Good morning, everyone!
It’s time to start our service, and I am so thankful that you are with us this morning. I pray that God richly blesses you, and I greet you all in Jesus’ name. I especially greet all our friends at Faith Assembly and all the different churches where we fellowshipped for so many years. And once again, thank you to all the different ones who have reached out over the past week. We are praying for you all, and I am so glad that so many people are being helped.
And today, we are going into the final lesson of our William Branham series. This is the eighth message in this series. When I started, I was not sure just how far I would go, and I had debated whether or not I would touch this topic. But I had several different ones ask me to take on this topic, so I decided that I will do that as our final topic in this series.
Our title today is, Who Is The Seventh Church Age Messenger?
And if you may wonder why that question would interest us, it is because I and most of our listeners here are formerly part of the cult following of William Branham, known as the message. We believed the seventh church age messenger was William Branham. Having realized that he had deceived us about that, it is a very natural first question a lot of people have. In fact, most people I have encountered, this is one of the first questions they ask when they realize William Branham was a fraud. The immediate question is often, “Well, if it’s not William Branham, then who is it?”
I generally have refrained from answering that question if it is their first question because, as I have said before, the people in the message are a long way down a wrong road. They are not a little way down a wrong road; they are a long way down a wrong road.
The passage of scripture we will read this morning is in the book of Revelation, Chapter 3. I will start at verse 14. I invite you to turn there with me and read along, and I will read down to the end of the chapter.
14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;
15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.Revelation 3 (King James Version)
Let us pray.
Lord God of mercy and grace, we praise you for the love you have bestowed upon us. We praise you for the Holy Spirit which is imparted to us. We praise you for the instruction we find in the bible. And we thank you for an opportunity to look into your word and study by the leading of your spirit. Guide us now, that we might have a clearer understanding, and we ask it in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Well, brothers and sisters, I have thought long and hard about how to approach this subject and to do it in a way we could fit it all into one lesson. It is a lot to fit into one lesson because this question is built on certain premises that you need to already be convinced of before you even ask the question.
So, before we answer the question, “Who is the seventh church age messenger?” We need to first look at the underlying premise and understand why someone would even ask that question. Why do you think there is such a thing as a church age messenger? Why do you think there is even such a thing as a church age? Where did you get that idea from?
I am going to break this lesson into four parts, which I will get through all the parts here today. The first part I am going to explain what the message teaches about the seventh church age messenger, and I also want to take a little time to show you where those ideas and concepts came from.
Then, third, we will compare those ideas to the plain reading of scripture, and we will see if there is even a legitimate basis for us to ask this question.
And then, last of all, we will answer the question – who is the seventh church age messenger?
And so, let’s begin. I will do that by telling you about the message explanation concerning this seventh church age messenger. This is just going to be a short summary of the main points, and you are welcome to go check out message literature on this topic if you would like to examine it for yourself. But I will remind you, I was the editor and publisher of the literature where I come from, and I am an expert in their beliefs. If you think I am misrepresenting anything, you are welcome to go investigate it for yourself.
So, the message teaches that the seven churches mentioned here in Revelation chapter 2 and 3 are symbolic of church ages. They believe there were seven actual churches in Asia Minor 1900 years ago, but that each of those seven churches symbolically represented seven different ages of time that would pass from the early church until the second coming of Jesus Christ.
The Church of Ephesus represents the history of the early church, from the days of the Apostle Paul, and each age moves in succession down to the last age, which is the Laodicean church age. They provide dates and time ranges for each age of time.
The last church age began with the Azusa Street revivals in 1906, and since 1906, they say the church has been in the final Laodicean age.
I will note that there are some message groups that teach that the Laodicean age ended in 1963. Our last pastor, James Allen, actually taught that. When I looked into it, I found that William Branham himself also said Laodicea had ended during the 1960s too. But I believe that is not the view of the majority of people in the message. Raymond Jackson and most other message preachers I have heard teach this subject say that Laodicea is still ongoing. So, I want to point out that not everyone in the message is uniform on their beliefs about Laodicea. Some of them teach Laodicea is over since 1963, while some say it is still ongoing.
