The following are a series of questions and answers between one of our editors (referred to as BTS) and an anonymous Branham minister (referred to as ABM). This series of Q&A relates to William Branham's doctrine and teaching. The full text of this question and its answer is below.
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Question 31 - What is the significance of a Seven-Lettered Name?
You stated previously that:
- It does not add up to me that he was exaggerating to just build himself up. If he wanted to be built up and be something, he had far more viable means to do so.
- ...There are really only three explanations that make sense to me. One, he was a crook involved in some evil conspiratorial thing like John Collins alleges (which is full of holes). Two, he was mentally ill, which I never saw any evidence of that. Or three, he was sincere and really believed what he was saying and doing. I believe the third option, obviously. And if you believe the third option, you can find his exaggerations likewise have a sincere motive behind them.
I think your understanding is overly simplistic. Do I believe that William Branham thought he was Elijah the Prophet? Absolutely! But I think he was self-deceived as was Alexander Dowie, whom William Branham respected deeply. William Branham needed to ensure his followers believed he was who he said he was. So he deceived them as well as himself. He self-promoted himself in a way that was not biblical and not spiritual.
Here is an example.
William Branham believed that it was a significant spiritual sign that his last name was seven letters but that 'Graham' (as in Billy Graham) only had six letters. He specifically stated:
- A-b-r-a-h-a-m is seven letters, and so is B-r-a-n-h-a-m seven letters.
By doing this, William Branham was clearly stating that he was more spiritual than Billy Graham.
This was part of his self-deception.
This ties into something we previously quoted:
- "In order to thoroughly deceive others, it is necessary to also deceive oneself. The actor playing Hamlet must indeed believe in the moment that he is the Prince of Denmark, though when he leaves the stage he will usually remember who he really is. On the other hand, when someone's entire life is based on such pretense, they seldom if ever return to reality. That is the secret of many successful politicians, evangelists and confidence tricksters alike–they believe they are telling the truth, even when it seems sure they must have known that they faked the evidence. Sincerity... is a quality not to be trusted." (Sarah Cockburn)
William Branham believed his own lies. Did this develop as the result of some psychotic break he experienced after the death of his wife and daughter? We will never know. But the evidence points CLEARLY to deception.
Why is the English language important when spelling non-English names?
- Abram, in Hebrew is אַבְרָם which has FOUR letters.
- Abraham in Hebrew is אַבְרָהָם which has FIVE letters, not seven.
- Abraham in Greek is Ἀβραάμ which has SIX letters (the number of man).
- The name "Branham" may not have seven letters when Message Books are translated into foreign languages such as Hindi, Mandarin or Greek.
Why did William Branham think it was important?
It appears obvious that William Branham's only purpose for this doctrine was to draw attention to himself. He pointed this out clearly in his Audio Letter To Lee Vayle, that he recorded in 1964:
- Now, and another thing. If you'll notice, G-r-a-h-a-m is six letters. A-b-r-a-h-a-m is seven letters, and so is B-r-a-n-h-a-m seven letters. Now, if you're going to make that in conclusion, it might be a good thing. 
The significance of Billy Graham
William Branham taught that, just as three messengers went to Abraham in the days of Sodom, so three messengers came to the church in our day. These three messengers were William Branham, Billy Graham and Oral Roberts. William Branham taught that Oral Roberts and Billy Graham were the two messengers that went to Sodom. But William Branham was God himself, the angel that did not go down to Sodom. Over 250 times, William Branham quoted a passage in the Bible - "As it was in the days of Sodom..." - but does the Bible say that anywhere?
We address these questions in detail in our article on William Branham and Billy Graham
Why Not Oral Roberts?
The name "Roberts", as in Oral Roberts, also has seven letters. However, this did not appear to be of any consequence to William Branham, who still taught that a man with a seven-lettered name was one of the angels that went down to Sodom...while he represented Elohim who stayed and discerned Abraham and Sarah's sickness.
Did Oral Roberts have a miraculous ministry?
First William Branham said there were no miracles in Oral Roberts ministry and then he said there were a few. This is very troubling because the evidence is that there were as many and some would say many more miracles in Oral Roberts' ministry as there were in William Branham's service. Oral Roberts certainly prayed for many more people than William Branham ever did.
- And you also remember, that in the days of Sodom… Any of you ministers and you Bible students, I believe you would agree with this. Doctor Scofield and many others does; most all the teachers, Charles Fuller, and so forth, of great scholars in the land: That Abraham represented the Spirit, church spiritual. Lot represented the church carnal or natural. He was down in Sodom in the sin, yet he had righteousness in him, but he was mixing with it. And remember, there was two intellectual preachers that went down to preach to Sodom. They did no miracle, only blinded them. And the preaching of the cross blinds the unbeliever. That's what great meetings of Billy Graham and them has done, that's made them worse.
- But they didn't perform any miracles, only smote some men blind. And the preaching of the Gospel does smite blind to the unbeliever.
