William Branham believed that when he spoke "Thus saith the Lord" that God was obligated to carry out what William Branham said.
- I prayed for a woman at the platform who had a horrible stomach trouble and couldn't eat nothing. And the Holy Spirit told her, "THUS SAITH THE LORD..." Watch you got your recorders here, if you want to see what He says. Said, "THUS SAITH THE LORD, you're healed of that stomach trouble."
- When you hear that come forth, brother, I lay my life right there, it's going to be just that way. I'm forty-five years old, seen visions since I was a baby, and have never seen one time or challenge anybody to mention one time that He ever spoke in that manner, that it didn't come to pass just exactly the way He said it. That's right. Just ask anywhere; take any recordings you want to and find out. When you hear Him speak out like that, that it isn't just exactly that way.
Examples where "Thus Saith The Lord" failed
There are numerous examples where William Branham stated "Thus Saith The Lord" but it did not come to pass. Here are two examples:
The Biblical View
The obsolete old covenant
In the King James Version of the Bible, the phrase "Thus saith the Lord" appears 415 times in the Old Testament but does not appear at all in the New Testament. The term "saith the Lord" does appear 13 times in the New Testament but generally in reference to a quotation from the Old Testament.
While William Branham appears to have been fixated on this phrase, it appears to have no significant relevance in the New Testament.
The Law and the Prophets...
The phrase "the law and the prophets" refers to the Tanakh, the Jewish scriptures, and what the Christian church refers to as the Old Testament. This is confirmed in Acts 13:15:
- And after the reading of the law and the prophets the rulers of the synagogue sent unto them, saying, Ye men and brethren, if ye have any word of exhortation for the people, say on.
...are now obsolete
Jesus said this of the Old Testament:
- The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.
John the Baptist is the end of the old era. John announces the arrival of Jesus, who is the only one who preaches the kingdom. The period before Jesus was regulated through the law and the prophets. They operated in a context of promise as Luke 24:44–49 and Acts 3:11–26 show, where the law and the prophets proclaim the promise and program of Christ.
Since John, however, the kingdom is preached, the new era has come, and the law and the prophets, as the era of promise, now becomes obsolete.
This is confirmed in Hebrews 8:13:
- By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.
The rules under the new covenant
Hebrews 1:1–2 helps us understand why we no longer need "Thus saith the Lord" in the new covenant:
- In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe.
Peter goes on to tell us that:
- His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
The rules under the old covenant
Prophetic signs and miracles were to be ignored if the prophet led the people to other Gods. Such a prophet was to be put to death based on Deut. 13:1-5:
- If a prophet, or one who foretells by dreams, appears among you and announces to you a sign or wonder, and if the sign or wonder spoken of takes place, and the prophet says, “Let us follow other gods” (gods you have not known) “and let us worship them,” you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer. The LORD your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul. It is the LORD your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him. That prophet or dreamer must be put to death for inciting rebellion against the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt and redeemed you from the land of slavery. That prophet or dreamer tried to turn you from the way the LORD your God commanded you to follow. You must purge the evil from among you.
If a prophet spoke in God's name and the prediction was not fulfilled, the prophet was to be killed based on Deut 18:20-22:
- ‘But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, is to be put to death.” You may say to yourselves, “How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the LORD?” If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously, so do not be alarmed.
Jeremiah said that God was against prophets who plagarized:
- “I have heard what the prophets say who prophesy lies in my name. They say, ‘I had a dream! I had a dream!’ How long will this continue in the hearts of these lying prophets, who prophesy the delusions of their own minds? They think the dreams they tell one another will make my people forget my name, just as their ancestors forgot my name through Baal worship. Let the prophet who has a dream recount the dream, but let the one who has my word speak it faithfully. For what has straw to do with grain?” declares the LORD. “Is not my word like fire,” declares the LORD, “and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?
- Therefore,” declares the LORD, “I am against the prophets who steal from one another words supposedly from me. 31 Yes,” declares the LORD, “I am against the prophets who wag their own tongues and yet declare, ‘The LORD declares.’ 32 Indeed, I am against those who prophesy false dreams,” declares the LORD. “They tell them and lead my people astray with their reckless lies, yet I did not send or appoint them. They do not benefit these people in the least,” declares the LORD.
The Biblical terms of when "Thus Saith The Lord" can change
God has clearly outlined the conditions under which a "Thus Saith The Lord" prophecy will not come to pass and what God has declared clearly can change. There are three circumstances in which this can happen according to scripture.
Judgment is declared but there is repentance
God told Jeremiah:
- Then the word of the LORD came to me. He said, “Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?” declares the LORD. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel. If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, 8 and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned.
The question: Did this condition apply to ANY of William Branham's failed prophesies?
