William Branham Prophet
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William Marrion Branham (April 6, 1909—December 24, 1965) was a Christian minister, usually credited with founding the post World War II faith healing movement. Whilst many Pentecostal Christians welcomed his evangelistic and healing ministry, and some even considered him to be a Prophet, a minority have accorded him an even higher status, believing that "his ministry and teachings were supernaturally vindicated by God."
Some observers refer to this as "Branhamism," however, adherents prefer the name "Message Believers." He believed Christians needed to return to the original apostolic faith of the Bible, often referring to Malachi 4:5-6 and Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today, and for ever.
William Branham was born April 6, 1909 in a log cabin in the Kentucky hills. The first of nine children of Charles and Ella Branham, he was raised near Jeffersonville, Indiana. Branham's family was nominally Roman Catholic, however, he had minimal contact with Christianity during his childhood. His father was a logger and an alcoholic, and Branham often talked about how his upbringing was difficult and impoverished.
From his early childhood Branham claimed to have supernatural experiences including prophetic visions. He recalled that in his early childhood, while walking home from getting water from the creek, he heard the voice of the Angel of the Lord who told him 'never to drink, smoke or defile his body , for there would be a work for him when he got older'.
On one occasion during his teenage years, he remembered being approached by an astrologer telling him that he was 'born under a special sign' and that they predicted an important religious calling for him. Later he came to understand this to be similar to Paul's experience with the damsel with a spirit of divination in Acts 16:16-17
Leaving home at nineteen, Branham worked on a ranch in Arizona and also had a short career as a boxer, reportedly winning 15 fights. At the age of twenty-two he had a Christian conversion experience and later was ordained as an assistant pastor at a Missionary Baptist Church in Jeffersonville.
When he disagreed with the pastor about the role of women preaching, Branham held a series of revivals on his own in a tent. Later, the meetings moved to a local Masonic Hall on Meigs street, until they were able to construct a building in 1933 which the congregation named 'Branham Tabernacle'. 
From accounts by Branham's family, it is evident that he had been conducting healing campaigns at least as early as 1941 when he conducted a two-week revival in Milltown, and his 1945 tract "I Was Not Disobedient Unto the Heavenly Vision' shows that his faith healing ministry was well established by this time.
In May 1946, Branham reported receiving an angelic visitation, commissioning his worldwide ministry of evangelism and faith healing. His first meetings as a full time evangelist were held in St Louis, Missouri in June 1946. Professor Allan Anderson of the University of Birmingham, has written that “Branham’s sensational healing services, which began in 1946, are well documented and he was the pacesetter for those who followed”.
Referring to the St Louis meetings, Krapohl & Lippy have commented: "Historians generally mark this turn in Branham’s ministry as inaugurating the modern healing revival"
During the mid 1940s Branham was conducting healing campaigns almost exclusively with Oneness Pentecostal groups. The broadening of Branham's ministry to the wider Pentecostal community came as a result of his introduction to Gordon Lindsay in 1947, who soon became his primary manager and promoter.
Around this time several other prominent Pentecostals joined his ministry team including Ern Baxter and F. F. Bosworth. Gordon Lindsay proved to be an able publicist which was originally aimed at reporting on Branham's healing campaigns.
In June 1947, the Evening Sun newspaper of Jonesboro, Arkansas reported that "Residents of at least 25 States and Mexico have visited Jonesboro since Rev. Branham opened the camp meeting, June 1. The total attendance for the services is likely to surpass the 20,000 mark". Several newspapers carried reports of healings in the meetings". 
His success took him to countries around the world. According to a Pentecostal historian, "Branham filled the largest stadiums and meeting halls in the world."
In Durban, South Africa in 1951 he addressed meetings sponsored by the Apostolic Faith Mission, the Assemblies of God, the Pentecostal Holiness Church, and the Full Gospel Church of God. Meetings were conducted in eleven cities, with a combined attendance of a half million people.
