Advent Movement History 4

Our History: Part 4




The Second Angel Message "repeated"

The Fifth Angel of Revelation 14:17,

"And another angel (message) came out of the temple,"


A tremendous change, circumstantial and prophetic in the Shepherd’s Rod Movement -- Brother Houteff is taken to the hospital for a relatively minor respiratory infection in the first few days of February – Victor T. Houteff unexpectedly died on February 5 – some of the Davidians suspect - not from natural causes.


Brother Houteff’s wife, Florence Houteff, takes control of the organization - without prophetic authority.


She tells the Davidian Executive Council that when Brother Houteff died, they were discussing the Isaiah prophecy of the confederacy and its relation to the Ezekiel 9 fulfillment.


She asked her husband, V.T. Houteff,  the night before he died, when the 42 month confederacy prophecy would begin -- His response was, “tomorrow you will have your answer”  -- He died the next day.  


Florence Houteff assumed that his death marked the starting point of the 42 month prophecy, that the judgment on the SDA organization, foretold in the Bible (1 Peter 4:17 and Ezekiel 9) and the writings of Ellen White in several statements, would take place in exactly three and one half years, from the fall of 1955 to the spring of 1959.

She was wrong -- she was to be warned!

Four months after Brother Houteff died, a well known Davidian man, Benjamin L. Roden, was given a commission, a Divine commission, to tell Florence Houteff that her prophecy was doomed to fail, that what the Davidian organization needed was revival and reformation with the living prophetic gift, as Brother Houteff was given, the Living Spirit of Prophecy –vement.

Ben Roden was given the message to announce the New Name of the Lord, Yahshua, (Jesus) The Branch, to announce the Investigative phase of the Judgment for the Living, not as the Davidians expected, putting the cart before the horse, attempting to begin the Judgment for the Living with the Executive phase!  The Davidian interpretation then, and now, is not biblical, not fair or just.


No earthly court proceeding begins with the “executive phase”, and neither does the tribunal of Heaven.


Ben Roden came to announce the completion of the Divine Family Tree of Isaiah 11:1, the Root-Jesse, the Rod-David and the Messiah-Branch, Three Prophetic Movements since 1844, as Brother Houteff commented upon in 1 TG 31; 2 TG 45 ; 12SC 6,7:15.


In the Book of Job, three times, the question is asked, “is mortal man more just than Eloah (God)”?  The answer: NO.


Ben Roden initially resists the call and conviction to write to the Mt. Carmel Executive Council to warn them of their spiritual-prophetic predicament.  He feels intimidated, unqualified and unsure of what to say to his brethren.  One evening shortly thereafter, Ben Roden retires to bed and is startled by an unseen hand that lifts him by the collar of his pajamas to a sitting position in bed, being told by an audible voice, “write that letter to Mt. Carmel and I will help you.”  Ben Roden finally got the message and begins to write what the Holy Spirit is convicting him to write to the Davidian leadership.  When he finishes the first of seven letters he tells The Lord that he cannot sign his name since these were not his words.  The Voice then told him to sign, “The Branch”.


As recorded in the Executive Council Minutes of September 27, 1955, the first of Seven Letters to Florence Houteff and the Executive Council are published and received by the leadership of Old Mt. Carmel, signed as “The Branch”, authored by Benjamin Roden.


Most interesting to note, many years prior, that Brother V.T. Houteff wrote in 1Timely Greetings 8:24, that “revival and reformation” comes from “The Branch” – The Branch is Messiah Yahshua – Christ Jesus, in a special message bearing His New Name, as Ellen G. White states in The Great Controversy page 415.


The Branch Message and Movement carries on the work that Brother Houteff started in the final phase of the Three Angel’s Messages as one Davidian member considers and notes in the Executive Council Minutes of October 12, 1955.


The work begins to bring the long prophesied “revival and reformation” to seal and gather the harvest, the 144,000 Firstfruits, in the third step, the THIRD SEAL (Rev. 3:12) of truth in the Advent Movement, beginning with the first of the Firstfruits, the Wavesheaf section, represented by the antitypical barley grain.  The wheat grain represents the main body of the Firstfruits, dedicated at Shavuot, the Day of Pentecost. 


May 1955, the harvest begins, the first of the Firstfruits, in the Investigative Judgment for the Living, in the Advent Movement, beginning with a message of revival and reformation to the Davidian Movement.




