William Marrion Branham
His beginnings and calling
There are few men that have affected the Church in modern times in such a way that after almost 40 years ministries still model themselves after, and speak of in an adoring fashion. In the healing circles William Branham is always mentioned as possibly the greatest. You can say Branham was the light at the beginning of the tunnel for Pentecostal healing and miracle meetings. Its no wonder Oral Roberts, Copeland, Hinn and many others look his ministry for inspiration.
“Two of the earliest and most influential healing evangelists of the mid twentieth century were William M. Branham and Oral Roberts.” (THE HEALING AND LATTER RAIN MOVEMENT Richard Riss A survey of 20th-CENTURY REVIVAL MOVEMENTS in North America)
Branham was welcomed by many Pentecostal churches and parachurch organizations such as the Full Gospel Business Men's Fellowship which was in it's prime during the 1950's. In 1961 the editor of their magazine VOICE said, “in Bible days, there were men of God, who were Prophets and Seers. But in all the Sacred Records, none of these had a greater ministry than that of William Branham.” (Discernment newsletter July/Aug 1998)
In this first part I would like to do is look at his early life, how he received his calling, and what his calling actually was. Much can be said of Branham in his pursuit of holiness and wanting the fullness of the Spirit in the Church. There are some things that just can' be discerned at this time. The word of God becomes the ultimate arbitrator for accepting or rejecting ones claims no matter what kind of supernatural signs follow. There are some things that must be examined carefully to grasp what was operating and which eventually influenced the post war Pentecostal movement .
William Marrion Branham was born April 16, 1909 on a farm near Birksville in the mountains of Kentucky. His mother was fifteen years of age and his father was eighteen years He being the first of nine children. Branham was told by his mother that his birth was accompanied by a supernatural sign. He was born in the predawn morning. He was told that when the small window of the cabin was opened, that a light stood in the opening.
His parents were very poor. His fathers occupation was a logger and their first home was a dirt floor log cabin . On the day of his birth, after being washed, he was placed in his mother's arms by the midwife who then went to a window to open the shutter. (There was no glass in the Branham house in those days.) As dawn broke, sending a few rays of light into the room, there was seen a circular halo about a foot in diameter above the bed where little William lay in his mother's arms. (My Life Story, p.21).
“This light appeared Immediately after his birth above both the mother and child. This halo has been seen by thousands of people since and was photographed in 1950, in Houston, Texas campaign. And is circulated today as proof of Gods presence and Gods approval on this man. His” father and Mother did not go to church, and they married out of the church and they had no religion at all” (Footsprints On The Sands Of Time”). Actually Branham being openly honest says his, “father was a long way from being a religious person. He was a typical mountain boy that drank constantly, all the time.” (My Life story) So his parents were not following the Lord.
When he was very young approximately 3 years old, he thought he heard a bird speak in a tree, “And I turned and listened, and the bird flew away, and a voice said,” You're going to spend a big part of your life near a city called New Albany “(which is 3 miles from where he was raised. (How the Angel came to me, and his commission, p.59).
In his own words he said: “The first thing I can remember in life is a vision. I was eighteen months old...”(7 Consecutive Visions (Concerning Endtime Events From 1933 to The End). This is amazing that he can remember something at a year and half old when most children cannot even remember from 3-5 years old. Why would God give a child who is not a believer such an important a panoramic view of the end of time when he can barely understand or speak?
“Another time years later 'I was crying, and all at once I heard something making a noise like a whirlwind, something like this going “Whoooosssh, whooooossssh,” just a noise like that. Well, it was awful quiet, and I looked around. And you know what, a little whirlwind, I believe you call them a little cyclone. And I was under a great white popular tree, …. And I heard that noise. ... And I got just few feet from that, out from under the branches of this big tree, and, oh, my, it made a whirl sounding. And I turned to look and about halfway up that tree was another whirlwind, caught in that tree just a-going around and around, moving those leaves. ... So I watched, but it didn’t leave off. Usually it’s just a puff for a moment, then it goes, but it had already been in there two minutes or more.
Well, I started up the lane again. And I turned to look at this again. And when It did, a human Voice just as audible as mine is, said, “Don’t you never drink, smoke, or defile your body in any way. There’ll be a work for you to do when you get older.” Why, it liked to scared me to death! …. I dropped those buckets, and home I went just as hard as I could go, screaming at the top of my voice. ...”
