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William Branham taught his followers that they are junior gods. Is this scripturally correct?
What William Branham taught
William Branham taught that his followers were amateur gods, little gods or messiahettes... little messiahs. This is similar to other "Word-Faith" leaders like Paul Crouch, who said on a Trinity Broadcasting Network program, “We are gods. I am a little god. I have his name. I am one with him.” ...or Casey Treat, the pastor of Seattle’s Christian Faith Center, who said, “When God looks in the mirror, he sees me! When I look in the mirror, I see God!”
Kenneth Hagin, another faith healer, said, “You are as much the incarnation of God as Jesus Christ was.” Morris Cerullo said, “You’re not looking at Morris Cerullo — you’re looking at God. You’re looking at Jesus.”
What the Bible says
Genesis 1:26–27 states humanity was created in God’s image or likeness in the sense that a human being is a finite reflection of God in rational nature (Col. 3:10), in moral nature (Eph. 4:24), and in dominion over creation (Gen. 1:27–28). In the same way that the moon reflects the brilliant light of the sun, so finite humanity (as created in God’s image) is a limited reflection of God in these aspects. This verse has nothing to do with human beings becoming God or being in God’s “class.”
If it were true that human beings are “little gods,” then one would expect them to display qualities similar to those known to be true of God. However, when one compares the attributes of humankind with those of God, we find ample testimony for the truth of Paul’s statement in Romans 3:23 that human beings “fall short of the glory of God.” Consider:
- God is all-knowing (Isa. 40:13–14), but a human being is limited in knowledge (Job 38:4);
- God is all-powerful (Rev. 19:6), but a human being is weak (Heb. 4:15);
- God is everywhere-present (Ps. 139:7–12), but a human being is confined to a single space at a time (John 1:50);
- God is holy (1 John 1:5), but even human “righteous” deeds are as filthy garments before God (Isa. 64:6);
- God is eternal (Ps. 90:2), but humanity was created at a point in time (Gen. 1:1, 26–27);
- God is truth (John 14:6), but a human heart (since the Fall) is deceitful above all else (Jer. 17:9);
- God is characterized by justice (Acts 17:31), but humankind is lawless (1 John 3:4; see also Rom. 3:23);
- God is love (Eph. 2:4–5), but human relationships are plagued with numerous vices like jealousy and strife (1 Cor. 3:3).
John 10:34 states:
- Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I said, you are gods’? 35 If he called them gods to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be broken— 36 do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?
This text should not be used to support the view that we are (or can become) little gods, for such an interpretation is contrary to the overall context. Jesus is not speaking to pantheists (who believe that God is everything and everything is God) or polytheists (who believe in many gods). Rather, he is addressing strict Jewish monotheists who believe that only the Creator of the universe is God. So, his statement should not be wrenched out of this monotheistic context and given a pantheistic or polytheistic twist.
Jesus’ statement must be understood as part of his overall reasoning here which is an a fortiori argument: “If God even called human judges ‘gods,’ then how much more can I call myself the Son of God.” Christ had just pronounced himself one with the Father, saying, “I and My Father are one” (10:30). The Jews wanted to stone him because they thought Christ was blaspheming, making himself out to be equal with God (vv. 31–33). Jesus responded by quoting Psalm 82:6 which says, “I said, you are gods.” So, Jesus reasoned, if human judges could be called “gods,” then why can’t the Son of God be called “God”?
Note that not everyone is called “gods” but only a special class of persons, namely, judges about whom Jesus said, they are those to “whom the word of God came” (v. 35). Jesus was showing that if the Old Testament Scriptures could give some divine status to divinely appointed judges, why should they find it incredible that he should call himself the Son of God?
These judges were “gods” in the sense that they stood in God’s place, judging even life and death matters. They were not called “gods” because they were divine beings. Indeed, the text Jesus cites (Ps. 82) goes on to say that they were “mere men” and would “die” (v. 7). It also affirms that they were “the sons of the Most High,” but not because they were of the essence of God himself.
It is possible, as many scholars believe, that when the psalmist Asaph said to the unjust judges, “You are gods,” he was speaking in irony. He was saying, “I have called you ‘gods,’ but in fact you will die like the men that you really are.” If this is so, then when Jesus alluded to this psalm in John 10, he was saying that what the Israelite judges were called in irony and in judgment, he is in reality. Jesus was giving a defense for his own deity, not an argument for the deification of man.
