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Lessons From Waco (1993)

Lesson From Waco 1993 (Acts 17:11)

            From just what I have learned in the past week or so after having stumbled upon a Youtube video on Gun Control (this one) which made a reference to the incident in Waco, TX involving the David Koresh and the (Davidian) Branch Davidians, much can be written up here on how, to my surprise, as it has been for many who have come across this factual information, the Assault and Siege on the Waco Compound was completely unnecessary, and the end result on April 19, 1993 was not “an engineered mass suicide by fire of Koresh and the 80+ people who were there”, but, at the very least, “accidentally” caused by FBI unprofessionalism and (spiteful) exaggerations. There is ample documentation of this available on the internet and a simple, e.g., Google and Youtube search including combinations of key terms such as “Waco”; “Tragedy|Massacre|Assault|Siege”; “Congressional Hearings”; “David Koresh/Vernon Howell”; “Branch Davidians”; etc.  will reveal much information. A short listing of key documentary resources is given here:

Inside Waco (2007) Part 1 & Part 2
Mugshots - David Koresh - Prophet of Death (2009)
AFPN - The Waco Incident
Witness to Waco [MSNBC] (2009)
Truth & Lies: Waco [ABC] (2017)
America_ Wake Up Or Waco (2000) -includes the story of the goodwill (re)-building by "strangers" of a Memorial Chapel on former Mount Carmel Compound site/grounds.

TV Series
Waco (2018)  a 6-part miniseries [streaming videos]

Related Resources
Inside Mount Carmel (12 parts)  (1993)- Interviews with people in compound during siege. (David Koresh speaks from part 8ff)
The Truth About Waco - Bob Trefz [esp. 47:27-01:22:53ff]

Opposing Views

            Also significantly, many of the claims and allegations made against David Koresh, as in the “Sinful Messiah” - Newspaper article, were either, at least legally/judicially, unfounded and/or unproven. Chief of which was the claim that Koresh thought the he was Jesus Christ Himself based on a misconstruing of his view/interpretation of the lamb in Rev 5, which I understand, he merely thought that that prophecy (and the 7 ensuing Seals) had (another/eschatological?) application beyond one which involved an historicist one initiated by Jesus Christ Himself. And as discussed here, such a “secondary application view” actually has hermeneutical and exegetical validity from both the Bible and the writing of EGW.

