|13||February 16, 2004 - 11:25 PM|
Jim from United States
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“And you might've wondered a few minutes ago why I was so long coming out. My first duty as I come into the new church, I married a young man and woman standing in the office. May it be a type that I'll be a loyal minister to Christ to get a Bride ready for the ceremonies of that day. [God In Simplicity, Jeff In Sunday, 63-0317m pg. 2]”
This is the testimony of the couple Bro. Branham refers to in the quote above.
When I was just a young boy, somewhere between the ages of five and ten, my parents brought me to brother Branham’s meetings at Lane Tech technical high school in Chicago. Our pastors at the time, they were so thrilled over the things that they had heard, they even closed meetings and encouraged people to go and hear him. But we had belonged to an independent Pentecostal church. And we were Trinitarians. Of course they didn’t know at the time what brother Branham taught. They just saw the gift in operation and were so thrilled over it.
But I remember in the meetings how that the place was packed. Even the aisles were full. People would bring little stools and sit in the aisles. And during the healing service, brother Branham would pray for somebody that had heart trouble, and say, “Anybody that has heart trouble throughout the building, stand to your feet and receive your healing.” People all over the auditorium would stand up. Then he’d pray for somebody that had some other problem, arthritis or whatever, and he’d say, “Whoever in the building has arthritis wants to be healed stand to your feet.” People stood up all over the auditorium. And brother Branham said it himself that in those days many more people were healed out there in the audience than those that came to the platform.
I was just a young fellow at that time, and I didn’t realize the things that I was seeing and hearing. And there was a long while where I didn’t have any contact with brother Branham, I - we didn’t go to any of his meetings, I never heard anything. I imagine it was probably our pastors had found out what he taught and what he believed (we had co-pastors - husband and wife), so maybe they found out what he believed and discouraged the people. I don’t know; I was too young at the time.
But then just before - when I was about eighteen, nineteen years old, I had dated my (present), my wife a couple times and the draft was on at the time and I thought, “Let me get this draft, this army business, out of the way.” So I went down to the draft board, and had my name pushed to the top of the list. Here now, the next month, the letter came from the Selective Service Board. It said, “Greetings. You have been drafted into the armed forces.”
And about that time, my wife’s parents started to go to brother Branham’s meetings, and of course there was just something that they just had to keep going back. And when they went and spoke to the pastors about it there was just some disagreement there. The pastors said that (you know) if they decided that if they wanted to go this way, that they would appreciate it if they didn’t come to church anymore. But this happened after I had gone into the service.
While I was in the service, my wife sent me pamphlets on water baptism and a few little pamphlets like that. And as soon as I read it, I believed it right off. Let me just say that the church that I grew up in (said it was an independent Pentecostal church), they emphasized God’s Word. It was more important than anything else, more important than gifts and so forth. They really emphasized the Word, they taught the Word, they preached on the Word. So I knew what they believed. It wasn’t that I just went to church, and didn’t know what I believed. I knew what I believed. But when I read this pamphlet on water baptism, I knew right away that it was different than what I had been taught, and I believed that it was the truth.
And then when I got out of the service, my wife and I made plans to get married. And we set up a - we had the church all rented. We hired a local Pentecostal pastor to perform a ceremony. We were planning on having just a normal wedding, where all our friends and relatives - we were planning on a June wedding. I got out of the service in November of 1962, and brother Branham, we heard that brother Branham was coming down to Jeffersonville to hold the meetings on the Seals. And I don’t want to go into the details, but there was something that just put the idea in my head that maybe we should see if brother Branham will marry us. But I didn’t want to wait to June to get married. I wasn’t that big on a big wedding anyway. I’m sure my wife would have liked to have a big wedding, like all women do. So when I presented it to her she kind of thought that it was a good idea, too. So we mentioned it to her parents and of course they were thrilled.
And so my mother and father-in-law, during this time when I was in the service, many times they had had brother (I forgot their names) - brother Gene and Leo who were making tapes for brother Branham at the time. They had taken trips down to Jeffersonville, and through brother Leo and brother Gene, they had become acquainted with Billy Paul and the went to Billy Paul’s trailer several times. And so my mother-in-law called down to ask Billy Paul if he thought that brother Branham would marry us. Well he said, “Well if brother Branham doesn’t, then maybe you could get Brother Neville, or there’ll be a lot of other preachers down there for the Seals.”
So when it came time, we knew we had to go, had to be down there three days ahead of time to take the blood test to get a marriage license. So we left on a Wednesday morning and got there Wednesday afternoon in Jeffersonville, got their application for the license, went to a clinic to get a blood test. It just happened to be Sam Adair’s (brother Branham’s friend’s) clinic. We didn’t know that at the time, we just walked in there to get a blood test.
