The Ten Commandments and William Branham
The First Commandment You shall have no other gods before me.
When Jesus was asked which was the greatest commandment in the Law, He answered, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment." (Matthew 22:37)
Is there anything more important or takes greater precedence in your daily life than obeying God and giving Him glory? If there is, then that thing (or those things) represents another god in your life which you have put before the Lord our God.
Recognizing God as the Supreme Authority over all creation means we acknowledge His pure holiness. Ezekiel records this about his vision of the third temple of the Lord: "Then he led me to the gate, the gate facing east. And behold, the glory of the God of Israel was coming from the east. And the sound of his coming was like the sound of many waters, and the earth shone with his glory. And the vision I saw was just like the vision that I had seen when he came to destroy the city, and just like the vision that I had seen by the Chebar canal. And I fell on my face. As the glory of the Lord entered the temple by the gate facing east, the Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court; and behold, the glory of the Lord filled the temple."
When we obey the greatest commandment, we acknowledge and bow down to the glory of God which we see represented in Ezekiel's vision. Every waking moment of our lives should be in obedience to Jesus' admonition, and everything we do should be our way of falling on our faces before His glory. Of course, we still have our flawed flesh to dwell with, and many use this as an excuse for not glorifying God in every area of our lives. But it's not an excuse. It's a sin that needs to be repented of. Do we live our lives bowing before the glory of God? Or are we too distracted by the world's allures or spending too much time responding in frustration to the hatred the world has for the holiness and righteousness of God? Or maybe even glorying in our own successes when the enemy suffers occasional losses.
Where is the glory of God when we turn our faces from the Eastern Gate to tend to our own temporal needs and desires? It's often easy to forget about Who is really in charge when we focus on so many things of the world that demand our immediate attention, but this world isn't our kingdom. Our Kingdom is from above, a Kingdom where God's glory is right now--a Kingdom which we are a part of and are now citizens. We still dwell here in our mortal bodies, and there are needs which we still have to attend to, but we should never forget that we represent to the world a Kingdom where the the glory of God is, where the ruler Who we bow down to and serve is none other than the Creator of the universe, the One Who saved us from our sins, the One Who is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature: the Lord Jesus Christ!
Is it important to you that you keep the 1st Commandment in all areas of life?
Did William Branham have any gods before God? Did he worship any god besides the true and living Yahweh? Let's examine WMB's view of God.
WMB's God is one person:You ought to see the sign of the Hebrew sign of It. It's a Light, like a Pillar of Fire, and in there is three little marks: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, which was not three persons. It was one God living in three offices, the same God (Hallelujah.): God above you, God with you, God in you. The Same condescending Himself, cleaning out His church, that He might live. When you cut Him to pieces and put one out here, and one over here, one there, it's pagan as it can be.
("Go, Tell," sermon # 60-0417M)
I different with Billy Graham on three individual persons in the Godhead, or any other trinitarian teacher on that. I believe in a trinity, of course, but not in that manner: them being three persons. They're One.
("The Kinsman Redeemer, sermon # 60-1002)
The Revelation showed that He is not three gods, neither is He chopped up in three pieces. But He's one God that was God in the days of the Fatherhood, He was God in the days of the Sonship, He's God in the days of the dispensation of the Holy Spirit, the same God. Not three different ones, not three persons, not three personalities. He's one Person, one personality. You cannot be a personality without being a person. Some people said, "He's not three persons, but He's three personalities." You cannot divide that; 'cause if He's a personality, He's a person; has to be a person to make a personality. So He is one Person, one personality;
("The Patmos Vision," sermon #60-1204E)
So if God is one person, then who was God talking to when He said, "Let us make man in our image"? WMB said:Well now, if you'll notice close now, in Genesis 1:26, let's get the first part first. God said, "Let us..." Now, "let us," us is ... "Let us make man in our own image." Our, 'course, we realize He's talking to someone; He was speaking to another being.So God was speaking to another being, another person besides Himself. Who was this other being? WMB said:
("Questions And Answers On Genesis," sermon #53-0729)The first creation was God Himself; then out of God came the Logos, which was the Son of God; then out of the Logos, which was the Word ("In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us."), out of the Logos came forth the--the man.
