Since the days of the early Church, seldom have more people’s lives been touched through the life of one man than during the ministry of William Marion Branham. He was born on April 6, 1909, in a log cabin near Burkesville, Kentucky. Originally ordained by the Missionary Baptist Church, he later left that denomination, and founded the interdenominational Branham Tabernacle in Jeffersonville, Indiana, in 1933.
In 1946 his ministry expanded from that of a local pastor to a renowned evangelist, speaking to hundreds of thousands of people in meetings sponsored by pastors throughout the world.
In the 1940’s and 1950’s he spearheaded the revival that is responsible for today’s belief that healing is included in the Atonement and that the sick can be healed through prayer according to the teaching of the New Testament.
In addition to the thousands of indisputable miracles that resulted from his ministry, probably what set Rev. Branham apart from all other evangelists of this era was the genuine humility and Christ-like demeanor of the man himself. A man of extremely high morals, he lived an exemplary life, above reproach in all respects. He never sought to gain fame or popularity, and he refused to plead for money or place an emphasis on finances. He manifested the same compassion and faith for the crippled, blind, or dying masses of India and Africa as he did when called to pray for King George at the palace in England. While the supernatural events that occurred in his lifetime are far too numerous to be accounted here, it is sufficient to say that through his prayers, countless thousands of miracles and healings took place around the world.
During his evangelistic meetings, the emphasis was primarily placed on the basic principles of salvation, consecration, and healing. However, he frequently returned to his home church in Jeffersonville, Indiana, where he preached and taught all of the Bible doctrines.
Rev. Branham was a staunch believer in the infallibility of the scriptures. And because they were written under the Divine inspiration of the Holy Spirit, he believed it would also take the same Holy Spirit to reveal them.
Today, his ministry is even more far reaching than during his lifetime. Over 1100 of his sermons have been retained on tape recording, which are translated into over forty languages. With the ever-increasing demand for his sermons, and millions of copies already in circulation, his ministry continues to touch the lives of people today, bringing them a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The following are excerpts from “The Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements”, section, “Healing Movements”, pages 371-372. I’ve added some direct quotes from the magnetic tapes that highlight events described in the book.
Following the spiritual draught of World War Two, two major national revivals burst upon the scene: the evangelical revival represented by Billy Graham and the healing revival symbolized by William Branham and Oral Roberts. The healing revival was a “signs-gifts-healing, salvation-deliverance, Holy Ghost miracle revival. Between 1947 and 1958 dozens of healing evangelists crisscrossed America praying for the sick. Their stories are best followed in the pages of Gordon Lindsay’s “Voice of Healing” magazine. Significantly, the revival was responsible for the unexpected growth of Pentecostalism in modern America.
The person universally recognized as the 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.
The pivotal point of his career came in 1946 when he experienced an angelic visitation in which he was promised the gift of healing and the opportunity to preach before thousands.
And I raised up and I was crying. I set down, looked around. I seen a Light flash in the room, little that young fellow that flashed that bulb. And I thought, "Somebody must be coming." And here on the floor was a big Light, coming around. Right above it stood this halo, Pillar of Fire, moving along, and come walking through there came an Angel of God. Not imagination, He was there. I looked at Him, talked to Him. Walked up, with His arms folded, a big Man, very fine looking. Looked like if... Looked like if He would have spoke, the world would've burst. Said, "I've been sent from the Presence of Almighty God to tell you that you were born for this purpose to pray for sick people, to go into parts of the world, and you'll be praying for monarchs and great men; and healings and so forth will take place. And these things will be. And great congregations will gather, and it'll cause a revival that's going to sweep the land."
Following this visitation, Pastor Robert Daugherty summoned him to St. Louis to pray for Daugherty’s dying daughter. He complied and the girl was healed. In the revival that followed praying for the sick was highlighted. As testimonies of incredible healings increased, Branham’s fame and ministry grew. In May 1948, he added the famed F.F. Bosworth to his team, this added enormous prestige to his ministry.
In the dramatic and important campaign held in Houston, Texas, in 1950, Bosworth debated the Rev. W.E. Best, pastor of Houston Tabernacle Baptist Church, on the doctrine of divine healing and the debate received national press coverage.
To read about the Houston Divine Healing debate between Brother Bosworth and Rev. Best click here.
