Prophesy Again: God’s Commission to His End-Time Church
Chapter 1: Declaring the Mystery—Again
When the Apostle John was imprisoned on the isle of Patmos, it was a very trying time. He was all alone as far as we know; all the other apostles had been killed! So you might think John would have been sad and discouraged—but that was not the case at all. It was under those conditions that John wrote the book of Revelation. It was there that John wrote about our commission to prophesy again.
Down through the centuries, people have talked about prophesying again and wondered about this commission discussed in Revelation 10:11. When you study what people thought it meant, you see how deeply confused they were. But here we are at the end of man’s rule on Earth, and God’s “little flock” understands for the first time ever what it means to prophesy again. We are not guessing—we know. God has given us abundant proof.
We have only a tiny span of time to deliver God’s message to all the world. In the process, we experience some serious trials. That is not uncommon for God’s people. At one time, Jeremiah was very troubled and bogged down by his trials. But he said, That truth was in my heart like fire in my bones, and I couldn’t let go (Jeremiah 20:9). That is the stage God wants us to reach: where His truth is like fire in our bones and nothing can put out the fire—nothing can stop us from delivering this message.
Let’s take a closer look at our commission to prophesy again.
The book of Revelation contains spectacular scenery. It is precisely ordered and planned. It discusses seven Church eras, seven seals, seven trumpets, seven plagues, seven resurrections of the Holy Roman Empire and three woes. The Apostle John wrote about war between Christ and the armies of the Earth. This book describes angels and God’s own throne. We see the chronicle of prophecy ushering in the return of Jesus Christ. We see how, after the Millennium, God the Father will come to Earth with new Jerusalem.
We see wonderful harmony and unity in God’s master plan. The more you study it, the more you understand the mind of God. And as we grow in depth, we marvel at how little we understand about the magnificent and expansive thought processes of the Creator God!
In the midst of these prophecies—some about terrifying world conditions—you find a little group of God’s very elect right in the center of the storm. They are there to give meaning and hope to a dying world. Already we are experiencing the outer edges of this unparalleled storm. That’s where we are today. Revelation discusses Satan and the fierce opposition God’s very elect faces from the great false church. In the middle of these 22 chapters is a prophecy about the little book and Mystery of the Ages. God tells us there that we should prophesy again.
This is living drama. God has given us many revelations about this commission to prophesy again.
The Mystery of God
“And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire: And he had in his hand a little book open: and he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth, And cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth: and when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices. And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not” (Revelation 10:1-4).
The seven thunders of this little book are about God’s rebellious people who “cast down the truth to the ground” in this end time. These thunders are about Mystery of the Ages and Herbert W. Armstrong’s other works being cast down and destroyed! These thunders are about what is happening to God’s truth inside God’s Church. God is always most concerned with His people, but the world also must come to understand this calamity.
“And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven, And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be [no more delay]” (verses 5-6; see the Revised Standard Version).
In the King James Version, verse 6 ends with a colon. The thought continues in verse 7: “But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to [or, rather, is about to] sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.”
The seventh angel discussed here is the seventh trumpet angel (Revelation 8:2; 11:15), not the angel of the Laodicean era (Revelation 3:14). Before that seventh trumpet sounds, something has to happen on Earth. According to the Companion Bible and the Greek interlinear, “shall begin to sound” would be better translated “is about to sound.” Chapter 11 unfolds as that seventh trumpet is about to sound.
Verse 7 dates this prophecy. There isn’t much time left. The urgency keeps intensifying. The seventh trumpet is about to sound, and there is an accelerated work going on in a short span of time—and it all revolves around the mystery of God.
Here, the angel is talking about prophesying again—in the specific context of a mystery. God is profoundly concerned about the mystery being taught and the message being delivered before He brings the Great Tribulation and Day of the Lord upon the world. God conveys extreme urgency by letting us know that the seventh angel is about to sound!
In the midst of that period of “no more delay,” God’s very elect deliver a message about the mystery of God. This is what God has commissioned us to do: Proclaim this mystery to the world.
The little book, Malachi’s Message, reveals the great falling away from God’s truth and what the very elect’s commission is. (Request our free booklet The Little Book for scriptural proof that Malachi’s Message is this book.) That work is done amid the worst trouble ever on Earth and, in terms of numbers, probably the most sweeping rebellion ever in God’s Church.
The expression “should be finished” correctly reads “shall have been finished” (see the Companion Bible). This is a work that shall have been finished by God’s loyal people before Christ returns.
The Laodiceans refused to fulfill the commission God gave to the Philadelphia Church. Malachi’s Message explains their failure.
Revelation 10 reveals the connection between Mystery of the Ages and Malachi’s Message. They are both tightly bound to the same Elijah work. This chapter shows that the little book and God’s Work today are directly connected to Mystery of the Ages and God’s Work through Mr. Armstrong.
The Work must be finished when the seventh trumpet begins to sound. In other words, the Philadelphia Church of God will not finish God’s Work unless it fulfills this commission!
That puts a lot of pressure on God’s very elect to deliver Mystery of the Ages to the world now!
Under that kind of pressure, our human nature pulls against us. But like Jeremiah, we have to say, I couldn’t falter because that truth was like fire in my bones!
Mr. Armstrong finished Mystery of the Ages only six months before he died. He said this book was the second most important book on Earth, after the Bible. It is a synopsis of the entire Bible. The Bible is like a jigsaw puzzle, and the Christian world does not know how to fit the pieces together. Mr. Armstrong’s book clearly shows how to work the Bible puzzle.
He stated passionately that his church “must reach the largest audience possible” with this vital book.
However, the church he was used to raise up refused to publish Mystery of the Ages. So it should be obvious that God would raise up another work to finish the job.
That is where our commission enters the picture. We must “prophesy again,” with the emphasis on warning the world (Ezekiel 33:7-9), which faces the worst crisis ever. Also we show people that there is awesome hope in God’s mystery.
“And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings” (Revelation 10:11). We are to “prophesy again” to the whole world. This commission applies specifically to reaching the largest audience possible with Mystery of the Ages.
When God commands us to prophesy again to the world about the mystery, that is a direct command to deliver Mystery of the Ages! Revelation 10:7 refers specifically to Mr. Armstrong’s final and most important book. No other book on Earth today clearly explains what the mystery of the Bible is. It removes the mystery from the whole Bible, and that’s what this world needs to understand right now more than anything else!
Now we own the copyrights to that book and 18 other works by Mr. Armstrong—because a little group of people trusted God, and He delivered them in the court battle! (For more information, request our free booklet on Habakkuk.) God gave us those works; the courts certainly didn’t.
The little book and Mystery of the Ages tie directly to the seventh trumpet angel—when Jesus Christ will return to Earth! That truth ought to electrify all of God’s people!
When Christ comes, what is He going to do? He will need kings and priests, and He’ll need textbooks to put into colleges and people’s homes so they can learn how to live. When Christ gets here, we’ll begin to educate the world. This world will be God’s world very shortly.
It is primarily through delivering Mystery of the Ages that we keep the lamp of the Laodicean era burning—for the world, not the Laodiceans. That is our job. If the lamp were to go out, this world would be in total darkness. Only the Philadelphia Church of God (PCG) gives light to this world. And Mystery of the Ages is the major oil supply for the lamp.
Dispensation of the Mystery
Just what does it mean to prophesy again about the mystery?
Ephesians 3:9 contains some astounding truth about this: “And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ.”
The word fellowship is not a good translation. Lange’s Commentary translates it dispensation, as do some Bible translations—the dispensation of the mystery. Dispensation means to dispense or distribute something: to dispense or distribute the mystery!
The Companion Bible also says it’s dispensation, and adds that “fellowship” came from the translators actually rendering the wrong Greek word!
It also says that dispensation equals stewardship. In other words, for something to be dispensed, somebody has to do it. You must have people who are willing to declare the mystery to the world, not just possess it for themselves. God’s very elect have been given that responsibility.
There is a lot in this verse that we need to think about!
The Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary says the word mistranslated “fellowship” means “to dispense now … what heretofore was a mystery hidden in His counsels” (emphasis mine throughout). God’s firstfruits have to proclaim His message now. Every time God calls people and brings them into the truth, there is a fantastic work to be done. All seven Church eras had that responsibility. Most of them failed!
Now, look again at that verse. It doesn’t just say we should deliver this mystery—something we certainly have been commissioned to do. It says we should make all people understand that this mystery needs to be dispensed, or declared, to all mankind. On the surface, that doesn’t seem to make sense. Though it was pretty brazen of them, I’m sure that is why the translators changed that word.
There is far more to this verse than we have seen in the past. God has revealed a deeper meaning to this Church.
What is this mystery God is talking about? What is it God wants us to understand? That He is actually re-creating Himself in mankind. It is a truth so wonderful that the world says, No—that can’t be! That’s blasphemy! But that is what the Bible says, and it’s what the mystery is all about.
Revelation 11:1 talks about the temple (Greek naos), or inner temple, where God dwells. That’s where the mystery is. When Christ died, the temple veil in front of the holy of holies was ripped in two and we gained access to God the Father. That event also symbolizes our access to the entire universe! This is what the mystery is about.
Astronomers say that the universe contains some 2 to 3 trillion galaxies. How many stars is that? The best they can figure is a 70 with 21 zeroes after it—probably more than the number of grains of sand on Earth. And yet, God calls the stars all by name! (Isaiah 40:26).
Light travels at the speed of 186,000 miles per second. And the light from the other side of the universe hasn’t even reached us yet! These numbers give us some insight into how overwhelmingly vast the universe is. They help us to see what an omnipotent Creator God we have.
And God, in this mystery, is telling us that we are going to rule the vast universe.
Ephesians 3:9 says all men must see that the mystery of God needs to be declared. Think about that statement. God will give all the people of this world a vision like they have never, ever seen before! Perhaps He wants to show them that they are going to have to get that mystery out to the universe—and perhaps to other men and women that God will create on other planets. Ephesians 3:9 certainly does allow for that. Is God’s mystery going to be dispensed on and on and on—where men elsewhere in the universe will have this mystery revealed to them after they go through some experience like we have on Earth? I don’t know exactly what God has in mind. But the word dispensation has mind-staggering implications! The mystery must be dispensed, or declared, to every son who enters God’s Family.
It shouldn’t surprise us if the awesome God had some stupendous plan that we haven’t fully understood. Is He conditioning our minds more and more to understand what we are going to do in those 2 to 3 trillion galaxies? That’s a lot of real estate! Is it possible that God really is, after Operation Earth, going to create even more sons of God?
Suppose God does intend to put more inhabitants out there in those 2 to 3 trillion galaxies. That almost sounds unbelievable, but let’s not limit God. His mind is a creative power to put you in awe! That’s why it is such a terrible sin for little men to stand up and defy Him!
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder …. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David …. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this” (Isaiah 9:6-7). We have speculated as to what these two verses mean, but if you just look at what the passage says, it says a lot. It says there will be no end to the increase of God’s government and peace.
First, you must have God’s government, which brings peace. You don’t need to bring peace to an empty planet or galaxy, do you? You need to bring peace to where there are inhabitants—maybe angels, maybe men. If there’s nothing out there but a wilderness, and it’s going to remain that way, why would you need to increase the government and the peace forever and ever? God has a purpose for every inch of His creation.
The Good News of June 1974 said: “God the Father and Jesus Christ are reproducing themselves. They are enlarging their God Family. [The Father is] begetting sons. Real sons. Literal members of the God Family. That’s the purpose of human life. That’s the purpose for this Earth. And that very well could be the purpose for the entire universe. … So we cannot be dogmatic. We are journeying, at least in part, into the realm of possibility.”
We have speculated—as Mr. Armstrong did—that this verse may mean God’s Family will expand forever. If that’s true, it gives you some idea of the work ahead of us.