On the final day of the Durban meetings, held at the Greyville Racecourse, an estimated 45,000 people attended and thousands more were turned away at the gates. Many healings were reported in the local newspapers.
U.S. Congressman William Upshaw, crippled for sixty-six years, publicly proclaimed his miraculous healing in a Branham meeting in a leaflet called "I'm Standing on the Promises".
Branham also claimed that God's miraculous intervention healed King George VI of England through his prayers. A young boy raised from the dead in Finland in April 1950, Branham said, was the fulfilment of a vision he had told audiences during his campaign meetings. 
From the mid 1950s onwards Branham taught that neither Oneness theology nor Trinitarianism were correct, but that God was the same Person in three different offices - in the same way that a husband can also be a father and a grandfather. As he began to speak more openly about doctrine, such as the Godhead and serpent seed, the popularity of his ministry began to decline. 
Shortly after being ordained, Branham was baptizing people on June 11, 1933 in the Ohio River near Jeffersonville. He described how people along the bank saw a bright light descend over where he was standing, and that he heard a voice say, "As John the Baptist was sent to forerun the first coming of Jesus Christ, so your message will forerun His second coming."
Branham says that his evangelistic healing ministry started one night during his search for personal meaning. He relates that in May 1946, an angel in the form of a man appeared, saying: "Do not fear. I am sent from the presence of the Almighty God to tell you that your peculiar birth and misunderstood life has been to indicate that you are to take a gift of Divine healing to the peoples of the world."
Church ministers working with Branham in his meetings, testified that he was able to reveal the thoughts, experiences, and needs of individuals who came to the platform for prayer. 
Walter Hollenweger, a noted Pentecostal historian who worked as translator for Branham in one of his campaigns in Switzerland, wrote, I am not aware of any case in which he was mistaken in the often detailed statements he made.  Branham claimed that this knowledge (which he called discernment) was given to him through visions.
On the night of January 24, 1950, an unusual photograph was taken during a speaking engagement in the Sam Houston Coliseum in Houston, Texas. A photograph, the only one of its film roll that developed, shows an apparent halo of light appearing above Branham's head.  
A copy is held in the Library of Congress photograph collection.
Branham regarded his series of sermons on the Seven Seals (Rev 6:1-17 and Rev 8:1) in 1963 as a highlight of his ministry.
He said a cluster of seven angels met him on Sunset Mountain in Arizona to commission the opening of the Seals, which he believed was in fulfilment of a vision he had told his church several months earlier.
Two men who were nearby at the time related hearing a loud noise like an explosion and seeing a cloud rising into the air. Branham interpreted an unusual cloud formation resembling the head of Christ which had been photographed several days earlier, and was featured in Life and Science magazines, as vindication of his experience.
Some critics have claimed that the cloud was the result of a rocket explosion in California 500 miles to the west.
On December 18, 1965 William Branham and his family (all except his daughter Rebekah) were returning to Jeffersonville, Indiana from Tucson, Arizona for the Christmas holidays. About three miles east of Friona, Texas (about 70 miles southwest of Amarillo on U.S. Highway 60).
Just after dark a car traveling west in the eastbound lane, struck Branham's car head-on. The driver of the car was intoxicated and died at the scene, as did the other front seat passenger.
Branham was buried four months later. Some of his followers predicted he would return to life during Easter but Branham's son (Billy Paul) said the interdenominational faith founded by his father did not teach this.
Rev. Pearry Green, of the Branham ministry, was quoted as saying he "believe[s] Rev. Branham will return to life". Branham's burial was postponed to allow his widow to attend. She was seriously injured in the accident which claimed her husband's life..
William Branham's body was left in a sealed casket in a Tucson funeral home during that period. He was subsequently buried and services were held in Jeffersonville, Indiana.
A few hundred people attended burial services where video and audio of Branham's services were played. Rev Green has disputed some of the details reported by the media in his self-published book Acts of the Prophet.
