Life Story Tract
The following tract, entitled "Jesus Christ the Same Yesterday, Today, and Forever" was written and distributed by William Branham during his early campaign years.
This book has been written so that everyone who reads it may know that Jesus Christ is still Saving and Healing people.
It is my belief that He is soon to appear again.
This book tells how He chose a poor boy and called him to his ministry, how the boy ran from Him for awhile and then whole-heartedly turned to Him.
I was born in Cumberland County, Kentucky, in a small log cabin. My father and mother were married young and I was the first child. I have been told by mother that once when I was only about six months old, and father was away from home, we were snow-bound in the mountains for several days. We were out of food and mother was becoming weaker all the time. At last she thought the end had come. She said that she gathered all our clothes and bedclothes and taking me in her arms she wrapped them all about us so that we might keep as warm as possible.
Dear reader, I believe that would have been the end if our loving Savior had not come on the scene at that time. But He is always near and appears at the right moment. He spoke to a dear old saint-hearted neighbor and told him to come and see why there had not been any smoke coming out of our chimney for the past few days. When he arrived and broke into the cabin he found mother and I almost starved. He got some wood and made a fire. Then he returned to his cabin to get us some food. Soon we were on our way to strength and health again. Praise His name for that.
Soon after that we left the state of Kentucky and moved to Indiana. Father went to work for a farmer near Utica, Indiana. We lived there about one year and then moved farther down the Ohio Valley. Several years passed and I had grown to be a good-sized boy when God spoke to me.
I was on my way one evening to carry water to the house from the barn, which was about a city block from the house. About half-way between the house and barn there stood an old poplar tree. I had just got home from school that evening and the other neighbor boys were going out to the old pond to fish. I was crying to go but dad said that I had to pack water. I had stopped under the tree to rest when all of a sudden I heard the wind blowing the leaves. I knew it wasn't blowing any place else. It seemed to be a very still afternoon. I stepped back from the tree and noticed that a place about the size of a barrel seemed to be blowing through the tree leaves. Then there came a voice saying: "Never drink, smoke, or defile your body in any way, for I have a work for you to do when you get older." It scared me so, that I ran home but I never told anyone about it. I could never drink or smoke. I believe God is going to do a great work in the last days.
When I became old enough to go out with young company, they would tease me and say I was a sissy for not smoking or drinking. They would say that even the girls would smoke and that they had more nerve then I had. I was ashamed then to tell them what had taken place in my life. But, dear friends, I certainly do get glory out of telling the world about it today. Hallelujah!
About the age of fourteen years I was seriously wounded while hunting. I spent seven months in the hospital. God dealt with me but I would not take heed. The calling became more and more real to me. But not being raised in a Christian home I tried to resist it. Many times I heard that still, small voice calling me, but I would turn it away. I got so I could hardly stand to even hear church mentioned.
On day I decided I had found a way to get rid of that calling. I was going out west to work on a ranch. Friend, God is just as great out there as he is any place. May you profit by my experience. When He calls for you, answer Him.
One September morning in the year 1927, I told mother I was going on a camping trip to Tunnel Mill, which is about fourteen miles from Jeffersonville where we lived at that time. I had already planned a trip to Arizona with some friends. When mother heard from me again, I wasn't at Tunnel Mill but in Phoenix, Arizona, running away from the God of Love. The ranch life was very good for a while, but it soon grew old, like any other pleasure of the world. But may I say here, Praise God, that the experience with Jesus grows sweeter and sweeter all the time and never grows old. Jesus gives perfect peace and comfort always.
Many times have I heard the wind blowing through the tall pines. It seemed as though I could hear His voice calling away out in the forest, saying, "Adam, where art thou?" The stars seemed to be so close you could pick them with your hands. God seemed to be so near.
One thing that seems to mean so much to me yet about that country is the roads in the desert. If you ever get off the road, you get lost so easy. So many times tourists see little desert flowers and go off the highway to pick them. They wander off in the desert and are lost and sometimes die of thirst. So it is in the Christian way - God has a highway. He speaks of it in Isaiah, 35th chapter. It called the "Highway of Holiness." Many times little pleasures of the world draw you off the highway. Then you have lost your experience with God. In the desert when you are lost, there sometimes appears a mirage. To people who are dying of thirst, the mirage will be a river or lake. Many times people run after them and fall in them only to find that they are just bathing in hot sand. Sometime the devil shows you something that he says is a good time. That is just a mirage, it is something that isn't real. If you listen you will find yourself only heaping sorrows on your head. Don't heed him, dear reader. Believe Jesus who gives living water for them that hunger and thirst.
