Video available here: http://youtu.be/aF6VbTg2rYw
With each blog post of our “Thought For The Day,” my strategy is to make a chapter of the Bible (in context) to be the focal point for the thought. Generally, the rest of the content itself is a result of our scripture reading which sparks an old memory of something I’ve been taught that completely disagrees with that scripture when read in context.
I never will forget when Seek Ye The Truth first started, and the “Thought For The Day” was almost entirely scripture reading straight from books in the New Testament in the English Standard Version of the Bible. Having been spoon-fed false teaching from a “tape only” cult church, I was very unfamiliar with the scriptures. I found it very comforting to read the bible in the easy-to-read ESV version rather than the cryptic King James Version that in many places did not match today’s understanding of the language.
It was in one of those posts that a song leader from the cult church in Macon, GA condemned me for my “Thought For The Day.” He blasted me for the post, and said, “You don’t know the scriptures! Even the footnotes in your Bible condemn you to be a liar!”
I found this to be very interesting, because it was the Word of God directly from the Bible. And it sent me down a path of research on the King James Version, and specifically the “footnotes” that he was referring to. If the footnotes in his bible condemned the words coming straight out of the ESV, then there had to be something wrong!
Going back to the original Greek texts to compare the chapter in the ESV, I found it to be very close to the original translation -- at least as close as our language allowed. The KJV also was close, but was difficult to understand in the old English. I thought to myself, “Our language has progressed, and changed over time. Shouldn’t the translation of the Bible do the same, so that we can better understand the original meaning of God’s Word?”
In studying, I found that many legalistic “fundamentalist” churches -- the ones that add their own “fundamentals” to their religious beliefs -- all use the KJV. It reminds me of the days when the Catholic Church had the power over the Bible, and the common people were not allowed to read and understand God’s Word. The interpretation of the scriptures had to go through the priests. Paul said that the Bible is “of no private interpretation,” meaning that God speaks to all of us and we do not need a priest to tell us what the Word Says. (And yes, William Branham even twisted THAT scripture out of context to imply that HE was the only one who could rightly interpret the scriptures.)
But in my studies, I came across something very interesting. Those words from the song leader kept ringing in my ears, “Even the footnotes in your bible condemn you to be a liar!” Those footnotes evidently condemned the Bible, because the topic was almost word-for-word from the writings. I realized a connection between those footnotes and a large portion of William Branham’s “divine revelations.”
The Bible this song leader held was packaged and sold by Voice of God Recordings, the headquarters of the cult of William Branham. I myself had one of these Bibles, as did my wife and children. They were supposed to be the same version William Branham taught from, with the addition of some pictures of idolatry stitched in-between the leather bindings. The footnotes came from Cyrus Scofield, hence the name, “The Scofield Bible.”
The story of Cyrus Scofield is very similar-sounding to those who have studied William Branham’s many lies about his early life. Scofield was also a man running from his past, and seems to have escaped it in the name of religion. Sound familiar?
He was a Confederate soldier, one who lied about his age to enter the war -- but after a few months of fighting, cowardly tried to escape. In a letter to the Confederate Secretary of War, he claimed to have been a Michigan citizen, and requested exemption from his duties. That request was denied.
In 1873, Scofield was recommended to President Grant for U.S. District Attorney for the Federal Judicial District of Kansas. Though he was an ex-Confederate soldier, Scofield committed purgery by solemnly swearing that he had "never born arms against the United States."
As DA, Scofield did not last very long. Something else consumed his time, and he made not only a very poor District Attorney, but a very poor father of four. At one point in time, he disappeared from his family for five years. One acquaintance is recorded saying, “Scofield had a bad reputation, and he just skedaddled out of town.” Others recall his addiction to alcohol and the problems associated with being a drunkard.
When he was around, Scofield was accepting bribes, failing to pay bank notes, borrowing money that he would never repay, and causing problems for the family who supported him. His sisters would often co-sign his unpaid notes, and once they started refusing to sign, Scofield started forging people’s names. Court case #46333 and case #44326 both involve Scofield forging names on bank notes.
