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The Easy Questions: The Rapture Tent



Many in William Branham's "Message" cult are familiar with Branham's "rapture tent" prophecy, his claim that immediately prior to the End of Days, Branham would stage one last "tent revival." During this time, according to "Message" mythology, William Branham himself would lead those who attended his revival into a small room inside the tent, and issue them their "glorified bodies." Some of this mythology was created long after the death of William Branham, mostly due to the varying details of the "prophecy." Like many of Branham's prophecies, there were multiple versions of his "tent vision." Since William Branham died before this "prophecy" came to pass, several questions are raised. Was this alleged "prophecy" a result of divine inspiration? Or was it a result of wishful thinking?

As the Post WWII Healing Revival grew in popularity, the hundreds of evangelists on the field began to draw large crowds. For the popular evangelists who held meetings in cities with large auditoriums, this was no problem. As thousands of people placed their donations into offering plates, campaign managers were able to meet expenses while still turning a profit. But for those less popular, and those who frequently held revival meetings in rural areas, this presented a problem: the weather. Providing comfortable space for thousands of people during harsh weather was a challenge.

The solution had already been found by others in the entertainment industry. The traveling circus and other road shows made use of large tents to shield visitors from the weather. Though the revival meetings were religious, during the 1940's and 1950's, it was a form of entertainment, and the same solution was a viable option. Before long, evangelists started traveling with tents, mimicking others in the entertainment industry. As their crowds grew, however, this presented another problem: size mattered.

If the tent was not large enough, visitors were turned away. Those turned away were less likely to return when the evangelist returned. And evangelists with larger tents seemed more popular than those with smaller tents -- even if this was not the case. Before long, the evangelists began a "battle of the tents."

By William Branham's own testimony, his desire to enter this competion began with a goal of obtaining a tent that could accomdate ten or fifteen thousand people. Initially, his goal was to rent or borrow a tent from some of the more popular evangelists of the early 1950's.

We are really expecting someday for God to give us a tent or something that we can have services in.
Branham, 53-0219

One of these days I would like to come back to Jonesboro, go rent some big tent to seat about ten thousand people...
Branham, 53-0512 I'd like to put up Jack Coe's big tent out here, seats about fifteen thousand...
Branham, 54-0321



Renting a tent was not very satisfying, however. In the 1950's, an evangelist without a tent was an admission to decreased popularity. Towards the mid-1950's, Branham began reminding his cult following that he really needed one.

I been thinking recently about maybe having a--starting buying me a tent , a good size tent...
Branham, 55-1120

We're getting a tent , a nice, big tent , seat about twelve thousand people or better.
Branham, 56-0120

We got some a new tent coming, seating several thousand people and some vans, and so forth,
Branham, 56-0200



In February of 1956, William Branham thought he had his tent. According to his testimony, he was about to borrow a hundred thousand dollars to purchase it, and it was "from the Lord." He was so excited that he claimed to feel like a small child at Christmas.
And then back to begin in the big new tent seating sixteen thousand people, the new vans and things...E-10 And thinking of terms of the tent , and all this great expense...I'm borrowing a hundred thousand dollars to go with this tent...Yes, sir. It's from the Lord; it's from the Lord."
Branham, 56-0213


Branham, MAKING.A.WAY_ JEFF.IN 56-0304

And in these kind of healing services that I'm having now, until I get into the tent , I'm just like a child with Christmas anticipations; I can hardly wait till I get in there.
Branham, 56-0311E



After it was announced that William Branham would be holding a joint healing revival with Reverend Jim Jones, however, wishful thinking turned into "prophecy." In a "Latter Rain" meeting with Joseph Mattsson-Boze, Branham began claiming that his tent would be purchased as a result of divine inspiration -- not from the donations of his large crowds. This, Branham claimed, was from the mouth of God: "Thus Saith The Lord."

