Video available here: http://youtu.be/S9idBsTbZV4
One of my favorite cartoons of all time is the Disney and
Pixar movie “The Incredibles.” It takes
an element from a very real psychological profile of a corrupt and evil mind,
and turns it into one of the most interesting super villain themes used in comic
and animation super heroes.
A person suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder
must have a villain to fight. Without
the opposing side for them to stand against, they become restless and
uneasy. Their feeling of self-worth and
security is solely based upon how well they can fight against what they see is
their life battle.
In The Incredibles, the super villain actually lets the hero
of the story grow stronger. He is
allowed to become close and thrive, just simply so the villain can fight his battle.
The word “Narcissism” originates from the mythical
“Narcissus” in Greek mythology.
Narcissus fell in love with his own image, reflected in a pool of water,
and was unable to leave the view. His
love for his own image was the cause of his demise.
With Narcissistic Personality disorder, the description from
the myth is the exact representation of the mental suffering that plagues the
patient. Frequently, when a simple man
rises to great popularity, and their once simple life is seen as an idol before
others, symptoms of this disorder start to appear. That’s when the suffering begins.
People suffering from this disorder have an obvious focus on
themselves as the condition worsens.
They struggle to find comfort or satisfaction in the environment that
surrounds them, and it begins to seem evil to their distorted view. Because of this, they have difficulty with
empathy, and have hypersensitive reactions to any sort of discussion that draws
close to debate.
Because this condition is a direct result to pride, their
vulnerability is to shame rather than guilt.
They try to feed that inward pride, pretending to be much more than they
really are in all aspects of life. They
detest those who do not admire them, brag on themselves very subtly but
persistently, and exaggerate their achievements.
But the worst and most damaging aspect of a Narcissist is
the fact that they are unable to view the world from the perspective of other
people. Their view of the world is the
only accurate view – otherwise, they give in to demoting their own opinion and
fight against their own pride.
Sadly, there is very little treatment and no cure.
In 1925, F. Scott Fitzgerald published a book entitled “The
Great Gatsby,” about a fictional person who also struggled with this plague of
the mind. Gatsby is described as "an
archetype of self-made American men seeking to join high society," has
been described as a "pathological narcissist" for whom the
"ego-ideal" has become "inflated and destructive" and whose
"grandiose lies, poor sense of reality, sense of entitlement, and
exploitive treatment of others" conspire toward his own demise.”
When we examine the many fictional stories William Branham
promoted, subtle yet persistent lies that lifted himself in stature before his
fellow man, we really find another Gatsby.
And it was destructive to not only his own personality, but his mental
health as well. Branham claims that a
“mental condition” plagued him every seven years throughout his life, and it is
very evident from the symptoms of this condition that his recorded life matches
most if not all of them.
But there is a huge problem here.
By nature of a cult, many men pattern their lives after the
leader. We see it in each of the
religious groups we can now label as a cult, and the Branham denomination of
faith is no different. The leader
becomes an icon of faith, and men try to mold themselves into that image.
Having been raised under the open discussions of several men
who either knew William Branham or who were involved in his ministry, studying
Narcissism is a real eye-opener. Many
men I knew, even family members, are text-book cases – having every single
symptom in each of the studies that I have read on the disorder.
And it is very damaging to the family unit. Narcissism breeds narcissism, because most
cases are a direct result of having a childhood deprived of the normal love and
affection that children require for growth and mental health. When the father of the family unit suffers
from this disease, his children are very likely to fight it themselves.
From a religious standpoint, and as with any disease, it is
a result of sin. Even the common cold is
a result of sin, something we must now face because Adam disobeyed God.
But Narcissism is a direct result of the sin in the life of
the patient – not a long-term historical sin from which they had no
involvement. While the patient cannot
help himself or herself, hunger to feed their pride turns into an obsession,
and that obsession leads to the destruction of their own minds.
And they must have a villain.
In all cases of this affliction, it is a cause for great
sympathy. Even though this affliction
causes them to become aggressively violent in conversation or in deed, they
really cannot help themselves. Their disease
is similar to the dependency on insulin in diabetes – and the villain is their
insulin. Whatever the villain may be,
from political figures, groups of people, or even close friends – the person
suffering will aggressively combat the enemy.
The problem here is that with a spiritual leader, their
villain becomes the villain of every single one of their followers.
The symptoms in William Branham were not always so
evident. As in the textbook cases, the
lies were very subtle – even believable.
Who would question his own birthdate, or his story about the death of
his wife and child? Who would think to
investigate whether he was already a Pentecostal pastor after he claimed to
have joined the “Pentecostal call” later in life? Who would guess that his stories of a
childhood hunting and trapping to feed his poor family in the hills of Kentucky
would be fictional stories?
And the early ministry had no super villain. The denominational churches that would later
become Branham’s villain were all in one accord as his ministry grew in
popularity. All were welcome, all
started to become very close to this rising cult leader. Like the infamous “Syndrome” of the
Incredibles, the enemy was drawn close and given strength through uplifting
sermons designed to build the faith.
When they “drew him out of their circles,” Branham “drew a bigger circle
to draw them back in.”
