The September 2020 Debate - Part 3

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    Click here to listen to part 3 of the Debate on the Off The Shelf podcast.


    The September 2020 debate was released in seven parts as listed below - you are currently in the category that is in bold:


    Jay Cox: Rod, the floor is yours for a second question.

    Rod Bergen: Someone once said that an extraordinary claim requires extraordinary proof. In terms of the claims relating to William Branham, and this is the question we're addressing. Was William Branham the messenger to the church of Laodicea, the Elijah prophet, the angel of Revelation 10:7?

    If that's the case, then the evidence should be clearly and undeniably demonstrated. This requirement is appropriate given the statements in Luke 1:1-4 and Acts 1:1 to 3. We also read in 1 Samuel 3:19 to 20: "As Samuel grew up, the Lord was with him. Everything Samuel said proved to be reliable and all Israel, from Dan in the North to Beersheba in the South, knew that Samuel was confirmed as a prophet of the Lord."

    So from my view, the weight of doubt on William Branham's prophetic ministry is overwhelming. As I said previously, there are no circumstances in [00:01:00] which William Branham publicly told of an unambiguous vision, before the fact, in a recorded sermon that was subsequently clearly fulfilled. If this were a few, simply a few small issues, I might concede, Jesse, that giving William Branham the benefit of the doubt might be okay, but I look at the multiple things that William Branham... that vision's failed... the municipal bridge, brown bear, the Plum and Apple trees, Marilyn Monroe, the 1933 prophecies...

    William Branham said he had tens of thousands of visions, which were never wrong. However, we have no record of a single vision that foretold of a specific event, before the fact, which was later clearly fulfilled. What do we do with the examples of visions he foretold, which do not come to pass, given the clear requirements of Deuteronomy 18:20 to 22?

    Jay Cox: Alrighty. and pastor Jesse. You have five minutes.

    [00:02:00] Jesse Smith: Okay. First of all, I believe brother Branham does have evidence to clearly demonstrate Revelation 10:7, he finished the mysteries of God. There are 12 doctrines, Paul and John and others list as mysteries. They're specifically called mysteries and brother Branham preaches, six of them with Thus Saith the Lord.

    And that's what my next book is on. Right now, I have over 300,000 words. Hopefully I finish it by the end of this year. But brother Branham's ministry did fulfill Revelation 10:7. Now in regards to 1 Samuel 3, the Bible said the Lord let none of his words fall to the ground.

    I believe that's true. But Romans 3:9 through 14 says everyone falls short of the glory of God. Everyone is, at least sometimes, sin with their words. They've said the wrong thing. So Samuel obviously would have sinned with some word. So I take that scripture as meaning when the Samuel spoke thus saith the Lord, it was reliable. It came to pass.

    I remember the Bible said [00:03:00] Abraham is called a prophet, but yet he lied. So do we automatically say Abraham had credibility issues? I think we have to remember that he was a man. And he made mistakes. We all make mistakes with our words. But he was still a prophet Abraham.

    Speaking of Abraham, in Genesis 20, verse seven, God calls him a prophet, but he lied multiple times about Sarah being his wife. He was still credible. But he's just fallible at times as a human. But as we know a real prophet can't make a mistake withThus Saith the Lord. Now here's why I give brother Branham the benefit of the doubt. He literally is preaching, pointing me to the Bible, literally transformed my life.

    He lived a humble, faithful life. He was not a prosperity preacher. He lived true to his first wife and after she died, the second wife. He pointed me to the word, the absolute. But I think the vision of Florence Shakarian, I think that counts because it was told beforehand, and I know brother Rod, we'll get to it eventually.

    I know it's not hard to [00:04:00] predict, but I think why it was significant around brother Branham's day was because brother Branham said there was numerous people around the Shakarian family that were prophesying she was going to be healed. And that's why brother Branham delivered that vision, because he said it was a vision. I saw it on your website. You had the quote and everything like that. But he said it was a vision and she was going to pass and I know he left himself an out. You talk about that too. But that is scriptural. God sometimes does give people an extended period to live.

    Like we know that with Hezekiah, we know that's scriptural. That does sometimes happen. Now, the other vision was the preview of the bride. And here's why, brother Rod, I really believe this is in the process of coming to pass. My mother was born and raised in the Assemblies of God denomination.

    All the women had long hair, they didn't wear makeup, they didn't do rock and roll. But in her lifetime, she has seen those same characteristics in brother Branham's vision. The women cut their hair, they started wearing makeup. Preachers started smoking and women undress themselves. And now [00:05:00] my mother, she's still in that denomination.

