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Life of God's General; William Branham

Life of God's General; William Branham

so out of this world and beyond the ordinary that, were there not available a host of infallible proofs which document and attest its authenticity, one might well be excused from considering it farfetched and incredible." (Gordon Lindsay, A Man Sent From God, p9)


Thousands were converted or healed through Branham’s ministry. He reported that throughout his life he was guided by an angel who regularly communicated with him. He operated in what appears to be a genuine gift of ‘the word of knowledge’ which was gave him the power to discern people's illnesses and thoughts. David Harrell reports of his popularity: "The power of a Branham service . . . remains a legend unparalleled in the history of the charismatic movement" (Harrell, p162). Branham's accuracy is attested by Walter J. Hollenweger, who interpreted for him in Zurich and ‘is not aware of any case in which he was mistaken in the often detailed statements he made’ (Hollenweger, The Pentecostals, p354). The colourful Canadian minister, song leader and teacher, W. J. Ern Baxter, who accompanied him 4-8 months every year from 1947-1953, said he never heard his discernment inaccurate even once.


Early life

William Branham was born on April 6, 1909, to a fifteen year old mother and an eighteen year old father, in a small log cabin in the eastern Kentucky mountains. The family moved to a farm near Jeffersonville, Indiana, where they lived in abject poverty. ‘He always seemed to be a little different’ was how some peers described him. No wonder, as he experienced his first divine visitation when he was three years old. He had a vision that one day the family would move from Kentucky to live near a city called New Albany. The vision was fulfilled. At the age of seven he had another divine encounter. Under a poplar tree a strange wind shook its leaves, though there was no other wind that day. A voice spoke out of a small whirlwind and said, ‘Never smoke, never drink, nor defile your body, for when you are older there is a work for you to do.’ (Pearry Green, ‘The Acts of the Prophet,’ p40)


At nine he saw a vision of a bridge that spanned the Ohio River form Louisville to Jeffersonville.He saw a portion of the bridge collapse carrying sixteen men to their deaths. Twenty two years later this bridge was built – at the cost of the lives of sixteen men. When tempted to drink alcohol wind intensified around him until it frightened him and he ran off. (Pearry Green, ‘The Acts of the Prophet, p40-41)


At the age of nineteen, in 1927, he travelled to Phoenix where he worked for several years on a ranch and became a professional boxer from 1928-1933, before returning home to his family after his brother Edward, died. He was a dependable youth always living a lived a clean, moral, quiet life. (Harrel, All Things are Possible, p28). He began to question if he were ready for eternity and started to search after God. He was assured of God’s reality but didn’t know how to pray, so he wrote on a piece of paper ‘God help me,’ and pinned it on a tree!


His conversion

Two years later while working for a gas company he was overcome with gas, became seriously ill and was hospitalised. The surgeons decided to remove his appendix and he requested a local anaesthetic and the presence of a Christian minister. During the operation he felt himself getting weaker and weaker, then he began to hear that familiar sound of wind rustling the leaves. This time the voice said, "I called you and you would not go." The words were repeated three times. Then he replied, "Lord, if that is you, let me go back again to earth and I will preach your Gospel from the housetops and street comers. I'll tell everyone about it!"


On his discharge from hospital he began to seriously seek the Lord, going from church to church waiting for an altar call – but none came. Then, by an old shed at the rear of his house he met with God. In his own words, as he spoke, ‘All at once there came a light in the shed and it formed a cross, and the voice from the cross spoke to me in a language I could not understand. It then went away. I was spellbound. When I came to myself again, I prayed, "Lord, if that is you, please come and talk to me again.’ …..I knew that something had appeared to me, and as I prayed it appeared again. Then it seemed to me that there had been a thousand pounds lifted from my soul. I jumped up and ran to the house and it seemed as though I were running on air. Mother asked, ‘Bill, what has happened to you?’ I replied, ‘I do not know but I surely feel good and light.’ I could not stay in the house any longer. I had to get out and run.’ (Gordon Lindsay, A Man Sent From God, p42)


On another occasion he was fully conscious when the light re-appeared to him and he was powerfully filled with the Holy Spirit. He heard of a group of people who believed in the laying on of hands. At one meeting someone laid hands upon him and he was instantly healed of a stomach problem that was caused by the former gas exposure. It was after this that he began to preach. (Pearry Green, ‘The Acts of the Prophet, p42-43)

The Angelic Visitation - May 7th 1946

Let’s listen to Branham tell his own story here. ‘I must tell you of the angel and the coming of the Gift. I shall never forget the time, May 7th 1946…. while walking around the house under a maple tree, it seemed that the whole top of the tree let loose. It seemed that something came down through that tree like a great rushing wind.... That afternoon I went away to a secret place to pray and read the Bible. I became deep in prayer; it seemed that my whole soul would tear from me. I cried before God. I laid my face to the ground. I looked up to God and cried, "If you will forgive me for the way that I have done, I'll try to do better. I'm sorry that I've been so neglectful all these years in doing the work you wanted me to do. Will you speak to me someway, God? If you don't help me, I can't go on.


Then alone in the night, at about the eleventh hour, 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, of course 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." Words cannot express how I felt. 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.’ Gordon Linday, A Man Sent From God, p76-78).

THEN, THE AMAZING PHOTOGRAPH





It was about midway in the Houston campaign in 1950, and God was moving in a very powerful way. None could deny that there was an element of the Supernatural moving in the Sam Houston Coliseum. Most were convinced that it was Almighty God, but a few were skeptical.


