William Branham was a well-known and controversial prophet from the Voice of Healing movement. His name has been used in many prophecies lately, particularly in and by prophets that attended the Lakeland Revival meetings in Florida with Canadian Evangelist Todd Bentley. Many in this generation have only heard his name, but who was Branham? Here is just a little information for you history students.
William Marrion Branham was born in Kentucky April 6, 1909. He is best known as the prophet of the Voice of Healing movement. On June 11, 1933 in Ohio he reported an encounter with an angel at a baptismal service. Many say they saw a light over his head.
In May 1946 Branham told followers the angel visited him again 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. 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.” Click here to watch a video with Brother Branham testifying of his calling.
In June that same year he launched his healing and prophetic ministry. It grew like wild fire and thousands found Jesus as their Savior. In 1947 Branham met a champion of the faith Gordon Lindsay, founder of Christ for the Nations, who became his biographer and publicist, booked his meetings and edited his Voice of Healing magazine. Later he would preach to some of the largest crowds in the world at that time, upwards of 45,000 in attendance. Lindsay wrote a best selling Christian book of his life “A Man Sent from God.”
In 1948 Pentecostal father of the faith F. F. Bosworth who wrote “Christ the Healer” met Branham in Miami Florida after he retired at 71. They were close friends and worked together in ministry until Bosworth’s death in 1958. He said of Branham “During the past few years, I have often wept for joy over God’s recent gift to the Church, of our beloved brother William Branham, with his marvelous gift of healing. This is a case of God doing exceeding abundantly above all that we can ask or think for I have never seen or read of anything to equal the healing ministry of William Branham.”
One of the most respected evangelist of the 20th century T. L. Osborn and wife Daisy testified to Paul and Jan Crouch on the Trinity Broadcasting Network how Brother Branham changed their lives and ministry forever. This is the part of Branham’s ministry we all would like to remember. Click here to watch the video.
Former speaker at the Lakeland Florida Revival Prophet Paul Cain said that Branham was “the greatest prophet that ever lived.” Today many have never heard of William Branham. So was Branham the greatest prophet that ever lived? Is he our example for prophetic ministry today? Do we want a double portion of the Branham anointing prayed over us? Should those kinds of prayers even be offered?
Braham had incredible crowds attend his meetings, many prophetic words of knowledge and healings but something went wrong, terribly wrong. After reviewing his ministry I think we need to take a break and examine some of his teachings. Not only that, we should also be careful prophesying Branham’s anointing over others when we don’t even know much about him.
Unfortunately, during the latter years of Branham’s ministry he went deep into deception and thousands questioned his unscriptural teachings. Even after close friends tried to reach him, including Gordon Lindsay he stood his ground and many of his ministry associates distanced themselves.
The Voice of Healing movement was over. This is the part of the story that no one wants to remember but it proves that all of us can be deceived when we embrace supernatural experiences and angelic visitations above the written Word of God. Like healing revivalists John Alexander Dowie before him, founder of Zion, Illinois, Branham began to think that he was Elijah.
This same deceiving spirit has plagued the Pentecostals for centuries (Acts 16:16). It is a high-level occult spirit, a counterfeit of the Holy Ghost that attacks those that rise to a certain level of ministry. It covets prophetic ministry and is full of orphic, mystical and supernatural experiences. If people do not discern and defeat this spirit it takes them out, their disciples too and buffets the advancement of the Gospel of Christ.
Sadly, Branham didn’t make it. He started the race blessing the body of Christ mightily but his end proved scripturally reckless and shipwrecked. Branham’s teachings — the good, questionable and bad are well documented in his letters, books and audios. The following paragraphs outline some of the more dangerous doctrines – in his own words – that damaged Branham’s ministry beyond repair.
Branham was a “Oneness Preacher” and denied the Trinity. In his own words:
“Why don’t you examine your baptism of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and that false `trinity’ it’s so-called, which is nothing in the world but three offices of one God, titles. No, name of Father, there’s no such a thing as name, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost which is the Lord Jesus Christ.”
“…not one place in the Bible is trinity ever mentioned…It’s Catholic error and you Protestants bow to it.”
“You show me one place where one person was baptized in the name of the Father, Son, Holy Ghost, I’ll raise my hands and say I’m a false prophet.”
Branham taught that Eve had sex with the Serpent and birthed Cain. This was his “Serpent Seed” teachings. In his own words:
“Eve’s eating was adultery with the serpent, Proverbs 30:20. Remember, he was not a snake at this point. That curse came after the act. …It was not an apple that caused Adam and Eve to realize they were naked. But it was a sex act. …The serpent was an upright handsome creature. He was, in fact, ‘the missing link’ that science even in their unspiritual wisdom, can see is missing ‘between man and monkey.’ Satan used this creature to get himself into the Human race.”
“Noah and his sons which come out, Ham, Shem, and Japheth, come out in the righteous line. How did the seed ever get over? The seed come over in the ark, just like it did in the beginning through the woman, their wives. They carried the seed of Satan through the ark, just as Eve packed the seed of Satan to give birth to Cain, through the woman.”
Branham prophesied and taught the Age would end around 1977 and usher in the Millennium. In his own words:
“That this age will end around 1977…I base this prediction on seven major continuous visions that came to me one Sunday morning in June, 1933.”
“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.”
Beginning in 1963 Branham taught that he (not Jesus) was given permission by seven angels to open the Seven Seals of Revelation. In his own words:
“We find out that during that time I saw seven angels in a form of a pyramid that swept down and picked me up. And I was brought east to open the Seven Seals for God.”
Unfortunately these are only a few erroneous teachings that came from esoteric experiences through visions, angelic visitations and encounters with the supernatural, not from the written Word of God. It’s interesting that David Koresh, leader of the Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas, said he too was called to open the seven seals of Revelation. The teaching of special privilege and revelation, angelic visitations and assignments, mystical experiences and exceptional relationships with God and angels has caused many to err.
After reading just a few of Branham’s teachings, one should be all the more careful about throwing Branham’s name around at revival meetings, prophesying a “double portion” of his anointing and especially encouraging angelic visitations. It seems to me most would rather want a double portion of the Holy Spirit (if that’s even necessary) more than any angel, healing evangelist’s or dead prophet’s anointing. Yes, we can learn some good things from Branham’s early ministry, be respectful and forgiving of his Scriptural errors. But we must also learn from his mistakes so they are not repeated again. “Trying the spirits” by using the written Word of God to confirm what we hear, see and experience is not being judgmental. On the contrary trying the spirits is rock-solid Scriptural (1 John 4:1).
How does Branham’s story end? On Christmas Eve December 24, 1965 he died of injuries from a car accident in Tucson, Ariz. after being hit head on by a drunk driver.
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