Them Ants Are Attacking The United States:
In 1954, a Warner Brothers film entitled "Them!" hit the big screen. Starring James Whitmore, Edmund Gwenn, Joan Weldon, and James Arness, Them! was the first of its kind of science fiction horror involving the "big bug" genetic mutations of earthly creatures due to nuclear fallout. Some big names were discovered in the film, actors that would go on to far greater fame. Disney discovered Fess Parker as the perfect fit for their Davy Crockett role, John Wayne saw James Arness as an up-and-coming western actor, and an uncredited Leonard Nimoy would later become the beloved Mr. Spock of the Star Trek series.
Interestingly, Arness would go on to play the Marshall Matt Dillon -- a fictional character created by John Meston for the lawman in Gunsmoke. In wild rants of condemnation, Branham would tell his followers that this fictional character was a real-life historical figure who was "yellow as a rabbit.":
"And Matt Dillon was as yellow as a rabbit. He shot twenty-eight man in the back, innocent people, going outside of Dodge City and waiting in a bush. And when a man come along, that somebody would call him and tell him that there was a certain villain coming through, then stay out there and, when the man come in, he'd shoot him through the back. Now we find he's "big guy" that comes down. Why, it'sâ€”it's absolutely glorifying sin."
Branham, 63-0120M - The Voice Of God In This Last Days
But Arness was not the only part of the science fiction horror film that caught Branham's attention. It appears that Branham attempted to capitalize on the grips of fear that held the audience spellbound in the movie Them!
Beginning in 1964, the Soviet Union began testing nuclear devices in Kazakhstan and Novaya Zemlya. These tests yielded the power of approximately 47 kilotonnes of TNT until the Russians became more aggressive. In 1965, they were successful in improving yield from 47 to 140 kilotonnes of TNT. On January 15, 1965, the powerful detonation occurred in Balapan, Semipalatinsk, Kazakhstan. This test proved to be as powerful as the US Sedan experiment of 1962, and was the first Soviet industrial use of nuclear force. The resulting crator later became Lake Chagan (or Balapin), a hole that was about 1,339 feet wide and 328 ft deep.
These tests continued once in February, four times in March, Once in May, twice in June, and once in July. The Russians were aggressively displaying their power, and the world was watching. Though the Red Scare ended in 1957, there were those that believed the Soviet Union would soon exercise its power against the United States.
William Branham used this fear to his advantage. Not just the fear of Russia's testing, but the fear of the science fiction Hollywood was embedding into the hearts and minds of a captive audience. These nuclear "big bug" theories made their way into Branham's sermons during the 1965 Soviet Nuclear Testing.
"They'll scream and holler; great hideous things in their imaginary mind. The radios and things, our television programs, are producing it. There'll be such things as ants raise up on the earth, that will be as high as fourteen trees; there will be aâ€”aâ€”a bird will fly across the earth, with wings four or five miles across; and people see them, they'll scream and holler, and cry for mercy. But it'll be the Plagues. Wait till I preach on those Plagues opening up."
Branham, 65-0815 - And Knoweth It Not
But what was once a captivating horror film of the 50's is a comical display of improbability today. Even young children who might watch the movie "Them!" in reruns would laugh at the humorous idea of an ant the size of a house. The appeal for that genre of science fiction has long since passed. While Branham's vision of big bugs may have sounded convincing in the 60's, today's world would instead be captivated by a deadly nanovirus, solar radiation, or terrorist attack. The idea of a big bug is so improbable that it does not even strike fear.
More than this, today's Christians recognize Branham's strategy for what it is: fear tactics. This type of spiritual abuse is the doctrine of demons, and today's Christians are more informed. They realize that the ancient mythologies, dangerous religious cults, and all oppressive religions are based on fear instead of the love and Grace of God.
"For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control."
- 2 Timothy 1:7
"There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment and whoever fears has not been perfected in love."
- 1 John 4:18