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William Branham often used Amos 3:7 to state that God would not do anything today without revealing it to a prophet. Was this simply another case of William Branham trying to convince people that the Bible was referring to him? Are you aware that the Mormon church uses the same passage to prove they are correct?
Amos 3 states:
- Is a trumpet blown in a city, and the people are not afraid? Does disaster come to a city, unless the LORD has done it?
- “For the Lord GOD does nothing without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets.
- The lion has roared; who will not fear?
- The Lord GOD has spoken; who can but prophesy?”
But is William Branham's interpretation correct? Is the Mormon interpretation of this passage, which is similar to William Branham's, also correct?
What William Branham taught
William Branham believed he was a prophet and believed that God had to speak through him:
- Now, anyone knows that Amos 3:7 said that God promised that He would never do nothing until first He revealed it to His prophet. Through the church ages we’ve had reformers; but promised by Malachi 4 that there would be a prophet in the land in the last days (because it has to fit that pattern, see) before the end time come.
- If God sends anything, He says and promised in the Bible that He would do nothing upon the earth until first He revealed it to His servants the prophets. That’s Amos 3:7. He…and God cannot lie. He reveals It, that’s been His way of doing it all down through the ages. He’s never failed to do it.
But is this true in the New Testament? Has this held true for the last 2,000 years?
What the Bible says
Amos 3:7 is under the old covenant. We understand from Hebrews 8:13 that the old covenant is obsolete:
- In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.
The old covenant, which includes Amos 3:7, has expired and is outdated. It is no longer of relevance. Why would anyone want to go back to an obsolete covenant?
There is nothing in the New Testament that states any similar principle. This was a case of William Branham pointing to himself, again.
Comparing William Branham's teaching with the Bible
This verse should not be interpreted to mean that God will always have a prophet on earth. In Amos 3:7 we find God about to bring judgment against the Israelites because of their disobedience. This passage affirms that God had previously warned the Israelites that judgment would follow disobedience, but they had ignored the prophets (Amos 2:12). In context, then, Amos 3:7 simply points to God’s chosen pattern of not engaging in a major action with the Israelites (such as judgment) without first revealing it to the prophets.
Relevant to this discussion is the fact that in Old Testament times the biblical test for a prophet was 100-percent accuracy (Deut. 18:20–22). William Branham did not measure up. Mormon prophets do not measure up. Mormon prophet (and founder) Joseph Smith, for example, once prophesied that the New Jerusalem would be built in Missouri in his generation.
William Branham's prophecies failed similar to those of Mormon prophets. In fact, we are unaware of a single unambiguous prophecy made by William Branham that was recorded publicly (i.e. we can verify on a tape) and that was later fulfilled in a clear manner.
This passage does establish that, prior to the New Covenant, when Yahweh is the author of disaster, he tells his prophets. The focus is upon legitimate prophetic authority, not upon prophetic autonomy. What prophets say comes from Yahweh; it is God's “counsel” and is therefore absolutely true. It is not that Yahweh cannot act without the help of prophets or that he is obliged to share his knowledge with them. Rather, consistent with other prophetical (Jer 7:25; 23:18, 22; 26:5; 35:15; 44:4) and historical (2 Kgs 17:13, 23; 21:10; 24:2) discussions on God’s “servants the prophets,” this verse states simply that the prophets carry a message that is not their own. God does explain his own actions and does use the prophets as his spokespersons. But he is hardly dependent on them.
The true prophet cannot ignore Yahweh’s voice any more than sensible people can ignore the roar of a lion. If Yahweh has spoken to someone, can that person be expected not to prophesy (לא ינבא)? To be chosen is to be obliged, as Jonah, for example, learned the hard way.
Moreover, rejection of Amos’ prophecies meant rejection of Yahweh. If people were offended by what Amos preached, he was not to be blamed. His reaction to Yahweh’s revelation was inevitable and proper: he repeated it. Amos’ hard words were not his own, but Yahweh’s through him.
We must test William Branham's teachings to see if he was speaking on his own or whether it was God that was speaking through him.
God’s prophets added stern warnings that we were NOT to add to Scripture or take away from Scripture. The prophets wrote all the warnings and prophecies of God’s plan and the Bible is His complete and perfect plan, nothing was left for our imagination or confusion or for future men to reveal.
- You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you.
- Everything that I command you, you shall be careful to do. You shall not add to it or take from it.
- Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar.
- ...not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.
Paul preaching in Acts 17 said:
- The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, 25 nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him.
And Jude says:
- Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.
Jude wrote that it was delivered once and for all—it wouldn’t be delivered again to anyone—Jew or Gentile, preacher or teacher. There are many more Scriptures on the topic, but Jesus handpicked the Apostles who were eyewitnesses of His ministry and the New Covenant. Jesus chose them and trained them and the Holy Spirit helped them. On the Road to Emmaus Jesus told two of his disciples how every prophet spoke of Him—there were no leftover-mysterious prophecies in the Old Testament for a man in the distant centuries to reveal. The Bible is complete and the New Testament made the veiled mysteries in the Old Testament clear. Without salvation and the Holy Spirit a man will never see the kingdom of God or understand the Old Testament.
Paul also said:
- Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages 26 but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith...
William Branham was simply pointing to himself. Amos 3:7 is not a promise to the New Testament church. We have the Holy Spirit today.
Quotes of William Branham
First of all, that messenger is going to be a prophet. He will have the office of a prophet. He will have the prophetic ministry. It will be based solidly on the Word because when he prophesies or has a vision, it will always be "Word oriented" and it will ALWAYS come to pass. He will be vindicated as a prophet because of his accuracy. The proof that he is a prophet is found in Revelation 10:7:
- "But in the days of the voice of the seventh messenger when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished as He hath declared to His servants, the prophets."
Now this person, who in this verse is called an 'angel' in the King James version is NOT an heavenly being. The sixth trumpeting angel, who is an heavenly being, is in Revelation 9:13, and the seventh of like order is in Revelation 11:15. This one here in Revelation 10:7 is the seventh age messenger and it is a man, and he is to bring a message from God, and his message and ministry is going to finish the mystery of God as declared to His servants, the prophets. God is going to treat this last messenger as a prophet BECAUSE HE IS A PROPHET. That is what Paul was in the first age, and the last age has one, too.
- "'Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? Shall there be evil in a city, and the Lord hath not done it?
Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but He revealeth His secrets unto His servants, the prophets."
- The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Am 3:7–8.
- William Branham, 65-1127B - Trying To Do God A Service Without It Being God's Will, para. 210
- William Branham, 65-1206 - Modern Events Are Made Clear By Prophecy, para. 52
- The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Heb 8:13.
- Smith, 1835, 84:3–5
- Norman L. Geisler and Ron Rhodes, When Cultists Ask: A Popular Handbook on Cultic Misinterpretations (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1997), 87.
- Douglas Stuart, Hosea–Jonah, vol. 31, Word Biblical Commentary (Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 2002), 325.
- Deuteronomy 4:2
- Deuteronomy 12:32
- Proverbs 30:6
- Galatians 1:7-9 (ESV)
- Acts 17:24-27
- Jude 1:3
- Romans 16:25-26 (ESV)
- 323-3 LAODICEAN.CHURCH.AGE - CHURCH.AGE.BOOK CPT.9