Well, I told that to Mama, and-and she just laughed at me. And I was just hysterical. She called the doctor, and the doctor said, “Well, he’s just nervous, that’s all.” So she put me to bed. And I never, from that day to this, ever passed by that tree again. I was scared. I’d go down the other side of the garden, because I thought there was a man up in that tree and He was talking to me, great deep Voice that spoke. (William Branham, My Life Story (Edmonton: End Time Message Tabernacle) pgs. 14-15
When he was about seven years old, the wind was blowing through the trees and a voice come out from the trees saying, “Never drink, smoke or defile your body in any way, for I have a great work for you to do when you are older” (My life Story, p.24)
Asceticism is to renounce things of the flesh, any vices. They can adopted ultra strict diets, embrace harsh regimes of living, and deny themselves every earthly comfort. This voice is asking him to do just that. Many cults stress holiness and morality. The only means we have to test the spirits is rightly dividing the Word of Truth.
What I find interesting is that this angel never told him the gospel, and he says “I have a great work” not God, nor does he mention Jesus Christ .The voice is not pointing to Christ but asking him to do something that can be done in any religion.
“Some years later he become so hungry for God, that he went out to an old wood shed and there tried to pray. Suddenly there appeared a light in the form of a cross and a voice spoke to him in a language he did not understand. He prayed, “Lord, if this is you, please, come back and talk to me again. The light re-entered the shed three times. Then he knew he had met God. “
How convenient, a cross of light. Interesting that crosses of light are showing up all over the world through other religions and new age adherents. This hardly is to be considered a sign from God, unless one wants to accept statues crying as well.
“He knew that something had happened to him and as he prayed the second time, it appeared again - the LIGHT in the form of a Cross. In his own words he said, “Then it seemed to me that there had been a thousand pounds lifted from my soul.” Something swept over him and he experienced an exquisite feeling he had never know before. He said it felt like rain was pelting down on his body. He knew then that God had forgiven him of his sin and baptized him with the Holy Ghost.”This seems to contradict another story of being in the hospital and converted as well as not knowing the baptism of the Spirit which he received later from Oneness Pentecostals (“They started to speak about the baptism of the Holy ghost and Jesus and I didn't know what they were talking about”) (My life story p.35-40). Notice there was no gospel proclaimed just a cross of light as an experience.
Branham was converted around the age of twenty and married Hope Brumbach. His conversion was a result of a series of visions occurring during and after a life threatening illness (Acts of the Prophet, pp. 40-43).
He then became an itinerant preacher with the missionary Baptist Church.
He claimed that this voice from childhood followed him the rest of his life and was the voice which controlled his healing ministry (we find out later is an angel). Branham had received two revelations, the first occurred years later at the river the 2nd at his commission.
It was June 11, 1933, a hot summer, Sunday afternoon. Almost 4000 people had gathered to witness a Baptismal service being conducted by young Branham. While baptizing converts in the Ohio River, that the voice spoke again: at that moment a blazing Star came whirling down out of the heavens with the sound of rushing wind audible to all. It hovered right above the Prophet.
“I was baptizing down on the river, my first converts, at the Ohio River ... And just then a whirl come from the heavens above, and here come that Light, shining down. ... And It hung right over where I was at. A Voice spoke from there, and said, “As John the Baptist was sent for the forerunner of the first coming of Christ, you’ve got a Message that will bring forth the forerunning of the Second Coming of Christ.” And it liked to a-scared me to death. And I went back, and all the people there ... they asked me, said, “What did that Light mean?”
Witnesses are said “A big group of colored people from the-the Gilead Age Baptist church and the Lone Star church down there, and many of those was down there, they began screaming when they saw that happen, people fainted” (William Branham, How the Angel Came to Me, and His Commission ( End Time Message Tabernacle) p. 18).
He later in 1933 pastored at Branham tabernacle built by his followers and worked as a game warden to support his family.
In his early ministry as a Baptist, he came in contact with “Jesus-Only” Pentecostals. This sect broke away from the traditional Pentecostal movement denying the doctrine of the Trinity. He attended one of their national conventions and was invited to preach. Here he tells how he meets the “Oneness” Pentecostals …”I was coming back from the lake… and I begin to notice cars that had signs on the back, said “Jesus only.” He followed them to a Church finding himself among Pentecostals. They started to speak about the baptism of the Holy ghost and Jesus and didn't know what they were talking about. Then they spoke in tongues. They called all the preachers to the platform and he was among the 200 and he introduced himself among the oneness preachers. They picked an elderly black man to preach and he was impressed by his sermon on heaven. The spirit hit the man and he jumped up and clicked his heels and said there wasn't enough room for him to preach. He wondered “If that'll make an old man act like that, what would it do if I got it on me?” so he began to ask the Lord “help me to know what this is all about.” The next day to his surprise and dismay he was called up to preach and he spoke on Luke 16 and hell, the people were moved. He was approached and asked to come to Texas to hold a revival. He went home ecstatic to tell his wife hope, She asked “They're not holy rollers are they” “He told her what he had seen and she said for them to tell her folks. Hopes mother Mrs. Brumbach a Baptist was aghast that he would be influenced by them and said not to “drag her daughter out among stuff like that!” Branham listened at the time and said reflecting on it “It was the worst mistake I ever made in my life” ( W.M. Branham, My life story, p.35-40).