            Now that all does not mean that David Koresh was faultless and blameless, though the evidence shows that he was not malevolent, as he was initially being knee-jerkedly demonized in the mainstream media. And frankly, that is the view I had of him for these nearly 20 years until this recent research. It is most interesting to me to hear that the person (Phil Penningroth) who wrote the script for the (effectively propaganda) movie: “In the Line of Duty - Ambush at Waco”, (French version) which had begun to be produced during the siege, soon after the initial ATF bungled (and unnecessary) raid on Feb. 28, 1993, soon after disowned it. Indeed the full facts of the matter, including a factual knowledge and understanding of what Koresh and these Davidians thought and believed did not support those popular claims. (At the very least, these, (at their base) SDAs, could have used a direct intervention of Church Scholars to help them avoid those errors, but as it turns out, and is still the similar case today, SDAs were likewise exegetically deficient.)
            Relatedly though, Koresh’s claim/belief that God must now send an “Anointed One” (a.k.a. Messiah) who would not be sinless, but purposely sinful in order to better attract sinners to him, unlike Jesus Christ is patently Theologically, Biblically and Factually false. I.e., God does not use nor need sin to attract sinners, but rather permits this to condemningly ensnare rebellious people (e.g., 1 Kgs 22:19-23; 2 Thess 2:11-12) and I would say that 1/3 of the world today, (at least professedly) from barely 12 in 31 A.D. is quite an achievement by God. He can, and will always draw those who have a willing attitude, and that with Good and Truth.
            Even the, probably most offensive, and potentially illegally (i.e., as potentially posited by some law enforcement officials, if common law, as well as parental consent, marriage laws actually did/could not apply here), matter of Koresh having indeed fathered several children from the wives of other men in the compound was evidently not out of sinful desires, nor was it thereafter, (relatively speaking), “systematically”/“whimsically” consummated, but really out of shoddy and over literalistic understandings/interpretations of some parts of the Bible (e.g., Songs of Solomon 6:8-9; -contra. Deut 17:17|PK 52.2-55.1ff) where, as I have gathered, it was a belief that, among other things: “all men should become deliberate Eunuchs for the kingdom” (Matt 19:12); and that this kingdom was the one that the little lamb was going to establish and the 24 elders would rule therein as kings/priests (Rev 5:10 KJV); and as David Koresh was that little lamb, then he had to genetically father at least 24 children who would thus be the rightful heirs of these 24 thrones in that kingdom.
            To be purposefully candid and forthcoming here, to my surprise, upon researching this information of the Waco incident, I came to shockingly realize that I have several similar (though not at all: “same” (illustratively as in e.g., the U.S. and Canada are very similar Western, even, neighboring, countries but, societally-speaking, not at all the “same”) beliefs as these Davidian Branch Davidians. And, now most confirming to me, when I had long ago, began to see an eschatological implication of Rev 5, almost from a “reminding/cautioning” supernatural source, I was then also reminded of David Koresh, I then was indeed cautious not to delve into the erroneous ways and understandings of Koresh, though not actually at all knowing what the specifically were here on that matter beyond the basic knowledge of the popular claim that ‘he had said that he was Jesus Christ’. But as it turns out, though we came to similar conclusions in the end, they indeed were not the same, either in theology nor practice/application. Namely, though I, e.g., see, as fully discussed in here, that the eschatological implication of the little lamb and the 24 elders in Rev 5 does involve an established kingdom of God, unlike Koresh, I do not see that in the New Covenant, God needs to have literal children born from a person to become those kings as such titles could, and should be honorarily bestowed. (cf. Rev 21:7). (In fact, as seen in the switch from Saul (tribe of Benjamin) to David (Judah), that was also not required in the Old Covenant.). Indeed Jesus set out to establish an New Covenant Israel, not by having 12 natural children, as it was the case with Jacob (Gen 30:1-24), (which would seem to be the most logical thing to do), but by calling and then instructing 12 (grown) men (Matt 