Excerpt of conversation between chief FBI negotiator, Byron Sage, and David Koresh concerning David Koresh's faith and whether he is Jesus Christ. (The entire conversation lasted approximately an hour and ten minutes.)
March 17, 1993
1:45 p.m. - 2:05 p.m.
BYRON SAGE: David let, let's back up a second here and we'll put this thing in the proper perspective. Now I mentioned to you that I was here from the first day, okay?
DAVID KORESH: Right.
SAGE: I was not here when the people drove up to the front of your ah, of your church and I'm not sittin' here tryin' to defend how that happened or anything else...
KORESH: (interrupts) No, no we're not talkin' at that point we're talkin' at the point where...
SAGE: okay that's, that's word I'm gettin' at.
SAGE: (unintelligible) you're not talkin' to ATF now you're talkin' to the FBI...
KORESH: Big brother.
SAGE: and we're tryin' to get this accomplished in your best interest and in ours, but we can only do that if we work together. Now you've talked about promises that have not been kept and things that have been changed in mid stream.... partner I'm the one that you talked ... er, not that you talked to, but you had relayed messages through STEVE and through WAYNE to try to get your message off first you, the brief message that was read for you by ATF to the media, I'm the one that facilitated gettin' it on the radio through KRLD in Dallas.
SAGE: The next thing that you wanted to do is try to get your message out nationally. Do you recall this? I'm the one that contacted the Christian Broadcast Network and convinced them to put your message on the air... unedited, unreviewed I mean these people were layin' their, their ah, jobs on the line. I'm the one that did that for you the FBI did that for you. Your response in your own words DAVID, IN YOUR OWN WORDS, not my words, not ATF's not the FBI, not anybody that's ever wronged you, your own words where was that as soon as this message is broadcast I WILL IMMEDIATELY and you stressed immediately...
KORESH: Come out...
SAGE: and you did a good job.
SAGE: Come out immediately.
SAGE: What happened? You...
KORESH: (interrupts) My, my, my commander,
SAGE: went back on your own word.
KORESH: my commander and chief told me to wait.
SAGE: Well that's a pretty easy excuse to hide behind.
KORESH: And that's what you all get behind too, isn't it?
SAGE: It is not, we...
KORESH: (interrupts) We (unintelligible) also.
SAGE: (unintelligible) everything we've promised you DAVID
KORESH: Mr. BYRON, I disagree with you... evidence shows in every respect the media to what you've done turnin' our lights off all this shows that you are makin' the same employment that I am.
SAGE: No that's not correct at all. That's your interpretation which is very convenient for you.
KORESH: And also for you too. Hey the other night your tanks came right up towards the house, is this not a violation of what you promised us yes or no?
SAGE: No. What we...
KORESH: (interrupts) It's not a violation.
SAGE: let me finish. You asked the question let me give you the response. You to, you asked that we not encroach on your property as long as you were going along with ah, arrangements that we were making in a very healthy and human fashion on the 28th and the first and the second. That did not happen, and you think about this for a second those tanks did not encroach and they're not tanks by the way they're armored personnel carriers, in fact one's an ambulance and I pray we never have to use it.
KORESH: Well, that's what the radio...
SAGE: Okay, let me finish here.
KORESH: the guys that's what the guys in the ah,...
SAGE: Well, I'm, I'm settin' you straight they are not tanks, they're armored personnel carriers. The next thing I want you to, to please think about this step back, get away from this emotional aspect (unintelligible) ...
KORESH: (interrupts) I'm not emotional.
SAGE: and I will try to do the same, but listen they did not step one foot on your property until you went back on your word.
KORESH: That is a lie.
SAGE: That is not a lie.
KORESH: That is a lie.
SAGE: That is absolute fact.
KORESH: And you will find out in the judgement that you're fixin' to witness that it was lie. You will find out very clearly every detail, every thought, every statement made, every, every ah, manipulation done behind the scenes will be made apparent to you. You do not understand what you're dealing with. You do not understand what position of time you're in. This nation does not understand. I know you don't want to hear this.
SAGE: No I wanna hear it because I, I answer to the same God you do pal, but you don't have a corner on the market.
KORESH: (interrupts) No you do not. You do not know the seals Mr. BYRON. You do not understand the seals. There are scholars that would help you out. There are scholars who would understand the indepthness of what I stated over the radio.
SAGE: DAVID can I ask you a question?
SAGE: Okay. I've read the same book, okay? I was, I, I found my Savior in a, in a ah, situation in Vietnam where I realized that I wasn't in control of my life.
SAGE: Okay? I read the same book that you are, are founding your faith on. I respect that book. I respect your faith, but I read in the Scripture and I, and I'm not a, I'm not claiming to be a Bible ah, ah, theologian and I'm not claiming to be anywhere near as well versed in word and quotation as you are and I respect that capability but I find in that book that that book says the only person, the only person the only entity that can open those seven seals is the Lamb of God.