Branham was at first bothered by the many visitations and repeatedly prayed that God would take them away. All through his life he had seen visions, and had trances how things would happen. It kept bothering him. Everybody kept telling him It was wrong, telling him it’s the Devil. But no matter how much he'd keep praying for that not to come, It would still come. This troubled him and up to this time in his life he had no knowledge of what the Scriptures taught about it.
He felt like a prisoner and yet he would say, “I love the Lord Jesus.” Becoming what we know as depressed he would consider to do what the voice told him not to. Each time he tried to smoke or drink he heard the peculiar sound of the wind blowing and felt the presence of an unseen being. Being frustrated and nervous he tried to keep away from the peculiar life that was his, but he could not.
He was surrounded by death which he blamed on his disobedience. One of his brothers Edward, next in age to him was very ill and died. It is said each time he resisted God before his conversion, tragedy or sorrow of some kind would come to him. His wife 'Hope” had contracted a lung infection and a storm ensued with flooding where his father took her and his two babies who had contracted pneumonia to the hospital she died one month after their third wedding anniversary. Distressed on his wife's death soon followed his daughter Sharon Rose. Kneeling down beside her bedside he pleaded, “Lord, what have I done? Haven't I preached the Gospel on the Street corners? Don't hold it against me Lord. I never called them people “trash”. Forgive me, Lord. Don't take my baby.”(this was in reference to the Oneness Pentecostals that his wife's parents told him to stay away from.) “He then saw a big black sheet come down over her and he knew he refused him” (Footprints on the Sands of Time ).
Branham's wife and baby daughter died in 1937 from Tubercular Meningitis. He felt that it was because he had not continued in fellowship with the Pentecostals and had missed God's will (Acts of the Prophet, p. 47). Certainly Branham's gift would not have flourished in a Baptist Church atmosphere. The angel was leading him elsewhere. The question that comes to mind is what kind of a God (or angel ) punishes others who are not involved for another's mistakes. We can see the affect this took on him.
Branham became so despondent that he took to suicide I said, “Lord, I can't go this anymore, I'm dying. I'm so tormented.” I pulled the hammer back on the gun, put it up to my head, kneeling there on that cot in that dark room. I said, “Our Father Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy Name. Thy Kingdom come, Thine will be done,” and I squeezed that trigger as hard as I could….” But the gun wouldn't go off!
And I thought, “O God, are You just tearing me to pieces? What have I done? You won't even let me die.” And I throwed the gun down, and it went off and shot through the room. And I said, “God, why can't I die and get out of it? I just can't go no farther. You've got to do something to me” (Footprints on the Sands of Time”).
He isn't sure what happened next but thinks he went to sleep and woke up in heaven meeting his daughter and wife and was taken to a mansion and was assured everything was OK. And so we can trace back to him as the source for the Pentecostal trips to heaven scenario that multitudes claim to have experienced today. Branham is responsible for numerous aberration's that have lead others to the same adumbration's he experienced.
Years went by and honoring his first wife's dying request to marry again. He met Meda Broy who he eventually married when he was 32 years old and she was twenty-two. His son Billy Paul was just six years old at the time.
The healing ministry of William M. Branham began in the spring of 1946. On May 7 of that year, according to Branham an angel visited him and Branham received what he came to call his “charge” from the recurrent audible voice from a disembodied spirit. This time the voice appeared to him in bodily form and gave him a commission to heal.
Branham was the house taking off my gun working as a game warden. This is how he explained his experience: “I had come home for lunch, and was just going around, when a dear friend of mine approached me and asked me to go to Madison with him that afternoon. I told him it was impossible as I had to patrol, and while walking around the house under a maple free, it seemed that the whole top of the tree let loose. . . something came down through that tree like a great rushing wind . . My wife came from the house frightened, and asked me what was wrong. Trying to get hold of myself ( I sat down and told her that after all these twenty odd years of being conscious of this strange feeling, the time had come when I had to find out what it was all about. The crisis had come! I told her and my child good-bye, and warned her that if' l did not come back in a few days, perhaps I might never return . . .
