Chapter 10

Elijah: God’s Family Government

From the book The Former Prophets
By Gerald Flurry

Three Elijahs are mentioned in the Bible. After the original Elijah, there later were two types of Elijah. Jesus Christ told His disciples that John the Baptist was the first-century type of Elijah. Christ also prophesied of an end-time Elijah.

The history and prophecy of the original Elijah is contained mainly in 1 and 2 Kings. So these books in the former prophets tell us a lot about the end-time Elijah.

All three Elijahs came into the midst of great religious confusion. All of them were voices crying out in the wilderness.

The name Elijah means “My God is God.” That says a lot. Elijah revealed the true God. At the same time, he exposed all religions, except his own, as false! Mr. Armstrong did the same work. The pcg follows in that tradition. Whether people realize it or not, the pcg is the only Church today that reveals the true God!

These Elijahs taught the world about the true God Family. It is a Father and Son family rule. The three Elijahs clearly revealed the government that the God Family administers in God’s Church and will implement in the soon-coming Millennium. This is the gospel—the good news of the coming Kingdom, or Family, of God. The three Elijahs didn’t just point to the Son; they showed how the Son exalted His Father—unlike the religious confusion taught about Christ and the Father today.

If we just understand about the three Elijahs, we should expect that the original Elijah was involved in a very prophetic work. That Elijah work, which includes the work of all three Elijahs, will provide the educational structure of the wonderful World Tomorrow. If we want to be a part of it, it is essential that we understand.

We cannot be ready to rule with Christ unless we understand the Elijah work. Then we will understand what Christ did in the past, what He is doing today, and what He shall do in the future. However, we must be childlike to have this truth revealed to us (Matthew 11:25; 18:1-3).

“Many are called, but few are chosen.” The few that are chosen have the key to whether or not God reveals His truth to them and continues to do so. That key is being childlike or a babe spiritually.

God’s Word is truth (John 17:17). All truth is revealed by God.

The Elijah Work

In 1 Kings 17, Elijah came on the scene. What did God expect him to do? The same work we have today. Mr. Armstrong was the end-time Elijah, and we continue the Elijah work. What are we supposed to do?

“And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the Lord God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word” (verse 1). Wow! He burst into the picture and said, Whether you receive rain or drought depends on my word! Elijah had real spiritual power and authority! He must have been obeying and serving God. He believed in God and followed God!

Nobody could command such authority today except one who is doing the Elijah work.

What a message Elijah had. He had to go to a nation that was walking in the way of Jeroboam and rebelling against the house of David. He warned of curses that were coming because of the people’s sins. He condemned their idolatry and paganism. Again, Elijah means “my God is God.” Everything else is false religion. You may think that’s a light thing—but God disagrees. It’s not a light thing, and God will hold anyone accountable who thinks it is. The nation of Israel was on a path that was leading into captivity to Assyria!

Those of the spiritual house of David must take this same message to Israel today. We must warn that God is about to correct Israel with Assyria just as He did anciently. We must tell people how to get focused spiritually and turn to God.

In the rest of the chapter, you see God working tremendous miracles for Elijah. This was a man of faith, doing a work of faith. God sustained him for years during the devastating drought that hit Israel and the famine that resulted. He also protected His prophet from King Ahab and his evil wife. This was one of the darkest periods of Israel’s history—and it is prophecy for us today! Ahab and Jezebel ruled, and they loved doing evil. If they saw a plot of land they liked, they just killed the person and took it! (1 Kings 21). They were into Baal worship, deifying calves and everything you can imagine, just as Israel’s descendants are doing today. They also went on a killing rampage against those practicing true religion.

Finally, after nearly three years, God instructed Elijah to present himself before the king. Elijah knew about the innocent people Ahab had killed, yet he did just as God asked and confronted him! Oftentimes you must have great courage to do the job God has commissioned you to do.

“And it came to pass, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said unto him, Art thou he that troubleth Israel?” (1 Kings 18:17). It seems God’s representatives always get blamed for everything!

