When the first century clerical domination of the laity (Revelation2,6, in the first or Ephesian Church Age) meets the union of church and state in 325 AD at the Council of Nicaea (Revelation2,15, in the third or Pergamean Church Age), God's people lost custody of the Word of God.
And Exposition Of The Seven Church Ages, Voice of God Recordings, 2012, Jeffersonville, Indiana.
The Pergamean Church Age p.199-200:
"What with the Nicolaitane doctrine [Revelation2,6 and 15, greek, hierarchical clerical domination of the laity by 'divide and conquer' both in the church and politics] and the amalgamation of Christianity with Babylonianism [church-politics are one, per 325AD Council of Nicaea] the net results had to be what Ezekiel saw in chapter 8:10, 'So I went in and saw; and behold every form of creeping things, and abominable beasts, and the idols of the house of Israel, portrayed upon the wall around.' Revelation 18,2, 'And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornications.'
Now this Nocolaitane doctrine, this rule was established in the church did not hit it off too well with a lot of people for they could read the odd epistle or essay on the Word written by some Godly person. So what did the church do? It excommunicated the righteous teachers and burned the scrolls. They said, 'It takes a special education to read and understand the Word. Why, even Peter said that many things Paul wrote were hard to understand.' Having taken away the Word from the people, it soon came to the people listening to only what the priest had to say, and doing what he told them. They called that God and His holy Word. They took over the minds and lives of the people and made them servants of a despotic priesthood."
*used by permission
William Branham (1909-1965) was to 20th century American preaching what Frank Capra (1897-1991) was to 20th century American film-making.
Today is our fourteenth in a series of excerpts from William M. Branham's two principal written works. We're not going to take time explaining his life or the miracles that attended it, or defend his preaching style or grammar, his doctrines or vice versa.
That's all being said and done, and likely will be until Jesus comes back.
Rather than get distracted, our aim is to see Branham's gift of in depth discernment, study, and then fully shouting from the rooftops about biblical passages that Christians historically, and to this day, avoid, gloss over, explain away, or outright change, according to denominational and political fault lines.
Having said that, there might not be two bible expositors or students across the whole Christian spectrum who agree with half of what Br. Branham preached.
Yet and still, in an age where preaching has become so tepid, so nuanced, so easy-pleasy, so cookie-cutter and prosperity bound, there seems to be a famine of the prophetic word, his voice is somehow still welcome. (As for this famine: https://vimeo.com/126142650 ) Why? I'm not sure, but it has something to with the fact that his preaching still prods and wrankles all, just like Jesus', and even galvanizes some to get serious about salvation from our savior who said "not everybody who says 'Lord Lord' will get into the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew7,21)
Long before anybody heard about "the prosperity gospel", Branham was preaching against it. Instead, he preached for all God's people, for humanity, not for pastorianity or churchianity, not for secular power and wealth on behalf of the potentates of the world, but for humanity, poor as well as rich. In this homespun humanity and the breath of his gospel vision, he shares much with the renown American film-maker Frank Capra.
One note of caution, Branham's ability to communicate, especially vocally, is so effective, so boiled down and rich, the apparent temptation of some is to preach his words rather than the same written word and gospel that he so loved.
In sum, anyone who hasn't sampled Branham's vast gospel output has missed something of the potential breath, vision, and import of our individual faith witness according to the word of God.
Hope you enjoy this series.
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Tobin Hitt is the founder of the Zion Pentecost Mission. He is open to gospel partnership with all, and identifies with Paul's description of our mission as ambassadors for our king, Jesus, urging all to reconcile with God (2Cor.20-21). He resides in Cheshire, Connecticut.read more...