God put the archangel Lucifer over this Earth to administer His government. However, Lucifer rebelled and became Satan. He left the Earth in tohu and bohu. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters” (Genesis 1:1-2). The word “was” should be translated “became.” The earth became “without form and void”—or tohu and bohu in the Hebrew.
The Earth was organized and beautiful as long as Lucifer and the third of the angels he had charge over administered God’s government. God’s plan for all the angels was for them to beautify and finish the whole universe.
So their opportunity here on this Earth was a test. All of the angels rejoiced greatly when God created the Earth and the universe (Job 38:1-7). The angels knew they had a wonderful potential before them.
However, those angels failed the test. The Bible doesn’t reveal how long it was before they rebelled. But the outcome in Genesis 1:2 is clear. Satan’s legacy was tohu and bohu. He left the Earth destroyed—“without form and void.” It all happened because they rejected God’s government.
God then knew that to beautify, finish and rule the universe through others, He must recreate Himself (Genesis 1:26). Only a God Family member could do the job—by loving the government as God does.
That meant God had to re-create the Earth and beautify it again. Then He created man. Man had to be tested also by making a choice between God’s government or Satan’s government. Mankind was given the same potential that the angels had—to rule the universe. But man chose Satan’s way, rejecting God’s rule (Genesis 3:1-7). That attitude is the reason Satan is able to deceive the whole world.
Jeremiah had to face Satan’s evil world, but with an added dimension that was far more frightening.
Tohu and Bohu Again!
As was pointed out in the last chapter, Jeremiah 4 reveals that the Earth will be devastated again. Unparalleled nuclear destruction will leave entire cities uninhabited (Jeremiah 4:7).
Why are we about to see this Earth so totally devastated? What is the cause? There is always cause and effect. “I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form, and void; and the heavens, and they had no light” (verse 23). In a vision Jeremiah sees the whole Earth “without form and void”—tohu and bohu. Even the heavens had no light! Satan is leading the Earth to destruction again!
Every version of Satan’s government ends in destruction. Man still hasn’t figured this out. Only God’s government works. God the Father and Christ have never had a serious government problem. They have been living in joyful unity for all eternity!
The world refuses to submit to God’s government. That leaves God with only one way to teach people. He lets them produce tohu and bohu and hopes that those terribly negative results will drive home the lesson.
How hard is it for man to learn to be ruled by God? Very hard. Jeremiah reveals that there is a much deeper tragedy here that is far more frightening.
It is sad when you see carnal men continue to reject God’s government. You would think that when people are given God’s Holy Spirit, that attitude would change. However, many of God’s own people from the beginning of history have rejected God’s rule. The majority of God’s end-time Church also reject His government. They too are destined to produce tohu and bohu—waste and destruction within God’s own Church! This should give us the very strongest warning about how difficult it is to accept God’s rule! “For I have heard a voice as of a woman in travail, and the anguish as of her that bringeth forth her first child, the voice of the daughter of Zion, that bewaileth herself, that spreadeth her hands, saying, Woe is me now! for my soul is wearied because of murderers” (verse 31). The woman here is Zion, God’s own Church. But it is God’s lukewarm, rebellious Church.
This is a painful firstfruits birth—the saints who are called before Christ returns. The firstfruits’ birth is likened to a woman giving birth to her first child. The spiritual firstfruits are born first into God’s Kingdom. However, some births are harder than others. God’s very elect are to be protected from the coming Great Tribulation, but not the Laodiceans. They are pictured here as being caught in that holocaust.
The Laodiceans, not the Philadelphians, cry out, “Woe is me now!” because their work is destroyed. It becomes extreme tohu and bohu. They have to die to prove their faith in God. Fifty percent of them lose their eternal lives.
Many of them become inexcusably hard as they rebel. I don’t believe any of the Church eras are condemned as severely as the Laodiceans (Revelation 3:14-20).
Where are God’s very elect today? It is really quite logical. They are delivering the revealed message of Jeremiah! They are giving people on this Earth a chance to repent. Their whole work is filled with hope. They are the only saints on Earth who don’t produce tohu and bohu—confusion, waste and destruction!
God completely rules them and they love it. There is no reason for them not to be protected from the Tribulation. Satan has no power over them. They administer God’s government in the Church. They are qualifying to administer that same government over the entire Earth.
Jeremiah prophesied that the Laodiceans and the world would produce “destruction upon destruction”—extreme tohu and bohu. Without God’s government and direction that is always the end result. It’s the most painful lesson for man to learn!
