Christ Era Tithing Part Four: The Master’s Trust

We first established through Jesus’ parables that the Law had been fulfilled and no longer applied following his time. Despite the objections of the teachers of the Law and the Pharisees, Jesus was able to show them that they were the ones who did not truly understand, when they tried to trick him. As the Law was concluded and fulfilled, the Jews were looking for a new direction for their money management, and Jesus provided them the answer in parables.

One of the better known examples in which money has been given to servants while the master is away is the parable of Matthew 25:14-30. In this, the master gives three servants money when he leaves according to their abilities to manage it in the amounts of five, two, and one. The first two servants decide that they had seen their master invest his money and so they did the same. Because of this, they were able to increase their master’s money equal to its value. The third servant however says that the master reaps where he hasn’t sowed and therefore did nothing that would risk the money, instead handing back exactly what was given to him. The master tells this servant that even if  he was scared, he could have put it in a bank to get the interest safely. Jesus finishes this tale with “For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.” This parable is showing us firsthand that no matter what it is we’ve been given, we should putting it to use and increasing what He has given us.

In Matthew 24:36-51, Jesus tells them that no one will know when the Son of Man is going to return. He uses the flood as his example for the people eating, drinking, and marrying right up until the moment that the rain began to come down. Because of this, he jumps into a parable about a master who goes away for a time and the behavior of his servants he leaves in charge. In this, he says that he who continues to work and give his fellow servants food and allowances will be blessed when the Master returns and finds all in order. However, to the servant who abuses his time unsupervised by beating his fellows and eating and drinking with the drunkards will be caught unaware when the master returns and punished.

In Matthew 18:23-35, a king decides that he wants to settle debts with his kingdom. Jesus tells us of a  man owing the king ten thousand coins, calling to sell the man, his family, and all that he owns in order to pay it. The man begs and pleads for mercy and for more time, swearing that he would pay. The king takes pity on him, releasing him and forgiving his entire debt. The same servant then goes out and finds the man who owed him 100 silver coins, one one-hundredth of the debt he had been forgiven, seizing him by the throat demanding payment. His second man begged for mercy but the original servant cast him into prison until it could be paid. When the king found out, he asked him why he could not have mercy on his fellow man as the king had had with him, before throwing him into prison until the debt was paid. Jesus tells us that like this servant, we will be forgiven of our debts, but if we can not do the same for each other, then we will be punished for our unfairness.

In each of these instances, we are responsible for the money given to us but also for the way we treat each other, considering the treatment of our Master. The ways that we use what He has given us, whether to hold it over each other or to increase that which our Master has entrusted to us will weigh in on His final judgment. Jesus spoke more on the usage of money than the quantity or percentage given. Jesus taught us that the new law would be more focused on the usage of His resources than payments to keep us humble to Him.

Christ Era Tithing: Part Three It worked on Paper

The opposing side of Jesus’ presence is in seeing the misuse of the Temple that had been occurring for quite some time and his lashing out in anger that follows. Jesus is often portrayed as a gentle, patient, guiding teacher, but he takes on the roll of his angry Father on a few occasions as well. Firstly, in John 2:13-25, He comes into the Temple and sees the stalls and merchants using the space, not for worship or praise or ceremony, but for a marketplace for their wares, because so many people would pass through there, money in hand. He makes a whip of cords and overturns all the tables in his anger, chasing them from the Temple, yelling at them for misusing His Father’s house. In Matthew 21, speaking of similar events, he accuses them of turning the Temple into a den of thieves.

On several different occasions, the Pharisees and Herodians try to entrap Jesus in trick questions and wordplay so as to nullify his teachings by accusing him of blasphemy if he fails any of the questions. Because his teachings were of a more subjective nature, relying on the heart and dedication to devote to God, like the widow’s offering, the teachers of the law knew that they would lose quite a bit of their power over him. For example, in Matthew 21 as well, they ask Jesus by whose authority he is doing these things and teaching these lessons, but he instead asks by whose authority John has been baptizing Jews for their faith because they say they do not know, he says then neither will he tell them whose authority he uses. In Matthew 22, they recite to him that the law says a widow must be cared for by the deceased’s brother, and ask with which brother will she be married to in the afterlife. He tells them that they must not know the Scripture at all for there is no marriage in Heaven. They asked him then what the greatest commandment was of all time, and he responded famously that it was to love God and the second greatest was to love your neighbors, that all commands came from this.

