William Branham and His Message A closer look at the prophecies, teachings and experiences of William Branham
from the perspective of a former follower who has found new life in Jesus Christ
"I've got to leave here. You've got to leave here. And if I go as a false prophet, I'll lose my own soul and lose yours with me."
--William Branham ("Questions and Answers on the Holy Ghost," tape #59-1219)
Articles by John Kennah from Christian Awareness Fellowhip
- "The Message of William Branham" (1992)
- "The Message of William Branham: Part 2" (1992)
- "The Message of William Branham: Part 3--Factions Within the Message" (1993)
- "What Was the Attraction on the Mountain?" (1996)
A Short but powerful video from Anchored North
Message Related Links:
- Christian Awareness Fellowship
with Jack Gracie
- Centers for Apologetics Research
with Paul Carden
- William Branham: Sanidad y Herejía
by Eric Pement (en Español)
- Searching for Vindication
A Message believing family blogs as their research leads them right out of the Message.
- Let Us Reason Ministries
- Field Guide to the Wild World of Religion
Also, please see 2 fine etracts from my friends at CFAR:
Some of my favorite ministries:
- Alpha & Omega Ministries, with James White
- Apologetics Index
- Answers in Genesis, with Ken Ham
- Christian Apologetics Research Ministry (CARM), with Matt Slick
- Got Questions?
- Grace to You, with John MacArthur
- Line of Fire, with Michael Brown
- Proof That God Exists, with Sye Ten Bruggencate
- Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, with Ravi Zacharias
- Renewing Your Mind, with R.C. Sproul
- Stand Up for the Truth!, with Mike LeMay and Amy Spreeman
- The Way of the Master, with Ray Comfort
- Wretched Radio, with Todd Friel
- Voice of the Martyrs
- Online Bibles
Here are a few excellent videos produced by one of my favorite evangelistic ministries, "Living Waters."
Click on any of the images to watch them for free!
William Branham was a main figure of the healing revivals of the late 40's and 50's. Many believe that his was the most dramatic healing ministry of the revivals. His ministry and Church Order are a derivation of the Pentecostal movement. His followers believe he was a Major, or "Word" prophet. William Branham's followers believe (based on his teachings, known as The Message) that he is the fulfillment of Malachi 4:5,6. William Branham taught that the seven churches in Asia from the book of Revelation represent the history of the Christian Church in 7 specific segments or ages. William Branham implied that he was the angel (messenger) to the Laodicean Church Age.* As such, his followers believe he was the 7th angel in Revelation 10:7, sounding (i.e., revealing) the mysteries of God that have been previously hidden to the Church.
William Branham said that the Lord revealed to him that, as John the Baptist came in the spirit of Elijah to forerun the first coming of Jesus Christ, William Branham was sent in the spirit of Elijah to forerun His second coming. His Message was to restore the Word of God that had been twisted and manhandled through centuries of denominational Christianity. Emphasis is not placed on evangelizing the lost for Christ but on preparing the Bride for the second coming of Christ.
My name is John Kennah. I created this Website as an outreach to people who follow the false teachings of William Branham, for those beginning the process of escaping "the Message," and a as resource for those who want to know more about "Brother Branham" and his Message. May this Website glorify Jesus Christ by proclaiming His Gospel and alerting the world to the false gospel of William Branham.
William Branham's most controversial doctrines are said to be apostolic teaching which lay between the lines of Scripure but whose meaning had been lost during the early years of Church history. He believed that God sent him as a prophet to restore those lost "mysteries" to the Church. Some of his most well known teachings include:
- God is not a Trinity. There is no disctinction of persons within the Godhead. God is one person who has made Himself known to the world in three separate manifestations:
He taught that God was not omnipresent. Since God is a being, He could not be everywhere at once. He also said that the incarnate Jesus was not God until the Holy Spirit indwelt His body at the time of His baptism. When His earthly ministry had come to a close, Jesus was again reduced to a mere mortal man as the Holy Spirit left His body in the Garden of Gethsemane so He could be crucified and die as a man, since God cannot die.
- As Father in the Old Testament;
- As Son (that is, indwelling the body of a man named Jesus) in the New Testament;
- As Holy Spirit in His Church.
- The fall in the Garden of Eden was a result of an adulterous affair between Eve and the Serpent. This doctrine is known as Serpent's Seed. As a result of this affair, Cain was born (i.e., the Serpent--not Adam--was Cain's true father).