But that is the gist of the church ages themselves. The church ages mark the passage of time, and each church is symbolic of the prevailing conditions during that particular age. So, the prevailing conditions of the Ephesian age were that their love was waxing cold, and they were battling false teachers. Each age has its own unique conditions that define it, and the prevailing condition of the Laodicean age, which is supposed to be the present age, is that it is a lukewarm age, where the church has become materialistic.
That is the explanation of the church ages themselves, and generally, when a preacher teaches the church ages, it is primarily an exercise in examining church history. There are quite a few groups out there, besides the message, who believe in these church ages. Believing in church ages is not something that is unique to the message.
Now, the message does not believe in just the church ages. They believe there was a special messenger sent to each age. As we read Revelation chapters 2 and 3, we find that Jesus addresses each of his messages by saying, “unto the angel of the church Ephesus” or, “Unto the angel of the church of Sardis,” and so forth. He is addressing his words to an angel of a particular church.
William Branham told us each of these angels was a particular man, and in Greek, the word angel is the same word as messenger. So basically, William Branham was telling us the Greek was mistranslated in chapter 2 and 3, and instead of Angel, it should say messenger. The messengers were not heavenly angels but human men. William Branham gave a list of who all the different messengers were. The apostle Paul was the messenger to Ephesus, Irenaeus was the second Messenger, Martin was the third, Columba was the fourth, Martin Luther was the fifth, John Wesley was the sixth, and then William Branham was himself the seventh.
There is some nuance here with these angels too, depending on which message preacher you listen to. Most message preachers believe these seven angels are human beings, which is the majority view. But there are also some people in the message who believe the seven angels are literal angels, and the angel to Laodicea was the angel who was working with William Branham, so they would say the angel to Laodicea was the angel with William Branham rather than William Branham himself. That is a minority view, but I just want to explain that, so you understand there is some nuance here to how the message preachers interpret these things.
Now you might be saying, why does any of this matter? The church ages and the church age messengers matter because William Branham said that to be part of the bride of Christ, you need the message for your day. The message for each age came from the messenger to the age. So, to be the bride of Christ, you needed Paul’s message in the first age, Martin Luther’s message for the fifth age, John Wesley’s message for the sixth age, and you needed William Branham’s message for the seventh age. Unless you have the message for your day, you cannot be the bride of Christ, and William Branham taught that the formula for salvation changes from age to age. In Martin Luther’s day, you only needed justification, in Wesley’s age, you need to add sanctification too, and then in Laodicea, you also need the Holy Ghost. That is roughly how message preachers would explain it.
So when someone asks the question, who is the seventh church age messenger, that is a question of salvational importance to them because they need the message of the messenger to the age to be part of the bride of Christ. And so that is what underlies that question when it is asked, “Who is the seventh church age messenger?” That is why that question is so important to them.
And, brothers and sisters, most preachers in the message will then take 10 or 12 sermons, minimally, to explain the church ages. So, what I am giving you here is really the condensed version of the highlights. I trust that if you have come from our background, you know this topic fairly well already. I am not trying to misrepresent anything here. Just for the sake of time, I am giving a short summary of the key points. The key points are that
1. Each age is a period of history with certain prevailing conditions,
2. Each age has a messenger,
3. And you need to accept his message to be part of the bride of Christ in that age.
Those are the three key points to remember.
Where These Ideas Come from
Alright, so that explains what the church ages are, who the church age messengers are, and why it matters to the people in the message.
As we move into the second part of this lesson, let’s consider where these ideas come from.
Message preachers will tell you that either William Branham received this revelation from a supernatural experience with God, or they will tell you this is all in the Bible.
But the first thing I want to point out to you is that the Bible does not actually say a single bit of what I have just explained. The Bible does not say these churches represent the prevailing conditions of seven different ages of time. The Bible does not say these church age messengers are human beings. The Bible does not say you need to accept the message of these preachers to be part of the bride of Christ.
Just realize, the Bible does not plainly say any of that, and for me – I always knew that. There was never any point at which I thought the Bible actually did say those things.