One day I got a letter from home telling me that one of my brothers was very ill.
It was Edward, the one next to me. Of course I thought not serious, so I believed he would be all right. But one evening a few days later when I was coming from the city as I passed through the mess hall at the ranch I saw a paper on the table. I took it up. It read, "Bill, come out to the north pasture. Very important." After I had read the note a friend and I walked out to the pasture. The first person I met was an old Lone Star ranger who worked on the ranch. His name was Durfy, but we called him "Pop." He had a sad expression on his face as he said, "Billie boy, I have bad news for you." At that time the foreman came walking up. They told me that a telegram had just arrived telling of the death of my brother.
Dear friend, for a moment I could not move. It was the first death in our family. But I want to say that the first thing I thought of was if he was prepared to die. As I turned around and looked across the yellow prairie, tears ran down my cheeks. How I remembered how we'd struggled together when we were little lads and how hard it had been for us.
We went to school with hardly enough to eat. The toes were out of our shoes and we would have to wear old coats pinned up at the neck because we had no shirts on. How I remembered also one day Mother had some pop corn in a little bucket for our lunch. We did not eat with the rest of the children. We couldn't afford food like they had. We would always slip over the hill and eat. I remember that the day we had pop corn we thought it was a real treat. So to be sure I got my share of it I went out before noon, took a good handful before brother got his share.
Then standing there looking on the sun parched prairie I thought of all those things and wondered if God had taken him to a better place. Then again God called me, but as usual I tried to fight it off.
I made ready to come home for the funeral. When Rev. McKinny of Port Fulton Church, a man who is just like a father to me, preached his funeral he made mention that "There may be some here who do no know God, if so, expect him now."
Oh how I gasped my seat, God was dealing again. Dear reader, when he calls answer him.
I'll never forget how poor old Dad and Mother cried after the funeral. I wanted to go back West but mother begged me so hard to stay that I finally agreed to stay if I could find work. I soon got a job with the Public Service Company of Indiana, where I am employed now.
About two years later while testing meters in the meter shop at the Gas Works in New Albany I was overcome with gas and for weeks I suffered from it. I went to all doctors I knew. I could get no relief. I suffered with acid stomach, caused from the effects of gas. It grew worse all the time.
I was taken to specialists in Louisville, KY. They finally said it was my appendix and said I had to have an operation. I could not believe it, for I never had a pain in my side. The doctors said they could do no more for me until I had an operation. Finally I agreed to have it done but insisted that they use a local anesthetic so that I could watch the operation.
Oh, I wanted some one to stand by me that knew God. I believed in prayer but could not pray. So the minister from the First Baptist Church went with me to the operating room.
When they took me from the table to my bed I felt myself getting weaker and weaker all the time. My heart was hardly beating. I felt death upon me. My breath was getting shorter all the time. I knew I had reached the end of my road. Oh friend wait until you get there once then you will think of a lot of things you have done. I knew I had never smoked, drank or had any unclean habits but I knew I was not ready to meet my God.
My friend, if you are only a cold formal church member you will know when you reach the end that you are not ready. So if that is all you know about my God, I ask you right here to get down on your knees and ask Jesus to give you that experience of being born again, like that He told Nicodemus about in John, chapter 3, and oh how the joy bells will ring - Praise His Name.
It began to grow darker in the hospital room as though it were in a great woods. I could hear the wind blowing throught the leaves, yet it seemed a great way off in the forest. You have probably heard a puff of wind blowing the leaves, coming closer and closer to you.
I thought, "Well, this is death coming to take me." Oh! My soul was to meet God. I tried to pray but could not.
Closer the wind came, louder and louder. The leaves rattled and all at once I was gone.
It seemed then that I was back again a little barefooted boy, standing in that lane under the same tree. I heard that same voice that said, "Never drink or smoke." And the leaves I heard were the same that blew in that tree that day.
But this time the voice said, "I called you and you would not go." It repeated the 3rd time.
