. . . I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall ye live.
As I viewed the body of our Brother William Branham in that hospital room, I couldn't help but remember the powerful, dynamic spirit that had cried out against the Jezebel and denominational spirits of the land. This was no longer the prophet of God, this poor body that had been so racked and tortured, that now even lacked the hair of the head, removed during the operation.
During the period of his confinement in the hospital, I had found it unbelievable that he wouldn't recover; even when I learned that he was dead, I couldn't seem to comprehend the fact. Therefore I still expected him to walk out of that hospital. At Billy Paul's request, I had selected a funeral director, but because of this powerful belief that the prophet would yet live, I had instructed them not to remove the body unless I was present. I was going to make certain that nothing happened of which I was not aware.
In the waiting room, Brother Billy Paul asked me to break the news to the others. As I did so, Billy stood looking thoughtfully out of the window. Then he called us to see the unusual sight of the setting sun, the moon, and the evening star together in one place. These three heavenly bodies were so close together in the western sky that I was able to cover them all with my thumb held out in front of my eyes. The star, the moon, and the sun were almost of the same brilliance. I had never seen the star so bright. It was as though streaks of light emanated from it. He was born under a sign, and I am a witness, along with Billy Paul and many others, that there was a sign in the heavens above when this prophet of God departed this life.
We stood there, a solemn little group, singing Only Believe. Billy said that his dad would want it that way. As the words fell softly in the room-only believe, all things are possible-each had his separate thoughts, and yet together we felt much as the followers of Christ must have fek; standing at the foot of the cross. They had visions of earthly glory that they felt would yet surround their Master in His Kingdom on earth. There was not one shadow of doubt in their minds but that this was their Messiah, and were bewildered as death on the cross drew nigh, then became a reality. Likewise, we who stood there that day also had no shadow of doubt but that this was God's prophet, spoken of in Malachi 4, that would come lest God have to "smite the earth with a curse." Yet we too were bewildered by the death of this man of God.
The brothers asked to be allowed to view the prophet's body. There were sixty of them, but hospital rules were strict and only seven were to be allowed in. At Brother Billy's request that I pick seven out of the sixty, I turned my back and called seven names from memory. They were Brother Blair, Brother Evans, and five others. As the seven approached the prophet's bed, one of them, Brother Earl Martin, spoke of the Scripture where Elijah had departed and of the chariots of fire which bore him away. It was a touching scene as they gripped hands, stood around the bed, and sang once again Only Believe.
The funeral director arrived; the body was covered with red velvet and placed on a cot, then it was rolled into the elevator and out into an ambulance. At each stage of this short journey, I found myself as close to the prophet's head as I could be, expecting that at any moment he would whisper to me, "Brother Green, get me out of here!"
Brother Billy Paul had promised that the decision as to where his father was to be interred; Tucson, or Jeffersonville, would rest with his mother. He was faithful to that promise. Therefore the decision awaited Sister Branham's sufficient recovery from her brain concussion. When it came, her decision was to have the body taken to Jeffersonville for burial.
At first I was shocked and undecided when informed that the body must be embalmed for shipment across the country, but then I remembered the Saiptures where Lazarus was bound with grave clothes and how Jesus had been embalmed. Aaccording to the Word of God, this had not hindered them. Resolutely I turned to the funeral director and signed the necessary papers to have the embalming performed.
A sequel to the amazing knitting together of the prophet's bones came as the funeral director informed us of the excellent condition of the circulatory system of the body. He told me how, as a result of this, the fluid was reaching every portion of his body. "He will be the most perfectly preserved man we have ever worked on", were his words.
Brother Billy Paul had summoned me to the motel room, but before I went I again took the precaution of safeguarding the body of the prophet. I asked the funeral director to place it in a separate room and lock the door for the period that I would be gone. Truthfully, I did not expect Brother Branham to be there when I returned.
