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William Branham believed that he was commissioned to reveal mysteries that had been hidden by God from the foundation of the world. But what does the Bible say about how the mysteries of God should be revealed? Do we really have to read between the lines when reading the Bible?
Did William Branham ignore the big "No Trespassing" sign that God set up as a warning specifically for men like him?
What the Bible says
Deuteronomy 29:29 states:
- The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.
This seems to be a caution against inquiring into the “secret things”. We should stick to the “revealed things" and leave other things alone as belonging to God. God has revealed the things that are beneficial to us; and our attention should focus on these discoveries, and end with them.
In 1536, John Calvin published his Institutes of the Christian Religion in which he warned:
- This is clearly expressed by Moses in a few words, “The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us, and to our children for ever,” (Deut. 29:29.) We see how he exhorts the people to study the doctrine of the law in accordance with a heavenly decree, because God has been pleased to promulgate it, while he at the same time confines them within these boundaries, for the simple reason that it is not lawful for men to pry into the secret things of God.
Thomas Scott repeated this warning in a book he wrote in 1823:
- Almost all the heresies and controversies, which have corrupted the purity, or disturbed the peace of the church in every age, have originated from disregard to this distinction; from vain attempts, by human reasonings and authority, to fill up supposed chasms in revelation, and to make it more apparently consistent and systematical, than it has pleased God to make it; from deducing disputable consequences from revelation; or from tracing back its sacred mysteries to some unrevealed antecedent causes.
Duane Christensen more recently penned the following admonition:
- Silence is an appropriate response in the face of ultimate mystery. As the prophet Isaiah put it, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isa 55:8–9 NRSV).
- The Scriptures reveal plainly all that is needed for us to know God and to love and to serve him; to know our state as sinners, and to know the way of acceptance in Jesus Christ; to understand our duty as redeemed sinners, with respect to our talents and opportunities for service to others; and to know the nature of the spiritual enemies and dangers to which we are exposed. All this belongs to the “revealed things” that are the substance of useful knowledge and, when put into practice, are the substance of heavenly wisdom. But all those things that we are tempted to add to revealed truth, or substitute in its place, serve only to bewilder and confuse the benighted traveler. Such speculations may amuse and distract the curious; but they often mislead as well, leading the unwary to the pit of destruction. The prophet Isaiah warned against those who consult other gods “for teaching and for instruction”: “Surely, those who speak like this will have no dawn!” (Isa 8:20 NRSV).
William Branham taught things that were clearly speculative in nature and they amount to "spiritual trespassing".
Quotes of William Branham
For He has hid it from the educators and revealed it to babes such as will learn. So there's no need of trying to find it through seminaries, and through schools. You'll never do it. It's a hidden mystery that can only be known as God will let it be known. Now, if we see that, and know that that is the truth...
We are now coming to this great hidden mystery that's been hid since the foundation of the world and now being revealed in the last days to the sons of God. You believe that to be true, that sons of God are manifested?
What do you think the writer of this Book that seen it, and seen where it would be manifested in the last days, waiting and groaning for those sons of God to rise in the last days with the power of the Holy Ghost at the end of the age, to reveal the secret things from the foundation of the world, to bring it up.
Remember, it cannot be taught in any seminary. It's a mystery. You cannot know it by education, by theology. It's a mystery that's been hidden since the foundation of the world, waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God.
Now, let's note a few of these mysteries. And if you want to, write them down. First, I'll take what Scofield says here in Matthew 13. If you would like to--to type some of them down... If you haven't got a Scofield Bible, you might read what he thinks some of the mysteries are.
Now, in the 11th verse: He answered and said unto them, Because it's given to you... (his disciples)... Because it is given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but not to them... but to them it is not given. (The mysteries)
Here's the mystery: A "mystery" is Scripture--is "a previously hidden truth, now Divinely revealed, but which is a supernatural element still remains despite the revelation." The greater mysteries and the great mysteries are:
Number 1. The mystery of the Kingdom of heaven. That's the one we are talking on now, 13... Matthew 13:3-15.
Now, 2nd mystery is the mystery of Israel's blindness during this age: Romans 11:25 with the context.
3rd--3rd mystery is the mystery of the translation of the living saints at the end time of this age: I Corinthians 15 and also Thessalonians 4:14-17.
The 4th mystery, of the New Testament church as One Body, composed of both Jews and Gentiles: Ephesians 3:1-11, Romans 16:25, and also Ephesians 6:19, Colossians 4:3.
The 5th mystery is of the church, as the Bride of Christ: Ephesians 5:28-32.
6th mystery is of the living Christ, same yesterday, today and forever: Galatians 2:20, and Hebrews 13:8, many places like that.
The 7th mystery is of God, even Christ, as the incarnate Fullness of the Godhead embodied, in Whom all Divine wisdom and godliness is restored to man.
9th mystery is the mystery of iniquity found in II Thessalonians and so forth.
The 10th mystery is of the seven stars of Revelation 1:20. We just been through that. The seven stars are the seven churches, the seven messengers, and so forth.
And the 11th mystery is mystery Babylon, the prostitute: Revelations 17:5-7.
That's some of the mysteries that this angel is supposed to wind up, all the mystery--all the mysteries of God... And the other one... May I say this with reverence, and not referring to myself, but referring to the Angel of God.
The serpent's seed, that's been a hidden mystery all through the years.
The grace straightened out, not disgrace, but real true grace.
No such a thing as an eternal burning hell. You'll burn for millions of years, but anything that was eternal had never beginning or end, and hell was created. All these mysteries.
The mystery of the baptism of the Holy Ghost without sensation, but the Person of Christ performing in you the same works that He did.
