The following are a series of questions and answers between one of our editors (referred to as BTS) and an anonymous Branham minister (referred to as ABM). This series of Q&A relates to William Branham's prophetic ministry. The full text of this question and its answer is below.
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Question 20 - The Vision of the Meetings in South Africa
In 1951 William Branham held a series of successful meetings in Durban, South Africa.
In 1952, William Branham related a vision of a meeting in Durban, South Africa and stated publicly that "I'm going to have a meeting that's going to consist of three hundred thousand people." He also said that the vision was "THUS SAITH THE LORD mark it in your book."
As with most of his visions, it rapidly became confused and soon began to include India as well as Africa.
William Branham visited India in September, 1954. He clearly thought that the vision would be fulfilled during that trip, but later admitted, in his own words, that it wasn't fulfilled:
- ...as many of you might know, the Indian trip wasn't the success that it should've been, because I failed to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, and never recognized it after He give me a vision to go to Africa first and then to India.
In January 1958, he reinterpreted the vision to having him going to India first and then to Africa. In March 1958, he started preparing to go to Africa again and thought that the vision would be fulfilled there:
- I just got my telegram back this morning from Durban, South Africa. The vision where three hundred thousand people will be gathered pretty soon for a meeting which is coming up right away...
However, the plans for this trip fell through and the vision remained unfulfilled. In 1965, plans were again made to go to Africa and again the fulfillment of the vision was clearly anticipated:
- And I--I'm going to South Africa after this. For, oh, my, you know how it is down there where you can't even talk to the people. And there'd be... We're at least expecting three hundred thousand, one single meeting.
But on this final trip the vision again failed to materialized. William Branham's visa was restricted in a way that prohibited him from holding any meetings.
William Branham died just prior to the end of 1965 with the vision remaining unfulfilled.
Explanations for the Failed Vision
People who believe that William Branham is a true prophet explain away this vision in the following ways.
- Some claim that he will rise from the dead to fulfill this vision.
- Others defend William Branham by saying that a failed prophecy has a Biblical precedent in the prophet Jonah, because God told him to prophecy the destruction of Nineveh and it never came to pass.
- Some believe that William Branham’s disobedience resulted in the vision not being fulfilled.
- There are others that believe that the vision was fulfilled in India (even though William Branham himself did not believe this).
- Lastly, there is a group that will ask, "What vision?". This group is the 'faithful' group whose pastors have just never mentioned this vision (and likely never will).
There are a few problems with these explanations:
William Branham will return to fulfill this vision
William Branham died in 1965, and a large stone pyramid now sits on top of his grave in Indiana. However, followers of the the Returned Ministry sect believe that William Branham will raise from the dead to travel to South Africa to hold meetings and accomplish the other unfulfilled visions (such as The Brown Bear Vision).
This is not only a foolish concept but also completely unscriptural.
William Branham's failed vision was no different from Jonah's failed prophecy
“God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon” the people of Nineveh (Jonah 3:10) because they repented. Applying this scripture to William Branham’s life might make sense in the context of the vision of the destruction of Los Angeles (although there was no mass-repentance in L.A. as there was in Nineveh). However, this scripture does not work in the context of a vision of holding meetings in South Africa, as the meetings were to be held to allow people to repent.
Years before the Jonah went to Nineveh, the prophet Jeremiah said that God would withhold his judgement to a Nation that would repent. "The instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, to pull down, and to destroy it, if that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it." (Jeremiah 18:7-8) There is no scriptural precident that says God will relent of a vision that involves the holding of meetings to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
William Branham was disobedient
“Thus Saith The Lord” should be stronger than an individual’s lack of obedience.
Does God permit a prophet to say, "I did something wrong personally and that is why the vision did not come to pass"? There is no example in scripture that suggests that this is the case. It certainly was not the case with Jonah.
There is only one exception for a prophesy not to be fulfilled – and this involves repentance by the person (or nation) being judged. If it was acceptable for one prophet to say "Oops! I made a personal mistake, and that’s why the vision was not fulfilled," then every false prophet would claim this easy-out excuse. For this reason, the Word of God only permits one explanation for a failed vision, because repentance satisfies the wrath of God. That is why Ezekiel says, “Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin.” (Ezekiel 18:30)
The vision was fulfilled
Owen Jorgensen in Book Four of his series, Supernatural: The Life of William Branham effectively states that the vision was fulfilled in William Branham's trip to India in September 1954.
However, this is unacceptable for the following reasons:
- William Branham did not believe that the vision had been fulfilled; and
- There is no support for this outside of William Branham's own statements (which as indicated support the fact that the vision was not fulfilled);
- William Branham was known to wildly exaggerate the number of people attending his meetings.
This appears to be another vision that failed based on William Branham's own assertions. Most message followers succumb to cognitive dissonance and trivialize the vision that even William Branham thought was unfulfilled. But from my standpoint, this is clearly another vision that failed. How do you rationalize William Braham's status as a prophet given the failure of this vision?