We believed in these church ages and these church age messengers – not because the Bible said so but because William Branham was a prophet who could tell us the hidden meaning of biblical symbolism, and the very existence of these church ages and their messengers is entirely arrived at through the interpretation of symbolism.
You can read what Jesus says to each of these churches in chapter 2 and 3 of Revelation, and there is no way to take the plain reading of Jesus’ words and arrive at the idea that there will be seven ages, with seven messengers, and you need to hear the message for your age to be part of the bride of Christ. There is nothing in chapter 2 or chapter 3 that would lead you to believe that. There is no verse that plainly says there is such a thing as church ages, and there is no verse that plainly says there is such a thing as church age messengers.
So, if the Bible does not say that, then we have to ask where did those ideas come from? Who were the first people who had that idea that these symbols could be interpreted in that way? Who were the first people to believe in church ages and church age messengers? Who is it that received that divine revelation from God?
In the message, we would say it was William Branham, but that is actually not true. There are lots of people who believe in church ages before William Branham ever preached it. Most Pentecostals believe in church ages, the Seventh-day Adventists do, the Jehovah Witnesses do, and quite a lot of Baptists and evangelicals do too. Those groups have their different ways of justifying a belief in seven church ages, and it has nothing to do with God revealing it to William Branham because most of those groups believed in those things before William Branham was born.
William Branham actually copied the seven church ages primarily from a man named Clarence Larkin, who was a Baptist. If you read the literature that comes from those groups, they are very plain in saying that they are interpreting the symbolism of the book of Revelation, and they have different teachers they point to as their basis for believing in church ages. So you don’t need William Branham to believe in seven church ages. That idea came before him, and he copied it from other people.
What about the church age messengers? There is one other group, besides the message, who believes in the seven church age messengers – I’ll give you one guess which group that is… It’s the Jehovah Witnesses. The Jehovah Witnesses are the only other group who believes in church age messengers, and they also believed in church age messengers before William Branham was born. That idea came from a man named Charles Russell, who was the founder of the Jehovah Witnesses.
It’s the Jehovah Witnesses who came up with the idea that these angels to the churches were church age messengers, and the Jehovah Witnesses named all seven messengers. For them, messenger number seven was their founder – Charles Russell.
So, William Branham copied the church ages from Clarence Larkin, the Baptist, but he copied the church age messenger idea from the Jehovah Witnesses.
I say all this because I want you to realize the question here is not whether or not we believe the divine revelation God gave William Branham because that is just a hoax. The question is, do we believe Clarence Larkin and do we believe Charles Taze Russell? Those are the men from whom these ideas actually come, not William Branham. I’ll leave that for you to ponder as we move into the next part of our lesson.
Are there Church Ages?
So that is where the idea of church ages and church age messengers came from. Now, let’s compare the main points of the church ages to the Bible.
And let me remind you of those three key points again:
- The church ages represent periods of history with certain prevailing conditions.
- The messengers are human men who preached to their age.
- To be in the bride of Christ, you have to accept the message for your age.
Now, let’s examine the first point first. Do these seven churches represent periods of church history?
Let’s go to the book of Revelation, and I will just read what John writes to the church in Ephesus in chapter 2. Let’s read it together, starting at verse 1:
1 Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;Revelation 2
King James Version
Okay, so ask yourself, what in that verse gives me the idea that this is about an age of time? Because if I read this honestly, everything here is giving us the impression that this message is to a church that existed right there in Asia minor, 1900 years ago.
And I am going to read this again, slow, and let’s just see if anything jumps out to us that would make us think this is about an age of time rather than an individual church.
1 Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;
2 I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:
3 And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.
4 Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee because thou hast left thy first love.
5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.
6 But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate.
7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.Revelation 2
King James Version
So honestly, there is nothing here that would clearly indicate to us that this is about an age. And I have to say, I don’t see a single thing. Maybe in verse 7, it says “hear what the spirit says to the churches” – plural. But that would seem to be the seven churches rather than all the churches of a particular age.
