The Remnant On Line History Page

   

MOBILE, AL -- The Scripture says we see through a glass darkly. Maybe we donít know all the ways of God, but when they are revealed to us we have an understanding of His glory. "Without a vision the people perish". That one verse of Scripture reveals the mind of God. His mind is found in the Word of God. The people of God sense and feel Godís presence surrounding them when the Word is revealed. The revealed presence of  God has come through many individuals in the 20th Century, but no one can compare to one particular person - William Branham, who moved in the power of the Holy Ghost and His giftings. Branham was born in Brooksville, Kentucky on April 6, 1909, in a two-room log cabin with a dirt floor.
         From the very moment of his mysterious birth, signs of Godís power would mark his path. Shortly after five oíclock on a Tuesday morning, daylight filtered in through the shutters on the old window. Charles Branham, Williamís father, opened the shutters, then drew back startled. Something had darted through the open window and entered the room ó a light, like a star, about a foot in diameter. It was still dark inside the cabin, as the sun had not yet reached the full range of morning. The strange light circled the room several times and then stopped over the bed of the tiny baby William. It hovered above the new mother and child, glowing yellowish-green, pulsating with a life of its own. For less than a minute it held that position, not long, yet long enough for everyone in the cabin to be sure they had really seen it. Then as quickly as it had come, the fireball left, whirling up past the rafters and out through the roof. Right after the light left the room, a dove landed on the windowsill. Looking around the room, it spotted the newborn and cooed before flying away. One of the neighbors said, "I wonder what kind of younginí this boy will be?" Branhamís mother, Ella, knew that this child was special, so Charles and Ella took the tiny baby to the Opossum
Baptist Church to be dedicated two weeks after he was born. The story of the light had traveled through the area by word of mouth and while Williamís father wanted to forget the event, the mother knew it was significant. Young Branhamís background was Irish Catholic and Cherokee Indian. He was dedicated at the church by a circuit-riding preacher, but it would be 23 years before he would enter the door of a church again. The preacher blessed William Marion Branham and asked God to use him in His service.
        The young Branham was different and even in his early years a Voice would guide his path. One time when his father had left town because of the law, he heard a bird speak to him about a certain place where they were to move. He was only three years old when he spoke this to his mother. His mother received a letter from his father later asking them to join them - in the exact place that little William had heard the bird speak.
Branham, however, had a difficult time accepting his special calling. At eight years old, a Voice spoke to him out of a poplar tree in his back yard that he was not to smoke or drink because there would be a special work for him later. However, he was raised in harsh poverty and at school the other children made fun of him about his lack of clothing. One year he wore a coat the entire winter because he did not have a shirt. During that year he found a discarded womanís dress and made it into a shirt. His father, despite being a hard working man, found it hard to support his family of ten children, due to the fact that he was an alcoholic and drank up most of the money, leaving the family very little on which to live. As William grew older, he had a desire to go out west and become a cowboy. He would go off on hunting trips for several days at a time and eventually one day he told his mother he was going on yet another hunting trip, but he was really leaving town with a neighbor to go to Arizona and he didnít want to upset her. The neighbor paid him for helping him drive his truck out west. Once he got there he began to live his dream of being a cowboy. He was running as hard as he could from God, but all along the way, people witnessed to him about Jesus -
from cowboys singing songs on the prairie to a gypsy that told him he was born with a divine gifting.