Still, there is great hope. Jeremiah gives the picture of God’s Church giving birth. Many God Family members are about to be born. The great God is re-creating Himself in us even if the birth does come through a trial of “destruction upon destruction”!
Preparing the Bride
God has a simple picture to help us understand what He is doing. If you have a physical family that is in disarray, each parent and child going their own way, how do you solve the problem? According to God’s law, the man is the head. So the husband must work to make certain that there is unity and love between the parents first. Then both can work together to lead the children into family harmony.
This is what God is doing in His potential Family. For example, in this end time, God’s Church (His wife) has rebelled. God likens those called after the firstfruits to children in His Family. The firstfruits are those called today to be Christ’s wife. This wife is to be a “help meet” to Christ, our Husband—just as the physical wife should be to her physical husband (Genesis 2:18). Physical family and physical marriage are God-plane relationships. That is, the institutions are just a type of a future marriage to Christ and entering into God’s Family forever.
Christ is preparing His Bride today—bringing her into a right relationship with her Husband (Revelation 19:7). She is suffering many problems. Christ is trying and testing us so we can be ready when He returns to rule over the whole world—God’s future children. The Church is His “help meet” to accomplish that job.
First, Christ works on His wife. Then they can rule and serve the whole world. We must be ready to teach billions of Family members—and that is no fantasy! The time is almost here.
Many mothers today don’t know how to deal with their children. The same is true spiritually. We have to be trained for this breathtaking honor! We have to be a “bride adorned for her husband.” She must adorn herself for her Husband. That means she does it His way. This is where government enters the picture. She must submit to her Husband’s government to share David’s throne with Him. Then that throne rules the entire Earth and later the whole universe (Luke 1:31-33; Isaiah 9:6-7). Jeremiah’s vision is built around that throne. It is a vision that should leave us breathless!
Think deeply about the character we need to sit beside Jesus Christ and help Him rule mankind.
Feast of Trumpets
Jeremiah 31 is a Feast of Trumpets message. To this day, the Jews still read this chapter on the Feast of Trumpets. “At the same time, saith the Lord, will I be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be my people. Thus saith the Lord, The people which were left of the sword found grace in the wilderness; even Israel, when I went to cause him to rest” (Jeremiah 31:1-2). The Moffatt translation uses “dungeon” instead of “wilderness.” When Israel goes into captivity, many will be in dungeons when Christ returns. Then God will give them “rest” from sin and suffering! All mankind will be given a rest from famine, pestilence, war and nuclear bombs. This is the first time ever that mankind will have a real spiritual rest. And it will be forever! Suddenly, there will be peace and rest for all humanity—that lasts forever!
“The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee” (verse 3). Now Israel finally sees that God never stopped loving her! All of the punishment was designed to bring Israel back to God.
After that, God begins to shower His blessings upon the people of Israel—the greatest prosperity this Earth will ever know! “Again I will build thee, and thou shalt be built, O virgin of Israel: thou shalt again be adorned with thy tabrets, and shalt go forth in the dances of them that make merry. Thou shalt yet plant vines upon the mountains of Samaria: the planters shall plant, and shall eat them as common things. For there shall be a day, that the watchmen upon the mount Ephraim shall cry, Arise ye, and let us go up to Zion unto the Lord our God. For thus saith the Lord; Sing with gladness for Jacob, and shout among the chief of the nations: publish ye, praise ye, and say, O Lord, save thy people, the remnant of Israel” (verses 4-7). Israel (mainly the U.S. and Britain) will lead the world. God will build Israel again, as He has done so many times before. But this is the last time! Never again will Israel fall. Leading the world in righteousness is what our people were created for—if only we could see it!
The watchmen will see Israel coming back from captivity. They will signal each group to join the procession—saying, “Let us go up to Zion unto the Lord our God”! Oh, if only we could see now what God has in store for us! The Church leads Israel to God. Then Israel leads the whole world to God!
Why are there watchmen upon Mount Ephraim? This is a Feast of Trumpets message. This is “a day”—a special holy day. Most of the commentaries recognize this as an annual holy day. It is only a type of all the holy days in the World Tomorrow.
God will use Israel—the chief of the nations—to lead the whole world to Him with the holy day plan. Life is meaningless without God’s master plan, pictured by His holy days. God will galvanize the whole world with an inspiring and thrilling purpose.
Each holy day will have watchmen preparing the people to properly learn God’s plan. This obedience will fill the world with joy and hope.
