“Stay in Line”
In nursery school I was taught counting using sticks. Every day we repeated the counting process of saying one, two, three, on up to ten. It is interesting to note that our young minds literally took those sticks to be numbers – if a little shorter stick was counted as one and the taller one two, counting starting with the taller stick became an abrogation of arithmetic to our young minds. Teacher did not bother to correct our perception because “precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little” (Isa.28:10).
Growing up a little older, we were able to count without the aid of sticks. We threw away the sticks, so to speak, because we understood that although the sticks could be used in arithmetic, arithmetic was not in the sticks! The sticks were only ‘ordained’ to lead us to the real concept of numbers but were not numbers in themselves! Thus, the ‘throwing away’ of the sticks did not amount to throwing away arithmetic. On the contrary, it meant that the sticks had fulfilled their purpose of teaching us arithmetic. Their lifespan of use was only to be “in part”, during a phase of life when our minds could not comprehend deeper concepts. But “But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away” (1 Cor.13:10). Similarly, when Christ came preaching the gospel of the New Testament, He did not come to contradict Moses or the Torah as Jewish rabbis today still think. He came to fulfil the Law. “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets. I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil” the Lord said (Matt.5:17). Those with eyes to see and ears to hear could perceive that in Christ was the very Spirit that anointed Moses. When He spoke, although they could not fully comprehend a number of things they heard, they were still able to discern the life of the Word in the ministry of Jesus.
The Law was a “schoolmaster” to bring people to Christ (Gal.3:24). The practices of the Law were objects pointing to the real thing to come. And just as arithmetic is not in the objects of “sticks” used for counting so is the righteousness of God not in those works of the Law. Therefore, “do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ” (Col.2:16-17, NIV).
There are many people who could not comprehend this revelation. They could not see the work of God in their day. They could not discern the voice of God.
Discerning the Voice of God
God can speak or do something; one person can hear something and another fail to grasp anything. In the book of Luke chapter 5, we read about how the Lord after preaching a message asked Simon to cast his net into the water to catch fish. The fisherman had toiled all night but without success Nevertheless, at the speaking of the Lord he obliged. A miracle occurred when a multitude of fish was caught. In seeing this Peter fell before the Lord saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord” (Luke 5:8). Why did Peter say these words? What had the Lord Jesus done to him? The Lord Jesus had only multiplied fish and that should have been good business news for Peter. The normal thing to happen would have been for Peter to celebrate the unusual event. He would have become excited at the blessing on his business! But strangely, he instead abandoned the fishing career to start preaching the Gospel! Peter saw something beyond what had happened in the natural. He discerned the voice of God in the event that occurred that day. His heart got convicted and that was the turning point in his life. However, what the other people had only witnessed was an unusual catch of fish.
“Are you not concerned about the Controversy?”
From Kolhapur I moved to Pune, a city in the western Indian state of Maharashtra. A number of believers attended the convention. Among the things I taught during the Pune meetings was the The Serpent Seed doctrine. At the end of the first service, a woman (who appeared to me to be educated) approached me. She was with a friend. We greeted and she desired some time to ask me some questions. She belonged to a denominational organisation. Someone had invited her to the meetings.
“I have never heard the Bible explained the way its been taught today!…This sounds interesting and it makes a lot of sense” she exclaimed with so much amazement and excitement. She was able to connect dots of some things I had deliberately left in suspense.
“Does it mean that Cain was the son of the Serpent and not Adam?” She probed. For a moment her face seemed puzzled…then she asked: “But…are you not worried that some things you have taught seem too controversial?”
Clearly, the things the woman heard were so strange that she thought I was the first one to teach them. I said to her: “Truth is always controversial to people when they hear it for the first time. However, there comes a time when that Truth resounds so much until the people’s sense of hearing gets numbed and they accept it as a normal tradition.”
