This article is one in a series of studies on the doctrines of William Branham that pointed to himself - you are currently on the article that is in bold:
One of the "keystone" verses in the message is Luke 17:30:
William Branham believed that he was the person of the son of man being revealed.
William Branham's interpretation of Luke 17:30
William Branham taught that Luke 17:30, Malachi 4:5 and Revelation 10:7 were all fulfilled in the same person, himself.
William Branham continually points to this reference to Sodom and emphasizes that Sodom was destroyed for their sexual immorality and homosexuality. He frequently types this behavior to that of the modern church, equating the way people dress, the immorality of the world today, and of churches to that of Sodom.
What does that Bible actually say?
Does the Bible teach that Luke 17:30 is a prophecy that is to be fulfilled just prior to the coming of Christ?
The Bible is not a book that can be taken lightly. The integrity of the Bible is at stake if we dismiss these clearly worded statements of time. As students of the Bible, we are obligated to take God at His word, even when it contradicts what we’ve been taught by popular prophecy writers.
The context of Luke 17:30
First, let's make sure we get additional context by reading more of Luke 17. In this case, we are quoting the NLT, but you can see this plainly in the KJV as well:
Other references to Sodom
Notice that this passage in Luke 17 doesn't really refer to any specific sins committed in Sodom, but rather, types the experience in Sodom to what will happen when Jesus returns. Essentially, people will be carrying on with their normal business and they will be caught off-guard; His return will be a surprise. The specific sins of Sodom don't really seem to matter in this context, however, at first glance it's easy to see how Brother Branham's teaching could be inferred from this scripture....or can it? What does the Bible say elsewhere about Sodom's sins?
What is Ezekiel saying?
According to Ezekiel, Sodom's sins were pride, gluttony, and laziness while the poor and needy sufferd outside her door. Now, I'm not trying to condone or justify immorality, homosexuality, and perversion here: those things are obviously very wrong. However, according to this passage in Ezekiel those things were not the core reasons that God destroyed Sodom.
As a result, what William Branham says in relation to Luke 17:30 doesn't include the full picture. The passage is about people being caught off guard and surprised by Jesus' return. The core sins of Sodom according to Ezekiel were pride, gluttony, and laziness, while neglecting the poor and needy. Sexual perversion was also present as indicated by Jude but it was only part of the picture. As always, the entirety of scripture must be examined to get a true picture.
Trying to type the modern church to Sodom and tying it into Luke 17:30 requires significant twisting of the scriptures. In fact, the very things that Sodom was guilty of in Ezekiel are manifest abundantly within the message, even more so than they are in most "worldly" churches.
While William Branham stated that Sodom was destroyed because of sexual immorality, that's not the whole picture. He missed the context of Luke 17:30 which clearly aligns more with the passage in Eziekiel.
No area of scripture breeds more speculation than the end times. Some give their lives trying to figure out the “signs of the times” and just how close we may be to the end. Elaborate theories about how it will all unwind attempt to bring together huge sections of the Scripture into a unified scenario.
William Branham even set the date for Christ’s return (see 1977), something Scripture warns against (Mark 13:32; Acts 1:6–8).
On the other end are those who view such effort as a waste of time and energy. God knows how it will turn out, so we just should do what we are called to do in the meantime.
Both approaches are overreactions. It is hard to take the Bible seriously if one ignores its discussion about the end, since a significant portion of the Bible touches on eschatological themes about the promises of God. The only way for us to make sense of life today is to appreciate where the future is going. Scripture outlines that future, not with detailed dates, but with a general outline of what is to come. That outline is designed not to have us prepare charts, but to prepare our hearts. The return of Jesus is serious business, a time when God will be engaged in definitive judgment.