When Scofield finally re-appeared, he continued a more brazen life as a forger. He and another setup a blackmail scheme against the railroad system, which landed him in prison for about six months. He even went so far as to write his wife asking her to invest $1,300 of her mother’s life savings into a mortgage under a fictitious name, “Charles Best.”
But within months of emerging from prison, and after swindling his mother-in-law’s money, Scofield was ordained as a minister. Worse, he separated from his wife to start his ministry. He claimed that she had a temper and had became a “zealous Catholic.”
A reporter from "The Patriot" met his wife, and she was in shock at his sudden change. He wrote, “that little lady denies, as absurd, such stories. There were never any domestic clouds in their homes. They always lived harmoniously. As to her religion, she was no more zealous than any other church member. She attended service on the sabbath and tried to live as becomes a Christian woman and mother. It was the first time she had ever heard the objection raised by him. As to supporting herself and children, he had done nothing. 'Once in a great while, say every few months, he sends the children about $5, never more.’”
A year later, Scofield married a fresh-new member of his small congregation in his church in Dallas.
It is believed that Scofield had become acquainted with a party that was directing his steps. His overnight success and popularity so soon after a life of crime when combined with his unrepentant lifestyle suggest more to the story. Especially after landing back in jail for another six months not long after establishing his own congregation.
It is easy to back that theory when you study his private life. In 1901, Scofield was admitted to membership in the Lotos Club in New York City. This is an exclusive club founded by prominent New Yorkers such as Whitelaw Reid of the N.Y. Tribune and Samuel Untermeyer, the notorious criminal lawyer and well-known leader in the Zionist movement. Untermeyer was on the Club's Literary Committee when Scofield's application was presented. Scofield kept up his Club membership until his death.
But Scofield’s shady past is not so damaging to the church as is his false teachings in the Bible promoted by the cult. Scofields crimes against humanity were judged by men, but his twisted scriptures will be judged by God. Sadly, Branham copied many of these false teachings and claimed them for his own.
And like Branham copying Scofield, Scofield’s doctrines were also not new. Scofield gleamed a great deal of his content from John Darby, founder of a cult called “Brethrenism.” Darby is considered the “Father of Dispensationalism,” and seems to have influenced many cult churches in many ways.
Scofield took Darby’s dispensational teaching, and separated seven divisions (or dispensations), periods of time in the Bible. Though these periods of time exist, and many others in the Zionist movement have copied them, they are extra-biblical. Scofield’s seven dispensations include:
- Innocence -- creation to the Fall. (Ge 2:16-17.)
- Conscience -- from the Fall to the Flood.
- Human government -- from the Flood to Abram
- Promise -- Abram to the giving of the Law on Sinai.
- Law -- Sinai to the Cross of Christ.
- Grace -- from the death of Christ to the judgments in Revelation.
- Kingdom -- the last of the ordered ages -- the time Christ will restore the Davidic kingdom and reign one thousand years.
There are two HUGE problems with these dispensations. First, God’s promise to Abraham was for Abraham had no end. It did not end when the Mosaic Law was given, and in fact, included the time afterwards in the wilderness specifically in the promise.
In fact, the part that Scofield missed is that there are seven COVENANTS in the Bible, not dispensations. Some covenants are everlasting, some are momentary.
Genesis 15 says this:
Then the Lord said to Abram, “Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years. 14 But I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions. 15 As for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried in a good old age. 16 And they shall come back here in the fourth generation, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.”
But the worst heresy, and one that Branham chose to implement, was the dispensation of Grace. Like the Abrahamic covenant, God’s covenant of Grace has no end. Paul calls it the “everlasting and eternal covenant.” With no end. “For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”
It is because of these dispensations that many cults turn away from other Christians and sever the body of Christ. These dispensations include the heresy that there are “hidden mysteries” that are “in-between” the lines of the Bible -- a heresy that William Branham also copied.
Listen to these two statements in comparison, one from the Apostle Paul, and one from William Branham. The apostle Paul says this:
Our letters have been straightforward, and there is nothing written between the lines and nothing you can't understand. I hope someday you will fully understand us.