("Questions And Answers On Genesis," sermon # 53-0729)
This other being was the Logos, the Son of God. Not God, but someone who came out from God; someone created by God:But in there is a great supernatural Being, Jehovah God, Who covered all space of all places at all times. He was from everlasting from everlasting; He is the beginning of creation. That's God. Can't see nothing, can't hear nothing, not a move of an atom in the air, not nothing, not no air, no nothing, but yet God was there. That was God. (Now, let's watch for a few minutes, and after a while...) No man has seen That, now; that's the Father. That's God, the Father.
("Questions And Answers On Genesis," sermon #53-0729)
And the Logos, which was the Son of God went out, created by these great fountains of purity, God, as those Spirits went out, and it created the Logos. And it was a body. It was in the form of what we are now, which is called in the clergy way of speaking it, a theophany. It's a body that doesn't have a spirit in it.
("Thirsting For Life," sermon #57-0630)
As we had it the other night: God, in the beginning, was Spirit. And then, from God, went out the Logos, or the theophany, which was a form of a man, called the Son of God, prefigured. He came in earth, in a body of flesh, even before He came in Jesus Christ. Now swallow that one once, brother.
("Hebrews, Chapter Four," sermon #57-0901E)
The Logos, and this great Fountain, this great Fountain of Spirit which had no beginning or no end; this great Spirit began to form, in the creation, and the Logos that went out from It was the Son of God. It was the only visible form that the Spirit had. And It was a theophany, which means a body, and the body was like a man.
("Hebrews, Chapter One," sermon #57-0821)
Let's go back a hundred million years before there ever was a star, moon, or anything in the world. Now, there was a time when there wasn't nothing here; it was just all forever and eternity. And all of ever and eternity was God; He was there in the beginning. Now, let's go out here on the edge of this banister and look over and see these things happen. Now, "No man has seen the Father at any time." No man can see God in the bodily form, because God is not in body form; God is a Spirit. See? All right. "No man has seen the Father, but the only begotten of the Father hath declared Him," First John. See? Now, but notice now, there's nothing; there's just space. There's no light; there's no dark; there's no nothing; it just seems nothing. But in there is a great supernatural Being, Jehovah God, Who covered all space of all places at all times. He was from everlasting from everlasting; He is the beginning of creation. That's God. Can't see nothing, can't hear nothing, not a move of an atom in the air, not nothing, not no air, no nothing, but yet God was there. That was God. (Now, let's watch for a few minutes, and after a while...) No man has seen That, now; that's the Father. That's God, the Father. Now, notice. Then after while I begin to see a little sacred Light begin to form, like a little halo or something; you could only see it by spiritual eyes to look now, while we're looking, the whole church now. We're standing on a great big banister, watching what God's doing. And we'll get right down to this question here and you'll see how He brings it in. Now, no one has seen God. And now, the next thing we begin to see, by eyes of supernatural looking, we see a little white Light forming out there. What is that? That was called, by Bible readers, "Logos," or "the anointed," or "the anointing," or the--as I was going to say, the--the part of God begin to develop into something so human beings could have some type of an idea what It was: it was a little, low--a little Light moving. He... That was the Word of God. Now, God gave Himself birth to this Son which was before there was even an atom in the--or air to make an atom. That was... See, Jesus said, "Glorify Me, Father, with the glory that We had before the foundation of the world." See, way back in yonder . . .
("Questions And Answers On Genesis," sermon #53-0729)
If this all sounds eerie and foreign to Christianity, it's because it is. It is not according to Christian orthodoxy because it is not according to the Bible. William Branham's god is one person. That person created another being called the Logos, or the Son. Then God created a body for the Logos which was born in Bethlehem. His name was Jesus. Jesus was a creation of God, another person who God created and then used to create the heavens and the earth.
William Branham's Jesus was not the Jesus of the Bible. WMB's Jesus was a created being, a part of God's creation. WMB worshiped a created being, which is idolatry. His Jesus was not the Jesus of the Bible, and therefore was not the God of the Bible. William Branham had another god before Yahweh, which violated the 1st Commandment.
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The Second Commandment
You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.
