The world knew him as Reverend William Marrion Branham. Those who loved him call him "Brother Branham".
As far as being a prophet - judge for yourself. God didn’t vindicate His servant in a closet, or some "secret chamber", but the world saw the proof, yet perceived it not. Newspapers and magazines around the world had proclaimed it, but not with understanding. Hundreds of thousands of eyewitnesses around the world bear record of who he was, though few realized the meaning of the evidence before their eyes.
He was born in the hills of Kentucky in a crude log cabin, April 6, 1909. Those present witnessed a strange hazy light hovering over him, although it was before daylight.
When he was 3 years old, he told his mother he heard a voice speak to him out of the woods, saying, "You will live near a town called New Albany." His mother laughed. But amazingly, over a year later, his family moved to Jeffersonville, Indiana, a town that’s a few miles away from New Albany.
His first vision occured when he was seven. While playing on the banks of the Ohio River, he suddenly beheld a bridge rise up and form across the water, as if under construction. As he watched, 16 men fell from that bridge and died in the river. Twenty-two years later, a bridge was built in that exact spot and 16 men fell from it, losing their lives during the construction.
There was no form of religion at all in the Branham family. William’s early life was filled with much hardship and poverty because his father drank heavily. His father also bootlegged whiskey during the Prohibition. One time, he made his son carry water to his still. As William was passing under a poplar tree, he heard the sound of a wind. It puzzled him for the day was calm. Looking up, he saw a strange whirlwind in the branches and a voice spoke out of the whilwind and said, "Don’t ever drink, smoke or defile your body in any way, for when you get older there’s work for you to do." It terrified him, and he never forgot that incident.
Several years later, his father called him sissy because he wouldn’t take a drink. Determined to prove himself a "man", he raised the bottle of whiskey to his lips, but he heard that whirlwind again. Fear gripped him. He dropped the bottle and ran. In like manner, several years later, his friends called him a "sissy" because he wouldn’t smoke. Angered, he grabbed the cigarette, but again that whirlwind stopped him short.
Yet, despite these and many more similar experiences, he has not yet known God intimately. While working for the gas company at the age of twenty, he was overcome with gas, became very ill, and had to have an operation. As he lay in the hopital, near death, he had a vision. He saw himself in the vision standing in a forest, and far away he heard the sound of wind rustling leaves - coming closer, and closer. He thought it was death. Then that voice said again, "Never drink, smoke or defile your body in any way. I called you and you wouldn’t go" (as in Jonah 1:1-3). "Lord," cried William, "if that is You, let me go back to earth again and I’ll preach your Gospel from the house tops and street corners." The vision then faded. Miraculously, William recovered.
He made a promise and he set out to keep it. Yet he knew nothing about finding God. Realizing that God dwelt in nature, he wrote a note and tacked it to a tree so God would read it. When that didn’t work, he entered a woodshed and, weeping for his sins, he prayed desperately, "God, I’m no good! Help me!" A cross of light appeared before him then. As he realized that his forgiveness lay in the Blood of Jesus Christ shed upon the cross, the joy of salvation flooded his soul.
Because he was aware of a strange call on his life, he went into the ministry by preaching the Gospel. It was a hot day, June 11, 1933. He had just held his first revival and was down in Ohio River baptizing some 130 people in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ. As he came to the 17th person, a blazing light appeared in the sky above him and a voice spoke to him from heaven saying, "As John the Baptist was sent to forerun the first coming of Jesus Christ, so are you sent to forerun His Second Coming." There were 4,000 amazed, frightened witnesses to bear record of this.
Not even Brother Branham understood then what it meant. Nor could he yet understand his peculiar life. All the ministers he knew told him the visions he so frequently saw were of the devil. However, when they were of a future event, the visions never failed to be fulfilled exactly the way he saw them and they always glorified God by helping God’s children. To make things more confusing, every time William Branham came in contact with a devil-possessed person, such as astrologers or fortune tellers, they would tell him that they see a light following him, that he was born under a sign, and that there was a divine gift in his possession. These incidents troubled him greatly.
On May 7, 1946, as he was coming home from work, a mighty wind started in the top of a maple tree and came rushing down, nearly knocking Brother Branham over. Desperation struck him and he said to his wife, "For over 20 years, I’ve not been able to understand this ministry or myself. I can’t go on like this. Is this of God? Honey, I’m going to go into the woods and seek God with my Bible and prayer and find out, or never come back!"
VISITATION OF AN ANGEL
In a cave in the woods, he cast himself down and cried all his heart out to God. At about 11 o’ clock that night, a star of Light filled the cave. Fear gripped William’s heart. He heard footsteps. A man, clothed in white, walked out of the Light and said, "Fear not, I am sent from the presence of the Almighty God to tell you that your strange life and misunderstood ways have been to indicate that God has sent you take a gift of Divine Healing to the people 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."
