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Moving Bracelets

John Collins08/20/2013

Video available here: http://youtu.be/loDALAu0OOY

I was recently shown a video of a youth meeting for the children of the cult of William Branham.  The point of interest was one of the cult pastors choosing two children from the audience, making them prance around the stage behind him, each pretending to be a word.  One child was “signs,” and the other child was “wonders,” and the pastor himself pretended to “believe.” 

His message to the children was “signs and wonders” follow them that believe.

This struck me as odd, because Jesus Himself said that an “evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign,” but the cult pastor had added the word “wonders” to the equation, loosely quoting Mark 16.

Mark 16 does mention “signs” that follow the believers, but does not mention “wonders.” 

And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”  -- Mark 16:17-18.

This reminded me of one of my favorite sermons by William Branham, the cult leader.  Looking back, I realize that my heart was not in the right place as I eagerly listened to this sermon as a child, but the heart of a child is captured by all things magic.

In the very first sermon on recorded tape, “Faith Is The Substance,” William Branham tells a story of how he used his “faith” to move a bracelet hanging from a string.  And I’m sure that all of the children in the congregation of this sermon were just as captured by the magic as I was – and probably even some little old ladies who had never seen the trick performed.

I do wonder about the children, though, especially the ones who grew up and discovered how the “magician” softly blows through a slightly open side of his mouth, and performs great “signs and wonders” for other children who are not looking for Christ.  Why would they need God if an atheist in college can perform the same trick?  The atheist will even tell you how he did it!

And don’t get me wrong.  There is nothing wrong with faith, and I do believe that faith can move mountains – so long as there is a need strong enough to move it.  I do not believe we are called to go around staring at mountains, trying to “faith it to the other side,” like the power of the “Force” in Star Wars. 

You see, that is when your “faith” turns into “sorcery.”  When we try to do “signs and wonders” without intervention from the God of Heaven, we are trying to be sorcerers like the evil “Saruman” of “Lord of the Rings.”  We are trying to become the bad guys, not the good guys.

Even though Hollywood is so far distanced from God, we find that many of our movies give us the same message.  They are written from books, which also give the same message, some of which come from authors who actually read their Bibles.  Sorcery is demonic, and was condemned under Mosaic Law.  Those who went around holding strings with bracelets on them to trick the children of Israel into believing they had great power were stoned to death.

But in the day we are living, we have not witnessed the great “signs and wonders” that God did as he was creating the Church.  We did not witness the Red Sea parting.  We did not witness the walls crumbling down from simply marching around them seven times.  We did not witness Jesus walking on the water, or turning water into wine.

More to the point, we did not witness what the Pagan Gentiles witnessed as the early church was spreading Christianity.

When God comes on the scene to show the nations serving other gods that He is the Supreme God, and according to scripture, He does great signs and wonders before the people.  He will take a people that are familiar with the sorcery and the magic of the Pagan temples, show the people that He is far more powerful, and convince them to leave their idolatry to serve the One True God.

All throughout the Bible, we have examples of this.  When God turns a people from serving idols, there are signs and wonders.  The people need to be convinced in order to break the bonds that mentally hold them to their magic.

But notice also: after the people have turned to the One True God, then God no longer needs to show them his power and might.  After He fills their hearts with His Love, it is that Perfect Love that holds them and draws them closer to God – not the signs and wonders.

But the Divine Healing movement that started with John Alexander Dowie of Zion City and later re-started with William Branham seemed to take the opposing standpoint.  In fact, when you show a follower of the cult of William Branham any of the failed prophecies, they will look you right in the eye and say, “He is a vindicated prophet.  He could heal!”

This movement, by nature, is what Paul would call “worldly.”  Not “worldly” by the same definition used by the Pentecostals to describe things that did not agree with their rules or theology, but the Greek word “kosmikas” that describe things pertaining to this world instead heavenly things.

To Titus in chapter 2, Paul writes:

Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.  Bondservants are to be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.  For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly(kosmikas) passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ – Titus 2:7-13

When the Apostles and missionaries were spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the temples filled with magic, God knew that their minds were focused on the things of this earth – not heavenly things.  So to help pull them out of idolatry, God also gave them earthly signs and wonders to witness.

Healing was a sign.  It was used by God to help bring others to Christ, and there are examples of it in scripture.  But healing focuses on this earthly body – not the heavenly body or the soul.  Healing is a blessing from God, a blessing that God still uses today for His Glory, but our focus cannot be on the earthly body – it must be on our soul.  And not only our soul, but the others around us!