An idol can be more than just an image to which one bows down and worships. It can take the form of a trophy, or a diploma, or a new car. It usually involves some sort of great sacrifice in order to obtain or enjoy it to the fullest. I'm amazed whenever I see some famous sports figure win a trophy, then kiss it as if it were the one responsible for their good fortune. Do we enjoy the things of this life and serve them because of the joy they give us? What happens when they tarnish, fall apart or disappear altogether? Do we experience emptiness? Does our joy go with it? If so, perhaps it's because we've idolized that thing. We've given it credit for our happiness. But who gave us those things to enjoy to begin with? Isn't it God, who owns all things?
When we idolize people or things, we forget to acknowledge and thank the One who allowed us to enjoy them. We may work hard for those things we enjoy, but we wouldn't have them in the first place if God weren't gracious enough to allow their use to us. In order to keep things in proper perspective, it would be wise to hold our things in loose fingers and hold the One who let's us enjoy them for a time in the highest esteem with thanksgiving!
Christians might find the above a challenge to overcome but by the grace of God. But is there idolatry in the Church that has escaped our attention? I remember the day I read one of those posts on Facebook that said something like, "Click if you love Jesus." It was accompanied by a photo of Jim Caviezel dressed for his role as Jesus in "The Passion of the Christ". I became uncomfortable as I looked at the photo, knowing that the image in no way depicted the real Jesus Christ who saved me from my sins, but was only another fallen, sinful man just pretending to be Jesus. It occurred to me that not only was this image of Jesus a fabricated depiction of Jesus, but every other picture, painting, or statue we look at that represents Jesus is nothing more than a reproduced image of some fallen man's imagination of what he thinks Jesus might have looked like. Yet many people look at these images in reverence as if they are looking at the very Son of God Himself. I thought of the Second Commandment. A verse later on says something very similar. Leviticus 26:1 says, "You shall not make idols for yourselves or erect an image or pillar, and you shall not set up a figured stone in your land to bow down to it, for I am the Lord your God." Are we as Christians, when we make images of Jesus and then reverence them as if they truly depict our Savior, guilty of bowing down to an idol? I don't see how we would not be, since the only one who we should bow down and worship is the true and living God and not a creation made by men.
For an enlightening article on this issue, see Tim Challies', "Why You Should Not Wear a Crucifix."
So, did William Branham ever make an idol to bow down and worship it? Let's see.
What do we see hanging on the wall directly behind the pulpit at Branham Tabernacle as WMB preached? We see a photograph of WMB with a light above his head which he said was the pillar of fire, God Himself in a visible form. Of course, it is probable that the light in the photo was actually an overhead light in the auditorium. Even so, if it were a photo of God, the photo would not be God, but an image of God made by men. Yet WMB and his followers treat this photo as if it contained the very presence of God, much like Catholics do with the Eucharist. Strike one.
WMB said that the Roman Catholic Church had no corner on the crucifix. A crucifix is a cross with an image of Jesus hanging on it. He had two crucifixes hanging at the front of Branham Tabernacle. He also had a painting of Jesus hanging on the wall to the side of the pulpit. Why? To remind of them of Jesus, or to represent Jesus in visible form to the congregation? Strike two.
Finally, WMB had his own view of God's very nature. He rejected the Trinity, saying that God Himself declared the Trinity "of the devil." WMB taught a different Jesus from Scripture (see, "Jesus According to William Branham." WMB's god was not the God of the Bible, but a creation of his own imagination from his own flawed understanding of the Bible. One might say, "But William Branham believed in the true God; he just had the wrong idea of what He was like." So did the Israelites when they created their golden calf:And he [Aaron] received the gold from their hand and fashioned it with a graving tool and made a golden calf. And they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt! When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made a proclamation and said, “Tomorrow shall be a feast to the LORD [that is, Yahweh]." (Exodus 32:3-4)
Aaron and the Israelites made a golden calf and declared it an image of Yahweh, who delivered them out of Egypt. Likewise, WMB made an image of God that wasn't according to the biblical revelation of His Triune nature and declared him to be the only true god. (See, "William Branham's Golden Calf") Strike three.
The sad thing is that now we see an entire cult idolizing a false prophet, his false images, his false teachings, and his false god. WMB and his followers have disregarded the Second Commandment.
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The Third Commandment
You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.