While we all know the story of the widow’s offering, it was a known fact at the time that the widows were not being taken care of under the funds collected for tithing through the Temple. As we stated back in Part Two of the Mosaic Tithing lessons, the money and resources received by the Temple was to support the Levites, the fatherless, the foreigners, and the widows. If we see a poor widow giving her only two coins to live on to the very church that was supposed to be caring for her, we can assume that she was not being cared for the way that God had said. However, Jesus actually points out in the verse just before the story of the widow’s offering that the teachers of the law “devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers” (Mark 12:40). The teachings required tithing prior to Jesus’ arrival, but as we can see, the law was not being used according to God’s intentions.. The Jews had so repeatedly lost the purpose behind the laws, that Jesus had to reteach them entirely, and thereby changing the law forever.

Christ Era Tithing: Part Two Teaching at the Temple

Many of Jesus’ teachings are centered around and taught around the Temple to reach not only the religious, but the religious teachers as well. He most often used parables as a way to call out the religious leaders without putting himself in danger, while more direct teaching was used when teaching groups who did not have that authority. We see both in Mark 12, where Jesus has set himself up outside the Temple and teaches several lessons. In the first, he tells a parable of a father sending his servants to a vineyard to bring back a harvest, but the tenants of the vineyard beat and kill them. Finally, the owner sends his son to the vineyard thinking surely they wouldn’t kill his son, but they do. In this, he is able to point out the treatment of the chief priests and the teachers of the law. For the second story of interest to us, a group comes to ask Jesus if they should pay Caesar’s Imperial Tax in order to trap him with the law. But He asks them whose face and words are on the coins, and says to give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to give to God what is God’s. The most well-known story of Mark 12 however is the widow and her two coins. At the end of the chapter, Jesus watches several people come and go, paying their portions, which for the rich is quite significant. In watching them however, the first person that is worth remarking on to Him is a poor widow who gives the only two copper coins she has to her name. Jesus as we all know says that she has given more than the others, because they gave from their wealth, and she gave everything. He is pointing out that her heart is in it, that this is a willing and freely given offering. This presents a stark contrast to those who were living in wealth and gave the required percentage according to the law, whereas hers was what she wanted to give. Throughout both Moses’ time and in the return from captivity with Ezra, there is a marked attention paid to the willing and freely given tithes and offerings, not just fulfilling the requirement. We can look back to the time in Exodus 36:3-7 where the Jews gave so much that they began to turn away offerings. This poor widow gave everything willingly, knowing that no one would notice her two coins, but knowing that she had given everything she could.

Christ Era Tithing: Part One (A Living Example)

When the New Testament picks up, the Jews are under Roman rule, which is sustained throughout the remainder of the Bible. In both the entire New Testament and in many references scattered through the Old Testament, the centerpiece of all of it is the Messiah, first predictions and then in person. In close resemblance to the Prophets of the return from captivity, John the Baptist represents a new voice, teaching that they must follow the Word but also that there was a Messiah to come. There is a great distinction between the old ways and the new ways that markedly separates those who live by grace and those who continue to live by the law. Jesus Christ was to be the one final blood sacrifice, the fulfillment of all the payments and fees that God was collecting, to restore forgiveness to His people, and the law ends when He fulfills it.

