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1 John 1:7 states:
- But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
William Branham believed that this passage taught if Christians did not walk in the light for their age, there was no forgiveness for sins. But is this what scripture really teaches?
The message of the hour
The Bible does not contain the phrase - "the message of the hour". Neither does it refer to the "light of the hour", "light of the age", "word of the hour" or other similar expressions that were used by William Branham (see quotes below). These phrases that were so important to William Branham, in fact, have no basis in scripture.
Where did the concept come from"
We have proved that William Branham borrowed some of his teaching of the Seven Seals from Charles Taze Russell. It is interesting to note that Russell also used the phrase "the message of the hour":
- [Revelation] 3:4. BUT thou hast a few names [even] in Sardis which have not defiled their garments. — But have given due heed to the Message of the hour, the Ransom.
What does 1 John 1:7 mean?
This passage reveals three things that are bound together in the Word of God and that cannot be separated. These are:
- Walking in the light.
- Fellowship one with another.
- Cleansing by the blood of Jesus.
A question that must be asked is this - What is the status of people who claim the cleansing and protection of the blood, but who do not lead the kind of life that entitled them to receive it.
According to 1 John 1:7, the blood of Jesus Christ cleansing us is a consequence that follows after we have met a condition introduced by the word if: “If we are walking in the light.” Then two results follow:
- First, we have fellowship one with another and,
- Second, the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin.
Certain logical conclusions follow:
- If we are not walking in fellowship with our fellow believers, that is evidence that we are not walking in the light.
- And if we are not walking in the light, again, logically, it follows that we cannot claim the cleansing of the blood of Jesus.
- So we come to this conclusion: If we are out of fellowship, we are out of the light.
- And if we are out of the light, the blood no longer cleanses us. The blood of Jesus cleanses only in the light.
Unfortunately, many Christians deceive themselves about their right of access to the blood. They keep quoting the latter part of 1 John 1:7, but in many cases they have never fulfilled the condition preceded by “if ”: walking in the light as He is in the light.
Thus, the evidence that we are walking in the light is that we are in fellowship one with another: Out of fellowship, out of the light. Out of the light, no longer under the cleansing of the blood of Jesus.
Fellowship is two-directional. First, with God and, second, with our fellow believers. This makes fellowship with God, and with one another, of unique significance in our lives. The closer our fellowship, the brighter the light. As we mature in Christ, we come to a place where there are no longer any shadows, no dark corners, nothing swept under the rug, nothing covered up.
That is a very frightening place for the natural man! It is a place of transparency. But that is the only place where the blood of Jesus completely fulfills its function of cleansing. To claim the cleansing of the blood of Jesus without fulfilling these prior conditions is to make the blood cheap, and the blood of Jesus is not cheap. It is the most precious thing in the universe.
My dear brother or sister, you have no alternative but to come to the light. What does it mean to come to the light? Confess your sins, first to God and then to any person against whom you have sinned. Bring everything out into the open.
Is that a difficult thing for people to do? The answer is yes! The light seems so bright. We tend to recoil from it, saying: I could never bring that terrible thing out into the open—that awful memory, that guilty secret, that enslaving habit—I could not expose it to the light. The natural man shrinks from it. But the wonderful secret is this: When your sin is exposed to the light, the blood of Jesus washes it away and everything is clean.
God actually says this in Jeremiah 31:34: “I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”
God does not have a bad memory, but He does have a supernatural “eraser” that blots out the memory of sin once it has been forgiven.
On the other hand, if you do not bring your sin into the light, your sin remains. Consider once again this tremendous principle: The blood of Jesus cleanses only in the light.
Suppose that we have met the conditions: We are walking in the light, and we are in fellowship with our fellow believers. Then we have the right to make this testimony: The blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, is cleansing me, now and continually, from all sin.
It is very important to see that this is a continuing present tense. The blood cleanses continually as we walk continually in the light. They are two ongoing operations. Continuing to walk in the light, we continue to receive the cleansing of the blood. This is the total cleansing work of the blood.
So walking in the light has nothing to do with following William Branham's message but it has everything to do with loving your brothers and sisters in Christ.
The sad thing about the message is that it rarely reflects real love. You are accepted and "loved", if you agree with your church and with William Branham. But if you ask questions about the message, then there is no love and only rejection. This is not real love. This is not God's love.
Remember the words of Jesus in Luke 6:
- If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
Do message believers exhibit true Christian love? Agape love?
Look at how they treat those that disagree with them. Isn't the answer obvious?
Did William Branham add to the Bible?
William Branham stated:
- There is something wrong with your experience, when you say that you love God and refuse His Word. There is something. You refuse the very… No wonder the things can't, the church is in its condition, and things cannot be done as God promised, is because you won't even receive the Word or walk in the Light. The Bible said, "Let us walk in the Light, as He is in the Light, then the Blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son, cleanses us from all sin." Sin is "unbelief."
- Then if we are walking in the God-given Light of the hour, then God takes that Word that's given for the hour and vindicates It.
John 1:7 makes no reference to walking in the "light of the hour". Why would William Branham point to himself and make belief in his message be the only thing that fulfills this scripture?
William Branham even dared to compare himself to Jesus Christ. He called Jesus Christ the "light of the hour" and then he went on to tell everyone that the message of William Branham was the message of the hour for today.
