|Announcing the OFF THE SHELF podcast|
When a follower of William Branham's message has a difficult question, particularly where William Branham and the Bible appear to be in disagreement, it is common to hear message ministers advise them to put it "on the shelf".
Why are people continuing to leave the message in unprecedented number? Come listen to interviews with former message ministers such as Jeff Jenkins and James Rozak, as well as the authors of websites such as searchingforvindication.com, as they tell their stories of why they could not continue to follow the message of William Branham. The Off The Shelf podcast is about taking important scriptural issues "off the shelf" and examining what it means to be a true follower of Jesus in the context of scripture and the message of William Branham.
This page summarizes virtually all of the research we have conducted since 2005 with respect to William Branham and his message. Click on any of the questions or colored links to read further details on the issue.
What is the motivation for this website?
A number of years ago, we received a sincere question in an email regarding the message of William Branham. We diligently tried to answer the question.
Paul, in Acts 17, considered those that searched scripture to try to prove things whether things were true to be more noble than those that did not:
- The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.
The research we did to try answer to the question raised even more questions, so we set about to prove that the message was correct and that William Branham was a true prophet of God. The ongoing results of our research raised even more questions. We spent several years researching these issues which in turn raised even more questions.
What happened next...
Our biggest problem was that no one in our church was prepared to sincerely consider our questions and try to answer them. We talked to many well known ministers that also followed William Branham, but they didn't have any answers either. A few of the more honest ministers actually admitted that we had stumbled onto some questions that they couldn't answer (at least in a way that reflected positively on William Branham). So we kept searching for answers.
What was important to us was the Bible and it has always been our sincere desire to follow Christ regardless of the cost. That is more important to us than family, friends or work. Our questions were driven by our desire to know Jesus Christ in his death, burial and resurrection.
What does the Bible say about sincere questions?
Read our article on What Jesus had to say about asking questions?
The Book of Acts contains numerous examples of Paul reasoning with the Jews in their synagogues about the Messiah. Paul was dealing with tough questions being put to him by Jews that did not believe the message of Christ.
When someone comes to us with a tough question, how are we supposed to respond? Peter gives us the answer in 1 Peter 3:15 (shown below from several translations):
- KJV - But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear...
- NASB - ...but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence...
- NLT - Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way.
I am not sure why those in our church did not seem to believe or practice this verse, but we have found this attitude through out the message - message believers refuse to answer, or even discuss, our questions in an open and honest manner.
This page consists of our list of questions. Each question contains a link which, if you click on, will take you to our detailed research on the specific issue.
How did Jesus deal with questions arising out of doubt?
There was a person in the Bible that thought that Jesus was the messiah but later on he began to have some doubt.
How did Jesus deal with this man's doubt?
Here is the story about John the Baptist from Luke 7:18- 23:
- John’s disciples told him about all these things. Calling two of them, 19 he sent them to the Lord to ask, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?” When the men came to Jesus, they said, “John the Baptist sent us to you to ask, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?’ ” At that very time Jesus cured many who had diseases, sicknesses and evil spirits, and gave sight to many who were blind. So he replied to the messengers, “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.” 
Jesus did not say, "How could you doubt me, John?" He did not condemn John for doubting. What he did was point to the evidence and to tell John's followers to go back to him and tell John the Baptist what they saw.
Jesus did not condemn doubt and he simply pointed to the evidence.
If you are a message believer, the list below is frightening. You may get angry. Some have become physically ill. They are going to raise a lot of questions. But please just take your time. Think about the questions that we are asking and the facts that we are presenting (click on the highlighted text to go to the specific research on an issue).
We are not expecting you to believe anything just because we are saying it. But what we have done is to provide all of the facts, quotes and references necessary to back up all of our research and observations. Study these things out for yourself. If you can find any errors in our research, we will change the information on our website - please, just let us know about it.
To the extent anyone in the message has sought to provide us with an explanation for, or specific solution to, a problem or concern that we have raised, we have listed these in the discussion of the issue. There have not been a lot of explanations to date that have been sent to us, and most of them are easily identified as being the product of Cognitive Dissonance (if you don't know what that is, please click on the link).
