THE THEOPHANY OF WILLIAM BRANHAM
It has been taught by many extreme followers of William M. Branham that the angel in the above Scripture texts is the theophany of William Branham. It is their contention that the words "thy fellowservant" and "thy brethren the prophets" prove that the angel was the theophany of Branham.
Is the angel really the theophany of William Branham? We will let the Scriptures speak for themselves.
First of all, we need to define what a THEOPHANY is. Bro. Branham used the word fairly often. We need to understand that he was an uneducated man who had not many words in his vocabulary. He tended to use types and shadows to get his teachings across to his audience.
Now, the word THEOPHANY is not a word found in Scripture. It is a word used in theology to mean the appearance of God. It is from the Greek word THEOPHANEIA – THEO, meaning GOD, and PHANEIA, TO APPEAR. However, since God had chosen to hide Himself and remain invisible to mankind, each of the many times He had appeared to His chosen vessels (in the OT time) is a revelation of Himself. Each appearance of a theophany was a pre-figuration of Christ and each was temporary and localized. Of course, the theophany had only one face. It was the same face that the disciples had seen. It was the face of Christ Jesus. (Note: God never once appeared in theophany as a baby, a child or even a youth. It is obvious that the fullness of God came to dwell in Jesus Christ at His water baptism at the River of Jordan. That was the moment when the Word of God was made manifest, revealing the Glory of the Father Who is full of grace and truth - Jhn.1:14.)
If the word THEOPHANY means GOD APPEARS, how could the word be used for anyone other than God Himself? Preachers often speak of the appearances of the angels of God in human form as theophanies. Should not it be AGGELOPHANEIA instead? Nevertheless, the word THEOPHANY is extended to mean an APPEARANCE of a SPIRIT BEING in the form of a man. It is passable as far as the definition stands, but some theologians and preachers have misused the word even to apply it to such things as the Burning Bush that the Prophet Moses was awed by when he came across it on Mount Sinai and the Pillar of Fire which led the children of Israel in the wilderness. Those were not THEOPHANIES, they were just MANIFESTATIONS of God's Presence. A THEOPHANY is an APPEARANCE of God in a VISIBLE FORM of a MAN – not just any manifestation of God. To point to the Pillar of Fire and say "That's God" shows a lack of proper understanding of the word.
When the Almighty Eternal Being stepped out of eternity to create, He appeared as a THEOPHANY, and that's when TIME began:
"Word" is LOGOS in Greek. It is not a verbal utterance but God's creative self-revelation, "the side of God turned towards the world". When the LOGOS of God stepped forth out of the ETERNAL SPIRIT, IT was a SPIRIT BODY called the WORD – a WORD BODY that's like a man. It carried the Revelation of the Word of God which is Life. It is Yahweh's intention to reveal Himself through the creation of visible things (the heavens and the earth) while hiding Himself in the invisible dimension. It is this WORD BODY that later appeared to God's prophets in the Old Testament era in either a visible tangible form or a visible visionary form. God's WORD BODY (THEOPHANY ) ceased to appear when the fullness of time came for a virgin to bear the promised Son of God.
With all these understandings, it is obvious that the THEOPHANY is God's manifestation or appearance in the form of a man and that it is HIS WORD or the REVELATION OF HIMSELF. When Bro. Branham used the word THEOPHANY for the saints, he used it in reference to what the Apostle Paul wrote in his epistle:
When a saint of God dies, his soul leaves his earthly body to return to the Heaven to pick up his "house not made with hands" – a Word body, while his earthly body returns to the dust of the earth. In his earlier epistle to the Corinthians (in 1 Cor.15), Paul brought out 3 types of bodies – the earthly (terrestrial) body; the heavenly (celestial) body; and the spiritual (glorified) body. When the earthly body fuses with the heavenly body it becomes a spiritual body, just like that of our glorified Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
However, is this heavenly body (theophany, Word body) a living entity in Heaven? That is, is the house not made with hands of every born-again saint alive at this present moment as a living entity in heaven? Is it waiting to catch the spirit-soul of its specific saint when the spirit-soul leaves the natural body? Are all these thousands upon thousands of heavenly houses, theophanies, alive? To a good many Branhamites, they are.
