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Spiritual Pickpockets

Spiritual Pickpockets!

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When your wallet is stolen, it creates problems; When a friend is lost, it is of major concern, but when a spiritual pickpocket robs you of eternal life, ALL is lost!


These clever thieves will rob your pockets, take your money, and escape without you even being aware of them.

Jesus warned us to be aware of spiritual pickpockets. "For false christs and false prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders, so as to deceive, if possible, even the elect." (Matthew 24:24)

The late William Branham's teachings have gone around the world. Young people and adults are being swayed by his literature. It is so cleverly presented that even some Bible College students cannot see the difference between Branham's teaching and the truth of the Bible. The followers of Branham claim that he was the last prophet to whom God spoke (which is the same claim made by other groups).

Branham - Was he a PROPHET?

In the forward to Branham's book, "A Prophet Brings His Message - Sermons by the Rev. William Branham," Julius Stadsklev states:
"To many thousands of us it has become apparent that William Branham was a prophet. Just as Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekial and other prophets of God were His messengers in their day, so William Branham was God's indicated messenger in his day (Book 3, 1972).
As the prophets before him, William Branham did not come out of the religious order of the day...he was rejected by the religious leaders...his ministry came at a time of great moral and urgent need...God gave him visions. As the prophets before him, he said, 'Thus saith the Lord,' and God vindicated his ministry.
As God revealed Himself through His prophets in times past and gave them a message for their generation, so has He done again to the 20th century. These edited sermons are printed to acquaint you with the life and message of some of the prophets of old. And in so doing, may you also come to learn the message God has given us this day through His prophet William Branham."

The fact that God, from time to time, raises up men to speak for Him is valid. Church history abounds with men who heard God's call and carried forth the saving gospel of Jesus Christ. That Branham had a very "fruitful" ministry in his lifetime is attested by many witnesses. He was a bold, strong-charactered preacher with great concern and compassion. He spoke fearlessly condemning wickedness. "But all that glitters is not gold" - so goes the old saying. In other words his seemingly successful ministry does not indicate he was a prophet like the inspired prophets of the Old Testament. The Bible tells us that God has given various gifts - even prophets - to His Church:
"And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come in the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ." (Ephesians 4:11-13)

Performing signs, wonders and miracles as Branham is said to have done is not a guarantee of benefit to the Body of Christ. Sometimes these are used in a wrong way to elevate the person instead of elevating God or helping the believers. In fact, the Bible warns us that in the last days many false prophets will come using Christ's name and shall do many wonders and signs to lead astray, if possible, God's people. (Matthew 24:24).


God, throughout the history of mankind, has used many ways to speak to men - leaders, patriarchs, kings, judges, prophets, dreams and visions. But in these last days He has spoken to us most clearly and finally through His dear Son Jesus Christ:
"God, who at various times and in different ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son." (Hebrews 1:1-2)

There will never be a greater prophet than Christ. Therefore we can safely claim that any prophetic ministry in the name of God must agree with Christ's teaching as revealed in the Bible. Also, it must build up and not divide the Church. Branham's teachings fail on both points: they conflict with the teaching of Christ and also divide the Body of Christ (the Church).

The exaltation and praise of Branham is not of God! The apostles Peter, James, John and Paul all refer to themselves as God's bondservants. Christ taught us the right attitude towards others and ourselves. He came to serve. He taught His disciples to humble themselves, "If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all." (Mark 9:35)

Paul affirms this in 2 Corinthians 4:5, "For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake." Here the followers of Branham clash with the teaching and example of both Jesus and Paul.

Another clash concerns the time of the return of Christ. Branham claimed:
Jesus did not say no man could know that year, month, or week in which His coming was to be completed. So I repeat, I sincerely believe and maintain as a private student of the Word, along with divine inspiration that 1977 ought to terminate the world systems and usher in the millenium." (W. M. Branham, Seven Church Ages, p. 322)

Branham's doctrine on the second coming of Christ is extreme and contrary to what the Bible teaches. If we believe the Bible and believe that Jesus Christ taught the truth, how can Branham claim divine inspiration and set a date which contradicts what Jesus said: "But of that day and hour no one knows, no, not even the angels of heaven, but my Father only." (Matthew 24:36)

The best way to judge whether or not a person is right is to follow the simple advice of Jesus, "Therefore by their fruits you will know them." (Matthew 7:20) What are the fruits of Branham's teachings? Most of his literature is aimed not at sinners to be saved, but at those who are already saved. He tries to convince them that they have not been properly baptized, that their belief in the trinity is wrong, that the unsaved are literally children descended from the serpent, and that the churches are evil.

Does this kind of teaching build up Christians to maturity? Does it bring the fruit of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness? Or does his teaching bring division, strife and enmity - works of the flesh according to Galatians 5? Reflect upon your own reading of Branham's teachings. What have they done for you? Were you saved through his teachings? Have his writings made you a more loving and a better Christain? Do you enjoy a greater degree of fellowship with other believers?


God warned us of false teachers more than three thousand years ago! Why does He allow them?

If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder of which he spoke to you comes to pass, saying, 'Let us go after other gods which you have not known, and let us serve them,' you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the LORD your God is testing you to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall walk after the LORD your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice, and you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him." (Deuteronomy 13:1-4)

It is to TEST us, to see if we fully follow God and do not turn aside to place our faith in some secret knowledge revealed through mystical sources and proved by a sign or wonder.

As God has spoken through His Son Jesus, who is superior to angels, more glorious than all the prophets, greater than the high priest, the fulfillment of all the law and the prophets, and as this message of Jesus has been sealed in the Bible with a warning against adding or subtracting to it (Revelation 22:18-19), why should God then change His mind and say, "Oh, yes, I did forget something after all. I will tell so-and-so and he can tell you all about it." What kind of God is that? Perhaps you are still wondering about Branham. Jesus said, "For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned."(Matthew 12:37) The year 1977 has come and gone. Time has proven Branham wrong. He did not speak under divine inspiration as he claimed!

Beware of spiritual pickpockets. They want you to meet with them and to support their cause. But Christ told His followers, "Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming." (Matthew 25:13)

-compiled by the EVANGEL staff, revised

The Bible Text used in this publication is from the New King James Version, Copyright 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

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