The Message vs. the Gospel: What Defiles You?

William Branham’s life story is published in a book series called Supernatural (no relation to the TV show, although they’d make an interesting combination!). Branham’s story is about growing up as the son of a moonshiner and a 15 year old girl, impoverished, wearing corn husks for shoes, and being conscripted from an early age for service in God’s army. Below is Branham’s description of his  first encounter with the “Angel of God” with whom he claimed to communicate for the rest of his life:

While sitting there by the tree, something took place which I can never forget. Seemingly, there was the sound of the blowing of the wind through leaves, but, looking up, I saw no leaves being shaken nor any sign of a wind…. As I looked back to see what had happened, I noticed that about half-way up in the tree there seemed to be a whirlwind, out of which an audible voice spoke these words: “Don’t ever smoke, drink, or defile your body in any way, for there will be work for you to do when you get older.” I was so frightened I didn’t know what to do. … It was the angel of God, and later in years, I met him face to face and talked with him.

It makes sense that Branham would disapprove of drinking and smoking. His father was known for doing the at least one of those in excess. But Branham’s claim that he was told by an angel not to “defile” his body with smoke or drink rings alarm bells.

Consider this passage from someone who ought to be a greater authority than William Branham, even to people in the Message:

And he called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand: Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.

Jesus’ words, Matthew 15:10-11.

Who was this “angel of God”? Why would he directly contradict Jesus’ own words? Whose idea of defilement do you accept: Branham’s or Christ’s?


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