This article is one in a series on the Message of William Branham - you are currently in the article that is in bold:
- What is the Message of William Branham?
- Is the Message a Cult?
- The Sub-Sects of the Message
- The Theology of the Message
- Are followers of William Branham Christians?
- What is the Fruit of the Message?
- The Message Dress Code
Followers of William Branham refer to themselves as being in the Message or the Message of the Hour. It is also how they refer to themselves generally as a movement. If you are "in the message" then you consider yourself a true follower of William Branham and a true follower of God.
What is the Message?
Do you want to understand the Message? Click above for a list of important terms.
Is the Message a Cult?
Many people ask us the question - how do I identify someone that follows William Branham? It is interesting to witness the diversity of doctrines among the groups that claim to follow the message of William Branham. Many of the groups vehemently oppose other groups that also claim to follow William Branham. Yet, they all claim they have a revelation of the Word and they believe the Bible.
But......how do you know the person you're chatting with is a message believer?
These are the visible hallmarks of a message believer:
- They believe William Branham was the end time prophet according to Malachi 4:5-6, Luke 17:30, Revelation 3:14 and Revelation 10:7. (see details below)
- They believe the Serpent had sexual intercourse with Eve in the Garden of Eden, and that act caused the fall of mankind. This is a doctrine that has been repeatedly rejected by the church starting with Iranaeus.
- They believe hell is not eternal but everlasting.
- They believe William Branham was the seventh church age messenger according to Revelation 3:14 and Revelation 10:7.
- They believe Jesus is the Father.
- They believe if you do not accept William Branham's message you are not part of the Bride of Christ.
- They believe William Branham is waiting beyond the curtain of time for all his followers who he will present to Jesus.
- They believe William Branham's interpretation of the Bible as the Word of God for today.
They also have a few things in common with the United Pentecostal Church (UPC) or other Oneness Pentecostal denominations:
- They are convinced that most Christian denominations believe in THREE GODS. This is based on William Branham's straw man argument against the doctrine of the Trinity.
- They baptize in the name of the LORD JESUS CHRIST (those in the UPC denomination make also baptize in the name of Jesus Christ, although that won't fly with message followers). This is somewhat of a strange doctrine given that no one in scripture was ever baptized using this formula.
- Women in the message will have long hair and are not permitted to wear pants.
Is it a denomination?
Message followers will deny that they are a denomination. But how is a denomination defined?
A denomination is a faction of the church, out of fellowship with other factions, holding to some “distinctives” of doctrine, practice, worship, ethnicity, style, history, social class, etc. Denominationalism is any attempt to justify and maintain the separate existence of a denomination.
On the basis of this definition, it is clear that the message is a denomination.
Doctrines or interpretations based on William Branham pointing to himself
The message is a collection of doctrines promoted by William Branham that largely involve William Branham pointing to himself as a prophet. Some of the specific doctrines whereby William Branham pointed to himself are as follows:
- Revelation 10:7
- The Fulfillment of Malachi 4:5
- The Laodicean Church Age Messenger
- Matthew 17:11
- Luke 17:30
- Matthew 24:28
- Zechariah 14:7
- Joel 2:25
- 1 Thessalonians 4:16
- The Importance of a Seven-Lettered Name
- The Prophet and The Eagle
- The Sign of the Messiah
- Two major prophets never ministered at the same time
- William Branham's View of Himself
Included in the set of doctrines that constitute the message are a large number of teachings that were plagiarized from Clarence Larkin and from the Jehovah's Witnesses. These plagiarized beliefs include William Branham's teachings on the seven church ages, the seven seals, the gates to the soul and the token. He also plagiarized from Billy Graham (thinking man's filter) and C.L Franklin (the eagle in the chicken coop).
What do followers of William Branham think that the message is?