- William Branham purported to have received a supernatural revelation of the meanings of the Seven Seals from the book of Revelation which he made known to his followers in a series of sermons in March, 1963.
- The Catholic Church is the fulfillment of Mystery Babylon from the book of Revelation. Mystery Babylon is the mother of harlots. Her children are our present protestant denominational churches. He believed that Revelation 18:4 was a call for Christians to leave their denominational churches and come to his Message, the only true revelation of Jesus Christ.
- Hell is not eternal.
- William Branham taught that his Message represents the required truth necessary for members of the Elect Bride of Jesus Christ to accept in order to make the Rapture.
- Members of the Bride are Eternal, having "theophanies" (their glorified bodies waiting for them in heaven) which had no beginning and will never die.
- Christians who reject the Message are lost. Christians who are ignorant of the importance of the Message may be saved as lower class believers if they treat Message believers kindly. They will not make the Rapture, however, but must endure the Great Tribulation while followers of the Message are Raptured.
Recommended Reading Informative books that offer Christian insight into William Branham's life and Message, his impact on the healing revivals, and his influence on other cults and new religious movements.
Harrell, David Edwin, Jr. All Things Are Possible: The Healing and Charasmatic Revivals in Modern America, Indiana University Press, 1975.
Moriarty, Michael G. The New Charismatics: A Concerned Voice Responds to Dangerous New Trends, Zondervan Publishing House,1992.
Weaver, C. Douglas. The Healer Prophet, William Marrion Branham: A Study in the Prophetic in American Pentecostalism, Mercer University Press, 1987.
* During a prayer line, William Branham once said, "You, setting here in front, you believe me to be God's prophet? A prophet is a messenger to an age. You believe I have God's message?" (Discerning the Body of the Lord, August 12, 1959, tape #59-0812).
The Gospel of Jesus Christ
God has condescended to reveal Himself to us in the Bible. We dare not go beyond what is written in Scripture in defining God's nature (see 1 Corinthians 4:6). Although we cannot know everything about God, we can know some specific things about God and Who He is:
- There is one God (Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 45:5).
- The Father is God (Philippians 1:2), the Son is God (John 1:1, 14), and the Holy Spirit is God (1 Corinthians 2:10-11).
- The Father, Son and Holy Spirit work with one another and communicate with and about each other as distinctly separate individuals (Matthew 3:16-17; John, chapters 14-17).
A basic biblical knowledge of God is foundational to having saving faith in Him. Faith is only as good as the object in which it's placed. If we don't know who God is, then our faith isn't in God, but a false representation of Him. Only when we know the Christian God can we know whom we've sinned against and how to be forgiven.
God sent His Son to earth by the power of the Holy Spirit not simply in a man, but as a man (John 1:14; Luke 1:35; John 3:16). He was born of a human mother of the lineage of David (Romans 1:3). His father was not a man, but God the Father Himself. Jesus Christ was fully man (Luke 2:40), not a created being distinct from the human race. Yet He was fully God (John 8:58; Philippians 2:6). His mission was to redeem those whom the Father had given to Him (John 6:37; Matthew 20:28). After living a sinless life and dying a sacrificial death, Jesus rose from the dead, ascended into heaven, and asked the Father to send the Holy Spirit to those who He was sent to save (see John, chapters 14-17).
As a man, Jesus, in perfect obedience to the Father, kept every aspect of the Law of God inviolable (Matthew 5:17; John 8:46). He was therefore the only sinless human being ever to live (Hebrews 4:15). Jesus Christ was not only righteous because He was God, He is the only person ever to have earned righteousness by His own works (Romans 5:19; cf. Romans 2:13). He completed His life of perfect obedience to the Father when He freely gave His life as the only means by which atonement for the sins of man against a perfectly holy God could be made (Hebrews 9:26; 10:4-10).
Most people believe they are pretty good. That's because we compare ourselves to our peers or to those who we see as worse than ourselves. But God said that His standard of goodness is perfection. His standard is Himself (Matthew 5:48)! And the payment required by those who are imperfect (and therefore not good) is death (Romans 6:23). So, how do we meet His standards? Can we become perfect? Just asking the question implies that we have already failed at being perfect. We are by nature imperfect beings. Psalm 51:5 indicates that we are actually born sinners. That is demonstrated in our lives of continual sin (Romans 3:23; Ephesians 2:3). If you've ever in your life told a lie, stolen something, committed adultery (either in reality or even in your thought life), or used God's name in vain (blasphemy), you are a breaker of God's Law (see the 10 Commandments, Exodus 20:3-17) and have violated God's standard of perfection. We have not only violated His Law in the past, we willingly continue to violate it on an ongoing basis! And the Bible says we must pay the price, and that price is death—a death achieved by an eternal tormenting in hell (Revelation 21:8)! Why an eternity for such a brief time of sinning on earth? Because of Whom we've sinned against. We've sinned against an infinitely holy God, so the only just penalty for such sin would be an infinite punishment. As people who have spent a lifetime in sin, obtaining perfection is impossible, so the price must be paid!
