Historical Sketch - Ben L. Roden
Written by Perry Jones, long time correspondence secretary for Ben Roden and Lois Roden, for the October 1978 memorial service for Ben Roden in Waco, Texas.
Benjamin L. Roden was born January 5, 1902, in Bearden, Oklahoma, one of 6 children born to James Buchanan and Nattie Roden. He died on October 22, 1978, at 4:30 p.m. at Scott and White, Temple, Texas.
He is survived by his widow, Lois I. Roden; two sisters, Mrs. Gretta Hollaway of Springfield, Missouri, Mrs. Goldie Wampler and her daughter, Mrs. Jack Phillips, of Gladewater, Texas; four sons, George of Blythe, California, Benjamin II of Miami, Florida, John of Dallas, Texas, and Samuel of Miami, Florida; two daughters, Jane Roden of Riverside, California, and Kathleen Roden of Reno, Nevada; and ten grandchildren, as well as coworkers and friends around the world.
Elder Roden spent his childhood on the farm, graduated from high school, and attended Oklahoma Teachers College. He spent a short time teaching in a country school. For many years Elder Roden was employed in the oil fields in Oklahoma, and Odessa, Texas.
On February 12, 1937, Benjamin L. Roden and Lois L. Roden were joined in marriage, and the Lord blessed their home with six children.
In 1937 Elder and Sister Roden joined the Christian Church, and were active and faithful members.
Shortly after the birth of their first son, George, Elder Roden learned about the Seventh-day Sabbath from a book entitled "Bible Readings for the Home" which had been given to him and Sister Roden as a wedding present by Sister Roden's mother.
As a person who took his stand for truth when it was presented to him, Elder Roden, and his wife, sought out a nearby Seventh-day Adventist church in Kilgore, Texas, and were baptized in 1940, by Elder Cree Sandefer, now president of the Southern Union of Seventh-day Adventists.
As a layman, Elder Roden was one who shared his faith with others in a quiet, yet definite way, and as a result of his labors, a Seventh-day Adventist church was raised up in Odessa, Texas, of which he was the head elder for several years.
In 1946, Elder Roden, along with his wife and children, accepted the teachings of The Shepherd's Rod message, and together they labored faithfully to share this message with their friends and brethren in the Seventh-day Adventist church, which they love so dearly.
For a short time in 1953 Brother Roden and his family resided at Old Mt. Carmel Center. He was in charge of the Gardens and provided fresh produce for Brother Houteff, founder of the Center and of the Davidian Seventh-day Adventist Association, popularly know as The Shepherd's Rod.
Although deeply moved by the unexpected death of Brother Houteff in 1955, Elder Roden knew that truth must progress and God's people were to march onward. Shortly afterward in the same year, Brother Roden was endowed with the Prophetic Gift, (Amos 3:7) to understand God's plan for the Davidian and Seventh-day Adventist movements. Thereafter he labored night and day to share with his brethren what God had revealed to him. The Branch Davidian Seventh-day Adventist Association was organized, in fulfillment of many prophecies in the Bible as well as in the writings of both Ellen G. White, founder of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and Victor T. Houteff, founder of the Davidian Seventh-day Adventist Association.
Under the inspired ministry of Elder Roden, the observance of the Holy Feasts, as observed by Yahshua (Jesus) and commanded by the Apostles, was reinstituted and restored to the church, and many prophecies regarding the restoration of Israel, the long-prayed for Kingdom on earth brought to view in the Lord's Prayer, were brought to light and shared with the Davidians and Adventists, as well as those of other faiths.
Through personal contact with both the leading brethren and laymen of the Seventh-day Adventist church and the Davidian Seventh- encourage the brethren with the glorious prophecies of the restoration of Israel and the church's role in God's great plan.
Elder Roden wrote religious leaflets which were distributed by the millions in over 50 countries around the world in several languages, heralding the restoration of the Kingdom in the land of Israel and recorded by all the prophets in the Holy Bible.
In 1958 Elder Roden, his son George and wife, Carmen, and his son Benjamin II, went to Israel to prepare the way for people to go to the Holy Land. As a result of his mission, history was made, and the religious news service carried the story of the historic mission around the world, while newspapers and magazines in Israel and America proclaimed the event.