Look at Elijah’s powerful response: “And he answered, I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father’s house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the Lord, and thou hast followed Baalim. Now therefore send, and gather to me all Israel unto mount Carmel, and the prophets of Baal four hundred and fifty, and the prophets of the groves four hundred, which eat at Jezebel’s table” (verses 18-19). Elijah demanded that Ahab summon these false prophets. And with conditions in the parched nation being as dire as they were, Ahab was desperate enough to do as Elijah asked. He had quite a different attitude from what he had when Elijah first appeared before the drought came. (1 Kings 21:27-29 show that Ahab later did humble himself, and God responded by postponing the punishment upon Israel.)

What followed was an epic showdown between God’s prophet and hundreds of false prophets of Baal.

God’s Only Prophet

Once the people of Israel all gathered at Mount Carmel, Elijah asked them a profound question: “How long halt ye between two opinions? if the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him” (1 Kings 18:21). They were on the fence. They were halting between two opinions. Yeah, I follow God. I’m going to go ahead and walk in the way of Jeroboam, too, but I believe in God—I’m religious. (Although, this verse concludes, “And the people answered him not a word.” The fact that they couldn’t answer him indicates, I presume, that deep down, they knew they were guilty.) Elijah said, Nonsense! If you’re going to follow God, follow God! He exposed the error of their thinking and showed that it would lead to a grievous captivity.

“Then said Elijah unto the people, I, even I only, remain a prophet of the Lord; but Baal’s prophets are four hundred and fifty men” (verse 22). He really faced a lot of opposition, and many enemies!

Think about this: Elijah was talking to the nation, and there were hundreds of prophets in attendance. Yet he said, I and I only am the prophet of the Eternal! Most people would consider that incredible arrogance! What do you think all those other professing prophets thought about that statement? I don’t suppose they liked Elijah too much! But the reality was, Elijah was speaking the truth! Elijah means my God is Godand yours isn’t! It was gutsy for Elijah to say that—but it was the truth.

God uses one man. Historically, He always uses one man at the top to get the job done. I’m the only one, Elijah said. I’m the only prophet on Earth today who obeys God.

The Bible is clear (as we will see) that Elijah educated many “sons of the prophets” to serve God. But he was the head, the chief. Also, Jezebel had killed hundreds of these true prophets; God had protected some, but Elijah apparently didn’t know that.

Elijah laid out the terms of this challenge. The prophets of Baal prepared their offering. “And they took the bullock which was given them, and they dressed it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even until noon, saying, O Baal, hear us. But there was no voice, nor any that answered. And they leaped upon the altar which was made” (verse 26). Can you imagine praying to Baal?

Elijah mocked these people for their false gods: Where is your god? Is he asleep? Do you have to wake him up? (verse 27). They responded by crying out and actually cutting themselves so their blood gushed out! (verse 28). Clearly, they were sincere religious people: Nobody would cut his flesh like that if he weren’t sincere! But sincerity clearly does not make false religion right. They were just a pack of deceived prophets. They didn’t know what they were doing, but they believed they were God’s people and they were trying to get God to reveal Himself to them. And God wouldn’t.

In the end, Elijah prayed, saying, “Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel …. Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the Lord God …” (verses 36-37). This must be our prayer as well. All the truth God has given through Mr. Armstrong and this Church, all the miracles He has performed, are the means by which we can let it be known that there is a God in Israel!

God answered Elijah’s prayer in dramatic fashion! “Then the fire of the Lord fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench” (verse 38). What a miracle—and what an impact it had on the people! “And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The Lord, he is the God; the Lord, he is the God” (verse 39).

In the end, Elijah saw to it that all those false prophets were killed—every one of them! (verse 40). Do you really believe a man of God would do such a thing? Most people would consider that cruel, but God knows what He is doing. Perhaps He was keeping those men from becoming so evil that He wouldn’t be able to work with them when He resurrects them at a future time. God is love, and He has His plan for saving all men! How misguided people can be to say that God is cruel and lacks love, and to try to tell Him how to do things.

Back to Horeb

After Elijah performed these impressive miracles, the news got back to Jezebel. “And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and withal how he had slain all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, saying, So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by to morrow about this time” (1 Kings 19:1-2). Jezebel clearly ruled over her husband, King Ahab. Elijah’s actions infuriated Jezebel so much that she determined to kill him.

When word of her intentions reached Elijah, he became fearful and discouraged. “And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life, and came to Beersheba, which belongeth to Judah, and left his servant there. But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers” (verses 3-4).

