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Lies For The Sake Of A Holy End

John Collins10/29/2013

Video available here: http://youtu.be/PwDfnH4yj74

Irenaeus writes of Marcus the Egpytian, whose teachings of Egyptian mythology and system of worship infected the early church.  Marcus brought the pagan teachings of the Ogdoad, the eight deities in Egyptian worship, combined them with Christianity through use of basic numbers claiming spiritual significance, and spread a Gnostic form of faith known as Gnostic-Manichaean teaching.  His doctrines, coming directly from Memphis, were deemed as heresy and identified with the same evil that Simon the Magician spread into the early church.

In the Roman-controlled Iberian Peninsula, known as Roman Hispania, a Gnostic group known as the Priscillianists started to emerge.  Like many cults of the past, present, and future, their groups established took the name of their cult leader, Priscillian.  Like the groups we see today severing themselves from other Christians, the Priscillianists devoted themselves to ascetic lifestyles in order to produce a worship that was based on denial of the flesh.  They refused to drink any form of alcoholic beverage, including wine, and ignoring Paul’s statements with regards to meat became vegetarians.  Priscillian devoted his teaching to the deuterocanonical books that he associated with scripture, the books that we now refer to as the Gnostic dead sea scrolls.  Interestingly, Priscillian also wrote a series of commentaries on the true books of the Bible, and those commentaries were accepted into the orthodox church – overlooking the error of his beliefs.

The early church fathers were far more violently opposed to heresy and its impact on the Body of Christ than we find today, so aggressive in weeding out evil that a penalty of death was imposed on all found to invade the Christian church with pagan heresy.  The Priscillianists had severed themselves from the body of Christ and wandered off into study of secret “mysteries,” bringing the teachings of Marcus into a form of worship that was starting to coerce wayward followers into serving other gods.  In fact, they attracted quite a large following that included several from the church including two bishops.  Because of this heresy and its massive impact, it gained attention of several other bishops of the church, and they held a summit to discuss the subtle injection of Egyptian idolatry into the quickly diminishing church.

The Priscillianists were asked to attend this summit, but refused to defend their faith.  By nature of their separation through hidden mysteries, to defend their faith was to describe all things hidden in shadows.  And they knew that there was no defense, because the Apostle Paul condemned this lifestyle in his letters to the church.  Their failure to attend brought a sentence of excommunication to the four leaders of this Gnostic movement, but that excommunication was not enough.

To any rising cult, excommunication is more of a blessing than a punishment.  When the main body of the church is viewed as “those who do not have our mystery,” that separation becomes more defined through rigid definitions of “us” against “them.”  This excommunication only added fuel to the fire.  The people rebelled, lifting Priscillian into a person of greater importance, and almost immediately Priscillian was ordained to the priesthood, appointed Bishop of Avila.  With the Gnostic group having a bishop, they could now appeal to the imperial authorities. 

This battle and their many appeals made their way up the entire hierarchy of the church – all the way to the Pope, who denied them an audience.  They had lost their place in the church, been denied the assembly of their Gnostic members to meet in their churches, and were facing exile.  Refusal to make their appeal to the governing leader was a failure to exist as a severed body.

But in the court system, the Priscillianists were able to buy their freedom and restore their way of life through what many would call bribery.  Their transfer of funds to the Court brought such great success that they were not only freed from the sentence of exile, but were once more permitted to assemble in their churches throughout Hispania, where they continued to practice their, Egyptian form of Gnosticism.  This breach of justice added even more fuel to the fire that would soon bring penalty.

Just as Irenaeus describes in his book, “Against Heresies,” Marcus brought magic into the cult by power of the Egyptian gods.  This group was displaying great signs and wonders that attracted itching ears and wandering souls, and while their worship bore the name of “Christianity,” it was rooted in the very evil that Ireneaus described.  Were it not stopped, Priscillian would achieve the same power as Simon the Magician who was responsible for this rising threat to the Church.  The bishops that tried to disperse the group and bring them back into the faith now were crying out for capital punishment – death to all who participated in Priscillian’s idolatry.