And so, you can read this to yourselves again, but there is not a single thing here, in the plain reading of this passage, to give us any indication whatsoever that this is about ages of time. We could repeat this for all seven of these churches, and it’s all the same. There is nothing in the plain wording that would clearly indicate these are ages.
So that is a big problem. We can’t get to that idea of church ages by just plainly reading the meaning of the text of scripture. We can only get there by interpreting the symbolism. And if you remember, in the back of this book, John is warned: anyone who adds or takes away from the book of Revelation will be cursed. And, if we use the word “Age” here in chapter 2 or chapter 3, isn’t that exactly what we would be doing? Because the word age is not here at all. There are churches, yes, but there are not church ages. And I welcome you, read these chapters over and over, and feel free to email me the verse here that proves these are ages. If I am overlooking it, I would be glad to have it pointed out. But the truth is, it’s not here – there is no verse that says these are ages. It just is not here.
But that is not the only problem with the idea that these are representing church ages. Let me point out another problem to you.
The church in Ephesus, that is supposed to represent the Ephesian age, right? And the conditions in Ephesus should be the prevailing conditions in most of the churches in that period, right?
But there are seven churches there in Asia minor, which John is writing to. And the only church like Ephesus is like Ephesus. The other six churches in Asia have different conditions than Ephesus.
So the majority of the churches are not like Ephesus. How could Ephesus represent the prevailing condition of the age when only one out of seven churches actually has those conditions?
How can that be? And the truth is, the conditions of the church in Jerusalem were not like Ephesus. The conditions of the church in Rome were not like Ephesus. The conditions in Laodicea were not like Ephesus. The conditions of the church in Sardis were not like Ephesus. That is simply just not true. And we can tell that is not true by reading the Bible itself. So how do we say Ephesus represents the prevailing conditions of the age when most churches are not like Ephesus?
That’s a problem.
And the truth, the same is true down through all these ages. If you actually study church history, which I have extensively, it’s not really true that what you read in these chapters represents the prevailing conditions for entire ages of time.
And men like William Branham, who say that, they have to boil the true history down into this simplified cartoonish version of history. And what William Branham presented in his sermons and what most message preachers present when they preach on the seven church ages is a simplified cartoon version of history.
The truth is, church history is far more complex than any of those people understand. And the prevailing conditions of the church throughout history actually do not match these church ages.
Let me say that again: The prevailing condition of the church throughout history does not match these church ages. You can only make it work by cherry-picking certain things and presenting a cartoon version of history to make it fit.
Take today, for example. This is supposed to be Laodicea, right? You don’t need to be a history expert to figure out Laodicea. It’s right here in the world right now, supposedly.
And sure, there are many lukewarm churches that have become materialistic, especially in America. We would all agree with that. There are lots of lukewarm churches.
But guess what, most Christians don’t live in America. Only about 10% of all Christians live in America. 90% of Christians don’t live here. Most Christians live in Africa, South America, India, China, and the Philippines. And it’s not like Laodicea there. They are not rich and increased with goods; they are generally quite poor. And they are not lukewarm either. There is a huge revival nonstop in Africa and the Philippines. And in some of those countries, they are being terribly persecuted and killed. It’s not Laodicea for the majority of Christians today. The overwhelming majority of the world’s Christians are not living in the conditions of Laodicea. That is just simply not true.
And just like it is not true in the first century, most churches were not like Ephesus, it is true in the world today. Most churches are not like Laodicea. It is an oversimplification. It is a cartoonish thing to say and believe. It’s not a credible idea.
And this is an example of how message people are blind to reality. Reality can slap them in the face, and it doesn’t faze them because they are brainwashed. The evidence can be right in front of them that they are not living in a Laodicean age, but they can’t see it.
So, I am not going to walk through all of church history, but there are just two simple examples:
- Ephesus did not represent the prevailing conditions of the first century of the church. The Bible proves that to us.
- Laodicea does not represent the prevailing conditions of the global church today. It’s simply not true.
And you can go look into it for yourself.
So, where I am at today is that I seriously doubt there is even such a thing as seven church ages. I don’t see it in the Bible, I don’t see how to make it fit the reality of church history, and I don’t see it reflected in the present-day condition of the global church.