Jesus’ teaching begins at the young age of twelve when his mother finds him at the Temple listening and speaking with the teachers of the law there. It is there that he demonstrates his knowledge and understanding of God’s laws for the first time recorded and refers to the Temple as his Father’s house. Following his baptism by John, he made a pattern of healing and studying on the Sabbath, which was have been considered work by the law. In Mark 2:23-28, He and his disciples collect grain from fields in their passing because they were hungry. A Pharisee accuses him of doing what is unlawful, but he answers that because they are hungry and in need that it will be permitted, as it was in David’s time. In Mark 3:1-12, he is being watched to see if he would break the law and heal someone on the Sabbath, which he does. He asks them if it is lawful to do good or evil, as though the good outweighs the idea that the Sabbath is for resting. Early on, in these small interactions, he shows the grey areas around the laws, where intention and good deed and necessity can be more important than follow every letter of the law. In some cases, however, like Luke 4:14-30, as he goes to study the scriptures at the Temple, there are people nearby expecting to be healed, because they know he is able. He tells them of moments in Jewish history when a Prophet did not heal just because they were able or was sent to save one person rather than the hundreds who needed it. While they are pleased to hear him speak of fulfilling scriptures, He is chased out of town because of their expectations.

It is this new method of teaching, of kindness and grey areas that gives us a new path to follow, rather than the letter of the law. While many thought he was abusing or even destroying the traditions of their people, he was trying to show them the love and grace God has always intended to be there from the start. That loving God, loving others, and loving yourself was to be a keystone to seeing the purpose of the law without it being a burden to all trying to live it. Jesus was doing away with the traditions, and just like today, many could not let go of the letter of the law.

Between the Halves: From Ezra to John the Baptist

Following the books of the Prophets, with the Jews once again reestablished in their Promised Land, there is a significant gap of about five hundred years that separates these stories from the coming of Christ in the New Testament. In some cases, these are referred to as ‘The Silent Years,’ but we would like to fill in some of these blanks with what we do know of the Jewish people and the faith that they clung to as they waited for this Messiah. While this period is not as closely tracked with a play by play of Biblical texts, the area was long plagued by shifts in regional owners and warring borders, as it had been for many years. During this time, the Jews could only cling to the laws that were still being carried out from Moses’ time and the newly rebuilt cities, even as the world continued to shift around them. From this, we will be entering the New Testament with much the same rules and regulations as we left off, but with a firmer understanding of their experiences and how they hung onto their faith.

Shortly after the end of Ezra and Malachi’s glimpse of life in Jerusalem, the Persian lost ownership of the territory to the invading Greeks. Alexander the Great was coming through spreading his Grecian Empire, leaving much of the local cultures intact as long as taxes were paid and they adapted to the Greek language. After his death, the land was governed by the Ptolemies over Egypt, using the area primarily as a buffer between the warring factions of the splintered Hellenistic Nations. The Library of Alexandria commissioned, with the approval of the Jewish High Priest at the time, a Grecian translation of the Old Testament, giving us the Septuagint.

The area today known as Syria was seized from the Ptolemies by the Seleucids, who forced much stricter Hellenistic integration. These new rulers sacked the temple, forbidding the people from practicing their offerings, circumcisions, and sabbaths. This spurred the people into what would be known as the Maccabean Revolution. An attempt by the Seleucids to bring about a quick end to the rebellion by executing anyone in defiance and building fortresses to enforce their rule resulted in the development of a more determinedly traditional group taking root. It is thought that this is the beginning of the group we will see in later lessons as the Pharisees, those that would risk their lives to hold to the Mosaic law. This revolution secured them 79 years of independence, in part due to the life or death dedication that the Jews had long put towards protecting their traditions. This ended when the Romans moved in and demanded vassalship, installing their own rulers over the region. Herod was appointed King of the region through the favor of the Emperor in the Senate. This half-Jewish King ruled tyrannically, which only further distanced the People of Judea from accepting their latest owners. Herod commissioned yet another Temple, hoping to quell the rebellious nation.

Despite the 500 year gap between the Old and New Testaments of the Christian Bible, we know quite a bit about the historical background and the power struggle over the Jewish people and their land. As ownership passed between hands, the Jews had their first translation of the Old Testament into a new language, the Septuagint, wrapping up the end of this section as it was passed along as a finished product. We have several other books and texts from the time, but these were determined much later by the Catholics to not be included in today’s standard compilation. We left off in Malachi with preparations for the Messiah and a look into what he will bring for the Jewish people. So, next week, we will jump ahead, as the Bible does, to the birth of Jesus Christ.

