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The Basics: William Branham's Doomsday Predictions

First (verified) doomsday prediction. Click to view
William Branham was a doomsday prophet. By this, we mean to say that throughout his ministry, Branham continually predicted dates for what he declared to be impending Armageddon. These predictions appear to be used as fear tactics for the sole purpose of "scaring" his prey into his version of religion. According to witness testimony, this strategy was successful. Many cult escapees remember January 1, 1978 very vividly -- shocked to see the world still standing after midnight December 31, 1977.

Throughout 1977, cult books were published, ads were placed in newspapers, and ministers preached around the globe that the End of Days was at hand. In Tucson, Arizona, the urgency of 1977 was so strong that it reached the Tucson Daily Citizen. The title of the article stressed the fear that cult leaders had brought upon their congregations, "Worshipers believe world to end in '77" Towards the end of the article, it appears that the news reporter brought up the subject of mind control. Cult pastor Pearry Green discussed a young girl who was "abducted" from a Branham cult group in Minnesota by "professional cult deprogrammers."

Read the full article here: Tucson Daily Citizen, Saturday January 22, 1977

But William Branham's doomsday predictions did not begin with 1977. Throughout his publications and recordings, one can identify several years in which Branham stressed impending doom. So far, we have identified 9 different years which Branham either openly declared prediction of Armageddon or passively warned his listeners or readers.

  • 1948 (1948 issues of Voice of Healing, William Branham listed as "Publisher")
  • 1954 (54-0513 #33)
  • 1956 (56-0212 #12)
  • 1962 (62-0518 #112)
  • 1975 (64-0705 #76)
  • 1977 (61-0806 #196)
  • 1983 (63-1229M #219)
  • 1999 (63-1124E #320)
  • 2000 (63-1229M #219)

When researchers investigate Branham's doomsday predictions, they often find information on Branham's 1977 doomsday prediction. This is likely because the most common date Branham declared in his sermons was 1977, and the cult published propaganda supporting this claim. Branham himself would have been approximately 70 years old in 1977 (according to census data and statements by his parents), which was longer than the average lifespan when he began making the claim. Did Branham purposefully choose a date that would occur after his death?

As a result, if asked about Branham's "doomsday predictions," cult victims often defend the 1977 claim. Branham himself claimed that his "prediction" was different than "prophecy," and most cult victims are unaware of the other years Branham declared.

Then I seen the United States as one smoldering, burnt-over place. It will be near the end. (Then I've got in parenthesis: "I predict that this will take place." Now, remember, the Lord ne... That's what the Lord showed, but "I predict this will take place before 1977.") Upon this prediction, I base, because of the onrushing slaught that's coming now, how fast that it was moving, how long it'll take till this nation meets its place.
- Branham, 60-1113 - Condemnation By Representation

This gets problematic when researchers find Branham's writings. In his book, "An Exposition Of The Seven Church Ages," Branham claimed that his "prediction" was based upon "divine revelation," which is by definition a "prophecy":

So I repeat, I sincerely believe and maintain as a private student of the Word, along with Divine inspiration that 1977 ought to terminate the world systems and usher in the millennium.
- Branham, An Exposition Of The Seven Church Ages - Chapter Nine - The Laodicean Church Age

The issue becomes even more problematic when one stumbles across any of the other doomsday predictions. Branham first began predicting his 1977 doomsday in November of 1960, yet we have six other "doomsday years" described in later sermons. Was William Branham uncertain about his "divine inspiration?" If so, why mention it in the first place?

The earliest doomsday prediction we have been able to identify is 1948. In April 1948, William Branham started a publishing company in Shreveport, Louisiana to advertise his and other "divine healer" ministries. William Branham himself was listed as "Publisher" of the "Voice of Healing" magazine, and as such, was responsible for the content of the articles. Some of the articles contained in Voice of Healing were written and edited by Branham, while others were written and edited by Jack Moore, Gordon Lindsay, T. L. Osborne, and many others. Throughout the latter months of 1948, Branham began calculating his prediction of the 1948 doomsday, and published a series of articles with titles such as "World In Prophecy." It is hard to deny the fact that Branham himself viewed his doomsday predictions as prophetic, simply based upon the title.

As 1948 ended, and the world remained, articles describe William Branham having a nervous breakdown. For a period of time, he was removed from the campaign trails, to be reinstated later in 1949. After his return, it appears that Branham demoted himself to "Senior Editor" and later "Associate Editor" of his publication.

