THE PILLAR OF FIRE
PHOTOGRAPHED


In Houston, Texas, in January of 1950, an amazing photograph was taken by the Douglas Studios. In the photograph, there appeared a halo-like Light above the head of Rev. William Branham. The negative was taken to George J. Lacy, Examiner of Questioned Documents for the FBI. His department was asked to determine whether or not the light could have been the result of improper exposure, developing or retouching. This investigation served to completely authenticate the fact that the unusual brightness was definitely caused by a light striking the negative. Mr. Lacy was quoted as saying, "Rev. Branham, you will die like all other mortals, but as long as there is a Christian civilization, your picture will live on."

It was January 1950. The place was Houston, Texas, USA; and God, would once again confirm and vindicate the life and Ministry of His Servant and Prophet to this end-time Age. Brother Branham had only recently returned to the Evangelistic field after having put in almost three years of continuous ministry of the supernatural which had wore him down physical and emotionally. He was forced to take a few months of rest to recouperate physically and emotionally. Many were praying for his return to the Evangelistic field. And if there was any question as to whether or not God was still with His Servant, this would be answered during the Houston Meetings.

The meetings started a little slowly. However, before it was over some very remarkable things had transpired. It became apparent that the Lord had returned His servant to the field with an even greater Anointing. This time he came not only with the 'sign' in his hand and commanding power over devils, but NOW the very 'secrets' of the heart were revealed. A new manifestation was evident before the eyes of the people. Brother Branham had entered, what he would later learn to be the Second Pull (Phase) of a Ministry which would come to it's final climax in a Third Pull (or phase).

In this "Second Pull" the very "thoughts and intents" (Heb. 4:12) of the hearts of the people were revealed - the past, the present and the future; And NOT ONE TIME did it fail. The People of Houston were blessed to have seen the manifestation of the "Messiah Sign", revealing the Son of Man, fulfilling Luke 17:30: "Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.". God was doing through this ministry EXACTLY as He had done in the Ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ 2000 years ago (John 4:25-26).

In the prayer lines, Brother Branham, under the anointing would tell the people of their past life which would greatly encourage their faith, so that in many instances they would be healed without one word of prayer. On the other hand, those who had slipped into the prayer line without seeking right relations with God, or who were living careless backslidden lives, and had committed sins which had not been sincerely confessed to God, these were dealt with by the Spirit of God, right on the platform. Sins would be called out, secrets of their hearts revealed, and in practically every instance individuals so dealt with would immediately make a broken and tearful confession. Usually then, the person would receive healing on the spot.

Still, there were the sceptics, who, regardless of the "Scriptural" signs performed, would not acknowledge that it was God fulfilling His promised Word. Putting their denominational creed above the Word of God they "challenged" the healing and supernatural working power of the Lord Jesus Christ. As we shall see God supernaturally came on the scene and responded to their challenge - Praise the Lord!

THEN, THE AMAZING PHOTOGRAPH

Jesus Christ, The Same Yesterday, Today, And Forever.

It was about midway in the Houston campaign in 1950, and God was moving in a very powerful way. None could deny that there was an element of the Supernatural moving in the Sam Houston Coliseum. Most were convinced that it was Almighty God, but a few were skeptical.

One of the skeptics was Rev. W. E. Best who opposed Divine healing and became hostile against Bro. Branham and a Rev. F. F. Bosworth (who spoke during many of the day services) teaching on the subject of Divine Healing. The hostile clergyman issued a public challenge through the newspapers, to debate with Rev. Bosworth on the subject of "Divine Healing Through the Atonement." Rev. Bosworth ask and received Bro. Branham's permission to accept the challenge. He cautioned Brother Bosworth against being arguementive over the Word. The whole matter was given front-page publicity in the Houston newspapers. The January 24th., 1950 issue of The Houston Press hit the news stands with the headline: "Baptist Cleric To Challenge 'Miracle Man'".

On the evening appointed as the meeting got under way, it was quite apparent that the sympathy of the vast audience was almost entirely on the side of the visiting evangelists. Large numbers of the members of the very denomination of the opposing clergyman, stood to their feet as witnesses that they believed in Divine healing and had in fact been healed. This sentiment became increasingly evident throughout the service.

To record what he thought would be a great milestone in his career, the opposing clergyman secured the services of Mr. James Ayers and Mr. Ted Kipperman, professional photographers. They were to take a series of pictures of him while he was speaking. After taking several photos of Rev. W. E. Best the photographer snapped only one picture of Rev. Branham, who spoke briefly just before the service closed.

Immediately following the meeting Mr. Ayers, one of the photographers, went that same night to the darkroom of his studio to develop the negatives that had been exposed. To his surprise every one of the negatives turned out to be absolutely blank with the exception of the one which had been taken of Rev. Branham. His surprise turned to amazement when he noticed that on this negative, immediately over the head of Rev. Branham, was apparently a supernatural halo of Light. Mr. Ayers called the others of the studio to look at the negative; but when they did so, each was equally puzzled and no one could explain the presence of this halo.

The following morning the photographer sent word to Rev. Branham to inform him of the strange phenomenon that had occurred in connection with the photograph he had taken the night before. Brother Branham then explained to the young man that he was not greatly surprised. He testified that just before the picture was taken he heard the Pillar of Fire descend into the building with a sound of rushing wind. Of course this wasn't the first time for something like this to happen in our Brother's Ministry.

For example, while at Camden, Arkansas, a photographer had snapped a picture of him and when the film was developed it was found that a strange light encircled him, which, the photographer pointed out, could not be accounted for by the lights in the building. Many other such things had occurred in his ministry. The photograph taken at Houston was without a doubt the most outstanding and spectacular of these supernatural manifestations, because of the unique circumstances under which the photograph had been taken.