Post-Captivity Tithing: Part Three (God’s Prophetic Warnings)

Continuing our work through the prophets, we come to the last few mentions of tithes and blessings in the Christian Old Testament. Following in Ezra and Nehemiah’s paths, we find Haggai and Zechariah, who each served as a guide to the Jewish people in returning to the faith and dedication that they had prior to exile. Ezra mentions Haggai and Zechariah as the prophets that will lead and direct God’s people early on in Ezra 5, vouching for their importance and leadership before we even get to their designated books in the Bible. They, like the many other major figures working in Jerusalem, served to rebuke and restore the people to good standing according to the covenant they held with God, which was renewed in Ezra and Nehemiah. The restoration of the city as well as its people through the covenant and God’s protection would take several more generations before completion.

Haggai first reprimands them for the paneled houses that they have built for themselves while God’s house, the Temple, is in ruins. He tells them that for their neglect, they will face poor harvests, eat without getting full, drink but always thirsty, be clothed but still cold, and be unable to keep the money they earn. The only way to correct this, to restore the natural order, is to restore the house of the Lord, and from this, they will be blessed, once again. In Haggai 2:3-9, Haggai points out that those who remember the Temple recognize that its current state is nothing to God. He then tells them that he will bring his glory into this Temple to be greater than the Temple before.

Much of Zechariah is spent in prophecy, predicting not only a savior to come but also glory for the Jews as they will be blessed beyond Israel’s borders. In the midst of many of these stories, Zechariah pauses to call out the people who have been fasting in the fifth and seventh months. God tells Zechariah that despite their participation, they were not using it as a true dedication to the Lord. He states that they are fasting for their own reasons and that they should execute true judgement, showing mercy and compassion, not oppress those they have power over. They must stop thinking evil of their brothers and remove themselves from those doing all of the above.

Malachi starts by reprimanding the Jews once again, as the former prophets had. This time, he points out the blemished sacrifices that are being given to God, whether blind, sick, or lame. God points out that this is disrespectful to Him, just as it would be to a father, a master, or a king. Then Malachi calls on them for their treatment of marriage, by marrying foreigners of different faiths and cheating on their wives. Then God tells them that they have robbed him by withholding tithes, leaving no food for the house of the Lord. He tells them that if they give freely, that He will bless them freely, just as He has done before. There is a small and faithful remnant that will follow, but Malachi ends on the note that a savior is coming who will change the tide of the Jewish people.

We find tithing in a list of corrections, among blind animal sacrifices, marrying foreign women who worship other gods, and neglecting the Temple of the glory that God deserves. The Jews have returned from exile to their land, but they must restore not only the land and the city, but their hearts must be once again promised to God, in order to receive the blessings and protection that their ancestors were given. He asked them to take care of each other and to show mercy in all manners. For the Jews the Mosaic Law was their path to God, and tithing was one example in a list of so many others in which the Jews had failed their end of the covenant. The only way they would be blessed was through the love and dedication that God demanded of them.

Post-Captivity Tithing: Part Two (Nehemiah’s Reinforcement)

The Book of Nehemiah begins to show us an additional perspective of those living near Jerusalem trying to reclaim their heritage and struggling to survive. The Jews were forced to work against corrupt officials, opposing nations, and their reputation as a rebellious nation that was loyal to their God rather than the nations who owned them. All of this weighs on Nehemiah, working as the King’s cupbearer, and he feels a responsibility to change it. His position historically meant that Nehemiah had the King’s utmost trust, as he was in charge of the drinks for the entire royal table, so he prays for favor before asking for the King’s permission to go. Nehemiah’s part in the return of the Jews to their land is to rebuild the wall and defenses of Jerusalem, to secure them while Ezra’s people can renew the Temple in its dedication to the Lord.

In Nehemiah’s prayer, he recognizes that the Jews were told if they turned away from God that they would be scattered, and only through obedience and following the Lord would their land be returned to them (Neh 1: 8-9). When Nehemiah arrived in Jerusalem, he helped Ezra in the purging and cleaning of Jewish ancestry as the heads of families were brought together to properly recommit to the covenant as a whole community. As we saw in Ezra’s story, the Law was read to all of the people, and a celebration was thrown in accordance with the Feast of Tabernacles to strike a revival of spirit and faith.