Finally, don't be afraid. The opposite of love is not hate, but fear. If you have doubts, they need to be resolved, and the only way to do that is to find out the truth. We wished that we had known these things years ago. And we are presenting them here so that you don't have to spend the years researching these issues that we did.
|There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears punishment has not been perfected in love. 4:19 We love because he loved us first. (1 John 4:18-19)
A Challenge and A Promise
The following is a master list of all of the issues and problems that have been raised by us and others in respect to William Branham and his message.
The purpose of this list is to provide a short concise summary of all known issues that can be used as a quick reference guide when discussing these concerns. Our aim is to provide a detailed explanation for each problem, and the research we have uncovered, when you click on them. To the extent that the specific problem does not link to anything, it simply means we have not had the time to research the issue as yet.
THE CHALLENGE - If you disagree with our conclusions on any of the issues we have raised below, please prove us wrong. Honestly, we don't want to have anything incorrect on this website.
THE PROMISE - If you are aware of any errors/problems/concerns with information on this list or in the related articles on our website, please let us know by email or by a message to us on our Facebook page. We will correct any factual errors as quickly as possible.
Was William Branham really a prophet?
The scriptural test of a prophet is clear as outlined by Moses in Deuteronomy 18:
- But if any prophet presumes to speak anything in my name that I have not authorized him to speak, or speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet must die. Now if you say to yourselves, ‘How can we tell that a message is not from the LORD?’—18:22 whenever a prophet speaks in my name and the prediction is not fulfilled, then I have not spoken it; the prophet has presumed to speak it, so you need not fear him.”
While at first we found this almost impossible to believe, we have been unable to locate a single unambiguous prophecy that was made in advance in a public forum (on tape) and that was later clearly fulfilled. However, there are numerous examples of visions that were made publicly which failed (were not fulfilled) and prophecies that changed drastically over time. If you click on the individual lines below, they will take you to a detailed explanation of each issue.
How can William Branham be a true prophet of God if he failed the test of Deut 18:20-22?
- Did William Branham make any REAL prophecies? (We can't find any before the fact prophecies on any tape!)
- Why did William Branham say that the municipal bridge vision was fulfilled when it clearly wasn't? (Failed Prophecy)
- Why did William Branham say "Thus Saith The Lord" that he would shoot a large brown bear, when he didn't? (Failed Prophecy)
- Why did the vision that William Branham had of the meetings in south Africa fail to be fulfilled? (Failed Prophecy)
Seven Ten Prophecies of 1933
- Why did William Branham prophecy that America would start World War 2? (Prophecy Changed/Failed Prophecy)
- Was Mussloni's invasion of Ethiopia really his last invasion? (Prophecy Changed/Failed Prophecy)
- Why did William Branham's prophecy of Hitler change over time? (Prophecy Changed)
- Did Facism, Nazisim and Communism really unite into Communism? (Failed Prophecy)
- Did the prophecy of egg-shaped come from William Branham's visit to the 1933 World's Fair? ("After the Fact" Prophecy)
- Was William Branham's prophecy of a driverless car based on a Disney TV program? ("After the Fact" Prophecy)
- Are women really going to wear a fig leaf apron and go topless? (Failed Prophecy)
- Did women elect the wrong person or was it the men's vote? ("After the Fact" Prophecy/Failed Prophecy)
- Why did William Branham state that the prophecy of the rise of the cruel woman in America was already fulfilled? (Failed Prophecy)
- Why did William Branham change his prophecy of the destruction of America? (Prophecy Changed)
- Why is Los Angeles still above water if Billy Paul is an old man? (Failed Prophecy)
- Was William Branham's death before the Rapture a failed prophecy? (Failed Prophecy)
- Why did William Branham state that Martin Luther King, Jr. would cause the death of millions, when this didn't happen? (Not a prophecy)