Are you used to using the popular common term for surprise as represented by OMG? Or have you used His name as a swear word? Or flippantly used the word, "Hallelujah" (which means, "Praise Yahweh")? Maybe you made a promise, saying, "Swear to God, hope to die, stick a needle in my eye," or "May God strike me dead." Maybe you swore an oath in a courtroom trial to tell the whole truth, "so help you God," then told a white lie (or worse) during your testimony. These are all examples of how people use God's name in a way that dishonors Him at best, and insults and belittles His very being at worst. One may say, "But I don't believe in God," or, "It's just a little thing--I didn't mean anything by it." That doesn't matter, God said He will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain. That is, He does not take it lightly when we take His name lightly. The Bible calls this blasphemy. What does His name represent? It represents all that is True and Holy. It represents all the power of the Universe. It represents True Judgment. To take God's name in vain is to demonstrate disrespect for our Creator, the One Who gave us life and holds it in His hands, the Judge of the world and our only hope for salvation and eternal life. To take His name in vain is to blaspheme God in His full presence--in the very presence of the One Who said He will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain. It's not just a good idea; it's a personal command to each and every one of us from God our Creator!
What is the name of God? He revealed His name in the Hebrew Bible as YHVH. We call that the Tetragrammaton, which means, the "four letters". The corresponding letters in the English alphabet would be YHWH, or JHVH. We would pronounce God’s name as Yahveh, Yahweh, or Jehova, but those are only guesses since the Tetragrammaton has no vowels. William Branham had a problem with the literal name of God. Twice in 1957, once in 1960, and once in 1963 he said the name of God was JVHU. He never correctly identified God by the biblical Tetragrammaton. Of all people, one would think a prophet of the LORD would get God's name right.
Is that a form of taking God’s name in vain? Or is it perhaps a form of blasphemy? I don’t know. In any case, I don’t believe WMB was ever guilty of using God’s name as so many do today by saying OMG (at least not on tape). I'm sure he didn't use His name as a swear word. I don’t know that he ever made a flippant oath by His name. But he did do something very serious; so serious that it could be considered outright blasphemy.
William Branham said “thus saith the Lord” on many occasions when the Lord didn’t say what WMB said He did. Every time WMB made a prophecy, punctuating it with, “thus saith the Lord,” and it failed to come to pass exactly as predicted, he used God’s name in vain. Every time he predicted anything in the name of the Lord and it failed to come to pass, he tarnished the name of God. Every time WMB taught something that he said came from the Bible when it didn’t (such as Serpent’s Seed) he was attributing that false teaching as the revealed words of God. Everything WMB predicted, taught, or said in his role as a prophet of God which deviated in any way from the truth was a slander against God, a horrendous misuse of God’s name. In short, William Branham demonstrated a most serious way to use God’s name in vain every time he practiced his self-proclaimed authority as a prophet.
I'll close with this. Read Jeremiah 23. The entire chapter is an indictment against prophets like WMB. I will quote just a portion where Jeremiah speaks for the LORD:"I have heard what the prophets have said who prophesy falsely in My name, saying, ‘I had a dream, I had a dream!’ How long? Is there anything in the hearts of the prophets who prophesy falsehood, even these prophets of the deception of their own heart, who intend to make My people forget My name by their dreams which they relate to one another, just as their fathers forgot My name because of Baal? The prophet who has a dream may relate his dream, but let him who has My word speak My word in truth. What does straw have in common with grain?” declares the Lord. “Is not My word like fire?” declares the Lord, “and like a hammer which shatters a rock? Therefore behold, I am against the prophets,” declares the Lord, “who steal My words from each other [as WMB did from false prophets such as Charles Taze Russell, Joseph Smith, Edgar Cayce and others]. Behold, I am against the prophets,” declares the Lord, “who use their tongues and declare, ‘The Lord declares [in other words, “thus saith the Lord].’ Behold, I am against those who have prophesied false dreams,” declares the Lord, “and related them and led My people astray by their falsehoods and reckless boasting; yet I did not send them or command them, nor do they furnish this people the slightest benefit,” declares the Lord.
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The Fourth Commandment
Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. . . For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.