- And so after They went down to Sodom. Remember what Their message was when They got down there? Repentance. "Come out." That was a modern Billy Graham, and an Oral Roberts, or whatever you want to call it, two great, mighty ministers that went down there into Sodom and preached repentance. They didn't perform so many miracles: only blinded a few eyes. And preaching the Gospel does blind the unbeliever. So He… They—they never done such a miracle. They did miracles, but not miracles like was back here at the other place. Now, They preached and called them. "Repent or perish." That was the Two that went down into Sodom.
- Now, there come up three Angels, and One of them was God. So He set down with Abraham; and two of them went down in Sodom and preached the Gospel to them. Is that right? A modern Billy Graham to the church normal that's in Sodom, great men like that, Oral Roberts, going down there and performing… They didn't do much of a miracle, not too many. They did something, smiting them blind. Now, Jesus said, "As it was in the days of Sodom…" Now remember, two preachers, a modern Billy Graham and O—somebody else, we'd say any great evangelist, Oral Roberts, or some of them, went down into Sodom and preached. Now, they were great preachers, for they did do a sign down there, a miracle, but not that sign. See? Went down into Sodom, and they preached a warning message that they'd better "get out of there, for God's going to destroy it."
First he says no miracles then a miracle or two. Just do an internet search for Oral Roberts or reads his life story and you will find out that William Branham did not tell this correctly. People have to disregard truth to believe God performed no miracles in Oral Roberts' ministry. This is another example of William Branham pointing to himself and pointing away from another man of God.
Who was Frank Boreham?
William Branham stated:
- Now let’s just think, just for a minute. Never has the world had a messenger over the world. We’ve had Finney’s, Sankey’s, Moody’s, Finney’s, Knox, Calvin, so forth, all around the world, messengers to the church in these birth pains. But never did we ever have a man going out with an international message, until this day, with his name ending in h-a-m. A-b-r-a-h-a-m, which is six letters…A-b-r-a-h-a-m is seven letters. 
But William Branham obviously didn't know about F.W. Boreham, who was born on March 3rd, 1871 and died on May 18th, 1959.
From the Frank W. Boreham website:
- Perhaps the most unrecognised writer within all of Christendom is the little known, but widely read, Frank William (F.W.) Boreham. Despite being unknown to most Australians he is still the best selling Australian author of all time with many of his books going into as many as 37 reprint editions!
- When introduced to an assembly of Presbyterian Pastors in Scotland in 1936, this was his introduction:
- The man whose name is on all our lips, whose books are on our shelves and whose illustrations are in all our sermons.
- Frank Boreham wrote some 55 books and more than 3000 editorials for the Hobart Mercury and The Melbourne Age. He was a master story teller and showed better than any other Christian author that God could be relevant in ways never before considered. Among the classics of Christian-must-read literature, including Pilgrim’s Progress, The Imitation of Christ, Practicing The Presence of God, Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, The Chronicles of Narnia, is now considered Boreham’s “A Bunch of Everlastings“. People have literally died clutching that book to their chests as they drew some last moments of comfort from the words Boreham had masterfully penned. I would rate this book as the one of the best books I have ever read.
- Toward the end of Boreham’s ministry he went on a tour of the USA and Canada. He was stunned at the level of admiration and affection he received from Americans who had grown to love his books over the previous 30 years.
- When he arrived in Canada he was greeted as “Dr. Boreham” and went to correct his host who informed him that he had been given an honourary doctorate in divinity from the same Seminary which his hero, F.B. Meyer, had also been honoured.
- Travelling across the Atlantic to the U.K. he was overwhelmed with his reception. In Ireland his wife was publically honoured for her years of support of her husband’s ministry. Boreham was to almost tearfully respond by saying that he would forever be in the debt of Ireland for their warmth and thoughtfulness especially toward his wife.
- It was after this tour that Boreham reflected on the enormous numbers of people from both of these continents who thanked him for his books which had brought them to faith in Christ. It was then that Boreham realised that his years of toil in research for his preaching had not been wasted as God had indeed used him to be most effective in evangelising.
Are you aware that when Billy Graham visited Australia in 1959, he said the one person he wanted to meet was Dr. Boreham, because of the influence the old man’s books had had upon his ministry.
We must conclude that William Branham was wrong when he stated that "never did we ever have a man going out with an international message, until this day, with his name ending in h-a-m."
Other quotes of William Branham
- But A-b-r-a-h-a-m, Abraham, is seven letters. Say, "There's nothing in numbers." Then you don't know the numatics of your Bible. You're sure to get it wrong now. Certainly.
- And G-r-a-h-a-m is only six letters. A-b-r-a-h-a-m is seven letters, God's Word, perfected.
- But, h-a-m! Now, G-r-a-h-a-m is only six letters, but A-b-r-a-h-a-m is seven letters. Six is man's number, man's organization, man's doing; but A-b-r-a-h-a-m is seven letters.