I gave Brother Billy Paul and Sister Loyce each a sleeping pill, and after ensuring that they were asleep, I left them with Brother Borders who was sleeping also on the couch and began relaying the news, by telephone, of the death of Brother Branham. As I was informing Brother Neville in Jeffersonville, Brother Willard Collins and his family arrived, having driven from Tucson that night. They were immensely grieved, of course, but a great comfort to me as Brother Collins said, "Brother Green, I want you to know how much I appreciate you for what you have done for Brother Branham." He continued, saying, " Brother Branham asked me to start a church in Tucson; I failed him, but you didn't. There had to be one in Tucson in order that Brother Branham might have a place for his family to worship, and that he might serve the Lord's Supper.''
The time arrived when I would have to leave with the prophet's body to fly to Jeffersonville. I was uneasy about going alone and Brother Collins agreed to come to the airport with me. When we arrived at the funeral home, the body had been placed in a little gray casket, the lid had been closed, and packaging was underway. I felt it important that there be a witness that the prophet's body was still in that casket, therefore, I asked that it be opened so that Brother Collins could view it. This was done. The scene is indelibly impressed on my mind: Brother Branham's body dressed in a white robe, his face glistening with oil, such a glow from his face that it seemed to illuminate the room. I could think only of Brother Branham's own description of those "beyond the curtain of time. "
His body was loaded aboard the TWA flight last, after the final loading of passengers and freight. I obtained a seat as close as possible to the area where the prophet's body rested in the baggage compartment. How often I had prayed before, upon entering an airplane, that the Lord would give me a safe journey, take me and use me, and bring me back safely to my family. This time was different; I said, "Lord, if you want to take Your prophet in a ball of fire, even as you did Elijah, it would be my pleasure to go with him."
We deplaned at St. Louis, the prophet's body and I, for a layover period until the proper type of aircraft would be available to continue the journey. I never left the side of the casket, even as it was wheeled out across the vast airport to a warehouse. It was in this warehouse that I was to take up a vigil of six hours, with my ear pressed to the casket. Each moment, I expected to hear that prophet say, "Brother Green, get me out of here." It was cold and lonely in that warehouse. Thoughts raced through my mind, questions, more questions, . . . now what ?
Again the faithful Word came to my rescue: "Though one rise from the dead, they would not believe." After all, what would I do if he were to speak to me? Would anyone believe me if he did arise? Would Brother Billy Paul believe me? Would Brother Borders? Or would they all blame me if the body was to turn up missing? At that time, I felt to ask the Lord whether I was being shown that he was to come forth with all the dead in Christ. Then I said, "Lord, don't let him rise here with just me. Wait until there are witnesses." I feared lest men would not believe me. And according to the Word, they would not-unless they were already predestinated to believe.
At Jeffersonville we were met by a group of mourners, among them Mr. Coot, close personal friend of Brother Branham's, who was the funeral director Billy Paul had chosen, and also the coroner. Also present was one whose voice rings out on tape recordings of the meetings across the land, punctuating the prophet's words with a loud and vibrant "Amen." His devotion and love for this man of God was unparalleled among the followers and believers of his message. Upon one occasion, in a meeting at Shreveport, this one had shouted, "We love you prophet!" And Brother Branham, looking down, had said, "Brother Ben, I love you too."
Thus it was that devoted Brother Ben Bryant had caught a plane from Amarillo just to be there when the prophet was brought back to his home town. So respectful was Brother Ben of his prophet's body that, as he was about to lend a hand with the casket, he swept off his hat and, seeing no place to put it, he simply threw it on the ground behind him. I saw this; it was among the many things etched in my memory of that day. As I recall it now, I remember how Brother Branham had said of Brother Ben: "Here sits my brother, full of shrapnel from World War II, rubbing those raw nerves. I love him. Because he went . . . I didn't have to go." There was deep emotion in the voice of the prophet as he said this. The Scripture says, "If you receive a prophet in the name of a prophet, you shall receive a prophet's reward."
At the funeral home, I needed assurance once more that the casket contained the body of Brother Branham, so I asked Mr. Coot to open it for me. As the lid was laid back, that same unforgettable scene was again before me: Brother Branham in a white robe, his face luminous, lying in a humble little casket. This little casket, used to transfer the prophet's body, was set aside later for one which had been selected by Brother Branham's blood brothers and sisters. Eventually, the casket was used, Mr. Coot told me, to bury a pauper in. I believe that pauper is buried in an anointed coffin.
