— Chapter 2 —

The Life and Ministry of William Branham

— A Man Sent From God —

That the ministry of William Branham qualifies as that of a major prophet, thus fulfilling Malachi 4:5-6 and Revelation 10:7, should be abundantly clear to any who take time to even briefly investigate its magnitude and impact. Gordon Lindsay gave an apt commendation in the introduction to his book — "A Man Sent From God" — in which he describes his experiences and observations as he traveled with God's Prophet:

"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".

Many others such as T. L. Osborne, Jack Moore, and Joseph Mattson Boze, were equally awed by the divine vindication in William Branham's life. (For a list of remarks made by these and other servants of God, see Appendix II, Witnesses).

— Acts of The Prophet —

This excerpt from Pastor Pearry Green's book—"The Acts of the Prophet"—will give you a glimpse of the nature of William Branham's life and ministry. Brother Green was a friend and associate of Brother Branham, particularly in the latter years of his life. This rich little book was made up of a series of messages preached by Pastor Green in his own tabernacle then compiled and put into print.

— Early Life and Conversion —

Prophet's birthplaceOn April 6, l909, a fifteen—year-old Kentucky mother gave birth to a baby boy. They named him William Marrion Branham, and on the day that he was born there was a strange aura, a presence, in the rustic little log cabin. A Light came whirling in through the window and hung over the crib. No wonder the people who saw it said, "What manner of child shall this be?" When the baby was but six months old, God's protection over him was demonstrated for the first time. He and his mother, stranded in the cabin while his father was away on a job, were miraculously saved from certain death. A great snow storm had isolated the cabin. Food and firewood ran out, so the young mother simply wrapped herself and her baby in all the bedclothes they had and went to bed, waiting for the end. A neighbor a little way off, by some strange phenomenon that he couldn't explain, had for several days felt attracted to visit the little cabin to see how his neighbors were doing. One day the urge came upon him so strong that he was not able to resist it: he crossed the hills to the cabin and found the mother and child nearly perished. Quickly he gathered firewood and built a fire, made a trip back to his home for nourishment, and nursed them back to health. Thus only by a strange Presence that the man could not explain, was he drawn to come at this hour and save the life of this particular six-month-old boy.

At the age of three, Brother Branham received his first vision. From the vision, he knew to tell his mother that though they now lived in Kentucky, some day they would live near a city called New Albany. It was not long after, that the family moved from Kentucky across the Ohio river to Indiana and a little later moved further south to Jeffersonville, Indiana, which is just a few miles from New Albany, Indiana. The vision was fulfilled.

At the age of seven, Brother Branham had another strange experience that he was unable to understand. It happened one day that, while assisting his father, he found himself passing underneath a poplar tree about the size of a barrel and a voice spoke from it saying, "Never smoke, drink, nor defile your body, for when you are older there is a work for you to do." He couldn't understand the mysterious event; it frightened him, and he ran to his mother. She first thought he had been snake bitten, then thought that he may just have been in nervous shock, so she put him to bed and called the doctor.

Ohio BridgeAt the age of nine, one day while he was playing with friends he saw a vision of a bridge. This bridge was to extend across the Ohio River from Louisville to Jeffersonville. He told his friends that he could see the bridge and to his horror, he saw a portion of it collapse, carrying sixteen men to their deaths. His friends told this around the community and twenty two years later that bridge was built at the cost of the lives of sixteen men. The bridge stands today, between Jeffersonville and Louisville.

Once as a young man, a girl made fun of him because he wouldn't smoke, and he actually tried to smoke to stop her derision. His testimony is that as he reached for the cigarette he heard the whirlwind again, and the more he tried, the stronger it became, until its rushing sound frightened him. Because of this Brother Branham never did smoke.

Another time a man offered him a drink in the presence of young William Branham's father, and insisted that he take it. He was about to take the drink, because his own father called him a sissy, when the whirlwind came again. He could hear it rushing, and as he continued to put the bottle toward his lips, the wind became stronger until It frightened him and he ran off. He did not disobey God—he could not—for God had a plan for his life which He was bringing to pass.

As a teenager, he once went to a carnival, and there a fortune teller, an astrologer, walked up to him and said, "Young man, did you know that there is a sign following you?" How similar to the time when the evil spirit said to Jesus, "We know who you are, thou art the Christ, the Son of God." The priests and the religious leaders, the most religious people in the world at the time of Christ, didn't recognize Him, the evil spirits did. When the apostle Paul went to Thyatira to preach, he was not welcomed, but put in stocks, and a young sorceress said, "This is Paul, who preaches Christ unto us, the Message of salvation." There was an evil spirit in her that recognized who Paul was when the others sought to persecute him. So it was in this generation. The evil spirits could recognize there was something different about Brother Branham before the religious people of the world would admit it.

