MARY'S CITY of DAVID - The Israelite House of David as reorganized by Mary Purnell
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Seven Angels To The Seven Churches Revelation 1:20

The Seven Messengers To The Seven Churches

Of Israel At The Latter Day

A Brief Historical Time Line

Joanna Southcott, 1792-1814, began receiving communications from the Spirit in 1792, in Devonshire, England.  She would prophesy until her death in 1814.  She attracted a following estimated at 150,000 including bishops of the Church of England, nobility, and men of wealth and influence.  She would fill 65 volumes of oral recordings concerning the "true explanation of the Bible", the Second Coming and the teaching of the redemption of the body, without death (Revelation 21:1-7).  Her prophesies and influence have passed onto the following six churches.

Richard Brothers, 1790-1792, is considered the second of the lineage because that he fulfilled the prophecy out of Revelation 2: 9-10, for the Second Angel to the Church at Smyrna.  Known for his impoverished situation at the outset of his visions in 1790 and later would be imprisoned for 10 years, 1794-1804 for his declaration that the Royal Family would have to step down at the coming of the King of Heaven and earth.  Brothers would become a recognized and popular influence on the "British Israel" movement, which gained notable acceptance after his death in later Victorian England. Part of his message taught that the scattered and lost 10 families of Israel had journeyed northward, and through migrations had settled in northwestern Europe and particularly the United Kingdom.  There they would remain until the Latter Day when at the Lord's second appearance they would gather together again as one family, from out of which the elect would be taken.

George Turner 1814-1821, Turner was an early follower of Joanna from his home in Leeds, and he would secure the following of the largest numbers in the north of England after Joanna's death.  Turner would write 10 volumes concerning the coming of Christ in the name of Shiloh (Genesis 49:10) (Joshua 18:1), which name was first given through Brothers and also Joanna.  Turner was first to prophesy that the church's order would be patterned after the First Church at Jerusalem, an apostolic order.

William Shaw 1821-22, little is known of the life or work of Shaw, but he was recognized as a prophet that gathered some of the splinters from Joanna's following.  His writings would remain in manuscript form until into the early 20th century when they would be printed at San Diego, California, and given their respective place as the Message of the Fourth in the Lineage of Seven.  Shaw's communications are the only writings that are yet unfound to the 200 year library at Mary's City of David.  They are indeed a rare find.

John Wroe 1822-1863, Wroe would begin his ministry to Israel in December of 1822 from Bradford, England, and would travel extensively for forty years throughout the world.  He would found the Society of Christian Israelites  (Christian Israelite Church) would visit Australia 3 times and tour America 5 times.  His society would adopt many of the Levitical teachings of the Sabbath day, clean and unclean meats, and circumcision to become a full or covenant member.  John Wroe would be the first major influence since Joanna to the progress of the teaching, and his numerous volumes are filled with deep and truthful insights to all areas of scriptural mysteries.  His divine communications along with Joanna's oral communications would continue to be recognized in the remaining two churches unto this day.

James Jezreel 1873-1885, author of "Extracts From the Flying Roll", and founder of the New and Latter House of Israel, James was a follower of the Christian Israelite faith in England, and later broke away from them.

To form his own organization at Gillingham/Chatham, England.  James would make one world tour visiting both Australia and America in 1882.  He sent numbers of ministers into America, which was highly looked towards for new membership, and at its zenith, the membership in America surpassed that in England.  The extracts from the Flying Roll would become a major text in the progress into the Seventh Church.

Mary and Benjamin Purnell, 1895-1953
Mary and Benjamin Purnell, 1895-1953, Mary and Benjamin would become followers of James Jezreel in the late 1880s from their home in Richmond, Indiana.  They would be enjoined to the Michael Mills Commune in Detroit, Michigan around 1891-2, and were commissioned as traveling preachers, canvassing literature of the New and Latter House of Israel until March of 1895.



Witnessed by the entire assembly, Mary and Benjamin received the  "grafting" of the Spirit, which made them the coveted and long awaited and expected Seventh Messenger.  Their rejection from the Detroit assembly turned out of doors not many weeks after the event of the graft.  For 7 years they would remain on the road preaching the Israelite faith and writing the covenant message for the Seventh Church, entitled, the Star of Bethlehem, the Living Roll of Life.  They found a brief home at Fostoria, Ohio in 1902 and then came to Benton Harbor, Michigan to start the Seventh Church, the Israelite House of David, in 1903.  By 1916 they had gathered 1000 members at home with a worldwide following, and a branch community at Sydney, Australia.  Benjamin Purnell would pass away in December, 1927 upon the completion of an infamous court trial that found him guilty of operating a fraudulent enterprise in the guise of religion.  The opinion of the trial court was immediately appealed to the Michigan State Supreme Court, and in 1929 much of the lower court decree was overturned.  In the aftermath of the death of Benjamin Purnell, and in the years of his long-term illness preceding, there was a schism in the membership over direction and the Israelite future.  One half would side with Mary Purnell, cofounder, and co-author of the Covenant Message, and one half would oppose her in favor of the board director, H.T. Dewhirst.  After three years of bitter wrangling for control of the destiny of the community, Mary decided to dissolve the Israelite House of David and start anew with those that would remain faithful in fellowship with her.  By the Spring of 1930 an out of court settlement was reached in which Mary and her 217 faithful would depart from their homes, walking two blocks east and starting all over.  New membership would come in and the Israelite House of David as reorganized by Mary Purnell was born in a tent on March 14, 1930, now commonly called and for brevity, Mary's City of David.  A spartan and lean beginning that soon took shape as a new community from the ground up.  Under Mary Purnell's inspiring leadership and within 7 years most of the present day City of David was built in the times of worldwide depression.  Mary's new colony flourished and attracted more followers of the Israelite faith.  Mary's direction was that of a more orthodox and lower profile than the Israelite House of David was heading and would become under the direction of H.T. Dewhirst.  She would remain at the forefront of the movement and would continue to give forth both oral and written communications for the following worldwide.  Mary Purnell's death in 1953 would begin the long spiral downward in terms of membership, community influence and visibility to the world.  In 1991, under the direction of the new Secretary of the Trustees, R. James Taylor, Mary's City of David initiated a full scale program of restorations to its properties, and in August of 1997 the community opened its doors to the public with a museum and tours program featuring a number of historic sites within the City of David, and a museum filled with the history of the story of Seven Churches and the Lineage of the Israelite faith.  For the purposes of a new source of revenue, an opportunity to again educate the public as to the faith and history of the Israelite community, and the desire for a new and fresh exposure to the world that was lost in the last 35 years.

Learn More With the Following Links:

Richard Brothers (1757-1824)

Historical Society of Michigan
Society of

Berrien County Historical Association
Berrien Co

Southwestern Michigan Tourist Council
Tourist Council

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