William Branham has often been mis-represented in his teaching on the doctrine of God (ie-Godhead). Some have claimed he was a Jesus-only, but that is false.
Now, somebody says, “Brother Branham is a oneness.” No, sir, I am not a oneness. I do not believe that Jesus could be His own father. I believe that Jesus had a Father, and that was God. But God dwelled and tabernacled in this body called Jesus, and He was Emmanuel: God with us. And there’s no other God besides this God.
59-0628E – Questions And Answers
As you can see he rejected as false the Jesus only or as theologians call it the “Modalistic Monarchian” viewpoint of the doctrine of God. Let’s continue in to see how he described his belief in God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
65-0815 AND.KNOWETH.IT.NOT_ JEFFERSONVILLE.IN V-2 N-10 SUNDAY_
102 Now let me draw you a little circle. If I had a blackboard… But I want you to watch here. [Brother Branham draws the following rings on something–Ed.] I’m going to make one ring like this, and I’m going to make another ring on the inside of that ring, that’s two, then I’m going to make a ring on the inside of that ring. That’s three rings, three circles. Now, that’s you.
103 That’s God. God in a trinity is One, and without a trinity He’s not God. He can’t be manifested any other way.
104 And neither can you be manifested without being the trinity person that you are, that’s: body, spirit, soul. Without either one of them, you’re not complete. See? You didn’t have a soul, you’d be nothing; you didn’t have a spirit, you wouldn’t be nothing; you didn’t have a body, you just be a spirit, not a body.
105 So, God is complete in the tri-unity of a Being; not tri-unity of beings, but One Being in a tri-unity. Father, Son, and Holy Ghost is one true manifested God. God!
He draws upon the board three circles inside of each other and uses the threefold nature of man, body, soul and spirit to describe how God is Father, SOn and Spirit. So, he is rejecting the extreme Trinitarian view that the three hypostasis are to be interpreted as three divine centers of consciousness, or three distinct persons. Rather, he states that Father, Son and Spirit are three aspects of God’s being. I want you to note that the Trinitarian formula is that God is three hypostasis in one ousia. When this terminology changes languages it becomes difficult to understand. In English we have translated hypostasis as persons and therefore Trinitarians state that God is three persons in one essence. The term for person in ancient Greek was “prosopon” and it would have been simple for them to say God is three prosopons (ie-persons), but they did not choose to use this terminology. The term hypostasis speaks of the undergirding or foundation of someone or something. The term ousia speaks of essence or being. So we saw in the above quote that brother Branham states that God is a tri-unity of BEING not beings. God is one being (ousia) and three aspects or attributes. Three distinct attributes of his one being. This does not unacceptably divide God into three persons, which leads to belief in three gods, but does not make God one without distinctions.
The Deity of Christ
Let’s examine William Branham’s teaching upon the subject of the Deity of Christ.
SHOW_US_THE_FATHER LA_CA 04-19-59 Evening
31 Tomorrow you’ll move your hand. The next day you’ll move your arm. And you’ll be moving on pretty soon if you’ll just keep watering it, pushing out, growing, getting bigger and bigger. Take God’s Word. It’s a Seed. Certainly, It’s a Seed. God receive–gave Abraham a promise as we’ve been studying. And Abraham let that seed get into his heart, the promise, and kept watering it with praises and thanksgiving to God for the child, and waited twenty-five years. But the tree came forth just the same, because he watered it with faith. God is in His universe. All that believe that say “Amen”. God is in His Word. Do you believe that? Now, God in His Son, sure, He was. Christ Jesus was God manifested in the flesh. The Bible said, that, “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself.” The flesh part was man. The Spirit was God. Jesus said, “I can do nothing except My Father shows Me first.” When He was here on earth He–He hungered like a man. He got hungry, looked around on a tree to find something to eat; that was the Man part. But when He taken those biscuits and two little fishes and fed five thousand people, that was God doing that.
SHALOM_ SIERRA_VISTA_AZ 01-12-64 3
We have never seen one another. You hear something speaking out of a body here that impersonates whatever it’s on the inside. So then when we talk to each other, we’re–we’re really not talking to the body. It’s the spirit inside, but the body is the thing that identifies the spirit that’s on the inside. And therefore, when we speak to each other, we are–quickly can understand right away whether we are Christians or not, because there’s a fellowship in the spirit that we talk from. You see, that it vibrates to one another that whether we are Christians or not. Therefore, we have never seen each other. Jesus… “No Man has seen God at any time, but the only begotten of the Father has declared Him.” See? In other words, God was identified. The–the Person of God was identified in the Body, the Lord Jesus Christ, so He was the express image of God. Or, God expressing Himself through an image (See?), through an image, Man.
SHALOM_ SIERRA_VISTA_AZ 01-12-64 4 God expressed Himself to us, and He was God, not a third person or second person; He was the Person God. He was God Himself, identifying Himself, so we could feel Him. I Timothy 3:16, “Without controversy, that’s argument, great is the mystery of godliness, for God was manifested, or made known, in the flesh.” Isn’t that wonderful? God… And we could never understand God as He moves through a Pillar of Fire, and so forth, as He did. But we understood Him when He become one of us (See?), when He become Man. Then He could talk to us, and we could feel Him, handle Him, touch Him, and everything. And as the Scripture plainly says that we have handled God (See?) with our hands, touched Him with our hands… God is in man. And He’s identifying Himself today in His church. In the borned again Christian, God identifies Himself, that He remains God. And the outside world will only know God as they see God in you and I. That’s the only way that they’ll know God, is when we are written epistles, epistle of the Scripture, we are read of all men. And the life that we live reflects what’s on the inside of us. A man is identified by the works that he does. So our works should be good (See?), always good, because we are representing our Lord Jesus Christ.
