THE MAN, HIS COMMISSION and PROPHETIC VINDICATION
"He is very peculiar!"
In 1960, Roy Borders was arranging services for William Branham in Yakima, Washington when one of the cooperating ministers asked if Brother Branham had any peculiarities. Roy began by explaining that a supernatural light, about a foot in diameter had appeared and hung over William Branham's bed on the morning he was born and that later, the Lord spoke to him out of a whirlwind. When seven years old, he received a vision of a bridge being built over the Ohio River and saw 16 men plunging to their deaths when a span collapsed. Roy went on to inform his enquirer that a blazing star had appeared above Rev. Branham while he was baptizing converts in the same Ohio River before 3000 people and concluded with, “Yes, he is very peculiar!”
A poor family
William Marrion Branham was the first in a family of nine boys and one girl. His parents were very young and greatly lacked in this worlds goods. His father worked when he could but drank heavily and the family remained poor with little education. William was barely three years old when he told his mother that they would one day live near a city unknown to him called New Albany. It was no small surprise to his parents when they later moved from Burkeville, Kentucky to Utica Pike, just 10 miles from New Albany, Indiana, where his father had gotten work.
God speaks from a whirlwind
Although socially an outcast, God had His hand on the child and when only seven years old, he was attracted to a whirlwind that remained swirling through the branches of a tree on a still day. Suddenly a deep and powerful voice boomed from the tree saying to him "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". He was terrified and ran home screaming, never to pass by that tree again.
Two weeks later while playing marbles with his brother Edward, God visited him again. This time he saw a vision of a
bridge span collapsing during construction over the Ohio River, carrying 16 men to their deaths. Thirteen years later, this vision, like all the literally tens of thousands of other visions he received in his lifetime, came to pass and exactly 16 men lost their lives.
As he grew older he did what he could to provide for the family and learned to trap rabbits, sell them for enough money to put food on the table and then buy more traps with any money left over. Eventually he quit school at seventh grade but his
teenage years were no easier than his early childhood and they became further complicated by some experiences quite out of the ordinary.
Born under a sign
One day at a carnival, a gypsy fortune-teller called to him and told him that "There is a light following you," and said that he was "born under a sign for a Divine call!" He wanted
nothing to do with this but years later, after he had become a game warden in Indiana, he had a chance encounter with an astrologer who did her best to tell him that he was born under a sign as a gift to mankind and that his destiny lay in the West. Her presence troubled him greatly and he flatly rejected her ideas. She told him that she could see a special golden aura surrounding him and by this was able to tell him the exact hour and date of his birth because it was connected to the same conjunction of heavily bodies that had led the wise men to Christ. She wondered why a Christian minster had not told him of this before. Of course this shocked William, but he wanted nothing to do with religion and abruptly broke off the encounter.
A boxing career
As he entered his 20's, he happened to be present when a canary was let loose in a room. As it flew past his head, he reached out and snatched it out of the air. The feat was seen by a boxing trainer who was impressed with William's remarkable hand speed and invited him to train to become a professional boxer. He retired undefeated after fifteen consecutive fights, which included fourteen victories. This training would help prepare him to take the heavy blows that were later to come his way.
Ordered to a higher purpose
He loved the outdoors and to hunt and fish and in these pursuits, we observe that even his physical skills were ordered to a higher purpose. His marksmanship was extraordinary. He would travel hundreds of miles to go on a hunting trip with just 7 bullets; 6 to sight in his rifle and 1 to kill the game he sought. He killed fifty five head of game without missing a shot. When playing darts, he could easily throw repeated bulls eyes, but preferred use this talent to throw lower scores so that his companion could have the pleasure of winning. True to these types, God's Word through this prophet, never missed it's mark.
Many have noted the symmetry of the number of letters of the name 'William Marrion Branham' which can be expressed thus: '7 + 7 + 7'. In Biblical terms, the number seven is strongly associated with perfection or completion of purpose and it's association with this seventh Messenger to the seventh and final Gentile church age is symbolic and entirely appropriate.
His family name is also reminiscent of the ancient name of 'Abraham' which means "father of nations" and the phonetic relationship between 'Branham' and 'Abraham' is self apparent. Never before in the history of the Christian church has a minister risen to prominence with a seven letter surname ending in 'ham.'
"You're a real odd fellow!"
In later years, William Branham underwent a brain scan which revealed a balance of wave patterns unlike anything that the doctors had come across before. They told him "You're a real odd fellow!" when they realized that he could dream a dream while yet being wide awake. Brother Branham explained to them that he had been made thus so he could see visions with his subconscious mind while remaining fully awake. In this attribute, he was just like the Old Testament Seers.
The character of Christ
Also like the Old Testament prophets, his life was a sign to the age to which he was sent. His character, born out of great adversity and trials, was humble and unassuming yet so full of compassion and the power and demonstration of the Holy Ghost to handle every situation, that some that loved him dearly began to believe he was Jesus Christ, just as centuries before, there had been those who confused John the Baptist with the Messiah.