He went to cave that he visited as a boy, “All of us have a place we go to when we get in those troubles. I've got a little cave that the FBI couldn't find that I get into. I'll stay in there for two or three days. I have to wade up a Creek, and go up over a hill; and through a branch, go under a tree and go down into a cave “ (William Branham, “What Hearest Thou, Elijah?” April 12, 1959).
Then along in the night, at about the eleventh hours, I had quit praying and was sitting up when I noticed a light flickering in the room. Thinking someone was coming with a flashlight, I looked out of the window, but there was no one, and when I looked back, the light was spreading out on the floor, becoming wider. Now I know this seems very strange to you, as it did to me also.
As the light was spreading, I became excited and started from the chair, but as I looked up, there hung that great star. However, it did not have five points like a star, but looked more like a ball of fire or light shining down upon the floor.
Just then I heard someone walking across the floor, which startled me again, as I knew of no one who would be coming there besides myself Now, coming through the light, I saw the feet of a man coming toward me, as naturally as you would walk to me. He appeared to be a man who, in human weight, would weigh about two hundred pounds, clothed in a white robe. He had a smooth face, no beard, dark hair down to his shoulders, rather dark-complexioned, with a very pleasant countenance, and coming closer, his eyes caught with mine. Seeing how fearful I was, he began to speak, 'Fear not, I am sent from the presence of Almighty God to tell you that your peculiar life and your misunderstood ways have been to indicate that God has sent you to take a gift of divine healing to the peoples of the world. IF YOU WILL BE SINCERE, AND CAN GET THE PEOPLE TO BELIEVE YOU NOTHING SHALL STAND BEFORE YOUR PRAYER, NOT EVEN CANCER . He told me many things which I do not have space to record here, He told me how I would be able to detect diseases by vibrations on my hand. He went away, but I have seen him several times since then, He has appeared to me perhaps once or twice within the space of six months and has spoken with me. A few times he has appeared visibly in the presence of others. I do not know who he is. I only know that he is the messenger of God to me. (William Branham “A Man Sent By God”) To my reading the stories it is hard to put them in sequence and know when what occurred and it seems at times there are conflicts of how they are told sometimes we are told he was 2, 3 and 7 years old.
Notice the message is to believe him, not pointing to God and his word. This is subtle, but not to be overlooked. Also he is sent for divine healing, but Jesus never sent anyone for this he sent them to preach the gospel. Where does it say the requirement to do miracles is sincerity? With all the visitations he still is puzzled who this being is yet he trusts him. Why? Even though the angel says “fear not” I think there was a great deal of fear that accompanied the presence.
We also find what these other things were in another testimony, I thought, “0 God, why do You do this to me?” I said, “Father, You know I love You. You know that I love You! And I-I-I don't want to be possessed of the Devil. I don't want them things to happen to me. Please God, don't never let it happen no more.”
And-and right in here there was a-a Light on the floor, and I thought, “Well, where's that? Well, that couldn't be coming...” I looked around. And here iIt was above me, this very same Light, right there above me, hanging right like that. Circling around like a fire, kind of an emerald color, going, “Whoossh, whoossh, whoossh!” like that, Just above It, like that. And I looked at that, and I thought, “What is That?” Now, It scared me.
And I heard somebody coming, [Brother Branham imitates someone walking-Ed.] just walking, only, it was barefooted. And I seen the foot of a Man come in. Dark in the room, all but right here where It was shining right down. And I seen the foot of a Man coming in. And when He come into the room, walked on up, He was a Man about... looked to weigh about two hundred pounds. He had His hands folded like this. Now, I had seen It in a Whirlwind, I had heard It talk to me, and seen It in the form of a Light, but the first time I ever seen the image of It. It walked up to me, real close…Well, honest friends, I-I thought my heart would fail me. ... Cause after hundreds and hundreds of times of visitations, it paralyzes me when He comes near. It sometimes it even makes me ... I almost completely pass out, just so weak when I leave the platform many times. If I stay too long, I’ll go completely out. I’ve had them ride me around for hours, not even know where I was at. And I can’t explain it. ...
So I was sitting there and looking at Him. I-I kind of had my hand up like that. He was looking right at me, just as pleasant. But He had a real deep Voice, and He said, “Do not fear. I am sent from the Presence of Almighty God.” And when He spoke, that Voice, that was the same Voice that spoke to me when I was two years old, all the way up. I knowed that was him. so He said, “Your peculiar birth and misunderstood life has been to indicate that you’re to go to all the world and pray for the sick people.” And said, “And regardless of what they have ... if you get the people to believe you, and be sincere when you pray, nothing shall stand before your prayers, not even cancer.”
