Was the birth of Joseph Branham foretold?
On September 12, 2020, the first-ever English language debate between a message pastor (Jesse Smith of Akron, OH) and an ex-message Christian (Rod Bergen from the Off The Shelf podcast) took place. The discussion was moderated by Jay Cox and Tim Kraus.
We challenged message believers several years ago to provide us with an unambiguous prophecy made by William Branham that was recorded publicly (i.e. we can verify on a tape) and that was later fulfilled in a clear manner. This is a response to a supposed prophecy that William Branham made "before the fact."
In 1962, William Branham related the story of the prophecy of Joseph Branham's birth by stating:
- ...a vision come down and said, "You will have a son, and you shall call his name Joseph." And so, I begin to announce it to all the people.
If this was a prophecy, it appears to be the one of the very few that were actually recorded on tape prior to its fulfillment.
William Branham had five children:
- Billy Paul Branham - born September 13, 1935 (Mother: Hope Branham)
- Sharon Rose Branham - born October 27, 1936 (Mother: Hope Branham)
- Rebekah Branham - born March 21, 1946 (Mother: Meda Branham)
- Sarah Branham - born March 19, 1951 (Mother: Meda Branham)
- Joseph Marrion Branham - born May 19, 1955 (Mother: Meda Branham)
Was it a prophecy, or a prayer?
The only place that this "prophecy" is recorded in advance of Joseph's birth is on May 6, 1951 when William Branham stated:
- And I got down on my knees, and I asked our Lord if He would give us another child: possible, give us a little boy. And I would name him Joseph, if He would give me another little boy.
- ...And I--I believe it's just ahead of me. I-- what I've ask for is, I believe that God has it just ahead. I believe I'll live to see it. And that's what I pray for.
Is this a clear prophecy, or is it simply a man asking God for something?
Why did he think Billy Paul was the fulfillment of this prayer?
Then of Billy Paul, he said:
- My Joseph was right with me when--and I didn't know it.
Vision only mentioned after the fact
- William Branham does not mention a vision until after Joseph was born.
- After Joseph is born, he states that he had a vision showing his son's birth.
- William Branham then claimed it wasn't a vision, but was just something he felt was coming from the Lord.
- Then he later states that he did have a clear vision that Joseph would be born.
Is this a clear prophecy?
Quotes of William Branham
- And we lived together four years and God gave back another little lump of sugar... My little girl, little Sharon that was taken from me, He gave me a--a little Rebekah. And I love her with all my heart and I feel that God sent her. She's a very living image of the other little girl. And then, seemed like she was going to have no more children. Four more years have passed. And when I come back from overseas, I was reading in Cleveland, Ohio, or not Cleveland, but I believe it was Minneapolis, taking the Old Testament, a subject to read. And I was reading of Joseph. And he just outstands to me, Joseph does, of all the patriarchs. And I got down on my knees, and I asked our Lord if He would give us another child: possible, give us a little boy. And I would name him Joseph, if He would give me another little boy.
- Immediately, after that, about a month or so, I knew my wife was to be mother. I looked forward for the coming of a little boy: Joseph. And when he was born, or to be born, I said, here at the tabernacle...You all sent so many nice presents and things which will always be remembered in our hearts. And I'm sure the heavenly Father has a record of everything up there. And I pray that He'll bless you.
- And I wanted to go home to go to meet the child, to see what would happen. I wanted him to take my place. I wanted someone to take my place, that I would know that the mantle would be on my children, if it could. And it's always been a little place out there, if I could just press over... I see things in part, but I... It just seems like I'm just living a little tributary to a great lake just beyond. And I always thought if I could just get past that one place, oh, my... And maybe I... My background's being so sinful, as I explained, that my people were all sinners before me, and I was raised in a sinful home. And then, trying to keep myself from sin at that time, as much as I knew how, I thought maybe God would let my children come into the blessing, the full blessing.
- And maybe my little boy would fully be a prophet sent from God; I pray to that.
- When I went to meet the little baby, as a nurse from Mayo's had been healed of a cancer a few years ago, given up to die, she was our nurse. When the--the baby was brought and--or come to meet it, instead of the Spirit falling to the baby, it fell back this a way again. And I--I believe it's just ahead of me. I-- what I've ask for is, I believe that God has it just ahead. I believe I'll live to see it. And that's what I pray for.
- My little boy which is with us now, soon be sixteen years old, he was... He seemed to be a good boy. He minded me, and was very lovely little fellow. But I talked to him about being baptized and making his public confession of Christ. He lived good and everything, the little fellow. But about a week after that, I walked into the house, and he come without me asking him anything, said, "Daddy, I want to be a Christian; I want to serve the Lord." My Joseph was right with me when--and I didn't know it. The little baby that I thought would be Joseph is a little girl and I called her "Sarah." I'm thankful for her. I love her with all my heart.