In 1931, he was overcome by gas fumes while testing meters at the New Albany Gas Works. He revived but the poisoning turned his stomach sour and he was left with blurred vision and headaches. Medical specialists told him that his trouble was really appendicitis and they wanted to operate. Recalling an experience eight years earlier when his legs had been mangled by an accidental shotgun blast from which he was left not expected to live, he very reluctantly agreed to the surgery.
Three minutes to live
The surgery was completed but the anesthetic leaked from the spinal block until his heart was beating only seventeen times per minute. The surgeon gave him three minutes to live and they drew the curtains around the bed and waited for death to take the young life.
For William, the scene began to change and he heard a sound coming towards him, like wind blowing through leaves. It grew stronger and he thought, "This is it." A voice spoke to him and said, “I called you and you would not go.” It repeated this three times. He didn’t know how to pray, but said to God, “I’ve been told that You're a great Doctor, above all the doctors. If You'll just let me live, I'll never be ashamed of You no more. I'll scream it from housetops, from street corners... I’ll tell everyone about it."
His desperation came to breaking point while on his knees in an old damp shed by his house. There he told God how ashamed he was of his life and how much he wanted God to talk to him. As he waited for an answer, a strange feeling came over him and as he raised his head, hanging in mid air before him was a brilliant amber light in the form of a cross. A voice spoke in an unknown language and the light vanished. In fear William prayed that the light would return if the cross meant that his sins were forgiven. When it returned, the feeling was different and it seemed his body was being pelted with warm rain. A huge load lifted from him and he felt free as never before.
Ordained to the Ministry
The road to full health was slow and greatly tested William's faith but God met his need of healing and true to the commitment he had made, he was baptized in Christian Baptism according to Acts 2:38 by Dr Roy Davis, the Pastor of the local Missionary Baptist Church. Towards the end of 1932 Dr Davis ordained William as a minister of the Gospel of Christ. Some while later he was asked to ordain women to the ministry. He refused because he could find no such practice permitted by the Bible's teachings and resigned from the Baptist Church rather than be forced to compromise on Truth.
The Pillar of Fire appears
On Sunday June 11, 1933, a blazing, pulsating amber colored star appeared visibly in the sky over William's head while he was baptizing some 130 converts in the Ohio River at Jeffersonville, Indiana. This 'Pillar of Fire' descended with the sound of a rushing wind before some 3000 people. Some ran in fear, others trembled. A voice spoke from this Star and told the young preacher that,
"As John the Baptist was sent to forerun the first coming of Christ,
your Message will forerun His second coming."
Do the work of an evangelist.
A small but growing flock of faithful believers began to gather each week to hear their Pastor bring them the Word of Life. Around July 1933, on the morning he laid the comer stone of the Branham Tabernacle at the corner of 8th and Penn Streets. Jeffersonville, Indiana, God spoke to him again and instructed him that he should do the work of an evangelist. So began what eventually grew into an international evangelistic public ministry. At the time, he was just 24 years old.
Brief years of happiness
In 1934, he married Hope Brumbauch and the following year they were blessed with their first child, Billy Paul. The next year, Sharon Rose was born and despite their lack of worldly possessions, these were brief years of happiness for the young Pastor and his family. The visions began to occur more frequently and often they concerned the disabled or seriously ill who after prayer, would invariably be healed of their afflictions. There were many notable miracles that took place yet despite these events, the visions were such a departure from the regular ministerial experience that Christian ministers whom Brother Branham respected, firmly advised him to keep away from such stuff. This advice was unsettling and his unusual life caused him growing concern.
Disobedience exacts a heavy price
In 1936, in order to please his Mother in Law, he turned down wonderful invitations to enter the evangelistic field to which he had been called. Little did he realize the terrible price he and his small family would pay for his disobedience to God. By August 1937, his father had died, and Hope and second child Sharon Rose had departed this life through illness. Through this triple agony, God tested His young servant and began to teach him the obedience that would be
necessary to fulfill the momentous calling upon his life. The anointing of the Holy Ghost seemed to depart him and for a time his prayers went unanswered. It was not until 1940, that the anointing would return.
He could not understand his own unusual life nor the way he was being dealt with. What was the strange Presence that he felt come near from time to time? Was it of God or not? The answer was to remain in doubt for five further years, during which the visions began to come in even greater number, each one triggering increased anxiety.