A large plot of land east of Waco, 942 acres, is purchased by Florence Houteff for the Davidian work.  77 acres of the new property is slated for extensive construction for a new and larger Davidian Headquarters, to be known as New Mt. Carmel – a place large enough, Brother Houteff originally envisions, where the 144,000 can gather before their deliverance, transport and dedication on Mt. Zion in the Land of Israel - Revelation 7.   I once heard that before Victor Houteff died, that he, along with his wife Florence, and possibly Brother Warden, explored large tracts of land east of Waco in anticipation of the need of a larger headquarters some day soon, with more open land, not so wooded as Old Mt. Carmel, so as to facilitate the initial gathering of the Firstfruits of the antitypical harvest (Revelation 7), the 144,000. 


This may have been the initial impetus of how the New Mt. Carmel property was initially found and finally acquired.


Although there have been conflicting start times reported for Florence Houteff’s 42 month prophecy, exactly how the time was initially determined by Florence is not clear, but for the three and one half year prophecy to come to fulfillment in April of 1959 the starting point would need to be the fall of 1955, not the spring of 1955.  


March 12 of 1956, Ben Roden dates the seventh and final letter to Florence Houteff and the Executive Council of Old Mt. Carmel, delivered sometime later that month.



Sometime in 1957 the remainder of Old Mt. Carmel is sold off and the newly acquired New Mt. Carmel property is prepared for move-in. The Davidian headquarters is officially moved from Old Mt. Carmel to the new site.  The large acreage surrounding the Old Mt. Carmel Headquarters is sold by the DSDA Executive Council and becomes a major development, beginning the Lake Waco Community, the prime upscale neighborhood in the Waco suburbs.    




Benjamin Roden, having warned the Davidians of their approaching disappointment in the coming year, turns his attention to the Land of Israel to prepare a place for the people in the time of trouble – The State of Israel is only 10 years old – Ben Roden secures a section of acreage in a newly developing small village named Amerim, in Northern Israel, based on a prophecy that he was shown in the Book of Ezekiel – He helps to establish a vegetarian village based upon a provisional government land grant and purchases a tractor that helps the village to grow and prosper. Many of the Branch people, including the Roden Family, migrate to Israel. 


The Branch Organic Agricultural Association (B.O.A.A.) is born in Israel in 1958 with the land grant from the Israeli Government, and the Village of Amerim is recognized by the Government of Israel as the first Christian Zionist settlement to establish roots in Israel.


Ben Roden endeavors to support and build up the State of Israel and to learn all he can from the Jews in Israel, taking the counsel from Ellen G. White in 1902, that “the Jewish economy is full of instruction for us.”  The "Jewish economy" encompasses not only biblical kosher dietary regulations but also, according to many Spirit of Prophecy statements, E.G. White, V.T. Houteff and E.J. Waggoner, the institution of the Harvest Feast Day observances outlined in Leviticus 23, beginning with the Seventh-Day Sabbath.  These precepts all stand together.   




The beginning of a great and final turning point in the Davidian Movement and the Branch Movement is about to unfold.


New Mt. Carmel has been built up for this great gathering of Davidians in the preceding two years by the Executive Council under Florence Houteff at Old Mt. Carmel. 


As the great Davidian Solemn Assembly approaches in the early spring, near the Jewish Passover, many large barracks and small houses have been built to accommodate the great meeting where the Davidians expect the Ezekiel Nine prophecy of judgment-separation of wheat and tares, to fall upon the worldwide SDA Church, in a supernatural event, to be reported in the news media.


New Mt. Carmel becomes a tent city with over a thousand Davidian attendees.  The newly constructed large Davidian tabernacle-church on the property is the main gathering place for large meetings and study sessions for the week of events, culminating with the expectation of a great supernatural event -- Ezekiel Nine!


Ben Roden returns to the USA, to Waco, with a contingent of Branch believers in the USA, to witness the Davidian “solemn assembly” at New Mt. Carmel that has been called by Florence Houteff to conclude *her* 42 month prophecy that she proclaimed three and a half years earlier.


April 25th is the final date set by Florence Houteff for the supernatural Ezekiel 9 judgment to take place and the beginning [rapid and sudden] of the Daniel 2 Kingdom, beginning with the immediate gathering of the 144,000 Firstfruits of the end time harvest.


April 22nd is a date set by the Davidian Executive Council for some providential heavenly “sign” or confirmation to be given to prepare the people for the events to take place in a few days. 


On April 22, Ben Roden arrives and proclaims one final warning to Florence, the Executive Council and the Davidians, to accept revival and reformation under The Branch!


Ben Roden and his small group of "Immanualites", representing Messiah "The Branch", in a message and movement, 3 ½ years old,  arrives at New Mt. Camel on that very day, for a final Branch demonstration to warn the Davidians of their imminent spiritual calamity.  He tells the Davidians, he is "the  sign" that the Heaven has been pleased to give to the Davidians.  