William Branham preached thousands of sermons, of which almost 1,200 have been recorded and transcribed. His sermons dealt not only with the doctrines that would secure his place in modern religious history, but with staples of Pentecostalism such as personal prophecy.
There are some who would even go as far as saying that he was a judgement prophet like Jonah was in Bible days. William Branham's sermons have stern rebuke to sin and unbelief. His basic theme was to declare "Him" who is here. He talked about the "Judge of all the earth" being here as in the days of Paul.
Along with some other Bible commentators, Branham believed that the seven churches described in The Revelation, chapters two and three represent seven historical ages of the Christian church, from its beginning to the present time. These ages were outlined in his book An Exposition of the Seven Church Ages as (beginning after the time of Christ) Ephesus (53-170), Smyrna (170-312), Pergam (312-606), Thyatira (606-1520), Sardis (1520-1750), Philadelphia (1750-1906), and finally Laodicea (1906-present). He further identified the "angel" of each church as a human messenger. The first six he named as Paul, Irenaeus, Martin, Columba, Martin Luther, and John Wesley. While he never explicitly claimed to be the seventh angel, his followers today believe him to be the final messenger to this the Laodicean church age
Branham also went outside traditional Christian theology in his rejection of the doctrine of the Trinity and in his denunciation of the "Oneness" or "Jesus Only" concept that Jesus was his own Father, and that Jesus and God were one like your finger is one.
From the late 1940s to the early 1950s it appears that Wm. Branham did not publicly denounce the Trinity in his campaign meetings, however to his congregation in Jeffersonville he was more open regarding his preference to the 'Oneness' position (although he said that both Trinity and 'Jesus Only' doctrinal positions were not scriptural).
Many claim that Wm. Branham taught a form of ‘modalism’ (sabellianism) with regard to the Godhead, claiming that there are no personal distinctions between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and that the 'persons' of the Godhead are just the same God in three different offices or manifestations:
God manifesting Himself in the pillar of Fire as God the Father, in His Son revealing Himself as the son of God, and in the believer in the form of the Holy Spirit. Three dispensations of the same God. God above us (in His office as Father), God with us (in His office as Son) and God in us (in the form of the Holy Spirit).
“ The Blood of God brings Jesus Christ in our midst. The Blood of God brings the Holy Ghost, not the blood of a Jew or a Gentile, but God's own creative Blood. Jesus, the Man, was His Son that He created Himself, and God tabernacled in that Tabernacle. ”
Wm. Branham taught the Supreme Deity of Jesus Christ; that Jesus had the fullness of God dwelling bodily in Him.
Branham believed that his ministry was to declare that God was here as in the days of Abraham. He quoted Genesis 18:9-15 as Scriptural support for this statement in that during the appearance to Abraham, God knew what was in Sarah's mind in the tent behind him.
He believed this foreshadowed the gift of discernement in his own ministry, and is indicated in Luke 17:28-30. After this supernatural sign was shown to Abraham, Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed. In the same way, William Branham believed the discernment in his ministry was a sign of the coming judgment on the earth (usually called the Great Tribulation).
Branham vehemently believed that the Bible was the infallible Word of God. He stated that anything contrary to the Word of God was Satan's kingdom. He insisted that faith had to be based on Scripture alone, and said that, even if an angel, another minister, or any church creed presented something different, it had to be ignored. He based everything on the Word of God being fully vindicated.
Branham's doctrine of serpent seed is still regarded as very controversial. He taught that eating the "fruit" in the Garden of Eden was taking heed of the devil's words. This resulted in a sexual union between Eve and the devil-possessed serpent, which produced Cain as a result of their union.
Branham preached that the Bible says a woman is the "weaker vessel" and he taught them that as Christians, they should wear modest clothing, keep their hair uncut, not teach or preach, and be obedient to their husbands. Men should take their role as head of the house.