In this return of faith, they renew their covenant with the Lord for many of the priests, the Levites, and leaders of the people to sign, as listed in Neh 10.  In it, they vow to not mix with the other nations, to follow the Law that was set out with Moses, to dedicate their offerings, firstfruits, children, animals, and to reconfirm the yearly collection that would support the Temple of the Lord and the Levites who tended to it. (Neh 10:33, 36). In bringing back this annual collection of money and resources for the Levites and the descendants of Aaron, they once more promise to give one-third of a shekel, a culmination of the different 10ths during the Mosaic Law we spoke on before, in their contributions.

Following their rededication, they worshipped daily, reading the entire book of Moses to the people, beyond simply the Law, and the corruption of leadership is weeded out.  At this time, those that worked in the Temple, the Levites, were not being paid their part to support their families and their livelihoods, as the collections were being stored as treasures. Nehemiah is forced to correct this, bringing the Levites back from outside work and paying them what they are due, pulling them again away from intermarriages with other peoples. They try again and again through multiple situations to be steadfast and demonstrate God’s power in their lives, rather than giving up.

Ezra and Nehemiah worked from different directions to rededicate an entire people to the Lord, restoring first their faiths and then their obedience. As each part came together, the people, the Temple, and the wall, the Lord blessed and protected each piece. The Jews had been living so far from the law, that it was through the efforts of both of these major players that they were continually able to pull the Jews back towards God, again and again, each time they turned away. In the midst of all these changes, they returned also to a time when they had to commit more than their hearts. The Jews were required by Mosaic law to give offerings, firstfruits, firstborns, and separate from this, the annual collection of all things as a third of their harvest, not just a tenth, to support the Levites who served the Temple and were paid for their work with this monetary collection. Again, we see this contribution collected in a long list of other requirements that started first with obedience and blessing, then the maintenance of the responsibilities to the Levites and the Temple of the Lord.

Post-Captivity Tithing: Part One (Ezra’s Efforts)

Following the 70 years of exile from their lands, the Jews were granted permission by Cyrus, king of the Persians, to return to their land and rebuild their temple and walls. Their cities and land had been destroyed when they were taken away by the Assyrians, the Babylonians, and then overtaken by the Persians as well, dispersing the people of Judah and Israel. The book of Ezra opens by telling us that in order for Jeremiah’s prophecy to be fulfilled, the Lord stirred the spirit of Cyrus to rebuild His Temple. He calls for all those willing to go and for others to contribute to the cause of their brethren. The  Jews give willingly and freely to Ezra and to the people who will be returning with Cyrus’ blessing as they re-realize their faith and return to God. These people had a burden to restore not just a sense of nationalism but also the worship and godliness that had been lost, causing their situation in the first place. All in all, a force of 42,360 people return alongside Ezra and Joshua the High Priest.

Fulfilling the words of Haggai and Zechariah, the prophets, Joshua as High Priest had great influence and support during the reconstruction of the Temple because of his position. It began the return of the order of the High Priest to the promised land. With Ezra acting as the politician to keep favor up for their efforts in the King’s court and Joshua as the spiritual leader, they began to rebuild the Altar and started laying the foundation for the new Temple. Their first step in restoration was to separate out the Levites of true heritage to work there and to set up the offerings upon the altar.

In fear of the hostile countries around them, the Jews offered up burnt offerings morning and evening. They kept also the feast of the tabernacles as it is written and offered daily burnt-offerings by number according to custom as the duty of every day required. Afterward they offered the continual burnt offering both of the new moons and of all the set feasts of the Lord that were consecrated, everyone willingly gave the freewill offering,” (Ex 23:16/Lev 23:33-43/Num 29:12). The people then gathered to keep the Passover for the first time since diaspora. In celebration of the Lord changing the attitude of the King of Assyria towards them, they feasted for seven days as the Assyrians came to help them build the Temple. Once more, as they restored themselves to God, He extended blessings and protections over His people.

When Ezra comes to join them, following his time in the King’s court, he brings even more people with him but finds the people there continuing to break the laws set forth by God through Moses and reinstated by Joshua the High Priest. Ezra finds the people having issues though following some of the ordinances and has to call for a time of confession. The people had failed to fully separate themselves from the neighboring nations and had once again taken wives from them, so they are forced to confess and separate themselves once again.

