Following A Man OR God???.
The Bible says.....
He sent a man before them, [even] Joseph, [who] was sold for a servant:
And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land... Ezekiel 22:30
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.John 1:6.
"...for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you.Acts 13:41.
All down through the ages the children of God have always followed 'a man' - never 'men' but just 'a man'. Not just any man, but a man of God's choosing. To say that an individual or a group of individuals is "following a man" is no indication that they are in error or off the beaten track. If the 'man' they follow is following God and His instructions, then they are in the perfect will of God. Don't forget what Paul said: "Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me, even as I also [am] of Christ." I Corinthians 4:16; 11:1..
God doesn't use the stars, the sun, the moon or even Angels to communicate His Word and Will to mankind - He chooses a man like Moses, Elijah and the prophets. He may choose to speak to that 'man' directly (lip to ear), by an 'open vision ministry' or He may send an Angel to that 'man'. Many times the Bible says, "The Word of the Lord came to.....the prophet...". The existence of the Bible is the result of God using 'a man'; not a group of men - but 'a man'. The Bible says in Psalms 68:11, "The Lord gave the word: great [was] the company of those that published [it]." According to His pattern He gave that Word through 'a man'; the man conveyed it to mankind, who, receiving (from 'a man') and believing it, published it abroad - great was the company of those that published it.
God did not change His pattern when He moved from the Old Testament into the New Testament. The above list confirms God's pattern of separating one man from among men to take His Message for 'the Age' to that generation. Paul was so positive of his calling, as an Apostles to the Gentiles that he boldly declared to his generation, "Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me, even as I also [am] of Christ." I Corinthians 4:16; 11:1.. Our responsibility is to recognize God's servant's, respect them and receive the message they bring. We're exhorted and warned to always "check the Message with the original Word".
Of course Satan also uses man, but to make sure that we're not deceived the Bible exhorts us to try the spirit (of the man) to make sure that he is of God or sent by God. HOW do we try the spirits of the many who profess to be sent by God? We try them and their testimony by the Word - Judge all things by the Word. If the man shows a "sign" make sure it's a Scriptural sign - not only must it be in Scripture but it must be promised for the Age in which we live - certain "signs" identify certain times and seasons on God's calendar. Also, judge the "voice" of the "sign(s)" (Exodus 4:8) - is it a Scriptural Voice? What the Voice says must be in the Word. The Message will bring the people closer to God causing them to "line up" with God's Word and will for the Age. It will definitely separate the True Believer from the world and the things of the world, to become a peculiar people unto the Lord - a life that declares "Holiness unto the Lord".
Because of our recognition and testimony of what God has done in and through the life and ministry of William M. Branham many accuse us of following a man. WHY? Because, as stated above, they are themselves in error, failing to realize that God always has and always will use "man to minister to men". God always has used a man, through whom He reveals Himself and His Word to mankind. A long discourse indeed could be written on the subject of "God's Pattern" in dealing with mankind through the ages; but suffice it to say that from Genesis to the Book of Revelation, we find God using a man to minister to mankind. Also, down through the last Seven Church Ages, in His dealings with the Gentiles, God has used a man in every age.
Cain would have done well to have followed Abel and his example - he would have been accepted. Ishmael would have done well to follow Isaac instead of persecuting him. The children of Israel would have done well if they followed Elijah instead of rejecting his ministry. The Pharisees would have done well if they had followed John the Baptist and his ministry - it would have led them to a clear understanding of the Messiah.
Everyone is following someone - an Evangelist, a Pastor, a Bishop, an Overseer, a Bible Teacher, a Presbyter, a Priest, a Pope, a Church, themselves, their husbands, their wives, etc.. Who are you following? Is his/her "sign" a Scriptural "in season" sign? Is the "voice of the Sign" a Scriptural Voice, without compromise, confronting the conditions of the Age? Or are you following a "watered-down" modernistic charismatic Gospel, full of the world and worldliness?
Remember, the Bible, in Matthew 24:24 warns us that the 'true and the false' would be so much alike "that, if [it were] possible, they shall deceive the very elect". But of course, the 'very elected' will not be deceived because they check all things, not by emotion or sensations, but by the Word. I'm not doubting the sincerity of many of the 'false' teachers, preachers or prophets, but, like Cain, offering an 'excellent' sacrifice, they're 'sincerely wrong'. O yes, Cain worshipped God too; but his problem was that he was too haughty to learn from his brother, Abel who offered the 'more excellent' sacrifice.
No disrespect is meant to those preachers mentioned above. They are highly respected in the charismatic church world today. After hearing some of them preach I would have to say that many of them are "entertainers" and not preachers. I find the excessive joking and laughing which accompany much of their 'preaching' to be unbecoming to the Gospel. Others use, not mass Holy Ghost evangelism, but mass, fervent 'religious' hype and Psychology to influence and deceive the people. Everyone is following someone and depending on that someone to lead them in the 'right way'. But lets take warning, "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof [are] the ways of death" (Proverbs 14:12).