But this is not what 1 John 1:7 is talking about. It is not talking about following William Branham or any other man's message. It is talking about following Jesus Christ as the apostle John tells us:
- And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them.
Quotes of William Branham
Yes, sir, they believed, all the way along. So does Satan. Those Pharisees, who could condemn them, not believing? But they didn’t believe the Word for the hour. They were worshiping the glare of something else. It’s the same thing they’re doing today. See? They’re keeping up Luther’s predict-…traditions, or—or Wesley’s traditions, and the rest of them, the Pentecostal tradition. But what of the hour?
And to you man that's listening to this, across the world, wherever you may be. There is something wrong with your experience, when you say that you love God and refuse His Word. There is something. You refuse the very… No wonder the things can't, the church is in its condition, and things cannot be done as God promised, is because you won't even receive the Word or walk in the Light. The Bible said, "Let us walk in the Light, as He is in the Light, then the Blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son, cleanses us from all sin." Sin is "unbelief." Then if we are walking in the God-given Light of the hour, then God takes that Word that's given for the hour and vindicates It.
How would you know what's right? The manifestation of the spoken Word of God being made manifest, Light of the hour. Certainly. There is what the evidence of the Holy Spirit is, believing the Word of God when It's manifested. He was the Word, manifested. And some of them denied It, laughed at It, made fun of Him and called Him a—a fortuneteller, some evil spirit; there is evidence, speaking in tongues, there is evidence of the fruits. The only evidence there is, is when man believe the written Word. When It's vindicated, walk in the Light of It. Jesus was the Light of the hour because He was the promised Word of the hour, and tried to tell them so, but they were too—too much in darkness to understand It. So is it, today, now.
He was the same One was in all the apostles. And He is the same One that was in Jesus Christ, to manifest Himself there for that promised Word. And He is the same God today, the same Word, throwing Light upon the Word of the hour. God be merciful to us! Yes, sir. Believing God to interpret Himself, every Word to be vindicated! Yes, He is His Own interpreter.
The prophets were part of the Word. Jesus said they were called 'gods.' And they were, as long as the Word of God was brought to them. He said, "How can you condemn Me when I say I'm the Son of God? And—and, you, those… It's written in your law, 'those who the Word of the Lord come to,' you called them 'gods.'" See, the… It wasn't the prophets; it was the Word of God. And it's same thing now. And it was Jesus, same thing, the Word of God made manifest. And that is always the Light of the hour.
But this Pharisee, think of it, religious as he could be, and Jesus said, "You are of your father the devil, and his works you'll do." Religious man, belonged to fine, high orders. And Jesus called them, "Snakes in the grass, and devils." They rejected the Light of the hour. That's exactly what it was. Jesus in His age, what was He? Just like the prophets of their age, each one of them was God's Word being interpreted for that age. Moses was God's Word, interpreted. God said, "I'll send down there, and I'll deliver them. I'm sending you down with My Word. I'll do great signs and wonders." He did it. Mary, she was God's Word, interpreted. "A virgin shall conceive." That was God's Word, interpreted...
Geographically, and also in the material, the scene is set. Isn't it time for God to come back in human flesh, "the Word that's sharper than a two-edged sword, and a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart," to appear on the scene, to make Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today, and forever! It's a promised Word that's been lotted for this day. We are living in this day, and God is here with us, to manifest that and make it true.'
And the greatest robbery that the church of Jesus Christ ever had, is a false light, a glare of some other age, when God is trying to inject, or project, to the people, the Light of the hour.
You’ve got to come to one thing to believe: you’re either going to believe God, you’re going to believe your church, you’re going to believe the world, you’re…You cannot mix it together. And you can’t hold to them old things that the other church before you did. You’ve got to take the Message of the hour.
If you are true seed, you will hear that Word; the Spirit will baptize you into the body of Christ, filling you and empowering you, and you will receive the Word for your day and age. See how clear the true evidence becomes when the Word is revealed to you? 
In every church age we hear these words, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” The Spirit gives the Word. If you have the Spirit you will hear the Word for your age, as those true Christians took the Word for their age.
- The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), 1 Jn 1:7.
- Russell, Charles Taze, The Finished Mystery, Edited by C. J. Woodworth and George H. Fisher, Peoples Pulpit Association, Brooklyn, N. Y., U. S. A., 1917
- Derek Prince, War in Heaven: God’s Epic Battle with Evil (Grand Rapids, MI: Chosen, 2003).
- The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), Lk 6:32–36.
- William Branham, 63-1229M - There Is A Man Here That Can Turn On The Light, para. 89
- The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), 1 Jn 3:23–24.
- William Branham, 63-1229M - There Is A Man Here That Can Turn On The Light, para. 136
- William Branham, 63-1229M - There Is A Man Here That Can Turn On The Light, para. 88-89
- William Branham, 64-0119 - Shalom, para. 143
- William Branham, 64-0126 - What Shall We Do With This Jesus Called Christ?, para. 111
- William Branham, 64-0318 - Sir, We Would See Jesus, para. 40
- William Branham, 64-0401 - The Identified Christ Of All Ages, para. 77-80, 167
- William Branham, 64-0415 - Christ Is Identified The Same In All Generations, para. 122
- William Branham, 65-1207 - Leadership, para. 159
- William Branham, An Exposition Of The Seven Church Ages - 4 - The Smyrnaean Church Age
- William Branham, An Exposition Of The Seven Church Ages - 5 - The Pergamean Church Age