And He said, “As the prophet Moses was given two gifts, signs to vindicate his ministry, so will you be given two.” He said, “One of them will be that you’ll take the person that you’re praying for by the hand, with your left hand and their right,” and said, “then just stand quiet, and there’ll be a physical effect that’ll happen on your body. Then you pray. And if it leaves, the disease is gone from the people. If it doesn’t leave, just ask a blessing and walk away.”
[it is said: this sign would manifest as he held the hand of any person who had a germ-type disease his hand would be swollen and take on different shades of color whereby he would know the names of the diseases. If there were other diseases than the bacterial type, the Spirit would let him know by revelation what the trouble was. (addition)]
He said, “And the next thing will be, if they won’t hear that, then they will hear this. Then it’ll come to pass that you’ll know the very secret of their heart.” This they will hear.” He said, “You were born in this world for that purpose”(William Branham, How the Angel Came to Me, and His Commission (voice of God recordings) Jan.17, 1955 , pp. 73-75).
Notice the fear and the reaction to this being that bestows his powers. Branham clearly identifies the voice as one of an angel, and literally hundreds of visitations. What does Paul say about an angel with another gospel? This all sounds too similar to how Mormonism started. Notice he said he was paralyzed this is exactly what Joseph Smith said happened when he was confronted with the angel of light” I was seized upon by some power which entirely overcame me…” he was ready to sink into despair and abandon himself to destruction-…to the power of some actual being from the unseen world, who had such marvelous power as I had never before felt in any being.. I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head .' (Joseph Smiths History.1:16) While all the similarities are not all found in Branham's story at this particular encounter, his life experiences certainly parallel Josephs Smiths. They both did come to the same conclusions, that the church is in apostasy and that none of their denominations or sects were right, God rejects their creeds. It becomes quite clear in Branham's writings that he was conversing and was bestowed powers by an angel of light.
The next Sunday Branham's first challenge, a woman dying with cancer, was brought before him. Just as the angel had said, he had a vision and prayed for the woman. She was healed. His fame spread far and wide (Acts of the Prophet, p. 80). From that time forward, the angel would accompany Branham when he ministered night and day.
During the Sunday evening service at which he first spoke of what had happened, he received a telegram from a friend, Robert Daugherty requesting that he come to pray for his sick daughter in St Louis. Branham went to St. Louis and prayed for her, and her health improved He returned to Daughertys church to conduct a healing revival from June 14 to June 2 5, 1946. His reputation spread throughout the United Pentecostal Church, and he was soon invited to hold a revival in the Bible Hour Tabernacle in Jonesboro, Arkansas, pastored by Rex Humbard's father “Dad Humbard.” Branham was reported to have raised a dead man at these meetings. According to Gordon 25,000 people attended from twenty-eight states. From there W, E. Kimson brought Branham from town to town, attracting enormous crowds. (20th-CENTURY REVIVAL MOVEMENTS, p.106, R. Riss)
Branham does remember as a young man, he was twice approached by astrologers who attempted to explain to him that he was born under a sign. They both told him that he was the possessor of “a gift”, though neither told what it was. One of them told him that she saw a Light following him. She was able to give his exact date of birth even to the time of 5 o'clock in the morning. She said that when the planets cross again as they did in Christ's time. “He sends another gift to the earth.”And said you were born on the crossing of that time…that is the reason I knew it” (Footprints on the Sands of Time, p.78).
Branham retells a story about how everyone is saying his experiences of the devil. When he asks the angel about this the Angel explains to him that they said the same about Jesus, “ When the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ begin to take place, the ministers said, He was Beelzebub, the Devil' but the devils said, he was the Son of God….Paul and Barnabas when they were up there preaching. The ministers said, These men turn the world upside down . they're evil, they're the devil. And the little old fortune teller out in the street recognized that Paul and Barnabas was men of God.. Is that right “Spiritualists soothsayers, demon possessed people” (How the Angel came to me, and his Commission p.79).
First of all we don't go to demon possessed people to hear the truth or get verification of our doctrine or ministry.
Secondly this is hardly what a real angel from God would use to comfort one who is questioning the source of their supernaturalism. Neither was it said at the beginning of Jesus ministry, this was said at least halfway through (Matthew 12).
In 1950 Branham had a photo taken that is now passed around as the verification of his ministry. He considered it the same “pillar of light” that had been with him since birth. Branham was asked about the light that accompanied him in ministry “What do you think It is then.”
“I believe that It is the same Pillar of Fire that led the children of Israel from Egypt to Palestine. I believe It's the same Angel of Light that come in the-in the jail and come in to Saint Peter and touched him, and went forward and opened the door and put him out into the light. And I believe that It's Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today, and forever. Amen! He's the same Jesus today that he was yesterday. He will be forever the same Jesus.” (William Branham, How the Angel Came to Me, and His Commission, p.88 (voice of God recordings) Jan. 17, 1955).