And then later that week we come to the time around Saturday we were anxiously waiting for Billy Paul to give a call to tell us who would come to perform the ceremony. We decided we would just have it inside the motel room and we were waiting to see who would come - if brother Branham would come or if someone else would come - and finally a little later in the afternoon he called. He said, “Well there won’t be anybody come today,” he says, “but brother Branham would like if it’d be alright if you’d come tomorrow and he’d perform the ceremony in his study just before he goes out before the people.” And so that’s what we did then.
We arrived at the Branham Tabernacle before the service started, and Billy Paul brought us into the study, brother Branham’s study, and we waited there for him. And brother Branham came in and greeted everybody. And it was just my wife and I, my mother-in-law and father-in-law, her brother and his wife, her sister and her husband, and Billy Paul and brother Branham. And brother Branham asked for the marriage certificate, and he sat down at his desk and he started to fill it out.
And he said, “I want you to notice that I’m doing this before performing the ceremony.” That is all he said about it. Nobody asked him any questions. Everybody just kept silent. And he went on writing, filling it out.
And then before he started to speak to us, he asked us, he says, “Would you like to go out before the congregation, perform the ceremony out before the congregation?”
We said, “No, brother Branham, we’d rather have it right here.”
So he went on speaking, told my wife and I, he says, he says, “Never argue.” He says, “It takes two people to argue.” He says, “Never argue.” He says, “Because every time you argue, you wound the heart.” He says, “It might, it might heal, but there’ll always be a scar there.” He says, “Never argue with one another” (course that’s kind of hard to do).
But then he asked us again, he says, “I want to ask you this again.” He says, “Would you, would you like to go out and we’ll perform the ceremony before the congregation?”
And of course, then I was - I was - shaking in my shoes. I was afraid he was going to insist that we go out there. I didn’t want to go out before all the people and do it. So we said, “No, brother Branham. We’d rather just stay here, if you’d just perform it here, we’d rather have it that way.”
He says, “Well, I had to ask you this for a second time,” he says, “Because it’s a sign.”
And that’s all he said about it. He didn’t explain what it was, what the sign was. Of course, we all speculated it might have meant this, it might have meant that. But he never explained what the sign was. He just said that he had to be sure. He had to ask us the second time, because it was a sign.
Then, after he performed the ceremony, my in-laws are giving me a, giving me an offering they wanted to give to him (it was a big wad of money) and I tried to give it to him. And he says, “No, no, no.” He says, “I’ve never taken a, I’ve never taken an offering for performing a wedding.” He says, “No, I can’t take it.” But he says, “Take that money and buy yourself a picture of the Lord Jesus and hang it in your home.”
Well, after that we’ve been privileged. Well, first of all, my wife and I went on a little honeymoon down in Kentucky, went down to the Mammoth Cave. It doesn’t sound very romantic but we were just happy to be together. And a few days later we came back. And of course the Seals were still going on. And they asked before the service anybody wanted to be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Well, it was my first opportunity, so I went up there and was baptized - brother Neville baptized me and about maybe a dozen other people.
And we’ve had the opportunity quite a few times after that to go down for the services. I remember we went down and he was going to speak on marriage and divorce. And everyone, well they were wonderful meetings, every one of them were just wonderful meetings. And leading up to “Marriage and Divorce,” we all stayed in motels and we all ate in the restaurants around there. Go in there at any time and there’d be a group of people in there talking about, talking about the meetings, wondering what brother Branham was going to have to say about marriage and divorce. And of course there was many, many people that had been divorced and remarried. I know when I was a child there just wasn’t even consideration. Our pastors taught against that, that it was wrong. And anybody did do it, they kept on preaching. I know one couple especially they couldn’t come anymore because somebody was preaching against them and “you’ve done it,” they’re not very comfortable around there. But there was many, many people that had divorced and remarried and there was those that also that knew what brother Branham taught about being engaged and breaking an engagement. And so there were a lot of speculations about what the prophet would say. I heard many people say, “Well, if he says that we have to separate, then we’ll just have to separate.” But they were just determined that whatever the prophet said, well that’s what they would have to do. So you can imagine the relief and the joy that was in their hearts after brother Branham told them what he told them on marriage and divorce.
But there was a period when people just felt like the Lord’s coming was right at the doorstep. It just felt like it could just happen at any moment. So people, yes, people were willing to do whatever it takes to be in that bride. Whatever it took, they were willing to do it. And I think today, it’s over a period of time people are become lax. And I think that if there’s any time that people need to realize that the Lord’s coming is right at hand, I believe it’s right now. I don’t know how things could get any more wicked than they are. You know since the prophet came off the scene, there’s been a lot of separations, God separating here, separating there, separating, separating his own - those who will truly stay with his Word. And I believe there’s separation going on all the time. But I believe that we are right now at the, at the brink of his coming.