When you ask a follower of William Branham what the message is, you may get an answer that is difficult to follow. They themselves admit that it is difficult to define, primarily because they specifically try avoid describing it as what it actually is - the teachings and doctrines of William Branham. So they tend to describe it in more nebulous terms:
- Has anybody ever asked you what the Message is? I have had it asked me, "You call yourselves 'Message Believers' but what is the message?" I tried to explain it to the person, but they couldn't catch it.
A message pastor expressed it this way:
- What is the message of William Branham? The entire message of William Branham was sent to expose all heresies and establish God’s children upon Truth, and the basis of all messages that were sent upon earth, and all revelation sent to mankind by God through his prophet, were to expose heresies and heretics, false prophets, and establish the elect upon the truth.
When you point out to message ministers that William Branham actually didn't bring anything new but, in fact, plagiraized most of his teaching, they respond:
- William Branham's ministry was designed to tie up all of the "loose ends" in the Bible.
In the end, the "message" is simply a collection of William Branham's sermons and therefore, his teachings. It is not Jesus Christ, it is not the Word of God. The message is William Branham's take on the Bible and it is filled with error.
What do message believers actually believe?
- They believe William Branham is the one who introduced them to Jesus Christ.
- They believe William Branham is the Voice of God.
- They believe William Branham is the seventh angel in Revelation 10:7.
- They believe William Branham is the divine interpreter of the Word.
- They believe William Branham is the Elijah prophet of Malachi 4:5.
- They believe William Branham is the one who made the Bible come alive.
- They believe William Branham is the angel who came down in Revelation 18:1 who had great power.
- They believe William Branham is the eagle prophet of the Book of Revelation.
- They believe William Branham will resurrect from the dead, take the Message to the Jews, and then have a worldwide "Third Pull Tent Ministry" (New Ministry).
- They believe William Branham will introduce the world to Jesus Christ at the Rapture.
- They believe William Branham is A son of man who revealed THE Son of Man.
- They believe William Branham was caught up in a constellation of seven angels where he received the revelation of the seven seals.
- They believe William Branham was infallible.
- They believe William Branham was sent to forerun the Second Coming of Christ as John the Baptist was sent to forerun the First Coming of Christ
- They believe William Branham is a "Prophet like unto Moses".
- They believe William Branham is the "Shout", the "Voice" and the "Trump" of 1 Thessalonians 4:16.
- They believe William Branham resurrected five (5) dead people back to life.
- They believe William Branham saw Jesus Christ on three (3) separate occasions.
- They believe William Branham had a special angel sent from the presence of God who stayed by his side his entire life and revealed to him what God wanted him to do.
- They believe William Branham is their absolute and had the capstone ministry.
- They believe William Branham was given two signs in his body to know what diseases the people had.
- They believe William Branham had the gift of divine healing and millions of people were healed as a result of that gift.
- They believe William Branham had a divine gift of discernment which enabled him to know the very secrets of the heart.
- They believe William Branham won over a million souls to Jesus Christ.
- They believe William Branham went beyond the curtain of time and saw all the departed saints in the sixth dimension.
- They believe William Branham went into the Regions of the Lost and saw the departed souls who were in prison.
- They believe William Branham only took up one offering in his entire life but then gave the money back.
- They believe William Branham died as a poor man who had no money.
- They believe William Branham had a ministry that went around the world seven times.
- They believe William Branham had thousands of visions and not one of them ever failed.
- They believe William Branham was the one who God called to restore the true word of God in this age.
- They believe William Branham spoke with "THUS SAITH THE LORD".
- They believe William Branham set the last day church in order.
- They believe William Branham had a sixth sense that gave him supernatural powers whereby he could do things like make chandeliers move.
- They believe William Branham had perfect love and made a charging bull lay down in a field and a swarm of hornets go back into their nest.
- They believe William Branham had supernatural powers that he could speak squirrels into existence, resurrect a dead fish, and speak storms out of existence.
- They believe William Branham is the 7th angel messenger to the Laodicea Church Age.
- They believe William Branham's message will tell them how to live and how to get ready for the rapture.
- They believe his son Joseph is a prophet as well.