For half an hour, this angel explained to Brother Branham about the past and told him of his future. He explained why the ministers couldn’t recognize a gift of God in William’s life, yet the devil could. It was the same in Jesus’ day: the religious leaders said Jesus had a devil, yet the devils at Gadara recognized Him (Mark 3:22; John 7:20). The angel also told Brother Branham that, even as Moses was given two signs to prove he was sent from God (Exodus 4:1-8), so he would be given two signs also. First, he would be able to diagnose diseases by their vibrations, which would cause his hand to swell. If the swelling went down after he prayed upon the person, he could say, "Thus saith the Lord, you are healed." The angel said that time would come when Brother Branham would be able to discern the very secrets of men’s hearts (Heb 4:12; John 2:24-25).
Millions of people bear record that the words of the angel were fulfilled exactly (as in Acts 27:21-25). As the sign in his hand was manifested, which when seen would raise the people’s faith to be healed, his ministry grew nationwide, then worldwide. Then it came to where the Spirit of Christ would reveal to him the very thoughts of men’s hearts, reveal their needs; reveal unconfessed sins that were not cleansed by the Blood of Jesus Christ; reveal things about their lives that Brother Branham himself couldn’t possibly know. Not mindreading or psychology, but rather he would see a vision of it - the things actually enacted before his open eyes (Joel 2:28). And when he spoke under the anointing, out of hundreds of thousands of times all over the world, the words spoken to total strangers never failed to be exactly the truth. And the prophesies -- of healing, of future events, small to great, thousands and thousands and thousands of times - not once was one even partly wrong! It was a literal, "THUS SAITH THE LORD!"
Over the next ten years Brother Branham circled the globe seven times, holding some of the largest meetings in history. Some 100,000 people heard him in Durban, South Africa. Seven truckloads of crutches, wheelchairs, canes, etc.. were hauled away after the healing services. One healed was a poor deformed beggar, who had never in his life been able to walk erect, but walk all bent over on both hands and feet. This beggar was widely known, because those who cared for him exhibited him as a curiosity, putting a collar and chain on him and having him dance like an animal in the streets. Brother Branham saw a vision of this man standing upright, so he challenged the people and they agreed that if this man was healed in Jesus’ Name, Jesus was indeed God. As soon as Brother Branham prayed, the man stood erect, (as in Luke 13:11-13). Is it any wonder that 30,000 people surrendered their lives to the Lord Jesus Christ that night?
Once, God showed Brother Branham a vision of a little boy being raised from the dead. Brother Branham told the vision to 2,000 of people, describing the scenes, and telling them to write it down for it was "Thus saith the LORD!" Two years later, while they were on a campaign in Finland, they came a across a car accident in the mountains. And a little boy lay on the road, crushed, bloody, having been dead for half an hour. It was the boy of the vision. Brother Branham faced the crowd standing around and said, " If that little boy isn’t on his feet in five minutes, you can run me out of Finland as a false prophet. But if he is, you owe me your lives to the Lord Jesus Christ!" As he prayed, life came back into that dead boy (as in Luke 7:11-16).
While preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ in Portland, Oregon, a huge, demon-possessed man strode to the platform, calling Brother Branham a fake, an imposter, a deceiver, threatening to break every bone in his body. As the man drew near to execute his threats, Brother Branham said softly, "Satan, because you have challenged the servant of God - in the Name of Jesus Christ, you shall fall at my feet." The powerful man struggled to come nearer, but couldn’t. He sank to the floor and had to be carried out by ushers because he fell on his face in front of God’s vindicated servant.
In Bombay, India, where some 400,000 came to hear the Gospel, there was a blind beggar brought before Brother Branham for prayer. In a vision, Brother Branham saw who this beggar was, where he lived, and that he had become blind by staring at the sun, which he worshipped as God. Then Brother Branham challenged the various heathen Indian priests in turn saying, "If your god be God, then come up here at the platform and have him open this man’s eyes and we’ll fall down and worship your god." None moved. "But if my God, the Lord Jesus Christ, be God and opens this man’s eyes, will you forsake your powerless gods and accept Jesus as your Saviour?" To this they agreed. The reason for this prophet’s fearless confidence was because he had already seen the man healed in a vision, and the these visions never failed him. When the beggar’s eyes came open that he could already see all the people in that meeting, pandemonium broke loose as those poor people strove just to touch Brother Branham to be healed.
