TOTAL DEPRAVITY OF MAN
“A RESULT OF THE SERPENT’S SEED”
There is a doctrine that Brother Branham taught that we call “The Serpent’s Seed.” For the most part, the religious world has overlooked or else scorned this teaching and to their own hurt. And, not only the Nominal Church, but perhaps some in our Message have not fully understood the Prophet’s teaching of “The Serpent’s Seed” as it ties in with another of his doctrines that is not so much preached. I speak of “The Total Depravity of Man.” The Prophet told us in no uncertain terms the meaning of those terrible words in Eph. 2:1, “DEAD IN TRESPASSES AND SINS.”
Is man a totally depraved being by nature? Is he void of any spiritual light whatsoever? Is he completely dead toward God, though he is living, breathing and communicating with other human beings? Is there any soundness in him at all, inside or out? Let the Prophet answer in his own words!
QUOTE: YOU MUST BE BORN AGAIN, PAGE 14-15, “First we reckon ourselves sinners, and worthy of condemnation. And we are all born in sin and shaped in iniquity, there’s not a sound parcel of us. Our MINDS are bad, our SOUL is corrupted, our constant THINKING is evil, every imaginary THOUGHT of a man’s mind is evil, a sinner, and also that our BODY is weak, our spirit is no good, and we’re just full of CORRUPTION. And how could one corruptible thing bring another good thing out of a corruptible? Let me say this, that in Job, the 14th chapter, he said, “Seeing that man born of a woman, is full of sorrow and trouble, yet he commeth forth like a flower, he fadeth away.” And as the Prophet goes on speaking, he said, “Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? Not one!”
You stick your bucket down into the well and pull out a bucket of water, and it’s stagnant, it stinks. You look in it, and it’s muddy, and little worms is in that water, there is no way at all to put your bucket back and get a clean bucket. THE WHOLE WORLD IS CONTAMINATED. AND THE WHOLE SOUL, MIND AND BODY OF MAN IS CONTAMINATED WITH SIN. HE’S BORN IN SIN, PHYSICALLY SHAPED IN INIQUITY, AND COME TO THE WORLD SPEAKING LIES, SO THAT HIS OWN SOUL IS CONTAMINATED, NOTHING GOOD.” (End quote)
In this statement, and others like it, the Prophet sets forth the TOTAL DEPRAVITY OF MAN. What is needed is to take his teaching about the Serpent’s Seed and show exactly WHY man is totally depraved. It is because he was born (physically) with a nature (soul) that came from Lucifer, from Lucifer to the Serpent, to Eve and Adam, and to all their descendants.
If Adams’ seed down through Seth are born lost and depraved the same as the seed of Cain (and they are), then what is the difference between the two? This! Seth’s descendants are REDEEMABLE and Cain’s descendants are not.
One group has God’s seed that is quickened, the other does not. Election is the placing of the seed.
Using the scriptures and the statements of the Prophet as our authority, we want to say that the WHOLE PLAN OF SALVATION is based upon the fact that man is lost past the point of return, as far as his own ability is concerned. He is totally depraved, “DEAD IN TRESPASSES AND SINS.” He is born in such a condition that he cannot be saved by any means, except that God intervened on his behalf. This is so because he is “Of his Father the devil, and the lusts of his father he will do.” (John 8:44) “If God was his Father he would love God.” (John 8:42)
The great object of the Prophet’s teaching the two doctrines “Serpent’s Seed” and “Total Depravity” was to show man’s state in the eyes of God, to show us our impossible position without Christ Jesus and show HOW we came to be “Dead in trespasses and sins.” We are RUINED in body, soul, spirit, and mind. The soul we were born with had the image of God destroyed in it so that we were born loving sin and hating God. Is not this the very soul of Satan himself? SELF in us and Satan are identical. Self could rightly be spelled S-A-T-A-N.
Both doctrines of which we speak are unpopular to say the least. The Church Nominal rejects them in no uncertain terms. They reject Eve’s affair with a “SNAKE” as they think. Also, the unspiritual love to hear of the nobility and dignity of man. The natural man never sees himself as corrupt as the scriptures declare him to be. Too many teachers in the Nominal Church portray human nature as that which can be corrected by education, environment, and etc. They say that man is steadily improving himself and that the race is becoming better and better. And they teach this in the face of scripture that declares the opposite and while confronted with a world full of people, who are for the most part “waxing worse and worse.”
Our Prophet declared that the fallen man could not be “Patched up.” It is not that he is leaning to one side and just needs propping up, nor that he is merely ignorant and needs instructing. It is not that he is just sick in mind so that education will cure him, but the Soul and Spirit that controls the mind are ruined. It is impossible to estimate the value of our God given salvation until we first realize the state we were in beforehand. The goal of the scriptures and of the Prophet teaching these two doctrines is to strip man of his false pride, destroy his supposed self-righteousness and cast him into the dust at the Lord’s feet. It is to cause him to realize that he must be given a new nature so that he will cry out for it.