The Bible does say there will be an end to sorrow, crying and pain. That could apply to God’s Work on this Earth only. Again, this is speculation, but I believe these two passages in Ephesians and Isaiah strengthen that speculation.
Whatever God has in store, you can be sure it will be phenomenal.
Hidden for Eons
Notice something else about Ephesians 3:9: “And to make all men see what is the [dispensation] of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ.”
The expression “hath been hid in God” is a weak translation. The Anchor Bible says, “hidden from the ages in God,” and ages actually means eons—literally, eons and eons of time, an immeasurable or indefinitely long period of time. It is talking not just about this world’s time, but a time before human history when God only dealt with the angels.
You can see that the translators didn’t understand very much about this verse!
For eons and eons of time, this mystery has been hid in God’s mind. This is not speculation. God’s plan to re-create Himself wasn’t something He threw together haphazardly. This mystery could have been hidden in His mind for millions and millions of years!
Lange’s Commentary says, “[S]ince there were men and angels, it has been revealed to none of them.” This is correct to a point. It helps us see the meaning “hidden from the ages in God.” However, after one third of the angels rebelled, then God revealed His plan for man to the angels. And this mystery has been hidden from this world to this day. It has been revealed only to God’s “little flock” throughout the ages. That’s exactly what this verse is saying. At the time God created them, the angels did not understand that He was going to re-create Himself in human beings if His plan with angels didn’t work out! God created the angels with a backup plan. They didn’t learn about Plan B, God re-creating Himself in man, until God saw that Plan A did not work. (This is thoroughly explained in our free book The God Family Vision.) This transcendental truth was in God’s mind before and during His creation of the angels, but He didn’t reveal it to the angels; perhaps He thought it would distract or discourage them.
This gives us some insight into God’s deep, deep mind. He doesn’t reveal everything to us. We are given all of the essential truth, but some knowledge would not be good for us at this time. God knows what to reveal to us and what to withhold for the time being—and what He withholds can be astounding!
Just imagine what God may still have to reveal to us when the time is right!
“Unto whom [the prophets] it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy [Spirit] sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into” (1 Peter 1:12). The word desire is present tense. The angels are still fervently impassioned to learn more deeply about God re-creating Himself in mankind as the plan unfolds.
This is God’s ultimate master plan.
If the angels, who will never be gods, have this intense interest, shouldn’t the depth of our passion at least match theirs? We are going to be Gods—sons of God!
The word translated look implies that the angels are bending over, stretching and straining, trying to figure out what God is doing. They are asking and answering the big questions: What is God doing? We must learn about this. What does this mean, that God is re-creating Himself in men?
The angels are mighty and powerful beings—so we don’t have to feel sorry for them—but they are absolutely dazzled by what God is doing with man! They’re excited and exhilarated, and they want to know what this profound mystery is all about!
And yet, most of God’s people today are not even interested in this mystery because they are so blind!
God is evaluating our level of interest in this mind-staggering plan.
For eons of time, this idea has been hidden in the mind of God. He knew there would be great risk; the one who became His Son risked everything and suffered as no man ever has because God and the Word wanted a family. Jesus Christ had to endure a lot of trouble on this Earth. He had to be perfect. One sin would have ended it for all of us—there wouldn’t be a Family of God! Man would shortly destroy all human life and that would be the end.
Sometimes we suffer and have problems and difficulties as we try to follow in Christ’s footsteps. It’s rough at times to obey God. But realize why: God wants to give us this incredibly awesome future as sons of God! Of course it isn’t easy! God is not trying to save us physically. He wants us in His Family for all eternity! He’ll give us some tough trials.
Instead of pitying ourselves when we face trials, we need to get this vision into our minds and get it so deeply that we would never give it up, no matter what! That’s exactly the thinking God wants in our minds. That’s character. You and I must choose to rejoice in our trials even when it gets awfully hard.
This vision ought to get our attention. You will never, ever have another opportunity like this. Even the angels, as brilliant and as fiery as they are, don’t have this opportunity. Some of the scholars know there’s something extremely deep in these verses, but they still don’t understand.
Do we truly get it?
Is Earth going to be a launching pad into the infinite universe for growth in God’s Family forever? I don’t know. But when I see scriptures like Ephesians 3:9 and Isaiah 9:6-7, I have to say that something wonderfully majestic is on the horizon—something out of this world—something hard to even imagine!
“The largest audience possible” could be our battle cry forever!
This understanding of Ephesians 3:9 is powerful, mind-staggering new revelation from God to this Church. Let’s make certain that we rejoice in God’s amazing depth concerning this mystery!
Chapter 2: The New Commission
This prophesy again commission, this work of dispensing the mystery, is building a mindset in us that God will use throughout eternity. What we are doing on Earth is a very small beginning.
This is why it is so important for us to think deeply about our commission. We need to realize just what we’re talking about when we say that we prophesy again. It is about the mystery that’s tied directly to that seventh trump when Jesus Christ returns.
We live in the midst of the worst trouble ever on this planet. However, getting our minds into this mystery removes negative thinking. We all become negative at times, and understanding this mystery is the way to deal with that. This is the best age ever to be called. People can scoff, but Christ’s return is almost here. Most men on Earth today are going to experience the Tribulation—and the return of Jesus Christ, if they’re still alive. And when people in the World Tomorrow look back, they’re going to say, What an opportunity it would have been to have been called just before the return of Jesus Christ to this world!
We are about to be exalted to the God level! Revelation 10:1 describes the appearance of a mighty angel—“clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire.” An awesome being! And yet God never called any angel His son or said that He would be their Father (Hebrews 1:5). Here we are, made of dirt—and God is re-creating Himself in us! That is truly something to be excited about! That is the message that God wants us to prophesy again!
If Lucifer and one third of the angels had succeeded, we can only believe that this mystery would still be hidden in God’s mind! God might never have revealed His master plan to re-create Himself in man. So when you think about this mystery, think about the history of this plan—especially the time it resided only in the mind of God.
No More Delay
Revelation 10:6 says that there should be no more delay. We entered that period after Mr. Armstrong died and Satan was cast down (Revelation 12:12-13).
In the January 1984 Good News, Mr. Armstrong wrote about what lies ahead. “So Revelation 10 shows that when our work appeared to be close to finished more than a decade ago, God held up world events, and I was commissioned to now go with the Kingdom message to many kings, or many nations, speaking different languages [Revelation 10:11]. That is what, as I now look back, I have been doing, especially since 1972.”
Think about that for a moment. Mr. Armstrong had the remarkable insight in 1984 that events were being delayed—and had been for about 12 years. He knew that God was, for some reason, holding things back. But he also saw that there was about to be an end to that delay—and there was, when he died!
Today God may, in some way, slow down one leader or put another one in power to stabilize the Middle East or other areas for a little while. God may use a world leader to open doors so that we can get this message out. But still, there is no more delay. Have you noticed how quickly the king of the south and the king of the north are skyrocketing to power? God will not hold back world events again. Events are moving ahead with lightning speed!
“And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein” (Revelation 11:1). A prophet will arise and be used by God to measure the altar, or ministry, and the members of God’s Church. One lady reminded me of how all of my messages are sent directly to the churches and played. This was not done when Mr. Armstrong was alive. His tapes were only sent out occasionally. But now God’s people are scattered and need this measuring as never before.
The Times of the Gentiles
It is interesting that when Mr. Armstrong traveled the world giving testimonial dinners, he mostly went to Gentile rulers. The first of those visits occurred on September 26, 1973, the evening of the Feast of Trumpets. Mr. Armstrong’s commission was to preach the gospel, but he also warned the Gentiles. He had a shockingly strong trumpet-warning message for some of those leaders!
Today we still proclaim the gospel message, the mystery that Mr. Armstrong emphasized, but our emphasis is on the warning because we are in the time of no more delay. We have only a short span of time to warn the world.
We preach the gospel, but only secondarily. The gospel has already been proclaimed to the world by Mr. Armstrong (Matthew 24:14). He also warned the world, but in a secondary way.
However, Mr. Armstrong did directly give strong warnings to the Gentile leaders. That was near the end of his work and the beginning of our warning message. He introduced our warning message that way.
Revelation 10:11 leads right into chapter 11, which discusses the Church split in the context of the times of the Gentiles: “… it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months” (verse 2). Mr. Armstrong played a key part in witnessing to the Gentiles about the times of the Gentiles.
Was it just happenstance that Mr. Armstrong’s first testimonial dinner was on the Feast of Trumpets? I don’t think so! He had a Feast of Trumpets message—just like we have a Trumpets message today, a warning message where God says, Cry alarm! Human survival is at stake!
Only 10 days after the Feast of Trumpets testimonial dinner, the Yom Kippur War exploded on the world scene!
The Arabs also declared an oil embargo that rocked the world.
Such an embargo today could destroy America’s and Europe’s economies in months! This would be even more threatening if terror-sponsoring Iran got control of Iraq’s oil (or a large portion of it).
Here is the key point. There is a direct connection between that Trumpets warning by Mr. Armstrong and the terrifying times of the Gentiles he was warning us about—the times we can see so clearly today. The Great Tribulation will be inflicted directly by the ruling Gentiles on America, Britain and the little nation called Israel. These three nations are prophesied to fall together (Hosea 5:5). (Request our free booklet on Hosea for a more detailed explanation.) All this will be concluded by the Day of the Lord and Christ’s return.
Mr. Armstrong’s testimonial dinners were carefully orchestrated by the great God.
The world must be warned about what is coming. Then it will have no excuse for ushering in the world’s worst catastrophe ever.
There will probably never be another such warning to the Gentile leaders as the one given to them by Mr. Armstrong. Those leaders were held accountable for getting the same message to their people.
Why would a small church like the Worldwide Church of God have a man traveling around the world and meeting top leaders—and warning them about the times of the Gentiles and Christ’s return? Other leaders often can’t even get in to see those men! Can you explain how that could happen? There is only one way to explain it. God opened those doors, and He did indeed hold up world events.
Now, today, we are to prophesy again and warn God’s own Church, Israel and, to a lesser degree, the Gentiles. Can you feel the times of the Gentiles pressing upon us? The worst suffering ever to afflict humanity is almost here!
The king of the south is flourishing in the Middle East. Iran is swimming in massive oil profits. On September 11, 2003, Iran’s former president, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, was quoted by the Islamic Republic News Agency as saying, “Even though the United States has a physical presence in the countries that surround us, the reality is that the United States is, in fact, surrounded by Iran.” Notice that he said that the U.S. was surrounded by Iran—not Arab nations! That gives you some insight about who the king of the south is. Iran is orchestrating the attacks on the U.S. All the Arab nations fear Iran.
Rafsanjani also said, “God has pushed the Americans into a quagmire in Iraq. If they stay, they will be victims every day, and if they leave it will be a loss of honor” (ibid).
Iran was taunting the United States! And America was too divided to confront this radical, Islamic nation. Former U.S. President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair both lost prestige and support over what happened in Iraq. Rafsanjani was essentially telling the world that Iran is the king of the south! He was confirming what we have said for years.
Iran is the number one terrorist-sponsoring nation in the world. It has America surrounded in Iraq, and it has the Jews surrounded in Jerusalem. Iran leads the world in state-sponsored terrorism, and the Middle East nations know it, even if the West doesn’t. Terrorism is spreading mainly because of Iran. It is a way of life in Jerusalem today.
The Middle East Jews are in despair. An annual survey reported in London’s Daily Telegraph revealed that “Israelis are in a state of open despair about their country’s future …” (Sept. 30, 2003; emphasis mine throughout).