When Truth has resounded so repeatedly over a period of time, many people tend to get okay with it. However, what people are really okay with is not the Truth but the sense of security in what everyone else seems to have accepted or adjusted to. The reality is that the supposed security is tradition, not the appeal of Truth. Did not the people of the Exodus weary Moses with their incessant complaints and on some occasions go to extremes of wanting to stone that meek man? However, after many years and generations, Moses became the beloved prophet and an indisputable authority of Judaism. Anyone perceived to be at variance with what Moses said was fought against. Even the Lord Jesus was persecuted on accusation that He did not regard the Law of Moses. But looking closely at the people’s attitude shows that what they actually had in their hearts was merely faith in Moses and not the faith of Moses. They lacked the substance of the Spirit that guided Moses. If they had It, they would have seen that the life of the Spirit of God in the words of other prophets who came after Moses was the same one in the prophet they were revering. They would have perceived the continuity of the self-same life in the ministry of Christ.
Jesus Christ was rejected in His day. The wicked men who abused Christ were not a bunch of criminals but very religious people. When Jesus had resurrected after His crucifixion, the story that went round was that His disciples had stolen away his body from the tomb. Events that followed after the resurrection were ugly persecutions of a people that believed in Jesus. Disciples were stoned and killed in merciless ways. However, with time, things began to change as many people began to embrace Christianity. By the fourth century Christianity became such a mighty political force. Today millions of people claim to identify with Christianity. The question we should ask ourselves is: do all these people really understand the revelation of Jesus Christ? Would they have identified with his teachings in His day? Are they really standing and walking on His Word?
Standing and Walking on the Word
No man can truly confess and walk with Christ without the revelation of who He is. “Come” the voice of the Lord commanded, as Peter began to walk on the water (Matt.14:22-31). It is important to note that Peter had to stand on the Word in order to walk on the water. In taking that crucial act of faith, Peter had no luxury of time to play tradition. Tradition numbs a person’s spiritual senses until they are not aware of what they are doing. Peter’s heart and his thoughts focussed on the Lord Jesus. However, his thoughts later wandered and swayed “when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried , saying, Save me” (v.30).
Dear friends, just how many times do we stagger in faith because of the boisterous and tempest winds of this world? For some the “winds” are terrible trials of pain and suffering which make their eyes look away from Jesus Christ. Others, like Peter, began well when they walked on the revealed Word of God but only for a few steps. Later they yielded to the winds of either false doctrine or false testimonies against the Word they had once received.
A Messenger to this Age
It is only a few decades ago when this world witnessed what was perhaps the greatest public manifestations of the power of God since the ascension of Christ. Looking at the mighty works God wrought through the ministry of William Branham one can say that Gentiles had witnessed what the ministry of Christ must have been like (Luke 17:22). Never before had people seen a man stand in front of crowds of thousands, discerning people’s thoughts and calling out their names. The lame and blind receiving their healing and the dead came back to life. No, this wasn’t like the modern ‘Miracle Crusades’ where crowds are entertained and fanaticism and hysteria are mistaken for the power of God. Miracles in the Branham campaigns came with a strong message that condemned the lukewarm condition of organised Christianity. Branham’s ministry came with a clarion call for repentance and a return to sanctity, consecration, sincerity, and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Branham’s message was directed at the lukewarm church to get “Back to the Word!”
Now, what we find more astounding about William Branham is that despite all the supernatural works that characterised his ministry, he remained sober and humble. His was not a humility of acting but a genuine and sincere one. (This is so different from the many Pentecostals who later came down the road impersonating his ministry).
A significant event in Brother Branham’s ministry occurred in 1963 when seven angels met him in Arizona, USA. This event is well known by the display of a mysterious cloud which got photographed and astonished people. The image of the picture appeared in Life Magazine issue of May 17, 1963 issue and Science Magazine in their April 19, 1963 issue . The cloud was at least 26 miles high and 30 miles across, a height where clouds cannot form, as was stated by Dr McDonald, a meteorologist who was analysing the cloud. It was also explained that there were no rockets, rocket planes or bombs being tested nearby that day. Now to those who believe in these signs as having been sent by God to this age, What was the purpose of all these signs? Simply to amuse us? To give us a picture to hang on a wall in our living rooms? To give us something to talk about every Sunday?