It was in Mexico that the simple faith of a woman caused God to work a mighty miracle. The doctor wrote out a sworn statement that her baby had died at 9:00 in the morning of pneumonia, but because she had seen God give a blind man back his sight in Brother Branham’s meetings the night before, she carried her dead baby around all day, believing that if she could just get it to Brother Branham, God would raise it up. That night, where Brother Branham was having a meeting, he saw a vision of a Mexican baby being cuddled by her mother, alive. There he prayed in Jesus’ Name and laid hands on the baby. Immediately the infant began to cry and was restored back to life. The news packed the article and the doctor who issued the death certificate could not believe what had transpired.
There was a time when Brother Branham stopped his sermon, looked at a man in a wheelchair and said, "Sir, I perceive you have faith to be healed. Rise up and walk," (as in Acts 3:2-10). And Congressman Upshaw who had been confined to a wheelchair for over 60 years, rose up and walked down the aisle praising Jesus Christ. Returning to Washington, D.C., Congressman Upshaw was not ashamed to declare William Branham to be a prophet of God to the 20th century.
These are but a few (and by no means the most outstanding) of the miracles God used to vindicate His servant. Space fails me to record the hundreds of thousands of times that "THUS SAITH THE LORD" has been manifested in our generation without one flaw! Did not Jesus say that, "if you can’t believe Me simply because the Words I speak are the truth, then believe Me for the very works’ sake, because they testify of who I am." (John 10:37-38). The same is true of every prophet of God. Is not the same true of William Branham? He had to be sent of God, "for no man can do these miracles except God be with him" (John 3:2).
Why then is not William Branham widely acclaimed today? No true prophet was ever accepted by the majority of people in their day. Yet a true prophet strikes against the corruption of their day, and people don’t like to change from their carnal ways. Only a few will know and believe, just as it was in the days of John the Baptist.
Notice this: as long as Jesus Christ (who was the God-Prophet) was healing the sick, multitudes swarmed to Him. But when he began to bring forth strong doctrine, rebuking the Saducees and Pharisees, the Bible records: "From that time many of His disciples went back and walked no more with Him," (John 6:48-68). Likewise, as long as God used Brother Branham to heal the sick and afflicted, millions followed his ministry. But when God through His prophet began to restore the WORD, most people loved the miracles but hated the Word. Howbeit, that the Word had to be restored before Jesus Christ could take His Bride, for she must be a pure Word Bride, and the true meaning of the Word of God has been so distorted down through the centuries until today; as Jesus said, "In vain do they worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men ... making the Word of God of none effect through your traditions" (Mark 7:6,7,13).
SEVEN-SEALED BOOK REVEALED
On December 22, 1962, Brother Branham had a vision where he was standing near Tucson, Arizona, picking a sand burr out of his pants leg, when a tremendous explosion occured. He told this vision to his congregation in Jeffersonville, Indiana on the 31st of December (the sermon was tape recorded).
Then he moved to Tucson, Arizona. Over a month later, on February 28, 1963, while out hunting, he noticed a sand burr in his trouser. As he reached to pull it off, a tremendous blast rocked the mountainside. Looking up, he saw seven angels in the form of a pyramid sweeping towards him, and for a time he seemed to be caught up in their midst. These seven angels represents the Seven Messengers to the Seven Church Ages as written in Revelations Chapter 2 and 3. Then a voice cried out, "Go back east," and Brother Branham knew it was time for the opening of the mysteries of the Seven Seals in the Book of Revelation (Daniel 12:4,8-9; Rev. 5,6 & 8).
The angels returned into the sky and formed a cloud some 50 miles long and 30 miles wide, which was visible for hundreds of miles around. Many pictures were taken of this peculiar Cloud, some appearing in Life Magazine (May 17, 1963 issue); some in Science Magazine (April 19,1963 issue), along with a scientific report of how it was scientifically impossible for such a cloud to exist. The highest clouds form at about 10 miles, but this phenomenal cloud was 26 miles up, at which altitude water vapor does not exist.
Brother Branham returned to Jeffersonville, Indiana wherein for seven days, as he waited on God, the voice of God spoke out the Pillar of Fire, revealing the exact Truth of the Mysteries sealed up in Revelations 5 through 8; which revelation was contrary to what everyone (including Brother Branham) had previously supposed, yet was perfectly in line with the rest of God’s Word.
As Brother Branham preached seven consecutive nights on these Seals (March 17-24, 1963) his sermons were tape-recorded: Thus the Scripture is fulfilled in our day saying, "But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to His servants the prophets" (Rev. 10:7).
