Question: Did Kenneth Hagin and Anna Schrader predict William Branham’s death in 1964?
The prophecies that you refer to are contained in the 2 books listed below. We purchased these books to ensure that our analysis of the prophecies would be as accurate and factual as possible.
1. My Diary Secrets by Mrs. Gordon Lindsay (Christ for the Nations Inc., Dallas, TX, seventh printing (rev.), 1998).
Freda Lindsay was the wife of Gordon Lindsay, who was the editor of “Voice of Healing” and one of William Branham’s early campaign managers. Mrs. Lindsay authored My Diary Secrets in 1976. The copy we obtained was from the seventh printing in 1998, which is the only edition marked as revised. We have not confirmed whether any part of the revision impacts this prophecy, but at this point we assume that it does not.
Mrs. Lindsay went on to lead Christ for the Nations, Inc., and was instrumental in building more than 10,000 churches in impoverished countries worldwide, prior to her death in 2010.
2. He Gave Gifts Unto Men, A Biblical Perspective of Apostles, Prophets and Pastors by Kenneth E. Hagin (Kenneth Hagin Ministries Inc., Tulsa, OK, 1992)
Hagin was known to William Branham, who said the following about him in 1955:
“This morning I was at the Assemblies of God church for the morning meeting, where we had a lovely service. I was listening at the evangelist there. I can’t think of the man’s name. Hagin, Brother Hagin. Very reliable teacher, Pastor, a lovely man, they were very sorry they was having a revival during the time of our campaign, but they’ve had it staged for about a year. And they had to go ahead, through with it. So it was perfectly all right. But we want to show them our love, that we love them. We’re not divided in this work of the Lord. We’re all together, one body are we, moving on. And every morning, at ten till eleven o’clock, they having services there in the …Brother Hagin, this morning is teaching on Divine healing, which had a marvelous message. I sure appreciate it. My first time ever getting to shake hands with the brother, but a mighty fine man.” (W. Branham, Sermon: Glorified Jesus, February 25, 1955)
Kenneth Hagin went on to establish a large teaching ministry, with book and magazine printing, radio and television programs, and Bible schools. In later years, Kenneth Hagin brought disrepute to his own ministry through his involvement in the “Holy Laughter” movement.
THE PROPHECY - As retold by Freda Lindsay (pg. 209-210)
One day Kenneth Hagin came into our offices. He handed Gordon a piece of paper on which was written a prophecy he said the Lord had given him. The prophecy stated that the leader of the deliverance movement was soon to be taken in death because he was getting into error, and the Lord was having to remove him from the scene for that reason. Gordon took the prophecy and placed it on his desk.
After Brother Hagin left, I asked, “What do you think about this? Is this Branham?”
Gordon answered gravely, “Yes, it is Branham. He is getting into error. He thinks he is Elijah. He thinks he is the messenger of the covenant. The sad thing is that unscrupulous men around him are putting words into his mouth, and due to his limited background he is taking them up. ”
Two years later, William Branham, who had moved from his home in Jeffersonville, Indiana, was driving to Tucson, Arizona, his new base. In West Texas he had a head-on collision with a drunken driver and was taken to the hospital. His head became terribly swollen. A tube was placed in his throat to assist his breathing, but on Christmas Eve, 1965, he departed this world, even as the prophecy had stated. A tremendous ministry that had veered off course!
THE PROPHECY - As retold by Kenneth Hagin (pg. 165-166)
Another instance of private foretelling occurred in my ministry in January 1964. Several of us had gone to a restaurant. We were sitting at the table getting ready to order, when the Spirit of the Lord came upon me. I said to one of our board members who was there, “I’ve got to pray, and I’ve got to pray now.”
We got up and left and went to my hotel room and began praying. And then the word of wisdom began to operate through prophecy. I prophesied for two hours. I’ve never had an anointing quite like that. It seemed like there were two of me, as I sat there listening to myself prophecy. In all these years of ministry, an experience like this one has only happened twice. You see, these things occur as the Spirit wills. In that prophecy in the hotel room, the Lord took us through six years and told us about things to come. He told us what would happen in Vietnam and some things that would happen in our government.
In this prophecy, the Lord also said, “At the end of ’65, he who now stands in the forefront of the healing ministry as a prophet will be taken out of the way. He’ll make a false step and Satan shall destroy his life, but his spirit will be saved, and his works will follow him. Ere ’66 shall come, he shall be gone.
I took that prophecy to Brother Lindsay, because it’s scriptural to have other spiritual men judge prophecy. I never made it public. Prophets make a mistake by publicly broadcasting some of these things.
On December 27, 1965, my wife was at the beauty parlor, and she called home to say that this minister, who was the leading prophet at the time, had been in an automobile accident. He was unconscious, and doctors said he would never regain consciousness.
I told her, “There is no use praying. He’ll be dead within two or three days,” I said that because I remembered what the Lord had said in that prophecy. Then the Lord explained to me, “I had to permit him to be removed because of the damage he was causing in the Body of Christ.”
Two days later, Brother Lindsay called me and said, “Brother Hagin, the brother you referred to just died. I got out that prophecy the Lord gave us eighteen months ago and read it. It’s right on.”
