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The Warfare against the Branch Davidian Seventh Day Adventists by David Koresh, and Others

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The Warfare of Vernon Howell (a.k.a. David Koresh) and others against the Branch Davidian Seventh Day Adventists

The Warfare of Vernon Howell (a.k.a. David Koresh) and others against the Branch Davidian Seventh Day Adventists

“And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed,
which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Revelation 12:17




The Warfare
of
Vernon Howell (a.k.a. David Koresh) and others
against the
Branch Davidian Seventh Day Adventists




Copyright ©
September 2003, Douglas Francis Mitchell


All Rights Reserved


Original Copyright: 1993
Revised: February 2005


Written by
Douglas Francis Mitchell



Printed in the United States of America




TABLE OF CONTENTS





"The revelator, looking down the ages to the close of time, has declared, 'The dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.' Revelation 12:17. Some who today are living on the earth will see these words fulfilled. The same spirit that in ages past led men to persecute the true church, will in the future lead to the pursuance of a similar course toward those who maintain their loyalty to God. Even now preparations are being made for this last great conflict." Prophets and Kings, pg. 605.


PREFACE

The following is presented to set straight the facts of the matter, and as a warning and an appeal. No attempt is made herein to supply the behind the scene facts unknown to this author. That will remain for others who have access to those facts. The basic aim of this testimony is to show that Vernon Howell* (later known as David Koresh*) and his followers left the authentic Branch Davidian Seventh Day Adventists Association (aka, "The Branch"), headquartered at New Mt. Carmel Center, Waco, Texas, in 1983-84 as a new, distinct movement which abandoned most of the fundamental principles and practices of the true movement. At the time Howell started his distinct movement he named it the "Davidian Branch Davidian Seventh Day Adventists," (see Appendix 1). About four years later Howell dropped that name and unlawfully usurped the name and property of the true Church. The name "Branch Davidians" came into use by the media during the notorious 1993 events involving David Koresh and his followers.


*Note: For the sake of accuracy, I will be referring to him (Howell/Koresh) by the name he was going by at the time the events which are being related occurred.


It will also be shown herein that Howell's (Koresh's) control of New Mt. Carmel Center was clearly unlawful. His coming there was neither accidental nor coincidental, but rather was staged, as were the results of his actions. He was not alone in his warfare against the true Church.

In order to show the depth of the controversy heretofore not fully disclosed, many different aspects involved will be discussed. Though there have been numerous articles and books written on the subject, and even a few movies made, most have ignored or distorted the true facts of the matter. Some have done this due to their unfamiliarity with issues involved, while others have done so with the specific purpose of using the situation to express their animosity against the true Branch Davidian Seventh Day Adventists, and particularly the doctrines and practices we espouse and promulgate, to, as it were, bury us alive. There are even others who used the opportunity to strike out against Christianity, in general, the Bible, and even God, and to promote their atheistic philosophies and politics.

The facts and incidents revealed herein will be seen to be more than mere coincidences. God allowed Vernon Howell to bring in his heresies in order to separate the wheat from the chaff, as it were. It will also be seen that those who ended up with Koresh had ample opportunities to see the error of their ways and avoid the tragedy they eventually experienced. Those who were old enough to know better were not innocent, as they wished themselves to be portrayed.

It is written, "Woe unto the world because of offenses [scandals]! for it must needs be that offenses come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!" Matthew 18:7. Such was Koresh's standing when he closed his probation – in a position of woe. Regarding the fact that he led many little ones to their destruction, as did his followers who gave their minor-aged daughters to be his wives or concubines, it is also written, "Whoso shall offend [put a stumbling block or impediment in the way of] one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea." (verse 6).

"Hear ye, O mountains, the LORD'S controversy, and ye strong foundations of the earth: for the LORD hath a controversy with his people, and he will plead with Israel." Micah 6:2.

"They are not all Israel, which are of Israel:" Roman 9:6. Neither are they all Christian who profess Christ. It is the whole house of Israel (Ezekiel 37:11), those home born, and those grafted in, whom the Creator of heaven and earth has a controversy with.

Though the world has witnessed the controversy between Koresh and his followers who professed to be following God, and those who were supposed to be representing the law of the land in a country which professes to trust in God, the real controversy which God has is with His people who are disregarding His laws, and are leaning on the arm of flesh (Jeremiah 17:5), by trusting in man for their peace and safety, welfare and happiness, and knowledge of His will and word.

While the testimony herein concerns the theft of the identity and property rights of a seemingly small and relatively disregarded congregation, the real warfare which underlies it involves God's rights to rule his people and His world his way, and to be represented in truth and righteousness. So though we have the right to protest against the way we have been abused through the situation with Koresh, God has an infinitely greater right to raise His objections to the whole matter. "But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not." 2 Peter 2:1-3.

TESTIMONY
AUTHOR'S HISTORY

I came in contact with the Seventh Day Adventist Church (S.D.A.) in the summer of 1977, and was baptized later that year. A few months later I came in contact with the teachings of the Davidian Seventh Day Adventists (a.k.a. "Shepherd's Rod," or "Davidians"), a reform movement within the Church. In the early fall of 1978 I came in contact with The Branch Davidian Seventh Day Adventists (a.k.a., "The Branch"), the successor reform movement to the Davidians. I joined the movement shortly before the death of Ben Roden (who was then president of the Church) in the fall of 1978, and have been an active member ever since then. I moved to Texas in late 1982 at the request of Lois Roden (Ben's wife), who was the successor president of the Branch Davidian Seventh Day Adventists. I was a firsthand witness to the malicious scheme to defame and destroy the work of Ben and Lois Roden, their predecessors, and the work of the Branch movement, itself, by Vernon Howell (David Koresh), and others.

I first met Vernon Howell in September 1981, at Mrs. Roden's daughter's house in the Riverside area of Southern California. He had driven her to some meetings she had in the area. Shortly before this time Vernon had come to New Mt. Carmel Center, in Waco, Texas, and offered his labors to Mrs. Roden. He seemed like a nice person, but overconfident in his knowledge of the Scriptures, which appeared to be rather broad. I can't say the same about his respect and appreciation of them or of God of which they testify and Who inspired them.

Shortly after that time he said that he felt that he had a message for the Branch members, but it was not received then by those to whom it was presented at New Mt. Carmel Center. Rejected in his attempts to gain a following at that time, he left our fellowship. He came and went over the next year, only to return in early 1983, and then again in the fall of 1983 to try again.

Never at any time did he actually accept any of the basic moral teachings and practices of the Branch Davidian Seventh Day Adventists, as time has well proven. He was disfellowshipped from the Seventh Day Adventist Church for moral reasons shortly before he came to The Branch movement, and never amended his pernicious ways. Each time he returned to Mt. Carmel Center, he would relate to us how he had just gotten in trouble (usually with a girl friend), and would draw sympathy from people.

He didn't put in print the substance of his special message (sic), though he did publish a few short items. Most of his teaching was oral. He emphasized the difference between the oral manner of his message, and the printed manner of all the former leaders. This, in and of itself, made it easy for him to set forth an illusion before his listeners, for they weren't able to readily review the foundations of his teachings in a setting isolated from his direct influence, and where they could prayerfully commune with God regarding what he was teaching. Some of his studies were tape recorded. But neither did any of those contain anything with a sound foundation. He would pull things from here and there, and then would continually say "see, see." It was all smoke and mirrors. He would attempt to intimidate people into seeing things that weren't there by belittling them because of their alleged spiritual blindness, and by noting the supposed spiritual insight of those who had swallowed up his hook, line, and sinker.

To understand why he came to The Branch at that time, and how he was able to take unlawful control of the Church's property and identity it is necessary to understand what was transpiring in the movement during that time. An understanding of how the Church is structured and functions is also necessary. And, as many who disagree with our doctrines and practices have misrepresented such and have labeled us as a cult (in the negative sense of the word), it is incumbent upon us to defend such slanderous misrepresentations by

A BASIC STATEMENT OF OUR BELIEFS

In general, we are what may be called Protestant Fundamentalists. This simply means that we stand in protest to many of the peculiar claims of the so-called Catholic churches (Roman, Orthodox/Greek, Anglican, etc.), and that we embrace the fundamental principles of the Gospel as revealed in the Bible. I say so-called Catholic churches because the term catholic (meaning universal) was applied to the general Christian Church long before the peculiar claims of the now-named Catholic fellowships came to dominate by force of arms those who disagreed with those claims. The term catholic was originally used only in an adjectival sense, and not as a proper noun. When using the term "Catholic Church" herein the meaning is generally referring to the Roman Catholic Church, but is not excluding the other "Catholic" fellowships.

The same is true in regards to the word Christianity. That is, the doctrines, rites, and practices of what is today known as Christianity are so far removed from those of the early Church that that name no longer identifies that which it did when it first came into usage. More on this later.

We also stand in succession to those who are known as the Protestant Reformers – Luther, Knox, Wesley, Campbell, etc. That is, we acknowledge that there has not only been a falling away from the purity of the Gospel religion of the Bible in the centuries following the times of Christ and the Apostles, but there has also been an ongoing prophetically definable work of restoration to the purity of doctrine and practice of the religion of the Bible by means of those aforementioned reformers and those who have followed thereafter.

We may also be identified as Judeo-Christians. Meaning that we accept the Old and New Testaments and the divinely inspired traditional principles and practices revealed therein as guiding in our beliefs and practices. This also means that we reject the traditional principles and practices which were the fundamentals of the Babylonian, Egyptian, Persian, Greek, Roman, and uninspired Jewish cultures which have found their way into what is commonly known as the Christian Church, and which to one degree or another still exist in the various congregations of Protestants, Catholics, and those fellowships which technically do not fall into either category (such as Universalists, Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, Messianic Jews, etc.).

One of those heathen/pagan fundamentals is hero/ancestor worship which is expressed towards the living as well as the dead. This consists not only of the legends and lore surrounding the exalted ones, but also in the erection of monuments, shrines, temples, gardens, and other places and things whereby to draw attention to men and their thinking rather than to God and His will. This also includes the giving of flattering titles to men, and assigning them positions unfounded in the word of God, thus separating brethren.

Another of those fundamentals is the invention of times and manners of celebration which excite the sensual and selfish natures while stifling the true spiritual experiences, and which weaken the moral obligations of love. Paramount among those inventions are Christmas-keeping and the common Easter celebrations. And not the least bit behind the others is the mysticising of basic fundamentals of life, and the deep things of God by the things which take place in the customary Sunday worship hour practices, including the traditional observances of the Lord's Supper in the various forms practiced by the different denominations.

We are also distinguished by our acceptance of what in the Bible is termed

THE SPIRIT OF PROPHECY – THE TESTIMONY OF JESUS

It is a fundamental teaching of the Seventh Day Adventists (S.D.A.), Davidian Seventh Day Adventists (D.S.D.A.), and the Branch Davidian Seventh Day Adventists (B.D.S.D.A.), that the gift of prophecy (the Spirit of prophecy – Revelation 12:17, 19:10) spoken of in the Bible is to exist in the Church to bring her, and keep her in unity until the second coming of Christ (Isaiah 62:1, Ephesians 4:11-16). The truth of the work of the Spirit of prophecy in the Christian Church, and what it actually is (and isn't) has been greatly confused and misrepresented, and remains in great controversy. As true prophecy is a gift of God, it is His responsibility to clear the misunderstanding and misuse of the gift if He is to continue to employ it as a means of communicating with His children (Amos 3:7). Howell/Koresh took advantage of the church's need for the gift of prophecy by counterfeiting it, and thereby brought himself and others to destruction thereby. It is equally true that he was not the first to abuse this need, nor, sad to say, will he be the last (Matthew 24:11, 24).

How this relates to the situation under discussion can be discerned through an understanding of why the Church is named as it is. First, we have the name

ADVENTISTS

In the early 1800's a movement began within the Christian Church worldwide based on events which were then believed to be the fulfillment of certain Bible prophecies which pointed to the second coming of Christ. Foremost among those prophecies were ones in chapters 7 & 8 of the book of Daniel, regarding the "2300 days" prophecy and the "cleansing of the sanctuary." Numerous Bible students in various places throughout the world and in many different fellowships had noticed that certain recent events fit into the "2300 days" time line set forth in Daniel. At first that period was thought to extend to 1843, but was later found to extend to October 22, 1844.


[For a more detailed exposition of those events and the determining of the beginning and ending of the 2300 days prophecy please see the book entitled, The Great Controversy, by Ellen G. White, and available through the Seventh Day Adventist Church, and online at The Great Controversy].


One of the most prominent of those events occurred in 1798. At that time, during the French Revolution, France's General Berthier had gone to Rome, captured the Pope, and took him to the mountains of France where he later died. This led to the destruction of the local civil power of the Roman Catholic Church in 1870, when Italy took away the Church's sovereign land which it did not regain until 1929 when Mussolini gave that organization the area less than one square mile that it now has and operates as the independent City/State known as The Vatican. This act of restoration was seen by many Christians and others of that time (1929) as one of the signs of the fulfillment of another prophecy – that of the healing of the wounded head on the leopard-like beast (Revelation 13:3) which was inflicted by the Protestant Reformation, and which was healed by the backslidings of the Protestants.

Those Bible students in the early 1800s also noticed that the period from the time the Roman Catholic Church gained its civil dominance (538 A.D.) until 1798 (when the pope was taken captive – Revelation 13:10) was exactly 1260 years. Applying the Biblical rule of interpretation that a day in prophecy can be symbolical of a year (Ezekiel 4:6), this corresponded exactly to the first part of Daniel's prophecy (Daniel 12:7 – "time" [360], "times" [720], "dividing of time" [180]). They further saw that the prophecy also pointed out that at the end of a 1290 and a 1335 year period (Daniel 12:11, 12) (commencing from a different point in time – that of the "taking away of the daily" – which occurred in 508 A.D.) another event was to transpire. This prophecy also was seen to point to 1843, and was to run parallel with the 2300 days prophecy of Daniel 8:14, and was actually a part of the longer 2300 days prophecy.

The prophecy declared that at the end of said period "the sanctuary" was to be cleansed. Here is where a problem arose. The Christian Church at that time didn't have a clear and accurate understanding of what was meant by the phrase "the sanctuary shall be cleansed." The majority of those leading in the movement presumed that the "sanctuary" meant the earth, itself, as this opinion had been widely held by Churchmen for centuries. Even though they didn't have any sound Biblical reasoning for that conclusion, nor any specific revelation from God to that effect, this idea became prominent in the movement. For centuries the Roman Catholic Church had been teaching that the earth (and particularly Rome) was the center of the universe, and that general notion carried on into the Protestant churches. Thus, the phrase "the cleansing of the sanctuary" was generally understood to mean that Jesus would return to the earth to "cleanse" it from sin and sinners. Thus the name "Adventists" was placed upon those who were expecting the advent (coming) of Christ.

At this time in history it was generally believed among the churches that God was no longer communicating with mankind by means of direct inspiration – i.e., prophecy. For example, some of the devout men who were prominent in the founding of the United States were what is known as Deists. That is, though they believed in God, they only saw God as the original Creator and that He was no longer directly active in the affairs of the world. Many of the popular churches of the time taught that the gifts of the Spirit, such as the gift of prophecy, were only for the Old testament and the early Church times, and that they ceased forever shortly after the time of the Apostles.

During the 1800s, the Christian world was still coming out of what has been called The Dark Ages. It was only a few hundred years prior to that time that the Bibles were chained up in monasteries with only a very few allowed access to them. The people were led to look to the leaders of the churches to know God's will. Anyone who would state that they had a revelation from God which was contrary to the opinions of the church leaders was in jeopardy of facing a charge of heresy and death.

The Protestants, who since the early 1500s had severed their connections with the Roman Catholic Church, were by the 1800s divided into four major groups – Lutherans, Presbyterians, Methodists, and Baptists. Though there were other prominent non-Catholic groups around, their basic doctrines and practices stemmed from one of those four major groups of thinking. Then, as today, those groups were generally relying on their leaders and scholars to interpret for them the meaning of the prophecies (how they apply), and what are the true Bible doctrines. They presumed that their prominent leaders were actually inspired by God in all things. Great intellect, scholarship, oratory skills, and persona were presumptively accepted as evidence that one held the truth in righteousness. Most fellowships accepted the opinions of their own leaders, while rejecting the leaders of the other churches. Such is still the situation today, though they are now uniting for common purposes without giving up the particulars which identify each as distinct from the other.

Though the founders of these groups were inspired in their work of restoring many of the Biblical truths and reforming many of the practices which were supplanted during the Dark Ages, all of their movements eventually became polluted with private interpretations and theories, some of which came from within themselves, and some from without. After the death of the inspired leaders, the fundamental principles which led to the acceptance of the revelation of clearer light on the Bible which the reformers brought to their various congregations were generally set aside by those who followed after them, being replaced with formalism and the idolizing of the leaders and the customs they espoused.

The Advent Movement of the early 1800s brought a means of unity among those of the various denominations who participated in it as they were willing to put away their private opinions and practices in their common goal of understanding what were their true duties in preparing to meet their Savior. There was a true revival of spirituality and brotherly love brought forth by the hope of Christ's expected coming and the realization of each persons need of personal preparation for such. In America during that time around 50,000 people had left the world-loving fellowships to which they had formerly belonged to take part in the Advent movement. The leaders of the Advent movement had no intentions of forming a new denomination, but were united in the work of preparing to meet their Lord and Savior.

Then came what was later to be known as The Great Disappointment. October 22, 1844 came and went. Jesus had not returned, nor was the earth cleansed. Some of those who had not learned to appreciate God's willingness and desire to lead His people into all truth, and who were satisfied with the interpretations of their so-called scholars and other leaders were led into accepting different dates, only to be disappointed again and again. Others, influenced by their unbelieving families, friends, or associates, or who still longed for the things of the world ( the lusts of the eyes, the lusts of the flesh, and the pride of life), just abandoned their hopes, and denounced the movement. Yet, others were unable to so easily cast away the blessed hope which had so enlightened their lives. From among these came those who were later to be known as

SEVENTH DAY ADVENTISTS

A number of those who were confirmed on the certainty of the date of October 22, 1844 humbly sought God for an explanation of the situation, and received an answer. It wasn't the date that was wrong, it was the uninspired interpretation of the nature of the event – the cleansing of the sanctuary. The true nature of the event was revealed by means of visions given to at least two different people which produced deep study into the subject. Said study confirmed what was revealed in the visions.

The visions revealed that it was the Sanctuary in heaven (of which the earthly sanctuary of the ancient Israelites was an image, a typeHebrews 8:2) that was to be cleansed. The people were led to understand that the heavenly Sanctuary was truly a real place with a literal ministration. They were brought to understand that as under the directions given to Moses the sins of the people were transferred to the earthly Sanctuary by means of a sacrifice by which they were atoned for, making it necessary to cleanse that Sanctuary itself of the record of those sins, and that said cleansing was the purpose of the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16). Just so were (and are) the sins of repentant people, in reality, transferred to the heavenly Sanctuary, there to be atoned for, and that it also requires a cleansing in the end of the age – in the antitypical Day of Atonement.

They learned that the Bible taught of the reality that there are books of records in heaven which contain the deeds (good and bad) of all, and the names of those who sought forgiveness for their evil deeds through God's mercy (Daniel 7:10; Revelations 20:12, 21:27). They saw that these books are kept so that during the final judgment those who sit in judgment may review them to understand God's final decisions, and so that those who are judged may see their own history and God's attempts to redeem them. Also, that the inhabitants of the multitude of the unfallen worlds and the angels in heaven may fully understand the great controversy between sin and righteousness, and that God's final dealings with sinners and the rebellion which began in heaven are the outcome of their own free will choices.

They also learned that during the time of the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary (in its initial phase) those books would be reviewed in order to determine who would come up in the resurrection of the just (1 Thessalonians 4:14-17), and who would come up in the resurrection of the unjust (Revelation 20:5-7). This phase of the cleansing of the sanctuary is known as the Judgment of the Dead. It was also revealed that at a certain point in time (which would not be made known until it actually occurred) the judgment would pass from a review of those who were dead to those who were then living. This Judgment of (or, for) the Living is necessary to determine who among the living are worthy of translation to heaven at Christ's personal return without having experienced death (1 Thessalonians 4:15, 17). This decision is based on how the individual responds to truth as it is revealed to him or her – how one's life conforms to the standard of righteousness revealed during this time of the restoration of all things. The judgment of the dead and the living is the same except that those who are alive receive their reward without having to first die and then be resurrected.

They further saw that as the typical service of the cleansing of the Sanctuary under the Mosaic law involved a judgment which resulted in the blotting out of the sins of the accused, and the transferring of the sins from the sanctuary where the record of them had been stored onto the one who was to finally bear them (i.e., the scapegoat – Leviticus 16:8), so it will be in the fulfillment of the real (antitypical) events. That is, though God and His followers have been accused by the devil of many things in exercising His divine will and law in the universe, God will ultimately be justified in all matters, and the devil will bear the fruits of his pride – his own sins, and the sins of those he tempted but who have repented and had them blotted out of the books of records by Christ's intercession. It is notable that the scapegoat (Satan) only bears the sins of the repentant which were first transferred to the sanctuary by means of the blood of the appointed Intercessor, while those who have not repented bear their own sins upon themselves.

Before the fall and rebellion of Lucifer and his sympathizers, and the later fall of Adam and Eve, all of the intelligent beings in the universe were under the control of the Holy Spirit. The divine principles of love were written within the hearts of all. Those laws of truth, justice, and submission to the will of God (who is the source of love), have nothing in common with pride and self-sufficiency which were embraced by the devil and his followers. Those who joined in the rebellion were no longer under the influence of the Holy Spirit.

Those who attain to the resurrection of the just or the translation of the living will have demonstrated in their lives that they have faith that there truly is a pure motivating force and intelligence in the universe, and that they have voluntarily chosen to allow such to control their lives. Those who have sealed their hearts and minds against the power of pure love will have demonstrated that they would not and could not be happy in the presence of those who have chosen otherwise. And, as it has always been God's intention to have life filled only with pure love, those who choose rebellion will have demonstrated that they prefer nonexistence (death) to life (Revelation 2:11; 20:6, 14; 21:8). Thus God will give those who cling to rebellion the effect of their choice rather than to force them to be something different from what they have freely chosen to be. This will be most painful to God.

It's important to note that in this pre-millennial judgment only the names of those who have professed faith in God are considered. Those who have never professed allegiance to God are to be judged during the millennium (Revelation 20:11-13). In the typical service on the day of atonement, only those whose sins were transferred to the sanctuary received the cleansing on that day. So it is in the antitype – the true cleansing – only those whose have professed repentance will be judged on said profession. As only God can judge the heart, and know whether or not one's repentance has been genuine, so during the judgment the names of those who are in review will either be retained in the Lamb's Book of Life, or blotted out of it. Such investigation will determine their final reward or punishment (Exodus 32:32, 33; Revelation 3:5).

This doctrine of the cleansing of the Sanctuary, which began on October 22, 1844, became a distinguishing feature of the Seventh Day Adventists. Though other Christians have discounted this doctrine, none have put forth any sound Biblical argument to disprove it. Along with the new understanding of the doctrine of the cleansing of the Sanctuary, which partially explained the cause of the Great Disappointment experienced in October of 1844, was the understanding shown them from the prophecy which directly related to their whole situation. And that prophecy is in Revelation chapter 10, particularly verses 8-11:


"And the voice which I heard from heaven spake unto me again, and said, Go and take the little book which is open in the hand of the angel which standeth upon the sea and upon the earth. And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book. And he said unto me, Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey. And I took the little book out of the angel's hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter. And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings."


Those early Adventists understood that the "little book" which was in the hand of the angel was the book of Daniel which had brought them to the end of the prophetic time periods relating to the cleansing of the Sanctuary. But what they didn't see beforehand was there was to be a disappointment such as revealed in the foregoing verses. That is, while the little book was being eaten its taste was sweet, but that it eventually produced a bitterness in the belly – a great disappointment. But such was not to be the end of their experience, as it was revealed to them in the prophecy that they were to "prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings." What they were to prophecy again about was the true nature of the cleansing of the sanctuary which took place at the end of the "2300 days." And so it has been since then.

Not only was the book work aspect of the judgment in the heavenly Sanctuary brought to light, but more importantly was the nature and effect of Christ's own work therein as it relates to His sacrifice. That is, His ongoing work as High Priest who ever lives to make intercession by His blood for the redemption of sinners. They were led to the realization that the true understanding of Christ's continuing intercession had been lost sight of and displaced ("cast down" and "taken away" – Daniel 8:11) by the "man of sin." (2 Thessalonians 2:3, 4). That the true experience of the early Christian Church (the doctrines and practices), had been supplanted by the introduction of pagan philosophies and customs which cumulated in the bringing in of, and the perpetuation of the performance of the Mass. How this particular issue is at the heart of the matter involving Koresh; how it relates to why Koresh and others engaged in this warfare against the Branch; how it was influential in the way the 1993 incident and its aftermath have transpired will be discussed further on.

Much of the Seventh Day Adventists' understanding about the nature and latter day events of the cleansing of the Sanctuary came by means of the gift of the Spirit of prophecy manifested primarily through one person,

ELLEN G. WHITE

Seventh Day Adventists believe that the gift of prophecy was manifested in Ellen G. White, and the S.D.A. Church was raised up and led by her counsel and those who worked with her. As the Church followed her inspired counsel they prospered, and when they didn't, they suffered loss. The early S.D.A.s firmly believed and taught that the Bible clearly taught that this gift of God, prophecy (1 Corinthians 12:10, 28; Ephesians 4:11), along with all of the other gifts, must exist in the Church "until that which is perfect is come." (1 Corinthians 13:10).

Though Ellen White taught that her inspired writings and counsels (much of which were based on dreams and visions) are a "lesser light" pointing to the greater light of the Holy Bible, she believed and taught that the inspired testimonies which she was given to bear were to be considered by her brethren (and herself) as the "voice of God" to the people. That is, she taught that the counsels which she was given to communicate would bear evidence of their divine origin in the people being blessed by their taking to heart the testimonies and by personally drawing closer to God for confirmation of the same, or by being cursed by their rejection thereof.

She never claimed infallibility, as she believed that God was progressively revealing truth in the restoration of all things (Isaiah 42:19-21). She stated that:

"We have many lessons to learn, and many, many to unlearn. God and Heaven alone are infallible. Those who think that they will never have to give up a cherished view, never have occasion to change an opinion, will be disappointed. As long as we hold to our own ideas and opinions with determined persistency, we cannot have the unity for which Christ prayed." Christian Experience and Teachings, p. 203.

It is her writings, and, most importantly, the Bible texts which are the foundational supports of her testimonies, that are the main foundation for the S.D.A.'s teachings and practices which are distinguished from the other Christian churches. When the brethren would come to a place where they were not clear on a point of doctrine or practice they would engage in prayer (often with fasting) and the Spirit would come upon Ellen White by means of a dream or vision enlightening her on the matter at hand. She had over two thousand dreams and visions which involved church matters in her life.

Regarding the reason for the testimonies she was called to bear she compared ancient Israel with the professed followers of God of the present age. Speaking of ancient Israel she said,

"God gave them His law, but they would not obey it. He then gave them ceremonies and ordinances, that, in the performance of these, God might be kept in remembrance. They were so prone to forget Him and His claims upon them that it was necessary to keep their minds stirred up to realize their obligations to obey and honor their Creator. Had they been obedient, and loved to keep God's commandments, the multitude of ceremonies and ordinances would not have been required.

"If the people who now profess to be God's peculiar treasure would obey His requirements, as specified in His word, special testimonies would not be given to awaken them to their duty and impress upon them their sinfulness and their fearful danger in neglecting to obey the word of God."

Though she has written around 2 million words, and is the most widely published woman in the world, most people have never heard of her. Her formal education extended only through the third grade, yet she wrote on virtually every facet of the human experience – natural science and psychological phenomenon; education and marital relations; health reform and church organization; sacred history and sacred prophecy, and much more. Her inspired counsels were both of a general nature and specific to individuals and groups.

Over ten years ago, Ellen White was given an award posthumously by a prominent health organization in America for being 100 years ahead of her time in regard to her teachings on healthful living. Though she was a firm believer in divine healing, she consistently espoused temperate living as one's duty to God. She went from being a very sickly young girl who was in extreme pain when traveling, who had what she termed a voracious appetite for meat, and who said that she could not eat a piece of bread the size of a silver dollar, to a mature woman who was very active in writing, traveling, public speaking, and was a prominent advocate of balanced vegetarianism, and of abstinence from all harmful foods, drinks, tobacco, alcohol, narcotics, patented medicines (except in extreme circumstances), and other harmful practices. Along with her teachings on the judgment and the Christian lifestyle, she was given precious light on

THE SEVENTH DAY SABBATH

The beginning of the 1800s was a time of great general revival in the Christian world. The English and American Bible Societies were extremely active in distributing the Bible throughout the world. Due to the desire for religious liberty which motivated the Puritan Pilgrims to settle in America, and which reason also motivated many others after them to seek refuge here, this country became the main place for the examination and the exercise of religious doctrines and practices which had been repressed by the political powers in the Old World.

Among those doctrines which received renewed attention was that of the seventh day Sabbath. That is, Which day is the true Sabbath of God – Saturday (the 7th day of the week), or Sunday (the first day of the week)? Shortly after The Great Disappointment of 1844, a woman named Rachel Oakes, a Seventh Day Baptist, brought to one of the leaders of what was to later become known as the Seventh Day Adventists, Joseph Bates, the truth of the seventh day Sabbath. He, in turn, brought that truth to Ellen White and others in their fellowship. Shortly thereafter Ellen White was given a vision of the heavenly sanctuary in which she saw the Ark of the Covenant, and the Ten Commandments therein. The Sabbath Commandment (the fourth) had a halo around it. By means of this vision and other direct revelations on the subject, along with much study on the history of the controversy over, and the perpetuity of, God's law, the Holy Spirit convinced those Adventists to begin to observe the seventh day Sabbath, and to teach the binding obligations of all of God's law as applicable under the New Covenant.

It is written, "And he [Jesus] said unto them, The sabbath was made for man." (Mark 2:27). This statement, along with the many others on the blessings which are in the Sabbath, shows that there is a purpose in the keeping of the seventh day which doesn't exist in any other day of the God-created week. As it was first ordained as a memorial of the creation and its Creator, Christ Himself, then there would be neither purpose nor necessity to change its memorial qualities to another day, for Christ Himself honored the day when He rested on it between His crucifixion when He stated that His work was "finished" (John 19:30), and His resurrection on the first day of the week when He took up His work again.

The keeping of Sunday as the so-called Sabbath had become a prominent feature of what became known as the Catholic Church. The leaders of the Catholic Church boast that they, on their own authority, changed the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday in honor of the resurrection of Christ, which took place on the first day of the week, Sunday. This change is said to have been made official in the 4th century A.D. But today we also have those who do not consider themselves Catholics but who still keep Sunday as a special day of worship. These give different reasons for doing such, but are nonetheless basically united with Catholics in their opposition to keeping the true seventh day Sabbath, Saturday.

Following are some statements from the Catholic Church on the matter:


"Protestantism, in disregarding the authority of the [Catholic] Church has no good reason for its Sunday theory, and ought, logically, to keep Saturday as the Sabbath." John Gilmary Shae, "The Observance of Sunday and Civil Law For Its Enforcement," The American Catholic Quarterly Review, 8 (January, 1883), p. 152. [brackets added]


"If the Bible is the only guide for the Christians, then the Seventh-day Adventist is right in observing the Saturday with the Jew." Bertrand L. Conway, "The Question Box Answers" (New York: The Columbus Press, 1900), p. 254.


"If Protestants would follow the Bible, they should worship God on the Sabbath day. In keeping Sunday they are following a law of the Catholic Church." Albert Smith (Chancellor of the Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore), replying for the Cardinal in a letter of February 10, 1920).


"The [Catholic] Church changed the observance of the Sabbath to Sunday by right of their divine, infallible authority given to her by her founder, Jesus Christ. The Protestant, claiming the Bible to be the only guide of faith, had no warrant for observing Sunday. In this matter the Seventh-Day Adventist is the only consistent Protestant." "The Question Box," The Catholic Universe Bulletin, 69 (August 14, 1942), p. 4 [brackets added]


"Nowhere in the Bible do we find that Christ or the Apostles ordered that the Sabbath be changed from Saturday to Sunday. We have the commandment of God given to Moses to keep holy the Sabbath day [Exodus 20:8-11], that is the Seventh-day of the week, Saturday. Today most Christians keep Sunday because it has been revealed to us by the [Catholic] Church outside the Bible." "To Tell You The Truth," The Catholic Virginian, 22 October 3, 1947), p. 9. [brackets added]


While in one position there are those who feel that they have the authority to change God's laws according to their will, in another there are those who are known as antinomians. Those are they who believe in "the theological doctrine that by faith and God's gift of grace through the gospel a Christian is freed not only from the Old Testament law of Moses [but from] all forms of legalism...." Merriam-Webster's Dictionary, "antinomianism." [brackets added].

This doctrine is embraced in all or in part by many Protestant churches, and particularly among the Baptists (who, technically, are not properly called Protestants, as they trace their doctrinal lineage through groups which were not accepted as being in fellowship with the Roman Catholic Churches). Their answer to the Sabbath controversy is basically that we are not "under law," but "under grace," and that the Sabbath was nailed to the cross, along with all the law. The relevance of this matter to the situation with Koresh and the attitude towards the Branch Davidian Seventh Day Adventist Church's presence in Waco may be partially understood by the facts that Baptists are quite numerous and influential in Texas, and particularly in Waco because of the presence there of one of their main institutes of higher education, Baylor University. More on this matter will be discussed further on. Also, bear in mind that under one of the six flags which have flown over Texas throughout its history, Roman Catholicism was the mandatory religion of the state.

Yet in another position are those, such as the Church of England, who say that the law is still binding, but that the change was not made on the authority of the Roman Catholic Church, but rather by Christ, Himself. These wrest the Scriptures out of their context to make it appear that the keeping of the seventh day as the Sabbath was only for the Jews, being only a provision of the Mosaic law specifically for them, and thus was changed with the death of Christ.

Regarding the controversy over the Sabbath (the 7th day), it is of note that the calendar which is in common use in Western countries starts with Sunday (the 1st day) and ends with Saturday (the 7th day). Though the dates assigned to the days of the weeks have been changed at times through the course of history, the actual weekly cycle has been uninterrupted since its inception.

It is notable that in the last couple of decades there has been an active movement in Germany (which has historically held an anti-Jewish attitude) to change their calendar so that Monday becomes the first day of their calendar week, and Sunday the seventh day. With a change like this, and the education of a new generation or two to forget the true history of the controversy, the German society (and others whom they influence) would be believing that Sunday was the seventh day of the Bible, and thus the true Sabbath. Some are even trying to make a ten day week, further obliterating the memory of the seven day week established at creation by a wise Creator.

The Catholic leaders say that they had the authority to have made the change from Saturday to Sunday, though there is nothing in the Bible which sanctioned such a change. They base their claim on Christ's words, "whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." This statement was made both to Peter (Matthew 16:19), and to the church (Matthew 18:18). The controversy arises over to whom exactly does the promise apply – those who are truly acting in accordance with God's will, or those who are only pretending to do so.

By the fourth century A.D., the church was so flooded with pagans and their philosophies through associations with, and concessions from the Roman government, and through compromises due to persecution, that she could scarcely be recognized as the congregation which originated in the Hebrew/Judean, Biblical culture. It wasn't the few remaining faithful followers of Jesus of Nazareth who attempted to bind a change in the law of God on earth or heaven, it was those who "forsake the holy covenant [God's law]" Daniel 11:30.

There is a prophecy which states that there was to be a power thus described, "And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws." Daniel 7:25. This text has been understood to apply to the Catholic Church to one degree or another by many in the Protestant Reformation, and by others.

As stated, the term catholic means universal. According to Merriam-Webster's Dictionary, "Universal is likely to suggest that which is worldwide rather than pertinent to or characteristic of the whole universe; it is often further narrowed to refer to the world of men and human affairs or to important or significant parts of this world. It is likely to indicate a unanimity or conformity of practice or belief or a broad comprehensiveness" (emphasis added).

At no time in history was Judeo-Christianity ever considered as being universal (worldwide). But there is another worship system whose influence has truly been universal. That is, sun worship, as it was propagated in ancient Babylon and was spread throughout the whole world (Revelation 14:8; 17:2; & 18:3). The heart of sun worship doesn't lie in the symbols and other things (idols) variously used to express it, but in the principles which underlie it. The early Christians, who were primarily Israelites, kept the seventh day Sabbath (Saturday) while the rest of the world which observed a day of rest from labor, or a day of worship did so on the first day of the week, Sunday, after the custom of sun worship. The customs of those who observed Sunday had little or nothing in common with those truly kept the Sabbath. Sunday-keeping was more a time for festivities than for religious expression. As Christianity experienced its rapid growth, the Sunday-keeping customs of the non-Judaic peoples, and those of the Israelites who had abandoned God's covenant, were found to be in conflict with the seventh day Sabbath-keeping Christians.

At the same time, the hostilities between the pagan Romans and the Jews were intensifying. The Romans were making laws against the practices of the Jews because of the Jews revolting against Roman rule. As early as the year 135, Roman emperors were making laws against the observance of the Sabbath, and the use of the Hebrew calendar. The Christians (Jew and Gentile) were being negatively affected by these Roman laws designed to put down the Jewish uprisings. Those persecutions were among the things which caused the weak in faith to "forsake the holy covenant" (Daniel 11:28-39) – the law of God as expressed in the Bible. Many Christians fell away from the pure faith due to the cruel enforcement of anti-Sabbath keeping laws, and proceeded to compromise their principles by accepting the pagan manners and times of worship, which included Sunday. It wasn't until a couple of centuries later that those who thought to "change times and laws" (Daniel 9:25) attempted to convey any Sabbath qualities to Sunday. (For further reading on this matter see Three Sabbaths)

In many of the countries where the doctrines of Christ were preached the ancient animosities against anything that had its roots in Biblical Judaism (such as Christianity) were so great that even those who embraced Christianity were unable to overcome their previously held prejudices. A good example of this was the Egyptians. Due to their experience with Moses which resulted in the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and its general destruction, some Egyptians at the time of Christianity's spread were in the custom of fasting on the seventh day (Saturday). This was done in antagonism to the law of God which declared the seventh day Sabbath to be a feast day (Leviticus 23). Thus, many of the Egyptians who professed to accept Christianity would not even partake of the Lord's Supper (originally a fellowship meal) on the seventh day, but rather would fast, clinging to their ancient custom of animosity to God's law. The Egyptians were certainly not alone in such antagonistic practices.

It was in the fourth century (321 A.D.) that the emperor of Rome, Constantine, made what is believed to be the first national Sunday law. That law provided pains of civil penalties for failure to observe a rest from labor on Sunday in the cities (not in the countryside). A few years later (324 A.D., at the first Council of Nicea), many of the so-called Christian bishops who were actively forsaking God's covenant decided to supplant the Jewish calendar which had been used for reckoning the time of the annual celebration of Christ's resurrection with the Roman (Julian) calendar. A look at the prevailing sentiments of the time regarding the time of the observance of the memorial of Christ's resurrection will provide an insight into what prompted the outlawing of the observance of the seventh day Sabbath a few years later at the Synod of Laodecia (327 A.D.), to wit,


"...the Council addresses the Church of Alexandria,...'All the brethren in the east who formerly celebrated Easter with the Jews [at the same time], will henceforth keep it at the same time as the Romans, with us, and with all those who from ancient times have celebrated the feast at the same time with us....

"The Emperor Constantine made the following announcement in his letter to all who were not present at the Council: '...It was declared to be particularly unworthy for this, the holiest of all festivals, to follow the custom (the calculation) of the Jews, who had soiled their hands with the most fearful of crimes, and whose minds were blinded....We ought not therefore to have anything in common with the Jews....we desire, dearest brethren, to separate ourselves from the detestable company of the Jews, for it is truly shameful to us to hear them boast that without their direction we could not keep this feast....it would still be your duty not to tarnish your soul by communications with such a wicked people....As, on the one hand, it is our duty not to have anything in common with the murderers of our Lord, and as, on the other, the custom now followed by the Churches of the West, of the South, and of the North and by some of those of the East, is the most acceptable....You should consider not only that the number of Churches in these provinces make a majority, but also that it is right to demand what our reason approves, and that we should have nothing in common with the Jews.... [and] accept joyfully the divine favour, and this truly divine command; for all which takes place in the assemblies of the bishops ought to be regarded as proceeding from the will of God....we can thus celebrate this holy Easter day at the same time, if it is granted me, as I desire, to unite myself with you; we can rejoice together, seeing that the divine power has made use of our instrumentality for destroying the evil designs of the devil, and thus causing faith, peace,and unity to flourish amongst us...." History of the Councils p. 322-4 [brackets added]


How widely this varies from Christ's own words, "The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not." Matthew 23:2,3. Or of Paul's attitude in Romans chapters 9-11, and 2 Corinthians 3:16. The antagonism noted above, though said to be against the Jewish leaders who would have been the ones announcing the times for the feast days (which times the Christians had also been observing) had another underlying motive – that is, the very nature and character of the feast keeping itself.

Regarding the Biblical feast days, and particularly the Sabbath, it is written that "no work" is to be done on them (Leviticus 23). Though there were notable exceptions to said commandment – minor work needed for eating purposes (Exodus 12:16), and doing good to preserve life (Matthew 12:10-12) – the nature of said times is more fully delineated as being times to cease from "doing thy pleasure, ... doing thine own ways, ... finding thine own pleasure, ... speaking thine own words" (Isaiah 58:13), and to "call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and to honour him." id.

Though there is a certain similar reverence observed in the keeping of Sunday by the Catholic Church in general (at least in principle, if not in action), and also by many of those others who believe that they have the authority from heaven to treat Sunday as the Sabbath, there is readily observed one basic difference between the nature of the two practices. Sabbath keeping involves a ceasing from self, while Sunday keeping involves an exaltation of self. Sabbath keeping involves focusing on the works of God (both in creation and recreation), and Sunday keeping focuses on the works of men.

The Lord has specifically stated the reasons for His people to enter into His rest "If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it." Isaiah 58:13, 14. The blessing contained therein cannot be transferred by the will of men to another day. Neither can anyone meet the requirements of that covenant promise without the graces of Christ active in their life. Those graces were also available to the world before Christ came in person by means of the presence of the Holy Spirit. The sacrifice of Christ for the redemption of the world was made known to Adam and Eve right after their fall, as witnessed and prefigured by Abel's sacrifice (Genesis 4:4), and was thus carried down through the ages (though the truth of the matter was lost sight of due to the introduction of private opinions and theories, and idolatry). The perpetuity of the Sabbath is also declared in Isaiah 66:22, 23: "For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain. And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD."

In the Catholic Church the focus is on the performance of the Mass (in which the communicants are also performers), and in the non-Catholic Sunday-keeping congregations the focus is on going to church. In both of these the focus is on the work of those who lead out. In the Catholic Church, and in those similar to it, those (the priests) who perform the Mass (i.e., the sacrifice [sic] of Christ) which culminates in the making of the body and blood of Christ with their own mouths (words), are the focus of the day. In non-Catholic Sunday keeping churches the focus is similarly on the minister, pastor, or elder who blesses the bread and wine by which Christ is to be remembered. In both of these is demonstrated the presumed authority to appoint and establish men (and, rarely, women) to created positions of special privilege and authority. That is, it is only those thus appointed who have the supposed authority to bless the bread and wine of the Lord's Supper, and then only at the times and places also designated by the leaders of the tradition followed (all of which are the contrivances of mere men).

But this mistaken principle of focusing on the works of men, rather than on the works of God was not a new thing in the Christian Church, for it existed in the days of the apostles (3 John 1:9). Nor can it be honestly said that it was the heathen and pagan powers of themselves that gained the advantage over the commandment-keeping Christians. But it must be admitted that it was God, Himself, which allowed the serpent's flood to attempt to do away with the true Church (Revelation 12:15), and who allowed the holy feasts to be taken away from the Church at large (Hosea 2:11), and to be replaced by pagan things. This was not the first time God had found it necessary to do such a thing. It is written of ancient Israel,


"I lifted up mine hand unto them also in the wilderness, that I would scatter them among the heathen, and disperse them through the countries; Because they had not executed my judgments, but had despised my statutes, and had polluted my sabbaths, and their eyes were after their fathers' idols. Wherefore I gave them also statutes that were not good, and judgments whereby they should not live." (Ezekiel 20:23-25).


These things were allowed to happen to the Christians because they were lowering the standard, despite the fact they were warned against doing so (1 Corinthians 11:17-34). In wanting the approval of men, rather than the approval of God, backsliding leaders in the Christian Church sought large congregations and political advantages which came only by compromising God's holy laws. Even this backsliding was predicted in the early days of the church (2 Thessalonians 2:3,4). But though those things which are "not good" were allowed, God never intended for His people to continue in them. It was His purpose to teach a lesson which would never be forgotten (Nahum 1:9).

That lesson is that no matter what the degree, any transgression of God's commandments, statutes, and judgments of love opens the door to that which eventually leads to misery and death. The ancient Israelites, as a body, didn't learn this lesson even after their miraculous deliverance from their bondage in Egypt. Neither did the early Christians, as a body, fully learn that lesson after their miraculous deliverance from the bondage of sin by Christ's sacrifice. It wasn't long after the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost that two of the disciples were found lying to God (Acts 5:1-11).

Due to of their acceptance of the truth regarding the seventh day Sabbath, Adventists, in general, have been labeled "Judaizers," "legalists," "antichrists," and other similar derogatory epithets. Most people don't understand how this controversy over the Sabbath has affected life in America. One of the more recent developments is the contention regarding the displaying of the Ten Commandments in public places such as schools and courtrooms.

One of the organizations which is against displaying the Ten Commandments is the Roman Catholic Church, as strange as this may sound. The reason for this is that their version of the Ten Commandments differs from that which is in the Bible, and which is accepted by most Protestants. In the Catholic version, the second Commandment regarding the bowing down before idols is eliminated, and the tenth Commandment is divided into two separate ones to make up for the elimination of the second, thus still keeping the number at ten.

In their enumeration, the Sabbath commandment is the third in order, while in the Bible it is the fourth. As the Catholic hierarchy would rather not have their adherents exposed to the Protestant (Biblical) version of the Ten Commandments that have been historically displayed in the public places of America, they, therefore, would rather have none displayed at all. It has long been a general teaching in the Catholic Church for their members not to even talk with Protestants, especially on matters of religious doctrine. Also, in their wording of the Sabbath commandment the words concerning the Lord creating the world in six days and He Himself resting on the seventh day, and therefore hallowing and sanctifying the seventh day in the original commandment are purposely left out, thereby further attempting to obliterate the true meaning and nature of the Sabbath – that of God's rest which men are invited to enter into.

This same antagonism towards the exposure of Catholic assumptions is also manifest in the moves to make Spanish a second language in many or all of the States of America. The Roman Catholic Church is seeking to prevent the Spanish-speaking Catholics in America from being able to come in contact with the Protestant doctrines by means of the English-speaking Americans under the guise of preserving the cultural heritage which was forced on them long ago – Roman Catholicism, and their authority to enforce Sunday keeping by civil edict. Many are aware that the free preaching of the Protestant doctrines in Catholic countries is not allowed by their governments.

Yet the antagonism against Adventists, in general, by the Roman Catholic hierarchy is not limited to the matter of the Sabbath. At the heart of the Sabbath controversy is the matter of the leadership's authority to define doctrines and practices, and to ordain elders (priests, bishops etc.). Foremost in the exercise of their assumed authority is their ability to vote in a new pope. Even though a pope occupies the position of being the "Vicar of Christ," that is, Christ's mouthpiece, His prophet, it only takes a vote of 2/3 of those who vote to make one of their own the pope. That means that as many as 1/3 of the voting elders may not believe that the one elected pope is not worthy of being what he is proclaimed to be. But it is necessary to keep a pope upon the throne in order to keep up the appearance that Christ is in the church through the living Spirit of prophecy. So without cheapening the matter, the controversy between the Adventists in general and the Roman Catholics may be summed up in one phrase – dueling prophets, each representing diametrically opposed principles. On the one hand is God's law and those He inspires to uphold it, and on the other are men's private, satanically inspired interpretations of that law and those whom they elect to propagate it.

This controversy, in principle, did not begin in the Christian era as Jesus, Himself, condemned the practice as it was already existing among the Jews of His day (Matthew 15:9; Mark 7:7-13; Colossians 2:22; & Titus 1:14). Nor is it confined to the Roman Catholic Church, but extends to all professed Sunday-keeping Christian churches (and even many Sabbath-keeping ones). There is so much confusion in the so-called Christian churches regarding doctrines and practices that such have become a veritable Babylon (The name "Babylon" has come to mean "confusion" [mixing], because it was at the tower of Babel were man's language was confounded [mixed] – Genesis 11:9).

Due to the fact that the condition of those organizations has been notably deteriorating morally and spiritually (being mixed with countless private interpretations of the Bible truths), the Adventists have come to recognize that God has just so designated those ministries – as "Babylon." (Revelation 14:8; 18:2), and that God's true people within them will have to come out of them if they do not want to partake of the judgments which will eventually fall on all who constitute "Babylon."

The title of Babylon is given to those organizations not merely because of the confusion they have brought to the world over the Sabbath, but also because of the many other doctrines and practices which they have attempted to pass off as Christian – that is, Christmas-keeping, Easter celebrating, etc. – while knowing all along that such things are of pagan origin. It is written, "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world." 1 John 2:15, 16. One does not have to long observe any of the popular churches to sense the presence of any or all of those things in the ministry, and thereby in the congregations at large.

This should not be construed to imply that there are not sincere Christians in those congregations, but is said to impress upon the seeker of truth the reality of why God has to call His people out of those organizations, and the doctrines and practices they espouse, to wit, "Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities." Revelation 18:2-5.

Differences in doctrines and practices may have no great effect on those who are opposed to them unless they enter the politics of everyday life and the laws of the community. And such has it been with Sunday keeping. That is, they have been enforced by civil law, with pains in varying degrees upon the transgressors thereof. Thus, in light of the long past and more recent history of such manmade laws, and the current attempts being made to reestablish the dominion of those authorities which espouse the civil enforcement of Sunday laws, and in light of the revelation and fulfillment of certain Bible prophecies (Revelation 13:11-18), Adventists have been led to understand and teach that the enforcement of Sunday laws will be

THE MARK OF THE BEAST

In order to understand what is meant by the phrase "mark of the beast," we need to know what is meant by the terms "mark" and "beast." A mark is something which is used for identification purposes. To understand why the enforcement of Sunday laws (and the principles underlying them) is to be the mark of the beast (something which identifies one with the beast) we need only be aware of some elementary truths.

The first is the fact that the mark (the sign) of God is in His law, and particularly in the Sabbath commandment (Exodus 31:16, 17; 13:8, 9: Deuteronomy 6:4-8; 11:18; Ezekiel 20:12, 20).

The second is that man without the Spirit of God is but a beast (2 Peter 2:9-12; Jude 1:4-10; Titus 1:12). This is also borne out by the symbolical use of beasts in prophecy to represent nations which arose from the mere will of men (through strife and turmoil), rather than by the anointing of the Holy Spirit (see Daniel chapters 7 & 8). Thus the mark of the beast is the mark of man acting without the Spirit of God – man acting as a beast.

Next we need to learn the identity of this beast, and what it means for man to act as a beast. This we may do by looking into the prophecy which reveals this matter, and the symbols employed therein.


"And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.

"And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:" Revelation 13:11-16.


As revealed in chapters 7 & 8 of the book of Daniel, beasts represent nations and governments, and horns represent their distinctive political powers, be they individuals or groups. That horns represent political powers, and how a beast uses its horns is also seen in a prophecy recorded in the book of Zechariah:


"Then lifted I up mine eyes, and saw, and behold four horns. And I said unto the angel that talked with me, What be these? And he answered me, These are the horns which have scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem.

"And the LORD shewed me four carpenters. Then said I, What come these to do? And he spake, saying, These are the horns which have scattered Judah, so that no man did lift up his head: but these are come to fray them, to cast out the horns of the Gentiles, which lifted up their horn over the land of Judah to scatter it." Zechariah 1:18-21


The way a beast (a government) with horns (political powers) enforces its will is by the use of its horns to dominate (to push and scatter), rather than by using only the power of persuasion in speech and reason, as a man is capable of doing.

Therefore, this beast with two horns which makes an image of the beast which was before it, and forces his mark upon all, represents a nation with two dominant political powers. Those two horns are described as being lamb-like. As in Bible symbolism a lamb represents Christ, then those two horns represent two political powers which have the appearance of being Christian. There is but one nation so represented in the history of the world – the United States of America. To further understand this heaven-inspired interpretation, and the chronological proof of said position, please read our publications The World, Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow & War News Forecast. The Great Controversy, p. 439-450

The notable part of the prophecy is the hypocrisy revealed by the fact that the nation appears lamb-like (Christian), but speaks "as a dragon" (the devil – Revelation 12:9). As the devil is a liar (John 8:44), then for this nation to speak as a dragon would be for it to lie. For example, for the government created by the Constitution, and bound by the prescriptions thereof, to repudiate the principles of the 1st Amendment thereto which prohibits the Congress from making any law which favors an established religion and enforce Sunday, the first day of the week, as a day of rest, such would be a lie in the character of the dragon (the devil) – hypocrisy. The same would be true if Congress were to make a law enforcing rest on the seventh day, Saturday, the Sabbath.

It is also said of this two horned beast that "he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him." (verse 12). The "first beast before him" represents the world under the time when men used political powers to compel the consciences of men in matters of religion (whether those political powers were those of the Papacy, or those of the Protestant nations). For the two horned beast to exercise "all the power" of that beast, it would also have to exercise the same power of compelling consciences in matters of religion. As true religion touches on every facet of life, then the compelling of the consciences in matters of religion can also reach to most any aspect of daily life.

This compelling of the conscience by the first beast was accomplished by the punishing of what was determined to be heresy with pains of civil and criminal penalties. Not infrequently this was instigated through the will of only one person, the pope, or one of his representatives. So it is, and will be, with the two horned beast as he exercises all of the power of the first beast before him. Whether it be by pope, monarch, president, or judge, the exercising of the principle and power is the same – assumed authority vested in one person to punish dissenters. The exercise of this power in America is evident in the exercise of a president sending troops to wars which Congress has not declared to be wars, and in judges declaring their opinions to be overriding the plain declarations of the Constitution.

It is not alone in the enforcement of Sunday as a day of rest that the hypocrisy (speaking as a dragon) will exist, but in the prohibition of the free exercise of the true religion of Sabbath keepers. That is, concerning the keeping of the Sabbath the Biblical law reads,


"Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it." Exodus 20:8-11.


Thus with a law prohibiting work on Sundays, Sabbath-keepers would be deprived of one of the biblically commanded six days in which to work, and would be prohibited from the free exercise of the religion of the Bible. There are many other aspects of the religion of the Bible which men have been, and will be, compelled to disregard. At the same time, they will be compelled to accept ways and means which are contrary to the true religion of the Bible. More on this later.

While some may be so naive as to say such things are not possible here in America, just such a movement to accomplish said agenda has been under way for well over a century, yea, much longer than that. Though the means which are used to accomplish the purpose may not appear to be religious in the beginning, such is the ultimate goal of many involved with it. For example, in 1960 the Supreme Court declared Sunday laws constitutional for purposes of energy conservation. For a fuller explanation of the ramifications of that court decision, and how some are trying to use it to sustain their errors in the realm of religion, see our publication The Energy Crisis and Sunday Sacredness.

The difference between receiving the mark in one's hand compared to one's forehead is that the hand represents one's work, while the forehead represents one's thinking. So to receive the mark in one's hand means that the person accepts the beast-enforced Sunday laws in order to work, to earn a living, but they don't believe the religious or other reasonings behind the mark. That is, they receive it out of convenience. While those who receive the mark in their forehead do so because they believe in the ideological (religious and/or philosophical) principles of the beast-enforced law. As God requires His people to "bind them [His commandments] for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes" (Deuteronomy 6:8), so the beast will be attempting to put himself in the place of God, and require like reverence.

While Adventists have been teaching for well over a century that the mark of the beast will be the enforcement of Sunday laws, Ellen White also stated that, "Not all in regards to this matter is yet understood, and will not be understood until the unrolling of the scroll." Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 8, p. 159. So, what more of the matter of the mark of the beast is to be understood, how it relates to these issues, and how such also directly relates to the matter of Koresh will be discussed further on, for the scroll has unrolled further.

DEAD OR ALIVE?

There is another Biblical doctrine held by Adventists, in general, which is also a part of the controversy, and is a factor in why the things involving Koresh transpired the way they did – that of the state of the dead. That is, we accept the Bible revelations that the dead are not conscious of anything, for they do not exist at all; that the soul which a man is is mortal, not immortal. If such was not the case from the beginning then there would have been no need for there to be a "tree of life" in the garden of Eden (Genesis 2:9, 3:22 & 24), for man would have had eternal life without it. We believe in the resurrection of the soul which is made up of the dust of the earth with the Spirit of God within (Genesis 2:7). [For an in depth study on this matter please see our study, Where the Devil is Hell?]. The relevance of this particular doctrine to the matter of Koresh (and those who wanted to destroy the true Branch Church) is rather broad.

In one position there are the Catholics who teach that the soul is immortal. They profit from this belief by taking money for Masses said for the dead who are purported to be in Purgatory. But the belief in the immortality of the soul is not restricted to the Catholic Church. It has pervaded much of the Protestant world also. The notion crept into the Christian Church in general when partially converted pagans who came into the Church in the early centuries of its history brought with them the influence of the Greek philosophers (Neo-Platoists) who taught that the soul was immortal and that when a man dies his soul first goes to the sun to be purified, and then on to its final abode. That same general influence had crept into the Jewish community in the times immediately preceding the advent of Christ and may be see in some of their writings of the time. Thus even some Jews who accepted Christ also brought this error into the Church.

In another position is Spiritualism. Those who believe that we can communicate with the dead because they believe that they are still alive in some form or another are becoming more numerous, and their influence has reached into nearly every facet of society. Whether it be spiritualism, witchcraft, satanism, or any other form of occultic or pagan/heathen philosophy, the preaching of the Biblical doctrine which declares that when one dies "His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish." (see Psalms 146: 2-4), and that "the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun. ... for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest." (Ecclesiastes 9: 3-6, 10), does not sit well with those who profit by the doctrine of the immortality of the soul, and especially so with those who say that they can communicate with the dead. Neither does the teaching of the binding obligation of the commandments of God and the judgments which attend their continued violation as they are summated in the saying, "The soul that sinneth, it shall die." (Ezekiel 18:20).

So, in the light of this point of Biblical doctrine which Adventists accept and teach, it may be readily understood why many who are aware of our position would be desirous to see the Branch Church defamed through the association with one such as Koresh. As the doctrine can not be properly rebutted, the thing which remains for its opponents to attack is the character of the Church through a disparaging portrayal of the true facts relative to Koresh and his followers.

Parallel with the rise of Adventism was the rise of Spiritualism in its modern manifestation. It is well known among many Christian ministers that those who embrace witchcraft and Satanism actually train people to infiltrate churches in order to disrupt the work of, and to bring disrepute upon, those who are most active in preaching against the prevailing evils. The best evidence of this fact comes from the testimonies of those who have been involved in such things, and have been saved by the Gospel of Christ. This fact has particular significance as it relates to Koresh's coming to the Branch Church when he did. More on this later. The point here is that there has been a cleverly disguised warfare by those involved in the various forms of Spiritualism against the work of Adventists, in general, due to our stand on Bible truths.

While this doctrine of the nonexistent state of the dead is not unique to us, and there are other equally, or more important doctrines which we proclaim that have also brought the enmity of the devil and his agents against us, this one in particular does expose one of his very first lies to mankind – that is, "Ye shall not surely die." Genesis 3:4. But, as will be seen, there are other doctrines which expose in even greater depths the nature of his sin, and those opposed to the law of God.

Along with the rise of modern spiritualism in the world is that of the same among those who profess Christianity. This has been brought in by means of the widespread practice of the so-called speaking in tongues – otherwise known as glossilia. Adventists, in general, teach that the true Biblical manifestation of the so-named gift is that of a person given the ability to speak in a known language which is unknown him or her in order to preach the Gospel to the diverse people of the earth. Such was the case on the day of Pentecost when the gift was first seen. It is written,


"And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God." Acts 2:4-11.


Yet those today who profess to exercise this gift engage in what may be simply described as speaking baby-like gibberish. Though many among them say that they are speaking in some heavenly language, the sounds they make are those with which they are already familiar. The English-speaking person makes sounds native to him, while the Russian-speaking one makes sounds familiar to him. Very rarely does one of a language foreign to the speaker of tongues hear in his own language. Often when one of them does speak in what they call tongues there is an interpretation given by another, which professes the speech to be a message from God. Thus the simple gift of languages becomes, as it were, the gift of prophecy, further confusing the true gifts of the Holy Spirit.

What is even more revealing of the unsanctified nature of these manifestations is the way it is practiced among those who give themselves up to its influence. The apostle Paul wrote, "How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying. If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret. But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God." 1 Corinthians 14:26-28.

Any one who has seen the common practice of this in the Pentecostal and similar congregations has witnessed that sometimes everyone on stage is speaking in some strange tongue, and oft times many in the audience are doing so simultaneously. Thus there would be dozens, if not hundreds or thousands all doing it at the same time. Paul's reason for admonishing Christ's disciples to only speak in a foreign language "by two, or at the most by three, and that by course [one after another]; and let one interpret," is "If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?" 1 Corinthians 14:23. Evidently those who disregard this counsel by their group participation in speaking gibberish do not give much weight to Paul's counsel, or are unable to do so.

As we, as Adventists, are outspoken against the abuse of the true gift of tongues, and the counterfeiting of it, we again see another significant group of people who would prefer to see our influence and testimony silenced and our reputation sullied.


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When near her death in 1915, Ellen White was asked if she thought God would give the gift of prophecy to another after her. Her reported answer was "I don't know." According to the historic Church teachings on this gift that question should not have even been asked, for Christ had not yet come, and the Church was not then, nor is she now, in the unity which God desires for her. Though the S.D.A. Church has not, as a body, accepted anyone claiming to have the gift since then, they do claim that God is still giving an occasional dream here and there, mostly for counsel on minor matters. Even then, these manifestations are frowned upon by many in the denomination, as it has been drilled into their minds, by some, that there is no more need for the gift. They say that the writings of Ellen White, and those of their Bible scholars and pastors are all that they need to guide them through the pearly gates. Yet at the same time, they pretty much disregard the counsels of Ellen White, especially those which state that there is to be more light to come to the church through God's appointed means – the gift of prophecy.

Anyone who is familiar with the Bible should be aware that one of the continuing conflicts revealed therein is God's attempt to reach the people by means of his prophets, and the people's almost wholesale rejection of them. It is written, "Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets." (Amos 3:7). Sacred history is replete with fallen man's inability to receive instruction from those inspired by God to bring them redeeming truth.

The need for the prophetic gift was demonstrated by the Israelites in their experience at Mt. Sinai. After God had personally spoken the Ten Commandments to the people, they responded by saying to Moses, "Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die." The inability of fallen man to bear hearing God's personal voice is not restricted to the people in the Old Testament times. Were the gift of prophecy not needed in the Church today, Christ would not have warned of false prophets and false christs (Matthew 7:15; 24:11, 24), and of the need for His followers to avoid rejecting truth as it was to be revealed to them by the Holy Spirit (1 John 4:1) who has been sent to lead us into all truth (John 16:13).

Even those Adventists who have acknowledged God's working through Ellen White were and are slow to respond to the counsels given, and at times have even been openly rebellious thereto. Her writings to the Church contain warning after warning of the negative effects of them failing to come up to the standard to which God was calling them. Her writings are also replete with testimonies of the blessedness that comes to those who overcome. Along with the weaknesses of those who were truly seeking for a higher walk with God, there were (and are) the enemies of righteousness and God's law who have infiltrated the Church in order to disrupt its progress and unity. This was nothing new. Such is the express case with regard to Koresh.

In one of His parables (Matthew 13), Christ had pointed out that the enemy had sown tares among the wheat. And such has been the history since His time. Even from the time of the beginning of what became known as the Protestant Reformation (the early 1500s), a counter-reformation was launched to undermine the work of the reformers. Among the primary agents in the counter-reformation are the Roman Catholic priests known as Jesuits. Foremost in their work has been the establishment of institutes of learning, the purposes of which are to counter the work of the Reformation and propagate the false doctrines of their organization. They also infiltrate any group necessary to further their aims. They don't even have to do this directly, as all they need to do is influence those already part of a group. Of course, the Jesuits (and the Roman Catholic leadership in general) were not the only ones who wished to disrupt the true work of the S.D.A.s during Ellen White's time, and in the present day.

Such was the case within the S.D.A. Church at the time of Ellen White's death in 1915 – the tares sown within the Church had managed to bring the people to what could be aptly described as a deathlike sleep. The reformers, themselves, needed to be revived and reformed. Thus again, God, by his grace, had to intercede to reclaim His people from the grasp of the enemy. Another step in the restoration of "all things" was to be taken. This work could only be accomplished by God inspiring another person to call His people to repentance and to a higher walk. Thus began the work of those who later became known as

DAVIDIAN SEVENTH DAY ADVENTISTS

In 1929-1930, a Seventh Day Adventist Sabbath School teacher named Victor T. Houteff claimed to have received a message for the Church by the Spirit of prophecy, and presented to a small number of Church leaders a manuscript entitled The Shepherd's Rod. He said that the heart of the message did not originate with him, but rather from a study which appeared in the 1928-9 Seventh Day Adventist Sabbath School Quarterly, entitled Isaiah, the Gospel Prophet. The heart of the message in that Sabbath School Quarterly was not accepted by the Church leadership, even though it originated from one of the highest and most well respected men in the Church.

Victor Houteff said God had given to him (was unfolding to him) the fullness of that message, and was being led to call the Church to reform because the ministry of the Church were rejecting their very own teachings. He pointed out to them that they were rejecting not only the interpretations of previously unrevealed and unfulfilled prophecies, but also the calls for moral reform and a return to basic Church practices and standards, and were teaching others to do likewise.

The heart of the message involved the purification of the Church as portrayed in Ezekiel chapter 9, Isaiah chapters 62 & 65; Matthew 13:24-30, and elsewhere; the sealing and the work of the 144,000 (Revelation chapter 7); the identity of the great multitude of Revelation 7:9; and the pre-millennial kingdom on earth with its capital in Israel. The first point, the purification of the Church, was the idea which the majority of the leadership of the S.D.A.s stumbled over. They believed that the "harvest," the final separation of the "wheat" from the "tares" in the Church would not happen until the very end of probationary time for the world. Victor showed them that the Bible clearly taught that the "harvest," the separation, was to occur before the Church made the last call of mercy to the whole world, and that she would do such in a pure state, without sin or sinner among them. He pointed out the fact that as the Bible shows the Church making a call for God's people to come out of "Babylon" that they "not partake of her sins," or "receive not of her plagues" (Revelation 18:4), that they must be called into a pure place – a pure Church.

He pointed out many Scriptures which referred to the latter-day evangelistic work of the pure Church which would encompass all of the peoples and nations of the earth (Isaiah 2:2-4; 60:1-22, Micah 4:1-4, etc.). He furthermore pointed out that the prophecy which the S.D.A. church has accepted as their commission since 1844 (i.e., Revelation 10:11), reveals that they were only to go to "many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings," not all of them. That is because, as he showed them, they would have to go through a change in their theories, practices and habits which were not in harmony with the Bible before they were ready to go into all of the world with the last message of mercy. These changes were those which had been pointed out to them through the work of Ellen White, and those which may be pointed out to them through any others God should send in the spirit and power of Elijah the prophet to restore all things (Malachi 4:4-6). It was also presented to them that because of their refusal to amend their ways, God would intervene in a supernatural way to cleanse the Church (Ezekiel 9:1-10; Isaiah 65:11-16; 66:15-19).

Victor also showed from the Bible that the 144,000 Israelites who are depicted as being from the twelve tribes of Israel (except the tribe of Dan – see Revelation 7:4-8) could be from almost any nation. This is because the vast majority of the Israelites lost their distinctive racial identity when they at various times were assimilated into the nations which conquered them, and were thus scattered throughout much of the world (Ezekiel 21:27). The first scattering happened around 721 B.C., when the ten tribes, where overturned by Assyria; the second time was when the two tribe kingdom of Judah (along with many Levites) was subdued by Babylon around 538 B.C.; and the third time was when the temple in Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 A.D. by the Romans. This third overturning was concurrent with the Jews who had become Christians going into all of the world to spread the Gospel, and who also eventually lost much of their racial distinction.

At the time that Victor began teaching what was revealed to him concerning the 144,000, the S.D.A.s were teaching that the 144,000 would be the only living saints when Christ personally returned; that they were not necessarily literal bloodline descendants of Israel (Jacob); and that there was not to be any restoration of anyone to the land of Israel, nor the establishment of the promised kingdom on earth until after the millennium (Revelation 20:4). He pointed out that the very fact that the 144,000 are called "firstfruits" (Revelation 14:4), implies that there are also second fruits (the fullness of the harvest). He also pointed out the covenant promises which related that after the remnant of Israel are restored to the Abrahamic covenant in Christ, they will bring in the great multitude of Revelation 7:9 from "all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues." (Isaiah 66:20; Micah 4:2; Zechariah 2:11, 8:22). This call will bring forth a great multitude of saints from all peoples, and will prepare them for Christ's return (Ezekiel 36:22-38). This pre-millennial kingdom on earth will exist for a relatively short period preceding Christ's visible return and the millennium spent in heaven thereafter.

Then, after the people of the world witness the glory of the kingdom, and make their individual choices of whether or not to be a part of the kingdom where God's laws are supreme, Christ will personally return to take the saints to heaven with Him for 1000 years (the millennium), after which time they, with Christ, will return to earth in fulfillment of the remaining prophecies (Revelation 20:1-10; Isaiah 65:20; etc.) which precede the time of the earth being made new (Isaiah 65:17; Revelation 21:1; etc.), and the saints inheriting the earth with Christ in His everlasting kingdom (Isaiah 65:21-25). This one point concerning the pre-millennial kingdom in Israel has as its opponents not only the Catholics who teach that the establishment of the Papacy was the setting up of the promised kingdom, but also those non-Catholics who preach of a secret rapture, and many of those who embrace Zionism.

Those who believe in the secret rapture take texts like Revelation 3:10, "Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth," to mean that God will suddenly take them from the earth before the "hour of temptation" (a time of tribulation). But in order to make such an assumption they have to ignore many other Biblical statements regarding tribulation, such as, "In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." John 16:33; and "Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God."Acts 14:22.

What is even more telling in regards to the tendency of those who preach of the secret rapture to disregard the plain Biblical teaching on this matter, is Christ's own testimony on the matter of tribulation and His second coming as recorded in Matthew 24:21-44. In those verses, He states that "except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened." (verse 22). Following that He warns against false Christs and false prophets (verses 23-26), and states that "For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. ... Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory." (verse 27, 29-30). There does not appear to be anything secret in that coming. And as He says that at that coming He will "send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other," (verse 31) there must be some saints ("his elect") on earth to be gathered together."

Moreover when John, in vision, asked his guide the identity of the great multitude who were seen after the 144,000, he was told that, "These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." Revelation 7:14. Those who preach the secret rapture take the texts which read "Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left" (Matthew 24:40, 41), to mean that the saints are the ones who are "taken" to heaven, while the wicked are left in the world to suffer through the tribulation.

Yet to come to that conclusion they have to wrest those statements out of their context. The preceding verses read, "But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be." (verses 37-39)

Thus in view of their context, it is clear that those verses regarding those who are "taken" refer to the wicked who are typified by the indifferent in Noah's day, and those who are "left" are the great multitude of saints who are typified by Noah and his family and the great host of animals who entered into the ark and whose lives were preserved. The "taken" ones were taken in destruction, while those who were "left" were spared. Were this not true, then Christ's comments which follow those admonitions would not make sense, to wit, "Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh." (verses 42-44).

Why would we be counseled to "watch" in order to know when the One coming as a "thief" will be coming so that we may not suffer our house to be broken up? It is significant that the vast majority of those who preach the secret rapture also teach a lawless, grace only Gospel which disregards the binding obligations of the Sabbath commandment and its sanctifying blessings in Christ, the Creator.

Yet a blessing is placed upon those who keep "the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus," "and have the testimony of Jesus Christ," which "is the spirit of prophecy." (Revelation 14:12; 12:17; 19:10) – even in a time of great tribulation. That is, "No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD." Isaiah 54:17. And also that, "the spirit [shall] be poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness be a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be counted for a forest. Then judgment shall dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness remain in the fruitful field. And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever. And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places; When it shall hail, coming down on the forest; and the city shall be low in a low place. Blessed are ye that sow beside all waters, that send forth thither the feet of the ox and the ass" Isaiah 32:15-19 (See also Psalms 91).

It is no wonder, therefore, that those who preach the secret rapture, and a lawless grace Gospel would not only sit idly by while the true Branch church was being defamed by a disparaging association with Koresh, but would also, in effect, be saying "Aha" (Psalms 35:21, 40:15, 70:3; Ezekiel 26:2; 36:2), by using the opportunity to misrepresent us in their pulpits and in the media.

The message Victor Houteff bore also brought to light that the current return of the Jews to Israel by means of the efforts of the Zionists and the United Nations, though in the fulfillment of certain Biblical prophecies (Zephaniah 2:1, 2), was not the ultimate setting up of the promised latter-day kingdom. He showed that the land of Israel was promised to the Jews (Israelites) who accept Christ, not to those who reject His teachings. Among these revelations was the place which the United States, England, and allies would have in opposing God's work of restoring His true people to the land of promise, and of His humbling them for their own good. For further light on this matter see The World, Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow & War News Forecast.

As the Church leadership had rejected their own message as it was presented by one of their own leadership, they were not about to accept it from a Sabbath School teacher, inspired or not. Thus, when one or two leaders (who were, themselves, not in harmony with the Church's doctrines and practices) superficially studied what Victor had presented them, and did not accept the message (nor did they go to the source for explanations of what they did not understand), they made an open warfare against anyone who accepted the message, or anyone who would even want to investigate the matter for themselves. As a result, thousands of people were unjustly disfellowshipped, and continue to be to this day, for investigating and sharing the message. Thus was formed, of necessity, a second Seventh Day Adventist Church, at first called Shepherd's Rod S.D.A.'s. In 1942 the name Davidian Seventh Day Adventists was officially adopted. The additional name "Davidian" was expressive of the teaching regarding the latter-day theocratic kingdom of Christ (Jeremiah 23:5; 33:15; Ezekiel 34:23, 24; 37:24, 25; Hosea 3:5; Amos 9:11-15).

In 1942, twelve years after Volume 1 of the "Shepherd's Rod" message was first published, and the issues of the S.D.A. ministry's gross departures from their foundational principles were raised, a meeting took place between a prominent representative of the S.D.A.s (M. L. Andreason, Secretary of the General Conference of S.D.A.s) and Victor Houteff. The written report of that meeting by this high official of the Church clearly showed that the ministry of the S.D.A.s was willing to, and actually did, confederate and conspire among themselves to push aside the Davidians and their call for reforms within their own Church (the S.D.A.) rather than openly address the grave issues of the departure from some of the most fundamental S.D.A. doctrines and practices. He stated that though he believed many of the issues of reform raised by Victor Houteff were either insignificant or untrue, there were other serious issues raised which should not be addressed as such would not look good for the S.D.A. ministry. Therefore, he recommended not addressing any of the issues at all. Such has been the case unto this day. This purposeful suppression of the valid testimony of the thousands of S.D.A.s who have joyfully accepted the reform message, and in turn encouraged others to study the message for themselves (as encouraged in the foundational teachings of the S.D.A.s), has led to the blackballing of thousands of faithful, financially contributing S.D.A. Church members over the past seven decades.

Under Victor Houteff's leadership, the Davidian organization grew and flourished in spite of its inception during the Great Depression in America and the warfare against it by the leadership of the S.D.A.s, wherein it strictly confined its reform activities. He taught that it wasn't right to be bringing people into the mother Church (the S.D.A.) while the Church was in such a backslidden condition, which is also what EGW said in her day. He saw that it was God's first priority to revive and reform the S.D.A. Church in order for her to truly be a place where her members (old and new) could be ministered to by the Holy Ghost.

The Davidian reform movement which originated in Los Angeles, California in 1930 established its headquarters (known as Mt. Carmel Center) a few miles northwest of Waco, Texas in 1935. Mt. Carmel Center eventually grew to around 844 acres, with numerous well constructed, attractive buildings, large peach orchards, and other crops which they sold to their neighbors. Though the Davidians were considered a bit odd by the largely Baptist community of Waco because of their keeping sundown Friday to sundown Saturday, the seventh day, as the Sabbath, their vegetarianism, conservative dress, etc., they, generally, had a good reputation among their neighbors. When Victor Houteff died in February of 1955, his funeral was one of the largest Waco has ever had. Though he had no personal bank account, he had nearly unlimited credit, and was well respected in Waco.

On a practical basis, he taught that the Bible pointed out that it was the Church's duty to care for those among her who were poor, sick, or elderly. Therefore, he followed the Biblical command and instituted a second tithe fund for said purpose (Deuteronomy 26:12-16). He also instituted a school for teaching the youth general subjects, personal economy, and Biblical subjects (morals, history, prophecy, music, etc.). Daily labor in farming and practical labors were also part of the school's curriculum for both boys and girls. All of these things were a viable alternative to the secular government sponsored social security, unemployment, health insurance, and educational systems which are subject to abuse by political influences that can be contrary to the principles of the Gospel and its work. He also instituted a Church run bank which issued its own currency for use at Mt. Carmel Center.

At first, the second tithe paid for much of the building projects, financial support for the poor who attended the Church school, and other activities which promoted the growth and well being of the Church. Once the headquarters at Mt. Carmel were well established, the second tithe fund grew to around one half million dollars by 1962. That was among about 2700 members. This is significant due to the fact that at Church meetings there was no plate passing. There would be a dish or other container into which tithes and offerings may be placed, but there was no use of any means which would tend to embarrass people into contributing money.