The Jews had been restored to their land by the efforts of Ezra and Joshua and began to rebuild the Temple and their walls with God’s protections over them. They began again the long journey to restoring the covenant between them that marks them as the chosen people, through festivals, offerings, and obedience to God’s laws, with the Levites again tending to the Temple. Though they sinned again and again, God forgave them and gave them another chance to restore their land and their covenant as they followed his laws and commands.

Exile from the Promised Land

As the kings of both kingdoms turn away from God taking their nations with them, they fell into the captivity and the reign of neighboring nations. The northern kingdom of Israel was taken by the Assyrians around 740 BCE after strong resistance. The southern kingdom of Judah remained until around 600 BCE, at which time it was overtaken by the Babylonians. In both situations, the conquering forces took the educated and skilled families from the Jews and left behind the poor laborers. Part of the assimilation of the Judeans was to feed and educate this next generation of advisors in a particular manner, there were some that chose not to follow those rules. Daniel 1:1-7. Through the simple act of not defiling themselves with the diet chosen by the king or worshipping the idols, God blesses Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah and gives them wisdom and favor beyond anyone else in this program. Because of their obedience here, and in the situation of the Golden Image, they were saved from burning in front of the Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar. When the king sees this miracle, he decrees that no one is to speak against their God (Daniel 3:29).

Just as He had done during their wandering in the wilderness, they would find blessings from God through obedience to Him and his statutes.  We all know the story of Daniel, who like his friends Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, his faith was questioned and tested, and he prevailed, earning the protection of the Lord.  Esther and her cousin, Mordecai, later encounter prosecution for their Jewish faith, despite the success and favor with the King, and only through their good faith and dedication do they earn protection for the Jewish people in his lands.

These accounts are there to show us that although the Kingdoms had fallen due to apostasy that God was still there for his people. By a simple act of obedience or prayer, these people could be in contact with their Jehovah in the midst of a heathen nation. There were many Prophets speaking out and calling the people back to proper worship of the one true God and their responsibility as a community of godly people. The disobedience had to be punished and brought to an end, to show that it was not okay, but God never once left his people without an answer. He required them to show their faith through their actions, to love no other god but Him, and we find no real mention of yearly tithing or the offerings that were previously given to the Temple. Those that found favor with God and were blessed and protected by Him had only to give their love and faith, without any monetary or animal payments towards Him.

The Exile would come to an end as it had been foretold along with their exile from the promised land. The children of Judah knew that God would not leave them, and their land would be restored. While the prophets foretold their exile for disobedience, they also told that God would forgive them and keep watch over them in spite of their sins (Hosea 14).

Casting Pearls Project

The Casting Pearls Project was created as a place of healing for abused women (the Pearls) who’ve left the “Message”, and it is a place for them to share their story. Matthew 7:6 gives the account of Jesus’ warning, “Do not give to dogs what is holy, neither cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you”. What the “Message” has oppressed and cast down as “byproducts”, we recognize as Pearls worthy of lifting up, encouraging, and supporting.

Many women who were former members of the “Message” will attest to the emotional turmoil they faced after recognizing William Branham’s true hostile views and derogatory statements directed towards the female gender. The first time they learned that these views applied to all women, both members and non-members of the “Message”, it was unsettling. Did all men in the “Message” share these same misogynistic views? Will my sons be raised to view my daughters and other women in the same way?

The extent of William Branham’s misogynistic views was never openly discussed in the “Message”. They were never discussed in our local communities. Our friends and neighbors had no idea we were teaching our children these things, or that when an unsuspecting person wandered into our church they would receive recordings with these views. This information was concealed so discretely that many members of the “Message” were not aware. Only the cult leaders, those who studied and promoted Branham’s recordings, had full awareness. Instead of portraying him for what he openly stated, they portrayed William Branham as the type of man who would never make such statements.