One of these days I want to pitch that tent the Lord's going to give me, right outside of this side of Chicago... those things are not mythical. In contact with the Holy Spirit...when I come under His anointing, and He takes me away and shows me things, I just got perfect confidence that it's just exactly right, 'cause it's never failed. And He will never say one thing outside what's written in this Bible. That's right. You watch it. Through the years, He's never said one thing at any time, unless it was absolutely Scripturally based on the Bible, THUS SAITH THE LORD.
Branham, 56-0403



Apparently, "Thus Saith The Lord" came because a tent had been identified. According to William Branham, God had shown him his "tent" through vision, and his campaign manager, Jack Moore, was traveling to California to set it up.

And by a vision He told me about a tent that Brother Moore and them is going to California now to see to set in order the first time.
Branham, 56-0801



As it turns out, however, the tent in Branham's "vision" did not pan out. "Thus Saith The Lord" turned back into "wishful thinking." Branham decreased his ambitions from sixteeen thousand people to about half that size.

I'm ordering a tent to seat somewhere around eight to ten thousand people...
Branham, 57-0811A

I'm going to try to get me a tent or something...
Branham, 58-0503

In 1958, according to Branham's testimony about being audited for alleged tax evasion (eg: 58-0720M p21), his income was far greater than his expenses. He needed to start spending money, quickly. This financial situation apparently influenced divine inspiration once more. A small tent to seat 8,000 people suddenly became a "mammonth, big affair."

And then some time ago I was in a vision, and I saw a large tent. Oh, it was a mammoth, big affair.
Branham, 58-1001

But now, I don't say that He told me it would take place. Where I've seen in the vision, was in a tent .
Branham, 58-1001

In the early 1960's, however, "vision" gradually changed back into "maybe." When the first few tent purchases failed, Branham's confidence began to falter. Branham changed "Thus Saith The Lord" (God told me) to "Lord willing" (God might). Rather than "I know" God would provide the tent, Branham began to make statements such as "I hope."

And some of these days, the Lord willing, I'm going to get a big tent... Branham, 60-0729

I'll come back someday, the Lord willing. I'd like to bring a tent and set it up out here somewhere...
Branham, 61-0125

Someday I hope to get a tent that I've been wanting to get for so long.
Branham, 62-0713 E-4

I would like to have a time if God permits before the end time, when I could set up a tent...
Branham, 62-0720

I've asked the Lord, if it be His will, let me get a tent, set it up, and we don't have to rent anything.
Branham, 64-0214

Though William Branham waffled back and forth from "maybe" to "Thus Saith The Lord" until his tragic death in 1965, this "rapture tent" vision was never fulfilled. Few are aware that the vision shifted so drastically throughout the years, and fewer still are aware that Branham claimed its fulfillment with tents his campaign managers sought to purchase with donations from his cult following. His death brings closure to this "prophecy" as a failure.

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Branham's statements about the "rapture tent."

We are really expecting someday for God to give us a tent or something that we can have services in.
Branham, 53-0219

One of these days I would like to come back to Jonesboro, go rent some big tent to seat about ten thousand people...
Branham, 53-0512

Someday, there's some of the brothers out on the field that... well, they--they probably was a little more prosperous in the financial ways than I was, and they got great big tents...several of them has called me and told me I could have their tent , if I wanted to use it. Some of them seat as many at fifteen thousand.
Branham, 53-0513

There's one thing we need here in Phoenix, is either a great, big auditorium, seat eight or ten thousand people, or bring a tent ; that's the best...
Branham, 54-0307E

I'd like to put up Jack Coe's big tent out here, seats about fifteen thousand...
Branham, 54-0321

...like come set up a big tent . I just got one in order the other day, seats fifteen thousand people: chairs and everything.
Branham, 54-0403

I have in my possession or can--where I can get it at any time, a tent that'll seats fifteen thousand people, with all the seats and everything.
Branham, 54-0404M

I would like to...have an old, big old tent set out here, that'll seat several thousand people...
Branham, 54-0404E

I been thinking recently about maybe having a--starting buying me a tent , a good size tent...
Branham, 55-1120

We're getting a tent , a nice, big tent , seat about twelve thousand people or better.
Branham, 56-0120

We got some a new tent coming, seating several thousand people and some vans, and so forth,
Branham, 56-0200

And then back to begin in the big new tent seating sixteen thousand people, the new vans and things...And thinking of terms of the tent , and all this great expense...I'm borrowing a hundred thousand dollars to go with this tent...Yes, sir. It's from the Lord; it's from the Lord."
Branham, 56-0213