After all those miracles, Elijah feared Jezebel and asked to die. He knew she excelled at killing people. She had already killed all the other prophets! Elijah lost the vision God had given him. He got his mind on Jezebel trying to kill him and off the great miracle-working God.

“And the angel of the Lord came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee. And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God” (verses 7-8). What did God do to turn Elijah’s attitude around? He sent him on a journey—to Horeb, or Sinai, the mountain of God. This is where God gave Moses the Ten Commandments, where the people saw lightning, thunder and a quaking mountain, and were very fearful because of God’s power. God took Elijah back to a crucial beginning. He even had him fast for 40 days and nights, just as He had had Moses do.

God directed Elijah to stand on that mountain. Then He sent a tremendous stormy wind that shook and shattered the rocks on the mountain. But, the Scripture says, God was not in the wind. Then He sent a mighty earthquake. But God wasn’t in the earthquake either. Then came a fierce fire, but God was not in the fire (verses 11-12).

“[A]nd after the fire,” it says, there came “a still small voice” (verse 12). God was not in the strong wind, earthquake or fire. However, He was in the “still small voice.” That was how God revealed Himself in this instance.

God sent Elijah to Mount Sinai to give him some perspective. There He showed him just how ridiculous it was to be afraid of a pitiful woman like Jezebel. There is no comparison between her and the great God! Elijah regained his awareness of God’s overview and His power to back His chosen servants.

What an important lesson for God’s people today to remember. We have nothing to fear! After all, we serve the God who came down to Sinai, the mountain of God! Sometimes we lose perspective; sometimes we forget who we are. Sometimes we fail to remember who our God is! Then we have to go back to Mount Sinai—really study what happened there when God began His physical nation—and realize that we have nothing to worry about. We are God’s spiritual nation today, and we can, and must, understand this reality far better than the Israelites did anciently.

God thunders to His people today, “Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb [or Sinai] for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments” (Malachi 4:4). This admonition is directed at us! God tells us to remember not only the law—but also the setting, and how the people of Israel received that law on Mount Sinai. Don’t forget that! We must keep God in the picture—the God who gave the law on Mount Sinai—or we will become afraid, and we will run from Jezebel or somebody who has power like that.

Notice, though: There was a difference between the way God spoke to Israel during the time of Moses and the way He spoke with Elijah. This time, He wasn’t in the earthquake and the fire; He wasn’t speaking with physical lightning and thunder. He spoke in a still, small voice. That is true today as well: God isn’t speaking in a booming voice, shaking mountains in the midst of lightning and thunder. Now He just has a still, small voice. There has been a change. When you get to the Elijah work, it’s not done like it was in Moses’s day. God has a still, small voice—and it comes through a man. God gives that revelation through a man. Today, He is talking to people who have the Spirit of God. He’s not going to speak the way He did to the carnal-minded Israelites; they didn’t get the message spiritually anyhow!

God does not often manifest Himself in mind-shattering physical events. Usually He comes in a still small voice. But it is still the same omnipotent God! You must learn to recognize God in thatstill small voice—like in what you are reading right now!

If we truly understand this great vision at Horeb, we do not need physical miracles from God. All we need is faith! It makes no difference whether you hear God’s own voice thundering from Mount Sinai—or you hear the still, small voice today through God’s messages and His Word: It is still the same God! It’s the same God today—but He has a different way of speaking.

Do you deeply know that God?

We should be able to see the spiritual splendor, the fire and thunder and lightning, the spectacle, of God speaking to His Church today—just as surely as the Israelites saw it with their eyes anciently. This is how it is when you are close to God. He directly guides His Church—and He is about to direct this whole world!

The 7,000

At this point in his life, Elijah felt depressed and alone. He said, “I have been very jealous for the Lord God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away” (1 Kings 19:14). He was very disheartened. I think we can all relate to that from time to time. He said, God, I’m the only one who is doing anything. There were others, but he apparently didn’t know about them.

Maybe this was some of the emotion Mr. Armstrong felt when he said on that day of Pentecost toward the end of his life, “Most of you don’t get it!” Do we get it today? How deeply convicted are we about what God’s end-time Elijah taught us? He felt most of the Church members were not with him spiritually. He, like Elijah, felt somewhat alone.