- Was William Branham's vision of Marilyn Monroe's death accurate? (Failed Prophecy)
- Why did William Branham change the vision of the angels appearing? (Prophecy Changed)
- Why did William Branham predict that the USA would be destroyed by 1977? (Failed Prophecy)
- Was the meeting of Nikita Khrushchev and Dwight Eisenhower the fulfillment of Daniel chapter 2? (Failed Prophecy)
- Will Russia destroy the Vatican? (Failed Prophecy)
- Why did William Branham say that man would never land on the moon... but the communists might? (Failed Prophecy)
- Was the prophecy of the World Council of Churches accurate? (Failed Prophecy)
- If the vision of the Plum and Apple Trees was from God, why did William Branham change his mind about it in 1965? (Prophecy Changed)
- Was the prophecy of the 1964 Alaska earthquake made after the fact? ("After the Fact" Prophecy)
- What is the Third Pull? Was it prophetic? (too vague to qualify as a bona fide prophecy)
- Did William Branham really prophecy where he would live? ("After the Fact" Prophecy)
- Why did William Branham mention the Ohio river flood years before he told of his prophecy without saying anything about it? ("After the Fact" Prophecy)
- Is Florida going under as well? (Ambiguous prophecy)
- Did William Branham prophesy his own death? (This was not a prophecy)
- Why did William Branham's original commissioning vision disappear? (This vision was abandoned by William Branham)
- Was the birth of Joseph Branham foretold? (Ambiguous prophecy)
- Was the death of Florence Shakarian prophesied before she died? (Ambiguous prophecy)
- Was William Branham's ministry foretold in a Santa Rosa church? ("After the Fact" Prophecy)
- What if William Branham was a Prophet?
Was William Branham Honest?
- If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything. - Mark Twain
The Bible plainly tells us what is expected of Christian leaders:
- An elder must be blameless...
- For the overseer must be blameless as one entrusted with God’s work...
- The overseer then must be above reproach...
- And these also must be tested first and then let them serve as deacons if they are found blameless.
William Branham portrayed himself as a simple, honest, uneducated man who was sent from God as a prophet to fore-run the second coming of Christ. However, many of the stories that he told have been proven to be untrue and many of the doctrines that he said he received directly from God were, in fact, plagiarized from other ministers. If you click on the individual items below, they will take you to a detailed explanation of each issue.
- Did anyone hear the voice on the Ohio River in 1933?
- Why did William Branham say that he was under the cloud when they took its picture, when he clearly wasn't?
- Did William Branham travel around the world seven times?
- Was William Branham's Bible saved miraculously in the 1937 flood?
- Why did the story of the man from Windsor change so drastically over time?
- Why did William Branham say that he received his revelations from God when he took many of his doctrines from other men?
- Why did William Branham change the story of Congressman Upshaw's healing?
- When did William Branham embrace Pentecostalism?
- Was Donny Morton really healed?
- Did William Branham speak in an unknown tongue that a Finnish woman understood?
- Was it reasonable for William Branham to blame his poor grammar on his dad?
- Did William Branham prayer for King George VI and was he really healed?
- Did William Branham raise a boy from the dead in Finland?
- Who was Hope Branham's Nurse?
- Was Florence Nightingale the granddaughter of the original Florence Nightingale?
- Did the Pillar of Fire really appear above William Branham's head in Houston? Why did other pictures from that evening appear in the newspaper, when he said his picture was the only one that turned out?
- Was William Branham truthful about asking Hope's parents for her hand in marriage?
- If only sissies wear shorts, why did William Branham wear them?
- How could William Branham have allowed Leo Mercer to be part of his ministry?
- Did William Branham claim to be a prophet?
- Was William Branham born under a Nazarite Vow?
- Was William Branham's discernment 100% accurate?
- Was William Branham's ministry always 100%?
- What was in the cornerstone of Branham Tabernacle?
- Did William Branham travel around the world seven times?
- Why was William Branham dishonest about his son's first marriage?
- Why was the vision of the five angels changed to a vision of seven angels?
