Video available here: http://youtu.be/KQ7yClpoEMU
Early in the Old Testament, God chose the children of Israel to be His chosen people. They were the “elected,” the ones God chose to be like a bride for a bridegroom.
They were surrounded by religious cults practicing idolatry. In Ezekiel 16, God spoke through Ezekiel to remind them of where they came from and where they were going. In God’s eyes, they were the underdog – the pitiful race that the worshippers of Baal despised.
“Your origin and your birth are of the land of the Canaanites; your father was an Amorite and your mother a Hittite. And as for your birth, on the day you were born your cord was not cut, nor were you washed with water to cleanse you, nor rubbed with salt, nor wrapped in swaddling cloths. No eye pitied you, to do any of these things to you out of compassion for you, but you were cast out on the open field, for you were abhorred, on the day that you were born.”
It is easy to compare the cord still attached to the child in this analogy, especially considering the two peoples mentioned: the Amorites and the Hittites. While God chose them to be His people, they were still attached to their forefathers.
But God wanted them to separate. Like a bride to her husband, God wanted Israel to separate from her parents to become His chosen.
Later in Ezekiel 16, God says this:
“When I passed by you again and saw you, behold, you were at the age for love, and I spread the corner of my garment over you and covered your nakedness; I made my vow to you and entered into a covenant with you, declares the Lord God, and you became mine. Then I bathed you with water and washed off your blood from you and anointed you with oil. I clothed you also with embroidered cloth and shod you with fine leather. I wrapped you in fine linen and covered you with silk. And I adorned you with ornaments and put bracelets on your wrists and a chain on your neck. And I put a ring on your nose and earrings in your ears and a beautiful crown on your head. Thus you were adorned with gold and silver, and your clothing was of fine linen and silk and embroidered cloth. You ate fine flour and honey and oil. You grew exceedingly beautiful and advanced to royalty. And your renown went forth among the nations because of your beauty, for it was perfect through the splendor that I had bestowed on you, declares the Lord God.
Father God was preparing His bride to become his wife. He knew the beginning and the end, and knew that she would give birth to the greatest Son the world has ever known: Jesus Christ.
Like any husband, God was jealous towards the bride that He chose. Time after time, example after example in the Bible, His bride went whoring after other ‘husbands,’ those who practiced idolatry and did not serve the One True God.
God spoke through Ezekiel, condemning Israel for not staying true to her Husband:
“Adulterous wife, who receives strangers instead of her husband! Men give gifts to all prostitutes, but you gave your gifts to all your lovers, bribing them to come to you from every side with your whorings. So you were different from other women in your whorings. No one solicited you to play the whore, and you gave payment, while no payment was given to you; therefore you were different.”
Like a bride for a husband, the Children of Israel did not choose God. God chose them. And not because they were perfect – they were far from it. Israel was never able to submit herself holy before her Husband. Time after time, the Children of Israel proved that they could not make themselves holy through works of the law.
But she was the bride for the Bridegroom, one that would bear a Son that would save the world from sin.
After calling Israel the greatest whore that was or would be to come, worse even than Sodom, God gave a promise. The “sisters,” speaking of Gentiles, not Jews, would be given to Israel as “daughters.” Previously in the chapter, God said that the older “sister” was Samaria, and the younger “sister” was Sodom!
I will deal with you as you have done, you who have despised the oath in breaking the covenant, yet I will remember my covenant with you in the days of your youth, and I will establish for you an everlasting covenant. Then you will remember your ways and be ashamed when you take your sisters, both your elder and your younger, and I give them to you as daughters, but not on account of the covenant with you. I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall know that I am the Lord, that you may remember and be confounded, and never open your mouth again because of your shame, when I atone for you for all that you have done, declares the Lord God.
Notice the part about the covenants. These sisters would be given to Israel as “daughters” – but NOT because of the Old Covenant of Law. God said “not on account of the covenant with you,” meaning the Mosaic Law. He said that He would establish a NEW covenant, and he said that covenant was everlasting.
Under Darby’s dispensationalist doctrine that trickled down through Clarence Larkin, heavily influenced those coming from the Azusa Street Revival, and was plagiarized by William Branham as “Divine Revelation from God,” the “age” of the Old Covenant being replaced with the New Covenant fits into the theology.