    Bless her heart. I love her and I'm not condemning her or anything. I'm just, I'm pointing out that I believe there, those people are in sin by doing those things. And now she's gone to their denominational youth conferences and they play rock and roll and they play hip hop and they dance to these worldly things. And to me, it's clear that vision brother Branham had, is clearly coming to pass. And now what do we do with all the examples? Now we could spend probably 30 minutes on each of those examples you gave. Jay, how much time do I got?

    Jay Cox: I was actually about to say a one minute.

    Jesse Smith: Okay. And this is what I have to do.

    It's boiled down to this, brother Rod, visions are either conditional or unconditional. And I know that you maybe heard me say that on the one I talked with Jay earlier, on my April interview, but that's the way. I have to look at every single vision, brother Rod, and ask the Lord to help me understand, is this conditional or unconditional? [00:06:00] Because the Bible's full, or not full. But I say the Bible does give examples where promises of God are conditional, like King Saul. The Bible said the Lord would have gave him the kingdom forever, but he disobeyed. So that was a conditional promise. And a vision is just the word of God. It's just another form of God's word.

    Joshua's generation did not inherit the coast in that first generation yet it was thus Saith the Lord. They could have, but it was a conditional promise. And so that's what I have to do. I have to look at every, and then God can use other people to fulfill visions. Like with Elijah, God told Elijah he'd anoint three people.

    He only did one and God used other people to fulfill it. And sometimes prophets doubt their visions. Like John the Baptist, doubts he had of Jesus, the dove coming down on Jesus, but Jesus was gracious to him.

    Thank you.

    Jay Cox: Rod. You have the floor.

    Rod Bergen: Florence Shakarian... Wow!. Prophecy of someone that the doctors have said had terminal, inoperable [00:07:00] cancer, that she would die. Yeah, there's people on the other side saying she wouldn't die, but that, that doesn't mean William Branham... and then he gave himself an out. So you can read it on our website. Here's the point? For Moses, even in disobedience, God backed up the words of Moses.

    He struck the rock, and water came out, even though God had commanded him to speak to the rock. But God didn't do that for William Branham. God did not back up the words of William Branham, like he did with Moses. God did not back up the words of William Branham, like he did with the Samuel.

    There's nothing in William Branham's ministry that was even close to being like Moses, or like Samuel, or like Paul. For me, if the penalties of Deuteronomy 20:22 could be ignored on the basis of a prophet's disobedience, that there were some conditional, it could never be applied. The prophet would always just say, I disobeyed God, therefore you can't kill me. And it makes no sense.

    On the basis of what you're saying, how [00:08:00] could Deuteronomy 18:20 to 22 ever apply to a prophet? That a vision had failed? Why wouldn't you give everyone the benefit of the doubt?

    Jay Cox: Okay. Was that your time? Yep. Okay. All right. Pastor Smith, you have three minutes.

    Jesse Smith: Okay. God did honor brother Branham him like he did Moses. It's at the beginning of brother Branham's ministry. There's a quote. If you look up, brother Rod, he says in the shoes, he said I was in Balaam's shoes. There was a time in brother Branham's, ministry when he said, bring me the hardest cases and I'll do those first.

    And the angel of the Lord let him know that was not right later. He, the angel Lord, let them go for months. And according to this testimony, many of those people were healed. So to me, God did honor brother Branham's gifts because those are his gifts. His gifts were to pray for the sick, right? Get the people to believe that Jesus Christ is the healer.

    So I do believe that God did honor brother Branham, like he did Moses. [00:09:00] And I forget your second question, Rod. What was your second question? I'm sorry.

    Rod Bergen: The issue was for Deuteronomy 18 :22, if you give people a benefit of doubt, then you will never apply Deuteronomy 18:20 to 22.

    Jesse Smith: I think it depends on the prophecy. If prophecies are timestamped, Rod, than yeah then you can clearly do it. If a prophecy it has to happen by this time. Then you can do it plainly. Rod Bergen: William Branham had a vision, Jesse. "I saw a vision of me shooting a Brown bear. It's going to happen." He didn't shoot the Brown bear.

    He said he had a vision that he shot it. It didn't happen.

    Jesse Smith: To me, that's the same thing as King Saul, you can have the kingdom forever and it was the word of God, but he didn't because he failed.

