The Cloud

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Page 112 of the May 1963 edition of Life Magazine

At around sunset on February 28, 1963, a cloud appeared in the vicinity of Flagstaff, AZ and remained sunlit for 28 minutes after sunset. It was highlighted in the May 1963 edition of Life Magazine. In addition to Life Magazine, various articles written appeared in Science Magazine (April 19, 1963), an independent report issued May 31, 1963, and in Weatherwise Magazine (June 1963).

The cloud was very unusual and puzzled scientists at the time, who could not find a conclusive explanation for the cloud. The height of the cloud was initially estimated by James E. McDonald from the Institute of Atmospheric Physics at the University of Arizona, Tucson, as being approximately 35 kilometers but was later revised by him to be at approximately 43 kilometers (141,000 feet).

Believers of William Branham's message view the cloud as part of the fulfillment of a vision that William Branham had in December 1962 that Seven Angels would meet him outside of Tuscon, Arizona (see Prophecy of the Cloud). They see it as a supernatural sign that preceded William Branham's opening of the Seven Seals.

Critics view the cloud as simply being the aftermath of the intentional destruction of a Thor rocket over Vandenburg air force base. They also view William Branham's stories about the cloud being the aftermath of the angelic visitation as untruthful, as these stories are in direct contravention with the facts. They believe that William Branham's own testimony clearly show that he made up the stories about being at the cloud's genesis and that these stories only began after he saw the article in Life Magazine.

The Big Question: Is William Branham Credible?

Many people focus on the scientific explanation, or lack thereof, surrounding the cloud. These issues pale in comparison to the real issue: Are William Branham's accounts of the cloud's formation credible? And if they are not, then where does that leave a person with respect to William Branham's overall credibility?

The cloud appeared over Flagstaff but William Branham was hunting 200 miles from there at Rattlesnake Mesa. Why does he say that he was at Flagstaff?

When I come, one thing, was by a vision, that I was standing above Tucson up here when a--a--a blast went off. Well, Brother Fred was there when it went off. And they took that picture now, you know, in the sky. And I didn't think much about it, never noticed it. So it begin to impress me somehow, other day. And Brother Norman, Norma's father here, told me, said, "Did you notice this?"
And just as I looked, right there was them Angels just as plain as They could be, setting right there in that picture. See? I looked to see when it was, and it 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.[1]

Why did William Branham state that the cloud was directly above him when it appeared 8 days earlier 200 miles away? If your child bent the truth this badly, what would you call it?

And the blast did just exactly the way It said it. Is that right, Brother Fred? And I--I--I must have jumped way off of the ground. And just above me was the Angels of the Lord that sent Message back, for me to come here to break these Seals...
And, now, I didn't know at the time, that they were taking pictures of that, scientists was, as the Angels lowered themselves from Heaven, to bring the Message...
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. [2]

Why does William Branham state that there were no airplanes in his area when he appears to be referring to the magazine article which is talking about the area around Flagstaff, some 200 miles away?

But there was no plane in the district. The book says so here. They've checked it.[3]

Why does he state that the magazine refers to the same place that he was hunting when it clearly does not?

And then while I was praying on this subject, of wondering what would happen to me, and you know where I was at? North of Tucson, east of Flagstaff; just exactly, positionally, where I told you, months before it happened, I'd be standing. And exactly according to this paper here, and of papers and this magazine, and our own testimony, exactly where it taken place. God is perfect and cannot lie, and it will come to pass.[4]

Have you read the articles that he is referring to? Do you know where he was hunting (see Rattlesnake Mesa? Why does he say he was hunting at the same time and at the same place that the cloud appeared when the facts clearly show that he was not?

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.[5]

Why does he again state that he was under the cloud, when he wasn't anywhere close to it?

And science is baffled. Standing right under where it was happening there... Now science took the picture of It, you seen It, went on Associated Press. They didn't know what It was. There is a Cloud hanging, twenty-six miles high. That's fifteen miles, or twenty, above even where vapor is at. They don't know what it's all going about, and they are trying to investigate It. And there, right under It, I was standing. [6]


Either he is being untruthful about where he was hunting or he is being untruthful about the cloud being over him? Is it possible for such wild exaggeration to be an "honest" mistake?

Stand north of Tucson, witnesses standing here with it, when a blast come, that shook the mountains off the ground, almost. And at the same time, a circle of Light hanging yonder in the air, when the science took the pictures now. [7]


Why does he now involve a supernatural presence that told him to look up and see the cloud that wasn't there? Is he trying to make himself look like something more than he is? Why does he say that his companions were talking about the cloud when they admit that they never saw it?