One of the prominent points of the message Victor Houteff bore was that the Church's purification and her being brought into complete unity before Christ's personal, visible return would be accomplished by God continuing to communicate with His people by means of the living Spirit of prophecy. He also warned both the Davidians and the S.D.A.s about how they were headed for loss and disappointment should they fail to appreciate and appropriate the blessings God was graciously providing them through the ever living Spirit of prophecy – The testimony of Jesus (Revelation 19:10).

After Victor's death in February, 1955, the leadership of the Davidian association was, to all outward appearances, temporarily in the hands of its Executive Council headed by the self-proclaimed vice president, Florence Houteff (Victor's widow). According to the Davidian association's fundamental teachings and their Constitution and Bylaws, they could do nothing except to continue the work they had been doing, for without a prophet/president with the gift of prophecy, no one would know how to correctly run God's organization, or would be able to bring forth "meat in due season" – that is, a present truth understandings of the Scriptures (2 Peter 1:12).

According to the Church's governing laws, the work of the vice president is to assist the president in his (or her) work. It was God's responsibility to raise up another prophet if He wanted to continue to personally lead His people. The vice president cannot take the place of the president unless he, or she, has the gift of prophecy. According to the Davidian Constitution and Bylaws, the Executive Council does not have the authority to fill the office of president. The president must have the active gift of prophecy in order to teach present truth and gather followers unto the Lord. He or she cannot be elected by popular vote. The Davidians were under an obligation to earnestly seek God for guidance. They did not follow this fundamental principle, and ended up in an embarrassing situation in 1959-1960 when a false prophecy by Florence Houteff (who didn't even claim to have the gift of prophecy) failed to happen. Her prediction concerned a supernatural slaughter in the Adventist church, and the immediate setting up of the latter day kingdom in Israel.

This came about because a number of the Davidian leaders were taking Victor Houteff's writings out of their context. They were acting as though some of Victor's statements which were meant to apply to future situations and to another person, were meant for their present time with Victor, himself, as the subject of the statements. This led to a situation where they were unwilling to even listen to anyone else claiming to have received a message after Victor's death. This they did in spite of the fact that Victor clearly taught that the Bible showed that God was going to continue to speak to His people by means of the Spirit of prophecy until they were thoroughly purified (Isaiah 62:1, 6). Thus again, as the leadership of God's people had betrayed their trust, it became necessary for God to raise up another leader to continue the ongoing reformation. So, in the providence of God, there came forth those who were later to be known as

BRANCH DAVIDIAN SEVENTH DAY ADVENTISTS

Shortly after the death of Victor Houteff in 1955, Ben L. Roden, an elder in the S.D.A. Church who had become a member of the Davidian Association, was impressed by God to bear a message to Florence Houteff and the Davidian Executive Council, but was hesitant to do so. Ben stated that because of his reluctance, one night while he was in bed the Lord picked him up by the pajama tops and told him to write a letter to said people.

He said that after he had written the letter, he told the Lord, "These are not my words, I cannot sign this." He said that the Lord then told him to sign it "The Branch." He was later shown that this name was His (Jesus') new name. (Revelation 2:17, 3:12). The Bible proofs of this were also later shown to him (Isaiah 11:1; Zechariah 3:9, 6:12), as were the testimonies from Ellen White and Victor Houteff to the same effect. The change of Christ's name is reflective of the change of His work as represented in the prophecies which reveal the new name.

Though it is written concerning Christ, the Messiah, "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12), there has been an ongoing controversy as to what really is or was His name. Today there are many who are emphatic about exalting the name "Jesus," even though He was never known by that name while He was on earth. The best scholars agree that His given name was "Yeshua" which was an Aramaic form of the Hebrew "Yehoshua," (or a slight variation thereof), which transliterated into Greek as "Iesous." It is from that Greek word, via Latin, that we get the name "Jesus." But when "Yeshua" or "Yehoshua" is translated directly into English, we get "Joshua," which today is a common English name, as "Jesus" is a common Spanish name meaning the same thing. There were many Israelites before, during, and after Jesus' time who were also named "Yeshua" or "Yehoshua."

Therefore, it must be admitted that the main reason that the vast majority of the English speaking world uses the name "Jesus," is due to traditions passed down from the Latin speaking Romans, who in the early centuries of Christianity, separated themselves from everything Hebrew, or Jewish, choosing instead the Greek version of His name, and eventually the Latin. Today there are many who, wishing to experience a purer religion, are not only rejecting the pagan customs which crept into the Church in its youth, but also any name other than what they believe to be His Hebrew or Aramaic name.

In the midst of this controversy which has separated would-be, could-be brethren, and amid the vast multitudes of isms which infests the so-called Christian Church, Christ, Himself, has provided a solution. He has changed His name, as He predicted He would (Revelation 2:17, 3:12). The old name had become so polluted with doctrines and traditions of men which detract from the truth of the Savior's mission and work, that it became necessary to identify Him by a new name whereby all things pertaining to Him could be restored without the curse brought upon the old name by the sins of men who have exalted their private opinions above the word of God. It is written of the Messiah:

"Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD: Even he shall build the temple of the LORD; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both." Zechariah 6:12, 13.

This text refers not to the time when Christ came to suffer and die for the sins of mankind, nor the name He then bore, but rather to the time when He is to sit on His throne of glory during the time of His priestly intercession, and to the name whereby He will then be known. While it is true that when He ascended to heaven He sat at His Father's right hand as a priest, and was to from thence receive a kingdom, He has never been commonly known by the name "The Branch."

In the letter Ben Roden wrote to Florence Houteff and the Davidian Executive Council he pointed out the need for the leadership to be looking for further guidance from the Lord through a manifestation of the Spirit of prophecy. Eventually, he wrote a total of seven letters to them, plus numerous other studies repeatedly pointing out the need of a living inspired leader in the movement, and other timely subjects. But instead of humbly admitting their need for direct leadership from heaven by means of the Spirit of prophecy, Florence made an open warfare against Ben Roden and what he was teaching about the erroneous path Florence and the other Davidian leaders were taking in trying to carry on the work without a heavenly inspired leader. From 1955 though 1960 Ben repeatedly pointed out Florence's presumption, and predicted the failure of her prophecy, and how clinging to that false prophesy would lead to disillusionment, and to a fiasco.

Ben was also shown that the investigative judgment which had been going on in heaven had passed from the review of the cases of the dead to those of the living. This change took place on October 20, 1955 (the 10th day of the 7th month, by Bible reckoning). For over one hundred years the Church had been counseled through the gift of prophecy that they were going to be judged not only by the words which Christ spoke when He was on earth (John 12:44-50), but also those which the Holy Ghost has spoken in His name since then. Jesus said concerning the words He spoke:

"If any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that His commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak." John 12:47-50.

He also said,

"the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me. These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. John 14:24-26.

Jesus also spoke of the words which the Holy Spirit would speak after He left:

"I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth; for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore [because of this] said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.." John 16:12-15.

By these verses we see that the words which Jesus spoke were those given Him by the Father. We also see that the "many things" which Jesus wanted to tell the early disciples, they were not able to bear at that time, but when the Holy Spirit was come, those words would then be spoken. And those words which were then to be spoken would also have been the words of the Father which were given to Christ, and thus given to the Holy Spirit to give to us. Thus we will be judged by the words of the Father, whether they were spoken by Christ and recorded in the Bible; or whether they were things which were later revealed by the Holy Spirit and also recorded in the Bible; or whether they were further revelations of the "many things," "things to come," "all truth" which were also to be revealed by the Holy Spirit in the course of time.

Among the "many things" which the Holy Spirit was to show Christ's true disciples of "things to come" are the meanings of the Bible prophecies which relate to times future from the time He spoke those words. Therefore, Christ admonished His people to "watch," and to "try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world." (Matthew 24:42; 1 John 4:1). In conjunction with this He stated, "Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?" (Matthew 24:45). Likewise Peter, speaking by the Holy Spirit, said, "be established in the present truth." 2 Peter 1:12.

Therefore, in every age God, by the Holy Spirit, has been revealing truth for the times then present, and so He continues today, and so by such are men judged. It is written, "it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment." Hebrews 9:27. Prior to the opening of the judgment of the living, men were to be judged some time after they died, as stated in the foregoing text. But as of October 20, 1955, those who professed faith in Christ are being judged while they are alive, in preparation for Christ's second coming. The judgment consists not only of a review of the records of the deeds done in the flesh (Romans 2:6), but also includes an intercession for those whose names Christ pleads before the throne, as typified by the ceremonial Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16) – the blotting out of both the record of the sin which has been kept in the Sanctuary, and the effects of the sin in the person. It involves both an imputation of Christ's righteousness in the records of the Sanctuary, and an impartation of such by the Holy Spirit in the people (Ezekiel 36:25-27). Thus the judgment is both of the living, and for the living – something to cleanse the Sanctuary, and something to cleanse the people.

Those who have died prior to the Lord's return will receive their rewards when they come up in one of the resurrections (1 Thessalonians 4:16; or Revelation 20:5, 6), while those who remain alive unto His coming will receive their rewards without tasting death, and thus must come up to a higher standard while living. This higher standard may only be obtained by a fuller revelation of truth.

On the Day of Atonement the people are commanded to "afflict" their souls. Though this was usually accompanied by fasting from food, the idea of the afflicting they were to do unto their souls was that of a browbeating, and speaking down of one's self – candidly examining themselves in true humility. Such an examination opens the doors of the heart and mind whereby the Holy Spirit may cleanse and restore the soul.

As what Ben Roden was doing was prophesied in Victor Houteff's writings and the Bible, it was clear to those Davidians who honestly investigated what he was teaching that he was anointed to be the next prophet/president of the Church. It is stated in the Constitution and By-Laws of the Davidian association (written by Victor Houteff) that the name of the association, Davidian Seventh-day Adventists, was provisional and would eventually be changed. This change would come about when the reform work for the S.D.A. Church was closing, and the work of the Davidians was becoming "all-embracing to the Gospel." Thus the name Branch Davidian Seventh Day Adventist came about, the only prophetic upshoot of the Davidian movement and, thus, the only one chosen by God to continue to lead out in His work of restoring all things. Ben also wrote that there would come a time when the names "Davidian" and "Seventh Day Adventists" would be dropped, leaving the name of Christ's Church, The Branch, His own new name (Isaiah 62:2).

After the death of Victor Houteff, Florence Houteff and others who appeared to be members of the Church's Executive Council, began to sell the land of Mt. Carmel Center. They did this in order to bring about the fulfillment of Florence's prophecy. It was later discovered that none of those who claimed to be members of Executive Council or Trustees for the Association at the time of Victor's death actually were such. This was because prior to that time all members of the Council and all Trustees only held such positions for a one year term by specific appointment of the president, Victor Houteff. The documents relating the purported appointment of Florence and the others who eventually unlawfully attempted to disband the Association were not signed by Victor Houteff for 1954-5, as they had been each year previously.

Such was true for the document dated January 1, 1954 relating to the appointment of the Executive Council members for the whole period of 1954, and for the document dated August 15, 1954 relating to the appointment of Trustees for the association for the period ending on August 15, 1955. After the death of the prophet/president, Victor T. Houteff, in February of 1955, according to the Church's Constitution and Bylaws there could not have been any Executive Council or Trustees reappointed without a heaven-inspired person to fill the office of president and then fill the other positions within the Church. Yet in spite of this, Florence and the others usurped the leadership and used their unwarranted positions to suppress all others who made claims to inspiration, especially Ben Roden.

Testimony and documentation also surfaced to the fact that Florence and the others who were usurping the leadership knew that they lacked lawful authority for their actions after Victor Houteff died (and even before such), and had agreed among themselves to be quiet about the situation. It may also be noted that shortly after Victor Houteff's death in February, 1955, all of those people who held membership cards in the Davidian association, except Ben and Lois Roden, had their memberships expire, for most were issued for only one year at a time. Ben and Lois Roden were the only Davidians whose membership cards were signed by Victor Houteff, with no expiration date on them.

There were several outside forces which were also active in bringing about the so-called dissolution of the Davidian Church and the sale of its property. Among those forces were some which were also highly influential in the way things turned out with the Koresh situation. One of the more prominent is the fact that the city of Waco was expanding its domain up to the edges of Mt. Carmel Center. There were also residential developers who wanted the Mt. Carmel property. Mt. Carmel Center was located on a hill which later became one of the nicer residential areas of Waco. There were also influences from the Sunday keeping churches, and other groups in Waco who were generally opposed to S.D.A.s and D.S.D.A.s. In addition, there was the opposition from within the leadership of the S.D.A.s.

There is evidence to the fact that there was a conspiracy among certain leaders of Waco, those developers, and others to wrongly influence Florence Houteff and those in league with her to do what they did in unlawfully selling the property and dissolving the Association. Also, a number of lawyers and others in the local legal community were also active in violating the rights of the members of the Church. That is, it has been reported that many of the local lawyers wrongfully agreed to take the stand that Florence and her associates had the right to sell the Church's property in disregard of the other Church member's rights. More on this matter will be discussed later.

They eventually sold all of the original land, and by 1959 bought more land (941 acres) about 10 miles east of Waco (also known as Mt. Carmel Center, or New Mt. Carmel Center). In 1962, after the debacle caused by Florence Houteff's false prophecy, she and others who were still falsely claiming to be members of the Executive Council and Trustees of the association took unlawful actions to dissolve the Church, and began to sell the 941 acres. They did this in spite of the protests of many of the members, and in spite of the fact that the Church's governing laws did not provide a means for its dissolution, and that all of the teachings of the Church and its laws were designed for its expansion. To do this they had to denounce Victor Houteff's writings and declare him a false prophet. This they did with the help of some of the leadership of the S.D.A.s.

During this time Ben Roden came forward in the courts and attempted to stop the sale of the property and the dissolution of the Church. Due to Florence's actions, the court declared the Church defunct and put its assets into the receivership of a lawyer named Tom Street, a Catholic. Though Texas law allowed for the assets of a defunct local church which was part of a larger denomination to be put into a receivership, and then pass those assets to another church of the same denomination, such was not the case before the court. The statute which provided for such specifically excluded the assets of a denomination (as distinguished from a local church) from being put into receivership in such a manner. In other words, if a Baptist church was declared defunct, its assets would go to another similar Baptist church. Such was not the case with the Davidian Church. It was a legally independent denomination, it was not a local congregation of the Seventh Day Adventist Church. The S.D.A.s to this day denounce the Davidians as an "offshoot."

The real question before the court was whether or not a court could allow the dissolution of a church (a denomination), and the termination of a trust within said church, by the leaders of a church, who may not even be the true leaders. Though those professed leaders had been active in the work of building up the Church, they were not the motivating force for doing such – that is, it was only through the leading of Victor Houteff and the message he bore that the whole thing came about. For those so-called leaders to later denounce him as a false prophet and divide up the assets of the Church among a minority, and to dissolve the association in protest from the general membership of the Church which still honored the work and teachings of the originator of the Association was neither the intention of the law, nor a moral response for the court. Yet this was done. Ben publicly protested the court's action and its thinking that it had the right to enter into a church's business and refund the tithes paid into the church for its upbuilding and for the welfare of its members. The court was in effect saying that it knew better how to govern the Church than did God who had raised it up!

What is significant about this is that the Church was used as a proving ground to set precedences whereby a court could ignore the First Amendment of the Constitution, that being the Free Exercise clause. The First Amendment reads in part, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." Though this amendment is directed to "Congress," the Supreme Court has also noted that the same protection extends to violation by a court. That is, if Congress can't violate the free exercise of an establishment of religion, then neither can a judge. Yet this is exactly what happened when the court ordered the second tithe to be refunded to those who were leaving the association. In other words, people give money to God for the poor and needy, and the court steps in and takes it from God and gives it back to the person who gave it.

Most of the Church's assets were divided up among Florence and her cohorts and some other former members who joined in her conspiracy, and a significant portion thereof went to Tom Street. Some other assets also went to the S.D.A. Church. There was one asset, an interest in a uranium mine in New Mexico, which has never been accounted for even though documentation of its existence was in the record before the court. The money from the sale of the New Mt. Carmel property and another nearly $172,000 which were in the second tithe trust account (which was a form of a mutual insurance fund for the members of the Church) were divided among Florence and her supporters (a total of about 72 people). They called their ill-gotten moneys "wage adjustments."

It was not until 1973 that Ben Roden was able to somewhat stop their actions. This involved having to go to the Texas Supreme Court wherein it was ruled that a trust did exist within the Church due to the second tithes paid by its members, and that those trust funds had been invested in the Church's property, New Mt. Carmel. Yet the local Waco court did not properly apply this ruling, and proceeded to continue to wrongfully dissolve the Church. At this time only about 77 acres of the 941 acres remained, with no other cash or property assets. This 77 acres on New Mt. Carmel is the place where the events involving David Koresh eventually occurred. Ben actually had to use the second tithe interests which he and others already had in the property to buy it back from the unlawful control of Tom Street and the court.

The remaining Davidian Seventh Day Adventists who did not openly renounce Victor Houteff's teachings, and who would not follow Ben Roden's leadership, and those who since the breach in the Church have taken up the Davidian doctrines, exist today in about a half dozen different major groups which are not in unity among themselves as to what Victor Houteff's message really teaches (especially regarding the leadership of the Church). None of them have the gift of prophecy among them, and, therefore, none of them have a president (though some do have self-appointed vice presidents). They, until very recently, have strictly maintained their reform work among S.D.A.s, as was the policy under Victor Houteff. Most of their leaders badmouth the teachings of Ben Roden and Lois Roden, misrepresenting them to those of their groups who would seek to investigate their teachings, much as is the policy of Seventh Day Adventists towards the Davidian doctrine. They employ many of the same techniques against the Branch doctrines that they condemn the S.D.A.s and other denominations for using against them – such as prohibiting them from speaking in church meetings, and even physically removing them from church property.

When the 1993 shootout involving the Koreshians became known, the Davidian groups came forward to distance themselves from those who were being called "Branch Davidians," as the Seventh Day Adventists were doing as well. Those Davidians also used the opportunity to speak out against our teachings, and denigrate Ben and Lois Roden. Their publications concerning the history and doctrines of the Branch were no less misrepresentative of the facts than were those of the Adventists. Coming from a people who boast of having a more honest attitude towards those with whom they differ, their taking advantage of the situation with Koresh to bad mouth us is truly a mystery.

Though the Davidians in Victor Houteff's day, and thereafter, existed in relative obscurity as far as the general public was concerned (until recently), the same is not true of the Branch movement under Ben and Lois Roden. In 1960, Ben Roden (who was Jewish) acquired landed immigrant status in Israel, and began to establish a vegetarian village there (at first he actually was given three villages to settle people in). The Branch was the first Christian church to receive such status in Israel. Ben also established the Branch Organic Agricultural Association there. During that time, Israel, which produced and exported a large quantity of fruits and vegetables, was a heavy user of harmful pesticides. Our association was among the first to encourage organic gardening methods in Israel.

Also in 1960, under the leadership of Ben Roden, the Branch members began to partake of the emblems of the Lord's Supper (unleavened bread and unfermented wine) at the Passover time, as they were shown that this was done in the Apostolic Church. (1 Corinthians 5:8). That which was repudiated by the so-called Catholic leaders in the fourth century A.D. was being recovered from the darkness of human tradition. Though there were, and are, other individuals and groups who also observe the Passover by partaking of the emblems of the Lord's Supper, the timing and the significance of the occasion for those reformed Adventists marked a major step in the restitution of all things for those "which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ" (Revelation 12:17). How this matter directly relates to the situation with Koresh and his followers will be discussed later.

Shortly thereafter, Ben Roden reinstituted the partaking of the Lord's Supper at all of the Biblical feast days (Passover, Pentecost, The Day of Atonement, the New Moons,and Sabbaths). He showed that these times of refreshing were not shadowy types which had passed away, or which were subject to change by the will of men. Concerning the Passover, Jesus said, "With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer: For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God." Luke 22:15, 16. Though certain ordinances of the feasts have changed since there has been a change in the law due to the change in the priesthood (Hebrews 7:12), the feasts themselves still remain as signs of events past, present, and future. The apostle Paul said, "Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth." 1 Corinthians 5:7, 8. It would not have made any sense for the Catholic Church to think to change the time (Daniel 7:25) of the keeping of the New Covenant Passover feast in the fourth century if it been done away with at the cross. The perpetuity of the Sabbath and the New Moons are known from Isaiah's testimony, "For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain. And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD." (Isaiah 66:22, 23). For an understanding of the importance of keeping the New Moons today, see our publication, She is a Tree of Life.

In 1975-6 Ben pointed out the necessity of keeping the Biblical daily hours of prayer (the times of intercession and refreshing, at the 3rd and 9th hours of the day). In 1978 he told the General Conference of S.D.A.s that they should start keeping the emblems of the Lord's Supper, at the daily hours of prayer, at their headquarters. They didn't respond. In 1981, Lois Roden (Ben's wife) instituted the Lord's Supper daily for all Branch members at the Biblical worship hours as in the Apostolic Church (Acts 2:46).

It isn't only the matter of the proper time and manner of doing these things which holds the worth of it, but rather God's work in Christ, through the Holy Ghost, at those times. A participation in the time and acts without the direct effect of a true, working faith in God's methods in working out the plan of salvation is not only of no value, but is injurious to the soul. "If truth cannot save, it destroys" is the watchword of the reform movements. This is the key point in understanding what happened to Koresh and those former members of the Branch D.S.D.A..

The above mentioned doctrine and practice being restored through Ben and Lois is summed up in the words, "the Daily" – ha-tamid, in Hebrew (Daniel 8:11-13; 11:31; 12:11). In those texts the word "sacrifice" has been supplied by the translators, and is not in the Hebrew text. In the days of the earthly sanctuary these words referred to all that was involved in the continual intercession day by day, and not just the sacrifice of the animals. In the antitype (the reality), its meaning is the same, but with an added matter and significance. That is, "For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law." (Hebrews 7:12). The change in "the Priesthood" is that from the Levitical order to that "after the order of Melchizedek." (Psalms 110:4; Hebrews 5:10, 6:20, 7:11, 17, 21).

The major change in the law is that rather than the blood of animals being presented at the earthly sanctuary, now there is a fountain open for sin and uncleanness (Zechariah 13:1) – the blood of Christ – which is being pled in the heavenly Sanctuary for all who will avail themselves of it. And, that this is being done at the very times pointed out in the symbolic service (the 3rd and 9th hours of the day) everywhere on earth as those times occur in each place. While one can pray and receive forgiveness at any time of the day or night, the actual work in the Sanctuary is only done at the times of worship and intercession as pointed out in the symbolic service – the 3rd and 9th hours of the day. For more on this subject, please see The Daily, part 1, and The Daily, part 2.

All of those churches who hold their worship services at 11:00 a.m., are actually following the sun worship practice. Sun worshipers ate and worshiped at sunrise, noon, and sunset, whereas the true Judeo-Christian practice has been to worship at the third and ninth hours of the day. The noon hour (corresponding to 11:00 a.m. to 12 noon, depending on the time of the year) was considered the high hour of sun worship, and became the hour of High Mass in the Catholic churches, and thus the regular worship hour in most Protestant churches. Even the Seventh Day Adventists and Davidians are not reformed in this matter.

How this step in the reformation became a significant factor in regard to those who ended up following David Koresh is this. Along with the partaking of the memorial emblems of Christ's sufferings and the promise of His return, there is to be a thorough examination of one's self, and a confession of sin to those wronged and to the Lord. The various past and present messages had emphasized the Bible doctrine of what would happen to those who failed to allow the Holy Spirit to cleanse them though the blood of Christ by such an examination. (1 Corinthians 11:27-31). And that is why those particular people ended up with Koresh. They would not allow the Holy Spirit to humble them, and they hardened their hearts to the point that they forsook most all of the fundamental Biblical teachings of the Church in order to accept Koresh's teachings. Some of the specifics of this will be presented later.


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Within the many publications of Ellen White, Victor Houteff, Ben and Lois Roden there is great light on the events of the last days of the present age, and the great glory yet to be revealed in this dark world before Christ returns in all His glory. This is especially true of the events involved in the setting up of God's everlasting kingdom and the trials of the saints leading to their eventual liberation from the powers of oppression. Within the teachings of all of the various phases of the Seventh Day Adventist movement is a specific focus on America's place in prophecy. Publishing light on this matter for the general public was a particular feature of Ben's work.

Ben Roden was the prophet/president of the Branch D.S.D.A. Church from shortly after the death of Victor Houteff, until the fall of 1978, when he died. He was a true Christian gentleman, and was well respected by those who knew him. Despite the longstanding controversy with the S.D.A. ministry, and the fact that Ben had been disfellowshipped from the S.D.A. Church for having accepted the Davidian reform teachings, some of the most prominent leaders of the S.D.A.s in Texas officiated at his funeral.

Before he was disfellowshipped, he, Lois (his wife), and others had raised the funds to build an S.D.A. Church in Odessa, Texas. He served as an elder therein. After he was disfellowshipped, the S.D.A. leadership attempted by court actions to keep him from attending services at the very church building he had built. At the hearing, the court ruled that he could not be prohibited from peaceably attending services there, and the judge said that if the S.D.A. leaders were ever back in his court again over this matter that he would "throw the book" at them. Ben is buried on the Mount of Olives in Israel. This is the traditional burial place for the prophets of Israel. David Koresh is buried in an unmarked grave somewhere in east Texas.

In the restoration of all things, it was in God's providence to also have women active in the leadership of His work. In the beginning, God gave both Adam and Eve dominion over the earth (Genesis 1:26, 28), and not dominion over each other – they were co-rulers. This co-dominion, itself, needed to be fully restored. It was never God's design for men to rule over women, nor women over men. Therefore, there came about

AN IMAGE OF EDEN

In 1977, a year before Ben Roden died, his wife, Lois, had a vision of the person of the Holy Spirit in the symbol of a feminine "shimmering silvery Angel." For years Lois had been greatly impressed with the reality that women were also literally in the image and likeness of God, and, therefore, by divine right, held a position of co-dominion with men. She had been sharing this concept with the Branch congregation since 1973 in the face of much resistance. She was about to abandon the impressions which were upon her for the sake of unity in the Church when she was given the vision. The vision confirmed to her what she had believed to be the truth of the matter, and encouraged her to press forward with her work.

Because she had received this vision, and because it was evident that she was being given a special understanding as to the importance of this lost truth, it was obvious to many of the Branch believers that she had been anointed by God as a co-prophet/president of the Church, and was accepted as such by her husband and some other Branch leaders and members. In spite of this, there were a number of people in the Church who were reluctant to accept a woman (and particularly Lois) as leader, and this gave rise to many problems. It is of note that most of those who at first were so adamantly set against the idea of Lois being in the leadership and her teaching on the femininity of the Holy Spirit were those who ended up going with Koresh.

As she began to preach and publish what was being shown to her, more and more proofs from the Scriptures, Jewish and Christian historical writings, as well as those from contemporary ministers, rabbis, priests, scholars and others were being given to her. The message was going worldwide through our own literature which was being printed at the headquarters, through newspapers throughout North America, England, Australia, and the Philippines, and by radio and television. For Lois' studies on the feminine aspect of the Godhead go to Lois I. Roden, and for others on this subject by this author go to Latest Studies.

In 1979 she began publishing a magazine entitled Shekinah. This magazine explored the issues of the feminine aspect of the Godhead and women in the ministry of the Church. Besides containing her own commentary, the issues of Shekinah consisted of reprints of news articles and excerpts from publications which addressed woman's place in the world of religion. Lois received awards and commendations for the magazine from some very prominent groups and individuals in the religious world.

We were very active in distributing our literature, attending the major meetings of the larger Christian denominations (Protestant, Catholic, etc.), of women's right organizations, and others. The popularity of her Shekinah magazine and other publications was upsetting many of the masculine dominated ministries, and others. This was especially true of the Baptists in Waco, and could be seen by the fact that they later became foremost in circulating misinformation about the B.D.S.D.A. Church during the time of the 1993 events involving Koresh and the law enforcement agencies.

Pride of opinion, especially in the realm of religion, has proven to be one of the most destructive forces of life. Its not the differing opinions in and of themselves that are so harmful, but rather the pride that can accompany them. The issue of the masculine/feminine relationship reaches to the very core of human existence and lifestyle. It touches every aspect of human thought. Therefore, even amongst the most ardent reformers (such as the B.D.S.D.A.s) whose profession is that the truth taught in the Scriptures is to be accepted, no matter what the implications, there can, and did arise

A POWER STRUGGLE AND A DISTORTION OF FACTS

Upon the death of Ben Roden, and in spite of the fact that Lois had already been given the gift of prophecy (and was thereby anointed as a president of the Church), Ben and Lois' firstborn son, George B. Roden, claimed that he was to be the new president because of his birthright. This fact, in and of itself, holds no weight as to determining who is to be the president according to the Church's Constitution and Bylaws. For the first couple of years after Lois began teaching of the femininity of the Holy Spirit, George would not accept the facts of the matter that were presented to him. He later generally accepted the teaching and Lois' inspiration in the matter but still discounted her right to the leadership.

It is written, "For the son dishonoureth the father, the daughter riseth up against her mother, the daughter in law against her mother in law; a man's enemies are the men of his own house." Micah 7:6. So it was with Lois.

George proceeded to set himself in opposition to his mother, contrary to the fact that his father, Ben, had fully accepted Lois' inspiration and leadership, and had acknowledged such in writing to the congregation. But, in spite of this, George began to bad mouth her in his own publications. He also attempted to sell some things which belonged to the Church to further his own agenda. He wanted to go to Israel to build a new temple, while Lois was interested in building the spiritual temple – the pure Church. He gained a small following, and with their help was causing numerous problems for Lois.

In 1979, Lois was forced to go to the courts for an injunction against George to prevent him from claiming to be and acting as the president of the Church. Because of George's actions, it became necessary for purposes of the lawsuit for Lois to poll the Branch members to determine if the church members were acknowledging her leadership or George's. George tried to gather to himself position seekers and others who would not humbly investigate Lois' message, or who had something personally against her.

The court ruling was against George, and a permanent injunction was issued against him see Appendix 2. In 1983, 84, and 85, Lois had to return to court to have George held under contempt charges for violating that injunction. The ruling in this case, and Lois' continuing exercise of her rights as president in this matter prove that Lois Roden was the only legally recognized president of the Branch Davidian Seventh Day Adventists until her death in November, 1986. Actually, from 1979, George had been using the name "Branch Association" to identify his unique faction. Furthermore, this shows that George Roden was never recognized as being the president of the B.D.S.D.A. Church while Lois was alive. Nor did he succeed her in said office after her death, as has been repeatedly portrayed incorrectly by the news media and by other reporters and writers.

Lois published much of her distinct message under the name

LIVING WATERS

Because George felt that he had the right to the leadership, and, therefore, any money that came into the Church's mail box, Lois was forced to change the mailing addresses on her literature. She also decided to publish many of her writings under the name Living Waters (or Living Waters Branch). Even though she published under these names, she never changed the name of the Church itself. All of the contention with George made Lois' work of proclaiming the truth of the femininity of the Holy Spirit, and the restoration of the family image on earth as it is in heaven much more difficult. Though she regularly displayed the divine grace which was guiding her, she would also admit that she was a weak and erring mortal.

Besides the hostility she was facing from within her own congregation and family, and that of the self-satisfied religious world, there was another force working against her which brought her much anxiety. That is, flattery. As her work of restoring women to their rightful place of equality with men was meeting with positive feedback, some people began to idolize her. This brought her many personal trials. Not only was she faced with the temptation of self-exaltation (pride), but had to deal with those (mostly women, but even some men) who were attempting to avoid using their own minds and consciences by substituting Lois' opinion's in all things for their own personal relationship with the Holy Spirit. She would express to me her concern for those who were doing this, and the danger that they were in. It was under these circumstances that there came about what can appropriately be described as

THE ENTERING OF A DRAGON

It was during the time of Lois' struggle with George that Vernon Howell came to New Mount Carmel Center. The first time was in 1981. The dispute over the presidency between George and Lois was not a light matter, and it caused significant confusion, tension, and division within the Branch congregation. Certain of the male members (and even some female members) of the Church were offended because a woman (Lois) was the new leader. This was really odd because they were professing to be members of a church which was founded on the inspired work of a woman, Ellen G. White, and whose writings were regularly read and quoted. It was as though those people weren't offended by the leadership of a dead woman, but a living one was a different matter.

Lois had been telling people not to support George, for not only did he not have the gift of prophecy, he was not even a converted Christian. But he still received support from the disaffected ones, or from others who were as unconverted as he was. At this same time, none of the other Roden children (five, besides George) were active in the church work, as they had been previously. All of this played quite heavily on Lois. In Ecclesiastes 7:7 it is written, "Surely oppression maketh a wise man mad." This also applies to women.

But besides all of these things, there was another great pressure which was bearing upon Lois. That is, rebellion within her own ranks. There is a well established rule within our Church (as within practically all other organizations) that if someone feels that he or she has something which they wish to teach or publish under the appearance of such having the endorsement of the Church, they must first have it approved by the leadership – in our case, the president. In spite of this gift of government (1 Corinthians 12:28) which we as Branch members are called to observe, the man who did the printing for the Church at the headquarters, Clive Doyle (who later became one of Vernon's first followers), printed his own study on the church's printing presses, then distributed it to some of the people whose names were on the church's mailing list, and asked for financial support for his work, all without permission.

Clive's actions made it appear that there were two different "storehouses" (see Malachi 3:10-12). Lois reproved him for this, and he seemingly repented. She was most patient and forgiving with people. Both before this time, as well as after, Clive had an underlying root of bitterness towards Lois which manifested itself in confrontations with her as to how and what to print, and in badmouthing her to other members, including me. When Lois began to publish her message, Clive refused to print her literature unless ordered to do so by Ben Roden. Some years later Clive came out of the burning building on April 19, 1993, and has been acting as the spokesman for Koresh's remaining followers since then.

Besides Clive, the press secretary for the Church, Perry Jones (who died in the initial shootout of the 1993 incident), likewise felt that he, himself, was somewhat of a special leader, and also better able to know how to run things than was Lois. These two men were among the first to accept the teachings of Vernon Howell, and the first to give at least one of their daughters to be his wives or concubines. Perry's daughter, Rachel, became his only legal wife in 1984, at age 14. Two years later, Vernon announced that the Lord had told him to give his "seed" to another minor-aged girl, and that her father had given him his permission for such. Later, Clive's youngest daughter, Sheri, gave birth to two of Vernon's many children. She and her children died in the 1993 fire, as did Rachel and her children.

Vernon took advantage of the problems which Perry, Clive, and George were causing (and the fact that Lois was allowing George to live on Mt. Carmel) by playing on Clive's and Perry's personal grievances against Lois and George to win their affections. He started telling people that the reason that they had not yet overcome as they wanted to, and why there were so many obstacles which seemed to be arising all the time, was because of George's presence and Lois' reluctance to remove him. He told people that the only way to solve the problem was to accept his message and leadership.

At this same time, Lois knew of the sins of those who professed to be following her leadership, and considered them as bad or worse than George's, for they were Christians, and he was not. They had a measure of the Holy Spirit, and George did not. Therefore, Lois saw that if everyone who was causing problems should be made to leave Mt. Carmel, there would be no one left, for no one was as perfect as they could have been. It was her prayer and work to bring all, including herself, to true repentance from all sin, in the mercy and graciousness of God. George was treated as badly by those who professed to know better, as they claim they were treated by him.

It was somewhat easy for Vernon to win the affections of some of the professed followers of Lois Roden by blaming her for everything. The devil, through Vernon, was playing Vernon (and his followers, Clive, Perry, etc.,) against George (and his supporters), and George against Vernon, with Lois, and her supporters (such as me) in the middle. There were even a few people who believed Lois' teachings on the femininity of the Holy Spirit, etc., and who were passing out her literature, yet at the same time were supporting George or promoting themselves. She and the heaven-ordained message which she was bearing were, as it were, being crucified between two thieves (usurpers of her crown), George and Vernon, as was Christ. Actually, it was Christ in His prophetic word brought by the Holy Ghost through Lois which was being crucified afresh by his own professed followers (See Hebrews 6:4-8).

Despite all of this, Lois was still publishing what the Lord was showing her, and was getting worldwide support for the truth of the femininity of the Holy Spirit and woman's true place in the Church ministry, that of equality. In February/March, 1983, Lois won an Award of Excellence from the Religion in Media Angel Awards (the Academy Awards of religious broadcasting) for her Shekinah magazine. Also around this time she won another award from the Dove Foundation, an international Christian organization. One month later our Administration building was burnt down.

The Administration building contained our printing department, was the storage place of all of the previously printed Branch literature, and contained our large mailing list of members and subscribers to our literature. The fire started in the corner of the printing room where all of the in-print literature was stored. There was one eyewitness who said that he saw Vernon start the fire. Vernon later said that he started the fire because the Lord had told him that Lois had to stop publishing her literature. Some of Vernon's own words regarding the matter of his aggression against Lois Roden's leadership and publishing, and of her rejection of his claims are presented in Appendix 3.

During the weeks prior to the fire, I saw Vernon repeatedly going into the small building which contained the pump for the well which supplied water for Mt. Carmel, and messing with that pump. At the time of the fire, the water pump was not working, and, thus, the fire departments which came to put out the fire didn't have any water available to them. During the fire someone stated that they thought that an animal had chewed through some electrical wires in the ceiling of the building and that that is what caused the fire. And though there was no actual investigation of the matter, the numerous fire departments which were there all went away with that story, and that story was reported in the press.

What is notable about this is that there were no electrical wires in that portion of the building where the fire started. There is a prevailing wind which blows across Mt. Carmel Center, and that morning the wind was quite strong, blowing from the right side of the Administration building towards the left as one faces the front of the building. This was the same direction the wind was blowing on April 19, 1993 when Koresh's compound burnt – which, incidentally, was built on the same place were the Administration building had been situated. In order for the fire to have traveled from where the electrical wires actually were to the extreme rear right side corner of the building where the fire actually started (where all of our in-print literature was kept), it would have had to go against that strong wind. But it didn't. The fire started in the very corner of the rear right hand side of the building. I was an eyewitness to this (being one of the very first on the scene).

After that fire, anyone who came in contact with Howell/Koresh had little or no access to the writings of Ben and Lois Roden (which should have been consulted to check and see if Vernon's message was in harmony with the testimony thus far revealed. They were also told by Vernon that they could not prove his message by theirs (Ben and Lois'). If we pointed out that parts of his message were not in harmony with the former prophets, he would say to us that the former prophets were "idols" of "silver" and "gold" to us.

By taking away the proofs (the Branch writings, etc.) which would have exposed his deception, he was free to promote his lies to those with whom he was newly coming in contact with, with little danger of being exposed in his deceptions. One of his biggest lies was that his message was an extension of what the former prophets had taught. Those within the Church who were not settled on the principle of comparing new thoughts with those previously revealed were easily led to disregard some of our most fundamental doctrines (such as those against polygamy).