Seven church ages are just a fanciful idea, I’m afraid.
That said, I am not bothered by someone who wants to hold onto that idea. I really don’t think it has much to do with anything.
As for me, what I would suggest to you is that at every point in church history, you can find all seven of these churches. Just like in the early church, you had all seven. Today you have all seven of these today too. There are churches today where persecution is the prevailing condition; you have churches today where lukewarmness is the prevailing condition; you have churches today where love waxing cold is the prevailing condition. You can go through all seven of these, and you can find churches like all seven in the world today.
And Jesus here, Revelation chapter 2 and 3, offers encouragement and instruction and warning to all seven churches here. And I believe that any church can examine itself and find which of these seven they most closely align with and look at the words of Jesus. And they can find areas where they could improve. Six of these churches have room for improvement, and one of them is hitting a home run. It’s very clear, the church of Philadelphia is the church that is really hitting the home run. That is the model church here, that we should look to be like.
So, these scriptures are important, and they are useful. In fact, they are much more useful and important than we realized in the message because all seven have use and implications for today. This is guidance that can be used by any church, in any age, to help them recognize both their strengths and weaknesses and have instruction from Jesus himself about areas to target for improvement. And I think that is wonderful.
Are There Church Age Messengers
Alright, so that moves us to the next point to examine: the church age messengers.
And, of course, you might say, well, if there is no such thing as church ages, then there is no such thing as church age messengers.
And to that, I would say, yes, that is exactly right. If there are no church ages, then there are certainly no church age messengers.
But for the sake of argument, let’s say you want to agree with the Baptists, the Pentecostals, the Adventists, and the Jehovah Witnesses. Let’s say, for the sake of argument, there is such a thing as church ages.
Just because there are church ages does not mean there are church age messengers. Let me read Revelation chapter 3, verse 1. The message teaches us that this verse is about Martin Luther, in the 1500s. Let’s read it together.
1 And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.Revelation 3
King James Version
So, it’s really hard to get an idea from that verse that this is talking about a man like Martin Luther. It’s very, very hard to get something like that at all.
And just catch the way all these are written. The “he” is saying, write this TO the messenger. These messages from Jesus are not really addressed to the church itself but to the church’s messenger. So, clearly, it is the job of the messenger to relate the message to the church. So, there is a messenger.
But who is this messenger? It is a reasonable question, and it is reasonable to assume there is a messenger. But wouldn’t it most likely be the person who met John on the Isle of Patmos and carried the message back to Sardis, and gave it to the church? If it is a human being – wouldn’t it make more sense that it was the actual messenger who carried the letter for John?
If I read this verse in a real honest plain way, that is what I would take away from this. This is the letter carrier, the person who took a copy of the book of Revelation back to Sardis. And there is nothing at all that would make me think this was Martin Luther – a man who had not even been born yet.
Let’s read it again, and this time we will read the whole message. And just ask yourself, is there anything here that would lead me to believe this was written to someone like Martin Luther?
1 And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.
2 Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.
3 Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.
4 Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.
5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.
6 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.Revelation 3
King James Version
So again, I don’t see anything here that would make me think this was written to Martin Luther.
But, for the sake of argument, let’s say this was written to Martin Luther. We could ask the question: Did Martin Luther get the message? Did Martin Luther think this passage had been written to him? What about John Wesley? Did John Wesley think the Philadelphia message was written to him?
And the answer, of course, is no. They never thought any such thing. Martin Luther and John Wesley’s sermons are all well-preserved. John Wesley wrote a full commentary on the book of Revelation, and Martin Luther wrote a full explanation of what he thought about the book of Revelation too. We know exactly what they thought about these passages of scripture because their commentaries and sermons are preserved.
And I can tell you, they certainly did not think these messages were written to them.
So how in the world does that make sense? A message is sent to the messengers, and the messengers rejected the message.
That is really strange. If this message really was to Martin Luther, wouldn’t Martin Luther have realized it?
So that is really strange. To think the messengers would reject their own message. But it gets stranger.
You go back to the first angel back in chapter 2: “Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus, write.”
