The September 2020 Debate - Part 4

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    Click here to listen to part 4 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:


    Rod Bergen: Just as a wrap up to the last question... so I'll just put this in here... Jesse quoted this passage, "when the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth for, he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears, he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.

    This passage can only be interpreted properly in the context of Jesus' words. In the interpretation of scripture, there are three things that are important: context, context, and context. So who was Jesus speaking to in this? He was speaking to the disciples, and when the Holy Spirit was poured out on the day of Pentecost, the Spirit did lead them into all truth and they wrote it down on paper form.

    And we have it now as the New Testament, the source of truth for Christians. It is clear that the apostles were the divinely authorized agents through which the Holy Spirit proclaimed the final revelation of Jesus Christ. And so for me, every [00:01:00] cult in the world uses this, that Christian cults use this... Holy Spirit, when it comes, it will guide you into all truth. This is what we're doing. This is truth. You gotta believe us.

    If it's outside of scripture, I say, no. I can say, Oh look, the Holy Spirit has led me out of the message. And Jesse will say, the Holy Spirit has led me into the message.

    This is not what we're talking about. I think this specific scripture passage talks about Jesus speaking to the disciples and the Holy Spirit did lead them into all truth and they wrote it down and that's what we have. So anyways that's that.

    Jay Cox: Just briefly because I know that'll probably get lost in the response.

    I do still want to give you the three minute response to.

    Rod Bergen: Here's the follow up to Jessie's question. We didn't touch on one of the biggest lies that William Branham told, and that is of the cloud over Flagstaff. On February 28th, 1963, the cloud appeared over Flagstaff, Arizona. William [00:02:00] Branham never mentioned the cloud until after the picture appeared in Life Magazine in May, 1963. For such a big deal, why no mention to the cloud until three months after the fact? And this is more of what I believe is an after the fact attempt at deception.

    In June of 1963, William Branham said this, "And there right under it. I was standing." That was a lie. In August, William Branham said, "There was that white circle above me there circling around." He said, "I didn't know it, but cameras from all over the country was taking the picture of that as the white cloud settled down and went on the associated press." That was simply a falsehood.

    In April, 1965, he said this, "that day, they took pictures all across Southern United States and Mexico." And then he said, "and at the same time, a great cluster of light left, where I was standing and moved 30 miles high in the air around the circle, like the wings of an angel and draw it into the sky as a shape of a pyramid in the same constellation of angels that appeared science took the picture." [00:03:00] Simply not true.

    He wasn't there.

    Rebecca Smith, who I knew well, wrote an article in the Only Believe magazine that outlined all of the events surrounding it. So how could someone that did not tell the truth on such a clear matter be the messenger to the church of Laodicea.

    He lied about it.

    Jay Cox: And the floor is yours pastor Smith.

    Jesse Smith: As far as the cloud, I don't believe he lied about it, Rod. I just believe maybe he got his dates mixed up. I have four points about the cloud. How many? I have five minutes, Brother, Jay or three?

    Jay Cox: I think when we're going with the three minutes right now, it depends on if... actually we're going to keep it with the three minutes.

    Cause I just recall actually the reason we even said that Rod could articulate the thought again in the first place is because it was supposed to be his final thoughts. So I guess we wouldn't want to necessarily get bogged down in that again. Yeah, let's just go with the three minutes responding about the cloud.

    Jesse Smith: Okay. Yes. First of all my first point is this case is ultimately their word against Brother Branham's word. [00:04:00] They can not fully prove with absolute certainty the cloud was formed by a rocket. They can make their data and paperwork an absolute, but that doesn't mean it is. Nor can I prove it was formed by seven angels, but I'm just taking Brother Branham at his word because of his Bible based teaching.

    The second point is brother Branham never said he never said, thus saith the Lord, I was under the cloud when the photo was taken. So that means this wasn't a prophecy and we can't jump to a conclusion and make every word he said about the cloud, thus saith the Lord. Again, he could have got the dates confused.

    He might've been there later in March. Obviously out there February 28th, obviously don't think many people argue about that. Point 3 though, the vision of the seven angels and its fulfillment was spoken in the name of the Lord. It was prophesied on December 30th, 1962. And again, on January 14th, 1963. I've got the quotes here. Brother Branham says," I'm standing an awful place. Remember I tell you in the name of Lord, I've told you the truth and [00:05:00] something is fixing to happen." He called it a pyramid. He didn't call it a cloud, but he called it a pyramid of constellation of angels. Okay. And then that's what he called it. A pyramid. A pyramid is a triangle or shape just like the picture was.