-2 Corinthians 1
But Branham says this:
Along came Abraham. Watch between the lines now, you readers. This is not written right in the Word; you have to read it in between. It's hid from the eyes of the wise and prudent.
It is striking when you pay attention to the name of that sermon by William Branham, “Demonology.” This is the doctrine of demons.
He would often call it a “love letter,” instructing the readers to read inbetween the lines.
Oh, brother, the Bible is just like a love letter. You have to read between the lines, see what It means. God said, "He hid it from the eyes of the wise and prudent, and revealed It to babes such as would learn."
-64-0404 Jehovah Jireh
Frankly, this is the reason no two cult churches can agree with each other. Neither one of them can guess the same “mysteries” between the lines, and sadly, they’ve ignored what is written on the pages.
It is also very odd when you think of what Branham is saying. What was between the lines of HIS bible? Scofield!
Another heretical doctrine Scofield got from Darby, one that Branham continued, is the “elect bride rapture.”
It’s ironic when you think about it. Branham can often be quoted saying, “Trinity is never in the Bible, show me one instance of the word trinity in the Bible -- even though Branham himself teaches trinitarian on some sermons. The Bible often speaks of the tri-une nature of God. “These Three are One.”
But the word “rapture” is not only NOT in the Bible, there is very little or no support for it. And there is ABSOLUTELY no support for a “little bride rapture,” the theology Branham stole from Scofield who stole from Darby. It was Darby’s conflict with the Catholic Church that instigated that theology, and is relatively new.
In Matthew 13, Jesus Christ gives many examples of the Kingdom of Heaven. Each parable describes the coming kingdom the EXACT opposite of Darby, Scofield, and Branham.
Take the parable of the weeds:
He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. And the servants of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ So the servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’
Let’s pause here. Under the false teaching created by Darby, spread by Scofield and regurgitated by William Branham, the master would say, “Yes! Let’s gather up the chosen few plants and let the rest of the plants die with the weeds! Let them burn! Especially those plants that have sat next to a weed, they are diseased! They’ve taken the Mark of the Beast!”
But let’s see what Jesus says:
But he said, ‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.’”
The “little bride rapture” theology can be vaguely supported if you take a few scriptures here and there, taking them out of context like Darby does. But the words of Christ are very plain, very easy to understand. We must take the words of Christ over false teachers.
Scofield also tried to limit the deity of Christ, just as George Lamsa, the only other theologian that William Branham praised.
In the Introduction to The Four Gospels, Scofield says this: "All (gospels) record Christ's offer of Himself as King."
Christ was the COMING King. He was ALREADY king. Paul said that he was the Creator, God from the beginning.
Scofield did not fully understand the Gospel, and thought that Christ was a rejected failure. In his notes of Matthew 4:17, he declares that Christ SHOULD have been establishing the Davidic kingdom instead of fulfilling the Old Covenant:
When Christ appeared to the Jewish people, the next thing, in the order of revelation as it then stood, should have been the setting up of the Davidic kingdom.
This theology, taken from Darby, is anti-Israel. Scofield’s notes declare Israel a failure, and seems to think that God rejected them because they rejected Christ.
In his notes on Matthew 11, Scofield says this:
"John Baptist was as great morally, as any man 'born of woman,' but as to the kingdom he but announced it at hand. The kingdom did not then come, but was rejected, and John was martyred and the King presently crucified. The least in the kingdom when it is set up in glory ... will be...in the fulness of power and glory. It is not heaven which is in question, but Messiah's kingdom."
Because they rejected Christ, Scofield starts to claim that Israel was not offered the Kingdom of Heaven. Later in his notes on Matthew 11, Scofield says this:
Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest." "The new message of Jesus. The rejected King, now turns from the rejecting nation, and offers, not the kingdom, but rest and service to such in the nation as are conscious of need. It is a pivotal point in the ministry or Jesus (1917).
