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A Pardon IS A Pardon When God Gives It

John Collins05/06/2013

Video available here:

In 1963, William Branham preached a sermon that is very popular within the religious cult he established.  It’s a sermon that is very ironic when you examine the contents of the message he is trying to give to his followers.

The sermon is entitled “Pardon.” 

From a Christian standpoint, the greatest irony is that the sermon itself contradicts the scripture reading contained within the sermon.  And the entire sermon, start to finish, contradicts the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

While most people enslaved by this religious cult would argue that I’m nit-picking Branham’s sermon, most cult apologetics would agree that the teaching contained in this sermon is the very foundation of any religious cult that professes Christianity: 

To accept the religious cult means that you must first deny the work that Jesus Christ did on the cross at Calvary.

The scripture Branham reads for the sermon is Romans 8:28, and it is one that we all are familiar with:

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are... called according to his purpose.  For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.  Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and to whom he justified, them he also glorified.  What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?  He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

Romans 8:28.

This passage deals with three topics: 

  1. Predestination:Before we were even a twinkle in our earthly father’s eye, the Heavenly Father knew that He would call us to be Christians.
  2. Unmerited Favor: God loves us so much that He sent His only Son, Christ Jesus, to die for us and deliver us from our sins.It was not anything that we ourselves could do, we were called according to His purpose.
  3. Salvation: Those who are called are then justified by Christ, and will be glorified with Him.For that purpose, God did not even spare His own Son!  Who can stand against us with a Heavenly Father like that!

These three topics in this one single passage of Romans is mind-boggling.  Paul was very clear and concise when he wrote his letters, and the depth of the messages he gives in the letters is fantastic!

This passage also reminds me of my favorite, Ephesians 2:8: 

For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God  --Ephesians 2:8

Paul understood the Gospel of Jesus Christ and what it meant to the world.  Christ came to a lost and dying world, sent by the Father to a people that had rejected Him.  God knew that the Children of Israel could never keep their half of the bargain, and would never be able to fulfill the Old Covenant.  All throughout the books of Kings and Judges, all throughout the Old Testament prophets, the story was the same.  One man would rise up, discover the Book of the Law, see that the people were not following it, and cry out for repentance.  Then, many times, that very same person would fall into the same idolatry he stood against, and another would rise in his place.  Time and again, man after man, even women rose up to try to bring the people to a righteous life, but every single time resulted in failure. 

In fact, the entire moral of the Old Testament story is that we will NEVER be saved by works-righteous faith.  There is not a single thing that we can do by ourselves to make us more righteous and holy.  That is the REASON that God send Jesus Christ to die for all sin!  He did what we could not do!

So Paul proclaimed the Good News that God loved us SO much that he forfeited His own Son to save our lives!  God sent Jesus to free us from the bondage of the Law, so that we can be Heirs with the King!

But then, Paul warned of the many who would rise, time and again, to try to place us back under that bondage.

Branham’s example is so grossly inaccurate that it is comical.  He gives a story of a good ‘ol boy who was sentenced to death during what we would call the Civil war, but what Branham calls the “Revolutionary War.” 

(I have noticed that when Branham invents or twists a story, he typically adds a statement that is so grossly inaccurate that the mind focuses in on the obvious false statement rather than interpreting the greater wrong.)

In this heart-wrenching story, Branham describes the journey to pardon by President Lincoln.  How much of a struggle there was just to even get the pardon, how much the people had to do by themselves.  Then, when the almighty Lincoln gave his pardon, Branham describes how hard they struggled to deliver the pardon to the man sentenced to death.  Then, after all of this, the man waiting to be hung for abandoning his post refused Lincoln’s pardon!

Now, had Branham stopped here and said, “And Lincoln so loved this man that he sent his own son to die in this man’s place, and saved the life of that man, spared the people in the city, and offered sanctuary for the entire armies of the Union and Confederate,” the sermon would have been entirely different.  It would have matched the scripture that he just read!  But it didn’t!

Instead, Branham weaves the religious cult theology into this sermon.  It wasn’t Branham’s own theology, this was similar to the false teachings of Branham’s mentors, Charles Taze Russell, Joseph Smith, and John Alexander Dowie.

This man’s salvation rested upon the works of the people, not of the man in charge.  They had to struggle to even get the pardon – the pardon was not offered freely as Christ did for us.  The pardon was delivered by the people, not like God sending His Own Son when the people were incapable of salvation.  The pardon was refused by the man sentenced to death, but rather than God forgiving the Children of Israel, in Branham’s teaching, God would have allowed every single Jew to die.

It is striking when you consider that the “bible” Branham studied from George Lamsa interpreted Jesus’ dying words on the cross, “My God, My God, for this I was spared?”

In other words, “Father, why did you send me here if these people are going to reject me?  Take me down, I’m too young to die!  Let them fend for themselves!  Let them HANG because they refused the pardon!”

That is what Branham is teaching here!

There are many huge holes in Branham’s false teaching.  Sadly, these holes are woven through his entire ministry.  The false prophecies and lies to hide his past are inconsequential when you consider the false teaching.  Why Branham even carried his Bible, I’ll never know.  I don’t believe he even read it!

The event Branham describes actually happened in 1833 during Andrew Jackson’s presidency, not Abraham Lincoln’s.  And the defendant was not simply abandoning his post, not wanting to kill his fellow man.  The defendant in the actual story was guilty of theft and wanton endangerment of a postal worker.  The incident was so horrific that the death penalty was given!

The pardon was not on a hand-written note, and not rejected for the man not believing that it came from the President of the United States.  The pardon was delivered by a government official on an official letterhead and with the president’s seal. 

The person sentenced to death did not mistakenly reject the pardon – he was so filled with hate and rage that he willingly chose to end his life for spite!

It went before the Supreme Court in 1927, during William Branham’s lifetime.  He would have knew that this was not the Revolutionary War, was not President Lincoln, was not a good man guilty of a questionable crime – That’s why he planted the obvious problem in a hidden web of deceit!

You must understand that salvation does not rest on our shoulders.  We are all born into sin, and we all will fail DAILY! 

Sin is not “unbelief” as William Branham tried to shove down our throats.  That false teaching KEEPS you in bondage!  No matter HOW hard you try, you will sin.  Doesn’t matter if you are a simple man in a pew, a pastor, an evangelist, or prophet.  Especially a false prophet.

When sin entered the world, it became a common problem for all of us, and will remain a problem until the King returns to the Throne. 

There is absolutely NOTHING that we can do to rid ourselves of sin.  If mankind could have lifted themselves back up from the sin of this world, then there would have been no need for God to send Christ to die for us.

You must also understand that THIS is the reason that Satan sends deceivers into the world.  Satan is powerless.  He was defeated on the cross.  He only has the power that we, as humans, give him.  If we condemn ourselves by thinking we are unbelievers because we sin, then we are doing the work that Satan can no longer do!

Worse, if we take away our understanding of belief in Jesus Christ, then we essentially have also taken away our salvation.  That is how Satan can enslave us and strap chains of everlasting bondage on us, to drag us down into the pits of hell.

There is only one pathway to salvation: Grace from the Father, and Faith in Jesus Christ.  It isn’t something we can do ourselves, otherwise Jesus would never have died for us.

The worst part of Branham’s sermon is that it is the underlying theme for his entire ministry:  Deny the work that Jesus Christ did on Calvary so that we can become failures trying to do it by ourselves.