Brother Branham almost died for the second time at the age of fourteen. Accidentally shot, lying in his own blood with part of his leg shot away where the blast of a shotgun had struck him, he had a vision, or experience, where he himself faded away and he saw people in hell. He saw things that were to take place among the women of the world in the 1960's, the grotesque use of makeup and the like. These women were in hell and it shocked him to realize that there was such a place, yet he resisted the call of God upon his life, though God continued through the years to deal with him, for there was a work for him to do when he was older.

He came west to Phoenix Arizona, in 1927, at the age of nineteen. It was while there, working on a ranch, that he received word of the death of his brother Edward, who was closest to him in age. When he heard of Edward's death, he stood and looked out across the desert, and asked himself whether Edward had been ready to meet God. Then, as he made the journey back to Jeffersonville to the funeral, the question came to him, "Are you ready?" He recalled how his father and mother wept and the great impact this made on his life as he began to wonder about himself. He was ever aware of this Voice, this Presence that he had experienced since he was a baby, wishing to speak to him. It separated him from the other boys his age, preventing their friendship because he spoke of strange things and wouldn't smoke, drink, dance, or run around as they did. He couldn't pattern his life after theirs, yet he didn't know how to surrender himself to God. But through the death of Edward, the Spirit of God continued to be with him and brought him to where he actually tried to pray. He didn't know how, but loving the wilderness, he wrote on a piece of paper, "God, help me!" He left the note stuck on a tree because he knew that God was there in nature. Finally the day arrived when he went to a place, knelt down, and though he still did not know how to pray, cried out in simplicity. That was enough to open the windows of heaven and he said it seemed like a thousand pound load lifted off his shoulders. With no other way to express his extreme joy and relief, he stood to his feet and began to leap and run about. He ran into the house and his puzzled mother asked him what was wrong. "I don't know," he replied, "I just feel so light!" He ran out of the house and down the road, using the only way he knew to express his elation.

Later while working for the public service company, he was exposed to some gas and was poisoned, and became very ill. An operation was performed during which he almost left this life again. The situation was grave until a supernatural event took place as a Light came and hung before him. The doctors didn't expect him to live and when he did survive, one of the doctors came to his room after the operation and said, "Truly, God has visited this boy!" Brother Branham said that at the time he didn't know what was happening, but that if he had known then what he learned later, he would have leaped from the bed rejoicing, healed in the Name of the Lord. After he left the hospital, he sought a deeper experience with God, because he realized that God had done a great thing for him.

On another occasion, as he knelt in a woodshed to pray, a Light came in and formed a cross. It was then that something swept over him and he experienced an exquisite feeling he had never known before. He once told me personally that it felt like rain was pelting down on his body.

Later he heard of a group of people who believed in the laying on of hands for healing, and at their church meeting, somebody laid hands upon him and he was instantly healed of a stomach problem that remained from the gas exposure.

— His Ministry Begins —

It was after this miraculous healing that he first began preaching and from his very first meeting, people were baptized. It was at a baptismal service on June 11, 1933, that another supernatural event occurred.

Brother Branham baptising in the Ohio River June 11, 1933 when Pillar of fire appeared and the Lord spokeOn 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 inexplicable 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, "As John the Baptist was sent to forerun the first Coming of the Lord, so are you sent to forerun His second Coming. . ."

— Seven Prophetic Visions —

The year 1933 was a time of major revelation for Brother Branham and those who followed his Message.

It was also in June of that year when Brother Branham was conducting services in the old Masonic Hall on Meggs Avenue in Jeffersonville, that seven major events were revealed to him which were to come to pass before the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. On this June morning, just before he was to preach, this series of visions appeared to him.

Mussolini and mistressThe first was that the dictator of Italy, Mussolini, would invade Ethiopia, and according to the Voice speaking to him, Ethiopia would fall at Mussolini's steps. However the voice continued and prophesied that there would be a dreadful end come to this dictator. He was to die a horrible death and his own people would literally spit on him. It is now history how this all happened. The next vision indicated that America would be drawn into a World War against Germany which would be headed up by an Austrian. The prediction was that this terrible war would overthrow this leader and he would come to a mysterious end. In this vision Brother Branham was shown the great Siegfried Line, several years before it was built. The third vision showed that there were three "isms" in the world: Fascism, Nazism, and Communism, and that the first two would come to nothing, but Communism would flourish. The Voice admonished him to keep his eyes on Russia concerning future events, and said, "Watch Russia, she will become a great world power."