    Rod Bergen: There's a difference between God saying something and a prophet saying this is going to happen. This wasn't God's speaking, William Branham was given a vision. So he said that he would [00:10:00] shoot a Brown bear and it was going to happen. And it didn't

    Jesse Smith: Right. He never had you never. Here's what I would say. He never said thus saith the Lord, I'm going to shoot it. So he just said, thus, sayeth the Lord.

    It will be. And that's what

    Rod Bergen: He had a vision, Jesse. He told us what the vision was.

    Jesse Smith: That Rod, that's what I'm saying. The vision is just like the word it's a potential result. If it's obeyed.

    Rod Bergen: Then any single prophet could say, "Oh, I disobeyed. You can't kill me. Deuteronomy 18: 20 to 22 doesn't apply because I disobeyed, I've got an out, always."

    Jesse Smith: I don't think so. I think each one you've got to look at individually and then you can see which ones if they're timestamped or which ones are just God giving a direction or which you can even see, which ones are unconditional, like Jonah, that was unconditional, like Jesus' unconditional.

    So there are clearly promises that are conditional and then those that are [00:11:00] unconditional.

    Tim Kraus: So I'm gonna, I'm gonna interject here. And I'm, again, I know that I'm not supposed to be the participant here, but I think what it comes down to is this, what I hear pastor Smith saying is that there are certain instances where, what a prophet says is conditional and we're in the position that we have to judge whether or not that prophecy was conditioned or not. Pastor Smith, does that sound like that kind of sums that up?

    Jesse Smith: Yeah. And that just brought to me first Corinthians 14 that says let two or three judge, but go ahead. Tim Kraus: Okay. So yeah, and I get that. I think the difference is... what Rod is saying is, it's not our judgment that matters in this thing.

    What does matter is what God says regarding prophets and what God says in Deuteronomy with prophets is, if what they say don't come to pass. So I think we're stuck on an issue that says, Rod is saying, it's a matter of whether or not the person who is speaking [00:12:00] actually fulfilled the prophecy, according to God.

    And I think what you're saying is we have to be the judge or we're going to be the judge as to whether or not let somebody prophesied actually came to pass. Or whether or not that prophecy was conditional. So I think the difference is God judges or people judge as to whether or not it's a conditional prophecy.

    And I, and so I just I'll back out again, but I think that's a distinction in what I hear you saying. So correct me if I'm wrong.

    Jay Cox: When I think on that note, maybe this would be another good time to pose a dual ended question to the both of you. One thing I would want to ask for pastor Smith. We'll let you go first since this was Rod's question and you're the one doing the the defending of this particular part.

    So I can think of two different visions that appeared to be conditional, Hezekiah's death and the destruction of Israel in the time of Josiah. Both did end up coming to pass, though, they were just pushed off to a later [00:13:00] date. In the case of Hezekiah was 15 years. In the case of Josiah, Jeremiah prophesying the destruction of Israel, it was for Josiah's entire life, which ended up being 31 years. Which does seem to be not quite the same thing.

    Like it did come to pass at some point, just not in the timeframe that was initially laid out. So my question to you would be, why is it that these instances, seem to completely not come to pass. Rather than just pushed off to a later time or accomplished in another way. And then to Rod, my question would be is there anything to be said for some of these, especially if the prophecies themselves were laid out by the prophet to be conditional. And the example, I think, that pastor Smith gave is a good one.

    Is it fair to say that Saul would have had thus sayeth the Lord... we could be calling Jesus, son of Saul... If Saul would have just been obedient. Is that actually a fair?... because it does sound like a [00:14:00] relatively fair defense. And I think both of you are making excellent points, I want to point out. But pastor Smith, you go ahead and then Rod, if you need me to reiterate my question, I will when he comes to you. And I'll give you each three minutes,

    Jesse Smith: Can you reiterate yours, Jay. I'm sorry, I'm thinking about so many things, forgive me. Can you reiterate your question?

    Jay Cox: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. So I think of two instances in the Bible, Old Testament, of conditions. Exactly. Josiah and Hezekiah. So they did come to pass eventually, just by a different means, and in a different timeframe.

    In the case of Jeremiah, talking about destruction of Israel. Josiah was a righteous King, so therefore it was going to happen after Josiah is death. In the case of Hezekiah's own death, he weeps and he calls out to the Lord. So it's going to come to pass, but it's going to come to pass 15 years later instead, because God has extended his life.