Thousands of years ago, God questioned a man named Job and asked:
Yes, where was Job? Where were you? Where was I? The answer: we were all in His WORD. However, we were not each a separate entity. We were a part of HIS LOGOS, a part of HIS WORD. We were like the fruits of a large tree that was yet to come forth out of the one seed. See? It is like looking at an acorn and seeing in it a big oak tree with all its branches, leaves, flowers, fruits, seeds, etc., in there.
Yes, we have each a theophany. My theophany is waiting there in the WORD. My heavenly body is a part of the WORD. But it is not a separate entity as yet. Only that God "calleth those things which be not as though they were" (Rom.4:17b). It does not exist outside of THE WORD OF GOD until we come to IT in death or in the rapture.
There is an order in God. Things in Him are not done haphazardly. Let me give you a scenario. We all know that we have a soul which is the nature of the spirit of life that God breathed into us. A child in a woman's womb does not have life, it has no soul, no spirit of life. If the child dies in the womb, there was never a soul/spirit for that child. But the moment he is born, God sends His spirit of life into him and then he has a soul. There are some Christians who speculate that the number of souls was already determined by God and that they are literally in heaven waiting in queue to come down to earth into the newborns. They also believe that the world will come to an end for mankind when heaven is emptied of its last soul. Yes, we are aware of the expression that "a soul waits to catch the baby as soon as it is born". But does this mean that there are souls literally hanging around every pregnant woman who is about to give birth so that they can catch the baby as they are born? What happens if a baby is born dead? Does it mean that there is no soul for that baby? Or does it mean that a soul has failed to catch it? Then again, what about those that die in the womb, whether full term or just a few days to a few weeks old?
need to understand that the whole universe is sustained by the very Spirit
of God. Without the Spirit of God there is no life. When the
Bible says that God formed a body of dust for Adam and He breathed life into
it, it does not mean that God literally exhaled into the nostrils of the
dusty body but rather it speaks of His Word of life being uttered to bring
Adam out of dust. When a person speaks he exhales. Jesus said:
"The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life"
(Jhn.6:63). Exactly, just as it is written in John 20:22: "And when
he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the
Are Bible believers to believe that 1) God put Adam into a deep sleep – literally, 2) He broke a rib off Adam – literally, and 3) from the rib He fashioned a woman – literally? Or are those words so expressed by the Spirit of God for a purpose to hold a mystery? If not, then over in 2 Cor.5:1 we have to believe that there in Heaven is waiting a literal house, a building that God built, for each of us: "we have a building of God, an house not made with hands".
From the very beginning, God had issued a law that every living thing would bring forth of its own kind. Hence, the spirit of life from God continues to flow and gives life to all the different animals in the animal kingdom and also to that of the different races of mankind. As long as animals and humans are born, the "breath of life" will keep flowing from the Throne of God. Some of them may not receive the "breath of life" and without it they will return to dust from whence they came.
So, the "angel" that John fell down to worship is not a THEOPHANY (or HEAVENLY BODY) of William Branham. Period. Now some Branhamites may argue and say, "But John was transported into the Heaven and he was shown visions of things to come. He did not really see a literal theophany of Bro. Branham, rather he only had a vision of him just like the three disciples who saw the theophanies of Moses and Elijah standing beside Jesus Christ when He was transfigured."
Granted, truly Peter, James and John did not see the real thing. The whole event of the transfiguration was a VISION given by God. A vision given by God, whether by day (open-eyed) or by night (close-eyed, that is, in dream) is an instrument of divine communication. In the aforementioned vision, it gave the three disciples a foretaste of the power of the Kingdom of Christ to come. The disciples knew that Moses was dead and his body was hidden and never found, whereas Elias' body was translated and carried up in a fiery chariot to heaven. But on the Mount of Transfiguration they witnessed the two prophets alive, in glorified bodies, standing with Christ in all His glory. Christ's Glorification testified that He was also the Resurrection and the Life.