Mystery Cloud Sceptics
The Mystery Cloud has stirred so much talk, both among believers and those against Branham who, just like in the days of Christ, would want to disapprove the supernatural aspect of the event. This is not new. Much as we should always be aware of false testimonies, we should also know that there will always be some sceptics who will doubt everything from the Jewish holocaust to whether there is truly a God who created the universe. And if you are simply a Christian who has never had a personal experience with God, you surely will be tossed to an fro by winds of opinions.
In India, Solomon Jacob emotionally exclaimed to me, “Do you know that Branham lied about the Cloud?!” The manner of his speaking seemed to be of a man who had just discovered ‘important’ and ‘top secret’ information. He seemed to have urgent news which the ‘whole world’ needed to hear about Branham. But as many sober believers are aware, this controversy is not new. I just wonder how many more believers are out there whose minds are uninformed about these matters. When they are surfing the Internet and they suddenly land on anti-Branham websites (like http://www.letusreason.org and http://www.believethesign.com) their hope gets shuttered as they see what appears to be facts they didn’t know. [There are equally many such foolish Christians who land on online articles or books claiming to reveal bizzare facts about Jesus. For example scholars of other religions who seek converts by majoring on ‘exposing facts’ which show that Jesus couldn’t have been the messiah. Others are unbelievers who go as far as trying to prove that Jesus had an affair with Mary Magdalene. These sceptics will use what they believe are historical facts measuring against isolated words they pick from scriptures. Without a proper foundation and in-depth knowledge an uninformed mind easily gets swayed by misrepresentations and falsehood]. What is so sad about all this is that most of these anti-Branham platforms (on the Internet as well as in theological curricula) take much pleasure in majoring on what some sections of people have erroneously taught about Branham, and wittingly or unwittingly ignore what sober believers have had to present over the years. When I heard about William Branham I was coming from a background of being very alert with false doctrines or cultic tendencies. However, I was also always guided with an urge to always have a ‘third eye’ when looking at something. One needs to see and distinguish fact from falsehood, falsehood from prejudice, and prejudice from exaggeration. Above all one needs ears that can hear what the Spirit is speaking. When you look at sceptic-scholars who have discredited the inspiration of the New Testament, or unbelievers who have discredited the whole Bible, on the basis of alleged discrepancies, you get to realise how a carnal mind can be so far away from understanding a simple truth but whilst feeling wise in its own conceit.
Stay in Line
As we come to the conclusion of this message, it is important to note that apart from the falling away of some people from the truth of the Message, there are also congregations which have wavered away from simple doctrines of the Faith. There is growing compromise in many churches as many believers are now getting enticed with false spiritual manifestations (Charismaticism) and the so-called prosperity Gospel. There are also many congregations whose sisters have abandoned modesty.
Like little leaven, immodest dressing starts with one or two people. Before you realise it, an entire congregation may have their womenfolk wearing outfits that are skin-tight, exposing the figure of their bodies. It appears that as we move on in time many shall sleep and slumber away from the Word they received. If there will be a few more decades to come, the Endtime Message will end up like any other religious organisation. You will even hear of churches practising basketball and football. Will they know of their fallen condition. No, the god of this world will blind them so hard that they wont see from whence they fell! But to all those who would listen, hear the Word of the Lord: “Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls” (Jer.6:16). May we always remember the important vision brother Branham had about the preview of the Bride of Christ. Here is what he narrated:
A few weeks ago, I was in a vision. And I was standing up on a high place, and I was to see the preview of the Church …I was standing more like this way, facing the West. And coming this way was the lovely bunch of women, real nice dress, long hair fixed nice in the back, sleeves, and skirts down neatly. And they were all in a marching tune, like, “Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war, with the cross of Jesus going on before.” And as they passed by, I stood, and there was something there, some Spirit, was God, and said, “There is the Bride.” And I looked, and my heart was happy. And she went around this way, and passed around behind me. After while, when she come back this way, It said, “Now the modern church will come into preview.” And here come the Asian church up. I never seen such a filthy bunch. Here come the other churches up, of the different nations. They looked horrible…Now, this is THUS SAITH THE LORD. If you believe me to be His servant, you believe me now. I wouldn’t say that for nothing in the world. There’s not enough money in all the world to get me to say that if it wasn’t true. And when she come by, that was the filthiest-looking thing I ever seen. I thought, “God, as hard as preachers and we brethren have labored to get you a Bride, and that’s the best we could do.” She was twisting, holding this in front of her, like one of these hula skirts of a thing, holding it in front of her parts, her lower part, like this, dancing and twisting …I could have fainted. I thought, “All the trying, and the preaching, and the persuading?” Every one of them with bobbed hair, and they were twisting and carrying on, holding this in front. They come around, where I was standing there with this supernatural Being…Then, all at once, I heard it coming again.