Boys Life MagazineThe fourth vision predicted tremendous advances in science right after the war. In this vision, he saw automobiles shaped like eggs traveling the American highways. I ask you to look at the advertisements of the Volkswagen today, even comparing it with the shape of an egg and saying, "Some shapes cannot be improved upon!" In 1933, this car had not even been designed. Also he saw a car with a bubble roof, traveling completely automatically down the highway with the driver turned and playing some kind of a game with those in the back seat. The car had no steering wheel. They have such automobiles today, controlled by electronics, which were displayed in the 1962 World's Fair. The fifth vision involved the womanhood of the world. In this vision he was shown the rapid moral decay of the women, starting back when they received their so-called, "liberty" to enter into world affairs by means of the vote. He saw that this right to vote would result in the election, by the women of America, of a "boy" president. (Just remember that Jack Kennedy won his election by the vote of the women). Finally, the vision showed the women stripped practically naked, covered merely with a tiny apron about the size and shape of a fig leaf.

2 euro coinIn the sixth vision, there arose in the United States a beautiful woman, clothed in splendor and royal robes, with great power given to her. She was beautiful to look upon, but there was a "hardness about her that defied description." Beautiful as she was, she was cruel, wicked, cunning, and deceitful and dominated the land with her authority holding complete power over the people. The vision indicated that either such a woman would literally arise or that this was merely a type of an organization Scripturally characterized as a woman. Though the Voice did not reveal who she was, Brother Branham felt in his heart that this woman represented the rising Roman Catholic church, and he inserted in parentheses at the end of the vision, which he had written out, the words, "perhaps the Roman Catholic church." Then the Voice bade Brother Branham to look once more. As he turned, he beheld a great explosion which rent the entire land and left America a smoldering, chaotic ruin. As far as the eye could see, there was nothing but craters and smoking piles of debris, with no humanity in sight—the seventh vision then faded away.

— Commissioned by An Angel —

After Brother Branham's strange early life, the years passed by, and he served God to the best of his ability as a pastor and laborer in the Kingdom of God.

The beginning of what was to be a tremendous change in his life and ministry occurred on May 7, 1946. It all started as he was leaving on a hunting trip with a friend. Directly as he walked beneath a maple tree in the front yard of his home, on 8th Street in Jeffersonville, Indiana, he relates that a mighty, rushing wind came into the tree. It hit the top of the maple tree and it seemed to him that the tree would be torn apart. The tremendous impact caused him to stagger and his wife and others ran to him, thinking that he had become ill. He turned to her and said these words, "For over twenty years I've not been able to understand this ministry, this strange feeling on myself. I can't go on like this. I've got to have the answer! Is this of God! What is it all about?" He told her that he was going away, that he would leave her and the children to seek God with his Bible and prayer and that he would not come back until he found the answer.

Prophet's secret caveHaving made up his mind and stating his intentions, Brother Branham went alone to seek God in a secret place, determined to know the answer and to find peace in his heart about this. God, sometime or another in Brother Branham's younger life, had led him to a cave which he has spoken of often in his later tapes and said that no man could find it. The cave is furnished by nature as though for his very own use. Inside there is a round rock shaped like a table, another, shaped like a chair, and also a place for a man to lie down and sleep. He put none of this there—it simply was there. It was to that secret cave he went that eventful night. Brother Branham lay prostrate on his face in the cave before God. After he had prayed his heart out in sincerity, seeking God, he sat up and waited for an answer. How many times have we heard him say, "They that wait upon the Lord. . ." So often when we pray, we do all the talking, and as soon we are through talking, we get up and leave. He said that the secret is after you have prayed to have patience to wait until God chooses to speak back. That is, if you believe that God has heard you, then wait for the answer.

It was about the 11th hour that he saw a soft light appearing before him. He looked up and rose to move toward this Light and there hung that great star. It didn't have five points like a star, but looked more like a ball of fire. Then, he heard footsteps, and a man of great stature approached him. The man weighed perhaps two hundred pounds, had a dark complexion, no beard, and shoulder-length hair. As the man caught his eye, Brother Branham became very fearful, but the stranger looked at him in a kindly manner and began to speak. Just as an angel stood by Paul and gave him instructions, so this angel stood by Brother Branham and gave him instructions, I have placed these instructions here in seven separate categories:

"Fear not!" said the angel, putting Brother Branham at ease, and continued, saying, "I am a messenger, sent unto you from the Presence of Almighty God." That was the first phase, calming any fears and identifying himself.

In the second phase, he spoke to Brother Branham about his life, saying, "I want you to know that your strange life has been for a purpose in preparing you to do a job that God has ordained for you to do from your birth."