Apparently, Florence Houteff was the one who determined that a "sign" would be given.  Ben Roden tells the Davidians that he himself is the ONLY “sign” that will be given, representing the new emerging message and a movement within the Davidian Movement, the "Immanuel Movement", evidencing a modern TYPE of the "Sign of Jonah" in the Advent Movement, to the Davidians.  It is interesting to note that the seventh and final letter Ben Roden wrote to Florence Houteff and her Executive Council, was dated March 12, 1956 exactly three years to the month (Passover – March 27) to the climactic disappointment of the failed prophecy by Florence Houteff in April of 1959, during the week of Passover of that year beginning April 23.  


The final warning by Ben Roden is rejected.  Brother Roden and those with him are forced by the Davidians to leave New Mt. Carmel.


The demise of the original Davidian Association is set in motion 


Revival and Reformation, the Scriptural remedy for the Davidian dilemma, is rejected.   


April 25 -- The predicted day arrives – the prophetic 42 months is complete, from the fall of 1955, Day of Atonement, to the spring of 1959, Passover, 3 ½ years.  Apparently, for lack of further evidence, Florence Houteff likely used Brother Houteff's Feast Day chart to determine the time.


Hour by hour the Davidians listen to radio reports, expecting Ezekiel Nine judgment to fall.


Hour by hour no report is heard by the anxious Davidians.


Discouragement begins to grow but the people wait until midnight.


Nothing happens –

The prophecy of Florence Houteff, fails – miserably.


Over the next few days the large gathering disperses and the people return to their homes and former lives.


At Old Mt. Carmel, and New Mt. Carmel, all the Davidian membership are terribly SHAKEN in their faith in the Shepherd’s Rod Message. 


Most of the people give up the Rod Message and return to the SDA Church or go back into the world – the membership begins to dissolve – the organization funds begin to diminish.


The “great change” Brother Houteff stated in 1 TG 8:24 is about to come to full fruition – that “this same movement (Davidian) would merge into a greater one”. 1SR234  In John 3:30, did not John the Baptist tell his disciples, concerning Yahshua (Jesus), that "He (Christ) must increase and I must decrease."?  If we have a type, then we have a truth, relating to "Elijah" (John) and "Elijah" (Jesus) Messiah Yahshua.  Here is a perfect type, in perfect context in the latter days, of "one movement that would merge into a greater one" – the antitypical "Immanuel", The Branch Movement.








In the spring of 1960, one year after the great disappointment of the Davidians, Ben Roden institutes the Passover Supper in the Advent Movement, at the time instructed in the Torah, at the conclusion of the 14th of Abib/Nissan, the Passover Feast, in antitype, with only the emblems of Messiah’s Body and Blood, symbolized by the unleavened bread and unfermented grape juice – Ben Roden is given the light on how and when to institute the Lord’s Supper.  Victor Houteff wrote that he did not know how or when to institute the communion emblems, because it was not yet time for a circumstantial separation in the movement.


V.T Houteff stated in the Timely Greetings that the Feasts “we must not keep, except in antitype” 2TG 37:15.   There is no categorical prohibition to keeping the Leviticus 23 Harvest Feast Days anywhere in the Rod Message or in the writings of Ellen White.


The EMBLEMS of Christ’s Body and Blood, in the Passover Feast,  represent the COVERING of Messiah’s Righteousness, which we must have, in the Third Section of the Advent Movement, the completing Third Sealing Message of Revelation 3:12, the message of the New Name of Messiah.    


But also, the Emblems bring about a providential “separation” in the Body of Messiah, as "this same movement (Davidian) would merge into a greater one." 1SR234.


The Week of Unleavened Bread is instituted by The Branch in Israel, several places in Israel where the Branch people are gathered and in the USA in Odessa, Texas, where Ben Roden officiates.


In the fall of the same year, Ben Roden institutes the Day of Atonement and the Feast of Tabernacles in antitype in The Branch Movement.


The main body of Branch Letters and studies begin to be written and published.  The Branch work grows and prospers.


Many of the Davidians recognize and accept the Revival and Reformation under The Branch Message.


The Seventh-Day Adventist Netzerim Movement is born, The Branch-Davidian SDA, the final phase of the full restoration of the first century practice of the Netzerim (Nazerene Assembly) Movement lead by the Apostles of Messiah, with the Hebrew emphasis of the Scriptures, Hebraic worship and kosher lifestyle, in the vessel of the Advent Movement, the completion of the Sabbath and Sanctuary Message.  




As recorded in the Davidian Executive Council Minutes on March 13, 1961 and November 19, 1961 respectively, the Council first begins to discuss what to do with the large amount of second tithe funds in the Davidian Bank account and the proposal of dissolving the Davidian organization is discussed in the Council meetings.