Most of those who became Vernon's "mighty men" were men who were not at all familiar with the nature and truths of the original movement because they came in under his tutorage (or, better, his dictatorship). People such as Marc Breault (whose testimony about what the Branch is all about has been so heavily relied upon) and David Thibadeau know nothing, firsthand, of what the movement really teaches, or what it is about. Both of these men have written (or co-written) books about their experiences with Howell/Koresh. Their (and now much of the world's) conception of the nature of the movement is a product of Vernon's amalgamation of our true doctrines and his twisted reasonings.

For example, Seventh Day Adventists, have, for military purposes, been classified as noncombatants since the time of the civil war – meaning that they would only serve in the military as medics, cooks, or the like, without carrying weapons. Their general reasoning being that there were Christians on both sides of the conflict. The Davidian Seventh Day Adventists went one step further, classifying themselves as conscientious objectors refusing to serve in the military, also because there may be Christians on the other side (being forced to go to war by their governments), and because they could not practice their religious beliefs within the military lifestyle. It is also a specific Davidian teaching that Christians should not engage themselves in promoting items which kill people (i.e., selling guns, etc.). Yet Vernon's followers abandoned those principles by engaging in the buying and selling of guns, and by their militaristic actions. They even encouraged military actions against themselves by said practices. So it is written, "all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword" Matthew 26:52.

Initially, in 1984, there were only about 15 members of the Church (and their minor-aged children) who followed Vernon. In 1993, out of his 140, or so, followers only around 35 had been former members (or children of former members) of the Church or were loosely associated with it under Ben and/or Lois Roden. The difficult thing for Lois and the rest of the members who didn't follow Vernon was that among those few former members who did end up with him were most of the members of the Executive Council of the Church, and some of their family members.

Under our governing laws, the members of the Executive Council, without the president who appointed them to said offices, do not hold any legal authority to affect the Church or its property, but merely act as advisors to that president (such as the President of the United States' Cabinet). Because of the problem that arose with Florence Houteff, Ben Roden had amended our Constitution and By-Laws, to specifically prohibit the Executive Council from filling any vacancies in the Church's offices, and especially the office of president. That Koresh's followers later totally disregarded our governing laws in these matters will be addressed later.

What is perhaps the most significant departure from our basic teachings was Vernon's action at this time (1983-4) in naming his group "Davidian Branch Davidian Seventh Day Adventists." After September, 1955, when Ben Roden was told by the Lord that the new name of the Church was to be "The Branch," he declared that


"the name of the church was changed several times to teach Present Truth up to that time. But now that the new name of Jesus has come, the name of God's true church is changed to Messiah's new name and it will never be changed again since she (the church) is called by the Son of God's new name; The Branch..." Seven Letters to Florence Houteff, 1978 Reprint, page 115. (emphasis added)


He also declared that,


"The names Davidian and Seventh-day Adventist which this Association, The Branch, inherits from the parent denomination, Davidian Seventh-day Adventist, is provisional and only for the duration of its work within the parent denominations, Davidian Seventh-day Adventists and Seventh-day Adventists." The Leviticus of the Davidian Seventh-day Adventists, The Branch Supplement, page 5.


So, at the very beginning of Vernon's work it was apparent that he had no regard for the established teachings of the true Church for he acted contrary thereto by using the name which he did. It was also evident that those who had been with the Church for a number of years, and should have known better, had more regard for the smoke and mirrors Vernon was presenting than they did for the Church's teachings and laws. It wasn't that Vernon was presenting them with unquestionable expositions of the Scriptures and Church writings, because he wasn't. It was that he was playing on their own individual selfish interests and their willingness to make someone else their minds and consciences – for that person to be a god to them. But those people were certainly not alone in doing this. It is done daily throughout the world by many people, religious or irreligious.

Prior to 1984, when Vernon and his followers left Mt. Carmel Center under the name "Davidian Branch Davidian Seventh Day Adventists," Vernon was constantly antagonizing George by demonstrations of his physical strength and his claim that Lois and George had to die if they would not accept his message. In late 1983, Vernon was teaching that there was going to be a destruction by fire. He kept quoting Bible passages which referred to a judgment by fire. As he had burned down our administration/publishing building around six months before, George and others were honestly concerned about something of that sort happening again. But the way that they dealt with Vernon's predictions only made things worse. After the administration building fire, and because of Vernon's 1983-84 teaching that there was going to be some kind of deadly situation at Mt. Carmel (which time has proved to be his self-fulfilled prophecy), George started wearing a gun around Mt. Carmel Center.

Rather than attempting to patiently discuss the Bible passages Vernon was quoting in their already understood context, and trying to help those who were getting lured into Vernon's intricately woven web, George and others went on the offensive, letting their unconverted natures overrule reason. This ended up giving Vernon more fuel for his unholy fire (so to speak). As Vernon was keeping things much more low-keyed that he did later, it was easy to make himself out to be a persecuted messenger and to close his cloak of deception around those who were giving up their minds and wills to him. Thus, with things getting more and more confusing it was difficult for those who had a true interest in Lois' work (and the Church, in general) to know what to do when

THE REBELS HAD THE ADVANTAGE

In late 1983, with so many different things going wrong (the fire, Lois' children, those who were exalting themselves and misusing Church property, those who had personal things against Lois, and those who were joining George and Vernon against her, etc.), Lois was also beginning to believe what Vernon was saying. She was beginning to feel that the problem was with her, and that she had to accept his message as the remedy. He was coming at her like a locomotive from hell. He was incessantly using many obscure Bible texts which had not been commented on previously (and even ones which had been) to convince her and others of his new message (sic). He took advantage of every opportunity he could to bombard her with his convoluted logic. He would not let up, but would come at her day and night, hour after hour, attempting to wear her out. It is written of Lucifer, "Behold, thou art wiser than Daniel; there is no secret they can hide from thee." Ezekiel 28:3. The devil was able to use Vernon's talents and knowledge of the Bible (large parts of which he had committed to memory), along with his own vast knowledge of the Bible and history, to present his masterpiece of deception to attempt to "deceive the very elect" (Matthew 24:24).

All of these things were most perplexing to Lois and we who were helping her in her heaven-appointed work. Suddenly the contention between George and Vernon was eclipsing our mission to share with others the light of heaven which we had been receiving, and many were becoming disheartened. The devil was using his age-old divide and conquer technique, and it was fulfilling his diabolic scheme. Even though Lois, and other of her most loyal supporters, were temporarily overcome (worn out – Daniel 7:25) by Satan's representative, Vernon Howell, the Lord nevertheless declares of her and them, "The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan; even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee. Is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?" (Zechariah 3:2).

Around Passover time in 1984, certain persons who were, seemingly, supportive of Lois' ministry, and yet sympathetic with George, and others who were following George openly, and others who were uncommitted to either George or Lois but were also opposed to Vernon, and still others who simply saw an opportunity to promote their own agenda, voted for George to be a sort of "civil ruler" of the Church, contrary to the Church's Constitution and By-Laws. Even though George was still under the court order prohibiting him from acting as president of the Church, his new fictitious role of "civil ruler" gave him the impetus to act out his unbalanced mind.

Just like Eve's children who blamed her for their own sins which they committed of their own free wills, many who were with Lois previously and who had, for one reason or another, been looking at some character flaw in her as an excuse for their own deficiencies, encouraged George to obtain a court order to remove Vernon and anyone who he felt was a sympathizer of Vernon's from Mt. Carmel. This order also included anyone who was opposed to George and was still with Lois and the true Church, such as me. My name appeared on that court order as being Vernon's "agent." Nothing could have been further from the truth. I later received a letter from George in which he admitted that he was mistaken about me being Vernon's "agent." I never gave any tithes to anyone other than Lois, and was authorized by her to receive others' tithes to pass on to her until her death.

George took this court action not as president of the Church, but as a Trustee of the Church's property (Mt. Carmel Center). George was one of the three original trustees of Mt. Carmel Center, along with Ben and Lois. He used this position in his pleading before the court to obtain the court order. As Vernon had burned down the Administration building which contained the active membership list a year before this, Lois' hands were tied by circumstances. This mailing list, which contained thousands of names, many of which were groups, was the primary means that Lois would have had in contacting the Church's members to inform them of what was happening and to attempt to ward off George's and Vernon's attempts to steal her right to the presidency of the Church. Though many of the names on the mailing list were recovered from backup sources, there was another problem which Lois had in defending herself. That is, because of Vernon and George's actions much of the tithe moneys stopped coming to Lois. Aside from those who were supporting Vernon and George, others were indecisive about who to support and were withholding their tithes and offerings. So even though she had the addresses of many of the members, she did not have the financial means to contact them effectively.

There was a Field Letter sent out in late 1983 inviting people to come to Mt. Carmel and hear Vernon's message. It was well known among Lois' followers that the signature which appeared on that letter, which was purported to be Lois's signature, was a forgery (either by Perry Jones, or Vernon, himself). It wasn't even a close forgery. Such was Vernon's method of using Lois to promote himself.

In spite of the fact that George was already under the court order to cease from acting as the Church's president, he ignored this order and used these circumstances to try again to have himself voted in as president (which failed, again). Vernon, of course, used George's court order removing him from the property to portray himself as a martyr and to gain further sympathy from his followers and others. Later, after Lois' death, he used this circumstance to gain sympathy from a jury and the public by further portraying himself and his followers as being persecuted ones, exiled from their homes.

Even though Lois was greatly handicapped by the uncertainty of many of those who had formerly supported her work, and by George and those with him, Vernon did not even try to challenge, by vote or any legal means, Lois' right to the presidency of the Church while she was alive, for he knew that even though the membership was in disarray, she still could gain enough support to ward off his attempt to dethrone her. George's court order was appropriate in one sense because Vernon and his followers were a separate group under a different name from that of the true Church, and were acting and teaching contrary to the Church's teaching on the matter of what the name of the Church should be, and in other regards. Vernon was also attempting to use other things owned by the Church which were under Lois' control, and which he was not authorized to use. Some of Vernon's own words regarding this are presented in Appendix 3.

Everything that Vernon was doing had a cloak of darkness about it. This fact seemed to make no difference to those few former Branch Davidian Seventh Day Adventists who left the true movement to join Vernon's new and separate movement under the name Davidian Branch Davidian Seventh Day Adventists. This was symbolically revealed in an incident which occurred about a year after Vernon and his followers moved off of Mt. Carmel Center and ended up in Palestine, Texas at what was to be the headquarters of his new, separate, and distinct movement and association for the next few years. That is, he dug a large hole in the ground with a backhoe, and after it had filled up with rain, he baptized his followers in that muddy hole.

After they left Mt. Carmel in the spring of 1984, and before they ended up in Palestine, Vernon and his followers were around the Waco area for a while, where they got into trouble with a woman who was trying to help them by giving them a place to stay and some work to do. The work they did was so bad, the woman threw them out.

Vernon and his followers were hired by the woman to re-roof a house. The correct way to lay the tar paper on a roof is to lay it parallel to the horizontal edge of the roof. Vernon had such a control over the thinking of his followers that they followed his directions and laid it vertically in spite of their own protests. I was driving by one day and saw them doing it. What is of note here is that one person in particular, Stan Silvia, has stated publicly that he raised serious objections to Vernon about laying the paper vertically, but eventually gave in to Vernon's demands because he believed that Vernon was God's man. That same man was among those whose wives later became Vernon's wives (or concubines) and bore him children. Stan was also on television after the 1993 incident boasting of how proud he was for having given in to Vernon's demand regarding the tar paper, while denying that his wife had any children by Vernon, in spite of the fact that tests proved differently.

At that same Passover time (spring time) in 1984, another man, Charles Pace, who had previously also claimed to have a special message for the Branch members, publicly proclaimed that he knew that George was to be the next prophet (president) and proceeded to give him around $14,000. He gave him that money in order to set up a health center on Mt. Carmel. He did this even though he professed to be following Lois' leadership, and knew that George had no legal right to do anything like setting up a health center on Mt. Carmel, and that Lois had told everyone not to give financial support to George. Not only did George use this money to further oppress Lois and those who supported her message and work, but it also gave him the boost to his ego which pushed him over the edge. Shortly after he was given this money, he damaged some of Charles' property and threw him off Mt. Carmel. Charles was also one of the people who encouraged George to be the "civil ruler" of Mt. Carmel Center, and may have been the one who was foremost in promoting the idea.

Prior to that time, Charles Pace was so adamant in proclaiming that he, himself, had a special message from the Lord (which also was not in harmony with the testimony thus far revealed) that Lois had to ban him from speaking at any meetings of the congregations in his area. At the 1984 Passover meetings he proclaimed (in writing and orally) that he and his sister were special representatives and representations of Christ and the Holy Ghost. Later, after he was married a second time, he changed that view, saying that it was he and his new wife who were that special representation.

At that same time there was also another brother and sister from Canada (which is where Charles was from) who were also teaching that they were the same sort of special representation. That is, Phillip and Ruth Ottman. Both they and their mother, Gladys, ended up with Howell/Koresh. Ruth is the one that came out of the burning building on April 19, 1993, and had to be held by a law officer from going back into the building. She spent some time in jail after the incident, and was thereafter sent back to Canada, where her brother and mother were.

Charles is now attempting to pass himself off as Lois' successor, even though almost all of the members or former members of the Church reject his teachings. A couple of years after the 1993 incident, he moved to Waco and turned one of the two remaining structures on the Church's property, our dairy barn, into a place where he holds his meetings. A few years after Lois' death, he named his faction "The Living Waters Branch of Righteousness." After I informed one of his supporters, Tom Caldwell, that there was no provision in the Church's teachings or laws for the original Church to be so named, and that it was actually contrary to our teachings on the matter, he dropped that name, and took up the name, "The Branch, The Congregation of The Lord (YHVH) Our Righteousness." Charles later joined hands with the Koreshians in their attempt to obtain title to the Church's property.

Due to all of the oppression directed towards Lois and her message, those who were with Lois and who had rejected Vernon's teachings were in dismay. The devil was using George, Vernon, Charles, and the others who were running around claiming that they had received special light from the Lord and that they were now the anointed leader(s), to cast a flood of impure waters (people polluted with impure doctrines) out of his mouth in order to drown the true Church. (See Rev 12:15, 16; Matthew 24:24).

Ellen White warned of what has been termed the "Lucifer movement." She said, "I ask our people to study the 28th chapter of Ezekiel. The representation here made, while it refers primarily to Lucifer, the fallen angel, has yet a broader significance. Not one being, but a general movement, is described, and one that we shall witness. A faithful study of this chapter should lead those who are seeking for truth to walk in all the light God has given to His people, lest they be deceived by the deceptions of these last days." Special Testimonies, Series B, No. 17, p. 30.

Victor Houteff and Ben Roden also repeatedly warned against those who privately interpret the Scriptures and what would happen to them and to those who accept their vain theories. But they also showed that the Bible was replete with God's promises to separate the tares from the wheat in the Church and that in the last days the Church would be pure and clean. Yet in spite of all the counsel, pride of opinion and self sufficiency were able to have their lethal effect.

Those who ended up with Koresh, as with all of us, were warned against false prophets "whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness." 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12.

Such it was with those who ended up with Koresh, or with the other promoters of private theories. The false prophets surrounding the true message and movement were simply drawing away those who refused to relinquish their cherished sins and idols. This is the same situation which existed at the time when Elijah was on top of Mt. Carmel. The people were held in confusion and idolatry by the false prophets This seems to be a general principle. Wherever God's true prophet is working, there will be a variety of false prophets attempting to lure away the believers. Those lures will come in the most subtile forms to play upon people's pet idols. It has also been pointed out to us that during the Judgment of the Living our deeds are to be published.

Rather than rebuilding the printing building which was destroyed in the Passover 1983 fire to continue publishing her message, Lois used commercial publishers. She was also so concerned about the antagonism against her publishing work that she hired a typist in Waco whose identity and whereabouts she would not reveal to anyone other than her daughter who would drive her there, and me. Shortly before she died, she used the money that was coming in to print large quantities of her literature (around $25,000 worth), for she knew what Vernon had in mind. After the 1983 fire, Vernon repeatedly stated that he was told by the Lord that he should tell Lois not to publish her literature anymore (see Appendix 3). Lois stopped publishing for a while in 1984, as it was the seventh (sabbatical) year of her ministry, and in late 1985 began publishing again. She had received much light on the situation we had gone though during that sabbatical year, and new light on another precious hidden truth, and was trying to show Vernon and those with him the deception into which they had fallen.

All the truths which had been revealed within the Advent movement up to that time (1985) had been easy to prove to anyone who had a true desire to know what the Bible teaches. But the Bible itself reveals that there are some matters which are "hard to be uttered, seeing [we] are dull of hearing." (Hebrews 5:11). There are also things which are only for those who overcome, as it is written, "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna,...." (Revelation 2:17). Such it is with that which Lois began to teach in 1985.

The Bible also declares that the Lord says


"I have declared the former things from the beginning; and they went forth out of my mouth, and I shewed them; I did them suddenly, and they came to pass. Because I knew that thou art obstinate, and thy neck is an iron sinew, and thy brow brass; I have even from the beginning declared it to thee; before it came to pass I shewed it thee: lest thou shouldest say, Mine idol hath done them, and my graven image, and my molten image, hath commanded them. Thou hast heard, see all this; and will not ye declare it? I have shewed thee new things from this time, even hidden things, and thou didst not know them. They are created now, and not from the beginning; even before the day when thou heardest them not; lest thou shouldest say, Behold, I knew them. Yea, thou heardest not; yea, thou knewest not; yea, from that time that thine ear was not opened: for I knew that thou wouldest deal very treacherously, and wast called a transgressor from the womb." Isaiah 48:3-8


Such is the case with that which Lois began teaching in late 1985 – it is for those who have overcome, or are in process of doing so. As such, those things are contained in her publications, bound up in a study entitled The Bride of Christ. Other studies on the subject are also available in our Latest Studies.

THE TRUTH IS IN THE COURT RECORDS

During this same time (1985, and onwards) George was in the courts again, trying to represent the Church in a tax case which arose from a change in the tax status of New Mount Carmel Center. At the same time he was trying to retrieve the old Mt. Carmel property which had been unlawfully taken from the Church in the days of Florence Houteff. He was failing in these endeavors because he felt that he could do things all on his own. Of course, this was a cause of great frustration for George, which, among other things, later landed him in jail on contempt of court charges.

In 1983-4, when the character and work of Vernon and those who supported him were surfacing, George published some manuscripts which he entitled The Rough Winds. These were harsh denunciations of what he thought was happening. In these writings his language was so full of cursing that many of those who had been with him up until then left him. The holy influence which he had received from being with his father and mother in the work was wearing off, and George didn't know that he, himself, was not converted.

The sad situation of children of upright men and women going in a different direction has been repeated over and over again in this sin-cursed world. Those who profit from the lessons learned by these things will fully realize and know for themselves why it is that God has promised that "affliction shall not rise up the second time" (Nahum 1:9). This will be because those who have learned the lessons of life will not let it rise up in their hearts and minds, and they will be the only ones around.

Because George was again attempting to act as the president of the Church in 1985, Lois had to bring him up on contempt of court charges again. At the court, Lois presented an affidavit in which she swore that she was the "president" of the "Branch Davidian Seventh Day Adventists" (see Appendix 4). This was filed on March 28, 1985. This was about a year and one half after Vernon Howell claimed that he had succeeded her as president, and that she had lost said office, and had passed her "crown"on to him.

Around that same time George had filed a suit in federal court claiming that his right to the presidency of the Church had been violated. The case was filed in the United States District Court, Western District of Texas, Waco Division, as Civil Action No. W-85-CA-99. The case was against Lois, Vernon, a Waco judge, an attorney, Florence Houteff (then known as Florence Eakin), Charles Pace, and others.. Lois had set forth her own defense separate from that of Vernon and those former Branch members who were then following his leadership rather than hers. Vernon's defense was not only separate from Lois', but was made from the premise that he was actually the president of a congregation other than the Branch Davidian Seventh Day Adventists. That is, the "Davidian Branch Davidian Seventh Day Adventists." (see Appendix 1).

Lois had filed her sworn statement regarding being the president of the B.D.S.D.A. on March 28, 1985, and about 2 1/2 months later (on June 10, 1985 – about a year and one half after he started his new group under the new name) Howell filed his sworn statement wherein he stated that he is the President of "The Davidian Branch Davidian Seventh Day Adventist Association." (emphasis added). This clearly shows that there were two separate associations (actually three, counting George's faction), with different leaders, using different names, at the same time.

It was during the 1984 Passover season that Vernon announced to everyone attending meetings at Mt. Carmel Center that his new movement was called the "Davidian Branch Davidian Seventh Day Adventists" (D.B.D.S.D.A.). In late 1983 he had added the extra word, "Davidian," in front of the name of the true and original Branch Davidian Seventh Day Adventists to identify his distinctive group. He gave untenable theological reasonings for the use of the additional name.

I won't try to explain in this presentation the reasons he gave for using the additional name "Davidian" in front of our name, except to say that the founder of the Davidian Seventh Day Adventist reform movement (the predecessor to the Branch movement), Victor T. Houteff (V.T.H.), had similar initials to those of Vernon Wayne Howell (V.W.H.) a fact of which Howell took a twisted advantage. When he later set up his camp in Palestine, Texas in 1985, and used that place as his headquarters for the next couple of years, he was publishing literature with the initials of his new association, "D.B.D.S.D.A." on it.

What is also notable about that document which Vernon filed in 1985 is that he names the specific members of his distinct association at that time. He names "Clive Doyle, Edna Doyle, Raymond Friesen, Tilly Friesen, Perry Jones, Mary Bell Jones, Bob Kendrick, Janet Kendrick, and Catherine Matteson", as being "members" of his new association. On April 24, 1994, those same "members" of "The Davidian Branch Davidian Seventh Day Adventist Association," (except for Perry Jones and Raymond Friesen , who died during the 1993 incident) unlawfully attempted to appoint themselves as "Trustees of the Branch Davidian Seventh day Adventists," contrary to the Church's Constitution and Bylaws, which states that only the president of the association can appoint its officers. In the recent court case instituted by Koresh's remaining followers to gain title to the Church's property, the jury (11 to 1) explicitly rejected their claim of being the "Trustees" of the Church. That judgment against their claim was rendered in Case No. 96-1152-3 on October 6, 2000. More on this trial later.

George's 1985 federal case was dismissed for want of George properly stating a cause of action. An unusual thing about that case is that the case file is no longer in the Waco area federal court where the case was heard. It was moved to the historical records division of the federal district court in Fort Worth, Texas. They say that this was done to preserve those records, because they have historical significance. What is significant about this is that few people know about the fact that Vernon was actually representing himself as being the leader of a group distinct from that of Lois or George, and that his own sworn testimony in that case proves it. But, despite this, that fact was known to some prominent people in Waco. The fact that Howell was using that different name for his distinct faction, and was also the leader of that separate association was brought forth in written pleadings in at least two other court cases in Waco prior to the 1993 incident.

Stranger still is that even though these records are a part of the federal court records, the fact of Howell/Koresh claiming to be the leader of a group distinct from the B.D.S.D.A. has never been made public by any government agency, nor news agency, despite the fact that they have been notified of this by various people. Even the so-called researchers and experts who have written on the history of Howell/Koresh and the B.D.S.D.A. Church have missed, ignored, or suppressed this matter. For some, this has been intentional, for they have intended on portraying the B.D.S.D.A. Church in as bad of a light as possible. Why the fact that Howell was actually the leader of a different association under a different name has been suppressed be will further explained later on in this testimony (though by now the reasons should be somewhat obvious).

It was not until nearly one year after Lois' death that Howell filed a document (Appendix 5) in the county records office of McLennan County, Texas, wherein he claimed to be president of the Branch Davidian Seventh Day Adventists. That was around four years after he claimed that he was the new president of the Church, replacing Lois. Howell never attempted to challenge Lois' right to the office of president of the Church by vote, nor by legal proceedings, before her death, for he knew she had the support of the vast majority of the Church and that his doctrines and practices could not stand the light of day.

From mid-1985 until Lois' death in November of 1986, there was no one living on Mt. Carmel Center who was really with Lois. Since 1984 George had been forcibly controlling who could come on Mt. Carmel. A few people came and went, but the only ones that George would allow on the property were those who were in sympathy with him, or those whom Lois would insist on being allowed to come there (such as me). As George's own character was deteriorating, so was that of his few remaining followers.

Upon our returning to Mt. Carmel from a missionary trip to Canada about five weeks prior to her death in November of 1986, Lois expressed to me that she really did not want to go back there because she felt like a prisoner there because of George. She didn't want to enforce the contempt order which was already in effect against George, for, in one sense, he was able to help kept Vernon off of Mt. Carmel. Besides this, she knew that she was sick, and might not be around too much longer, and she did not know who would be her successor as president of the Church. Along with this is the fact that she was using the little money which was coming in to publish her literature, and couldn't afford the costs of going to court again.

I was living in Waco at this time, and had to call Lois, who would have to tell George that I was coming before I could come to Mt. Carmel to meet with her. Most of the time we met at my place or in a park. Only one other person in the area was fellowshipping with us at this time. Most of Lois' followers had been scared away by all the commotion which George was causing by wearing a gun (which was prompted by provocations from Vernon), and by Vernon's pronouncements of a deadly situation which was to occur at Mt. Carmel.

Lois spent the remaining year of her life visiting members, and publishing what was being revealed to her. She was receiving great light on the feminine aspect of the Godhead. Lois didn't attempt to overturn George's court order which removed her followers along with Vernon and his followers from Mt. Carmel due to the lack of financial support caused by all of the confusion, and due to another prominent reason. She knew that Vernon was going to try to gain control of the property and the Church's name and good reputation. She and George were in agreement on that one matter. During this time she would also attend Vernon's meetings in Palestine, Texas in an attempt to show him and his followers the errors of their ways. She didn't do this by directly attacking Vernon's claims, but rather by presenting them with the new light she was receiving. Vernon had been claiming that she had lost her "crown" (her inspiration), and thus the presidency of the Church, and she was showing them that he was wrong by presenting them with the proof of God's continuing work through her. After her death, Vernon would try to use the fact that she would come to some of his meetings as proof that she was a follower of his. Yet his own testimony related herein (Appendix 3) and other facts prove otherwise.

Despite all the overwhelming evidence in the first few years as to the truly deceptive character of Vernon and his work, and all of the new evidence which Lois had been presenting to them, those who were with Vernon were too proud to admit that they had been deceived, and were convinced that they could not turn back (as were the fallen angels who had sided with Lucifer in his rebellion in heaven). This was because they did not take what Vernon was teaching to God in honest, heartfelt prayer in order to know whether or not it was true. They felt that they were able to understand what was truth all on their own. Therefore, when they saw that they might be in error they could not repent of their foolishness because they alone were to blame for their deception.

They loved their own supposed ability for discerning spiritual things more than direct inspiration from God. Vernon took them step by step away from the strong moral foundation which they had learned of (or could have learned of) in the S.D.A., D.S.D.A., and B.D.S.D.A. movements, and led them into the dark world of his self-deceived heart where they learned to entertain the evil spirits of lies, deceit, perversion, and intemperance. This should be a warning to all to seek heavenly wisdom first (Proverbs 4:7-9; chap. 8; and Luke 7:35), and to put all teachings of men (or women) to the Bible test of the "law and the testimony" (Isaiah 8:20).

SMITE THE SHEPHERD, AND THE SHEEP WILL BE SCATTERED

After Lois' death in November of 1986, I notified many of those who were still faithful to her work and to that of her husband, Ben, and obtained from them the authority to represent their interests in the Church in the probate and other courts in order to maintain the Church and its assets until we could come together and seek the Lord for light on the situation. I knew that there was going to be a contention over the property. One of George's brothers, Benjamin Roden II, was already selling off Church property; George, as usual, wanted to control things; and almost everyone knew that Vernon had intentions of trying to seize Mt. Carmel and use the good name of the true Church to promote his nefarious designs. In the application for Temporary Administrator of Lois' estate which I filed in Probate Court in January, 1987 (more than six years before the fatal February 28, 1993 raid) I identified Vernon's and George's movements as being separate and distinct from the true Branch Davidian Seventh Day Adventists. I stated therein, "The Branch Association, President George B. Roden, and The Davidian Branch Davidian Seventh-Day Adventist Assn., President Vernon Howell, are not affiliated with the Association which Lois I. Roden, deceased, was President." (emphasis added) (Appendix 6)

When we were in probate court regarding Lois' estate, there were four people in three separate positions involved in the contention for Administrator of Lois' estate: George, Benjamin Roden II and Samuel Roden (George's brothers), and me. The judge would not believe my testimony about how both George and Benjamin II were hostile towards their mother's work and the Church itself. Neither would he take into consideration that much of Lois' estate consisted of things which she held in trust for the Church. The judge ruled in favor of Benjamin II and Samuel, and advised me that if we wanted to make sure the Church retains its assets, I would have to get a lawyer and file another type of suit. He said it was not difficult to do.

Right away I contacted a lawyer who had represented Lois before and was familiar with the situation. He was so frustrated with having to deal with George over the past few years (he also was named in the federal lawsuit George had filed in 1985) that he said that he would not represent us anymore, but instead referred me to his partner, who said he would help us. I gave the other lawyer all of the pertinent information, and he was ready to proceed. All that he needed was some money to get started. Here is where a real problem arose.

I had said to those in the Church whom I was representing that it would be good if some of them could also come to the probate hearing, to help out in that time of crisis. The only person who was free to come was Teresa R. Moore, one of the two women named in Lois' will, along with the New York group, to lead out in republishing the Branch literature. She decided that since she was appointed to this work of republishing the message, that made her a prophet. After the probate hearing she went back to New York, discouraged the people she had contact with from trying to retain Mt. Carmel or any of the other Church property, and set up her own association under the name, Lords of Sabbaoth, Our Righteous Branches, with her as prophet/president (though she offers no proof from the Bible or the Church writings for such things). Thus, I was left there all alone with any potential support withdrawn, and Mt. Carmel was left in the hands of George, and then, eventually, Vernon. Benjamin II and Samuel sold a lot of the Church's property which Lois was holding in trust, as though it was Lois' personal property.

Around the time of Lois' death in November of 1986, George's mental state was deteriorating significantly. About one month before Lois died, George had dug up the casket of a female Church member who had died about twenty years before and was buried in the Church's cemetery. He told me that he was attempting to resurrect her as practice for resurrecting his mother when she dies. He had also done it as a challenge to Vernon. I told the sheriffs about the body, but after they investigated the matter they told me that George said that he was just moving the cemetery and that his backhoe broke down so he could not put her back in the ground. The casket remained unburied for around one year. I even related this situation to the Probate Court in the document which I filed therein (see Appendix 6). All of these things set up a situation which allowed for

THE RETURN OF THE DRAGON WITH HIS ARMY

During the months following the probate hearing George was hard up for money and had leased some of the 15 plus houses which were on Mt. Carmel to some people who claimed to be wanting to open a halfway house. None of those people were Church members. During that summer (1987), George had met Amo Paul Bishop, who became his wife (sic) by "contract" for a few months. George's real wife had left him in 1984 (or 1985) and moved to Israel. Amo says she left George after a few months because she wasn't pleased with George's lack of desire to bed her. Amo claims to have had a daughter by George, and is also claiming that the girl is some sort of promised child. There is a connection between Amo and those people to whom George had rented the houses to, but I am not fully aware of what it is.

Amo now also claims to be the new leader of the Church. Though Amo seems to be zealous in her attempts to expose what she sees as governmental abuses, her passing herself off as a member of the Church (and the leader thereof), has been nothing but a source of embarrassment for the true Church members and a source of confusion for those people who are really seeking the truth. She was never baptized into the Church, nor granted fellowship by anyone who had the authority to do so. She rejects much of the teachings of Ellen White, and thus those who followed after her.

Late in that same summer (1987), I received a strange phone call. A young man, who wouldn't identify himself, said that he had been asked to perform a "contract" on me (i.e., murder me) for the fee of $1500.00, but that he had turned it down. He said he would tell me the story if I would pay him $300.00. I told him I wasn't that curious about what he had to say and that the Lord would protect me from such harm. He kept insisting that I should know the story, and that he would only tell me for the $300.00. It seemed as if he was hard up for money (or really wanted to tell his story), so I offered him $25.00, and we agreed to meet.

He was trying to convince me that it was Ben Roden II (George's brother) who sought to hire him, but I kept getting the impression that it was Vernon who had put him up to this deception to scare me out of the area. When the man could not describe Ben II very well, I asked him if Vernon Howell had put him up to this. He got very nervous and agitated and said, "No, it wasn't him," as though he knew who I was talking about. After talking with him some more, I again raised the notion that it was Vernon who had actually prompted him to contact me. Again he got very agitated when I insisted that he was hiding the real truth. When I described some of the ways that I had seen Vernon operate, he seemed to laugh as though he was aware of what I was saying.

At first I was not intimidated by what the man had told me. But a short time later I was deeply impressed to leave Waco immediately, so I did. That was in late October, 1987. In early November, 1987, about two weeks after I left Waco, Vernon and seven of his followers made what the authorities described as a military style assault upon George in order to seize Mt. Carmel. As the story goes, Vernon and his followers said that they were just trying to get some photographs of the dead body which George had dug up. They claimed that the District Attorney had requested that they get the pictures in order to prosecute George. The deceptive thing about this is the fact that the sheriffs were well aware that George had dug up the body, for they had investigated the matter nearly nine months before that time, when I reported it to them. If there were additional reports about the body still being out of the ground, the sheriffs could have investigated the matter again, and could have brought the matter before a judge, without Howell and his followers ever being directly involved.

It was reported that during their assault Vernon and his followers had more ammunition than "a Vietnam patrol." They had hid out in the ruins of the Administration building which Vernon burned down in 1983 until the morning when they were discovered and a shootout started between them and George. It reportedly went on for around 45 minutes before the sheriffs arrived. The sheriffs were conveniently met by Perry Jones (Vernon's father-in-law) outside of Mt. Carmel who said that they were just trying to take some pictures of the deceased woman. Vernon and those with him were put in jail, awaiting their trial on attempted murder charges. Vernon was bailed out while the others remained in jail. One of the officers who testified at the trial said that it appeared to him that Vernon and his followers were attempting to use the sheriffs in order to gain control of Mt. Carmel Center. That was a very astute observation.

After the November 1987 raid by Vernon and his followers, it was reported that there were found in some of the houses pornography and some chemical which could be used to make the drug methamphetamine (speed). These were probably not known to George, but were there through the actions of those operating what they called a halfway house. It was due to the presence of those chemicals in 1987 that Ann Richards, Governor of Texas, was led to believe that there were drugs on Mt. Carmel in 1993, prompting her to bring in the army tanks, etc. against Koresh (Vernon Howell changed his name to David Koresh around 1989). She could have only legally brought in the military equipment if there was a major drug connection, but the only supposed drug connection which was cited was the supposed presence of those chemicals at a time when Howell/Koresh was not even on the property.

While waiting for the trial, George was getting frustrated because he was losing in all of his attempts to correct the matter of the tax status change regarding Mt. Carmel. He presented the court with a document wherein he called the federal judge a "*!!* tyrant" and said that God may inflict some judges with "aids and herpes" (George had been previously diagnosed with Turret's Syndrome, a condition where one is known to use foul language uncontrollably and other unpleasant symptoms). This was not the first such incident of this nature, and he had been warned by the court not to continue doing so. He was put in jail under contempt of court charges because of his language on March 21, 1988. The very next day, Perry Jones and a number of Vernon's other followers moved from their headquarters in Palestine, Texas to Mt. Carmel, and ran off the few others that were there. Several months earlier they had dropped the name "Davidian Branch Davidian Seventh Day Adventists" and began to unlawfully assume the name "Branch Davidian Seventh Day Adventists." Now that they had usurped our name, they were going for our property.

At the trial, Vernon's group came with their children and gained much sympathy from the jury. Poor George was handicapped by his deteriorating mental state and the attending circumstances (Vernon and his followers were all conservatively dressed while George was brought directly from the jail so his appearance was less than appealing). Vernon's attorney brought the casket which George had dug up into court to influence the jury (the woman had been reburied). When they put George on the stand, they asked him his name, and he responded by saying that he was the "son of God." It should be noted that Vernon had been claiming the same thing for quite a while, and George was just saying the same thing. But the jurors never knew this fact. The fact that George was aping Vernon's claims was one of the reasons he took Amo as a second wife – because Vernon had taken additional wives (or more correctly, concubines). When the jury heard George and saw the casket, they, in effect, said, "We don't know about Howell and his followers, but we know that he (George) is crazy," and they acquitted Vernon's followers. There was a mistrial declared for Vernon, himself, and the charges were later dropped. All of their guns were given back to them.

A few days before the shootout with George, and right about the time I left Waco, Vernon and his followers filed a document in the McLennan County records office (on October 30, 1987) asserting that he was president of the Branch Davidian Seventh Day Adventists. Of course he didn't notify any of the valid Church members of that document. With me out of the way, there was no Church member in Waco who could testify at the trial in 1988 as to what was going on. So not only did the jury and the general public not know that Howell's leadership was of a completely different nature than that of Victor Houteff, and that of Ben and Lois Roden, who were well respected in the Waco community, but that the characters of the former Branch Davidian Seventh Day Adventists, such as Perry Jones, Clive Doyle, etc., were also being changed (or, more accurately, being revealed).

Since certain members of Howell's group had been members of the Church's Executive Council under Lois Roden and their names appeared on the original 1979 court order against George, all they had to do was to tell people that they were still members of the Executive Council of the original Church and enforce the original court order against George. They did this in spite of the fact that they left Lois' leadership in 1983-1984 to follow Vernon, and, therefore, left their positions on her Executive Council and never again followed her leadership, nor paid tithes to her. The president, alone, appoints the members of the Council, and they must remain faithful to the president in order to retain their positions.

After being released from jail after serving many months for what he said about the judges, and with the contempt of court charges stemming from the 1979 case against him, George was forced to flee from the Waco area, or go back to jail. George went to Odessa, Texas, where the family had some property. A little while later, a man named Dale Adair who had been with the Church some twenty years before, but who had left it and had become quite a drunk, also ended up in Odessa, staying with George. That man was the brother of one Don Adair, who is the leader of one of the current Davidian off-shoots. As the reports go, the man had a gun in his hand and approached George with it. George wrestled it out of his hand and shot him dead. The reason reported for Dale Adair's attempted murder of George was that he was a "Nazi," and George was a "Jew." George wanted to plead self defense, but the court said that he was not mentally fit to stand trial, and was placed in a mental facility. After having escaped from there, being brought back, and later escaping from another one to which he was later transferred, and, again, being brought back (both times seeking to go to Israel, or elsewhere to seek political asylum), George died in the second facility in December of 1998, reportedly of a heart attack.

A few months before Lois' death in 1986 she had printed up around $25,000 dollars worth of her Shekinah magazines and other literature. Most of that literature was on Mt. Carmel Center when Howell's followers unlawfully moved onto the property on March 23, 1988. An eye witness states that Howell had a large bonfire and it looked as though he was burning the many boxes of Lois' literature. Remember that he had already burned down our publishing house in early 1983 in order to stop Lois from publishing her message.