EARLY.SPIRITUAL.EXPERIENCES_ HAMMOND.IN SUNDAY_ 52-0713A
- Then just then, He taken me out in the Spirit. Listen, Brother Jackson, you never heard this, none of the rest have. And He set me down at Durban, South Africa, in that same booth, standing there before those tens of thousands, and thousands of people there. And I looked and I seen all that meeting gather together, and fade off to my right. Geographically, I was standing this way. And it faded to the left going this way, turning blue. And then right before me, stood blocked off streets like that, with people standing there, with their hands up praising God. Then He turned me to the east, and looked that way. And I seen people standing there with clouts, like on, like the Indians wear. And there were thousands of them, and they had their hands up air, just a praising God and screaming and praising God. And I couldn't even see the end of them. And just about that time, come a great Angel from heaven, and stood be--over the top of me here, with a big Light. And that Light like on the end of one of these here operating lights on the front of a--of a big locomotive, and begin to throw. And the hillsides were sitting black and standing with people for a mile away nearly.
- And I said, "Oh, are they all black people?" Then He turned my face here in front of me, to Durban again, and there was beautiful white men and women, standing with their hands up in the air, praising God. Then He turned me back again, and the great Light started going way back over the hills and showing. Then the Angel drew near. And I heard Him scream with a Voice, that shook me from the vision. Said, "There'll be three hundred thousand of them in that meeting. THUS SAITH THE LORD mark it in your book." I come out of it. I said, "My Lord and my God. Thanks be to You. I appreciate the stripes and the whipping that You give me for disobeying You. But from this on, Lord, knowingly, if I ever know again, I will never tie myself up with a bunch of nobody else preachers, managers, or no one else, but what I will be free to do what You say do. And I will go just where You say go, and do just what You say do the rest of my life. And I will always try to do just as You say do." And about that time, here He come again. And I seen my Bible rise off the table, and come over to me like this. It was turned over to the place where Paul, in the storm, said, "You should have listened to Me, and not have loosed from Crete, but nevertheless, the Angel of the Lord Who stood by me, and so forth..."
- ...And I said, "Sister Broy, the Angel of the Lord has appeared to me and told me, 'Forget about the ameba. It's going to be all right. And I'm going to have a meeting that's going to consist of three hundred thousand people.' And God," I said, "my ministry is just now beginning." I said, "I want to base it; I want to tear that thing out from where it was, and get rid of all these here leeches, and things a hanging on, so I can get to the people and tell them what's the truth." And that's right. I said, "I'm tired of this and the man-made stuff anyhow. And I'm going to be where God can use me. I'm going to live right in that channel, as long as I live."
GOD.TESTIFYING.OF.HIS.GIFTS HAMMOND.IN 52-0713E
- Now, and I thank you from the depths of my soul for your offering. I will do all that I can to glorify God. I'm trying my best now to get back to... I'm sure by... I told you the vision this afternoon, and there will be a meeting that I will hold somewhere, and I believe it's in India, near Bombay, that there'll be three hundred thousand people, and I don't know how many converts there will be in that meeting, probably run up to a hundred and fifty, two hundred thousand people, converted. And the little fragments that's left over this afternoon and tonight, will go for that purpose.
FAITH.IN.THE.SON.OF.GOD HAMMOND.IN 52-0715
- Now, it's my lot to do the preaching; Brother Baxter and them does the preaching; I pray for the sick. And I trust that God will make Hisself known to you tonight in a great marvelous way. Now, we just have a few nights left in this meeting, this campaign. The good Lord willing, Monday, we leave for Zion, Illinois. And just from there, I--I'm just kind of going on impressions, the way that He seems to be leading me. I had one meeting that I'm going to. I know where that meeting is. That meeting is in--in one of them in South Africa, the other one is in India. And that's going to be a real meeting. That's going to be where God makes Hisself known to three hundred thousand people.
THOU.KNOWEST.ALL.THINGS HAMMOND.IN 52-0716
- Now, I seen a vision. I seen the people. It looked to me like Indians. I don't know what they were, but they had clouts wrapped around them. They were praising God, and there was... It was in a field like. There was just so many people, that went back up over there, and a Light came down from heaven, a oscillating Light and went through there showing the people. And the Angel of the Lord called a number of them, and I heard the number: three hundred thousand. That would be six times the size of Durban's meeting, where we had thirty thousand converts that day.
- I trust to God, there'll be three hundred thousand won to Christ at that day. But it's a coming. It must be. I don't know where. I don't know when, but I know it will be.
- And you people setting here in this audience tonight, will hear of the meeting. Where it'll be, I believe it'll be in India. It looked like Indians to me. I could see them, and I was at the Durban meeting. I seen it going away into history, turning blue. I looked in front of me and there was still more people, thousands, greater than the first crowd was there. I believe I will be at Durban again. Then He turned to the left and I looked, and there was so many people, innumerable.
- Now remember, keep that on your mind. Write it on a piece of paper; lay it in your Bible; put it on the flyleaf somewhere. You'll hear through the magazine: "Brother Branham had a meeting," (somewhere in Orients, or down in India, I believe, or Africa, somewhere), "where three hundred thousand people attended the meeting."
WHO.HAS.BELIEVED.OUR.REPORT HAMMOND.IN 52-0720E
- And as soon as our Lord tells me the hour, the time to move, I'm going into Africa, and from there to India, where I will fulfill a vision that God has given me of three hundred thousand people. And you remember to keep that in mind. And you'll see it appear in different places. And now, you remember, that is the truth. God has spoken that, and it will be so.
FAITH.AFRICA.TRIP.REPORT ZION.IL 52-0725
- And about that time, I heard Something coming right above me, and here come down a great Light out of heaven. And It was like an oscillating Light, and It went way back over the field, for about a half a mile or more. And there was nothing but a solid mass of people, just standing, packed in.
