Having just watched, for the first time pretty much since the event itself, a documentary on the whole Waco incident, I have to say I’ve come away utterly shocked on all fronts. Not just because of the inordinate incompetency of the agencies involved on the day, but their outright willingness to take a military stance against a ‘church’ with women and children and more noncombatants than combatants inside, and despite having ample opportunity to truly promote a better outcome, chose for whatever reason to defy logic and reason and instead to turn what should have been something simple into an unmitigating nightmare.
However, what the documentary did reveal once more was David Koresh’s particular brand of theology, which I’d never personally come across before. Centering on just a few verses in Revelation, and pulling from ‘confirmatory’ texts within Isaiah, Joel, Zechariah etc, he managed to build up a rather apocalyptic doctrine which sadly everyone believed and agreed with in the way he presented it. I found it hard to even make sense of what scripture he was expounding on because he laced it in such strange terms and everything was always described purely from the vantage point of the 7 seals being opened, of which he determined they were at the point of the 4th one which was to usher in fire and destruction specifically against the saints! But he appeared to believe he was “a” Christ (he did try to insist he wasn’t saying he was Jesus, although apparently this was reported wrongly many times during the standoff), and as such he also seemed to indicate it was thus his job and duty to open the seals and usher in the Kingdom of God on the earth (as he also believed that he, and not Jesus, was the Lamb mentioned in Revelation!). Given that the 4th seal would unleash an Armageddon of sorts involving fire, he considered it was as much his duty seemingly to provoke the situation when the opportunity presented itself to him on that last day – there’s apparently plenty of proof available that the Branch Davidians (BD’s), themselves did indeed set the fires that razed the place to the ground.
But while what happened there was an outright tragedy on many fronts, the sadder thing to me, is that everything is being put in place currently, with the BD’s for it to possibly happen yet again in the future, if circumstances once more provided opportunity. While law enforcement agencies may have learnt something out of it, I suspect that may not prevent another occurence. At this point in time, the BD’s are training up another leader to take over where David K left off, and to teach and train the members about the prophesies they believe are only for them – like the JWs before them, they sadly seem to think they have some exclusivity in God’s eyes for salvation, and that they alone will be redeemed from the earth while everyone else is judged.
In the book they’re still twisting scripture heavily as shown by this quote:
“Many rebellious people in Christendom sincerely believe they are saved by Yehshua’s (Jesus’) old ministry – the fact is they are not (see Revelation 3:14-22). “
They cite verses from all over the bible to support their views, almost always out of context and with disregard to the Truth. But they are adamant in their strange views – which truly are more like a cross between scientology, science fiction and Mormonism with some new twists thrown in – and as such, I think the stage is sadly being set for some future similar event to take place. Perhaps not with the same gut-wrenching impact Waco had on the world, but given the cult is a doomsday destructive one, the potential is there nonetheless.
What was sadder still was this quote:
The Chicago Tribune reports that: “There aren’t many Branch Davidians left, their numbers having dwindled over the years due to death and dispersal and disillusion. Only half a dozen show up for the Saturday prayers; an additional 20 or so less fervent believers are thought to live in the area.” They quote member Clive Doyle as saying: “Our hopes are that God will intervene prior to the rest of us dying. But we do have to face facts: Eventually everyone gets old and dies. We worry that we will go the way of the Shakers and other groups that didn’t get new members or have children.” He remains absolutely convinced that Koresh will be resurrected. He said: “If it was all a deception, and yet we were convinced it was right, then how can we ever know the difference between good and evil, and right and wrong? If I was misled by God, then how would I ever believe anything ever again?”
Having come out of a just as errant, but supposedly more acceptable church system (one brand of pentecostalism), I know that feeling all too well sadly. You feel that you were so right in your trust and obedience to a church leader, who ultimately allowed things to happen to you that you later know could not be in God’s Will for your life, and if you were so utterly mistaken in that instance, how would you know when you were right in the future. I had undergone what they termed a ‘proxy’ deliverance, whereby the demons supposedly in my life were removed by proxy through another person, so that I wouldn’t have to undergo the trauma of the removal to the same degree!! I was surrounded by 6 men of the church, 4 of whom I knew and trusted, but the other 2 including the guy who was to be the ‘proxy’ were new to me – after it was over with the appropriate moanings and groanings that should accompany any good deliverance in their minds, he turned to me and stated that the voice I was hearing was absolutely not the voice of God, but rather Satan and I should rebuke it. My response to that was that since it was the only voice I had ever known since my ‘conversion’, then that must mean I wasn’t a Christian at all, and in one minute he managed to destroy my faith utterly. To cap it all, no matter how much I tried to get the leadership to discuss the issue they refused saying that I needed to accept their authority over me, and that was where I was constantly in error and allowing Satan into my life (because I was always questioning them!!). I spent 3 days solid crying about it as I just couldn’t reconcile what I’d been told with what I truly felt I’d been right about (my salvation etc), yet nobody sought to clarify my position in any sense, and I ended up not only leaving that church, but feeling totally lost in my entire faith too – I didn’t know who to trust any more, as this church had been quite involved with my local Methodist, and many members still attended there too, so it left me without a church to attend or having any form of spiritual support for quite some time. Thankfully the Lord intervened, and did motivate me to rejoin my Methodist at a later date, and I was blessed to connect with a lot of the younger people I knew who were forming their own bible study group, of which I ended up becoming a leader eventually, and through them and their support and ministry to me, I did manage to not only regain my faith but recognise the errors and dangers of where I’d come from. Sadly however, that particular church continues on to this day and is based only a few minutes from where I now live, and I still run into the odd member who still exhorts me to consider returning!! Given they’ve not only continued on with such practices, but now are into worse ‘evils’ like the Toronto blessing etc, and lauding people like Rodney Howard Browne, Benny Hinn, et al, they’ve no hope on that one!
But it just made me realise how vital it is to not only have scripture as our basis but also to have a solid understanding of it, and exactly what we are focusing on in our walk with the Lord. The likes of that church I was in is making the serious mistake of putting the Holy Spirit in a position He was never intended to have – and thus they errantly think they’re being obedient to scripture, yet are obviously in error big time. They’re also, like so many, focussing on experience rather than Jesus, feelings rather than faith and just like the BD’s on some particular sections of scripture to the deficit of others. I read a really good post recently on The Temple on this very problem of scripture selection to excess – well worth a read.
Be interested in hearing other views on the Waco event though as it’s currently captivating me a lot, in trying to understand how such groups continue despite such huge opposition to their stance.