Jesus talks about the end in grim terms and gruesome detail to make clear how serious an issue judgment is for God. Judgment means accountability. In a society that tends to view adults as accountable only to themselves and their own consciences, it is a critical reminder that God does hold us responsible for our actions. That is why Jesus in the parable of Luke 18:1–8 asks if he will find faith on the earth when he returns. Those who recognize their accountability to God will go through life with circumspection. To ignore the end is to risk forgetting accountability. The world is headed towards an end when many will simply engage in life without concern for God. It will be like the days of Noah and Lot. That many end up spiritually disengaged from God should not surprise us. That does not mean that we should give up in trying to share the gospel with those who are simply traveling through life. Too much is at stake to simply ignore our neighbors. When the Lord returns to exercise judgment, there will be no second chance. For those who are his, the blessed rule of his kingdom will last forever; but for those who miss out, it is an opportunity missed forever. The passage closes with the bleak image of the vultures gathered, not because there is joy in the judgment to come, but because the tragedy is all too real. This text screams to every person to choose wisely when it comes to the things of God. There is too much at stake to make an erroneous choice.
Furthermore, every moment until the Lord returns is an opportunity to be God’s instrument in changing the destiny of someone who does not yet know him. God is delaying the day of judgment, being patient and allowing time for others to come to him (2 Peter 3:9). Thus the moments that remain should motivate the church to be the vessel through which others come to see and enjoy the grace of God.
Quotes of William Branham
What did He do to Sarah and Abraham? After He went on down to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, and the Angels come down there, seen that perverted generation of people, just like we're getting today... Look at the papers and things, how they're packing, how perversion people is on the move because men can't be satisfied with one wife, and he's living with every thing, every woman that he can run around with, and women the same way. And it's become just like the sin of Sodom. On the increase, till the government's full of them; the nation's full of them. This West Coast is contaminated with it. I get thousands of letters from up-and-down this coast of men and women and things, done stepped across the line, perverted, giving them the mind of--of that type. Notice, what a pitiful thing it is. Not a remedy or medicine in the world can cure it: only God.
...Notice, same Pillar of Fire sent to Moses and to Paul, that wrote the Bible, now sent to reveal It. The grace of God, the unchanging God, fulfilling the promises of Matthew 28, "Lo, I am with you always"; fulfilling Saint John 14:12, "The works that I do, you also"; fulfilling Saint Luke 17:28-29, "In the last days the Son of man will be revealed," see, see; Malachi 4, "Behold, I send to you Elijah the prophet, that will restore the Faith of the people back to the original Word." See? How this... See? Oh, my!
...Promised at the church age, come through with "not even night or day," but in the evening time when the Son of man would be revealed. It would come again. "It shall be Light at the evening time." See? What does He do? Prove His Word.
Now look back, did He come as a virgin, did He come as they said, through the virgin, rather? Did He come just exactly the way He said? Watch today, He proved His Word regardless of how many athiests, infidels, indifference, He still come right on, proved His Word. Here we are, come through this age of all churches and things, got away like they did from Malachi up to the coming of Christ. All the prophets and things had ceased, and they had got into dignitaries and so forth, but, just exactly, look what kind of a character He sent. Just exactly the Elijah, a hater of immoral women, and put on a lot of paint, powders and makeups and all that stuff there. And clergymen, he slayed them right and left. Coming out of the wilderness, pulled no strings with none of them, and said, "The Messiah's on the road. I'll know Him when He come, I'll introduce Him. Amen. Don't you begin to think you belong to this or that." Just the same as Elijah did!
"And then the righteous shall walk out upon the--the wicked, ashes." They'll burn like an oven, see, the earth will. We see it's going to fall in yonder. And volcanic will spread across the earth, and the heavens will be on fire.
You said it would repeat again when the whole Gentile world would be in a Sodom condition. And we're here, Lord. Other prophecies confirming the same thing, of sending Elijah in the last days, the Spirit of Elijah upon the earth, to bring the hearts of the fathers, or, "the children back to the fathers." And I pray, God, that this hour that You will confirm Your Word, that You are the same yesterday, today, and forever. Grant it, Father. They are all Yours. I pray that You'll grant these blessings and confirm what's been said, for the Glory of God. In the Name of Jesus Christ. Amen.