William Branham died in December of 1965 when his car was hit by a drunken driver. It was a death which he had already anticipated by a vision. But the MESSAGE God used him to bring lives on and cannot die. There are over 1,100 different tape-recorded sermons of Brother Branham today and most of these have been printed out in book form circulating around the globe today, crying out against perversion, warning souls that Jesus Christ is coming very soon, mapping out the truth through God’s Word, and preparing a Bride for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. It is the "voice of the seventh messenger" and the final Word-Message to our age.
Think not that these things exalt a man, CHRIST ALONE IS EXALTED! Brother Branham of himself could do nothing (John 3:27). It was Jesus Christ performing (through a humble prophet) the same works he did when He walked in human flesh upon this earth (Heb. 13:8). So look not at the man, but at the Message which he brought forth, for that Message will point you to the pure Jesus Christ, free from all denominational creeds and traditions. Did not the apostle Paul say, "Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ," (1 Cor. 11:1; 4:16).
When you obey Paul, you are not following a man, but the Holy Spirit speaking through him. "And today," as one man wrote, "this man, William Branham, has had literally thousands of manifested vindications from God, and with his life containing all the other factors that make up the prophetic office, he ought to be received for what he is - he must be received for what he is. "Thus saith the Lord" in his mouth by the Holy Ghost, is absolutely no different from the "Thus saith the Lord" in the mouth of Paul, for it is the same Holy Ghost."
But would you have recognized Paul had you lived in his day? Or if you had lived in the days of Noah? Or Elijah? or Jeremiah? Would you have recognized them as prophets and heeded their Message? How about if you had lived in a remote part of Palestine and heard reports about somebody called Jesus who was performing mighty miracles? Would you have recognized Him for who He was, or would you have been like the Pharisees, who believed what God did in the past, but could not accept what God was doing in their own day! They even called Jesus "Beelzebub, the prince of devils". "Woe unto you scribes and Pharisees," cried Jesus, "hypocrites! Because ye build the tombs of the prophets and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, and say, if we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets, wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets!" (Matt. 23:29-31).
So God has once again visited this last generation with a mighty prophet. A humble man, who desired neither fame nor wealth, who never failed to give every bit of the glory to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Briefly this essay have sketched his life, and briefly his vindication. Yet, this has not even touched on the Message which he brought forth, even though it is that Message that is most important. Now it is up to you to dig on these treasures. Books and tapes are available upon request, but you must be sincere to check it out, weigh the evidence, examine the Word, and then pray it through. If it is the Truth, God requires you to believe it.
In the year 1933, God gave Brother Branham a continuous vision of seven major things that must transpire before the Lord Jesus Christ would come again.
The first (1) vision was that he saw a dictator rising up in Italy that would invade Ethiopia. He saw Mussolini and his shameful end where the people turned on him, before it ever transpired in actual event.
The second (2) vision was shown to him by God where he saw a young Austrian named Adolf Hitler who would gain power in Germany and would lead the world into war, but that Germany would be defeated and Hitler would come to a mysterious end.
In the third (3) vision, he saw three great ISM’s in the world: Fascism, Nazism and Communism: but that the first two would be swallowed up into the third one - Communism.
Then on the fourth (4) vision, he beheld the tremendous advances in science that would follow World War II. He saw an automobile looking like an egg that’s being run not by humans but by remote control.
The fifth (5) vision showed him the horrible moral decay of the world, centering mostly around women. He saw women cutting her hair, smoking cigarettes, drinking, wearing pants and indecent clothing. (Remember these five things were shown to him in 1933, years before they occured).
In the sixth (6) vision, he saw a beautiful, yet cruel woman rise in America, dominating the land with authority.
And in the last (7) vision, he saw the land of America in smoldering ruins. As far as the eye could see there was no life, only craters and smoking piles of debris. He also saw Los Angeles, California sank beneath the ocean caused by a major earthquake. Then these visions faded away.
Brother Branham finally concluded:
"Not for one moment do I bring a message to the people that they may follow me, or join my church, or start some fellowship and organization. I have never done that and will not do that now. I have no interest in those things, but I do have an interest in the things of God and people, and if I can accomplish just one thing I will be satisfied. That one thing is to see established a true spiritual relationship between God and men, wherein men become new creations in Christ, filled with His Spirit and live according to His Word. I would invite, plead and warn all to hear His voice at this time, and yield your lives completely to Him, even as I trust my heart that I have given my all to Him. God bless you, and may His Coming rejoice your heart." -(Daniel’s Seventy Weeks/ 08-06-61)
"We’re at the end, friends. Soon it shall be time run out. Millions will lose their lives. Millions that now believe they are saved will be counted fodder for the atomic age. We are living at the last hour. By the grace of God, by His help we speak to His people that they might look forward to the soon appearing of Christ."