William Branham And The Baal of Peor:
Often through the recorded sermons of William Branham, a new convert will be suddenly surprised when they hear the words, "Thus Saith The Lord!" To normal (not programmed) Christians, these words are understood as they were intended. The mouth of Almighty God has spoken, through the mouth of a prophet.
Throughout the King James Bible, "Thus Saith The Lord" appears approximately 413 times. Each time this phrase is used, it is declaring to a people a message given by God through the mouth of one of his prophets, or by a person God speaks directly to who has a prophecy. Normal (not programmed) Christians recognize that it is not the mind of the human that created the thought given in the message; the combination of words came from the mind of God. In today's English, this phrase would be better expressed as "God is speaking through me to tell you THIS."
But to the programmed cult follower, these words are commonplace. Hearing them so often, many times applied to what is clearly the thoughts of William Branham, they have decreased value on the subject matter. Often, Branham himself appears not to know what these words actually meant.
For instance, "It is written" appears 80 times in the King James Bible. These three words are used when a speaker describes a passage from Scripture, telling the listener that they are referencing the Holy Writ. In today's English, this phrase would be better expressed as "The Bible says THIS."
When William Branham taught his followers that the Bible instructed husbands to divorce their wives if they cut their hair, he used the phrase "Thus Saith The Lord." In other words, "GOD IS SPEAKING THROUGH ME TO TELL YOU TO DIVORCE YOUR WIVES IF THEY CUT THEIR HAIR."
Instead, he should have said, "IT IS WRITTEN," because he was referring to scripture. But there is one fundamental problem with this -- it's NOT in scripture.
So the cult follower is faced with one of two choices: Either God was speaking through William Branham with inaccurate words, or William Branham did not study his bible with regards to the subject of marriage and divorce. Or even worse, a third option, he was adding to the Word of God.
But the programmed cult follower cannot think in these terms. All thought concerning the prophet must flow through their programmed (false) understanding that William Branham, a human, is accurate with regards to scripture and doctrine. Instead of testing the prophet against the Bible, they are trained to test the Bible against the prophet.
But again, the value of prophecy is lessoned.
To the programmed cult follower, trained to first understand William Branham as being correct and then filter all thought through that understanding, they have devalued prophecy. They have devalued any message that God might actually give through a prophet. They are trained to believe that the mortal human can first speak, and then declare "Thus Saith The Lord" -- whether or not the Lord hath actually "Saith" it. And they are trained to believe that in cases where these statements fail, they are to be reinterpreted to succeed.
Examples of this can be found throughout many of Branham's prophecies. Take for example the doctrine of "Presidential Prophecy", first declaring the president at time of doomsday to be a "woman" changing to Kennedy by William Branham and then later back to a "woman" by cult ministers. Or the prophecy of the "egg shaped car" changing to "driverless car." Or the "India Prophecy" with specific travel itinerary changing from "Africa to India," to "India to Africa," many times. And this 'vision' allegedly "failed" because of travel itinerary.
To the normal (not programmed) Christian, this presents a problem. In fact, to the normal (not programmed) person of any or without any religious affiliation, this presents a problem. A prophecy with no specific target is not a prophecy at all. But to the programmed cult follower, this is the way of a prophet. Branham himself instructed men to "revise" his prophecies, or "bring them more up to date."
"By the way, Mr. Mercier and many of them are going to take some of these old prophecies, and dig them out, and revise them a little, or bring them up to date, and put them in papers"
William Branham, 60-1113 - Condemnation By Representation
The Bible likens this to sorcery. And it is declared abominable before God. The children of Israel were warned against changing words of "Thus Saith The Lord" (prophecy), and reminded of what happened to those who did this in the past, those who followed the Baal of Peor:
"Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the Lord your God that I give you. You saw with your own eyes what the Lord did at Baal Peor. The Lord your God destroyed from among you everyone who followed the Baal of Peor, but all of you who held fast to the Lord your God are still alive today."