Barriers of Exit: Branham’s Ark
The following article is part of my “Barriers of Exit” series. These barriers are cognitive hurdles that make it extremely hard to question or leave the Message. For a questioning individual, they may have not considered or clearly identified these issues. Seeing them is useful in understanding why the Message makes it painful to leave.
Did You Know the World is Ending?
Except, this time… THIS TIME… it’s real. Look at all the prophesies! Looks at what the prophet said! Look at all the Sodom conditions! Isn’t it clear?!
Forgive me if that sounded flippant; I realize this is a core tenant of Christianity. It is only natural that in turbulent times of cultural upheaval, which clearly we are witnessing across the world, this theme would be a frequent fixture in sermons.
This article is part of what I’m calling “Barriers of Exit”. Essentially, I’m just highlighting reasons why leaving the message, regardless of evidence that William Branham was not truthful, is particularly difficult for someone who is asking questions.
This is a HUGE barrier of exit right now. In my opinion, it is perhaps the biggest one given the present state of politics, economics, social unrest seen in our world.
Prophesy & Eschatology
The study and teaching of the “end time” is called Eschatology, and it’s not just a feature of the Message; it’s part of the fabric of Christianity.
To the Christian, the Bible is not simply a holy text describing God’s creation and the fall, redemption and restoration of mankind. It’s a timeline of events which explain the history of the world, from it’s beginning to the conclusion of time. As readers, we get to partake in the stories of how God’s chosen prophets foretold of events to come. Prophecy is a feature in God’s story.
To the Message Believer, it is perhaps MORE important because the whole premise of William Branham’s ministry relates to his supposed placement in the “timeline” as an end-time prophet.
As we know, he claimed to be the Elijah fore-running to the coming of Christ. Furthermore, he was the messenger to the final age. Given that William Branham has long since passed away (56 years at the time of this article), the only events left are bits and pieces of fulfillment. About the most profound thing message teaching can offer is that “the elect seed must all come in” before a rapture can occur. And, they hold assurance with Noah, who preached a very long time before the rain fell. The claim of Branham’s significance hangs on a thin thread as time passes.
To someone who is in the message, there’s a lot of fear associated with this subject. Clearly, the world is changing. Forces are moving, and there’s a massive amount of political strife. As is the nature of “change”, you cannot experience such a massive shift in ideology without there being enormous discomfort and strain. This isn’t the only place and time in history where such dramatic unrest has occurred; but this is OUR time. We’re not reading about it on the pages of text books. We see it playing out in real-time, and it’s affecting all of us. That alone creates more urgency for trying to contextualize events with what we believe; we’re trying to make sense of it all.
The message is Branham’s ark. He’s provided the way of escape by all his claims and promises. And this is the quandary for someone who is legitimately concerned about the message, and yet looks outside at the world. Do you get out of Branham’s ark now; in the middle of the chaos? It’s a terrifying and paralyzing thought, and the message believers IN the ark with you have a LOT of fear to leverage against you. You’ve been hearing it for years.
“Forget the issues!”, they’ll say. “Look at the corruption, the sodomy, the sin! Look at the natural disasters and the plagues! Branham predicted it all! We are safe in his ark (message) – which he built according to the angel’s instructions! It’s God’s plan!”
This is a red herring fallacy tactic (and more pointedly, it’s a tactic used universally in cults). A red herring is something that misleads or distracts from a relevant or important question. This issue of relevance, if you’ve looked at the issues concerning Branham, have nothing to do with what is happening outside the ark. If you can clearly see that he was not truthful, or misrepresented himself, or made up stories that compelled you to trust him absolutely, then THAT is the relevant issue.
Summarizing the Dilemma
So the dilemma is this; you are in an ark that looks, smells, feels like it’s burning down around you – based on real, factual evidence. But when you look outside the ark, it looks, smells and feels like the world is burning down. What do you do – flee ‘comfort’ (which, by the way, it does feel safe – because it’s a guarded, controlled and familiar environment) into what seems like chaos? Especially when you feel like your life is at risk?
This is a massive barrier of exit. I feel horrible for the people inside the message who are concerned about Branham. How does one fight against such a constricting amount of pressure. It’s intense!!!
The only thing I can say is; there are two separate issues at play. The question of William Branham is one issue. And the question of what is happening in the world is another. Answer them separately – they have less to do with each other than you can realize.
If you were in a burning house, but you were told there were wolves outside your house waiting – would you stay and burn – or risk the wolves that might not be there? Difficult choice.