The Ministry magazine, September, 1960, carried the story: "For the first time in the history of Zionist colonization, an organized Christian group has been granted official status in Israel as recognized immigrants and land settlers, with all the rights of material and moral aid involved. A year and a half ago, five families of Seventh-day Adventists from the United States and Canada immigrated to Israel to till the land and build new homes... Prayers conducted by the Adventists have been the first official Christian services to take place throughout the Zionist settlements."
Though Elder Roden was a quiet, unobtrusive, humble man, the results of his labors, for which he always gave God the credit, were nothing short of historic, and in many respects outstanding!
In 1965, while contemplating his return to Israel, Elder Roden was given a vision directing him to Waco, Texas. Here he obtained New Mt. Carmel Center, the story of which many of you are familiar, having read of it in Waco newspapers and seen it on television news.
In 1976 when Moshe Dayan was guest of Baylor University, Elder and Sister Roden spoke to the General about obtaining land in Israel and he invited them to contact him again.
In the spring of 1977 Elder Roden and his son, George, did return to Israel. The Lord had shown him the prophetic importance of the year, 1977, and what steps should be taken at that time. Upon the Mt. of Olives Elder Roden built an altar of 12 stones at the time of the Passover.
At this time of Passover, 1977, Elder Roden was instructed by the Lord where the temple of Ezekiel, chapters 40-45 is to be built in Jerusalem. He instructed his son, George Buchanan Roden, where the temple is to be built and that it would not be on the old temple site because that site would be too small since Ezekiel's temple would be much larger. Elder Roden also revealed to George the exact measurement of the cubit referred to in Ezekiel concerning the temple, and proved from Ezekiel the measurement of the cubit.In September of 1978, Brother Roden, with George and Carmen, had a personal audience with President Carter, appealing to him to help build the temple, a house of prayer, for all people in Jerusalem.
During the last year of his life, Elder Roden was greatly comforted by the Lord as a most precious message about the Holy Spirit was given to his wife, Lois Roden. Elder Roden not only called upon the faithful Branch believers to open their minds to the truth of the Holy Spirit, but also carried his appeal personally to the Davidians, and to the leading brethren of the Seventh-day Adventist church in session at the Fall Council in Washington, D.C., a few days prior to his death.
Elder and Sister Roden returned from the Fall Council in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, October 18, and on October 22, exactly 134 years to the day from 1844, Elder Roden went to his rest between the two Sabbaths, the Seventh-day Sabbath and the Sabbath of the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles. Likewise, Yahshua (Jesus) died between the Passover Sabbath and the Seventh-day Sabbath.
Those of us who are left behind take joy in knowing that the Lord took Brother Roden to fulfill His divine plan, as shown forth in Zechariah 13:7, "Awake, O sword... against the man that is my fellow."
Those of us who knew Elder Roden best, who assisted him in his world-wide correspondence, who published his hundreds of manuscripts into millions, who worked with him in office, orchard, oat field, horse and cow barn, who stood at his side in the many ups and downs of the great controversy between truth and error, who were privileged to see him taken in vision by the Lord, who saw him in vision by the Lord, who saw him stand in the halls of Congress and in the courts of justice in the interest of religious liberty, who saw him minister to presidents and people alike, who traveled with him hundreds of thousands of miles, to proclaim the coming Kingdom, those of us who knew him best as a kind, sympathetic husband, father, grandfather, friend, neighbor, farmer, and, if you please, prophet, priest, and king, and even as a foe, can even say with Elder R. F. Cottrell, famed Adventist theologian, "A Prince in Israel, indeed!"
We do not mourn as those who have no hope, but are joyous and pressing on to the task at hand, that of building the literal temple in Jerusalem, an house of prayer for all peoples, for His servant Elder Roden has, like King David of old, made all things ready, and, as his will and testament, committed to his four sons the task of finishing his work.
Yes, beloved Elder Roden has finished his work and is now resting in the Lord's arms till the resurrection day.
AMEN AND AMEN