This article continued, “With the collapse of the American-backed ‘road map’ peace plan, the chances of the Palestinian intifada coming to an end have never seemed lower. Two thirds of those questioned predicted the intifada would continue or worsen in the coming year. Asked whether their children would enjoy a better future, 73 percent replied ‘no.’ Asked to describe their feelings about the country’s situation, 43 percent said they were in ‘despair.’”
The Israelis live with terrorism every day. They are experiencing the gathering storm—the storm that the Bible calls “the times of the Gentiles”! You can feel it and see that the perfect storm of war is coming!
America and Britain are fighting terrorism the way the Jews are: failing to attack the head, or source, of terrorism—led by Iran and secondarily by Syria. And the Jews are clearly losing that war. America and Britain will lose too, unless they repent of their sins and regain the will to use their power more than they do today (Leviticus 26:19).
That pressure is going to intensify. The times of the Gentiles are aimed primarily at Britain, America and the little nation called Israel. Most of that pressure will be coming from both radical Islam, or the king of the south, and the Holy Roman Empire, or the king of the north.
And we are to prophesy again in this last hour. There isn’t much time. The Gentiles are rising, and their hatred for America and Britain is intensifying daily. The king of the south has a stranglehold on the Middle East, and the king of the north has a stranglehold on Europe, and God’s people are in the midst of a massive Church crisis.
We must proclaim God’s message to Israel and Jerusalem. “O [you] that bringest good tidings [to Zion], get thee up into the high mountain …”—that is how Isaiah 40:9 should read (see the King James Version margin reference). Zion is God’s people. “… O [you] that bringest good tidings [to Jerusalem] ….” The Philadelphia Church of God does have good news for Jerusalem! “[L]ift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!” We must get this message out, using television and publishing: Behold, your God! He is coming!
We have delivered this message to the Jews only in a small way. I believe there is yet to be a powerful message going to Israel, which is the tribe of biblical Judah. They are in despair and hopeless. They need a warning and our message of hope. Only we can and will deliver it, through faith.
Ministers Fail to Prophesy
In 1984, Mr. Armstrong said about the WCG ministers, I wish I could get our ministers to talk about these prophecies! These prophecies need to be explained and proclaimed to our people! His words disturbed me. I became more determined to prophesy as God commanded. But the Laodiceans wouldn’t prophesy. They didn’t like the bad news, and they had lost the mind-staggering vision about the mystery, so they wouldn’t proclaim what God prophesied. And look what happened: a catastrophe in the Church on an overwhelming scale! After Mr. Armstrong died, they stopped talking about prophecy almost completely!
Those ministers and people who would not prophesy as they should in 1984 are dying today. We must let their bad example motivate us to avoid their deadly sin.
Now we can see the catastrophe coming so much more clearly. Today we could find even more excuses not to prophesy. It’s not easy to deliver God’s message. But we must—our salvation and reward depend on it!
We must realize that there is inspiration beyond words to describe when people repent of their sins! That is where the real inspiration is!
How much do we love God’s truth? Do we love it enough to tell people what God says even when it contains bad news? Are we really willing to prophesy again?
The Head of the Church
Revelation 1 will give us some background on our prophesy again commission.
“The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to show unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John” (verse 1). The revelation was given to Christ from God the Father, and Christ gave it to an angel, and the angel gave it to John. This book comes from God the Father, and there is no other quite like it in the Bible. It talks about a number of monumental events that are going to come to pass very shortly.
Verse 4 says this book has a message from “him which is, and which was, and which is to come.” God is! He is alive today!
Verse 11 talks about the seven eras of God’s Church. Now notice verse 13: “And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.” God is right in the midst of His Church. Deuteronomy 23:14 says God would walk in the midst of the camp of Israel. But it gives a condition: The people had to be holy, or God would turn away and correct them severely. So it is with us today, only more so.
“His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars [the angels over the Church eras]: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength” (Revelation 1:14-16).
God holds the seven angels, who are over the Church eras, in His hand. The International Critical Commentary says this about that statement: “This clause has no organic connection with the letter to the Church in Ephesus ….” It doesn’t? The person who wrote that comment doesn’t know the Head of God’s Church! Organic means that it forms an integral element or part of the whole. This commentary is saying that Christ has no organic connection to the Ephesus era or, for that matter, any of the other eras! But Christ is the Head of the Church! The Church is a spiritual organism.
The Laodiceans have lost the Head described in Revelation 1 (Colossians 2:19). They don’t see any organic connection between Revelation 1 and the letters to the seven churches in Revelation 2 and 3. That is because Christ no longer leads them. The truth is that Christ is right in the midst of His very elect! He holds those seven angels in His hand! No puny little man can head the Church of God!
When I was being deposed by the WCG in connection with the court case over Mystery of the Ages, the first question both times was, “Are you the head of the Philadelphia Church?” Both times I answered, “No.”
Who is the Head of this Church? If it’s a puny little man, then you have a very black future. Revelation 1 puts it in proper order. First, before you get into the eras and the body of the Church, understand the Head! Our spiritual survival depends on deeply understanding who the Head of this Church is! Where does the revelation come from? Where does the power to do the work come from? Satan has taken 95 percent of God’s people away from the truth today. Many of the Laodiceans apparently only saw Mr. Armstrong as the head, and when he died the Church spiraled out of control.
Satan destroyed their faith by getting their minds off the real Head of this Church. They no longer looked to the Lord God Almighty!
Satan was trying to get our focus off our Head in the deposition question. That is the only way he can win. Satan wanted me to say that I was the head and get people to look to me—a puny man. That is how God’s people have their faith destroyed. Let’s not forget that Satan asks questions and works through men and women. God told the people of Smyrna that Satan would throw some of them in jail. Of course, men were used to do this evil deed. How many times does Satan get us off track by asking a question? Satan started working on Eve by asking, “[H]ath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” (Genesis 3:1). It all started with a simple question that should have been ignored or met with a God-inspired rebuke. Instead, Eve engaged Satan in conversation—and all mankind has followed that deadly tradition!
Satan is far more subtle and powerful than we are. It is a deadly mistake to even engage him in a conversation.
The Head of this Church has a face that shines like the sun in its full strength! His face is so illuminating that He would make an H-bomb explosion look dark. If you can’t see that Head, you can’t see the true history of this Church! How can you lose your Head, described in Revelation 1? There is no true Church history apart from the Head.
Lord God Almighty
The International Critical Commentary got it wrong about the organic connection between the first few chapters of Revelation. But let me share with you something it got very right. I think this was a beautiful analysis in just a few words.
“John uses the expression Lord God Almighty. This divine title occurs 10 times elsewhere [in the book of Revelation], and only twice in the rest of the New Testament, except in passages quoted from the Old Testament.” Why was John so consistent about saying Lord God Almighty? Let’s look at a few of these verses:
“And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come” (Revelation 4:8).
“Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned” (Revelation 11:17).
“And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints” (Revelation 15:3).
“And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments” (Revelation 16:7).
“And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent [Almighty—same Greek word] reigneth” (Revelation 19:6).
After John saw the vision in the first chapter of Revelation, it appears that he became a different man. He had this vision of God in his mind. In the rest of the New Testament this expression is used twice—but after John saw this, he used Lord God Almighty 10 more times!
If we begin to see and understand this great God of Revelation 1, it is going to change each one of us. That means you and me. We will really see the Lord God Almighty! He is not weak! He has omnipotent, all-powerful sovereignty. That is the God we serve. We should fear to break His law, because that will take us away from this beautiful vision He gave us in Revelation 10 and 11.
When John saw this vision, he understood profoundly that this is the Church of the Lord God Almighty of Revelation 1! He is the Head of this Church! “And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death” (Revelation 1:17-18). John was given this vision, and in response he fell over as if he were dead! What a vision he was given on the isle of Patmos.
John was alone physically. But he wasn’t lonely, discouraged or sad. He knew he was serving the Lord God Almighty! He didn’t use that expression lightly.
Do we live like we know this fiery God? Do we really fear Him?
Your future will be determined by how deeply you understand this God.
This is the great and wonderful God that you and I serve. If you are a part of His Work, and you have the Lord God Almighty looking over you and protecting you, then you are blessed far beyond most people on Earth! Because you understand your potential, God is re-creating Himself in you! How blessed we are. Even if we’re two minutes from death—how blessed we are.
This vision and this understanding makes a powerful impact on your life. It changes your thinking and your attitude. The deeper we embed this vision into our minds, the more influence we will have in this world. Just a little group of people will have an amazing impact. You will truly get behind this commission and support it.
“And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns …” (Revelation 5:6). A horn is a symbol of government. The Lamb had seven horns. Jesus Christ’s government has led each of the seven eras, when they have done the Work. You and I must be childlike and submit to His government in this Laodicean era—unlike most of God’s people.
“Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter” (Revelation 1:19). And John did write it down.
“The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks [or lamps]. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches” (verse 20). Why does the lamp reside in the Church that is doing God’s Work? Because we let the light shine by getting this message out. There is no lamp in the Laodicean churches. The PCG shows the world what this mystery is. No matter how horrendous the world’s problems are, we are right on the edge of the greatest news man could ever imagine! But mankind will have to learn some lessons the hard way. Can we let this light shine out into the world?
The lamps are also seven spirits. God’s Spirit needs to motivate and animate us! There is power there to animate the people of the Lord God Almighty!
Christ says He holds, or governs, the seven angels. He governs the head of all those eras as they submit to Him. That’s why it doesn’t take a lot of people to do the Work of God. All we have to do is have this omnipotent God behind us, providing us with the power to do this Work, and nobody can stop us!
If we don’t have this big overview of Church history, we won’t truly understand what it means to prophesy again.
There were seven lamps, which are seven eyes. We see what’s going on in the world—in Europe and the Middle East. God gives us His overview.
God is going to channel everything through the structure of Revelation 1, 2 and 3—forever! The Father and Husband, the Bride, the children who come into the Family, will go on and on for eons and eons of time, out into the universe, with that family structure, forever! And Revelation 1:1 traces it all back to the Father—the Head of the Family!
We are to prophesy again! And the one who gave us that commission is the Lord God Almighty! He revealed this new commission to us, and now we have to go out and fulfill it.
Chapter 3: The Marvelous Wonder of God’s Work
The seventh and final head of the Holy Roman Empire is now rising extremely fast. God’s work is ascending at the same pace. Britain, America and the nation called Israel are about to be plunged into the greatest tribulation this world has ever known. Thankfully, it will be concluded by the imminent return of Jesus Christ to rule this Earth.
The book of Revelation teaches us how to think like God. It is the greatest prophetic book in the Bible, and the only book that puts Bible prophecy into a time frame. Revelation 1:1 shows that it came directly from God the Father. All of this prophecy—including chapters 10 and 11, and all the prophecies we talk so much about in the Philadelphia Church of God—came from the Father.
God has put His people on the world stage in this end time. They work during the most terrible of times, and also the most wonderful time in human history. We’re facing the worst suffering ever on Earth—you can see that all around—but that suffering introduces the return of Jesus Christ to save humanity from destroying itself.
God’s people are commanded, in this atmosphere of destruction, to prophesy again.
The words prophesy again imply some massive crisis in God’s work. Why else would you have to prophesy again? Something terrible happened, as we see in Revelation 10:7: “But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he [is about] to sound, the mystery of God should be finished. …” The crisis revolves around delivering God’s revealed mystery to the world. The leader who succeeded Herbert W. Armstrong in the wcg tried to destroy that message.
The mystery was revealed in Mr. Armstrong’s book Mystery of the Ages. We had to fight six years in court to win the copyright to that book. Only then could we give that book to the world and “prophesy again.” Once again we began to reach “the largest audience possible.”
Then the little book (verse 2), or Malachi’s Message, was revealed to explain what happened to God’s work and why we have to prophesy again. So the command to prophesy again includes old and new revelation.