    And then in A Trumpet Gives An Uncertain Sound, he said, "I'm here in Phoenix, tonight in the name of the Lord." And he goes on to explain what he said about the vision in "Sirs, Is This The Time ?" And then after he preaches the seventh seal on March 24th, he tells us it was fulfilled. He said," Now remember in the vision, you never told me one thing in the vision when he took me up."

    He talks about going up in the vision, he said. "So I could truly say to the best of my understanding, according to the word of God and the vision, the Revelation, the interpretation thereof is thus saith the Lord." So Brother Branham talks about being taken up and he talks about the vision being fulfilled there in the seventh seal. Jay Cox: One minute.

    Jesse Smith: Okay. And then the last point that should work out. Okay. Now. The last point is Brother Branham could have been under the cloud on February [00:06:00] 28th by translation. I'm sure, Rod, you've heard that before. Like Philip was translated, but also like Ezekiel 8:15. Ezekiel was taken to Jerusalem in the visions of God in Ezekiel 8:15 while sitting in his house in Chaldea probably a hundred miles away.

    I used John Gill's commentary on that to try to get about how far away was Chibar. Okay. So Ezekiel's vision was not a translation like Philip, because Ezekiel's body stayed in Chaldea. Phillip's body was literally translated to another area Acts 8:39 through 40.

    I'll stop right there.

    Rod Bergen: And I'll just leave that with one question. Great. If so, why didn't he mention it until three months later? He was lying.

    Jay Cox: Pastor Smith, you're gonna have the last word on that before we go to your third question.

    Jesse Smith: Okay. Yeah. I don't believe Brother Branham was lying. I believe he was telling the truth.

    Those things could have [00:07:00] happened. I think, again, it's just brother Branham's word against their word. But I do believe that was a fulfillment of Revelation 10:1-7. I do believe that because of the scriptural evidence, I can't prove the cloud. I wasn't there, but if I look at brother Branham's ministry, preaching, thus saith the Lord with doctrine and pointing us directly to the Bible and the Bible doesn't contradict himself.

    I believe that was, and that's what I use. I use the Bible. Brother Branham's ministry, and this is by Bible based teachings. And I say because of that, the mysteries have been fulfilled. Then I just choose to believe the cloud. I believe that God fulfilled Revelation 10:1 to 7.

    Rod Bergen: Jay, I think we're supposed to go on to question three.

    Jay Cox: Yeah, my apologies. I just, I didn't realize I was actually on mute there. So yeah, we're going to go into question three from pastor Smith. Brother Smith. Whenever you are ready, you are good to go.

    Jesse Smith: Okay. Question three. From your podcast with Abdu Murray regarding the Trinity, he suggested God has three minds, one for each person of the Trinity and you never objected, Rod.

    [00:08:00] So I'm just wondering, do you believe God has three separate minds and which scriptures explicitly teach he has three minds and literally says he's three persons?

    Jay Cox: Rod, you have five minutes.

    Rod Bergen: I think maybe you misunderstood the discussion that Abdu and I had regarding the issue of perichoresis as it relates to the doctrine of the Trinity. First, let me state that William Branham used a straw man argument when he talked about the doctrine of the Trinity. That is, he distorted and incorrectly portrayed the doctrine of the Trinity and then attacked the very distortion he created. Are there three minds, not in the way William Branham distorted things... and you're trying to get me to say.

    So as I indicated, I think you misinterpreted what we said. We have to take everything back to scripture. Paul refers to the mind of the Spirit in Romans 8:27. And refers to the mind of Christ in 1 Corinthians 2:16. The English Puritan Richard Baxter, who spent time in prison for his faith, said this, "To say that the persons in the Trinity are three minds or [00:09:00] Spirits or substances, where each is conscious, is to say there are three gods, which he didn't believe.

    Therefore the word person, as used in respect to the Trinity, is a very different signification from the word applied to man. But let me read you Philippians 2:5-7... "you should have the same attitude toward one another, that Jesus Christ had, who though he existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped, but he emptied himself, by taking on the form of a slave, by looking like other men, and by sharing and human nature."