(Exodus 20:8, 11)
The fourth commandment has two important elements to it:
In commemoration of Jesus' astounding gift to us in creating and providing for us, as well as in remembering that He too finished His work to enjoy the fruits of His labor (our redemption), God gives us the imperative to rest in Him, ceasing from our works of self-righteousness and resting in the atonement provided to us by Christ. It is very befitting that we, as Christians, follow the example given by God on the seventh day of creation, and to His people in the 10 Commandments, to take one day of the week to rest from our labors in the world and to refresh our bodies and renew our spiritual commitment to discipleship of Jesus. This takes the form of gathering with others of like Christian faith to honor and worship God, to meditate on His Word, escape from the constant allures of the world we still live in, and encourage one another to remain obedient to His commands. This is the closest taste we have in this world to what we will one day experience in our eternal, heavenly mansion. Enjoy and glorify God in it!
- That God created the heavens and the earth. The New Testament further acknowledges that the universe was created by Jesus Christ and for Him (Colossians 1).
- On the 7th day, He rested from all His work in creation.
William Branham was once asked what he thought about working on Sundays. He answered,I believe it's a sin to fish, and hunt, and work on Sunday when you can go to church. Now, I believe you're transgressing the laws of God. "Is there a commandment to such?" Yes, sir. Now, in the Old Testament we had a type of the Sabbath day. It was all… And Jesus did not come for you to keep Sabbath days. The old Sabbath day was Saturday, which was the end of the week. Sunday is the eighth day, or the first day of the week, which Jesus rose on. I do not believe it's right to… Now, if you're way away into a wilderness somewhere, and you're out there on a hunting trip, there's no church around, or anything like that, and there's nothing you can do; and if you was fishing, I believe that would be all right. But if you're around in the city, or around where church is going on, you should attend church by all means, somewhere. And I believe, as far as working, I believe if the ox is in the ditch, or something has to be done on Sunday, you go ahead and do it, if it's something that you couldn't help, it had to work that way. But if you just do it, and wait till Sunday to do it, or just do it like that, you're wrong. See? We must not do that, we must respect that holy day.
(“Questions And Answers #3,” August 30, 1964, message #64-0830M)
Why should we respect that holy day? And why is it holy? I think WMB misunderstood the reason for the Sabbath (which is Sunday in Christianity). He seemed to think that what makes the Sabbath holy is that is the day we take time off from work and go to church. Recreation seemed to be alright as long as it didn’t interfere with going to church. Although I agree with the view that we should not work on Sunday and that it’s a priority for us to go to a house of worship with fellow believers in Christ on that day, WMB missed the point of the Sabbath. He set it aside as a holy day but didn’t seem to know how to explain to his questioner the deeper meaning which makes it holy.
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The Fifth Commandment
Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the LORD your God gives you.
God created man in His image. Then He gave mankind the ability to procreate. As God's creation, we owe Him our highest honor. And as the offspring of our parents, we are instructed by God to honor and obey them as they were instructed to honor and obey God. If we've ever disobeyed our parents, talked back to them with disrespect, spoken badly about them to others, lied to them, etc., then we have dishonored our parents and consequently have dishonored God Himself. Some may think their parents are not worthy of honor, and I am so sorry for those of you who feel that way for whatever reason. But the fact is God didn't say to honor only those parents who we think deserve our honor and respect. Each one of us are to honor our parents because they are our parents and that is God's command to us. As to underscore the importance of the fifth commandment, the Apostle Paul points out that this is the first command with a promise (Ephesians 6:2).
When we honor our parents, we not only give them their due respect, but we honor God.
I don't have any personal knowledge of how William Branham related to his parents. He often told anecdotal stories of his homelife, many which contradict one another. One thing we do know, and that is his father was still alive when he allegedly saw his famous 7 major visions of 1933, and his mother was alive for many years after he started his public life as a prophet. We know that he fabricated many events leading to and following his commission. We know he gave conflicting details regarding several of his prophecies, both before and after he supposedly got saved. He lied to his public. And while his parents were still alive, we can only assume that they were among those of us who were deceived by his tall tales and false prophecies, unless they were in on his lies, in which case WMB dishonored them by bringing them in on his deception. In any case, WMB was dishonoring to his parents in a way most people could never be!
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The Sixth Commandment
You shall not murder.
