Many of the people attending the Davidian Seventh-Day Adventists meetings at their new Mt. Carmel Center east of Waco are not in complete accord with Davidian beliefs.
The conventional Seventh-day Adventists, some of whom are at the meetings, feel the Davidian beliefs are entirely in error.
But there is still another group in attendance.
The third group is a splinter from the Davidian sect. It is known simply as “The Branch,” and is headed by Benjamin l. Roden of Odessa, a man whom his followers believe is the modern-day counterpart of the Biblical prophet Joshua.
Roden has been in Israel the past several months laying the groundwork for the establishment of God’s Kingdom by the 144,000 Adventists who will be saved when their religion is purified through the coming of the Lord with fire and sword.
“We have been living in Palestine the past 10 months,” Roden said. “We have no separate center and don’t plan on establishing one. We are there merely to make the first arrangements and to be on hand when the Lord establishes His Kingdom.”
Roden says his followers accept the Davidian teaching “as far as they go,” but that the Davidian belief “just doesn’t go far enough.”
“That’s right,” a Branch follower, William Worrow of Miami, Fla., said. “They believe Brother Houteff (Davidian founder V.T. Houteff who died in 1955) was the antitype of the Biblical prophet Elijah.
“We believe he was a combination of the modern counterparts of the Biblical prophet Moses through his publication, the Shepherd’s Rod, and Elijah, John the Baptist. The modern-day Elijah they believe Houteff was will never die as Brother Houteff did.
“Also,” Worrow continued, “the Davidians have changed their beliefs since the death of Brother Houteff. Before that they thought they could only receive instructions through a living prophet and since they haven’t had one since his death, they have changed their belief to cover that error.
“Besides,” he added, “they don’t have any provision for the modern-day Joshua who will lead the people to the Kingdom.”
Followers of the Branch believe that in Roden they still have a living prophet who can furnish them The Word and also lead the people into the Kingdom at Jerusalem.
In addition, members of The Branch believe the Davidian conviction that “the fullness of time has come” is premature.
They say the prophetic events will not occur until the spring of 1960.
“The Davidians are doomed to disappointment,” Roden and his followers claim. “The predicted events will not occur until next year.”