… Here come them little ladies again, and each one of them was dressed in their national garb from where they come from, like Switzerland, Germany, and so forth, each one wearing that kind of garb, all long hair, just exactly like the one at the first. And here they was coming, walking. “Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war.” And when they all passed by the preview stand where we were standing, just all at once, every eye went that way. And then they turned back, and on they went, marching. And just as they started to going right up into the skies, this other one went up to a brink of a hill and went down, like that. These started marching right up into the skies. And when they went to marching, I noticed a couple of little girls in the back…They started to look around…I said, “Don’t do that! Don’t get out of that step!” And as I screamed like that, I come to, in the vision, standing there with my hand out like that (THE CHOSING OF THE BRIDE, 65-0429E).
Let us stay in line with the Word that we have received. Let not our thoughts wander to and fro after the shiny things of the world or religious activities that seem to make a show of reality but are actually nothing but falsehood. Is there something that is bothering your mind, just sincerely lay it at the feet of the Lord and He will deliver you. Amen. END OF THIS SERIES.
1. Putting the pieces together
We believe that in this age of Laodicea God used a man to give a clarion call to all those who would hear to come out of systems of organised religion and accept God’s Word as their absolute for doctrine. That man was William Branham. Sadly, and as always happens time and again, there has been various misleading opinions about the man and his ministry. Just like some people presumed about John being the Christ, there are people who were so astounded at the supernatural power that accompanied Branham’s ministry that they conjured up ideas of supposing him to be Jesus, a thing which so greatly disturbed Brother Branham that at one time he wanted to quit the ministry because of the foolishness of people.
On the other hand are egocentric individuals who have risen in different ranks from different places of the world claiming that they are the special ones and successors of the ministry of the prophet. Again, when you read through history this is not a new happening. Every now and then there will always be people claiming to be an “Elisha” of a certain ministry. Remember even the pope claims to be the successor of apostle Peter! What is sad to note is that in all such confusions, nine times out of ten, critics prefer to judge a movement by focussing on those elements that misrepresent facts. Is this not how many people of other religions judge Christianity? A man of a different religion may say, “You Christians are idol worshippers; You bow and worship the idol of Mary and you pray to saints!” To many such people, Catholic is the largest Christian denomination and therefore represents what all Christians believe. And as people’s ears are always ‘itchy’ to hear fascinating news, many hearers seem more inclined to give attention to misrepresented facts. Is it not surprising that at Believers Assembly, for all the past years, we have endeavoured to present a picture that William Branham was a humble man who was used by God to point us back to the Scriptures as the ultimate for doctrine and reproof, but yet we have on one hand factions of Endtime Message believers labelling us as unbelievers, and on the other, anti-Branham preachers accusing us to be ‘Branhamites’.
2. Strange response from Solomon Jacob
Here is an email I received from Solomon Jacob, after he read one of the sermons of my message series. The strange thing about the emails is the liberty the man displayed in speaking things which were a complete presumption and fabrication of his mind, and upon being questioned over the lies, he did not apologise but went further to express an attitude that is bankrupt of honesty and integrity. His second email let me know that I would not be able to engage in a logical discourse with him, and the prudent thing to do was to discontinue the communication (note the words I put in bold in the mail below):
Bro. Andrew Phiri,
Shalom. Thanks very much for your mail dated 28/11/16. As you have decided to respond to the issues, with a hope that through reading your responses people will have a balanced view over the matter that I raised and circulated through printed papers at Kumbhoj, and not wanting to engage in arguments with me. After reading your, “Hearing A Voice and THE Voice – Part I – Part IV”, it became my obligated duty to protect my people from your enticing and intellectual writings.