St. Martin of Tours intervened.

St. Martin is remembered for his mercy to those that were misled into becoming enslaved by the bondage of this ascetic group of people.  He opposed the punishment of death for their following, knowing that many were pure souls that had become distracted by signs and wonders.  His appeal to the emperor placed a halt on the death sentence, but only temporary.  Martin went down in history as the one who tried to bring balance to a fight that had turned bitter, and as a voice of reason to those who placed more value on their orthodoxy than they did human life.  While the early church was correct in their assessment of this Gnostic cult, their anger had blinded their judgment.

But followers of the Message of William Branham take a much different viewpoint.  Because so many of the teachings of William Branham are based on Gnostic influence, St. Martin is seen as a hero for a much different reason.  To Branham followers, this group practiced everything that they stood for and more, “heroes of the faith.”  The Gnostic Dead Sea Scrolls were the source of many “divine revelations” that William Branham proclaimed, and a severed body of believers that believed that God hid His “Gospel” in mystery would seem less of a cult and more of a “David” against “Goliath” story.  Little do they know that this group also practiced celibacy as part of their ascetic lifestyle, and while it was thriving temporarily, the group could not sustain without new life.

William Branham promoted this idea that the Gnostic Priscillinists were the “little bride” for its “age”.  When he copied the “church ages” and their dates from Clarence Larkin’s works, Branham assigned “messengers” to Larkin’s “ages,” and appointed St. Martin of Tours as the “Messenger” to the Priscillianists – not knowing that as part of the Orthodox church, St. Martin opposed their belief system. 

Martin never did fear the enemy regardless of who it was. Thus he went to personally face a wicked emperor who was responsible for the death of many Spirit-filled saints.

BRANHAM, PERGAMEAN.CHURCH.AGE  -  CHURCH.AGE.BOOK  CPT.5

 The teaching of the Priscillinists matched several of Branham’s “divine revelations,” from altering the Creation Story to match Jewish Mysticism (sex was the original sin), and the idea that the signs in the Zodiac were a “bible” recorded in the heavens.  This astrology, based on the Egyptian worship of the Ogdoad, was tied to Christianity, just as William Branham did when he claimed that the “great pyramid was the first bible” and the “Zodiac was the second bible.”

But predominately, the greatest similarity between the Priscillianist cult and the cult that William Branham established was the idea that it is beneficial to tell lies to the sake of a holy end.  Because it was believed that men could not understand the higher paths, the Priscillianists who claimed to be enlightened, were permitted to tell lies for the sake of a holy end.  It was for this very doctrine that Augustine wrote a famous work, "Contra Mendacium" ("Against Lying").  Lies to bring “spiritual enlightenment” was against the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

It is interesting that this group was able to rise from the teachings of Marcus and sever themselves from the Body of Christ in such a short time since the Apostle Paul spread the Good News, the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the nations.  Paul was very clear that our doctrine be founded in truth, and that we do not mislead – lies of any nature, even for a holy end, were breaking the ten commandments and denying the words of Christ.

I think it is for that very reason that so many are fleeing the cult of William Branham.  Having identified the many fictional stories in Branham’s conflicting life stories, they realize that these lies had the sole purpose of elevating our emotional state to prepare our minds to be captured by the magic of his teaching and his repetitive use of numbers in his sermons.  When they realize that the story of his conversion to Christ was fictional, and that Hope was actively participating in the youth ministry of the Pentecostal Tabernacle, it turns their stomachs.  When they hear how the Egyptian “god of wrath” smote his wife instead of looking back to the cross, they realize that they were coerced into serving a pagan god, just like the Priscilianists.  To them, Branham is nothing more than another Marcus, who rose to sever the body of Christ – but there is no Martin of Tours to help lead the good souls out of the cult.