Well, who was that? The angel to the church of Ephesus was supposed to be Paul, right? Paul was the messenger to the Ephesian age, and the first message is to him.
But there is a problem. When did the apostle Paul die? He died about 56 AD. And when was the book of Revelation written? It was written about the year 96 AD. So, the letter to the Ephesian church age messenger was written about 40 years after Paul was already dead.
So, how does that make sense? “Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus, write.” But the angel to the church of Ephesus is dead. So why would Jesus tell John to write a letter to a dead man? Does that make any sense?
You see, something is wrong with this church age messenger idea. It doesn’t add up.
Take another example: consider Columba. William Branham said Columba was the messenger to Thyatira, and he said Thyatira was from 606 AD to 1520 AD. But Columba died in 597 AD. Columba was dead before the Thyatira church age even started. How does that make any sense?
And we could keep going with these sorts of problems. But when you actually take down the dates of all these things and line it all up with actual history and what these church age messengers actually taught and did, none of it works. Every last one of these just falls apart.
But I will stop there.
There is enough right there to let you know something is really wrong with William Branham’s church age messenger idea. It would have John writing letters to dead men, it would have messengers who didn’t even live in their age, it would have messengers who rejected their own message.
And you have to ask yourself, how can any of that make sense? And the simple answer is that it doesn’t make sense. And it really just bears out that this whole church age messenger idea is irrelevant and wrong.
Message for Your Hour
And that brings us to the last key point we will examine: the idea that you need the message for your age to be part of the bride of Christ.
Just realize, this idea that you need a message for your age to be in the bride of Christ is first built upon the idea that there is such a thing as a church age, and then further built upon the idea that there is such a thing as church age messengers.
And this is what I mean by the message being a long way down a wrong road. The message has not just taken one wrong turn; they have taken a whole series of wrong turns. And this idea that there is a message for your age that you need to be in the bride of Christ is not the first wrong turn here.
By the time we get to the idea that there is a message for your age, and you need that to be in the bride of Christ, you are three layers deep into wrong ideas.
But let’s examine this last idea: that there is a message for your age and unless you accept that, you can’t be saved, or at least, you can’t be part of the bride of Christ.
Does that idea stand up to scripture? You know what that sounds a whole lot like to me? That sounds a whole lot like us introducing another mediator. It sounds a whole lot like us saying the gospel of Paul is not enough to save people. It sounds like someone is inserting themselves into the plan of salvation and trying to put themselves where only the Savior belongs.
Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” Jesus said if we follow him, we will be saved. But the message is saying there is a messenger for each age, and we need his message to make it because what Jesus did and gave is not enough. And that is problematic.
I have said several times, the only thing you need to tear the message apart is the gospel of Jesus Christ. That is all it takes because these people are telling you that if you just are trusting in what Jesus did on the cross and you are just trusting in Christ as your savior, that is not good enough. You are not going to be saved by that alone. You need a special guru, a special messenger, a special interpreter – who can tell you what Jesus meant because you are not qualified to read what Jesus said and understand it on your own. The Holy Spirit is not good enough to show you what you need to know. You need a special messenger to show you the hidden secrets. And it’s really your understanding of the hidden secrets that will save you. That is what the message says.
The message tells you that Jesus did not talk plainly enough for you to actually understand what he meant. His message was encrypted, and you can’t understand it. You need the guru to tell you how to decode it.
Do you see what that is? That is someone making themselves a mediator. That is a person who is putting themselves into the role of the Holy Spirit, the teacher. That is someone putting themselves into the role of Savior by adding themselves to the plan of salvation. And that is very evil. That is the height of heresy and blasphemy. For someone to put themselves into the place of God, it’s not going to be okay for people who pretend to be God. It’s not going to be a happy ending for them.
Now there is an important job for ministers and teachers of the gospel. Of course, there is. That is an important role. But a true minister is going to be telling you the same thing Paul did. They are going to point you to Jesus. They will tell you he is your savior. They will point you to the Holy Spirit. They will tell you he is your teacher. And a true minister will seek to see you mature and fully equipped in Christ so that you can be like the apostle John said, “You have no need of any man to teach you because you are mature in Christ.”