       After two years, he heard from home that one of his brothers had died. He returned home and found his calling, but only after a long struggle. Alone one day in a shed praying and asking God what He wanted of him, a glowing cross appeared before his head. At first he didnít understand what was going on, but when the cross went away he asked God, "Do you want me to accept You?" Instantly, the cross reappeared. It was at that moment he received Christ and became a Christian. He tried to find a church, but found too many rules and regulations in the places he visited. Finally, he met a beautiful black-haired girl named Hope while working as a gasman in New Albany, Indiana. She invited him to go to church and thatís where he would follow his calling - and marry the beautiful black headed girl. After he was married and ordained in his Missionary Baptist Church, people began to get healed as he prayed for them. On a trip away from home, he visited a church where a group of ministers, who were members of a Pentecostal Convention, were meeting. He went and it was at this convention that he was profoundly touched. He had not yet received the Baptism in the Holy Ghost and he heard tongues and interpretation for the first time. Branham came back to the church the next day, hungry for more. From the pulpit, a man called on Branham to give the morning message, since he was the youngest at the meeting. He was ashamed because he did not have a dress shirt on, only a T-shirt. His name was called to come forward several times, but he didnít raise his hand until the man next to him pointed him out. That day William Branham preached with fire in his heart and at the end of the meeting, minister after minister came to him asking him to come and preach revival. He returned home with a pocket full of invitations and told his wife of the wonderful experience. But when he told his mother-in-law, she said, "Youíre not going to preach to that trash." Branham was deeply hurt by the statement and went back to his $8/week job with the Indiana Light and Power Company. Later on that year, during a time when Branham would have been preaching revival from the invitations he had received, a major flood destroyed his town. The Ohio River covered the town completely. His small daughter and his wife, Hope, were in the hospital in town, very ill with tubercular phenomena. His wife died after the flood and a few days later his daughter also died. Living in such a shadow of death, he tried to take his own life. By this time, he had become a conservation officer for the State of Indiana and carried a revolver that he never used. He picked up the revolver to kill himself, pulling the trigger several times. The gun never went off. In frustration he threw it down, just to see it discharge a round as it hit the floor. God was supernaturally protecting him and would not let his servant die during this time of great loss, as there was a divine destiny before him.
        The miraculous followed him everywhere he went. It was as if God, at times, would hold him in the palm of His Hands. Before his wife died, a supernatural event had happened that would almost mirror an event in Scripture. It happened on June 11, 1933 after Branham had raised a tent for revival services. At the time he was just 24 years old. During the revival, the people who were saved followed in believersí baptism on Sunday afternoon along the Ohio River. About 1,000 people were gathered when a supernatural event happened that was
witnessed by all that were there. A ball of fire came down from the sky and positioned itself over William Branhamís head! Many said that it looked like a fireball. From a distance it resembled a star, oscillating between yellowish-green and amber. As it came closer, it looked like a twirling circle of fire ó roaring, spinning, throwing off sparks and flames. Suddenly Branham heard a Voice speaking to him. It was not the melodious bass voice that so often spoke to him in visions; this voice was tenor, familiar. It said, "As John the Baptist was sent to forerun
the first coming of Jesus Christ, so are you sent with a message as a forerunner of His Second Coming." Although not everyone heard the Voice, one 14-year-old girl did. She had her head bowed and never saw the fire above Branhamís head, but she heard the Voice speak. Her name
was Meda Broy and she would become Branhamís second wife after the death of first wife, Amelia Hope Brumback.
         It took time to recover from the loss of his wife and daughter. Meda Broy began taking care of Billy Paul, Branhamís son, and soon became the great man of Godís wife. Branham never took a salary at the church he established, but lived in a two-room house making only $8 a week from the Indiana Light and Power Company. Then in his early thirties, he began to see God move through him in great supernatural power. It was a puzzle to him and when he approached his mentors at the Missionary Baptist Church, they thought he had lost his mind. Branham wanted to know what God was going to do with his life so one day he decided to get away and seek God in the woods of Indiana. He had a special place that was a cave near a waterfall. He planned to stay in prayer until God answered him about the direction he should take. It didnít take long for the answer to come as the familiar ball of fire appeared in the cave and behind it came an angel to speak to Branham about his next step in ministry. As Branham covered his eyes from the ball of fire above the angelís head, the angel spoke and said, "Fear not," and then began to give Branham instructions regarding his calling. "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. You must tell them that their thoughts speak louder in heaven than their words." Then during the divine encounter, the angel spoke of the two signs that would follow his ministry until his death. "As the prophet Moses was given two signs to prove he was sent from God, so you will be given two signs. First ó when you take a personís right hand in your left hand, you will be able to detect the presence of any germ-caused disease by vibrations that will appear in your left hand. Then you must pray for the person. If your hand returns to normal, you can pronounce the person healed; if it doesnít, just ask a blessing and walk away. Under the anointing from God, do not try to think your own thoughts; it will be given you what to say." Branham asked "But what if they still donít believe me?" "The second sign is greater than the first," said the angel. "If you will stay humble and sincere, it will come to pass that you will be able to tell by vision the very secrets of their hearts. Then the people will have to believe you. This will initiate the Gospel in power that will bring on the Second Coming of Christ."
