Most message followers consider William Branham to be an infallible interpreter of scripture. It is the widely held view of message followers that, if we want to know what a passage of the Bible actually means, William Branham is the best source on all counts.
When encountering a passage in scripture that seems to be at odds with William Branham's interpretation, message preachers generally encourage message followers to simply put it "on the shelf" until God reveals to them why William Branham has the correct view.
But there are a number of biblical issues that William Branham seems to have messed up badly:
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William Branham said that neither Elijah or Elisha prayed when they raised a baby to life. Why does he disagree with what the Bible clearly states?
What the Bible teaches
Both Elijah and Elisha were confronted with a young child who had died and, in both cases, they prayed.
Elijah and the Widow of Zarephath
In 1 Kings 17, we read how the widow of Zarephath was provided oil and flour during the drought until the Lord sent rain upon the land. The widow's son became ill and died and she accused Elijah of killing her son.
What did Elijah do?
- And he said unto her, Give me thy son. And he took him out of her bosom, and carried him up into a loft, where he abode, and laid him upon his own bed. And he cried unto the LORD, and said, O LORD my God, hast thou also brought evil upon the widow with whom I sojourn, by slaying her son? And he stretched himself upon the child three times, and cried unto the LORD, and said, O LORD my God, I pray thee, let this child’s soul come into him again. And the LORD heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived. 23 And Elijah took the child, and brought him down out of the chamber into the house, and delivered him unto his mother: and Elijah said, See, thy son liveth. And the woman said to Elijah, Now by this I know that thou art a man of God, and that the word of the LORD in thy mouth is truth.
Elisha and the Shunammite Woman
2 Kings 4 tells of a well to do woman in Shunem who, with her husband, provided a place to stay for the prophet. Elisha prophesied the woman would have a child and she bore a son some time later. When the boy was still young he died and the Shunammite woman went to Elisha for help.
Here is what Elijah did when he came to the child:
- And when Elisha was come into the house, behold, the child was dead, and laid upon his bed. He went in therefore, and shut the door upon them twain, and prayed unto the LORD. And he went up, and lay upon the child, and put his mouth upon his mouth, and his eyes upon his eyes, and his hands upon his hands: and he stretched himself upon the child; and the flesh of the child waxed warm. 35 Then he returned, and walked in the house to and fro; and went up, and stretched himself upon him: and the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes.
Why did William Branham contradict the Bible?
Contrary to scripture, William Branham said Elijah did not pray:
- Elijah went with her to the death chamber, and there walked up-and-down the room, not praying for the baby. Walked up-and-down the room, then took and stretched his body out over the baby. Lord God worked in Elijah. Hallelujah!
William Branham was consistent in contradicting scripture regarding Elisha as well (although he did get confused and referred to Elijah when it was actually Elisha):
- And she revealed to him what had happened. And he said to Gehazi, “Gird up thy loins, and take my staff, and lay it on the baby.” And Gehazi went forward. But the woman’s faith wasn’t in the staff; it was in the prophet. So she said, “I’ll not leave you.” She was going to stay with her point. I like that. Stay with it. God made the promise; God’s got to take care of His promise. She stayed with the prophet. He went to the room. He never prayed for the child. He walked back and forth, up-and-down the floor. He and the dead child together. Then the Spirit of God come on the prophet, and he went and laid his body on him, and the little baby sneezed seven times and come to life.
And again here:
- Like this Shunammite woman, like this Syrophenician woman, stay with it! Stay right there. Stay right with Christ. Take a hold of it, tonight, and hold there. Just don’t move. Tomorrow, if somebody say, “That’s just…” Just shut their ears up to them. You got faith: You stay there. Said, “I won’t leave you.”
- And Elijah (sic) said, "Well, can't get rid of her, I might as well go with her." So he girded up his loins, and away he went. Watch when he got into the room. He didn't know what to do. He never prayed. He just walked back and forth, up-and-down the floor, until he felt the Spirit of God come on him. Then he went and laid himself over the baby, and he sneezed seven times, and come to life.
Why did he find it necessary to contradict scripture?
- ↑ The Holy Bible: King James Version, Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version. (Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2009), 1 Ki 17:19–24.
- ↑ The Holy Bible: King James Version, Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version. (Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2009), 2 Ki 4:32–35.
- ↑ William Branham, 50-0716 - Believest Thou This?, para. 79
- ↑ 58-0524 - Jesus Of Nazareth Passeth By, para. 35
- ↑ William Branham, 63-1116E - Perseverance, para. 214 & 215