But this idea that you need a message for your hour, that is not the gospel of Jesus Christ. That is another gospel. That is erecting a new savior, that is changing the plan of salvation. It’s a preacher usurping the role of the Holy Spirit, and it is a messenger usurping the role of Savior.
And you have no obligation whatsoever to listen to that ever. That is a false teacher. That is a false prophet. That is a false apostle. That is an antichrist. That is someone putting himself into the role of Savior.
You are saved by Jesus, and by him alone. And that salvation is full, it’s total, it’s complete. It is comprehensive salvation. It’s not like Jesus is your liability salvation and then your messenger is your comprehensive salvation. It’s not like that. Jesus gives full total, comprehensive salvation.
And the very idea that the salvation Jesus gives is not full, total, and comprehensive, the mere fact they would say something like that is all the proof you need that the person is preaching another gospel.
My Bible tells me it’s Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today, and forever. My Bible tells me if someone preaches a gospel different than the apostle Paul, let them be accursed. My Bible tells me the message of Paul’s hour is the only message of the hour, and it’s still the same message today. So how can we read verses like that, which tell us the message never changes and make that fit with the idea that there is some messenger for our hour and we need his new message to be saved?
How can we say that? The truth is, there is only one message since Jesus Christ was here. It’s always been the same, and it has never changed. If people 2000 years ago did not believe in the gospel, they went to hell. If people 1000 years ago did not believe the gospel, they went to hell. And the same is true today.
The plan of salvation did not change. There is only one way. There are not seven different ways, and it changes every age. There is just one way, and it stays the same.
There is scripture in the Bible that says God is faithful to all generations. God has not cheated or shortchanged any generation of people. The same promise available to Paul in his day is still good for us in our day. God is faithful.
And this really takes us to the very heart of the matter. The message idea of church age messengers, with their special messages that modify and update the plan of salvation, violates the basics of the gospel.
The very idea of a message for your hour is another gospel.
There is only one way, and it has not changed, not now, and not ever.
All you need is the gospel to tear the message down.
The message says in the days of Martin Luther, all you needed was justification – you didn’t need sanctification or the Holy Spirit. That’s a lie. The message tells you in the days of John Wesley, you need justification and sanctification, but not the Holy Spirit. That’s a lie. And the message tells you that today, you need justification, sanctification, and the Holy Spirit, and you have to believe the doomsday message of William Branham to be part of the bride of Christ. That is also a lie.
The plan of salvation does not change, and anyone who tells you that, is antichrist. Anyone who tells you the gospel changes, by very definition, that is someone preaching another gospel.
When William Branham says, the message for Paul’s day won’t work for today, he is preaching another gospel. He is showing himself as being antichrist.
When message preachers tell you that you need the word for today and that the word of yesterday is not enough for you to make it, they are preaching another gospel by definition. And they are adding themselves and their ideas to the plan of salvation.
And I think anybody with a lick of sense in their head can comprehend what I am saying.
Alright, now, there is much more that could be said about these church ages, but we have examined the main points.
There really is no basis in the plain reading of scripture to say there is such a thing as church ages. If we believe in that, we have to put our trust in men like Clarence Larkin. There is also no real basis to say there are church age messengers. And certainly the way William Branham taught it is full of holes. It doesn’t hold water. And last of all, the idea that there is a message for your hour, that you need to make it, that is actually another gospel, contrary to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Who is the Messenger?
And so, that brings us to the final part of this lesson. We are going to answer the question, who is the seventh church age messenger? And the answer is this: There is no such thing.
The only reason you think there is such a thing is because the guy who claimed to be the seventh church age messenger said so, which is just plain ridiculous.
You believe in a seventh church age messenger because the seventh church age messenger said so.
But that is not an idea that came from God or the Bible. It is an idea that came from cult leaders like Charles Russell. Charles Russell invented that idea so he could empower themselves, and William Branham copied the idea from him.
There is no such thing as church age messengers, and there is almost certainly not even such a thing as church ages. And there is definitely no such thing as seven different messages for seven different ages where the formula for salvation changes seven different times. That is heresy.