- I had a boy and a girl; either which way it went would be all right. But I so wanted a--a--a boy. As far as so I--he could be a minister of the Gospel. And I believe that God is calling my little boy back there, going be minister of the Gospel. I... Thank you. Thank you. Seeing the wisdom of God, now, I more understand. If you ask God, God will give you the desire of your heart. I don't believe if the little baby would've been born to have come up to the age to be a minister, Jesus will be here before that time, I believe. And God just throwed it over on my little boy back there and that--and we thank you for your kindness and God bless you.
- Now, there's three elements that people live in. First is the humanistic. Second is Divine revelation. And third is vision.
- Now, this, like in prayer, when you pray for anyone in humanistic, we say, "Well, I--I hope you'll get well. See, I--I'm hoping. I'm believing with you, trying to use all the faith I can." That's human.
- Second, is Divine revelation, when something's revealed to you. You just know in your heart it's going to happen, yet there's nothing but just the revelation.
- And third is a vision. 'Course that's THUS SAITH THE LORD. That's perfect and positive.
- Now, it entered up into this realm here. And Something just said to me, "You're going to have a boy, and you'll call his name Joseph."
- Well, I had a little girl. So I thought, "Well..." I praised the Lord for it. And just about a month after that, we found out that we were going to be a parent again, and so I thought maybe that was my Joseph. So it come out, it was a Josephine; it was a girl.
- So many thought that I said that was Joseph. I said, "No, no. I didn't say that was Joseph."
- And some of them said, "Well, didn't you say that you seen a vision of this?" You know how people get things mixed up.
- I said, "I got the tapes on it. See? Come, listen. I never said it was Joseph." I said, "The Lord has put in my heart that I'm going to have a son by the name of Joseph." See? I said, "I don't know how, when, or what, but it's going to be." So I didn't know. "I may have--may have six girls before we have him, but he will be here." Well, that just never left my heart. And we went on.
- In a little closet, way yonder in the north lands You promised this child to me. Father, may Your blessings rest upon Him. Joseph, my boy, I give you to God, and may your life be a blessing. May you be a prophet, Joseph; may God's grace rest on you. May the God of your father, the Lord Jesus Christ ever bless you and make your life a blessing to others. In Jesus Christ's Name I bless this child. Amen.
- I was just talking to my little boy, Joseph. Oh, my. He's quite a boy. You know, I... How many ever remembered being in my meetings that I saw a vision of him coming six years before he got here, told the people about it, and his name would be Joseph?
- Doctor said, "She can't have another baby."
- I said, "Yes, she can."
- So the next one come; it was a girl. So then did I get a razzing. Ministers wrote me letters from everywhere, said, "You meant Josephine, Brother Branham."
- I said, "No, I meant Joseph."
- The doctor said, "She can never have another child."
- I said, "Oh, yes, she can: going to have one more anyhow." So when she got... We know four years later, that she was going to be mother again, and poor little thing, I went up to the--to the, my place and was praying for her. I come back, and she didn't how things was going to go. And I said, "Honey, don't worry. The Lord just said it's 'THUS SAITH THE LORD.' Everything's running just right."
- So she went in, and you know how the waiting fathers walk all the paint off the floor. We were waiting, and I was wondering what was happening. A nurse come down, she said, "Reverend Branham?"
- And I said, "Yes, ma'am."
- She said, "You got a fine seven pound, three ounce boy."
- I said, "Joseph, you been a long time getting here, but daddy's glad to see you."
- She said, "You called him Joseph."
- I said, "That's his name." Certainly. So then...
- You know when he was little, just a little baby, he had a little sister four years old, and one eight: Sarah and Rebekah. And they used to love to bite him to make him cry, just to show he didn't have any teeth, you know, just his gums. They thought that was something. He didn't have any teeth, just his gums showing.
- You know, I remember, little Joseph about six years before he was born. I was over at Minneapolis a praying. I was just reading the life of Joseph, what a wonderful person he was. And then there was... I went into a little closet where I had my clothes hanging, and I pulled the door together. And I was just a weeping and--and thanking the Lord for this Joseph.
- And Something just said to me, not a vision, but Something just said to me, "You'll have a boy, and you'll call his name Joseph."
- So I thought, "Well now, that's fine. I thank You, Lord." So I begin to tell the people about it. Well, immediately, about, oh, about a year later, there was a little baby born in our house. When it was coming on, some of them said, "Is this Joseph?"
- I said, "I don't know." I said, "Can't say that." For our other one had been a girl, four years since. And so then when the little baby was born, it was a little girl. Then you talk about razzing me, especially my brothers, you know, brothers in flesh that said, "I thought it was right every time, Billy?"
