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Delusional Lawlessness

John Collins01/23/2013In 2 Thessalonians 2, Paul warns about both the "mystery of lawlessness" and the "man of lawlessness" that will one day come.  It is though Paul is speaking directly to us out of the Scriptures, though his letter to the Thessalonians was written hundreds of years ago.

Concerning the end time, Paul warned not to be quickly shaken by a "spoken word" or by a spirit.  He warned them that even if a letter is written seeming to come from Paul himself, they should not be troubled or deceived about it.  Why?  The "man of lawlessness" must first come.

Many cults have risen, claiming that the signs of the times signified the end, yet each one has passed and gone.  And even though the false prophets that started each cult or following has long turned into dust, their following remains.  

Early in his ministry, Branham claimed that World War 2 was the signs of the nearing end time.  Eisenhower and Khrushchev, Branham claimed, were the "iron and the clay" described in Daniel's interpretation of king Nebuchadnezzar's dream.  When both men faded away, the focal point drifted towards the Catholic church.  Branham evidently had not read Paul's letter to the Thessalonians.

Paul says to ignore these deceivers claiming the end of days.  Branham's heroes, such as John Alexander Dowie and Charles Taze Russell, were among many who claimed the end was near, yet Paul gives us instruction that we must first wait until the "man of lawlessness" has not only appeared, but taken his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming to be God.

According to Paul, there will first come a great rebellion, and the man of lawlessness will be revealed.  Paul calls him the "son of destruction," because he opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god.  He exalts himself above every object of worship, and takes his seat in the temple, proclaiming to be God.  

Daniel calls this man the "abomination that makes desolate."  Jesus calls him the "abomination of desolation," and refers to Daniel's interpretation in Matthew 24.  Jesus says that when we see the abomination of desolation standing in the holy place, flee for the coming tribulation.  "Immediately after the tribulation," Jesus says, "the sun will be darkened, the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven." 

William Branham claimed that this "abomination of desolation" was the Mosque of Omar, however the prophets of old, apostles of the New Testament, and Jesus Himself said that this abomination would be a man claiming to have power above all other gods.  The Mosque of Omar has been standing since 1193, and then renovated in 1860.  

Obviously, the sun, moon, and stars did not fall immediately after Branham's interpretation of the "abomination," and that is because Branham's interpretation came from presumptuous words rather than from scripture.  Had Branham been a study of the Bible that we read instead of Lamsa, Russell, and Dowie's writings on the subject, it would be more closely aligned with scripture.

We ask ourselves how so many fell into Branham's trap, when they are so far separated from scriptural teaching, but Paul has already given us the answer.  The Abomination of Desolation will be empowered by the activity of Satan, who has already went out to deceive.  False signs and wonders will persuade many from the truth, and there will be wicked deceptions to all who are perishing.  

While many followers now know that Branham was in Houston, TX when the "mystery cloud" floated across the skies in northern Arizona, that he gave three different birth years--two of which for deceiving purposes, and that most of his childhood stories are fictitious, and that Branham's visions changed gradually over time to fit actual history, they still love their false prophet.  Why?  

Paul says that they are already perishing, and that "God sends them a strong delusion, so that they believe what is false."  

Paul says that in order that all of the wicked may be condemned, God sends them such delusion that they no longer believe in truth and would rather believe in the fictitious stories given by deceivers.  Paul calls this "pleasure in unrighteousness" because they did not believe the truth.

As Christians, we should ask ourselves:  Do we uplift the fictitious stories of a lying prophet?  Are we fooled by his signs and wonders, insomuch that we believe in the healing campaigns more than the Word of God?  When Branham strays from the scriptures, do we take the side of a deceiving prophet, or the Word of God?  Are we part of those setting up the Abomination of Desolation, or are we believers in Truth?