If I'm reading this right he states this is the angel who went to free Peter in jail and that it is Jesus himself the power of God that is inside him. Twice in Branham's meetings he had photographs reveal a halo over his head. Wow, just like the paintings of Jesus and the apostles. Pictures of a light circling over ones head is not proof they are sent by God, but this seemed sufficient for his followers.
“And while I'm talking about It, that same Light that's on that picture is on ... standing not two feet from where I'm standing right now. … I can't see It with my-my eyes, but I know It's standing here. I know It's settling with inside of me right now. Oh! If you could only know the difference when the power of Almighty God catches” (ibid. p.88)
Branham said he was told by the angel that he would be able, to detect diseases by vibrations in his left hand. He claimed to feel heat in his hand as he touched affected parts. 1 Cor.12:11 states it is the spirit that distributes the gifts not an angel, God is not an angel although at times Branham is confused and calls him the angel of the Lord. This same angel leads him into all kinds of heresies including Branham proclaiming himself the angel of Rev 3:14 and 10:7 who came from heaven, and was said he eventually began baptizing people into his own name.
The Bible has no record of Jesus doing His miracles by the assistance of any angel. He actually said he could call 10 legions of angels down, but did not. He was comforted by angels but he did his miracles by being God the Son and through the power of the Holy Spirit. Neither does the record of the Acts of the apostles have any healings by a angel, they did it all by the power of the Holy Spirit. Why does Branham have an angel when no other Biblical prophet or apostle in history had need of one to accomplish Gods work?
To confirm this Kurt Koch writes, While conducting healing services Branham would often fall into a trance during which his angel would work through him. Asked once if the healings were done by the Holy Spirit, Branham replied, “No, my angel does it” (Kurt Koch, 'Occult Bondage and Deliverance', p.50, 1972).
He Couldn't do anything without his angel being present! When he showed up he was able to heal. This is like channeling and having a spirit guide.(the angels name is never divulged because he never knew it.)
Branham said “I'm convinced that the same Angel that come down in the form of a Man and talked to Abraham with His back turned to the tent (yet knowing the thoughts in Sarah's heart), is the same One here tonight” (CONVINCED THAN CONCERNED, June 10, 1962).
He also believed that this angel had actual flesh on his body. “Now, we find, God in all ages has had skin on It. See?” ((Is this true? The Bible says God is spirit, not human. He became human at a certain time but this hardly endorses the idea he ALWAYS has skin on him).
He may have been convinced by what he saw and heard but the Bible says otherwise. Branham believes that the one who he calls an angel is Jesus who visited Abraham. That he has been making special appearances for his meetings and predestinated him for his ministry. The Angel of the LORD was not to appear anymore since the son was incarnated, Jesus was resurrected in a body and does not make special trips from heaven before the 2nd coming outside of gathering his saints together at the last trump.
Are we to believe is that the glory of God is from a presence of an angel. Yet he has said “The Angel of the Lord that comes is not the Lord Jesus. It doesn't look like him in the same vision. For, the vision I saw of the Lord Jesus, he was a little man” (Footprints on the sands of Time, p.60). Yet he had said “It is the same Pillar of Fire that led the children of Israel from Egypt to Palestine… “It's Jesus Christ” ... (How the Angel Came to Me, and His Commission, p.88.)
The Angel (messenger) of the Lord that talked with Abraham (and Moses) Was the Lord Jesus, he is called Yahweh In Gen.22:1-16 Abraham encounters the angel of the Lord who asks him to sacrifice his son we find him identifying himself as V.16 and said: “By Myself I have sworn, says the LORD (Yahweh). In Ex.3: 2 the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush V.6 This angel identifies himself as the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. In v.14-16 he then calls himself the I am who I am. Judges 2:1-5 “Then the Angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said: “I led you up from Egypt and brought you to the land of which I swore to your fathers; and I said, 'I will never break My covenant with you. (see also Gen. 16:7-13 ; 32:24-30; Judges 13:2-3; Zech.3:1-2)It was God who made the covenant and It was God who lead Israel out.
