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Titus

John Collins10/14/2013

Video available here: http://youtu.be/r6s3WRkzA7w

One of the most interesting books of the Bible that you won’t find preached in Branham’s recorded sermons from 1947 to 1965 is the book of Titus.  And this is interesting for multiple reasons, not just because of the incredible book itself, what looks to be the avoidance of this book, or the reversal from its teaching, but mainly because of what Branham preached in replacement of Titus.

Titus is one of the three “pastorals” in the Bible, the books of Timothy being the other two – and some consider Philemon in this category.  The pastorals were Paul’s instruction to pastors of the church with the sole purpose of establishing worship within the Body in a way that grew and matured the church into elders that could lead new churches themselves.  These books discuss issues with leadership and doctrinal teachings while promoting the Christian lifestyle.

To some extent, all of Paul’s letters promote organization and structure of the church – something that you won’t find in most of the religious cults that have splintered themselves from Christianity and severed themselves from the rest of the Body of Christ.  It is ironic, because many of these splinter groups were founded by a man who claimed to have a prophetic gift, and yet this gift was not employed with the organization and structure that Paul described for the early church.  Paul took heed to the warning of Christ, that false prophets and false teachers would rise, and established boundaries in Corinthians.

So that the early church was not led astray, Paul setup orderly worship that included two or three prophets – not just one.  If one spoke with prophecy, and that prophecy was not from the Lord, then the other two prophets would speak with words of Truth.  But even the two or three prophets were not enough to become the ultimate authority, because Paul was building up a Church that was strong in the Word.  After the prophets spoke, the people were to weigh their prophecy in the balance of Scripture.

 

Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others weigh what is said.

1 Corinthians 14:29

And interestingly, the first prophet did not gain a floor from which to become overbearing.  If he began his prophecy, and God started speaking through another, then the first prophet must silence himself.

If a revelation is made to another sitting there, let the first be silent.

1 Corinthians 14:30

But most of all, Paul insisted on orderly worship.  While the phrase “The spirits of the prophet are subject to the prophet” has been taken out of context by spiritual leaders to imply that they are a sorcerer in full control of spirits, Paul’s statement simply means that they can control their gift.  The prophets can control their mouths, stopping the prophecy so that orderly worship can be established.  One prophet at a time, please:

For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all be encouraged, and the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets.  For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.

1 Corinthians 14:26

The pastoral letters continued Paul’s establishment of structure and orderly worship.  Titus, specifically, pointed to the qualifications for elders, the establishment of sound doctrine, and instructions as to how elders should teach God’s children to be ready for Christian service.  This was a battle against Satan, and Paul was building an army of troops – not a single authority that would fight the battle as a lone gunman as these religious cults have tried to establish.

But William Branham was against what he called “organized religion,” and the book of Titus does not fit within that theology.  One can only assume why Branham did not teach from the book of Titus when teaching, “Conduct Order Doctrine,” the ordaining of the commune in Prescott that he called “Little Goshen,” or the opening meeting of Pastor Jim Jones in Indianapolis.  Titus was given with the intentions of preventing what happened in Prescott and Jonestown, and it is a very good foundation for the commissioning of a church.

But the interesting part in all of this is that Branham does mention Titus over fifty times in his recorded ministry – just not the Titus that Paul’s letters went to.  While Branham preached firmly against “organized religion” as Paul tries to establish, he also preached firmly against the Catholic Church.  The Titus that Branham preaches is Titus Flavius Caeser Vaspasianus Augustus, the Roman emperor from 79 to 81 AD.

In Branham’s theology, the God that loved us enough to send His only Son, Jesus Christ, to die for us was replaced with a god of wrath and judgment – levels beyond the Just God from the Old Testament.  As with many cult leaders who try to bind their captives in fear, Branham used Titus as an example of this “god’s” wrath for rejecting Pentecost – just as he claimed that this “god of wrath” did to his own wife Hope and daughter Sharon Rose.

A good example of that at Pentecost, after Pentecost and then when Titus in '96 take the walls of Jerusalem, when they rejected the message. Certainly, here we are.

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But taking this theology out to conclusion, it must also be tied to the words of Christ when he described the End of Days in Matthew 24.  To tie Rome to the timeline of the End of Days, Branham claimed that Titus established the “Abomination of Desolation” that is mentioned by both Daniel and Jesus Christ.

And so, now, as Jerusalem compassed about with armies, but literally, historically, that was during about A.D. 96 when Titus had besieged Jerusalem. But now watch this closely; you can see the different. Now, I believe that Jerusalem will be compassed about with armies again at the end time. But I believe this here was comparing with when Titus besieged it, when the desolation bear out.

Now, "The desolation," speaking was when Daniel, the prophet... "standing in the holy place." Notice, he said, "When you see the abomination that maketh desolation standing in the holy place..." See, the abomination, "abomination" is "unclean." "That maketh desolation..." Desolate "do away with," is to "destroy." "When you see the abomination that maketh desolation standing in the holy place..." Scripturally fulfilled when Titus besieged Jerusalem

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Christ, remember said this:

“So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.

Matthew 24:15-16

And he is referring to the prophecy of Daniel, found in Daniel 11:

Forces from him shall appear and profane the temple and fortress, and shall take away the regular burnt offering. And they shall set up the abomination that makes desolate.

