William Branham and the Watchtower Society

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William Branham borrowed a number of doctrines from the Jehovah's Witnesses (aka the Watchtower Society). These include:

William Branham refused to speak against the Watchtower Society

In 1954, William Branham was asked the question - Is Jehovah Witness a false sect? It is interesting that he would not answer the question:

Now, here was another one just said… I'd… I—I appreciate this asking. And Almighty God Who is my Judge, standing here now in this sacred spot… Before I left home, the Spirit of the Lord told me, said this question will be laying on here. And I—I knowed nothing about it, but I knew it would be here.
Is Jehovah Witness a false sect? See, somebody… And the Holy Spirit, at the place at the… Standing in my bathroom before coming down here, God, Who is my solemn Judge, told me, "That will be laying on the platform," and said I wouldn't say nothing about it, just go on. See? So I… You know what I said last night, don't you? All right, that's what it was. 20 All right, now we'll start over here on some of these. I just don't like to call right out any certain thing, and say some person or some individual like that. I just like to teach it in a way of just throw the whole thing together. And—and you understand, don't you? If I'd stand here and say, "Now, Brother Neville is so-and-so and certain-certain thing…" If I had that to say about him, I'd go up to his house and call him out and talk to him about it. See, I'd—I'd tell Brother Neville.[1]

Did he refuse to respond because he had studied many of their doctrines and was incorporating many of them into his teaching, including the belief in a "seventh" messenger?

William Branham considered Jehovah's Witnesses to be Christians

I said, "If he can't be there, I can't either." That's right. I said, "If we're interdenominational, that means everybody; I don't care who it is. If it's Methodist, Baptist, Jehovah Witness, whatever it is, they're going to be there just the same. And we can't draw straws, and say this fellow has no right, because we're perfectly brethren together, and that's the way we want it to remain that way." So no matter what church they go to, they're… We're all brothers in Christ, and that's when we're born again of the Spirit. And I appreciate Brother Joseph with all my heart.[2]


That's what's the matter with the church tonight. They set their sail to every form of doctrine, tossed about from pillar to post, not knowing where to stand, or what to do. When the little trials come up, the little afflictions, away they go this way. They're Methodist today, a Baptist tomorrow, a Pentecostal next day, a Lutheran the next day, Seventh-day Adventist, Jehovah Witness. They don't know where to stand, tossed about: borderline. Packing your church letter from one place to another, what good does it do you anyhow? Better put it in heaven; that's where it'll be recognized.[3]

William Branham studied Jehovah's Witness doctrine

I'm going to call the attention to one denominational church, the first church that ever spoke to me about Jesus Christ when I was a sinner, the Seventh Day Adventist. The Seventh Day Adventist said the seal of God is His sabbath, because a seal shows a finished work, that He's been sealed in the Sabbath. And keeping the Sabbath day is a memorial that you're sealed. Now, you Adventist know that, you know Dr. Smith, and the Home Bible Circle Readings and all that. I have them all in my study, and all of Jehovah Witnesses and so forth like that. Where—whenever they raise up, I know their points. See? I know where they're going to. So now, Sabbath day is not a seal. A Sabbath day was a seal of God's creation. He finished it then and sealed it (That's right.) with His Sabbath. But it was a type of the Christian Sabbath.[4]

Plagiarizing from Charles Russell

William Branham plagiarized from many different sources including Clarence Larkin, C.L. Franklin, Billy Graham and others. He also apparently plagiarized from Charles Taze Russell, the founder of the Jehovah's Witnesses and the Watchtower Society.

Charles Taze Russell authored a book entitled "The Finished Mystery: A Helping Hand for Bible Students" which was published posthumously by the Watchtower Society in 1918.

In it, Russell describes his "revelation of the seven church ages" with the first messenger being St. Paul and the last messenger (to the Laodicean church) being Charles Taze Russell as noted on his gravestone. Russell was the first one to assign names to the seven angels of Revelation 2 and 3.

Russell, like William Branham, believed that he was chosen for his "great work" from before his birth.

Seven Church Ages

The November 1, 1917, Watch Tower, carried an article titled “A Tribute to the Seventh Messenger” in which it said:

The two most prominent messengers, however, are the first and the last—St. Paul and Pastor Russell.… “That wise and faithful servant” … now many more are recognizing, that Pastor Russell is that servant.[5]

Given that William Branham studied the publications of the Watchtower Society, it is likely that this is where he got his idea of the "seventh church age messenger".