The mystery of water baptism, where the extreme trinitarianism has brought it into titles of Father, Son, Holy Ghost, and the mystery of the Godhead being fulfilled in the baptism in the Name of Jesus Christ according to the Book of the Revelations, that the church in this time was to receive. There's some of the mysteries. The Pillar of Fire returning back. Amen. That's the thing that is supposed to take place, and we see it.
...Now, watch. There's a lot of truth lost out there. Why? Where others compromised on truth. But this seventh angel don't compromise on nothing. He gathers up all the loose ends, gathers them all up, and at his sounding, all the mystery of God should be finished. Oh, God sent him. All of the hidden mysteries was finished when he... It was revealed to him. By what? If these are hidden mysteries, the man will have to be a prophet. And didn't we just get through and see that the prophet that would come in the last age would be that great Elijah that we been looking for? Because these mysteries that's hid through the theologians will have to be revealed to God, and the Word comes only to the prophet. And we know it. He will be the second Elijah, as promised. Oh, my. The message he--he will bring will be the mysteries on all these things.
...And seven thunders right in the revelation here of Jesus Christ, is some mystery. Does not the Bible say that this is the revelation of Jesus Christ? Why, there's some hidden mystery then of it. What is it? The seven thunders have it. For John was just about to write, and a voice came down from heaven, said, "Don't write it. But seal it. Seal it up. Put it on the backside of the Book." It's got to be revealed. It's the mysteries. Now, we solved out these things by the Holy Spirit. It's told us it wasn't apples; it was sexual. Told us these things... There's not no-one able to stand before it. I never seen a preacher in my life agreed with it. But I've asked them.
The mystery of It, is, those Seals, each one of those churches made an organization and got into it, and that's one of the secret things that's been wrong before God. You see it, Doctor Lee? See, look. It is. That's the thing right there. That's one of the secrets. They organized and, see, and was completely out of the will of God. And that will be exposed in the last days, and lead the people, not to a creed or a denomination, but back to the true Word. And the true Word will come to a certain group of people, and the Son of man will reveal Himself in the midst of them, "the same yesterday, today, and forever."
Now, He said, "In the days of the Message of the seventh angel, the earthly angel, seventh church age, then all these mysteries that's been lost back through these other six church ages should be revealed right then." Well, that's exactly what those Angels said. Here is the Seven Seals, or the opening of these mysteries. And you try to get It before those denominations. Contrary to what they... Brother, they close up like a clam, but they've always done it. But it's season!
How many knows that this is the seventh church age? Say, "Amen." [Congregation says, "Amen!"--Ed.] The Laodicean Age, a lukewarm that God spues out of His mouth. And they spue God out of their mouth; there's not another age in the Bible where Jesus was found on the outside trying to knock, get back in. They put Him out, no cooperation. Who is Jesus? The Word! The Word was put out. The husks throwed out the wheat! He said, "I stand at the door and knock, and any man in those shackles out there will hear My Voice." O God, have mercy!
Now, the Book was written, but then, remember, It was sealed with Seven Seals. And these Seven Seals was not to be opened (Revelations 10) until the sounding of the last earthly angel on earth, Revelations 10:7. See? "And in the days of the sounding of the last angel's Message, seventh angel, the mystery of God should be finished in that age." That, and that's the age that we're living in.
We all know we're living in the Laodicea Age. There will never be another age to it. It can't be. So, we're living in the Laodicea Age. And these Seven Seals that's held that Book, is a mystery to people, should be opened at that day. That's what He promised. Now, it won't be nothing outside the Word, because you can't add to the Word or take from the Word. It's got to remain always the Word. But the revelation is to reveal the Truth of It, what It is, to make It fit with the rest the Scripture. And then God vindicates that to be the Truth...
Now we're living in the seventh church age. And when the Bible said that, this seventh church age, "When the messenger of the seventh church age begins to sound his Message, that the mysteries of all the things that's been twisted up, down through the age, would be revealed in that time." Here we see it, the Son of man coming among His people and doing just exactly, confirming His Message as He said He would do. Here we find it, in this last age now...
Now, remember, the Message is promised. And when all these mysteries has been all so bundled up by a bunch of ecclesiasties, it will take a--a direct prophet from God to reveal It. And that's exactly what He promised to do. See?
Now, remember, "The Word of the Lord comes to the prophet," not the theologian. The prophet, he is a reflector of God's Word. He can't say nothing; he can't say his own thoughts. He can only speak what God reveals. Even to the prophet Balaam when he was tried to be sold, sell his right, he said, "How can any prophet say anything but what God puts in his mouth?" It's a thing that God does, that you can't say nothing else. And you're born that way. No more than you could...
And now to these Sons of God, who by Him overcome, are given the privilege of the paradise of God, and the constant fellowship of Jesus Christ. There will never more be any separation from Him. Whither He goes, His bride will go. What is His, He shares with His beloved on a joint-heir relationship. The secret things will be revealed. The dark things will be made plain. We shall know as we are known. And we shall be like Him. This is the heritage of the overcomer who has overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the Word of testimony to Jesus Christ.
- The concept of "Theological Trespassing" comes from Dr. Aaron Denlinger, professor of Church History and Historical Theology at Reformation Bible College.
- The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Dt 29:29.
- John Calvin and Henry Beveridge, Institutes of the Christian Religion, vol. 2 (Edinburgh: The Calvin Translation Society, 1845), 532–533.
- Scott, T. The Holy Bible Containing the Old and New Testaments. 5 vols. Boston: Samuel T. Armstrong, 1823. 1:488–585.
- Duane L. Christensen, Deuteronomy 21:10–34:12, vol. 6B, Word Biblical Commentary (Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 2002), 732.
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