HOUSTON NEWSPAPERS REPORT THE MEETING

The same morning that the photographer brought the news of the halo of Light in the picture above Rev. Branham's head, the Houston newspapers carried full reports of the service on their front pages. Of course, the newspapers had heard nothing yet about the photograph. And It is interesting to note that Mr. Ayers, one of the photographers who had been secured by the opposing clergyman, himself had made skeptical remarks - which remarks were included in the reports by the newspapers. That the picture should come from this same photographer makes the whole matter the more astonishing, and confirms its absolute authenticity, if indeed any more evidence were needed.

Below we include some greatly condensed reports of the meeting as they appeared that morning in the Houston newspapers:

THE HOUSTON CHRONICLE
JAN. 25th., 1950
(CONDENSED)

"They lay on cots under the glare of the great lights of Sam Houston Coliseum Tuesday night - the lame, the sick, the infirm, the ones whose hopes for physical health had almost gone. They lay there quietly, some of them uncomprehendingly, as the theological argument swirled about and above them.

For it was they who - Rev. F. F. Bosworth, an out-of-town evangelist, said - could be cured of their infirmities by the divine healing power passed on through Rev. William Branham, Rev. Mr. Bosworth's partner. But Rev. W. E. Best, pastor of the Houston Tabernacle Baptist Church, contended that any such "miraculous healing" had ceased with the apostles. And he challenged Rev. Mr. Bosworth to prove otherwise.

Rev. Mr. Bosworth, amid cheers and shouts of "amen" from the audience of 8000, quoted numerous passages from various sources, which, he said, proved that Christ died not only for the sins of man, but for physical sickness also. Over and over again he quoted a Bible passage: "Christ took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses." Each time he repeated it the crowds sent up a great shout, and faint smiles broke out on the faces of some of those lying on the cots.

The audience could hear Rev. Mr. Best's rapid-fire sermon, and they didn't like everything they heard. They didn't like it when he said "I deny that any man living today has the power and the gift to heal as the apostles did.


POLITE HEARING

The Rev. Raymond T. Richey appealed to the audience to give each speaker a polite hearing. His instructions were: "When you agree with the speaker, say 'amen' and when you disagree, say 'no." For nearly four hours, the Coliseum rocked with "amens" and nos." When the Rev. Best made a point, the Rev. Bosworth would rush to the microphone on the stage from which the speakers held forth and dramatically ask those in the audience who had been cured through faith to stand.

Each time hundreds would rise.

"How many of you are Baptists?" the Rev. Bosworth shouted.

At least 100 stood up.

"No man has the power to heal!" declared the Rev. Best.

To Mrs. W. E. Wilbanks of 712 Teetshorn, the Rev. Best misrepresented the slight, black-haired Evangelist who has been preaching to crowds of 5000 nightly. "I'm a Baptist myself," said Mrs. Wilbanks. "Brother Branham does not claim the power of Divine healing. It is simply that faith and the spirit of God working through him that heals the people. Rev. Best is misrepresenting Baptist sentiment in attacking Rev. Branham.

Ordinarily, the way the miracle cures are developed, persons in the audience fill out cards which bear a number and their name. The Rev. Branham picks a number and prays for the cure of that person. Occasionally, he selects a person at random. Those attending are informed that it is possible they won't be reached during the evening for an individual prayer - but they come, night after night, hoping that their turn will arrive.


Critical Response

When the Rev. Best shouted there were those "who used sorcery to bewitch people, so that people are sincerely misled and say it's the power of God," James Ayers, a commercial photographer of 1610 Rusk, agreed.

"Branham puts on a show," said Mr. Ayers. "Somehow he never gets around to the cripples and the persons who have arthritis. He simply hypnotizes his audience."

NOTE: Mr. Ayres mentioned above in the Houston Press was the photographer who hours later was to discover the supernatural light above Rev. Branham's head on the photograph.

After conferring with Rev. Branham, Gordon Lindsay arranged for the negative to be turned over to George Lacy, considered the greatest authority on questioned documents in that area. Mr. Lacy then submitted the negative to exhaustive scientific tests. Rev. Branham was certain that the negative was genuine but considered it wise to have absolute scientific proof of its genuineness.

After a most thorough examination, Mr. Lacy gave a certified statement indicating that every test showed that the negative was absolutely genuine, and had not been "doctored" or retouched or been given a double exposure of any kind. The full text of Mr. Lacy's statement is found in the G. J. Lacy link above.

By His Grace, the Lord Jesus has allowed the Pillar of Fire to be photographed with His Prophet at the Sam Houston Coliseum in Houston, Texas, on January 4, 1950. The only supernatural Being ever photographed and documented authentic, appears over the head of Brother Branham. The same Pillar of Fire that led Israel out of Egypt. We are priviledged indeed to see what the children of Israel saw. This same Being, appearing in 1933 before hundreds of people, spoke to Bro. Branham and said:

"As John the Baptist forerun the first coming of Christ, you will forerun the second coming."

The brethren who travelled with Brother Branham had this to say about this Twentieth Century Man of God: "The scriptures in describing John the Baptist said, "There was a man sent from God whose name was John." We believe this statement can also apply to our beloved brother, William Branham." A prophet indeed has passed through the land; a prophet whose ministry was mighty in word and deed.

Rev. Branham's Personal Account Of The Picture
Rebekah (Branham) Smith's Rehersal Of The Events

To God Be The Glory

Compete details are related by Brother Branham, himself, on the tape "We Would See Jesus," Columbus, Ohio, March 14, 1954. A Tape recording of this Message may be obtained From the Voice Of God Recordings.


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