- Why did William Branham say that he was at Sunset Mountain when he was actually at Rattlesnake Mesa?
- Why did William Branham make up the story of the Pyramid Box?
- Why did William Branham's stories change so radically over time?
- Was William Branham really the first fruits of spiritual maturity? The perfect man?
- Was the photo from Houston supernatural or just the out of focus picture of a flood light?
- Did William Branham see an amber light?
- Did William Branham help to launch the ministry of Jim Jones?
- Was Marshal Matt Dillon from Gunsmoke a real person?
- Is Joseph Branham a prophet?
- Was there a Mormon prophecy about William Branham?
- Danny Henry message
- How did William Branham view himself?
- Was William Branham a wealthy man when he died?
- If God spoke through William Branham, why did he mess up?
- If it was wrong to kill animals for sport, why did William Branham do it?
- Why did William Branham deny that he went to movies 3 weeks after admitting that he did?
- Why did William Branham criticize those who drove Cadillac's when he owned one?
- Why did William Branham criticize women that cut their hair and wore short skirts, when his own family did?
- What actually happened to Hattie Wright's boys?
- Why did William Branham say he went to William Cowper's grave when he didn't?
- Why did William Branham say William Cowper committed suicide when he died of heart failure?
- Why did William Branham state the Stephen Foster committed suicide, when this is not true?
- Was there really a connection between the Pope visiting israel in 1964 and the lunar eclipse that preceded his visit?
Are William Branham's teachings in agreement with the Bible?
If you study the message, you will find that William Branham departed significantly from the plain meaning of scripture in many things that he taught. If you click on the individual items below, they will take you to a detailed explanation of each issue.
- Why did William Branham teach that some Christians were required to believe Satanic doctrine to be saved?
- Elijah and Elisha prayed. So why did William Branham say they didn't?
- Why did William Branham disagree with the doctrine of the clarity of scripture, a long held doctrine of the church?
- William Branham believed he was the fulfillment of Revelation 10:7. Was he correct?
- Did God change Saul's name to Paul?
- William Branham taught that eagles typed prophets in the Bible. Where is this found in scripture?
- William Branham believed that if a wife cuts her hair, her husband divorce her. Does the Bible teach this?
- William Branham believed that a man can remarry after divorce but a woman can't. Why did william Branham preach something that neither Jesus or Paul did?
- Were there any times when William Branham's "Thus Saith The Lord" actually failed?
- Why did William Branham disagree with the Bible and teach that the people chose Saul as King of Israel?
- What are the three holy words of the Bible that William Branham spoke of?
- Why did William Branham say that 2 major prophets were never on the scene at the same time when the Bible doesn't teach that?
- William Branham said that God left Jesus when He was on the cross. Does the Bible teach this?
- Does God really have THREE Bibles as William Branham taught?
- If you don't feel saved, are you still a Christian?
- How hard do lilies work?
- Did John weep for joy or because no one was worthy?
- Were women really designed by Satan?
- Can you lose your healing?
- Was Enoch the seventh from Adam? Is this proof of the Serpent Seed doctrine?
- Is the harlot in the Book of Revelation the Roman Catholic Church?
- Are Christians considered amateur gods?
- Is Jesus Christ the same as Michael the Archangel?
- Does the Bible say that we have to "read between the lines"?
- Noah started building the ark after he saw Enoch go in a Rapture
- Was Enoch a type of the wise virgin, and Noah a type of the foolish virgin?
- Was William Branham the fulfillment of Malachi 4:5?
- Is the spelling of William Branham's name of spiritual significance?
- Illegitimate children cannot be part of the rapture.
- Should Christians "cast down reasoning"?
- Can the Holy Spirit abandon you?
- How nice do you have to be to people that disagree with you doctrinally?
- Is salvation something that you earn?
- Does long hair mean uncut (i.e. no trimming of split ends) for women?
- Does God hear the prayer of a woman that has cut her hair?
- Can a man get a divorce for any reason?
- Were the midwives in Egypt actually witches?
- Is your admission to heaven conditional on William Branham's judgment?
