Brother Branham was given "Two Signs". This would be the Ministry, NOT of just an Evangelist, BUT the Ministry of a Prophet. Surely, we are not so blind to the Word and God's pattern that we would fail to recognize that "There has been a Prophet among us." (Ezekiel 2:5). The World did not witness the Ministry of an Evangelist - it was, and is nothing less than the Ministry of a God-sent, God-ordained, Bible Prophet. And concerning such a Ministry the Bible says, "Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established; believe His Prophets, so shall ye prosper." (2nd. Chron. 20:20). Again It is Written... "...,touch not mine Anointed, and do my Prophets no harm." (Psalms 105:15).
If you haven't already done so, I suggest that you follow the link to "Gifts Of Healing - Plus" for a more detailed account of the uniquness of this Ministry. Such is the Ministry which hundreds of thousands of South Africans witnessed in October, November and December 1951.
In a previous chapter we rehersed how William Branham was directed by the Lord to go to South Africa. In order to better acquaint you with his ministry, I have transcribed for you, from a taped recording, a word for word message preached by Bro. Branham in a typical service at which he prays for the sick. In this chapter I would like to give you a 'Report of the ten weeks' we spent in South Africa.
These were the greatest religious meetings ever held in South Africa. This was the unanimous conviction of every person I spoke to pertaining to these meetings. Upon speaking to ministers, missionaries, public officials and others who were interested in the spiritual, social and moral welfare of the people, we were assured that the effects of these meetings would be felt for years to come.
Hundreds of thousands gathered together out in the open, in halls, show-grounds, an aeroplane hanger and even at a race course in search of God. Tens of thousands have thanked God for their healing. Some were instantly healed, others received healing gradually. Some, having felt the touch of God, could testify as to the time and place. It is impossible to list the various ways people received their healings. There were the cases of those who got up to go home and found their ailments gone. For others their healing was completed on the streets, in cars, in buses and taxis. And then there were those who went home believing and realized, as they were checked by a doctor, that their faith had not been in vain.
Those who accompanied William Branham to South Africa were W. J. Ern Baxter, manager of the party, F. F. Bosworth, a dean in the Divine healing ministry, Billy Paul, son of William Branham, and myself. During the ten weeks stay, meetings were conducted in eleven of the leading cities with a total of over one hundred and twenty services and a combined attendance of a half a million people. There is no way of knowing how many tens of thousands stood and signed decision cards for personal salvation nor how many thousand there are who today are enjoying good health because of this campaign.
A lengthy report could be written about the meetings in any one of the eleven cities visited, but it is not possible to give all the details. It is not necessary, because many of the wonderful things that took place happened again and again in the various meetings throughout the Union.
We have tried to make all reports as exact as possible. If there has been any reason for a doubt as to the correctness of any report, it has been eliminated. We would rather underestimate than overestimate the crowds, number receiving salvation, healing, and the general attendance of the meetings. The figures have only been given so that you can better understand and estimate the effect these meetings have made on South Africa. In the space of these few pages I will by no means be able to include all the testimonies, interesting reports and details. I shall only be able to report to you a cross section of the meetings, helping you to understand what took place in the miraculous healings of both body and soul that were witnessed night after night.
We had all planned on leaving the International Airport in New York on the first of October, 1951, arriving in Johannesburg on the third. As we were at the airport and about to board the plane, we learned that William Branham and Billy Paul could not go because, through erroneous advice, their visas had not been completed. Therefore, W. J. Ern Baxter, F. F. Bosworth and myself left without them.
The South African people experienced great disappointment when we arrived in Johannesburg and they learned that Brother Branham and his son Billy were not along. The newspaper in Johannesburg reported that more than 4,000 people had already started to flock into Johannesburg to see him. Hundreds of people had crammed the Palmietfontein Airport to catch a glimpse of him, the American Evangelist who had seen an angel in 1946 and who was due to arrive for a two months' trip around the Union.
