After Thoughts on William Branham
Finally finishing the book that began as a project many years ago. I can say I have a better grasp than I did before, but no one can define and explain his statements or teaching and practices fully because of who he was. And I certainly do not mean to imply him as the prophet, the 7th messenger to the church. For he was lost in mysticism.
I easily recognized the mysticism and occultism that I was familiar with before I became a believer reading a few of his pamphlets and books in the late 80’s which made me first aware of his influence.
He is one of the first, and may be the most prolific new age prophet. Branham had a new age message that was couched in Christian terms and practices. He was not interpreting nor teaching the Bible the way it was written.
Why is it so important to know who William Branham was? Because nearly every aberration, false teaching that is carried within the Latter Rain / word faith teachers of our day comes from his teaching and practice. He is admired and a mentor of the supernatural to many.
He claimed to have more visions than all the prophets combined throughout history 100 times over, (yes, even more than Benny Hinn who mimicked him.)
Branham belittled education but he was not an unlearned man, he was uneducated, evident by his speaking but he was not unlearned, he studied numerous books. He memorized large portions of his own sermons and was able to repeat it word for word at different times. He was extremely clever and manipulative.Branham introduced a new standard to the church, you cannot be intellectual and be a Christian. To him education was bad, especially biblical education because that is what would make one deny the supernatural, and secondly question his office of a prophet. To prove this point he said this absurd comparison “a man can set down and look at a bunch of flowers, a bouquet, and study that thirty minutes, sincerely with all of his heart, and know more about God than he did if he know, had all the degrees that a Bible school could give him, for God reveals Himself in the flower.” (63-0412E, God Hiding Himself In Simplicity, Western Skies Motel, Albuquerque, NM)
Branham was a panentheist, believing God is in his creation. He said his first Bible was nature,“that's how I study God first, was from His trees and plants and so forth” (53-0904, Healing (What Cancer Is), Chicago Gospel Tabernacle, Chicago, IL).
He went as far as to say “Education, and the educational system, science, and civilization is of the devil.” (65-1204 The Rapture, Yuma, Arizona)
He summed it up as the science that came from the tree of knowledge in the garden.
He taught that Satan is the author of wisdom and anything of beauty is of him. Even though the Bible says wisdom come from God andGod himself has indescribable beauty “To behold the beauty of the LORD.” (Ps 27:4)
Back then (in the 1930’s - 40’s) education was limited and Branham made statements on science and nature were accepted because people believed the man behind the pulpit would only tell what is true. Maybe some of it was what he understood as truth (which can be false), in many cases it certainly was. There is enough that he said to numb the mind and discourage the spirit as one tries to decipher his unbiblical ramblings.
It becomes obvious as one reads Branham’s sermons carefully that Bible doctrine did not have a place of importance in his ministry. His interpretations were introduce by his unnamed angel. It was more in the footsteps of mysticism, with an experience of the supernatural that was not according to the Scripture. The angel introduced Branham to an unbiblical way of interpretation. The whole Genesis teaching was removed from a literal interpretation kept in its context, such as his serpent seed teaching. He did the same to the last book. Nearly everything he said was not scripturally based but sounded “bible like.”
So it is today by those who admire and desire his abilities to mimic him, using the same methods and practices (This would be Benny Hinn, Rick Joyner, Bill Johnson, Todd Bentley etc.). In fact the list is so long it may be easier to cite those who do not admire him.
From the beginning, his story of the angel, who is a light came into his room at birth, came down at his first baptism where he claimed all saw it, pictures were taken and it was written in papers everywhere, even up in Canada. How did a newspapers all over carry THIS STORY and not the local papers? How do we know someone did not start a rumor? Because that is all it is, a mystical rumor that he made up years later and used it to make himself into an Elijah as he told this story 20 years later in his healing gatherings.
Branham’s own words show he was not called to teach. Even his associates in ministry told him this. His explanation of healing (vibrations and other dimensional travels) also show it was not God operating as it left him confused, depleted and disoriented to reality. To the point he became unconscious and even felt that he was dying.
The Bible teaches of angels that are sent invisibly to protect us, but not to reveal themselves as a spirit guide through life, nor teach or produce power or miracles (or at every meeting). To ignore this criteria is to venture beyond the words and principles of Scripture. Yet today from some of the more popular teachers we hear them speak of angels being sent, see and hear them constantly. Which origin can be found with Mr. Branham.