Think about this terrifying warning God has given us concerning 95 percent of His people turning away in this end time. We are in a time of no more delay (verse 6), and I believe that is the major reason why our commission has changed from preaching the gospel around the world to prophesying again (with the emphasis on warning). Satan has been cast down, and the king of the north and the king of the south are rising fast. We’re in a time when Christ said that if He didn’t intervene for the elect’s sake, there would be no flesh saved alive (Matthew 24:22).
You would think, with humanity’s number-one concern being human survival, that God could get more people’s attention. Why won’t they listen to God? There is something terribly wrong with human nature!
The Beast and the Bottomless Pit
God has given me a deeper understanding of Revelation 17:7-8, and I want to share that with you.
This passage reads, “And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns. The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.”
John was astonished by this vision he saw—this monstrous beast that would come onto the scene in this end time. But the world is going to experience the horrifying reality, and it’s going to do much more than astonish!
This beast “was, and is not, and yet is.” That’s a befuddling statement. Many people read something like that and just throw up their hands and say, “Nobody can understand this book.” But it’s really simple, if you’ll just let God show you. Mr. Armstrong spent much of his ministry discussing this subject.
The beast disappears from the scene for a time, and a prophet must show people what the truth is. Someone is going to have to prophesy.
This revelation is about the period when Mr. Armstrong, God’s end-time Elijah, was doing this work of God. God revealed to him secrets about this sixth resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire, which “was, and is not, and yet is.”
During World War ii, we saw the Hitler-Mussolini axis, but then it disappeared from the scene. It “was not”! And yet, God says, “it is”! The Axis powers lost the war, but as Mr. Armstrong preached time and again, they just went underground—into “the bottomless pit” (verse 8). They’re still there—they’re just underground. God says, after that happens, they are going to ascend right back up! Then Christ is going to come back and destroy this beast, and it will be gone forever.
Mr. Armstrong expected the beast to ascend out of the underground in his time, but it did not. The beast rises as the Philadelphia Church rises in the Laodicean era (Habakkuk 1).
Realize where we are in the prophecy! The pcg comes onto the scene when the beast is ascending out of the underground. We warn people what is happening and give them the good news that at the end of this, the beast will go into perdition (Revelation 17:11)—it will be utterly destroyed.
As our free booklet on The Rising Beast explains, the first major step of that king of the north ascending from the underground was what happened in the Balkans. Germany, along with a mighty church, ascended up and destroyed its only strong opposition in Europe: Slobodan Milosevic. America was bullied into going along even though the whole world was against it at first.
There is a power behind this European combine—something people can’t quite understand. They worship the dragon, who gives them power (Revelation 13:4). This European power is getting its way in spite of what it did in the past, even as recently as World Wars i and ii. It is already being a bully again, in spite of its embarrassing and atrocious history.
God’s true Church has to show the world that this hidden power is rising! When you understand Revelation 17:8 and what is happening in the Balkans, you have to say, That’s it! The beast is rising up right before our eyes!
It is ascending “out of the bottomless pit,” or from its underground.
The Bible really comes alive when we know specifically what is happening. You have to admit, it is pretty impressive when prophecy gets that precise!
There are two parts of this prophecy in the end time. When verse 8 says, “The beast that thou sawest was, and is not … and yet is,” that’s the first part of it—the sixth head. But when it says, “and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition,” that is talking about the seventh head. Mr. Armstrong was on the scene for one of those heads, and now the pcg is on the scene for the seventh, or last head. There are two eras of the Church involved in this prophecy.
The Allies truly thought that since they won in World War ii, the beast would be gone forever. But this beast power “is not, and yet is.” The Nazis went underground. A great church helped them escape, and most of them got away. They considered the possibility that they might lose the war and planned for their escape during the time of the sixth head—just in case. The Allies didn’t realize that if you don’t really destroy them, root and branch, they will come right back! So we foolishly let them de-nazify themselves, and they fled over parts of South America, Europe, Canada and even the United States, hiding out right here in our midst.
And all along, Mr. Armstrong was on the scene, warning people that God had promised to use that European power to punish the people of Israel if we don’t repent of our sins!
Today, the world can “behold” the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit. It started in the Balkans and will shortly include 10 kings. Once God opens your mind to understand this prophecy, is it really that difficult to see what God is talking about here? It’s the same old system—the seventh head! It gets battered down and it comes right back. On and on it goes, and men never learn from this terrifying history.
Jesus Christ is going to return with the firstfruits, and He’s going to put that beast down so this world never, ever sees it again. This is what we have to prophesy again. Revelation 17:8 shows that the beast power is going “into perdition.” We have the honor to be here to fulfill this prophecy. We’re going to be resurrected and unite with those saints who have been martyred throughout the ages—as well as those who will be martyred in this period of the seventh head of the beast power. We’ll have the honor to rise up in the air and meet with these precious saints. Then we’ll all turn around and come back—and fight a war with God, our Commander.
One Is, the Other Is Not Yet Come
“And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth” (verse 9). What city sits on “seven mountains,” or seven hills, as some translations read? Rome. Any knowledgeable tourist can tell you that.
“And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space” (verse 10). Notice! This prophecy is dated. There are seven kings here, but five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come. It’s almost as if God freezes time there—during the time of this sixth king out of seven.
This prophecy implies that God is going to bring His man on the scene during the time of the sixth of the seven heads of the Holy Roman Empire. It also implies that the seventh head would not come while the end-time Elijah was on the scene. Mr. Armstrong was here when “one is, and the other is not yet come.” This prophecy refers to a specific period of time when God sends His end-time type of Elijah to explain what is happening.
That also means that there must be another man sent to explain about the seventh head. This too is something God would have to reveal to a man.
The book of Revelation puts all prophecy into a time sequence, or time frame. It is the only book of the Bible that does that.
God brought Mr. Armstrong on the scene and placed all of this into a specific time frame.
Mr. Armstrong came at the time when “the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.” He was on the scene when the sixth head rose to power before and during World War ii (“the beast that was”). He was also there after the beast lost World War ii (“and is not”). He was still there when the beast went underground (“and yet is”).
This prophecy could have been properly understood only if you were on the scene when that happened! This is the only practical way God could have made this clear to His people and the world!
But also note that “the other is not yet come.” So Mr. Armstrong was prophesied not to be around when the seventh head appeared. He was “taken out of the way” so the rebellious Laodicean era could unfold (2 Thessalonians 2:7).
Another messenger would come on the scene at that time—during the Laodicean era.
God always uses a man to deliver His message and people to support the messenger. By putting a man in this specific period, God makes the time frame very clear.
It is during the seventh head that God’s very elect must prophesy again.
Only God’s very elect could ever understand this truly amazing prophecy! And only God could reveal it.
If not for God’s messengers, how could we possibly understand these scriptures? God must make them clear. There must be a work during the time of these last two resurrections of the beast power so God can show us what this prophecy means! In this end time, 90 percent of Bible prophecy is being fulfilled—we can see it happening all around! God gives a mighty responsibility to one man in each of these two eras. Then God calls people to support that man and gives all of them the responsibility to get the message out and explain to the world what this means: After five are fallen, one is, and the other is yet to come.
That beast “not yet come” is coming now! The one that “is,” is gone, and so is the man who taught us about it.
This is truly an enlightening prophecy. It shows how closely tied together the sixth and seventh heads of this beast are, but it also shows how similar in their message these last two eras of God’s Church are. Just as it’s the same beast, so are we the same work. This is the same Church, same Philadelphian spirit, same Philadelphian people, the same very elect who know what God is thinking and do what God tells them to do.
2 Thessalonians 2 says that one man will be taken away. When that happens, terrible things unfold within God’s Church: a man sits in the Church, acting like he’s God, and God’s people sit there and take it! This is where the pcg comes in.
At the Center of the Story
It is astounding how totally the beast has deceived this world. Because of this deception, God must bring somebody on the scene to expose that evil, to expose the synagogue of Satan and all the evil in the Laodicean era. Someone must receive this revelation from God to help us understand what is happening. Jesus Christ is on a countdown. He’s letting His Family know exactly what is going on in the world and in the Church. He opens up everything to His Family and tells us just what is on His mind.
When that beast comes, he must continue a “short space” (Revelation 17:10)—2½ years. That will be a period of destruction unparalleled in the history of man. But we have to see beyond the beast. There is a lot of bad news in this world, but it’s about over forever. After the 2½ years, then comes the Day of the Lord and God’s plagues on this world. It all culminates with the return of Christ.
That’s what makes God’s Church so important. This stupendous revelation we must give the world! We dare not fail to proclaim this magnificent revelation. We have to give it to the people of this world regardless of their attitude. This marvelous message is for them: they will be God’s Family too, if they repent.
When you read the book of Revelation, it’s amazing how prominent God’s very elect are! We are the main characters! It’s easy to think about the beast and the four horsemen and all of those terrible things, but the real center stage is occupied by God’s people.
The Bible is filled with hard-to-understand prophecies, but God brings the very elect on the scene and instructs us to tell the world what’s really going on and what is about to happen. That truly makes us the central character in the story!
It really is remarkable just how well we understand what is happening. We see everything in superb specifics, because God is revealing it all to us. Very soon, the whole world will wish they had known what we know now.
Do the leaders on the world scene know what they are doing? In many cases, their ignorance is downright embarrassing! They are not going to save us—no man is going to save us. Only the great God can save us.
The people of this world need this message. They don’t want it, but they need it. God is going to give it to them, and nobody is going to stop it.
War With the Lamb
“These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful” (Revelation 17:14). Christ is Lord of lords, and King of kings—and those lords and kings under him are the firstfruits!
Not only have we been called, but we were chosen, and God says we are faithful. We are going to fight right beside the Lamb to put down this evil beast power once and for all, so the world can rest and have peace. Thank God for this great, great event.
That beast is ascending today—but this time it is going to meet a Warrior more powerful than it can imagine! As a result of this spectacular clash, there will be dead bodies lying all over the Earth and blood up to the horses’ bridles for some 200 miles in the Valley of Jehoshaphat! That’s what it will take for God to get people’s attention! That shows you how hardheaded and rebellious people can be.
God forbid that we should ever be so hardheaded because this is the end result.
Mr. Armstrong told the Church that the liberal history of the 1970s would repeat itself and laid out exactly what would happen—but what good did it do 95 percent of God’s people? That shows how even God’s people are laden with human nature that we must overcome.
God always warns Israel before He punishes. He has always warned about each head of this beast. He prophesied that He would warn about it in this end time—and now it’s ascending out of the bottomless pit, and it’s already throwing around its weight.
“The burden which Habakkuk the prophet did see” (Habakkuk 1:1). Habakkuk saw this burden, and we too have seen it. What is it?
“O Lord, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear! even cry out unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save! Why dost thou show me iniquity, and cause me to behold grievance? for spoiling and violence are before me: and there are that raise up strife and contention” (verses 2-3). He’s talking about the Church of God in this end time. It has become the synagogue of Satan (Revelation 3:9). This certainly is a burden! It depressed Habakkuk, as it has every one of God’s very elect today. It is so tragic that it has caused us to despair!
“Therefore the law is slacked, and judgment doth never go forth: for the wicked doth compass about the righteous; therefore wrong judgment proceedeth” (Habakkuk 1:4). There is that very elect, surrounded by evil people. Some Laodicean groups want to join together and act like things are fine. But God labels them wicked—and they are encompassing the righteous!
But notice: “Behold ye among the heathen [or transgressors], and regard, and wonder marvelously: for I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you” (verse 5). Here God is addressing the Laodiceans, the transgressors: I’m going to tell you about this work and you still won’t believe it! Mr. Armstrong told you and you wouldn’t believe him, and I’m going to tell you another time and you still won’t believe it. That’s how hard-headed you are! God is losing patience with these people.