THINGS TO BE CONSIDERED

If, in the 1970's, during Ben Roden's time, one had told Perry or Clive that one of them would die and the other one would be seriously burned because of their blindly following a religiously-garbed pervert they would have just laughed at him. And, if you also told them that both of them would give at least one of their daughters to be that man's wives (or concubines), and then those daughters and the children they would have by him would die in a horrible fire, they may have even been provoked to anger over the base insinuations. This just goes to show that people can think they know themselves better than they really do.

Just for the record, and to show that these men were well warned of the results of their following Vernon, I present the following. Clive Doyle's ex-father-in-law, Athen Slauson, who was himself on the outskirts of the movement under Lois Roden, had a dream which he presented to people at Mt. Carmel during the 1984 Passover season. He said that his dream revealed that Vernon Howell was going to take all the girls and women (married or not) as his own wives. No one who was with Vernon at that time believed him, especially not Perry or Clive, for there did not seem to them to be anything of that sort in what they were then hearing from Vernon.

Here, again, is a lesson on the evil of self-sufficiency. Athen Slauson, as a professed follower of Branch teachings, was not living up to what he was intellectually embracing, and as a result his words found little weight with many to whom they were spoken. And what is even stranger, he later even discounted his own words on the matter.

That is, being Clive's ex-father-in-law, he was grandfather to Clive's daughters, one of whom was reported to be one of Howell's wives (or concubines), and who perished in the fiery end of the fifty one day siege. After 1985, when reports were starting to surface about Howell's polygamist activities, Athen's daughter, Debbie (the girls' mother), who was divorced from Clive but still living in Waco with her new husband, was keeping a remote eye on the two girls to see if there was any signs of truth to the reports. Both she and her father, Athen, became so convinced that nothing was happening (because of Howell's demands for absolute secrecy among his followers) that in 1992 when I asked Athen if he thought that what he related about his dream was true, he said that he didn't think that anything was wrong (because of Debbie's reports). Yet time has shown that his dream was true. One might correctly say that these people, like all too many others, were self-deceived, self-hypnotized. No one is deceived or hypnotized except by their own consent.

There is no doubt among those who have witnessed firsthand Koresh's teaching style, and were not swayed by it, that he was very good at using mind control techniques, and at putting on an act. Charismatic has too positive of a connotation to describe his teaching – entrancing, enigmatic, and deceptively diabolical are better. Nonetheless, those people who ended up with Koresh and lost their lives, and/or the lives of their families and friends, did so because they voluntarily gave up their minds and wills to him. When they saw evidences that he might be wrong, they were too proud to allow themselves to admit it. In the crisis hours of the last day of the standoff, only a few people managed to decide to come out, and that was only after the fire started.

Howell/Koresh had led them step by step away from the doctrines and practices they had formerly accepted (at least in theory). As stated earlier, strict vegetarianism is one of the fundamental standards for B.D.S.D.A. membership. Yet many of those who had been practicing vegetarianism under the leadership of Ben and Lois Roden returned to eating meat under Howell/Koresh's leadership. But this matter is minor in comparison with what they had to accept regarding his numerous wives (sic), and his later teaching that those who were married had to separate so that all the women could be his. The same is true in regard to the use of alcohol which he encouraged his followers to use to drown their sorrows of being separated from the spouses.

So, with the foregoing in mind, I'll skip other facts which constitute the overwhelming weight of evidence that people had from 1984 and on, that Vernon's movement was, in principle and practice, diametrically opposed to the true, original Branch Davidian Seventh Day Adventists, and will progress to the point of the February 28, 1993 shootout with the BATF agents, and how I made

ATTEMPTS TO INFORM THE GENERAL PUBLIC

When I left the Waco area in late 1987, I went to Southern California, where I had grown up. On Sunday evening, February 28, 1993, upon hearing the news reports of the tragic incident in Waco I made numerous attempts to reach the television networks and newspapers to tell them some of the important information regarding David Koresh and his followers and his relationship (and lack thereof) to the true Branch Davidian Seventh Day Adventists. Much of what I tried to convey to all concerned is contained in this testimony.

It being Sunday evening, most of the news agencies were closed and just had their voice mail machines on, or someone there just took notes to pass on to someone else the next day. I was able to arrange for one interview with KCAL TV, channel 9, in Los Angeles, California, and was subsequently interviewed by their reporter, Michelle Gelle, the next day (Monday March 1, 1993) for about forty-five minutes. Of this interview less than half a minute of the total interview was aired twice on that same Monday evening. Most of the important information which I related to them was not made public, though they were decent enough to state that my "branch" of the Church did not believe in the use of weapons or polygamy, as did Koresh and his followers.

I was also interviewed that same Monday by a reporter from The Los Angeles Times newspaper. Though my telephone interview with their reporter was nearly one hour long and I related to the reporter the same basic facts about the different name of Koresh's (Howell's) movement since 1983 and about how many of Koresh's doctrines and practices were diametrically opposed to those of the true Church, only a few sentences of mine were used in the multi-paged articles that appeared over the next weeks. They totally ignored the facts that I presented them of the schism which occurred in 1983-84, of the good name that the true Branch movement has (and the public recognition of the same), and the vast differences between Koresh and us.

The same thing happened after a one hour telephone interview with Newsweek magazine the next day, which was published the following week. Their article even made it appear that I was one of Koresh's ex-followers. Other news sources that I contacted weren't interested in the facts of what I had to say (even if I was a firsthand witness to the history of the matter) but were all caught up in the popular distorted portrayals which were being sculptured for the public by influences which are not easy to speak about.

One of the most important of these influences which is directly relevant and material to the discussion at hand and which must be mentioned is the powerful influence which the Seventh Day Adventist Church had, and continues to have, in what can be proved to be their gross misrepresentation of the one, and only, Branch Davidian Seventh Day Adventists. Even though our legal name is Branch Davidian Seventh Day Adventists, much of the world refers to the Church (whatever they may believe it to be) as "Branch Davidians" because of the S.D.A.'s improper influence on the governmental and news agencies.

The S.D.A.s had trademarked their name a few years before the 1993 incident. Even though the reform movements have lawfully had the name "Seventh Day Adventists" as a part of their names since the 1930's (for the Davidians), and 1955 (for the Branch), and we had the lawful right to use the name, the media, etc., bowed to pressure from the S.D.A.s and wouldn't use our proper name. The S.D.A.s were certainly interested in protecting their name from a disparaging association with Koresh, but they did not care to afford the true Branch Davidian Seventh Day Adventists the same respect.

There is another aspect in this matter. Though the S.D.A.s would want to protect their name from an association with Koresh, others (non-S.D.A.) would not want it known that we are in essence Seventh Day Adventists because of the respect that the name has some circles. Because of our stand on matters such as temperance, healthy living, and moral purity, along with the sincerity and steadfastness with which we hold the binding obligations of the law of God, and particularly the Sabbath, many of those who disagree with our doctrines still hold us in respect. It would be easier for those who wished that we were not around to have us labeled by an obscure name such as "Branch Davidian," which in and of itself doesn't portray our true roots, and can be used to create almost any sort of image one may choose.

Nonetheless, were it not for some in the ministry of the S.D.A. Church willfully withholding some very important information from their churches and the public press, and their own publication of what can be proved to be self-serving, grossly biased press releases, printed articles, lectures, and at least one book, the true character of the Branch Davidian Seventh Day Adventists would not have been so blackened by a disparaging association with Koresh. Following are my

ATTEMPTS TO INFORM THE LEADERSHIP OF
THE SEVENTH DAY ADVENTIST CHURCH

On the morning of March 1, 1993, the day after the tragic shootout in Waco, Texas, besides contacting the public news media, I contacted three people in the S.D.A. Church who were in the communication departments of their respective Conferences (the Southeastern California, the Pacific Union, and the General Conferences). I spent around one half an hour on the phone with each of these people. Each one of them expressed their surprise at what was going on with Koresh, for they had never known the Davidians, or the Branches, to have done or taught the things that Koresh had been practicing or teaching.

I told these three, as I had almost everyone else that I had contacted, that David Koresh had formed a separate movement from the Branch, adding the name "Davidian" in front of our legal name. This most important information was ignored and suppressed by them, and it didn't appear in any of their many published articles. Almost everything which the S.D.A. ministry released to the public was a distortion of the truth, both to the past events they spoke of, and to our basic doctrines. This has been their main method of suppressing the reform work of the Davidians and the Branches – that is, by distortions of events and doctrines, and by character assassination. Ironically, those are the same techniques used by the Sunday keeping churches and others against them.

These same Conference representatives were also informed that Koresh had unlawful control of the Church property, Mt. Carmel Center. This fact was also withheld from their portrayals of the situation. It doesn't appear that any attempt was made by those so informed of Koresh's unlawful takeover of our property, and his stealing of our identity, to truly and honestly look into this matter, or to report the truth that we who have firsthand knowledge and proof of the matter have presented to them. They certainly made no public inference to even the possibility of Koresh being an aberration, and not truly representative of the Davidian and Branch reform movements.

The fact that Koresh probably had unlawful control of the property is noted in a couple of the many books which have been published on the incident in Waco, but was completely ignored by the S.D.A.s in their book on the subject, In The Wake of Waco, and in their articles, such as, The Branch Davidians, Who Are They?, in spite of the fact that they not only had access to the same information which the other authors had, but also that I (at least) informed them of the unlawful takeover of the property by Koresh the morning after the shootout and the initial newscasts, and prior to any of their press releases or other publications.

In the 1993 article written by George Reid, The Branch Davidians, Who Are They?, and published in the S.D.A. magazine Adventist Review, Ben L. Roden, founder, and sole president of the Branch Davidian Seventh Day Adventists from 1955 until he was joined in that office by his wife, Lois I. Roden, in 1977, is not even mentioned in the article. There would be no Branch Davidian Seventh Day Adventists if it were not for Ben Roden and the distinct new light doctrines which he brought. This article not only ignores about thirty (30) years of history of the Branch (from 1955-1986), but also totally ignores any good that we have done and any awards we have won, especially under Lois Roden's time as president.

As mentioned earlier, Ben Roden died in October of 1978, leaving Lois the sole president until her death in November of 1986. She is not mentioned in the aforementioned article, either. The reason Ben and Lois aren't mentioned in that article is not only because of the respect that these two people had from many of their peers in the S.D.A. Church, in the community of Waco, in Texas, in Israel, and elsewhere in the world (which many in the ministry of the S.D.A.s do not want to acknowledge), but also because of certain doctrines which they were teaching which could not be refuted by even the best scholars within and without the S.D.A. Church.

One, which was unique to Lois Roden, was that the Holy Spirit is a feminine Person, according to the Old Testament Hebrew revelation, to nature, and the New Testament writers. Parallel with this teaching of a feminine image in heaven was that of women's equal place in leadership both in Church and in all phases of home and society. This caused quite a stir within Adventism and in the religious community in general. It shook up most of the male dominated ministries that came in contact with our literature which was widely distributed at all sorts of religious meetings. Because of their particular misunderstandings of the place of women in the Church, the home, and society, we received especially heavy flak from

THE BAPTISTS AND OTHERS IN THE WACO COMMUNITY

The fact that Lois was teaching that which was being proven to be true was quite an embarrassment to the scholars and doctors at Baylor University (a main Baptist school in Waco), and to the Baptist leadership in general. Some of the congregations in Waco, having received our literature, were working for the reforms which we were espousing within their own congregations. Students at Baylor were also responding favorably to our teachings.

Incidently, in 1998 a Southern Baptist church in Waco was the first one in their denomination (or, at least in Texas) to appoint a woman as a pastor in one of their churches. Of course, Southern Baptist men from around Texas picketed the church, opposing her appointment. Even more recently (spring of 2000), the Southern Baptists have done a general turn around on their acceptance of woman in the ministry, re-embracing their former misapplications and misunderstanding of the Scriptures.

In 1987, shortly after Lois' death, the Waco Tribune-Herald, published an article which purported to relate the teachings of the Davidians and Branches. The source of the information was an educator at Baylor University, one Bill Pitts. Despite the fact that much of our literature was archived in a Baylor University Library, Bill Pitts presented a grossly distorted view of our teachings. Even though I wrote him a letter explaining his errors, and left some of our literature at his office in order for him to better understand our position, he did not respond to me, or do anything to correct his misrepresentations. It was not without a specific design that the people at the Waco Tribune-Herald published the article written by one who was at odds with the doctrines he was supposedly relating. This would not be the only time such a misrepresentation was to occur.

Following the 1993 incident, a group in Waco called WRS published a book called Mad Man in Waco, whose authors purported themselves to be world experts on the Branch Davidians. The book was full of distorted facts and falsehoods. The authors not only misrepresented Adventist, Davidian, and Branch doctrines and history, but also spoke badly of Christianity.

Immediately after reading that book, I wrote a lengthy letter pointing out the numerous errors therein, and demanding that the book be taken out of print, and sent it to Dr. Spence, the publisher. He wrote back saying that the book was not going into a second printing. He also said that he felt that I was a pretty good writer and that if I have written anything he would consider publishing it. I responded by saying that I had written something, and suggested that because of the harm his book was doing to us that he and the authors of his book give us the profits they made from it, and that he could publish what I wrote at his expense, giving us all the profits, and putting in my book a statement explaining his errors in publishing the first book. I felt that such would somewhat make up for the harm the first book had done. To this he did not respond.

In late 1997, I returned to Waco to defend in a lawsuit filed by Koresh's followers to acquire title to the Church's property. Shortly after arriving I went to Dr. Spence's office, attempting to have a meeting with him to see if he would be interested in helping me in the current court case. I was told that he was too busy to see me or make an appointment to do such. Not long thereafter he committed suicide, reportedly because of a painful cancer illness.

But back to the 1993 incident and

AN ATTEMPT TO WARD OFF THE UNNECESSARY ESCALATION OF VIOLENCE

I called the FBI about two weeks before the April 19, 1993 fiery end to the standoff and told them that whatever Koresh was planning, he may want it to happen on one of the Bible feast days. And, since Passover was already over, there was an extremely strong likelihood that he was using 2nd Passover as the date for his anticipated event. I also told them that if nothing happened at 2nd Passover, there was a good possibility that some of his followers would give up and leave Mt. Carmel. The woman that I talked with at the FBI seemed totally disinterested.

I also told her that we had a study, from the Branch point of view, which could very possibly cause some of Koresh's followers to leave him. This was especially true because of my firsthand familiarity with his basic teaching. I had also mentioned the study to most of the other media personnel with whom I had spoken. Other so-called theologians were consulted as to what could be said from the Bible that might encourage Koresh and his followers to give up, and they were allowed to speak with Koresh's followers, but all of my pleas fell on deaf ears, so to speak.

Teresa Moore, who also was opposed to Howell/Koresh, was reportedly interviewed on a local "talk" radio show for nearly two hours after the 1993 incident. She also may have given many facts regarding Koresh's separate faction which was never reported by the major news media in the nearly two months of publicity surrounding the Waco incident. This same woman was also reportedly interviewed for nearly one hour by the FBI.

Along with the foregoing is the

HISTORY OF NEARLY ONE YEAR OF ATTEMPTS
TO SET THINGS STRAIGHT WITH THE S.D.A. LEADERSHIP AND OTHERS

Almost immediately after the tragic incident of Feb. 28, 1993, and especially after the reactions I had received from the media, etc., I began to notice that the matters which were being withheld from the public were putting me and the others who were associated with the work of the true, one and only Branch Davidian Seventh Day Adventists in grave danger. Distorted reports were the only things coming forth.

In late summer 1993, after the fiery end to the 50-some day standoff between the law authorities and the "Koreshians," the S.D.A.s published the book referred to before, that is, In the Wake of Waco. After seeing the self-serving nature of this book (which contained dozens of serious errors and as many, or more, defamatory and just plain cruel statements), I immediately sent the S.D.A. publishers (the Review and Herald Publishing Association) a letter in which I stated some specific points which were seriously objectionable to us, and demanded that they cease from distributing the book, and publicly correct their errors. To this, after quite a lengthy time, they responded by saying that they couldn't understand exactly what I was upset about, and sent me a copy of the book and asked me to mark the objectionable statements and return it to them, to which they promised to respond. So I marked the book, and returned it with an additional 19 plus pages of explanations of our complaints about the book, and about George Reid's article. Because of the tone of their letter I expected them to give me an honest response to each and every point that I raised in marking the book by commenting on each statement so marked, as they had indicated.

Their response was a sham. They didn't respond to any of the dozens of points that were raised, as they promised they would. They obviously didn't care about being truthful (or were afraid to) when speaking with, or about us. They, generally, never have. It seemed like all of the work that I did in presenting them with sound objections to their false publications was just a joke to them. They, seemingly, are so firmly set in their ways of misrepresenting us to promote themselves, that they obviously don't care what harm may come to any of us because of their misrepresentations. That book is no longer being distributed by them. And then there are the matters of

THE CONGRESSIONAL HEARINGS AND HOLLYWOOD

The S.D.A.s were not alone in refusing to undo the harm they had done. In the year following the 1993 incident Congress held hearings regarding the matter. During the time of those hearings I faxed six different Congressman who were taking part in the hearings. I pointed out to them the differences (in doctrine and practices) between Koresh's faction and the real Church, and brought to their attention Howell/Koresh's use of the different name for his group, and his usurpation of our name and property. I asked them to investigate those things, and asked them to stop using our name for Koresh's group. I suggested that they refer to his followers as "Koreshians," as one of his followers who left his compound during the standoff stated that Koresh had said his followers were now to go by that name. Again, no response of any sort.

During this same time it came to my attention that there was a movie being made about the 1993 incident. It was called, In the Line of FireWaco, and starred Tim Daly as David Koresh. When I found out who was making the film I called them and made an appointment to meet with them. When I went to their office I told the woman I met with about the situation, and presented her with copies of Lois' award-winning Shekinah magazine, and other things.

There were numerous pictures of Lois Roden in those magazines (see photo). Though Lois was a woman of dignified bearing, they chose to portray her in a most unflattering light. That is, in one of the books which had come out after the 1993 incident there was a picture of George Roden standing by a woman who was represented in the caption as being Lois Roden. That woman was not Lois, but was Amo Bishop – the woman who was briefly married (sic) to George in 1987. Amo is of a very different deportment than was Lois. But the film company chose to disregard the true image of Lois as seen in the magazines given them, and instead created for the movie a likeness of that mislabeled picture. In the movie the alleged Lois Roden was portrayed as a dumpy, slovenly-looking person. With due respect to Amo, the movie's representation was less than flattering to her. They also disregarded the facts I related to them about Koresh's use of the different name to identify his faction, and his unlawful use of our name and property. I don't believe that their actions could justly come under the category of literary license. Following these things there came about

THE DISPUTE OVER MT. CARMEL CENTER
AND OTHER ATTEMPTS TO ABUSE LEGAL PROCESS

Prior to the 1993 incident we would have had a difficult time trying to convince people that Koresh's group was not at all representative of the Branch doctrines and practices, and was actually a separate association. It has been hard enough now that the character and practices of he and his followers are well known. But before they exposed themselves the situation was not only difficult, but also dangerous due to his willingness, and that of those with him behind the scenes, to resort to violence. This situation still exists to a degree. The courts are very reluctant to look at doctrines and practices in determining identity, and usually rely on elected leadership as to determining property and identity rights. As some of Koresh's followers could prove that they were once members of the Church's Executive Counsel, it would have been difficult to show that they were no longer members thereof, and had actually abandoned may of the Church's basics teachings and practices.

In 1994, some of the remaining Koreshians filed a lawsuit in order to secure the right to regain and sell some of their personal property which had been seized by the governmental agencies after the 1993 standoff. Though some of the property was their personal property, they also included in their request, almost incidentally, Mt. Carmel Center, itself. They had no lawful title to the property, nor even an appropriate standing to do such. They didn't receive a judgment on the Church property at that time. Therefore, on April 24, 1994 they filed a document entitled, "Certificate of Resolution" in the local county records office wherein they purported to appoint themselves (11 of them) as "Trustees" of the B.D.S.D.A..

In that "Resolution" they stated that they were disregarding the Church's own laws which required the appointment of Church officers to be only made by the president of the Church. As their president, David Koresh, was dead, and as they were not looking for another to fill his position, they could not act within the Church's laws even if they were the true members of the Church (which they weren't), so they ignored them, again. Even though Koresh (Vernon Howell) had filed a document in the county records office in 1987 (about the time I left Waco) claiming to be president of the B.D.S.D.A., there is enough evidence available to prove that he was not. In that document they state:


"Whereas, the General Association aforementioned [B.D.S.D.A.], did come under a military style attack on February 28, 1993, by the B.A.T.F., and underwent a siege and blockade for the next 51 days by the FBI culminating in a fire on April 19, 1993 which destroyed our headquarters, and resulting in the death of our president/prophet and 81 other members, it is hereby agreed upon:

"1. Since, according to the Leviticus and by-laws of the General Association (Pg. 9-11) it clearly states that the Executive Council of said Association would consist of a President, Vice-President, Treasurer, a Secretary and three alternate council Members. Since the office of President can only be filled by God with someone directly inspired to do so, and since all other officers are to be appointed by the President, then it has been decided by the General Assembly members not to reorganize as aforementioned in this document." [underlining added]


From this it is clear that they were attempting to circumvent the B.D.S.D.A.`s governing laws. There is no provision in the governing organ of the B.D.S.D.A. which gives anyone who claims to be a member the right to disregard its governing laws. Also in that "Resolution" they state:


"3. The Association of survivors meeting in Waco, Texas have unanimously agreed that the undersigned individuals shall act in the capacity of trustee in order to deal with matters of business on behalf of the Association and other surviving members scattered around the world." (underlining added)


Those Koreshians' willingness to disregard the governing laws of the original Association is further seen in said document by their pretensive act of wrongfully attempting to appoint themselves as "Trustees" of the Association. They admit therein that the governing laws of the B.D.S.D.A. clearly state that the President of the Association, alone, has the right to fill any vacancies in the original Association, and not the Executive Council, or the general members of the Association. It appears that they were well settled in Koresh's system of logic. Those who had left their positions of the Executive Council under the leadership of Lois Roden in 1984 to join Howell's DB.D.S.D.A., and who later dropped that name and usurped our name, were now, again, ignoring all sense of right doing in trying to pass themselves off as the legal representatives of the Church.

As noted earlier, on October, 30, 1987, Howell and certain of his followers filed a document with the Deeds Records of McLennan County, Texas (Volume 1613, Page 693). That document purported to remove George B. Roden from his position as Trustee of the B.D.S.D.A. property, Mt. Carmel Center. (see Appendix 5). Said document states


"THAT I, Vernon Wayne Howell ... President of the Branch Davidian Seventh Day Adventists ..., recognized as PRESIDENT by the unanimous vote of the EXECUTIVE COUNCIL ... the governing body of the Church (according to The Leviticus of the Davidian Seventh Day Adventists, Branch Supplement, Constitution and Bylaws of the Church) which session of the Executive council met on October 1, 1987, expressly for the purpose of filling a vacancy in the office of President caused by the death of its former president, Lois I. Roden, on November 10, 1986 ..." p. 1 (emphasis added)


What is of note here is they purported to be acting within the parameters of the "Constitution and Bylaws of the Church." Yet those actual Bylaws state


"the president chairman of the Executive Council is the sole and chief administrator of the affairs of the Association, ... he alone, therefore, has the sole authority to grant credentials and licenses, and to fill vacancies that may occur in the Association's offices." The Leviticus of the Davidian Seventh-day Adventists,Branch Supplement, p. 10. (emphasis added)


And,


"The Executive Council, therefore, occupies the office as counselors of the affairs of the Association, to the President, who is the chairman of the Executive Council, but the Executive Council (For example the cabinet of the President of the United States Government) without the president/chairman of the Association has no authority to grant credentials and licenses, and to fill vacancies, such as the office of vice president, much less the office of the president." ibid., p. 13. (emphasis added)


Those people who were named in Howell's 1985 Answer which he filed in response to George Roden's federal lawsuit mentioned above as being members of The Davidian Branch Davidian Seventh Day Adventists" (DB.D.S.D.A.) were now in this 1987 document posing as members of the Executive Council of the B.D.S.D.A., even though they had left their positions thereon more than 3 1/2 years before to follow Howell who was previously swearing that he was the president of the DB.D.S.D.A.. What is also of note here is that for the Executive Council to even exist and operate they must have the living president who appointed them among them. The Leviticus clearly delineates how the president becomes such, and there is nothing in that document which follows its prescriptions.

What is also notable about that document is that Howell and his followers were claiming that he was the successor president to Lois Roden, and not George Roden. Though they were acknowledging George as being a Trustee of the Church's property in their attempting to remove him from said position, they were also noting that they also were not acknowledging his claim to the presidency of the Church. Yet in spite of this, the editors of the Waco Tribune-Herald, and others, have consistently portrayed George as the successor president to Lois, and the predecessor president to Howell, even though George was under a permanent injunction which prohibited him from claiming to be president. Why the news media would want to portray one with a character such as George's (or Howell's) as the president of the Church will be discussed more later on, though the reasons should be somewhat obvious at this point.

Also, in Lois' October 19, 1986 Last Will and Testament which was prepared by George and presented to her to sign (and which he unsuccessfully attempted to enter at Lois' probate hearing), she crossed out the word "President" in three different places where George had typed in said word in connection with his own name. In two of those three places she wrote in the words "George Roden, Trustee." (emphasis added) This also shows that Lois would not recognize George as the president of the B.D.S.D.A., nor as her successor about one month before her death. Yet the media and others still persisted in portraying the matter in a false light. Though this will was not allowed by the court, it is a part of the file. (Case No. 860731-PRI, Probate Court of McLennan County, Texas). Also, her own handwriting therein in other places indicates that she was personally familiar with its contents, and that she had no intention of acknowledging Vernon Howell or the former members of her Executive Council at all.

On December 15, 1988, Clive Doyle, and Woodrow Kendrick (both of whom were former members of the B.D.S.D.A.'s Executive Council), in concert with other followers of Howell, filed a document in the office of Deeds Records of McLennan County, Texas, entitled "RESOLUTIONS", under the heading, "BRANCH DAVIDIAN SEVENTH DAY ADVENTIST" (Volume 1651, Page 330) (Exhibit 7). Said document was filed under the pretense that said people, and others in concert with them were,


"... the Executive Council of the BRANCH DAVIDIAN SEVENTH DAY ADVENTIST ..."


Said document contains the following statement,


"RESOLVED that Vernon Wayne Howell of Waco, Texas, be and hereby is recognized as the President and Trustee of the aforesaid association, and as President and Trustee of the aforesaid association's related organizations, including Living Waters, the Universal Publishing Association, and the Branch Organic Agricultural Association, and that the former actions of Vernon Wayne Howell performed on behalf of the aforesaid associations hereby are ratified by the aforesaid Executive Council ..."


This action was done under the pretense that those mentioned therein, and those other former members of the B.D.S.D.A. who, in 1984, severed their allegiance to the B.D.S.D.A. and the president thereof, Lois I. Roden, to give their allegiance to Howell and his new association (the Davidian Branch Davidian Seventh Day Adventists) were still bonafide members of the B.D.S.D.A., and, as their individual cases may be, still members of the Executive Council of the B.D.S.D.A.. Their purpose in filing said document was to further their scheme to wrongfully and unlawfully have themselves, and their president, Howell, recognized as members of the B.D.S.D.A., and entitled to the use of the original Association`s name(s) and the property.

What is of particular note here is that Howell never attempted to lawfully challenge Lois' rights to the presidency of the B.D.S.D.A. during the three (3) or so years after he started his distinct association under its unique, new name before she died, and not until everyone who could oppose him was out of the way, which was around four (4) years after he started his faction.

On April 15, 1996, The remaining Koreshians filed a lawsuit for title to Mt. Carmel Center (Case No. 96-1152-3, District Court of Mclennan County, 74th Judicial District). Their claim was based on adverse possession of the property. That is, they were claiming that they had held possession of the property for a certain statutorily defined time in opposition (adversity) to the legal owners of the property, and that they were now seeking a ruling that the property was theirs. What is of note here is that they filed the case as "Trustees of the Branch Davidian Seventh Day Adventists Association." An adverse possession suit must be filed against the titled owners of the property. The property was titled in the name of the Trustees of the Branch Davidian Seventh Day Adventists Association.

The question which naturally arises is that if they had previously lawfully appointed themselves the Trustees of the Church (which they had no authority to do, though they attempted such), how could they be adverse to themselves? That was just more of Koresh's logic which they had well learned. But as they were represented by an attorney, Percy "Wayne" Isgett, of Houston, such logic may have been of his origin. That is, by filing such as they did they had two opposing means of accomplishing their aim. The first was through the adverse possession statutes. The second was the recognition of themselves as the rightful Trustees.

When they filed that lawsuit they only named George Roden (who was at that time confined in a mental health facility), and Amo Bishop (who never was a member of the Church) as defendants in the case, even though one of their members, Clive Doyle, had the names and addresses of many people (including me) who were in one way or another associated with the Church, and who would probably have had an interest in the outcome of the property dispute. They did also list other potential defendants as "Unknown," but the method that they used to notify the "Unknown" defendants was anything but fair and honest. They notified them (us) by means of publication in a newspaper.

The proper way to do that is to publish the information concerning the lawsuit in a large paper of wide circulation in order to reach those who are unknown to the plaintiff party. But the paper which they put the notice in, the Waco Farm and Labor Journal, had only 1200 subscribers, and no general circulation at all. If I hadn't heard of the case by word of mouth, about a year and one half after they filed it, they would have probably won their case, because George wasn't able to take part in the case, and Amo didn't have a sufficient defense to their claim. From that action it's obvious that they didn't want to be aboveboard, but instead pursued an avoidance technique which Koresh regularly practiced.

Though the matter was set to come to trial in December of 1997, one of the parties was granted a continuance, which gave me the opportunity to file an Answer in defense of their claim in January of 1998. In March of 1998, I filed a separate petition for an injunction against Koresh's remaining followers, to prohibit them from using the name(s) or property of the true B.D.S.D.A. Church (Case no. 98-841-3, later, no. 99-1148-3). A few months later the judge, Alan Mayfield, against my protests, consolidated my case with theirs, thereby significantly delaying my case.

My injunction case was originally scheduled to go to trial in June of 1998, theirs in September of 1998. Theirs took precedent after the consolidation. The case was again delayed from September to October, due to the court's jury schedule. My injunction suit originally had preferential status over almost all other cases before the court, and did not require a jury trial. I lost that status due to the consolidation of the cases.

The case was again delayed in October, due to the fact that their attorney filed a last minute amendment to his pleadings. It was rescheduled for December. Shortly after the October hearing, they filed for a summary judgment against me on my injunction. They did not prevail. In December, an few days before we were to go to trial, George Roden died. Their attorney was granted another indefinite extension of time on the alleged grounds that they wanted to find George's heirs (or relatives) in order to see if they had an interest in the case. Shortly after that I filed for a motion to have the two suits separated from each other, as George Roden was not a party to my injunction suit. I did this in order to eliminate any more delays. My original injunction case was then on its own again, and was scheduled to be heard in April of 1999. That was around ten months after it was originally scheduled to go to trial.

On a motion from the Koreshians, my injunction suit was dismissed before it came to trial for "lack of jurisdiction." Judge Mayfield's order was full of contradictions, misapplications of law, and the cases which he cited as the basis for his actions were all out of context. None even addressed the specific issue of jurisdiction that was actually before him. I was almost finished with my appeal to his ruling when the other case came to trial. After my case was dismissed the judge removed the temporary injunction which prevented any of the parties from establishing a residence on Mt. Carmel Center, and Clive Doyle, and later Koresh's father, moved mobile homes on the property before the trial started.

During the pretrial proceedings I had presented so much evidence to the fact that they could not win on their adverse possession claim, that on the Friday before the trial started they announced that they were not pursuing that cause of action, but were instead only seeking to be recognized as the bona fide Trustees of the Church.

Even though the Koreshians presented their above mentioned documents (and numerous others) to the jury during the trial, the jury ruled against them. My testimony, along with others, and their own answers to the questions asked of them by me and the other defendant (Amo Bishop, who was also opposed to me and them) defeated their case. Amo's claim to be recognized as a Trustee was also denied. The jury rendered their verdict on May 5, 2000.

Immediately after George's death I had filed a document in the county's records office stating that I was the rightful successor president to Lois Roden, and therefore the lawful trustee. Though at the trial both of the other parties' claims to being trustees of the Church's property were allowed to come before the jury, Judge Alan Mayfield refused to allow my claim in court. I was only allowed there to defend against the others' claims. The jury ruled against them at my request. (see Appendix 8 & Appendix 9).

After receiving the jury's verdict against the Koreshians and Amo Bishop I filed a motion for a Verdict on the Judgment. In that document I also sought for additional findings which included an injunction against the Koreshians from using the Church's identity and property as such issues came before the jury in the live pleadings (documents) and in oral testimony. Although this was most proper and called for under the circumstances, Judge Mayfield would only render the barest judgment of the jury's verdict. That is, that neither The Koreshians, nor Amo Bishop were the rightful Trustees. That judgment was rendered on October 6, 2000 (see Appendix 9).

Early in the course of the pretrial proceedings I was told by officers in the court building that Judge Mayfield probably would not rule against the Koreshians because of the backlash he would get from his fellow church members (he is an elder in a Mormon congregation in Waco). Adventists, in general, are outspoken in their opposition to many Mormon doctrines and practices. Judge Mayfield once stated to me after he had ruled against one of my motions, and after I stated that I was going to appeal his ruling, that that was fine with him because he would rather have someone else tell him what to do. Also, after one of the preliminary hearings, Judge Mayfield came out of the courtroom wearing a Mickey Mouse Club jacket and cap. Such was what I was up against – not a kangaroo court, but a mickey mouse court.

Yet in spite of the fact that the Koreshians lost their lawsuit to gain title to Mt. Carmel Center, they are still on the property. They have built a small church building with the aid of others (some, well meaning people who identify themselves as "patriots"). Some of those patriots are not necessarily supportive of Koresh's doctrines or practices, but are unitedly opposed to the actions taken in the name of their government. But others among them have ulterior motives which are not so easily recognized by those who are superficial and indifferent in their investigations of the matter.

Some of those who support the Koreshian have accepted the popular errors promulgated by the press and others that Koresh was the successor to Lois Roden, and/or George Roden, and don't care to look any further. Others, who know that Koresh's work was so diametrically opposed to those whom he claimed to be successor to that he just couldn't be such, are doing all in their power to suppress the truth of the matter by aiding the Koreshians in sustaining their lies.

In the mid-1960s the Texas Appellate Court ruled that because the members second tithe funds had been invested in the Church's property (the original Mt. Carmel Center, and later New Mt. Carmel Center) the individual members had a trust right in the property itself. And said ruling led to Ben Roden acquiring title to Mt. Carmel Center. Under the leadership of Ben and Lois Roden our second tithes were also invested in the Church's literature and literature distribution work, which was one of the main outreaches of the Church. Though these matters were brought before the court during the property trial, Judge Mayfield just ignored them. He was willing to cast away the trust rights of the members of the B.D.S.D.A. in order not to rule against the members of the D.B.D.S.D.A. so that he could be popular with his congregation (and the Lord knows who else).

Even though it is a judge's duty to preserve a trust, Judge Mayfield refused to acknowledge the harm that has been and is continuing to be done to the Church's second tithe trust fund through the theft of our identity and property, and to take any legal action to stop the harm. The consequences of this nonfeasance have not yet been fully revealed. Nor its underlying motives.

Immediately after the trial I left Waco, out of fear of repercussion from the other parties. The sheriffs there would not take any criminal complaints from me regarding the conspiracy, criminal trespass, fraud, perjury, filing of false documents in the county records office, etc., etc., Koresh and his followers had been and are involved in without something from the court to act upon. But I couldn't provide them with anything because Judge Mayfield would not deal with the real issues at hand. The district attorney would not even talk to me without something from the sheriffs. Everything rested on the judge. Yet he was wanting someone else to make the unpleasant rulings.

During the course of the trial I was interviewed by the local TV stations, and by different people from the Waco Tribune-Herald newspaper. In each and every interview I told the reporters that I was representing the B.D.S.D.A. members who did not join Howell/Koresh's DB.D.S.D.A. group (or George Roden's group), but remained loyal to Lois Roden. I also told them of the true history of the situation. Though those reporters heard my testimony, and seemed to understand the situation, none of the entities they represented would accurately report what I told their reporters. There seemed to be a different set of reporters for each interview.

The ensuing stories in the Waco Tribune-Herald grossly distorted almost everything I told them. They refused to let the public know that there were actually Branch Davidian Seventh Day Adventists who did not join Howell/Koresh's unique faction. They were also aware that Howell was using the name Davidian Branch Davidian Seventh Day Adventists for years, but have never published that fact, even after they were shown evidence to that effect. Their articles which covered the property/trustee trial repeatedly stated that one of my positions in the lawsuit was that Howell had "violated church bylaws and changed the name of the true association, thereby relinquishing their claim to the property." But that it not what I told them.

What they left out of the story was that I told them that I was a member of the church from 1978, and have continued uninterruptedly since then. Keep in mind that it is their position that there are no other members of the Branch Davidian Seventh Day Adventists other than those who ended up with Koresh, because that is the only image they wish to portray to the public. Saying that I said that Howell/Koresh had "violated church bylaws and changed the name of the true association, thereby relinquishing their claim to the property," is not only vague, but also obscures the real wrong which Howell/Koresh and his followers were guilty. In other words, what was so wrong with misnaming the church if that's all they did.

But the fact is that they never did " violate... church bylaws and change... the name of the true association," because they left the "true association" under a new name, and that new name also happened to not be in harmony with the Church's teachings and laws regarding its name. By departing from the Church's teachings and laws regarding its name, they gave clear evidence that they were a different group, with different teachings and laws. They didn't "relinquish... their claim to the property" because they violated our laws by renaming the church a name which was not in harmony with our teachings, but rather because they left the Church when they followed Howell under the new name, and became a separate church. People at the Waco Tribune-Herald knew long before the property trial that Howell was going under the name "Davidian Branch Davidian Seventh Day Adventists," but had been suppressing that fact. Something which they would continue to do.

It is so simple, either Howell/Koresh was a new phase of the Church, or he wasn't. Either he and his followers were acting in harmony with the Church's teachings or laws, or they weren't. It was my position that the very fact that he wholly disregarded the Church's laws and teaching regarding its name, and all of the other facts of his doctrinally-based actions which were so contrary to anything in the Church's history, proved that they were acting as a separate group who were wrongfully using our identity and property. That's what I told the reporters, and that is what never accurately got in their stories.

It was from their series of articles entitled The Sinful Messiah which came out on the day before the 1993 incident, and on the days following the initial shootout that the name "Branch Davidian" came into use. At no time prior to that has the B.D.S.D.A. Association ever used that form of the name. Following is an excerpt from the beginning of that article. An edited version of it is posted on the internet at the Waco Tribune-Herald's website,


"The Sinful Messiah

"The Waco Tribune-Herald Series, Fort Worth Star-Telegram/March 3, 1993, By Mark England and Darlene McCormick.

"Waco – If you are a Branch Davidian, Christ lives on a threadbare piece of land 10 miles east of here called Mount Carmel.

"He has dimples, claims a ninth-grade education, married his legal wife when she was 14, enjoys a beer now and then, plays a mean guitar, reportedly packs a 9mm Glock and keeps an arsenal of military assault rifles, and willingly admits that he is a sinner without equal.

