Who Was William Marrion Branham?
William Marrion Branham was one of the most influential Bible ministers of our time. He was considered by many to be the initiator of the healing and charismatic revival that began in 1947, and from his ministry there sprang a myriad of other ministers who became internationally known. One Historian of that movement stated that William Branham was "a prophet to our generation", and a Pentecostal Historian wrote, "Branham filled the largest stadiums and meeting halls in the world." The Full Gospel Men's Voice, (now, Full Gospel Businessmen's Fellowship International), in its February 1961 issue, 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, a Prophet and Seer of God, whose photograph appears on the front cover of this issue of Full Gospel Men's Voice. Branham has been used by God, in the Name of Jesus, to raise the dead!" From 1947 until the time of his passing in 1965, the powerful ministry of William Branham was well known and considered unparalleled in the history of gospel meetings. The impact of the supernatural ministry of this one man was felt not only in North America, but also around the world.
Early Life And Conversion
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. Reared near Jeffersonville, Indiana, he knew only a life of deep poverty and hardship, his father being alcoholic and illiterate. Compounding these circumstances, the young boy was considered "nervous", because from an early age he spoke of "visions" and "a voice" which spoke to him out of a wind, saying, "Don't ever drink, or smoke, or defile your body in any way. There will be a work for you to do when you get older."
William Branham came to know the Lord and was filled with the Holy Spirit in 1931. From that time, the Bible became the focus of his life and Jesus Christ the center of his very existence! He was ordained to the ministry at the age of 23 years, in the Missionary Baptist Church in December of 1932.
Visitations Of An Angel
On June 11, 1933, William Branham was baptizing in the Ohio River near Jeffersonville, Indiana, when a bright fiery light suddenly appeared over his head and a voice spoke out, "As John the Baptist was sent to forerun the first coming of Jesus Christ, so are you sent to forerun His second coming!" The next edition of the Jeffersonville Evening News reported the incident with the subheading, "Mysterious Star Appears Over Minister While Baptizing".
In May of 1946, he set himself aside to seek God for the meaning of his strange life. As he prayed alone late one night, an angel of light appeared, saying, "Do not fear. I am sent from the presence of 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. If you will be sincere when you pray and can get the people to believe you, nothing shall stand before your prayer, not even cancer. You will go into many parts of the earth and will pray for kings and rulers and potentates. You will preach to multitudes the world over and thousands will come to you for counsel." This was literally fulfilled in the years that followed, for his ministry took him around the world seven times and many individuals of public influence, including Congressman Upshaw of the U.S.A. and King George VI of England, were healed as a result of his prayers.
On the night of January 24, 1950, one of the most amazing photographs (right figure) of all time was taken in the Sam Houston Coliseum, Houston, Texas. As William Branham stood at the podium, a halo of fire appeared above his head. This picture was the only one that turned out on the entire film! George J. Lacy, Investigator of Questioned Documents, and often hired by the FBI in that capacity, subjected the negative to every scientific test available. At a news conference, he stated, "To my knowledge, this is the first time in all the world's history that a supernatural being has been photographed and scientifically vindicated." The original of this photograph is kept in the archives of the Religious Department of the Smithsonian Institute, Washington, D.C.
As news spread of miraculous healings, pastors from all around began to call Bro. William Branham to minister for their congregations and pray for the sick. A supernatural sign had been given him for the purpose of encouraging the people to believe. Firstly, a physical sign in his hand would indicate a disease or healing. Later on in his ministry the secret thoughts and needs of individuals were revealed, resulting in faith for deliverance. It became abundantly clear to any serious Bible reader, that William Branham was ordained a Prophet to fulfill the many scriptural prophecies concerning our time.
Churches could not accommodate the crowds, and the meetings moved to large auditoriums or stadiums for united campaigns in the major cities of North America.
Jonesboro, Arkansas - "Evening Sun" Newspaper June 12, 1947.