I said, "O Lord, are all those black men?"
- And then He turned me back to this group here in front of me again. There was beautiful, white people, standing with their hands up in the air like this, praising God.
- Then He turned me back again like that. And then the Angel come real near; I could tell He'd been here. And I heard the number that He called. Remember this. He said, "There's three hundred thousand of those in that very meeting."
- I came to myself. I heard His number. Remember, I'm going to hold a meeting somewhere east of Durban, I believe in India, that'll consist of three hundred thousand people. That's before it comes to pass, that you might know. Just as I have said, about the little boy being raised in Finland. Many of you heard that testimony before it was ever--before we even left the United States, a year before, that little boy would be raised from the dead, and so forth.
FAITH.AFRICA.TRIP.REPORT_ BATTLE.CREEK.MI SATURDAY_ 52-0816
- And then, one night He came down in a vision. Oh, you'll never know how it feels. He walked down there. I was laying in the room. He came to me and He said, "Now, don't fear." My sin was forgiven. He told me what was going to happen. And He said, "Now, it's going to go away from you; you'll be all right." Said, "Don't disobey no more, 'cause I've told you." He said, "Now, you're going to take a meeting," and He set me down, "again at Durban, South Africa." And I seen a little meeting, there was many, many thousands standing into the blue, to the West. Setting before me, set tens of thousands of people. And He told me, said, "Turn to your right." When I turned to my right, a great Light came down from heaven, hung over where I was. It was an oscillating Light. And in there were men dressed half, like this, with something wrapped around, little skinny-looking men, with their hands up in the air, a praising God.
- And I said, "They look like indians." And then this Light came down, an oscillating Light, and went way back over the world, and there was thousands times thousands of them in there. And then, I said, "Are they all black people?" And He put it down in front of me...?... They were white people. And I looked back this way, and they were this Indian-type people. And I said... And then it was showed real close to me, and I heard the number that It called.
- He said, "There's three hundred thousand of them in that meeting." Now, mark that down in your book. And see if there isn't a meeting held that and see if there's three hundred thousand people. That's before it comes to pass, that you might know.
EXPECTANCY BATTLE.CREEK.MI 52-0817A
- According to the vision that the Lord has given me in--to return to Durban, and then from there to Bombay or somewhere up in India. And you just remember what I have told you last evening about the vision that the Lord gave, and see if it isn't just exactly that way.
DO.YOU.NOW.BELIEVE_ BATTLE.CREEK.MI SUNDAY_ 52-0817E
- Recently when we was talking to a missionary from India, where God has told me to go to, where I will have a crowd of three hundred thousand people in one meeting... Notice, in that same man, he said, "There's only one thing Brother Branham, that'll ever stir the people of India from those Mohammedans, and idolaters and so forth, it'll take the real power of God. Where demons when they rise up, the power of God there is to let them down. Be sure you know what you're talking of.
ISRAEL.AND.THE.CHURCH.1 JEFF.IN IC 1-34 53-0325
- And I'm going to a meeting now where three hundred thousand people will be set. And I say this from my heart. Did you ever hear me predict anything in the Name of the Lord but what was just exactly that way? Ask wherever you want to, anywhere through the world. And look at the hundreds and hundreds of things that He said. Surely, I know what I'm speaking of. Not for myself, Christ in here.
ISRAEL.AND.THE.CHURCH.2 JEFF.IN 53-0326
- And then the Lord gave the vision, and said, "In India, that three hundred thousand people attend one meeting." You write that down, see if that's right or not.
ISRAEL.AND.THE.CHURCH.5 JEFF.IN 53-0329
- Then He set Me down at Durban, South Africa, where we had a hundred thousand people in the meeting, the last meeting. Had thirty thousand converts in one day, when they seen what the Lord had did, how He done the great and mighty works. And there, then I was setting back there again; He showed me another crowd just like it showed that crowd passing away.
- Then He turned me this way, and an Angel came down with a light, flash it on. I just seen oceans of people, and they were Indians wrapped in Indian garb. He told me, said... And I seen the Angel come real near. And I said, "Who are these people?"
- And He, the other Angel who was standing by me, the One that you see back there in the picture, well, He--He come near me; He said, "There's three hundred thousand of those in that meeting."
- Now, you mark it in your Bible, and watch what the report is. When I return from India, there'll be three hundred thousand people attend the meeting there at one time. I look for a hundred thousand conversions at one time. See? It's the only thing that'll stem the tide of Communism now, when forty percent of India has already turned Communist.
GOD'S.PROVIDED.WAY_ JONESBORO.AR WEDNESDAY_ 53-0513
- I'm going home now, to get ready for Africa, and India, and Palestine, Germany, many places overseas. Our Lord just give us the greatest meeting in Africa. We had thirty thousand converts in one day, and thirty thousand in one day. And when they seen the glory of God coming down, the missionaries has been over there telling them about it. Then when they seen our Lord come in and do just what, that they been taught He would do... I asked for the altar call, and thirty thousand raw heathens come to Jesus Christ at one time. And we had about three or four meetings. There was a hundred thousand altogether, but thirty thousand with one altar call.