It was at the Houston meeting where the famous "pillar of fire" halo photograph of Brother Branham was taken. This photgraph was verified by George J. Lacy, examiner of questioned documents for the FBI, as being authentic. To see the photo and read testimony about the photograph click here.
The most famous healing in the history of the revival was effected by Branham on William Upshaw, a US Congressman from California who had been crippled for 63 years. This healing in 1951 made Branham’s healing ministry a world wide legend.
The following excerpts in this section are from the book, God’s Generals, Roberts Liardon, Albury Publishing, Tulsa, Ok. 1996 Pages 324-326.
The angel had told Brother Branham in 1946:
”If you will be sincere, and can get the people to believe you, nothing shall stand before your prayer not even cancer.” The angel went on to tell Branham he would receive two gifts as signs to vindicate his ministry. First, he would be able to detect diseases by a physical vibration in his left hand.
Gordon Lindsay witnessed this supernatural phenomenon. He said that the “electric, current like” vibration was so strong sometimes, it would instantly stop Branham’s wristwatch. Lindsay went on to say that after the spirit was cast out of the person, Branham’s “red and swollen” hand would return to normal condition.
Branham responded to the angel, “Sir, I’m afraid they won’t receive me” The Angel responded: then it will come to pass that you’ll know the very secret of their heart and this they will hear.”
In connection with this second sign, the angel made this statement: “The thoughts of men speak louder in heaven than their words do on earth.” Any sin in a persons life that was under the blood wasn’t revealed. But if the sin was unconfessed or covered, it would be brought to light through his spiritual gift, the word of knowledge. When this occurred in his prayer line, Branham would step away from the microphone and speak privately with the person, leading him to an immediate repentance.
Was this a true visitation from God? Yes. How do we know? Because angels are sent to minister to the heirs of salvation (see Hebrews 1:14). Angels announced the birth of Jesus. The angel of the Lord will never reveal anything that is contrary to scripture. He never adds or takes anything away from the Word of God. In other words, the angel of the Lord, neither invents additional Bible nor does he distort scripture. The Word is always the standard.
In his booklet “The ministry of a Prophet”, Rhema Bible Church, 1968 (10th printing 1983), Kenneth Hagin describes the role of a prophet in scripture. The ministry of a prophet isn’t altogether understood or appreciated. One runs into such persecution that it’s very easy to draw away from. (pg 4). In Ephesians 4:8-12 we read, “wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he lead captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men…And he gave some apostles; and some prophets; and some evangelists; and some pastors and teachers.” These are the five ministry gifts that Paul noted that God gave unto men, “for the edifying of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” A prophet is one who has visions and revelations (pg. 10) On page 8 Hagin acknowledged, “William Branham was a prophet.”
A prophet is one of the 5 fold ministry gifts. The word prophet in the Greek is a compound word of “pro” and “pheimi.” The word pro is a Greek word that means “before”, “in front of”, or “in advance of.” The word “pheimi” means, “to speak.” Together it means “one who speaks on behalf of the Lord.” A true prophet therefore is a mouthpiece of God.
Jesus gave the sign of a true prophet of God in John 4:15-19.
Deuteronomy 18: 18-22 gives the qualifications of a true prophet:
Walter J. Hollenweger, who interpreted for him in Zurich and “is not aware of any case which he was mistaken in the often detailed statements he made”, attests to Branham’s accuracy. (Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements, pg. 95)
The story of the life of William Branham is so out of this world and beyond the ordinary that were there not available a host of infallible proofs which document and attest it's authenticity, one might well be excused for considering it far-fetched and incredible. But the facts are so generally known, and of such a nature that they can be so easily verified by any sincere investigator, that they must stand as God's witness to His willingness and purpose to reveal Himself again to men as He once did in the days of the prophets and the apostles. The story of this prophet's life - for he is a prophet, though we infrequently use the term - indeed witnesses to the fact that Bible days are here again" (A Man Sent From God, by Gordon Lindsay pg. 11)
Exodus 4: 1-8 "And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The LORD hath not appeared unto thee. And the LORD said unto him, What is that in thine hand? And he said, A rod. And he said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it. And the LORD said unto Moses, Put forth thine hand, and take it by the tail. And he put forth his hand, and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand: That they may believe that the LORD God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath appeared unto thee. And the LORD said furthermore unto him, Put now thine hand into thy bosom. And he put his hand into his bosom: and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous as snow. And he said, put thine hand into thy bosom again. And he put his hand into his bosom again; and plucked it out of his bosom, and, behold, it was turned again as his other flesh. And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe thee, neither hearken to the voice of the first sign, that they will believe the voice of the latter sign."
