Jeffersonville Indiana Is Doomed:
The doomsday cult of William Branham through the cult leader did not only predict multiple years of doomsday through mathematical calculation, divine inspiration, and input from cults from days gone by. If you examine the strategy of fear-mongering administered to the congregation, you will find that predictions of time were least in the long line of apocalyptic fear strategies. When entering a city and especially returning to a city, Branham sometimes condemned the people of that city to hell.
Branham's version of the "gospel" that he named the "Gospel of Divine Healing" in September of 1953 included a works-centered ascetic belief system that he taught could bring healing to body, mind, and spirit. Those who accepted his new gospel were praised and accepted into his fellowship, but those who disagreed due to examination of scripture were condemned and rejected. In a line-in-the-sand mentality, Branham began to teach that entire cities could "sin away their day of grace."
It does not take much examination of scripture or church history to determine that this type of works-righteous doctrine was no invention of Branham. Even studying the other cult leaders Branham often praised in his sermons, such as Dowie, Russell, Smith, and more will reveal a long line of men who promoted similar ideas. It takes less time examining the writings of the Apostle Paul, Peter, Jude, Irenaeus, Luther, and Wesley to determine what founding fathers of today's Christian faith felt about this belief system rebranded as the "Gospel of Divine Healing."
Branham appears during these sermons to have considered himself a reincarnation or "type" of the prophet Jonah -- sent not to one single city, but to the cities of the nations of the entire world. He would often compare his "message" to these men in the Bible, telling the people that a "greater than Jonah is here."
"I wonder today that as God has sent His gifts, His servants into the world and without a shadow of doubt is performing and doing the things that He did before He was crucified as a witness to this province, to this nation, to this people, that He is the same Jesus Christ Who raised from the dead, as Jonah come from the belly of the whale, and the people flatly turn It down and walk away from It. What will happen in the day of judgment? For I say unto you, that a greater than Jonah is here. I say unto you that a greater than Solomon is here. Who is it? The resurrected Jesus Christ the Son of God is here, and doing the things that He promised He would do.
Branham, 57-0805 - God Manifesting His Gifts
But the people of Branham's religious following did not fully grasp what Branham was implying. When Branham would tell the people that the resurrected Jesus Christ was in their midst, most assumed the traditional view of the Holy Spirit that was poured out into the hearts of the people at Pentecost. Branham sprinkled throughout his sermons the idea that the prophet's voice was the "Spoken Word," that word was God, and the human prophet and his word were the "self-same thing."
"We find out that when a man comes, sent from God, ordained of God, with the true THUS SAITH THE LORD, the message and the messenger are one and the same. Because he is sent to represent THUS SAITH THE LORD, Word by Word, so he and his message is the same. A denominational man under denominational auspices, he and the church is the "one." A theologian under theology, made by some denomination, he and his message are one; church of theology, a theologian. It's correctly. Then when a man comes with THUS SAITH THE LORD, he and the Message is one. And when Elijah come with THUS SAITH THE LORD, he and his message became one. Just as Jesus, when He come, He was the Word, Saint John 1. So the Word of God and the messenger of the age was the selfsame thing, all the time. That's right. Jesus was the Word that was prophesied of. "
Branham, 65-0718E - Spiritual Food In Due Season
Once he partially established himself as the return of Christ, Branham's "Jonah ministry" began proclaiming death and destruction to the people of the cities who did not come out of their denominations of faith to join his plight. To Branham, those who rejected his Messiah doctrine, had rejected Christ himself. Therefore, they had "sinned away" their chance at atonement. Branham's hometown of Jeffersonville, Indiana was no exception to this rule:
"Listen, you've been so nice, and these have been rugged, and they've been a long time. Now, you've been setting in this church since 7:30, 8:30, 9:30, two and a half hours, setting in this hot church. You didn't do that just to be setting there. And I guess ninety-eight or ninety-nine percent of the congregation has stuck right in their seat since that time. I want to say this: Jeffersonville, I feel this, that it's sinned away its day of grace."
Branham, 59-0628E - Questions And Answers
At first glance, the success of his Jonah ministry appears to revolve around the prophetic statements of judgment against Los Angeles. Branham claimed that before his son Billy Paul was an "old man," the city of Los Angeles would be under the Pacific Ocean. Billy Paul Branham, now eighty years old, spent a large portion of his life repeating this prophecy. It is our opinion that his increased age and failing health hushed the voice of praise for his father's words, but it is evident that these statements are no longer made in large crowds of people not hidden in seclusion.
But Branham's "Jonah ministry of judgment" was not limited to cities. At times, Branham would claim that entire states of a nation were under God's wrath:
I told Mr. Woods; is present tonight. And, I guess, eight or ten of the man, or fifteen, that was there at that time when it took place; the next morning, where the Lord came down in a whirlwind and ripped the mountain out around us, and cut the tops of the trees loose, and made three blasts, and said, "Judgment is headed towards the West Coast." 168 Two days after that, Alaska almost sunk beneath the earth. And since then, up-and-down the Coast, the belches of God's judgment against that spiritual screen. There is a iron curtain, there is a bamboo curtain, and there is a sin curtain.
Branham, 65-0219 - This Day This Scripture Is Fulfilled
Nor was Branham's proclamations of judgment limited to states of a nation. Oft times, the nation itself was under judgment and beyond repentance:
That's what these anointed messiahs count to if you reject God's Messiah. What did they get? When the pentecostal blessings struck Russia, or Germany, they rejected the Message. They laughed at them and put them in jail. What did they do? They rejected the Cross, and they got a double-cross, the swastika. You don't receive mercy, then there's nothing left but judgment.
Branham, 62-1216 - The Falling Apart Of The World
Those fleeing the cults in the continent of Australia give witness testimony that his proclamations of judgment were not limited to nations, and that their churches taught that the entire continent of Australia was under God's wrath for "rejecting this message" Branham taught. It is clearly evident that only a small number of people ascribe to Branham's works-centered faith, and the number of people who follow the many rules Branham identified in his sermons as required for righteousness are quickly decreasing. In fact, it can be said that as a whole, most of the people in "the Message" do not follow "the Message."
In part, this straying from the cult's oppressive doctrine is a good thing. Oppressive fundamentalist religion has been linked to all sorts of mental and psychological disorders, addiction and depression, suicidal tendencies, and even homicide. But closer examination proves that while ignoring cult rules introduced by Branham, cult doctrines of judgment and condemnation towards other Christians still dominates the doctrines still practiced by the religion. Other Christians who do not agree with the "works of the law" as taught by Branham are not viewed as justified in the eyes of the cult following. As a result, they truly believe that these other Christians have "fallen from grace," sinners who have fell short of the glory of God.
The Bible tells us this:
For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
Cult followers must ask themselves: Is the Grace of God sufficient for the people of Jeffersonville? The people of Los Angeles, Alaska, Russia, Germany or Australia? Is the doomsday prophet's curse more powerful than the love and forgiveness of Christ?