Rick Joyner “Angelic appearances will be common to the saints and a visible glory of the Lord will appear upon some for extended periods of time as power flows through them.” (Rick Joyner, The Harvest, p.128-129).
Benny Hinn“…the angels of the Lord are about to invade planet earth and come to your house.” (Benny Hinn Honolulu Blaisdell, Jan.21, 1999).
And then there is Todd Bentley who claimed to be visited in Dec. 2000 by an angel who said “I am a healing angel . . . You are going to take miracles, signs and wonders around the world.” “I was with William Branham.” Bentley claimed the same angel that Branham knew of his whole life was now with him. This may be a bragging point to the undiscerning but to those who know the truth from the error, this was a fallacious claim.
This is what Branham’s story was about, his personal angel from birth. Angels do not continually speak as a disembodied voice. It is rare in the New Testament with a few exceptions of God using an angel to reveal something of Christ to Zacharias, Mary, and Joseph. There was a Biblical purpose for the visits. Nowhere are believers told to look for angelic appearances or more teaching or miracles from them as Branham did.
Without knowing right doctrine you cannot know whether your spiritual experience is from God. This is why Branham fell for his angel’s lies, he trusted that what he told him what is right. The saying “trust but verify” seems to apropos here. He went through his whole life not knowing the angels name, assumed he was the angel of the Lord, Jesus the Holy Spirit.
Was everything he said a wrong or a lie? No not everything but when one gets into a high percentage of exaggeration, embellishment or duplicity you can know they are not living in the word. He admitted he lived by supernatural experiences via visions.He tried to make his listeners into cadres of the supernatural, calling them “manifest sons of God” like Jesus.
So let’s look at just a few major points of his teaching that departed from the Scripture
He had mystical view of creation,“I--I believe that man's spirit was made before all the supernatural was made before the natural.” (52-0713A, Early Spiritual Experiences, Civic Center, Hammond, IN)
The heavens and the earth were supernaturally made as the first creation according to the bible, so he is saying man was made before this.
“…if you've got Eternal Life, you were a... in God before there ever was a world. You are a part, a son of God, an attribute of God (65-1204, The Rapture, Ramada Inn, Yuma, AZ)
He said all mankind was in God as attributes. This kind of view can be found in the Kabbala, and Gnosticism and muysticism.
Branham had two, three, and even upwards of five versions of the same account. Not since Joseph Smith claimed to be a prophet and restore the truth and the melchizedic priesthood to the church do we hear of such grandiose claims. In fact Branham also said he too was visited a by Melchisedek and given communion.
He taught that Jesus the prophet was the fullness compared to the other prophets who were gods. The fullness of the Spirit made him the God prophet.
The basis of Jesus’ identity as the eternal Son was thoroughly taught and defended in Bible and by the early church. The early pastor apologists openly spoke out on those that challenged the deity of Christ the Son with the Father. But not by Branham, he spoke against it.
“there cannot be an Eternal son, because a son had to have a beginning. And so Jesus had a beginning, God had no beginning.” (Conduct, Order, Doctrine of the Church, p.273).
“that Eternal One was the Father manifest in flesh, and thereby gained the title of Son” (The Revelation of the Seven Seals Mar.17, 1963 A.M. Branham Tabernacle Jeffersonville, IN (Church Age Book).
“The Father covered all the space. And then this God become bodilized down to the Logos.” (51-0729A, The Resurrection Of Lazarus, National Guard Armory, Erie, PA)
So Branham believed the Father is the Son who became the Logos (that became man). “And the Father is the Son.” (64-1221, Why It Had To Be Shepherds, Ramada Inn, Tucson, AZ)
Branham refused to acknowledge Jesus was the Son of God, God preexistent John 20:31: “that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.”
He would mostly say is that his angel is Jesus (even though he did not know the angels name). He was the son of God but NOT when he was incarnated. He became the Son of God when he came back as the Holy Spirit.
If one does not conform to the core doctrines are they a Christian? Gods only son (only begotten) is not equal to sons of God among men who are adopted into his family.