In 1941, William Branham and Meda Broy married after a long friendship during which she had cared for Billy Paul and they began married life in the two front rooms of a house on 8th St, Jeffersonville, Indiana. In early March 1946, William's concern about his strange life came to a head. As he arrived home for lunch from his work as a game warden and walked around the house, a whirlwind started in the top of a maple tree in the front yard. It seemed to tear violently at the tree and it cause him to stagge against the house as it came down through the tree like a great rushing wind. When he recovered, the day was still calm and inexplicably, neither the tree nor the house had been damaged. In desperation he told his young wife that he was going to his secret cave in the woods near the city of Charlestown, Indiana, to seek God and would not return until he had received the answers he had sought for so long.
which increasingly seemed to fill the darkness of the cave until a pencil of light appeared hanging in the air before him. The light grew stronger until it became a vivid, pulsating ball of yellowish green flame. Petrified with fear, William's terror heightened at the sound of footsteps on the cave floor.
A tall powerfully built man with shoulder length hair and wearing a white robe stepped from the blinding light. He had a kindly expression and seeing William's terror, he spoke to reassure him and said, "Do not fear…." Immediately William recognized the voice that had spoken to him since a child but this time it was not a vision, the man was real.
"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 pray for kings and potentates and you will preach to multitudes all over the world. For this cause you were born."
The Divine Healing revival begins
Within six months of the Angels Commission, the public demonstration of the first sign or
gift bestowed upon William Branham had resulted in a literal eruption of faith, firstly across America and then around the world, with God confirming the ministry by many miraculous healings.
By the end of 1947, the Healing Revival had begun in earnest and never before in human history had there been such a spontaneous and widespread outpouring of blessing. It would last until the middle of the next decade. Miracles and outstanding healings took place on a scale previously unknown, many of which are described as they happened during the sermons included in the William Branham Storehouse
No man would stand before him
In 1952, the Angel told him that his ministry would parallel Joshua of old who had led the Israelites to the promised land during the last part of their wilderness journey, and that like Joshua, no man would be able to stand before him all the days of his life as he declared a Message to prepare a people for the second coming of Christ.
Last sign to the Church
As Melchisedec had appeared to Abraham before the fire fell on Sodom and told him what his wife Sarah was thinking in the tent behind Him, and just as Jesus Christ had revealed the sin of the woman at the well whom He had no knowledge of, William Branham told us many times that the discernment of the secrets of men's hearts was the true sign of the Messiah, ie., the same thing that Jesus did when here on earth, and would be the last sign that the Gentile Church would receive to warn of Christ's return before the oncoming judgment. Church activity and even healing of the sick would continue, but the last sign had been given.
From that hour, William's skin color began to return as his heart beat strongly again. When the surgeon came to check his progress, he acknowledged that God had indeed visited the boy.
The surgery did not improve the effects of the gas poisoning which instead grew worse. The doctors could do nothing more and he began to anxiously seek God about his strange life and the crisis he faced.
William asked how this could be, seeing he was poor and uneducated and the Angel told him,
"As the prophet Moses was given two signs to prove he was sent from God, so you will be given two signs. First, when you take a persons right hand in your left hand, you will be able to detect the presence of any germ caused disease by vibrations in your left hand and to tell them what's wrong. Don't try to think your own thoughts; it will be given you what to say. Then you must pray for that person. If you will stay humble and sincere, it will come to pass that you will be able to tell the very secrets of their hearts. Then the people will have to believe you."
Collection. Late in 1949, the second sign appeared. Night after night, secrets that only God could know were made known though Brother Branham to suffering individuals and in what would later amounted to tens of thousands of cases, never once was the discernment in error.
The log cabin at Burkesville, Kentucky, where William Branham was born on April 6, 1909.
The Clark Memorial Bridge of which he saw a span collapse in 1916. The bridge was not built until 1938.
A gypsy fortune-teller told him that "There was a light following him," and that he was "born under a sign for a Divine call!"
He was just seven when the Angel told him under this tree of the work he was to do when older. (Wathen's barn, Utica Pike, Jeffersonville, IN.)
He killed fifty five head of game without missing a shot.
In terror, he pleaded that he would willingly preach the Gospel from the housetops and street corners if God would spare his life.
While he was baptizing some 130 converts in the Ohio River at Jeffersonville IN. the 'Pillar of Fire' descended with the sound of a rushing wind before 3000 people.
A strange feeling came over him and as he raised his head, hanging in mid air before him was a brilliant amber light in the form of a cross.
Laying the corner stone of the Branham Tabernacle at the corner of 8th and Penn Streets. Jeffer- sonville, IN., 1933.
What was the strange Presence that he felt from time to time? Was it of God or not?
The tree where the whirlwind started and threw him against the house on 8th St, Jeffersonville, March, 1946.
The entrance to Brother Branham's secret cave near Charlestown, IN.
You are to take a gift of Divine healing to the peoples of the world..… nothing shall stand before your prayer, not even cancer.
An early Branham campaign meeting in New York.
He would be given two signs to prove he was sent from God.
The Angel Appears
Late into the night, after pouring out his heart to God, he again felt that strange Presence
Williams early life was difficult. There was barely enough food or clothing to go around the growing family and the small community in which they lived, shunned them because his father operated an illegal whiskey still. When William was old enough to attend school, the other children made fun of him because he was so poor and could not dress as they did.