    They both ended up being conditional, in a sense, because what was initially spoken verbatim is not what ends up being what [00:15:00] God ends up doing. But the prophecy itself, namely Israel will be destroyed or Hezekiah will die, did come to pass. So why is it in these particular cases that it's not just a change of methods or timeframe, but it seems to be an entirely different situation where the Brown bear, to the best of my knowledge, was not shot.

    Jesse Smith: Yeah, go on, time me. It just like. God deals with individuals in different ways. Do you remember King Saul, this is not related to the prophecy, but King Saul had to follow certain signs, right before he became King. Samuel gave him certain signs to follow. So we have this idea where God... this truth... where God deals with people sometimes, and they have to follow signs.

    They have to be obedient. Paul said I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision. The idea of visions and God dealing with men through visions and instructions and signs. That's a new subject for me, I know. And then none of us have ever lived among a prophet before. I [00:16:00] believe brother Branham was a true prophet.

    It's okay. Obviously other people don't, but if he was a genuine prophet, who lived in all the visions, which many people around him saw him foretell things... at least according to their own testimonies, I wasn't there. But they saw God interact with brother Branham in this format through just visions.

    And then they would come to pass. None of them are on tape but they're on tape through people's testimonies, but not through brother Branham's tapes. So it's a new area. And I'll just be very honest, I'm intrigued to study it more. And I'm really looking at how God deals with prophets. And so that's why I'm saying I have to look at every situation, especially with brother Branham. And see if the vision Is just for him, like directions, like with a Brown bear, that was just a directional thing, which was a conditional thing.

    And he just failed the vision, but the vision didn't fail. He failed the vision. And it was a conditional thing, but obviously there's others that are unconditional. And so I [00:17:00] would need, Rod was saying about every prophet would have to be... every prophet could fly under the radar in a way and get out of their prophecy failing.

    But I, I would need some examples of that. And from Rod or Jay or someone to try to understand cause maybe I'm not understanding this. But I just believe every promise of God, some are unconditional and some are conditional. How much time do I got Jay?

    Jay Cox: We are at about 45 seconds.

    Jesse Smith: Okay. I'll just say with the last few 45 seconds, one of my videos about brother Branham is future prophecies. One's about the bombing of the Vatican. Other ones about the the driverless cars. Now the one with the Vatican, these are timestamped, as far as tribulation period. They're not going to happen now. They're going to be in the tribulation period. The Mark of the beast being laid out through the United States, and every denomination taking the Mark of the beast. These are things that they have to come to pass during the tribulation period. So there's a time constraint on them.

    They're not going to happen before that they're going to happen [00:18:00] during the tribulation period. So some of these prophecies of brother Branham are unconditional. But it seems like God was dealing with him with certain areas of his life, like with hunting, and teaching him to be obedient. So they were conditional promises.

    Thank you.

    Jay Cox: And thank you, Pastor and then, so to reiterate my question. Man, this timer will not turn off. I apologize. So to reiterate my question, sorry, for brother Rod here. The example brother Jesse gives here of a conditional promise does seem to be a very solid one, in my opinion.

    And I would even go as far as to say had, we actually had the fruition of this on Saul's end... like I said, it's possible that we would live in a world where we called Jesus, the son of Saul, rather than the son of David. That's a clear example of a conditional promise that did not end up coming to pass because of a man's obedience. And I'd like to give even another example, too, which is of Israel stretching from the Euphrates to [00:19:00] the Tigris. Which never occurred because the people of Israel just never first off never fulfilled their own end, as far as righteousness, but also militarily. Didn't do what God commanded them to do.

    So my question to you is... if that has happened those are prophecies, thus sayeth the Lord, and they did not come to pass because they were conditional. Then doesn't that at least open the possibility that if the prophet themselves spoke a conditional prophecy. Like if we can actually deduce from this prophecy that it's clear, the prophet was being conditional, should we not give them that benefit of the doubt? Rod Bergen: Good question. The question is, is it conditional or not? This is in my view an issue of cognitive bias and cognitive dissonance. So if you believe William Branham is a prophet, then you cannot admit that a vision of his failed. Now, the return ministry sect believe that William Branham will rise from the dead and he's going to come back and he's going to go to South Africa, because they admit these visions were not fulfilled. He's going to come back and he's going to go to South Africa to hold meetings [00:20:00] and he's going to come back and he's going to shoot a Brown bear. Now, they actually admit that. But their spin on it, because of cognitive bias, is that they've got to have some other explanation. Now it is true that there are things that God will say, but you have to read elsewhere in the word.