Unfortuantely, the only reference to the 1948 doomsday prediction is found in the remaining issues of "Voice of Healing." Though Branham's first first (that we are aware) recorded statement in 1947 is, "We're getting some new gadgets for recording. (47-0412)", and though Voice of Healing describes a very active series of campaigns by William Branham, we only find three recorded sermons in 1948, and six in 1947. Where are these recordings?

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Branham's doomsday predictions:

September 1948 Voice of Healing

But look, let's take historically speaking. The first two thousand years, the world order come to a climax, and God destroyed the world with water. You know that? Then it come forth as a new world. And the second two thousand years, it came to its end again and God sent Jesus. Is that right? This is the end of the next two thousand years, 1954. And the Gospel, Jesus said, "The work would be cut short." For what? "The elect's sake, or no flesh would be saved," it would so wicked. So we're at the end time. And then the seventh, in type, is the Millennium, a thousand years.
Branham, 54-0513 - The Mark Of The Beast

And I believe that this 1956 is a turning time. I predict this, not by spiritual inspiration, or I don't say that, not by vision. But this is the turning time for the U.S.A. They'll either accept it this year or they'll be cast off. See, there's only so many fish to be caught anyhow, and when the pond's all seined dry, won't do no good to cast nets in no more. So there'll be a time.
Branham, 56-0212 - Fellowship

Wished I could come here for about a—a two or three weeks just on Bible teaching of prophecy and things. See where we're living, friends. What's the matter with people? Can't you see we're at the end time? It's all over. The next thing will be a sweep that'll grab that little group together. In a month or so she'll be gone, as soon as she's gathered together. Well, we're at the end. There's no hopes left nowhere. Run to Christ, people.
Branham, 62-0518 - Letting Off The Pressure

When, I predict, "It's just a few more turns of the sun. This nation is gone." Do you know... Yesterday, fourth of July. Thomas Jefferson had signed the Declaration of Independence, him and the other board that was with him, and the Liberty Bell rang, and we was declared an independence, as a nation. According to history, there has never been a democracy at any time last over two hundred years. And that was 1776, July the fourth. And we're just eleven years left. Will it make it? No, can't, see. Eleven years. And, if it does, it'll break all history.
Branham, 64-0705 - The Masterpiece

Now, counting the time, we find that we have exactly (Listen.) seventeen years left, and we will have the same span of time given to us as God dealing with us in the power of the Holy Spirit since A.D. 33 until 1977, the same span of time of 1954 years. God deals with us the same as He did with the Jews. See? How about that? Now, mark down in your book a little Scripture here I want to give you. Leviticus 25, begin with the 8th verse. God calls a jubilee every forty-ninth year; the fiftieth year was the jubilee. We know that. We understand that. From the first jubilee of Leviticus 25:8, in 1977 will be the seventieth jubilee, making exactly 3,430 years. Jubilee means the going up, the release.
Branham, 61-0806 - The Seventieth Week Of Daniel

Listen, if the Roman calendar is right, we got -six... we got thirty-six years left. Every two thousand years, the world meets her end. First two thousand years, destroyed by water; second two thousand years, Christ come. This is 1964 coming up; thirty-six years. Now, the Egyptian astronomy calendar says we're seventeen years out, "it's seventeen years advanced from that," that would leave nineteen years left.
Branham, 63-1229M - There Is A Man Here That Can Turn On The Light

And, Father, so says our calendar, thirty-six more years and the work will be over, and You'll have to come sometime within that or there'll be no flesh saved. And then we're told, by the chronologists and the—and the people who search such things, that we are absolutely advanced many, many years from that, many years on up. They tell us, by the calendars, that we are way up further than that; maybe there's only fifteen or twenty years left.
Branham, 63-1124E - Three Kinds Of Believers

Listen, if the Roman calendar is right, we got -six... we got thirty-six years left. Every two thousand years, the world meets her end. First two thousand years, destroyed by water; second two thousand years, Christ come. This is 1964 coming up; thirty-six years. Now, the Egyptian astronomy calendar says we're seventeen years out, "it's seventeen years advanced from that," that would leave nineteen years left. Jesus said, "The work will be cut short, for the Elected sake, or there'd be no flesh saved." Where are we at?
Branham, 63-1229M - There Is A Man Here That Can Turn On The Light

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