SAGE: I don't claim for a moment to have that capability and you know as well as I do that your challenge to us from day one to just "just get somebody in here that can open these seven seals and I all my people will come out."
SAGE: That's garbage.
SAGE: It's garbage, it's a false hope and you know that.
KORESH: No it's not. On the contrary, these people remain here because I have thoroughly opened to them the seven seals. See if you had understood...
SAGE: Well then you have a message that's extremely valuable that you need to share with the rest of this world. The only way you can do that DAVID is if we can get this matter resolved when, when you come out you'll will be provided with that opportunity and I'll be in the front of the line to listen to it.
KORESH: That's not where you remain ignorant. It's not your fault. I do not hold you contemptible for that, but you remain ignorant to understand what is actually being applied at this very time. See when it says in 22 I come they reward is me, it's very clearly identified that when Christ comes the identifying mark will be the knowledge of those seven seals.
SAGE: And so you are now claiming clearly and simply that you are the Christ.
KORESH: I am saying that no man can know me nor my father unless they open their book and give a fair chance in honesty and equity to see the seals.
KORESH: Chapter 10 shows that when there's time no longer this mystery of God the seven founders which are the seven seals will be finished as God has declared to his servant the prophet. The keynote is that from Deuteronomy 32 the song of Moses...
SAGE: DAVID. DAVID. In all due respect and I, I would, I would love to and I, I'm telling you that I genuinely would ah, and I'm committed to doing this to, to research what you're telling us and so forth, but we need to get the matter of the standoff as we have it right now resolved.
KORESH: Well, that's what we're aiming to do.
SAGE: Then you can bring this form forward.
KORESH: But we're gonna, we gonna also have to comply to the fact that if I am right... you people are in more trouble than I am!
SAGE: I, I couldn't agree with you more!
KORESH: This nation is a (unintelligible)...
SAGE: DAVID do you hear what I just told ya? I couldn't agree with you more. I know what you're, what you're talkin' about.
KORESH: and that's from your religious conviction, but now where we stand at this present time is that you come in the name of this nation, I come to you in the name of God, a God who has declared in heaven that no man on earth, neither under earth, anywhere in heaven can open this book neither look thereon. Now it would be a definite miracle in after 2,000 years of all the scholars of the so called world not to know the seals especially if they're plainly recorded in the prophecies. So what I've asked of you is a very simple thing I've asked you simply...
SAGE: What you've asked of me and what you've asked of the, of the Biblical scholars...
KORESH: of the nation who says in God we trust on their currency...
SAGE: That's right.
KORESH: (unintelligible) bounces the sanctuary right now see things are taking place around you don't know. I would like to show you these things, I would like to impart this knowledge to you,...
SAGE: Then please come out and show us, that's all we're askin' here.
KORESH: I am more willing to come out when I get my message from my commander.
SAGE: Let me, can I, can I mention a couple things to you that I really think you need to realize. Your message, you had the, the absolute Zenith...opportunity to get your message out and it was broadcast and we facilitated it, we're not the, the, the anti-Christ here we're not the, the evil doers we...
KORESH: That, that remains to be seen.
SAGE: Well let me finish. We are the ones that facilitated you getting that message out. It went out across this nation, it went out internationally, but what you, you apparently don't understand is that with the passage of time and one of the documents that I wanted to provide to you is a letter from the Christian Broadcasting Network, from CRAIG SMITH who is the, the ah, talk show host that facilitated getting the message out and by the way lost his job as a result of it... because he was willing to stick his neck out to try to help you, to help the people in that compound to safely resolve this and not put out an issue of a, a statement of death, but a statement of life. The posture you're assuming now is not promoting the safe welfare of the people inside that, that a , the church and you know it.
KORESH: So what you're implying.
SAGE: Let, let me finish here just a second.
KORESH: Go ahead.
SAGE: When he put that message out, he stuck himself out in front because he also has a saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ that you claim to serve.
KORESH: I didn't say I claimed to serve Jesus Christ, I did not say that, did I?
SAGE: Okay you are telling me you don't then.
KORESH: What I'm saying is,..
KORESH: What I'm saying...
SAGE: I don't even need to clarify that position because this is not a religious debate.