Tired and distraught, I settled into my motel room that night, but could not sleep. I remembered that Brother Lee Vayle was in the city; perhaps he had an answer. Brother Branham had spoken highly of Brother Vayle and had even said that if you wanted to know what he believed, just ask Brother Vayle. He stands as a beacon to Brother Branham's message, shedding light from the Scriptures. It was midnight when I arrived at Brother Vayle's room and got him out of bed. I implored him to help me understand. "I'm just like you," he answered, "I don't understand either."
Back again at the motel I lay still, thinking, "Lord, if You have now taken Your prophet from the scene and he has now spoken all the mysteries, and the next thing to take place is the resurrection of those which sleep in Christ, then I want to thank You for the privileges You have given me." My thoughts drifted back to the first time Brother Branham had visited the Tabernacle in Tucson.
It was on Sunday, November 21, 1965. The Saturday before he had asked for about five minutes time that he might tell the people how thankful he was that there was now a church in Tucson. I'll never forget what he said that Sunday, "I thank God that Brother Green followed the leadership of the Holy Ghost." I thought, "Oh, God! Is that what I was doing?" I was so ignorant of the leadership of the Holy Ghost in my own life that I didn't even know that this was what it was, but certainly there is no better leadership. The warmth of the blessing overspread me with the realization that I had done what he had asked me to do.
When he had asked me to start a place of worship, he had told me that he couldn't do it himself because he had promised the full gospel ministers of Tucson that he would not start a church. However he had asked other brothers beside me to provide a place of worship. Each time they had found a building, they had returned to ask him whether this was the right place. To their dismay, he had greeted each proposal in a cool manner, as though he were not pleased with it. They couldn't see that this was because he was so ethical in keeping his word with the ministers of this city. Aside though, he kept asking me when I would come up and start a church, when I would come to preach some more. '`If you didn't have the good church in Texas, you'd come start us one," he said to me.
So it was that with a thrill I remembered that day, November 21st, that he first stood in the pulpit at the Tucson Tabernacle and said, "I want you to know that this is my church." He said, "If there are only two of you here when the Lord comes, you be one of them." At that time, I felt hopeful that his words would draw us all together to worship here in love and in peace, in unity and cooperation.
That lonely Christmas night, as I lay wakeful on my bed, my mind reviewing the events of the past few months, certain things seemed to take shape and stand out above the others. First I was so grateful that I had unwittingly followed the will of God, as witnessed by His prophet, in setting up the church in Tucson. My mind touched on the memory of him standing across the street from the building that was to be the tabernacle, watching a passing parade. It was then that the bands stopped playing and took up with Onward Christian Soldiers just as they came abreast of the building.
I remembered that Sunday, November 21, as he finished with his words of kindness concerning what I had done, that I asked him to ordain me. As I knelt before him, his words of prayer, that can be heard on tape, revealed that God had showed him the tabernacle building before I had even rented it. True to his word, he wouldn't tell me; he allowed God to lead me here. Now on my bed, the second outstanding thought struck me: I was the last minister that he ordained.
Still musing that night, my mind flew back to the Thanksgiving services in Shreveport in November, to the touching memory of the sermon On The Wings Of A Snow-White Dove. His voice rang again in my ears as I recalled the message of the dove leading the eagle. The sign from above. It was in the prayer line that night that my baby sister, Barbara, had come before him. She was the fifth person in the line. The prophet, with his back turned to the first five people, was dealing with each case as the Lord showed him-a mighty manifestation of that last attribute which is to precede the coming of the Lord.
As Barbara, suffering with migraine headaches, came to him, he said, "Here is a young woman that I don't know." (I was back in the church office at the time, handling the telephone hookup to twenty-eight churches tied together across the nation.) "Wait a minute," he continued, "I say I don't know her, but I know somebody that she does know. Brother Pearry Green is standing right before me in a vision. This is his sister." Since 1950 I had attended Brother Branham's meetings, always in the background somewhere, asking the Lord privately in my heart to let the prophet see a vision of me in public. The third momentous thought came to me that solemn Christmas Eve: That was the last vision that Brother Branham had in public.
