Elijah: Where Are the True Prophets of God? Part 11

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Copyright 1994 - 2020 Bill's Bible Basics

Authored By  :
Bill Kochman

Published On :
April 4, 1998

Last Updated :
May 10, 2013

NOTE: This article or series has not been updated recently. As such, it may possibly contain some outdated information, and/or ideas and beliefs which I no longer embrace, or which have changed to some degree.

The Fiery Ministry Of Jesus Christ, Branham's Intentional Deception By Omission, The Fiery Destruction Of The Wicked, Famous Forties In The Bible, Jesus Appears For Forty Days, Fiery Destruction Of Jerusalem And Temple By General Titus, Branham Perverts Jesus' Warning Concerning False Prophets Test Of A True Prophet, Partial List Of Failed Predictions Regarding Christ's Return, A Troublesome And Contradictory Picture, How Many Endtime Prophets Are There?, Irony Of The False Prophets Warning Their Followers To Beware Of False Prophets, Deceived But Not Realizing It, Preaching Darkness For Light, Rightly Dividing God's Word, Safety In Multiple Counsellors, We Must Each Be Fully Persuaded In Our Own Mind

In the previous excerpt from his book, Branham states that following the ministry of John the Baptist, the Earth was not cleansed and purged by fire as per the words of Malachi. Based on this erroneous assumption, Branham claims that the purported third Elijah has not come yet. If he were to have dug a little deeper into the Scriptures, Mr. Branham would have discovered that this is precisely what happened during Jesus' short Ministry on Earth, and in an even more literal sense a number of years later, as I will explain momentarily. In fact, John the Baptist said so himself, as we read here:

"And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire."
Matthew 3:10-12, KJV

The first thing I want you to notice here is that these verses are taken from the third chapter of Matthew. If you go back and re-read Mr. Branham's interpretation of the verses from Malachi chapter four, you will see that he also quotes from Matthew chapter three. However, please notice that just like the person I mentioned earlier who maintains that website, Branham stops short of telling the full truth. He doesn't even quote the above verses that come next which totally expose his faulty interpretation. I view this as intentional deception by omission. It is twisting the Word to make it say what we want it to say.

Notice the similarities between John's description of Jesus' earthly Ministry, and the words of the Prophet Malachi. By trying to convince his followers that Malachi was referring to the physical burning up of the wicked at the end of the world, Branham adds even more false support to his erroneous claims, while at the same time ignoring the true spiritual significance of the Prophet's words.

The truth of the matter is that Jesus' Ministry did in fact expose and burn up the false Jewish religious system. John the Baptist, the Prophet Malachi, and Jesus used the very same symbolism of fire to describe the Lord's Ministry on Earth. The fire they were all referring to was the Spirit of the Living God which was upon and in Jesus Christ. While it is likewise true that the end of this present world will be characterized by physical fire, and that the incorrigibles will ultimately be cast into the Lake of Fire, personally, I am not convinced that this is what Malachi was referring to. Consider now some verses from the New Testament:

"A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire."
Matthew 7:18-19, KJV

"The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear . . . So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth."
Matthew 13:39-43, 49-50, KJV

"Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:"
Matthew 25:41, KJV

"I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled?"
Luke 12:49, KJV

"If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned."
John 15:6, KJV

"And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them."
Acts 2:3, KJV

"God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth."
John 4:24, KJV

"It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God . . . For our God is a consuming fire."
Hebrews 10:31, 12:29, KJV

From examining the previous verses, it is very easy to see that Jesus' Ministry was indeed a ministry of fire; because with His fiery presence, and the words which He spoke, Jesus destroyed the lies and the deceptions of His enemies; that is, the unbelieving Jews. Not only that, but as we read in the Book of Acts, Jesus also anointed the Apostles with the very same Baptism of Fire -- that is, with the Holy Ghost -- so that they could continue His work on Earth. However, even this does not fully explain some of the previous verses. How so?

As I mentioned a moment ago, Malachi's prophecy regarding the day which would come that "shall burn as an oven", in which the wicked "shall be stubble" and "shall be ashes under the soles of your feet", was likewise fulfilled in a very literal manner as well. This did not happen in John's day. Neither did it even happen in Jesus' day. It in fact occurred approximately forty years after Jesus was cruelly crucified on a Roman Cross, after which He returned to the Heavenly Realm. This seems very significant to me. Let me tell you why. If you have read my article "Famous Forties in the Bible", then you will know that the Lord seems to like the number forty quite a lot. Let me mention some examples which prove this point, which I also discuss in that article:

• It rained for forty days and forty nights, thus resulting in the great Flood in the days of the Patriarch Noah.

• Moses spent forty days on the summit of Mount Horeb -- or Sinai, if you prefer -- while he received the Commandments from the Lord.

• Joshua, Caleb and their companions spied out the land of Canaan for a period of forty days. Due to their lack of faith in claiming the land, the Israelites were then made to wander in the wilderness for a period of forty years, one year for each day that they spent in Canaan.

• Goliath challenged the Israelites for a period of forty days.

• The Prophet Elijah ate Angel's Food and then fasted for forty days and forty nights as he traveled to Mount Horeb.

• The Prophet Jeremiah prophesied against Israel for a period of forty years before the military forces of Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar finally destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple.

• The Prophet Ezekiel laid on his right side for a period of forty days to bear the sins of Judah.

• The Prophet Jonah prophesied against Nineveh for a period of forty days.

• Jesus was tempted in the wilderness for a period of forty days.

Now, here is how this all relates to Malachi's prophecy. You see, following His Resurrection from the Dead, Jesus likewise ministered to His brethren -- that is, the Apostles -- for a period of forty days. He did not immediately return to Heaven as some people may be inclined to believe. This is evident by the following verses:

"The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:"
Acts 1:1-3, KJV

Just as each day that the spies spent in Canaan was counted for a year during their forty years of wandering, it appears that each day that Jesus spent on the Earth with the Apostles after His Resurrection also counted for a year, for a total of forty years. So what happened at the end of those forty years? As many of you will know, according to the historical record, in 70 AD during the middle of the first Jewish-Roman War, and under the command of General Titus, who was the son of Emperor Vespasian, the Roman legions destroyed both the city of Jerusalem and the Temple. The Temple was burned down to the ground, and the great blocks which formed it were cast down. Jerusalem was laid to ruin and ashes. It has been said that up to one million Jews perished during the seven years that the war endured, as a result of the war itself, and due to crucifixion, disease and famine. Countless bodies must have been burned in the Valley of Hinnom during that time, in order to limit the spread of disease.

All of these things happened exactly as Jesus had warned they would occur in the Gospels, which I likewise discuss in other articles. Now, go back and re-read what the Prophet Malachi had to say regarding the day burning as an oven, the wicked being stubble, and being ashes under the soles of their feet. Don't forget that God's children were not present, because Jesus had warned them to flee to the mountains; remember? So my point is this: Contrary to William Branham's claim that this part of Malachi's prophecy has not been fulfilled yet, it was indeed fulfilled, both in a spiritual sense, as well as in a very literal sense. As such, he -- and others like him -- have absolutely no grounds on which to support their misguided Endtime Elijah doctrine. It is bogus, my friends.

Let me share another excerpt from William M. Branham's book, "An Exposition of the Seven Church Ages", which demonstrates how he purposely distorts and adds to the Scriptures in order to try to validate his claim regarding the so-called Endtime Elijah. In this case, Branham is discussing Jesus' admonition concerning false prophets. Notice how he twists the verses so that he can apply them to his Endtime Elijah doctrine:

----- Begin Quote -----

"Now this last-day prophet-messenger will have such power before the Lord that there will be those who mistake him for the Lord Jesus. (There will be a spirit in the world at the end time that will seduce some and make them believe this. Matthew 24:23-26, "For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, He is in the desert; go not forth; behold, He is in the secret chambers; believe it not.") But don't you believe it. He is not Jesus Christ. He is not the Son of God. He is one of the brethren, a prophet, a messenger, a servant of God. He needs no greater honor bestowed upon him than that which John received when he was the voice that cried, "I am not He, but He is coming after me."

----- End of Quote -----

Let me remind you again that Branham was not speaking about someone else being the Endtime Elijah. He was referring to himself. His writings and testimonies reveal that he honestly believed that he would be here to greet Jesus Christ at his Coming -- supposedly in 1977 -- as the Endtime Elijah. If we consider that he published his book in 1965, and that he also believed that Jesus would return in 1977, then it becomes all the more evident that Branham was talking about himself. The Endtime Elijah was already on the scene, in Branham's mind.

William Branham was more than aware that some people viewed him as a false prophet. The previous excerpt seems to be a subtle attempt to totally pervert and neutralize the true meaning behind Jesus' warning regarding false prophets. The Lord did not say that these false prophets would be "one of the brethren, a prophet, a messenger, a servant of God" as Branham claims. Jesus said that they would be false Christs and false prophets, period! Anything more than that is Mr. Branham's own fabrication, which he has added to the verses in order to try to strengthen his argument and delusion. Let me again remind you of Jesus' stern warning regarding false prophets, which we find in the seventh chapter of the Gospel of Matthew:

"Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them."
Matthew 7:15-20, KJV

As the previous verses clearly reveal, the ultimate test in determining whether or not a person is truly a man or woman of God -- and in particular, a true Prophet of God -- is by looking at the fruit they have born in their lives. In the case of a person who claims to actually be a Prophet of God, as opposed to just being a regular servant of the Lord, as we have seen, the test is rather simple. Do their prophecies come to pass exactly as they predict them? If not, then as Moses advised us to do, we should simply ignore them.

If we apply the previous rule to the individuals which we have examined in this series, some of them fall flat on their faces right from the start. While some of them were not examined in this series, following is a partial list of people who do not pass the test, because their predictions or prophecies regarding Christ's Return have failed to materialize. Please note that there are other people who have made similar claims. However, because they are not as widely known, or are not Christian, I have not included them in this list. The year on the left indicates when they claimed Jesus would return, unless otherwise noted:

William Miller: Millerite Movement.

Charles Taze Russell: First president of what is now the Watchtower Society of the Jehovah's Witnesses.

Joseph Smith: Mormon Church, according to a prophecy he gave in 1835.

Jehovah's Witnesses: Believe 1914 marked the beginning of Christ's invisible presence and Armageddon will mark His physical presence.

Herbert W. Armstrong: Suggested by his 1956 book title "1975 in Prophecy!"

William Marrion Branham: Christian minister and faith healer.

David Brandt Berg: Children of God cult.

1999 to 2009
Jerry Falwell: Predicted in 1999 that Second Coming would probably occur within 10 years.

Harold Camping: Family Radio

Harold Camping: Family Radio

Harold Camping: Family Radio

Ronald Weinland: Church of God - PKG, Ohio, USA

Ronald Weinland: Church of God - PKG, Ohio, USA

Ronald Weinland: Church of God - PKG, Ohio, USA

Jack Van Impe: Televangelist, Rapture will occur.

Jack Van Impe: Televangelist, Christ will return.

As you can see, we are left with a rather troubling, and in some cases, contradictory picture. Now, I will be honest. I have never personally met any of the aforementioned people, or any of the other individuals who I have named in this series. The opinions I have formed concerning them are based on their writings, on articles which have been written about them, and in some cases, through actually communicating with or fellowshipping with some of their followers. Overall, it appears that some of the individuals who are named in this series have directly or indirectly led many people to Jesus Christ. In fact, in certain cases, if their statistics are to be believed, they have been instrumental in leading thousands or millions of souls to the Lord; and yet, some of them are clearly false prophets who have led many people astray with their erroneous predictions.

Of the followers I have communicated with or met personally, most of them have been very sincere, and have demonstrated a genuine dedication to the Lord's work. Concerning Mark John Allen, I am not familiar enough with his ministry to really make a fair determination. In the case of Karen Zerby -- the successor to David Berg -- while I have never met her, many years ago I did hear her voice on a cassette. Zerby sounded very sincere, and was in fact leading the listener in what we Christians refer to as a Salvation prayer. However, then we have all of that devilish sexual crap that she has spewed forth in recent decades. In thinking again about the Children of God, it almost seems as if there are two versions of the cult. One is the sincere Christian group which truly wants to be a witness for Jesus Christ, while the other is like the evil twin which is filled with all of the sexual lust and other weirdness.

The Return of Christ aside, there are still those who claim to be Endtime Prophets of God. In fact, as we have already seen, some of them have claimed to be THE Endtime Prophet of God; thus not only setting themselves above each other, but also above every other Christian on the face of the planet. Either that, or they have claimed that their organization or church is the only one which God recognizes at this current time. Following is another excerpt from William Branham's "An Exposition of the Seven Church Ages" where he makes it very clear that he is convinced that God only raises up one Prophet and Messenger for each age. As you read it, bear in mind that the lives of all of the people we have discussed at length have overlapped each other, some more than others:

----- Begin Quote -----

". . . this age will have one Prophet-Messenger. Revelation 10:7, says, "When he (singular) shall begin to sound." There has never been an age where God gave His people two major prophets at one time. He gave Enoch (alone); He gave Noah (alone); He gave Moses (he alone had the Word though others prophesied); John the Baptist came alone. Now in this last day there is to be a prophet . . . and the infallible Word says that he (the prophet) will reveal the mysteries to the end-time people . . . I do not deny that people will prophesy in this last age and their ministries can and will be correct. I do not deny that there will be prophets even as in the days of Paul when there was "one Agabus a prophet who prophesied of a famine." I agree that is so. But I deny upon the infallible evidence of the Word that there is more than one major prophet-messenger who will reveal the mysteries as contained in the Word, and who has the ministry to turn the hearts of the children to the fathers . . . It will be a prophet as thoroughly vindicated, or even more thoroughly vindicated than was any prophet in all the ages from Enoch to this day, because this man will of necessity have the capstone prophetic ministry . . ."

