Critics of Bro. Branham, like Rod Bergen, allege that there is no proof to establish his prophetic gift was authentic, and thus there is no way to positively affirm that Bro. Branham was a prophet. Their allegation states that they can not find any prophecy issued by Bro. Branham on record before it actually came to pass. They suggest all his prophecies which did come to pass were actually made after the fact. In this article we will examine their claims.
What is Prophecy?
The critics who attack Bro. Branham and claim there is no proof of his prophetic gift rely on an incorrect definition of prophecy. By first establishing with their readers a false sense of what prophecy is, they then find it easy to convince their readers of their position. So what is true prophecy? Prophecy has two modes: Foretelling and Forthtelling. Both are valid forms of prophecy, but differ in their purpose and form.
Foretelling prophecy is a prophetic utterance which makes a prediction concerning the future. Examples of this can include Noah warning his neighbors about the coming flood, or Jeremiah’s warning that the Babylonians would destroy Jerusalem.
Foretelling prophecy can be validated as accurate by determining if the events or conditions foretold came to pass as predicted.
Forthtelling prophecy is a prophetic utterance which instructs or enlightens people. It does not foretell the future, but can include revealing hidden facts or truths. Examples of forthtelling prophecy include Moses authorship of the Book of Genesis, or much of Amos’s prophecy which he wrote about things he saw “concerning Israel”.
Forthtelling prophecy can be validated by determining the accuracy of the hidden knowledge which was revealed.
Many prophecies in the bible are conditional. For example, Elijah told Elisha he would receive anointing only if he caught his cloak. Moses promised Israel they would be blessed only if they served God. Jonah told Nineveh it would be destroyed if it did not repent. So we can see that not all prophecies are absolute, but some are conditional.
Prophecies of Bro. Branham
Followers of Bro. Branham believe he had an anointing like the Prophet Elijah. Elijah made very few foretelling prophesies. He did foretell that it would not rain until he called for it, which was a conditional prophesy. He also told Elisha that if he received his cloak, then he could receive his anointing. This was also a conditional prophecy. Elijah’s mode of prophesy was primarily forthtelling. The same can be seen in the ministry of Elisha and John the Baptist, neither of them made dramatic foretelling prophesies, and their mode of prophesy was primarily forthtelling.
Bro. Branham made hundreds of forthtelling prophecies during his ministry. These can be divided into two categories. The smaller category was when he prophesied to interpret scriptures and reveal hidden meanings. The larger category is when he revealed hidden things in people’s lives, often as a prelude to their healing. Examples of this can be seen in his Chicago healing campaign in this video.
His forthtelling prophecies have been widely validated and proven to be accurate. Pentecostal historian Walter Hollenwager investigated Branham’s forthtelling prophecies and “found no instances in which Branham was mistaken in his often-detailed pronouncements.”1 District Superintendant of Assemblies of God, Roy Wead, also made detailed investigations of Branham’s pronouncements over the course of several years, and found them all to be accurate.2 The editors of this website are aware of numerous cases in which Bro. Branham issued such a forthtelling prophecy and it was proven to be completely accurate.
On these grounds, Bro. Branham’s prophetic gift can be completely validated as authentic. Critics purposefully ignore his forthtelling prophecies because they have been so widely validated as to make many of them unassailable. To discount those prophesies, critics try to say foretelling prophecies are the only valid way to validate a prophetic gift. Critics further try to downplay the forthtelling prophesies by alleging Bro. Branham was using some trick, like mnemonics. We debunk their claims on this topic in our article “Were the miracles a hoax?”.
Bro. Branham did, however, issue a number of foretelling prophesies. The most prominent of these prophesies are his 1933 prophetic visions of the future. These prophetic visions are well known in Charismatic Christianity. These visions were discussed on the Trinity Broadcast Network in 2016 and can be watched in the next video.
His visions included Mussolini’s invasion of Ethiopia, Mussolini’s death, America’s war against Germany led by Hitler, the Battle of the Bulge at the Siegfried line, the rise of fascism and communism, egg shaped driverless cars, a decline of the morality of women, the rise of a beautiful powerful woman in the United States which could be a President or the Great Whore of Revelation 18, and finally a great explosion which left America in smoldering ruin.
Of these visions, the first several have all clearly come to pass. Critics allege these prophecies were not recorded on tape until 1953, and thus were made after the fact. They dismiss any witness who claims to have heard the prophecy before the fact. The editors of this website accept the multiple witnesses who say they had heard Bro. Branham relate these visions prior to World War II, including the individuals on the 1953 recording who acknowledged their prior knowledge of the vision.
The second most prominent foretelling prophesy of Bro. Branham was his prediction of the 1937 Ohio River flood. He predicted it would reach to a height of 22 feet on Spring Street in Jeffersonville. Flood heights at the lower end of Spring Street did reach that level. Critics again allege this is an after the fact prophecy as it was first recorded on tape in 1951. They again dismiss the witnesses, including those specifically named on tape and asked to verify if they remember his prophesy in the 1951 recording.
Besides this, Bro. Branham issued several minor foretelling prophecies. For example he prophesied concerning both the establishment and failure of a church started by Rev. CJ Ward which came to pass during the 1950s. Critics dismiss all the minor prophesies too because their record on tape is after they had already come to pass. Many of those minor prophecies have witnesses to confirm they were aware of the prophecy before they happened.