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The Prophet-God

John Collins09/11/2013

Video available here: http://youtu.be/y73pwuBlZf0

When the Jerusalem wall was being reconstructed in Nehemiah 3, the high priest Eliashib and the other priests built an opening that would later become known as the “Sheep Gate.”  It was through this gate that the lambs and sheep were brought into the temple for sacrifice.

It is very fitting that the Sheep Gate was the first gate built, because new life is given by the Sacrifice, and to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, you must go in through the sacrifice of the Lamb, Jesus Christ.  This gate represents Grace; entering the city, Jerusalem, through the Sheep Gate was to enter through sacrifice.

It was at this very gate to the city that Jesus passed by a man who had suffered affliction for thirty-eight years of his life.  The man waited by the pool at the gate, longing to be helped into the water.

The pool was named the pool of Bethesda, which translated means the pool of the house of mercy.  For centuries, this pool was thought to be non-existent, and historians assumed the theory that the pool was more legend than fact, although the Sheep Gate was identified.  It was not until archaeological digs identified twin pools in the sub terrain during the early 19th century that clear scientific evidence of this pool was discovered.  Through use of scientific study, God was proving His Word in the book of John.

When Jesus healed the crippled man, the Pharisees sought to put Him to death.  He had healed on the Sabbath, breaking Old Covenant Law according to tradition, but outraged many when He described his equality with the Father.  John 5:18 says that

“This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.”

It was in response to this statement that Christ gave the perfect answer.  It is an answer that has been twisted by the minds of false teachers for centuries, and one that Satan has used to deceive the church.  Through limited context, this scripture is “snipped out” of it’s full representation of Christ by men to elevate themselves and lead others astray.

Jesus replied, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.”

John 5:19

This was one of the favorite subjects in the writings of Charles Taze Russell of the Watchtower Society, or Jehovah’s Witnesses.  According to Russell, both the Trinitarians and the Oneness were wrong in theology, and a modalistic form of god was the primary teaching.

“The declaration that 'the Son can do nothing of Himself,' if it were not backed up as it is by a score of other testimonies from the same interested and inspired Teacher, is a contradiction to the common thought of Trinitarians, that the Son is the Father." --The Finished Mystery (Studies in the Scriptures, Vol 7), 1917


“Moreover, the very words "Father" and "Son" imply a difference, and contradict the thoughts of the Trinity and oneness of person...”

 -- The Atonement Between God and Man, 1906

 

While many in the cult of William Branham falsely believe that Branham promoted a “Oneness god,” we find that his theology on the Godhead matched the Jehovah’s Witness god point-by-point.  In a 1965 sermon describing how the other Christians that did not believe in Branham’s version of god were “shucks” as compared to Branham’s “seed,” he says this:

“There is where the oneness missed it, there is where the trinity missed it, both sides of the road. But the happy medium is right in between. If God could be His Own Father, if Jesus was His Own Father, He couldn't be. And if He had another Father besides God, and the Bible said the "Holy Ghost" was His Father, and if they're two different spirits, He was an illegitimate child. That's right. Which was the Father of Him, God or the Holy Ghost? You say one and watch how embarrassed you're going to get.”

65-0429B  THE.SEED.SHALL.NOT.BE.HEIR.WITH.THE.SHUCK

Of course, this was only to the crowds that supported the Jehovah’s witness theology.  When preaching to a different crowd in Erie, PA, Branham prayed a Trinitarian prayer that he would later claim to be the “Mark of the Beast” from Revelation:

“And now, there are those sitting here who are feeble this afternoon, that's in need of physical healing. And we have chosen these few words to read from Thine. And may the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Trinity, come in now, the Promise, the Comforter, that You said You would send.”

51-0729A  THE.RESURRECTION.OF.LAZARUS

Both Russell and Branham promoted a version of Christ that did not align with scripture; they taught that Jesus was a “prophet god.”  In the same pyramid hierarchy promoted in the Mason temples describing the “stature of the perfect man,” Branham and Russell promoted a hierarchy of minor, major, and pyramid capstone prophets, Christ being the capstone.

“Couldn't do it in Luther's age, couldn't do it in Wesley's age, couldn't do it in Pentecostal age; but in the day when the Son of man will be manifested, revealed, brought back the Church together with the entire Deity of God amongst His people, showing the same visible signs, manifesting Himself like He did at the beginning when He was manifested on earth in a form of a Prophet-God.”

65-1128M  GOD'S.ONLY.PROVIDED.PLACE.OF.WORSHIP

 

Under this theology, the deity of Christ was denied.  Jesus was a prophet, albeit “more than a prophet.”  He was the denied the status of God, and proclaimed to be the “great prophet” very similar to the Muslim faith and their prophet Mohammed. 