But some people are going to wonder marvelously because God raises up a work. This very elect is thrilled and in a state of wonder just to be a part of it! What a wondrous work it is—a little remnant doing all these outstanding works. God is using us to do a marvelous work and a wonder. Why should He even have to do that? Because the transgressors destroyed it, and it had to be revived.
Now notice, while God’s Church is rising, what else is rising: “For, lo, I raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, which shall march through the breadth of the land, to possess the dwellingplaces that are not theirs” (verse 6). Here is why we must prophesy again to the world, especially to Israel: This beast is rising up!
Revelation 11:1-2 also discuss God’s little remnant rising up, and then the times of the Gentiles, side by side—just as Revelation 17:8 does. The work of God and the beast power ascend together. And God says, I want you to prophesy again. Nobody will understand this if you don’t prophesy. We really do have to be soldiers and get behind this work of God.
“They are terrible and dreadful: their judgment and their dignity shall proceed of themselves. Their horses also are swifter than the leopards, and are more fierce than the evening wolves: and their horsemen shall spread themselves, and their horsemen shall come from far; they shall fly as the eagle that hasteth to eat. They shall come all for violence: their faces shall sup up as the east wind, and they shall gather the captivity as the sand. And they shall scoff at the kings, and the princes shall be a scorn unto them: they shall deride every strong hold; for they shall heap dust, and take it” (Habakkuk 1:7-10). This is an incredibly evil, destructive force—like evening wolves that eat anything they can find, even the bones of their prey.
Do we really comprehend what a ravenous, deadly beast this is going to be? It will be far more destructive than the Nazis of World War ii.
“Then shall his mind change …” (verse 11). A man is about to enter the political scene, and we’re going to be prophesying about him. Revelation 13:4 says the beast power will be empowered by the dragon, and this leader’s mind will change. Quite suddenly, he will have more power than he had before—all directly from Satan.
The Eighth Beast
“And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space. And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition” (Revelation 17:10-11). As puzzling as this prophecy may seem, Mr. Armstrong explained it in detail.
Daniel described four beasts, representing four world-ruling empires (Daniel 7:1‑7). The third beast had four heads (making a total of seven heads), and the head of the fourth beast had 10 horns. That last head represents the Roman Empire. And another system comes out of that Roman Empire: the last seven of those 10 horns became the Holy Roman Empire—the Roman Empire ridden by the church. God calls that the eighth system (Revelation 17:11). It’s different from those seven heads of Daniel 7 and Revelation 13. There has never been a system like it among these other world-ruling empires.
Here’s what Mr. Armstrong wrote about it. “The entire beast of Revelation 17—the revivals of the Roman Empire—is a part ‘of the seven’ heads of Revelation 13 and Daniel 7 because it comprises the last seven horns. Yet this revived Roman Empire is ‘the eighth’ system, differing from the seven before it (Revelation 17:11)” (Who or What Is the Prophetic Beast?).
We must keep the big picture. Daniel 7 and Revelation 13 talk about four world-ruling empires that had seven heads. But then Revelation 17 talks about the seven heads that the church rode, and that’s the eighth system. Revelation 17 is all about that eighth system. Those four world-ruling empires that Daniel 7 and Revelation 13 talk about are 1) Nebuchadnezzar and the Chaldean Empire; 2) the Medo-Persian Empire; 3) the Greco-Macedonian Empire under Alexander and his generals; and 4) the Roman Empire. Ten horns or heads come out of that Roman Empire. The first three were barbarians that ruled Rome. Then a little horn rose and plucked them up (Daniel 7:8)—referring to the Roman Catholic Church. This church has real power—enough to just kick a politician out of office or pluck up a government. It’s a scary power.
You must make sure Jesus Christ is guiding your life, because nobody will protect you if you don’t stay within His realm of protection.
John’s Little Book
Revelation 10 also contains something more that God is revealing to me in a deeper way. “And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire: And he had in his hand a little book open: and he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth, And cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth: and when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices. And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not” (verses 1-4). God instructed John not to write down these seven thunders.
But notice further: “And the voice which I heard from heaven spake unto me again, and said, Go and take the little book which is open in the hand of the angel which standeth upon the sea and upon the earth. And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book. And he said unto me, Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey. And I took the little book out of the angel’s hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter” (verses 8-10). John talks about the bitterness and the sweetness twice here—once in verse 9, and again in verse 10—I believe for a very good reason.
“And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings” (verse 11). So God told John to take this message, but not to write it down. Sweet and bitter is mentioned twice, but the second time God goes on to say, There’s somebody in this end time who I want to write it down. He is to prophesy again.
We prophesy by writing the little book down. God is saying here that somebody would have to come on the scene with the little book in the end time, and write it down, and prophesy again.
So why is sweet and bitter repeated? Probably because it was revealed to John and he was told not to write it down. This message was revealed again in this end time when it could be fully understood. And in this end time, God’s prophet was commanded to write it down and prophesy again. God revealed this end-time message to one man.
Writing this message down was the only way people could really understand what had happened to God’s own Church.
What we have is sweet, and it’s bitter. It really is sweet when you understand what God is doing. To be able to understand passages like Revelation 17 is so sweet, you just fall in love with the Bible! But then you also understand about the Great Tribulation coming upon all the world, and you see what happens to God’s Family—50 percent of them losing their salvation—and that’s a bitter message. What could be as bitter as that? When God talks about the seven thunders, He’s talking about people losing everything—people whom many of you know and have spent time with. They will disappear and never, ever live again. It is bitter when you lose members of a physical family. How much more when you lose members of God’s Family forever!
Immediately after the sweet and bitter expression, God says, in essence, Write this message down. Get it out there and let everybody who will do so read and understand this message. He’s talking about specific personalities. There is a man on the scene, and the very elect are with him, and together they do the work of God.
God is placing great emphasis on the Philadelphia Church of God—on you!
Ezekiel’s Little Book
Ezekiel also talks about that sweet and bitter little book (for proof, read our free booklet about Ezekiel).
“And the spirit entered into me when he spake unto me, and set me upon my feet, that I heard him that spake unto me. And he said unto me, Son of man, I send thee to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation [or nations, it should read—speaking of the nations of Israel] that hath rebelled against me: they and their fathers have transgressed against me, even unto this very day. For they are impudent children and stiffhearted. I do send thee unto them; and thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God. And they, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear, (for they are a rebellious house,) yet shall know that there hath been a prophet among them” (Ezekiel 2:2-5). God instructed Ezekiel to say, Thus says the Eternal God! Our work is a type of his work. We really do speak for God! We’re going to have to go and tell those people what God says.
“And thou, son of man, be not afraid of them, neither be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns be with thee, and thou dost dwell among scorpions: be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, though they be a rebellious house” (verse 6). We have a job to do that will naturally cause us to be afraid! But God says, Don’t be afraid! Have relaxed faith!
“And thou shalt speak my words unto them, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear: for they are most rebellious. But thou, son of man, hear what I say unto thee; Be not thou rebellious like that rebellious house: open thy mouth, and eat that I give thee” (verses 7-8). It’s much worse now than when Mr. Armstrong was here. Why would God say to His people—the very elect today—don’t be like that rebellious Israel? Because most of His people are acting that way! But God is saying, You can’t get into the Family of God acting like Jonah and running away from delivering this message. Open your mouth and eat what I give you!
Where is God giving His revelation? And who are the people eating it up? I think it is easy to prove.
“And when I looked, behold, an hand was sent unto me; and, lo, a roll of a book was therein; And he spread it before me; and it was written within and without: and there was written therein lamentations, and mourning, and woe” (verses 9-10). This is a book, not the book. It’s referring to the little book. The lamentations are just the first part of it—the bitter part. But it goes on.
“Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, eat that thou findest; eat this roll, and go speak unto the house of Israel” (Ezekiel 3:1). It’s not enough just to eat it, God says. If I give this revelation and this wonderful truth to you, you must go and deliver it!
“So I opened my mouth, and he caused me to eat that roll” (verse 2)—just as He will to you and me. “And he said unto me, Son of man, cause thy belly to eat, and fill thy bowels with this roll that I give thee. Then did I eat it; and it was in my mouth as honey for sweetness” (verse 3). The bitter was the lamentations and mourning and woe, but it’s sweet in the mouth. This understanding that God gives us really is sweet.
Here is what Mr. Armstrong wrote about these verses: “The Apostle John in his vision is told to take the little book which is open in the hand of the angel, and eat it up.
“How like Ezekiel’s prophecy!”
There is a good reason Mr. Armstrong thought Ezekiel 2 and 3 sounded like the little book of Revelation 10—because it is talking about the little book! (Though Mr. Armstrong didn’t know it.)
Look again at Revelation 10:9-10: “And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book. And he said unto me, Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey. And I took the little book out of the angel’s hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter.”
Now notice what happens: “And go, get thee to them of the captivity …” (Ezekiel 3:11). As our Ezekiel booklet explains, this is referring to God’s own Family, spiritual captives in this end time, people who have been taken captive by Satan the devil—the Laodiceans. A message of lamentation, mourning and woe needs to be delivered to them. We did that almost exclusively for seven years, and continue to do so, although primarily we are now going to the nations of Israel.
These are sons of God! That’s why the message is so bitter. Sons of God are dying! If we love them, we must go to them and help them! We warned them through the little book from the Father—a loving Father who is concerned about His sons. Oh, how God loves His Family! Oh, how He loves the Laodiceans! He’s telling us, You go to my sons! I’m going to give the message to you; you take it to THEM! Love them and love the world the way your Husband did—give your life for them! That’s why we are here! To give our lives for those who are in captivity! Do everything we can for them! This is a Family crisis! We have to thunder that message.
In our Ezekiel booklet, you can also see the prophecy in verses 14-17 about our going primarily to the Laodiceans during the first seven years of this work. It was at that point that God redirected us and ordained a watchman to the nations of Israel. God had to raise up a watchman and his supporters to watch and warn Israel and the world. So, we started printing Mystery of the Ages after seven years and said we were going to reach the largest audience possible. God prophesied all this in advance and directed it specifically. We just stepped out in faith and followed God’s direction. God is minutely showing us that He is using the pcg. He’s using you to deliver this majestic and magnificent message to a dying church, and to the world.
We are about to help the whole world come to know the true God!
Our Awesome Potential
The first chapter of Ezekiel leads into the whole discussion of the little book. And if you read and understand that chapter (which also is thoroughly explained in our Ezekiel booklet), you will see that it is all about showing our connection to the great God of the universe!
Ezekiel describes the incredibly fiery spectacle of God riding on His awesome transportation machine. This is likely the same way we’ll be transported when we are spirit beings.
Do you know what was really spectacular about this vision? Ezekiel 1:25-26 show that God looked like a man. We truly are made in the likeness of God! We look like God! And He is creating us in His image, and we will be His Sons! We are going to be God! How wonderful this truth is. That’s what Genesis 1:26 is all about, in the first chapter of the Bible. This is your potential.
How often do we just thank God for our potential?
When Ezekiel saw this just in vision, he fell over like he was dead (Ezekiel 1:28)—just as John did (Revelation 1:17). And what God has revealed to us from Ezekiel 1 introduces the story about the little book.
Are we important in God’s plan? Is each one of us important?
We need to eat that little book, digest it and prove it. Then we’ll understand what’s going on in God’s Church in this end time. We’ll know why Mystery of the Ages was destroyed; we’ll know why we were in court fighting for that book. And look what God has done! The great Creator God of Revelation 1 and Ezekiel 1 gave us the victory! God never lets us down.
But then He says, Now I want you to take all this out to the rest of the world and to the Laodiceans, who are made in the likeness of God. Prophesy again! Tell them about this message, and about their potential, and about what will happen if they don’t listen.