Peace is declared but the nation does evil
God further told Jeremiah:
- And if at another time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be built up and planted, and if it does evil in my sight and does not obey me, then I will reconsider the good I had intended to do for it.
Again, ask the question: Did this condition apply to ANY of William Branham's failed prophesies?
The future is foretold but prayer prevails to change it
The Bible says of King Hezekiah in Isaiah 38:
In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to him and said, “This is what the LORD says: Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover.” 
The words "you will not recover" must have sounded to Hezekiah like the final hammer blows on the nails of his coffin. They seem final and without apparent reprieve. Yet, it is evident that Hezekiah knew something of God’s character that Moses also knew (Exod. 32:7–14): God is always ready to be entreated. He is unchanging in his intention to bless his creatures and is willing to change their outcomes if people turn to him in intensity of faith (Jon. 4:2). This does not mean that matters will always turn out as we wish. But it does mean that prayer can change the course of events, and that failure to pray is not necessarily a sign of submission to God’s intractable will. Rather, it may be a sign of apathy and unwillingness to wrestle with God (note Jacob’s refusal to let go of the man with whom he wrestled, Gen. 32:26).
Hezekiah’s response is instructive. He does not withdraw completely, for he does not withdraw from God. Neither does he rage against God nor does he demand that God heal him in payment for “services rendered.” Rather, he simply pours out the feelings of a wounded heart to a heavenly Father. No father’s heart can be unaffected by such a cry:
- Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD, “Remember, LORD, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.
As 2 Kings 20:4 indicates, Isaiah had not gotten out of the palace before the word of reprieve came to him. Another person might have been chagrined by the need to change a pronouncement so recently made with such certainty. But the prophet was a man under appointment. It was not his word but God’s, and if God wished to change it, who was the prophet to quibble?
- Then the word of the LORD came to Isaiah: “Go and tell Hezekiah, ‘This is what the LORD, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will add fifteen years to your life. 6 And I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria. I will defend this city. “ ‘This is the LORD’s sign to you that the LORD will do what he has promised: 8 I will make the shadow cast by the sun go back the ten steps it has gone down on the stairway of Ahaz.’ ” So the sunlight went back the ten steps it had gone down.
Ask yourself the question a final time: Did any of these conditions apply to ANY of William Branham's failed prophesies?
Was it always correct in William Branham's ministry?
Was each time that William Branham said "Thus saith the Lord" correct?
One of the big challenges with William Branham's prophetic ministry is actually finding verifiable examples of it. This is dealt with in detail in our article on the Proof of the Prophetic. From the period from the first recorded tape in 1947 until his last recorded sermon in 1965, we have been unable to find any examples of unambiguous prophecies that were publicly announced by William Branham and that were clearly fulfilled at a later date. We have repeatedly asked for examples publicly but have had no one yet contact us with any clear examples.
This is a serious problem for those that wish to believe that William Branham was a prophet.
Based on our research, there are several instances where William Branham spoke in the name of the Lord or pointed to a vision that he said came from God but that did not ultimately come to pass. Examples of these would include:
- The Municipal Bridge Vision
- The Brown Bear Vision
- The Vision of the Meetings in South Africa
- His Commission by a Heavenly Vision
- The Marilyn Monroe Vision
There are also problems with prophecies that changed significantly over time, including:
- The Prophecy of the Cloud
- The Seven Visions of 1933
Was it unique in William Branham's ministry?
Some message believers are of the view that William Branham's ministry was unique because of his use of "Thus Saith The Lord" and in this way can be differentiated from other self-appointed prophets like Joseph Smith, Ellen G. White and others.
Joseph Smith (Mormon Prophet)
Joseph Smith - Doctrine and Covenants 124:125
- Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you, my servant Joseph Smith, I am well pleased with your offering and acknowledgments, which you have made; for unto this end have I raised you up, that I might show forth my wisdom through the weak things of the earth.”
Mormon historical revision by J. Reuben Clark, a former member of the LDS First Presidency
- "There are those who insist that unless the Prophet of the Lord declares, 'Thus saith the Lord,' the message may not be taken as a revelation. This is a false testing standard" (Church News 7/31/54, p.10).
Ellen G. White (Seventh Day Adventist Prophet)
The Great Controversy, p. 595.
- “Before accepting any doctrine or precept, we should demand a plain “Thus saith the Lord” in its support.”
Mary Baker Eddy (founder of Christian Science)
- As to the argument that the truths of Christian Science have always been known and practised by a few, Mrs. Eddy issued her direct challenge. In all of her literature she set out the unqualified statement that she was "The Discoverer and the Founder." She was never apologetic; she assumed no modesty she did not feel; she spoke as one having authority, as did Moses of old, "Thus saith the Lord!" 