Third phase: the angel telling him that there were some conditions that he must meet and keep. He said, "If you will he sincere, and you can get the people to believe you. . ." And then he went on to the fourth phase—the results:

He said, ". . . nothing will stand before your prayers, not even cancer!"

The fifth phase of the angel's message was a warning to the people that they were to confess their sins before they came before this man of God, and that he was to tell the people that their thoughts speak louder before the throne of God than do their words. This was a warning to all mankind.

Then, the angel went into the sixth phase and told Brother Branham things concerning his life and ministry. He was told that he would preach before multitudes all over the world and that he would stand in packed auditoriums, with people turned away for lack of room. His church in Jeffersonville would become a centralized place where people would come from all over the world, seeking his prayers for their deliverance.

Not only that, but the angel went on to say that "You shall pray for kings and rulers and potentates."

You ask, "Did this happen?" Let us see if it did.

Brother Branham returned to his little tabernacle the next week, and the old timers will tell you of a sincere young man speaking without a doubt in his mind telling them what that angel had said, and saying, "There will be thousands come here, they'll crowd you out. You won't find a seat unless you're sincere with God and come early." People of the city, educated people, looked at him and said, "Well Billy Branham, they'll never do that." But did they? In Brother Branham's files is a letter from the late King George VI of England, thanking him for coming to him, at the King's request for prayer, when the King was healed of a leg ailment. Also in a meeting one day, a very well-known congressman, a member of the United States Congress for years, confined to a wheel chair, was sitting back in the aisle of the auditorium while Brother Branham was preaching his Message of faith and healing. Like Paul in the Book of Acts, he stopped his sermon, looked down at this man and said, "Sir, I perceive you have faith to be healed. Rise and walk out of the wheelchair." And Congressman Upshaw, who had been confined to the wheelchair for over 60 years, stood to his feet and walked down the aisle, praising God. He returned to Washington D.C., stood on the steps of the Capitol Building, and declared William Marrion Branham to be a prophet of God of the twentieth century. Faithfully, as long as he lived, the Congressman sent Brother Branham a Stetson hat for Christmas every year. In contrast, there were other people in the world who shrugged him off as an unknown. They just were not listening, or could not hear.

The healing of Congressman Upshaw was carried by Reader's Digest. Is it not interesting that two wonderful articles of healings like this in the life and ministry of Brother Branham were carried by the largest circulation magazine in the world, Reader's Digest, quoted second only to the Bible? People say "I read it in Reader's Digest," in the same manner that others might speak of the Bible. It was nothing less than God ordaining it so that the world could know that He had sent a prophet. If they would only have listened.

The seventh phase of the angel's Message concerned the different phases of Brother Branham's ministry. Some people refer to these as the first sign and the second sign. But Brother Branham spoke of them as the "three pulls." (Like the pulls a fisherman makes in attracting the fish, setting the hook, and taking the fish). The angel told him that, under the anointing, he would be able to take people by the hand and the spirit of disease in that person would cause such a commotion and a reaction when it made contact with his spirit that he would he able to feel this vibration physically in his hand. By telling people what the disease was, it would inspire the faith of the audience, and they too, would believe.

— Three Pulls —

When I first saw Brother Branham, this was the phase of his ministry, the "pull," being manifested. When people came before him, unless he could visibly see their ailment, like blindness, being crippled, or paralysis, he would take them by the hand, and if they had sin in their life, he told them first of their sin.

The second sign, or "pull," was to be his knowing the secrets of the heart. He would be able to just talk to people and he would know their name and other facts about them. (Remember, the Word of God is sharper than a two edged sword and a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart). People began to see this manifested in the late 1950's and the early 1960's in Brother Branham's ministry.

But there was to be a third pull and of this third pull or the final phase of his ministry—he said, "This will be the thing that will take the Bride in the Rapture."

— The Third Pull —

In one of Brother Branham's sermons entitled, "The Anointed Ones at the End Time," he was endeavoring to explain the significance of this latter part of his ministry. The following excerpt was uttered as he came to the end of his Message:

"Notice the very day when this messenger begins to declare his Message. See? The First Pull, healing: Second Pull, prophesying: Third Pull, the opening of the Word, the mysteries revealed. There's no higher order to reveal the Word than prophets. But the only way the prophet can be vindicated is by the Word. And remember, the Third Pull was the opening of them Seven Seals to reveal the hidden Truth that's been sealed in the Word."

Brother Branham's third pull was the teaching segment of his ministry. The first two pulls drew attention to his prophetic ministry by the constant exercise of the supernatural, but this generation needed more than a demonstration of miracles. God's purpose was to send this Elijah with a Message of restoration.