The first meetings of the South African campaign were held in the Central Tabernacle in Johannesburg. Although this is one of the larger churches in the city, people began gathering at seven o'clock in the morning for the afternoon service. Long before the afternoon service was scheduled, the building was packed. The evening meetings were conducted in the Maranatha Park Tabernacle because there was no auditorium in the city of Johannesburg large enough to accommodate the crowds, which averaged well over ten thousand each evening.
At the first afternoon service, Brother Baxter brought a message on the truths of Divine healing. He brought to their attention Scripture verses which showed to any honest man that Christ not only died for our sins but also paid for the physical healing of our bodies.
One man from Pretoria at this first service came to the conclusion that if these things were true, which they must be since they were direct from the Word of God, he would go home and claim healing for his body as he had claimed healing for his soul, according to the promises of God. This he did. Several days afterward he went to a doctor for an examination, which revealed that no trace of the cancer which he had had was to be found.
The truth of Divine healing found fertile ground in the hearts of the people of South Africa. This truth was not new to them. Andrew Murray, one of the greatest writers on the subject of Divine healing, was a South African and during his lifetime was a leader of the Dutch Reformed Church. The English Church also believes and practices to a certain extent, praying for the sick. The Apostolic Faith Mission, the largest Pentecostal work in South Africa, was founded by John G. Lake, whose life was profoundly influenced by the ministry of Brother F. F. Bosworth. With this religious background the field was ripe unto harvest.
Brother Baxter and Brother Bosworth conducted the meetings until October 6th, when Brother Branham and Billy Paul arrived from the States. They were due in at five o'clock but the plane was behind schedule and did not arrive until a few minutes after nine. They were rushed through the customs office, and taken directly to the Tabernacle at the Maranatha Park in order to conclude the service that evening, Brother Branham spoke for just a few minutes and then closed with a prayer for all those in need of healing.
We have testimonies of people who received their healing that first night. Among them is Ernest Blom who had motored from Durban to attend the meetings in Johannesburg. Several weeks after he returned home he was interviewed by a reporter from the Durban Sunday Tribune, which reported the story in an article on November 11, 1951.
A faith cure, describe by his mother as a "miracle" has enabled 16 year old Ernest Blom, of Eastview Road, Red Hill, Durban, formally a cripple, to walk normally for the first time in his life.
Last Sunday Evening, Earnest astounded a packed congregation of more than 500 people, by rising from his seat and walking without the slightest difficulty to the pulpit to testify that "A miracle happened and I am completely cured."
Excited groups of people gathered outside the church later to see Earnest walking and to congragulate him on his recovery. His mother said, "Earnest is the youngest of my family of 10. When he started to walk I noticed that his left leg was shorter than his right. He could only walk on the tips of his toes, and had to drag his left foot."
"From the age of four until a month ago, he was under the care of a specialist. For two years he wore a leg iron without any noticable improvement. The specialist suggested an operation, but he could not guarantee that it would be a success, so I gave up on the idea."
"I heard of Pastor William Branham's remarkable faith healing success in the United States. When my daughter and a friend heard he was to visit Johannesburg they motored from Durban three weeks ago and took Earnest along. They attended his opening meeting at which 15,000 people were present."
Earnest himself tells the rest of the story. He said, "I was right at the back of the hall. Pastor Branham asked all the people wanting to be cured to lay their hands on each other. I laid my hands on a man sitting beside me. Pastor Branham said, "I will pray for you."
Iexperienced a weird sensation. It was just like cold water running through my body. I began to cry. My sister said, "Are you healed?" I replied that I was sure that I was healed. But because of the huge crowd I could not move. As i was being helped from the back of the hall I kept repeating, "I am sure I am healed".
Pastor Branham asked all who were healed to come forward. I was assisted to the sick bay by others. He asked me to walk up and down the platform on which he was standing. I broke into a sweat, but something urged me on and I managed to walk normally accross the platform and back.