Amos 3: 7 "Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.
The following excerpts are from the message THE VOICE OF THE SIGN Beaumont, Texas 64-0313
Now, the sign has a voice. And now, every true God-sent sign has a voice, and that voice must speak according to the Word that's given for that day, just exactly...It's got to be the truth, got to be vindicated by God the truth. And the man who speaks it has to be vindicated of God to be a seer from God, or it's wrong.
God gives signs to attract the attention of His people. Now, let's study this thoroughly. See, signs are given to attract the attention of the people. Because when a God-sent sign is given, God is ready to speak. God is ready to speak when the sign is given. If it comes from heaven, it's from God, and God is ready to speak and is trying to attract the people's attention. And the Word comes to His prophet, and the sign that he shows identifies the prophet. And then He comes to the Word, and the Word's made manifest. That settles it. It doesn’t need any interpretation; God's already interpreted it. See? Just as perfect as it can be. Now, notice. God gives a sign to attract the attention of the people.
The following notes are based in part on the message “WHY I’M AGAINST ORGANIZED RELIGION: Jeffersonville, In 62-1111E
God never commanded anywhere in scripture for there ever to be an organization. There's no place in the Bible for that. Adam started one and it failed. And then Nimrod tried to make an organization. If you're a historian, and you know the history of Babylon, read Hislop's "Two Babylons," you'll find a great deal of light, that Nimrod, this man of sin started Babylon which was a type of this last day apostasy. And in there he built a tower and tried to organize men together, but it failed. It failed.
Korah, in Numbers 16:1, tried the very same thing. He got all the Levites together, and he got the high men, great men, and holy men. Korah and Dathan got together and said, "It's not right, one man trying to be over us all." And so they tried to get an organization started together, and they come up before Moses and Aaron, who God had chosen for the work, and told them they took too much upon themselves, that the whole congregation was holy, and that they had a right to be included on the decision making. "In the multitude of counsel there's safety," of course, they say. That doesn't apply to Christianity. That's in war. There is a whole lots of difference. You can take a Scripture, and say, "Judas went and hung himself," and, "you go do likewise," if you want to, but that don't make it right.
God had chosen Moses and Aaron, and it was the message of the day. And no matter how good the other side looked, it was contrary to God's thinking. And we've got to let God's thinking be our thinking. Let the mind that was in Christ be in you. And this Bible reveals the mind of Christ. And the whole Book of Revelations, called the Apocalypse, is the Revelation of Jesus Christ. And we can see how He condemns the thing.
Now, we notice that Jesus was a manifestation of God. Now, "No man can do these things except God be with Him." They knew that there was something different in that Man.
So did Korah see the same thing in Moses. They didn't have a man that day like Moses. He was God's Divine witness of that day to the power of God. Korah and his group saw it in Moses. They understood that it couldn't be Moses. Moses could not open up the Red Sea. Moses could not send plagues upon the earth. It was God in Moses, and because God represented Himself in a witness, they failed to see It. Korah wanted to make a whole group of men, bring in anything.
That's what organized religion is good for: to bring in every riffraff there is and call it Christianity. Send a boy to school that knows nothing about God and give him an education and teach him psychology, and give him a Ph.D., and a doctor degree or a bachelor of art and send him away to preach the Gospel, that's never even been saved, then they will deny the virgin birth and the resurrection, deny Divine healing, deny the power of God, deny the very principles that Jesus died for, deny Mark 16 of being inspired, deny "these signs shall follow them that believe" when Jesus said the Words Himself, deny Acts 2:38, deny any of the rest of the Scriptures; and try to take a tradition of man and harp on it. And when you tell them the Truth and show them the Truth, they're ashamed to move, because of their organization.
Korah did the same thing; he seen God in Moses; he seen that it was God's Agent working through him. And Nicodemus saw God in Christ, "No man can do these things except God be with Him." Nicodemus was already in the organization trying to get out. Korah was out trying to make one to get into. That was the different. Nicodemus was trying to find salvation to get out of the thing; he'd been in it since a boy; he was tired of it. He wanted to get saved. But Korah was trying to make a place where he could be a big shot.
The Scripture declares that a prophet was to come in the Bible in the last age, before the coming of the Lord.