That scripture: “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest, take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” That scripture is one of my favorites, and it has given songwriters beautiful words for their songs. “Come Unto Me” is one of my all-time favorites!
To think that a false teacher and a conman would twist the words of Jesus is unthinkable!
Another false teaching that Branham got from Scofield’s notes is on Deuteronomy 30:3:
It is important to see that the nation (Israel) has never as yet taken the land under the unconditional Abrahamic Covenant, nor has it ever possessed the whole land."
Branham took this one and ran with it, even falsely claiming that Israel became a nation the very hour he got his commission. (Yes, Branham forgot to check the dates before he said that, and it was, of course, his second commission story).
There are many lists of Scofield’s errors and heresies that you can find online if you search for them. Quite frankly, the easiest (and best) way to find them is simply to read the scriptures and compare them to his erroneous notes.
But Scofield was part of a much, much larger scheme. Darby was involved, and we find that many other men that Branham followed, including Charles Taze Russell, were involved. One might ask why so many cult leaders follow the same extra-biblical teachings.
The answer is simple, and is given by Jesus Christ.
In Luke 17, in Jesus’ description of the coming Kingdom of Heaven, Jesus tells us why these false teachers will rise. Their instructions do not come from men, but are the doctrine of demons.
Luke 17 says this:
And he said to the disciples, “The days are coming when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. And they will say to you, ‘Look, there!’ or ‘Look, here!’ Do not go out or follow them. For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day. But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation. Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man.
“Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man.” William Branham took this verse and one from another book, combining them to teach his “little bride rapture” doctrine that he copied from Scofield and Darby. He added the words” wherein eight souls were saved,” to change the meaning of scripture.
But Jesus is not speaking about the number of the elect, or even of the Body of Christ. He is talking about those who are focusing on a “little bride rapture” and will be caught unawares!
They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise, just as it was in the days of Lot—they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building, but on the day when Lot went out from Sodom, fire and sulfur rained from heaven and destroyed them all— so will it be on the day when the Son of Man is revealed.
On that day, let the one who is on the housetop, with his goods in the house, not come down to take them away, and likewise let the one who is in the field not turn back. Remember Lot's wife. Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it. I tell you, in that night there will be two in one bed. One will be taken and the other left. There will be two women grinding together. One will be taken and the other left.” And they said to him, “Where, Lord?” He said to them, “Where the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.”
Notice the end of this chapter. “Where the corpse is, the vultures will gather.”
These are the people TAKEN. They are taken, and the disciples asked Jesus, “Where did they go?” And Jesus said, “Where the corpse is, the vultures will gather!”
Branham, in his twisted “little bride rapture,” used the King James Version word: eagles. Then he lied to masses about what eagles eat -- when eagles are really birds of prey. And he tricked them into thinking that it was a GOOD thing to eat rotting corpses!
But in this story, those taken, Christ points to as corpses!
The moral of the story is this: There are many men, with many different motives. Some try sincerely and fall into error. Some, like William Branham, come telling lies from the very beginning and have clearly devious motives. Others, like Scofield (and possibly Branham), were guided by men in shadows. Only those who are intently studying the Word of God sincerely will be walking in Truth.
It is likely for that reason that Branham took Darby’s doctrines against theologians (except the theologians Scofield and Lamsa, obviously.) If his cult following were to find out that others knew their bibles better than their “prophet,” he would quickly have no following. And heaven forbid that somebody try to learn more about their Bibles by actually going to school to learn!
The moral of the story is do not listen to any single person when it comes to Scriptural Truth. Not me, not William Branham, not any of the cult leaders Branham idolized, or even Billy Graham. Read it for yourself. You will find that after you untangle the false doctrines of devious men, it is not that difficult to read and understand.
It is a lot like a huge diamond that you’ve dropped into the mud. You can show it to anybody all you want, telling them that it is a diamond. But until you wipe the mud off, those who know what a diamond looks like will just simply walk away.
Don’t be the person that has left the mud of false teachers like William Branham and Scofield cover your bible until you forget the words. Read the Book! Seek the Truth! It’s in the Bible!