When I got back to Durban and my School friends saw me walking into the classroom, they were flabbergasted. My left leg is getting stronger everyday. I can now play cricket and other games."
The days that followed were days of great anticipation and we beheld things that South Africa had never seen before. As has been mentioned, it is impossible to list all the healings and outstanding events that happened at these meetings, but I would like to relate for you some of the incidents which stand out in my memory.
One evening there in Johannesburg when Brother Branham was talking to someone on the platform in the prayer line, he quickly turned to the audience and pointed out a young lady lying on a cot. He said, "Lady, your back has been broken in three different places as a result of a fall. Jesus Christ has made you whole. Stand up and accept your healing." The lady was dumbfounded, but in faith stood up and praised God for the healing she had instantly received. The following evening she was called on to testify about her healing and at that time we took a photo of her, Mrs. Ann Weiblen, with Brother Branham, Rev. A. J. Schoeman and Billy Paul.
That same evening a young girl about fourteen years of age was carried in on a cot by Red Cross workers. She also had a broken back and was crying because of the intense pain she was suffering. During the meeting, Brother Branham pointed to her and said, "Your back has been broken. Jesus Christ just healed you. Stand up and accept your healing." At first the girl could not believe what she had heard. She said, "Who, me?" Brother Branham said, "Yes, you." At this, she stood up. Her mother had been sitting on a chair next to the cot and when the girl got up her mother stood up too. She was so overcome with joy that she fainted and fell on the cot that the girl had just gotten up from. We also have their picture which was taken just a few seconds before the mother fainted.
After the service the girl walked around rejoicing in the healing that she had just received. I asked her how her back had been broken and she said it had happened in an automobile accident about a year ago. Asking her how much walking she had done since the accident she replied that she had not been on her feet since the time of the accident until that night after Brother Branham pointed her out and told her to get up and claim her healing.
T hese two healings were very impressive because they showed the accuracy of Brother Branham's words spoken under the anointing. Had Brother Branham made a mistake and told them that Christ had healed them when they had not been healed, it could have been a tragedy. No one with a broken back could get off his bed and walk unless he was healed. In the first place he might not be able to move and if he did move, he might sever some nerve which could cause instant death.
Another very unusual incident happened to two Elders from the Dutch Reformed Church. They had come to the meetings and watched. One of them, as he heard Brother Branham diagnose the cases, telling the people what was wrong with them, and then as he witnessed miracles performed, became convinced that it was of God. The other Elder sat there and also watched Brother Branham diagnose the cases, telling the people secret things of their heart and that in the name of Jesus they had been healed and could get up and go home claiming and rejoicing in their healing. He became convinced that it was the result of demon power. The two men were both sincere but they had come to different conclusions.
The first Elder went home; the second one went out under a tree to pray. While he was there praying he asked God to show him if the things he had seen were of God or of Satan. He was sincere and agreed to believe whatever was revealed to him by God. While he was praying, he felt a hand on his shoulder. He turned around to see who it was, but no one was there. Instead of seeing someone, he saw a vision. He saw two clouds, and there between them sat his Elder friend exactly as he had been sitting shortly before when they were discussing Brother Branham's ministry.
At the end of the vision he went as quickly as he could to the Elder's home to tell what had happened. As he was explaining the vision to him, other members of the family who were there noticed an imprint of a hand on his shirt. As they examined the shirt, they found it had been scorched, very plainly leaving the imprint of a left hand. The news came to Brother Branham about what had happened and he said, "I know all about it. I saw it in a vision this afternoon. Bring me the shirt and my left hand will fit perfectly the scorched imprint left on the shirt." This was done and it was as Brother Branham had said. That evening the shirt was brought to the meeting and hundreds saw the scorched imprint of the hand on the shirt.