- They believe that great signs wonders and miracles followed him everywhere he went.
- They believe that more miracles were performed in his ministry, than were performed in the ministry of Jesus Christ.
- They believe if they are good to bride, they will receive eternal life.
- They believe that if they love Brother Branham, God will grant them eternal life for loving him and his family.
- They believe that the tape recorder was invented to record William Branham's last day message.
- They believe God supernaturally transported the exact same rock that Moses stood on when he parted the Red Sea to Sabino Canyon in Arizona and that William Branham stood on that rock.
- They believe that the actual sword of the Lord (the sword of King Jesus) was once placed in his hand.
- They believe the word of God only comes to the prophet and William Branham is the vindicated prophet to this age.
- They believe that every prophecy William Branham gave was 100% accurate and not one has ever failed.
- They believe that you could never look into the eyes of William Branham and tell a lie.
Is the "Bride" a special category of Christian?
William Branham was not the only one in our age to use the parables of Jesus to split the Church into various groups, such as the bride, the friends of the bridegroom, the virgins, the guests, and the servants. Many exclusive groups do this to make themselves feel special. But this is pressing the analogy too far. We must be careful that we do not become like Nicodemus when he pressed the analogy of birth too far by asking how we could go back into our mothers’ wombs and be born again (John 3:4).
Another common teaching, which was also espoused by William Branham, is that the Rapture will be limited to a special group of “overcomers” (the Bride), and that the main body of the Church will be left behind to go through the Tribulation or to go up in later raptures. If we examine what the Bible has to say about overcomers, however, we see that only those who overcome will eat from the tree of life, they will not be hurt by the second death or the lake of fire, and will not have their names blotted out of the Book of Life (Rev 2:7, 11; 3:5).
To overcome means to conquer, to win. If we do not win, we lose. These verses in the Book of Revelation indicate that those who do not overcome lose out forever.
Who then are the overcomers? I John 5:4 tells us, “This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.” All the born-again believer has to do to overcome is to believe (be an obedient believer and keep on believing) that Jesus is the Son of God. Then God gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor 15:57). He makes us winners.
- Those who have been born of God do not sin.(1 John 3:9)
- We know that those who are born of God do not sin. (1 John 5:18)
- No one who abides in him sins. (1 John 3:6)
- Everyone who does what is right is righteous. (1 John 3:7)
- Everyone who commits sin is a child of the devil. (1 John 3:8), and
- All who do not do what is right are not from God. (1 John 3:10).
Some have suggested that John refers to an elite group of Christians who have reached a special status in which they no longer sin. But the text does not restrict godly living to a special group of Christians but rather claims that all believers without exception — anyone born of God — do not sin. Hence, a spiritual elite cannot be in view here. 
There are a group of other doctrines that are largely unscriptural which William Branham promoted as part of his "message":
- Some Christians were required to believe Satanic doctrine to be saved.
- If a wife cuts her hair, her husband can divorce her.
- A man can remarry after divorce but a woman can't.
- The three holy words of the Bible.
- No 2 major prophets were ever on the scene at the same time.
- God left Jesus Christ when He was on the cross.
- God has THREE Bibles
- Women were designed by Satan.
- Can you lose your healing?
- Christian are amateur gods.
- Jesus Christ is Michael the Archangel.
- Noah started building the ark after he saw Enoch go in a Rapture
- Enoch was a type of the wise virgin, and Noah a type of the foolish virgin.
- Illegitimate children cannot be part of the rapture.
- Christians should "cast down reasoning".
- The Holy Spirit can abandon you.
- Long hair mean uncut (i.e. no trimming of split ends) for women.
- Does God hear the prayer of a woman that has cut her hair?
- The midwives in Egypt were actually witches.
- Your admission to heaven is conditional on William Branham's judgment.
- Jesus died screaming for help, crying for mercy because He was separated from God.
- When Jesus died on the cross, he simply died as a man.
- The Bible teaches that the serpent had sex with Eve.