Doing God’s Work does get tough at times; we have our trials and tests. Elijah really had some difficult assignments to fulfill, and he got depressed, thinking, Nobody is interested in this, God! It seems nobody wants this message! You can see what made Elijah such a great man: Whatever God instructed him to do, he did! But it can wear you down when you feel like you are the only one doing it, without any help.

The truth, though, was that neither Elijah nor Mr. Armstrong were alone. God responded: “And the Lord said unto him, Go, return on thy way to the wilderness of Damascus: and when thou comest, anoint Hazael to be king over Syria: And Jehu the son of Nimshi shalt thou anoint to be king over Israel: and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abelmeholah shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room” (verses 15-16). Elisha was anointed as a prophet to replace Elijah. “Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him” (verse 18).

There were 7,000 people who had not bowed their knee to Baal. It doesn’t say they didn’t lean a little in that direction, but they didn’t bow to him or kiss him. It doesn’t say they were doing God’s Work, but they knew God—perhaps only by the letter of the law. They had learned about God and they didn’t cave in. Sadly, even those who didn’t bow their knee to Baal apparently weren’t doing much to help Elijah. The Bible doesn’t tell us much about them.

I believe that supporters of this Work have remained close to that number for most of our history—that includes members, the unbaptized who attend and co-workers. We must not forget that the book of Kings is a prophetic book.

“So he departed thence, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he with the twelfth: and Elijah passed by him, and cast his mantle upon him” (verse 19). God just went out in the field and chose a farmer to wear Elijah’s mantle. That would seem strange to many people. Elijah didn’t go to some scholarly seminary to find a replacement. Elisha was an ox farmer—not of a scholarly reputation as many would like to see.

Notice: Elijah didn’t deal with those 7,000; Elisha did! He received the mantle. He received the government. He received the one-man rule.

There were 12 yoke of oxen with Elisha. The pcg began with 12 members. Twelve is the number of new institutional beginnings.

One Worldwide Church of God evangelist didn’t think God would use Gerald Flurry as the physical leader to “hold fast” to His truth. He said if God chose another leader, it would be from Pasadena. Who knows the kind of man God will choose for a job and from where he will come? Only God knows.

Christ said, “No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62). Put your hand to the plow, and don’t look back! That is what God has called us to do. Just keep plowing, keep your mind on the Work, and you’ll be OK. Keep your mind on the harvest.

Paul talks about these 7,000 in the New Testament: “I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew …” (Romans 11:1-2). God foreknew these people. That means they had His Spirit in them or the Spirit was working with them, leading them to conversion! “Or do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel, saying, ‘Lord, they have killed Your prophets and torn down Your altars [in this end time, they tore apart the Church of God!], and I alone am left, and they seek my life’?” (verses 2-3; New King James Version). Elijah was worn down from fighting for God, and God then put Elisha in the office. I think Mr. Armstrong was worn down, by age and from doing the Work, while most around him hated the law and government of God! The fruits have proven that. “But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men …” (verse 4). Those who have not bowed the knee to Baal are out there.

A couple of biblical prophecies refer to 10,000 saints being in a place of safety in the end time. (You can read about this in Chapter Five of my free booklet No Freedom Without Law.) Deuteronomy 33:1-2 speak of “ten thousands of saints” coming with Christ from mount Paran, which is located in Petra, Jordan. The Apostle Jude referred to this in an end-time context as well (Jude 14).

God clearly says there will be 10,000 members in a place of safety. It has to mean that. He is going to come back with those 10,000. So maybe we’ll convert, say, 500 of our teenagers in the place of safety, and between now and then. And maybe we will pick up between 2,000 and 2,500 from the world and from the Laodicean churches.

Reaching that number might take a little more time than what we have thought, but I would hasten to add that so much is happening in this world, and it is disintegrating so fast, there is no guarantee it will take long at all.

The Schools of Elijah

2 Kings talks about the people Elijah taught, the “sons of the prophets.” Clearly, God has a lot of concern for young people. Elijah raised up three colleges. They were probably located in Bethel, Jericho and Gilgal (2 Kings 2:3-6; also see 2 Kings 4:38—this is why the sons of the prophets were sitting before Elisha).

Elijah was educating students to teach the whole world. Just as with Samuel, these schools give us a glimpse of how God is going to educate all mankind!

Herbert W. Armstrong was the end-time type of Elijah. He also raised up three colleges. His work also clearly showed that God has huge plans for all people—including young people. God used him to help get His Bride ready for marriage when Christ returns.

