Lamentations: The Point of No Return
The life of the Jewish King Josiah was prophesied 360 years before he was born. He came on the scene when Solomon’s temple was in disrepair and filled with pagan idolatry. He humbled himself and repented toward God on behalf of the nation of Judah.
Because of Josiah’s obedience, God promised not to punish Judah until Josiah died. Since Josiah was still a young man, the people figured they could continue in their sins for a long time. But when the Egyptian army tried to march through Judah to fight Assyria, Josiah made a grave error: He decided to fight Egypt and was killed. The citizens of Judah knew they had reached the point of no return.
We need to learn from this history because the biblical book of Lamentations is for this end time. The Prophet Jeremiah wrote about the downfall of Judah, which is only a type of the coming punishment of the modern descendants of ancient Israel and Judah. (Request our book The United States and Britain in Prophecy, by Herbert W. Armstrong, for proof that the main descendants of ancient Israel are America and Britain, and that Judah is now the Jewish nation in the Middle East.)
Jewish tradition says Jeremiah wrote the book of Lamentations after Josiah died. “And Jeremiah lamented for Josiah: and all the singing men and the singing women spake of Josiah in their lamentations to this day, and made them an ordinance in Israel: and, behold, they are written in the lamentations” (2 Chronicles 35:25). Josephus wrote, “Jeremiah the prophet composed an elegy to lament him [Josiah], which is extant till this time …” (Antiquities).
Chronicles is the last book in the proper order of the Old Testament. It points to the New Testament. In this end time, there has also been an important death and a point of no return.
Jeremiah delivered a message to Judah, but his book is addressed to Israel—that means it’s for this end time. America and Britain are doomed to suffer horribly (Jeremiah 30:1-9). But after that, Jeremiah wrote, King David will be resurrected to rule over Israel! The Gentiles will become part of spiritual Israel—the Family of God! The terrible trouble of the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord leads directly to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ!
“How the gold has grown dim, how the pure gold is changed! The holy stones lie scattered at the head of every street. The precious sons of Zion, worth their weight in fine gold, how they are reckoned as earthen pots, the work of a potter’s hands!” (Lamentations 4:1-2; Revised Standard Version). This happened after the great theologian and educator Herbert W. Armstrong died in 1986. The “precious sons of Zion,” or God’s Church, figuratively turned from gold into clay. Mr. Armstrong restored all things to the Church (Matthew 17:10-11), yet look how quickly most of God’s own people forgot and rebelled!
At this point, no world leader can save the nations of Israel. The only way to be saved is through giving yourself to God in total repentance.
“Our persecutors are swifter than the eagles of the heaven: they pursued us upon the mountains, they laid wait for us in the wilderness. The breath of our nostrils, the anointed of the Lord, was taken in their pits, of whom we said, Under his shadow we shall live among the heathen” (Lamentations 4:19-20). Josiah is the anointed of the Eternal referenced here. Mr. Armstrong was also God’s anointed, as we have proved. (Request my book Malachi’s Message to God’s Church Today to prove this for yourself.)
In Chapter 2 of my booklet Lamentations: The Point of No Return, I write:
Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon says the word pits means destruction. Destruction! As with Josiah, somebody came along after Mr. Armstrong died and destroyed what the anointed of the Eternal taught. The Bible calls him the son of perdition, or destruction.
Soncino commentary says, “The biblical book of Lamentations contains no explicit reference to Josiah, but Jewish tradition applies Lamentations 4, verses 1 and 20 to the fallen king.”
Mr. Armstrong’s successor in the Worldwide Church of God cast the truth to the ground (Daniel 8:11-12). When Josiah died, Judah reached the point of no return; no king could save the nation from captivity. That’s a type of Mr. Armstrong dying in this end time. Our only hope of escaping destruction is to turn to God in prayer. Where is the evidence of anyone repenting today? A rare few individuals are, but how about nations?
“… Under his shadow we shall live among the heathen” (Lamentations 4:20). After Judah destroyed Josiah’s great works, the nation went into captivity, where his shadow hung over them all the time. They must have thought, If only we had only listened to Josiah, we wouldn’t be suffering! Soon, God’s rebellious Church will think the same thing about Mr. Armstrong.
America is so divided that no one could save this country, but God continues to warn us. “Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?” (Ezekiel 33:11). More than once, God tells people to turn. He expects in-depth, total change if we’re going to save our nations. Turn and turn and turn, and you will live!
“The Lord said also unto me in the days of Josiah the king, Hast thou seen that which backsliding Israel hath done? she is gone up upon every high mountain and under every green tree, and there hath played the harlot” (Jeremiah 3:6). God warned 360 years in advance of King Josiah coming to wipe out idolatry (1 Kings 13:1-3), then he warned some more during Josiah’s reign of the coming captivity in Babylon. God always warns—far in advance—before punishing. Still, the “daughters of Zion” (Lamentations 6:1)—God’s Church and, through the principle of duality, the nations of Israel—continue to fall back into idolatry.
“The Lord hath swallowed up all the habitations of Jacob, and hath not pitied: he hath thrown down in his wrath the strong holds of the daughter of Judah; he hath brought them down to the ground: he hath polluted the kingdom and the princes thereof. He hath cut off in his fierce anger all the horn of Israel: he hath drawn back his right hand from before the enemy, and he burned against Jacob like a flaming fire, which devoureth round about” (Lamentatinos 2:2-3). Jeremiah went to Judah but addressed his book to Israel, here called Jacob. The biblical Jacob had his name changed to Israel upon spiritual conversion, so Jacob is a type of the carnal nations of Israel, and Israel is a type of God’s Church. Physical and spiritual Israel are in big trouble!
God is trying to teach us. He’s trying to tell us that dreadful correction is coming. When are we going to listen to Him? Only a tiny remnant of loyal people is delivering God’s warning message.
By the time Jeremiah warned Judah anciently, Israel had already gone into captivity over a hundred years earlier. Israel will soon go into captivity again, as will Judah.
When Mr. Armstrong died in 1986, Satan and his demons were cast down to Earth (Revelation 12:7-9). These wretched spirit beings are now confined to this planet, no longer able to roam the universe. Satan is wrathful because he knows that Jesus Christ is about to return! The apex of his wrath is the Great Tribulation. God allows Satan to cause devastation and annihilation because of our sins.
How could we save our nations when that much spiritual force is working to destroy Israel? On top of that, God says in Lamentations and in Ezekiel 4-6 that He also is against Israel. Things have gotten so bad that 50 percent of God’s rebellious people, the Laodiceans, will refuse to repent and will lose their eternal lives. Thankfully, most of the people in our nations will repent.
“Wherefore dost thou forget us for ever, and forsake us so long time? Turn thou us unto thee, O Lord, and we shall be turned; renew our days as of old” (Lamentations 5:20-21). Spiritual Israel once obeyed God. Fifty percent of the Laodiceans will understand the cause of their misery and will repent.
“Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?” (Ezekiel 33:11). God doesn’t want us to die! He wants us to live joyful, abundant lives! See where this world is headed. Listen to God.