    This passage teaches that Jesus Christ became a real human because he did not cling to his divinity. He was willing to empty himself, in order to take upon himself the form of a slave, and be born in human likeness.

    So what did Jesus empty himself of?

    Scripture is clear that God knows all things. You read Psalm 1:39, 1 John 3:20. It is also clear that Jesus did not know all things, even though he was fully [00:10:00] God. Jesus admitted that he did not know the day or the hour of his return. Only the father knew that. That's in Matthew 24:36 and Mark 13:32. Jesus has actually said there was something that he, the son, didn't know.

    Wasn't he God? Isn't God omniscient, knowing everything? If so, how could there be anything at all that Jesus didn't know? In the garden of Gethsemane, he prayed that the father would find a way for him to avoid his crucifixion, if it was possible. But Jesus could not have sincerely prayed this prayer, if he, as God knew all the way along that it was not possible to avoid the crucifixion.

    So it seems clear, therefore that as a full human being, Jesus was not omniscient. He had a finite mind, and this is an essential part of what it means to be human. Jesus had to learn and grow in wisdom, just as all other humans. We read that in Luke 2:52. Indeed, scripture says that God made Jesus perfect through sufferings. He learned obedience through what he suffered. But it was [00:11:00] only after he had been made perfect that he could become the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him. We read that in Hebrews five.

    If Jesus was God and was omniscient, that is, he knew everything, how could he learn obedience? Only through the doctrine of the Trinity, can you explain how Jesus could have been tempted just as we are in every respect. Even though scripture also states that God cannot be tempted. So in conclusion, I believe what the church has always believed.

    To quote John Calvin... "I could wish that they, the number of words to describe the Trinity, such as persons, were buried. If only among all men, this faith were agreed on. That the Father and Son and Spirit are one God. Yet, the Son is not the Father and the Spirit, the son, but they are differentiated by a peculiar quality."

    I do not believe in three gods, as you think the doctrine of the Trinity teaches. It doesn't.

    The concept of a person in the [00:12:00] doctrine of the Trinity is not the same as a human person, but is simply a word that is used to describe that the Father, and Son and Spirit are one God. Yet the Son is not the Father, nor the Spirit, the Son, but they are differentiated by a peculiar quality.

    How do you describe a being that exists outside time and space?

    Rod Bergen (2): You want to be able to describe him in terms that a human can completely comprehend . It's just not possible. According to Augustine, anyone who denies the Trinity is in danger of losing their salvation. But anyone who tries to understand the Trinity is in danger of losing their mind. I should add that the Sabellian heresy, which the church rejected well before the Nicene council, and which William Branham taught, is still heresy today. It is also of some consequence that none of the giants of the faith have believed something other than the doctrine of the Trinity. Go back the last 500 years. Find a giant of the faith prior to 1900, say, [00:13:00] that believed something other than the Trinity. They didn't. The church has always taught the doctrine of the Trinity.

    Jay Cox: That was actually perfect timing. The thing just went off. Pastor Smith, you have three minutes to respond.

    Jesse Smith: Okay. From Rod's reply, I didn't hear any scripture for three minds. I did hear the one about the mind of the spirit. So I agree with that. The spirit has a mind, but the spirit, mind of the spirit has to be the mind of the father.

    They can't be two separate spirits. They can't be two persons. And Rod, I know you don't believe in three gods, but that's essentially what the doctrine teaches. Because it says the Father is not the Holy Spirit. They're not two separate persons. They're one in the same because Jesus was conceived of the Holy Ghost, and yet he prayed to the father.

    So he can't have two different fathers. We know you don't say that, but that's the error of the creed. That's why creeds and [00:14:00] dogmas, they always add to the word. And many people will die the death for three persons and Paul never wrote it. In fact, it was lost. The revelation of God as one person was lost and Jesus prophesied of it. Jesus told the parable of the woman injecting three measures of leaven into the bread. That was the beginning. That was the Father, Son, Holy Ghost, false Trinity doctrine injected at the beginning, towards the beginning of the church age. And look through the Catholic church and look what it's produced. Priests that are pedophiles and it's just awful situation.

    It doesn't even resemble real Christianity. And again I'm not blasting the individuals. I pray for people to come out of that. It's the system, it's the awful false doctrine that people get tied into. But I just want to say that Paul never taught three persons. So we cannot add to the word of God.