Brother Lindsay related an experience he’d had with that prophet. Brother Lindsay said, “I told him, ‘You’re not a teacher, so don’t try to teach.’” He was a preacher and a good one at that, and he had marvelous manifestations of the Holy Spirit in his ministry.
Brother Lindsay said, “I begged him not to teach. I said, ‘You don’t know the Bible, and you’re confusing folks. Leave the Bible teaching to the teachers. Just go ahead and preach and exercise the word of knowledge and gifts of healings as the Spirit wills, and be a blessing to the Body of Christ.’ “
This prophet said to Brother Lindsay, “I know I’m not a teacher, but I want to teach. And I’m going to teach!”
COMMENTS ON THE PROPHECY
The prophecy referred to in these books is not identical, which probably means two things:
- As Mrs. Lindsay wrote her book first, it is unlikely that Kenneth Hagin used it as a source to write his book.
- Both books indicate that Kenneth Hagin had the prophecy in writing. It appears that Kenneth Hagin kept a written copy of the prophecy as his recollection of the prophecy is very specific. On the other hand, it appears that Freda Lindsay is recalling the conversation between Kenneth Hagin and her husband from the account written in her diary and it is therefore not as specific as she does not refer to the exact wording of the prophecy.
There is a scriptural principal, found in Deut. 19:15, Matthew 18:16, and II Cor 13:1, that evidence established by two or more witnesses should be regarded. Apart from the fact that the two prophecies are not identical, the combined testimonies of Kenneth Hagin and Freda Lindsay point to the conclusion that prior to William Branham’s death, a prophecy was made that he would die before the end of 1965.
The two versions of the prophecy also differ on the timing of the error that William Branham would make:
1) Freda Lindsay’s recollection of the prophecy was that William Branham would be “taken in death because he was getting into error”.
2) Kenneth Hagin’s retelling of the prophecy stated that “He’ll make a false step and Satan shall destroy his life.”
In Mrs. Lindsay’s version, William Branham was going to be judged for error that he was already involved in. In Kenneth Hagin’s version, William Branham was going to die as a result of a false step that he would make in the future.
Given that Kenneth Hagin’s version appears to be the more accurate of the two, this means that William Branham had not yet made the “fatal false step” at the time the prophecy was made in January 1964. The problem with Freda Lindsay’s account is that it raises the question as to why this prophecy was made in 1964 and not 1954, which based on audio recordings is the first year that William Branham referred to himself as the forerunner of the second coming. (W. Branham, Sermon: How the Angel Came to Me and His Commission, January 17, 1955, Par. 71-1)
Freda Lindsay wrote that her husband believed that William Branham was going to die because “he thinks he is Elijah.” Kenneth Hagin infers that William Branham passed away because he didn’t “leave the Bible teaching to the teachers,” but also supports the position that William Branham passed away as a result of thinking he was Elijah in a reference to a prophecy he attributes to Anna Schrader:
“… Then brother Lindsay related something else to me that had happened regarding this same prophet. He said to me, ‘This past year, I was praying with my wife and sister Schrader about the work of the ministry. (Sister Schrader was a prophetess who has since gone on to be with the Lord.) We were praying about different projects in our ministry. Right in the middle of the prayer, Sister Schrader blurted out, ‘Go warn Brother [Branham]… he’s going to die.’ Brother Lindsay said, ‘I was busy, and I let that get by me, and I didn’t go warn him like I was supposed to. Then later, my wife and I and Sister Schrader were again praying about ministry projects. Again Sister Schrader blurted out right in the middle of prayer, ‘Go warn Brother [Branham]… he’s going to die. He’s walking in the way of Dowie.’ After his morning meeting, Brother Lindsay said, ‘I talked to him as the Lord had instructed me, but I saw that he wouldn’t listen…” (K. Hagin, ‘He Gave Gifts unto Men’, pg 164-170).
Alexander Dowie was a faith healer at the turn of the 20th century who established a city in Zion, Illinois, and believed that he was Elijah the prophet.
William Braham was familiar with Sister Schrader, and said the following about her prophetic ministry:
“How many knows the visions almost kill you. Jesus…One woman touched His garment and virtue went from Him. You know that? Here’s little Miss Schrader here. I was talking to her today in there. You wonder why she lays like that. She has a gift of prophecy. That’s what does it. “ (W. Branham, Sermon: Conference, November 25, 1960, Par. E-64)
It is interesting to note that both William Branham and Kenneth Hagin agree that Anna Schrader was a prophetess. So the question is not so much about whether Sister Schrader made a prophecy about William Branham’s death, but whether Kenneth Hagin accurately retells that prophecy. Some potential issues include:
1) Kenneth Hagin is the only one (that we know of so far) who has publicly recounted this prophecy.
2) Kenneth Hagin was not present to hear the prophecy, but heard it through Gordon Lindsay.