This was partially fulfilled in John the Baptist.
Matthew 17: 10-13 "And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things. But I say unto you, 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 unto them of John the Baptist."
Notice 3 things.
We clearly see this is a compound prophecy concerning the coming of Elijah according to Jesus himself. He's already come, and he shall come. The Elijah who shall come will
What will he restore?
The word Greek word for “establishing” in RSV or “restitution” in KJV, means “restoration”. What was to be restored?
The prophets spoke the Word. And this Malachi 4 messenger was to point the people away from the dogma of man back to the Word of God.
Revelation 10: 7 declares,
At the sounding of the 7th church age messengers voice the mystery of God was to be finished to the church. The word “angel” in the Greek is the same word “messenger”. This is an earthly angel, a “messenger.” One who comes in the spirit and power of Elijah just as John the Baptist did before him. A “messenger who was sent out before him.”
It was at a baptismal service on June 11, 1933, a supernatural event occurred of significance, and a local newspaper account reported the event. On this day, as Brother Branham was baptizing in the Ohio river at the foot of Spring Street in Jeffersonville, a strange Light, like a star, suddenly came whirling down and hung over his head. There were about four thousand people sitting on the bank watching, many of whom were witnesses of this unexplainable phenomenon. Some ran for fear, others fell in worship. Many pondered the meaning of this remarkable occurrence. Just as with Saul, a Voice spoke from the Light and said these words,
The Messenger is identified in scripture and so is the Message. The messenger with the message.
"Now, look. This Message of the day just can't be somebody saying, "We got the Truth and we got this, we got that"; it has to be, foretold in His Word. And then after the Word is brought forth, it has to be properly vindicated by the Word."
The Word properly vindicated Jesus as God, as the Messiah, as the Messenger of God. He said, "If you'd have known Moses, you'd have known my day." Well did the prophets speak of Him? All the prophets said what He was. And yet it blinded them; they couldn't understand it. But Jesus was the Messiah, the messenger with the Message (the Gospel).
The messenger with the message must be a foretold message by God, just as Jesus was. John the Baptist was clearly identified in the Word in Malachi 3:1 "Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the LORD, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts. And this was fulfilled in Matthew 11:10 For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee."
And then God, speaking through this messenger, vindicates that it' is the truth. Do you hear it? Do you understand it? Understand it. It must first be THUS SAITH THE LORD foretold. And then the messenger with the message must be exactly what God said would take place at that time. Now remember, foretold by His Word and properly vindicated by His Word. Now, Jesus said, "If I do not the works of God, then don't believe me, but if I do, then believe me for the works sake." He said "who of you could condemn me of sin? Who of you can show me that I'm an unbeliever?"
That's the way Moses was. That's the reason he fell on his face before God and said, "God, You sent me." He said, "Separate yourself from that bunch." See what I mean? It's always been the thing that twisted men's mind, got them off the will of God. It's the organization of man putting his ideas into what God was doing.
Anyone who's ever read church history knows that the first time that Christianity was ever organized was in the Roman Catholic Church. The Catholic Church is the mother of organization. We know that's the truth. Never was the church organized, had a denomination, until the Roman Catholic Church. And the word "catholic" means "universal." They made a state church religion, and made it over all the dominion of the old Roman Empire, the Holy Roman Empire, the best part of the world conquered at that time. It was the state church, and those who would not obey it were put to death.
And the Catholic church said, "We were the beginning." That's exactly the truth they were the first organized denomination. She organized and injected dogmas into the Word. The last dogma that they have adopted was the ascension of Mary. Another dogma added to the church. Instead of Scripture, it's dogma. And they'll give you to understand right now, they don't care what the Scripture says, it's what the church says. A priest told me, said, "God is in His church." I said, "God is in His Word." He is the Word! (John 1:1, 14)
He said, "Well, that Bible's just a history of the early Catholic church." I said, "Then I'm an early Catholic." I said, "That makes me more a Catholic than you, being a priest." See? I said, "If that's it, then I am that." I said, "You see, I believe exactly what the apostles taught. You believe what man has injected into it." And that's exactly the way it went.
There's no such thing as organized religion. Jesus never said, "I commission you to go into all the world and make organizations." No, sir, he never said such a thing. To do this, is to reject the sacred Scriptures. When this was done, it was changed from salvation by birth to church by dogma and creeds of men.
