William Branham preached a series of sermons in March 1963 on the Seven Seals of the book of Revelation. His followers are nearly unified in their belief that William Branham’s sermons on the seven seals are the most important messages of his entire ministry. He and his followers believe the revelation and true understanding of the seals were hidden from the church prior to his ministry, and that the true understanding of the seals only be revealed through his ministry as God’s special endtime prophet.
This article is one in a series of studies on the Seven Seals - you are currently on the topic that is in bold:
William Branham preached a series of sermons in March 1963 on the Seven Seals of the book of Revelation, and said that each seal identifies a religious disturbance. William Branham compared Jesus’ words in Matthew 24:4-5 with the First seal.
And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
William Branham said this about his "revelation" of the first seal:
- I would've had a horrible mistake on that if it hadn't been about twelve o'clock today when the Holy Spirit came in the room and corrected me on something that I was writing down to say. I was taking it from an old context. I had nothing on it. I don't know what the Second Seal is no more than nothing, but I'd got some old contexts of something that I'd spoke on several years ago and wrote it down, and I'd gathered this context—context…
- And Dr. Smith, many great outstanding teachers that I—I'd gathered, and all of them believed that, so I'd wrote it down. And I was fixing to say, "Well, now I'll study it from that standpoint." And there about twelve o'clock in the day the Holy Spirit just swept right down into the room, and the whole thing just opened up to me, and there it was…?… of this—of this First Seal being opened.
- I'm as positive as I'm standing here tonight that this is the Gospel Truth that I'm going to tell you about. I just know it is. Because if a revelation's contrary to the Word, then it isn't revelation. And you know, there's some of the stuff can look so absolutely true, and yet isn't truth. See? It looks like it is, but it isn't. 
If he got everything from the Holy Spirit, then why does he proceed to plagiarize everything from Clarence Larkin's works as detailed below. Why does he mention Dr. Smith but not Clarence Larkin?
|What William Branham Said ||What Clarence Larkin Said |
|What are we saying? Who is this rider, this horse rider? You know what it is? It's Satan's superman... Notice, this rider is nothing but Satan's superman, a incarnate devil.||This “White Horse Rider” will be Satan’s “SUPERMAN.” The Scriptures clearly teach that there is some day to arise a human being who shall be the embodiment of all Satanic power.|
|So here stands Christ, the Lamb. We know He was the Lamb. He's standing here with the Books in His hand, and there goes the white horse rider. See? So it wasn't the Holy Spirit. And notice, Christ is not seen any more (See?) from the time there. But He is on a white horse; so if this guy is riding a white horse, he's only an impersonator of Christ. See?||Who is the “Rider” upon this White Horse? He is not Christ, as some claim, for Christ, as the LAMB, is holding the “Seven Sealed Book” and breaking its “Seals.” Christ does not appear as a White Horse Rider until chapter 19:11–16.|
|Notice, the rider on the white horse don't have any name. He might use two or three titles, but he hasn't got any name. But Christ has a Name. What is it? The Word of God. That's what it is. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." And the Word made flesh. See?The rider has no name, but Christ is called the Word of God. That's what He is. He's called that. Now, He's got a Name that no man knows, but He's called the Word of God. This guy isn't called nothing (See?), but he's on a white horse.||He is called “Faithful and True,” and on His head there is a many “Diademed Crown,” and He is clothed in a vesture dipped in blood, and His name is called the “WORD OF GOD,”|
|The rider has no arrows for his bow. Did you notice? He had a bow, but there's nothing said about having any arrows; so he must be a bluffer. That's right. Maybe he's got a lot of thunder and no lightning.||This “Rider” has a “bow,” no arrow is mentioned..|
|but you find out Christ had both lightning and thunder; for out of His mouth goes a sharp two-edged Sword, and He smites the nations. And this guy can't smite nothing (See?), but he's playing the part of a hypocrite.||and there is no weapon of warfare in His hand, but a sharp sword comes out of His mouth, and the effect upon His enemies will be swift and terrible.|
|and he is not crowned at first, but a crown will be given to him later...|
|And for this cause God has sent them strong delusion, that they should believe a--a lie:... (It should be translated there, as I looked in the Lexicon, "the lie," not "a lie"; "the lie," same one he told Eve.)||As the “Tool of Satan” he will be endowed with wonder working powers, and when he comes, he will find the world ready to receive him, for God will send upon its inhabitants a “strong delusion” that they will believe a LIE, or “THE LIE,” for that is what he will be. 2. Thess. 2:9–11.|
|A white horse rider went out. See? Who is he? He's mighty in his conquering power, is a great fellow in his conquering power. You want me to tell you who he is? He's the antichrist. That's exactly what he is.||In other words this White Horse Rider is the ANTICHRIST.|
|Now, look, let's take--go back to Daniel again just a minute. I want to read something 'fore... Whether if you don't go back, it's all right. I want to read Daniel 9--Daniel 9, and I want to read the 26th and 27th verse of Daniel 9.||He is the “PRINCE WHO IS TO COME” of Daniel’s Vision of the “Seventy Weeks,” and who will confirm the Covenant for “ONE WEEK,” the last or “Seventieth Week,” with Daniel’s people the Jews. Dan. 9:27.)|
|Now, we find out in Revelation 13:1-8... And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up... (Now, here's twelve, where he was kicked out. Now, watch.)... saw a beast rise up out of the sea... ||All this will be fully brought out under the “Sixth Personage,” the “Beast Out of the Sea,”|
A Liar on a Horse
The first seal is a rider on a white horse with a bow and a crown. William Branham said the beast that spoke was a lion-angel.
William Branham taught that the seal was the antichrist spirit on a “white denominational horse to deceive the people,” yet was powerless to persecute anyone at the time. William Branham taught that a horse represents a power, and white represents innocence. Unlike the white horse rider in Revelation Chapter 19 whose name is called the Word of God, this rider does not have a name, and is the Spirit of the Antichrist impersonating Jesus Christ.
The Pope is bad. Don't follow him.
Pointing clearly at the Pope and his papal crown, William Branham called the first rider a Nicolaitan spirit, which means "to conquer the laity" and occurs when you:
- “take the Holy Spirit out of the church and give it all to one holy man, let him be the boss of all of it...See, he first started an antichrist, the spirit; then he become a false prophet. Then later, when the devil is cast out, he's incarnate then with the devil. “Three stages: the first he's a devil to begin with, a spirit of the devil; then he becomes a false prophet, teacher of a false doctrine; next thing he comes as the very devil himself incarnate.” (William Branham, the First Seal)
Elijah is good. Follow me.
While accusing the Catholics of following one man, William Branham then talks about his own role as Elijah because:
- He is a prophet,
- He hates women,
- He fulfills Malachi 4, and
- He fulfills Revelation 10:7 by wrapping up the loose ends for the rapture.
In summary, this was a very tame warm-up sermon in preparation of more radical sermons to come. What he does not seem to realize is that everything he says about not following a man (the Pope) can equally be applied to the church following his own leadership.
- William Branham, 63-0318 - The First Seal, para. 35-39
- March 18, 1963, The First Seal
- Clarence Larkin, The Book of Revelation: A Study of the Last Prophetic Book of Holy Scripture, 53-54 (Philadelphia, PA: Rev. Clarence Larkin Estate, 1919).
- March 21, 1963, The Fourth Seal