"David Koresh is now his legal name." Waco Tribune-Herald (emphasis added).


While what they said may be true of the Koreshians, it is certainly not true of we B.D.S.D.A.s who rejected all of Vernon's claims, and who know that he had a separate and distinct association before he usurped our identity and property. During the course of the property trial I repeatedly asked one of the article's authors, Mark England, if he knew that Koresh was actually under the name "Davidian Branch Davidian Seventh Day Adventists" for a number of years. He said "Yes." I then asked him why that fact was never made known in their newspaper. He had no answer for me. I also asked him why he and his paper won't correctly portray the fact that I was saying that I was representing those B.D.S.D.A. who remained loyal to Lois Roden. He also had no answer.

Why those connected with the Waco Tribune-Herald wouldn't want to admit that there are members of the Branch who did not leave it to follow Howell/Koresh is somewhat easy to understand. They had already published their derogatory portrayal of the Branch Church and disseminated it worldwide. Therefore, their willful negligence in ascertaining the truth of the matter, and their total disregard of the negative effects which their publications has had on we who did not leave the Church to follow Howell/Koresh, has opened them up to a potential billion dollar lawsuit. This is even more so due to the fact of their continued misrepresentations of the facts in their reporting of my stated position in that property dispute case. That is, rather than simply stating the fact that there are we who claim to be members of the true Branch Church, and who are disavowing any connection to Howell/Koresh, they have continued to propagate and unjustly defend their 1993 erroneous and injurious declarations.

A SIGN OF ALLEGIANCE

In 1983, I shared a two bedroom house on Mt. Carmel Center with Vernon. One day he came into the living room with his shirt off. Over his breast bone he had tattooed a small "+" (which looked like a cross). I asked him, "What is that about?" His reply was, "Oh, I used to be into that."

The Bible speaks of ancient Babel (Babylon) as being founded by Nimrod. His son was named Tammus. According to the traditions of sun worship (which originated in Babylon), Tammus died and was resurrected at the time of the winter solstice. In occultic traditions Tammus became a symbol of Lucifer, and the sun worshippers (Luciferians) would tattoo a "+" over their breast bone, the seat of the emotions, symbolic of their devotion to Lucifer. This was done in antagonism to the law of God which prohibited the making of marks and cuttings upon one's body, for mankind was fashioned in the image and likeness of God.

When Vernon said, "Oh, I used to be into that", he was telling the truth. But what he didn't say was that he was still "into that." There are many people who believe and practice witchcraft and Luciferianism in its higher forms who hold responsible positions in the governments of the world, and who have no reservations about using their positions to forward their beliefs. Vernon Howell was sent to Mt. Carmel Center to destroy the Branch Davidian Seventh Day Adventist Church, and was helped therein by like-minded people who held positions of responsibility in the governmental agencies. It is not that all were actively engaged in occultic practices, but that they were in league in their antagonism against the principles which the true Church stood for.

Around that same time in 1983 Vernon had been aggressively preaching his message to me. When I would point out things which were contrary to what we believed he would either change the subject, or bring in some other notion which was supposed to sustain his previous point. It appeared to me that he was truly avoiding a candid investigation of his teachings. He had not published anything which could be closely scrutinized, and was simply using his rapid fire technique to dazzle people into believing that his message was from God.

One time when we were alone, when he was attempting to cast his spell over me, I made a demand of him. I believed that God would keep His promise to us to lead us into all truth, and that He would not let us be deceived if we are sincere in our desires to serve Him in truth and righteousness. Therefore, in all humility of mind and faith I said to him, "I bind you in the name of the Branch to tell me the truth. Is your message from God or from you?" His answer was, "From me." I then said, "That's what I thought." And he followed that with, "I lied to you."

He had been teaching that he could lie to us in God's name, and still be God's true servant. He would quote certain Scriptures which he said taught that God would be unto us as a liar (for example, Jeremiah 15:18). In the TV interview he did with the Australian show Current Affair he challenged people to come and point out his many wives, as though he didn't have more than one. Yet in the video tape which he made during the standoff on the FBI-supplied recorder he freely admitted that he had many wives and paraded his many children by them before the camera. It is written of Christ's true followers, "Surely they are my people, children that will not lie: so he was their Saviour." Isaiah 63:8.

What is truly sad in this regards is the extent to which he was able to get his followers to embrace the same spirit of lies which he embraced. A good example of this is what occurred during the trial over the Mt. Carmel property (which was also about whether or not the Koreshians were Trustees of the property). When taking the oath to tell "the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth," Koreshian Clive Doyle answered, "As best as I am able," or something very close to that. But taking his statement in context with Koresh's teachings it means something other than someone saying that they will may make a good effort to tell the truth.

It is written, "Let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil." Matthew 5:37. Ellen White stated, "I saw that if there is anyone on earth who can consistently testify under oath, it is the Christian." Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 1, p. 202.

Koresh had been teaching that since Christians still have an old nature to which they must die daily (1 Corinthians 15:31), which they must mortify through the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:13; Colossians 3:5), and that because he and his followers did not have enough of the Spirit, then they could not help but do wrong. This erroneous principle was the basis for Koresh's "sinful messiah," claims.

Therefore, by Clive Doyle's response to the question of whether or not he will tell the truth he was, in effect, saying that would do the best a self-justifying liar could do. That is, that since he would not be able to be completely truthful, then he would only be as truthful as he felt like being. This is exactly what happened. He stated under that oath that he had been a Branch Davidian Seventh Day Adventist since the 1960s, and was still such. Yet when I asked him about being a member of the Davidian Branch Davidian Seventh Day Adventists from 1983 until Howell dropped that name and took ours he wriggled around like a snake, so to speak. He avoided as much as possible acknowledging that Vernon Howell not only used that name for his distinct group, but also published under that name. But he was not alone in displaying allegiance to the same lying spirit which Koresh entertained.

I also found it necessary to put Mary Bell Jones (Perry Jones' widow) on the stand and question her about Howell's use of the other name. When I first arrived in Waco in 1997 I went by Mary Bell's house to visit with her. Before she and Perry went with Howell we were friends. When I was at her house I asked her what she thought about Vernon using the name D.B.D.S.D.A. and then later dropping that name and taking ours. Her response was that she felt that it was "unfair." Yet when I asked her the same thing about a year later during the property trial she acted like she didn't know what I was talking about. I also asked her about our conversation at her house in which she said that it was "unfair," but she said that she did not remember our conversation. That was her response to almost everything I asked her – "I don't remember." It was really a sad day. She knew exactly what I was asking, the true answers to the questions, and the consequences of those answers (that they would lose their case). Thus she too displayed allegiance to the same lying spirit which Koresh entertained.

But the Koreshians were not alone in expressing their allegiance to the spirit that lies. At the time I entered the lawsuit over the property there was another party (actually two people) who had filed papers wanting to be recognized by the court. That was Charles Pace, and with him was Tom Caldwell. It was their position that though Koresh was wrong in the things he did and taught, Mt. Carmel Center was for anyone who wanted to teach a message. His purpose for taking this stand was to establish his right to be on the property and teach his distinct message. In Charles' published writings he referred to Koresh and his followers who died as fallen brethren. It was my position that they were apostates. Charles said that I was preaching a message of hate because I declared that Koresh and his followers were among those who had tasted of heavenly things and who had fallen away (Hebrews 6:4-8).

Prior to going to Waco for the trial I had talked with Tom and Charles about how the Koreshians had no standing in court because of their use of the other name to identify themselves. I also stated to them that Charles use of the name "Living Waters Branch of Righteousness" to identify his group was also not in harmony with the Church teaching regarding the name of the association. Subsequently, Charles changed that name to "The Branch, The Congregation of The Lord (YHVH) Our Righteousness."

When he joined the property lawsuit his papers were full of misrepresentations of Church teachings regarding the name. It was clear to me that he was just trying to have himself established as the rightful leader of the Church. He had been claiming to have a prophetic message long before Lois Roden died, but his teachings were rejected. It wasn't as though there wasn't an element of truth in what he was teaching, but that he was adding all kinds of false teachings along with the truth he did have.

The reason why I am restating these facts is because during the course of the property trial Charles had moved on to Mt. Carmel Center and was trying to establish his ministry there, and has succeeded in doing so. As the Koreshians already had a presence there he had stopped opposing them and instead joined with them in opposing me, all in the name of the Church and God. Though he at first opposed the Koreshians, during the course of the court proceedings he later signed a paper which the Koreshians attorney had prepared in which he and the others who signed it said they recognized the Koreshians claims to the title of the property. He also signed Tom Caldwell's name on the document, though Tom has since told me that he did not know at the time that it was being done, that it was done without his permission, and that he would not have signed the paper.

Just prior to entering the lawsuit I had told Charles that if he was still in the lawsuit with his current pleadings I would have to file papers against him also, exposing his erroneous position. I even told him that I would give him a copy of what I was going to file against him so that he could evaluate his position. This I did, telling him that if he did not withdraw from the case I would file the papers exposing his errors. He had also filed something in the County Records office trying to establish himself as the rightful owner/leader of the Church. I informed him that if he would also withdraw that claim from the county records I would not file my papers against him in court. I was trying to save him from embarrassment. He said that he would do so. When he withdrew from the court case I tore up the papers I was going to file against him, and deleted the file from my computer to show my resolve to keep my word. I later found out that he had lied about withdrawing the thing he filed in the County Records office.

After Charles had joined with the Koreshians in the lawsuit I told him that he was bringing the curse of God upon himself because of joining himself with the Koreshians. He just laughed at me and mocked me. Yet a couple of months later he was using a tractor/lawn mower from which he was thrown and which then ran over one of his legs, causing him to lose it. One reason that I am bringing up these things about Charles Pace is not only because of his presence on Mt. Carmel Center, but also because what has been written about him and widely published. Among other things is that which was said in the book, The Ashes of Waco, an Investigation, by Dick J. Reavis. As this book was among the more reputable ones on the matter of the Church and the Koreshians, what was said about Charles Pace necessitates comments about him. What was written therein was, ". . . heirs to Lois Roden's Living Waters Branch of Righteousness are publishing new materials in Gadsen, Alabama." The Ashes of Waco, p. 303.

Lois Roden used the names Living Waters, and Living Waters Branch, but never Living Waters Branch of Righteousness. That name was solely the creation of Charles Pace. He started using it sometime around 1990. Yet when I talked with him and his helper, Tom Caldwell, about what the Church teachings and laws had to say regarding the name of the Church, Charles then changed the name to The Branch, The Congregation of The Lord (YHVH) Our Righteousness. A few years ago, he put up a large banner on a building on Mt. Carmel with that name on it, and then later joined hands with the Koreshians to oppose my efforts to stop the Koreshians from gaining unlawful title, and to restore to those of us who embraced the teachings of the divinely inspired leaders of the movement our name and property. Charles referred to the Koreshians as "brethren" with whom he was looking to reunite.

One of his special teachings at that time was that the church no longer needed to partake of the emblems of our Lord's sacrifice and second coming any more, especially at the time of the morning and evening hours of worship, which Ben and Lois had just worked to restore within the Branch movement. He may have since gone back on some of his erroneous teachings, but there are other things which separate him from the Branch message and movement.

Though there are many other things which could be said about the consequences those who have aligned themselves with Koresh (and thus with the spirit he served) have brought upon themselves, such things are not unique to them. The same may be said of those who blindly followed the orders of their superiors to engage in a military-style raid on a place where there were many innocent children present. Those agents were blindly following orders as were Koresh's followers. The very fact that during the standoff the law enforcement officers used psychological warfare (loud and antagonistic music, violent and tortuous sounds, sleep deprivation, property destruction, etc.) which only served to draw Koresh and his followers closer together, rather than encouraging them to surrender and face just legal proceedings, shows that they were just as surely led by a spirit which was foreign to the principles of truth, justice, and righteousness as were the Koreshians. Most of the reasons which were the basis for staging the military-style raid were either gross presumptions or outright lies. Koresh could have simply been arrested off of the property, and there would not have been the loss of life on either side as there was. But the spirit which controlled both sides cared less for human life than for pride and power. The pride and arrogance which motivated those trained in the military arts to pursue the very risky venture of staging the raid was no less than that indulged in by Koresh and his followers.


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COMMON QUESTIONS

There has been much talk about "the Government" having done this or that. It wasn't "the Government" (the true representative of law and order) which staged the dramatic raid on Mt. Carmel. It was well known by people in Waco that Koresh could have been arrested off the property for they saw him off the property regularly. It was people in responsible positions in the government who confederated together to misuse their positions to bring about what happened. Here are some questions to think about:


"Why did the BATF practice their raid for nearly one month at Fort Hood in Texas before it happened, rather than trying to arrest Koresh on the weapons charges that they alleged had against him alone?"


"Why were Koresh's followers engaging in military style training, thereby putting a fear of some hostile actions being taken by them in the eyes of their neighbors and of governmental authorities, when, historically, the Church was noncombatants and conscientious objectors?"


"Why was there an overwhelming amount of disinformation being circulated about the history of the true Branch Church?"


"Why was Ann Richards, the Governor of Texas, lied to about the presence of drugs at Koresh's compound?


"Why was Janet Reno misled about the true effects of the gas that was used on the compound"


"Why was it so easy to mislead almost everybody?"


"Who would profit by the Branch Church being defamed and destroyed? The Sunday keeping Churches? Those who worship Mary? Those who oppress women in their congregations and in society? Those who do not want true Christians to come into unity on the truth, because it would bring an end to their private opinions and practices? Those who misuse Christian principles to bring in socialistic programs whereby they profit financially, or fulfill their vain desires for self-aggrandizement? Those who reject the moral laws of God, or do not want to acknowledge God's existence?


"Why are those who consider themselves God-fearing Patriots giving their support to a group of people who allowed Koresh to take control of their minds and wills to the point that they gave him their wives and daughters to be his concubines, and who were so afraid of offending God that they would not even ask God, Himself, whether or not it was right to stay inside the compound with Koresh, further antagonizing those who had the ability to destroy them?"


"When you gonna wake up, and strengthen the things that remain?"


It must be admitted that in this nation which professes "liberty and justice for all," and the majority of whose people boast of adhering to Christian principles, some things were seriously wrong in the way the whole thing transpired.

WHY DID ALL OF THIS TAKE PLACE?

Taking into consideration the controversial factors already discussed, is there more depth to the reasons that all of this happened as it did? Are there really people who have the motives and the ability to make sure that things happened just the way that they did? Was there some kind of conspiracy? Or, even just a confederacy of like minds? And most significantly, why did God allow it to happen, and is there a present truth lesson to be learned from it.

There can be no doubt that religion and politics (church and state) are at the heart of this matter. No one can honestly say that religious views, or even the lack thereof, were not instrumental in the use (and misuse) of the police powers of the government (local and national). One does not have to look very far in this present world, nor very far back into the past, to see those with the police powers of a government acting contrary to truth, justice, and righteousness in the name of God. In order to more clearly identify the behind the scenes forces and how they were used to obtain the results we witnessed, we'll review a few of the more prominent facts which are in controversy, and how those factors are at play in the world today, that you may prayerfully let the Holy Spirit of Truth lead you to the right conclusions.

First, and most relevant, is the fact that the Seventh Day Adventists, Davidians, and Branches are strict Protestants. Branches even more so than the S.D.A.s and the Davidians because of our acceptance and promulgation of more of the pure truths of the Bible. This may not mean much to some, but it should to those who understand the real issues which are behind the controversy.


In order to get the overall story of the controversy, we'll refer you to the book written by Ellen G. White entitled, The Great Controversy. It relates the story of the conflict between God's laws and government, and those which have been set in opposition thereto. You can obtain a copy at most Seventh Day Adventist Book Centers, churches, or online at The Great Controversy. During John F. Kennedy's time as president (America's first Catholic president), attempts were made to halt the distribution of this book.


Though The Great Controversy was written over one hundred years ago, it is still quite relevant today. One chapter which has particular relevance to the matter at hand is the chapter Liberty of Conscience Threatened from The Great Controversy. One thing Ellen White wrote about in that book was that the leaders of the United States would repudiate every principle of their divinely ordained Constitution. So it is today. Following are her words on the subject from another one of her publications.


"The same masterful mind that plotted against the faithful in ages past is still seeking to rid the earth of those who fear God and obey His law. Satan will excite indignation against the humble minority who conscientiously refuse to accept popular customs and traditions. Men of position and reputation will join with the lawless and the vile to take counsel against the people of God. Wealth, genius, education, will combine to cover them with contempt. Persecuting rulers, ministers, and church members will conspire against them. With voice and pen, by boasts, threats, and ridicule, they will seek to overthrow their faith. By false representations and angry appeals they will stir up the passions of the people. Not having a "Thus saith the Scriptures" to bring against the advocates of the Bible Sabbath, they will resort to oppressive enactments to supply the lack. To secure popularity and patronage, legislators will yield to the demand for a Sunday law. Those who fear God cannot accept an institution that violates a precept of the Decalogue. On this battlefield comes the last great conflict of the controversy between truth and error. And we are not left in doubt as to the issue. Now, as in the days of Mordecai, the Lord will vindicate His truth and His people.

"By the decree enforcing the institution of the papacy in violation of the law of God, our nation will disconnect herself fully from righteousness. When Protestantism shall stretch her hand across the gulf to grasp the hand of the Roman power, when she shall reach over the abyss to clasp hands with spiritualism, when, under the influence of this threefold union, our country shall repudiate every principle of its Constitution as a Protestant and republican government, and shall make provision for the propagation of papal falsehoods and delusions, then we may know that the time has come for the marvelous working of Satan and that the end is near." Testimonies for the Church, Volume 5, p. 450, 451.


While these statements might seem quite apprehensive or even paranoid to the naive or to those who are unfamiliar with the great persecutions which have arisen in the past (and even in the present world) when religious bigotry has gained civil authority to work out its evil intents, such should not be the case with those who are well-informed in these things. [For those who may be unfamiliar with the controversies of the past, please see our publication entitled Opposing Principles]. Our teaching of the femininity of the Holy Spirit and Her position in the Godhead, along with the truth concerning women's equal rights to leadership in the Church, home and society, in and of themselves, are enough on its own to bring upon us the ire of the masculine dominated churches and organizations. And it has. From the time Lois Roden began to teach these truths opposition was mounting.

Because Lois was so steadfast and forthright in presenting that which was revealed to her in such a wide forum as she did, and because she was receiving approval for such from among many of those who were well respected in their fields, it is easy to see why she would receive opposition from those who had the most to lose were the doctrines to be accepted by their congregations and in society in general. In 1979, when a Roman Catholic Pope came to America for the first time ever in its history, we were among the crowds distributing literature about how Christians should be praying to the Holy Spirit as their feminine Intercessor, rather than to Mary. This didn't go over well with the Catholic hierarchy, it being quite an embarrassment to them. They never have been tolerant towards those who challenge their teachings. What they consider heresy is a civil crime in many Catholic dominated countries.

Regarding what is considered heresy, Mirriam-Webster's Dictionary, under "heresy" states, "'all the great heresies in Christianity have been specifically concerned with the relationship of the Son to the Father' Weston La Barre." There is no more vital truth concerning the relationship of the Son to the Father than that concerning the Son's original birth in heaven whereby He became the "only begotten Son of God." This is summed up in the question most frequently asked by young children at evangelistic meetings, that is, Who is Jesus' heavenly Mother?

I was talking with a Catholic priest who was among the crowds in 1979 when the Pope was visiting America about the Holy Spirit being feminine in Hebrew. He, rather proudly, stated that he had known that fact for "25 years," and then asked me what difference did it make. When I told him that he should be praying to Her for intercession rather than to Mary he became silent and greatly embarrassed because of the members of his congregation who were standing there with him and listening to our conversation. Today I would point him to the results of the Catholic concept of an all masculine Godhead – homosexual priests and their pedophilia – and would direct his attention to our publication The Only Safe Sex is Holy Sex.

The truth of the femininity of the Holy Spirit, and the supplanting of this truth by the veneration of the Virgin Mary, is not a minor doctrinal matter which theologians may discuss over a cup of tea (or wine), and go away with diverse opinions. In 1846, the Catholic hierarchy declared that Mary, in her aspect of the "Immaculate Conception," is the Patroness of the United States. Our Lady of Guadalupe was declared Empress of all the Americas by Pope Pius X. On August 15, 1950 Pope Pius XII declared the doctrine of the Assumption of the Virgin into heaven. With Lumen Gentium (1964), Pope Paul VI proclaimed Mary as Mother of the Church. In the 1980s, while it was still a part of the USSR, Pope John Paul II dedicated Russia to her.

At its root, ancient sun worship was nothing less than Lucifer worship. The hearts of all cultures have been influenced by the doctrines of sun worship, whether they are aware of it or not (Revelation 18:3). Sun worship (and, therefore, Lucifer worship) is essentially worship of the masculine principle (Lucifer being masculine, with no feminine counterpart). From ancient times, in symbolical language, the sun represented the masculine principle, the moon, the feminine principle , and the stars, the offspring (children) (Genesis 37:9, 10). In Hebrew, not only is the Holy Spirit referred to as being wholly feminine, but, also, the words law and wisdom are feminine. Lucifer hates things feminine for he sinned against those feminine aspects of God – Spirit, law and wisdom.

There are many books written by researchers who show how most of the principles and basic rites of ancient sun worship exist in the Catholic fellowships (Roman, Anglican, Eastern Orthodox, etc.) and in those so-called Protestant denominations which are only partially reformed. Many woman have been repulsed by the male domination in the Christian churches (and in the Jewish fellowships), and have, therefore, turned in disgust from what they see to be the religion of the Bible and looked to witchcraft and other spiritualistic fellowships for a place to be where they wouldn't be treated as less than human – less than being made in God's image and likeness, as it is written (Genesis 1:26, 27). The Branch is the only place where they can experience true Biblical Judeo-Christianity, and still embrace their God-given femininity and its attending dignity.

Though today there are many groups of Messianic Jews who believe in Jesus as their Messiah, they, also, are caught up in following the commandments and traditions of men – that being the teachings of their rabbis and the Talmud. Most of them are still embracing many of the pagan and other non-Scriptural concepts and practices for which Jesus and the prophets rebuked their forefathers (Isaiah 29:13, Matthew 15:9), and which they carried with them from Egypt and Babylon. I certainly don't mean to belittle the sincerity of anyone's faith, but only wish to point out the underlying controversy, and why so many people would rather see our movement buried alive than have to deal their own private interpretations. Not only do many of the Messianic Jewish congregations follow the common Jewish rabbinical custom of denying women's equal rights in Church matters, but many even deny the femininity of the Holy Spirit as revealed in the Hebrew Scriptures, or seriously down-play the matter. Some, such as Jews for Jesus are even primarily Sunday-keepers, but blend such with a few basic Jewish rabbinical teachings.

Therefore, it is understandable why the Catholics, other Sunday-keepers, even some Jews, and many others would want to use the extensive powers they have over the media and elsewhere to suppress the truth of our Church and the doctrines and practices we teach, and instead want the popular distortion of Koresh being the true leader of the Church to be all that was brought forth to the public. The same is true in regards to George Roden being portrayed as a president of the Church (which he never was). Both misrepresentations were propagated for the purpose of destroying the image and influence of the true Branch Church. But the Catholics are not alone in their misuse of the major media.

Along with the controversy regarding the Holy Spirit, is the matter of the Sabbath. The leaders of the Sunday-keeping Churches admit that Saturday is the seventh day of the week (and always has been), and that it is the day designated as the Sabbath. The Catholics claim that they changed the day from Saturday to Sunday on their authority. Others, such as the Baptists, say that all of the Ten Commandments were nailed to the cross, and done away with, and that now Christians are under grace, meaning that there is no need to keep the Sabbath commandment, and they worship on Sunday out of convenience and custom. Some even do so saying that they are honoring the day of the resurrection, though there is nothing in the New Testament which sustains their custom.

Any challenge to those concepts goes right to the matter of their authority. They, of course, have their so-called scholarly arguments which they use to support their claims, and also have their church organizations in which men (and rarely women) rule over what is taught to their congregations. In all of those groups their leaders hold their positions because they were put there by men of like minds, and not necessarily because God has specifically appointed any of them to lead those who would be His people. For example, in the Roman Catholic Church a pope is selected by a mere 2/3 of those who vote. That means that as many as 1/3 of the leaders of their organization may not believe that the one who is chosen pope should be the pope. In the Baptist and other congregational type churches a bare majority (51%) may determine their leadership (and thus those who will teach doctrines).

A prime example of how men with presumed authority in the church use their power to enforce their interpretations of the Scriptures, and particularly in the Sabbath/Sunday controversy, is the action taken by the Church of England early in the Reformation. When the reformers were becoming aware that the keeping of Sunday rested on no higher of an authority than that of the ancient nominal bishops who, in league with the rulers of Rome, declared that the Church was no longer to observe the Sabbath, but instead were to honor Sunday with the same sanctity, they set about to concoct the theory that Christ, Himself, had actually changed the Sabbath. To do this they had to place an unwarranted construction on the Scriptures and their translations of them which had no foundation in any viable Church tradition.

An instance of this is seen in their interpretation of the King James translation of Colossians 2:14, which reads, "Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross." While the context of the text clearly indicates that it is our "trespasses" (verse 13), which are referred to in the phrase "the handwriting of ordinances that was against us," those who were against the church returning to keeping the true Sabbath started teaching that this phrase applied to the Law, and it, including the Sabbath, is that which was nailed to the cross and done away with. This they did in spite of the fact that the Greek word translated "handwriting of ordinances that was against us" means "debts," "I.O.U.s," and was anciently used extensively to mean precisely that. This presumption equaled that of the Roman Church. While the Roman Catholic Church boasts that they changed the Sabbath to Sunday on their own authority, the Church of England boasted that their new interpretation of the Scriptures in this matter was the correct one. And they both have gone forward to enforce their presumptions through civil authority.

"MY KINGDOM IS NOT OF THIS WORLD"

So far we have traced a few of the religious controversies which are issues in the warfare against the Branch Davidian Seventh Day Adventists – the femininity of the Holy Spirit, the Sabbath and the Feast Days, and the authority of church leaders. These matters, in and of themselves, in the realm of thought and belief may constitute elements of a spiritual warfare, but when they are coupled with politics (law and economics) the consequences reach to the every day practical lives of those involved in the controversies.

It is written, "Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence." John 18:36.

For the first few centuries of the Christian era the disciples of Christ suffered great persecution from those who held the political power in the Jewish and Roman societies. Yet in spite of this the Church grew mightily without the ability to wield any civil authority to enforce their doctrines and practices, and without any financial support from the governments. Those who used civil authority to oppose the true Christians resorted to the confiscation of their property, imprisonment, torture, and death in an attempt to stop the spread of the Gospel. In the fourth century, though, things changed. The Roman government no longer found it expedient to continue persecuting the Christians, so they instead granted them political favor.

At this same time many of the leaders of the Church were already perverting the pure principles of the Gospel, mixing them with pagan thoughts and practices. Some of the New Testament writers warned the Church of those who from within in it would thus corrupt the purity of the Church:


"Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. ... These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: ... These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men's persons in admiration because of advantage." Jude 3, 4, 12, 16.

"Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God." 2 Thessalonians 2:3,4

"But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not." 2 Peter 2:1-3.


After gaining political favor, certain of these backsliding or unconverted leaders sought to oppress those in the Church who resisted their departures from sound doctrines and practices by getting the government to persecute those whom they labelled as heretics. Thus there were those who attempted to make Christ's kingdom "of this world," and particularly of the Roman world, and who became known as the Roman Catholic Church. They went so far as to justify their persecution of those who rightly dissented from their baseless assumptions by saying that it was actually for the good (for the salvation) of those whom they thus oppressed. Such was the logic which eventually found its full expression in what was known as the Inquisition. For the specifics on this matter see our study Opposing Principles.

This error, once embraced, has been a hard lesson for Christ's Church to unlearn. Even after those who became known as Protestants in the 16th century had broken away from the Roman Catholic Church and many of her doctrines and practices, many of them still retained the most grievous error of them all – the uniting of Church and State to enforce Church institutions, and to punish those (both believers and unbelievers) who would leave matters of conscience in religious matters between a man and his Creator. On this subject Jesus said,


"I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day." John 12:46-48.


How widely this varies from the doctrine put forth by those who have joined, or would join, Church and State. Many demand liberty of conscience in religious matters for themselves, but are adamant in denying it to others. In the writings of the Jewish Rabbis there are many differences of opinions expressed which are tolerated. The same is true in the Catholic Church and most Protestant churches. But for one outside of the flock, so to speak, tolerance is not readily extended.

The Protestant Church-controlled State persecutions, while not on the scale of the Catholic-run Inquisition, led to the Puritans fleeing to the American soil in the hope of experiencing a purer religion. Yet they too practiced their own version of Christ's kingdom "of this world," as did the most of the colonial settlements which came after them. So up till the time of the Declaration of Independence most of the western world (Europe and America) was choking in the stale air of the union of Church and State. In the relative freedom of the independence gained by the declaration of the inalienable rights and equality of all men, and the Revolutionary War which was fought to prove the validity of those declarations, our forefathers set forth to frame a Constitution whereby the freedom they had found in their purer concepts of religion could be preserved for them and their posterity.

While all of the original thirteen Colonies, except Rhode Island, had Christianity in some form or another incorporated into their civil government, the framers of the national Constitution purposely intended that no such provisions would be included in it. Their reasons for such were not in the least based on an antagonism towards Christianity, but rather on their great love of it. They were well aware of the many forms religious intolerance that had taken during the prior centuries in Europe, and even in their more recent history in the Colonies, all in the name of Christ, and were determined to have their newly-formed government based on liberty of conscience in religious matters. In their own colonies they had seen the results of civil intolerance which the Episcopalians, Methodists, and Congregationalists had exerted upon each other and upon the Baptists and Quakers, and which each of these had exerted in different ways upon the Catholics, and were determined not to bring such ability into the new Constitution. They knew that the nation was composed primarily of varying forms of Christians, but specifically avoided creating the national government as a "Christian Nation," because then they would have to define exactly what true Christianity was, and is, and this they saw was beyond the purpose of civil governments. They made no pretense of setting up a theocracy, as had been done in Rome (both pagan and Papal).

Yet in spite of this fundamental doctrine which was incorporated in the establishment of the United States Constitution and government, towards the close of the nineteenth century the Sunday-keeping churches managed to somewhat overthrow this principle through their collective influence. This came about through a decision of the Supreme Court in 1892. That decision came forth in this way:

In 1887 Congress enacted a law forbidding any alien to come to this country under contract to perform labor or service of any kind. The reason for that law was that large contractors and corporations in the United States would send agents to Europe to employ the lowest of the people whom they could get to come over and work. They would pay their expenses to this country, and, because of this, required them to work at so much the smaller wages after they arrived. This was depreciating the price that Americans should receive for their labor, and therefore Congress enacted said prohibitionary law.

Trinity Church corporation, in New York City, had employed a preacher in England to come over here and preach for them. They contracted with him before he came. As he was an alien, and came under contract to perform service for that church, the U.S. District Attorney entered suit against the church for violating said law. The church was found guilty, and appealed to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court reversed the decision, first upon the correct and well-established principle that "the intent of the lawmaker is the law." The court quoted the lawmakers' express declarations to the affect that the terms "laborer" or "labor or service" used in the statute was intended to mean only manual labor or service, and not professional service of any kind. When the court had thus made plain the intent of the law, this was all that was necessary to reverse the lower court's decision, and to allow the church to hire their preacher.

But instead of stopping with this all-sufficient line of reasoning, and court unnecessarily also took up another one in supposedly trying to find the intent of the lawmakers. And hardly ever were the aptness and wisdom of a piece of advice which Abraham Lincoln once gave to a friend, "Never say what you need not, lest you be obliged to prove what you cannot," more completely illustrated than in this unnecessary line of argument which was pursued by the U.S. Supreme Court in the February 29, 1892 decision in this case.

The court unanimously declared that "this is a religious people," "a religious nation," and even "a Christian nation," and as such is "the voice of the entire people." In attempting to reason that the lawmakers never intended to include religious establishments in the prohibition, the court first stated as follows:


"But beyond all these matters no purpose against religion can be imputed to any legislation, State or national, because this is a religious people. This is historically true. From the discovery of this continent to the present hour there is a single voice making this affirmation."


Every citizen of the United States knows that this is not true, either historically or otherwise – that this is a religious people. Not even a majority of the people can be said to be religious. Not in a single city, town, nor village in the United States. That is to say, this was so up to the rendering of this decision. Since that time, of course, the people are religious, because the Supreme Court says so. This must have come as a surprise to many of those Americans who had never chosen to be so. But not only did those people not know they were "a religious people," but that they were also specifically "a Christian nation" – Jews, Buddhists, infidels, and all.

What is notable about these facts, and also most relevant to the matter at hand, is the fact that during the mid 1980s, when Koresh was beginning his distinct work, Waco was reported to have more churches per person than any larger city in the United States, while at the same time having among the highest murder and venereal disease rates in Texas and in the U.S.! At that time there were over a half dozen flavors of Baptist churches (ABA, Independent, Missionary, Southern, etc.), along with the Church of God, and the Church of Christ (as though God and Christ were in competition), a few of the Church of God in Christ variety, numerous varying ones of the Interdenominational, Pentecostal, and Presbyterian varieties, along with the other major denominations, and a host of smaller ones – all claiming to be right in their standing, and the others generally or specifically wrong. This is one reason why the Adventists have come to recognize them as "Babylon" – meaning "confusion."

These things, in and of themselves, bring home the point about this nation not being a "Christian nation," for the apostle Paul asked the rhetorical question, "Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul? – after first saying, "Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.... Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ." 1 Corinthians 1:13, 10, 11.

The reason I have brought up this matter is because we hear the same argument from many people today – that this is a Christian nation. But the question is, Which type of Christian nation? – one "of this world?" An Episcopalian one? A Methodist one? A Baptist one, A Catholic one? A Seventh Day Adventist one? Or just a general Christian one? While the First Amendment to the Constitution states that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," it doesn't say anything about a general religion.

In the above noted case the Supreme Court could have simply noted that Congress could never have intended to include those who contracted to provide professional services to a religious establishment, for such would have been expressly contrary to the "free exercise" clause of the First Amendment. That would have been sufficient to eliminate any similar controversies arising from the new law. But instead of confining themselves to the constitutional issues, they went beyond those and introduced the Christian nation matter. As the law was never intended to discriminate against a Jewish Rabbi who may be hired under contract to come to America to render religious service in a synagogue, for the court to add the superfluous language regarding Christianity was to undermine the principle of the separation of Church and State, and to set a precedence which could be used reestablish the religious intolerance which the founders of the country sought to avoid and inhibit by their declarations of liberty.

In their argument in the above mentioned case one of the points the court used to try and prove that this was a "Christian nation" was the fact that


"the laws respecting the observance of the Sabbath [Sunday]; with the general cessation of all secular business, and the closing of courts, legislatures, and other similar public assemblies on that day ... add a volume of unofficial declarations to the mass of organic utterances that this is a Christian nation."


In giving this recognition to Sunday as supposedly being a Christian institution, they were, in effect, declaring this a Catholic nation, for, as noted earlier, the Catholic Church alone claims responsibility for the keeping of Sunday, the first day of the week, as the Sabbath, rather than the seventh day. They also declare that all Protestants who keep Sunday as the Sabbath or as a special day of worship are actually paying homage to them in spite of themselves. Such is the absolute truth of the matter. And such became the public declarations of the Catholic Church in the years following this court decision – that this is a Catholic nation.

For a number of years now professed Catholics have held a majority in Congress. They also claim the largest percentage in the American population in general. But their numbers are deceptive. They count everyone who was ever baptized a Catholic as a baby, regardless if they ever practice the religion, or whether or not they actually have chosen to leave the Roman Catholic Church and join a Protestant church. Many of those who call themselves Catholics only do so because they were baptized such as babies, and feel that they have to profess something religious so as to gain respect from their peers. Such is also easier than truthfully saying that they are agnostics or atheists, and having to discuss religion with non-Catholics.

One of the main reasons why men such as James Madison (the primary writer of the Constitution), Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington argued so strongly for the separation of Church and State in the Constitution was because at that time the ministers of many of the churches were attempting, through their congregations' use of the political system, to have a tax levied for the support of Christian ministers. Jefferson and Madison had defeated just such a proposed law in Virginia just prior to the adoption of the national Constitution, and succeeded in having a bill passed in defense of true religious liberty which prohibited the state from compelling anyone to financially support any religious organization. Washington also voiced his opinion in opposition to the purposed assessment. A few of the other states had already specifically declared that their citizens had the right not to be compelled to support any ministry. Yet today this precious principle is being greatly eroded and, it appears, soon to be totally repudiated.

There is currently a strong movement to grant faith-based institutions federal tax moneys for the accomplishment of social programs. The discussion seems to be past the question of whether or not it should be done, but it yet remains to be decided how to determine who should or should not be given the money. If all religious organizations are included in the provisions, then that would mean that even witchcraft and Lucifer worshipping groups would qualify. The same would apply to Muslim or other groups who could possibly funnel the money to terrorists. Though there are some Muslim groups which do provide some noteworthy services to their people and even others, the problem lies in determining who is who. Some of those who would get the funds don't care who else gets them as long as they get their share, while others are determined that only those whom they approve of would benefit thereby.

Not only is tax money to go to support faith-based social programs, but it is now being given to support religious educational institutions by means of school vouchers. In the middle and late 1800s the Roman Catholic Church was strongly opposed to the public school systems in America because they felt that education was their responsibility and prerogative, and theirs alone. The Lutherans were of a similar mind. Neither wanted a presentation of the facts of life without their particular spin on things. This is especial true in regards to history, and even more so in regards to religious history. But now they are all for using public funds for their own purposes – that being to promote their religious doctrines.

In the past couple of decades Catholic schools have been in financial straights. Now their church members are being allowed to use public moneys to pay the school tuitions and other costs. Of course some of those moneys are going to be going to be used by the church to pay for the expenses they have incurred due to all of the child abuse cases they have been involved in. One of the last statistics in this matter is that there have been around 11,000 cases of abuse by over 4,000 priests and other clergy. Though this represents less than 10% of the priests in America, the costs of settling the claims, and other legal fees are passed on to the congregations in one way or another. The most recent excuse the church gave for the large extent of the abuses, and the massive coverups was that they received bad advice from psychiatrists and attorneys. One might rightly ask, What need does an organization which professes to have the wisdom of God in their midst have of psychiatrists, and why would those who claim the right to define moral law be taking bad advice from lawyers? Can't the Holy Spirit guide them in right actions in both matters? In one particular case, the church chastised the abused defendants for seeking so much money in damages claiming that the people would not do anything good with the money.

As mentioned earlier, it has been the plan of those who are seeking to police religious thought to give power to the National Council of Churches to evaluate who and what is acceptable in religious thought and practice. The National Council of Churches does not allow Sabbath-keeping churches to be a part of the organization. The unity which they are seeking to accomplish is not based on their desire to unite on all points of doctrine and practice, but only those which enable them to gain power against those who point out their common errors. This is one reason that Seventh Day Adventists, in general, could not conscientiously be a part of that organization even if were they allowed to be. The apostle Paul wrote:


"I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all." Ephesians 4:1-6.