It's a mysterious cloud. The cloud is twenty-six miles high and thirty miles across. And that's what we were speaking of here. That's where the Angel of the Lord came down and shook the place...
It went so loud, right on me, like that. Then, all at once, Something said, "Look up." There It was...
I met Brother Fred and Brother Norman, about a hour later, when I found them. They were excited and talking about it. There it is. And science says that it's impossible for--for any kind of a--a mist or anything get that high, fog, vapor.[8]
And right standing beneath that, a man that is sitting right present now, was right standing there by me, when seven Angels come down from God, visibly standing right there...[9]

Why is he now elaborating on his prior exaggeration, something that never happened? How can he claim to be standing under a cloud that appeared 8 days earlier and 200 miles away?

And I looked up, there was that white Circle above me there, circling around. Here come seven Angels, come moving down out of the air, picked me up...
I didn't know it; but cameras from all over the country was taking the picture of That, as the white Cloud settled down, went on the Associated Press. I think your Chicago paper packed it, all around. Life magazine packed it. How many has seen it in there, that Mr.... That, see, that was it right there, just exactly the way it said it, standing right under It when It come down and formed. They said, "It was way beyond, and it's... hunted the country, there was no airplanes or nothing in there. And It was too high, twenty-six miles high, where there is no vapor or nothing. You couldn't, they couldn't make vapor, anyhow. And thirty miles across It."[10]

Some people claim that William Branham told someone that the angels had been waiting at Rattlesnake Mesa for a week before he got there. Doesn't that sound like hearsay evidence?

These people then state that the cloud was simply an after effect of the angels arriving. But how could that be when William Branham clearly states that the cloud was created by the angels leaving?

Now, some sister here, Billy just showed me, was nice enough to go get this Life magazine, this picture, and blow it up, of that of the seven Angels, and have it taken and sent to me. That is the picture. And now if you'll notice here, as it was leaving, ascending back, when the Angels had brought Their Message.[11]
And when they ascended up on High, like that, went thirty miles high in the air; and, on the same day, they took the picture of It, science did, and went around the world.[12]
Later, the Angels appeared as was prophesied. And at the same time, a great cluster of Light left where I was standing, and moved thirty miles high in the air, and around the circle, like the wings of the Angels, and drawed into the skies a shape of a pyramid in the same constellation of Angels that appeared.
Science took the picture, all the way from Mexico, as it moved from northern Arizona, where the Holy Spirit said I would be standing, "forty miles northeast of Tucson." :And it went into the air, and Life magazine packed the pictures, "A mystic something way in the spheres, where there could be no moisture, where there could be no evaporations of anything; thirty miles high, and twenty-seven miles across," and coming right up from where those Angels were...
And now, as this went up, we have the picture outside on the plaque...[13]

Some message believers point to the cloud and say that William Branham explained the cloud as being a sign that appeared in the heavens before the experience on the hunting trip, i.e. He declares it in the heavens before He does it on earth. He always does that. He shows His signs in the heavens first. However, doesn't this statement appear to be talking about the fact that these events took place before the meetings that were held where William Branham spoke his series on the Seven Seals?

Even if this was the case relating to the cloud, how does this justify William Branham stating that they took the pictures on "that day", i.e. the day he heard the blast?

But did you notice before the Seven Seals was revealed, before the great mysterious Light showed forth in the heavens up here at above Tucson, Flagstaff, where we were? Brother Fred, two of the man that was... the two men was with me that morning...
That day they took pictures all across southern United States and Mexico. There it hangs now in the Life Magazine, still a mystery to them. But He declares it in the heavens before He does it on earth. He always does that. He shows His signs in the heavens first.[14]
Later, the Angels appeared as was prophesied. And at the same time, a great cluster of Light left where I was standing, and moved thirty miles high in the air, and around the circle, like the wings of the Angels, and drawed into the skies a shape of a pyramid in the same constellation of Angels that appeared.
Science took the picture, all the way from Mexico, as it moved from northern Arizona, where the Holy Spirit said I would be standing, "forty miles northeast of Tucson." And it went into the air, and Life magazine packed the pictures, "A mystic something way in the spheres, where there could be no moisture, where there could be no evaporations of anything; thirty miles high, and twenty-seven miles across," and coming right up from where those Angels were.
Now, they asked, to know. Science, the one of them in Tucson, wanted to know any significance, but I didn't tell them. You all knew it, told beforehand. But it wasn't for them; it was for you.[15]


Knowing that the cloud formed 8 days before the hunting trip, doesn't this affect William Branham's credibility? If your pastor told you things that were this far off base, would you believe him?