10:1-5ff). Case in point, having myself quite naturally seen that, the best way to have like-minded successors, was, as likewise believed in Bible times (and is still fully applicable today), to have like-minded children, and this can be done by properly raising them from their childhood (Pro 22:6; Eph 6:4), I have considered, and it is not at all a non-possibility, to, if/since I more likely will not be able to naturally, and Biblically have such 24 children, to instead adopt 24 children, and that according to my planned Aborting-Abortion ministry, and raise them up with all of these full Biblical teachings and (hopefully) they will later freely choose to continue this NJK Project work, and tangibly be those first 24 Ethnarchs (cf. here) of the NJK’s 24 Global Regions. But like I said, I also understand that such functions and positions can be filled in by anyone who rightly fulfills them and so, unlike Koresh, I am not literalistically limiting this.[1]
            All this to say that the crux of Koresh problems and issues was all borne out of shoddy/poor/deficient Biblical exegesis and all that this full and comprehensively entails.[2] It then led him to (pun-intended) espoused many false beliefs, and this is where I see that the Devil could have gained a foothold in his life to “inspire” him with false impressions, particularly if Koresh was confronted with the Biblical light upon something and opted to ignore it. E.g., as discussed here, while the Bible did (and may still today, -though advanced fertility science today would greatly limits the validity of this) permits bigamy, even polygamy, only in genuine cases of a woman being incapable of having children, it does not ever permit e.g., the “breaking up another marriage” for this (Matt 19:6). And as it was evidently brought forth by Koresh’s first wife upon leaving him, the Bible also did not permit a man having both a woman and that woman’s mother as wives (Lev 20:14, and vice-versa in Lev 20:12)[3] [A negating provision which actually is added tacit (as with Deut 21:15-17), evidence that God did permit having more than one wife in cases of infertility.]. So properly applying the test of a prophet such as Isa 8:20 to David Koresh would have at the very least ‘rejected any evil claims’ that he would have advanced (1 Thess 5:19-22).[4]
            Indeed in just listening through David Koresh’s sermons (see e.g., in here and here), it is no surprise, as many of his followers confessed, that after listening to him, though they were impressed by what he had presented, they could not cogently tell you what he had actually taught because he was indeed ‘all over the place’ both presentation wise and also substantively/exegetically. That scattered and irregular “rapid fire” [-(belated) caution David Gates] style of his, as well as, compoundedly his lack of proper exegesis is what doomed that quite sincere group. (And in similar ways, these similar deficiencies are, even indifferently, relatively found within the SDA Church, and will also, indeed, comparatively, correspondingly doom them....And see also here in regards to the matching pedigree of sly SDA “False Shepherds” (=Ezek 34:1-22).) For those who claim and do believe in the Bible, the Devil will always work to trip them up by leading them to various key exegetically-deficient readings/understandings of it, just as he endeavored to do with Jesus in the Wilderness (Matt 4:1-11|Luke 4:1-13|DA 114-131). And people who allow either indifferent ignorance, on one end of the deception spectrum, and/or vanity and pride on the other hand, with base decision-making in between, to rule in their lives, will always fall to these deceptions of Satan, leading to their ultimate, even catastrophic, downfall.
            Seriously, if the year had been at least 2003 instead of 1993, with the advances in computer software and the internet in regards to the greater availability of powerful Bible study resources, Koresh may not at all been able to mislead these people, (perhaps also himself if he was truly sincere), as they would have had great, and also deep exegetical, Bible resources and tools to “match” the computer-like great knowledge and ability of Koresh to “panoramically” roam through the Bible, and also out of memory, and extemporaneously string up texts together to present things that surfacely, seem true. And as also key to proper exegesis, they would have thus also found all passages on a topic and thus avoided making the common mistake of making a claim based solely on some passages and not on all of the balancing full testimony of both the Bible and SOP.