Hence I am responding for the sake of my people. I have not taken up this matter as an occasion to engage in arguments with you, as it appears to me, that you are possessed with the spirit that William Branham is the final authority and the Absolute on the revelation and understanding of the Word of God, and William Branham is vindicated prophet hence infallible and cannot make any mistake. That William Branham is the Voice of God for this generation and William Branham being the Elijah of this day is Jesus Christ”. I cannot help you to come out of this Delusion but can pray that the Lord may open your eyes as He has opened mine and of many others.
I am writing this for simple people who still regard and consider with their whole heart that the Written Word of God the Bible is the Final Authority and is the only Absolute and is Infallible. To all my Dear Brothers and Sister in Maharashtra State of India who are associated with my ministry, I as a servant of GOD to you, present this TRUTH before you. Read carefully and with prayer. May the Spirit of TRUTH lead you into All the TRUTH.
When I read this email, I realised that Mr Jacob’s character of presuming things was more serious than I had earlier thought when I first met him. Just where in the world did he hear me or other ministers I associate with teach that William Branham is Jesus Christ and the absolute? Are these not the things that a lot of people in The Endtime Message have attacked us for (speaking against the cult of misrepresenting Branham in that manner)? Although Solomon Jacob’s presumption begins with a mild “it appears to me…” his latter words turn into an expression of something he seems very sure of – “I cannot help you to come out of this Delusion.” Here is a man who creates a figment of a heretic and then scorns and destroys it with great relish. Does he not have a conscious to condemn him of such deceptive tactics? The following was my reply:
Brother Solomon Jacob,
Your problem of failing to grasp meaning of words and sentences is more serious than I thought. The bigger puzzle I have is not the issues you have raised in this email but this question: How could you have been a minister for so many years but have such a warped perception of what other people say?
You don’t seem to be bothered by facts. You make presumptions and speak them freely to the people. Look at what you said here:
“it appears to me, that you are possessed with the spirit that William Branham is the final authority and the Absolute on the revelation and understanding of the Word of God, and William Branham is vindicated prophet hence infallible and cannot make any mistake. That William Branham is the Voice of God for this generation and William Branham being the Elijah of this day is Jesus Christ“
Really??? Could you please show ONLY ONE PLACE WHERE I EVER SAID or INFERRED THAT:
1. William Branham is the final authority and the absolute?
2. William Branham is “infallible and cannot make any mistake”?
3. William Branham is Jesus Christ?
You have all the liberty to move on, on the path you have taken. However, your case would be more respectable if you were speaking facts and not producing false statements by picking isolated statements out of my writing so as to make points that fit your view. What you are doing is like a man who hears someone say: “The Sky is grey… that cat is grey” and then concludes that the man said “The sky is the cat.” It would really be very difficult to engage in a reasonable discourse with such a person. And so, like I said in the email I wrote you, the two of us seem to have minds which are in completely different worlds of perception. It will be quite futile for us to talk. I can only say this: one day the Lord that we both claim to serve will have a say on the matter.
Andrew C. Phiri
To my utter surprise, concerning his lie that I proclaim Branham as the absolute and as Jesus Christ, he replied the following words:
Do you know the meaning of the word “it appears”. From your writing and the way you were trying to defend and to prove me wrong, It appeared to me…
So was this his way of saying “I wasn’t sure of what I was saying about you proclaiming Branham to be Christ but it only appeared to me.” If brother Solomon Jacob can be presumptuous with all impunity over his own words what more will he do over another man’s words who died 50 years ago? If the above words of “it appears to me” are true he at least needed to have explained what words I spoke that INFERRED that William Branham is Jesus Christ. His assumption should have been based on facts. With the above response it was not in my mind to write another reply as it became conspicuous that this was a minister playing to a different kind of logic. Shall we take offense at such presumptuous persons who are wise in their own conceits? No. We know where we stand. We know what we have seen and the power we have experienced. Let him who speaks accusation be sure of what he or she professes for there are many people today that speak and assume to be servants of God but have never truly met the Pillar of Fire. They simply have never heard the voice of the Word and that is why they can travel so long in a particular direction of faith and later realise that they are on the wrong path. They make a U-turn, move a great distance in the new direction and again reach a junction where they believe they were wrong and take on a complete new path again. Dear friends, a man who walks everywhere simply arrives nowhere. Read your Bible from Genesis to Revelation and show me one servant of God that had such instability. What is incomprehensible is for a man to so charismatically defend his current doctrine in the same manner he did on the previous abandoned ones. Scripture has a word for that, “vain jangling” or “empty speculation” – “There are some people who have gone off the straight course and taken a road that leads to empty speculation; they claim to be doctors of the Law but they understand neither the arguments they are using nor the opinions they are upholding” (1 Tim.1:6-7, The Jerusalem Bible).
