Recent Findings on Larkin, Branham, and The Church Ages
Nope, Brother Branham didn't plagiarize Larkin on The Church Ages, Seven Seals, and Daniel's 70 Weeks. Yes, God's prophet used numerous thoughts from Larkin, but he repeatedly said the material was from "history", Larkin, or other sources.
I'm not done studying Branham's references on The Future Home sermon, as I know he used some of Larkin's teachings, but I'll report on that in the near future. Today I'll focus on The Church Ages.
The Church Ages
Before preaching The Church Ages series, Brother Branham plainly said he was taking information "from the most outstanding historians" he knew. Yes, this was said beforehand, in advance. Before preaching, he said he had so many history books he couldn't bring them all to the pulpit: "And now, with all the commentaries and so forth, I could not have brought all the books". That's not the language of a plagiarist. Brother Branham was not a scholar, so he didn't behave like one. He was a humble prophet of God, and did his best to cite sources.
Brother Branham told us how he studied. He'd read the histories and write down what the Holy Spirit inspired him to share: "Now, as I have said each day, I try to get just as much wrote down on paper as I possibly can, of times, places, and so forth, because it's a historical event that we are approaching." Then when preaching the sermons, he read his handwritten notes. Sometimes he referenced the source, sometimes he didn't. During The Smyrnean Church Age sermon, Brother Branham read his own reminder off his paper to reference a historical fact: "Irenaeus, yes, I had a note here on Irenaeus, about, 'to read this history'."
Brother Branham did not call the name of every historian or the book he was referencing while preaching The Church Ages, but that doesn't make him a plagiarist. He told the saints in advance that he was digging into books, using every source he could find because he wanted to be right. He even said during The Thyatriean Church Age sermon, "I've been days and days now, those histories, digged them into all I can find everywhere." As believers, we are grateful for Brother Branham's efforts to search history for truth!
In fact, Brother Branham never claimed every word he said in The Church Ages sermon series was inspired from God. He admitted the historical references were from historians and said he was going to do his best to give the interpretations of the symbolic meanings in Revelation: "And most of my dates I take from the authentic historians, which really not interested in any side, they just wrote down facts, whatever it was, what the churches did. And I... Of course, the Divine part of the interpretation, I try to place it upon there myself, the best that I know how."
While it is true Brother Branham never said Larkin's name during The Church Ages sermon series, he did use some of his teachings and referenced it from "history". So, in other words, Brother Branham cited Larkin as a historian, but not by name. For example, Brother Branham taught on Attalus, the king-priest of Babylon, quoting Larkin's work. Immediately afterwards, he said he got this fact from "history": "Now, that's why I go back to pick up this HISTORY [Larkin] out of the church history, finding where... to what taken place when He said, 'You are dwelling where Satan's seat is'."
In closing, while Brother Branham used many of Larkin's teachings, he received the revelation of the seven angel-messengers from the Holy Spirit. I've searched Larkin's books, and Larkin never taught the Church Age Messengers were Paul, Iraneaus, Martin, Columba, Luther, Wesley, and Elijah. Those names as messengers were given to Brother Branham from the Lord, as he said: "Now, these others you might disagree, but I've set there for days and days in under inspiration till I felt the Holy Spirit strike me and anoint me for it. That's the reason I know. And watch these men that has been picked, if you're a historian, they... The same men that I have got here, and know by revelation that they was the angels to the church, they had the same ministry that these did at the beginning."
We're thankful Brother Branham set under the Spirit's anointing until It struck him to identify the messengers. Let's sit under the same anointing so the Spirit can quicken more truth to our hearts as well!
~Pastor Jesse Smith