But I am hoping, and trusting, and waiting till the day that I get my tent . I'm so alarmed about my tent . It's always been a problem to me...Now, we got the tent in making... God, hasten the day that when we can set up the tent...
Branham, 56-0219

And it would be very fine place, sometime, to bring that big tent and set it up here...E- When we get our big tent up out here somewhere...
Branham, 56-0224

I've got many services lined up, of these preaching services, before we start in the big tent . I got to go into Mexico...before we get started into the tent.
Branham, 56-0225

Then we go...from there, up into Anchorage, ...but perhaps maybe by then, the tent will be ready to be on the road...I want to 'fore too long, the Lord willing, to put that tent right here in this Falls City...There's coming up a revival here pretty soon, a big tent meeting, I can just see it.
Branham, MAKING.A.WAY_ JEFF.IN 56-0304

And in these kind of healing services that I'm having now, until I get into the tent , I'm just like a child with Christmas anticipations; I can hardly wait till I get in there.
Branham, 56-0311E

One of these days I want to pitch that tent the Lord's going to give me, right outside of this side of Chicago... those things are not mythical. In contact with the Holy Spirit...when I come under His anointing, and He takes me away and shows me things, I just got perfect confidence that it's just exactly right, 'cause it's never failed. And He will never say one thing outside what's written in this Bible. That's right. You watch it. Through the years, He's never said one thing at any time, unless it was absolutely Scripturally based on the Bible, THUS SAITH THE LORD.
Branham, 56-0403

I was beneath and standing up above a great tent ; I never seen such a tent.
Branham, 56-0408A

I said, "Let's just have an American meeting somewhere." And I said I wanted to set that tent there for the first time.
Branham, 56-0408A

And then when I come back in the tent , year from today or sometime, you come to the tent and give the testimony...
Branham, 56-0414

I trust that by God's help, that next April...We'd like to bring the big tent , and seating some fifteen thousand,
Branham, 56-0415

When I come back with a tent , next year the Lord willing...
Branham, 56-0419

...after we get the Gospel tent we'll...have no morning service, so that people can attend their own church..That's the reason that by a vision the Lord has showed me to get this big tent...
Branham, 56-0421

Hoping someday that, God willing, we can get back up in this country with the tent... SHOW.US.THE.FATHER.AND.IT'LL.SATISFY_ SPINDALE.NC 56-0422 ...expecting someday to visit the Carolinas in a tent service. The Lord has given me a--a vision of having a tent...
Branham, 56-0427

we are hoping someday to be back, if God willing, with a tent , big tent...
Branham, 56-0428

when we get the tent...And I hope to see you again next year or whenever we can get the tent .
Branham, 56-0429

Got a big tent coming, seating about twelve thousand...
Branham, 56-0614

...I go down to La Crescenta, California, to set some things in order, which my tent is already made and ready to go out on the field now.
Branham, 56-0617

And by a vision He told me about a tent that Brother Moore and them is going to California now to see to set in order the first time.
Branham, 56-0801

Brother Sothmann asked me if I would kind of speak of the late vision concerning the tent
Branham, 56-0816

The Lord willing, I wish to have a great big tent...
Branham, 57-0125

I'm ordering a tent to seat somewhere around eight to ten thousand people...
Branham, 57-0811A

I'd like to come...and set up a tent ,
Branham, 58-0316E

I'm going to try to get me a tent or something...
Branham, 58-0503

You know, I'd like to bring a big tent and pitch it here for a little while,
Branham, 58-0625

And this time, the Lord willing, I want to take what little we have accumulated in funds, and so forth, of myself, out in the... this foreign missions program, and get me a new tent , and some new equipment, and start on the field...
Branham, 58-0720M

And then some time ago I was in a vision, and I saw a large tent. Oh, it was a mammoth, big affair.
Branham, 58-1001

But now, I don't say that He told me it would take place. Where I've seen in the vision, was in a tent .
Branham, 58-1001

... to see if the new ministry that has been promised would come into existence in the tabernacle here before we hit the tent
Branham, 58-1003