    I do believe Jesus had a human mind. So God has a mind, but then Jesus, as a human had a mind and I agree, it didn't know all things. [00:15:00] But it's wrong to add to the word and that I forget which creed it was, whether Athanasian or the other one. When they say the Spirit is not the Father, they err.

    Jay Cox: One minute.

    Jesse Smith: Yes, sir. Okay. When they say the pirit is not the Father, and it's on all their it's on all their creeds and so on all their I've seen them. I'm writing a book on that. When they say that, they automatically contradict the word of God and they change the word of God. But as Brother Branham said, he said, thus saith the Lord, it's of the devil.

    He said, but the people can still be saved. They've just changed the doctrine about God. God never wanted to be known as three persons or else he would've wrote it in his word. He didn't reveal himself that way. He's invisible. The Bible says we'll never see the Father, but Jesus Christ is the image of the invisible God.

    Jay Cox: Alright, thank you. And then Rod, you have another three minutes.

    Rod Bergen: So the best description of the Trinity I've found is by CS Lewis, who stated this, "You know that [00:16:00] in space, you can move in three ways, to the left or right, backwards or forwards. Up and down. Every direction is either one of these three, or a compromise between them.

    They are called the three dimensions. Now notice this. If you're only using one dimension, you could draw only a straight line. If you're using two, you could draw figures, say a square. And a square is made up of four straight lines.

    Now, a step further, if you have three dimensions, you can then build what we call a solid body. Say a cube, a thing like a dice or a lump of sugar. And a cube is made of six squares. Do you see the point? A world of one dimension could be a straight line. In a two dimensional world, you still get straight lines, but many lines make one figure. In a three-dimensional world, you still get figures, but many figures make one solid body.

    In other words, as you advance to more real and more complicated levels, you do not leave behind you the things you found on simpler levels. You still have them, but combined in new ways, in ways you could not imagine if you knew only simpler levels. Now the Christian account of God involves just the [00:17:00] same principle.

    The human level is a simple, and rather empty level. On the human level, one person is one being and any two persons are two separate beings. Just as in two dimensions, say on a flat sheet of paper, one square is one figure and any two squares are two separate figures. On the divine level, you still find personalities, but up there you find them combined in new ways, which we, who do not live on that level, cannot imagine.

    In God's dimension, so to speak, you find a being who is three persons, while remaining one being. Just as a cube is six squares while remaining one cube. Of course, we cannot fully conceive a being like that. Just as if we were so made that we perceived only two dimensions in space, we could never properly imagine a cube, but we can sort of get a faint notion of it.

    And when we do, we are then for the first time in our lives, getting some positive idea, however faint, of something super personal, something more than a person. It is something we could never have guessed. And yet once we've been [00:18:00] told, one almost feels one ought to be able to guess it because it fits so well with all the things we already know.

    When I contemplate God, I'm like a square looking at a cube, I'm saying, okay, I get it. A cube is just six squares, but since I do not comprehend a third dimension, I don't really understand the cube. The cube is a single entity, but to a square who only understands two dimensions, he can only understand it by comparing it to his inadequate understanding.

    He cannot really comprehend a third dimension. There is nothing that exists in this universe that compares to God, a being who exists outside of time and space. So I would ask you again, Jesse, one simple question. Can you point out to me one giant of the faith in the past 500 years who didn't not believe the doctrine of the Trinity? Jay Cox: All right. And then so I'm going to leave this up to you guys. We can either do one more, three minute back and forth for each or go to Rod's fourth question.

    Rod Bergen: We should [00:19:00] let Jesse answer my question. I think he should have the turn to do that. Cause I was just asking my follow-up. So he should have three minutes to answer.

    Jay Cox: Okay. And then it was Jessie's question. After that, we'll give you three minutes for that as well. Cause we, it was a discussion on the Trinity. Yeah, go ahead. Brother Jesse, the floor is yours. Jesse Smith: Yeah. As far as giants of the faith, the last 500 years, Rod. No, I don't know anyone that believed God was one person and that's okay. It's not required for salvation. Salvation is a totally different doctrine, saved by grace, through faith, in the blood of Jesus Christ, the finished work of Calvary. But all the Bible writers, and including Jesus, never taught God was three persons.

    And that's the most important thing because the gospel started out pure. The word of God is pure. So even Jesus said, Hear O Israel. The Lord, our God is one Lord. Strict monotheism. Not three persons was always taught by Jesus Christ, [00:20:00] by Paul, by John, Peter, James. You name all the new Testament writers, no one ever injected that thought.