Have you ever murdered anyone? You may say, "Of course not!" But have you ever been an active participant in an abortion? Or a case of euthanasia? These two acts, as merciful as one may feel about either for whatever reason, are murder in the eyes of God. God is the author of life, and only he has the right to take an innocent life from this earth. There is no biblical justification for aborting an unborn child or killing an incurably sick person. You may say you’ve never taken part in taking an innocent person’s life, but did you know that the Bible says, "Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him"? (1 John 3:15) Jesus said, "You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.' But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, 'You fool!' will be liable to the hell of fire" (Matthew 5:21-22)
Murder in God's eyes is more than the act of unjustly killing someone. It is holding strong feelings of malice or ill-will towards him. When we hold such contempt for another person in our hearts, we are in effect killing a relationship we have or may have with them. We are saying to them in our hearts, "Get out of my sight!" In God's eyes, that is no different than if we completed the act to rid that person from our presence by actually killing his body. Remember, we were made in God's image. That doesn't mean that we look like God, but that mankind by design is actually like God in certain respects. To hate a person is to hate a part of God's image. It's to hate in some way the actual nature of God Himself. We may say, "But I never hated anyone to their face." God knows our thoughts. He knows our hearts. He doesn't only judge our actions, but one day we will give account of our very thoughts!
While we have no reason to believe that William Branham ever murdered someone (though he once tried as a young man), it is possible that he, like all of us, has hated someone in his heart. Jesus equated that with murder. We can't get inside his head, but WMB made one statement that has proven alarming to both Message believers and non-Message believers. He once said,But I can remember when my father's still up there running, I had to be out there with water and stuff, see young ladies that wasn't over seventeen, eighteen years old, up there with men my age now, drunk. And they'd have to sober them up and give them black coffee, to get home to cook their husband's supper. Oh, something like that, I said, "I…" This was my remark then, "They're not worth a good clean bullet to kill them with it." That's right. And I hated women. That's right. And I just have to watch every move now, to keep from still thinking the same thing.
("My Life Story," sermon #59-0419A)
We may realize that WMB would never condone that anyone be killed because they were immoral, the problem is that he found himself feeling such contempt for "immoral women" throughout his life (often referring to them as "dog meat"). It is indeed wrong to think so lowly about another human being, but according to Jesus, that mindset alone is equal to murder. We can't say if WMB ever harbored such murder in his heart toward anyone in particular, but one must wonder why he would still have to fight the thought that an immoral woman is worth less than one of the squirrels he used to hunt.
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The Seventh Commandment
You shall not commit adultery.
Seems pretty self-explanatory. Or is it? Once again, the Bible goes deeper than a simple act of sin. Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Even if we never “go all the way,” the moment we entertain an improper thought, we are guilty in our hearts of the sin we have yet to even carry out. It’s not only the act that is sinful, it’s the very desire entertained in our minds that crosses the line between temptation and giving in. But don't think, “Well, as long as I thought it, I might as well do it.” The thought is a sin against God, but the act is against God, your own body, and the body of the one you’ve shared your sin with.
James said, "But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death." (James 1:14-15) David lusted after Bathsheba, and that lust gave birth to his sin against God which led to the further offense against everyone involved in the carrying out of his sin. At the point he desired to commit adultery, he had already committed the sin in his heart. After David acknowledged his sin (which included not only his affair, but the killing of Bathsheba's husband, Uriah), he said to God, "Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight" (Psalm 51:4). In his sin against his own body, against Bathsheba's, and Uriah's, David's overarching sin was his sin against the Lord.
The sin of adultery, whether in thought or deed, is first and foremost a sin against our holy and righteous God.
Did William Branham ever commit adultery? I have never heard that he did, but if he’s human, it’s almost 100% likely that he has in his heart (Matthew 5:28). But what could the Seventh Commandment have to do with WMB’s Message? The answer lies in WMB’s understanding of how mankind fell. WMB believed and taught that the Fall of man was a result of Eve having committed adultery; Not as we think of adultery, but with the Serpent in the Garden of Eden. Message believers refer to this doctrine as “Serpent’s Seed.” But there is a fatal flaw in his view of the Fall. Can you spot it? Here’s what the Bible says about the creation of man:God made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind; and God saw that it was good. Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. (Genesis 1:25-27)
Did you notice that on the sixth day the Bible makes a distinction between all the animals and mankind? Adam and Eve were human. They were not beasts of the field. They were not birds, they were not fish. They were mankind. And what was the serpent? Was the serpent human? Even WMB stated that the serpent was so close to being human that he could have sex with Eve. But he still was not human. He was a beast of the field. Have you figured it out yet?