KORESH: No, it's not it's a point of a political matter, the matter is that as the embassage is at the present I teach the seven seals not that I, but I show from the prophetic writings of scriptures, your scripture the very clear decoded message of God for the last generation that compiles in 144,000 it stands on Mount Zion, that is the literal number the Gospels going back to the Jews all the prophets foretold that the time of the Gentiles would come to an end cause you will be doing worse than what they've done 2,000 years ago. You see you fail Mr. Byron to understand the purpose of the cross 2,000 years ago. It was stated "Father forgive them for they know not what they do." Now in those days they didn't have manuscripts everywhere. Only the Pharisees and Sanhedrin had copies of, of the Torah (unintelligible) Now also it states "into thy hand I commend my spirit" so very clearly to all the New Testament writings Christ sits at the right hand of God and the Book of Revelations and the right hand of God is the Book. Have you heard of the Word of God being made flesh? Sure its easy to accept what's been in the past, but when the word is made flesh again...it'll come according to the seven seals...
SAGE: Made flesh and dwelt among us.
KORESH: of which you are standing right at the door...
KORESH: looking at it in the face and you know it not.
SAGE: With all due respect, my own personal commitment, my own personal faith, my own personal salvation you are not in a position to attack and I'm not here to debate it with you.
KORESH: You do not know my position to attack.
SAGE: Okay, I'm just giving you my opinion so you can take it or leave obviously you, you'll leave it, but let me just please make this, this point you need to realize that we are not here I'm not here, I'm not, the Sheriff's not still sitting out in that Bradley idlin' on the road so that we can force a confrontation. We are here trying to resolve this matter without anyone else getting hurt.
KORESH: And that's what I'm trying to do likewise.
KORESH: I do not want the people...
SAGE: With all due respect I think that it's a very safe position to hide back and say I'm not coming out until my God says that it's time to come out.
KORESH: No, no, no it's a very safe position for you, you're behind the Bradley we're here behind the walls of sheetrock. We're here behind walls of sheetrock we remained here from the beginning we did not build walls of stone or steel.
SAGE: We, we are here to facilitate you getting out behind those walls of sheetrock.
KORESH: You're behind the (unintelligible)...
SAGE: let me finish please! as well as your message if you want your message to get out that message is not going to get out until you come out to profess it and we will facilitate it. Now you can, you can condemn us, please listen to this, you can condemn us for, for ah, interfering with your free and unfettered access to the media, but what I'm telling you is we stand ready. My commanders stand ready and have assured me to assure you, that as soon as you come up out we will facilitate free, complete, unedited, uncensored access to the media. I just got off the phone before I came out here...DAVID are you listenin' to this?
KORESH: I'm listening.
SAGE: I just came, got off the phone with the Christian Broadcasting Network now and I don't know if you listen to them or not, but they have assured me that they stand ready and it's in this letter that I prepared to, to ah, provide you, that they stand ready to continue to help you to facilitate, to put your message out, but only when you come out. Only when you live up to your initial word that you broke. We did not break it. You broke it. Let that be perfectly clear and we'll build from that point forward, but we're not gonna build castles on sand and you know what I'm talkin' about.
KORESH: Well, we know that ah...
SAGE: We're gonna build 'em on rock. You need to bring that rock out and build your message. Let us help ya.
KORESH: Well we know the rock's in heaven. We know that right, Mr. Byron. It sits on a throne, right?
SAGE: That's right.
KORESH: And we also know it's gonna hit the image in the feet, right...Daniel 2:44.
SAGE: I'm not gonna get into a religious debate with you...
KORESH: No, it's not debate...
SAGE: I believe what you're sayin' and I...
KORESH: statements of Christian fact, everyone who loves Christ knows.
SAGE: David, I know what you're sayin' and I agree with it, but it's time for you to bring your feet out and to place them on the, on the in a position and a proper forum to get your word out if that's what you really want to do.
KORESH: That's what's going to be done...
SAGE: If that's what you really want to do.
KORESH: That is what is going to be done I swear by God unto you.
SAGE: How's it gonna be done until you come out?
KORESH: What I, what I'm saying...
SAGE: Come out.
KORESH: you still fail to understand the finishing part of what our work is you see, and unless you sit down because you care for our soul and you love the innocent within these walls which you profess to do unless you sit down and hear a man you can't judge him.
SAGE: David, we have heard you for 17 days (unintelligible)
KORESH: No you have not, you have interrupted, you've made statements the people have scoffed no you have not.
SAGE: We have, we have never scoffed you or your message. Not one time has the FBI ever gotten up there and scoffed you or your message.
SAGE: That's not true. If that's the message that you're puttin' out to your people...
KORESH: Again that'll be brought, again that'll be brought out...
SAGE: let me finish, let me finish, if that's the message you're puttin out to your people you are not representing the truth in the best interest of the people inside the compound.
KORESH: I have not been talking with these people at large these...
SAGE: Well you need to David you profess to be the leader in that compound, it's time for you to take command and bring these, the, the sheep forward.
KORESH: Mr. Byron understand again, salvation is not done by wholesale, it's an individual responsibility. The people here...
SAGE: Then let those individuals free. Let them come out.