Gilgal was in Ephraim. Mr. Armstrong also had a college in Ephraim. Hosea 4:15-17 and Amos 4:4 show that Gilgal was a very evil city. Bethel is also mentioned in Amos 4:4. Apparently God established these schools in evil areas because He wanted to combat that evil as much as He could with His truth. God has to warn Israel, so He gets right in the middle of the evil to publicize that message.

Why did God establish these colleges? We can know the answer to that because we know why Mr. Armstrong established Ambassador College: Without it, the Work simply couldn’t grow. The Work kept falling apart as fast as he could build it because he didn’t have the ministerial and administrative help to keep people’s minds on what God was doing.

Through the college, God was able to deeply educate people in His vision! That is His goal. People don’t naturally have godly vision, but once He can educate them and point them in the right direction, they can do a great Work for God! That is also why we have established Herbert W. Armstrong College at the Philadelphia Church of God headquarters in Edmond, Oklahoma.

God truly wants His young people to catch the vision of His Work and His plan. To really grasp this takes a lot of effort on your part. Satan does all he can to keep you distracted and focused on the present. You really have to fight hard to combat that. Realize, 95 percent of the young people Mr. Armstrong worked so hard to educate didn’t get it. This is a rather sobering challenge. But that fabulous 5 percent who did get it are so special to God! If you can understand what God has in mind for you, it is truly inspiring!

Don’t Leave Elijah

The students of Elijah’s schools were called “the sons of the prophets” (1 Kings 20:35; 2 Kings 2:3; etc.). Elijah taught all about God’s Family. An inspiring proof of that fact comes right at the transfer of authority from Elijah to his student Elisha.

Elijah was about to be taken away by God. Apparently, Elijah was visiting his three colleges to say good-bye. He loved those young people and what they were achieving. His followers were extremely emotional about his departure. “And it came to pass, when the Lord would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal. And Elijah said unto Elisha, Tarry here, I pray thee; for the Lord hath sent me to Bethel. And Elisha said unto him, As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they went down to Bethel” (2 Kings 2:1-2). Elijah, as he went from college to college, kept offering Elisha the chance to stay behind. But Elisha would not leave Elijah’s side. How loyal Elisha was to his teacher!

When the two men arrived at the college in Bethel, they were greeted by the students. “And the sons of the prophets that were at Bethel came forth to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Lord will take away thy master from thy head to day? And he said, Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace” (verse 3). I don’t know how these students knew God would take Elijah; He must have revealed it to them somehow. This same thing happened at the college in Jericho (verses 4-5). Surely the fact that Elijah was to be taken meant a great deal to these students, just as Mr. Armstrong’s death touched many of our lives.

It appears, though, that God wanted to test how dedicated Elisha was to Elijah. We can see that Elisha passed this test. “And Elijah said unto him, Tarry, I pray thee, here; for the Lord hath sent me to Jordan. And [Elisha] said, As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. And they two went on” (verse 6). Elisha had learned something most of God’s people still have not learned today, and that is not to leave Elijah! Even after he is dead, don’t leave the spirit of Elijah or what he taught.

Like Elisha, the true followers of Elijah won’t leave what Elijah taught. They say, with Elisha, I will not leave youor what God taught through you! This is the kind of love and loyalty a leader must have for God and Mr. Armstrong (also his memory) in order to succeed today! This prophetic history teaches us exactly that! This prophecy reveals how the Church will succeed or fail. Elisha’s attitude will bring great success. The opposite attitude will be equally disastrous! If we are going to make it, we need Elisha’s attitude toward what Mr. Armstrong taught.

‘My Father, My Father’

“And fifty men of the sons of the prophets went, and stood to view afar off: and they two stood by Jordan” (2 Kings 2:7). There were 50 concerned students watching what Elijah and Elisha were doing by the Jordan River. They wanted to follow their leaders.

“And Elijah took his mantle, and wrapped it together, and smote the waters, and they were divided hither and thither, so that they two went over on dry ground” (verse 8). What an impressive miracle! Today God provides us with many miracles of a different sort, but they do keep God’s people looking to His leaders.

“And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me. And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so” (verses 9-10). Elisha had asked for something only God could give. But as the next verse shows, God did give him a double portion of the Spirit so he could do the work God wanted him to do.