    The prophet Jeremiah said this, " the instant." This is God speaking. He says, "the instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom to pluck up or pull down to destroy it. If that nation again, who I have spoken turns from it's evil. I will relent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it." And that's in Jeremiah 18 and the reverse is true too. That if he says he's going to bless the nation and then they go and do something wrong then, God will negate that. The issue with the Brown bear is it wasn't conditional. For example," I'm [00:21:00] going into the back country," William Branham said in June, 1962, "that you might know when I come back next year, I'm going to get a Brown bear. That's almost twice that size. If it's right or not? I seen it. God's perfect and never fails. You find out if it's right or not." So this is not a conditional thing and it doesn't concern nations or Kings.

    This is something a man said, "I am a prophet. I had a vision. It will be fulfilled. See if God's right or not. God's perfect. They never fail." And honestly, if William Branham was a prophet like Moses or like Samuel, God would have backed up his word and made sure that what William Branham said came to pass. It didn't come to pass. And therefore, I must say he failed the test of Deuteronomy 18:20 to 22. He is not a true prophet of God. Alrighty.

    Jay Cox: And I appreciate both of you guys. Just [00:22:00] to be clear again... Were those questions a solid wrap-up for us to move on to pastor Smith's second one.

    Jesse Smith: Yes, sir.

    Jay Cox: Alrighty, thank you both. I appreciate you guys. These are honestly, I just have to say, really quick, I've debated a lot of people and I've watched a lot of debates and I've watched a lot of discussions that were not necessarily formal.

    And so many times you go into a conversation, and it's either a total dumpster fire, or one guy is just clubbing the other guy over the head because the guy's completely ignorant and that is not this conversation so far. So I just wanted to let you guys know. This is so far been like a very enlightening and good conversation, in my opinion, on both ends.

    Tim Kraus: Hey, CJ, you've actually watched a , dumpster fire? I'm just saying it's okay with me. I'm just saying.

    Jay Cox: Honestly, I watch modern day debate a lot, with the YouTube channel on here, I'm also on that channel quite frequently. And just watch it and you'll see exactly what I mean. Sometimes the debates are not high quality. Okay. Not the channel's fault.

    It's the speaker's fault. But nonetheless,

    Tim Kraus: I got ya.

    Jay Cox: Pastor Smith, the floor is yours for [00:23:00] a second question.

    Jesse Smith: My second question was Rod, since it seems from your podcast, you believe a person is baptized with the Holy Ghost when they believe, I disagree, as I believe in the three works of grace. Do you negate the many examples from both the gospels?

    Jesus' disciples believed in him and it's implied, they were baptized during Jesus' earthly ministry, but not baptized with the Holy Ghost until Acts 2:4. And the book of Acts... There's one, two, three, four, or three examples there, that prove a person is not born again until some point after they initially believe.

    Rod Bergen: That's a good question. I understand William Branham taught there were three works of grace and therefore, there have to be three kinds of Christians, depending on how many works of grace that person has gone through. The Bible doesn't support this. They're not three different classes of Christians.

    You can't find three class of believers in scripture. There are two types of people in this world, those that are [00:24:00] followers of the way and those that aren't. William Branham simply borrowed the teaching of the Wesleyan Pentecostal church, who also espoused three works of grace and did it before William Branham grabbed that one. And taught that baptism of the spirit is a distinct act separate from becoming a Christian.

    From your question. I don't think you understand that the disciples could not be converted until after the arrival of the promised Holy Spirit. Jesus told Peter before the resurrection, "When you are converted...", in Luke 22:32, "When you are converted, strengthen the brethren." Peter was not converted until the day of Pentecost. And we see Peter tell those gathered in the temple, in Acts 3:16, to repent and be converted.

    As you stated in your question, you're implying things from scripture, but implication cannot override explicit teaching. We understand from Romans 8:9 that a person without the Spirit is not a Christian.

    They do not belong to Christ. So [00:25:00] without the Holy Spirit, a person cannot experience your first work of grace. And interestingly, the term "work of grace" does not appear in the New Testament. Paul tells the Corinthian church in 1 Corinthians 12:13, the same church where some people were actually getting drunk on wine at the communion service... Paul tells them, "we were all baptized by one Spirit, so as to form one body, whether Jews or Gentiles slave or free, and we were all given the one spirit to drink." In Ephesians 1:13, Paul tells us that "when you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit." In Galatians 3:2, Paul asked the church the question, "Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law or by believing what you heard?"