Speaking of the Word “That's, first it was a thought. And it has to be a thought; then, when it's expressed, it becomes a word. And then, "In the beginning was the Word.” (62-0609E, Letting Off The Pressure, Bible Tabernacle, Southern Pines, NC).
Consider what he said, The Son is not eternal but was created. First a thought – then spoken- then materialized. Branham explained The Word, as: “And now the Logos that went out of God, which was the--the Logos, all this begin to form into a--a body shape.” (57-0828, Hebrews, Chapter Two #3, Branham Tabernacle). “God's got a body, and it looks like a man.” (57-0420, The Entombment, Branham Tabernacle)
So the logos was first a thought in God, went out and became a body of man. Yet Branham taught the logos is the Father. The Father was in a body of a man in heaven. This is clearly not Christian teaching from the Bible, he used the Bibles words but assigned a very different meaning. Thus proving he had a different Jesus just like the Gnostics, mystics and cults do.
Those who are attracted to Branham’s message think that sitting under his teachings are like sitting under an Isaiah or Jeremiah, or the least of the apostles like Paul which is beyond incredulity.
William Branham spent much of his time using his supernatural experiences to ‘vindicate’ himself, constantly referring to his visions and past events as supernatural evidence for his perfect track record. He believed what he was preaching was of God, and he eventually promoted himself to be the last prophet, the 7th angel for the last day’s church who opened up the 7 seals.
Today there are many (not a few) that aspire to be like their hero of the supernatural “Brother Branham,” who had far more heresy than he had sound doctrine. How do they dismiss the errors of the man (failed prophecy, visions, revisioning, embellishments and lies, etc.) and yet consider the teaching as being without error, from God?
It was and still is ignored by the so called “gifted of the spirit”, men and women in the signs and wonders movement of our day, the so called prophets and apostles.
Branham forged the new crusades called the “Healing revival” that were basically for believers unlike gospel crusades that center on salvation by the message Jesus told us to give.
His outreach was basically to the church, not to the unsaved.
Branham stated “There's no man can heal, not even Jesus. Jesus didn't claim to be a Divine Healer. He said, "It's not Me that doeth the works; It's My Father that dwelleth in Me; He doeth the works."
The Bible proves otherwise. Jesus said in John 14:11 “Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.”
He was in the father as the father was in him. What does that mean? Was his humanity in the Father? And who is in the Father to Branham? Both Jesus and the Father were the same person, and that they were attributes in God before they became man.
John 5:36-37 “for the works which the Father has given Me to finish--the very works that I do--bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me. And the Father Himself, who sent Me, has testified of Me.”
Jesus was sent from heaven by the Father, he became man through the virgin conceiving and submitted himself as one person to the Father while on earth (Philipp. 2:5-8).
The apostles turned the world upside down, Branham turned the church upside down. He introduced new unbiblical revelations and doctrines from his personal angel. He became the first new age prophet in the modern church era.
The danger was that His associates did not make the connection of doctrinal errors or heresy that negates ones gift operating from God.
It’s important who you learn from. One needs to gather all that Branham said on a single subject to understand what he meant, look at his statements from A-Z. Trying to separate the details can be an enormous task as Branham mixed up his stories of how and when things happened. It’s like trying to pull single strand of spaghetti out of a bowl of Spaghetti without disturbing the bowl and keeping the strand intact.
After knowing what his life was like I cannot give him the benefit of doubt when nearly every spiritual event has so many contradictions. What this mean is that something is seriously wrong when this is consistently taking place.
After 30 years of studying the cults and spiritual movements within the church. I have come to the conclusion that the majority of false teaching we see today can ALL be traced back to Branham (not Kenyon, not Hagin, more probable Finis Dake through his associates that went to Bethel college and were part of the aftermath of the Asuza revival). His teaching is found not just in exact words but principles and practices. He leavened the whole church and it is still spreading because of those who listen to him.
I do not believe we have not seen anyone more audacious, mendacious or clever then William Branham. Others have made their movements in history but those like Joseph Smith who were not within the church are low grade compared to him. His followers called “message believers” are in the millions and there are many more within the church influenced by him that believe and follow him as a true prophet. Because of this liberal acceptance of Branham, without discerning the doctrinal errors and his own internal contradictions we face an increasing danger of his supernatural influence permeating the worldwide church in these last days.