— God Vindicates His Own —

The world, however, remembers him chiefly for his operation in the realm of the Supernatural and certainly in our day, there has been no parallel. The Gospel of John comes to a close with this remarkable statement:

"And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written" (John 21:25).

It is not preposterous to say that such also is the case of the ministry of Jesus Christ in His prophet today. To attempt to outline the miracles and Supernatural manifestations and their implications would be as impossible as Abraham counting the stars. Till the last year of his ministry (1965), God's humble prophet was still being used to discern hearts, heal every manner of illness and perform diverse miracles. By the providence of God's grace, and a wonderful invention called the tape recorder, thousands of the miracles were recorded as they happened. The world has been left with an authentic record of God in action, not two thousand years ago, but today! Thousands still living, who were in Brother Branham's meetings, witnessed his gift of discernment and saw the healings which took place.

— A Prophet Visits South Africa —

Probably, his greatest single crusade was held in South Africa. His entire ministry in that country was so phenomenal that Julius Stadsklev, who traveled with him, wrote a book dealing only with that trip. In his book—A Prophet Visits South Africa—he relates vividly the results of the Durban meetings. Following are just a few remarks taken from his book:

"Sunday, Nov. 25, 1951:

Before the afternoon service started, reports were coming in of those who had received their healing in the morning service. It would be impossible to relate the many cases of definite healings which took place in Durban that day. As Brother Branham saw visions of healings he pointed out the people and told them that they were healed. There were those who stepped out of their wheelchairs and walked, some for the first time in many years. There was the deaf and dumb who smiled and made vocal sounds as they were able to hear for the first time in their lives. There were the little children who could not understand it all but who were now able to walk as they had never been able to before.

Section of congregation at Durban race track serviceTruly this was a great day of spiritual awakening in the city of Durban. According to the police force fifty-five to sixty thousand people had come to hear the Gospel in addition to fifteen thousand who had been turned away from the gates for lack of room in the largest, finest race course in South Africa. God had spoken to the hearts of thousands and had caused them to come out to hear the Gospel and receive healing for both soul and body".

A local Pastor named John F. Wooderson was one of three whose comments were recorded in Mr. Stadsklev's book. The following is a further excerpt:

"But is it not the ministry of the miraculous given to men by God in these days which is a most vital factor and potent force in the spiritual awakening of the countries of the world. Is not this God's answer to an age of apathy, unbelief and skepticism? Under the God honoured ministry of Brother William Branham the most amazing scenes were witnessed. One could not help but be reminded of New Testament days. From everywhere the sick came with all manner of afflictions . . . some on crutches, wheelchairs, and stretchers. The extraordinary gift possessed by God's servant, which was manifested in the diagnosis of the ills of men and women, together with his deep humility and overwhelming compassion for suffering humanity was convincing proof that he was indeed "A man sent from God." Never will we forget those prayers which came from the innermost depths of his soul, as he called upon God to "have mercy upon these poor people and heal them." And whilst he prayed, the answer came! All over those vast gatherings men and women were delivered from the power of Satan in their bodies. Crooked limbs were straightened—the blind saw, the deaf heard. Cancers, growths, heart ailments were healed in the Name of Jesus. Brother Branham faithfully pointed his large audiences to the only source of healing, and never failed to discredit the idea that he had any ability to heal".

Let me conclude this portion with some comments made by F.F. Bosworth as he described his impression of the prophet's ministry:

"Brother Branham is a channel for more than the mere gift of healing; he is also a seer as were the Old Testament Prophets. He sees events before they take place. I asked him, "What do you mean? How do you see them?" He replied, "Just as I see you: only that I know it is a vision." Just as clearly as one sees material things around them, Brother Branham, while in prayer during the day, sees in vision some of the principal miracles before they take place that night. He sees some carried in on ambulance cots, or sitting in wheel chairs, and can describe how they look and how they are dressed, etc. While being shown these miracles in advance, he usually becomes, for the time, unconscious of things going on around him. Not once during the more than three years since receiving the gift have these revelations failed to produce perfect miracles exactly as he had already seen them in visions. At these times he can say with absolute certainty, "Thus saith the Lord," and he is never wrong. He told me last week that he simply acts out what he has already seen himself doing in the vision. The success of the phase of his ministry is exactly 100 percent.

When the gift is operating, Brother Branham is the most sensitive person to the Presence and working of the Holy Spirit and to spiritual realities of any person I have ever known. Under the anointing, which operates his Spiritual gifts, and when he is conscious of the Angel's presence, he seems to break through the veil of the flesh into the world of Spirit, to be struck through and through with a sense of the unseen". proph02.htm

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