- Are There Women Angels?
- Did Jesus die screaming for help, crying for mercy because He was separated from God?
- William Branham mixed law and grace. Is that a problem?
- Was William Branham's understanding of water baptism historically correct?
- When Jesus died on the cross, did God leave him? Did he simply die as a man?
- Did William Branham simply copy Emmanual Swedenborg's teaching on the Godhead?
- Does the Bible really teach that the serpent had sex with Eve?
- Can any two walk together unless they be agreed? Did William Branham understand Amos 3:3?
- Was William Branham's understanding of Amos 3:7 correct?
- 1 John 1:7
- What did William Branham teach happened when someone "fell from grace"?
- Were the Israelites that died in the wilderness eternally lost?
- Was William Branham guilty of Theological Trespassing?
- Did William Branham's teaching on the Token agree with Paul's teaching on the subject?
- When is a person sealed by the Holy Spirit?
- Is a gentile Elijah prophesied in the Bible?
- Does the message teach the correct interpretation of Matthew 24:28?
- Is Billy Paul an old man? And if he is, why aren't sharks swimming through Los Angeles?
- The evidence of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is believing in William Branham
- Did William Branham reveal the Son of Man?
- Does the Holy Spirit lead people into the message?
- If the seventh seal was silent, how did William Branham know what it meant?
- Isaiah 9:6
- Zechariah 14:7
- Are biracial marriages unscriptural?
- What was God's reaction to Sarah laughing?
- Does the Bible teach there are two tiers of Christians?
- Is the "Bride" a special category of Christian?
- If the Son is not eternal, can the Father be eternal?
- Is there a difference in the meaning of Eternal vs. Everlasting
- If sex was not in God's original plan, how come he made us as sexual beings?
- Are people born with spiritual gifts as William Branham taught?
- What is the meaning of "begotten"?
- Does the Christian church actually teach that there are three gods in the Trinity?
- Did William Branham misrepresent the Church's historical view of the Trinity?
- Is tithing required in the New Testament?
- Is Capernaum under the sea?
- Is the message dress code in the Bible?
- How many rules do I have to keep in order to get to heaven?
- Has "that which is perfect" come?
- What is the actual meaning of El Shaddai?
- What was The Sign of the Messiah?
- Was William Branham's view of the future biblical?
- How did William Branham view himself?
- Does God only have seven compound names?
- Who are the two witnesses of Revelation 11?
- Why do we need William Branham's message when scripture is sufficient?
- Is the message "stale" manna?
- William Branham and Alcohol
- Can you tell if someone has the Holy Spirit?
- Why did William Branham say that Saul did not commit suicide, when the Bible says he did?
- How could open-toed shoes be immoral if virtually everyone in the Bible wore them?
Other strange, bizarre, or false beliefs of William Branham
William Branham believed, and taught, some outrageous things that people should accept as the truth. Here are a few of these bizarre teachings:
- Why was there a Pentagram clearly displayed on the front of the Branham Tabernacle?
- Are Christians that believe the doctrine of the Trinity lost?
- Are UFO's actually investigating angels?
- Did God moved the rock that Moses stood on to the Arizona desert in 1964?
- Does the sun revolve around the earth
- Who built the Pyramids?
- The Pyramids couldn't be built today.
- The Great Pyramid never had a capstone.
- The Pyramids don't cast a shadow.
- Did you know that the earth is square?
- Do women have one less rib than men?
- What other strange things did William Branham believe?
William Branham's often contradictory teachings
William Branham often contradicted himself, both in his biographical stories but also in his preaching. Here are a few examples:
Other Issues Relating to William Branham's Message
- Kenneth Hagin's Prophecy
- Our review of Owen Jorgensen's biography - Supernatural: The Life of William Branham
- Our response to Owen Jorgensen's defense of William Branham
- An Open Letter to Owen Jorgensen by Luca Freeman
- Who is Voice of God Recordings and how much money do they have?
- Why is there so much "bad fruit" in the message?
