Cult founders and leaders, such as Charles Taze Russell of the Jehovah's Witnesses, claim to have "special insight" into what is written "in-between the lines" of the Bible. By adding extra-biblical advancements to scripture, they portray themselves as having spiritual wisdom while supporting their extra-biblical doctrines. William Branham did the same, but many of his "special revelations" were not his own -- he copied the work of others.
The fundamental belief for the Jehovah's Witnesses is that Jehovah of the Old Testament was Jesus of the New Testament. Hence the name, Jehovah's Witnesses.
William Branham taught the same thing, reversing it so that many would not catch his plagiarism of the idea from Russell. According to Branham, "Jesus of the New Testament was Jehovah of the Old Testament."
Jehovah's Witnesses are well-known by apologetics for their denial of the deity of Christ. According to their theology, Jesus was an incarnation of Michael, the supreme archangel, not God in human flesh. This doctrine, also, was reinforced by William Branham.
The historical name for this teaching is Arianism. Arius was a fourth-century heretic whose doctrine was opposed by Athanasius and the early Christian church. Arius claimed that Jesus did not always exist, but was created by "and is therefore distinct from" God the Father.
While with Ern Baxter, Branham's teachings were very close to mainstream Christianity, but once his campaign team fled, Branham started teaching the same Arianism that great men of old stood against:
He can't be His own Father; Jesus couldn't be the one Jesus, one God, all like that. He was created by God the Father.
Branham, 61-0211 ABRAHAM
According to the scriptural understanding of the Godhead, Jesus being the same as Jehovah is mostly true. There is one God, and he is not bound to our time and space. Before the world was formed, He IS. When Jesus died on the cross, He IS. When Christ returns, He IS.
But in a subtle way, this Arian teaching from the Jehovah's Witnesses limits God by eliminating the triune nature of God. It also limits God by limiting Jesus Christ, who IS God. In fact, breaking down the triune nature of God even defies William Branham's own teachings before his team fled.
Yahweh, the One True God, led the children of Israel out of Egypt. They were guided by God alone, with a cloud that could be seen in the day, and a fire that could be seen at night.
By day the LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night.
Yahweh IS God, and He is ONE God. Outside of our time and space, Yahweh Is and always will be. But in earthly time and space, Yahweh led the children of Israel out of Egypt centuries and centuries ago in the ancient world, and long before Jesus was born.
The pillar of fire, created by God to lead them, was used at night. Through the darkness, the children of Israel could see the light of the fire, and could travel both day and night. In the daylight, however, God guided them with a cloud.
In order to support the teachings from the Jehovah's Witnesses, Branham claimed that the "pillar of fire" that Paul saw in the wilderness was the same "Pillar of Fire" that guided the children of Israel.
There's just one problem: The scriptures do not say that Paul saw a pillar of fire!
But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. And falling to the ground he heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?" And he said, "Who are you, Lord?" And he said, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting."
Paul was not being led by night, and the Jesus that spoke to Paul in the light (not a fire), was only one part of the tri-une nature of God. Yes, it was the same One True God of the Old Testament, but this was Jesus -- the Son of the Father, the One who sent us the Holy Spirit!
As Christians, we should ask ourselves: why would we follow a false prophet, with false teachings, coming from cult leaders and heretics, that defy the magnificent and almighty God? Why would we lean toward Arianism, when Arian was a heretic? Why would we lean towards Russell when Russell was a false teacher and also heretic? Why would we believe these false teachings were 'divine revelation' when they have been produced by false teachers for centuries and centuries?
Shouldn't we worship God of the Bible instead of the god of the false prophet?