Every part of the scriptures insists upon man’s complete ruin, and his powerlessness to save himself. They declare over and over the bondage of all unsaved men unto Satan. Many false teachings are the result of ministers failing to see, or accept, the sexual sin in Eden with its resulting total depravity of mankind. True worship of God will result from the revelation of the terrible state He saved us from. Also, a revelation of our inability to improve ourselves will cause us to cry out as the Apostle Paul, “Oh wretched man that I am!”
This doctrine sheds light on the overall world scene. It explains why from the time of Cain and Able until now our history contains so much blood and tears, sorrow and heartbreak. It lets us know why our very young children do not have to be taught to do wrong. They are born with that evil in them. It helps us Christians to understand the awful conflict that is always at work in us after we are born-again. The New Birth does not destroy the law of sin that is to be found in our outer man. Therefore, the new nature imparted to us is always in direct conflict with the outer man. It explains why all the efforts of the “Social Reformers” fail to produce any lasting change in unregenerate man. It explains the stubborn and rebellious reaction to Christ and His Gospel that Christians meet in dealing with the lost, our own family members included. They are “Dead In Trespasses and Sins” and we must consider that, and love them anyway.
Some may think the Prophet spoke too strongly about the dreadful state of man without the New Nature. But, the truth is it would be impossible to express in human language the darkness of the soul we were born with. Can one understand the evil that is in the person called Satan? How can we understand the fact that there is no degree of good in him? Just as there is no degree of evil in our God, so is there no degree of good in Satan. The pollution of man’s heart without God came directly from Satan to the serpent to Eve and then was passed on to every descendant of hers. It must be said, dear friends, our first soul came from Satan. Call it nature if you like. The Prophet used the two words interchangeably.
II Cor. 4:3-4, “But if our Gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost. In whom the God of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, who is the Image of God, should shine unto them.” This blindness was first instigated in Eden when Lucifer, through the serpent, instilled his spirit into Eve. “Therefore, they (all born from that lineage) COULD NOT BELIEVE, because......he hath blinded their eyes and hardened their heart that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart and be converted and I should heal them.” (John 12:39-40)
Man knows that there is something radically wrong with human nature. But, when he tries to explain it without turning to the Word of God, he is woefully unable to do so. Without the revelation of the sexual sin between Eve and the Serpent there are no convincing answers. Apart from Divine Revelation, no sure answers can be given to such questions as, “Where did the unmistakable imperfections of man’s nature come from? How can we explain the many evils that are present and active in unregenerate man? Especially in view of the fact that the Bible teaches that our first parents were, in the beginning, God-like persons.
To say that our troubles are the result of environment and lack of education, is but to evade the Bible truth as set forth in Genesis where Eve herself stated, “The Serpent BEGUILED ME.” (Gen. 3:13) The trouble between Cain and Able, Ishmael and Isaac, and Esau and Jacob has been repeated in every age and especially now in our last age do we see the antagonism between the righteous and the wicked. The righteous are becoming more like their Bridegroom and the wicked more like their father.
In past ages, the ministers recognized the tendency of people to do evil and to be lawbreakers, but they were unaware of the real source of the problem. Now God has sent a mighty Prophet who traced mankind’s basic problem to a sexual sin in Eden between Eve and the Serpent. Which affair produced a Cain, “Who was of that wicked one.” (I John 3:12) It is astounding how backwards man’s carnal thinking is to the Word of God. Far from man having evolved up from something below an ape, he has descended from being the God-like person God made him in Eden into a dark sinful state.
Though these doctrines be unpleasant and disagreeable, it is still a part of the “Counsel of God” as revealed by the Prophet and we are not free to tone it down. We must rather “Speak unto them all that I commanded thee, be not dismayed at their faces.” (Jer.1:17) In Gen. 6:5 we read the terrible results of man’s fallen nature in words that are plain enough for all to understand. “God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”
These are solemn words indeed and how very few accept their testimony. Gen. 8:21, “The imagination of man’s heart is EVIL from his youth.” Man’s heart is such that, if left to itself it will always end up in evil. Our scripture says the thoughts of unregenerate man are EVIL CONTINUALLY, and that without exception. There is not a single virtuous one among them. Man is unclean inside and out while separated from God, his very RIGHTEOUSNESS being as filthy rags. He is so impure that nothing but the shed blood of God himself can cleanse him.
It matters not how long a man may live, social reform, education, and training have not made him weary of sinning. Even in his old and worn out body his lusts are still active within. Peter said, “They cannot cease from sin.” Time does not change the corrupt soul. God held off the flood for 120 years giving plenty of space to repent, but they only grew worse in corruption and violence. And, it is still so today. Even though God’s Divine displeasure is shown more and more distinctly with storms, diseases, wars, floods, droughts and so-called accidents that take hundreds of lives, the majority of this world’s people will not cease from sin.