But God, being holy and just, is also rich in mercy. He actually made a way for sinners like us to be declared righteous and perfect in His sight. Remember how Jesus, the Son of God, lived a perfectly sinless and obedient life? And how His obedience led to His death on the cross that made a sufficient atonement for sins? Well, the Bible says that, just as we all fell into sin and death because of what Adam did, we can all be forgiven of our sins and receive eternal life because of what Jesus did (Romans 5). As a perfect human being, the perfectly holy God in human flesh, offered Himself to suffer the wrath of God on the cross in our place, paying a price which was beyond our ability to pay. God in flesh dying for the sins against God! After His death, He rose to life again, proving that the Father was pleased with His work on our behalf. Now that He has risen from the dead, He forgives those who repent of their sins and place their faith in Him. In the way that He took our sins on Himself in His death, He now places the righteousness He earned by His perfect obedience to our account! We are not only forgiven of our sins, but we stand as if we have always lived an obedient life to God—we are perfect in God's eyes because of what Jesus Christ did!
God is good and just. Because He is good, He cannot allow for sin. Because He is just, He must mete out judgment to fit the sins against His infinite holiness (Romans 3:20-26). But God is also loving and merciful. He can be merciful to sinners without being unjust towards sin because His justice for our sins was poured out on His Son, Jesus Christ. His justice and mercy are both demonstrated by Jesus' death on the cross, and the righteousness He provides to those who repent and put their faith in Jesus Christ (John 3:16)! That is good news! That is the Gospel!
If reading this has led you to repent of your sins and place your faith in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins and the gift of eternal life, or if you have any questions, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'd love to hear from you!
My name is John Kennah. I was introduced to the teachings of William Marrion Branham [WMB] in June 1980 and very quickly accepted them as God's so-called "Message of the hour." I attended Tucson Tabernacle, pastored by Pearry Green, from then until December 1989. During that time, I was a diligent student of WMB's sermons and regularly ministered at various Arizona prisons and local nursing homes with "the Message." As I studied the Message in greater depth, I began to discover discrepancies and contradictions in WMB's teachings. The first discrepancy to catch my attention was in his teaching of the "Seventy Weeks of Daniel" where he offered several conflicting interpretations of Daniel chapter 9 in the course of his ministry (these are described at this Site in the section titled, "Controversial Teachings"). I occasionally sought the insight of the leadership at the Tabernacle for explanations of the apparent contradictions, but I never received any concrete answers. Their advice to me consisted of statements such as, "Just put your questions on the shelf and the Lord will reveal it to you in His time," or, "Just don't dwell on it. Lean not on your own understanding; just have faith that the Message is true." As time went on, I came across other disturbing discrepancies in the Message.
My doubts began to create a fear in me that I was "Serpent's Seed." I learned that some brothers and sisters at the Tabernacle were already calling me Serpent Seed behind my back because I had dared to question the prophet. I clung even tighter to the Message, ignoring my doubts! Finally, during a sermon in late 1989, Pearry Green criticized a man who indicated that WMB could not have been legally hunting javelina at the time of the February 28, 1963 Cloud that appeared in the May 17, 1963 issue of LIFE magazine. (I would here like to point out that at the time of this discovery, everyone following the Message believed WMB's claims that the Cloud of February 28, 1963 appeared on the day WMB was hunting javelina near Wilcox, AZ. It would have seemed absurd back then for anyone to question that, yet today it's hard to find a Message believer who thinks that the Cloud in LIFE magazine was the same Cloud WMB saw while hunting javelina.) The thought that WMB might have been hunting out of season so disturbed me that I began to research this claim myself. I contacted the Arizona Game and Fish Department to find out when javelina season was in 1963. I learned that javelina hunting season that year ran from March 1 through 10. I also began a study of everything that WMB had to say about the Cloud and this hunting trip. As a result, I discovered that WMB himself indicated that he did not go on this hunting trip until after March 4, 1963 (See or listen to his sermon, Absolute, preached on March 4, 1963. Compare this to his sermon, Trying to do God a Service Without it Being God's Will, vol. 7, book 2, pages 8 and 9, preached November 27, 1965).