- So we're going right back to the same place again, where the Lord has promised me by a vision... Many of you wants to hear about if a vision speaks and what it will come to pass. Now, you write this in your Bible, like you did the--the little boys to be resurrected from the dead in Finland. You remember that? You seen it in "The Voice of Healing" and so forth after two years it had been predicted.
- We're going to have a meeting there, which will--will be three times the size of the other one. There will be three hundred thousand people in the meeting. See if that isn't true.
DEMONOLOGY.RELIGIOUS.REALM CONNERSVILLE.IN 53-0609A
- And I noticed that over to my left, when that Angel come down and I seen a swarm-like there. And they were men with, looked like they'd a--a sheet around them like this, and it wrapped up and tied, like around a small baby, the napkin. And it was. And I could just see as far as I could see; it was nothing but people. And then this Angel turned on a great oscillating light, and begin to sway back and forth like that. And I never seen so many people in my life.
- And then this other Angel come real close to me, and He said, "There's three hundred thousand of them in that meeting." And I've got it written down here. And you write it in some kind of a piece of paper, like I told about the little boy being resurrected in Finland. You write that on the flyleaf of your Bible or somewhere, that in this meeting there's going to be a meeting, that... And you'll hear it through some outlet, of three hundred thousand people attend that meeting. Now, see if that isn't right. That'll be three times the size the other one was. See? Three hundred thousand people to attend the meeting. And I'm just so happy to get to get there, I don't know what to do, for I like to win souls to our Lord.
- And there, at one time, seeing--seeing thirty thousand raw heathens come to Jesus Christ in one altar call, thirty thousand raw heathen...
FAITH.WITHOUT.WORKS.IS.DEAD CHICAGO.IL 53-0905
- And one morning He came... I ain't got time to tell what takes place there but, oh, it was marvelous. He came into the room. That's the morning He told me; here's the vision wrote out right here about India and Africa, written right on my fly leaf of the Bible here, and any of you that wants a copy of it can sure have it. And you mark that down and see if it isn't word by word how it'll come to pass.
- See if there isn't three hundred and fifty thousand people comes to God in India when we get there. See if that isn't right. See if it don't appear in these magazines and things just the same way. Just like the little boy in Finland and so forth, it's God foretelling things what will come.
AFRICA.TRIP.REPORT_ OWENSBORO.KY MONDAY_ 53-1109
- And I looked up, and here came another Angel. This One standing by my side was the same Man that always talks. And here come another One from heaven, and He had great oscillating Light turned on. And this Angel caught me by the shoulders and turned me to the east. And as I looked to the east, I never seen so many people in all my life, and they wasn't Africans. They looked like they... They had a--a sheet wrapped around them like this, and just pulled it up and stuffed it down like the Indians wear, up around Calcutta, and up in that way. And they were little bitty, skinny men. And they had their hands up, just a praising God, and a screaming my name as loud as they could to come that way.
- And I looked, and the Angel that stood just above me then, He was a great, mighty looking Fellow too. And He had this great light in His hand, oscillating. And He turned It on, and It went way back through the hills. And just as far as I could see, was nothing but a solid mass of people.
- And then, the Angel that was standing near me, when I seen all of that turning that way, He said... I heard the number just as plain as you hear me. He said, "There's three hundred thousand of those in that Branham meeting."
- ...And mark it in your Bible, that you will hear this, that I was in India, or somewhere east of Africa, Tanganyika, somewhere where Indians are at, somewhere in that eastern country which I believe will be India, itself, where there'll be three hundred thousand people, either they will be attending the meeting, or they'll be...
FAITH CHICAGO.IL 53-1213E
- Like Doctor Palai is going over to India. He said, "Well, Brother Branham, shall I--shall..." And these converts, they claim to be a million in the congregation. God has promised three hundred and fifty thou--three hundred thousand in the converts. And he said, "What shall we do with them? Shall we all take them into the Anglican church?"
DO.YOU.NOW.BELIEVE PHOENIX.AZ 54-0307E
- And here's what will take place: The Angel of the Lord which come to me and told me to return to Africa... And He set me down in Africa and showed me a greater meeting than was there at the first time.
- Then while I was standing there, while another Angel come down from the heavens. He looked like some sort of a red like garment. But He was above me, and He--He turned me to the east. And I seen all the African people here. The African people are sturdy, heavy built, but these were thin-like people, looked like they had a--like a--a blanket around them, and it had been pulled up and stuffed down like this. And I couldn't recognize any. But oh, there were so many more than they was of these African people.
- And this Angel, above me, turned on a great big operating light, and begin to show back, like that. And just as far as I could see, was nothing but people. And it was up over hills and valleys. And they looked like Indians. And then when this Angel above me spoke to the Angel that's always with me, up side the big fellow, kind of dark complected, hair down to His shoulders, folded His arms, He was standing here by my side.
- I heard Him tell this One standing by me, and the Voice was so strong that it broke me out of the vision, said, "There's three hundred thousand of those in that meeting." Mark that down, for it's THUS SAITH THE LORD. His Word comes to pass.
- When the archbishop of India came to my place, recently, and received the Baptism of the Holy Ghost, Archbishop Palai, he said, "Brother Branham, the way they're looking for you there, so that meant converts." Said, "I'll assure you, there'll be anywhere from a half to a million people in your congregation." He said, "All India's awaiting."