Who will these watchmen be? One of the definitions of watchmen is “to defend, to preserve from dangers (as God guarding men)” (Gesenius‘ Lexicon). The root word means to “shine.” The watchmen will defend people from danger—which will make them “shine” for God. They will shine like the stars forever and ever! (Daniel 12:3). The watchmen are protecting people from losing their eternal glory with God! That majestic goal can be accomplished only if people look to God’s government. The watchmen who help prepare them for God’s Kingdom are the ones who keep God’s holy day plan today. The firstfruits are being harvested today so they can help Christ harvest the world! It’s such a beautiful plan.
Each holy day is filled with vision. This vision of the World Tomorrow is deeply etched into God’s very elect today. They have a critical watchman role to fulfill in the very near future—for all humanity!
At last, the world is about to have peace. “Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the coasts of the earth, and with them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and her that travaileth with child together: a great company shall return thither” (Jeremiah 31:8). God brings them back from captivity to His own glorious rule.
“They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn” (verse 9). Ephraim (Britain) is God’s firstborn. Herbert Armstrong proved that many years ago. David’s throne is in London, England, right now. And that is the very throne Jesus Christ will sit on very soon—so says your Bible! (Request our free booklet The Key of David.)
“Hear the word of the Lord, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock. For the Lord hath redeemed Jacob, and ransomed him from the hand of him that was stronger than he. Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, and shall flow together to the goodness of the Lord, for wheat, and for wine, and for oil, and for the young of the flock and of the herd: and their soul shall be as a watered garden; and they shall not sorrow any more at all” (verses 10-12). What a fabulous future the people of America and Britain have. Imagine, they won’t sorrow any more at all. What a utopian future! What a magnificent message we have for Israel and the world! What a godly hope we have for the whole world!
“Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, both young men and old together: for I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow. And I will satiate the soul of the priests with fatness, and my people shall be satisfied with my goodness, saith the Lord” (verses 13-14). What an incredible mission we have. The course of all humanity is about to change! God wants you to be a part of the crusade. Our job is to help Christ turn the mourning of this entire Earth to joy. The whole world is waiting for us!
“I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself thus; Thou hast chastised me, and I was chastised, as a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke: turn thou me, and I shall be turned; for thou art the Lord my God” (verse 18). What is the big problem with the world and God’s Laodiceans? They are unaccustomed to the yoke. That means they reject God’s rule even as they look upon themselves as being very religious.
“Is Ephraim my dear son? is he a pleasant child? for since I spake against him, I do earnestly remember him still: therefore my bowels are troubled for him; I will surely have mercy upon him, saith the Lord” (verse 20). Now Jeremiah begins to also address spiritual Israel. Only God’s people are sons today. Only they are begotten by the Holy Spirit. Only they have a spiritual Father (John 6:44). Only the Father can beget sons. The nations of Israel and the world are not begotten sons today.
“Set thee up waymarks, make thee high heaps: set thine heart toward the highway, even the way which thou wentest: turn again, O virgin of Israel, turn again to these thy cities” (Jeremiah 31:21). Now Ephraim becomes all Israel (spiritually). The Hebrew reads, “return o virgin Israel to the way you went,” or it could read “the way you once went.” This virgin could only be Christ’s Bride. Only the cleansing blood of Christ and the Holy Spirit could make any one of us a virgin. Ancient Israel never fulfilled this role—only God’s Church. God’s Bride was obeying Christ, but then turned away. This is the Laodicean rebellion mentioned in many prophecies.
The “waymarks” and “high heaps” are guideposts. It means that all they have to do is look at the way they once traveled spiritually and follow what the end-time Elijah taught. They must return to that way.
A New Thing
What is the real cause of their going astray? “How long wilt thou go about, O thou backsliding daughter? for the Lord hath created a new thing in the earth, A woman shall compass a man” (verse 22). This is a “backsliding daughter.” Or God’s Church who knew Him and then rebelled. The word “backsliding” in the Hebrew means “turned away.” And remember, God is specifically addressing His end-time Church.
How does God solve this problem? “How long will you go about” should read “turn yourself away.” God has “created a new thing in the earth” to solve their problem. This new thing prevents His very elect from rebellion, but not the lukewarm Christians.
What is that new thing? Whatever it is, it’s a new creation—one the world and God’s rebellious Laodicean Church does not accept. This new thing is, “a woman shall compass (or surround) a man.” The woman is God’s Church. Christ prophesied that He would build His church (Matthew 16:18). But that is not the whole story. That Church will surround, or be built around, “a man.” The root word for surround is revolve. So God’s Church revolves around “a man.”
This is one of the most profound concepts in the Bible. It is a very strong statement about God’s government.