...it's just go to continue on for awhile, until that tent comes in...I will continue on until that maybe the tent starts...
Branham, 58-1003

Oh, if God willing, I can just feel it in the wind. I'm going to have me a big tent one of these days,
Branham, 59-0813

the Lord had spoke some time ago about...Ah, I suppose about three or four years ago (My wife, which is present now, would be able to know just the date. We have it wrote down.), that I seen a vision of a large tent or--or something, that we're anticipating someday having,
Branham, 59-1124

In the sixties, you can tell it was quickly changing from "Thus Saith The Lord" to "maybe." Nobody had picked up on the self-fulfilling vision seed he was planting, and nobody had bought him that tent. Since they would be raptured soon, why would they need to? The message was confusing the mission. If we ever get to come back, we'll...maybe come and pitch a tent outside the city...
Branham, 60-0110

And some of these days, the Lord willing, I'm going to get a big tent... WHAT.IT.TAKES.TO.OVERCOME.ALL.UNBELIEF.OUR.FAITH_ YAKIMA.WA 60-0729 I'll come back someday, the Lord willing. I'd like to bring a tent and set it up out here somewhere...
Branham, 61-0125

Why, maybe can--we can get a tent and put it out here somewhere and seat twenty or thirty thousand people...
Branham, 61-0224

...maybe over here at Washington, DC, this summer in a big tent, the Lord willing.
Branham, 61-0318

So then it's wondering about a big tent meeting...if that comes, I want to really be...in Washington, DC, at the capital for a--a meeting. Be my first tent meeting...put up a big tent. And as soon as he said, "big tent ," something kinda registered, maybe that's where the meeting place will be, at the capitol house.
Branham, 61-0402

Someday I hope to get a tent that I've been wanting to get for so long.
Branham, 62-0713 E-4

I would like to have a time if God permits before the end time, when I could set up a tent...
Branham, 62-0720

I have promised to me, to start a nice big, new tent , trucks, trailers, and everything all paid for. Don't even have to take up offerings for it.
Branham, 62-0728

I'd like to come back on the island, set up a tent somewhere...
Branham, 62-0729

He started really pushing for it in 1963. It was if he were crying out, "Hey, come on, people! It was a vision! Send me the money!" And so far as I know, that every vision that He's ever give me has been fulfilled except the one...It looked to me like a tent.
Branham, 62-0908

I'd like to get a place sometime, the Lord willing, when a tent comes on the scene. And I believe that's soon now, soon I'm going worldwide.
Branham, 63-1128M

I have never had but one thing that He ever told me in my life that I know that hasn't happened yet, that some sort of a building or a tent...That hasn't happened yet as far as I know.
Branham, 64-0120

He also started getting specific that it would NOT be a rented tent. He wanted one for his own ministry! I've asked the Lord, if it be His will, let me get a tent, set it up, and we don't have to rent anything.
Branham, 64-0214

Some of these days, I'm going to get me a big tent
Branham, 64-0305

Some of these days I'm going to bring a big tent in this country, and pitch it up here...
Branham, 64-0319

I wish I had a way that I could come down here somewhere and...put a tent up...
Branham, 64-0321E

I've often wondered, sometimes...if I couldn't, one of these days, have a tent
Branham, 64-0409

I'm thinking about coming back, pretty soon, and putting up a tent...
Branham, 64-0411

We hope to see the time, maybe in the near future, when maybe we could bring the tent here to the city...
Branham, 65-0219

I want to get my own tent and my stuff, like the Lord gave me a vision to, and I believe the time is just now at hand. And I want to see while I'm here, why we can't get the tent. 17...put up this tent...somehow or another, Lord, it may be You are driving us to that tent, to make that vision fulfill...
Branham, 65-0711

And then I'm here to get the trustees together...So I think I'm going to ask if we just can't get our tent...And I feel that that's what He's going to do. You know, there's a vision concerning that...When, He said it, He'll do it.
Branham, 65-0718M

And we are hoping, soon as possible...where we can bring all of us together, maybe under a big tent...
Branham, 65-0725M

I hope that, soon as I can, we'll...get a place sufficient for that...or either put up a tent...
Branham, 65-0801M




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