Adultery happens when a married man has sex with someone who is not his wife, or when a married woman has sex with a man who is not her husband. If there had been another man on earth besides Adam, then Eve could have committed adultery with him. But the Bible doesn’t say there were any other human beings in the Garden of Eden besides Adam and Eve. Eve could not have committed adultery with the serpent because the serpent was an animal. Humans having sex with animals is not called adultery. It’s bestiality. The Bible makes a clear distinction between the sexual sins of adultery and bestiality:‘If there is a man who commits adultery with another man’s wife, one who commits adultery with his friend’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death. (Leviticus 20:10)
And you shall not lie with any animal and so make yourself unclean with it, neither shall any woman give herself to an animal to lie with it: it is perversion. (Leviticus 18:23)
WMB didn’t know the distinction between adultery and bestiality. He thought the 7th Commandment included sleeping with animals. WMB could not have been a prophet of the Lord if he didn’t understand the Law of the Lord!
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The Eighth Commandment
You shall not steal.
Have you ever stolen anything, no matter how small? Most people say something like, "Yeah, when I was a kid I took a stick of gum from my sister," or something seemingly trivial like that. At what age is stealing not really considered stealing? At what monetary value is an object which is taken without permission not stealing? Have you ever made a copy of a friend's record or CD? Downloaded copyrighted music or literature from the internet without permission? Have you ever taken a longer paid break on the job than you were entitled to? Or have you ever called in sick to work when you weren't really sick to enjoy a paid day off, or stood around gossiping or shooting the breeze while being paid to work? Have you ever kept a pen, a Post-it pad, or anything supplied by your employer that wasn't yours? Have you ever fudged on your taxes in order to pay less than you were legally allowed? Or failed to return a book you borrowed and have long since forgotten who you borrowed it from? Have you ever used someone else's work or research and presented it as your own in a paper you've written or a Website you've constructed? These are all examples of stealing which God explicitly tells us not to do. What is a person who steals things called? If you have done any of these things, what does that make you? A thief; a transgressor of God's Law. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 says:Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.
Stealing anything, no matter how small, is a serious offense to God. If God is the giver of every good gift, then all which is legally ours was given to us by God. When we take something that belongs to someone else, we are stealing that which God intended for that person to own. It's not a good thing to take what God wants someone else to have! It's serious enough to keep people out of the Kingdom!
Was William Branham a thief? Some may say the incident when he was found to have been evading taxes would be an example of theft. But there is another example that is much more subtle. He stole his Message from someone else--actually from many someone elses! Many of his "revelations" were taken from other sects, cults, and even Christian teachers. He plagiarized the ideas and teachings of others who preceded him. Plagiarism is a form of theft in which the plagiarist takes the ideas, research, and/or writings of someone else and presents them as his own. WMB did that many times. For a few examples, the story of the first appearance of his angel to him is almost identical to the Mormon prophet Joseph Smith's (see, "Was William Branham's Angel Moroni?"). WMB's view of Jesus was taken from the Jehovah's Witnesses (see, "Michael the Archangel Was Christ"). One of his most egregious acts of plagiarism was in claiming as "revelation" large portions of Clarence Larkin's teachings on the "Seven Church Ages" (see, "A Refutation of William Marrion Branham," by Ken Jacobsen).
William Branham was a plagiarist. As such, he was in violation of the Eighth Commandment.
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The Ninth Commandment
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
What does it mean to bear false witness? It means to say something as if it were true when it is not. In a court of law, if you lie on the stand, you are bearing false witness which is a step towards injustice in a trial. It may be motivated by a desire to see someone convicted (whether deserved or not), or to see them escape the arm of justice. In any case, a liar in court (also known as a perjurer) bears false witness against his neighbor who is on trial. But that isn’t the only way a person bears false witness. It may also come in the form of gossip when repeating a false rumor about someone. Or, it may be when you tell a lie to someone, which is a way of deceitfully concealing the truth from that person. It happens when you use the work or research of someone else and present it as your own in a paper you've written or Website you've constructed. Anyone who bears false witness is a liar, and the Bible says that all liars will have their part in the lake of fire (Revelation 21:8).