Charles Russell (Jehovah Witness Prophet)
- Thus saith the Lord GOD -- The message delivered by Pastor Russell was not one of his own imagination. It was the Truth of God's Holy Word. 
William Branham (The Message Prophet)
Possessing All Things, Jeffersonville, IN, May 6, 1962 (tape #62-0506)
- “Many of you remember the vision that I had, where I had shot the grizzly bear, nine-foot grizzly bear (And the church remembers me telling it here.) and the caribou. I had another. :Remember it's on tape here, I seen a great huge brown bear. That might be a Kodiak and it wouldn't have worked down there in Canada, 'cause they're not there. You see? But wherever it will be, it'll be. It will be; that's THUS SAITH THE LORD. It will be.”
David Koresh (Branch Davidians)
- The book of Revelation having the authority of a ‘thus saith the Lord’ states that a Man-child (David Koresh) shall be born in the latter days (our day), see Rev.12:5. The latter day Man-child had within his body the same spirit which was also within Yahshua’s body. The duplicate spirit of Yahshua (for the old testament period) and the spirit of David Koresh (for the new testament period) is the same duplicate spirit of the Archangel Michael. In other words, Yahshua and David Koresh were the Angelic Michael in human form. In the latter days the Man-child’s name (David Koresh) and now the Chosen Vessel’s name (typified by Darius), are the only names whereby salvation may be attained. 
Quotes of William Branham
- But let me tell you something. A lot of you women tonight would have an awful time doing that; you'd have to stand on your head to do it. Shame on you. The Bible said, "The hair is given to a woman for her glory." And the Bible rights gives any man a right to leave and divorce and leave his wife, that'll cut her hair. That's the Bible. That's THUS SAITH THE LORD. Too bad you got away from the old fashion trainings, isn't it?
- Now, I'm an old man now. And I--I have never one time... And can call the world to--to a standstill, and ask them. "Put your finger on one thing that He ever told me, in THUS SAITH THE LORD, in the Name of the Lord, but what was absolutely the truth and fact, and come to pass, out of the thousands times thousands of things."
- And before you can accept it, you've got to believe it. Because, faith is based; or, healing is based on faith, and faith is based on the Word.
- Now, you can't say, "If I touch this microphone, I'll be healed." There, there is no basic to that, see. That's in your mind.
- But when it's THUS SAITH THE LORD, then you can know that's true, 'cause, "All heavens and earth will pass away, but His Word will never be changed." So it's true.
- And He promised, "In the last days, He would send the Spirit of Elijah, and would call the people, the children of God, back to the original Faith like it was in the beginning, of the Word." :That Word was confirmed, the Son of man in the last days, the same as it was at Sodom; yesterday, today, and forever. He promised to do it. It's God's promise. It's THUS SAITH THE LORD. Notice, they did the same thing, just as Moses did, until God got enough of it.
- Now remember, it's THUS SAITH THE LORD, it'll come to pass in this day.
- DIVINE.HEALING DES.MOINES.IA 54-0620E
- The Holy Bible: King James Version, Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version. (Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2009), Ac 13:14–15.
- The Holy Bible: King James Version, Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version. (Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2009), Lk 16:16.
- Darrell L. Bock, Luke: 9:51–24:53, vol. 2, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 1996), 1351.
- The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), Heb 8:13.
- The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), Heb 1:1–2.
- The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), 2 Pe 1:3.
- The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), Dt 13:1–5.
- The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), Dt 18:20–22.
- The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), Je 23:25–32.
- The New International Version, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), Je 18:5–8.
- The New International Version, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), Je 18:9–10.
- The New International Version, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), Is 38:1.
- John N. Oswalt, The Book of Isaiah, Chapters 1–39, The New International Commentary on the Old Testament, (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1986), 675.
- The New International Version, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), Is 38:2–3.
- John N. Oswalt, The Book of Isaiah, Chapters 1–39, The New International Commentary on the Old Testament, (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1986), 676–677.
- The New International Version, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), Is 38:4–8.
- LITTLE JOURNEYS TO THE HOMES OF GREAT TEACHERS, BEING VOLUME TEN OF THE SERIES, AS WRITTEN BY ELBERT HUBBARD; EDITED AND ARRANGED BY FRED BANN; BORDERS AND INITIALS BY ROYCROFT ARTISTS, AND PRODUCED BY THE ROYCROFTERS, AT THEIR SHOPS, WHICH ARE IN EAST AURORA, ERIE COUNTY, NEW YORK, MCMXXII
- Most Holy Faith website
- THE.WORST.SINNER.IN.THE.CITY_ MINNEAPOLIS.MN SATURDAY_ 56-0218E
- SPIRIT.OF.TRUTH PHOENIX.AZ 63-0118
- PERSEVERANCE_ NY.NY V-18 N-12 SATURDAY_ 63-1116E
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