            So the Lessons that must be learned from the Waco incident is to always do one’s factual and exegetical homework, both in terms of the Bible as well as secular issues, as this is a necessary basis for (full) Truth. And it is from that basis that any religious experience can be properly tested and its Source ascertained.[5]

My Various Observations
-Planned Mass Suicide Accusation - David Koresh was accused of (always) planning a mass, fiery suicide, but that does not concord with the fact that he only let children (ca. 20) which were not his to leave the compound during the siege, yet actually had a quite strong belief, (and inherent incentive), that the (ca. 15) children which he had fathered (and/or adopted) would rule on the Earth after him (as the 24 elders of Rev 4+5). He instead would convince people that the ‘future rulers’ needed to be the first ones to be sent out, particularly when the standoff was becoming more intense.

-Koresh’s Understanding of Luke 22:36 - My initial reaction when I heard that Koresh had been citing Jesus’s statement in Luke 22:36 as the basis for his amassing of firearms was that, this was another instance of his many unexegetical distortions of Scripture. However, upon a recent discussion with someone on that topic, and upon reading that verse in its full context (Luke 22:35-38), including what later transpired with Jesus in His Gethsemane arrest and His trials, I can see that, in that instance, Koresh may, objectively speaking, have cited a valid Biblical basis. And that is because, Jesus was actually recommending to His disciples in Luke 22:35-38 that unlike the prior time when He had sent them out as ‘fully dependent ones’ (Matt 10:9-10), i.e., fully dependent on the expected good will and actions of others, this time around, things had drastically changed as prophecy stated that Jesus was going to be falsely accused as a criminal (Luke 22:37), and thus was going to be treated unfairly, with the likelihood of unwarranted violence being done towards Him. So the counsel was here for the disciples to ‘this time get ready to defend themselves for such lawless violence’. That is in line with Jesus teaching on this subject, as stated in Matt 5:39 which is actually not saying, as most people, especially non-Christians, presume/assume, to “turn the other cheek to everyone”, but actually to ‘not stand up against someone who is evil’ i.e., lawless. In other words, as long as there is a chance to obtain justice, then do fight for that right, including self-defense, as in Israel’s wars. But when dealing with an evil/lawless person, it is not worthwhile to confront them, which may precipitate one’s death, but let God resolves things however He sees/thinks is best.
            And this principle was fully followed by Jesus in the upcoming events. When faced with a lawless mob who came against Him with “swords and clubs” (Luke 22:52), Jesus did not bother ‘putting up a fight’, particularly as doing so may just result in them overreacting according to their evident bias against him and proceeding to kill Him and His disciples. Instead, and as no physical acts of violence was actually initiated by the arresting mob, Jesus allowed Himself to be arrested and “take His chances”, so to speak, with the supposed-to-be-lawful prosecution procedures, (-which however did not turn out to be lawful/legal at all). Indeed when asked whether or not they should make use of the swords which they had, Jesus did not give His approval, and it was Peter who still went ahead and make use of (“defensive”) force, to which Jesus strongly put an end to that pointless and dangerous course. (Luke 22:49-51; Matt 26:52-54)
            And so we do indeed see Jesus standing up for Justice during the prosecutions (John 18:19-21, 22-23), including Jesus being more engaging with the objectively, much more lawful, reasonable, fair and just Pilate, -the (civil) authority which had final Capital say on the matter (John 18:28-38; cf. Matt 27:18). Similarly we see the same thing with Paul in appeals to a more lawful court (Acts 25:11; 28:19). So, in comparative application, it certainly was not an American/Civil crime for the Davidian Branch Davidians to have firearms, and claims/allegations of illegal arms were really never conclusively proven. It also was not immoral, per se, for them to have weapons for self-defensive purposes. (Just as it was not wrong for God’s Israel to have swords to defend themselves in the case of a war.) And the way things developed with the Feb 28, 1993 ATF warrant execution of an, actually, “knock and announce”, warrant which did not authorize the default use of force, and with all produced evidence and corroborating credible testimony clearly showing that the Branch Davidians had not set an ambush for the ATF, and most likely had not fired the first shot, and that it evidently was David Koresh who was barraged with gun fire from the ATF when he sought to meet with them at the front door, their, thus, returning of gun fire, was purely defensive, especially, as they were protecting the many women and children who were inside the compound.
            So the applicable teaching and principle of Jesus on such an issue is clear, when the conditions are tangibly threatening, God does not expect his people to be doormats, pushovers and “sitting ducks”, but allows them to ready themselves for their protection and defense, (and of course not to use that capability to be the instigators or aggressors).

[1] David Koresh did here [05:00ff] introduce children which he called his “adoptive children”, though I am not sure how binding this was to his 24 elders theology. Also, as several of his 12+ children he had then were girls, it would seem that he had no “ordination” issue as to them also being part of these 24 elders.

[2] Cf. this sampling of post-Waco Incident ‘Koreshian’ notes by a Davidian Branch Davidian adherent.

[3] The tone and substance of the questioning/debating throughout here [06:07ff] between, apparently Waco Fire Survivor Clive Doyle (see in clip here []) and David Koresh during a Bible study is quite interesting as it show, at least to me, that these Davidians were not necessarily being authoritatively or manipulatively “brainwashed”, but were indeed always free to question Koresh’s claims, and at least at this time Koresh calmly engaged such challenges to him. And I personally believe that if Doyle maintain such a sincere spirit where he wanted to make sure that what he was being taught by Koresh was in agreement with the Bible and SOP, that this may be one of the reasons why he survived the fire. (In his judgement God does make a difference between those who are sincerely seeking after truth but have been genuine deceived by others vs. those who have an indifferent stance about truth but are really merely in a cause/denomination for selfish/self-serving/convenient/profiting/base reasons, including most subtly, but significantly, as it manifestly was the case with many in that Davidian compound, (contra. Acts 17:11) wanting someone else to do (all of) their Bible studying for them, and simply tell them what the Bible says. That indeed is quite prevalent in Christian Churches and Denominations, and really on two extremes of a supposed “Religious” one (e.g., in Roman Catholicism) and/or an “too busy” one (e.g., in especially Western/Capitalistic Protestant Churches); -and also including in the SDA Church (see e.g., the rightly diagnosing/depicting: ‘Celebrity, People/Generation who Heard vs. People/Generation of the WordGYC 2012 sermon by Wes Peppers [see 45:39-55:17ff]). Indeed SDAs, whether lay people or even leaders, typically just, unquestioningly (at least insistently so), deferentially or indifferently, “swallow”/accept whatever pastors and preachers, especially popular ones, claim from their pulpits. -As recounted in this bio-post (see in “But Frankly Speaking” section), ‘being diligent to know the Bible for ourselves instead of merely trusting/relying on Pastors and Teachers’ was the pointed theme of my very first sermon.)