O ne evening as Brother Branham called for the prayer line to be formed, we found one of the numbers called was missing. Billy Paul had given out the prayer cards earlier in that same service so we felt sure the person holding that number was present. Brother Branham requested everyone holding prayer cards to re-check their number and if they held the missing number to please come forward. A lady then stood up and explained that she had that number. However, when she had first received the prayer card she felt something go through her body. It was similar to an electric shock, only milder but of longer duration. She had cancer on her lip which was constantly painful. After this shock-like sensation, the pain was gone. She felt that she was healed and therefore it was not necessary for her to go up in the prayer line.
A Dutch Reformed Elder came into the line for prayer. After praying for him, Brother Branham told him that he had received his healing and could go home praising God. He said also, "You have a wife who is at home suffering with cancer. You can rejoice because she is well too." Later as the man approached his home he saw that all the lights in the house were on and a couple of cars were outside. He became rather disturbed, wondering what was happening. As he entered the house he saw his wife was out of bed, feeling fine, and thanking God for healing her body. She had called some friends when she felt she had been healed, and they had come over. Together they all rejoiced in the healing that both had received.
During another meeting in Johannesburg a young boy about seven or eight years old was called up in the prayer line. Brother Branham spoke to the boy for a few minutes explaining that the weak heart which he had was caused by demon oppression. He told him that he would be delivered and some day would be preaching the same Gospel that was now being brought to the people of South Africa. Suddenly Brother Branham turned to the audience and during the next few moments of silence it was evident that he was seeing a vision of something over the audience. Then he pointed directly out over the pulpit and said that there was also a little girl and another boy out there suffering with the same affliction. Everyone felt tense as he pointed in the direction he knew they were, but could not find them.
As moments passed, he insisted that they were there. He said that the spirit that was binding this boy was calling for help to other kindred demons in the audience. He continued to look but could not find them. Brother Baxter came up from behind and putting his hand on the back of Brother Branham caused him to move forward. As he did this Brother Branham came closer to the pulpit and was able to see those who were just in front of it. There were the two he was looking for, a boy about twelve years old and a girl a couple of years younger.
Both of them were lying on cots and had been hidden from his view because of the pulpit. He prayed for them and told them that they had been delivered from the demon which had been causing their weak heart. He had seen a vision of all three being well. Afterwards I interviewed the mother of the boy who had been lying on the cot. She told me that her son was in such a condition that he could not sit up for more than ten minutes a day.
Brother Branham's ministry is very unusual and as Brother Bosworth so often reminded us there has never been anything like it since the time when Christ was here on earth. Again allow me to remind you that this was no ordinary ministry. God has been good to His people and from time to time has given us seers and prophets, but as far as we are able to find in the annals of history there has been no one else with a ministry such as Brother Branham's. Surely God would never have entrusted him with such a Ministry had it not been according to His Divine purpose, pattern and plan for this Age. Often he would witness between thirty and forty visions a day and never has any one of them been wrong. Many times he would see visions of the services ahead of time or incidents that would take place in the future. He would sometimes tell us about these before they actually happened and then when we saw them we would be reminded of what he had told us.
Shortly after we arrived in Johannesburg Brother Branham had a vision that the following day he, Brother Schoeman and some others would be down town. They would see a native standing on a corner with a blue shirt and white trousers. Brother Branham described the native, even describing the corner and the buildings by which the native was standing. The next day they went down town and Brother Branham related this vision to those who were with him. As they were walking down town, they rounded a corner and there directly in front of them stood this native, dressed exactly as Brother Branham had described him. The surroundings, too, were just as he had mentioned.
One day Brother Branham saw in a vision a native girl who had a rather high forehead with a scar on it. She was sitting on the ground looking down as if she were doing something with her hands. Brother Branham related this vision to others and a few days afterwards they were out driving around and there was this girl alongside the road selling beads. No one else in the car at first recognized the girl as being the one that Brother Branham had seen in the vision.
