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Purgatory: The same "message" that Paul preached?

John Collins06/18/2013

Video available here:

In 1960, William Branham gave a story about a vision that he claimed to have, one that started out as a simple vision of a wonderful place filled with God’s Bride, but later would be added with enhancements capture the imaginations of his congregations.

In November 1960, he summarizes the story:

I had a vision not long ago (You've heard of it.), and I looked there, and I seen all those people there; they was millions of them. And I said, "You mean He comes to me." They said, "Yes, and then we go back with you." I said, "Well, does every minister have to stand like that"? "Yes, sir." "Every minister stand on his ministry with his congregation?" He said, "Yes, sir." (This Angel that was speaking to me said that.) And I said, "Then Paul will have to stand too?" "Paul has to stand with his generation." I said, "Then I know I'm all right, 'cause I've preached word by word the same thing he did." And when I did that, millions screamed out, "That's where we are resting." Amen.

This story, like all of Branham’s fabrications, grew and grew over time.  Details were added to embellish the story, almost as if Branham thought he were sitting in front of a boy scout tent telling campfire stories.

He would add his dog to the story, how the dog came and licked his hand just before seeing other people, some 90-year-old woman who this story obviously would have appealed to, and more.

While many enslaved by the cult of William Branham tell this story with pride of their wonderful leader, they do not realize that they are actually promoting theology that comes from the Catholic Church – who they claim to be the “antichrist.” 

This story describes Catholic Purgatory: A temporary resting place for those under Grace before meeting Christ.

And I looked coming down across the hill, and there come old Fritz. He looked at me and come up and licked me on the hand, and I patted him. Just then old Prince, my horse, come put his neck around my shoulder and begin to nicker. I said, "Oh, God." I looked up. And He said, "All that you ever loved, and all that ever loved you is gathered here." And I said, "I want to see Jesus. I want to see the One that I've loved and--and worked for." And they said, "You can't see Him right now; He's higher than this.

Sometime between 1160 and 1180 A.D, the idea of “purgatory” was introduced to the Catholic Church.  It was an extra-biblical idea that was very similar to other pagan religion.  Buddhism, for instance, believes in a “holding place” for the dead, and therefore offers prayer for those that have not yet reached their final destination.

Even in Judaism, we find that the idea of a “holding place” is supported.  The Jews do not believe that Christ suffered and died for our sins, died to conquer death and hell, and rose again so that we can rise with Him.  Therefore, they still believe that death has its power over the body – a “holding place” until the unknown Messiah returns.

But Christianity – true Christianity – accepts Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection.  They accept the message of Paul, proclaiming that we do not die – we are simply caught up with Jesus Christ. 

Paul knew the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and he knew what Jesus taught about the coming Kingdom of Heaven. 

Even to the man on the cross beside Jesus, there was no “holding place.”  It is interesting, because Christ Himself had not died, and there was still work to be done as He conquered death, hell, and the grave.  It is confirmation that God is not limited to our time and space.

To the man on the cross, Jesus said this:

 “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

He did NOT say, Truly, today you will go to a holding place that will one day be called purgatory, and there you will remain in limbo until I decide to return unto you!

But cult followers accept this false vision as though it were some “spiritual revelation.”  Rather than comparing the vision to the scriptures to confirm its authenticity, they accept it by blind faith.

Why?  Because this man, William Branham, said these words: “I’ve preached the same message as Paul, and the millions screamed ‘we’re resting on that!’”

But today, I want to present to you the message that Paul preached – not by my own words like William Branham did, but by the words of the Apostle Paul.  If you are resting on something, and you have never even looked underneath you, there’s a good chance you are sitting on quicksand.

At the surface, Branham seems to preach the same “message” as Paul.  He holds a Bible in his hand as a “prop” for his stage act, and says the name “Jesus” many times during his sermons.  He takes a one-liner verse from that book, and bases his “context” on that one line from the book.  (Notice I said “HIS” context, because one line is not in context with the chapter.)