Branham said he had received seven major prophecies in 1933 regarding events unfolding in the world.
He predicted (as opposed to prophesying) "that 1977 ought to terminate the world systems and usher in the millennium."
“ Based on these seven visions, along with the rapid changes which have swept the world in the last fifty years, I PREDICT (I do not prophesy) that these visions will have all come to pass by 1977. And though many may feel that this is an irresponsible statement in view of the fact that Jesus said that 'no man knoweth the day nor the hour.'
I still maintain this prediction after thirty years because, Jesus did NOT say no man could know the year, month or week in which His coming was to be completed. So I repeat, I sincerely believe and maintain as a private student of the Word, along with Divine inspiration that 1977 ought to terminate the world systems and usher in the millennium. ”
Branham claimed to have made several prophecies, including the Second Coming of Christ. This included a famous prophecy that "the city of Los Angeles would 'sink beneath the ocean'" and that a tidal wave would sweep inland as far as the Salton Sea.  
The resulting fear caused 40 Branham followers to move out of the area. However, during his life he was more known for his healing claims.
Although William Branham encouraged people to attend the church of their choice, he also spoke strongly against religious organisations.
He believed that denominationalism would prove to be the mark of the beast
Criticism of Branham's ministry has focused not only on doctrinal differences, but on an assumption that he supported astrology. This is based on his comment that "God wrote three Bibles".
He said these were the zodiac (see mazzaroth), the great pyramid and the Holy Bible. He believed the first two predated any written Scripture, and are not for Christians today.
Branham's legacy and influence
In its February 1961 issue, the Full Gospel Men's Voice (now the Full Gospel Businessmen's Voice) wrote: "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 ... Branham has been used by God, in the Name of Jesus, to raise the dead!"
Branham's teachings and notoriety had a profound influence on the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements. Though Branham has been dead since 1965, there are hundreds of thousands around the world who regard him as a prophet, and the fulfillment of Malachi 4:5-6.
It may be difficult to measure Branham's influence on other evangelists in his time period, but he certainly led the way in the pioneering of tent revivals, which would lead into the era of televangelism. Branham is often mentioned as the leader or first revivalist preacher of the second wave of Pentecost that swept the country after World War II (the first wave being Charles Fox Parham, William J. Seymour, and others).
Among those who began around the same time as Branham, and part of the Second Wave of Pentecostalism (late 1940s to the mid 1950s), were Jack Coe, Oral Roberts, and A.A. Allen. It is interesting to note that Branham was one of the first "faith" preachers and evangelists who not only preached a latter day visitation of God’s Spirit, but also emphasized faith for healing, as did Coe, Roberts and Allen.
D.R. McConnell, although a critic of William Branham's teaching, expressed this opinion about his ministry: "Branham, one of the original and greatests evangelists of the post-World War II Healing Revival. Branham worked astounding miracles of healing in his crusades. To this day his gifts of supernatural knowledge of those to whom he ministered remains unparalleled, even among modern healing evangelists".
Andrew Strom, another theologian who disagreed with Branham doctrinally, nevertheless concluded: "William Branham was another evangelist mid-way through last century who was mightily used of God for a number of years. In fact, there can be little doubt that he was endued with power to a degree that has rarely been seen since the days of the apostles."
The Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements contains these comments: "The person universally acknowledged as the [WW11] revival’s `father’ and `pacesetter’ was William Branham.
The sudden appearance of his miraculous healing campaigns in 1946 set off a spiritual explosion in the Pentecostal movement which was to move to Main Street, U.S.A., by the 1950s and give birth to the broader charismatic movement in the 1960s, which currently affects almost every denomination in the country"
Today, there are an estimated 750 million Pentecostal and Charismatic Christians in the world.
C. Douglas Weaver, an author who has written an academic biography of William Branham, concluded: "His healing gift and the power of his services are still held in awe by participants in the tradition of divine healing in America." 
