This is an essay analyzing William Branham's Seven Visions of 1933. It was written by a former message follower.
Click on the links below to go to a specific section within the essay. You are currently on the topic below that is in bold:
An Introduction to the Analysis of the Seven Visions of 1933
What were the Seven Visions?
How many Visions?
Why were the Visions given?
Why did the Visions fail to change men’s religious ideas?
A Comparison of the 1960 Sermon and the Church Age Book
A Critique of each Vision
- Three ISMs
- Scientific progress
- Women and morals
- Powerful Woman in America
- America destroyed
William Branham (April 6, 1909 – December 24, 1965) was an American Christian minister and faith healer. During the time of his ministry he made many astounding scriptural and prophetical claims, including that he was the ‘angel messenger to the Laodicean Church Age’ (Rev 3:14). He claimed many fulfilled prophecies. This essay will examine one of those claims – that in 1933 he received seven visions of future events that would occur just before the coming of the Lord. When describing these visions, he ventured that they all would be fulfilled by 1977 and therefore provided a timeframe which would set the scene for the apocalyptic events of the end time. These claims are momentous and should be scrutinised to determine if they can be believed. This essay will examine the visions in detail: whether they were prophecies, their context, the reasons they were given, the reasonable expectations of God’s purposes, the modifications that he made to them over time and the likelihood of an ultimate fulfilment. The conclusion of the arguments presented here is that the idea of there being a coherent set of seven visions is a myth and that there are insurmountable problems in claiming that any of the visions were given by God.
I have made use of the research carried out by ‘Believe the Sign’ www.believethesign.com In particular I have copied the lists of sermon quotes for each vision that they have documented and these are reproduced as Appendix I and are quoted extensively throughout the text.
A Note on Evidence and Logic
When a claim is made it is not, in itself, evidence that the claim is true. A car salesman may vouch that a car is in good running order and anybody can say that there are teapots orbiting Mars, but to believe either, evidence is required.
And when a claim is made that is out of the ordinary, a special class of evidence is required. Carl Sagan’s dictum applies:
- Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.
Claiming to know the detail of seven future events is an extraordinary claim. Extraordinary evidence would be affidavits from those present in 1933 and audio records of the original statements, as well, of course, as the progressive fulfilment of the prophecies themselves. The most telling aspect of this whole story is that none of this exists. For those who believe in the ministry of William Branham, this aspect of proof is often disregarded. It is just assumed (for other reasons) that he was a prophet and that therefore his pronouncements will be true, without reference to the existence of verifiable, compelling evidence. This essay looks at what the visions were, what is the evidence that they were described in 1933 and whether the prophecies have actually been fulfilled.
It is also important to understand that when attempting to find out whether something is true, that progress can only be made if you agree to be governed by the rules of logic. What this means is that if you are confronted with two propositions that are diametrically opposed then both of them cannot be true and one, at least, must be abandoned. If you don’t agree with this approach then you cannot discover what is true because you will be halted in your investigation as soon as you arrive at the contradiction. Since you cannot follow logic and abandon one of the propositions you will just have to continue to live with the contradiction – trying to believe that both can be true at the same time. But if they are actually contradictory then your investigation stops because you wont decide which is true.
As far as the ministry of William Branham is concerned this situation is exemplified with the question of prophecies and the instructions about prophecies that are contained in the Bible. Since he is held to be a prophet of the Lord, all of his prophecies have to be true otherwise his ministry is discredited as described in Deuteronomy 18:20-22
- 20 But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die.
- 21 And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the Lord hath not spoken?
- 22 When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.
The logical test arises if any of these seven prophecies are found to be false. The choice then is to continue to believe that he is a prophet and reject Deuteronomy (and with it the whole Bible) or to maintain that Deuteronomy is still true and abandon the belief that he is a prophet. It would be most unreasonable to try to believe both. This essay will demonstrate the failure of these prophecies and therefore will pose exactly that question and present a possibly unpalatable choice – admit that the Bible is not the absolute authority or that William Branham is not a prophet.