The bottom line is, bearing false witness against one’s neighbor is an assault on that person as one made in God’s image. It’s an assault on the truth. And most importantly, it’s an assault on God, the Father of Truth.
Did William Branham ever bear false witness? That is undeniable. One only has to read about his many false prophecies, his numerous conflicting accounts of various events that supposedly happened in his life, and the instances of his plagiarism (which is making the claim that other people's ideas, research or writing is one's own. For examples of WMB's acts of plagiarism, see our discussion of the Eighth Commandment above). Who were the victims of his countless fabrications and ever changing, contradictory embellishments to so many of his personal anecdotes? His victims were his friends, his followers, and his audiences. He bore false witness against everyone who ever listened to him speak or read what he said. But worst of all, in presenting himself as a prophet with a "Message" from God, he bore false witness against Yahweh who cannot lie and does not tolerate liars. WMB's Message was one long violation of the Ninth Commandment.
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The Tenth Commandment
You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his male servant,
or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor's.
Is it wrong to desire anything? No, the Bible tells us that we should desire many things; treasures in heaven, righteousness, good friends, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. But what God tells us not to desire are those things that belong exclusively to someone else. It is a selfish desire to own something we have no right to own. From “Discover the Word”:The Hebrew word used here [for "covet"] is chamad, and it simply means "desire," but in the tenth commandment it is evil desire. This is the reason the translators of the Old Testament into Greek (the Septuagint) chose to translate chamad with the Greek word meaning "lust, passionate longing." When we talk about the tenth commandment, we have to distinguish legitimate desires from evil desires.
The Tenth Commandment tells us not to have a desire to have something that the Lord has not given to us and which belongs to someone else. When we covet something that belongs to someone else, we are expressing dissatisfaction with what God has graciously given us, turning to a strong to desire to have another's possessions. In a sense, such a selfish covetousness is a precursor to theft. We cannot steal what doesn’t belong to us unless we have a sinful desire to have it. The Bible says that every good and perfect gift comes from God. To covet something that belongs to our neighbor is to spurn God’s providence and desire that which does not come from God, and is therefore the opposite of a good and perfect gift. It is a desire to have a bad, flawed possession. It is, in fact, to desire forbidden fruit. Praise God for giving us what we have need of, not what feeds our selfish hearts!
"By studying or meditating on the law of God, we attend the school of righteousness. We learn what pleases God and what offends Him. The moral law that God reveals in Scripture is always binding upon us. Our redemption is from the curse of God's law, not from our duty to obey it. We are justified, not because of our obedience to the law, but in order that we may become obedient to God's law. To love Christ is to keep His commandments. To love God is to obey His law." --R. C. Sproul
"If you love me, keep my commandments." --Jesus
What should we expect a prophet of the Lord to say about God's commandments? What should we expect that prophet to teach regarding Jesus' commands? What did William Branham teach on the 10 Commandments of God? Here is WMB's only commentary on the 10th Commandment out of over 1,100 sermons:"Our character, our demoralization in the days that we're living in now! Israel had dropped into that same rut and was also immoral. They had forgot the laws of God, 'Thou shalt not commit adultery, and thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife,' and so forth. They had forgotten those laws. They—they—they didn't want it any more. And they—they wanted to—to be like the rest of the world, just like the church has got today." (Spiritual Amnesia, sermon #64-0411)
Was the 10th Commandment important to WMB? We have only his lifestyle and his Message by which to gain a clue. By observing either one, there is insufficient evidence that WMB--a prophet supposedly sent to clothe the Bride of Christ in holiness--cherished and obeyed the 10th Commandment.
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So what should we expect a prophet of the Lord to say about God's commandments? What should we expect that prophet to teach regarding Jesus' commands? We know what Moses thought about the Ten Commandments--He took God's dictation of the original list! After taking a look them and comparing them to what William Branham believed and taught, we can see he was not on the same page as Moses. Therefore, we must conlude that WMB could not have been a prophet of God.
Have you kept all 10 of God's commandments? Take a quick test at NeedGod.com to find out where you stand with Yahweh, our Creator.
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