[TBC: The late William Branham can be seen as a major influence on the Latter Rain movement which in turn influenced most of today's purported revivals. Following is a short biography.]
William Branham was born in Berksville, Kentucky, in dire poverty. At the age of 5, he heard "A Voice" who directed him to abstain from coffee, smoking and alcohol. This disembodied Voice was later given credit for his unusual healing powers by William himself. William Branham was fascinated with the Zodiac and Egyptian occultism as his mentor was occultist Franklin Hall. Branham’s obsession with the occult is evident even in his death: his grave is marked by a Masonic occult pyramid atop his grave.
He taught his "Serpent Seed" doctrines in the 1950's, of how Eve had intercourse with the Serpent, and all the seed from Cain are predestined for hell. He even called the handsome serpent the missing link between man and monkey. Branham later declared himself the angel of Rev:3:13 and 10:7 and prophesied that in 1977, all denominations would be consumed by the Roman Catholics, the rapture would take place and the world would end. Before his death in 1965, his occult healing spirit was transferred to hundreds by the laying on of hands. These people include almost all the major names who operated as "healing" evangelists during that time, and who are still at work today. They took Branham’s mantle through the period known as the Latter Rain, endued by the power of his demonic occult entity. William lived his life in fear and acted under a compulsive-type behavior associated with his life-long demonic oppression.
William Branham is an important figure in modern day charismatic, Pentecostal, and emerging church circles. The reason is that not just his latter rain theology, but also his "spirit", and (allegedly) his ministering "angels" have been passed onto a new generation of prophets. A "badge" of elitism and favor in the new prophetic movement are those who can boast of having met or seen Branham's angel. Testimonies to these angelic encounters are included on Todd Bentley's website. Paul Cain, closely linked with William Branham, as well as claiming he works directly with Branham's angels in a similar manner to Branham. It is he who passed the power onto John Wimber and his Vineyard with the prophetic spirit which in turn infected the multi denominational wider church through the Toronto Blessing.
The beginnings of the prophetic movement goes back many decades. In the 40's there was a flurry of activity. Between 1947 and 1957, the so-called "Healing Revival" led by Oral Roberts, T.L. Osborn, A.A. Allen, Jack Coe, and Orval Jaggers enveloped America often with large tent campaigns. William Branham was the central figure in this era. But he also became a catalyst for the contemporary Pentecostal Movement we call the Latter-Rain. It appeared in Canada and was given the blessing of Branham who actually laid hands on the Canadian leaders of the Latter-Rain. The Latter-Rain had developed an entirely new end-time teaching of "salvation history." The Latter Rain is where the so-called ‘Toronto Blessing’ began. The movement is characterized by a plethora of unorthodox teachings and questionable practices -- encouraged and promoted by alleged ‘words,’ ‘prophecies’ and ‘visions’ from God, and accompanied by anything from outbreaks of uncontrollable laughter, people acting as if they were drunk, and claims of having received gold dust or other ’supernatural signs’ from God. Bentley’s teachings and practices place his ministry squarely among the controversial renewal and revival movements.