On and on my thoughts raced that night, taking me back through all the meetings I had attended after those in Shreveport. These last, great, one-time-only messages had been delivered in a final whirlwind tour of the west, winding up the message to the Bride. Yuma, Arizona, heard of the mystery of the catching away of the Bride in the sermon The Rapture. In staccato fashion after that came the prophetic Things That Are To Be, Modern Events Made Clear By Prophecy, and Leadership, in that order, at the California cities of Rialto, San Bernardino, and West Covina on the dates of December 5, 6, and 7.
On his return from Covina to Tucson, he remarked to close friends in the car with him, "Well, one of these days I may not be around. When you hear of that, eat your steaks rare and think of me." The foundation for this statement lay in something his brother Howard had said to him as they traveled together. "Bill," he said, "after I'm gone, eat a rare steak and think of me." With nostalgia, I remembered the times Brother Branham would say to me when we were on the road together, "Let's stop and eat a rare steak-and think about Howard." I never enjoy a rare steak now but that I think of Brother Branham, how he loved cattle, beef, the west, how he carried a wilderness man's longing for these things in his heart. It was as he traveled along with his friends that day from Covina that he repeated the statement he had made to me in August of that year, "There are a lot of people who are looking for a tent, but I wonder if they are looking for the Rapture or whether they are looking for a tent."
On Sunday, December 12, Brother Branham had not attended morning services at the tabernacle because he had some interviews. One of these was with Brother Vayle who had just finished the editing of the book An Exposition Of The Seven Church Ages. He was exceedingly happy that it was now available to the public. In his interview with the prophet that morning, Brother Vayle had said, "Brother Branham, there are those that say you are the son of man."
The prophet replied as he had so often told it on tape, "Lee," he said, "I am not the son of man. I am a son of man. Son of man means prophet. Prophet means mouthpiece of God; therefore, I have to say things in the first person that are not me, but it's Him."
It was that morning after service that Brother Branham was having lunch at Furr's Cafeteria where my family and I were also present. As we stood at the counter to pay our checks, he said to me, "Billy tells me that we're going to have the Lord's Supper tonight in the tabernacle." I answered that we were, and he said, "I'm going to be there, I want to help you."
"Brother Branham," I offered, "it is my pleasure to have you take the entire service."
"No." he said, "You are the pastor. You go ahead and prepare a message, but I'll serve the Lord's Supper for you." He asked about the wine and the bread, and whether we had a tray and I told him that I had bought one. "That's OK," he said, "But you know, I prefer the cup." (If he didn't say it, I'll face it on Judgment Day.)
"Brother Branham," I protested, "you used the tray in Jeffersonville. "
"That's because of the people," he said. "We used the cup when we first started, then everybody was afraid they would catch TB or something from each other, so I let them use the tray. It's all right, but you know the Lord used a cup with His disciples." Right then I made up my mind that I would use a cup; but I didn't have one at the time. If I had known then what I know now, I would have gotten a cup.
I remembered him coming in that night, sitting down in the congregation, then arising to come to the platform. I didn't ask him to come forward, for which some have criticized me, but I had a reason for it. This was the type of person that he had taught me to be, so that I might inspire confidence for those who came to worship at the tabernacle. He knew I welcomed him, but he also knew I didn't ride on his coattails. If I had insisted on him coming to the platform every time he came in, I would have been no different than the Businessmen group who used him to draw a crowd.
It is recorded on tape and in Heaven that I said that Brother Branham would never fill the pulpit at the tabernacle as much as I wanted him to, but at the same time, it was my deep desire that he have a place where he could come to service and not feel obligated to have to take charge. It was to be just a place to come and worship with the rest of the people, be friends, and mix and mingle with them, which he did. It pleased him to have it this way.
That Wednesday night I had opened the service by asking the brothers in the congregation to testify and Brother Branham, to everyone's surprise, was first on his feet. "Brother Pearry," he said simply, "I want to take every opportunity I have to give thanks unto the Lord." On Sunday night, December 12, 1 brought a message entitled God Is Never Late. It thrills me yet to recall that as I said in my sermon how Simeon holding Jesus was "a man holding God, Emmanuel, in his arms," there was a distinct "Amen" from the prophet of God behind me on the platform. That kind of experience is unforgettable. How like Brother Ben he was as he backed up a speaker in this manner; nor could I ever criticize Brother Ben because of this. It is a natural and Scriptural means of signifying agreement.
