the display, now it shows what’s being done. Like God becoming God when He created Angels. He become Son when He created Christ Jesus. He become Saviour when Jesus died. He becomes Healer when “He was wounded for our transgressions, with His stripes we were healed.” See?[13]

God was not God the Father until he created Jesus:

But in this great God, Elohim, was attributes. There was attributes in there to be God; attributes to be Father; attributes to be Son; attributes to be Saviour; attributes to be healer. All these attributes was in God. And if you’ve ever got Eternal Life, you were in God’s attributes, because you got Eternal Life. Jesus came as Redeemer. And redeem means “bring it back to where it started from.” Right. You were in God’s thinking. He might have to breed this with that, and down here and down here.[14]
There is no three or four Gods. There is only one God. There is three attributes of God; Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, but they’re not three Gods. That’s heathen. See, there is only one God. And that’s attributes. God the Father was in the wilderness, as a Pillar of Fire. All right. God the Son; God the Father created the body which was God the Son, and lived in the Son. See? “God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself.” Do you believe that? [Congregation says, “Amen.”—Ed.] If you’re a Christian, you believe it. And, then, “A little while and the world seeth Me no more.” And now look, Jesus said, “I came from God, and I return to God.” After His death, burial, resurrection, He ascended up.[15]

Jesus did not exist until he was created by the Father and at that moment God became God the Father:

And God could not take a human’s place, being He is Spirit. So God created a Blood cell, which was His own Son, Jesus Christ. And God came in and lived in there, and lived, identified Himself in Christ. That was God, Emmanuel. Jesus said, “I and My Father are One. My Father dwells in Me.” See? “God in Christ, reconciling the world.” Jesus was the body, the tabernacle, God was the Spirit that lived in Him.[16]

William Branham taught that because Jesus was created, he did not exist prior to his creation and he was not the eternal Son of God:

Therefore, I’d like to ask the question. How could we ever make sense out of the word of “the Eternal sonship of God”? If He was a Son, He had a beginning. If He was Eternal Son, how could He be a Son and be Eternal? For, son is—is a product of something. But, if He was—He was, could not be an Eternal Son. There’s no such a thing, “Eternal Son of God.” Cause, if He—if He never had a beginning, then He cannot be nothing but Eternal. But, if He was a Son, He had a beginning, so He cannot be an Eternal Son.[17]
Talk about eternal sonship. Son has a beginning. Eternal can’t start, can’t begin. And there… It always has been. How can it be an eternal son? Oh, my. How you… I’m a dummy, and I know better than that. Sure.[18]
A Son, as the Catholic puts it, “Eternal Son,” and all the rest of the churches; the word don’t even make sense. See? There cannot be Eternal, and then be a Son, ’cause a Son is something that’s “begotten from.” And the word Eternal, He cannot be an Eter-…He can be a Son, but He cannot be an Eternal Son. No, sir. It cannot be an Eternal Son.[19]
People talk about Jesus being the Eternal Son of God. Now isn’t that a contradiction? Whoever heard of a “Son” being eternal? Sons have beginnings, but that which is eternal never had a beginning.[20]


Footnotes

  1. Philip Schaff and David Schley Schaff, History of the Christian Church, vol. 3 (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1910), 649.
  2. William Branham, August 4, 1963, Calling Jesus on the Scene
  3. William Branham, July 29, 1951, Lazarus
  4. William Branham, December 22, 1963, God's Gifts
  5. Alton Gansky, 60 People Who Shaped the Church: Learning from Sinners, Saints, Rogues, and Heroes (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2014).
  6. Dennis E. Groh, “Arius, Arianism,” ed. David Noel Freedman, The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary (New York: Doubleday, 1992), 384.
  7. F. J. Foakes-Jackson, “Arianism,” ed. James Hastings, John A. Selbie, and Louis H. Gray, Encyclopædia of Religion and Ethics (Edinburgh; New York: T. & T. Clark; Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1908–1926), 777.
  8. Lee Vayle, Godhead #12, The Fullness of the Godhead Bodily, July 2, 2000, para. 25
  9. Lee Vayle, Godhead #14, The Man, Jesus Christ, Is Not Deity,August 6, 2000, para. 23
  10. Lee Vayle, Godhead #2, Son and Virgin Birth, Delineating God and Son Using Bro. Branham’s Statements, October 3, 1999, para. 31
  11. Lee Vayle, Godhead Q&A #4: Tangibility of God, 11-05-2000
  12. Lee Vayle, Godhead #14: The Man, Jesus Christ, Is Not Deity, August 6, 2000
  13. William Branham, 64-0304 - Sirs, We Would See Jesus, para. 15
  14. William Branham, 64-0401 - The Identified Christ Of All Ages
  15. William Branham, 64-0412 - A Court Trial, para. 257
  16. William Branham, 64-0418B - A Paradox, para. 162
  17. William Branham, 62-0401 - Wisdom Versus Faith, para. 88
  18. William Branham, 62-0407 - The Signs Of His Coming, para. 54
  19. William Branham, 65-0822M - Christ Is Revealed In His Own Word, para. 53
  20. William Branham, An Exposition Of The Seven Church Ages - Chapter 1 - The Revelation Of Jesus Christ


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