Daniel 11:31

In Jewish tradition, Daniel’s prophecy regarding the Abomination of Desolation had been both fulfilled and removed, while at the same time, they were waiting for the fulfillment of Daniel’s interpretation of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream that pointed to the coming of Christ.  Christians who study both Jewish history and scripture can identify what seems to be fulfillment of Daniel, while also waiting on the re-establishment of the Abomination of Desolation in the temple.  The book of Maccabees, a book of Jewish History, records the day when the abomination from Daniel’s prophecy was removed from the temple before the coming of Christ:

“King Antiochus was going through the upper provinces when he heard that Elymais in Persia was a city famed for its wealth in silver and gold.  Its temple was very rich, containing golden shields, breastplates, and weapons left there by Alexander, the son of Philip, the Macedonian king who first reigned over the Greeks.  So he came and tried to take the city and plunder it, but he could not, because his plan became known to the men of the city and they withstood him in battle. So he fled and in great grief departed from there to return to Babylon.  Then some one came to him in Persia and reported that the armies which had gone into the land of Judah had been routed; that Lysias had gone first with a strong force, but had turned and fled before the Jews; that the Jews had grown strong from the arms, supplies, and abundant spoils which they had taken from the armies they had cut down;

 

Here’s the interesting part:

that they had torn down the abomination which he had erected upon the altar in Jerusalem; and that they had surrounded the sanctuary with high walls as before, and also Beth-zur, his city.

1Mac.6

According to the history described in Maccabees, this “abomination” that was established in the temple truly made Jerusalem desolate:

 

Because of them the residents of Jerusalem fled; she became a dwelling of strangers; she became strange to her offspring, and her children forsook her.  Her sanctuary became desolate as a desert; her feasts were turned into mourning, her sabbaths into a reproach, her honor into contempt.

1Mac.6

 

But William Branham specifically pointed the prophecy of Daniel to the siege of Jerusalem by Roman armies in AD 96.  When asked the question, “What is the Abomination of Desolation” on the 1954 sermon entitled “Questions and Answers,” Branham claimed that Titus pushed the Jews out of the temple in Jerusalem and established the Mosque of Omar:

Look last night, when the Holy Spirit predicted, nine hundred years before the Jews received the Holy Ghost, and told them what it would be, "The inkhorn--Man with the inkhorn writer went through the midst of Jerusalem and set a mark in their forehead." Is that right? Spoke of it before the church was condemned by God. And Titus besieged the walls of Jerusalem in A.D. 96, and burnt the city. And there wasn't one stone left upon another one, according to the prophecy. And today, the only thing they got left of the temple is an old wall laying there where they heaped up the stones, and it's rubbed slick where the Jews weep and wail there at the wailing wall, the only thing left of the temple. And the Moslem of Omar stands at the same place.

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And he repeated this idea all throughout his ministry.  According to Branham, the Mosque of Omar was the “abomination,” and Titus was responsible.  Followers today still blame the Catholic Church for this (because Titus was Roman), and believe in a twisted version of history that matches quotes like this:

In A.D. 96, Titus came in and captured Jerusalem and burnt the temple, and they built the Mosque of Omar (the Mohammedan religion) right on the temple grounds, and still stands there to this day. And it will stand there until God returns to the Jews again. "And the abomination (that is the Mosque of Omar) that maketh desolation of the holy place,"

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But this version of history is not accurate – the Mosque of Omar is established for Islam, not the Catholic Church.  And it was established after the siege of Jerusalem in 637 AD – over five hundred and forty years after Roman invasion!  The Rashidun army (Sunni Islam), under the command of Abu Ubaidah, besieged Jerusalem in November 636.

Also, the Mosque does not fit within Christ’s timeline of the end.  While the Mosque has been established for over a thousand years, Christ said that immediately after the “Abomination” was established in the temple, the tribulation would begin – a tribulation like the world has never seen, nor would ever see again:

“So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let the one who is on the housetop not go down to take what is in his house, and let the one who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak. And alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days!  Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a Sabbath.  For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be.

Matthew 24:15-21

But while Branham taught a Roman version of Titus, the Titus from the Bible is sound theology.  To any who have been programmed to despise organized religion and training pastors with sound teaching, Titus will be a very interesting book.  It exposes men who speak against an organized body of Christ, and especially against leaders who preach that they “don’t know the book too good, but know the Author real well.”  Paul says that to be a pastor or a spiritual leader, you MUST know the book:

He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.

Titus 1:9

And Paul would not have supported all of Branham’s fictional stories about his childhood and supernatural events that have been proven false.  Paul called these people “deceivers,” and condemns them openly:

For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party. 

 

That is the party, remember, who tried to continue to uphold Law instead of believing in the New Covenant of Grace.

They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach.  One of the Cretans, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.”  This testimony is true.

Titus 1:10-13

And while the idea has been promoted that we should not judge others, Paul firmly stands against that teaching.  As Christians, we are absolutely supposed to judge false teaching and deception:

Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, not devoting themselves to Jewish myths and the commands of people who turn away from the truth.  To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled.  They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.

Titus 1:13-16

But the most important part of Titus undermines the “little bride” theology.  Paul does not tell Titus that God has hidden himself in “mysteries” that only the “little elect group” would know.  In fact, Paul said that Christ came to all, bringing salvation to all who believe in Him.

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly 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, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

1 Timothy 2:11-14


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