The message preachers will hate what I am saying because the message preachers hate the gospel. Because the message is not compatible with the gospel, which is why message preachers never preach the gospel. It takes away their power, which they hate, and it would also make them a lot less special than they think they are, which hurts the pride in their very sinful hearts.
The message is a religion built on appealing to people’s desire to be elite, their desire to be special, their desire to be better than other people. That is one of the key appeals of the message. It plays on the pride in the heart of man.
As we bring this message to a close, I want you to know that being saved today has nothing to do with a man named William Branham. Being delivered from the wrath to come has nothing to do with a man named William Branham or his message. And any man who would tell you otherwise is a deceiver.
They may not even know it. Once upon a time, I didn’t know it, but it’s true. Everyone who tells you need the message of William Branham to make it is denying the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The message is another gospel. To its very core, it is another gospel. It is not strong meat built on the foundation of the gospel like they try to tell you. It is, in fact, another gospel, and it denies the sufficiency of Christ. And that denial of sufficiency of Christ is baked into the very heart of the message. The only thing you need to tear down the message is the gospel of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Brothers and sisters, as I bring this lesson to a close, this will end our William Branham series. I am glad that so many people have found this series of messages helpful, and I am praying for each and every one of you.
If you are joining us recently, I spent a full year going through the book of Romans, which is the most comprehensive explanation of the gospel message in the entire Bible. If you want to tear the message down in your mind, then listen and learn the gospel.
And, I believe I have given you a starting point headed in a good direction with all these things.
So as I bring this lesson to close, I am going to change things up. I have invitations to visit quite a few different churches, so you pray for me. We will not be broadcasting any message for the next while, and Lord willing, after some time, I will return to recording some messages here.
But in the meantime, God bless you all. I want you all to know how much I love and appreciate you. If I had ever thought that just one person would have been helped by all this, I would have done it for one person. But to see the thousands of people who are listening online and all the ones who are reaching out, God bless you all. You are in my prayers.
The haters are going to hate. We know that. The love of God is not in their hearts, and we can all see that very clearly. But let’s still pray for them. I truly believe that just because someone does not believe today, it doesn’t mean they won’t believe tomorrow.
And I never want to harden my heart so I can’t forgive someone who truly repents.
Why do we preach these things? Why do we share the truth? The same reason Jesus did. Jesus said, “I am not come to condemn the world. Jesus said, “I am come to save the world.”
So come to Jesus today. Stop putting your hope of salvation in a false gospel that can never save you, and starting putting faith in a real Savior. Turn to Jesus. If you can understand what I am saying to you, throw away your false savior, and come to faith in the true Savior.
It is Jesus Christ the same, yesterday, today, and forever. Not a new message for a new age. Not a new message of the hour, every hour, on the hour.
That is just shifting sand. Come build on Christ the solid rock. The rock that does not change. The foundation that does not shake.
Come to Jesus today. Amen.
Let me close here in prayer:
Lord God, thank you for loving us. Lord, when we were in a doomsday cult, when we thought that Jesus was not enough of a savior to actually save us, when we thought we needed all kinds of other things to save us, you loved us in our ignorance. You were there all the time. And when we finally woke up, when we finally saw, you didn’t shun us and turn us away but welcomed us into your bosom with open arms.
Lord, touch our hearts so we can love others like you have loved us. Forgive us for our foolishness. Lord, we repent of our false hope in false saviors, and we today we place our faith in you and you alone. Thank you, Lord Jesus.
Now we pray that you also deliver our brothers and our sisters. We pray you deliver those who seek deliverance from the cruel boot of their oppressors. We pray you break down the strongholds of the enemy and Lord, set at liberty the souls in bondage.
We pray the wicked repent, but if they repent not, oh God, once more we ask you to visit swift judgment on them. You see the molestations, you see the rapes, you see the beatings and the abuses, you see divorces being forced, you see the homes and lives being destroyed, you see the people even being driven to suicide. Deliver your people, oh God, this we ask of you in Jesus’ name. Amen.