- And with this vision to back it up, watch what our Lord will do. See? I'm expecting a half a million converts in my journey. We go to Africa, to India, to Palestine, to Luxembourg, and Frankfurt, back to London, and then back home; and then down in South--Australia, New Zealand, and down in there. Now, perhaps, maybe I'll get to see you after I come back from overseas.
QUESTIONS.AND.ANSWERS JEFF.IN 54-0515
- "What are you going to teach us, how to drink whiskey? That's what you all do over there in your churches: smoke cigarettes? Going to teach us how to divorce our wives and so forth?" Said, "If you're going to do that, we don't want it." And said, "You're coming over here with some new theology or something another; you're going to try to teach us some of the Word; we know more about it than you do." And that's right. He said, "But if you're coming to demonstrate what the Word says, we'll receive it." Amen. There you are. That's the thing they're hungering for.
- Mark my word; write it in the pages of your Bible, for it's THUS SAITH THE LORD, "Remember, when we land in India, you're going to hear of tens of thousands times thousands being saved." The Holy Spirit has said it; I've wrote it here in my Bible; it's wrote in tens of thousands of Bibles right here, like the resurrection of the little boy. By a vision that He said, "There's three hundred thousand of them in there." And you see if that isn't right. There's how the Gospel's going to be preached just overnight. She'll just sweep like that from place to place.
DIVINE.HEALING DES.MOINES.IA 54-0620E
- Now, on with the vision. And He came to me again, never did that before in my life, not over one time at a time. But this time, It come five straight times. And It came again, and I asked how to conduct my meetings. As some tell me about Brother Roberts, and others, how they pray for so many. And He said unto me, "Just as you are led to do."
- Then He came again, and I seen an Angel, which speaks to me, stands by my right side, and I was setting in Africa, at Durban, the same place, right where I left off and failed the Lord. He was sending me right back again to begin.
- I saw great throngs of people, but the meeting raised into the air, and faded away as a shadow. I looked back and saw again; there was many people setting, even greater than the first meeting. Then the Angel which was speaking to me, turned me to the east, which would be that way. And there was so many people, that I couldn't even numerate. They went over hills, and an Angel, smaller than the One which was standing by me, came from the--above with a light, a oscillating light, and it showed over the hills at the people. And they looked like Indians, half dressed. They were rejoicing and praising God as I spoke to them. And I heard the Angel, which was above me, say to the Angel standing by my side, "There are three hundred thousand of those in that Branham meeting." And see if that's right or not.
- ..."Why," I said, "Why?" And the man was gone. And I went into the other room, and asked if they had seen anything like it; wife hadn't let him into the house; he... No one knowed nothing about him. And then that night, after the house was empty, I went in and was laying down along about one o'clock in the morning, and I dreamed that I shouldn't go over to Africa till--or India until September. I come in, woke up my wife, and told her. We set there a little while, I went back in again and dreamed the same dream again. And we said, "Maybe it's the Lord, don't want me to go over." And I went in, I said, "Lord, then I accept the vision as being You warning me, and the two dreams also not to go till September." I went to sleep and slept like a baby. So we go in September in the Name of Jesus Christ. Watch what happens. I know our Lord will be good to us. He promised it.
SOUTH.AFRICA.TESTIMONY NEW.YORK.NY 54-0902
- And oh, my, the people just like ocean waves, and I couldn't see the end of them. And I heard Him looking up this way, talking to someone else. And I looked, and here come a smaller man than him, and He had a big oscillating light in His hand. And He had this light, and He turned this light on, and it begin to oscillate, throwing over the crowd.
- And then I heard this Angel here, speak to this Angel here, saying, "There's three hundred thousand of those in that Branham meeting. And the man, I looked at them; they was rejoicing and shouting. But they didn't look like African people, short, heavy people. They were thin people, and looked like they'd had, looked like a sheet around them, then it just picked it up and stuffed it down in their clothes like this, just like a, oh, just a sheet wrapped around them like this. And I recognized it to be Indians.
- And I told him the story. I said, "The Angel of the Lord appeared to me last night. He forgive my sin for listening to them preachers and not God." I said, "My sins are forgiven. And I'm going to return back to Africa and India and around again."
THE.WORD.BECAME.FLESH.INDIA.TRIP.REPORT JEFF.IN 54-1003M
- There's a woman, went over there, Mrs. Dowd. I don't know whether you ever heard of her or not. Oh, such a disgrace that was in India. That's the reason we couldn't even have our meetings in the open air.
INDIA.TRIP.REPORT LIMA.OH 57-0126B
- I had been very much constrained to go to--to India. And yet, as many of you might know, the Indian trip wasn't the success that it should've been, because I failed to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, and never recognized it after He give me a vision to go to Africa first and then to India.
I.STAND.AT.THE.DOOR.AND.KNOCK JEFF.IN 57-1208
- Only last night on the fly leaf of my Bible, when it was sometime ago, in a vision that the Lord had given me and I spoke it to the church... And then He said to me, "Go to Africa then back to India."
- I said, "Yes, Lord." And when Mr. Baxter told me in Canada, or in Chicago, said, "Let's go to India. Let them Afrikaans alone. They won't cooperate with us right."
- "All right," I said. I forgot it. When I went home, the Angel of the Lord met me between the two rooms, a Pillar of Fire, a Light, the same One there. And He said, "You go to Africa like I said go."
