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People point at us and say, "You never really believed the message!". But is this true?
We were in the message!
William Branham captured our hearts with his stories of a sad and difficult childhood. He earned our admiration with his accounts of great sacrifice for the sake of the gospel. We were overwhelmed with sympathy for this humble little preacher, rejected by main stream ministries and denominations.
We were faithful
He awed us with descriptions of spiritual encounters, and supernatural events. He astounded us with 'signs & wonders'. We felt honored to be privy to his personal 'revelations'. We were captivated with God's 'chosen man'. We felt special knowing we were the 'elect', and superior to other religions. We faithfully listened to his tapes, believing that rapturing faith was found in his sermons. We obeyed his rules as he provoked us to perfection. We strived daily to attain; fearing lest we should fall short and miss the rapture.
We were amazed
We stared in wonder at the cloud of 'angels' which had given him special instructions. We were fascinated by the booming voice at the river, giving him his great commission. We spoke of his bridge prophecy and how perfectly it had come to pass. We were amazed by his pillar of fire. We were convinced of his vindications. We trembled at the stories of judgment for those who would challenge him. We were alarmed by his prophecies of doom, and anticipated events that were yet to be fulfilled.
We were confident
We knew we were accepted in God's eyes because we had embraced the 'prophet'. We were confident that we would be in Heaven, because we had heard 'the word for our day'. We trusted him without question. Anything we did not understand was 'laid on a shelf'. We believed he fulfilled the Scriptures, which he claimed foretold of his coming. If we could not see something in the Bible, we were instructed to 'only believe'. We willingly accepted his interpretation of Scripture, as we dare not risk blasphemy.
We were zealous
We adored our 'prophet'. We shared his stories with our children. We wrote books about them. We taught them in our Sunday Schools. We preached his doctrines from our pulpits. We witnessed to other people about him, enticing them with our 'superior knowledge' of the Word. We gladly spent our energy distributing his materials. We travelled to other countries to share his gospel. We pitied those who did not have a 'revelation' of who he was.
We were devoted
We memorized his words and clung to his teachings. We debated Scriptures with quotes. We encouraged each other with his sayings, and corrected each other with his warnings. We hung his picture on our walls. We referred to his books as the 'Spoken Word' and our bookshelves held volumes of them. Our homes echoed with the sound of his sermons. His voice, which we designated the 'Voice of God', was part of our daily lives. We woke up to it... we fell asleep to it. We thought of him often. We spoke of him often. And thus it was, that he subtly assumed the throne of our lives.
So what happened?
What was it that caused us to leave the message?
Why did we leave?
We found out that the stories which captured our hearts, and brought us to tears, never happened. We realized that his 'vindications', which awed and inspired us, were all fabricated. We became aware that his 'revelations' (which we thought were brought by an angel) came from various authors preceding his birth. We recognized that the Scriptures he claimed foretold his coming, were in fact, speaking of John the Baptist, Jesus, and an Angel. We saw that his prophecies failed, and his teachings were not Scriptural.
How did we feel?
We were devastated. That which we had believed and placed our trust in, was not true.
Where did we go after the message?
We turned to God with hungry hearts and placed all of our trust in His Word. We embraced His Gospel of love and grace. We accepted His free Gift of Salvation through the Sacrifice of the Perfect Lamb of God. We trusted in His promise to lead us into all Truth, and to guide us with His Spirit. And we allowed Jesus Christ to claim the throne of our hearts.
- I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!
- Galatians 1:6-9 NIV