Proof of the Prophetic

From BelieveTheSign

Most people think of prophecy as a prediction of an event or occurrence that will happen in the future.

Prophesy /ˈprɒfɪsʌɪ/

  • verb (prophesies, prophesying, prophesied)
  1. predict.
  2. speak or write by divine inspiration.[1]

Was William Branham a prophet?

One significant problem with William Branham's prophetic ministry is that we have been unable to find a single occurrence where we have a clear prophecy recorded on tape that was later clearly fulfilled.

The Test

This is a test for anyone that is a follower of the message of William Branham. Did William Branham make any REAL "before the fact" prophecies in any of his tapes?

THIS IS THE CRITICAL QUESTION - Can you provide us with an unambiguous prophecy made by William Branham that was recorded publicly before the fact (i.e. we can verify on a tape) and that was later fulfilled in a clear manner? Surely, somewhere between 1946 and 1965 there is at least one clear prophecy that was made and fulfilled.

In 1 Samuel 3:19-20, the Bible says this of the prophet Samuel:

As Samuel grew up, the Lord was with him, and everything Samuel said proved to be reliable. And all Israel, from Dan in the north to Beersheba in the south, knew that Samuel was confirmed as a prophet of the Lord[2]

In the Old Testament, prophets prophesied within two time frames: their own time, and for the distant future. The test of a prophet was the prophecies which would be clearly fulfilled in his own lifetime. Obviously, if it was beyond his lifetime, he wouldn't be around to have to answer for it so there had to be some current prophecies so that people would know that the person was a prophet. What we find hard to believe is that message followers are unfailing in their belief that William Branham was a prophet, yet we have been unable to find a single prophecy that he made on tape that was later clearly fulfilled.

We will publish any such prophecy and its fulfillment on our website. Surely somewhere on a tape between 1947 and 1965, there is a prophecy that he recorded before the event that was later clearly fulfilled. However, to date no one has brought us such a prophecy and we have been unable to find a single one.

While some view William Branham's healing ministry and his gift with the word of knowledge as proof that he was a prophet, this is not the Biblical test. There are numerous prophecies on this website that were made by William Branham in advance but were not fulfilled. This creates a clear problem with Deuteronomy 18:20-22. One would think that those that believe him to be a prophet would have numerous examples of publicly available prophecies that were later clearly fulfilled. Sadly, this is not the case.

All of the prophecies that we have had pointed out to us are either after the fact (i.e. William Branham only mentions them on tape after they have been fulfilled) or are ambiguous prophecies (i.e. if they were not fulfilled, no one would have been able to point to the prophecy and say that it was clearly wrong).

We will publish any responses on this page for the benefit of all.

The Problem

A significant problem with William Branham's prophetic ministry is that there does not seem to be a single occurrence where he makes an unambiguous public prophecy (i.e. recorded on tape) that was later clearly fulfilled.

Five Types of Prophecies

There are a number of different types of prophecies that William Branham could have made:

1 - Vague Prophecies (verified) that are (sort of) fulfilled

This is the kind of prophecy that is seen quite commonly in popular culture and amongst those that call themselves prophets, seers, psychics or fortune tellers.

Such prophecies are made in advance but contain enough vagueness for deniability if they don't happen but also something that can be pointed to as a "fulfillment of prophecy" if it does happen. With respect to William Branham, a good example of this would be the "prophecy" of the birth of his son, Joseph.

2 - Prophecies made beforehand (verified) that was not fulfilled

We have several occasions where William Branham prophesied of things that would come to pass in the future but did not happen as prophesied ("failed prophecies"). Examples of this would include:

A. The vision of the brown bear
B. The vision of the African meetings.

3 - Prophecies (unverified) that were not fulfilled

When we state that such prophecies are "unverified", it means that the first time they were told was after the prophesied event had occurred. Such prophecies are also referred to as "after the fact". Some message believers will protest that there is evidence that such prophecies were clearly made in advance but we have been unable to find any independent evidence that would confirm this. The only evidence we have is William Branham's own words, which do not qualify as independent evidence.

Such prophesies would include those that William Branham said had been fulfilled but, in fact, were not. Examples of this type of failed prophecy would include:

A. The Municipal Bridge Vision; and
B. The Marilyn Monroe Vision.
While these are "after the fact" prophecies, it is strange that William Branham held out that they were validly fulfilled, when they clearly were not.

4 - Prophecies (unverified) that was clearly fulfilled

Message believers will provide several examples where William Branham stated that he had prophesied something that actually did come to pass. There are several examples of this such as Kari Holma or the vision of the grizzly bear. However, there would appear to be no record of these events being publicly recorded before the fact. Therefore, they must be considered after-the-fact prophecies. While one would normally think that "after the fact" prophecies would be amazingly accurate, there are significant problems associated with a number of William Branham's "after-the-fact" prophecies.

Any of the following "so-called" prophecies cannot be used as proof of a prophetic ministry. Why? There is NO EVIDENCE that they were made publicly prior to the events occurring. This would include the following:

5 - Prophecies made beforehand (verified) that were clearly fulfilled

Anything in this category would be considered a true prophecy. We are only aware of one of William Branham's prophecies that could be considered to fulfill this criteria.

The prophecy of The Death of Florence Shakarian was made publicly a few months before she died. However, this prophecy has a couple of problems:

1. In 1963, Florence (Demos Shakarian's sister) was diagnosed with cancer. Although she was only 39, the cancer had advanced to a stage where her doctors couldn't stop it. How hard is it to predict that someone will die when they have received a medical diagnosis 2 years earlier that they have terminal inoperable cancer?
2. The prophecy was not ambiguous because William Branham left open the possibility that she might be healed when he stated:
And I said, "Pray, just pray. You know there's... A prophet one time was told to go tell a king put his house in order. And he prayed, and He spared his life, fifteen years longer." I said, "Pray."