In speaking of the Law, Paul describes our new freedom in Grace while showing the need for the law.  The prophets were entrusted with something that would be wrapped into a Gift and given to the Gentiles, and their lives devoted to the Law were necessary to bring the Christ Child.  But now, other than training our hearts in perfect love of God and man, those laws are of little value.  Circumcision is his example to the Romans in Romans 3:

Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision?  Much in every way. To begin with, the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God.  What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God?

Romans 3:1-8

But after explaining why the Law was given, and why the Gentiles are not bound by that Law, Paul starts speaking to the Truth of the Gospel, and to the condemnation of anyone who falsely believes that lies can be told and somehow support the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

By no means! Let God be true though every one were a liar, as it is written,

“That you may be justified in your words, and prevail when you are judged.” 

Romans 3:4

But then, Paul addresses some of the questions being raised through the spreading of deception.  Placing himself into the shoes of those who felt necessary to spread lies for the sake of a holy end, Paul asks the questions and then gives the response.  He says, “I speak in a human way,” letting us know that he does not promote the questions he is asking, but rather that he is imitating those raising the question:

But if our unrighteousness serves to show the righteousness of God, what shall we say? That God is unrighteous to inflict wrath on us? (I speak in a human way.) 

Romans 3:5

But then he gives the answer.  WRONG! 

By no means! For then how could God judge the world?

Romans 3:6

He then goes into another question, addressing this idea of lying.  Even if our lies result in glorifying God, are we condemned?  Let’s see what Paul answers in this series:

But if through my lie God's truth abounds to his glory, why am I still being condemned as a sinner?  And why not do evil that good may come?—as some people slanderously charge us with saying.

Romans 3:7-8

This question is a question that I receive by email, private message, and even phone call many times.  Since Seek The Truth has started, and since the deception in the church of William Branham has been exposed, many send in their questions about the result of this fictional ministry.  “What if souls are being saved,” they ask.  “What if through Branham’s lies, their faith is elevated into their own salvation?” 

The simple answer is that faith in faith does not save.  Faith in lies do not save.  Faith in anything outside of Jesus Christ – and the Jesus Christ of the Bible, God’s only Son, who died on the cross for the sins of the world, rose again to be seated at the Right Hand of the Father, and sent His Holy Spirit to us to lead us into all Truth is the only pathway to salvation.  That Holy Spirit does not lead us into a lie – it presses on our hearts until we cannot rest until we have abandoned the lie and are led into Truth.

Others send their hatred to us for standing up for Truth and exposing lies, having been taught not to judge false doctrine.  “Judge not, lest ye be judged” is twisted out of context, malicious twisting of scripture to keep unsuspecting souls from discerning right from wrong.  They fail to judge the wolves in sheep’s clothing, because those same wolves have trained them to believe in their fictional stories without condemning or exposing their heresy.

But Paul does not teach this.  His answer to the question, “Can we tell lies for the sake of a holy end,” was answered with a harsh proclamation of condemnation for the liar.   God has His Hand on the paths of our lives, and while the lies of these men are just a milestone along life’s journey into Truth for God’s Children, their lies bring God’s justice upon their own heads. 

Listen to Paul’s answer about “lies for the sake of a holy end,” and remember Branham’s three versions of his birth year – two of which that are tied to spiritual events that contradict each other.  Think about his fictional life in the hills of Kentucky providing for his mother and siblings after the death of his father, all while his father is alive and well until Branham is old enough to preach his funeral as pastor of the Pentecostal Tabernacle.  Think about the twisted story of “God speaking from the heavens” as he baptized the seventeenth person in the Ohio River – when the newspapers recorded the baptism with only fourteen people.  Or how the Egyptian “god of wrath” smote Hope for his mother-in-law’s rejection of her daughter being involved with the Pentecostals – all while Hope is involved with the youth ministry at the Pentecostal church that Branham assisted in pastoring.  Think about the rest of the stories, all now proven to be lies for the sake of a holy end, and listen to Paul’s response.  Ask yourselves, does this “message of lies” really “preach the same message that Paul preached” as Branham claimed, or would Paul condemn a ministry based on fiction?  Let’s continue reading Romans 3 to find out:

Their condemnation is just.

Romans 3:8