       These were the simple instructions from the angel and from that moment on at age 37 his life would never be the same. He never preached another sermon in his church, but launched into a full time ministry that saw his entire life change. He began this outreach in St. Louis. From the first night and just a handful of believers and people who were sick, the ministry exploded. It was 1946 and Branhamís meetings were scheduled in a building that would hold 800. By the end of the meetings, the crowds would swell to four times the size of the building. He prayed at the end of each service until almost 2 AM. Branham had to constantly fight the demon of fatigue his whole life, but the gifts of the knowledge of God and His healing power were always with him. On two occasions he was offered large sums of money after a healing. One check for $1,500,000 was torn up. Branham told the contributor that he was the servant of God and that the healing ministry was a gift from heaven. He felt that the money would have too much of an influence over his life and he couldnít take it. Branham frequently had visions of things that would happen in the future. As he began to travel internationally, he was taken to Finland for several days of meetings. It was just after World War II and Finland was a poor country. There were almost no cars to ride in. During one of his early meetings there, he could count on two hands the number of cars he saw, but something happened one day that would fulfill a dream of resurrection that he had had several years before. Coming down the side of a mountain, he could see a group of people massing around a car in the village below. The people looked like ants because of the height. As they got to the site, the car had left the scene. Two little boys had been coming home from school when they encountered an automobile going at a high rate of speed. One boy was hit by the car and bounced off the front of the bumper while the other boy was hit dead on and went under the car to be flung to the side by the back wheel. As the Branham party walked over to where the boy lay still and lifeless, they were taken by the same grief that surrounded the situation. By law the boy had to remain in one spot until the parents were notified of the death and had come and seen him. Walking away from the accident, Branham remembered a vision of a small boy dressed in foreign clothes. It was then that the prophet of God said, "Thus saith the Lord, the boy will live and not die." He had written the description of the boy from the vision several years earlier in the flyleaf of his Bible, and when he read the description again, he realized it was this boy. As Branham prayed, the boyís eyes began to flutter and he turned his head. Every bone in his body was quickly restored from where he had been twisted and smashed. Later the other boy lingered near death in a local hospital and the angel of the Lord appeared and gave Branham certain direction as to how to pray and to act. In a vision he saw two flowers, one was full strength and the other was almost bending down toward a table, then all of a sudden he saw the flower come to full strength. The boyís mother, who had been calling the prophet all day, was at the hospital. Her and her husband were told that their boy was going to die soon. Brother Branham called the hospital after the vision and the mother said that just a few minutes before, the little boy had regained consciousness and was sitting up on the edge of the bed fully restored. The story of the resurrection of the little boy was heard throughout the land and the resulting crowds were so large the National Guard of the country had to surround Branham just to go into some of the meeting places.
     Branham was asked by the Pentecostal Association of South Africa to come and speak in the country. Before he went, he knew there would be trouble during the time of his visit there. As he ministered in Johannesburg, he felt a leading to move in another direction. The Angel of the Lord came to him and told him to rest and then go to Durban, South Africa. It was under the direction of the Spirit that he took his orders. The angel told him that if he didnít follow in that direction there would be great trouble in his life. In Johannesburg, he saw the glory of God fall for the first part of his trip, but when he told the leaders of the Pentecostal Association that he was led by God to go into another direction, they would not allow it. Most of the meetings were already set and to change from that direction would cost the people the advertising money, plus the people who were promised that they would have William Branham would be angered. The stubborn will of the Pentecostal Association won out, but it would almost be the death of the prophet.
        Finally they did have a meeting in Durban where the angel had directed. In one service, the Spirit of God fell so hard that the enitre congregation was touched. The next morning as Branham looked out the window, he saw seven trucks of stretchers, braces, and crutches being towed away. On the corner were South African tribesmen singing, "Only Believe, Only Believe." During the meetings, black tribesmen, Europeans, and East Indians attended. Each tribe was separated in its own tribal section. The presence of God was so powerful that as the East Indian women were being touched, many of them rubbed their beauty mark from their forehead in acknowledgment of what God was doing during the services. It was clear that God did not favor the Southern part of South Africa because of the segregation. In each church from Kimberly to Rhodesia, services were held for whites only. Branham usually had to leave the white services to go to a special place set up for the black tribesmen, and sometimes there were no sound systems for the black people. As Branham finished his meetings in Durban, he began to feel a pain in his stomach. It was revealed that as he had gone south, he contracted a parasite, which had begun to eat the lining of his intestine. Almost at deathís door, once again the Angel of the Lord came and healed him.