- G-r-a-h-a-m--six letters. A-b-r-a-h-a-m is seven letters, but G-r-a-h-a-m is six letters, which is the world--man. See?
- A-b-r-a-h-a-m is seven letters; G-r-a-h-a-m is six letters. Where's he at? To the world. Six is man's number. Man was created on the sixth day. But seven's God's number.
- G-r-a-h-a-m, six letters, to the world, man's number. But Abraham had seven letters in the name, God's complete and perfect number. See? And notice what the messengers did that went out in there: preached the Word, called them out, told them to repent.
My question: William Branham made the same error as Alexander Dowie (who still has a number of followers). How can you state that William Branham, pointing to his "seven lettered" name, was anything other than narcissistic non-biblical self-promotion?
Response from ABM
I have found this particular subject to be a bit of a curiosity. I cannot say I really understand Bro. Branham's logic here (because it does not make any sense, and seems to be not the least bit biblical). But I do see and accept the point he was making.
If I understand him, I think it is the "ham" in the name which he regards as important. The fact that he had seven letters is secondarily important. "Ham" meaning father. (I do not think he actually knew what "ham" meant. I could be mistaken though)
So from the aspect that they are both fathers in their movement, I can see the comparison. Likewise Abraham was a father of a nation. I do not think you would dispute the fact that Bro. Branham birthed a movement, and he is the father of it. By the time he made those statements, his movement was well underway and established. So, rather than trying to promote himself above someone else, I interpret his statements as reflecting reality. He is the father of a movement, and so was Billy Graham.
He then, by strange logic, considers that Graham is to the world church since he has six letters in his name, while he is to the bride church because he has seven letters. I do not understand the logic, as I said, but the point I can see.
I listened today to a message you gave on YouTube where you spoke on the Will of God. I very much enjoyed it. I have also finished your podcast series. There were alot of sad stories on there. It is unfortunate how many people have been hurt by wicked men.
Follow up question
Recently, the first official government document containing William Branham's legal name was discovered - his 1940 draft card from the United States Defense Security Service. Even more curious is the fact that William Branham's signature appears on the form. His signature is an acknowledgment that his legal name, the name given to him at birth, was William Marvin Branham. So his middle name was Marvin and not Marrion.
It is also interesting to note that William Branham gave no indication of his middle name in any sermon until March 24, 1963:
- There is many Branhams, if you want to talk about me personally, but I’m—I’m the one William Marrion Branham. That—that’s me. But there’s many other William Branhams, and so forth, around.
William Branham doesn't spell his middle name in the sermon. There is no indication where the spelling of his middle name came from as it appears not to have appeared in any written form until after his death.
One must, therefore, draw the conclusion that William Branham's actual middle name was "Marvin." To convince his followers that his name had spiritual connotations (his first, middle and surname each had seven letters), he changed his middle name to Marrion. This further illustrates William Branham's questionable integrity and his overwhelming desire to make himself look like a prophet.
I do agree that William Branham birthed a movement. However, from its outset it was tiny and today is rapidly losing relevancy. Thirty-five years after the resurrection of Jesus Christ, Christians were already known to the Roman emperor Nero and many Christians had already given their life for the Gospel (including Peter and Paul). However, almost fifty-five years after the death of William Branham, his movement is almost unknown on a worldwide basis.
It is true that there are small groups of message followers around the world (with a few notable exceptions in a couple of African countries), but these small groups are generally shrinking as knowledge of the problems related to William Branham and his message becomes more accessible. For this reason, we are aware that many message ministers are decrying their shrinking congregations as a sign of the "falling away" referred to in 2 Thessalonians 2:3. Of course, their shrinking congregations have nothing to do with that passage and everything to do with the spreading knowledge of the failure of William Branham's prophetic ministry.
Again, we would simply ask the question - Why am I required to follow William Branham when his credibility is so questionable?
- AUDIO.LETTER.TO.LEE.VAYLE TUCSON.AZ 64-0500
- AUDIO.LETTER.TO.LEE.VAYLE TUCSON.AZ 64-0500
- 59-0812 - Discerning The Body Of The Lord
- 60-0109 - Sirs, We Would See Jesus
- 60-0720 - It Is I
- 62-0724 - Sir, We Would See Jesus
- 65-0124 - Birth Pains, para. 237
- JEHOVAH JIREH 2 64-0403
- TRIAL.A TUCSON.AZ 64-0427
- PRESENCE.OF.GOD.UNRECOGNIZED TPK.KS V-20 N-2 64-0618
- THIS.DAY.THIS.SCRIPTURE JEFF.IN V-3 N-8 65-0219
- WHO.IS.THIS.MELCHISEDEC JEFF.IN V-5 N-10 65-0221E
- I.HAVE.HEARD.BUT.NOW.I.SEE SHP.LA V-7 N-3 65-1127E
- William Branham, 63-0324M - Questions And Answers On The Seals, para. 181