William Branham was born April 6, 1909 in a log cabin in the Kentucky hills, the first of nine children of Charles and Ella Branham. At the time of his birth a light about the size of a pillow came swirling into the room from the window, and hovered over the bed where newly born William was laying, a fact attested to by the family and friends who were there. Reared near Jeffersonville, Indiana, he knew only a life of deep poverty and hardship, his father being an alcoholic and illiterate.
From an early age he spoke of “visions” and “a voice” which spoke to him out of a whirlwind in a tree saying, “Don’t ever drink, or smoke, or defile your body in any way. There will be a work for you to do when you get older.” William Branham came to know the Lord and was filled with the Holy Spirit in 1931. From that time, the Bible became the focus of his life and Jesus Christ the center of his very existence! He was ordained to the ministry at the age of 23 years, in the Missionary Baptist Church in December of 1932.
In May of 1946, he set himself aside to seek God for the meaning of his strange life. As he prayed alone late one night, an angel of light appeared, saying, “Do not fear. I am sent from the presence of Almighty God to tell you that your peculiar birth and misunderstood life has been to indicate that you are to take a gift of Divine healing to the peoples of the world. If you will be sincere when you pray and can get the people to believe you, nothing shall stand before your prayer, not even cancer. You will go into many parts of the earth and will pray for kings and rulers and potentates. You will preach to multitudes the world over and thousands will come to you for counsel.”
For half an hour, this angel explained to Brother Branham about the past and told him of his future. He explained why the ministers couldn’t recognize a gift of God in William’s life, yet the devil could. It was the same in Jesus’ day: the religious leaders said Jesus had a devil, yet the devils at Gadara recognized Him (Mark 3:22; John 7:20).
The angel also told Brother Branham that, even as Moses was given two signs to prove he was sent from God (Exodus 4:1-8), so he would be given two signs also. First, he would be able to diagnose diseases by their vibrations, which would cause his hand to swell. If the swelling went down after he prayed upon the person, he could say, “Thus saith the Lord, you are healed.” The angel said that time would come when Brother Branham would be able to discern the very secrets of men’s hearts (Heb 4:12; John 2:24-25).
From accounts by William Branham's family, it is evident that he had been conducting
healing campaigns at least as early as 1941 when he conducted a two-week revival in
Milltown,and his 1945 tract "I Was Not Disobedient Unto the Heavenly Vision" shows
that his faith healing ministry was well established by this time.
During the mid 1940s William Branham was conducting healing campaigns almost exclusively with Oneness Pentecostal groups. The broadening of Branham's ministry to the wider Pentecostal community came as a result of his introduction to Gordon Lindsay in 1947, who soon became his primary manager and promoter. Around this time several other prominent Pentecostals joined his ministry team including Ern Baxter and F. F. Bosworth. Gordon Lindsay proved to be an able publicist for Branham, founding The Voice of Healing magazine in 1948 which was originally aimed at reporting on Branham's healing campaigns.
In June 1947, the Evening Sun newspaper of Jonesboro, Arkansas reported that "Residents of at least 25 States and Mexico have visited Jonesboro since Rev. Branham opened the camp meeting, June 1. The total attendance for the services is likely to surpass the 20,000 mark". Several newspapers carried reports of healings in the meetings". His success took him to countries around the world. According to a Pentecostal historian, "Branham filled the largest stadiums and meeting halls in the world."
Testimonies of miraculous healings continued to abound. One striking example published in the
"Voice of Healing" publication in 1950 was of a boy being raised from the dead in Finland after
being struck by a car.
Over the next ten years Brother Branham circled the globe seven times, holding some of the largest meetings in history. During a crusade in Durban, South Africa in 1951, which spanned eleven different cities, it was reported that over half a million people were in attendance during the course of the meetings. During the last day of the meetings, which were held at Greyville Racecourse, there were an estimated 45,000 people in attendance, and many more who were turned away due to lack of room. Seven large British Lorry truckloads of crutches, wheelchairs, canes, etc.. were hauled away after the healing services.
U.S. Congressman William Upshaw, crippled for sixty-six years, publicly proclaimed his miraculous
healing in a Branham meeting in a leaflet called "I'm Standing on the Promises". Moreover declaring
William branham to be a Twentieth Century prophet. William Branham was sent for and prayed the prayer
of faith over King George VI of England who was miraculously healed of a crippling disease.
In its February 1961 issue, the Full Gospel Men's Voice (now the Full Gospel Businessmen's Voice) wrote: "In Bible Days, there were men of God who were Prophets and Seers. But in all the Sacred Records, none of these had a greater ministry than that of William Branham ... Branham has been used by God, in the Name of Jesus, to raise the dead!" Branham's teachings and notoriety had a profound influence on the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements. Though Branham has been dead since 1965, there are hundreds of thousands around the world who regard him as a prophet, and the fulfillment of Malachi 4:5–6.
The Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements contains these comments: "The person universally acknowledged as the [WWII] revival’s `father’ and `pacesetter’ was William Branham. The sudden appearance of his miraculous healing campaigns in 1946 set off a spiritual explosion in the Pentecostal movement which was to move to Main Street, U.S.A., by the 1950s and give birth to the broader charismatic movement in the 1960s, which currently affects almost every denomination in the country"
This photograph was taken on February 28, 1963, and was identified by William Branham as the
constellation of seven Angels in the form of a pyramid that he later met according to the
vision he had seen in December 1962 and had publically foretold of Their appearance in this
area of Arizona. A few days before his arrival there on a hunting trip, photographers in the
surrounding states took this photograph of God declaring in the heavens what He would soon reveal
on the earth. Shortly after his arrival, the seven Angels personally met him and administered a
Divine commission for him to return to his tabernacle in Indiana for the opening of the Seven Seals.
Brother Branham returned to Jeffersonville, Indiana wherein for seven days, as he waited on God, the voice of God spoke out the Pillar of Fire, revealing the exact Truth of the Mysteries sealed up in Revelations 5 through 8; which revelation was contrary to what everyone (including Brother Branham) had previously supposed, yet was perfectly in line with the rest of God’s Word. As Brother Branham preached seven consecutive nights on these Seals (March 17-24, 1963) his sermons were tape-recorded: Thus the Scripture is fulfilled in our day saying, “But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to His servants the prophets” (Rev. 10:7).
On December 18, 1965 William Branham and his family (except for his daughter Rebekah) were traveling to Jeffersonville, Indiana from Tucson, Arizona. Just after dark near Friona, Texas a drunk driver stuck William Branham's car head-on. In the car were William Branham, his wife Meda, and their daughter Sarah. He lived for six days before dying on Christmas Eve, 1965. They returned his body to Jeffersonville, Indiana where he was ultimately laid to rest.