If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder,And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them;Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the Lord your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.( Deuteronomy 13:1-3)
What I want to do is give a brief expose of the errant theology which has led much of the Evangelical Church to its current Apostasy, as manifested in the NAR. This is going to be a primer, and by no means an exhaustive study of the wrong paths so many have been led idown.
Moses gave two main tests to determine if a person was a true or false prophet, one of those being found in Deuteronomy 18, and warning that anyone who makes predictions in the name of the LORD which fail to come to pass, should be regarded as a false prophet.
The second test is less well known. It is found in Deuteronomy 13. God told Moses that He would actually allow false prophets to arise from time to time, and they would seemingly truly perform signs , wonders or make predictions which would come to pass. In other words, they would have seemed to have passed the Deuteronomy 18 test.
But that didn’t mean they were true prophets, and that people should follow them.
The second test is more concerned with the teaching of the prophet, than with the signs and wonders. If the teaching in effect caused Israel to go after other gods, that would be the proof that they were false, even though they did indeed seemingly perform signs.
Around the aftermath of World War 2, there was a kind of healing movement among Pentecostals, which involved Evangelists literally taking their healing crusades across America, preaching, and praying for the sick, and proclaiming miracles, signs and wonders in the name of Jesus. There were many who became quite famous, such as Oral Roberts, AA Allen, Jack Coe, Lester Sumrall, and Gordon Lindsey.
Another name which would become well known at the time was William Branham. (This is an excerpt from my book WEIGHED AND FOUND WANTING;PUTTING THE TORONTO BLESSING IN CONTEXT, )
William Branham was born 100 years and 10 miles from the time and place that Abe Lincoln was born, deep in the hills of Kentucky. He was born to very simple and poor parents. His mother was only 15 and his father was 18 years old. It has been reported that when visitors and well wishers came to the log shack to see the child, they also saw an otherworldly light resting over the babe.
Branham, who was the first of ten children, reports of his early life that, “There was always a peculiar feeling, like someone wasstanding near me, trying to say something to me, and especially when I was alone.” In fact, when he was seven years old, he had a strange visitation.
“I was on my way one afternoon to carry water to the house from the barn, which was about a city block away. About halfway between the house and the barn stood an old poplar tree. I had just gotten home from school and the other boys were going out to a pond to fish. I was crying to go, but Dad said that I had to pack water. I stopped under the tree to rest when all of a sudden I heard a sound as of the wind blowing the leaves. I knew that it wasn’t blowing any other place. It seemed to be a very still afternoon. I stepped back from the tree and noticed that in a certain place, about the size of a barrel, the wind seemed to be blowing through the tree leaves. Then there came a voice saying, “Never drink, smoke, or defile your body in any way for I have a work for you to do when you get older.” “
As you can see, Branham led a very unusual life, which was marked by that ‘presence’, and which would one day lead him into a ‘signs and wonders ministry’ that would take him around the world.
From my book again,
In his early 20s, after being healed of a life threatening condition, Branham gave his life to God. He became a Baptist preacher, held a tent meeting in Jeffersonville, Indiana, and started a church (the Branham Tabernacle.) One day he wandered into a tent meeting of Pentecostals. They asked him to preach, and recognized the call on his life. That tent meeting had a profound impact on Branham. Later he said that they had something he lacked! After excitedly telling his wife, her family and his friends of the experience, people talked him out of mingling with “those folks,” so he backed away. In 1937, while he was both pastoring and working as a game warden, the Ohio River flooded, killing both his wife and young baby. Branham believed that it was a judgement from God for his refusal to join the Pentecostals. Shortly after that, he joined the United Pentecostal Churches, or the “oneness” people (Jesus only). These are people who believe that the doctrine of the trinity is “of the devil.”