In John 20:17, Jesus asks Mary Magdalene to go and tell the disciples that "I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.”
Notice that in the Gospels, Jesus does not say, “Our Father,” except in the Lord’s Prayer when he’s telling us how to pray?
Jesus doesn’t say, “Our Father.” He says, “My Father and your Father, my God and your God,” to try to show you something you must be careful of. We’re adopted into the family of God, but that doesn’t mean we actually come into the godhead. It doesn’t mean we actually get absorbed and become God.
Quotes of William Branham
The Bible said that you are amateur, little "gods." Jesus said so. For, you're a part of God. Just the same as I'm a little Branham, and you're a little whoever-you-are, and because your parents is that name. The nature that you are is because your parents is that way, 'cause you was born of them. And the reason that you believe God, and believe in miracles, and signs and wonders, because you are sons and daughters of God. You receive Life. Life comes on the third.
He's the Logos that went out of God; that is true; that was the Son of God. Then He made man that little god. And He said, "If they call those who the Word of God came to, the prophets, if they call them gods who the Word of God came to..." And God said so Himself that they were gods. He told Moses, "I made you a god, and made Aaron your prophet." Amen. Whew. I--I may act like a religious crank, but I'm not. Oh, when your eyes can come open and see those things...
All right. He made man a god, a god in his domain. And His domain goes from sea to sea, from shore to shore. He has the control of it.
And when Jesus came, being the one God without sin, He proved it. When the winds blowed, He said, "Peace, be still." Amen. And when the tree, He said, "No man eat from thee."
"Verily, I say unto you, you, that's little gods, if you'll say to this mountain, 'be moved,' and don't doubt in your heart, but believe that what you've said will come to pass, you can have what you've said."
Now, that is true. God called Messiahs... God called us, and we become kings and priests unto God. Like Jesus was God's High Priest, we become a lesser priest. Jesus was... God in Fullness dwelt in Him to shine forth the expression of God to the world, for God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself. And as God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, God comes into His church and anoints Him some Messiahettes. Oh, my. Do you see it?
The same things He did is in His church. The same power He had is in His church. And His church becomes His dominion, and He's King over this dominion, and we are kings and priests, offering spiritual sacrifices to God, the fruits of our lips giving praise to His Name. Amen. Oh, my. There you are: Messiahettes, Messiahettes, little messiahs, little anointed ones. Anointed off of what? The main One, anointed off of the great One.
...So it showed that we could drink the same cup of persecution, be called Beelzebub or whatever it might be, and still be baptized with the same Spirit He's baptized with. So if He was called Messiah, which He was, because He was anointed with that Holy Spirit... And any church that's anointed with the same Holy Spirit is a Messiahette, a littler, smaller, god. And someday when this body is resurrected, I hope beforehand that God can get a hold of a bunch of people that'll manifest His power in every dimension that it's supposed to be in.
...Jehovah walks back and forth over His throne, says, "Them's My eaglets. Yeah. They are flesh of My flesh, and bone of My bone. They're borned of My Spirit, and washed in My Blood." Amen "They're Mine. They're Mine. Anything I tell them, they believe it. Why? They're eagles. That's what they are. They're eagles, just the same as I'm an eagle. They're--they're little gods, where I'm big God. That's right. I'm Jehovah Papa. They're My children." There you are. So He promised these things to be taking place.
- James Montgomery Boice, Romans: The New Humanity, vol. 4 (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1991–)
- The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Jn 10:34–36.
- Norman L. Geisler and Ron Rhodes, When Cultists Ask: a Popular Handbook on Cultic Misinterpretations (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1997), 21–22.
- The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), Jn 20:17.
- Timothy J. Keller, The Timothy Keller Sermon Archive (New York City: Redeemer Presbyterian Church, 2013).
- HEBREWS.CHAPTER.FOUR JEFF.IN 57-0901E
- ADOPTION.4_ JEFF.IN 60-0522E
- THE.MESSIAH_ SHREVEPORT.LA TUESDAY_ 61-0117