- And a year later they talked me into it again and I forgot it. I didn't write it down. And I was with my boy there in Portuguese, Lisbon, Portuguese. And I was stricken down sick all night. And the next morning I was going into the bathtub to take a little shower. And on my road in there, there stood the Angel of the Lord, said, "I thought I told you to go to Africa first."
- Then not only till a few days ago, when I made arrangements for Africa this year... They're over there making it now. And last night I was reading in the vision. And God knew that I would fail that. And in the vision... I never seen it till last night, and I called Brother Sothmann, Leo, and all of them around. The vision said "You'll go to India first and then back to Africa." See, I--I wrote it myself. I wrote the thing myself.
- Jumped from the bed where I was setting, early one morning, and seen Him come in the room. And I wrote down just exactly what it said, as He--He was telling me there. And I read it over many, many, many times and never noticed it. And last night when I called the boys, there it is right on the fly leaf of my Bible where many, many people has read it. It said, "There'll come a half-dressed people, and--and I preach to them. They was rejoicing. Then a Light flashed on, afterwards, and showed the white and black together in Africa." Never seen it, looking right at it, our eyes open.
- "God, open my eyes that I might see. Let me look past curtains of time, Lord. Let me just see, Lord, what's around me. Let me see what's fixing to happen."
THE.QUEEN.OF.SHEBA CHICAGO.IL 58-0107
- Here sometime ago a vision came and told me about going to Africa. And I thought that it meant go to Africa first, then to India. And the Lord spoke to me and told me to go to Africa first, and then to India. Well I thought that compared with the vision.
- And then I forgot about it and went to India first and then He condemned me at Portuguese, as you know the story. And said, "I thought I said to you 'Go to Africa first.'" And then I was condemned. And I thought all the time, and now it just comes up, the revelation begins to push me for Africa, and I read in the vision, and the vision really said, "Go to India first and back to Africa." It's just exactly the way it's going to happen.
- Now, see, the Lord spoke to me, knowing that I would fail, but the vision can't fail. It's what God has already said and it cannot fail. The vision, I've got it wrote in an flyleaf of my Bible. I will bring it down maybe and let you see it. How that it really reads that I will go to India first and then back to Africa; but He told me to go to Africa first and then to India, knowing that I would fail, but the vision can never fail. God has spoke it. It's got to be that way.
- ...Look, even that vision, I wrote the vision out myself, and read it over a thousand times or more. I didn't see that I was supposed to go to India first. I thought I was supposed to go to Africa first. But then when this hour comes, here it is written right out in my own hand. See? I just couldn't see it. It was blinded to me till I went ahead and disobeyed God, that He might correct me and show that His Words are eternal and can't fail. See? I just couldn't read it that way.
THE.GREAT.COMMISSION CHATTANOOGA.TN 58-0301B
- The meeting in India not long ago, I want to tell you the infallibility of visions. And in... I'd had a vision recently of going over to India and into Africa. And the Lord had told me; He said, "You go to Africa first, then up to India." And through some mix-ups and so forth, the manager said to me...
- And I wrote the vision immediately after I'd--I had the vision that morning. And then when the manager, as we call him that for the time being, had made an arrangements to go into India. And he--he didn't kinda like Africa very much. So he said to me in Chicago; he said, "Brother Branham, let's just bypass Africa and go on to India."
- I said, "That is up to you, brother; wherever the Lord wants me to labor, all right."
- ...Now, so in Africa, He didn't want to go. And I said, "All right, we won't go." Then, on the road back I went to my room. And when I did, there was a Light hanging there at the door. He said, "You go to Africa like I said." I called brother back in a few minutes and said, "We're going to Africa."
- I waited for a year, and finally how I done it I don't know, but another way come up. I found my road on my way back to India. When I--I meet--met Lisbon, Portuguese, where I was to have a meeting there and go on over and had a healing service right in the shadows of the Vatican city in Rome...
- ...Well, I went on. He told me to go on up to India, which I did. And then when I come back thinking, for four years now, that I disobeyed the Lord. And when I... Looking on that vision wrote out, which I've read it hundreds of times. The vision said that I would go to India first, and then back to Africa. But He told me to go to Africa first and then to India, showing that God knew that I would fail Him, but His Word, what He said, can't fail. The vision actually reads that I would go to Africa first, or to India first and then back to Africa. That's where I'm on my road to now, just as soon as I can get through with about twenty or thirty meetings I got between now and July, and we go to Africa. Brother, our dear Brother David duPlessis there, has been over, and talking to the brethren and so forth, to get together.
- In India, I'd like to quote the meeting though, just how--what taken place. When we went in there, there was no unity, brethren all separated. One church had sponsored me, and the rest of them wouldn't come in with it 'cause they didn't like that church. See, there you are.
- ...In that meeting that night when they started, there was Rajahs on pillows, and there was the Mohammedans, and the Buddhas, and it taken me better than two and a half hours to even get to the stand where I was going to preach. The mayor estimated that if I stayed the three days, or the five days I was supposed to stay, that it to be five hundred thousand outside people in Bombay. They'd heard; they'd come.
- And I thought, "Well, if these preachers don't want to cooperate, let them alone then." But I made a mistake. I should've turned and come back till I got cooperation. Because that night when we went to the meeting... You couldn't give out prayer cards; there's no way of doing it. So we had the militia to kind of bring up one at a time.