3) Unlike the prophecy that Kenneth Hagin made himself, he probably went from memory as to what this prophecy actually said. Given that Kenneth Hagin’s book was published in 1992 (at least 27 years after the fact), it is unlikely that he remembered it word-for-word, which is extremely important with prophecy. If Freda Lindsay could completely re-phrase Kenneth Hagin’s prophecy in the time it took to pen it in her diary (a matter of hours or perhaps a few days), it is a certainty that Kenneth Hagin recollection would be imperfect given the passage of years.
Unless a second historical witness confirms the prophecy, the exact wording of Anna Schrader’s prophecy is subject to legitimate sceptism, especially in light of the following prophecy that is also attributed to Anna Schrader:
“The next incident was a stirring message given in the Spirit and interpreted, almost identical to two others which were to be given in other Branham meetings in different places, a sure testimony of the authenticity of this anointed ministry. It was uttered with such rousing force that it almost seemed unearthly, and this was the gist of the message… that as John the Baptist was sent as a forerunner of the Lord’s first coming, so was He sending forth this evangelist and others like him to move the people and prepare them for His second coming. Months later we heard this same message interpreted amidst a large crowd of people attending the Branham meeting in Tulsa, Oklahoma, by Sister Anna Schrader whom we later learned to appreciate deeply. Truly, these words penetrated our hearts.” (Gordon Lindsay, A Man Sent From God)
“Mrs. Schrader, I got your note. (I know Sister Schrader.) You asked me about the tape. I haven’t been home yet to hear it. I’ll get it when I get home. Sister Schrader, you’re a good woman. I love you, my sister. You was the one, me not knowing you, when I walked in and someone spoke in tongues, and you gave the interpretation, and said the very same thing that the Light did, when it come down over me down there, when I first was a Baptist preacher. Said, “As John the Baptist was sent forth to forerun the first coming of Christ, you’re sent forth, and your message will forerun the second coming.” (W. Branham, Sermon: The Way Back, November 23, 1962, Par. 203)
Comparing these two versions of Anna Schrader’s prophecy is also very interesting, as there is one noticeable difference: Gordon Lindsay’s recollection includes the statement “and others like him” while William Branham’s recollection simply says “your message”.
The last time William Branham mentioned Anna Schrader was in November 1965, a month prior to his passing, during a sermon in which he recognized her sitting in the audience. (W. Branham, Sermon: The Invisible Union of the Bride of Christ, November 25, 1965, par 66)
In summary, my current opinion about Kenneth Hagin’s prophecy is that:
1) The comments made by Kenneth Hagin and Freda Lindsay, describing the situation in which the prophecy was given to Gordon Lindsay, generally agree with each other and, therefore, substantiate the fact that the prophecy was made in January 1964. This conclusion is based on the scriptural principle of two witnesses as discussed earlier.
2) Freda Lindsay probably quoted the prophecy from memory, while Kenneth Hagin likely had a copy of the prophecy written down for his own records. As a result, Kenneth Hagin’s version of the prophecy appears more accurate while Freda Lindsay’s version is likely a paraphrased version based on her recollection of the event as transcribed in her diary.
3) The interpretation of the prophecy as contained in each book is not necessarily correct, as it is based on each author’s perspective and personal biases.
4) The source of the prophecy, being Kenneth Hagin, should not bring disrepute to the prophecy even though Kenneth Hagin later involved himself in questionable teachings and practices (i.e., holy laughter). There are instances in the Bible of prophecies made by people who later made wrong decisions. At the time this prophecy was made in January 1964, Kenneth Hagin did the right thing by bringing it in front of other spiritual men to judge.
5) William Branham’s ministry was important enough for God to care about what he said, and how he acted in front of the people. Moses’ ministry was also cut short for an error he made before the people, even though this error was not doctrinal (he struck the rock in anger when God told him to speak to the rock).
My current opinion about Anna Schrader’s prophecy is that:
1) Both Kenneth Hagin and William Branham have publicly acknowledged that Anna Schrader was a prophetess.
2) Kenneth Hagin’s version of this prophecy is likely paraphrased.
3) Kenneth Hagin’s version of this prophecy is subject to a considerable amount of error in its retelling, as he is the only one to document this prophecy and as he was not present to hear the original prophecy.
4) It is very unlikely that Anna Schrader would first prophesy that William Branham was sent forth to forerun the second coming (whether with or without other ministers is outside the scope of this article), and then prophecy his doom for “walking in the way of Dowie”.
5) It is possible that Anna Schrader did prophecy his death at some point prior to December 1965.
Many people try to discredit William Branham’s ENTIRE ministry and teachings based on their presumption that “he went off in the end.” While these prophecies are the first indication we have had that William Branham’s death may have been the result of some grave error on his part, Kenneth Hagin’s prophecy does not define the error. The error may not have been doctrinal at all, but perhaps a simple expression of humanity like the anger that Moses expressed which cost him his inheritance in the Promised Land.
There were prophets who foretold Elijah’s departure from the earth:
And the sons of the prophets that were at Jericho came to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the LORD will take away thy master from thy head to day? And he answered, Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace. (2 Kings 2:4-6)
It should come as no surprise then that there were also prophets who foretold the end of William Branham’s life.
~ Written by Jeremy Bergen, Editor, www.believethesign.com