    So we understand that the Holy Spirit is received by simply believing and not by something later after a person has believed. So unless scripture [00:26:00] explicitly tells us we must do something, what is only narrated, or described as a story, does not function as explicit teaching. Implying things from scripture is dangerous. If Luke really intended his narratives in Luke and Acts to establish a precedent for the future, then why don't message churches choose church officers by casting lots. And why don't all message believers sell all their possessions and give it all to the church. We cannot simply pick and choose what we wish to do and discard the rest. And that's what William Branham did. He believed certain things and then read those things into scripture. I believe, as Paul taught in Ephesians 5:18, that we are to keep on being filled with the Spirit. God calls us to a continuous supply of the Holy Spirit, rather than to a single event that is once and for all.

    Now, there is a biblical concept of the filling of the Holy Spirit, but it is not salvational. The Holy Spirit is described as coming on all in Acts 2:4, 4:31. And on the disciples in Acts 13:52, [00:27:00] who had already received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. He also came on Peter in Acts 4:8 and Paul in Acts 13:9 with great empowerment to speak God's word boldly to the amazement of all who witnessed it. Now I should add, I believe in the active work of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer. I have experienced the supernatural in my life before I was in the message, while I was in the message, and certainly, after I left the message. I continue to experience the power of God in my life, including the manifestation of supernatural acts.

    As Paul said, in Romans 8:14, those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. I'm a child of God, a follower of Jesus, a follower of the way. I'm led by the Holy Spirit. Because Jesus said in John 7:38, whoever believes in me, as scripture said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.

    John adds, "But by this, he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in were later to receive. [00:28:00] Up to that point, it had not been given since Jesus had not been glorified." So from Jesus and Paul, we clearly understand that if you believe in Christ, that is you put your trust in Christ, you are indwelt with the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit will flow within you.

    Any departure from that is a clear departure from what scripture teaches.

    Jay Cox: And pastor Smith, you now have three minutes to respond.

    Jesse Smith: Okay. Yeah, I don't have any questions. I'll just say why I believe in the three works of grace. The Bible does say, grace causes you to labor. Paul said I labored more abundantly than they all not I, but the grace of God that was with me.

    So God's grace causes us to labor and it's God's grace that works with us. To labor and justification sanctification and the baptism of the Holy Ghost, Hebrews four States that as well, he said labor to enter into this rest. They gave him a day of rest in the old [00:29:00] Testament, but the new Testament rest was the baptism of the Holy Ghost in the soul.

    Jesus Christ taught the kingdom of God comes in three steps in Mark chapter four. He said, a man sleeps. He plant you plant a seed. He sleeps, rises up and he says, the earth brings forth herself. First, the blade. Then the ear then the corn. So the kingdom of God and Jesus said, the kingdom of God is within you, he said, speaking of the Holy Spirit. So there's three stages for the kingdom of God to grow in a person: justification, sanctification and the baptism of the Holy Ghost. And I believe the Bible said he, that has not, the spirit of Christ is none of his, I believe on that, but I also believe the Holy Spirit is working in someone who's justified.

    They have the Holy Spirit working in their human spirit. It's in their mind, but not their soul. So I believe a person that's justified, not for my sake in a denomination, someone who would reject the message, I believe they can be genuinely justified. The Holy Spirit's dealing with them in their [00:30:00] human spirit.

    They've repented, their sins, and God is trying to lead them into sanctification. That second stage of the corn growing up, but it's up to them. They're either going to accept more, grow. They're going to grow more by the power of God working out, cleansing them out, or they're not going to do it.

    Also I want to say the baptism of the Holy Ghost comes after you believe. Acts 8 proves that. They were all, Phillip baptized him. But the whole, they believed that I was said they believed, but they were not filling in it about one minute. Okay. The Holy Ghost had not come on them. So John and Peter had to come down and pray for them to get the Holy Ghost.

    Same thing in Acts 10. Cornelius was fasting, praying, giving alms. The Holy Spirit was moving on him, but he wasn't born again until Peter came. And Acts 19, they believed in John's baptism. They were definitely justified. They were forgiven, but they couldn't get the Holy Ghost until Paul laid his hands on them.

    I'll just close by that. I think that's one of the biggest dangers is making a person born again, as soon as they believe, [00:31:00] justification. Because they think that they've allowed all of God to work in their lives, but they haven't, they've got to keep growing up just as Jesus said. Jay Cox: Thank you.