Therefore, it is the duty of the Bride of Christ to preach and witness to this Gospel of man’s depravity and to show how he came to be in such a state. We are to cast down his pride of all that he trusts in outside of Christ, to strip him of his self-righteousness and cause him to fall on his face before God and cry, “Oh wretched man that I am!” (Rom. 7:24) However distasteful and offensive to the Nominal Church it may be, we must discharge our duty “Whether they will hear, or whether they will forebear.” (Ezk. 3: 11)
This is no dogma dreamed up by some old hermit that came out of the woods, as one so called friend of the Prophet stated, but it is a fundamental truth of the Holy Scriptures. The very hostility of fallen man toward everything of a spiritual nature testifies of his utter ruin. His blindness, his inner and outer corruption, his continuing in sin even after realizing he is destroying his own body and damming his soul all prove his inability to help himself. He is a slave of Satan bound by chains that only a merciful Christ can loose.
The two doctrines, “Serpent Seed” and “Total Depravity” are those that God uses to bring man to the realization of his helplessness. Man cannot, by exerting his own will, free himself from the enemy of his soul. While we imagine that our wills have the power to do those things that are pleasing to God, we will always trust in Self. Only when Self is dethroned, defeated and slain will we turn to Christ with a perfect faith in Him. Therefore, God is, at this time, crucifying His Elect. All of self’s energies and abilities for knowing and doing will be brought to and end. We shall stand before God dazed and impotent. Self must be brought through the darkness and death of it’s own ability. Then, and then only will we search out the One who never fails and trust Him completely.
The two teachings of the scriptures and the Prophet are meant to show unsaved man that to all natural remedies his condition is beyond repair. So far as human help and human skill, his case is hopeless. Jesus, Himself said, “With man the salvation of man is impossible.” (Mat. 19:26) Although man’s nature is thoroughly corrupt, he is not aware of it and is not horrified as he should be. Sin is a part of his being and he is very much in love with it. His heart is as hard as rock and he is and enemy to his Creator. He is “Without strength.” (Rom. 5:6)
We are to preach and witness these doctrines to show that the only remedy for man’s fatal disease (sin) is God Himself. There has to be the putting forth of Divine Power that can pull man from the edge of the roaring, raging fire for he will surely be consumed as a flammable brand without it. (Zech. 3:2) It will take the “Exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of HIS MIGHTY POWER.” (Eph. 1:19)
But thanks be unto God, He has made a way whereby transgressors can become “Not Guilty” and he whose “Righteousness is as filthy rags” may be justified. Sin requires punishment. How then can a sinner escape the “Due Rewards” of his deeds? God has declared very plainly that He “Will by no means clear the guilty.” (Ex. 34:7) Sin has to pay its debt. How then can the guilty escape death? How can God remain God and declare those righteous who have not themselves paid their debt? How can God justify those who are totally depraved and whose life has been one of rebellion and disobedience?
An all-wise God, full of grace and love, has supplied the answer to these questions. He took upon himself “The likeness of sinful flesh.” (Rom. 8:3) God became a man, born of a virgin into a flesh body, lived a sin-free life and then gave it as our payment. Jesus Christ was God in flesh. God satisfied God that the debt was paid. God made the plan of redemption and God carried it out to His own satisfaction. Therefore, He has declared, “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s Elect? IT IS GOD THAT JUSTIFIETH.” (Rom. 8:33)
The person who was to pay for the sins of mankind had to, in every respect, be fit and qualified to fulfill that Office and work. He must possess all the necessary qualifications. First He must be without sin Himself, then He must be willing to give that perfect life up to suffering until every last sin of every person had received its full reward. And, not only so, but after the suffering, the payment of death had to be met for there was a law of “Sin and Death.” Friends, there was only one Person suited for this work and that was God Himself. God Himself chose to be the Restorer of His fallen people.
It was none other but Him who set His heart upon us depraved wretches and exercised infinite love and pity toward us. That covenant of Grace was a mutual agreement between the Father and the Son. How could it be otherwise since they are the same Person? It was proposed and fully agreed upon that “The Beloved of the Father” should take upon Himself the form of a servant and be made in the likeness of sin’s flesh.
The great God promised to restore and we have been restored. God made the first man Lord of the earth giving him dominion over all creatures therein. But he forfeited that dominion in the fall. Therefore, our restoration must include recovering the lost estate. That recovery is also a fact through the faith of Jesus Christ operating in the Bride. She is “Ruling in this life by the gift of Righteousness.” (Rom. 5:17) To God be all the glory. Amen!