End Time Message Church
It was first called Branham Tabernacle, the church was founded by William Marrion Branham in Indiana, United States of America in 1933. He is widely believed to be a prophet because of his claims that there were supernatural signs and angel visitations during his birth including a halo over his crib. Many of the original churches were founded by Branham (1909-1965) during his revivals in the late 1940s in the post-world war 2 era. Prophet Branham started his revivals in 1947 and embarked on a Southern Africa tour in 1951 that saw him coming to Zimbabwe on the 29th of February 1951 and conducting his sermons at the Tobacco Auction Floors as an extension of his South African tour. In Zimbabwe the church was established in the 1980s and people first congregated at Chitsere Primary School in Mbare, Harare. Headquartered in Eastlea, the church has more than 50 branches around the country including in the remote areas of Dande, Hurugwe and Shamva. The Eastlea headquarters is led by pastor Hama Blessing Chesa.
His teachings are known as ‘Brahmanism, or ‘the message’ hence the term end time message. Branham extensively taught about the following:
- The Godhead
He believed that Jesus himself was man. This was evidenced by his recorded sermons for example, the message entitled ‘who is this man’, preached on October 4, 1959. His argument was that there are no three persons in the Godhead that is the (Father, Son and the Holy Ghost) but only one, that is Jesus Christ manifesting in different names at different modes in history.
Branham’s theory was that baptism was essential to avoid missing the rapture and subsequently entering into tribulation. He taught that baptism must be done in the name of Jesus only not in the name of ‘the father, the son and the Holy Ghost’ citing that these names belong to Jesus.
- The serpent’s seed
According to his understanding, Branham believed Eve’s sin in the Garden of Eden was sexual. He translated the word ‘beguiled’ in Genesis 3:13 as sexually seducing. Thus women carry this seed from generation to generation.
Different sects and doctrines in Zimbabwe
- Pastor Robert Martin Gumbura
He broke away from the original End Time Message church in 1990 and formed his own Robert Martin Gumbura (RMG) End Time Message church. His doctrine is based on polygamy. He started preaching polygamy in October 2000 resulting in many of his followers deserting him.
- Pastor Godwin Chistinde
He is one of the founder of the End time Message Church in Zimbabwe and baptised Gumbura in 1978 and is a strict follower of Branham. His doctrine is based on monogamy.
- Pastor Hama blessing Chesa
Ministers in Eastlea and leads another sect of the End Time Message sect
- On the 3rd of February 2014,RMG Independent Church founder, Robert Martin Gumbura was sentenced to 40 years in jail after being found guilty of four counts of rape and one possessing pornographic material. Gumbura brags of having 11 wives and more than 30 children who will support his doctrine of polygamy and become subsequent followers of it.
- He had strong ties with ZANU PF that saw him participating in its 2013 primary elections.