One of the skeptics was Rev. W. E. Best who opposed Divine healing and became hostile against Bro. Branham and a Rev. F. F. Bosworth (who spoke during many of the day services) teaching on the subject of Divine Healing. The hostile clergyman issued a public challenge through the newspapers, to debate with Rev. Bosworth on the subject of "Divine Healing Through the Atonement." Rev. Bosworth ask and received Bro. Branham's permission to accept the challenge. He cautioned Brother Bosworth against being arguementive over the Word. The whole matter was given front-page publicity in the Houston newspapers. The January 24th., 1950 issue of The Houston Press hit the news stands with the headline: "Baptist Cleric To Challenge 'Miracle Man'".


On the evening appointed as the meeting got under way, it was quite apparent that the sympathy of the vast audience was almost entirely on the side of the visiting evangelists. Large numbers of the members of the very denomination of the opposing clergyman, stood to their feet as witnesses that they believed in Divine healing and had in fact been healed. This sentiment became increasingly evident throughout the service.


To record what he thought would be a great milestone in his career, the opposing clergyman secured the services of Mr. James Ayers and Mr. Ted Kipperman, professional photographers. They were to take a series of pictures of him while he was speaking. After taking several photos of Rev. W. E. Best the photographer snapped only one picture of Rev. Branham, who spoke briefly just before the service closed.


Immediately following the meeting Mr. Ayers, one of the photographers, went that same night to the darkroom of his studio to develop the negatives that had been exposed. To his surprise every one of the negatives turned out to be absolutely blank with the exception of the one which had been taken of Rev. Branham. His surprise turned to amazement when he noticed that on this negative, immediately over the head of Rev. Branham, was apparently a supernatural halo of Light. Mr. Ayers called the others of the studio to look at the negative; but when they did so, each was equally puzzled and no one could explain the presence of this halo.


The following morning the photographer sent word to Rev. Branham to inform him of the strange phenomenon that had occurred in connection with the photograph he had taken the night before. Brother Branham then explained to the young man that he was not greatly surprised. He testified that just before the picture was taken he heard the Pillar of Fire descend into the building with a sound of rushing wind. Of course this wasn't the first time for something like this to happen in our Brother's Ministry.


For example, while at Camden, Arkansas, a photographer had snapped a picture of him and when the film was developed it was found that a strange light encircled him, which, the photographer pointed out, could not be accounted for by the lights in the building. Many other such things had occurred in his ministry. The photograph taken at Houston was without a doubt the most outstanding and spectacular of these supernatural manifestations, because of the unique circumstances under which the photograph had been taken.


This was the turning point in his ministry. One of his members later recalled: ‘Now for a carnally-minded person this seemed absolutely impossible, as this boy was a humble worker, a very poor peasant type, and uneducated. But we had seen other visions come to pass, and he spoke this with such certainty, and openly declared it to everyone, that we were sure this would come to pass also.’

The Legacy He Left Us

Nevertheless the legacy left behind by William Marriott Branham is phenomenal. He had a profound influence on the Pentecostalism of his day, spurring the movement on to expect more activity of the Holy Spirit and His gifts in its ministry. The Charismatic Movement traces its origins back through the Full Gospel Businessmen’s Association and Oral Roberts, with scores of others connected with the healing movement.


Branham’s ministry was the major spur to thousands of Spirit-filled evangelists, not just in America, but across the world.


There may have been many things that were questionable about this ministry, especially in the later years, but the extraordinary results across the world far outweigh these and clearly verify William Branham’s ministry as a gift from God. May God give us all grace to deal with what we don’t agree with and wisdom to imitate what we see of God’s blessing!

William Branham death

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, just after dark, a car traveling west struck Branham’s car head-on. The driver of the other car died at the scene, as did the other front seat passenger. The other two passengers in the back seat of the car were severely injured. Branham’s wife was seriously injured and their daughter, Sarah, who was laying in the back seat, was also injured. Branham’s left arm was mangled and caught in the driver-side door, and his left leg was wrapped around the steering wheel.


After about 45 minutes, Branham was pulled from his car and transported to the hospital at Friona, and then later transported to the hospital at Amarillo, Texas. He lived for six days after the crash, dying on December 24, 1965 at 5:49 PM. His body was returned to Jeffersonville, Indiana for burial and was finally buried on April 11, 1966, Easter Monday.


William Branham’s body after his death?


After William Branham’s death on December 24, 1965, Pearry Green confirmed that his body was embalmed and kept in a freezer prior to the funeral. It is standard practice, as otherwise, the body would decay.


The year 1965 approached ushering in the last year of William Branham’s life. The last message he preached was Communion on December 12, 1965.


On December 18, 1965, William Branham and his son Billy Paul Branham were traveling in two separate cars to Tucson when a drunk driver hit Brother Branham’s car.


Brother Branham was taken to a hospital in Amarillo, Texas. He went into shock, and never regained consciousness. The other two passengers in the car, Meda Branham (Brother Branham’s wife) and Sarah Branham (his daughter) were injured but survived.


William Marrion Branham died on December 24, 1965, seven days after the accident had occurred. However, since his wife, Meda Branham, was in no condition to decide where he should be buried, his burial was delayed until April 11, 1966.


The embalming process involves injecting embalming fluid into an artery while blood is drained from a nearby vein or from the heart. The two gallons or so needed is usually a mixture of formaldehyde or other preservative chemicals. Chemicals are also injected by syringe into other areas of the body. This is done to slow down the process of decay.


The embalmer would then insert a long, pointed, metal tube attached to a suction hose into the body close to the navel. This is used to puncture the stomach, bladder, large intestines, and lungs. Gas and body fluids are withdrawn before more embalming fluid is injected into the torso. Again, this is done to slow down the inevitable process of the decay of the body.


Incisions and holes made in the body are sewn closed or filled with “buttons.” The body is then washed, dried and put into cold storage.

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