Paul even gives us this example in scripture.  Though Paul administered healing (from God) to the many, we find that he did not go around showing “signs and wonders” to the saved unless it was for God’s own purpose.  He did not “heal” Trophimus:

Erastus stayed in Corinth, but Trophimus I have left in Miletus sick (2 Timothy 4:20).

When Timothy fell sick, Paul did not send brothers to lay hands on him and administer healing from the Lord.  Paul knew that there was a medicine Timothy could take to get better – a medicine that is strictly condemned by the cult of William Branham:

No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for your stomachs sake and your frequent infirmities (1 Timothy 5:23).

But the Divine Healing movement that was kick-started by William Branham and has produced the likes of Benny Hinn and others do not take the same approach.  EVERYONE can be healed!  All you need to do is have faith!  Keep the faith, or you will “lose your healing!”

These ministers do not point to God for healing.  If they did, then they would not have a single “follower,” because the people would know they could go directly to the Source.  Instead, we have the followers of Benny Hinn, the followers of Oral Roberts, and the followers of William Branham.  As missionaries are sent, they are converted to “The Message” or some other agenda – not conversions to Christ.

That is because the fundamental element to the healing is the man behind the podium.  Without him, all of these hundreds of people would surely die from their sickness!  “That medicine the doctor gave them has NOTHING to do with the healing!  It’s ME!  The man on the platform!  Pay no attention to the Man behind the curtain!”

Before Branhamism turned into a cult following, William Branham tried to become Sauron.  He wanted the people to believe in HIM for their healing.  Even the second “commission story” he invented gave that exact idea:  “If you can get the people to believe in you [William Branham], nothing will stand in your way, not even cancer.”

Branham even promoted himself as the one with the power – again, bypassing God.  It is almost as if he is standing on the platform between the followers and their Bibles with his arms stretched wide in a long white robe and crooked stick screaming, “YOU SHALL NOT PASS!”

After giving the example of the magician’s trick with the string, Branham tells the people this:

I'll take any cross-eyed child you've got in this meeting, you bring it up here without even praying for it, and just let me look at it straight in the eyes like that, I'll make its eyes come straight. -- 47-0412  FAITH.IS.THE.SUBSTANCE

If people only knew how damaging this is, this “worldly” focus on Divine Healing, they would abandon it and get back to their Bibles.  God does heal, and God does use us to lead other souls to Him.

But what about the poor soul who is held captive by this magician, who lives their entire lives condemned because they “must not be good enough” for God to heal?  What about the brother in Arizona who lived his entire live looking forward to the day when he would “say the right thing” and stand up out of his wheelchair to walk?  What about the mother lying in the bed dying whose children are all by her bedside being told that she will live and not die.  Do we really think that these children will not be strongly shaken in their faith when they watch their mother die?

Worse, what about the poor soul who refuses medicine so that they can have a greater testimony of their faith?  The one who goes through the prayer line, suffering, when a simple injection could save their lives?  What impact does that have on the ENTIRE church when they die from their denial of the cure?  Is this the type of ministry that God wants?

God is not calling a group of wizards.  We will not be reigning in a fantasy land with an all-seeing-eye connected to a crystal ball.  We will not be walking around the edges of the world showing other wizards how we can move strings farther than they can. 

God is calling a Church.  He is calling a people that will serve Him, even if their one single calling in live is pain and suffering.  He is calling a person that will stand by His side, even if it means they must die of cancer to save another soul. 

God cares enough about that one soul, that in His sovereignty, He is willing to do anything to save it. 

And it’s not that he doesn’t care about the person sick and dying, as this Divine Healing movement will teach you.  He does care.  But he cares for the soul, the heavenly portion – not the worldly thing.  This body, this flesh, will one day cease to breathe.  But when this body puts on immortality, the soul will live forever.

Don’t you want to do everything you can to bring another soul with you?  Don’t you want to endure your trials with peace and joy, as He did for us? 

Jesus said, “Take up thy cross and follow me.”  Too many times, I think people have been misled into thinking, “take up thy string on thine bracelet and make it move.”  They have not been taught the true Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I think that is the number one reason so many turn atheist after experiencing the Divine Healing false doctrine.  If you notice, the number one reason they claim to have turned away from God is because there are so many sick and dying in the world.  Their question: “Why would a God who holds the keys to everything care so little about us that he would let entire countries starve to death and sickness claim thousands each day?”

They’ve never been told the real Gospel of Jesus Christ.  They’ve never experienced peace.  They’ve never had Christ as their foundation.

Instead, they have a man who can move a string.