William Branham and His Message


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What Was the Attraction on the Mountain?
by John Kennah

THE VISION

On December 22, 1962, William Branham claimed to have had a vision in which he saw himself and his seven-year-old son Joseph in the desert near Tucson, Arizona. He noticed a group of tiny birds in a nearby bush which soon flew away. Then he saw a flock of larger birds fly past him. As he looked to the west, while still in the vision, he saw what he said were, "five of the mightiest angels I have saw in my life," flying towards him. As they approached, he heard what sounded like a sonic boom in the distant south and thought that this might mean that he was to be killed in an explosion. He dismissed the notion when he saw that Joseph was not affected. Besides, there were five angels before him. A single angel would signify death, he reasoned, but five was the number of grace. He then understood that the angels were there to give him his "new commission." The vision suddenly ended without an explanation of what this commission would be.1


HUNTING AT SUNSET MOUNTAIN

On March 6 through 9, 1963, Branham and two friends were hunting javelina at a location northeast of Tucson, Arizona. Branham referred to the area as "Sunset Mountain," though the name of the nearby peak is officially called "Sunset Peak." On March 8, the three men separated to search for game individually. While they hunted, they were startled by a loud blast. When the three reunited, Branham immediately asked them if they had heard the blast. They said they did, and continued hunting without any further discussion of the blast.2


THE VISION IS INTERPRETED

After the hunting trip, Branham returned to his church in Jeffersonville, Indiana, to hold a series of special meetings that he had announced almost 2 1/2 months earlier.3 The subject of the meetings was to be, "The Revelation of the Seven Seals," based on Revelation 5 through 8. From March 18 through 24, Branham devoted seven evening services to teaching his interpretation of the seven seals. During the course of the meetings he claimed that the Holy Spirit swept into his room each day to supernaturally open the seal that he was going to preach on during each respective evening service.4 On the last evening of the meetings, Branham told his followers that he finally knew what the vision from December 22 meant. He said that the two flocks of birds represented two consecutive stages of his ministry, which he called the First and Second Pulls.5 He told his congregation that after he heard the blast while hunting with his friends at Sunset, the Holy Spirit told him to return to Jeffersonville to hold his series of meetings on the seven seals.6 At this time I must point out that since the meetings began, Branham had changed the number of angels he said he saw in his vision from five to seven.7He said the seven angels from his vision represented his journey back to Jeffersonville to preach his revelation of the seven seals at those meetings.8


DISCOVERY OF THE CLOUD

The following May, a friend showed Branham a curious article in the May 17, 1963 issue of LIFE magazine.9 It reported that a large, ring shaped cloud appeared over Flagstaff, Arizona, and was so unusually high that it remained illuminated by the sun for one half-hour after sunset. At the time of the article, the origin of the cloud was still a mystery. A photograph of the cloud, taken at Flagstaff, accompanied the article.10 On June 1, 1963, Branham commented on the cloud to a small gathering of his followers. His explanation is somewhat vague, but he seemed to say that the photograph depicted the seven angels as they appeared in his vision of December 22.11 He pointed out that the presence of the cloud coincided with the approximate dates of his hunting trip at Sunset Mountain. His explanation began to evolve on June 23, 1963, when he said that the seven angels actually made a physical appearance to him at Sunset and that the cloud was formed as they approached.12 Between this date and December 4, 1965, Branham maintained on several occasions that the photograph in LIFE was taken while he was on his hunting trip and that his two friends also witnessed the appearance of the angels (they did not).13

In July, 1965, Branham said that the Lord had just showed him that if he turned the photo of the cloud 1/4 turn to the right, he would see that the cloud formed the outline of Jesus' head. He offered this as further vindication that his Message was the truth.14


DISCREPANCIES IN BRANHAM'S TESTIMONY

There are several serious problems with Branham's explanation of the cloud. For example, the cloud in LIFE was photographed on February 28, 1963, eight days before Branham said that he met the angels while hunting. Also, LIFE's cloud appeared over Flagstaff, which is 200 miles northwest of Sunset Peak. When we consider all the facts, our conclusion is that there really is no link whatsoever between the Cloud and any of William Branham's experiences.15

From the time Branham had begun to claim that the angels formed the cloud, he began to credit them for other incidents that he had not mentioned before. For example, if you recall, Branham said that after he heard the blast while hunting, the Holy Spirit told him to return to his church to preach on the seals. However, after his discovery of the cloud he said that the angels told him to do so.16 Also, Branham originally said that the Holy Spirit opened the seals to him each day of the meetings on the seals, but after the cloud, he said that the angels took turns opening the seals to him each day.17


THE VISION AS A FALSE PROPHECY

And what about you, church, that about six or eight months ago hearing, standing here saying, "IT’S THUS SAITH THE LORD, that I'm going to Tucson, Arizona. There'll be a blast and seven Angels will appear." You remember? Not even... God making it so real ‘til the Look magazine took the pictures of it.--William Branham
(Souls in Prison Now, vol 2-B, #22, p. 22, tape #63-1110M)

Can we prove that William Branham's vision was a false prophecy? Let's examine the evidence.