From Kholapur we moved with three brothers – brother Hubert Dsouza, brother Bhalarao, and Sona Dethe to Pune where we had a one day gathering.
This was a journey of about three hours or so. In Pune brother Bhalerao, a wonderful old minister and translator, fell very sick. After a day I was glad to see him better. That day we had a sizeable gathering of believers from different places. After preaching, a group of about eight brothers and a minister came to me. Brother Sona told me that they had followed us from Kholapur to come and attend the meetings in Pune. They said:
“Pray for us. We shall stand with this Word.”
I was encouraged to know that there will always be a sober mind somewhere to sift through dirt. Even so, I prayed that the Lord keeps their minds sober and discerning as it is not uncommon for people to easily be swayed by different winds of doctrine.
From Pune we travelled back to Mumbai. Upon arrival in Mumbai news had already reached believers of the events that transpired in Kholapur. We had a last gathering during which I took time to admonish the saints about deception and the need to have a closer walk with God. This was the longest sermon I ever preached – from 10:00hrs to 15:00hrs. I had to bring out all my love and admonition to the believers. I trust that the Lord will give them strength, wisdom and grace as they soldier on in the Lord in this end time.
3. The 1963 Arizona Mystery Cloud
The following article was written by Owen Jorgensen, a man who has devoted significant time into researching William Branham’s life and events that surrounded his ministry. Having read his six-book series which painstakingly details various events of Branham’s life, I regard Jorgensen as an important authority on this matter. This article is here reproduced with his permission.
There has been some misunderstanding concerning the photographing of the mysterious Cloud over Arizona and the actual time when the seven angels came to William Branham. The pictures of the mysterious Cloud that appeared in the May 17, 1963 issue of Life Magazine were taken on the evening of February 28, 1963. After hearing some of William Branham’s statements about this Cloud and about the pictures that were taken of it, many people (myself included) assumed he was hunting on February 28, the angels met him in the morning, and the supernatural Cloud was photographed in the evening over the same spot. However, that is not what the facts indicate, nor is it exactly what William Branham said.
During my research into this topic, I contacted Arizona’s Game and Fish Department. Melissa Swain, who is their librarian, sent me a copy of the 1963 Arizona hunting regulations for javelinas. In 1963 the hunting season for javelinas began on Friday, March 1, and ended on Sunday, March 10. Since William Branham said he shot his javelina the day before the angels met him, if we put him out there hunting on the same day the mysterious Cloud was photographed, that would mean he was illegally hunting on the 27th and 28th of February. Speaking from my 23 years of researching this man’s life, I can guarantee you he respected the law. As a young man, besides preaching and working full time for the public utility district, he had a part-time job as a game warden. He received no direct pay as a game warden, but was supposed to receive a portion of the fines when he ticketed people for violating the state’s hunting laws. He worked as a game warden for many years, but he never wrote anyone a ticket. When he caught poachers, he explained to them the importance of obeying hunting laws, and then let them go with just a warning. That was the kind of man he was.