I remembered, lying there, how happy I had been to discover from Billy Paul a set of notes his dad had intended to use in Jeffersonville in a sermon he would have brought on December 26 Unto Us A Son Is Given, Unto Us A Child Is Born. What delighted me was that, there in his notes were the words I had used, "A man holding Emmanuel, God, in his arms." I don't know whether the notes were made before or after my message, but either way, it thrilled me to know I had said it. If before, maybe that was why he said "Amen" so loud. Or maybe he made the notes after my sermon in preparation for the message he was to bring on December 26.
I recalled how he had made plans for me to come and set up the telephone hookup so that people could hear his Christmas message the day after Christmas. Then his fateful words, "At the same time, you can drive this station wagon back that I will be driving there. I've just had Brother Welch Evans go over it and fix every scratch on it, and Brother Hickerson fixed it the last time I was in Jeffersonville. Brother Green, you're going to get a wonderful car." The prophet's voice echoed through my mind, describing again the car that had brought him only as far toward Jeffersonville as Texas.
That same Sunday evening, December 12, he brought his sermon entitled Communion, which later became Book 1 of Volume 1 in the books entitled The Spoken Word. I had never heard of anyone believing in "spiritual communion" until I heard him explain so vividly that night that some did believe this, even though they also claimed to know him as God's prophet. He left no doubt that such a doctrine was contrary to the Word. He showed that it was absolutely imperative that we observe the three ordinances: baptism in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ by immersion in water, partaking of the Lord's Supper of unleavened bread and wine, and foot washing. He said that it was death to do it wrong and it was death not to do it at all.
Without realizing until later what I had done, I picked men that night to help serve the Lord's Supper who believed in spiritual communion and had never partaken of it in their lives. This is what you call "putting somebody on the spot," and I did it unknowingly. To hear the prophet of God stand and preach it-then to have the pastor challenge them to come and do it-what a spot to be in. After this, Brother Branham' served me the bread and the wine. Then it was his turn, and how I remember that as he reached and took the little cup from the middle of the tray, he turned to the congregation and said, "I drink no more of the fruit of the vine until I enter into my Father's Kingdom." Though he was quoting Jesus, yet he was also fulfilling the type of his life and ministry.
Lying there on my bed that Christmas night, the fourth realization struck me: I was the last person to receive the Lord's Supper from our brother's hand.
The long night of contemplation and searching for answers came to an end. The next day found me, at Brother Neville's request, addressing the congregation of the Branham Tabernacle, in Jeffersonville, relating to them all that I knew of the events of the past week. It fell my lot to stand in the pulpit and tell these people details of the death of this prophet whom they had called pastor for thirty-two years.
That afternoon, on the way to the airport to meet Brother Billy Paul, who was arriving with his mother, his sisters, Joseph, Brother Borders, and Brother George Smith, I stopped again at the funeral home. Before I left Amarillo, Brother Billy had asked me to take his father's hairpiece with me in order that a covering might be fashioned for Brother Branham's head which would be natural and would obscure the place where the brain operation had been performed. This I had done. The covering had been set in place and I was making a last minute check of the body before Brother Billy's arrival.
As the coffin was opened for me, it struck me that I no longer recognized Brother Branham. With the hairpiece in place, he looked like he was thirty-five rather than fifty-seven years old. He looked to me just as he did in the Houston picture when the halo had appeared. I expressed my concern to Mr. Coot that Brother Branham looked too young and that Brother Billy Paul wouldn't like it. "His mouth is too distinct. He was darker complexioned than you have him," I told Mr. Coot. He said he would see what he could do about it.
Brother Billy Paul and his party arrived. After seeing his mother safely in the care of Doctor Sam Adair, we went right to the funeral home. As we viewed the body together, he turned to me and said incredulously, "What did you do with my daddy?" It was a genuine question from a heart full of anguish, expressing alarm and reproval for something that it was imagined I had done. (What would have been the furor if I had arrived in Jeffersonville with an empty casket? . . . though one rise from the dead, they would not believe.) I told Billy that, as Mr. Coot was a witness, this was the body of his father as I had brought it from Amarillo.