God raised up a watchman. There is a watchman for God who must tell people exactly what God wants them to hear.
We must prophesy again, and we don’t have much time.
Chapter 4: Lift Up Your Eyes!
Deep study of the Church’s commission to prophesy again will sweep your imagination from this most evil world ever into a wonderful civilization beyond any of mankind’s dreams. Though in the short term God prophesied that Jerusalem would be like Sodom, He also said it would soon after become the most beautiful and inspiring city ever on this planet! The extremely bad news ushers in the best news ever.
America suffered its worst terrorist attack ever on September 11, 2001. Quite a few of the journalists talked about the horrifying new reality we have to live with, but we only see the tip of the iceberg. This horrifying new reality is 10,000 times worse than the world can even imagine! Most of this massive crisis is invisible and hidden from the world.
It all began in 1986, when Herbert W. Armstrong died and Satan was cast down.
What we saw on September 11 was trivial compared with what is coming upon Britain, America and the Jewish nation. These nations will be only the first victims; violence and nuclear war will envelop the whole world.
Satan has been cast down to this Earth, and he is full of wrath because he knows he has a short time (Revelation 12:12). This world has never before faced what it is facing now. The Earth is practically full of weapons of mass destruction! And this is when Satan’s wrath is raging at its peak because his time is so short.
God’s very elect must also be acutely aware of how short our time is to prophesy again! It’s quite a frightening scenario, but we can thank God it’s all directly connected to the return of Jesus Christ.
God’s very elect, in this last hour, face a new reality. God’s people have never faced anything like this before on such a worldwide scale. We have to do a work somewhat differently than any of God’s people have ever had to do: the work of prophesying again in the midst of Satan’s worst wrath. We must conduct ourselves accordingly in this most urgent crisis. We must adjust to this new reality.
Thankfully, God gives us the power to deal with this new reality.
‘I Know Your Works’
Revelation 1:5 calls Jesus Christ “the first begotten of the dead.” The translators made a mistake: Actually He was the firstborn from the dead. Most people seem to get nothing but bad news from the prophetic book of Revelation. But here in the first chapter it talks about Jesus Christ being the firstborn from the dead. That’s a most inspiring statement. Romans 8:29 calls Him the “firstborn among many brethren.”
Seeing a human child being born is an overwhelmingly emotional experience. But imagine our spiritual birth! God says we are going to be born again from the dead!
Right here in Revelation 1:5, Satan’s deceptions begin. He gets mankind to overlook our being born into the Family of God. Why would the translators use the word begotten? That completely obscures the truth of our incredible human potential. Isaiah says that a whole nation is to be born in a single day! The world will be in shock and disbelief at a spiritual nation being born into the Family of God (Isaiah 66:8). That’s an inspiring message that the world knows nothing about. Men refuse to believe that message—though they need it badly.
As you read this majestic book of Revelation, keep this awesome future in your mind. Without this vision, the temporary bad news will discourage you.
The truth about being born into God’s Family is the gospel, which means good news. And it is the only good news there is!
Jesus Christ’s mind was saturated with this magnificent future. That is why God inspired four Gospel writers. Christ is trying to etch the gospel into our minds. Then no trial is too difficult to overcome.
“And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks” (Revelation 1:12). This is talking about the lamp. The book of Revelation is introduced with the light of God—seven burning lamps that give light to this world.
The book of Revelation is seen by this world as nothing but gloom and doom.
This is a dark, dark world—but it shouldn’t be. God’s brilliant light should fill the Earth. Men, however, have rejected the light. They don’t want to hear about changing and being born into God’s Family. That is why they killed Christ.
God’s very elect have the distinct honor to bring light and joy into a miserable world. That is especially true in this end time.
There is a profound spiritual glow in the book of Revelation. Even the bad news is leading this world into God’s light.
Each one of us has the responsibility to let our light shine—to show this world God’s light. We are now being judged by how much light we bring into God’s Church and the world.
How much glow do you add to God’s lamp?
Our big challenge is to see the book of Revelation through God’s eyes—not through carnal eyes. The first three chapters give a foundational light to the whole book. Revelation 1 pictures the fiery splendor of God. Chapters 2 and 3 are about the seven lamps of God—the light of God that glows in God’s true Church on Earth.
God’s people are called to deliver a message of light in a gloomy, black world. The world’s only hope is to receive that light.
In chapters 2 and 3, when the eras of the Church are described, seven times God says, “I know thy works.” The great God who inspired this book of Revelation wants us to know that He knows what we’re doing. Anytime God repeats something like that, you can be sure it’s important to understand. He’s aware of every good work, and He’s also aware of every time we let down. He is intently focused on the works of His elect.
These first three chapters of Revelation give us the big picture.
The book of Revelation starts with the Father and Son (Revelation 1:1). Then God gives us a picture of these fiery Beings and their power. After that, God describes His Bride and the work she is to do (Revelation 2 and 3). Church eras give us a God Family context. The time span is from the first coming to the Second Coming of Christ.
Along with the prophets, this is the foundational governmental structure of the World Tomorrow. The governments of this world are on their deathbed. A new civilization is almost here.
This is a monumental, earthshaking truth that the world doesn’t see, but that it will see quite soon.
Satan has worked feverishly to destroy the truth about the Church eras, and about the Head of the Church described in Revelation 1.
The Head of God’s Church is described in the first chapter of Revelation. Satan’s number one goal is to get our minds off the fiery God who is our Head!
The second area Satan attacks is Church eras. If Satan destroys this knowledge, we become confused and blind about who we are. Our commission is vague or lost. Understanding Church eras gives us context as to who we are and what we should be doing.
This knowledge makes the Philadelphia Church of God aware of why we must prophesy again during the Laodicean era. How can we know what our commission is if we don’t know which era we are in? How can God use us to fuel His lamp if we don’t know where the lamp is?
We show people what their Creator is doing right now. He is extremely active.
God knows the works of every era. Christ says, I know what you’re doing, and I’m showing you what to do.
In this era, our job is to prophesy again. God knows how zealously each one of us works to complete that job.
Do Not Fear
To those in the Smyrna Church, Christ said, “Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer …” (Revelation 2:10). Do you sometimes fear? Do you fear to face the challenges of doing God’s Work? Christ tells us not to fear what’s coming. We don’t have to fear anybody but God.
Look at the trials the Smyrna brethren experienced: “… behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life” (verse 10). What a challenge—but what an end! Who cast some of them in prison? Not men, but the devil! Men are used by Satan. He orchestrates all of the serious persecution against God’s loyal saints.
Many people scoff at Satan because they don’t know him or understand his power! That power has them in abject bondage.
John knew God and the devil. Satan was very real to him. John knew that Satan is our great adversary. If we get thrown in jail or killed, the devil empowers such evil. He is the real source of our persecution.
Satan’s primary goal is to destroy God’s Work and His people. His main passion is to keep us from prophesying again. “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death” (verse 11). Do we hear what the Spirit says about Satan?
God is talking about a profound understanding: You can digest this message so deeply that you don’t even fear being thrown into prison or dying physically. God says you don’t have to fear that—you can die, absolutely knowing you won’t be hurt by the second death. You can die and know you’re going to live forever! That’s how we remove the fear in our lives: by having that kind of vision. We have nothing to fear!
Satan’s primary goal is to destroy God’s people and His Work. We must see and understand our adversary or we can’t defeat him—he will conquer us as he already has conquered 95 percent of God’s people today!
The devil has God’s people thrown into jail and killed. Satan tries to conquer us through fear. It takes a lot of intensive Bible study to grasp that to the point where it eliminates fear in our lives. Perfect love casts out fear. If you love God and His truth, the fears will disappear.
What does it mean not to be hurt? The second death hurts and it hurts forever, because we are dead forever! No matter what we say now, the second death hurts. It is the greatest hurt we can suffer. You can die the first death for God, however, and the next waking moment you rise into majestic splendor forever! You receive a crown of eternal glory.
The book of Revelation is not about the first death. It’s about avoiding the second death!
We will face many trials from prophesying again, but we must not fear those trials if we are to proclaim God’s message to the world.
The end of Revelation 3 talks about us sharing Christ’s throne. Then, in chapter 4 comes a magnificent description of God’s throne. Notice the excitement here: “And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind. And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle. And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come” (Revelation 4:6-8).
These angelic beings are not depressed; they are praising God for everything. They have never been given the potential to be sons of God, yet they still express their joy and thanksgiving to God day and night. Apparently their job is just to praise God—and they are thrilled to have it.
Do you know what makes these angels happy? This two thirds of the angels watched Lucifer’s rebellion and remained loyal to God. That is what makes them happy. And our loyalty to God is what makes the PCG happy today when 95 percent of God’s people are rebellious and unhappy!
These angels support God’s commission. The firstfruits—not the angels—are going to share this breathtakingly beautiful throne with Christ. Still, the righteous angels are 100 percent behind the PCG’s commission, which helps prepare us for that throne.
The loyal angels are not selfish. Their whole focus is on God and His Work. That makes angels and men ecstatic!
“The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created” (verses 10-11). God is worthy to receive glory and honor. He created all things—including us—and He has sacrificed everything for us. It keeps us humble to remember that. Lucifer forgot that he was a created being. We must never forget our humble beginning. A newborn baby wouldn’t be able to do anything if someone didn’t take care of it. Yet mankind, and even God’s people, can get arrogant and forget how much they need to be taught and cared for by God.
These angels have it right. They know who created them. They are simply rejoicing because God gave them life! They’re thrilled to be a part of God’s wondrous Work, and they will live happily—forever.
So many of God’s people have turned away because they became more excited about things than about their potential to become sons of God. That is why the Creator created us! The Laodiceans have their minds on things—they are “rich, and increased with goods.” The greatest treasures ever found on this Earth are but dung compared to our potential.
We all must learn a lesson from the righteous angels. They focus on the cause of their existence. They think on the beginning of their lives—their creation and the Creator. They understand why they were created.
So must we. We must always see through God’s eyes. Why did the Creator create us? That is what causes us to be filled with praise for God. It is this understanding that brings joy and excitement into our lives! God has given us a temporary, chemical existence only to prepare us for eternal bliss.
The Laodiceans have lost the real treasures of this life. They are “rich, and increased with goods” of this world, but spiritually they are in the most wretched poverty imaginable.
Our transcendental potential must always be our greatest passion, or we will lose everything of value.
We need the gratitude of these angels. We need the joy and excitement that they have. If we don’t have a lot of that joy in our life, something is wrong. Obviously, a serious trial can weigh you down: Still we need to rejoice and praise God like these 24 elders—and even more, because our potential is so much greater.
These angels see the vast difference between the Creator and the created! Lucifer and one third of the created angels made a pathetic attempt to rule over the Creator.
The righteous angels hated that rebellion. They never rebelled against the Creator when He decided to re-create Himself through mankind. They still see a fabulous future for themselves. That attitude makes them happy. It will do the same for us.
Let me give you an amazing thought I believe came directly from God: It seems to me that the righteous angels have greater potential now than they had before Lucifer rebelled!
Before man was created, the angels were going to beautify and rule over the universe, under God and the Word. Now, that is the transcendental potential of man. The righteous angels are still going to help rule the universe, but this time they will be under billions of created sons of God.
Would their future have been more wonderful without the billions of created Gods? I don’t think so.
It seems they could be praising God for making their future even greater by creating so many sons of God!
Was it a win-win situation for the righteous angels, even if one third of the angels did rebel?
I believe that is an extremely strong probability.
This is all consistent with the profound love of God. God is striving to give all of us the most awesome future possible. This is how God thinks.
If we are to do God’s Work and prophesy again, then we must think like God. We must have His vision to do His Work.
Very soon, serious problems are going to accelerate in this world. “And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings. And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. But the court which is without the temple leave out [or cast out], and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months” (Revelation 10:11; 11:1-2).