- I said, "It is. Just don't worry. He will be here."
- Said, "Oh, yeah. Meda, thirty-five years old, and sectional birth each time. Said, "I know it'll be here."
- I said, "Sure."
- Said, "You sure of that?"
- I said, "I'm positive of it." I said, "God always tells the truth. I'll have a baby and his name will be Joseph."
- And so they said, "It can't be."
- Two years, one year passed, two, three, four, going into the fifth year. No, no Joseph yet.
- After while when Joseph come along, why, I was down at the hospital, and wife was up in the room. :And here come the nurse down. And some of them said, "Is this Joseph?"
- I said, "I don't know." I said, "I know Joseph is coming. I don't when." I said, "He will be here."
- Nurse come down the steps, she said, "Reverend Branham."
- I said, "Yeah."
- Said, "You got a fine seven-pound boy."
- I said, "Joseph, you're a long time getting here. But I'm sure glad you arrived."
- Somehow, when I was in our church. Many of you sprinkle them in baptism, infant baptism; that's all right. We try to follow the Bible. Jesus picked up little children and blessed them. We dedicate them. And in dedication of the little boy at the altar, somehow, I was inspired to say, "Joseph, thou art God's prophet." And maybe when I leave, I pray that a double portion of the Spirit will come upon Joseph for the age to come, if there is one.
- Many of you has heard of Joseph, haven't you? The African people recently sent him a little coat of several colors. I saw him six years before he came, when the doctor said we'd never have another baby, we could not have. Our children had to be caesarean. My mother, my wife's people is that way; they--their babies are all caesarean. And the Lord told me I was going to have this baby, when the doctor said it could not be done, said it just could not be done. I said, "It'll be anyhow." And we waited four years after a vision come that I'd have a boy, and I should call his name Joseph.
- And after that, there was another girl born. Everybody laughed at me and said, "You meant Josephine."
- I said, "No. I meant Joseph, as a boy." He'll perhaps take my place when I'm gone, if Jesus tarries. And four more years, then the doctor was positive there'd never be another one; four more years Joseph arrived.
- You all know about little Joseph. Six years before he come I saw him in a vision. The doctor said my wife could never have another child. I said, "Oh, yes."
- So when the next child was borned, it was a girl. They said, "Uh-huh. You meant, Josephine."
- I said, "I meant Joseph. God never tells lies."
- And so about four years later, she... We knowed she was going to be mother again. They said, "Is this Joseph?"
- I said, "I don't know."
- The doctor said, "She can't have it, Brother Branham."
- I said, "She'll have that one."
- So when the nurse came down, I was walking the carpet off on the floor, you know. And come down, and said, "Reverend Branham?"
- I said, "Yes, ma'am?"
- He said, "You have a fine boy, seven pounds and three ounces."
- And I said, "Joseph, you've been a long time getting here. Daddy's glad to see you."
- And so, she said, "You called him Joseph."
- I said, "That's his name."
- Wife was with me at this meeting and little Joseph. That's been about three years ago. And all of you know the story, or perhaps have read about Joseph. I was taking the life of Joseph... And the doctor had told us we could have no more children after Rebekah was born, because she was a caesarean, and the wife could not have another child.
- And I went into a little closet at Minneapolis, and was weeping there before the Lord. And a vision come down and said, "You will have a son, and you shall call his name Joseph." And so, I begin to announce it to all the people. And so, then waited four years.
- Everybody said, "What about that prophecy about Joseph?"
- I said, "He will be along. Don't worry."
- And then we knew wife was going to be mother again. And so when it was born, it was a girl, Sarah, and everybody got to laughing at me. Said, "I... You meant Josephine, didn't you?"
- I said, "No, I meant Joseph."
- The doctors said, "Mr. Branham," said, "we had better do a little operation here, because your wife cannot, no wise, stand another child."
- I said, "Doctor, don't you dare to touch her. We're going to have a son, and his name's Joseph." :He just scratched his head, and done like that, and walked away.
- And four more years passed. And one day we found out that she was to be mother again. Some of them said, "Is this Joseph?"
- I said, "I don't know." But I said, "I don't know. But Joseph's coming, 'cause God never told me nothing but what was true."
- And so, I went out to the hospital and kissed her as she went up into the room, the delivery room.
- A few minutes, the nurse came down. She said, "Who is Reverend Branham?"
- And I said, "Me."
- And she said, "You have a fine seven-pound boy."
- I said, "Joseph, honey, you've been a long time getting here. Daddy's kind of glad to see you."
- And she said, "You called him Joseph."
- I said, "That's his name."
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