Here are some quotes from "The Finished Mystery" published by the Watchtower Society in 1918:

Futhermore, the details of the messages given to these seven churches apply to and fit historically the one Church of the living God, over every member and branch of which the Lord has a care. This thought, that the seven represented completeness, we find emphasized in the other symbolical representations— in the seven golden candlesticks, the seven stars, etc." Colosse (Col. 1:2), Miletus (Acts 20:17) and Hierapolis (Col. 4:13) were churches in Asia, not here mentioned. The Asia mentioned is the westernmost province of Asia Minor:
  1. Unto Ephesus .— The Apostolic Age of the Church.
  2. And unto Smyrna .— The Church during the period of persecution by Pagan Rome.
  3. And unto Pergamos .— The Church during the period of the rise of Antichrist.
  4. And unto Thyatira .— The Church during the Dark Ages, the period of Antichrist's glory, and persecution by Papal Rome.
  5. And unto Sardis .— The Church in the dawn of the Reformation.
  6. And unto Philadelphia .— The Church in the period of reformation by sects.
  7. And unto Laodices .— The Church in the time of the Lord's Second Presence.[6]

Seven Seals

Here are some quotes from "The Finished Mystery" published by the Watchtower Society in 1918:

Revelation 10:7. But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel.— Pastor Russell was the seventh angel.— Rev. 3:14. ...The mystery of God [should be] WAS finished.— "The great unfolding of the Divine mystery we are expressly told was reserved until the close of the Gospel Age." (Z.'97-255.) "The Plan ceases to be a mystery, because there is no further object in perpetuating its secrecy. ‘The greatness of the mystery, so long kept secret, and the wonderful grace bestowed on those called to fellowship in this mystery (Eph. 3:9), suggest to us that the work to follow its completion, must be an immense work, worthy of such great preparations. What may we not expect in blessings upon the world, when the veil of mystery is withdrawn and the showers of blessing descend! [7]
And his name that sat on him was Death.— Still the same rider, the Papacy; and an apt description of its chief claim to recognition during the pre-Reformation period.[8]
Compare this to the following statement by William Branham:
Same rider, now. This first stage, he was innocent. And second, now, if you went a little bit higher, a little more than that; the second stage, the Bible said he’d be “given a crown.” And they crowned a man, a superman. See, crowned him! And, then, the Bible didn’t call him a pope.[9]
"God's people down through this Gospel age have been privileged to know something of the ‘Secret of the Lord'— the Divine Plan. But not until the last seal is broken, does the scroll fly wide open, permitting the ‘Mystery of God' to be fully disclosed; as it is written: ‘In the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when be shall begin to sound, the Mystery of God should be finished, as He hath declared to His servants the Prophets.' (Rev. 5:1; 10:7.)"[10]
"As it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man"--in the days of his presence. Not before his days, not after his days, but in (during) his days, the world will be eating, drinking, marrying, buying, selling, planting and building. These scriptures, then, clearly teach that our Lord will be present in the end of this age, entirely unknown to the world, and unseen by them.[11]



Footnotes

  1. William Branham, 54-0515 - Questions And Answers, para. 18
  2. William Branham, 55-0501A - Fellowship, para. 6
  3. William Branham, 56-0728 - Making The Valley Full Of Ditches, para. 25
  4. William Branham, 61-0217 - The Mark Of The Beast And The Seal Of God #2, para. 61
  5. David A. Reed, Answering Jehovah’s Witnesses: Subject by Subject, electronic ed., (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1997).
  6. Better Bible Bureau; Charles Taze Russell. Studies in the Scriptures: Fast Navigation, Search with NCX and Chapter Index (pp. 2981-2982). Kindle Edition.
  7. Better Bible Bureau; Charles Taze Russell. Studies in the Scriptures: Fast Navigation, Search with NCX and Chapter Index (p. 3193). Kindle Edition.
  8. Better Bible Bureau; Charles Taze Russell. Studies in the Scriptures: Fast Navigation, Search with NCX and Chapter Index (p. 3115). Kindle Edition.
  9. William Branham, 63-0320 - The Third Seal, para. 273
  10. Better Bible Bureau; Charles Taze Russell. Studies in the Scriptures: Fast Navigation, Search with NCX and Chapter Index (p. 3155). Kindle Edition.
  11. Better Bible Bureau; Charles Taze Russell. Studies in the Scriptures: Fast Navigation, Search with NCX and Chapter Index (p. 475). Kindle Edition.


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