The next day, as Sister Hope's mother, Mrs. Brumbach, viewed the body, she turned to me and said, through her tears, "Brother Green, this is Billy . . . as I knew him . . . when he married my daughter." Now I realized that I was not looking at Brother Branham as an old man, but rather, as a young man. There were many who began to speculate.
The funeral service, on December 29, was preached by the Brothers Neville, Collins, Jackson, and Ruddel. I led the singing and gave the obituary. So great were the numbers of people in attendance that the church was packed out by 11 o'clock, though services didn't began until 1 o'clock. Hundreds were left outside in the parking lot. It took over an hour for the people to file past the casket.
Sister Branham, still suffering from a brain concussion, was incapable of deciding whether her husband would be buried in Jeffersonville or in Tucson. Standing beside his father's casket, Brother Bily Paul repeated the words I had heard him say in Amarillo, "The Lord has helped me through this, but I'll never be the one to commit him to the earth." Gently I took the grieving son by the shoulders and turned him away. He was met by Brother Borders who slipped an arm around him and walked him out. Billy had previously asked me to make sure that the hairpiece was removed before the coffin was locked. I asked Mr. Coot, as a final act, to remove the hairpiece. This done I drew the fold of coffin material carefully over Brother Branham's body, the lid was closed, and my eyes were the last two eyes to see the remains of God's prophet.
Mr. Coot locked the casket and consigned it to a private room upstairs in his funeral home, to await Sister Branham's decision. This then, is the truth of what happened. He was not, as was rumored around the world, placed in a deep freeze, at an expense of fifteen thousand dollars, to await resurrection. (Even in death, there were those who would discredit Brother Branham, his family, and his faithful followers by whatever subtle means they could devise.)
At 4 o'clock, outside after the service, many people began to notice a strange coloration and circles around the sun. My father directed my attention to this unusual display, then left to phone my sisters in Texas to see if the same phenomenon was happening there. He phoned California and other places. Everywhere the answer was the same; the same manifestation was being seen. He died under a sign, he was born under a sign, and there was a sign in the heavens at the time of his funeral service.
The news media had begun their efforts to uncover a newsworthy story in the death of Brother Branham. Fortunately, I was told that a TV broadcast was due at 6 o'clock that evening to inform the public that the followers of the late William Branham, expecting him to rise from the dead, were placing the body in storage instead of burying him. I contacted Brother Billy Paul with the alarming news of this impending broadcast and he asked me to stop it if I could. With no knowledge of which TV station was involved, I started phoning each one, finally contacting the proper news director just two minutes before the program was to go on the air. Quickly I gave him the true facts in the case, explaining that the delay in burial was because of Sister Branham's injury. I told him that we had absolutely no knowledge of this deep-freeze story. The man was appreciative of my calling him, he said, "Reverend Green, I appreciate your telling me. I would have hated to bring this disgrace upon the family."
As it turned out, it was not until April 11, 1966, following Sister Branham's recovery, that the prophet was finally buried.
Beginning on Brother Branham's birthday, April 6, 1966, Brother Billy Paul called special services in Jeffersonville to play seven tapes that the prophet had preached but had not allowed to be released. At this gathering the rumors began to circulate that Brother Branham would come forth privately from the dead. One night, while I was in the office assisting Billy Paul, the phone rang. It was the day before Easter. A man's voice on the other end questioned me brusquely.
"Who's talking?" he demanded.
"Pearry Green," I answered.
He spelled out my first name, asking if that was right. I corrected him, thinking surely that this must be someone who really knew me, but was kidding me as though he didn't know this unusual spelling of my name. He asked me whether we were having special services. I replied that we were. Gradually, I began to realize that this was no friend of the family. Finally, I asked to whom it was that I was speaking.
"This is Mr. Brown of the United Press International (UPI), Louisville," he answered, then abruptly asked, "Aren't you people expecting William Branham to rise on Easter morning?"