The majority of members have accepted their portrayal as fact and are not aware that William Branham made these statements. Instead, members remember the heart-warming stories of his first wife, Hope, and his undying love for her. Branham described her to his audiences with deep love and admiration. He referred to his second wife, Meda, as “Darling” and “Sweetheart”. He always acknowledged the ‘sisters in Christ’ when greeting the congregation and spoke respectfully of the women present in his meetings. Followers of the “Message” have been convinced that his statements about his wife and his greetings during opening statements were the full extent of his views, unaware of what has been concealed.

Because of this, women genuinely felt protected by the “prophet’s” teachings of headship, submission, and dress-code. William Branham used scriptures from the Bible, and the way he arranged them seemed to justify his doctrine of “women being the psychologically weaker vessel”. Eve was created last and was deceived in the Garden of Eden. Lot’s wife coveted the world. Sarah laughed in the face of God. Female members of the “Message” were unaware of the additions William Branham gave to each of these stories, twisting the words to cast blame on the female in each story.

William Branham also “justified” these instructions to show disrespect for women who didn’t follow his teachings, again twisting scriptures. Branham referred to non-cult women — both Christian and non-Christian — as filthy, dirty, immoral, “dog meat”, and devil-possessed, and worse. He claimed that heroes of the Bible, such as Elijah and John the Baptist, were “woman haters”. Women in the “Message” were so convinced Branham viewed them with the same respect as he claimed to have for his wives that they shouted “Amen” to his misogynistic quotes about the female gender. We actually praised William Branham for insulting us!

God opened our eyes. All the deception and outright lies within the Message have been exposed. As the layers of deceit are peeled away, the “protection” we felt while feeding on William Branham’s horrific views of women suddenly becomes clear. We see it for what it was. It was unbiblical, severely oppressive, and destructive. Branham twisted scriptures to justify his own personal issues with women. He manipulated women into believing they were unworthy vessels instead of glorifying them as also being created in the image of God — just like men were.

The women that Branham taught his following to condemn were the same type of women that God blessed to be in the lineage of Jesus: prostitutes and women who weren’t afraid of challenging the customs of their day. Tamar. Rahab. Ruth. Uriah’s wife. Mary. It was Jewish custom for a prophet or elders to anoint kings with oil, yet, God selected a prostitute to anoint Jesus’ ministry and body with oil. While Branham would have condemned as “dog meat”, Jesus uplifted as precious in his sight.

In the “Message” women were second class. They were trained to believe that they could not participate in major decisions, discussing their views on doctrine, or spreading the “Gospel” (the good news of Branham). Yet the Bible is filled with courageous women who led men: Esther prevented genocide, and literally saved the Jewish race. Deborah was a prophetess and a judge of Israel. Jael was a heroine who delivered Israel by killing their enemy’s commander with a tent stake. Phoebe was a deaconess. Junia was an apostle. Euodia and Syntyche were evangelists. Priscilla ministered to others with her husband Aquilla. According to Branham’s “Message”, all of these women should be condemned!

Sadly, almost all religions that oppress women have one thing in common: abuse. Throughout history, we have example after example of women being abused in religions that have oppressed them. It is a scar upon humanity. Religious leaders oppressed women, and either instructed or commended men for abusing them. The “Message” is no different. William Branham challenged men, claiming that they weren’t doing their “godly duty” if they didn’t beat their wives or daughters who weren’t submissive. Many “Message” churches teach members that female rape victims are the guilty party because their attitude or dress was what enticed their abuser.

The scripture in the Bible referring to the “weaker vessel” is describing the physical weakness of women, not mental weakness. The Bible is very clear in its instruction that women are to be treated with love and respect. Most scholars agree that to “honor their wives as the weaker vessel” was commanded to give women protection against husbands who might otherwise abuse them. It was for protection, not discrimination.

The Casting Pearls Project offers specific Bible studies of God’s view of women. It examines God’s view from a scriptural standpoint. The site has opened its door as a platform for those who were abused (whether sexually, physically, verbally, or spiritually) in the “Message” to share their story. By sharing with each other, we are strong. Others suffering abuse can read the stories and also become strong. We stand together as one strong voice, united together to protect our “Pearls”.

If you are interested in more information, you can find it on our website:
http://castingpearlsproject.com/