However, I don’t just have circumstantial evidence. William Branham actually said he was not hunting in the Sunset Peak area on the same day the mysterious Cloud was photographed. Three months after the seven angels met him, while speaking at a house meeting in Tucson, he told his audience about the day when he first saw the pictures of the mysterious Cloud in Life Magazine. He said, “…Right there was them angels just as plain as they could be, setting right there in that picture. You see? I looked to see when it was, and-was time-same-about day or two before, or, day or two after I was up there. I looked where it was at-northeast of Flagstaff-or Prescott, which is below Flagstaff. Well, that’s just where we was at, (see?) just exactly.” (Sermon: “Come Follow Me,” 63-0601, E-7). This statement tells us that he knew from reading the article in Life Magazine that the pictures of that mysterious Cloud were not taken on the same day the seven angels met him. Speaking impromptu to that audience (six or seven weeks after he read the article in Life Magazine), he couldn’t remember if the mysterious Cloud was photographed before or after he was hunting near Sunset Peak, but he knew for sure it was not the same day. At the same time it was clear to him that the mysterious Cloud pictured in Life Magazine looked exactly like what he saw on the morning of March 8 when the seven angels left him and rose into the sky.
So how did such a misconception concerning these events get started? It was the result of our misunderstanding of other things William Branham said that connected the mysterious Cloud over Flagstaff with the seven angels that met him near Sunset Peak. I have listed all of these references before this note, so I’m not going to list them again. But if we look at a representative statement and examine it closely, that should help you understand all the other things William Branham said on this subject.
In his sermon “Standing in the Gap”, preached in Jeffersonville, Indiana, on July 23, 1963, he said, “How many saw, “A mysterious Cloud in the sky?” You see the hands. And now the Life Magazine picked it up, and I have the-the article here this morning, in the Life Magazine, of-to show. Now here it is-the same time I was there. See the pyramid of the Cloud? I was standing just below this. And there, see the distinctive angel on the right-hand side? See the pointed wing of it? Just exactly what was said. And here it’s in the view of Mexico and different places from where they took the picture.” (63-0623M, 82).
This certainly sounds like he is saying he was standing directly below this Cloud when it was being photographed. But that can’t be what he is saying because the mysterious Cloud was photographed at least a hundred miles northwest of Sunset Peak. Is William Branham making something up? No he isn’t. The answer is obvious when you compare this statement with the one I quoted previously. Look more closely at what he said in “Come Follow Me.” Referring to the pictures of the mysterious Cloud in Life Magazine, he said, “I looked to see when it was, and-was time-same-about day or two before, or, day or two after I was up there.” You see, he is using the term “same time” in a slightly broader sense than what we originally assumed. He means that it all happened in the span of about a week (as opposed to two events happening months or even years apart). Notice he does the same thing with the location where the mysterious Cloud was photographed. He said, “I looked where it was at-northeast of Flagstaff-or Prescott, which is below Flagstaff. Well, that’s just where we was at, (see?) just exactly.” Here again he is using location in a broader sense, meaning that it happened in the same area of Arizona where he went hunting (as opposed to the mysterious Cloud appearing over, say, Tallahassee, Florida, or San Pablo, Brazil, or anywhere else in the world, for that matter. The world is a big place when compared to a 30-mile-long Cloud). At this point a critic might suggest that somehow William Branham saw this Cloud, either in person or in a newspaper article, and then made up a story to match its mysterious nature. That scenario doesn’t fit the facts either. First of all, the Cloud wasn’t seen from Tucson where William Branham was at when it appeared, nor to my knowledge were there any photographs of it published prior to the ones in Life Magazine (which William Branham didn’t see until after the May 17th issue was released). Furthermore, William Branham had a vision of this event three months before it happened, which he announced and described in detail in his sermon, “Is this the sign of the end, sirs?” (62-1230E.) After seeing that vision he still was not sure how many angels would come to him, but he knew there would be at least five.
Consider this: only one time in the history of the world was there ever a cloud-like object photographed in the stratosphere, and that was on February 28, 1963 in the sky above central Arizona. Isn’t it interesting that this mysterious Cloud (which scientifically can’t exist at that altitude) just happened to look like the head of Jesus looking down on our world; and isn’t it interesting that it just happened to appear in the same location and at the same time (broadly speaking) that William Branham said seven angels met him. A coincidence? I don’t think so.
