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In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
This is a scripture that many are familiar with, and one that you will hear quoted in the churches that sprung from the Pentecostal movement. It is a foundation to many sermons, songs, and even prayers. This single verse is very powerful. But in the churches that follow the ministry of William Marrion Branham, are you receiving these words as they were intended?
William Branham taught his people that Christ is not the eternal Son of God. Like the Jehovah's witnesses, Branham taught a version of Jesus that was an angel: Michael. He would often ask his followers, "How can Christ be the eternal Son of God? Anything that has a beginning has an end?
“And at that time Michael shall stand, the great prince." Michael was Christ, of course, Who fought the angelic wars in heaven with the devil. Satan and Michael fought together”
“There's no such a thing, "Eternal Son of God." Cause, if He--if He never had a beginning, then He cannot be nothing but Eternal. But, if He was a Son, He had a beginning, so He cannot be an Eternal Son. It was the Eternal God manifested in a Son. Uh-huh. See? Eternal God, 'cause God is only thing that's Eternal.”
Many influenced by Branham are familiar with these teachings. But have you ever asked yourselves the question: How can we have an eternal Father if we have no eternal Son?
If you continue reading through the first chapter of John, you'll find that this "Word" mentioned in the first verse is Jesus Christ, God's only Son, who offered Himself as a sacrifice for the atonement of sin. Verse 14 says, "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."
The Word is Jesus Christ.
So to read the first verse in its fullness, you must understand that the Word was Jesus Christ, and that He was in the beginning with God.
If we continue reading further, taking that same understanding of the Word, we find that this passage reads much differently than you will hear in the churches that follow William Branham: "In the beginning was the Word [Jesus], and the Word [Jesus] was with God, and the Word [Jesus] was God. He [Jesus] was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him [Jesus], and without him [Jesus] was not any thing made that was made."
After explaining that Jesus Christ was the eternal Son of God, in the beginning with God, and one with God, the first chapter of John begins describing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The children of Israel were burdened with punishment from their failure to uphold the Mosaic Law, and were under the curse of the Law. Starting in the fourteenth verse, John describes a clear distinction between the Law that came through Moses and the Truth that came through Jesus Christ:
"And the Word [Jesus] 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 [Jesus], and cried out, "This was he of whom I said, 'He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.'") And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father's side, he [Jesus] has made him known."
This doctrine of an “angelic christ” is nothing new. Charles Taze Russell, founder of the Jehovah’s witnesses taught it. Even in the days of the Apostle Paul, it was being promoted.
Listen to the words of Paul, found in Hebrews chapter one, asking this question:
For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son, today I have begotten you”?
Or again,“I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son”?
And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says, “Let all God's angels worship him.” – Heb 1:5-6
Now listen to Paul’s answer:
Of the angels he says, “He makes his angels winds, and his ministers a flame of fire.”
But of the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom. – Heb 1:7-8