Branham “ met Gordon Lindsey, who was a young Assemblies of God pastor in Oregon. “Soon afterward, Lindsay became his manager (1947) Gordon Lindsay arranged for Branham to hold a series of meetings in Vancouver, B.C., during the fall of 1947. On that first day of this campaign, W. J. Ern Baxter was added to Branham’s team. According to Gordon Lindsay, 70,000 people attended the fourteen-day campaign, which was held in four cities in the North west. The meetings were “inter-evangelical” and characterized by many hours of prayer for the sick and supernatural occurrences. The meetings in Vancouver were attended by a few pastors and teachers from North Battleford, Saskatchewan, who returned to supply the spark that ignited the controversial “Latter Rain” movement. which also quickly spread throughout the world, emphasizing the laying on d hands, both for the bestowal of the miraculous gifts of the Spirit and for personal prophecy” (20th-CENTURY REVIVAL MOVEMENTS R. Riss, p. 106).
Branham taught on Joel 2:23 as the “latter rain” he identified as the neo-Pentecostalism of his time, he taught that God's promise to restore what the locust, cankerworm, caterpillar, and palmerworm had eaten, would be the “restoration” of the Church out of denominationalism, which was the mark of the beast in the Book of Revelation. Anyone belonging to any denomination had taken “the mark of the beast” He openly preached the nonTrinitarian views of the Jesus Only Pentecostals. Branham said that “every sin that ever was on the Earth was caused by a woman....the very lowest creature on the Earth” (The Spoken Word, Vol. 3 No's. 12, 13, 14; Branham; Spoken Word Publications, Jeffersonville, Ind. 1976; pp. 81-82. Quoted in The Man and His Message, p. 41).
Branham started off as a Baptist and then changed over to be a (Oneness) Pentecostal. Although he denied this, his view on the nature of God, “Jesus Only” and his stance against the Trinity was basically the same. To his credit he did preach against baptismal salvation that the Oneness held, but insisted it was in Jesus name only. This found him in the company of the early heresy of Sabbellianism. The early church fathers fought long and hard battles against those who denied One God in three distinct persons of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. So his representation of Jesus was not accurate.
Around 1960 Branham became separated from the majority of the healing evangelists. The beginning of this can possibly be traced to his (June 26,27 1956) “Warning” that was given to the Full Gospel Businessmen's Movement in which they were unresponsive to.
ELIJAH HAS COME, but he was not Branham
The prophet ELIJAH the Last Days Prophet: Branham's followers claimed that he functioned in a special role as a unique end-time prophet who would usher in Christ's return.
In 1963 he declared himself the messenger of the last days, endowed with the spirit if Elijah, as prophesied by Malachi 4 and the Book of Revelation 11:3. This was something the angel spoke of previously. This declaration alienated Branham from the majority of his supporters in mainline Pentecostalism. His attempt at recovering widespread support was stopped by his untimely death in a car accident two years later.
Branham also believed he was Elijah the prophet, other people believed him to be the prophet Elijah who was to come before the return of Christ Jesus.
Speaking of himself, Branham said, “...we are promised a return of that Spirit [Elijah] just before the end-time. He won't start another church, because there is no more church ages to come... because the Laodicea Church Age is the last age, and the messenger of the Seventh Angel,... is the fellow that is going to reveal, by the Holy Spirit, all of these mysterious things.... Notice. This last message of the last church age is not a reformer, he is a PROPHET! (The Seven Seals, pp. 144, 45).
“ See, immediately after the coming of THIS Elijah, the earth will be cleansed by hate and the wicked burned to ashes. Of course, this did NOT happen at the time of John (the Elijah for his day.)… .” See, immediately after the coming of THIS Elijah, the earth will be cleansed by hate and the wicked burned to ashes. Of course, this did NOT happen at the time of John (the Elijah for his day.) (THE MESSAGE TO THE LAODICEAN AGE, p.13).
Branham prophesied the end as Elijah who was to come “once again that spirit will come back upon another man just before Jesus comes, He will be a prophet. He will be vindicated as such by God. Since Jesus, Himself, in the flesh won't be here to vindicate him, (as He did John) it will be done by the Holy Spirit so that his ministry will be attended by great and wonderful manifestation. As a prophet, every revelation will be vindicated, for every revelation will come to pass. (Laodicean age) They believe we must accept the messenger but the bible never says this even about John the baptist. Many accepted Christ after John was gone without ever hearing his message of repentance.
If we need a prophet for the end of the age, then the Church has been missing teaching for 1900 years. God gave us pastors and teachers as well as the gifts operating in the Church. Nowhere are we told to look for a prophet like Branham taught.
“Now, I'm just your brother, by the grace of God. But when the Angel of the Lord moves down, it becomes then a Voice of God to you...But I am God's Voice to you... Now, see, I can say nothing in myself. But what He shows me” (Footprints On The Sands Of Time, p. 214). The angelic visitor told Branham that he would be given two gifts and that he would restore Bible truth.