A final resolution is drafted by the Executive Council on March 1, 1962 allocating second tithe funds for “wage adjustments” for Davidian leadership.


The Executive Counsel under Florence Houteff commits complete apostasy with the denunciation of the Rod Message and renunciation of Ellen G. White and V. T. Houteff, burning their literature along with the theft of the second tithe funds.


All remaining Davidian properties are placed in receivership under the court appointed direction of Tom Street, attorney for Florence Houteff.


Benjamin Roden begins a vigorous protest in the Waco Courts of the illegal actions of the Davidian leadership in selling off the Association property and using the second tithe for personal gain, when it was gathered for the support of the Davidian elderly and worthy poor.


Several groups of original Davidians initiate their own legal action to challenge the actions of the Florence Houteff Executive Council.


A legal maelstrom is set in motion for years to come to sort out many complex legal questions that result from the DSDA Organization dissolution.


On March 11, 1962 the Davidian Executive Council votes to dissolve the organization.


The majority of New Mt. Carmel property is sold, all but 77 acres.


The final receipt of properties in the administration building vault at New Mt. Carmel, is drawn up and signed on the 8th day of March.


The DSDA Shepherd’s Rod Organization is formally dissolved, defunct and the Executive Council disbands and goes their separate ways, well compensated with the money from the Lord’s Treasury – stolen.


The sin of antitypical “Achan” as seen in the Book of Joshua, is identified by Ben Roden in letters of protest and publication to the world field of remaining and former Davidians, who are not fully informed of what is transpiring at the headquarters. 


Florence Houteff moves to California, marries a man named Mr. Eakin and purchases a lot for a new home in central California.


Ben Roden, representing the Court Reporting Committee, publishes Executive Council Minutes, court briefs, documentation and legal action forms to the world field and informing all remaining original Davidians of their second tithe rights to claim a fractional refund of money sent to DSDA, from the sell off of remaining property, OR to retain their rights under the original organization and proclaim their continued belief in the Shepherd’s Rod Message.


The “great change”, (1TG8) that Brother Houteff foretold, is almost complete.




Ben Roden publishes the landmark Branch study and prophetic expose, The Man on the White Horse, showing prophetic events then transpiring and the fulfillment of the Ezekiel 19 prophecy that the Rod organization, due to rejecting the revival and reformation under the Branch, was ordained to be “broken and wither”, “to merge into a greater movement”, as John the Baptist ministry merged into a greater one, with Christ and His disciples, in the type.


In the midst of a years-long court battle with former Davidians, Ben Roden moves the Branch headquarters from Odessa, Texas, to Waco, in August-September of 1965, to the remaining 77 acres that is New Mt. Carmel, displacing the Davidian caretaker that the Executive Council/Tom Street appointed to manage the property during the court battle.


Ben Roden made an initial down payment of $2,500.00 for the property to Tom Street and raised another $25,000.00, placed in escrow.   Total price of the purchase is $75,000.00.


The new Branch Headquarters is established at New Mt. Carmel with a new printing facility in the Administration building with homes provided for the Davidian and Branch elderly.


Attorney Tom Street blocks the purchase of the property with a court action connected to the existing civil suit where four separate Davidian groups contend mostly for the sale of remaining property and distribution of the funds.


Tom Street, the Catholic lawyer that represented Florence Houteff and the defunct Executive Council, takes Ben Roden to court to evict The Branch Congregation from their homes on the remaining 77 acres of New Mt. Carmel property [Tom Street was originally appointed by the court as receiver (trustee) of the Davidian property to the sell off of remaining property and distribute the proceeds as the court directed].


Tom Street wins the court action for eviction.


Ben Roden files suit to contest the eviction and stalled the eviction process for seven years.



Ben Roden persuades the Waco based county court, presided under Judge Logue, that the remaining 77 acre property actually belonged to remaining second tither Davidians, those who had record of paying a twenty percent of their income to the Davidian headquarters during Brother Houteff’s life and ministry.  


The second tithe fund was provided for the poor and elderly of the Davidian membership. V.T. Houteff took care of his people, particularly the elderly and poor, and built a rest home at the Old Mt. Carmel property for their care and retirement. The Davidian organization under V. T. Houteff was prospered enough to do this for membership so that the Davidian elderly would not languish in worldly rest homes, not having vegetarian/kosher diet and convenient Sabbath services.


This work, that Brother Houteff started, to provide for the poor and elderly second tither Davidians, Ben Roden continues and provides for at New Mt. Carmel, where the elderly have a place to live in a Sabbath keeping vegetarian/kosher environment, to keep the Leviticus 23 Feasts, along with the worthy poor of the old and new membership