Other than the Florence Shakarian prophecy (which does not qualify because of the factors listed above), there would appear to be no independent evidence that William Branham actually had a prophetic gift.

We have been provided one other "before the fact prophecy" that William Branham made - the prophecy of the birth of Joseph Branham. However, if you read what William Branham actually said before the birth of his son, it is clear that this is not a bona fide prophecy.

It is quite amazing, given the claims made of William Branham's prophetic ministry, that there is not a single clear example of a fulfilled "before the fact" prophecy on any of William Branham's tapes from 1947 to 1965. This calls into serious question the testimonies of his supporters who claim they heard an unrecorded prophecy, and saw it fulfilled - the evidence that William Branham left on the tapes speaks against them.

We have repeatedly asked publicly for examples of unambiguous prophecies that were made on tape and clearly fulfilled at a later date, but have had no response to date other than the Florence Shakarian prophecy.

This is a serious problem for those that wish to believe that William Branham was a prophet.

Prophecy in the New Testament

There are three expressions of prophecy that the New Testament speaks of. The first is forthtelling the word of God. It is essentially preaching. This is spoken of in 1 Corinthians 14:6-7 speaks of a prophecy or a word of instruction. So it links prophecy with teaching or word of instruction as synonyms. Thereby, in this sense, the prophecy is teaching the Bible. It’s the word of instruction. That’s preaching and teaching. That’s what I do. And then in 1 Corinthians 14:24 and 25, it says that preaching the Bible, prophesying the truth that is already in Scripture, will allow non-Christians to come in, learn about Jesus, recognize they’re sinful and get saved

The second use of the gift is the foretelling of the future; the revelation of some future knowledge that would otherwise be unknown. An example of this would be Agabus in Acts 11: 28-29

Thirdly, prophecy can be a personal word from God through someone with a gift of prophesy to an individual. Agabus is again a good illustration of this in Acts 21:10-11.

The "One Mistake" rule

When we speak of William Branham's visions and prophecies, we are generally speaking of the foretelling of a future event. To verify whether William Branham's prophecies came to pass, there should be publicly verifiable documentation of the foretelling of the event and then the event must take place at a subsequent time in a clear manner. Unfortunately, we are not aware of any evidence to this effect.

A true Prophet must be 100% accurate. There is absolutely no margin for error.

Deuteronomy 18:20-22 states:

But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name that I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die. And if you say in your heart, ‘How may we know the word that the Lord has not spoken?’ — when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him.[3]

The true Prophet of the Lord predicts that which does come to pass. If the Prophet's predictions fail, they are exposed as NOT of God. Jeremiah 28:9 tells us:

The prophet which prophesieth of peace, when the word of the prophet shall come to pass, then shall the prophet be known, that the LORD hath truly sent him.[4]

Ezekiel 13:2-9 is also an interesting passage:

Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel, who are prophesying, and say to those who prophesy from their own hearts: ‘Hear the word of the LORD!’  Thus says the Lord GOD, Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing!  Your prophets have been like jackals among ruins, O Israel.  You have not gone up into the breaches, or built up a wall for the house of Israel, that it might stand in battle in the day of the LORD.  They have seen false visions and lying divinations. They say, ‘Declares the LORD,’ when the LORD has not sent them, and yet they expect him to fulfill their word.  Have you not seen a false vision and uttered a lying divination, whenever you have said, ‘Declares the LORD,’ although I have not spoken?” Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: “Because you have uttered falsehood and seen lying visions, therefore behold, I am against you, declares the Lord GOD.  My hand will be against the prophets who see false visions and who give lying divinations. They shall not be in the council of my people, nor be enrolled in the register of the house of Israel, nor shall they enter the land of Israel. And you shall know that I am the Lord GOD.[5]

God says a false prophet can actually say they are hearing from the Lord but it really is their own spirit.

In 1 Samuel 3:19-20, the Bible says this of the prophet Samuel:

As Samuel grew up, the Lord was with him, and everything Samuel said proved to be reliable. And all Israel, from Dan in the north to Beersheba in the south, knew that Samuel was confirmed as a prophet of the Lord[6]

In the Old Testament, prophets prophesied within three time frames: their own time, for the 1st coming and the 2nd coming. The test of a prophet was his near prophecies which would be fulfilled in his own lifetime. Obviously, if it was beyond his lifetime, he wouldn't be around to have to answer for it. Prophecy was very specific in the Old and the New Testament. They would foretell God's revelation to the people and if one looks back at the Biblical record to study a prophet's calling, it was God who picked them and they are often found arguing not to have the office. In contrast, there are now schools to train new prophets because the people desire this office.

Another test used on would be prophets, found in Deuteronomy 13:1. In addition to whether or not their predictions came true is whether they used signs and wonders as tools to draw people to other gods or a different representation of God. (Such as Jannes and Jambres in 2 Timothy 3:8). Here, God is testing the people to see if they love only Him. This is probably the most overlooked scripture pertaining to examining the claims of those who profess supernatural powers that come from God. If they were to contradict the teaching that had already been revealed - which had provided knowledge of the one true God then they were seen as false prophets. God did not, and still does not tolerate false prophesying. If they wrong once, they are false, they were to be stoned. If this occurred today many if not all who lay claim to this position would have a quick end to their so called anointing!


Footnotes

  1. Catherine Soanes and Angus Stevenson, Concise Oxford English Dictionary (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004).
  2. 1 Samuel 3:19-20
  3. Deuteronomy 18:20-22
  4. Jeremiah 28:9
  5. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Eze 13:2–9.
  6. 1 Samuel 3:19-20


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