Branham was a false Elijah. In Mal.3:1 “ Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom you seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom you delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.” Malachi speaks of the messenger that will prepare the way for the Lord. This is John the Baptizer who is foretold in Isa.40:3-4 “The voice crying out in the wilderness: prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God”. The bible teaches That “Elias” IS COME ALREADY, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them. Then the disciples understood that he spake of JOHN the Baptist. (Mt. 17:10-13).
They asked about Elias and the restoration “But I say unto you, That “Elias” IS INDEED COME, and they have done unto him whatsoever they listed, as it is written of him. (Mk.9:11-13) Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make His paths straight.” John did preach and baptize in the wilderness, the message was the baptism of repentance for preparation when the Messiah comes. (Mk.1:2-4) This is fulfilled.
If we parallel Branham to John the Baptist who fulfilled Elijah's ministry there is no comparison
John the Baptist came in the spirit of Elijah and never prophesied or gave words of knowledge, or had a vision or did one miracle (John 10:41). Jesus said he was Elijah to come and Matt 11:11 “Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist.” So Branham can not be greater nor even equal.
Branham's parents were not believers, nor did the signs they saw have them become one. Kurt Koch wrote: “...Branham's parents believed in fortune telling and he was burdened through occultism at an early age”(Kurt Koch, Between Christ and Satan p. 150, 1962).
Elijah and John were Jewish, John the Baptists parents were Godly, his father was a priest (Lk.1:5-22). Branham's parents were not even believers. John the baptist did not fight against God's will but Branham did for years. Branham was not Elijah since all the prophets were from the Jewish nation. Jesus said John was the greatest prophet, and he was sent to Israel, Branham was not. John was filled with the holy Spirit from the womb and obeyed the Lord, there is no comparison with Branham having a light hovering over his head and fighting against the Holy Spirit.
Branham did not have the Spirit of Elijah, he said 'Don't condemn the sinner; have mercy on him. Let him go ahead and smoke his pipe, let him drink his liquor, let him have his card party. That's his pleasure. Don't blame him. Coming home and everything, tired and worn out, he wants some pleasure. The thing for you to do is live such a godly life that you can prove to him that the Gospel holds ten thousand times more than that, for him. ( William Branham excerpt from Enticing Spirits, July 24, 1955, at the Branham Tabernacle in Jeffersonville, Indiana, U.S.A. )
But what did John the Baptist do with Herod, he preached for him to repent, it became the very reason his head was cut off. Luke 3:19-20 But Herod the tetrarch, being rebuked by him concerning Herodias, his brother Philip's wife, and for all the evils which Herod had done, Matt 14:3-4 For Herod had laid hold of John and bound him, and put him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife. Because John had said to him, “It is not lawful for you to have her.”
Branham once speaking of Moses said about his striking the rock, “he smote it again, said, “You rebels! Must we bring you water out of this rock?” You see what God did? The water come, but said, “Come up here, Moses.” That was the end of it, see. You have to watch those things, so you… what you do with divine gifts.” (How the angel came to me p.67). How very true, and one has to watch how they use the name of the Lord as well.
Branham died in 1965 after his car was struck by a drunk driver. For many days after his death several well known Latter Rain ministers prayed over his body in an attempt to raise Branham from the dead but to no avail. So ended the ministry of the modern day Elijah. His national acclaim was stopped by his death in a car accident. Branham was injured in a head-on collision while on a trip to Arizona, and passed away six days later [on December 24, 1965]. Many of his followers believed that he had truly come in the spirit of Elijah; some believed him to be God, born of a virgin, and fully expected him to rise from the dead in three days. (David E. Harrell, Jr., All Things Are Possible (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1976), p. 161)
Believers did not wait around for any apostle to be raised from the dead, what were Branhamites thinking? This can be viewed as some cruel twist of fate, God judging him for his divisiveness or another sign much like his birth. Branhamites find almost anything they can to verify his ministry whether its through numbers, dates or peculiar supernatural signs (like light) or events.
This again is a hardly a parallel of him and John the Baptist. He was killed by a drunk. John the Baptist was killed on purpose by request from Herod of whom he constantly spoke against his adulterous relationship.
For what its worth, Branham stands as an enigma. It can seem unclear at certain times whether it was God operating and at other times its obvious it was not. When looking at the overall teaching it becomes hardly favorable to the claims made by a man who was led by an angel (who he thought was Jesus) into so much false doctrine. So Branhamite's claim that he never failed in prophecy. They have one of two choices. If they cannot face the fact he did fail in prophecy (or words of knowledge) then he certainly failed in teaching truth. Thus making him a false teacher which then makes him a false prophet. Either way Branham cannot be accepted as a representative of God, he certainly was not Elijah.