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William Branham states:
- Jesus said, "How can two walk together 'less they be agreed?"
But of course, Jesus didn't say this, the prophet Amos did.
William Branham's interpretation of Amos 3:3 emphasized that God did not want people to be in unity when they had a basic disagreement about some important matter. For example, he said that God could never be among the United Nations because people in different nations were too different from one another in their views.
Is this really what the Bible teaches?
What the Bible actually says
William Branham took his interpretation on a direct reading of the KJV which reads:
- Can two walk together, except they be agreed?
But this must be compared to the underlying Greek which is clearly reflected in more recent translations:
- Do two walk together, unless they have agreed to meet?
- Do two men walk together unless they have made an appointment?
- Do two people start travelling together without arranging to meet?
- Do two walk together without having met?
Even more telling is the Septuagint version (the ancient Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament which Jesus and the disciples often quoted) which reads:
Shall two walk together at all, if they do not know one another?
Two people might meet by accident; but if they travel together, it was probably planned. Nothing could be simpler. The basis, the relation between the two, could be anything, as could the aim of the trip. Those details have nothing to do with the point. There is no warrant for making the riddle into an elaborate allegory. In the series that follows, the “two things” that go together are more specific, and the relations between them are quite varied. One thing accompanies another or perhaps triggers it. The first one is not the generalized case, for the ensuing pairs are not linked by prior arrangement. As in Sesame Street, things go together, the roaring of a lion and the taking of prey; the bird comes down because someone set a lure; the trap is sprung because the bird triggers it. The shofar is blown because there is alarm in a city; or perhaps there is alarm because the trumpet is blown. The statements are banal. The twist is in the last one. The two statements about the lion are parallel; the two statements about the bird are similar. Wisdom statements about animals and birds are often thinly veiled figures of human conduct.
Two persons never walk together without first having met one another. Of course, two people may well also “make an appointment” to traverse a long distance together on trails across the steppe or on lonely paths between settlements in the sparsely settled areas of cultivated land. The process designated by “to meet” (יעד nip˓al) means simply an encountering, a situation calling for a mutual greeting and an exchange of questions regarding origin and destination. Apparently it is only this most self-evident truth for which Amos seeks assent: two separate people cannot journey together without first having met one another.
It is clear that Amos 3:3 is not saying what William Branham taught that it said. He misinterpreted the passage in an attempt to use it as a proof text.
Quotes of William Branham
Take a good man and a bad woman and put them together; one will go to the other. It'll either become a bad man or a good woman. You... Two cannot walk together except they be agreed.
How can God be amongst the U.N., when two can't walk without they agree? Now, looky here. There's the Church of Christ, so-called, joined up with the Pentecostals. The Pentecosts say they believe in speaking in tongues; they believe in the evidence of the Holy Ghost, speaking in tongues. They say they believe in this, that, and the other; they believe in signs and wonders. The Church of Christ laughs at them and said, "You bunch of ignoramuses; that was in the days gone by." How can two walk together 'less they be agreed? And they joined together. What they doing? They are seeking safety with one another. Away with such stuff. My safety's in Christ and in His Word, for His Word is Hisself.
Today we think, "Well, now, if we can all get together in the unity there is, or in a council, 'the multitude of counsel there is safety.'" That is true, but what kind of a multitude are you counseling in? How can you walk together? How can you throw these denominations together? Some of them believers, and some unbelievers, and some make-believers, how you going to put them together and walk together? "How can two walk together except they be agreed?" it's also written. Look at here what they do, they make themself a multitude.
This great council has moved around, to unite all the Protestants together, this ecumenical move. And what is it doing? It's blackening out the very Word, itself, and the Word is Christ. How can they do? When, the Christian Science, and United Brethren, and many of them people in other great organizations, some believe the virgin birth, some don't, some believe this and that. How can you join yourself with unbelief? "How can two walk together unless they be agreed?" Come out from among them and be separated, and take God's Holy Word and stay by It.
Jesus Christ is obligated to manifest His Word. The thing we need today is a rising of Malachi 4. Another prophet will rise in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and will produce exactly what He promised to do. Then, man blindly will forsake It and walk right into the darkness, as they've always did.
What is it? Joining in with the ecclesiastical bunch. The--the ecumenical move, and with the World Council of Churches, has drove every man... What does that thing stand for? Why, you have to surrender all your evangelical teachings and things. "How can two walk together 'less they be agreed?" They can't. Jesus said they can't. And how can a church, the Methodist and Baptists walk together? How can the Church of Christ walk with the Presbyterians? How can the Catholic walk with the Protestant? How can Protestant walk with Protestant?
But the Bride can walk with the Word, which is Christ. It must be in agreement. Not the ecclesiastical system; but the Word. You have to agree with the Word, to walk with the Word. Jesus said so. That makes it right.
Jesus said, "How can two walk together 'less they be agreed?" How you going to take Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian, and Catholic, and throw it all together and be one? You might be one under man's head, but Jesus said, "That they might be one even as--as I and You are one." Now, He wants us all to be one in Him which is the Word! Amen! There it is, "One with the Father." And the Father is the Son, is the same. And it's the same Word, the Word manifested, displaying Itself in this day as It did in any other day, that you might be one.
And now we see this forced religion, right in view now, to bring all the little groups into "one great unity," they call it. Some of them believe in this, and some believe in that; and some deny this, and some deny that. The Bible said, "How can two walk together except they be agreed?" It'll never work. We've got to be in an agreement. And what in agreement with what? Not in agreement with one another, as much as we've got to be in agreement with the Word, with God. That's what it's got to be in the agreement with.
Then how can the Bride of Christ associate in a denomination, when one is disobedient and the other obedient? How can one, be the Word; and the other one, perverted word? How can a prostitute and a clean woman walk together in agreement? They can't do it. They have no fellowship at all. "Come out from amongst them!" It's of the devil. It's the mark of the beast. Heading right into it now; all denominations. I don't care whose it is.
- The Holy Bible: King James Version, Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version. (Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2009), Am 3:3–4.
- The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Am 3:3.
- New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995), Am 3:3.
- American Bible Society, The Holy Bible: The Good News Translation, 2nd ed. (New York: American Bible Society, 1992), Am 3:3.
- Biblical Studies Press, The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible (Biblical Studies Press, 2006), Am 3:3
- Lancelot Charles Lee Brenton, The Septuagint Version of the Old Testament: English Translation (London: Samuel Bagster and Sons, 1870), Am 3:3–4.
- Francis I. Andersen and David Noel Freedman, Amos: a New Translation with Introduction and Commentary, vol. 24A, Anchor Yale Bible (New Haven; London: Yale University Press, 2008), 394.
- Hans Walter Wolff, Joel and Amos: a Commentary on the Books of the Prophets Joel and Amos, ed. S. Dean McBride, Hermeneia—a Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1977), 184.
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