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School Of The Prophets

John Collins03/14/2013

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Now that most of William Branham’s prophecies have proven themselves false by either recorded history or his own words, many people fleeing the cult of William Branham are skeptical of prophets and the gift of prophecy.

Branham gives a story many times about going to the “school of the prophets,” and other events on his trip to Mishawaka.  Over time, this story becomes woven into Branham’s many stories about Elijah’s ascension into heaven as the fifty men stood watching.

In 2 Kings 2, the writer describes “sons of the prophets,” young men standing by the Jordan river watching as Elijah and Elisha passed by.  They warned Elisha that Elijah would be taken away before his translation, so it would seem that some of these men had a gift of prophecy.  And though fifty of them fell into error when they went searching for the body of Elijah, they were respectful of the spirit that rested on Elisha. 

Branham starts calling these sons of prophets the “school of the prophets,” referring to the School of the Prophets that he visited.  What he does not tell the congregation is that the School of the Prophets was affiliated with the Church of Latter Day Saints, or Mormons.  The first School of Prophets, or School of Elders as it is also called, was founded by Joseph Smith of the LDS.  Brigham Young carried the torch, establishing several more of these schools for generating elders of the Mormon faith.

It is evident from Branham’s integrating this story into his storytelling of the Biblical Elijah that things did not go so well in that school.  Branham, claiming to be the “Elijah of this day,” was far more powerful than all of the others in the school, or the “Sons of the Prophets.”  Based on his unscriptural foundation for prophecy, it is quite possible that even the Mormon faith knew more about Paul’s instructions for prophecy than William Branham, and that Branham was trying to be a lone wolf.

The Apostle Paul tells how we should prophesy, if we have the gift of prophecy.  It is not to be a “lone wolf,” a prophet who claims to have had many prophecies in days gone by without other prophets to confirm him – Paul says that other prophets should be involved to be sure the prophecy came from God.

Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy.  For one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit.  On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation.  The one who speaks in a tongue builds up himself, but the one who prophesies builds up the church.  Now I want you all to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy.  The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be built up.

Paul does not discourage prophecy, though many of the cult pastors of today do.  While cult pastors have been taught that the “major prophet” [Branham] is the only prophet we should listen to, Paul speaks of many prophets – even women.

Prophecy, if it is from God, is a blessing to the church.  Prophecy, if not from God, is very damaging to the church – which is exactly what we see today in the cult of William Branham.

Paul placed value on spiritual gifts that edify others:

Now, brothers, if I come to you speaking in tongues, how will I benefit you unless I bring you some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or teaching?  If even lifeless instruments, such as the flute or the harp, do not give distinct notes, how will anyone know what is played?  And if the bugle gives an indistinct sound, who will get ready for battle?  So with yourselves, if with your tongue you utter speech that is not intelligible, how will anyone know what is said? For you will be speaking into the air.  There are doubtless many different languages in the world, and none is without meaning, but if I do not know the meaning of the language, I will be a foreigner to the speaker and the speaker a foreigner to me.  So with yourselves, since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church.

Notice this:  The one prophesying in tongues edifies himself, because no one else could hear or understand.  Is this not the same thing that William Branham did, when he claimed to have had several ‘prophecies’ in days gone by?  Where are his prophetic witnesses?

Therefore, one who speaks in a tongue should pray that he may interpret.  For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays but my mind is unfruitful.  What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also.  Otherwise, if you give thanks with your spirit, how can anyone in the position of an outsider say “Amen” to your thanksgiving when he does not know what you are saying?  For you may be giving thanks well enough, but the other person is not being built up.  I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you.  Nevertheless, in church I would rather speak five words with my mind in order to instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue.

Paul says that he had the gift of tongues, but held it within himself so as to not edify himself.  He would rather lift up others.

Out of all the prophecies Branham claimed to have had, which ones lifted up the church?  Did Marilyn Monroe’s suicide edify the church?  The length of antlers on a hunting trip or egg shaped cars – did they edify the church?  How about that second brown bear – the failed vision?  If it were to have happened, would it edify the church?

This is folly, child-like bragging.  Paul condemns it:

Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature.  In the Law it is written, “By people of strange tongues and by the lips of foreigners will I speak to this people, and even then they will not listen to me, says the Lord.”  Thus tongues are a sign not for believers but for unbelievers, while prophecy is a sign not for unbelievers but for believers.  If, therefore, the whole church comes together and all speak in tongues, and outsiders or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are out of your minds?

Can the same not be said of Branham’s prophecies?  If we witness to others, saying, “Did you know that our prophet said that Marilyn Monroe died of a heart attack and not suicide?” will it point others to Christ?  If we tell them that California will sink before that “old guy” becomes “old,” will we point others to salvation?

But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all, the secrets of his heart are disclosed, and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you.

Paul does not say that the “wizard behind the curtain” should be the one on the platform prophesying.  Paul instructs the church that ALL should seek to have the gift of prophecy.  And more than that, they should prophesy in an orderly fashion, not the tangled mess that William Branham made:

What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up. If any speak in a tongue, let there be only two or at most three, and each in turn, and let someone interpret.  But if there is no one to interpret, let each of them keep silent in church and speak to himself and to God.  Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others weigh what is said.  If a revelation is made to another sitting there, let the first be silent.  For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all be encouraged, and the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets.  For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.

The “spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.”  I already hear that “message programming” kicking in, your minds brainwashed to think this is describing a sorcerer.  Branham promoted this single verse, taking it out of context, to imply that he could stand on the platform with his arms stretched forth and say, “I take every spirit in this auditorium under my control,” like the grand wizard.

But in context, this is speaking of God speaking through prophets to confirm prophecy of others.  This is a system of checks-and-balances to ensure that the prophet is prophesying the word from God.   Otherwise, we have many prophecies about egg-shaped cars and other nonsense that does not edify the church!

As Christians, we should ask ourselves:  Why did our fathers allow this man, seemingly ‘kicked out’ of the school of prophets, to claim to have had prophecies up to twenty years in the past – without following the scripture’s instructions for prophecy?  Why do the cult pastors speak the prophecies as absolute fact without searching them out for themselves?  Are they all too lazy?

Why do so many cult pastors now “throw the Bible under the bus,” when they’ve fed us nonsense for YEARS, telling us how each one of these prophecies are “infallible.”  Why do they claim that everything Branham said as “Thus Saith The Lord” is infallible, when many of the claims to not even match scripture?  When others, like the “bridge vision,” are obviously a lie?

Could it be that these cult pastors are today’s “school of the prophets,” and the real spirit of “Elijah” is the Holy Spirit that is within the hearts of their congregations?  Do they know this, and they are trying to suppress the spirit, so that others in their church do not prophesy?  Could it be that they know if TRUE men of God were to prophesy, they would condemn the false prophet?