JESUS.CHRIST.THE.SAME.YESTERDAY.TODAY.AND.FOREVER_ MIDDLETOWN.OH SUNDAY_ 58-0323
- And I just want say this, the many who knows me, and my friends are in here tonight, I just got my telegram back this morning from Durban, South Africa. The vision where three hundred thousand people will be gathered pretty soon for a meeting which is coming up right away... Oh, I'm so thankful for that. Dr. Vayle, I don't know whether you... Yeah, I believe I did tell you in the lobby awhile ago that we had gotten back now. I guess we will... The letter of details will coming soon.
RECOGNIZING.YOUR.DAY.AND.ITS.MESSAGE JEFF.IN 64-0726M
- You remember me standing in Cairo, to go up there, when Lewi Pethrus said, "Brother Branham, if they'd ever see that... They believe their prophets."
- I said, "It's a good thing for me." See how man is? But see the grace of God? I said, "I'll read this New Testament." They read It. Lewi sent them, over a million, over there, Brother Lewi Pethrus from Sweden. They would read It, coming up-and-down there, them Jews; not like this modern bunch of Jews, but in their homeland. And come down, he said, "If this be the Messiah, let us see him do the sign of the prophet, we'll believe it."
- Lewi Pethrus said, "Brother Branham, there is the opportunity. There is the opportunity. Someone told me that, that it would be an opportunity. I got ride," said, "right down to it."
- Some man come over and set there, Brother Arganbright, said, "Brother Branham, that would just alarm Israel! Bring them out before It, and show the sign of the prophet. They'll believe it."
- I said, "Lord, here I am, ready." Jumped on the plane; took the money and got me a ticket; stopped in Cairo. Said, "Yeah, I'm ready."
- The Holy Spirit said, "This is not your place. This is not your time." See, you get ahead of yourself. I thought, "Oh, my! I come way over here; I'm--I'm going to go."
- Something said, "Stop right here! Don't you go that way. Turn on in into India. Don't go that. Go over to India, but don't you go here."
DOES.GOD.CHANGE.HIS.MIND LA.CA 65-0427
- And I--I'm going to South Africa after this. For, oh, my, you know how it is down there where you can't even talk to the people. And there'd be... We're at least expecting three hundred thousand, one single meeting.
AFRICA JOHANNESBURG.SOUTH.AFRICA 65-0527
- Brother William Marrion Branham expressed his desire to take the Message to Africa in this statement on Thursday evening, May 27, 1965, outside of a house in Johannesburg, South Africa, as an interpreter translated it into Afrikaans. He spoke about this Africa trip in his next Message, Ashamed, July 11, 1965. Due to its brevity (3 minutes, 40 seconds), it is placed here at the end of "Ashamed."--Ed.
- This is one of the highest moments of my life. I have waited fifteen years for this time. My heart has longed to see you again, ever since I left you. I have prayed very much, to get to come back. And a few weeks ago, I was under great anticipation, believing that I would get to come and have a meeting. But when I got the visa, "restricted," I almost had a heart attack. I wanted to come so bad!
- But I still believe that, through God, I will minister again, in the Name of the Lord Jesus, among the people of Africa. God has promised to give us the desire of our heart, and that's one of the desires of my heart.
ASHAMED JEFF.IN 65-0711
- I had planned on, so hard, coming back; burdened in the heart. I just returned from Africa, as you all know. And when I got over there, I had a restricted visa, and wouldn't let me, wouldn't let me preach because it gathers too many together. They're expecting an uprise there at any time, and--and they--they wouldn't let me preach because of that gathering too many people together. The only way I could, would to have some organization that's represented by the government, in the government, to invite me over, then that would automatically let the government send out a militia for protection. See, they're just... There is just going to be an uprise, and that's all there is to it. It's just right in hand, see. That government man said, "The last time he was here, he had about a quarter of a million people together." And he said, "Then, you see, that would just be the very thing that communism is looking for, for an uprise." So, I couldn't preach.
- And so I, when I started to go over, I'm telling you, I never had so much trouble in all my life, of trying to get there. And then at the very last minute, very last minute to go, here was wrote across my visa, "Cannot anticipate in any kind of religious service; can only come hunting." Well, then, it was rank.
- But I said, "I don't care what the Devil does, I--I can't... I can't voucher for what Brother Jackson said about yellow-mane lion, and this, that, or the other. I--I can't vouch it. But I do know God told me to 'see Sidney Jackson, and go hunting.'"And I said, "I'm going." And sometime... And I had one of the greatest trips.
- I found out what the trouble was. Now I think, about October, the Lord willing, I can go back and have a meeting and everything, full cooperation, everything else, see, in Africa now. I got to the bottom of it and found out where it was at, what caused it. Up here, writing, this one has got this to say, and something's got something to say, and this one there. The best thing to do, is go find out, yourself. And I know where the trouble was, and what the reason of it was; it was because of so many people gathering together, the government wouldn't let me have it.
Response from ABM
Another case of misinterpretation?
As with other visions, it is important to separate the vision from Bro. Branham's personal interpretations. First, it is not clear why he believes the vision was Durban. Was it his own thought, or was it from God? Additionally, what made him think this meeting was his meeting or had anything to do with him? This is also not explained. There is enough ambiguity in the things he says to give us cause to doubt if he is properly interpreting the vision. He has been proven multiple times to have misinterpreted his visions. He even admitted to doing so himself. Perhaps he was seeing another evangelist's meeting, or perhaps he was seeing something from another place. In any event, the only words spoke to him were "There's three hundred thousand of those in that meeting." Nothing else was directly spoken to him as interpretation of the vision. So when we separate the prophetic gift from a man's interpretation, we easily find no problem with this vision. Multiple evangelists have had crowds over 300,000 in Africa and India.
