Three holy words
Q: Can you help me with the three holy words Bro Branham uses when healing as told him by the angel. He narrated in the message Experience.
We searched for the quote you mentioned, and I must say it was very unique. William Branham often repeats ideas and stories in his messages, but it is very different to hear him say something out of the blue at the start of his ministry and never repeat it.
In 1948 William Branham said:
- I want to tell you something now. Watch. Here's what takes place. See, it's... I want to know if you all noticed this. We're fixing to close, you know, fixing to go into the meetings. Have you noticed, always, after I ask or rebuke over a spirit, I'm always perfectly silent for a few moments? Who's noticed that in the meetings, let's see your hands. Have you noticed that?
- Now, here's what it is. There's three words that I have to repeat at that time. See? And it's the three high words of the Bible. No mortal on earth know it. See? And when I ask that, and then I feel that drop, then it comes shakes back to a place in return of that spirit. Then the...?... healed. That's the reason you hear me say that. See? That's what takes place. Experiences, Phoenix, AZ, 48-0302 (emphasis added)
Speaking in Tongues?
Was William Branham referring to speaking in tongues?
- Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine? (I Cor 14:6)
William Branham's comment is extremely confusing as no one really knows what he is talking about, which then only proves the following scripture:
- He that speaketh in an [unknown] tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church. (I CORINTHIANS 14:4 )
However, it does not appear that he is speaking in tounges as he states that these three words were "the three high words of the Bible".
So what are the secret words?
William Branham states that " No mortal on earth know it".
So it appears that he is the only one on earth that knows these "secret" words. He also appears to indicate that if he doesn't say these secret words, people will not be healed.
We had never heard of "high words" before reading this quote so we did some research and the results are very surprising.
In 1945, a collection of ancient papyrus codices were found near Nag Hammadi in Upper Egypt. The papyri are dated to the period between the 3rd and 5th century, AD, and contain in various degrees of preservation over 40 (mainly Gnostic) works, nearly all previously unknown.
One of these documents, was the gnostic Gospel of Thomas, which professes to contain the ‘secret words’ spoken by Jesus to Judas Thomas and written down by St Matthias:
- These are the secret words which the living Jesus spoke, and [which] Didymus Judas Thomas wrote...
Another passage from the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas states the following:
- Jesus said to his disciples: “Compare me and tell me whom I am like.” Simon Peter said to him: “You are like a just messenger.” Matthew said to him: “You are like an (especially) wise philosopher.” Thomas said to him: “Teacher, my mouth cannot bear at all to say whom you are like.” Jesus said: “I am not your teacher. For you have drunk, you have become intoxicated at the bubbling spring that I have measured out.” And he took him, (and) withdrew, (and) he said three words to him. But when Thomas came back to his companions, they asked him: “What did Jesus say to you?” Thomas said to them: “If I tell you one of the words he said to me, you will pick up stones and throw them at me, and fire will come out of the stones (and) burn you up.” (The Gnostic Gospel of Thomas, Saying #13)25
This strange passage represents the type of secret knowledge that the Gnostic Jesus supposedly imparted to his disciples when he thought they were ready for it. According to Hippolytus, the heretics Basilides and his son Isidore claimed to have learned “secret words” from Matthias, which he had received in private teaching directly from the Savior.
The Roman Catholic church also had "secret words" referred to by Martin Luther
- But see what they have made of the mass! In the first place they have hidden these words of the testament and have taught that they are not to be spoken to the laity, that these are secret words to be spoken in the mass only by the priest.
We have heard people claim that William Branham read gnostic texts and that some of his teachings came from gnostic sources. This should make us all take a very close look at what he taught to ensure it matches with the Bible. Those teachings that do not (or are gnostic) should be rejected.
Isn't it completely out of character for Jesus to behave as outlined in the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas? Jesus freely gave His wisdom to all who would listen and hoped that they in turn would pass on the lessons to others.
Jesus states in John 18:20:
- Jesus replied, “I have spoken publicly to the world. I always taught in the synagogues and in the temple courts, where all the Jewish people assemble together. I have said nothing in secret. (NET)
That seems pretty plain. Jesus did not teach secret words.
What does this all mean?
So what is William Branham referring to? He seems to give an answer in 1961 and 1963 when he is talking about being challenged by witchdoctors in Germany.
- If Brother Arganbright is setting near, he could tell you the story; I was thinking how fifteen witch doctors on one side and fifteen on the other one, called up a storm to blow away the tent in Switzerland, or I believe it was France—Germany. Going to blow away the tent. Told us they was going to do it. And set there and cut those feathers and started going through maneuvers, "Father, Son, and Holy Ghost…?… Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, three high words," they said. All like that, and here come the storm up. (William Branham, February 11, 1961)
- It's happened in Germany, when them fifteen witch doctors, on each side of me, said… Because Billy and Brother Arganbright wouldn't let them—them see me, they said, "Well, we'll cause that tent to blow away." And they set down there, with their enchantments, and called on their god, the devil, and here he come with a storm. About thirty thousand, forty thousand Germans out there, and that tent just raising up-and-down like this. Them, and then cut, took a scissor and cut a feather, and pointed it back like that. And saying their, going through all their enchantments, and saying the three holy words they say, "The Father, the Son, the Holy Ghost; lu-lu-lu-lu-lu-lu! The Father, the Son, the Holy Ghost; lu-lu-lu!" 204 Going like that, and actually the storm come up. Sure. "He's the prince of the powers of the air," Satan. And they called the storm. And, now, even that great big tent setting out like that, oh my, it'd cover about a city block; and it built up, built out of two-by-four's, and just canvas tacked over it. The wind got under there and just raised it, like that. And that wind, and lightning flying like that, I just continually preached. 205 And, oh, they was just going into a big enchantment, going on and on like that, saying those little holy words they said, "The three high holy words: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost," on both sides like that. (William Branham, November 10, 1963)
It seems that these witchdoctors were repeating three high holy words, just like William Branham said he did in 1948.
- Tozer, A. W. 1995. Of God and men (99). WingSpread: Camp Hill, PA
- Cross, F. L., & Livingstone, E. A. 2005. The Oxford dictionary of the Christian Church (3rd ed. rev.) (1136). Oxford University Press: Oxford; New York
- Daniels, J. B. 1992. Matthias, Traditions of. In D. N. Freedman (Ed.), The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary (D. N. Freedman, Ed.). Vol. 4 (644). Doubleday: New York
- Luther, M. 1999. Luther's works, vol. 35: Word and Sacrament I (J. J. Pelikan, H. C. Oswald & H. T. Lehmann, Ed.). Vol. 35 (90). Fortress Press: Philadelphia
- Guelich, R. A. 1998. Mark 1–8:26. Word Biblical Commentary. Vol. 34A (xxi). Word, Incorporated: Dallas
- LaHaye, T. 2009. Jesus. David C. Cook: Colorado Springs, CO