Indeed, William Branham did not go on this hunting trip until after the Cloud had come and gone! This was the last blow to my waning faith in the Message! The truth hit me hard. While praying earnestly about what to believe concerning the Message, I felt the Holy Spirit impress on my heart that the Bible is our guide to the Truth. I heard Him say (not audibly) that if I found some of WMB's teachings to be inconsistent with the Bible, I was not obligated to accept them. The Bible would be my absolute. Once I recognized that I could question WMB's teachings without fear of the Lord's condemnation, I began to recall the many questions I had about the Message, some of which I had long forgotten. I decided to give each of two prominent elders at the Tabernacle one last opportunity to address the discrepancies in the Message. They were unable to give me any satisfactory answers. One of these elders had several dreams which confirmed to him that WMB was a prophet. He scolded me for implying that his dreams may not have come from the Holy Spirit. I left Tucson Tabernacle and the Message in December 1989, received Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior in repentance and faith, and I now worship and serve at Faith Community Church, a Reformed, non-denominational church in Tucson, Arizona.
Rewriting Message HistoryA lot has happened since I left the Message in 1989. I began a vocation to educate Message leaders, followers and the general public of the irreconcilable discrepancies of WMB's account of the Cloud and other problem areas in the Message via mail, radio, newsletter publications, my booklet, "The MESSAGE: What every follower of William Branham should know," and the Internet.
WMB's oldest daughter, Rebekah Branham-Smith, responded by writing an article in her magazine, Only Believe (see, "On the Road to Sunset", June 1992), in which she affirmed my findings but reinterpreted the Cloud as a sign which predicted that a week later, seven angels would appear to him while he was hunting to commission him to preach the Seven Seals. This new interpretation was based on a single, misquoted statement WMB made in the sermon, "Come, Follow Me", in June 1963, while ignoring over a dozen statements in which WMB clearly said he was hunting at the time of the Cloud's appearance!
In 1993, Pearry Green followed suit by publishing a revised edition of his book, The Acts of the Prophet, in which the only changes that were made were: 1) The removal of all statements in which he claimed the Cloud was formed while WMB was hunting javelina at Sunset Peak, and; 2) Inserting the new explanation that Rebekah Branham-Smith had introduced in her article.
As a result of this rewriting of Message history, a new generation of Message believers has been taught, not through the Message but from the pulpit, that WMB had claimed all along that the Cloud actually appeared "a day or two" before or after he went hunting at Sunset, and not while he was there. This in spite of the fact that he explicitly said in over a dozen sermons that it was formed at the very time he was hunting at Sunset Peak (See my article, What Was the Attraction On the Mountain, at this site). Furthermore, pastors in the Message are now saying that so-called critics like myself are the ones who really misunderstood what WMB said about the Cloud, even though it is they who were forced to reinterpret its appearance as a result of what I and other Message critics were saying! The Bible has had its critics over the centuries, but archeological facts have always sustained the integrity of the Bible and proven the critics wrong time after time. That's not what we see happening in the Message. Followers of the Message have found it necessary to change the long established Message teaching on the Cloud precisely because critics--not Message believers--have discovered and publicized the errors of WMB's claims. I may be critical of WMB's claim to be a prophet and of the unbiblical aspects of his teachings, but I love the Lord Jesus Christ, the Bible, and those who follow the Message of WMB. My desire is that they place their confidence not in those things which cannot be reconciled with the facts, but in the immutable Truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which has never been disproved by its harshest critics!
Origin of the Cloud and the Message Believers' Response
What caused this unusual Cloud formation over the Arizona desert on February 28, 1963? It is true that it was located about 26 miles in altitude. It is not true that clouds do not form this high. However, this cloud was not formed naturally or even supernaturally; it was man-made. During an investigation of the Cloud, Dr. James E. McDonald of the University of Arizona Institute of Atmospheric Physics learned that a series of test missiles were launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base on the coast north of Los Angeles, California in 1963. Several of those launches left trails in the sky similar to the one that appeared in the May 17, 1963 issue of LIFE magazine. Trails at the altitude of the Cloud are not visible during daylight hours because the sky is too bright for them to be seen (just as stars are not visible during daylight hours). When the sky is dark, these clouds are so high that they remain illuminated by the sun which shines directly on them (just as the sun continues to shine on the moon after sunset). This was a rare phenomenon in 1963 because missile tests were uncommon. When the clouds formed by the rockets began appearing, the public did not know what caused them. The formation of such clouds is now relatively common. I have seen this awesome phenomenon on at least four occasions during the past 8 years here in Tucson because of our close proximity to Vandenberg AFB and White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. It is a fantastic sight to see a brightly-lit cloud in a dark sky.