[4] Other Isa 8:20 fundamentally-flawing issues with Branch Davidians in general, and the “Davidian” sub-group that Koresh later went on to form, was them/him rejecting counsels in the SOP against including specific time reckonings after 1844 (and error that some SDA still make), manifestly thinking that the prophecies of Revelation were/could only linearly/sequentially be fulfilled (see Revelation’s actual paralleling organization here), which is why he got hung up on the post-Seventh (Laodicea = SDA) Church Rev 4-5, and the 7 Seals in Rev 6, and as far as I know, does, at least with such emphasis, delve into interpreting the 7 Trumpets of Rev 8 & 9ff); as well as him complete ignoring (for his key “Seven Seals” teaching) the contributions of the historical “landmark” understanding and interpretation of Revelation by SDA pioneers. As seen in this post and this one, though I, as attested by the multiple fulfillments of Christ’s Olivet prophecies, also “similarly” have eschatological understanding for Revelation (and including for the Seven Seals), I nonetheless have always known that they will be in typological and hermeneutic, spiritual correlating agreement with the Historicist understandings/fulfillments, and that these prior understandings do indeed provide a guiding basis for eschatological fulfillments.

[5] Though he is, contrary to popular/common assumption, on an actually completely different tangent, Jim Jones and his Jonestown fate is an interesting study here, particularly as it may have served as a tangible/documented precedent for how Federal Authorities decided to deal with David Koresh and the Davidian Branch Davidians. See the video links below.
            It’s worthwhile to emphasize that Jim Jones was indeed quite tangentially different, pointedly Spiritually/Religiously, Ideologically, and much more than less, behavorially as e.g.,

(1) He was not at all an SDA. The only even remote linking that I have found is that one of his former “Peoples Temple” Churches is now owned and occupied by a Spanish (Central L.A.) SDA Church. (Cf. this quip by David Asscherick.)

(2) Jones actually openly declared himself to be an atheist. He long had no regards for the Bible and even wrote a book against it.

(3) He always had plans to commit mass suicide “which he borrowingly termed, and probably most honestly so: ‘an act of protesting “Revolutionary Suicide”’ paranoially claiming to his followers that: “the world was just not ready yet for their classless, [marxist/atheistic] communistic (initially “apostolic socialistic”) lifestyle”. Combined with their unbiblical view of death being an immediate reward, (which was actually different than what the Branch Davidians (except Koresh) believed), this made that suicidal action more likely and (by most, as some protested and were (manifestly, literally, effectively or inherently) murdered (e.g, ca. 300 children), some others hid and/or left/(priorly) fled (and survived), or simply (remotely) abstained (i.e. Jones’ son and teamates)) acceptable.

(4) It was well known that Jim Jones took hard “recreational” drugs. [I myself quasi-speculative surmise, based on reports of him becoming increasingly slurry and sluggish towards the end, that he may have had an undisclosed serious/degenerating (mental) illness.]

(5) From his days at the People’s Temple in the California Area, Jim Jones was quite unabashedly, indeed even manipulatively, a charlatan, with his false/staged miracle/healings.

Jim Jones Video Links:

Jonestown The Life and Death of Peoples Temple

Jonestown - Paradise Lost (9 parts)
more compact edition:
Jim Jones Jonestown Nightmare in Paradise

The Final Report - Jonestown (Documentary)

Jonestown Massacre - Stephan Jones
(Interview in Canada (CBC) with Jim Jones’ son)

Seconds From Disaster S06E02 - Jonestown Cult Suicide

The Jonestown Death Tape (FBI No. Q 042) (November 18, 1978)
Audio Tape during Suicides:

Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones
3-Hour Movie (in 1980):

The Truth About Jonestown
Conspiracy Theory that: ‘the CIA did this to Black People’:

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