In this end time, a man was sent to restore all things (Matthew 17:10-11). God sent one man to do that job. The Church’s calling was to back and support him. God’s Church revolved around that man. Like Paul, they followed him as he followed Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1). So Christ must send “a man” who is obedient to Him. Christ does His Work through that man.
This is how we follow Christ and submit to His government. This is the way God has always led Israel and His Church. This is clearly taught in the Bible. God used one-man leadership like Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, David and the Apostle Peter, just to name a few.
God always builds His Work around a man. If you don’t accept this profound concept, then you must reject the end-time Elijah (Malachi 3:1; 4:5-6). God’s whole end-time work revolves around him! The Bible makes that very clear. He was the physical leader. The whole Church got behind him to do God’s work.
This is the history of how God did His Work through Jeremiah. It is prophecy of how God would always do His Work. The Church revolves around a man—Christ’s man. This you can and must prove to yourself. You are under a curse if you just follow a man (Jeremiah 17:5). It must be Christ’s man.
This government of God is the hope of the world. This is how God would solve all the world’s problems, even today, if it would heed His message. It all revolves around finding God’s man!
God is revealing a deep and often fatal flaw even in His own Church. He is revealing to us why His Laodicean Church has gone astray. All of its leaders have rejected Herbert W. Armstrong as God’s end-time Elijah. That also means the Laodiceans would reject the man who would follow in his footsteps.
Herbert W. Armstrong restored God’s government. He was the physical head of God’s Church. The Philadelphia Church of God clings to that same government. It is the only way God ever does His Work.
Why is this a “new thing”? The book of Jeremiah is prophecy for the end time. Anciently God established a letter-of-the-law government. Moses enforced it on the people of Israel whether they liked it or not. Today we have God’s Holy Spirit and must choose God’s government. Nobody is forced to submit. Most of God’s people have chosen to reject God’s one-man government. They often talk about “the evils of one-man government.” They refuse to let God’s Church revolve around a man. They must be plunged into the Tribulation, where God makes them choose His government or eternal death. Voluntarily accepting God’s government today qualifies us to be Christ’s Bride—the highest position man can attain in God’s Kingdom!
This concept goes much deeper. Marriage and family are God-plane relationships. They are a type of the firstfruits marriage to Christ and the Family of God. The physical marriage and physical family must revolve around a man as the head if we are ever to enter God’s Family—our purpose for being on this Earth! The families on this Earth are being destroyed because they reject God’s form of government—and accept a version of Satan’s government.
We must submit to God’s government today, or we’ll never rule with Christ or be in His Kingdom!
Are we ready to lead the world? That is what God is calling us to do! Are you ready to make this the dominant theme of your life? “For I have satiated the weary soul, and I have replenished every sorrowful soul. Upon this I awaked, and beheld; and my sleep was sweet unto me” (Jeremiah 31:25-26). Jeremiah saw a horrible vision of World War iii. That vision should be enough to keep any of us awake! But he also saw Christ returning at the last trumpet. This beautiful vision brought Jeremiah sweet sleep, in spite of the terrible suffering that preceded it. There will be times ahead when we can’t sleep—unless we see Jeremiah’s sweet vision of Christ’s return! Jeremiah showed us all how to have sweet sleep in the troubled times ahead.
“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people” (verses 31-33). The Church is preparing now to enter into that covenant when Christ returns. If we respond, we get to help Christ teach and make that covenant with all humanity!
“And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more” (verse 34). Everyone will know God then. Everyone! Do we really see what a glorious future lies ahead?
“Thus saith the Lord, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The Lord of hosts is his name: If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the Lord, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever. Thus saith the Lord; If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the Lord” (verses 35-37). God could never totally reject Israel unless it rejects Him. This is God’s unconditional love and loyalty to Israel.
Even Jeremiah’s temporary “doom” contains great hope. He was not a prophet of doom. He was a prophet of incredible hope. Jeremiah talked about bad news only because of this world’s rebellion against God. But his overall message was filled with hope!
Which God is it who teaches us this new covenant today and teaches us about one-man government? It is the God who gives the sun to light the day and the moon and stars to light the night! He is the God who divides the seas! This is the God behind this covenant and law—and one-man government. God is trying to put some fear into hard and rebellious mankind!
There is a vital lesson here. God is showing us that the universe and Earth are subject to His laws and ordinances. That is why they function so beautifully! Who is behind those laws and government that so majestically sustain the universe? The great Creator God. If man is ever to have such harmony, it must come through God’s law and family government! It can come no other way!