Then I said, "Lord, if that is you, let me go back again to earth and I will preach Your Gospel from the house tops and street corners. I'll tell everyone about it!"
When this vision had passed, I found that I had never felt better. My surgeon was still in the building. He came and looked at me and was surprised. He looked as though he thought I would be dead, then he said, "I am not a church-going man, my practice is so great, but I know God has visited this boy." Why he said that, I don't know. No one had said anything about it. If I had Known then what I know now, I would have risen from that bed shouting Praise to His Name.
After a few days I was allowed to return home but I was still sick and was forced to wear glasses on my eyes because of astigmatism. My head shook when I looked at anything for a moment.
I started out to seek and find God. I went from church to church trying to find some place where there was an old-fashioned altar call. The sad part was I could find none. I said that if I ever was a Christian, I would really be one. A minister that heard me make the remark said, "Now Billy boy, you are going off in Fanactism." I said that if I ever got religion I wanted to feel it when it came just as the disciples did.
Oh praise His name. I got religion later on and I still have it, and by his help I will keep it always.
One night I became so hungry for God and a real experience that I went out to the old shed back of the house and tried to pray. I did not know how to pray then so I just began to talk to Him like I would anyone else. All at once there came a light in the shed and it formed a cross and the voice from the cross spoke to me in a language I could not understand. It then went away. I was spellbound. When I got to myself, again I prayed, "Lord if that is you, please come and talk to me again." I had been reading my Bible since I had been home from the hospital and I had read in John 4, "Beloved believe not all spirits, but try them if they be of God."
I knew that a spirit had appeared to me, and as I prayed it appeared again. Then it seemed to me that there had been a thousand pounds lifted from my soul. I jumped up and ran to the house and it seemed as though I was running on air.
Mother asked, "Bill, what has happened to you?" I replied, "I do not know but I sure feel good and light." I could not stay in the house any longer. I had to get out and run.
I knew then that if God wanted me to preach, He would heal me, so I went to a church that believed in anointing with oil and I was healed instantly. I saw then that the disciples had somethimg that most of the ministers do not have today. The disciples were bapized with the Holy Ghost and so could heal the sick and do mighty miracles in His name. So I began to pray for the baptism of the Holy Ghost and got it.
One day about six months later, God gave me the desire of my heart. He spoke to me in a great light telling me to go preach and to pray for the sick and He would heal them regardless of what disease they had. I started preaching and doing what He told me to do. Oh friend, I can't begin to tell you what all has happened: Blinded eyes opened. The lame walked, cancers have been healed and all kinds of miracles have been done.
One day at the foot of Spring Street, Jeffersonville, Indiana, after a two week's revival, I was baptizing 130 people. It was a hot August day and there were about three thousand people present. I was about to baptize the 17th person when all of a sudden I heard that still, little voice again and it said, "Look up." The sky was like brass on that hot August day. We had not had any rain for about three weeks. I heard the voice again, and then again the third time it said, "Look up."
I looked up and there came from the sky a big bright star which I had seen many times before but that I had not told you about. Many times I have told people about it appearing and they would only laugh and say, "Bill, you are only imaging that. Or maybe you were dreaming." But praise God, this time He had showed Himself visible to all, because it came so close to me I could not even speak.
After a few seconds had passed, I screamed and many people looked up and saw the star just over me. Some fainted while others shouted and others ran away. Then the star returned back into the sky, and the place where it had left was about fifteen feet square, and this place kept moving and churning about or as though waves were rolling. There had formed in this place a little white cloud and the star was recieved up in this little cloud.
Dear reader, if I only had room in this book to tell you of the many things that have happened, of how our tabernacle was built, and many of the powerful revivals we have held. People have come from far and near to be healed. But I am going to have to make this book small enough so that it will sell cheap and be in reach of all. These things are to let you know that Jesus Christ is still the same as He was yesterday and to-day and will be forever, and that you should believe Him and be saved. If you can, at any time our revivals are near you, please attend them.
Page 11 - Testimonies
Now on the next pages you find some Personal testimonies of a few that have been healed during some of our meetings.
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Page 18 - Sermon
Dear friends, there are others who have been healed and would like to give their testimony as witnesses to the power of God but we have not the space for it just now in this small book. These testimonies that have been given are to encourage you to believe Jesus Christ and to know Him as your Savior and Healer.