KORESH: They are free.
SAGE: I don't believe it.
KORESH: I know you don't, you don't believe me. You don't even believe that God sits on a throne, you don't believe he gave the book with the lamb, you don't believe the lamb's gonna come with the reward...
SAGE: (unintelligible) tell the truth and (unintelligible) with, with their promises that is not you to this point.. You understand that?
KORESH: I understand that you are trying to make statements for us to comply to your ideals, but here's the thing you just told me you feared God.
SAGE: I do.
KORESH: Which God do you fear?
SAGE: I fear...I'm not gonna get into this debate with you, but I'm gonna tell you that I am personally convinced and secure in my salvation. I don't have to represent that to you one iota. What I do have to represent to you is that this is not an unlimited situation. Time is, is passing. You have not...
KORESH: I know it is, it's very close.
SAGE: let me finish please. David let me finish. You have not lived up to your promises.
KORESH: And have you lived up to yours?
SAGE: if you believe me okay wait a minute whoa, whoa, whoa David you believe me you just said that...
KORESH: No, I said I believe what...
SAGE: here's what I wanna (unintelligible) here's what I wanna make clear to you we have three buses that will be in this area by 3:00, that's one hour now they, now this, this is one thing I wanted to bring forward to Steve this is not any kind of trick or anything we have medical attention that we have, have made contacts with and they will be prepared to help with, with injuries including ah, Judy's right hand and finger and possible shoulder, Scott's thigh, your abdomen ah, and hopefully that's not ah, is it still weeping? Your wound.
KORESH: It still weeps.
SAGE: Okay we would like to, to be able to help ya out with that. David Jones that got the, the shot in the buttocks we wanna be able to try to help these people as best we can. Medical attention will be available at 3:00. The buses are standing by to take these people to the proper authorities, have access to legal counsel including yourself, but David please...let's get off the dime here. It is you and I both know that if, if you make the decision that okay we're comin' out we're going to go before the media we're going to have our day in court which according to the Sheriff you wnated to do, you did it in 1988 and were successful, do it in 1993, do it now. We are ready to do this without anybody else gettin' hurt. Do you understand? I don't know how to make it any more clear. Except maybe to take a couple breaths and relax, but what I'm tryin' to do is I'm tryin' to tell you and I tried to tell Steve, I'm excited because the things that I found out and that I wanted to come out there and deliver face to face are in your best interests. You had concern about property, the property is not going to be moved upon. I have a statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office that says based on federal firearms acts there's no provision to move on it for forfeiture. They couldn't seize it even if, if, if you were fearful of ATF jumpin' up and down sayin' that that's their plan there's no legal grounds for 'em to do it. You are safe and secure in your church. The legal issue I have proof that you have legal representation and those that aren't represented we have, we've there's a roster I can provide to you as soon as you come out and court appointed attorneys are standin' by. The crime scene we've made ah, you still there?
KORESH: I'm here.
SAGE: The crime scene I hope you're listenin' to this instead of...
KORESH: I am listening.
SAGE: okay the crime scene we've made arrangements ah, to work on getting a, an independent ah, special ah, (noise in background) special master I belive is, is the legal term for it ah, to oversee the processing of the crime scene. Now I hope you're listening to this because this is a point that I know Steven has made that, that Wayne has made and that you've made through them and directly to the various guys that have talked to you during the course of the negotiations. We've not made a, we've made that step that's very unusual normally the agency processes the crime scenes and that's it and the, the, evidence is brought forth into court and it's judged by a, by a jury of your peers. Now what you're looking at is we've made provisions to try to accomodate the needs that you've expressed. Time after time we have, we again in this issue so you'll have an independent party that can assure that evidence is collected properly, that it's not compromised and so forth. Sealed documents, you had a problem with that. I have copies for you David, you listenin'?
KORESH: I'm listening.
SAGE: I have copies for you of this, of the warrant for your arrest that was filed...let me get it out here, the warrant for your arrest was filed before United States Magistrate Dennis Green on the 25th of February that's ah, four days, three days before ah, the unfortunate incident out there with the raids and, and the loss of life. But I'm tellin' ya it's a legal document I've got an original fax sent into me from the ah, U.S. Attorney's Office at 12:26 today. I've not been sittin' on my hands tryin' to get this done for you. I've got a copy of the search warrant that you, that ah, Wayne had expressed a problem with because ah, he questioned whether or not there was even one in existence. I've got here and it says in the matter of the search of residence of Vernon Wayne Howell also known as David Koresh and others, Route 7, Box 471B, also known as Mount Carmel Center. I've got it sittin' here to provide to you so that you would know, David, that I'm not trying to run a game on you. If I sound excited or if I sound upset or whatever, I'm excited to get you out. Safely. That's the only reason that I'm sittin' here.