    Rod Bergen: One comment on that. In 1964, William Branham began teaching that the evidence of the Holy Spirit was believing his message. He said this, "there's only one evidence of the Holy Spirit that I knew of, and that is a genuine faith in the promised word of the hour." Believing in William Branham's message is not the evidence of the Holy Spirit.

    Those are the words of a cult leader. Believe in me and you've got the truth. He said it again in the church age book, "Now we have been constantly saying that the true evidence of being baptized with the Holy Ghost is for the believer to receive the word for the age in which he lives." The problem with William Branham's interpretation is it is not based on scripture. In 1962, William Branham also stated that one of the mysteries that he brought [00:32:00] was the mystery of receiving the baptism of the Holy Ghost without sensation. How is that different from what I believe that the Bible teaches about receiving the Holy Spirit when a person believes. William Branham's teachings were those, honestly, of a cult leader, "believe in me and you've got the Holy Spirit." And that's just non-scriptural heresy.

    Jay Cox: And then you got another the brief response, if you'd like to, pastor Smith. Jesse Smith: Yeah, I believe when brother Branham said you have to accept his message to be born again. I believe that's the Bible teaching. And I believe that's very clear.

    I believe that's right. But people can be saved outside the message. I totally agree with that. They can be saved, but to be really born again in Paul's day, you had to believe all of Paul's word. Paul said it, Paul said in 1 Corinthians 4:17, he taught the same thing in every church.

    And then in chapter 11, he said, women can't cut their hair because it's a shame onto them. It's clear if you're born again, you will [00:33:00] obey all the word of God. Paul said he taught the whole counsel of God. I already mentioned that in Acts chapter 20. So I think it's clear through scripture that you have to obey the word of your hour.

    You have to obey the fullness of the word, because that's what brother Branham did, he pointed us back to the word of God. Not as opinions, but just what was the word of God. And all those people who accept all of that are going to be born again. And that includes being baptized in the literal name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and all the works for sanctification that God leads us to.

    As we grow up into grace, as Paul said, we must examine ourselves to see whether we're in the faith, except we be reprobates, in 1 Corinthians 7, I believe that is. I could have the chapter wrong on that. But that's the evidence of a real believer. Jesus Christ said the evidence... brother Branham just said it another way, but Jesus Christ really said the evidence. You said when you have the Holy Ghost, it'll guide you into all truth. And brother Branham actually used that in the church age book, as he grew in his understanding of... that is the evidence you believe [00:34:00] all of the truth, all of God's word.

    And you live all of God's word that's revealed for your day.

    Jay Cox: And then it was pastor Smith's question. So Mr. Bergen, you will have a last word on that. And then we'll move on to your third question. I want to make sure that the person who is being asked the question gets the last word when we talk about each question.

    So if I don't do that, please feel free to call me on that and demand your quick response. But nonetheless, Brother Rod the floor is yours and thank you brother, Jesse, for the response there.

    Rod Bergen: Yeah. I just had something on the tip of my tongue and now it's gone. From my perspective, this issue of baptism of the Holy Spirit. And there was something Jesse said that I was gonna go into a little bit more detail, but it has gone now. I should have written it down, but if it comes back to me, I'll bring it up. I'm happy with leaving this where it is for the time being.

    [00:35:00] Jay Cox: Alrighty. And then, you have your third question for pastor Smith.

    Rod Bergen: Question number three.

    So Mark Twain once said, if you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything. William Branham admitted on one occasion that he was prone to exaggerating the number of people that attended his meetings. But at what point does exaggeration become so wild that it must be classified as lying? I understand, Jesse, from something you said earlier, that the old Testament does contain examples of prophets who did at times fail morally, they lied or whatever.

    However, these were not recurring issues and were also under the old covenant. Leaders in the new covenant, leaders in the church, are called to a higher standard as Paul outlines in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus chapter one. Now, here are a few examples of William Branham's lack of credibility. Virtually everything he said about the 1933 Ohio river experience has been proved to be false.

    William Branham [00:36:00] stated he visited the graves of Mohammed, Buddha and Confucious, but he didn't. William Branham's story about his introduction to Pentecostalism has been proved to be untrue. William Branham did not travel around the world seven times. William Branham said on several occasions that he'd been to the Vatican and saw the words "VICARIVS FILII DEI" inscribed on the papal crown. But this is simply not factual. The problem with someone who repeatedly lies is that you never know when they're telling the truth. So everything they say becomes suspect. How could the messenger to the church of Laodicea, the Elijah prophet and the angel of revelation 10:7 be so lacking in credibility?