Starting in 1950, Branham begins teaching this Jehovah’s witness theology, describing Jesus as a “prophet god,” one that must be given a vision by the Father.  The words in that one single sentence in the book of John became doctrine, while completely ignoring the verses before, after, and in the rest of the book.

“He said, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, the Son can do nothing in Himself, but what He sees the Father doing, that doeth the Son." Is that right? God had to show Him first. So He didn't say He was a Divine healer. He waited for God to show Him a vision of what was going to happen, then he went and done it.”

50-0716  BELIEVEST.THOU.THIS

 

While the opening of the book of John says that “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God,” and that the Word was made flesh and walked among us, Branham described a different Jesus:

"The Son can do nothing in Himself," not what He hears, "but what he sees the Father doing, that doeth the Son."  No prophet, no seer in the Bible, ever done thing at random. God shows first. So no--no human flesh, not even the flesh of Jesus Himself, can glorify.”

64-0412  A.COURT.TRIAL

In fact, Branham claimed that Jesus Christ NEVER healed one person:

“He said "It's not Me that doeth it; it's My Father that dwelleth in Me. He doeth the work. Of Myself, I can do nothing." So He didn't take any praise. Went around... "The Man of the hour," or anything, was He? He didn't take no praise at all for anything. He said, "It's not Me that doeth a thing. I can do nothing in Myself. What the Father..." He never claimed to heal one person. And He never healed one person.”

54-0314  WHY.I'M.PRAYING.FOR.THE.SICK

 

But when we read John 5 in context, we find that the entire chapter – including the moment when Jesus DID heal the man laying by the pool of Bethesda – is describing the authority given to Christ, and his supreme deity. 

Earlier in the book of John, when John the Baptist was proclaiming the deity of Christ to the world, telling the people that he must decrease so that Christ could increase, John describes the form of Christ as fully man and fully God:

“He must increase, but I must decrease.  He who comes from above is above all. He who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks in an earthly way. He who comes from heaven is above all.  He bears witness to what he has seen and heard, yet no one receives his testimony.  Whoever receives his testimony sets his seal to this, that God is true.  For he whom God has sent utters the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure. The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand.  Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.”

John 3:30-36

And still earlier, in chapter 2, John tells us that Jesus was not a lowly “prophet-god,” but that Christ was all-knowing.  Christ knew the hearts of all people:

“Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing.  But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man.”

John 2:23-25

But the Pharisees in chapter five agreed with Pastor Russell and William Branham.  They considered it blasphemy for Christ to make himself equal with God, and therefore they started devising plans to put Christ to death.

In response, Jesus proclaimed His authority.  He told them that he not only was equal with the Father, but that He was given power to raise the dead:

“For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself.  And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man.  Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.”

John 5:26-29

Jesus did tell us that he did nothing without the will of the Father.  And he told us that the Father showed him many things.  But he tells us later in the chapter the REASON that He chose to do so.  Jesus tells us that it was for our salvation.

 “I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me.  If I alone bear witness about myself, my testimony is not true.  There is another who bears witness about me, and I know that the testimony that he bears about me is true.  You sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth.  Not that the testimony that I receive is from man, but I say these things so that you may be saved.”

John 5:30-34

Jesus said that John had a true description of his supreme deity, and told the Pharisees to listen to the words of John.  These words, describing the Christ as fully God and fully man, according to Christ, are true.

In the first chapter of John, John 1:18, John calls Jesus the God who is at the Father’s side, and that this God that was previously unseen was now made known to the people: 

“No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.”

John 1:18

When Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for seeking to kill him, and for denying His supreme deity, Jesus confirms this exact verse:

“But the testimony that I have is greater than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father has sent me.  And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen, and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe the one whom he has sent.

John 5:36-38

 

As Christians, we should ask ourselves:  Why did Pastor Russell and William Branham take the side of the Pharisees?  Why did they support the Pharisees to deny the supreme deity of Christ, and ignore the words of John?

Why were we so easily led astray by these doctrines?  The entire New Testament is filled with warnings that men would rise to teach us a different Jesus, and that they would do so with great signs and wonders.  Why did we ignore the warning of scripture to serve a different jesus?

John tells us that Christ was the greatest Gift that this world has ever known.  He was the Word, and the Word was God.  Fully man, and fully God.  He was sent to establish an eternal covenant of Grace, and through the fullness of God in the form of Jesus Christ, we have entered into the New Covenant.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.  (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.

John 1:14-16