But this vision itself is contrary to Paul’s entire “message.”  Paul proclaimed the Gospel of Jesus Christ – the Good News that God sent His Son, Jesus Christ to earth to live the perfect life, suffer and die for our sins, conquered death and hell, and rose again so that we can rise with Him – not so that we can sit in a “holding cell.”

Paul said that our eternal bodies were already waiting for us, simply by accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior – by Grace through Faith.

For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
-2 Corinthians 5:1

And the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of the prophecies of the Old Testament.  God promised a Redeemer that would come to fulfill the part of the Old Covenant that they could not keep.

The Old Covenant was a contract.  God gave a promise of blessings to the Jews if they were able to meet his requirements.  If they met them, there were over three hundred blessings that would be given to Israel.

The other part of that contract was the disclaimer – like you have in your contracts for the loan to your house or your car.  If you do not uphold your end of the bargain, you usually will lose your property.

God gave the disclaimer that if Israel did not uphold their end of the bargain, instead of three hundred blessings, they would be receiving three hundred curses. 

And this was not an eternal covenant.  It’s a good thing, too – if it were everlasting, we would still remain under all of those three hundred curses.  Humanity itself might be non-existent.

Paul’s “message” was that this New Covenant of Grace had cancelled the Old Covenant of Law.  The Old Covenant was obsolete.

In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.
Hebrews 8:13 

And when Paul spoke of the New Covenant of Grace throughout his letters, it was always called the “Eternal Covenant.”  It had no end.

Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever.
Hebrews 13

But William Branham could not grasp the fact that something with a beginning could ever be made eternal.  It was that concept that confused him so much that he preached nonsense about hell not being eternal, or that Jesus Christ himself could not be eternal.

No such a thing as an Eternal, burning hell. You'll burn for millions of years. But, anything that was Eternal, had never a beginning or a end; and hell was created. 

Yet, when Jesus spoke of our eternal life, we find that he used the same word “eternal” that Paul used in his “message” about accepting the Gospel of Jesus Christ so that you would not go to hell – eternally.

You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me,
John 5:39

That word that Jesus Christ used for “eternal,” is the Greek word: “aionion.”  It is the same word that Christ used when He Himself called hell “eternal.”

And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
Matthew 25:46

Branham even went so far as to deny that the Son of God was eternal – which is heresy:

For if He was the Son of God, He had to have a beginning of time. He had to be borned off of to be a Son (is that right?), if He was the Son of God.

Denying the Eternal Son of God is not only denying Paul’s “message,” it is denying your own salvation.  If Christ was not eternal – if he died as “just a man” as Branham taught, then can a “man” save the world from sin?  Only the Son of God can take away the sins of the world!

This is so far in conflict with Paul’s “message” that it is almost as though William Branham is trying to pick a fight with the Apostle Paul.

To the Hebrews, Paul says this:

but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. 
–Hebrews 1:2 

If the Son of God created the World, yet the Son of God had a beginning with Mary, we have a problem!  The world was NOT created when Mary gave birth to the Messiah!

Paul’s “message” repeats this to the Colossians. 

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.  For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. –Colossians 1  

So here we have Paul arguing back with Truth against William Branham’s heresy.  NO, brother Bill!  He was the FIRSTBORN OF ALL CREATION!  All things were created THROUGH HIM and FOR HIM!

These are obviously the biggest conflicts between William Branham’s “message” and Paul’s “message of Truth.”  The very foundations of the two “messages” disagree with each other.  The very foundations are in conflict.

But then, if you take your viewpoint from the overview of the two ministries, you will find that many of the details contained within are also in conflict.  The most obvious detail in disagreement with Paul’s “message” was the Law itself. 

To enforce his viewpoint of how his cult should have the appearance of being different from the other Christians in the world, Branham taught Law.  Portions of the Mosaic Law were enforced – while other portions were omitted. 

This is the very thing that Paul rebuked the people for in Galatians 4!  Paul just spent the first several versed proclaiming that Christ had set us free, and that the Old Covenant of Law had been replaced with the New Covenant of Grace, and then asked them:  Why on earth would you try to enforce parts of the Law when you aren’t keeping ALL of the Law?

Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not listen to the law?  For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave woman and one by a free woman.  But the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, while the son of the free woman was born through promise.  Now this may be interpreted allegorically: these women are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery; she is Hagar.  Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia; she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children.  But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother.
Galatians 4

That question is very fitting, and applicable to our days when we were once bound by the chains of the cult of William Branham.  To those that are still enslaved, we can ask the same question:  “You who listen to William Branham’s “laws,” which mostly deal with your outward appearance: why?”  Why place yourself under portions of the law without keeping ALL of the Law?

An entire section of Romans is written describing how we are released from the Law:

Or do you not know, brothers—for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law is binding on a person only as long as he lives?  For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage.  Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man she is not an adulteress.  Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God.  For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death.  But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code. – Romans 7

But William Branham twisted the words of the scripture regarding Law.  Christ came to magnify the Law – put it under a microscope so that he could show the Pharisees how the law had failed.  While the Pharisees kept the Law, they had missed the PURPOSE of that Law.  They had lived by a set of rules rather than love for their fellow man. 

Branham taught that the magnification was the set of rules within the Law – not the Law itself to show how it failed.  Rather than Paul’s message where he states “now we are released from the law,”  Branham taught that “now we are under a bigger law.”

We went back in Deuteronomy and showed that a illegitimate child, bastard child, could not even enter the congregation of the Lord for fourteen generations. That was under the law, and Christ come to magnify the law. How much more is it now?

It’s ironic, because William Branham himself was less than fourteen generations from a bastard child.  Was he calling himself “Serpent’s Seed?”

It is beyond me why so many just blindly accepted Branham’s fabricated story about his vision of purgatory.  Surely there were people there who had studied their Bibles, and knew the false Catholic teaching this “vision” was based upon.

But when he falsely claimed that he was preaching the same “message Paul preached,” why did no body stand up?  Why did the ministers who studied their Bibles not stand up and cry “foul!”? 

The only answer I can come up with is also found in Paul’s “message.”  It is the only part of Paul’s message that I can find that truly lines up with William Branham’s “message.”

Paul seems to be pointing directly to William Branham’s ministry that would one day come, and he actually mentions the “message” of William Branham in his letter to the Thessalonians!

For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way.  And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming.  The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.  Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. – 2 Thess 2 

We’ve shown how Branham lied about himself.  We’ve shown how Branham lied about his visions, such as this vision about Catholic purgatory.  Or the vision of the bridge, where Branham claimed to have prophesied about men that would fall from a bridge that was built long before he was even born.

But people continue to believe it.  They would rather believe a lie, coming from the mouth of this man who claimed to have taught the same “message” Paul preached.  Just because he claimed this description of Catholic purgatory was real, many will blindly follow this man into the ditch.

Is it because God has sent them a strong delusion?  Is that why they are so insistent to believe what is false? 

I’ll leave you with this question:  After the recent publication by Voice of God Recordings, wherein the Bible was thrown under the bus, many admit that they believe what is not true. 

The entire summary of that publication was that “it’s ok that my daddy lied to you people, because the bible lied too.” 

I feel cringes from blasphemy from even saying that sentence…

If you have accepted to believe that which is false, have you accepted unrighteousness?  Paul said that God would send the strong delusion “in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”

Does this mean that the headquarters published an article of unrighteousness?  And promoted followers of unrighteousness? 

Wouldn’t you rather believe in the truth?  It’s so much easier to believe something if it’s true!  If you try to believe something that is false, you find yourselves being one of the “three types of believers” that Branham taught:  The believers, the unbelievers, and the make believers.

If you are claiming to believe something that you also admit is not true, does that make you a “make believer?”  It is an internal conflict in your belief system, trying to make yourself believe something that you have already admitted is not true.

Wouldn’t you rather be a believer?  Wouldn’t you rather believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ that Paul preached – the Good News that we have been lifted from the curse of the Law and we will not have to sit in some “holding cell” waiting for Christ to rise?  He’s already risen!  We can already accept Him by faith!  When we die, our mortal bodies will put on immortality!  Not sit in purgatory!

Blessed are those who walk in the truth!