The Message of the Hour, or simply 'The Message', is a term used by the followers of Branham to refer to his sermons, doctrines, and prophecies. The followers of "The Message" believe these doctrines to form a distinct belief, which they believe to be the same doctrines of the original Christian Churches.
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The followers of William Branham tend to distance themselves from controversial exclusiveness and maintain their homes in their communities. There is no headquarters. These churches have no membership or members and have little, if any, organisation. William Branham summarizes this by saying:
"We're no denomination. We have no law but love, no creed but Christ, no book but the Bible: no membership; just fellowship through the Blood of Jesus Christ that cleanses us from all unbelief".
Voice of God Recordings, the major distributor of materials related to William Branham's ministry, currently produce print, audio, and video materials in more than 60 languages  and maintain offices in over forty countries. 
Cloverdale Bibleway, based in British Columbia, also conducts an extensive international outreach with Message materials.
There are numerous churches following William Branham's message in the United States and around the world. The Voice of God website claims that "upwards of 1.5 million people worldwide believe Brother Branham’s Message".
Branham's followers should not be viewed as entirely monolithic as beliefs and interpretations of Branham's teachings vary somewhat between groups.
Here is the visions as they occurred in June 1933 when William Branham was conducting his services in the old Masonic Hall on Meigs Ave:
Seven major events were to take place before the the Imminent return of the Lord Jesus In a trance he saw :
PROPHECY-I: The Dictator Of Italy, Benito Mussolini, will invade Ethiopia and Ethiopia "will fall at Mussolini's steps". However, Mussolini, would have a horrible death and his own people would spit on him.
America will be drawn into a world war against Germany which will be headed up by the Austrian Adolph Hitler. However, this terrible war would overthrow Hitler and he would come to a mysterious end. In this vision he was shown the (SIEGFRIED LINE) where a great toll of American Lives would be taken. He also predicted that newly elected President Franklin Roosevelt would declare war against Germany and in so doing would be re-elected throughout the war for four terms.
Showed that there were 3 ISMS Fascism, Nazism, Communism in the world: that the first two would come to nothing but that Communism would flourish. The voice Admonished him to keep his eyes on RUSSIA concerning future involvements,for fascism and nazism would end up in communism.
PROPHECY-IV: There was predicted to be tremendous technological advances right after World WAR II. This was symbolized by an egg shaped car with a plastic bubble roof, going down beautiful highways completely under remote control.
This scene involved the womanhood of the world. In this scene there appeared to be a quick moral decay of women.
Starting back when she received her first So-Called Liberty to vote, she soon began to wear clothes that were ever-more- revealing. She bobbed her hair and adopted the clothing of men.
Finally the vision showed her all but naked and she merely covered herself with a tiny apron about the size and shape of a fig leaf! (modern bikini?)
With virginity and womanhood so little valued a terrible decay of all flesh came upon the earth and with it perversion as set forth by the Word of God.
Sixth, the United States appeared as a most beautiful women clothed in splendor, (the Great whore of the Revelatin 17?) and great power was given her. Aas a nation she was cruel, cunning and a hardness that defied description. She dominated the Land with her authority over the people.
The vision indicated that this woman perhaps symbolized an organization of church-&-state as a false religion, which is scripturally characterized by a female.
Final Vision: The Voice bade him to behold a great explosion rent the entire land, and left the land of America a smoldering in chaotic ruin. As far as the eye could see there was naught but craters, smoking piles of debris and no human in sight. the vision faded away.
There are many more prophecies that William Branham predicted: in the early 60's he predicted ," America will go bankrupt and may borrow money from the Roman Catholic Church.
Certainly the bankruptcy prediction has come true!
The above photo was taken of William Branham at the Sam Houston Coliseum in Jan,1950. It was examined by George J. Lacy examiner of questioned documents by the FBI as the only supernatural being to be photographed. You can find this photo through the web search Library Of Congress at www.loc.gov
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