This is what we face: One way or another, we must be measured. The Laodiceans who go into the Tribulation will lose a big part of their reward. They won’t humble themselves and allow themselves to be measured today, so they must go into the Great Tribulation with the rest of the world.
When we look at these prophecies, we need to realize what they are all tied to. What you’re seeing in Jerusalem today is a prelude to Christ’s return. It will all lead to that climactic event, step by step!
So watch Jerusalem! God’s very elect must watch Jerusalem and prophesy again.
In the Olivet prophecy, Christ talked about seeing “Jerusalem compassed with armies” (Luke 21:20). Why will these European armies surround Jerusalem after they’ve already won a war with the king of the south?
The prophecy continues, “… then know that the desolation thereof is nigh [near]. Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto” (verses 20-21). There is coming a time when we will need strong faith to flee. It will take real faith to flee for your life when people are calling you all kinds of names and heaping persecution on you and on this Church. You and I won’t be able to endure and flee if we don’t have the faith of Christ. God says we had better be ready.
“For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people” (verses 22-23). This is what God must deliver us from. The only way we can escape that is to prophesy again and have God protect us.
“And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem [a type of Israel] shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled” (verse 24). After that, of course, is when Christ returns. We’re about to see biblical Israel trodden down like the mire of the streets. Is that what it will take to get its people’s attention? The Laodiceans will be right there in the middle of that. Because they are so hardheaded, God says, You’re going to be trodden down, because I want to get your attention and save you! I want you to be in my Family!
Luke 21:24 is directly tied to Revelation 10:11 and 11:1-2. We must prophesy again about the times of the Gentiles.
Lift Up Your Eyes
Hosea 5:5 prophesies that the three primary nations fighting terrorism right now—America, Britain and Israel (or Manasseh, Ephraim and Judah)—are going to fall together. Isn’t it interesting how united they are today—and how isolated from the rest of the world? Britain has even moved out of the European Union.
This war against terrorism is just the outer edges of a coming storm—the times of the Gentiles!
These three nations of Israel are going to be conquered and destroyed. (For more information request our Hosea booklet.)
These prophecies are being fulfilled today. You are reading about them and seeing them in your daily news. We must all be vigilant or be caught in the worst storm ever on this planet! There will never be a storm greater than this one.
“And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken” (Luke 21:25-26). But notice the good news: “And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh” (verses 27-28).
This passage is so critical. If we’re not careful, we will be prone to get depressed when these difficulties break out in the world. We have a propensity to hang our heads and get caught up in the calamity, which is getting worse all the time.
God knows our human nature, and He is warning us not to get discouraged. Don’t let this get you down, He is telling us. Lift up your head, because your redemption draws near! Jesus Christ is about to return! Don’t lose your hope or your positive attitude! You’re getting awfully close to the end! That’s the battle we have. We must not look only at the bad news!
Look at the little nation called Israel today. The Israelis have been coping with a consistent terror threat for years. They’ve lived in fear; they’ve had loved ones die. And it’s robbed them of hope. The majority of them are convinced their children’s lives will be worse than their own, and they live in open despair!
What if you lived there? Would you go around in open despair, downcast and crestfallen because of what’s happening to your land? It would certainly be difficult not to.
But God says, No! No! Don’t do that! Lift up your heads! This is good news! We must believe God and prophesy again.
Israel is trusting its worst enemies rather than trusting God. Its double cross is coming (to learn about this, request our free book Ezekiel—The End-Time Prophet).
We have to be able to connect what’s happening in Jerusalem—and in the U.S., Britain, Canada, Europe and Asia—to the return of Jesus Christ! That is nothing to hang your head about!
Can you feel the times of the Gentiles? Can you see and sense that everything’s going so well for the Gentiles? And that God Himself has actually put it in their minds to do what they’re going to do to the nations of Israel? Can you see what’s happening in the Middle East? It’s all right there before us.
The nations of Israel—America and Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the Jews—keep wondering, Why is Germany against us? Why is Russia against us? And China, and Europe? Why is everybody against us? It’s because we are facing the times of the Gentiles! God says we can see the sword, and we can feel the storm already building—the outer periphery of that perfect storm. We must prophesy again while there is time!
But it’s all leading to the best news ever! Don’t let it get you down. Lift up your head. Because if we don’t lift up our heads, we’re not going to prophesy again. We’ll be too discouraged.
You and I must connect what is happening in Jerusalem today to the imminent return of Christ. This is where we must keep our minds. This is the only hope there is.
We Must Be Measured
In Revelation 10:11, God gives us our commission. It is a grand vision of what we’re going to be doing: prophesying again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues and kings.
Notice, then, how God follows that vision with correction: He immediately talks about measuring us in chapter 11. God begins to measure us and show us where we need to change. That is a wonderful blessing from our loving Father. Every loving father measures his children so they can be happy and successful. If we are going to prophesy again, we must worship in that temple and we have to be measured. That includes the altar, which symbolizes the ministry, including me. We all have to be measured.
God gives the prophesy again vision before talking about measuring—for an important reason. We won’t accept that correction if we don’t have the vision.
First, God gives us the commission to prophesy again. God’s Church had become Laodicean and stopped proclaiming God’s message. The very elect had to resurrect God’s Work and understand their new commission to warn the Laodiceans and the world. So God revealed and inspired us with a new commission. God established His government again through one man. We were given “a reed like unto a rod” (Revelation 11:1). Then God could measure His ministry (the altar) and His very elect.
First God gave us the vision, then His law and government. The Laodiceans rejected the vision and were unable to keep God’s law, submit to His government, and be measured. God is in the inner court. The Laodiceans were put into the outer court to be trodden down by the Gentiles in the Tribulation (verse 2). They will have to repent the hard way. But 50 percent of them will never repent. They will be plunged into the lake of fire.
That is what happens to those Laodiceans who refuse to be measured. So let’s be positive about being corrected, or measured, by our loving Father.
Revelation 11 then talks about the two witnesses and how the beast power is going to hate and kill them. “And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city [Jerusalem], which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified” (verse 8). The Father hasn’t forgotten about His Son being crucified—that horrendous sin of all sins! God prophesied how evil we would become in this end time. The book of Revelation came from God the Father. And here He is calling Jerusalem, and Israel, Sodom—the filthiest city ever on the planet!
Do you view the nations of Israel the way God does? He sees total perversion! Israel was the only nation founded by God—He wanted it to be a kingdom of priests! Instead, Israel’s descendants have become a deeply vile example to the rest of the world! God is going to incinerate them with fire, just as He did Sodom, which happened as an example (Jude 7). Sodom is a type of the lake of fire, which is where they are going if they don’t repent. If you live like Sodom, you’re going to die like Sodom!
This end-time catastrophe is going to be 10,000 times worse than Sodom’s destruction! And time is running out. This coming crisis of all crises must motivate us to prophesy again while there is time. You can be sure God the Father is concerned about the rise in homosexuality. Today it’s a constitutional right to practice sodomy in Israel. Paul called it abominable! (Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9). Many scriptures tell us it is abominable, perhaps the worst adjective in all the Bible. It is a lifestyle Satan is pushing to destroy the family!
Physical family prepares you to enter the Family of God. When the sanctity of family is gutted, it blots out man’s potential to become members of the God Family! How long will it take to straighten out those homosexual minds to the point where they can understand marriage the way God defines it? How long before they can grasp family and father the way God defines them? If they want to defy God, they’re going to answer for it. That sin destroys your will to do anything that requires character. Those who glory in that perversion have reprobate minds, and they’ll never be in the God Family until they get rid of it. Their potential is being marred and blackened by the devil.
Spiritual sodomy is far worse than just homosexuality. The physical family is the primary institution to prepare us for God’s Family.
Is God going to back off and be timid about what Satan is doing? Satan tries to intimidate people into thinking it’s OK, or that it’s a private matter and an individual choice. But God is white-hot with indignation about it! We had better view it God’s way.
Genesis 18:20-21 say the cry of Sodom went up to God. He knew exactly what was happening there. Do you think that same cry has gone up to God today?
God told Lot to get his family out; He protected them from the destruction (as He will the very elect today), but when Lot’s wife looked back, God turned her into a pillar of salt. She still found something appealing about Sodom! God wants us to begin to hate spiritual Sodom as He does, and tell this world what God thinks!
What did Jesus Christ have to say about it? “Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed” (Luke 17:28-30).
This is God talking! Just before Christ returns, fire is going to come down from heaven to destroy modern-day Sodom—and that just happens to be the nations of Israel, the only people who have had a history with God.
God says we have to watch and warn. Nuclear bombs are coming on Israel. We can be sure of that, because Jesus Christ Himself said so. When Satan gets people deep into those types of sins, it’s getting pretty close to the time when God is going to blot out the people who commit them—and if they don’t repent, it will be for eternity.
You have a Father who gave His Son to die for you. But He’s not going to use His Son’s death for people who want to live in such twisted evil. They follow their queer god, the devil. When God says that city is Sodom, He’s saying even the Laodiceans are into sodomy, spiritually and physically. You can’t get anything through to those people because they won’t listen to their Father; they have another father, who is twisting their minds.
If people don’t heed this message, cities will be incinerated! Those who remain alive will be taken into captivity to a foreign country. They must get to the point where they realize there was a prophet in their midst and repent before God can begin to work with them. This is God’s message, and He won’t accept anything other than repentance.
We must keep the overview in mind. The book of Revelation came from God the Father—not Christ.
The sin of sodomy destroys the family structure—which is a type of God’s Family! This sin rejects the father as the loving head of the wife and children—a God-plane relationship.
Spiritually, sodomy rejects the Father as Head over the God Family. That is the very gospel of God—the good news of the coming Kingdom, or Family, of God.
Sodomy is satanic to the core. Spiritually, it destroys God’s family plan. Generally, the people who commit this sin have no concept of how evil it really is.
The ashes of ancient Sodom tell us clearly what God thinks of this abomination!
We must proclaim to Israel what is coming.
The Rod of God
“And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein” (Revelation 11:1). The word rise occurs 141 times in the Bible, and 70 times it’s referring to resurrection. God really wants us to rise up! His Church is dying. He needs someone to rise up and measure! That is talking specifically to one man, supported by a group of faithful people who are willing to be measured.
We all have to be corrected and measured; otherwise, we can’t fulfill our commission. If we have a problem and we won’t allow God to measure us, how can He reach us? We can’t let anything stand in the way of our being measured. Everybody gets corrected.
The rod in that verse is a symbol of government. Numbers 17:2-3 discuss the princes of Israel. Each was commanded to bring a rod, which was an ensign, or a sign, that he was the leader of his tribe. In 1 Corinthians 4:21, Paul asked, “[S]hall I come unto you with a rod …?” Revelation 2:26-27 say Christ is going to give His people a rod of iron to rule with. There is authority in God’s Church. We’re all corrected by it.
In the ark of the covenant in ancient Israel were the Ten Commandments, some manna (symbolizing the spiritual manna that we receive today, God’s truth), and Aaron’s rod, representing the authority that God gave a man to rule over Israel. Somebody had to apply the Ten Commandments in Israel, and it takes authority to do that. If you have a law, you must have a law-implementer.
God isn’t upset with the Laodiceans because they rejected Mr. Armstrong—He is upset because they rejected their spiritual Head, Jesus Christ! You don’t have to accept a government of any man, but God help you if you reject the government of God. We’re not asking anybody to follow a man. In fact, we’re telling you that you’re under a curse if you do.
How our carnal nature hates the rod of God! The religions of this world have a come-as-you-are approach because they don’t like God’s government!
