Site Search:


Matthew Carapella and Steven Ravbar - Message Civil War

Seek The Truth Blog

Matthew Carapella and Steven Ravbar - Message Civil War:

We have received questions concerning the recent events in Louisiana and South Carolina, where "Message" cult pastors Matthew Carapella and Steven Ravbar have been arrested and been removed from church grounds by local law enforcement. Carapella and Ravbar, using direct quotes from William Branham, were spreading hate speech against women, homosexual men, men with tattoos, and more, to the extent that it was in violation of the law. The most recent altercation occurred at "The Tabernacle of the Lord", a cult church pastored by Luke Gibson.

Researchers are curious as to why the two cult pastors, who are preaching directly from the 1947-1965 recorded sermons of William Branham, were removed from the premises of a cult church also claiming to promote the ministry of William Branham. As ministers of the "Message for a lost and dying world", it would seem more beneficial to join forces, and save as many "lost souls" as possible. ('Lost souls' who did not believe in William Branham as their "messenger" for "this age").

To understand what we are seeing in the United States and other countries, one must first understand the difference between William Branham's "Message", and Christianity's "Gospel of Jesus Christ". One must also understand the difference between today's "Message" and the differing versions of the "Message" during William Branham's lifespan.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ, as believed by the Christian faith, is the idea that the Old Covenant Law of Moses was a conditional agreement between God and the Children of Israel. This agreement, as described in the Old Testament of the Christian Bible, recorded the provisions of blessings from God to the Jews if they upheld the rules and regulations given by Moses that became known as the Mosaic Law. It also had provisions of punishment should they fail to uphold the Law, to the extent of death. The "Gospel" as recorded in the New Testament of the Christian Bible, is the idea that God's Son, Jesus Christ, as Messiah to the Jews, was sent to fulfill the Law that the Children of Israel could not, and offer Himself as a sacrifice in their place. Several passages of the New Testament, such as Ephesians 2, describe this as a "Gift" to mankind, that was given freely as a New Covenant of Grace without any conditional agreement. Specifically, it was a Gift purposefully ... not ... based upon "works" (upholding Law), so that no man or woman could boast in their achievement. "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast."(Eph 2-8-10)

The "Message of William Branham", however, was an attempt to re-establish the idea of a conditional covenant between God and Mankind. When cult followers refer to Branham's "Message", they specifically refer to his last version of the "Message", which contained descriptions of these conditions. Cult churches today promote the fundamental elements of Branham's version of a conditional covenant, usually in full agreement of the following ideology:

* That God would send an Old-Covenant-style "prophet" to the world to announce the return of Jesus Christ, and that "prophet" was William Branham.

* That the Trinity was a doctrine established by Satan to deceive God's people

* That joining a denomination promoting the Trinitarian faith is the "Mark of the Beast" (branded as doomed by Satan, described in the Book of Revelation)

* That the physical churches described in the Book of Revelation were chronological "ages" as "revealed" by William Branham (but can also be found fully detailed in Clarence Larkin's 1920 "Dispensational Truth")

* That each "age" had a "messenger", an "angel of God" in the form of a "prophet", and William Branham was this "angel"

* That William Branham's extra-biblical revelations are the "Word" (Bible) for our "age"

* That William Branham's cult following would eventually produce "rapturing faith" (strong belief in William Branham's "Message" insomuch that the cult would be "faithed" into heaven)

* That adhering to William Branham's extra-biblical rules and regulations is required for that "rapturing faith".

It is the last bullet-point that is of interest for the current situation with Matthew Carapella and Steve Ravbar. While the two "street preachers" are attempting to convince the "lost and dying world" of these fundamental beliefs in order to "save lives", they have learned that other cult pastors take very few steps to "save the lost", preaching only to their small congregations. Worse, no two churches agree in the exact set of rules and regulations required for this "rapturing faith" -- to the extent that no single church fully adheres to the entire set of rules. A small sample of these rules can be found here:

By and large, the "Message" cult has gradually abandoned the majority of Branham's rules required for "rapturing faith". Many members of the cult are unaware that the freedoms they enjoy were not always available to the cult, and have not studied the "Message" to learn the history behind their faith. Some of Branham's rules were infrequently mentioned, and a full examination of his recorded sermons would be required to identify all of the many freedoms that he condemned.

Some of Branham's "rules" were frequently mentioned, however, especially those he established for the women of the cult. Were William Branham still alive today, and preaching the same set of rules with the same consistency, his speeches would be directly condemning the cult churches and their newfound freedom. From the "sin" of watching television or movies, to the "sin" of women exposing the skin of their shoulders or upper ankles, to the "sin" of women using cosmetics or trimming split ends, Branham consistently denounced change in fashion and technological advancements. His sermons described these things as "worldy", and he often quoted 1 John 2:15-17, claiming that those who love these things do not have love for God.

Carapella and Ravbar are two examples of a movement that has grown over the years (mostly overseas) to denounce the "lukewarm" cult pastors of today and bring the cult back to the original faith of William Branham. From their point of view, cult pastors today have become comfortable with their above-average income, and are afraid to preach the same condemnation for fear of losing tithe-paying members. While condemned by the cult as "extremists", Carapella and Ravbar are displaying the same level of extremism found on Branham's recordings. The irony of the situation creates a complex problem for cult pastors. It is much easier for them to contact local law enforcement to eject the two cult ministers than to explain why they no longer believe this part of William Branham's theology.

Some have noticed the rising movement within the "Message" overseas to condemn cult pastors in North America for displaying lack of concern for the "lost and dying" world or for the inability to produce "rapturing faith". All of the elements are primed to begin "Civil War" within the cult, potentially causing it to implode. Some cult groups now claim that William Branham was the "second messiah" ( Others, aware of the huge theological issue caused by Branham's death when compared to Branham's beliefs, claim that they are the next "messenger" for the "age" to fulfill that which Branham failed to fulfill. ( Carapella and Ravbar appear to be the first signs of this "Civil War" escalating in North America.

While officials in the cities containing a concentration of cult members see the two "street preachers" as a threat, the two extremists might actually be doing them a favor. Most cult members are unaware of the extreme viewpoints Carapella and Ravbar are quoting from William Branham's sermons, and the two are exposing hate speech contained on recorded sermon to a new generation of cult members. Having spent the last several decades enjoying freedoms condemned by William Branham, many cult members will be hesitant to forfeit those freedoms for the viewpoints aligned with the popular fundamentalism of the 1950's and 1960's. Many will examine the sermons, learning for the first time that William Branham himself was what many today -- even cult members -- would consider extremist, discriminatory, and even anti-Christian.

More information on Matthew Carapella and Steven Ravbar can be found here:

Recent news in South Carolina can be found here: