From the age of three, Branham heard what he called, "The Voice," whom he believed was an angel or the Holy Spirit. His followers considered him to be The Apostle of the latter days. He had amazing healing powers.
But Branham believed that the zodiac and the Egyptian pyramids had equal revelatory authority to the Scriptures. He went so far as to proclaim his own prophetic utterances as being equal to the Scriptures; on the whole, his ideas substantiate that demonic spirits were at work in his ministry. Demons can mimic healings because demons cause certain bodily malfunctions in the first place, meaning they can also reverse their ill-effects by vacating the body. But after the public healing sessions of demon-empowered evangelists are over, the spirits, and therefore the ailments, may/will return.
Some of Branham's followers, WHO THOUGHT HE WAS BORN OF A VIRGIN, expected him to rise from the grave three days after his death (in a car accident)!! Yet while he had passed away in the flesh, John Wimber and the Kansas-City prophets had attempted to keep his spirit among us with their own "signs and wonders" ministries, and Manifest-Sons doctrine to boot. Paul Cain, who became a Kansas-City leader at about the time that Vineyard moved in to protect it from Gruen, just happened to be an associate of Branham! Indeed, Cain is essentially William Branham's ghost walking into the Vineyard organization.
Following are excerpts from a Paul Cain article; notice how it promises in New-Age droppings what Latter Rain has been promising for almost two centuries, where decade after decade the promises never materialize:
WHEN HEAVEN TOUCHES EARTH
by Paul Cain
The coming move of God is going to be a lot different than I ever thought and I'm sure it will be different than you thought, too. The Lord is going to move in a completely new way, unlike anything we have ever seen before...The holy radiation of God will drive out all kinds of illnesses in these last days...God will once more do things that are unprecedented. He will do things that are different from anything He has ever done before.
In the day of God's unprecedented acts, we need to be careful about saying, "Well, that's not in the Bible"...God is going to have a whole company of people who are going to shine. The world will see the light, and all the nations will come...
A New Breed of Leaders
I see a whole new leadership and a whole new move of God for these last days...the church is going to regain her power and emerge shining brighter than the noonday sun. We are going to be called upon by heads of state and kings of nations. The Lord is going to give heaven to earth so that we can evangelize the world. In the condition we are now in, the church would never be able to fully win the world. But, thank God, she is about to change...[into what he thinks is "Joel's Army," of course]...
There is going to be a release of power evangelism that will meet the needs of mankind. This will cause a chain reaction throughout the world. God is going to have a mighty army that goes into every place on the face of the earth, sharing this glorious gospel. The gospel of the kingdom is...always associated with healing the sick and doing the works of God. This is the gospel that Jesus proclaimed and demonstrated, and He is about to do it again.
Paul needs your money to accomplish his world-evangelism project.
In the late 1940s, Paul's healing services started amid a burst of many other clever men including William Branham and Oral Roberts. The public soon began to see what would be expected from such liars: sexual and financial scandals, and distorted doctrines, things that Cain himself admits regarding even his own life. Ask his Lincoln.
[[[Update Nov. 2004 -- I just received a letter via email that in part said:
"In February 2004, we were made aware that Paul had become an alcoholic. In April 2004, we confronted Paul with evidence that he had recently been involved in homosexual activity. Paul admitted to these sinful practices and was placed under discipline, agreeing to a process of restoration which the three of us would oversee. However, Paul has resisted this process and has continued in his sin. Therefore, after having exhausted the first two steps of Matthew 18:15-17, we now have a responsibility to bring this before the church."
The letter was signed by Rick Joyner, Jack Deere and Mike Bickle, and released as a Morning Star Special Bulletin in October 2004
http:/www.morningstarministries.org/pages/special_bulletins/SB_Current.html]]] Like so many false prophets, Paul tells of a miraculous birth, and Heavenly voices heard as a child calling him into devoted ministry. Visions of angels far beyond the Biblical norm are part of his story. We note that Abraham was visited by a word of the Lord but a few times over his entire lifetime, yet Paul Cain claims thousands of visions and special words so that even the great prophets of the Old Testament are well eclipsed. It seems either that demons pick their men from birth, and stay with them while they grow up, appearing to them as angels of God all the while, or else there are some gross liars among us who tell tales in order to gain our respect and following.