    And this is the thing I just, I really pray for Trinitarians. The Bible said add not unto his words lest thou be found a liar. God does not. God never asked to be known as three persons. So I just plead with people. I pray for them. God, please show them that they're wrong. They shouldn't add to the word of God.

    Is it a mystery? Yes. The mysteries between the Father, and the Son. We know the Father's the Holy Spirit. So that's not mysterious. The father is the Holy Spirit. That's not mysterious at all. What's mysterious is the oneness between the Father, and the Son. But we never ever want to inject a false idea or our own manmade understanding into the scripture.

    And that's why I love, that's why I just love the Bible because I can just point to the Bible and everything the Bible says about God, I believe it. Because the Bible never says these three persons or two persons. [00:21:00] The Bible says in Hebrews 1:3, Jesus Christ is the image of his person, one person. And so I thank God for that. And I just hope people's eyes can be open to see that God is not three persons. He never asked to be identified that way. He's one person who reveals himself. So we thank the Lord for that. Tim Kraus: Hey, I just wanted to add CJ, if you'll give me a moment and again, I know I'm not supposed to participate, but I'm going to participate.

    One of the things that what I'm hearing is. Pastor Smith recognizes that Rod doesn't accept the Trinity as three different persons. Is that what I understood? Pastor Smith? Is that, did you, because I think there was a clarification and I wanted to be, I wanted to make sure we understood, right. Rod doesn't support the idea that there are three separate entities that are the Trinity.

    So I wanted to make sure you understood that.

    Jesse Smith: Oh, I'm sorry. No, I must've missed that. I was, that was probably writing down one of your questions that's right.

    Tim Kraus: So here's what, and I want to take this just a moment further. Rod talks about C.S. Lewis and that was new to me [00:22:00] until here just recently.

    That sort of interpretation, but I want to talk about this for a moment as my understanding. And again, I'm not very bright, so you'll have to bear with me. One of the things I understand is, and I listened to your qualifications or your introduction when we started this process, you are the father of eight.

    Is that right?

    Jesse Smith: Yes, sir.

    Tim Kraus: That's a lot of kids, by the way, I came from a family of seven kids. So I get it. I totally understand that. You're also a pastor of a church, right?

    Jesse Smith: Yes, sir.

    Tim Kraus: And you're a public school teacher.

    Jesse Smith: Yes, sir.

    Tim Kraus: You were somebody's son. You mentioned that your father was healed or that your mother?

    Jesse Smith: My mother and my father prayed for my mother and she would have canceled.

    Tim Kraus: Wow. Okay. So you, Jesse Smith have taken on the role of son, husband, father, right? Teacher, pastor. You, singular, you, Jesse Smith take on these roles and there are lots of different roles that you take on. Similarly, I think, and this is what I understand from the [00:23:00] Lewis thing.

    Although I can't get my mind around the dimensionality, if you will, of God. Cause I don't think anybody really can. And I agree with you. The Bible is great at that, but from my just simple interpretation. Yeah. I can be a husband, a dad, I can be a father. I can be a son. I can be a process analyst.

    I can be an ordained minister. I get to be all of those things, or I get to have all of those attributes and still be one person. Okay. So I just wanted to mention that I think that's, for those of you that are watching, I think the, some of the CS Lewis stuff can get a little bit heady and I just wanted to bring it down to a really stupid guys level and I consider myself a stupid guy.

    So I'm really in that. I just...

    Rod Bergen: Tim, I think what you just described as modalism sorry, Jay, I would think Jesse would say... Tim Kraus: I get it as modalism too, but my understanding is that God takes on different roles in dimensions that we can't get our minds around, I guess is my point.

    [00:24:00]Rod Bergen: Here's the thing with William Branham. There's a quote. I don't know where this is from. He said, "When Jesus died, the Spirit left him in the garden of Gethesemane, he had to die as a man." And I guess go... Whoa! Hold on a second. How can he not be God? He said, "If he'd went up there as God, he'd never died, that kind of death.

    No, he did. He was on the cross as God. God died on the cross. Jesus Christ was God in flesh. He died on the cross. What William Branham said? Confused.

    Tim Kraus: Yeah. I would agree with that. So anyway I'll back out again. I just wanted to make the point.