Dr. McDonald concluded that the Cloud was the result of a test missile which was launched from Vandenberg AFB and detonated nearly directly overhead earlier in the day of February 28, 1963. The steady, high speed stratospheric wind carried the Cloud to where it was later discovered over Flagstaff, Arizona after sunset. Followers of the Message, however, continue to insist that there is no scientific explanation for the Cloud.
Recently, Message believers have attempted to suggest that Dr. McDonald really wasn't sure what caused the formation of the Cloud based on a six page document he published in May 1963. In the course of his investigation of the Cloud, Dr. McDonald amassed a large volume of photographs and weather data pertaining to the Cloud. On May 31, 1963, he published this six paged paper which was titled, "Status of Investigation of the Northern Arizona Stratospheric Cloud of February 28, 1963". This report was not a final analysis of his investigation, but a progress report of what he had learned to date. However, Message believers misrepresent this report and refer to it as proof that Dr. McDonald was not convinced that the Cloud was formed by the Vandenberg rocket. On page 5 of the report, Dr. McDonald clearly stated, "... [I]t remains uncertain whether one may conclude that the Flagstaff cloud was due to the detonation at Vandenberg. It is necessary to seek still further cross-checks" (emphasis added). The "further cross-checks" were never made because such data was not collected and thus not available to Dr. McDonald. It is clear that in this report, Dr. McDonald had not finished his investigation nor had he drawn a final conclusion of what formed the Cloud. Some time after he wrote this paper, he became satisfied that the Cloud was the result of the rocket launched from Vandenberg. In a 1996 letter to George Greene of Christian Awareness Fellowship, Aden and Marjorie Meinel (authors of Sunsets, Twilights and Evening Skies, and colleagues of Dr. McDonald at the University of Arizona) said, “Aden was involved with the launch of rockets from Vandenburg AFB, California and immediately recognized the McDonald cloud as from an explosion of a rocket the afternoon of 28 February 1963. We told McDonald of the event. . . . He was disappointed to learn that it was only a man-made cloud.” This mundane explanation for the Cloud caused him to lose all interest in publishing any further articles about it, and he spent the major part of his energies with his real passion, the investigation of UFO's, of which he was a firm believer. The Message believers' claim that Dr. McDonald was not sure the Cloud was formed by the rocket at Vandenberg, particularly based on his progress report, is thus unfounded.
At this point, it is interesting to note that after Dr. McDonald published his final article pertaining to the Cloud, other similar clouds began appearing over southwestern skies. These clouds were immediately explained as noctilucent trails caused by the launches of rockets from from Vandenberg AFB. Please see, "Cloud Was 1 of Several in 1963".
For those who are still inclined to believe that the Cloud was a supernatural sign sent to confirm WMB's Message, please consider the following:
- Why didn't WMB seem to know anything about the Cloud until Gene Norman brought the May 17, 1963 issue of LIFE magazine to his attention (approximately 3 months after his experience with the 7 angels and his preaching of the Seven Seals)?
- Instead of appearing over Sunset Peak, why did the Cloud appear over Flagstaff, Arizona, which is 200 miles to the northwest?
- Why have followers of the Message claimed for nearly 40 years that the Cloud appeared during WMB's visit by the 7 angels while hunting despite evidence proving the contrary? Some are still erroneously publishing that WMB's hunting trip coincided with the Cloud's appearance on February 28, 1963.
- If the Cloud was a sign that WMB would soon meet with the 7 angels as Rebekah Branham-Smith has said, why didn't he know that, allowing his followers to believe that the angels formed it while he met them at Sunset on February 28, 1963? And why didn't anyone know of such a sign until long after the event it was supposed to have predicted had come to pass?
- Why do followers of the Message continue to say that there is no scientific explanation for the Cloud?
When the facts are known, we find that there is no connection whatsoever between the Cloud's appearance and WMB's hunting trip in Arizona. In fact, there is nothing in common between the Cloud formation and William Branham at all! Don't take my word for it. Search the facts for yourself!
© 1989-2015 John Kennah