But when Darby introduced the “Rapture” theology, there is a vast twisting and elimination of scripture. Darby was just one of many in the line of religious men who created “elitist” groups of people who falsely believed that their “little group” was more special than all other Christians. And he placed an END on the “dispensation” of Grace! He took God’s ETERNAL covenant, and taught that it was only eternal until the next “dispensation!”
Listen to this twisting of scripture by William Branham to promote Darby’s false teaching:
Remember, Gentiles are only limited amount of time for grace. The Bible said, "They would trod down the walls of Jerusalem," Jesus said, "until the Gentile dispensation would be finished." That's right. It's got a definite set time of finish. - 54-0513 THE.MARK.OF.THE.BEAST
In fact, Branham took it a step further, falsely preaching that we should ALREADY be past the dispensation of Grace, but we did not have that “rapturing faith.” Branham tried to make the Everlasting Covenant of Grace end during his ministry!
There are really only two schools of thought concerning the Body of Christ:
We have the description given in the New Testament by Paul and the Apostles. That is the Truth that the Body of Christ reaches vast areas of the earth and is in unity – neither Jew nor Gentile, man nor woman, all parts of the Body of Christ being one with God. Under Paul’s teaching, there is no “special” parts of the Body of Christ, no “foolish virgins” who will be cut off from that body to receive a lessor portion.
Then, we have the teaching of William Branham – but it was not his own. He copied from John Alexander Dowie, Clarence Larkin, John Darby, and the entire trail of false teachers leading all the way back to what many would call a witch: Jane Leade, the mystic prophet.
These false teachers promoted division and separation. The “elite” Christians must separate themselves from every other person who believes Christ to become MORE spiritually enlightened. Faith in Jesus Christ was not good enough – they must EARN their “special” reward that the other members of the Body of Christ [they mistakenly thought] would not receive.
While Branham claimed that he taught the “same message that Paul preached” in a false or faked vision, this message of separation was an opposing stance from the teachings of Christ that spread down through the Apostles and was proclaimed by Paul across the early church.
While the false teachers instructed to separate, Paul says this in Ephesians 4:16:
from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
This was the same in all of Paul’s letters. He warned us that false teachers would rise – usually associated with false prophets – and they would try to sever the Body of Christ. They would come to create divisions. It is a battle strategy by Satan – divide the Body of Christ and make them fight against themselves rather than fight the true evil Christ sent us to fight
To the Romans, Paul says this:
I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. - Romans 16:17
To the Corinthians, Paul repeats himself:
I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought. - 1 Corinthians 1:10
When these false teachers came preaching, promoting this “special group” that was supposed to be better than all of the other Christians, they had to twist and omit large portions of scripture. Each instance in the Old Testament speaking of God’s Bride was twisted to apply to the New Covenant Bride of Christ – not the bride Ezekiel spoke about which was the Children of Israel.
How many times have you heard Ezekiel 16 preached in any of the recorded sermons of William Branham? How many times from behind the pulpits of the cult churches have you heard of God’s faithless bride that would be given Sodom as one of her “daughters?” How SHE was the great whore? Or how God’s bride wore EARRINGS! And a NOSE RING!
Any time your doctrine has to omit portions of scripture so that it seems to fit, your doctrine is FALSE !
This twisting of scripture, taking passages that are speaking to God’s Bride who was to produce the Son of Man and pointing them to the Bride of Christ, could not be done without first denying the supreme deity and fullness of God. That is why you find William Branham sometimes praying to the Holy Spirit, calling the Spirit the “Third Person in the Trinity,” while at other times preaching dualism – just a Father and a Son. Mostly he preaches Modalism – God is “one like your finger.”
To falsely call God’s Bride the “bride of Christ,” you must first deny the triune nature of God. Christ must BECOME the Father, and then they are ALL one bride. Like Charles Taze Russell and his Jehovah’s Witness teaching, you must make Jehovah of the Old Testament “Jesus of the New.” You must take the word “Elohim,” which translated has a plural meaning, and make it “one like your finger.”
That is why the churches do not preach Ezekiel 16! It is avoided like the plague!
Search the 1124 sermons by William Branham for Ezekiel 16. You’ll be shocked. Not a single time is this passage mentioned, because it completely unravels his entire platform of ministry. (Not the platform that the man fell paralyzed, ran screaming, died six weeks later, and was still alive suffering from cancer, but the platform that was the ENTIRE foundation for his “rapturing faith,” “word bride,” “third pull,” “Malachi 4” ministry!