      Branham was against separating the races and during his meeting in Little Rock, Arkansas, he spoke about a young person who waited outside to be prayed for because she was blind. In the press of the crowd in Little Rock, the black girl found Branham and her eyesight was instantly restored. On more than one occasion, he was challenged by those who didnít believe that divine healing was in the Bible. One person filled out his prayer card and listed tuberculosis as his disease. Branham laid his hand on the manís head and told him there was nothing wrong with him.
The Church of Christ minister thought that he had caught him in an error because the card had tuberculosis written on it. Branham then had a vision of the man sitting at a table with another man, planning to come to the meeting to disprove him. As he described one of the men at the table, that man stood in the audience and said, "Yes, that was me." Branham told the Church of Christ preacher that since he tried to fool the Holy Spirit, he would have the disease that was written on the card for the rest of his days. It was at that moment that the man fell at his feet and repented.
      n 1950, a Baptist preacher in Houston, Texas, named Dr. Best, challenged the Branham team to a debate on the subject of divine healing. Ads were taken out in the Houston Chronicle Newspaper to challenge the Branham team. F.F. Bosworth said that he would meet Dr. Best on the stage of the Sam Houston Coliseum. The debate started with Bosworth defending his posture on divine healing by repeating Scripture after Scripture. Bosworth was proving his point and then it would be Dr. Best at the podium to rebut the argument. Dr. Best had hired two professional photographers from Douglas Studios in Houston, Texas. One of them was a Catholic and the other a Jewish man. Best began to mock Bosworth putting his fist in front of the old manís face for the photographers to take a picture. Many more pictures were taken to show up the old man, but Best sensed the mood of the crowd was in favor of Branhamís position. Best then became outraged and called for Branham to come down to the stage. At first Branham felt no urge to engage Dr. Best, but then the angel of the Lord moved upon him to do so. Branham began to address the people, "If I testify of the truth, God will testify of me..." Right then everyone heard the sound, others looking around saw a spiral of light, like a miniature ball of color, swirling down from the balcony. The light descended to the stage and began to hover over the head of William Branham. As the light hovered, Ayers the photographer took a picture of it. As the flash settled down, the bright colored ring had left the building. When the photographers went back to the studio to develop the pictures, the negatives of the film would tell the story. Out of seven pictures that were taken, only one turned out - the seventh. All of the pictures of Dr. Best taunting Bosworth only rendered a black negative and could not be printed. Dr. Best had hired these Jewish and Catholic photographers to disprove the supernatural power of God, but what happened was that the supernatural would be witnessed by generations of believers. The FBI and the Kodak Film Company both investigated the negative of the seventh picture. Both investigations found the picture to be a true image.
       The truth of the supernatural power of God was with William Branham. He always had the gift of healing, but in his later years he lost touch with the people who had really helped him. Gordon Lindsey helped organize Branhamís meetings and as long as he stayed in touch with him everything was smooth. When Lindsey left the Branham camp, it began the decline of Branhamís ministry. Many believed that at the end of his life, Branham was not in his calling. He had begun to use his prophetic gift in a teaching ministry and the healing ministry was no longer. Some of his doctrines went against the teachings of the word of God. Branham began to believe that there was not a place of eternal torment called hell. He also taught strange doctrines of the denominations that turned many away from his ministry. Serious doctrinal errors bordered on heresy. Many believe that his death was before his time and that God took him because of this shift in his ministry.
       The strange occurrence of his death, however, even had a miracle touch to it. His son Billy Paul was in a car in front of him and dodged a drunk driver, only to see that driver hit Branham and his wife head on. Branhamís wife died in the accident, but Branham asked his son to put his hand on his wife and she was revived. On December 18, 1965, William Branham died before his time. Whether you agree with him or not, this man was touched by the divine hand of God. No cancer could stand against this man and at age 54, William Branhamís death ended an era in Pentecost that has never been seen since. Though he left behind a legacy that not too many could follow, the God of power is still moving through men today.

  moving through men today.