“And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven” (verse 11). This was an impressive sight. Elijah was taken to another part of the Earth. As Elisha watched that, he must have thought, Wow, I am going to receive a double portion of God’s Holy Spirit. I’m sure he remembered that miracle for the rest of his life.

Today we feel this has been fulfilled in type within the Philadelphia Church of God. First, we have all the revelation God gave to Mr. Armstrong. Second, we have all the revelation God has given to me since Mr. Armstrong’s death. In that sense, we have been given a double portion of God’s Holy Spirit too.

As Elijah was being taken away, Elisha cried out, “My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof” (verse 12).

Elijah was not his physical father. But God did use that man to raise up His Work at that time, so Elijah was a spiritual father to all of his followers. That is because they came into God’s truth through him. Elijah was the instrument God used to call all of the other members. In that sense, they were all his sons.

Never forget Elisha’s statement, “My father, my father.” This gives you important insight into the family education he received from Elijah. This education taught him a lot about the magnificent office of the father. Elijah focused his students on God the Father and His Family. The Father is the Head. Our calling is all about the God Family vision. You must build this vision into the heart of your thinking. Today, we learn the lesson in God’s Church. Then in the World Tomorrow, we will help Jesus Christ, our Husband, lead the whole world into the Father’s Family!

Some people didn’t see Elijah’s office as one of importance, but Elisha saw that it was the only office that could lead and carry Israel forward! He called Elijah the “chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof.” He was saying, You’re the only chariot in Israel—the only one who will move this Work and this nation forward!

The only way to advance and grow is to get on board with God’s leader. If Israel is ever going to solve its problems, it will have to look to Elijah! That’s the onlychariotthat will carry them into the Kingdom of God. The God of heaven has one chariot. There is one chariot of Israel, and only the Elijah work has it and teaches about it. Through God’s power, that office saves spiritual Israel both physically and spiritually! It was Israel’s only hope—then and now! There is only one way we can soar and reach our goals: We have to climb on that chariot and use all the power that is there. If you rebel against that, you have lost your spiritual ride, and you are heading toward catastrophe!

It is not enough merely to have a pool of knowledge, even about God; the important thing is how we use that knowledge to move forward and accomplish the Work. We have to get on God’s chariot and know that if we do, we will move forward and nothing can stop that! We will always be going forward and accomplishing something if we are on this chariot empowered by God!

Elisha saw that, ultimately, all Israel would be governed by the foundational teachings of Elijah. He understood the value of the education Elijah had offered, and he was very emotional about it. His fruits prove that this was a heartfelt statement. It revealed Elisha’s beautiful attitude toward God and Elijah! The fact that Elisha thought this way reveals so much about the God Family education he received from Elijah. His statement, “My father, my father,” displayed a deep understanding and a beautiful attitude. God esteemed it so much that He used Elisha to replace Elijah. God loved his attitude. You can see why God chose him.

Some people today scoff at such an attitude, but it is very biblical. “I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you” (1 Corinthians 4:14). Paul considered his followers to be his spiritual sons. Why? “For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel” (verse 15). Paul said he was a father to them! That is because they received God’s gospel through Paul; they came to God through him.

In this end time, all the foundational revelation came through Mr. Armstrong, our spiritual father. Mr. Armstrong said the same to all of those who came to God, either directly or indirectly, through him. The abundant revelation God has given me since Mr. Armstrong’s death builds on his foundational instruction. But the Laodiceans refuse to recognize him as the end-time type of Elijah.

Elijah, Paul and Mr. Armstrong were all used by God to raise up His Work. Then all the people came into the truth through them directly or indirectly. Only in that sense are they “fathers.”

The End-Time Elijah

Mr. Armstrong was also a type of Levi, the father of the Levites. Malachi 2:4 shows that God made a covenant with Mr. Armstrong. Malachi 3:3 says that God will “purify the sons of Levi, and purge them”—those ministers who trained under him but then turned against him.

In our court case, we were saying the same thing: “My father, my father.” And, also as Elisha said, we were announcing to Elijah and to God, “I will not leave [you]” (2 Kings 2:2, 4, 6). That is what our court case was about!

Paul and Mr. Armstrong were rare because we have not many fathers. This “father” label is a very exalted calling from God!

