Apocalypse at Waco

I read about the siege in Waco, Texas in my other religions class. I knew that the Branch Davidians and the FBI were in a sort of face off, in that the Branch Davidians were preparing for the end time and Judgement Day and that the FBI thought that they were a menace of sorts. I also knew that the siege lasted 51 days until the FBI finally entered the compound and many people died. What I did not know, however, was that James Tabor and Phil Arnold had tried to help the FBI. Both Arnold and Tabor have experience with the Book of Revelation and apocalypticism. They tried to make sense of David Koresh’s monologues in order for the FBI to communicate with the Branch Davidians effectively. Tabor and Arnold discussed the interpretation of the Book of Revelation and the Seven Seals on a radio talk show that Koresh was known to listen to. They thought that Koresh saw himself and his followers as, essentially, bringers of Judgement Day. Koresh was trying to break the Seven Seals and believed he was in the Fifth Seal, which meant that he and his followers would have to die in order to bring about Judgement Day. However, Arnold and Tabor argued on the talk show that Koresh would have to write a manuscript on the Seven Seals before doing so. They were hoping in doing this, that Koresh and the Branch Davidians would not become martyrs. We can assume that this worked since Koresh was, in fact, working on a manuscript. Unfortunately, the ignorance and impatience of the FBI led to a fatal showdown. I knew that the FBI had failed to communicate with the Branch Davidians but I did not realize that they were so close to a peaceful surrender. Now, we can only speculate, but as Tabor explains, Koresh was working on a manuscript and likely would have surrendered once it was completed. Tragically, the FBI were ignorant of the scriptures which Koresh often quoted and were worried that Koresh was stalling and trying to manipulate them. It was a tragedy that I think could have ultimately been avoided.

One thought on “Apocalypse at Waco

  1. I had always heard about the tragedy of the Branch Davidians; but I had no idea it was this terrible. Your presentation was extremely well-detailed, right down to the seven “seals”.

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