In the Christian life filled with Grace, this is really the
lifestyle we should aspire to have. We
fight small battles, but God has already fought the super villain for us –
Satan was defeated when Christ died on the cross for our sins. He has no power; his power has been stripped
from him by just three nails.
But a narcissist personality cannot rest peacefully with
this type of Christian life – especially when they make their minds focus on
Satan himself for their “super villain.”
That villain must be given power, and the work that was done on the
cross must be lessoned in power and result.
This type of personality must de-throne Christ.
In the sermons leading up to the dethroning, we find subtle
changes in the nature of Christ – hints that Christ was just an angel
(Michael), or the focus on how Christ was a prophet rather than the focus on
His Deity. Branham would emphasize the
words of Christ, “I can do nothing except the Father first shows me,” and start
teaching that these words meant that Christ had to see a vision like the Old
Testament prophets once did.
But ultimately, in a sermon called “Satan’s Eden,” William
Branham dethroned Christ. Christ was no
longer in control of this world, He no longer sat on the Throne in the
right-hand of authority from God. The
heavens still belonged to Christ, but under this delusion, this world and all
that is in it belonged to Satan – not God.
Deuteronomy 10:14 Praises God for his ownership: “Behold, to
the LORD your God belong heaven and the heaven of heavens, the earth with all
that is in it.”
Revelation 13:12 tells us that God GAVE the beast authority
to deceive – it was not the Beast’s to give away or claim for his own. We are all under a test to see if we are
faithful to God, or easily deceived by Satan.
But regardless of the authority given to deceive, all New
Testament books point to Christ as the Eternal Son of God sitting on the Throne
in all power and authority. Jude says
the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus
Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.
If we examine the sermons of William Branham chronologically,
and identify his super villains, and compare those doctrines with scripture, we
can easily see the delusion. We can
identify the twisting of scripture in order to lesson the power of the true
hero, Jesus Christ, and increase the power of the evil villain, Satan.
When the villain was women, a doctrine rose from the depths
of hell through Branham that Satan was her designer. While the Bible says, “male and female
created He them,” Branham severed the female part of the original creation and
handed it over to Satan on a silver platter.
Satan was now given power to create – instead of being a lowly angel.
When the villain was married to “Ahab” – the nickname for
President Kennedy as Branham went on a parade calling Mrs. Kennedy “Jezebel,”
Branham claimed that he needed to storm the gates of the White House Lawn to
condemn his “Ahab” for letting the powerful super villain “Jezebel Kennedy”
into the White House as First Lady.
Listen to what Branham is saying here! I can just feel the pain and suffering that
is plaguing his mind as he lifts this super villain “Jezebel Kennedy” into
there'll be a one-man system come forth with the power and the anointing of
Elijah to fulfill the prophecy. Hallelujah. He'll shake it. And remember, he
prophesied to them, and prophesied, and told them all the things, and God
worked with him. But his final message was attacked on the White House. When
John came, his final message was attacked on the White House of that day.
Elijah's final message, when he walked down that road that morning after being
in the Presence of God out there, walked down that road with old hairs all over
him, his bald head shining, the whiskers blowing, them little old eyes was
gleaming with the glory of God, that stick in his hand, and his feet just as
steady as they could be: what's he doing? Walking right down from Samaria into
the presence of the White House, and saying, "THUS SAITH THE LORD."
Fearing nothing... The churches had turned him down; the people had turned him
down; so now he's giving his final attack upon the White House.”
But as we all know, President Kennedy’s life was cut
short. Branham’s super villain was
overthrown before “Thus Saith The Lord” could verbally abuse Jacqueline for
trying to look pretty. You can almost
feel the letdown in Branham’s voice from November 22, 1963 through most of 1964
as he searched for a new villain.
Ultimately, the villain that Branham lifted into power was
the one that he would die fighting in his mind.
It is a villain that the cult fights today – though some have returned
to Branham’s original stance in the beginning.
Branham would finally tell the world that anyone who has joined
a denominational church had taken the “Mark of the Beast” – conflicting with
his original message and even one of his “visions.”
never be forgiven them. A denomination, to wear the brand of a denomination, is
the mark of the beast.”
Those people – those very same people he once fellowshipped
and “drew a bigger circle around to draw them in” – had become his arch
enemy. Branham’s delusion had turned him
against even his own friends and fellow soldiers in the faith. They were now mortal enemies, and had been
marked with something that even the power of the Cross could not forgive.
The Cross had no power.
Christ was dethroned. Authority
was taken away from Christ hand handed over to Satan. Satan had a superpower now, one that Christ
could not even forgive!
At this point, Branham fully severed himself from the Body
of Christ. Other Christians in the faith
– regardless of their walk with Christ and the Holy Spirit in their lives –
were now the “evil ones,” the minions of Satan.
And Christ, who has His Hand over His Church, was scorned. The work that Christ did on Calvary to save
even the lowest sinner was taken away.
Christ was just a man; a man who Branham claimed was abandoned by God in
the Garden of Gethsemane. A man who died
on the cross without power, a man who died in vain. A man who could not save the lost if they
joined into one of the churches professing His name. A man who raised up new souls, marked with
the seal that Branham called a “Mark of the Beast.”
Christ had become the villain.