Cain said that William Branham was "the greatest prophet who ever lived." Clearly, Branham was Cain's idol, which would certainly explain why Cain and Branham's stories about angels and voices are very similar. In fact, could they have conspired to tell lies? Remember from a previous chapter how Mike Bickle was caught lying by Ernie Gruen regarding the "prophecy" of a three-month drought, to make his top prophet, Bob Jones, appear as a true prophet. Obviously, Bickle had conspired with Jones to tell that lie, and others in the Kansas-City bunch must have known that it was untrue as well...yet we didn't see them expose the lie. How often do such things occur, may we ask? Kenneth Hagin, a 1950's contemporary of Cain and Branham, used the same stories/tactics...i.e. visits by angels or by Jesus himself, visits to Heaven and Hell, etc.
In this way do men create "ministries" for themselves and thereby make a living off of our money. Unless they convince us that they are truly gifted in some way, they would need to seek a normal method of making a living (Shudder). And so the greater the bullspatter, the more famous and richer they become...to the shame of the believers who naively support them. And here is some of Cain's most incredible bullspatter:
"So my point is, that there will be a manifestation of the sons and daughters of God. And it won't be this baloney that we've heard of in the past; I mean, there's been a few people tried to walk through a wall like this over here and knocked their brain loose, but that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about a true manifested son of God: if anyone walks through this wall over here, they're not going to tell you about it- I mean, they're just going to do it. And sons of God don't tell you they're sons of God, they'll just show You! Amen!"'
(Paul Cain, "The New breed" see
Thus, the Kansas City prophets are winking connivers, each lifting the other to great heights with such fabrications, so that all of them together might have fame and fortune. We note that Bob Jones called Paul Cain the greatest prophet alive, and this served to bring recognition to the Kansas-City fellowship as a whole. Jack Deere of Vineyard called Cain and Jones the Two Witnesses of Revelation. Kansas City has thus succeeded to quite a significant degree; Cain's prophetic roundtable, Shiloh, is now a reality, and Mike Bickle has his IHOP ministry, large building and all (IHOP = International House of Prayer).
The present Vineyard movement, an outgrowth of the hippy Jesus Movement of earlier decades, seems a stepping-stone in the direction of the Hebrew-Roots movement. In the early days, up to one third the Vineyard was Jewish, and Bob Dylan himself was converted by Vineyard. But as Bob stepped out of Christianity almost as soon as he was "converted," wasn't his conversion really accomplished by the Vineyard's charismatic hype rather than regeneration by the Holy Spirit? I'm not the only person asking that question. In any case, while not as hysterical as the Toronto Blessing, Vineyard is yet dangerous. In fact, because it is less blasphemous in its worship, it stands to steal and twist more people than the outright hysterical movements.
Concerning John Arnot, pastor of the Toronto Airport church, while I don't believe there has been an official statement made by him indicating his world-conquest stripes, they become suspect in a number of ways, first and foremost by the merging of his church with the Vineyard churches when they were themselves merged with Kansas City. I first got wind of Arnot's Latter Rain position when told by one of his supporters that the manifestations at his church were the fulfillment of Joel.
The Toronto-Blessing did not begin with Toronto, by the way, but with the out-of-whack, Rodney Howard-Browne, who brought us "holy laughter" big time. The Toronto Blessing was being used by the Kansas-City prophets in support of their Manifest-Sons agenda...i.e. as proof that God was at the head of their global agenda...until Toronto started entertaining holy barkers as a manifestation from on High.
While Benny Hinn has openly denounced the Toronto-Blessing manifestations, he has yet kept alive the idea of great and imminent global revival, and that we are gods to be endowed with great powers. And Benny, apparently at the height of his delusiveness, said""Now hear this, I am prophesying this! Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is about to appear physically in some churches, and some meetings, and to many of his people, for one reason: to tell you he is about to show up! So wake up! Jesus is coming, saints!" (April 2, 2000 John MacArthur "Hearing Voices"). Someone tell Benny that Jesus Christ did a little prophesying of his own:
"Then if anyone to you says, 'Look, here is the Christ,' or, '[over] here,' don't believe it; for false christs and false prophets will be raised, and they will give great signs and wonders, so as to cause to err, if possible, even the Elect. Behold, I have warned you beforehand" (Matthew 24:23-24).
Benny is taking all his supporters for fools. My impression is that he has already planned to have one of his men pose as Jesus. Benny must be very glad that there are enough believers today who believe in the great Latter Rain from God. How happy is Benny? Ask his one-million dollar Florida mansion, or his eighty thousand dollar BMW, among the many other things that you could imagine along with these, all bought with the money that people gave for his "ministry." As Benny makes his wealth by taking advantage of sick and dying people, his horrible end is coming, as surely as it came for Jimmy Bakker and his empire.
Have you heard that Bakker, as of 1999, is sending out trial balloons to see if there are enough Latter-Rain suckers in Christian TV Land to allow him a brand new television ministry? He is telling the world that he has a new message from God that everyone needs to hear. Aren't your ears just itching to hear?? The reason that these men make it so big is because there are plenty of Christians who teach that we shouldn't judge. I say, it's time to expose them! No more Mr. Nice Guy!! These men are destroyers.
Other Name-It-And-Claim-It ministries such as those of Kenneth Copeland, Kenneth Hagin, and Oral Roberts have ties to the Manifest-Sons cult. These men systematize the signs and wonders into a carrot-on-a-stick methodology that all of us are supposed to learn. In reality, their "prosperity movement" is a trick to get their followers to become just as greedy...so that the preachers may use their lavish incomes openly in rich-class living. The poor followers seeking the same remain poor while ever attending...ever seeking that special method that could get them rich by the power of God.
Finally, when they give up, they also give up on God, or perhaps they become involved with the hysterical branch of charismata for a last-ditch effort to find great power. The leaders of these movements will then turn them into quasi-theocrats...soldiers in Joel's Army en route to world revival...yet another carrot-on-a-stick disaster.
Hagin once said, "The believer is as much an incarnation of God as Jesus Christ" (Hagin, "The Incarnation," The Word of Faith, 12/80, cited in Christianity in Crisis, p. 175,397). The purpose of this statement was to convince his followers that they could perform miracles at their word as much as could Jesus. But you believe me: the power to work miracles is aligned with the will of God, not our wills.
Yet Hagin says that everything is already ours, that "All you have to do is visualize it, speak it into existence" "In the name of Jesus..." is a command that does indeed work to rescue us from harmful situations, if God is pleased sufficiently enough with you, but you just go try to use that line right now to make your red socks green, and I guarantee you that it won't happen. Thus, it's not our will that utilizes the Power of God at our call, but it's God who says yes or no to the outflow of that Power when we call to Him for it. Obviously. But Hagin would keep you trapped trying to learn the method of unleashing God's power, and tell you that those who donate to his ministry have the better chances of success. It is for the fools within Christianity, who pridefully follow men like that, that I have become somewhat afraid of exposing myself as a "born-again Christian," lest people take me for such a fool!!
Hagin and his son have written over 147 books (suggesting that others are writing much of the content for them), selling over 65 million copies worldwide through television and radio shows. And these books represent but the beginning of their financial intake. But one who came out of his movement, Kenneth Copeland, has done even better. Copeland teaches that Jesus never claimed to be God. And in Copeland's eyes, Jesus was a man who was born again when he spent three days in Hell.
Copeland also taught that the Romans sodomized Jesus while he was in a Roman prison. And it's not enough that Jesus was tortured by the Romans en route to the Cross...Copeland teaches that the spirit of Jesus was then tortured unrestrained by demons in Hell prior to that re-birth ("The Price of it All," Believer’s Voice of Victory, September 1991, p. 4). And Copeland claims that Adam, the first man, was as much God as one could get, that the man was "God manifest in the flesh." Moreover, he said: "Jesus is no longer the only begotten Son of God" (Now We Are In Christ Jesus, 1980, p. 24" see http://www.rapidnet.com/~jbeard/bdm/exposes/copeland/general.htm).
Oral Roberts once told his world of Latter-Rain television watchers that he saw a 900-foot Jesus instructing him to build a cancer-research hospital. This is the same Oral Roberts that sold little pieces of "prayer cloths" supposedly having the power from God to grant the wishes of those who use them. The 60-story cancer hospital failed from the start, as was probably the plan, and the money acquired when sold isn't slated to be returned any time soon to the believers who donated it. This is standard practice for wolves, feast on the flesh of the victims, and leave the bones to rot.
[UPDATE February 2008 -- I share the following news article on the current Roberts ministry:
By JUSTIN JUOZAPAVICIUS, Associated Press Writer
Thu Feb 7 , 10:52 PM ET
"More than $1 billion a year was inappropriately funneled through Oral Roberts University, a lawsuit by a former senior accountant at the scandal-plagued school alleges.
"Trent Huddleston claims in a lawsuit filed Thursday in Tulsa County District Court that he discovered an 'unrestricted' account used to funnel 'unusually large' sums of money through the university each month — which would exceed $1 billion on an annual basis — that wasn't used for any legitimate university purpose. He says he was discharged because school officials feared he would reveal that the account existed.
"Huddleston, who was hired in 2006 and spent 15 months at the school, also alleges former ORU board members participated in funneling the money for their eventual personal use, 'and thus, the foxes were watching the hen house.'
"Named as defendants are Richard Roberts, the school's former president, and his wife, Lindsay, along with former regents and well-known televangelists. The lawsuit offers no specific details on how the alleged funneling took place, and Huddleston's attorney, Gary Richardson, said he wasn't able to disclose information to support his client's claims Thursday. 'The lawsuit speaks for itself,' Richardson said. 'There was money coming in and going out in that account that in a period of one year's time would exceed $1 billion.'
"...The initial complaint alleged Huddleston was ordered to help Richard and Lindsay Roberts 'cook the books' by hiding improper and illegal financial wrongdoing from the authorities and the public...He claimed nearly $123,000 in expenditures were paid by the university and Oral Roberts Ministries for remodeling the home. He said more than $40,000 of university and ministry money went for a new swimming pool and nearly $5,000 was spent on a pool table...."
Benny Hinn once said, I tell people what the word of God has to say and then they give [money]." How easier can it be, Benny, to buy yourself a one-way ticket to the darkest lagoon of Hell? One doesn't need to be a prophet to know that Benny is being reeled in; God has him on His line! You mark my words; his empire is coming down.
Morris Cerullo bought Jimmy Bakker's fallen empire with money he raised from Christian fish. He then used the empire to fish some more. For a look at a photo of his multi-million dollar, 12,000 square-foot mansion, see http://www.christian-witness.org/archives/cetf2002/cerullo02.html. Read the article, concerning his thefts and law suit, while you are there. This is the man who tells us that we are looking at Jesus when we are looking at him, as per Manifest-Sons-of-God doctrine. Cerullo has a 50-million dollar jet, proving that he can fly!...all money acquired from mere fish in the pond of Latter Rain. Amazing, isn't it, when you put this picture beside the picture of Jesus on a donkey.
In 1995, Pat Robertson had predicted hundreds of millions of converts to Christ that would form an army of God to bring judgment on the ungodly in the year 2000. Prior to that, he told us that God told him to run for President of the United States...his fantastic bid, obviously, to bring the world under the powers of charismatics. Promise Keepers is now at the head of the fantasy as the new kid on the block, and PK success has the Kansas-City prophets rising up from their ashes. Multitudes of other groups are joining in this thrust. Not only is all this media power implying/stating that tribulation retreats are for faith-lacking sissies, but it is provoking the worldly powers so as to ultimately assure greater persecution against us all. Yes, God will Himself use the sheep to provoke the world, but there is God's way, and then there is the way of the wolves among us. It is exactly as Satan would desire it...to have the hypocrisy of the wolves projected upon the sheep so as to see the world punish the sheep in the end for the insolence of the wolves.
While Don Clasen spent years with the Kansas City bunch and is now exposing their errors, he yet claims to have visions on a regular basis; he has announced that he himself has been a true prophet since 1981. He wrongly upholds the "prophet" Dimitru Duduman, a clear fake from Romania who has decided to pillage God's people by selling his dreams in book and tape form.
This has me wondering if Clasen also upholds the false prophets at the Prophecy Club, and their catastrophic-tribulation ideas in which America itself is laid waste by nuclear war well before Armageddon. There are some disturbing by-products from these conniving visionaries. The dreamers at/supporting the Prophecy Club happen to promote anti-government as well as pro-militia propaganda, and thereby pose a significant danger toward our tribulation endurance. Indeed, these prophets may well turn out to be the single-most reason that we are killed at all in America when we finally retreat from society.
At that time, the goats who do not heed Jesus will wield guns against the authorities, and in that way even the peaceful/passive sheep will be lumped in with the same. Take Waco, where law-enforcement people treated with utter disdain those goats using guns...and got away with it. How much more will they use force and get away with it when there are thousands of such groups from sea to sea, in the tribulation period, shooting at law enforcers? Yet, there are Christians who believe, even now, that the solution is to build a weapons cache larger than that of Waco.