- Billy Paul Branham
- Joseph Branham
False Doctrine and Misinformation Taught by Message Churches
These doctrines may not have been taught directly by William Branham (or at least we have not found quotes yet) but are widely held by Message ministers/believers and are taught in a variety of message churches (please note that they may not be found in all message churches).
- ALL message churches place the words of William Branham above or at least equal to the Bible.
- Excuses for the failure of the Municipal Bridge vision - The sixteen men drowned in concrete
- The use of red herring arguments when Failed Prophecies are pointed out (see video)
- The message is Jesus Christ.
- Access to the blood can only be achieve through the message of the hour
- The doctrine of progressive revelation
- The heretical teachings of Lee Vayle
- True stories from message churches
- Luke 20:4-8
- Acts 3:21
- "Blind Faith"
- Logic and the Message
- Thinking is discouraged
- The KJV is the only inspired translation of the Bible.
- The Rules of the Message
- Are Blood Moons of importance today?
- If you don't believe the message, you are not going in the rapture.
- Only ministers can handle the Word.
- Your Pastor will take you through.
- The Message is our Absolute. In other words - William Branham said it, I believe it, that settles it.
- The Pastor is our Absolute or Your Pastor in his Office is always right.
- Diminishing the Life and Ministry of Jesus Christ of two thousand years ago, as a result of Promoting the Jesus Christ of Today.
- The focus on the message, removes the focus from the Bible.
- Rapturing Faith in on the Tapes.
- Don't question. Don't argue. Don't Debate. Don't Discuss. Just give them a message book.
- If they're Seed...
- The church is the wife, the husband is the pastor
- "programs" are of the devil, so message churches do nothing to help the poor.
- Missions are for people overseas, not the homeless down the street.
- It's OK to preach against other churches who don't have the mighty revelation.
- Deacons are glorified ushers and no longer redistribute wealth to the poor.
- There's no higher order to reveal the Word than a prophet. The following is a quote of Luke Gibson - that is an elementary teaching in this message and a close look at the scriptures will declare God always reveals His Word by prophets (Amos 3:7).
- Education is of the devil... but I know more than other Christians.
- Everyone outside the message is foolish virgin
- Legalistic teachings related to The Celebration of Christmas
- People have made Jesus into a super man. Message believers are the sons of God and ultimately, don't need Jesus to be the sacrifice.
- Urban legends of the message
- An open letter to Jason Watkins
But Message believers reject these teachings
There are a few things that William Branham taught that followers of William Branham simply do not believe in any practical sense.
- The Importance of a Right Spirit
- Draw a bigger circle
- The vision of the Plum and Apple Trees
If you have honestly looked at these questions and the research provided in our analysis of each issue, you must question whether William Branham was a true prophet of God.
To help those who are now confronted with these issues and wonder what the next course of action should be we would recommend the following links:
- What did Jesus say about asking questions?
- You are not alone!!!
- Further research on William Branham - Research Sources for William Branham and His Message
- A video commentary on Christian cults
- Can we judge William Branham?
- If you are looking for non-message sources to help you grow spiritually - Resources that have helped us
- If you need help
- So what should I believe?
- What we believe
- If you want to ask us a question, you can email us.
We sincerely pray that this information has helped you on your spiritual journey. May the Holy Spirit lead you into the truth of Jesus Christ!
- ↑ The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Ac 17:10–11.
- ↑ 1 Peter 3:15-16 (KJV)
- ↑ 1 Peter 3:15-16 (NASB)
- ↑ 1 Peter 3:15-16 (NLT)
- ↑ The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), Lk 7:18–23.
- ↑ Biblical Studies Press, The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible (Biblical Studies Press, 2006), 1 Jn 4:18–19.
- ↑ Biblical Studies Press, The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible (Biblical Studies Press, 2005), Dt 18:20–22.
- ↑ Titus 1:6 (NET)
- ↑ Titus 1:7 (NET)
- ↑ 1 Timothy 3:2 (NET)
- ↑ 1 Timothy 3:10 (NET)