You know this country is so taken up with this fight against terrorism and so forth. But you know if you listen to that message brother Branham brought here in Chicago, 1958, “Handwriting on the Wall,” I think this country is in that, right, right in that position that he was speaking of there. They’ve got confidence in their own abilities, got confidence in their military hardware. They think that they’re invincible, just as they thought that in Babylon at the time. Right at the very moment, not knowing that the enemy was right then making preparations to dam up the water and invade the city. This country here right now, so intent on this battle against terrorism, and Russia could be right now making their plans of how to overtake this country. You know it will happen, because the prophet said it would. When it’ll happen? Maybe after California sinks, we’ll be ripe for an invasion like that. Maybe they’ll do something to cause it to sink, but whatever. I’m so happy that we have a way of escape. We don’t have to - we don’t have to concern ourselves with these things. We just have to be checking daily to make sure that we’re right, that we are where God wants us to be and doing what God wants us to do.
There’s many times that we were able to go down to the meetings. I remember after my second daughter was born that we went down there several times, hoping that brother Branham would be able to dedicate our daughters. But at that time, by that time, he just didn’t have time (the message was too urgent), time to dedicate babies. But you know at that time my wife and I got married, we thought well maybe we’ll have maybe a year or two at the most where we would be able to live together. And then when our children were born, we thought, well, they’ll probably never ever go to school. The Lord will come before they go to school. After they started school, we never thought we’d see them graduate. Of course, we thought that with each one. As the boys came along, we thought the same thing. We’ll never see them go to school. But, you know one thing: that it doesn’t matter. As I said earlier, as long as, long as we’re doing all that we can to do what we know to please God, then the rest is up to him.
Well, brother, brother Wilson, I never had any more personal contact with brother Branham. I was privileged in 1963 when he came to Chicago to be able to go to all the meetings there. And it was - they were really wonderful meetings. And you could just feel the Spirit. The Holy Spirit was there, in such a special way. And you could just feel the faith flowing through that place whenever discernment started. And of course if you listen to the tapes from Chicago, some of, some of the best prayer lines were in Chicago. And not because Chicago is special, but I believe it was, it was people here that really believed that the prophet’s gift was from God. But despite all that, there’s very few people from this area, all the times that brother Branham has been here, there’re very few people that have really believed his message. Yes, they believed the gift and they went to see that. But there’s very few that believed the voice that followed the sign. Because, of course we know that (God) numbers doesn’t matter to God. If there was just one person here, he’d send a prophet to get that one person.
But other than that, there’s no other personal contact that I’ve ever had with the prophet. But I told you that I’d share these things with you. But you know over the years, brother, my wife and I have never told anyone that brother Branham married us. We never thought it was important to tell anybody. But people have heard through others. I’m sure my brother-in-law told people. My mother-in-law probably told some people. And word got around that way. But there was several times when brethren asked me about it. (Excuse me, brother Wilson. I had to stop the tape for a minute.) But there was several times when brethren asked me about brother Branham marrying us. And I started to tell them the story. And someone came, each time someone would come up and interrupt. And that is where it ended. I’ve never been able to tell everything that happened to anyone before. And I always wondered about that.
And, well, just about a month ago, when we were at my son’s wedding, my niece’s husband (who’d been in this … brought up in this message), he had heard for the first time about a month before that brother Branham had married us and so he come and asked me about it. He is the first one that I ever told the story to just as I just told it to you now, from beginning to end.
And after you asked me, brother, if you could, if I could put it into words, and maybe put it on the internet, I was thinking and I just felt like that I don’t think the Lord would want this to go on the internet. And I’ll tell you why I feel that way. See, the things that I have just told you I just told you what brother Branham said. Course, we speculate on what he meant by the different things that he said, but we don’t know. And this sign that he said that he was looking for, he never mentioned it in public. He never mentioned it from the platform. The only thing he mentioned about our marriage was on “God in Simplicity,” which he spoke when he left the, left the study, went up on the platform. That’s the message he spoke that morning, “God in Simplicity.” He just mentioned that the reason he came out late was that he married a young man and young woman in the study. But he never made mention of the sign, because I believe that was a sign to him. It wasn’t a sign to us. It wasn’t a sign to the church. I believe it was a sign to him personally. So even us as believers, we just speculate on what this sign meant and what the things that he said meant. But to the unbeliever out there, it wouldn’t mean anything. And so I just, I just feel like, well you could, there’s no secrets here. I’ve told you all that, I’ve told you all that happened. And you’re free to repeat it any time you want. There’s no secrets there, nothing I would want to keep from anybody. But I just feel like, like the general public, to put it on the internet, I just don’t think that the Lord would be pleased with it. But like I said, anything, you want to repeat anything that I said to you, that’s fine. There’s nothing said there that’s to be kept secret. I just told you exactly the way that it happened.
So I just wanted to pass these things on to you, brother. And hope it enlightened you a little better, or interested you anyway a little bit. But - that’s all I had to say. The Lord Bless you, brother. Bye. Bro. Jim
[Permission was granted on February 16th 2004 by Brother Jim to Living Word Broadcast for the publication of his eye witness testimony].