Aaron’s rod was made of either wood or some kind of metal. Whatever the case, God made it bloom and bear almonds (Numbers 17:8). Why? Because He wanted to show how His government produces growth. Did you ever notice that a little correction for your children brings growth? We all have to keep ourselves humble. I do too; I’m human and have a carnal mind too much of the time, just like you. God corrects me—sometimes pretty hard—but what a wonderful blessing it is. What growth we experience as a result of God’s correction. Revelation 11:1 says this rod is “given.” It’s a gift that shows we are God’s submissive sons!
You can see in Revelation 11:2 that if we don’t allow ourselves to be measured and corrected by God, we won’t prophesy again!
That ark was called the ark of the testimony. It was a testimony that God was with them. The PCG today has all the ingredients of that ark. It’s a testimony that God is with us. You don’t have to guess about where God is, you can know He’s here!
It is through God’s government that we are directed to prophesy again.
Mourning for the World
“And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth” (Revelation 11:3).
Sackcloth here is not really referring to humility; it’s talking primarily about mourning. These two witnesses are among those who sigh and cry because of all the abominations in Israel (Ezekiel 9:4). This is why we warn: We’re mourning for our people Israel, and we’re warning the whole world because they are, after all, created sons of God, and they have the potential to become God! We’re mourning what’s happening in the world.
However, if we’re thinking like God, we won’t allow that mourning to descend into discouragement.
We have to realize that Satan the devil is deeply discouraged. There has never been a being so discouraged as the devil is right now. If you find yourself getting bogged down in discouragement, you need to realize that Satan is getting to you. He is bitter because his time is so short. He knows what we’re doing, and he knows about the God Family. Satan has been rejected by God and confined to this Earth. No being has ever hated God more. So he persecutes God’s people far more than anyone else. He knows he’s blown it, and he’s trying to get us discouraged the way he is—and he’s a master at that. This cast-down dragon is raging in discouragement. And his primary goal is to keep us from prophesying again.
But God is giving us the armaments to fight him and win. We have more truth than God’s Church has ever had. God never thrusts us into battle without equipping us for victory. All we have to do is use the tools He provides.
The Church and the Man Child
I want to show you something very inspiring. “And she [the true Church] brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne” (Revelation 12:5). This verse provides quite an overview. It depicts Christ being born as a child, His future ruling all nations with a rod of iron, and His present responsibility at the right hand of God in heaven as our High Priest.
Now notice how this thought is repeated. “And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child” (verse 13). There was a definite cause for such a massive rebellion in God’s own Church. When Satan was cast down, God’s Church was his first target. This verse tells about the crisis in the end time where God’s Church has been attacked by the devil and 95 percent of the people have turned away. In this context, God points right back to the fact that this Church brought forth the man child who will rule all nations with a rod of iron and now sits at the right hand of His Father.
There is a vision in this verse! You can clearly see why the Laodiceans fell: because they didn’t realize who they were! They never deeply understood, or they forgot, their own history!
When Christ repeats an expression in one short chapter, we need to see why He emphasizes it. The PCG is the same Church that brought forth Jesus Christ as a baby! And look where He is now! And if you follow Him, that’s exactly where you’re going to be—except, of course, you’ll be ruling with Him on Earth; nevertheless, you’re going to be on the throne of David.
What does it mean to us to be a part of the Church that brought forth the man child? What wonderful history. God loves you very much, and He wants you to really understand this history.
We are going to rule with Christ and help Him change this world and the universe—this same Church that brought forth the man child!
It’s hard to imagine Christ’s sacrifice for us. It’s even harder to imagine our eternal future with Him. We must not forget what we are a part of and who we are!
Satan can conquer people who lack this vision. That is why there was a great falling away from God’s truth. This past history of the man child gives a mind-staggering vision of our future and keeps us on track!
The Word, who was God, came to this Earth as a helpless physical child. This unparalleled sacrifice could have cost Him everything—His eternal glory. But His success gives us the potential to be very sons of God.
How can we “neglect so great salvation”? We have seen a gigantic falling away of God’s people because they didn’t get this vision.
These verses give us cause and effect. There is a cause for such a mountain-size failure.
Mr. Armstrong told us that we must not forget our rebellious 1970s history, or we were destined to repeat it. And so the Laodiceans have—on a scale even greater than Mr. Armstrong imagined.
Verses 5 and 13 have the solution to the Laodicean problem. The vision is right there in the same verse where Satan attacked them! You can see why he was successful. Are they going to prophesy again? Can God use them to prophesy when they don’t even comprehend this vision? They don’t understand what the God Family is all about, and they let Satan take it all away!
“And the dragon [Satan the devil] was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (verse 17). The Laodiceans who repent have the commandments and the testimony—but it doesn’t say they have the faith of Jesus Christ, and that’s what got them in trouble. God corrects the hardheaded, rebellious Laodiceans by plunging them into the Tribulation. This is the fate of those who fail to prophesy again.
“And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy” (Revelation 13:1). This is probably the paramount prophecy of evil in all the Bible. There is nothing like this beast that is talked about in Revelation 12, 13, 17 and 18. Look at all the space that John uses to describe this monster—and in the most important book of prophecy in the Bible. That means we need to give special attention to this beast.
How many people in the world understand about the Holy Roman Empire—this beast of Revelation? It has almost risen from the sea. The world is about to see and experience the most destructive beast ever on this planet!
You need to understand how this will impact your life.
This beast will conquer America, Britain and the Jewish nation! Our peoples will be attacked with nuclear bombs. Those who remain alive will be removed from their own lands as slaves.
That gives you a good idea of how vicious and deadly this beast will be.
Only God can protect us. He will protect an individual or a nation if they repent.
That helps you to see just how important this message is.
But notice what this beast receives from the dragon. “And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority” (Revelation 13:2). The all-powerful dragon gave him his seat and great authority. Where is there a church-state combine on this Earth where the devil is actually giving it authority and power? We ought to be able to see it!
“And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?” (verses 3-4). People of the world will wonder after the beast. They’ll be virtually hypnotized in amazement as they worship it.
Daniel saw four beasts. If you compare all these scriptures, John is saying that this seventh head of the Holy Roman Empire has the strength of all the beasts. This will be the beast of all beasts! It will cause unparalleled destruction. It is on the scene, and the world is going to know it very soon—because the dragon has given the beast power and authority! This is what we are heading into! The times of the Gentiles. We’re about to see the worst beast ever—horror of horrors!
Mr. Armstrong talked about this prophecy for many years. God’s Church has been talking about it for many hundreds of years. The beast has seven heads; it has been around for a long time. Still, nobody on Earth today really understands about the beast—but they ought to. God’s people have told them.
This world is about to see the worst leaders of that beast ever in the history of the “Holy” Roman Empire. We’re going to see a roaring times of the Gentiles worse than any storm ever on Earth, and we have to be strong people to stand up to that and thunder God’s message of what is happening to this world. We must prophesy again now!
Defending the Family
“And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven” (Revelation 13:6). The beast power is going to blaspheme our Father. We must be infuriated by that! It will blaspheme His tabernacle—speaking of God’s people. We have to stand up and fight for our Family! Because we love our Father and our Family, when people start casting these vile aspersions, we must let them know what we think! We’re going to have to call that whore what she is, and that blasphemer what he is!
Revelation chapters 13 through 15 and 17 show that a number of the Laodiceans won’t accept the mark of the beast. Many of them will repent and stand up for God. “And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads” (Revelation 14:1). This 144,000 who repent in the Tribulation will have the Father’s name written in their foreheads. They will honor their Father. The Kingdom of God is about the Family of God!
What do the Laodiceans have to repent of? Not honoring their Father (Malachi 1:6). Most of them say that Jesus Christ is the center of their religion (Matthew 24:4-5). But Jesus Christ Himself says they are deceived by not looking to our Father. We must declare the Father as Christ did (John 1:18).
Why do so many have to go through such suffering to receive such a majestic message from God? Why will so many lose so much because of rebellion? Those who wait until the Tribulation to repent will lose their headquarters reward. Why is the human mind so hard that we won’t let the loving God give us everything? Look what they have to go through: They have to resist the mark of the beast—the great whore is going to kill them.
Those who are faithful today truly are special to God. You stand out like a beacon in the darkness. You are a lamp shining and letting the people of the world know what their real hope is. There’s nothing more exciting than this Church of God going to the world and letting our lamp burn brightly! How exciting that is to God! So many scriptures tell us how God loves His very elect—those people who love Him and His truth. God loves us because we prophesy again.
The Faith of Christ
Satan really is in a rage. He’s going to come after us by trying to poison people’s minds against us. Expect that. But we can take care of that and anything else they throw at us. Here’s how: “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus” (Revelation 14:12). Do you have the faith of Jesus? God’s very elect do more than just keep the commandments of God—they have the faith of Jesus Christ.
When we decided to print Mystery of the Ages, there really wasn’t a scripture that I could point to and say, God says do it. We had to get out and do it because we had the faith of Christ. Why were we prepared to fight for it in court? Because we had the faith of Christ. That’s the kind of faith it’s going to take to prophesy again. (After we stepped out in faith, God revealed several scriptures that apply to our court case!) God is helping us to grow in that faith. We don’t want you to follow men; we want you to follow Christ. We want you to have the very faith of Christ. The same faith that Christ had! If He could endure what He did with that faith, then so can we.
Everything is going to turn out right. As Mr. Armstrong said, you can read the end of the Bible and see that we win.
Bride Reigns With Christ!
Revelation 18 and 19 show that old Babylon is going to be blotted out forever!
This is truly a cause for rejoicing in heaven. “And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God: For true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand” (Revelation 19:1-2).
God’s saints will have had their heads lopped off by this great whore in the name of God! And God is going to avenge that! He’s going to judge the whore. So we have to prophesy of God’s judgment on her, too, in the context of our Work. We’re not supposed to stand by while a great whore corrupts the Earth. God says to cry aloud and tell the nations!
“And again they said, Alleluia. And her smoke rose up for ever and ever. And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts [living creatures] fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia” (verses 3-4). These spirit beings are really excited about this. This is the last act of the 24 elders and the four living creatures in the Bible: They fall down and say, Oh, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, praise God!
Why all the excitement? “And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great. And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth” (verses 5-6). This is a tremendous burst of song about the great, all-powerful, omnipotent God reigning! It’s like the voice of many thunders and a great multitude or many waters!
About that time, Christ will be crowned by the Father. This will be the greatest coronation ever by our Father.
But notice, further, the context: “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready” (verse 7). That’s what it’s all about: the marriage of the Lamb! That’s what these 24 elders and the four living creatures are really getting excited about: the marriage of the Lamb to the Bride of Jesus Christ!
This is why we are tried and tested. We must get ready! We’re going to rule with Jesus Christ! This is already there in the Book. It’s going to happen so soon. There is nothing, nothing, NOTHING on Earth like it, and never will be! And it’s really about you! We have a key role to play right here in this end time.
“And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years” (Revelation 20:4-6).
In one instance there it says God’s people “reigned” with Christ; two verses later it says they “shall reign.” Jesus Christ is talking to us, and He uses those words interchangeably as if we already reign! God sees the picture as if we’re already reigning. That’s reality! This future is ours for the taking! We must view our future as our Husband does, with His perspective. All of those Laodicean martyrs who were put to death by the great whore are going to rule and reign with Him for a thousand years.
After that, God is going to resurrect multiple billions of people, probably more than 50 billion people, on the Last Great Day. This is where it’s all leading. God needs help for all this work. He needs you! Christ needs a helpmeet, and that is the opportunity He is giving to you.
Revelation 21 says that in the new Jerusalem, there is no more need for the sun or the moon because of the glory of God. We will be a part of that glory.
God says we have to prophesy again about this Family vision. It’s not going to be easy, but oh, what an inspiring message it is! When you understand that, nothing else really matters.
So let’s get out and fervently prophesy again!