One of Paul’s strangest experiences concerned a heavenly visitation which occurred when he was being sent to Rome as a prisoner, under charge of a captain of Roman soldiers. Before they embarked from Crete, Paul had told the captain of the ship that they should not set sail. But the captain being a man of the sea, considered that he knew the tides, wind conditions, weather, and the sea better than Paul, so he set sail anyway. They were only a few days from the island when they were set upon by a fierce storm. They threw tackle and freight overboard to lighten the ship lest it sink and all perish. Paul was silent for a time until, as we read in Acts 27:21,22:
21 But after long abstinence Paul stood forth in the midst of them, and said, Sirs, ye should have hearkened unto me, and not have loosed from Crete, and to have gained this harm and loss.
22 And now I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man's life among you, but of the ship.
You will have to admit that this was a very strange statement for a man, himself a prisoner, to make to those in charge of the ship. When everybody was fearing for their lives, he was saying that they should have listened to him, but now they should be of good cheer, for none would perish, though the ship would be lost. Upon what authority would a man like Paul, a prisoner, speak such a statement? Verse 23 says:
23 For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve,
24 Saying, Fear not, Paul; (Note that the angelic being first calmed the fears of the man, Paul, by telling him not to fear) thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee.
25 Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me.
Now why did Paul speak with such authority? It was because God sent an angel to stand by him and Paul spoke the words that this angel told him. Since the angel was a messenger of God, Paul could say “Thus saith God,”
After Brother Branham’s strange early life, after his conversion, the years passed by, and he served God to the best of his ability as a pastor and labourer in the kingdom of God. He even held a job as a game warden in Indiana. The beginning of what was to be a tremendous change in his life and ministry occurred in early March, 1946 when he returned home for lunch and walked beneath a maple tree in the front yard of his home, on 8th street in Jeffersonville, Indiana. As he passed underneath the tree, he relates that a mighty, rushing wind came into the tree. It hit the top of the maple tree and it seemed to him that the tree would be torn apart. The tremendous impact caused him to stagger. His wife and others ran to him, thinking that he had become ill. He turned to her and said these words, “For over twenty years I’ve not been able to understand this ministry, this strange feeling on myself. I can’t go on like this. I’ve got to have the answer."
Having made up his mind and stated his intentions, Brother Branham went alone to seek God in a secret place, determined to know the answer and to find peace in his heart about this strange feeling and these phenomena.
Brother Branham lay prostrate on his face in the cave before God. When he had prayed his heart out in sincerity, asking God, he said that he sat up and waited for an answer. He was just sitting there, waiting for God to speak back. How many times have we heard him say, “they that wait upon the Lord...” So often when we pray, we do all the talking, and as soon as we are through talking, we get up and leave. He said that the secret is after you have prayed to have patience to wait until God speaks back. That is if you believe God has heard you, then wait for the answer. Brother Branham had committed himself to the will of God in his life.
It was about the 11th hour that he saw a soft light appearing before him. He looked up and rose to move toward this light and there hung that great star. It didn’t have five points like a star, but looked more like a ball of fire. Then, he heard footsteps, and a man of great stature approached him. The man weighed perhaps two hundred pounds, had a dark complexion, no beard, with shoulder length hair. As the man caught his eye, Brother Branham became very fearful, but the stranger looked at him in a kindly manner and began to speak. Just as the angel stood by Paul and gave him instructions, so this angel stood by Brother Branham and gave him instructions. I have placed these instructions here in seven separate categories:
“Fear not,” said the angel, putting Brother Branham at ease, and continued, saying, “I am a messenger, sent unto you from the presence of Almighty God.” That was the first phase, calming any fears and identifying himself.
In the second phase, he spoke to Brother Branham about his life, saying, “I want you to know that your strange life has been for a purpose in preparing you to do a job that God has ordained for you to do from your birth.”
Third phase: the angel telling him that there were some conditions that he must meet and keep. He said, “If you will be sincere, and you can get the people to believe you...” And then he went on to the fourth phase - the results:
He said,: “...nothing will stand before your prayers, not even cancer!”
Now notice the words of the angel so far. He put Brother Branham at ease and identified himself. He told him that he knew about his past life and purpose. He also told him he had to be sincere, and that people had to believe him. I want to say this in my own words: If an Angel of God told Brother Branham that he must be sincere, how much more so must we be told to be sincere? Also it was important that he get people to believe, therefore, if you don’t believe Brother Branham to be a prophet of God for this age, then his message and his ministry were not for you.
The fifth phase of the angel’s message was a warning to the people to confess their sins before they came before this man of God, and that he was to tell the people that their thoughts speak louder before the throne of God than do their words. This was a warning to all mankind.
Then the angel went to the sixth phase and told Brother Branham things concerning his life and future ministry. He was told that he would preach before multitudes all over the world and that he would stand in packed auditoriums, with people turned away for lack of room. His church in Jeffersonville would become a centralised place where people would come from all over the world, seeking his prayers for their deliverance.
Here stood an Angel of God telling him, “You’ll preach before multitudes, and thousands the world over will come to you for prayer and counsel.” Not only that, but the angel went on to say that “You shall pray for kings and rulers and potentates.”
Extracts from "The Acts of the Prophet".
Chapter 8 - Angel Appears
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Acts of the Prophet
- Angel Appears
William Branham Life
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