One would have a hard time believing that those in that organization have even read those verses, for many of them won't even partake in the Lord's Supper with each other because of their divergent opinions on its nature and manner of performance. The main reason for their participation in the organization is to maintain their individual authorities. They are willing to acknowledge the others' assumptions to propagate their distinctive doctrines and practices and still be called Christian, as long as they can do the same. Such was the spirit which motivated the backslidden leaders of the congregations in the centuries following the apostolic times to form the Catholic Church. Their motto can be summed up in the words, "Let's agree to disagree." The Lord through the prophet Isaiah well spoke of this situation:


"And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach." Isaiah 4:1.


Applying well accepted Biblical symbols to this passage it is understood to mean:


"And in that day seven [all] women [churches] shall take hold of one man [Christ], saying, We will eat our own bread [doctrines], and wear our own apparel [righteousness]: only let us be called by thy name [Christians], to take away our reproach."


Yet the promise to the faithful, no matter where they may currently be, is that, "Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the LORD shall bring again Zion." Isaiah 52:8. They are not going to "agree to disagree," but will agree to agree by casting away their idols of private opinions and theories. Such will be accomplished by all giving heed to "the voice." "The voice" is that of the "Good Shepherd" brought by the Holy Ghost.

The only way for Christ to be glorified in the unity of followers for which He so earnestly prayed (John 17:22), is for them to be so humble through the presence of His Spirit that they will accept the truth when they hear it, and cast away their private opinions and theories when they become aware of their erroneous nature. Any other type of unity will only prove to be a self serving counterfeit.

Jesus prayed, "Now I am no more in the world, but these [the disciples] are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are." John 17:11.

There is the pattern for true unity – be one, as God is one. But there are many different opinions as to what "God" being "one" means. Among the peoples of the earth there are many who hold to the belief that there are many gods, each in opposition, somewhat, to the other, but that they are one because they are the gods, and others aren't. Thus the unity, the oneness, which they are seen to have with one and another is only as binding as their own pattern of the heavenly allows.

This was the very type of unity which existed in ancient Rome, and which eventually united with the nominal Christian bishops in forming the Papacy. The unity (the oneness) existed only as much as one bishop would confederate with another in allowing each other's erroneous opinions and practices to continue unchallenged and with profit to them. This is the very type of unity which is sought by many or most of the leaders of those churches which make up the National Council of Churches and many similar politically united church groups. Unity in the truth, in doctrine and practice, is secondary (if even intended at all) to the projected unity.

In praying for the unity of His people, He further said, "And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one." John 17:22.

Thus we see that a means has been supplied by which His people "may be one, even as [God] are one." – that means is the "the glory which thou gavest" Christ – Holy Spirit, by which we are guided into all truth (John 16:13). Though all of the different denominations each profess to be led by the Holy Spirit into their interpretation of the truth which distinguishes them from one another, their true disunity cannot be blamed on the Holy Spirit, but rather on their stubbornly resisting the influence thereof by clinging to their errors, which in effect is just the making of an image to their idea of the Godhead.

Yet the Bible portrays the image of the united Godhead in speaking of the family of God, and the absolute oneness therein. That Family is not after the image of fallen man whose families are corrupted, one way or another, by the indulgence of selfishness. The Father and Son are not acting in opposition to each other or the Holy Spirit. In all of their works they are one. Each purpose and decision has been unanimously declared to be the will of all the united (one) Godhead. One does not teach things contrary to the other. So then must be with Their image and likeness on earth. The apostle Paul wrote,


"So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another." Romans 12:5.


Some would extend this principle to mean that members of the Catholic Church are members of the Lutheran or Baptist churches, and vice versa. That, Methodists, Quakers, Amish, Pentecostals, Holiness, Mormons, Spiritualist, and Theosophical bodies are "every one members one of another." Yet this could hardly be the meaning of Paul's declaration. He had so often written to the disciples on how they were to strive to have no divisions among them that it would be hard for those who were familiar with his counsels to believe that the type of unity which sought for by those such as the National Council of Churches is that which the apostle spoke of.

Though the Catholic Church is not formally a part of the National Council of Churches, her influence therein goes without saying. The image which is being created by those and similar organizations is that of the world during the dark ages in religion which preceded them when the Catholic Church dominated the political scene.

Though it is certainly true that God's true and faithful people are scattered throughout many different congregations, it is clearly His intention to have them all in one united, visible body. This is seen from the work which accompanies the coming of the angel in Revelation 18:1-5 – that is, the call for God's people to "come out" of Babylon into a safe and clean place where they will not receive of "her plagues."

Paul also wrote,


"For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread." 1 Corinthians 10:17.


He followed that thought later by saying,


"For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit." 1 Corinthians 12:13.


The "one body" He spoke of is produced by each of the members thereof partaking of the "one bread," Christ in His truth as revealed in "...the law and the testimony." (Isaiah 8:20), and drinking of the same Spirit which leads into all truth. Those who desire to eat their "own bread," and wear their "own apparel [spiritual coverings]," would naturally object to anyone (such as those who bear the true reform messages of the Adventist, Davidian, and Branch movements), pointing out that their familiar bread has been contaminated by coming in contact with the private opinions and theories of self-exalting men, and that some of their spiritual coverings are made of low quality materials which neither will keep them warm nor protect them from the trying elements, while others are full of holes, others mismatched, others don't fit well, and yet others are of poor and uncomely design, and that along with these things some of those "seven women" are even wearing men's clothing (and vice versa) – not at all representative of the "woman" (the Church), the Daughter, of whom it is said that she, "looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners?" (Song of Solomon 6:10), and who wears the robe of the Bridegroom's righteousness.

Yet there are others besides those seven women who hold a different attitude – "Thus saith the LORD of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you." (Zechariah 8:23.) These ten men are representative of a class who exercise their freedom to choose what they will investigate, and to believe and to act upon their convictions even though they know that they must accept the ways of this one who is represented as "a Jew" in order to go with Him. They also realize that going with Him will involve some changes on their part. Yet they know that the sacrifices will be worth it.

We have seen two of the opposing principles illustrated as seven women and ten men. But though the symbols portray the women in a sinful state, and the men in acts of righteousness, it is obvious that both men and women can equally be a part of that which is represented in each case. A man or a woman could, at first, even be a part of that which is represented by the seven women, and lattr, after they repented of saying that they prefer their own ways, be represented in the figure of the ten men. So the controversy involves each individual's choices – the

DIVINE RIGHT – THE RIGHTS OF THE PEOPLE

At the end of the American Revolution, and after the establishment of our Constitution (and, thus, the forming of our national government), we entered into a treaty with England to put an end to the war, called the Treaty of Paris (1793). That document begins with the King of England's extensive list of titles. Two of his titles were "arch treasurer, and prince elector of the Holy Roman Empire." Though the "Holy Roman Empire" formally ceased to existed shortly after that time, its principles and the powers behind it have continued on.

Even though England's government and church are sometimes represented as being Protestant, its history during the centuries following the beginning of the Protestant Reformation of Martin Luther and others in Germany in the early 1500s was fraught with struggles between the Roman Catholics and the various Protestant reformers. The Church of England (known in America as the Episcopalian Church) can really only be considered as Catholic-light, for their doctrines and practices vary only slightly from those of the Roman Catholic Church. The same thing can be said of both of their political structures.

In England, as in other Catholic countries, the people are subjects of the sovereign ruler, the king or queen, and/or the powers behind them. In England, the king or queen is also the head of the church. In Catholic countries, the kings and queens used to reign by appointment by (or agreement with) the Pope (and the powers behind him). In non-monarchal Catholic countries, in general, the people are still subjects of the government, and, generally, do not have the individual rights and liberties which Americans have attempted to secure to themselves by means of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. The various Protestant and Catholic rulers of England have never truly understood nor practiced the principles of religious liberty which were embraced by the founders of this country, and which were declared to be each individuals by divine right.

The first people who settled in America (the Pilgrims – Puritans) were those who were fleeing religious persecution in England. It wasn't just differences of opinions on theological concepts that caused the persecution, but it was the outworking of the religious thoughts – the daily lifestyle – that was, and is still, contested. When Christopher Columbus set forth under the auspices of the King and Queen of Spain one of his duties was to expand the dominion of the Roman Catholic hierarchy. This was not only for theological reasons (the supposed salvation of the peoples of the world), but also for economic considerations. The charters for the first official colonies in America were of the same nature – commercial and imperial expansion, with religion interwoven.

Upon issuing the Declaration of Independence, the people of America declared themselves (each of them, individually) to be sovereigns. Each of the state governments and the national government were established by acts of the people in their sovereign capacity. Though the separate governments exercise sovereign powers, they did so only upon that which was delegated them by the sovereign people. Though this principle was fundamental in many of the newly formed states, it was only barely tolerated by the leading powers in others.

As the Roman Catholic Church (and those who were associated with them behind the scenes) wanted to keep its hold over England (and other countries whose people wished to embrace the Protestant principles), they were not happy with the independence of the American people, who were mainly Protestants. As stated previously, the founders of our country were well aware of the religious differences between the peoples and the states which they created, so they attempted to make sure that each one's individual religious beliefs and attending lifestyle would be protected from intrusion by any others, while at the same time providing through free elections in a constitutionally protected republican form of government a means for those who would allow love, decency, truth, justice, and righteousness (which so many of them held so dear) to prevail in our society.

They were well aware that some would not yield up their beliefs and practices which would tend to be oppressive to others, and would even be willing to undermine the freedom of others in order to promote their belief that they had the right to compel men's consciences, and to punish all who would challenge their dictatorial assumptions. Remember, the United States was formed as a constitutional republican form of government, based on democratic principles. That is, in a pure democracy (which we, thank God, are not) the bare majority rule over the minority, and the minority do not have any rights except those which the majority grant them. In our republic, though, while the larger portion of the people are able to guide the direction of the government (usually by a 2/3 vote, not a mere 51%), the rights of the minority are still protected from validation by the larger portion by the constitutions which created the ability for the larger number to direct the government.

This would have worked out just fine, were it not for the fact many of the leaders of the different congregations in America refused to come down from their exalted thrones of self and pride of opinion and put away their own private opinions and theories (which were based on wresting the Holy Scriptures from their original context and meaning), and come together to seek God's own mind on the various matters, and come into unity with each other on truth, and truth alone, and then letting such be reflected in their society. After all, they were the one's who were given, or who had assumed the duties for instructing their congregations as to what was and was not God's will for them, and what was the truth regarding the Christian's duties, rights, and restrictions in regards to their government. Alas, the age old "divide and conquer" technique was destined to prevail. The enemies of truth and righteousness would have it no other way. "Rule or ruin" is the motto they take to their graves. This was the cause of the American Civil War, the bloodiest war in our history. Judge not whether or not this observation might be harsh, but, rather, is it true to life as we have experienced it?

From the earliest days of this country the pulpits of the churches have been used to preach politics in one manner or another. The Civil War was not fought, primarily, to free the slaves, but rather to preserve the Union. Many of those in the North were as opposed to the abolition of slavery as were those in the South, and used their positions in the army to see that the abolitionists under their charges suffered the brunt of the battles. Yet amid all of this were the leaders of the various churches who were encouraging their congregations on both sides of the conflict to act for the maintenance of the institution of slavery. There was no greater influence in favor of bigotry and the idea that men could enslave other men than that which came from the pulpits.

But even before the Civil War a major attempt was made to destroy the principles expressed in the Declaration of Independence upon which our Constitution was established. That attempt became known as The War of 1812. Within less than ten years after England had signed the Treaty of Paris we were back into war with them. But what was at the heart of the conflict at that time is but little understood today. Though today it is generally believed that that war was a dispute over Canada, there were other matters which actually were the motivation for the actions which led to the war. While many Americans wanted true liberty from the powers which ruled England and the Old World, some of the Founding Fathers were so entangled with those powers through former associations that certain compromises and concessions were made at first which would, of necessity, have to be dealt with later. Such was the situation surrounding the War of 1812.

As stated earlier, the great controversy is between the laws of God and those of man. Man's laws allow people to get away with stealing another's fortune and livelihood by means of fraud, oppression, and dishonesty, while God's laws forbid such actions. Man's laws allow those in positions of responsibility in the governments to get away with abusing their offices, while God's doesn't. Leaders have made agreements with others which God has never given them the right to do, binding those they represent to things which were not in God's order, thereby subjugating them to political and financial schemes which have led to their dissatisfaction with, and contempt of, the whole political system they depend on for their liberties.

In 1810 Congress was acting upon a proposed amendment to the Constitution, which would have been the 13th. There is a provision in the Constitution which reads, "Clause 8: No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State."

But there is no penalty stated therein for a violations to that provision. That's what the proposed 13th Amendment addressed. It provided that anyone who did receive any such things would subsequently lose their Citizenship. This Amendment would have provided a major blow to the oppressive powers which operated in England, Europe, and the Catholic Church.

In the Declaration of Independence it was declared that King George was a "tyrant," and a list was made of his tyrannical acts. What is of note here is that King George could not have done those things alone, but he had to have the support of the courts and of the police powers of the nation. And this is where the matter concerning the Titles of Nobility and Honour came into play. Those titles were a part of the English judicial system. The term Esquire, as used by attorneys, is one of those titles, as is the term Honor, used by judges. But with these titles came certain obligations and restrictions which were incompatible with the spirit of liberty which the Americans sought to express in their Constitution. The root of the problem was not a recent development, but reached back many centuries.

The purpose of drafting and signing the document known as The Magna Charta in 1215 A.D. was to make the King (the sovereign) answerable to the people and the law, whereas previously he was free to act independently of the will, and contrary to the good of the people, and was immune from criminal and civil prosecution. There is nothing in God's laws which grants anyone immunity from prosecution under the law, either civilly or criminally, no matter what their standing. But there were such laws under the dominion of the Roman Catholic Church. For example, in places where the Catholic Church has dominion, her priests are immune from secular prosecution, and subject only to Church authorities. We have recently seen an example of this here. It recently has come to light that some Catholic priests who have been abusing young boys have been shuffled from place to place within the church structure in an attempt to hide their deeds, rather than subjecting them immediately to the civil authorities.

The kings and queens who ruled many of the nations which came under the authority of the Roman Church did so under the guise of a so-called divine right which was given, or approved, by the church's own presumed authority. Among the laws promulgated by the church was the notion that the church elders were immune from civil prosecution, being only answerable to God through His appointed agents (other elders). This same notion was extended to the rulers of the various nations which were under the church's dominion. Thus if a ruler or priest had the church's blessing, they could not be subjected to any law. The Magna Charta changed this somewhat as far as rulers were concerned. Though it originally was only an agreement between King John and some of his barons, its principles were carried on to other rulers and nations, and became the fundamental principle of many a free society.

It wasn't long after the signing of the Magna Charta that judges began to develop the legal doctrine that they were to be immune from civil suits against them when acting in their official capacities. Therefore, a judge could abuse his position in favor of the king, or for other purposes, and be immune from civil damages, and to a limited sense, criminal prosecution. Thus the king was again able to oppress the people with impunity. And such it was in England and in the Colonies at the time of the American Revolution. Though the judicial doctrine of judicial immunity was purported to be necessary to prevent the judges from being abused by outside forces (the rulers, or vexatious litigants), in the practical application, it has worked out to produce just the opposite effect.

As the power of oppression was manifest through the judicial and police powers of the King of England, it was important for the liberty-loving Americans to break the power of the English (and international) legal system in America if they were to be free from governmental abuse. This was to be the purpose of the jury system. The idea was that a fully informed jury would be able to decide on matters both of law and facts, with the judge being an impartial person seeing that all things were fairly presented by all parties to the jury.

But there was a problem between the common people and the professional pleaders – lawyers and attorneys. Many of the courts in the early Colonies or in the States for decades after the Revolution did not require one to be a master at law either to aid one in presenting their case, nor to be a judge. Nobility of character, and a true sense of justice were the desired qualifications. But there was a conflict after the Revolution as to being fair to the rights of those who held property and assets but remained loyal to England.

Many had prospered under the English judicial system having advantages through grants and other favors of the king and the powers behind him. The English courts operated to protect the rights of those whom the king favored, and to protect the king and others who held differing powers of influence. In order to make sure that the courts were operating for the benefit of the king and those with him it was necessary also to allow only those who would plead things after the rules which would insure that the king's will (and those with him) be sustained. Thus the Bar association was formed. Such was done in order to be able to control those who would be coming before the courts. If one were to plead for higher rights and a more pure form of justice than that which the king was of a mind to allow, that one could be disbarred from practicing law before the king's courts. So it is in America today.

Only those who meet with the approval of the state bar associations (and the powers behind them) are allowed to practice before most of the courts in the United States. This brings us back to the War of 1812, and the proposed 13th Amendment. By accepting a Title of Nobility or Honor one was in effect swearing allegiance to the English judicial system, and thus to the king. Prior to the outbreak of the war, all but one state necessary to pass the Amendment had ratified it. One of the first things that the British did during the war was to burn the places where our official records were kept. In doing so, they were able to destroy the records of precedences in the American judicial system, and the fact that the full number of the States that had finally ratified the Amendment. Even though it is presumed today that the Amendment was never properly ratified, it was published as a part of the Amendments to the Constitution in many official documents into the 1860s.

Today, a judge can act with open malice and evil intent from the bench, and still be immune from civil liability. There are many cases in which judges have ruled to uphold this perversion of justice. In Bible times the prophets, priests and elders were the judges. Yet they, themselves, were not exempt from the prescriptions of the law in any matter. In the Catholic world during the dark ages it was the priests who would act as judges who exercised the same infallibility and immunity which is claimed by the Pope. And this is understandable for those same leaders (bishops, etc.) are the ones who take one of their own, and by a mere 2/3 vote, proclaim that one Pope – one to whom all must bow and recognize as the "mouthpiece of Christ" – and therefore the ultimate lawgiver.

In 1885, Pope Leo XIII issued an encyclical entitled, "Immortale Dei." In it he declared, "All Catholics should do all in their power to cause the constitutions of States, and legislation, to be modeled on the principles of the true Church." The use of the word "States" therein has a broader context that just the States of America. It includes the States in Europe and elsewhere. The word "State" has a broader meaning than what is commonly understood.

On its face, there is nothing wrong with that statement of the Pope. But, when taken in its actual context, that is, that the Roman Catholic Church purports that it is the "true Church," and that it has "never erred; nor will it ever err," we have the basic evidence of a conspiracy (though, not a secret one) against the Protestant Americans, and the other lovers of truth and liberty who founded this country. As to how this open conspiracy was to bring about the desired end, we must consider one of the means used to further it.

But before we proceed, one last note on this matter of courts and the use of them by leaders to oppress people. The word hell actually has a legal definition "Hell – The name formerly given in England to a place under the exchequer chamber, where the king's debtors were confined." Black's Law Dictionary, Fifth Edition. The legal definition of "Exchequer" is "That department of the English government which has charge of the collection of the national revenue; the treasury department." Ibid. As noted earlier, the king or queen of England is also the head of the Church of England. Therefore, a debtor to the king in his official capacity is a debtor to the Church of England. Thus for one become a debtor to the ruler of England, where there is a union of Church and State (a kingdom "of this world"), he is sent to tax jail – "hell." Though this may seem humorous or ironic, the truth of these things brings us to the heart of the matter –

THE LOVE OF MONEY

Jesus enjoined his followers to "Render, therefore, unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God, the things that are God's." One way this matter has been confused is the fact that "Caesar" (representing civil government, as distinguished from religious government) has been in the habit of wanting to be worshipped as God, and of attempting to usurp His prerogatives over the lives of men. Jesus' statement was made in response to a question regarding the paying of taxes to the Roman authorities. While it is correct for Christians to pay taxes to the civil governments for things which are in its legitimate sphere, it must kept in mind that the civil rulers have regularly attempted to exceed their limitations. Another way that this matter has been confused is that Church leaders have attempted to use civil taxation to fill their coffers – to take from Caesar to pay God, so to speak.

After the time of Jesus' resurrection and ascension to heaven, and the rapid growth in the number of believers among the Jews (Acts 2:41, 47) (which did not sit well with the Jewish leaders), those disciples experienced extreme hardships due to their embracing Jesus' teachings. They suddenly found themselves being discriminated against in the synagogues (the center points of Jewish life) and in their ability to earn money, and to buy and sell. Because of this, their love for truth and justice, and for each other, brought them so close together that it is reported that "all that believed were together, and had all things common; and sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need." Acts 2:44, 45. This gave them a certain amount of financial independence.

It was this financial independence that was to be most feared by those who opposed them. If their enemies could not hold them in check by means of financial oppression, there would be no other way of stopping them except by imprisoning, banishing, or killing them. This same means of the suppression of true religion by financial oppression and for financial gain has been used throughout history, and has underlain every form of tyranny that the world has known, as it is written, "the love of money is the root of all evil" (1 Timothy 6:10). It is the love of money (and the wrongful exercise of the power that attends it), that displaces the love of God, the love of mankind, and of the love of the rest of the creation, and is the "root of all evil."

As the early Christians, by Christ's sacrifice, were being redeemed from the curse of the law which disobedience had brought upon them, they were entering into the blessings of the law through the power of the Holy Spirit. They were being transformed from law breakers to law abiders, as it is written, "But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people." Jeremiah 31:33.

Regarding the law, Jesus said, "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:17-20.

One of God's laws which was not changed when the priesthood was changed (Hebrews 7:12), and which was being written on the disciples hearts was this: "If thou lend money to any of my people that is poor by thee, thou shalt not be to him as an usurer, neither shalt thou lay upon him usury." Exodus 22:25. Usury is interest. The Christians were truly becoming one extended family (as were the Israelites), and thus all were brethren (Jew and Gentile). Their righteousness in this regards exceeded that of the "scribes and Pharisees" in that they didn't lend to the poor among them, for they "had all things common; ... and parted them to all men, as every man had need."

While the Church maintained their love for Christ, they did the same for each other. But as their faith and practices became polluted with the private opinions of those among them who wanted the preeminence, so did their love become polluted. The divisions which then arose among them have led to the sad state of affairs today with the professed Christians lending to each other on interest through the common banking system. While the average Christian doesn't give much, if any, thought to the fact that while they have interest-bearing accounts at banks they are actually business partners with the bankers who generally charge interest on any money they loan, no matter who it is lent to.

It is written, "Thou shalt not lend upon usury to thy brother; usury of money, usury of victuals, usury of any thing that is lent upon usury: Unto a stranger thou mayest lend upon usury; but unto thy brother thou shalt not lend upon usury: that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all that thou settest thine hand to in the land whither thou goest to possess it." Deuteronomy 23:19, 20.

So while the Israelites were allowed to take usury (interest) from strangers, and not from their brothers, the question for Christians is, "Who is my brother?" For the first few years and decades the Church was predominantly Jewish. Therefore, they were already aware of God's law concerning the prohibition against taking usury from their brethren, and this principle was upheld in their fellowships until the time when pagan principles and thinking began to corrupt the love they had for each other. When apostate Church leaders began to disregard God's laws expressed in the Ten Commandments (and particularly the Sabbath commandment), it was only a matter of time before they would also disregard to additional laws which were given to guard and demonstrate the Ten Commandments. It wasn't the pagan things, in and of themselves, which conquered the professed Christians, it was plain selfishness in hand with self-exaltation. As the different Christian denominations of today are divided by doctrines and practices (usually at the behest of their leaders) they have not the true brotherly fellowship which the early Church had when it was one body operating under God's laws. Thus they have allowed themselves to be made sport of by those (whether brother or stranger) who disregard God's laws of lending. They are, in effect, repeating the same error which the Israelites did in Nehemiah's day.


"And there was a great cry of the people and of their wives against their brethren the Jews. For there were that said, We, our sons, and our daughters, are many: therefore we take up corn for them, that we may eat, and live. Some also there were that said, We have mortgaged our lands, vineyards, and houses, that we might buy corn, because of the dearth. There were also that said, We have borrowed money for the king's tribute, and that upon our lands and vineyards. Yet now our flesh is as the flesh of our brethren, our children as their children: and, lo, we bring into bondage our sons and our daughters to be servants, and some of our daughters are brought unto bondage already: neither is it in our power to redeem them; for other men have our lands and vineyards. And I was very angry when I heard their cry and these words. Then I consulted with myself, and I rebuked the nobles, and the rulers, and said unto them, Ye exact usury, every one of his brother. And I set a great assembly against them. And I said unto them, We after our ability have redeemed our brethren the Jews, which were sold unto the heathen; and will ye even sell your brethren? or shall they be sold unto us? Then held they their peace, and found nothing to answer." Nehemiah 5:1-8.


We see therein that in a time of adversity one brother took advantage of the other by exacting interest from him (and her). The same thing happens all of the time today, though it isn't so noticeable because there is a middle man – the banker, or other creditor who lends to the brother on interest. This middle man exacts the interest and then passes it on to his business partners (those with interest-bearing accounts), so that the partners are somewhat removed from the fact that it is quite possibly a brother who is in need of the loan, and that will have to pay interest (usury) to those who just want to profit off of his need. Those partners are also somewhat removed from the reality of the adverse consequences which will transpire should the debtor default on the loan. So while those with the interest-bearing accounts turn somewhat of a blind eye to the brother who is in need, they also do the same to the creditor whose heart becomes hardened when he is given free reign to take advantage of the needy. They, in effect, demonstrate that they care not either for the true welfare of the brother who is in need, nor for the salvation of the lender. Here was Nehemiah's solution to the problem in his day:


"Also I said, It is not good that ye do: ought ye not to walk in the fear of our God because of the reproach of the heathen our enemies? I likewise, and my brethren, and my servants, might exact of them money and corn: I pray you, let us leave off this usury. Restore, I pray you, to them, even this day, their lands, their vineyards, their oliveyards, and their houses, also the hundredth part of the money, and of the corn, the wine, and the oil, that ye exact of them. Then said they, We will restore them, and will require nothing of them; so will we do as thou sayest. Then I called the priests, and took an oath of them, that they should do according to this promise. Also I shook my lap, and said, So God shake out every man from his house, and from his labour, that performeth not this promise, even thus be he shaken out, and emptied. And all the congregation said, Amen, and praised the LORD. And the people did according to this promise." Nehemiah 5:9-13.


But there is also the matter of the Israelites being allowed to take usury from "a stranger." It is further expressed in the following verses:


"For the LORD thy God blesseth thee, as he promised thee: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, but thou shalt not borrow; and thou shalt reign over many nations, but they shall not reign over thee." Deuteronomy 15:6


This blessing, though, is not without conditions


"The LORD shall open unto thee his good treasure, the heaven to give the rain unto thy land in his season, and to bless all the work of thine hand: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow. And the LORD shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if that thou hearken unto the commandments of the LORD thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do them: And thou shalt not go aside from any of the words which I command thee this day, to the right hand, or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them." Deuteronomy 28:12-14.


Although some think that these promises were made only to the bloodline Israelites, such is not the case. All of the covenant promises also apply to all of the those who are grafted into the true vine (Romans 11). There are also certain Jews who believe that these promises are theirs, no matter what their standings are in the Lord's eyes. Many of those do not even practice Judaism. There are even some who profess to be Jewish so they can claim the promises made to the Israelites, but who are not. Since they all believe it is God's will to so bless them, they are attempting to reign over the nations through their monetary policies. And many of the professed Christians go along with the whole scheme because they are partners with them through the interest they receive.

But what most Christians (Jew and Gentile) fail to realize is that those covenant promises are for them, and them alone. The only reason why God was intending to bless His faithful people so that they would be "the head, and not the tail," the lender, and not the borrower, was so that His righteousness, justice, mercies, graces, and salvation may be made known in the world. But the true Christians cannot receive this blessing as long as they ignore, and act contrary to, God's law prohibiting the loaning to their brethren on interest. The same is true regarding all of God's laws as they apply under the New Covenant. If they continue to turn a deaf ear to His high calling then they will continue to be used and abused by each other and others besides.

It is written: "A Psalm of David. LORD, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart. He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour. In whose eyes a vile person is contemned; but he honoureth them that fear the LORD. He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not. He that putteth not out his money to usury, nor taketh reward against the innocent. He that doeth these things shall never be moved." Ps 15:1-5.

And, "He that by usury and unjust gain increaseth his substance, he shall gather it for him that will pity the poor. He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination. Whoso causeth the righteous to go astray in an evil way, he shall fall himself into his own pit: but the upright shall have good things in possession." Proverbs 28:8-10.

THE POWER OF MONEY

It is our understanding of Bible prophecy that America is headed for a financial crisis which will financially spoil her and many of the churches. Though the exact events which precipitate the final collapse are not now known, those circumstances which have made such a thing possible are definable. It is written, "Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people." Proverbs 14:34. Jesus said, "I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:20. As we saw in the preceding section, moral financial dealings are elements of the law which define one's righteousness. Thus for a nation to be exalted by its righteousness its people must maintain their integrity in money matters as specified in God's law. Should they allow the love of money to lead them into sin, then reproach is the inevitable consequence. This is especially so in a nation which professes to be a nation under God, and which trusts in Him. But as not all of the Americans hold a belief in God, it is incumbent upon the churches to set the standard, by example, for the rest of the society. Such was the case with the early church, but times have changed as the leaders of the church changed.

While Christ's Church suffered financial repression by the non-believing Jews at first, and later from the Roman government in the first few centuries of her existence, things took a radical change in the fourth century A.D. As the pagan Roman society was decaying, the Christian society held forth a stabilizing influence which the Roman leaders sought to use to their advantage. Therefore, the emperor Constantine gave favor to the Church by decreeing that the Christians property which previously had been confiscated was to be returned unto them.

There was a problem in the Church, though, at that time which became more severe due to the emperor's decree. There were doctrinal schisms in the Church, as there are today. The Roman church, and those in league with them, were able to get preeminent recognition from the emperor over those who were opposed to their presumptions. This unjust recognition enabled them to be given the property of the opposing factions, and eventually gain civil power to persecute those Christians who disagreed with their doctrines and practices.

So it was with what eventually became the Roman Catholic Church when they took the civil reigns after the fall of pagan Rome. Not only did the church laws become the laws of the state, but the money of the state (taxes) became the property of the church. The rulers of pagan Rome would regularly use public money to support the various pagan gods and rituals as a means of pacifying the masses. The emperors would use the taxes to build temples and to furnish and beautify them. Many craftsman who made idols, and other things used in the pagan rituals had much to lose should pure Christianity be given free reign in the empire, for pure Christianity has no need of such things. Therefore, those nominal Christians who took the civil power in the empire used the public money and opinion to foster the flood of pagan principles which were being cast into the Church, while at the same time persecuting those who clung to the holy covenant.

During the time when the Catholic Church was gaining supremacy over the truly orthodox Christians, and was separating themselves from "everything Jewish" (the fourth century onward) is was debated whether or not Christians should be able to charge interest (usury) from their brethren. It was generally decided that they should maintain the custom of not charging interest on their brethren. Yet over the following centuries that divinely appoint statute was also set aside, thereby further breaking the brotherly bonds which distinguished the apostolic Church.

In most of Europe prior to the time of the Protestant Reformation (the 1500s), no one could coin money without the sanction of the Catholic Church. At the same time, some of the goldsmiths who would turn raw gold into coins had their own scheme going on. They learned that they could give people certificates for the gold which they were holding because the people could not easily carry around much of the heavy gold. Some of them would give out more certificates than they had gold. Today this is known as "fractional reserve banking," and is widely practiced in America. This was used as a means of stealing political power from people. Even though many of the goldsmiths were non-Christian Jews (as distinguished from Christian Jews), the Catholic rulers would profit from them by means of agreements, and would tolerate or even encourage their practices.

For example, if the rulers of England (or any other country) needed money to finance a war, the gold bankers would lend the country credit which they created on paper with the stroke of a pen, and demand gold as the means of repayment, with interest (usury). Soon the bankers owned the real wealth of the countries, even though they didn't necessarily take actual possession of it. Sometimes it was more to their advantage to allow the people of the countries to falsely believe that what they had was actually their own. But regardless of whether those who engaged in immoral financial practices were Jew or Gentile, it is the fact that those who professed to follow Christ also participated (and continue to participate) in the schemes which has brought about many of the financial crisis which have plagued the western world. Were the true Christians not divided by doctrines and practices they would be "the head, and not the tail," the lender, and not the borrower, as God has promised His people.

The Protestant Reformation began to change the situation in Europe when the protesting countries began to coin their own money. The Protestants, seeking to be more honest with God, and in their dealings with their fellow man, had a disdain for the dishonest practice of the money/power grabbers. Whenever there was an attempt in a Protestant country to make their monetary system honest, a war or some other form of disruption (assassination, etc.) would occur to stop the reform.

When the different States of America became united under the national Constitution, our founding fathers were well aware of the monetary problems in Europe and England, and wanted to avoid them here. Therefore, our Constitution only allows Congress and the states to make gold and silver coins as legal "Tender in Payment of Debts." This was designed to make it impossible to create money out of thin air. But the money powers of Europe, and some of their American counterparts were not happy about this.

Over 100 years ago Ellen G. White stated that soon all of the money in the world would be in the control of only a few men. Such it is in America and the world today. Our currency is no longer redeemable in gold or silver, for all of our reserves of gold and silver are under the control of the international bankers, and not the American people. It is not merely the accumulation of vast wealth which motivates those who pursue such a course, but it is also the desire to wield a power to silence those who would expose their sins. 1 Peter 3:8-13.

Those Americans who founded the Republic of California in 1849 put a clause in their original constitution banning banks from there, and allowing only "depositories" for gold and silver. This was changed about 30 years later when their constitution was rewritten under highly questionable circumstances. I am only pointing out the situation in California because many Americans who settled there had seen the abuses which existed in the older, eastern states, and did not want to repeat them there. Another reason was the strong Catholic influence which has been exerted there due to the Catholic Church's sway over the Mexican people and the early Catholic missions there. Many of those who settled California were aware of the banking problems in the Catholic countries in Europe and elsewhere, and did not want the problems to be repeated there.

In the Roman Catholic Church it is the leaders thereof who appoint the priests. The laity have no say in the matter. In California, the judges are now, and have been for a couple of decades or more, appointed by the Governor, whereas they used to be elected by the people. Most of the Governors of California over the last 30 years (or more), have been Catholics (Roman, or Eastern Orthodox). One governor, Jerry Brown, was/is a Jesuit priest. The Jesuit priests are foremost in the Roman Catholic Church's efforts to undermine the Protestant reformation. Therefore, the Catholic Church has been able control the direction that state has been going for a long time. This is especially true regarding taxation and banking.

A few years ago, while California was in an economic recession, the Bank of America (which was originally known as the Bank of Italy) announced it highest earnings ever. So it continues today. Though the founders of that bank supposedly started the bank to mainly help the Italian immigrants (who were almost wholly Catholic), those bankers and their investors have gotten rich by charging interest on those who were supposedly their Christian brethren. The same may be said of Protestant bankers who have charged interest on their brethren. In this sense, those certain Jewish bankers who have been blamed for so much of the world's ills have nothing on their professed Christian counterparts.

During the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln issued some U.S. Treasury Notes (known as "green backs," because of their color) which were based on the American people's ability to stand behind them, rather than on credit borrowed from the bankers. It is no secret that he had a great disdain for immoral banking practices. Some national and international bankers didn't like losing control over our money supply, so Lincoln was assassinated, and the green backs were quickly taken out of circulation.

At the end of the 19th century, the government of America had such a surplus of money from basic excise taxes that we did not know what to do with it. There was, at that time, no tax on a person's compensation for their labor in any sector of society. Many people around the world had the impression that the streets of America were lined with gold. Today, not one cent that the IRS collects goes to running the basic government. All of it goes into the Federal Reserve banks to pay the national debt which is owed to that privately owned banking consortium. The basic government is financed by means of the excises taxes (duties, etc.) it collects. But most of the social programs are funded by borrowed funds which the government pays interest on.

Just after the turn of the century, some of the bankers (national and international) caused a monetary panic whereby America's financial security was made to appear to be on shaky ground. Therefore, in 1913, through devious means, some members of Congress voted in the Federal Reserve Act, which took control of our currency out of the hands of Congress and the Treasury (and thus the American people), and put it in the hands of those unscrupulous bankers who will not acknowledge God's laws of honesty and justice (especially those which are summed up in the words, "Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you."). The Federal Reserve (whose "notes" are the only currency now in circulation in America, and which are no longer redeemable in gold or silver) is not a governmental agency, but rather a private corporation which is a consortium of national and international banks. They do not even attempt to deny this fact, but they certainly are not attempting to make this fact known to many of the American people who lack this knowledge. It certainly is not taught in most public schools.

Not long after, those Federal Reserve bankers gained control of our nation's currency they caused the money to be greatly inflated which affected the stock market. Then after things were set in place they caused the stock market to crash by withholding some 8 billion dollars in loans from some of America's most important companies. Thus began the Great Depression during which many were unable to earn a living. This allowed the Federal Reserve bankers to foreclose on numerous loans on businesses, homes, farms, and even smaller banks.

Prior to that time, a young man or woman could work for about five years in order to earn enough money to pay for a home for his or her family. Now one has to pay their monthly mortgage for 25 or 30 years for a home (usually paying around four times the amount of what it cost to build the house – all of the rest going to the bankers as interest on the loan). But besides the interest on the loan, the bankers profit another way. They know that the homes are on average sold or refinanced every five years, thereby bringing them extra income in refinance charges.

In 1933, things were changed so that our currency was no longer exchangeable for gold, as it had been previously. This was due to the fact that the federal government (which incorporated in 1781) declared bankruptcy. Since then, everything we have has been pledged to pay off the unpayable national debt. Shortly before John Kennedy was assassinated, he had the Treasury issue around four billion dollars worth of U. S. Treasury Notes, which were in competition with the Federal Reserve Notes. After he was killed, Lyndon Johnson immediately took them out of circulation. In 1964, things were again changed so that our currency was no longer exchangeable for silver. Now, our currency, i.e., Federal Reserve "Notes," are only evidences of debt and credit, with nothing of real value to back them. When President Ronald Reagan first met with the members of the Federal Reserve Board it was reported publicly that he stated to the effect that they were the most selfish men he had ever met.

Today, all of our domestic welfare programs, foreign aid programs, and even the social security system are funded on credit, many of which we pay interest on. In many of those programs the civil governments (the modern day Caesars) are attempting to do what the churches should be doing. They are also demanding the worship which God should receive for creating our desires of benevolence towards the poor, the elderly, the parentless, etc. God has given to the churches the responsibility to care for the sick, needy, and elderly among themselves, and those with whom they come in contact. It is the church's glory to respond in God-given love to the needs of humanity. Yet most of the leaders of the churches not only do not accept or preach the truth of these things, but actually act in a manner which shows that they believe that they are the ones who are to be the sole beneficiaries of the congregations benevolence.

The civil governments are actually forcing many people who do not have the personal convictions to help the needy to give financial aid to people and countries whether or not they want to give the money to them. This causes resentment towards the government in those people. God never forces anyone to be benevolent, but instead teaches that benevolence is the root of happiness for the giver and is a fundamental principle in godly living. Instead of the congregations using their money to help their own poor, sick, and elderly, many of them are using it to build bigger and more elaborate buildings, and in supporting the lavish lifestyles of their ministers or themselves, leaving many of those duties to be done by the civil governments or private companies who operate for profit. In this regard, many so-called Protestant ministers are catching up with the Catholic hierarchy in hoarded wealth and in the oppression and neglect of the poor.