In other words: QUICK! HIDE THIS SCRIPTURE! TEAR IT FROM YOUR BIBLES LIKE MY SONS TORE THE FLY-LEAF OUT, AND HIDE IT QUICKLY IN YOUR DESK DRAWER! BETTER YET, BURN IT, WE CAN NEVER LET ANYONE KNOW THE TRUE WORD OF GOD!
Friends, Paul said in Ephesians that there is NOTHING we can do to make ourselves a better Christian.
For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God – Ephesians 2:8
When a father gives a gift to his children, it does not matter how much they have tried to earn it. It is a GIFT. They can’t earn a gift – it’s given to them. That’s why Paul says that it’s “not of yourselves.”
The only way this can work is if you deny the Father, and call God “one like your finger.” That’s the only way you can deny that He gave us this gift, the only way you can deny that God’s bride gave birth to the Son of God, and quite frankly deny that God’s Son was also the creator of the heavens and the earth – just as the Bible plainly states. To deny the Eternal Sonship of Christ, you also deny that the world was even created!
To deny God’s Everlasting Covenant of Grace and to deny that other Christians are in the Body of Christ is to deny Christ himself. Paul said that we are one with Christ, One Body that is bound with every fiber of the body. Therefore, to deny other members of the Body in your “elitist” cult that claims to be Christian, you are actually denying Christ. This makes your cult anti-Christ.
List to Paul’s “message,” which is polar OPPOSITE of William Branham’s “message” or the cult that is called “The Message”:
For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit. For the body does not consist of one member but of many.
In other words, “the body is not just you guys who think you are holy because you believe this guy was a prophet, there are many members in the Body of Christ.”
If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.”
Listen to what Paul is saying here! Just because this cult is a foot, it can’t say to the hand, the Baptists,” because you are not a foot, you are not part of the Body. Or the “ear” of the Methodists. The “eye” of the Wesleyans.
Take the number of cult members who look at another Christian in any one of the denominations, and examine their thoughts against that Christian. “Cannon fodder!” they say! All others who do not believe in the lies of their false prophet have taken the “mark of the beast.”
But then take any member of the other Christians, and look at the love in their walk with Christ. A Methodist is not going to look at the Baptist with a scornful eye, thinking that their member of the Body is no longer part of the Body of Christ! They love each other as Christians! They do not have the cult mindset, programmed with the “separation” teaching from wolves in sheep’s’ clothing!
And they may not have everything exactly right. Paul says that some parts of the Body of Christ are weaker than others – but doesn’t say to cut them off! How many of you would cut off your leg when it has a bruise?
On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.
See Paul’s message? NO DIVISION. NO SEPARATION. We are ALL part of the body of Christ, all Christians because we are given a gift: the gift of Grace through Faith in Jesus Christ. The Everlasting – not soon-to-end dispensation – Covenant of Grace!
If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? But earnestly desire the higher gifts.
When the Azusa Street revival first broke out and paved the way for cult leaders like William Branham, they focused on the gifts. If you did not speak in tongues, you had no “evidence of the Holy Spirit.” Many in the Branham cult realize this, and will speak harshly against their Pentecostal brothers who teach this.
But they do not realize that they are two branches from the very same root! While the Pentecostal sees “tongues” as vindication of God in their midst, the Branham cult sees “healing” as vindication of God. In fact, they don’t even care that this “prophet” did not have a single prophecy that came to pass – he had HEALING. “It was ‘vindication’ from God that he was a prophet!” Who cares that he lied in practically every sermon about himself, his past, his present, the future, or even scripture. HE COULD HEAL! Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!
Paul describes all of the gifts given out to the churches, and how not all would have the same gift. And just because one group could heal while others were appointed to be nothing more than servants or “helpers,” Paul does not viciously sever that member of the Body. In fact, all of these are of no consequence if they are missing the same thing missing in these cults that came from the Darby root.
This chapter ends with Paul saying this: “And I will show you a still more excellent way.”
I recommend that everyone still bound in chains from the cult of William Branham to read what comes next – especially the pastors who have seemingly forgotten it, and it is found in 1 Corinthians 13.
The English Standard Version gives this chapter a very fitting title: The Way of Love.