Branham’s life intensified after having an encounter with that ‘presence’ as he prayed in a cabin in the woods. In his own account, a light shone in the cabin in which he was praying and a figure walked out of the light,
He appeared to be a man who…clothed in a white robe, he had a smooth face, no beard, dark hair down to his shoulders, rather dark complexioned, with a very pleasant countenance…Seeing how fearful I was, he began to speak, “Fear not, I am sent from the presence of Almighty God to tell you that your peculiar life and your misunderstood ways have been to indicate that God has sent you to take a gift of divine healing to the peoples of the world. If you will be sincere and can get the people to believe you, nothing shall stand before your prayer, not even cancer.”
This was Branham’s “angel”. Branham would go on the road in ministry fo signs and wonders, but he would never be able to begin a service until the ‘Angel’ came to Him. Branham was once asked, “Do you do your remarkable miracles by the Holy Spirit?”, to which Branham replied, ” No, I do them by my Angel”.
There is no doubt that Branham had a powerful ‘ministry’ of signs and wonders. People would flock to his meetings, to receive prayer and to witness the healings, miracles and deliverances which were happening on a large scale.
Pentecostal churches were thrilled with the ministry of Branham, for it seemed to them to be the ‘great revival’ they had anticipated.
There was just one one problem, His teachings. The Pastors and leaders of the movement, begged him to just focus on praying for the sick and ministering to people’s needs, but please don’t preach!
Branham’s preaching scared people. More from my book, WEIGHED,
What did he teach? For that matter, what does Paul Cain, Mike Bickle, Bob Jones, John Wimber, Bill Hammon, Roger Forster, Gerald Coates, or anyone else who is part of the “prophetic move” teach? For the teaching is much more significant than the manifestation. The teaching is one of the fruits you can “know them by.”
Branham believed that we are in what he called, “God’s seventh church age,” based on the letters to the church in Revelation. According to Branham, “the angels of the churches,” were different men down through church history, who brought the church along, through new revelation. In fact, his tombstone, in Jeffersonville, Indiana, is shaped like a pyramid. On one side are the names of the seven churches. On the other side are the names of the messengers to each church, Paul, Irenaeus, Martin, Columba, Luther, Wesley, and of course, Branham.
The impact of the United Pentecostal Church is evident in his teaching. Branham also believed that the doctrine of the trinity was Babylonian and even “of the devil.” To him, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, are three different “attributes” of Jesus.
Stranger yet, Branham taught that the Word of God wasgiven in three forms, the zodiac, the Egyptian pyramids, and the written scripture. Another strange doctrine, was his teaching on the “serpent’s seed,” the idea that Eve had sexual relations with Satan and produced the line of Cain, an evil “seed” which is continually being propagated to this day. The effect of this doctrine has a tendency towards misogyny, making women responsible for keeping the “seed” alive.
Branham died in 1965 in a head on car crash. The impact he had on many was so profound, due to the ‘miracles’ and signs he performed, led his followers to expect that He would be raised from the dead, so his burial was delayed by about six months. Much of modern Charismania is a direct result of his teachings,; Modrn Prophets and Apostles, the concept of having an Angel, the Word of Faith teachings, He was also a staunch advocate of Oneness Pentecostalism.
From my book again,
Though there were no doubt many voices raised against Branham’s heresies, by and large, Branham enjoyed great acceptance by the truly influential leaders of Pentecostalism. (To this day, he is regarded by many as a prophet and pioneer of the signs and wonders movement.) It is true that at the time of his death, his popularity was waning and his teaching became more obvious, but to the Manifested Sons of God Movement, as well as much of Christian media, and even the current “miracle ministries” and Charismatic leaders, there is a profound respect for him and in many cases a desire to emulate him. As Al Dager says, “To date, William Branham’s body is still in the grave. But his occult methodology of healing was picked up by hundreds of pastors and teachers upon whom he had laid his hands and who have traded on it to a greater or lesser degree.”
I believe that Branham, with his signs and wonders and false teachings, represents a classic Deuteronomy 13 test which is one of the streams which has led straight into the current Apostasy.The People chose the POWER over the Word and that is why we have what we have in what used to be our churches.