That's why I'm against it. Not against the people, it’s the system that I'm against. One of them ministers preach something that's in the Bible that's contrary to that denominational doctrine, the charter that they have in that church, he's excommunicated. Some of them are so nasty as they won't even let a revival come to another church unless it is one of their own men.
In the prophecy of the 7 church ages in Revelation chapters 2-3, the church goes from "deeds" in one age, to "doctrine" in another age. The "doctrine of the Nicolaitans". The word "Nicolaitan" is a Greek compound word that comes from "Nikao" which means to conqueor, and "laos", which means Laity. It was the system of government usurping God's leading of the Holy Spirit into the leading of an organized, political church system. God can no longer lead by a God Sent, Holy Spirit lead Pastor to sheppard the church because he's bound by their denominational dogma and the Holy Spirit is over-ruled by their denominational creeds and charter. Jesus in Rev. 2:15 speaking of this doctrine said "which thing I hate."
The Bible declares the spiritual condition of the church in the last days is exactly so.
The scripture in 2nd Timothy isn't describing the world, it's the Church! "Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof", and "ever learning but never able to come to the knowledge of the truth."
In the last church age before the rapture occurs in Revelation 4:1 the Lord Jesus speaks of the final condition of the church:
See she is poor, blind, miserable, wretched, naked and dont know it! She doesn't know the spiritual condition she is in. She thinks she's right, and doesn't realize, like the foolish virgin, that she's not ready.
The Roman Catholic Church is the Mother Church, the mother of organization, the mother of denomination. And she has daughters!
The True Church of God is the Bride of Jesus Christ, she is identified by that relationship. Always a woman types the church. This harlot Jezebel is committing spiritual fornication against God, and she has children, and they are churches, "and all the churches shall know." They are the denominational daughters of the Mother Church using the same types of false government, which the Holy Spirit is against.
Notice that in Revelation 17 and 18, this Harlot Church (seated on 7 hills is Rome! Rev. 17: 9) immediately after her mystery was made known, who she was, what she was, who her daughters was, the mystery has been made known, then God sent an angel, a messenger to what? Call out. "Come out..." the Message of the hour.
He's going to curse her. "Come out of her." God sent a mighty angel, or, a messenger. And his Light wasn't in a corner; its scattered over the earth. "Come out of her." Now, you know that's the Truth. A messenger was sent from heaven to call God's people out of Babylon. And his Light lighted the earth, great Holy Spirit.
Notice, this Angel is the last messenger before the coming of Christ in the 19th chapter of Revelation. The messenger's voice, if we notice, when he gave his voice on the earth, there was a voice echoed again in heaven: 4th verse, of the 19th chapter. This messenger on the earth was so inclined with God until, when he spoke it on the earth; God echoed the same thing out of heaven. What is that 4th verse translation? What does it mean? God's voice was speaking to His people, saying, "Come out of her," just exactly what that voice was. He's got people all out in there, all out through Babylon. Come out of her, that you be not partakers of her sins, come out of those dogmas and creeds to the Word made Spirit and Life. Come back to the Word of God. Amen.
In Matthew 25 we have the parable of the 10 virgins, 5 wise and 5 foolish. At the midnight hour, in the last age, a cry went out. A shout, a message.
In Luke 14 we see a messenger sent in the evening time, at the setting of the sun.
Though many are unaware, just as they were with John the Baptist, the scriptures speak of an end time messenger and message.
The ministry of Elijah to restore the apostolic faith, and prepare a people for the coming of the Lord is clear from the scripture. It is identified.
The ministry of William Branham has been unparalleled since the days of the apostles, and no one since has had such gifts displayed to such a degree, or held his prophetic office. The gifts were manifested to draw the attention of the people so they would hear the voice of the sign. God has sent a message to prepare the people. A message to come out of denominational dogma’s and creeds, and inventions of man and back to the Word of God.
It was through his ministry that the “mysteries of God” were to be revealed as God had declared through his servants the prophets, according to the scripture. It was the revealing of these mysteries that would turn the hearts of the children back to the faith of their Pentecostal fathers. That is the purpose the Elijah ministry, not Elijah himself but coming in the spirit and power of Elijah just as John the Baptist did. God always warns his people before sending judgement, and then gives a space for repentance. The Church has received her last sign, and her last warning. There is nothing left but a Rapture for a Bride that has made herself ready.
Revelation 22: 17 “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”