Next, I want to deal with the fact that William Branham saw the seven angels form the same Cloud-like pyramid above him after they commissioned him near Sunset Peak on March 8. In his sermon “Trying to do God a service,” which he delivered at a ministerial breakfast in Shreveport, Louisiana, on November 27, 1965, he told his audience about the seven angels coming to him while he was hunting 40 miles northeast of Tucson in 1963. When he came to the part of the story where the angels left him, he said, “In there I watched it until that circle went up, started sweeping up, and they turned into-like a mystic light, like a fog. Just exactly the way- How many seen the picture of it that was taken in Houston? [Note: He is referring here to the photograph of the Pillar of Fire that was taken at one of his meetings in Houston, Texas in January of 1950. See Supernatural: Book 3: Chapter 46]. Nearly all. See? Well, that’s just the way this was. It turned into the same thing. It kept going higher and higher. I was running and running, trying to find Brother Fred and them. After a while, about a half hour later, I could see him way down, waving his hands; and Brother Gene coming, waving. They knowed something had happened.” (65-1127B, 75).
Now compare the above statement with Gene Norman’s testimony of this same event which was recorded at a church in August of 1985. Starting at around 27 minutes into the recording, Gene Norman said, “I had hunted, oh, probably about a half an hour, and that blast went off, and it sounded like it was right above my head. And I looked up and I didn’t see nothing-uh-I seen something-I didn’t see the Cloud in the form it shows in the picture. When I looked up I seen two long streaks of-like a plane, you know, leaving a trail. Two streaks with a great-miles one way and miles the other way, with a big space in between it. But I couldn’t see no planes. I thought what it was that probably a plane busted the sound barrier, but there were no planes in the area. There just wasn’t any there, you know. And I didn’t know what it was. And first thing when I got on top, the first thing Brother Branham asked me was, “Gene, did you hear that noise?” I said, “I’ve been here many times and never heard anything like that”. But he didn’t say anything more about it.”
Something did break the sound barrier that morning, but it wasn’t an airplane. There is no contradiction between these two testimonies. William Branham was looking into that spiritual realm and watching those seven angels forming into a circle of light that looked like the Pillar of Fire. He should be able to recognize the Pillar of Fire. He had seen it thousands of times over the years while praying for people during his faith-healing campaigns. Many times while under the Spirit’s anointing, he asked his audience, “Can you see that light hanging over that woman? …or that man?” (Search for the key words “see that light hanging” in the Message Software Package). Only rarely did anyone else in the audience see that supernatural light. But occasionally God did allow His Pillar of Fire form to be photographed so everyone could see it, as He did in Houston, Texas in 1950. He also wanted those seven angels to be photographed over Arizona in the spring of 1963, as a perpetual testimony to the fact that William Branham was telling us the truth.
The overall story of the breaking of the seven seals is amazing enough without including the misconception that those seven angels came to William Branham on the same day that the pictures were taken of that mysterious Cloud. Seven angels came to William Branham, true enough, but they met him eight days after the mysterious Cloud was photographed. That doesn’t make this whole story any less miraculous; and as I stated in the text of this biography, it is absolutely scriptural for God to announce a major prophetic event in the heavens before He does it on Earth.
You know, something similar to this misunderstanding happened in the first years of the Christian Church. During the last few days Jesus lived on Earth, Peter wanted to know what would happen to John in the future. Jesus said to Peter, “If I will that he remains until I come, what is that to you? You need to just follow Me”. Peter repeated this, so the saying spread among Christians that Jesus said John would not die. But that wasn’t exactly what Jesus said, and it certainly wasn’t what Jesus meant. John corrected this misconception when he wrote his biography of Jesus, and you can read what he said about it in John 21: 20 -23.
In my biography of William Branham I have put forth a huge amount of time and effort in my attempt to describe the events of his life accurately, so that his amazing story can rest solidly on facts where corroborating facts are available. (By the way, if you look at the colour photograph of the mysterious Cloud, the bottom right-hand corner of the Cloud really is pointed, and it really does look like the wing of a giant dove, or else an angel – just like William Branham said).
END OF “HEARING A VOICE AND THE VOICE” MESSAGE SERIES