Deuteronomy 18:22 says, " If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true, that is a message the Lord has not spoken. The prophet has spoken presumptuously." There are several parts of the vision that did not come to pass as foretold. First, Branham plainly said he saw five angels in his vision the first time he told of it. When it allegedly came to pass, however, he said that seven angels actually appeared.

Second, Branham said that in the vision, his son Joseph was with him. On one occasion he even said that Joseph was with him when the vision came to pass.18 I questioned Branham's son Joseph about what he saw at Sunset and he told me that he did not accompany his father on the trip when the angels supposedly met with Branham.19 The two flocks of birds were also absent from the vision's fulfillment.

Finally, Branham said that the blast in his vision came from the distant south. When it came to pass, however, it was apparently centered at his location and "almost ... shook the mountains down."20

It is clear that Branham's "THUS SAITH THE LORD" prophetic vision was not from God.


CONCLUSION

In this article we have examined three aspects of Branham's vision and its so-called fulfillment and have found ample reason to believe that he was a false prophet. First, we found many discrepancies in his explanation for the cloud's origin. Next, we noted that many details in Branham's account of what happened during this entire episode changed frequently. Finally, we determined that his vision did not come to pass as foretold. To see a list of quotes Wm. Branham made regarding the appearance of the Cloud, Click Here.

My desire is that those who follow William Branham's teachings will discover that his prophetic ministry could not have been commissioned by the Lord and that the only Message of the hour is the Gospel of Jesus Christ as found in the Bible.


NOTES
1. William Branham, "Reproach for the Word," The Spoken Word (TSW), Spoken Word Publications (Jeffersonville, IN, sermon preached 12-23-62), 2:16, pp. 4-7 back

2. Rebekah Smith, "The Road to Sunset," Only Believe (Tucson, AZ, June, 1992), 5:1, pp. 6-7 back

3. Ibid., pp. 5-6 back

4. Branham, The Revelation of the Seven Seals (Spoken Word Publications), pp. 122, 178, 231, 269, 279, 336-337, 411, 448, 557 back

5. Ibid., pp. 565, 577 back

6. Wm. Branham said, "And the Holy Spirit turned, said, ‘Return to your home immediately, for the Seven Seals is going to be opened’" (Look, April 28, 1963 [tape #63-0428]). It is interesting that he would have been instructed to return to Jeffersonville to hold these meetings since he had already announced plans for these meetings 2 1/2 months prior to this (see footnote #3). back

7. Branham, The Revelation of the Seven Seals (Spoken Word Publications), pp. 565, 577 back

8. Branham, The Revelation of the Seven Seals, pp. 577-578 back

9. Smith, "The Road to Sunset," p. 7 back

10. "Odd Sights at Heights," Life (May 17, 1963), 54:20, p. 112 back

11. Branham, "Come, Follow Me," Voice of God Recordings (sermon preached 6-1-63), tape #63-0601 back

12. Branham, "Standing in the Gap," TSW (sermon preached 6-23-63), 6:7, pp. 20-21. After this date, he maintained that the cloud was formed as the angels flew away (Cf., Branham, "The Rapture," TSW [sermon preached 12-4-65], 5:14, pp. 32-33) back

13. Branham, "Testimony," TSW (sermon preached 11-28-63), 17:5, p.6 A list of several other example references is available on request. back

14. Branham, "What is the Attraction on the Mountain?" TSW (sermon preached 7-25-65) 8:8, p. 22. Later, he added that one could actually see features of Jesus' face in the cloud (Branham, "Trying to Do God a Service Without it Being God's Will," TSW [sermon preached 11-27-65], 7:2, pp. 13-14. However, no such features are evident in the original photograph. back

15. Air Force officials and other atmospheric scientists have determined that the cloud was the result of a rocket launch over Vandenberg Air Force Base earlier that day. It drifted to Flagstaff where it was discovered and photographed after sunset. Documents on file. back

16. Wm. Branham said, "And right standing beneath that, a man that is setting right present now, was right standing there by me, when seven Angels come down from God, visibly standing right there, and told me about the end time, and these revelations and things of the Book of Revelation, the Seven Seals, and said, ‘Return home, and one by one we'll bring the Message’" (Testimony, November 28, 1963 [tape #63-1128M]). Also, "This Day This Scripture is Fulfilled," TSW (sermon preached 2-19-65) 3:8, p. 25 back

17. Branham, "Standing in the Gap," p. 20 back

18. Branham, "What is the Attraction on the Mountain?" p.22 back

19. Letter received from Joseph Branham, Jeffersonville, IN, April 30, 1996. Letter on file. back

20. Branham, The Revelation of the Seven Seals, p. 560 back

Copyright ©1996 Christian Awareness Fellowship, Inc. Used by permission.

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