David Koresh was born Vernon Wayne Howell, but changed his name when he realized that he was the last prophet of the Branch Davidian sect. The Branch Davidians were a small offshoot organization from the Seventh Day Adventist Church. The sect was formed in the 1950s, and Koresh joined them in the early 1980s. The members lived together in a compound outside of Waco, Texas. Koresh joined the sect in his early 20′s, and rose through the ranks very quickly as he became recognized as a prophet by other members.
His Spiritual Message
Koresh drew attention from the other Branch Davidians because he believed that God spoke directly to him. Koresh claimed that God commanded him to marry his first wife, and he received several messages from God about how he and his followers should interact with one another. Eventually, Koresh revealed that he was actually the returned Son of God who would open the Seven Seals of the Apocalypse. Koresh believed that the Biblical book of Solomon was evidence that he should take several wives for himself while his followers maintained monogamous relationships. Koresh’s wives and children were to become the living bloodline of Christ on earth.
The Rise of the Branch Davidians
During the late 1980s and early 1990s, David Koresh seized complete control of the Branch Davidians in Waco. He was recognized as a prophet who spoke directly with God, and his followers believed in his spiritual teachings. The Branch Davidians, under David Koresh, purchased the land and buildings in Waco and established a new base of operations with Koresh as the unquestioned leader. Koresh continued to marry and fornicate with several women and girls in accordance with his understanding of God’s instructions.
What Made David Koresh Famous Worldwide
David Koresh achieved national and worldwide attention when his Branch Davidian compound was raided by the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms in 1993. The Federal Agents were sent in to seize illegal weapons that were thought to be kept by the Davidians. During the initial raid, four government agents and six Davidians were killed. David Koresh and his followers created a fortress of their compound and refused to allow any more federal agents to enter. After a two month standoff that was widely televised, federal agents fired tear gas through the windows of the compound. Shortly thereafter, the compound caught on fire and burned to the ground, killing all of the Branch Davidians inside. David Koresh died with his followers during the blaze.
Branch Davidians Today
The Branch Davidians still practice their religion, but the sect has broken into two factions. One faction believes that Koresh was a prophet, while the other faction believes that Koresh was a charlatan. There are less than 30 Davidians who still follow the teachings of David Koresh, and they fully expect Koresh to return to them in the near future. Several scheduled dates for his return have been established by the Davidians, but each date has come and gone without the return of Koresh to signal the beginning of the apocalypse.