He taught that Jesus was fully God and fully man. That is to say that Jesus was a dual person
Oh, she said, “Sir, I’ll admit that he was a good man.” And I don’t want to hurt your feelings; some of them people are my precious friends. It’s Christian Science. And he said, “He—he isn’t Divine.” Said, “I’ll admit he was a prophet, but he wasn’t Divine. And you try to make him Divine.” I said, “He was either Divine or the greatest deceiver the world ever had.” That’s right. I said, “He was Divine. He was more than a prophet. He was God over the prophets. Sure He was.” I said, “He was Divine.” 131 And she said, “Now, you said you was fundamental and you believed the Scripture.” I said, “I do.” And she said, “If I’ll prove to you by your own Bible that he wasn’t Divine, will you witness that I’m right?” I said, “Yes, sir. If the Bible said He wasn’t Divine, then I’ll believe the Bible.” And I said, “But I’ve got to see the Scripture.” She said, “In John, over in Saint John it said when Jesus went down to the grave of Lazarus, he wept.” And said, “You know, if He was Divine, he could not weep.” I said, “Sister, is that where you base your thoughts?” She said, “Yes, sir. And that’s true. He went to the grave of Lazarus, he wept, that showed that he wasn’t Divine.” I said, “Your argument is thinner than the broth made out of a shadow of a chicken that starved to death.” I said, “Well, you know better than that.” And she said, “Oh, he was—he was—he was a prophet; he was a good man.” I said, “He was more than… God was in Him. He was a man, but He was a—a dual Person. One, He was a man; the Spirit in Him was God.” I said, “God was in Christ.”
59-1129 – Let Us See God
He was totally a man that was born and grew in wisdom, but he was God. He was not two persons in one body, but a dual person. Two natures in one person. The nature of God and the nature of man.
Procession of the Logos
If you study the early church fathers closely, none of them taught an eternal Son. The first theologian we find to bring out this idea was Origen. All the early church fathers, especially of the Apologists era wrote and taught that the Logos had two stages. First, it was immanent in God and next that it came forth from God in expression just prior to creation. It was the visible expression of the invisible God. In reading a great deal of church history you can clearly find this fact.
As we had it the other night: God, in the beginning, was Spirit. And then, from God, went out the Logos, or the theophany, which was a form of a man, called the Son of God, prefigured.
57-0901E – Hebrews, Chapter Four
Later Christological arguments formed and made the Logos eternally proceeding from God. But it is clear from the early teachings of the church that they regarded the Logos as eternally in God as his thoughts. Then, prior to creation the Logos went forth from God as an extrapolation from his own being, in order to express himself to his own creation.
A Son, as the Catholic puts it, “Eternal Son,” and all the rest of the churches; the word don’t even make sense. See? There cannot be Eternal, and then be a Son, ’cause a Son is something that’s “begotten from.” And the word Eternal, He cannot be an Eter-… He can be a Son, but He cannot be an Eternal Son. No, sir. It cannot be an Eternal Son. 54 Now, but He is the Son, so much, that all the Word that was in Jeremiah, in Moses, and all those Words, like He said, “They speak of Me.” All that true Divine revelation of Word was wound up into one human body,
65-0822M – Christ Is Revealed In His Own Word
While this is another issue that is a hallmark of orthodoxy, that the Son is eternal and refers to Christ’s divine nature, this is entirely false and unscriptural. The terms and names Son, Christ, Jesus, etc. all refer to the humanity of our Lord. Not one of these titles refers to his divinity. The first time the title Son is used in reference to our Lord is at his birth. In Luke 1:35 his title of Son of God is connected to the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit, not to a previous existence in heaven. The Logos was made flesh. That flesh was given the title of Son, Christ, Jesus.
The Holy Spirit
Now, the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When… his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before… (she)… they, came together, she was found with a child of the Holy Ghost. (I thought God was His Father.) And she shall bring forth a son,… they shall call his name JESUS: And Joseph her husband, being a just man,… not willingly to make her a publick example, but minded to put her away, privily. (on this wise) … while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary, thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the [The ministers say, “Holy Ghost.”—Ed.] I thought God was His Father? Now, has He got two fathers, brethren? He can’t have. If He was, He was a bastard child, and what kind of a religion have we got there? You’ve got to admit that God the Father and the Holy Ghost is the same self Spirit. Sure it is. Sure, it’s the same self Spirit. Now, we got down to see that.
61-0425B – The Godhead Explained
He manifested or unfolded Himself a little more to make a trinity of Himself by Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
53-0729 – Questions And Answers On Genesis
While it is clear that brother William Branham did not teach the orthodox doctrine of a Trinity of three eternal persons, it cannot be said that he taught a biblically false doctrine. He acknowledged both the distincts in God as Father, Son and Spirit and also maintained their fully divinity as One Being. If his view is examined more closely with Pre-Nicene church history it is quite clear that he held to the pre-orthodoxy view of the early church fathers.