After they had driven by about a half a mile, Brother Branham asked them if they would not stop and turn around because be wanted to see this girl who was sitting there by the road, making and selling these beads. They went back and stopped to look at some of the beads. Just as they were ready to go Brother Branham said, "Doesn't anyone recognize this girl?" As they looked at her they recognized her as the girl Brother Branham had told them about, sitting on the ground, looking down as if she were doing something with her hands. When she looked up they also saw her high forehead and the scar.
The first evening Brother Branham was in the home of Brother Schoeman, the Chairman of the National Committee, he had a vision of what had happened to Brother Schoeman's daughter. She had had an operation on her eye. Brother Branham described the operation just as it had happened. Brother Schoeman confirmed everything that had been said; it was just as it had happened.
******************************* Sunday, October the 14th, was a beautiful day. People drove in from hundreds of miles for the meetings. I was told by several of the towns-people that it was the largest group that ever gathered in the city of Klerksdorp. Brother Baxter brought the Gospel message that evening and when he asked for those who would stand and thereby signify their acceptance of Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord, approximately three thousand people stood in response to the call. As the people in this town also witnessed the wonder-working power of the Lord, through Brother Branham, they too admitted that a prophet from another land was visiting them. They realized that perhaps they would never again see anything like this in their lifetime. Sunday was one of the greatest days that Klerksdorp had ever seen. There were many who received healing for both their body and soul. 84-2 .A.PROPHET.VISITS.SOUTH.AFRICA. -- PRVISIT.SA I'm thinking of the little boy that was eleven or twelve years old who had received a prayer card and whose number had been called. As he came up to the platform I noticed that his eyes were very badly crossed. As soon as Brother Branham saw him, he related the story of his little girl whose eyes had crossed because of the intense pain she suffered shortly before her death. Brother Branham never ceases to be moved with compassion when he sees a young child with crossed eyes. He prayed for the boy and then asked him to look up. As he did, his eyes became straight. The boy turned to the audience and the people rejoiced in the fact that the eyes which had been crossed were now perfectly straight. A local doctor examined the boy and declared his eyes to be normal. After the service I obtained a photo of the boy which we have here. 84-3 .A.PROPHET.VISITS.SOUTH.AFRICA. -- PRVISIT.SA One evening after the service some of us were sitting around the dining room table at the home of Pastor P. F. Fourie, one of the local pastors. We were enjoying some refreshments and Brother Branham was talking to us about spiritual truths. After Mrs. Fourie came and joined us at the table, I noticed that Brother Branham was watching each of us very closely, as if he were looking for something. Within a few minutes he sat back in his chair and told us that he had seen a vision that afternoon. Now we were sitting around the table just as he had seen us. Brother Bosworth sat at one end of the table, Pastor and Mrs. Fourie at the opposite end, and Sidney Smith and I were on one side across from Brother Branham. Each of us was in the exact location and position in which he had seen us in the vision that afternoon. Now he could tell what God had revealed to him. He turned to Mrs. Fourie and related to her some incidents from her youth. As he went into detail, she sat there thrilled to think that God had spoken to His prophet concerning her. He also told her that she had a bad heart and stomach trouble which was caused by nervousness. After talking further concerning the vision and speaking words of encouragement to her, he excused himself from the table and retired for the evening. 85-1 .A.PROPHET.VISITS.SOUTH.AFRICA. -- PRVISIT.SA Our next stop was from October 17th through the 21st, at Kimberley, the diamond capital of the world. The meetings there were scheduled for the Town Hall, but during the first evening service the building was packed and there were even more people on the outside than there were on the inside. The local committee realized something must be done in order to make provision for the thousands who wanted to attend the meetings. Through the fine cooperation of the mining industry we obtained the use of the De Beers Stadium, which had seating accommodations for about six thousand and is rated as one of the finest sport arenas in South Africa. Only eternity will reveal what was accomplished because of the added facilities.