- The Israelites who died in the wilderness were eternally lost.
- Was William Branham guilty of Theological Trespassing?
- The evidence of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is believing in William Branham
- The Bible teaches there are two tiers of Christians.
- The "Bride" of Christ is a special category of Christian.
- Capernaum is under the sea.
What William Branham taught
William Branham taught that all denominational churches were false and that only by following William Branham would a person be truly in the church:
- The church natural, that's in Sodom. But remember, there was one church spiritual, that wasn't in that denominational outfit, either. Called-out group, and they received a message, also, and a messenger. And what was it? Discerning the thoughts that was in the heart. God always proves His Word.
- I want to ask you something. In all of the ages, since the church first began, they have never had a messenger to them that his name ended with h-a-m, till now, G-r-a-h-a-m. Right. Down there, calling them out, Oral Roberts, and a Billy Graham, see, h-a-m. There's been Moody, Sankey, Finney, Wesley, Billy Sunday, all them, see, international church like that, world church!...?... There's never been one ending to h-a-m till right now, and that's Billy Graham. See? And that's six letters, G-r-a-h-a-m, six, meaning... Man was born, created on the sixth day. Six is man's number. There he is, to the church natural.
- Abraham was A-b-r-a-h-a-m, seven letters. See? Look at the setting of today, and look what's taking place. Abraham had seen many signs and wonders, and everything that God had done. So has the Church. You've received the Holy Ghost, spoke in tongues, done all these signs and wonders. But you're promised, "As it was then, so shall it be again." "It shall be Light in the evening time." Jesus Christ, the same; same Son will appear again on the scene, in His Church, and will do the same thing that He did then, showing that He is the Word made manifest. See? Knowing the secret that's in the heart, revealing and doing the things that He is supposed to do. That's exactly the Word of God.
- And then the church natural is just a bunch of people in denominations, that joined. It's no more... I don't even no more call it "church." I don't like to refer to it. I like to refer to it as a "lodge," Methodist lodge, Baptist lodge, Pentecostal lodge. But the Church is the borned-again that's in Christ Jesus, that's new creatures. And so we still see that, that God keeps His Word.
- Because, the pyramid's Writing on the outside, as the brother had the dream, I interpreted it to you. That's the entire interpretation. Now, all the mysteries of justification, sanctification, baptism the Holy Ghost, was done explained. Now picking up the loose ends of that, which was concealed in the Seven Seals, not the seven churches. The Seven Seals reveal the mysteries. And then He opened this thing up, at the top, and found a Rock in there, white, but had never been wrote on. It was a mystery.
- Just exactly like He showed us the Seven Church Ages, what would come. Just exactly what He showed us what would come when He set that Light up there, in revelation to it, to show the world. When He sent the seven Angels to reveal the seven messengers that had been down through there, and show the loose ends, each Angel coming each day and revealing the loose ends that Luther left, and Wesley left, and Pentecost left, is all represented in there. And in the very type and shadow of the great Shalom, Jehovah, Yahweh. See? Exactly. Throwed It in the skies, and there is the mechanical eye taking a picture of It. See? Thank the Lord!
- Young Foundations website - What Is The Message?, Friday, June 11, 2010
- Robert Lee Lambert, Grace Covenant Church, Middletown, Connecticut
- William W. Menzies, Bible Doctrines: A Pentecostal Perspective, ed. Stanley M. Horton (Springfield, MO: Logion Press, 1993), 218–219.
- Thomas R. Schreiner, New Testament Theology: Magnifying God in Christ (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2008), 567.
- PROVING.HIS.WORD LA.CA 65-0426
- CHRIST.IS.IDENTIFIED.THE.SAME.IN.ALL.GENERATIONS TAMPA.FL 64-0415
- DOES.GOD.CHANGE.HIS.MIND LA.CA 65-0427
- William Branham, 63-0630M - The Third Exodus, para. 274
- William Branham, 64-0112 - Shalom, para. 158