"Residents of at least 25 States and Mexico have visited Jonesboro since Rev. Branham opened the camp meeting, June 1st. The total attendance for the services is likely to surpass the 20,000 mark."
Helsinki, Finland - 1950
Two years prior to the Helsinki campaign, God had shown Bro. Branham a vision of a boy being raised from the dead. He related the details to his audiences and asked them to write the vision in the flyleaf of their Bibles. The vision was fulfilled at the scene of an accident, near Kuopio, Finland, where a boy on a bicycle had been struck by a car and killed. The Branham party travelling in a motorcade came upon the scene and Brother Branham, asking that the sheet covering the body be removed, recognized the boy to be the same one he had seen in the vision. He prayed and the child was raised from the dead.
Durban, South Africa - 1951
Meetings were sponsored by The Apostolic Faith Mission, the Assemblies of God, the Pentecostal Holiness and the Full Gospel Church of God and conducted in eleven cities, with a combined attendance of a half a million people! Church history was made on the final day of the Durban meetings, held at the Greyville Racecourse, where an estimated 45,000 people were in attendance and thousands more turned away at the gates!
Is This Ministry A Fulfillment Of Prophecy?
Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets. Amos 3:7
God's pattern of dealing with His people has always included the sending of prophets. The prophet Amos informs us that God does "nothing" without a prophetic forerunner, and even a surface study of scriptural history will uncover this to be exactly as stated. Seldom was there a prophet who spoke the words of God who was not greeted with skepticism, rejection and abuse!
Consider these scriptures:
Malachi 4:5 and 6 is two-fold, fulfilled in part in the ministry of John, the Baptist. He preceded the first coming of Jesus Christ, called the "great" day of the Lord, turning the hearts of the fathers of the "law" to the children of the New Testament era of "grace." As stated in Jamieson, Fausset & Brown Commentary on the Whole Bible, "…John the Baptist was an Elijah in spirit (Luke 1:16,17) but not the literal Elijah (John 1:21). This implies that John, knowing he was referred to by Malachi 4:5, knew by inspiration that he did not exhaustively fulfil all that is included in this prophecy: that there is a further fulfillment. There is a prophet that will fulfill the second part of this scripture, forerun the second coming of Christ and "turn the hearts of the children to their fathers.." Literally, a ministry that will turn the hearts of a backslidden generation back to the Word of God and the faith of our "early church" fathers before the "dreadful day of the Lord", the second coming of Christ in judgment.
Again, Matthew 17:10-12 is two-fold. Firstly, "Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come?" "… But I say unto you, That Elias is come already and they knew him not …" speaking of John the Baptist. Secondly, "And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things." Speaking of a future forerunner to precede Christ's second coming.
The ministry of William Branham involved three distinct stages that he referred to as "pulls". The First Pull: Healing. Second Pull: Prophesying. Third Pull: The opening or revealing of the Word of God.
The ministry of Jesus Christ followed exactly the same pattern. First Pull: multitudes flocked to hear his gracious words and to receive His miraculous healing touch. Second Pull: Revealed the secrets of the hearts. (John 4:17-18) Third Pull: His "message", the Word of God which came in strength and contrary to the religious order of the day, caused the multitudes to leave him.
"From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him." John. 6:66
In December 1962 God gave William Branham a vision of an angelic visitation which he foretold in a message "Sirs is this the Time?" On February 28, 1963, the vision and prophecy was fulfilled when a constellation of seven angels, formed as the head of Christ, met him with a commission to speak the opening of the Seven Seals of Revelation. Life Magazine (May 17th 1963) carried the photograph (left figure) of this supernatural event, describing it as a "Mystery Cloud over Arizona."
To the millions of believers around the world who have heard and received the Message which God has sent through His prophet, William Branham, the Word of God has opened up as never before in history. Jesus Christ has come into plain view through the pages of revealed scripture. World events no longer cause alarm, for all is unfolding as it should, fulfilling Bible prophecy!
We urge all sincere readers to be as the Bereans in Act 17:11 who "were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so."