The original Elijah and the end-time Elijah held extremely important “father” offices for God. The pcg, like Elisha, recognizes that fact. This is the foundational issue that sets the pcg apart from the Laodicean groups. It is such a vital principle to understand. If you follow the Elisha example in this respect, God will make you a king with a headquarters position forever. Why? Because this foundational truth points us to God the Father.

That does not mean Mr. Armstrong was or is to be called “father.” It is not a title. It’s just a spiritual fact. It simply means that God used him to help convert the rest of us. Elijah and Paul both understood this truth; however, neither Elijah nor Paul were addressed as “father.” That is forbidden by God’s law (Matthew 23:9). But God still used them as a “father figure” to call people into His truth.

The lukewarm Laodiceans show by the way they treat Mr. Armstrong’s teachings and writings that they are not honoring God the Father! (e.g. Malachi 1:6). People who fail to honor a spiritual father on Earth won’t honor their real spiritual Father in heaven! If you don’t understand the role Mr. Armstrong filled, you don’t understand God the Father!

God truly loves you. He is your Father. But you have to love Him back. God wants you to honor Him; He even wants your education to honor Him. Mr. Armstrong established Ambassador College to teach the young people that. If all those students had stuck with it, we would have many thousands of people in the Church today doing a spectacular work! We ought to have many more people helping to deliver God’s message, because it is the only hope in the world today.

All of the Laodiceans have dishonored God the Father, which means they have rejected God’s family government. This is the foremost reason why they are Laodicean.

Jesus Christ said, “My Father is greater than I” (John 14:28). He repeatedly made such statements to honor and fortify the Father-Son family relationship. God is trying to get us to capture, or recapture, this God Family vision. We can rule in the God Family only after we prove to God that we will be ruled.

This Family understanding will keep us in God’s Church forever! Then God knows we shall always remain loyal to the Father and Son and anybody else they place over us. We must become locked into God’s family government—and accept the Family rule forever! This is a beautiful family vision that a person with a carnal attitude cannot grasp. God cannot reveal it to anyone who has a carnal attitude.

God prophesied that He would send an end-time Elijah to teach this fabulous vision. “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse” (Malachi 4:5-6). This Elijah was to build strong physical families by teaching them about the God Family. Mr. Armstrong wrote a booklet titled Why Marriage—Soon Obsolete? He showed that marriage is a God-plane relationship that is a type of our marriage to Christ (Ephesians 5:22-32). He often asked, and answered, the revealing question “Why family?” He taught the Church that it too is a God-plane relationship—a type of the God Family. No other religion today has ever taught this amazing truth about God’s Family!

The whole book of Malachi is condemning God’s Laodicean Church, specifically the ministers. (You’ll find thorough proof in my book Malachi’s Message. We will send you a free copy upon request.) “A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a father, where is mine honour? and if I be a master, where is my fear? saith the Lord of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise my name. And ye say, Wherein have we despised thy [family] name?” (Malachi 1:6). They fail to honor their spiritual Father. This means they have lost the God Family vision taught by Mr. Armstrong. The ministers are the primary cause of this problem. If you properly understand Malachi 4:5-6, you will see that these rebellious ministers are in danger of losing their eternal lives! Malachi’s Message makes this clear.

How can we ever expect to enter God’s Family if we don’t even understand its government? If we do understand, God exalts and rewards us as He did Elisha! Elisha knew that God worked through one man—Elijah was their spiritual “father.” The college students were called sons because they understood the God Family vision. That is what the original Elijah taught them. And that is what Mr. Armstrong taught in the three colleges God raised up through him. God’s Family is the most profound truth in the Bible. It is the most wonderful, inspiring revelation from God! But we must be very humble for God to reveal it to us. Our loving Father yearns to reveal this fabulous potential. What a ghastly failure it is when God reveals it and we become lukewarm about such a vision.

The God Family understanding will be the foundation of education in the coming world. First of all, the true God must be revealed. The Father is offering only the firstfruits an opportunity to be Christ’s Bride forever in His Family. What a catastrophic failure if we fail to grasp our potential!

This precious knowledge is about to fill the Earth as the water fills the ocean beds! (Isaiah 11:9).

Continue Reading: Chapter 11: Elisha: Carrying the Mantle of Elijah