Certain "prophets" teach that Christians should leave the United States due to the nuclear catastrophe that they are predicting for the nation. If that isn't enough, the suggestion is being made that American Jews ought to return to Israel!! Wouldn't Satan just love that knowing how utterly and irreversibly he will soon have power over Israel for 42 months?
It will not be necessary for the United States be taken by the anti-Christ using his military means. Again, no war will be necessary to make America a part of the Beast system if, as I strongly detect from Revelation 13, the False Prophet will be an American President, or part of his administration. Our worry will then become to survive without being able to buy and sell.
Clasen is a post-tribulationist. But how advantageous is it for this man to come out of one false-prophet movement (Kansas City) that ignores trib' preparation only to support another false-prophet movement that likewise ignores trib' preparation??? Indeed, what benefit is there in being a post-tribber at all, and arguing all of its Biblical merits and refining virtues, if in the end we don't secure foods and shelter for ourselves before the tribulation arrives? One may as well be a pre-tribber.
While Clasen and other charismatic conservatives don't believe that the hysterical move now underway is the God-ordained Latter-Rain revival, they yet promote their own version of Latter Rain:
"...here at the end of the age, the Church's greatest harvest of souls is yet to be seen, at a time when the New Age dream comes crashing to the ground and the world takes a second look at the Gospel of the Second Coming.
"[Tabernacles] will begin the great outpouring, the great 'revival' everyone in the Charismatic world is looking for...I do agree with the idea that there will be one of some kind, and that it will be in power equal to or greater than the ministry of Christ himself two thousand years ago. Only this time He will do it corporately through the medium of His remnant Church on the earth"(Don Clasen: "Could the Tribulation Begin this Fall?").
What is alarming is that Clasen may find a Latter-Rain following amongst post-tribulationists. Don, please, forget the revival, and prepare for persecution, and alleviate some of it by planning smart. Let all charismatics abandon charismatic movements and concentrate on how the Church should collectively survive the troubles dead ahead, teaching that there must be a distinction made between militia groups and the sheep who listen to the voice of Jesus in Revelation 13:10.
The charismatic prophet, Andrew Strom, also believes that the Toronto manifestations are demon-inspired, and yet he believes that great revival is on its way. His position comes mainly from revelations he claims to have received from God, otherwise, he has virtually zero evidence from the Bible. His main evidence is the outpouring of the Spirit in Joel 2.
Strom believes that the army in Joel is destroyed by God. I agree. Therefore, he correctly denies the Latter-Rain belief that Joel's army is the Church. He then teaches that the outpouring of the Spirit occurs after the army's destruction. I agree. However, he views the Outpouring on this side of the rapture...as the coming revival, of course. I totally disagree.
How does Strom possibly figure that the Outpouring is on this side of the nature? Only by misinterpreting Joel's army. He fails to understand that Joel's army is destroyed at Armageddon, and that the Outpouring is, therefore, after Jesus returns. I don't know how anyone can fail to understand this simple thing. But there you have it.
In Strom's mind, Joel's army represents the apostasy mentioned in the New Testament (which he thinks could very well include the Toronto manifestations and the like). Therefore, he teaches that after the worldwide apostasy is destroyed (by God?), there will be a genuine Revival...so that the Church can place the enemies of Jesus under his feet. Thus, while he claims not to be a Dominionist, he has a similar view. And how ironic is it that Joel's Army is slated for the same time period by both Strom and the Kansas-City prophets, yet one views it as apostates while the other views it as end-time apostles?
Joel's army has nothing to do with spiritual movements, but is an invasion of real military soldiers into Israel. My conclusion from wrestling with the prophecy for years, as well as all other prophecies, is that Joel's locusts and worms depict multiple waves of invasions, the largest of which will come against the anti-Christ's forces as per the Kings of the East (of Revelation). They are all destroyed together at Armageddon, afterwhich God pours out His Spirit on all the flesh which survives Armageddon, thus beginning a new thing, the rule of Jesus Christ.
Only then will the Church will be set up as a Theocracy by Jesus the King, and the secularists who survive will shut their mouths at that time and kiss our feet. No guns needed. Just hunker down and wait. If this is Scriptural, teach it.
Strom teaches that the Church of the future revival ought to be "violent," as in aggressive. This is exactly the strategy of Satan, in my opinion, regarding the coming "revival"...i.e. to make believers a stench in the site of the powers that be, that persecution against the Elect might be maximized. If Strom would stop listening to visions and dreams, and stick to the Bible, he would see that his teachings are erroneous on several fronts.