Remember the three disciples had only a vision for when they came out of it they saw their Master just as He was. He had no glorified body. Apparently they did not have to speculate as to the whereabouts of Moses and Elijah and neither did they wonder about the kind of bodies they saw. Unlike the disciples, some Branhamites look at the vision and speculate that the disciples saw the theophanies of Moses and Elijah. With that they try to justify that the angel that showed the Apostle John prophetic events (in his vision on the Isle of Patmos) was actually the theophany of Branham. Though other Branhamites might not use the Mount Transfiguration vision, they cite Matthew 18:10 to support their claim that the word "angel" is "theophany". Or they would use certain quotes of Bro. Branham to bring about the same so-called revelation.
With regards to visual images of people whom we see in a vision or a dream, they are usually people whom we have a relationship with or they are in some way linked to our lives. If God uses them to impress upon us something of importance, we should be able to identify them, be they deceased or someone we would meet in the near future during the course of our lives.
Friends, the angel in discussion was not a theophany of Branham. Bro. Branham was not even born. He was only in the mind of God. The angel was ministering to John just as we have angels ministering to us, the saints of God, in this present day. [Note: Some have also insinuated that the "one of the seven angels which had the seven vials" of Rev. 17:1 is Bro. Branham too.]
John was enthralled by all the events he witnessed and he was so overwhelmed that he kneeled to worship the angelic being. But he was promptly rebuked because as an Apostle of the Lord Jesus he should know that "it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve" (Matt.4:10).
We can get a clear understanding that the angel was not an earthly being but a spirit being who was sent to be John's guide by reading some other translations. The Diaglott reads "'See; no! I am a Fellow-servant with thee, and of those brethren with thee who have the testimony of Jesus; worship God'" (Rev.19:10b). The ALT states "And he says to me, 'See [that you do] not! I am a fellow-slave of you and of your brothers the prophets and of the ones keeping the words of this scroll. Prostrate yourself in worship before God!'" (Rev.22:9). Simply put, the angel is saying that he is a co-worker and a servant working with John, all the prophets, and those who bear the testimony of Jesus Christ in their lives. That's right. Hebrews 1:14 questions "Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?" We read in the Scripture that there was an angel ministering to Peter when he was in prison and there was an angel ministering to Paul when he was on the stormy sea. So also were there angels ministering to Daniel and Ezekiel and all the prophets and apostles.
Souls/spirits and Word bodies (theophanies, celestial) are in God. Souls/spirits come to existent in bodies when newborns receive them. The same goes for the theophanies. They come into existence only to each particular saint when they pass from this earth to the other side. You and I have ours waiting in God's Word. But they are not literal separate entities existing outside of the WORD. Bro. Branham has already gone to his and so have all the saints who passed over to the realm of Paradise.
THE RETURN MINISTRY OF WILLIAM BRANHAM
Coupled with the so-called revelation of the "angel" (of Rev.19:10; 22:8-9) being the theophany of Branham is the "Return Ministry of Branham". This teaching has its roots in Branhamism and it is being taught that William Branham is INFALLIBLE IN ALL THE WORDS HE UTTERED, whether at the pulpit or outside the pulpit. This teaching is based upon Bro. Branham's TENT VISION and of his desire to minister in one. However, the context of Branham's TENT VISION and of his desire of it has been turned into a doctrine – a false doctrine. Some men have even imputed their testimonies to further the damnable heresy. Whether or not the testimonies are credible is not important. In the first place the doctrine itself is unscriptural.
Such teachings and its implications usually cause a person to esteem a man above the Word of God. This is no different from those who uphold their Church creeds and dogmas above the Word of God. It is not only idolatry that they have committed in lifting up God's servant as THE ABSOLUTE but also they have committed spiritual fornication against the Word of God. When I first heard it years ago, it was "tame" but it has since accrued many extreme explanations from QUOTES of Branham and certain passages of the Bible. One perverted explanation is that of Rev.19:11-16 in which the White Horse Rider is believed to be Bro. Branham. These preachers are no different from S. Thomas of India who teaches that William Branham was the second Christ of God, Lord Branham Christ, who was sent to finish what the first Christ, our Lord Jesus, had left unfulfilled. As sin will heap upon sin, so will error heap upon error. To show more proofs that Branham will return from the dead to minister again, these false preachers infuse their erroneous teaching with more errors. Their revelations are so twisted but they are nothing short of a drowning man clinging on to some hopes for life that they might just be true.