Many who read the Bible, say, "If I had only lived in the Bible time, I would go to Jesus and He would help me." Friend, He is here today to help you, just the same as He was in that day. Only believe in the Holy Ghost, He is the Witness of Jesus. Please, right where you are, believe Him, and you will be healed.
Page 19 - Sermon
Our text is found in Isaiah, 53:5.
"He was wounded for trangression, bruised for our iniquity. The chastisement of our peace was upon Him and by His stripes we are healed."
Now friend, the Bible says, "By His stripes we are healed." And we will admit we still have forgiveness of our sins by the shedding of His blood, no matter what we have done. Why? Because it was in the atonement, you say. Was not His stripes for healing in the atonement also? Then if the atonement for healing has lost its power, then you are in your sins; for, the atonement for your sins were made by the same Blood from the same man at the same place, at the same time, on the same day.
Then you will have to say that they work together or either is of no effect.
No, friend, you believe Jesus just the same for your healing as you do for you sins, and the atonement will have the same effect. It will work for you either way, when you believe that it was made for you in this day as well as for those in that day.
Just like you go down to the river to cross on the ferry-boat, you see others crossing, so why can't you? You do not go to the captain of that boat and ask him whether the boat will make the trip or not. You just pay your fare, get on and sit down. It is then up to the pilot to get you across the river.
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It is the same method by Divine Healing, you see others being made well and you can be healed too. Only go to Jesus. The fare in this case is belief, then it is up to Jesus to see you through.
Oh, brother and sister, believe Him, you too can be healed. The day of Miracles is not past for those who believe it is not.
What is the first thing you do when you are planning a picnic? You get the old ladies almanac and see if on that day the almanac says whether it is going to be raining or fair. Then you will rejoice if it says fair. They you will say, "We will plan the picnic for that day." You will buy all your lunch and get ready for the outing just because the almanac says "fair."
Oh, brother and sister, you put that much faith in an almanac, why can't you believe in God's Word? Remember God has always had some who believe, why won't you be one of them? Read Mark 16 and see that the last command given to the church was to heal the sick. He said, "And these signs shall follow them that believe."
If your church says that they believe and the signs do not follow, then according to God's Word they do not believe.
Ask someone today for a good sign of a believer and they will point out someone in good social standing. One who pays well on the collection plate. Oh my friend, some of them know no more about God than a Hottentot knows about an Egyptian night, and some of them are well-polished scholars out of seminaries too. But you don't have to be a scholar to know God. But you do have to do more than most of them, you have to believe and if you will the signs in Mark 16:17-18 will follow you as Jesus said they would.
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Remember in Mark 16 it says preach the Gospel to every creature. You may say, "Bro. Branham, what is the Gospel, that we may know whether we have it or not. Is it the Word?"
Paul said that the Gospel comes to us not only in word but by Power and demonstration of the Holy Ghost. Then would you not have to have the Power of the Holy Ghost to demonstrate those signs of Mark 16?
Turn with me to 2nd Timothy, Chapter 3 and see how the Holy Ghost says that in the last days people would have a form of godliness but would deny the power thereof, and from such people, the Bible says for you to turn away.
Is not that a sign that we are living in the last days? People deny the power to heal and to be so free from sins.
The churches are getting so cold the thermometer goes to sixty below zero. You can not have victory and practice Divine Healing along with card parties and cigarettes. Some people go to church on Sunday morning with a big cigar in their mouth, looking like a dehorned Texas steer. The Word says for us to clean ourselves from all uncleanliness. Oh brother, turn away from your worldly things and serve God. Then He will permit you to walk in His highway of Holiness as Isaiah 35th Chapter spoke of. Jesus Christ The Same Yesterday, Today And Forever -- Page 22
If someone would bring you a money order for $70,000.00 you would start rejoicing. If I would ask you why you were so happy, you would reply that you had $70,000.00. If I doubted it, you would hand me the money order. If I would say that it was only a piece of paper with writing on it you would quickly reply that there had to $70,000.00 deposited with the U.S. Government before the order was written and that therefore the government would back it up.
Know then that James 5:14 says that the prayer of faith shall save the sick. You might say that was only paper with writing on it. But brother, all Heaven backs up the Bible.
When you read His Word remember the promise is to you. Then start rejoicing and believing and He will heal you.
He is the same God today and forever. Amen.