Disobedience to God
I, however, am of the belief that this vision failed to come to pass because of his disobedience to God. This was his own belief, which is why I favor it. It is important to note in the original telling of the vision itself, he made promise to God as follows:
- But from this on, Lord, knowingly, if I ever know again, I will never tie myself up with a bunch of nobody else preachers, managers, or no one else, but what I will be free to do what You say do. And I will go just where You say go, and do just what You say do the rest of my life. And I will always try to do just as You say do."
Yet we find he failed to keep his word to God. God had instructed him to go to Africa in this vision. But when opportunity to go there came, he let other men convince him to go to India instead. God had shown and told him what could have been, but in his failure to obey, he failed to receive the potential of what could have been. Do not overlook the more important aspect of this vision and its full application: Bro. Branham was not fully doing the will of God in his early ministry. He was allowing men lead him and set the agenda, rather than God. God was attempting to pull him out of that situation, and get him to change course. As a "carrot" to change course, God showed him if he would travel to Africa, he would have a meeting with 300,000 attendees. This vision was personal leadership for Bro. Branham's life, which I believe is distinct from a prophecy.
In your comments, you use the story of Jonah, but the story of Moses is more fitting for the circumstance. There are other even more compelling examples.
There is a distinction between a prophecy and the personal leadership of God in someone's life. God can show someone a possible future for them, which is contingent on them obeying him. One example is Moses. In Exodus 3:14-17 God plainly says that he was going to take Moses into the promised land. But he failed to obey God, and God did not fulfill to Moses what he offered. (Was God lying to Moses when said he would take him to the promised land? God did not even mention a contingency when he spoke the promise to Moses.) Much of what God offers to mankind is in the form of a covenant. Both sides have a responsibility in their covenant. If both sides fulfill their obligation under the covenant, then the promised offered by it is granted. But if one party fails, then the reward offered by the covenant is withheld. God offers us very few things unconditionally. Bro. Branham failed to keep his side of the covenant with God and go to Africa, and instead went back on his word and let men convince him to go to India instead.
Can God's word fail?
Of course God's word cannot fail. God told Moses he would take him to the Land of Israel, but he never did. God cannot be a liar. Moses, after his Resurrection, will indeed go to the Land of Israel. What God promised to him will be fulfilled, just not as quickly as it could have been. Likewise, I see no reason this vision of Bro. Branham cannot be fulfilled after his Resurrection in the Millennium. Bro. Branham will be among the number of saints who will reign with Christ as Kings and Priests. Could a resurrected Bro. Branham stand before a crowd of 300,000 in Durban and speak during the Millennium? I do not see why not. Someone is going to be teaching the natural people of the earth the gospel during the Millennium, and Bro. Branham will be one of those people, along with all the other resurrected saints.
It is possible to both interpret this vision as having failed due to disobedience, but yet still available to be fulfilled in the future, just like the word of God spoken to Moses promising him that he would enter into the Land of Israel that will one day be fulfilled.
Once again, this is not grounds to declare him a false prophet. If it is, then we must also declare Moses a false prophet because he failed to enter the Land of Israel (along with all the people he had delivered) when he wrote in the bible that God had promised him it would happen.
Further clraification from ABM
You state "Most message followers succumb to cognitive dissonance and trivialize the vision that even William Branham thought was unfulfilled. But from my standpoint, this is clearly another vision that failed." I agree with this statement in part, I agree the vision was most certainly not fulfilled.
You ask "How do you rationalize William Braham's status as a prophet given the failure of this vision?" As I noted in my answer, In Exodus 6, God plainly said to Moses "I will bring you in unto the land, concerning the which I did swear to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob." God made no contingency on this promise, and it was his word. Yet, Moses and all the people he spoke it two (save Joshua and Caleb) died in the wilderness and did not receive what God had promised them. God spoke that word to the children of Israel by Moses. Was Moses a false prophet because the promise made by God through him failed? Did it fail? (These are rhetorical statements) Moses was a true prophet and his word from God was true. But because of disobedience, Moses died in the wilderness and never was taken to the promised land. (Duet 1:37) his situation is much like Bro. Branham's. A promise of a great thing to happen failed because of his disobedience. However, God's word cannot fail. He cannot lie. Therefore, we have to conclude that eventually God's promise to Moses will be fulfilled, after his resurrection. Then he will go to the promised land. Just the same, God's word to Bro. Branham will come to pass, after his resurrection in the millennium. This situation with this particular vision is within biblical precedence.
Along this same line, we could look at most of the prophets of the bible. Moses prophesied things that still have not came to pass. Isaiah prophesied things that have still not yet come to pass. Zechariah, Haggai, Daniel, on and on. In fact, almost every significant prophet of the bible has prophecies which remain unfulfilled after their death. And for none of them is it grounds to disqualify them as a prophet, instead we understand that their visions have some future fulfillment. Bro. Branham is the same, and I see no biblical reason that this vision cannot have a fulfillment in the Millennium.