    Jay Cox: Then pastor Smith, you have five minutes.

    Jesse Smith: Okay. The first question was, at what point does exaggeration become lying? That I would say only God knows that in most cases. Humans are just forgetful, as we know, or their memories are not as good as others. For example, I often preach my mom [00:37:00] was healed of lung cancer and my wife will have to correct me after service and Jesse, it wasn't lung, it was liver cancer.

    And I honestly just forget. So I can relate in one way to brother Branham, you know, forgetting details of stories or mixing up stories. The only way humans know if someone is exaggerating to the point where it's lying is they'd have to talk to the person one-on-one and then the person would have to admit they lied on purpose or have some real substantial proof.

    We all make mistakes, but brother Branham said he made thousands of mistakes, but he trusted in Jesus, his grace to forgive him. He said, you forgive me, Lord. I didn't mean to do it. So I give brother Branham the benefit of the doubt. If he made a mistake, I believe in most cases, it wasn't on purpose. Abraham lied twice and then Issac lied twice about his wife.

    If I'm not mistaken. I could be wrong. And that was my thought. I thought it went to the next generation with Isaac as well, so that was repeated twice. And so men of God, prophets of God are fallible. In the new Testament, Peter, in [00:38:00] Galatians 2, he made a big mistake. He separated himself from Gentiles and Paul had to come and rebuke him to his face.

    It was basically segregating. Peter was guilty of segregation and he was a born again Christian, and he was a prophet. He foretold the day of the Lord, in 2 Peter chapter 3. He was a genuine prophet of God, but yet he made a mistake. He made a doctrinal mistake and then a mistake with the brethren.

    So new Testament prophets make mistakes in their lives as well. And so we have to understand that and everybody has their own different battle that they're working with. Personally, now your second question was how could the messenger the age be so lacking in credibility? First I would say brother Branham was extremely credible, pointing the people to the word of God, especially divine healing, salvation, water, baptism, and doctrine. I met sister Florence Humes in 2010, who brother Branham said, go weigh yourself, the next two Mondays, and you'll see, you'll gain weight to be healed of tuberculosis. He was [00:39:00] foretelling the future by vision and she did.

    Now that's credible to me. If someone tells you're going to get well, you're dying of tuberculosis. You're skinny, you're losing weight. And someone tells you to go weigh yourself twice, two Mondays in a row. That's credible. So that's why I look at brother Branham. It depends. He's very credible with the word of God on major doctrines that we know we had a lot of minor doctrines he changed over the years, but on most major doctrines, he was pretty thorough. Tom Brown, I met him, he passed away a few years ago. He went to an interview with brother Branham and brother Branham slid the answers across to him, across the table in an envelope before he even started talking about it.

    So God had showed him the questions and gave them to brother Branham beforehand. He stood them across the table. That's Tom Brown's testimony. In my own study, I've heard brother Branham preach the word and then I go and act upon it. I've cast out devils. God has stopped a woman's bleeding through me.

    He healed a kidney stone through my prayer. He healed arthritis [00:40:00] through my prayer. Two barren wombs have brought forth babies through our prayers because I've listened to what brother Branham said. He said, take Jesus at his word, speak the word of God, speak as you're led by the Holy Spirit. I believe brother Branham was extremely credible, in most cases.

    Of course there are, we know, changes... inconsistencies with stories. I just think it's impossible for you, Rod, and I say this in love to say all those examples you listed are false. Because honestly, you are not an eyewitness of those things. And on tapes, there's voices at that time saying, yeah, I was a witness of 1933 down by the river and you have people that say they were witnesses.

    When it really boils down to it, it's really, I honestly believe it's just your opinion against brother Branham's opinion. And it's really hard for any of us to prove which one it was. How can I prove otherwise? Okay, one minute, I'll just close this. I can't prove brother Branham traveled the world seven times.

    I can't, I wasn't there. And I don't take that as though to say [00:41:00] it, the Lord. To me, it doesn't matter. I believe it was true. I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt, but I'm going to look at the credibility of the scripture, and the character of Christ said he had the humble life of Christ that he did. His devotion to the word of God, the supernatural wonders and miracles in my life, and in thousands of people's lives that followed his ministry. Thank you.