----- End of Quote -----

In light of the extreme spirit of exclusivity which has been adopted by some of the aforementioned individuals, how can we possibly reconcile their claims? As I said earlier, they cannot all be telling the truth. If one of them is -- or was -- the true Endtime Prophet of God, then all of the rest of them must be liars. So who is it? Armstrong? Branham? Berg? Allen? White? Zerby? Or is it perhaps someone who I have not even mentioned in this series? The irony of this situation is that another factor which is common to these self-proclaimed prophets is that every one of them has warned their followers to watch out for false prophets, while at the very same time, they convince their faithful flocks that they are not a false prophet themselves. William M. Branham warns his followers in the following fashion:

----- Begin Quote -----

"Now in every case you will notice that a false prophet is one who is outside the Word. Just as we showed you that 'antichrist' means 'anti-Word', so these false prophets come perverting the Word, giving it a meaning that fits their own devilish ends . . . There were four hundred of them and all of them were in agreement; and by them all saying the same thing, they fooled the people. But one prophet --- just one --- was right, and all the rest wrong because God had committed the revelation to only one."

----- End of Quote -----

As a matter of clarification, in the second half of this excerpt, Branham is referring to the story of God's Prophet Micaiah, and the four hundred false prophets who counseled King Ahab. You will find the story in chapter twenty-two of 1 Kings. I share this same story in several other articles where I discuss lying spirits. Branham's comments highlight the danger of such men who mix partial truths in with their wayward doctrines. While it is probably already evident to you, by making the previous comments, Branham convinces his followers that, like Prophet Micaiah of old, he is the one true Prophet of God amongst the many false prophets of our modern day. As I mentioned earlier, some of these men are so deceived themselves, that they don't even realize that they are deceived. They don't even realize that while they accuse others of distorting the Scriptures, they are doing the very same thing themselves. Let me remind you again of a verse that I shared with you in part two:

"Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!"
Isaiah 5:20, KJV

That is what some of these false prophets and false teachers do. They are so confused themselves, that they cannot even see that what they promote as light, is in fact spiritual darkness. While they have fooled themselves into believing that they are being led by God, the sad truth of the matter is that they may actually be inspired by the father of lies, and the author of confusion, Satan himself. That vile snake has one modus operandi, and that is to tell a lie that is so big, that very few people will doubt that it is true. Thus, as I have already stated several times now, it is imperative that we take the time to diligently study the Word of God so that we don't become deceived by Satan's false apostles and evil emissaries who pose as angels of light and ministers of righteousness. As the Apostle Paul admonished his spiritual son Timothy to do:

"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
2 Timothy 2:15, KJV

Through a systematic study of the Scriptures, as well as by closely scrutinizing some of the things which have been said and taught by certain of these modern-age "prophets", this is precisely what we have done in this series. We have rightly divided the word of truth, so that we can hopefully separate the real wheat from the chaff, and the sheep from the wolves. The question is, insofar as the persons named herein, who are the sheep and who are the wolves? Or better said, who are the genuine shepherds of the Lord, and who are false shepherds? There is a reason that Jesus said "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing." If they looked like false prophets, then they would be easily recognized, and we would not be so easily deceived by them. However, they come dressed in "sheep's clothing". In other words, they may look like a Christian, talk like a Christian, and even act like a Christian, but are they really?

In making any kind of important decision, God's Word advises us to seek counsel from multiple witnesses. In fact, since the time of the Old Testament era, this is precisely how the Jewish legal system operated. A person could not be accused based on the opinion of one person. Consider the following verses:

"Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety."
Proverbs 11:14, KJV

"But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established."
Matthew 18:16, KJV

"This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established."
2 Corinthians 13:1, KJV

Considering this advice, allow me to remind you of the many witnesses whom I have quoted throughout this series, which have contributed to our discussion: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, the Angel Gabriel, Zacharias, John the Baptist, the Prophets Moses, Isaiah and Malachi, and Jesus Himself. All of these witnesses indicate that the Prophet Malachi wasn't referring to our current time. Rather, he wrote about events which occurred during the First Century. The primary event was the ministry of John the Baptist. None of our witnesses gave any indication that another Prophet would arrive after John the Baptist, who would be anointed with the same Spirit as the Old Testament Prophet Elijah.

In my opinion, the Scriptures have spoken clearly regarding this issue. There is no modern-day, or third, Elijah who is going to appear in America. Neither do I believe that there is going to be an American Prophet Moses either. As far as I can tell, these are both the doctrines of men, which appear to have been concocted by people who were motivated by a kind of self-glorification, or self-aggrandizement, and not really by the Spirit of God. As with all of my writings, I leave it up to you, the reader, to come to your own conclusions, based on the Scriptural evidence which I have provided herein. As I have often said, we must all be persuaded of what we want to believe, as we see by this verse:

". . . Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind."
Romans 14:5b, KJV

The main consideration is that we are persuaded by the full Word of God, and not just by one or two verses, the correct meaning of which has been totally twisted and distorted by certain individuals, such as those who have been named in this series.

Pleae go to part twelve for the conclusion of this series.

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