And I started up the mountain, running as hard as I could on the other side. All of a sudden, I thought somebody shot me. I never heard such a blast; it shook the whole country. And, when it did, standing before me was seven Angels in a cluster.
I met Brother Fred and them, a little after. Said, "What was it?"
I said, "That was it."
"What are you going to do?
"Return home. For, THUS SAITH THE LORD, the seven mysteries that's been hid in the Bible all these years, these denominations and everything, God is going to open those seven mysteries to us in the Seven Seals."
There was that circle coming up from the earth, like a mist forming. When It did, It went plumb up into the mountain, begin to circle on westward, from the way It come. Science found It after a while, thirty miles high and twenty-five miles across, just exactly in the circle of the pyramid.[16]
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? Remember that? 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...
As it went up, I didn't know that the observatories and things, plumb into Mexico, was taking that picture. Life magazine packed it as It went up. [17]

Are you surprised that you haven't noticed these quotes earlier? It appears that even Billy Paul Branham was confused by all of this, believing himself that his dad was hunting below the cloud when it appeared. Here is what Billy Paul said in the preface to the book, The Revelation of the Seven Seals.

The Word of the Lord has promised that He would send to the earth once again the spirit of Elijah in the form of that End Time Messenger who was the Angel to the Seventh Church Age in these final closing days of time. We believe firmly that this promise was fulfilled in the vindicated ministry of our precious brother, William Marrion Branham. Throughout the life of this humble servant of the Lord, who so epitomized the Spirit of Christ, we find manifestations of God, which were so perfectly vindicated that they cannot be explained away by any natural reasoning. Of the hundreds of thousands of visions which the Lord gave to Brother Branham around the world, not one time has there ever occurred a vision which was not confirmed and attested to be the Word of the Lord. On December 30, 1962 at the Branham Tabernacle, Jeffersonville, Indiana, Brother Branham brought a message entitled Sirs, Is This The Time? [The Spoken Word Vol. II No.11] In this Message he told of a vision that instructed him to move to Tucson, Arizona with his family. This vision foretold a blast that would take place, the force of which would shake the whole country. This vision was fulfilled on Feb. 28, 1963 when 40 miles northeast of Tucson, Brother Branham was caught up in a constellation of seven angels and was told to return to his church in Jeffersonville, Indiana, where the mysteries of the Seven Seals would be revealed to him. [18]

Facial Features

The Life Magazine of the cloud possesses NO facial features at all

When William Branham first attributed facial features to the cloud in the sermon 'It is the Rising of the Sun' (April 18,1965), he was not looking at the original Life Magazine photograp. Rather, he was refering to a duotone (halftone) facsimile of the picture that Pastor Pearry Green had obtained from Shirley Abbott Studios of Beaumont, Texas. It appears that deficiencies in the reproduction process created some patterns of lighter and darker shading not present in the original picture. some of which appeared to suggest two eyes and a nose. [19]


Footnotes

  1. :::COME.FOLLOW.ME_ TUCSON.AZ SATURDAY_ 63-0601
  2. STANDING.IN.THE.GAP_ JEFF.IN 63-0623M
  3. STANDING.IN.THE.GAP JEFF.IN 63-0623M
  4. STANDING.IN.THE.GAP_ JEFF.IN 63-0623M
  5. STANDING.IN.THE.GAP JEFF.IN 63-0623M
  6. O.LORD.JUST.ONCE.MORE_ HOT.SPRINGS.AR 63-0628M
  7. THE.THIRD.EXODUS_ JEFF.IN 63-0630M
  8. IS.YOUR.LIFE.WORTHY.OF.THE.GOSPEL JEFF.IN 63-0630E
  9. TESTIMONY SHREVEPORT.LA 63-1128M
  10. PERSEVERANT_ CHICAGO.IL 63-0802
  11. HE.THAT.IS.IN.YOU JEFF.IN 63-1110E
  12. AN.ABSOLUTE SHREVEPORT.LA 63-1201M
  13. IT.IS.THE.RISING.OF.THE.SUN JEFF.IN 65-0418M
  14. SHALOM_ SIERRA.VISTA.AZ 64-0112
  15. IT.IS.THE.RISING.OF.THE.SUN JEFF.IN 65-0418M
  16. WHAT.IS.THE.ATTRACTION.ON.THE.MOUNTAIN JEFF.IN 65-0725E
  17. TRYING.TO.DO.GOD.A.SERVICE.WITHOUT.IT.BEING.GOD'S.WILL_ SHP.LA 65-1127B
  18. The Revelation of the Seven Seals by William Marrion Branham
  19. The Cloud Study, compiled by the Midnight Cry, May 2011


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