It is apparent than most of the leaders of the churches prefer to have their congregations linked up with unbelievers in an insurance pyramid scheme like Social Security rather than having them establish their own self sustaining welfare program where they are free from political corruption in this matter. They are attempting to make America (and eventually the world) Christ's kingdom "of the world." But as Christ's kingdom is a theocracy, and not a democratic republic, they will have to do away with the present form of government in order to set up an image of the world under the papacy (Revelation 17:3), with the elders (bishops) of the current Sunday keeping denominations as the controlling forces – an American papacy, as it were.

While the leaders of the Catholic churches have failed to promote the true love among their congregations whereby they would come to state of brotherly love, unity and fellowship which the apostolic church attained when they had all things in common and gave their all for each other, for Christ's sake (Acts 2:44, Acts 4:32), they have been ardent in selling their services – whether it be the selling of indulgences in the middle ages by the Catholic hierarchy or their profit-making schemes of charging money for saying Masses for souls purported to be in Purgatory, lighting candles while donating money for prayers to be answered, selling of icons, images, and crosses (many of which are blessed by a priest to give them special import, even though the one blessing them may be morally corrupt). Add to these their bingo games and what you have is a hierarchy which profits off of the laity, with the laity getting little in return. It is not that one's giving should be done for a reward other than a "well done" from the Lord, but it is giving which is urged upon them by superstition, fear, and emotion.

The same is generally true of the Protestants, and especially those known as Evangelicals. They have their money raising revivals, praise-a-thons, lotteries, bazaars, and numerous special little items which they give to people who give them money. While the Catholic hierarchy have their expensive and impressive apparel, the popular Evangelical leaders generally have their own lavish clothing to impress people. Thus the widow's mite (Mark 12:42, 43) is taken to glorify the pride of the ministers.


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This brings us back to the matter at hand – the warfare against the Branch Davidian Seventh Day Adventists. As mentioned earlier, Victor Houteff (the founder of the Davidian association) had established our own bank. As the association grew, so would the functions of the bank. It was run on Biblical principles, and people who eventually came to us for loans would receive much better treatment than if they had gone to those big corporations who are only into banking for mere profit reasons. Actually, we had a complete program which would make our church members completely independent of the government social programs, and the self-interested bankers who disregard God's laws of love in financial matters.

In this time of the restitution of all things the "root of all evil" (the love of money) is to be uprooted from the hearts of the saints. In their return to "the faith which was once delivered unto the saints" (Jude 1:3), it is God's intention to supply His people with perfect order in all things, including financial matters. Therefore it is imperative that God's people have the ability to do right with their money. As it is now, not only are Christians lending to each other with usury through the common banks, but are also unknowingly investing in things which are not in God's order, and possibly even specifically antagonistic to the work of the Gospel. Though most banks, by their charters, are required to allow people to have non-interest bearing accounts if they choose, very few take advantage of this provision of law so that their hands would be clean from the pollution of greed.

As stated previously, the Lord showed Victor Houteff, the leader of the Davidians, that we were not to rely on the government to take care of us, or to do our duties towards the poor for us. Therefore, we give a second tithe which goes into a trust fund for the care of our poor, and the sick or elderly among us who cannot afford to pay for their care themselves. In 1962, we had almost a half million dollars in the trust fund for about 2,700 members. This was a threat to the credit/profit-based governmental social programs, and private for-profit insurance companies. Not that we then had a huge sum of money, but, rather, that we had the Biblical program which, if left unchecked, would soon have produced a viable alternative to the socialistic governmental programs. Keep in mind that that second tithe money was raised among a relatively small number of people who strictly confined their work within the S.D.A. Church (which at that time only numbered around one million members worldwide), and was initiated during the Great Depression.

This was also embarrassing, and even threatening to the vast majority of churches who do not care for their own general membership (especially the Seventh Day Adventists). It may be easily observed that the hierarchy of the Catholic Church uses the money they collect for themselves, with but little concern for the individuals of their congregations. Most of the nuns take vows of poverty, and even those of them who take jobs teaching in public schools give their wages to the order to which they belong (which ends up under the control of the leading priest or bishop). In general, the leaderships of the Protestant churches follow similar practices in regards to their own clergy.

Although a few other congregations, such as the Mormons, have their own types of welfare systems, they do not hold to the high standards of justice and fairness as do we. This may seem boastful, but it is simply the truth. This is especially true in regards to fair and equal dealing with women, and racial minorities. Our fair treatment toward women and minorities was also seen as a threat to those churches who would misuse the Bible to oppress women and minorities, and consume their money on their self-indulgent, self-exalting programs. What is seen as even more threatening to many groups is our stand against secret societies and occultic practices. Those who associate themselves with the Masonic fellowships and other secret societies, witchcraft, or satanism (or, Lucifer worship, as some of them prefer to call it) in their varied forms cannot stand our Judeo-Christian principles – i.e., the law of God which demands above-board methods in all dealings.

Our stand against secret societies such as the Masons takes on particular significance in this case considering that until fairly recently Waco was the only place where the Masonic order would hold it annual meetings. While many see the Masonic order as being benign, others are aware that it has more than one face. There can be no doubt but that they hold an opinion of their self importance which is not open to criticism. Being a secret society, with oaths and initiations, its true nature is not readily discernable. But what can be clearly understood is that organization is extremely powerful, and reaches into many facets of society. The general Adventists objection to it is that it fosters intemperance and works counter to the sanctifying influence of the Holy Spirit through its merriment, feasting, and drinking. Therefore, it should be understandable why they would not like a group such as the Branch which, by preaching the straight truth of the Gospel, could have such a detrimental effect on their organization, especially in the place where they hold their annual parties.

Added to all the above reasons why many would wish to silence us, is our teachings regarding the prophecies concerning the end of the present age, and the establishment of Christ's never-ending kingdom. Many churches are teaching that there is going to be a "secret rapture" during which the faithful (or a portion of them) will be taken from the earth before a time of great trouble which is to come on the earth before Christ returns. The variations on this theme are too many to elaborate on. The same may be said regarding their various opinions on the timing and nature of the setting up of Christ's kingdom. What is of note about this point is that the doctrine of the secret rapture came into being around 1850, the time when the Adventists were receiving clearer light on the nature of the cleansing of the heavenly Sanctuary, and the trials and true deliverance of God's people as they go through said time of trouble on earth and are delivered into Christ's kingdom.

Many are so determined to be regarded as credible in their expositions on prophetic writings that they are acting in such a manner as to produce certain events which will fit into their portrayal of things, even though those things are not what God has in mind as the true fulfillment of the prophecies. For example, though it is clearly prophesied in the Bible that a remnant of all of the tribes of Israel are to return to the promised land and possess the land forever, the fact that the United Nations created the State of Israel, does not mean that those prophecies have met their fulfillment by those actions. Even some of the most devout Jews do not find the actions of the Zionists which brought about the United Nations actions as being the fulfillment of the prophecies concerning the remnant who finally inherit the land.

For example, even among devout Jews some do not see that the return which they are now experiencing in Palestine, and the current methods which are being employed to extend their borders are after God's order because a large portion of those identifiable Jews who have gone to Israel are not really religious and may not even believe in God. According to the Holy Scriptures it is only the remnant of the seed of Abraham who exercise faith in the Messiah and His ways that are to receive the promised inheritance of the land. Unbelievers have no part in the covenant promises regardless of their blood line, and never have had such in the past as sacred history has well shown. And, as a matter of fact, the Scriptures declare that the unfaithful among them will yet be punished in their own land for their hypocrisy (Isaiah 10:5-12). Furthermore, at the time when those prophecies concerning the faithful remnant are fulfilled it is written that "No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper" (Isaiah 54:17). Such is not the case there today as terrorism is wreaking havoc on Israeli society. Please read the whole of Isaiah 54.

The real reason why some wish to have it appear that the current return to Israel is the fulfillment of God's prophecy, is that they are setting the stage for what they want to call "the battle of Armageddon." This is so, because they want to set up a counterfeit of Christ's kingdom after the war which they are about to cause. Soon the nations are going to stop fighting each other, so that they can concentrate their actions against God's true people who have the pure truth. There is most definitely to be a kingdom set up over which Christ will be the absolute ruler (Daniel 2:34, 35, 45), and which will extend peace over the earth as the waters cover the sea (Isaiah 11:9; Habakkuk 2:14), but not all nations will choose to be a part of it (Zechariah 14:16-19).

At the same time, and in opposition to Christ's kingdom will be the atheistic scarlet colored beast (Revelation 17:3), which at first will be under the guidance of Babylon the Great (false religion), but which will eventually unseat her and spoil her, and then continue on without her (Revelation 17:1-18:24). The underlying principles of the counterfeit and those of the true will be as diametrically opposed as are black and white. Sweet love, peace, truth, justice, fairness, righteousness, temperance, and joy will characterize the true, while, every form deception and oppression will characterize the counterfeit. There will be much light and power in the counterfeit, but no sweet love, joy, and peace. The counterfeit must appear to be the true, or else it would be of no use.

The counterfeit will also have its "signs and lying wonders" (2 Thessalonians 2:9), false miracles (Revelation 13:14; 16:14), and false prophets (Revelation 19:20, 20:10). Christ has said, "Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? ... Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them." Matthew 7:16, 20. We have also been given a standard whereby we may differentiate between Christ's righteousness and its counterfeit. It is written, "To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them." Isaiah 8:20.

Those who understand the principles for which we stand, and God's intention to greatly bless those who turn from the commandments and traditions of men, and do His will as revealed in the Bible, believe that they have much to lose (though they really do not) should we go forward unmolested. And as they cannot refute our positions in an open and candid manner, they have to use their behind the scenes forces to blacken our characters and name, and steal our property. At one point the U.S. Government tried to get the lawful owner of Mt. Carmel to pay for the clean up of the place after the 1993 conflict. This in spite of the fact that the whole mess was caused by their deciding to raid Koresh's compound rather than arresting him alone off of the property as they could have.

THE MARK OF THE BEAST

This bring us back to the mark of the beast, and more particularly how it will be brought into being, and how this matter relates to the situation with Koresh. As stated before, the general Adventist belief is that the civil enforcement of Sunday keeping will be the mark of the beast. But it is not the atheists or pagans who will be foremost in promoting the civil enforcement of Sunday laws, but instead it will be those who profess to be followers of Him who said, "My kingdom is not of this world." (John 18:36), and who also said regarding God's law (including the seventh day Sabbath commandment), "For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." Matthew 5:18. Though not all of the matter was understood in Ellen White's day, the underlying conflicting principles were known, and have been more clearly manifested since her times. The basic principle of the beast's mark is man's ways independent of God's ways. This will have to have an effect on most all phases of life and society in order for it to be able to be enforced so "that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name." (Revelation 13:17).

In 1976 Ben Roden published a tract entitled, The Energy Crisis and The Sunday Sacredness. In that tract he quoted news articles which showed that there was an energy crisis coming which would lead to a prohibition on driving on Sundays. Though the immediate situation in the 1970's is past, the stage is being set for a repeat of that energy crisis on a much larger scale. Of course, this will be used as the first step to the enforcement of Sunday keeping.

In 1978 Ben and Lois Roden published another tract entitled, The Master Plan for America, As Seen Through The Eyes of the News. The focus of the tract is the resurgence of Catholic thinking, and of the Pope's dominance in the so-called Christian societies. One thing that was pointed out therein was Senator Ted Kennedy's (a Catholic) womb to tomb health care bill, entitled The Health Act for All Americans. Though the bill did not pass at that time, its supporters are still trying to bring in that socialistic program whereby the government will act as overseers of all facets of the welfare of people.

Hidden within that bill was a rider which provided for the government to evaluate mental health, and particularly mental health in regards to religious thinking. If one held religious ideas which were not thought to be healthy, or which may be thought to lead to some illegal activity, that person could be placed into a mental health facility for their own good, and for the good of society, all without due process of law. According to the provisions in the plan, The National Council of Churches will be given the power to establish guidelines to determine what is healthy in religious thinking. All of the churches which make up that organization are Sunday keepers. Sabbath keepers are not allowed to be a part of it.

A few years back the situation involving Jim Jones and the mass suicide of his followers in the People's Temple would certainly fall within the purview of that law. But that incident was not enough to convince enough Americans to create thought police to evaluate religious thinking. The incident with Koresh has really added fuel to that unholy fire.

Almost immediately after the 1993 shootout, standoff, and fire, certain legislators were demanding laws which authorized government agencies to investigate and evaluate and act against religious thinking which certain others could determine as being harmful to society. Such was attempted under the guise of the threat of "domestic terrorism." There were still enough right thinking legislators to hold back that forthcoming darkness at that time. The whole episode with Koresh was a setup from the beginning in order to not only blacken the reputation of the Branch Davidian Seventh Day Adventists and to destroy the true religious revival which is to precede the second coming of Christ, but also to set a precedent and create the appearance of the need for religious thought police to prevent the needless loss of life which was blamed on Koresh's teachings.

What is of note here is that Koresh's teachings and practices would have not caused the results they did, had those who were acting under the guise of the government not acted as they did. One action precipitated the other. Just as Koresh had led his followers into a certain mind set, so had the leaders of the law enforcement agencies. Each was as radical as the other. Each had a certain disregard of the humanity involved. Each had given up a certain amount of their wills to their leaders whose orders they willingly followed. Each side was also acting on disinformation. They could have arrested him off of the property had they really wanted to, but they would not even try. But rather than trusting in wisdom, they chose to trust in weapons and force. I'm sure that many of the families of those law enforcement officers who were wounded or killed would have preferred to have had them first try an alternative method of arresting Koresh. Though armed force may be justified as a last resort, it is another matter when it is freely used without exhausting any alternatives. The kingdom of heaven is not for those with the “shoot first and ask questions later” mentality. "Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword." Matthew 26:52.

In 1981 Lois published a tract entitled, Awake, Don't Go To Sleep. This tract addressed the resurgence of Catholicism, especially among nominal Protestants. At the time, President Ronald Reagan had appointed a presidential envoy to the Vatican. Over the preceding decades there had been many heated debates on the matter of the U.S. government's attitude towards the Vatican, which had left that questionable position unfilled. This position of envoy did not require Congressional approval, as would have an Ambassador. Only two other presidents had ever sent an envoy to the Vatican, Presidents Roosevelt and Truman, both under strong public protest. This appointment was significant because he was sending an envoy to a church. No one has sent an envoy to any other church. Over 90 years before then, Ellen White had said this type of action on the part of nominal Protestants was coming in order to solidify their error of enforcing Sunday laws.

In 1982 Lois published another tract called Church and State – Keep them Separate. This tract shed light on the grassroots movements which were active in trying to establish America as a "Christian Nation" with the ability to define Christianity, and to punish dissenters from that legislated standard. It also pointed out the proposed central place of the Pope in defining the standard. Though the names and faces may have changed with the passing of time, the principles which are acted upon are the same – making an image of the world of the past under the Papacy (Revelation 13:14-17).

These various tracts were widely distributed. Though the stem of the tide to rejoin Church and State as an image of what was in the dark ages has been held back, somewhat, it nevertheless continues to beat at the doors of America through the nominal Christians. Recent developments in such arenas as school vouchers, and tax money going to faith-based organizations only go to show that the warfare continues. A good example of this is President Clinton. Though he was raised as a Baptist, and continues to profess to be one, he was influence heavily by Catholic Jesuit priests while he attended Georgetown University. He was so willing to compromise his religious heritage to make concessions to Catholic ways that not only was he elected to be president of his freshman class at a Catholic University, but he also not long ago addressed the Pope as "Holy Father." Such an action was diametrically opposed to the traditional Baptist stand on the Papacy. Giving common respect to someone in the Pope's position is truly the act of a Christian, but acquiescing to the principle which gives flattering titles to men (Job 32:21, 22) is a different matter.

Yet such is the spirit which is at war with the principle of righteousness which the Branch message and movement entail. That is, the spirit of ungodly compromise. It was seen in the way people took advantage of a bad situation to dramatize and falsify the true nature and character of the Branch. Those who knew the truth of the matter (Koresh being an aberration of the true Church) suppressed this knowledge in order to gain something they presumed to be an advantage. Many were ensnared in the trap, and failed in their personal vows to be truthful and fair. Such things are never without negative consequences.


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There is yet another aspect to this controversy. That being our stand on the place of natural remedies and methods in healing the sick. While we acknowledge that there are times and circumstances which may call for the use of drug medicines and other common medical procedures, we also strictly hold to the position that the vast majority of ailments can be cured by changes of lifestyle, and through the use of the simple thing which God has placed on the earth. Among those things are the intelligent use of herbs, pure water, fresh air, and sunshine, in conjunction with proper exercise, diet, and rest. For information on these things please see The "I'm Being Religious about Eating" Diet.

In the 1930s, the American Medical Association, which consists solely of allopaths (doctors who rely almost exclusively on drug medicines and surgical procedures) gained political dominance over naturopaths (those who rely almost exclusively on herbal remedies, and natural cures such as hydrotherapy, massage, etc., and surgery only in last resort situations). One of the biggest arguments the allopaths use against herbal remedies is that one does not know the actual strength of the herbs, as they vary due to the many factors in their growing, gathering, and processing. Yet one of the biggest problems with drug medicines is that they are really killing many people because they are being given doses that are too large. This happens all of the time in hospitals, and the death is simply attributed to "complications."

Not only are overdoses quite common, but many who use drug medicines suffer from their side effects, and from harmful interactions with other drugs they take. A great many drug medicines are only synthesized versions of things which exist in nature, but which can produce much greater financial profits in synthetic versions. Yet, because of the political advantage the big drug companies have, government programs use the people's money to support the use of drug medicines, and the research which produces them, while those who would use the simpler, less harmful herbs are left to pay for them themselves. The average doctor has no more knowledge of true nutritional needs and healing than does the average lawyer of constitutional law, which in both cases only constitutes a very small percentage of their training.

The problem with government controlled health care lies not in the principle that men can and should work together for their mutual benefit, but in the fact that there are powers which want to dominate the matter that are neither truly helpful nor Godly. That is, the programs and methods employed are designed to fill the pockets of those who promote them, and to satisfy their ruthless ambitions to dominate men's consciences and wills, and have themselves recognized as the saviors of the world. It is not uncommon for allopaths to not only bad mouth those who promote viable alternative healing methods used by naturopaths, but to send their patients to the grave because they have discouraged them from even trying the alternative. It wasn't long ago that one of America's leading physicians widely broadcast his opinion that one could get all the nutrition he needed from the average fast food restaurant. Yet recently one man documented on film his attempt to do exactly that for thirty days, and had only the report of numerous ailments to present as the results.

The world which these so-called health professionals seek to preserve from change (the one they want to save) is the one in which they can foster the lust of the eyes, the lusts of the flesh, and the pride of life (1 John 2:16). For example, it is an Adventist belief and teaching that much of that which is called mental illness is caused by intemperance – whether it be in matters of dietary practices, sexual habits, blind ambition in business, wrong entertainment choices, or even improper sleeping habits. Not the least bit behind these are the problems caused by consciences smitten by the guilt of sin. It is also our belief that in order to correct these mental problems that the causes must be addressed first – sin (whether it be spiritual or physical). But the common solution in the general medical community today is to use various means to mask or eliminate the symptoms without addressing the true cause. Of course, such solutions bring profit to the pockets of their promoters (the love of money being at the root of all evil), and exalt them in the eyes of those who in ignorance trust in them.

The most prominent of those powers which encourage such practices are the patented medicine companies and those unrighteous doctors who rely on them so heavily rather than addressing the real causes of diseases, and the many simple remedies which are available in nature. This is not to impugn the motives of all doctors who freely prescribe drug medications, for many are simply doing what they were wrongly educated to do, and/or what they believe they are limited by law to do, or by the insurance companies which pay them. It is not that there are not circumstances where drug medicines are helpful in an emergency or in last resort situations, but the problem lies in that drug medicines are generally used when they are not called for. For example, a study done in the past few years came to the conclusion that in as many as 70% of the cases where antibiotics were being prescribed they were useless for the condition they were supposed to be helping. That is, the problems were viral, not bacterial, and so the antibiotics had no real effect on the illness. Yet the doctors, thinking to be heroes and saviors, prescribed the drugs which did no real good, and which could have had devastating side effects.

Along with the improper prescriptions for antibiotics are the use of vaccines and flu shots. These are used to combat viruses which are communicated largely through flesh food sources. The polio vaccine has been credited with practically eliminating polio in America. Yet few consider that at the same time the vaccine was being widely distributed great improvements were being made in the way slaughter houses handled the contaminated meats, and the way that diseases were being treated in the animals before they were slaughtered. And few are aware of the thousands of people each year who would have contracted the disease by means of the vaccination they received. But as the viruses which live in the animals become immune to the drugs which are given to them to control them, stronger drugs are used, and these themselves are passed on to the consumer of the flesh, causing other problems.

The same situation exists with flu shots. Sometimes whole communities get the flu from a common contaminated meat source, yet practically no one wonders why such is so. So rather than addressing the real cause of the problem, the drug companies promote their flu shots, and each year profit off of the people's ignorance of the cause and effects of what they are being given to eat.

The blame cannot be wholly laid at the feet of the doctors and drug companies, for the patients themselves have not taken the preventative measures they may have, or are not interested in altering their practices and habits, but rather are only looking for a quick fix of the immediate problem. It is worthy of note that doctors often die of the same types of maladies as their patients because they live the same injurious lifestyles. They are not immune to self-induced cancers, liver problems, heart problems, or the many other ailments caused by intemperance.

Not only are drug medicines used when they are not needed, but they are used because they have a higher profit margin for the hospitals than the use of a simple means of curing problems. For example, many people with fevers will lay in hospitals for days being given drugs to reduce the fever rather than being given the less harmful cold water applications and natural means to cause them to pass off the impurities in their systems which are causing the fever, and which produce much more rapid and beneficial results, but are more labor intensive. Then following the use of the drugs the patient finds that they have to recover from the harm done to them by those drugs. This is especially true with oral antibiotics which destroy the good bacteria in the digestive tract as they pass through the body on their way to attack some bad bacteria.

Similar profit-motivated practices exist in nursing homes. Elderly people who are weakened by some malady, are given meats which they cannot even chew properly instead of other types of foods which contain the essential nutrients whereby proteins are produced and which they could eat with greater ease. Add to this the fact that those elderly, and others who are weak, generally will take longer to take their meals, but they are not given enough time to eat because the attendants aren't given the time to sit with them for the length of time that they require to eat in their condition. So as an alternative to giving them foods which they can chew, and the proper amount of time to eat it, the nursing homes will just put a feeding tube down their throat or into their stomach, and an intravenous tube to give them some form of nutrition. But in using feeding tubes they greatly increase the chances of developing additional maladies because there is really no substitute for someone mixing their food with their own saliva before it goes into the stomach.

These things are not only done in nursing homes, but are also a common practice in most hospitals because the high wages and profits which the investors in the hospitals and the doctors demand for themselves could not be had without higher costs to the patients than if the natural ways and means followed. Though it would be better for the patient to pay for the less expensive attendant to properly feed them than it would be for them to pay the high priced specialist to treat the complications which come from the improper care, such is rarely done. It is not in vain that it is written, "They that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows." 1 Timothy 6:9, 10.

What is more significant is that most M.D.s have very little or no training in the true science of nutritional needs and dietary practices. But seeing how much of their training has been subsidized by the drug companies, it is no wonder why so many doctors place such little importance on the simple sciences of nature. The same is true in the psychological field. Drugs are used to mask the symptoms, while the causes go untreated. It is notable that in Revelation 18:23 we read of Babylon the Great, "thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived." The Greek word which is translated "sorceries" is pharmakeia, which is where we get our word "pharmaceutical." With this in mind it is no wonder why so many drugs are being touted as medical miracles.


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With the foregoing in mind, it should be clear to see why some people would desire that the things involving Koresh would come out just the way they did, including the gross misrepresentations of the true Branch Davidian Seventh Day Adventist church. It is not that we merely point out the errors of others, but rather that we are presenting people with the truth and with a viable alternative to the confusion and weakness which attend erroneous doctrines. While there are many who hold forth portions of the truth, God has purposed to bring all of His people into one movement by putting all of His present truth therein. The apostle Paul said,

"Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?" 1 Corinthians 1:10-13.

His question was rhetorical. Of course Christ was not divided, yet those who professed to be his followers evidently were. Today Christ's professed followers are divided into numerous factions, each one founded on the teachings of this or that man or woman, all claiming to base their theories on His very word, the Bible. As the living Word of God, Christ, Himself was subjected to abuse, so also has His written word been subjected to the same abuse through the many translations currently available.

Many of the newer translations are themselves not even true translations, but mere paraphrases of the King James version. Even the King James version, which was fairly true to the ancient manuscripts which were available at the time it was made, has many inaccuracies in it which are the products of the private opinions of the translators, and which reflect the errors common in their days. That version is also know as the Authorized version, because it was authorized by King James 1. That is, the work of the translation was set in motion by the authorization of the king. But he died before it was finished. Thus he never actually put his stamp of approval upon the final product, nor would it have made any difference to its accuracy if he had.

What is probably one of most obvious inaccuracies therein is the use of the word "Easter" in Acts 12:4, where we read, "... intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people." The Greek manuscripts contain the word "pasha" in that verse. Everywhere else "pasha" appears it is translated correctly as "Passover." So why did the King James translators agree, contrary to their own stated rules and procedures, to purposely mistranslate "pasha" as "Easter?"

The most obvious answer is that at the time the KJV was made the Christians were keeping Easter and not Passover, and the text in question referred to a time after Christ's resurrection, which, according to the thinking of the day, meant that the Christians were no longer observing Passover in any way, but rather were keeping a feast known as "Easter." This thinking had its roots in the anti-Jewish sentiments which pervaded the professed church in the centuries when paganistic thinking entered the church, and pagans were given benefits by the Roman government for joining the church.

Though the matter of pasha/Easter is one very obvious inaccuracy, others which affect more complex doctrines are not so easily identifiable because the leaders of today are continuing to propagate the same erroneous thinking which led to their existence. Many speak of the infallibility of God's written word, when in reality what they really mean is that their interpretation of their chosen translation is infallible. Even when there have been actual revisions made of the KJV, and certain errors therein corrected, additional errors have been introduced by changing language which was already more true to the ancient manuscripts in order to discredit a doctrine which is not held in esteem by the revisers.

The Catholics have their versions which reflect their doctrines, and which tend to negate the Protestant doctrines. The different Protestant denominations have their revisions which tend to bolster their distinct doctrines while negating those which they reject. Yet others, such as Baptists cling to the KJV because they have built up what they believe to be solid doctrines on the shaky foundation of the mistranslations therein. It is notable that the Baptists, in general, are foremost in declaring the "inerrancy" of the Bible (by which they mean the KJV). Even the Jews who have professed to have taken great pains in preserving the authenticity of the language of the Scriptures in their copying of the ancient manuscripts have been found to have introduced private opinions by changing the gender and number (singular, plural) of words as they apply to the Godhead in order to hide the fact that the Creators of heaven and earth were represented in both the plural, and in the masculine and feminine genders in the ancient Hebrew Holy Scriptures. This has been done to hide the truth of the Family of God.

Yet despite the fact that men have done to God's written word what their counterparts in the past have done to God's only begotten Son, there is still the presence of the Holy Spirit in the Holy Writ to bring salvation to the humblest seeker of truth and righteousness.

SUMMARY

Herein we have seen many of the elements of the warfare against the Branch Davidian Seventh Day Adventists, and its proceedings. The lessons learned from the situation are manifold. The first involving why and how those who ended up with Koresh may be summed up in the following verses:


"Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of?" Isaiah 2:22.


"Trust ye not in a friend, put ye not confidence in a guide." Micah 7:5.


God was the only one who Koresh's followers should have been trusting for their fates. But as they had long before put their trust first in themselves (they felt that their own natural powers of perception were sufficient to understand truth), and secondly in Koresh – whose doctrines provided one excuse after another for them remaining sinners, as he, and from forsaking the high calling of the Gospel which they heard in the true Church. They cannot blame God for their fate, for they made their choices without His counsel.

The second involving the same principle is that similar things can happen to anyone who fails to acknowledge and accept God as the overseer of their minds and bodies. While Koresh and his followers were trusting in self and man rather than God, so were those who came against them. After the end of the matter, many people expressed their disgust about the way the whole thing went down. Many lost faith in their government leaders, while others hardened their hearts in regard to the way human life was cheapened in the name of law enforcement so that they could justify in their minds the errors in judgment which caused the losses of life.

But the real lesson to be learned from all of this is what will be the consequences to the nation in which such deceptions, misrepresentations, and misuses of power have taken place. The question is whether or not God can be true to His principles of truth and justice by leaving those who walk in their arrogance unrebuked or unpunished. Whether they be those who profess to be servants of God, or those who don't profess anything, true repentance is called for. Seldom does the laity of a church rise above the standard practiced by their leaders. The same is true in regards to societies. Yet such is what is of paramount importance today.

Mere boasts of God being with us will not be enough to see us through the trials and tribulations which are coming on the world. As pointed out at the beginning of this presentation, "the LORD hath a controversy with his people." Micah 6.2. The Lord has stated the heart of the controversy in the words, "O my people, what have I done unto thee? and wherein have I wearied thee? testify against me." (verse 3). So what is it that He has done unto His people, to weary them?

Over the past few centuries He has given His people reformers who have worked to correct the errors in doctrines and practices which have nearly drowned the Church. He has taken them from the places of entrenched controversies (Europe and the Middle East), and placed them in America and has given them a noble form of government whereby they have had the opportunity to be free to enter into the restitution of truth and righteousness. But they have slighted these blessings and have continued in their stubbornness of maintaining their erroneous ways and divisions. Not only have they failed to advance with the light and power given to prepare His people for Christ's second coming, but are actually working contrary to His will by linking up with each other to maintain their respective private opinions, theories, and practices.

But what is even worse is that they are linking up with those who have no regard for God and His law. It is said that "politics make strange bedfellows." Yet tragedies, calamities, and wars make even stranger ones. It is written: "The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe." (Proverbs 29:25). "Sanctify the LORD of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread." (Isaiah 8:13).


"Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil." (Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14).


-----o-----


For a basic overall delineation of the events related herein as they involve Vernon Howell/David Koresh, please see Declaration Concerning The Unlawful Activities Of Vernon Howell, (A.K.A. David Koresh), His Followers, And Others


-----o-----


To show that Vernon's (and Satan's) intentions for coming to the Branch was to stop Lois from publishing her and Ben's messages we present his own words from a tape which he sent to the field about a year after Lois died, entitled The Seven Thunders – Written or Not.


Note: non-italicized statements in brackets "[ ]" are mine.


"1983, 10 days prior to Atonement a very very special message came to us at Mount Carmel Center. A message which God by His own word entitled the Serpent's Root - the Serpent's Root. Because of the title and because that the Branch's had for years been slacking in their Bible studies which Brother Roden and Sister Roden had consistently been telling them that they must study that they may know truth the message took everyone by surprise. George B. Roden has presently as it appears received Mount Carmel Center and its assets. The decease of Sister Roden should be a shock to many people. But as this tape is being sent to all the Branch's who had professed to be in the present truth, I would like to review a few things that were stated by the seventh angel, before all this trouble and all this shame came about.

"In 1983 after returning from Odessa, Texas after doing work out there for Mrs. Roden, I came back to Mount Carmel upon her request. I had been having some trouble in regards to... uh... certain things [masturbation – by his own testimony]. I had been on Mount Carmel for quite a while without any type of social life [fornication]. Even George would probably admit that I even talked with him on this subject a couple of times. So, upon my return to Mount Carmel, and after certain complications, I had a discussion with Sister Roden. I had been uh... doing certain things [masturbation] in my own life which I never were able to, in my own strength, seem to overcome. But one thing I had done when I first came to Mount Carmel, I never realized the magnitude and enormity of the sin, and that was talking about a messenger derogatory and even like jesting.

"This I had done [with Clive and others in the printing room, especially] and the Lord had rebuked me on it. And so I came to Sister Roden and I came to apologize. And upon apologizing, that day, this message came. It was that simple. [This is not true, for he first presented his message more than one year before, and kept referring to the fact that all had rejected him the first time, and were in the trouble with George, etc., because of previously rejecting him.]

"My mind saw panoramic views of Scripture and as I was verbally explaining these things that I had seen to Sister Roden, she told me, she says, you have to present this to the class. And then began this message, and here we are today. Sister Roden, as everyone will avouch, was very strong in this message and not once did she ever write anything against the doctrine of this message. And not once did she ever raise her voice against this message. Not once. [not true] She insinuated things [regularly]. She insinuated.. But just like we had learned under the Serpent's Root message in Ezekiel 14 that those who fail to progress with the present truth properly weighing every point of evidence will fall.

"When Sister Roden's message came did Brother Roden stand up and say, oh this is true, everybody accept it. No, he did not, he said you must study on your own. George had for quite some time been stating that Sister Roden was a type of William Miller. Ok, I'll admit that, but only in the light of Ezekiel 14. Which tells us that if a man comes to a prophet with an idol in his heart and the stumbling block of his iniquity before his face God will, read it for yourself, deceive that prophet.

"Those who had placed all their faith in William Miller's experience not properly weighing Biblical evidence for the foundation of their faith were just simple tares in Satan's heavy half to eventually flood the Church out. That's the way the devil always does it. Every time a new message comes that supersedes the past message, many do not ask is it truth, but they say by whom does it come. And if it does not come through the channel that they wish they will excuse themselves with their own investigation. That's why when the Passover was called in 1984, there was two classes; those who entertained themselves up at the Church house, wearing weapons on their sides, and those who humbly sat and learned day by day the lessons taught by the Spirit of God down at Perry's house [not at Lois' house were regular Church meeting were held]. And if we can bring to the attention of the people, we would like for you to remember that Sister Roden came to those studies, didn't she? Yes. [For the same reasons that I did, to try and recover those who were deceived by Vernon]. And she kept coming back. And when we had to go and we had to get a place down at the black Church, who kept coming to the meetings? Sister Roden. [to prove him wrong] And now that she is deceased, which God foretold she would be, if certain members did not accept the present truth by investigating it. We'll admit, and I'm sure that those at Mount Carmel know, that she was coming out to Palestine to all the meetings [to, again, point out his errors]. She told people that we had the Lucifer message. [This was much more than an insinuation.] Finally she became more bold in her own deception. [of rejecting his message] And the Lord let her rest.

" . . .One day I was walking with Sister Roden up towards the barracks. I used to do a lot of work around there and people will admit it, and I'm sure George will too in his honesty. I had been helping George take down his trailer house, because he had made a recent deal with Sister Roden in regards to a certain trade – he was trying to get means to go to Israel. What took place was that as I was walking up there, she was making a statement about a certain thing, and I said, 'Well George says,' and I explained what George has said. She says, 'Well you don't mind what George says.' I said, 'Well . . . He is going to be the next messenger . . .' She says, "George ain't gonna be anything.' Excuse me, she said, 'George isn't gonna be anything until he learns how to be obedient and to take orders.'

" . . . So then what took place, 1983, a message came. But it did not come to George. All the time I had been working for Sister Roden I had been learning things. . . . So what happened was, what happens is that in 1983, the message came – The Serpent's Root, and Sister Roden accepted it [this is not completely true]. She has never purported anybody's message, Branch's, never, never. She didn't purport George in the beginning. Once she he was teaching error, she shut him down. This message wasn't the same. She's the one that wrote the first letter called Blow Ye The Trumpets In Zion.

"In Odessa I just simply quoted it out of my mouth as God was revealing it to me, and she wrote it all down [But, after examining what was written, she would not sign it, and Vernon, or one of his followers had to forge the signature.] I was money from her that published it. [This is not accurate to the facts.] She wrote the letters. But I had my faith in her, because she was the one that kept moving me forward. [This is a gross distortion.]

"But as I kept becoming more and more grounded on the message, she started changing [she was awakening to his deceptions]. She was discussing one day about printing Shekinah magazine again [after he had burned down the publishing house]. And the Lord told me to tell her not to publish it, that that phase of the work was to no longer be in existence anymore. The magazine had to become more doctrinal from the Branch doctrine instead of from worldly scholars. Well. When I gave her this in formation, she got upset. And I said, Sister Roden, this is what the Lord has said. Well, she says, 'The Lord wants the work to be done too, and the Shekinah magazine is an important magazine.' I said, 'But Sister Roden, you know, you started this message and you want me to give this message, and the Lord has told me to tell you not to publish the magazine anymore.'

"We had bought'en several gallons of gasoline. And Sister Roden took all the cars away from us [this was certainly not the action of someone who supposedly had given her right to leadership to anyone].

"But we're not going to go into that. So I had the key to the gas tank. And I had been doing a lot of work around there, so the Lord informed me that I was to keep [steal] the key. So as I was getting gasoline one day, she said to give her the key [because she had lawful control of all Branch property, since she was the president]. I says, 'well, Sister Roden, I can't do that.' [He could accept her leadership]. She turned and got real mad. I couldn't understand it. [I could because I was an eye witness to this event, and that which proceeded it.]

"People know, people that were there they understand what was going on. Changes were taking place, that a new message was coming. A wonderful message, a wonderful revelation. So what took place was that she in rebellion turned away and she published the magazine. [This is absolute proof, from Vernon's own words, that Lois did not pass the leadership to him, but openly opposed his teachings.]

" . . . They believe in dead prophets. They believe in idols, graven images, and molten images. . . . Why does George and everyone treat us so bad for? If I'm deceived, why don't people write letters to me and show me where I am in error? Why don't you do that Branch's? Why don't you show enough Christian love to show me where I am wrong as far as the doctrine.

Don't tell me because I went to bed with this person, or because I used to drink beer, or I used to smoke cigarettes. That stuff ain't gonna hold worth anything in the judgment. Everybody is saying I've got all these wives and stuff. Tell me who my wives are. Come here and point them out. People always like to talk.

" . . .'LORD. When thy hand is lifted up, they shall see, and be ashamed for their envy at the people.' Those who are envious at us, their own fire that they caused, they wanted to cook us, right? They are going to be consumed. But the Lord is going to ordain peace for us, for we give all the Lord the credit for all the work that the Lord has done for us. We admit that we have allowed other people to rule us and to boss us around, that were not inspired, verse 13, but they are going to be dead. Well George and Sister Roden and Jane [George's sister] all got mad when I was at Mount Carmel when I told them if you don't listen to this message you will die.

" . . . How come they are dead in verse 14 of chapter 26? You know why they are dead? Because they are going to kill the Lord's messenger [him, Vernon]. You wait and see. They are going to kill. . . . Yea, God is going to smite a person. [He is speaking of himself.] But he is going to smite those who smote him. . . . And like George and Jane told me one day at the courthouse, Jane is standing there and she says we are gonna crucify you. Well, that which you do, do quickly."


Excerpts from, The Seven Thunders - Written or Not?, by Vernon Howell, late 1987 – early 1988


The last time that I saw Vernon, in 1987, he told me that Lois had told him that he was "going to burn in hell." He just laughed as he said it.




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