The word "Gospel" means "Good News." To a Christian, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the greatest news that can be given, news that Christ has freed the world from sin and death.
Sadly, however, many have long forgotten what this "Good News" is all about. When asked, many in the following of William Branham will give an answer of "power," or "healing," a description that represents the power of God without any indication of the message that is to be spread with the Good News that is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
When the Mosaic Law was given, it was a two-part contract between man and God. There were over three hundred blessings if the Children of Israel kept the laws given to Moses by God, and there were over three hundred curses if they failed to keep the Law. From famine and drought to captivity and desolation, the curse of the law was severe. At the same time, the Gentile nations were cursed. God chose Israel as His children, and the idolatrous nations that rose against Israel were punished with Israel's favor.
In Galatians 3, Paul compares the Mosaic Law to a child under instruction of a tutor, and describes the Law itself as a curse. Once the curse was lifted, Paul tells the Galatians that there is no longer a separation between Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female.
Throughout his letters, the Apostle Paul calls the Law a "Law of sin and death," one that brings condemnation rather than salvation. This condemnation was upon the head of Israel, condemnation spoken directly by God through His prophets in the Old Testament. Israel had broken the Law, abandoned it, and brought the curses of the Law upon themselves. Without a Redeemer to save them, Israel deserved death.
To the early Jewish Christians, the Gospel had special meaning. Christ had set them free! They were no longer bound by the Law, and they were no longer living under the curse of the Law. Though they deserved death and eternal separation, Jesus Christ had came as their Kinsman Redeemer. He died in their place, paying the final penalty of the curse. His death brought new life, life without the curse of the Law, and they had done nothing to deserve it. It was given to them as a Gift, the greatest Gift the world had ever known. God had sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, as their Kinsman Redeemer. God's only Son sacrificed His own life so that their lives could be saved, and so that they might have a place in the Kingdom of Heaven.
To the early Gentile Christians, the Gospel also had special meaning. Though they were not bound by the Law, and were not under the curse of the Law, they had not been considered God's children. God had favored Israel as His people, but now the Gentile nations were adopted as children of the King.
This gift of life was given without any merit. There was nothing that could be done to earn this Gift. There was nothing mankind could do to save themselves.
Christ, God's only Son, suffered and died on the cross for the sins of the world. He died and rose again, conquering death, hell, and the grave. Because He lives, we are given the gift of eternal life, and there is only one requirement: faith in Jesus Christ.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
This is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is the Bible. Without the early books of the Bible, we would never fully understand the Grace and Love of the Heavenly Father to His Children before their punishment for failure to keep the Law. Before there was Law, there was Grace, and eternal covenants showing God's faithfulness.
Without the books of the prophets, we would never fully understand the necessity of a Savior. Though mankind tried to save themselves by their own actions, the Old Testament teaches us that we cannot save ourselves. We need a Savior. We need God.
Paul proclaimed this Gospel, and left nothing hidden in mystery. 2 Corinthians 1 tells us that nothing is written inbetween the lines, and there is nothing we can't understand. It is the simple Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Through the New Testament, we find many warnings of men that will come to spread false teaching. Paul condemned anyone who spread a different gospel -- telling the people to keep promoting the Gospel, the Good News that he was also spreading.
But William Branham promoted a different gospel. Like the Children of Israel abandoning and forgetting the Mosaic Law in the Old Testament, many in the following of William Branham has abandoned and forgotten the Gospel that Paul spread. It is quickly replaced with the gospel that Branham promoted.
Branham's gospel contained a fictional man that spent most of his time in the work of "divine healing." Often, Branham would claim that "85% of the ministry of Jesus Christ was on divine healing." This gospel was often referred to by Branham as the "gospel of divine healing."
The jesus in Branham's version was not the eternal son of God that is described in the first chapter of the Gospel according to John. Branham's version included a man, born by virgin birth but without the status of "God." Branham's jesus did not become a god until his baptism by John the Baptist. Because this version of Jesus had a beginning, Branham explained that Jesus was not the Eternal Son of God.
Though he claimed to have disagreed with the Oneness Pentecostal godhead, Branham promoted the Jehovah's Witness version of Christ that was "Jehovah of the Old Testament," which Branham claimed to be Jesus as taught by Charles Taze Russell.
Similar to the Islamic version of Christ, Branham taught his followers to believe that Jesus was required to have a vision before performing any miracle. Though he promoted the idea that Jesus was also Jehovah, Branham would often explain that Christ was not the Father. Taking this out to conclusion, we find a heirarchy of gods in Branham's teaching -- a Father who sent visions to a Son, and a Son whose hands were tied until the vision came.
In Branham's gospel, this power did not remain with Christ. In several sermons describing the scene during Christ's prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, Branham would describe how the "spirit of god" abandoned Jesus in the Garden. Rather than the Son of God suffering on the cross for our sins, Branham's version of the gospel described a man, abandoned by the Father, crucified on Calvary's hill.
The writers of the New Testament do not show patience for men who spread different versions of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Galatians 1:8 describe them as accursed.
"But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed."
Branham's explanation of the reason Jesus offered Himself as a sacrifice? So that a future 'prophet' could finish the incomplete work:
Now He sanctified, with His Spirit and Blood, a Church, that He might make every promise in this last day be revealed. Now, see, He could go back and pick up what these other fellows has left off here, in the last days, and by His Holy Spirit reveal all the mystery of the Seven Seals. See, He is expressing Himself. That's His purpose. That's why He died.
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