Rightly interpreted, the Tent Vision speaks of the present ministry and that which is to come. But it certainly isn't going to be Bro. Branham coming back to life and being flown in an airplane to every major city of USA and even around the world to hold revival meetings in a big tent. His tent vision did not show him ministering to the sick. Instead he was up in the air viewing the activities in the tent until he was told to go into the "little room". The vision was given to him for the believers to understand that the message calls for a people of God to enter into a "little room" where awaits a "revival" for all that enter in.
God works in 3s – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; Justification, Sanctification, and Holy Spirit Baptism. There are 3 divisions in the Tabernacle of Moses – the Outer Court, the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place. There are 3 phases in the Coming of Christ – the Shout, the Voice of an Archangel and the Last Trump. There are 3 divisions in Branham's TENT VISION – the people in the queue outside waiting to get into the tent, those already in the tent and those waiting to get into the "little room". It is in the "little room" that the "last trump" to the elect (the wife of Christ who would has made herself ready under the Ascension Gifts Ministry) would be uttered to give her rapturing faith.
The revelation of THE WORD is all important to the elect. It can only come by SPOKEN WORD. Faith comes by the hearing of the Word of God, not by reading it. And how can one hear the Word of Life except a preacher be sent. Receiving the faith of God is receiving the life of God. The "speaking of the Word" – the prophesying and the revealing of the Word – is the thing that will take the elect into the Rapture. Bro. Branham had a foretaste of it and he spoke of it as the "third pull" in his ministry. This "third pull" of God will open up the hidden things of God to the elect by SPOKEN WORD — first, through the message of the messenger to the last Church Age (which calls the saints back to the Word), then through the Ascension Gifts Ministry that Christ had set in His Body (which establishes the saints in the Word) and finally by the utterances of the Seven Thunders when they shall come and utter their voices (which will cap the elect with the Word, giving them a revival before they are caught away to meet the Lord in the air). Truly, the final revelation of God to the elect for their translation has to be uttered into the ears of the elect. The revelation, or faith, for the rapture must be by the hearing of the Word.
Bro. Branham was a messenger sent to call the people of God back to the Original Apostolic Faith. The elect have to separate themselves from darkness, a place where blinded religious people think that they have the light. Traditions of men are such a place. And to get out of darkness the elect have to get into the TENT of God. "Oh, the message has brought in so many!" How wonderful, but Branham was no longer shouting out his message. He was no longer ministering. He saw the people in the TENT but there was a group waiting to get into a "little room" — "I'll meet you in there."
But, why in there? It's just not good enough to come into the TENT and say, "We believe the message." It'll do us no good if we do not know the true purpose of God sending the message. That's right; we need to meet the Lord in there – individually. We need to hear the Word. We need to know the Word beyond that which was uttered by William Branham in his SHOUT – "Behold, the Bridegroom cometh! Come out to meet Him!" We need to enter into marriage with the Christ, an invisible spiritual union with the Lord.
Right, coming out we need to GET IN to that "little room". We need to hear the VOICE of the Chief Messenger and we need to hear the Last TRUMP before the body change can take place. And it is all IN THERE – the "little room". Without this "revival", there will be no "catching away" to meet the Lord.
Why and what was going on in the "little room" in Branham's vision? Why must the Lord meet the elect in there? Certainly the translation of the Bride will not be a public show. The "Rapture" will be secret. When Enoch was translated, it was not done publicly. When Elijah was charioted away, it was not carried out in full view of the public, except to Elisha upon whom his mantle fell. When our Lord ascended into Heaven, His ascension was not staged publicly but only to His 11 apostles. There might have been other people around the vicinity of Mount Olivet but certainly no one, who might have happened to cast his eyes skyward, saw our Lord drifted off into the heaven. Hence, whatever goes on in the "little room" will never be a drama played out to the public. It is only for the true elect. How could Bro. Branham ever talk about it? It's a secret! Like the caterpillar entering into its cocoon, a "little room", where it undergoes a transformation, a metamorphosis, into a butterfly. Its revival for a new body is hidden away from prying eyes. It's a secret! Silence! Rev.8:1.
Friends, the message of Branham is to bring you back to the Apostolic Faith and it is in this Faith, the only Faith, whereby you must be established and grounded.