The bluntness of his question shook me a little, but I managed a careful answer, "Well, sir, there may be some that believe that. What faith are you?"
"Baptist," came the reply.
"Don't you believe in the resurrection?" I countered. "Don't you believe in the second coming of the Lord?"
"Yes sir," he admitted.
"Well, so do we." I said.
His next question was designed to put words in my mouth, "Do you think it could take place in the morning?"
"Sir," I said innocently, "I wouldn't be a bit surprised when it would happen."
That did it. He had just enough to twist my words. The next day, by UPI, I was quoted around the world as follows: "Some of the followers of the late William Branham believe he will arise from the dead on Easter Sunday morning," says the Reverend Pearry Green, pastor of the four hundred-member Tucson Tabernacle, 'and as for myself, I wouldn't be surprised when it would happen."'
At Tucson, the UPI people looking in the city directory, found Pearry Green with an address on Wrightstown Road and Tucson Tabernacle, the Downtown Assembly of God Church, 560 S. Stone (because that is the way it was listed). Thus I came to be mentioned as an Assembly of God minister in their local article. Some people who had followed Brother Branham's message in Tucson read the article and were greatly upset. Their words to me on the phone were emphatic, I was to "keep my mouth shut."
In Jeffersonville, the effect was the same. Leaders among the followers of the message came to me and gave me to understand that it was none of my business to talk to newspaper reporters, that if anything was said, it would be "announced officially.", Needless to say, I felt terrible because I had brought a reproach on Sister Branham and her children, as well as Brother Branham's life and ministry; of course, I knew they didn't believe such things. I told Sister Branham that afternoon that I would rather be spoken into oblivion than to have brought one moment of reproach, sorrow, or anxiety upon her family. Her kind words were reassuring, "Brother Green, I believe you."
The next day, of course, the newspapers saw fit to carry a follow-up. "He does not rise" was their smug sequel to their first story. The same reporter tried to phone me for comment but I was not available. Brother Harold McClintock answered the phone and refused to give him any information. He called Brother Billy who informed him that nothing like this had been taught. At this, the reporter tried to cause a controversy between Brother Billy Paul and myself in order to create more news stories, but the cheap attempt failed.
The article had been vicious and full of fabricated lies. It had even been said that I had led seven hundred people to the cemetery to raise William Branham from the dead. I had friends all over the world who, after reading the article, shook their heads and said, "Pearry Green has gone crazy!"
The truth is that I didn't even know that Brother Branham was going to be buried on Monday when I left Tucson for Jeffersonville the Tuesday before. No one else knew it either, until Sister Branham made the decision when she arrived.
The very people who had come to me in Jeffersonville and told me to "keep my mouth shut," fared little better than I in their interviews with the press. They were asked what they thought about William Branham. Their replies, while true, were easily twisted by the reporters. They said, "Well, he was more than a prophet." They were also quoted as saying that they did not believe that William Branham will rise from the dead. Then I wondered whether they did not believe that he will. They finally realized after the same experience with cheap journalism that I had been misquoted as they had.
I didn't tell that reporter what he wrote in that paper. But I want to say this: I was the last minister ordained by this prophet of God; I consider that a great privilege. I was the last person that was seen by him in public vision. I was the last preacher that he heard preach; and I felt like Timothy preaching with Paul listening, or one of the disciples with Jesus present. It wasn't easy, but he asked me to do it and I thank God that I was man enough to do it. I had the privilege of being the last one to whom he served the Lord's Supper and the last one to serve him.
I was the first person to arrive at the scene of the accident outside of those who were there when it happened. I was the first person to see the car. I was the first person to see him when he regained consciousness, when I told him about the sign in the moon. I was the first believer to know that he had left this life. I was the first believer to see his body. I was the first believer to see him dressed in a white robe. I had the privilege and the responsibility of traveling with his remains, going home. Since Christmas is not the birthday of our Lord Jesus Christ, Christmas brings other memories to my mind. Even though our brother was "deceased" according to the world, yet there was an anointed presence that I felt with him. As I said before, my eyes were the last to see his earthly remains, but I believe I am going to be one of the first to see his resurrected body, when the dead in Christ rise.
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