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In 2003, we won a court battle over Mystery of the Ages. While in the midst of that legal battle, I prophesied that one way or the other, God would provide a way to mail that book again. Read this chapter, and you’ll understand why I made that prophecy!
You can’t separate God’s Work today from what Herbert W. Armstrong did. God’s Work is called the continual in the Hebrew. That means God continues His Work even if one of His leaders dies. Every Work of God is tied to the previous Work. That is especially true in this end time. There is an Elijah work in both the Philadelphian and Laodicean eras. That means they are bound tightly together. If you understand deeply what God did through Mr. Armstrong, you can clearly see what God is doing through His very elect today.
Let’s begin in Revelation 8. “And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets” (verses 1-2). In verse 6, those seven angels with the seven trumpets prepare to sound.
Look through chapters 8 and 9, and you’ll see each of these angels sound, right down the line, one through six. But then notice Revelation 10:1: “And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven”—this is another angel, apart from the seven trumpet angels, who came down from heaven. Then we can see in Revelation 11:15 where the seventh trumpet angel sounds. But this angel of chapter 10 is another angel. It is not the seventh trumpet angel. It is the angel over the Laodicean era. Revelation 1:20 shows that each Church era had a different angel. This angel of chapter 10 has a different job from the trumpet angels: He is not out destroying the world. His job is to deliver a message to God’s Church in the end time.
Look at the description of this angel’s splendor: His face is like the sun and his feet are as pillars of fire! Hebrews 1:14 says these glorious angels are “ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation”—they are to minister to us. But in verse 5 it says, “For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son …?” Not one. Look at how brilliant these beings are and what kind of greatness they have, and yet God clearly says we have a potential status superior to them!
What a royal future we have! Our station in life is going to be royal beyond description. This is a vision that changes lives, when people truly get it into their minds.
“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” (Revelation 10:2-3). Malachi’s Message contains those seven thunders. We cannot take that thunderous message of revelation lightly—God’s Church is falling away, and 50 percent of God’s Laodicean people are going to die forever (Matthew 25:1-10), and the other 50 percent will suffer as no people have ever suffered before they repent!
This great angel delivered this little book to God’s very elect. But something strange happened in Revelation 10:4: “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.” In Revelation 1:19, when John began seeing and hearing things, God told him to write it all down. But when he came to the little book, God stopped him from writing it down. Why?
There was an end-time Elijah who restored all things. But this is referring to something that would happen after he finished that job and died. God didn’t want Herbert Armstrong to understand about the little book—though he did come to recognize that the Church was entering the Laodicean era in his final days. It’s like there was a great curtain hanging over the Laodicean era until he died. God revealed it to John a long time ago, but He didn’t have it written until this end time. It revealed that there was another work to come after Mr. Armstrong. I believe it probably clarified things in John’s mind, so he could see the whole vision. But for the rest of us, God didn’t want it revealed until the end-time Elijah passed from the scene.
Remember the example of Abraham and Isaac. Abraham had the knife drawn back, ready to obediently stab his son, and God said, No, stop. Now I KNOW you’ll obey me. God has chosen not to know what we’re going to do in our spiritual lives.
So you could see God allowing something to happen in the end-time Church that would be hard to understand—something that would reveal things to God He would not otherwise know. And He is learning a lot! God is evaluating His Church today. Judgment is upon the house of God right now.
“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 time no longer [or no more delay; Moffatt]” (Revelation 10:6). At this point in the passage we are entering a time of no more delay, going from the Philadelphian era to the Laodicean era.
The book of Revelation puts all prophecy into a time frame, or a time sequence. We must remember that as we discuss chapter 10. The expression “time no longer” should read “no more delay.” That means God delayed His Work before the little book came on the scene.
Events in this world have been racing along as never before since the little book, Malachi’s Message, was first mailed in January 1990.
God was restraining Satan and the “mystery of iniquity” within God’s Church by Mr. Armstrong’s presence (2 Thessalonians 2). After Mr. Armstrong died, Satan was cast down. He persecuted God’s Church severely because he was full of wrath. This persecution is to continue into the Great Tribulation, when the repentant Laodiceans shed their blood defending God’s truth (Revelation 12:9-17).
After Satan was cast down, we entered into a time of “no more delay.” World conditions are going to intensify and get so bad that Christ will have to intervene, or all mankind would be destroyed.
For information on this subject, request our booklet titled The Little Book.
Notice that Revelation 10:6 ends with a colon. The thought continues in the next verse. “But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets” (verse 7).
The seventh angel discussed here is the trumpet angel, not the angel of the Laodicean era. Before that seventh trumpet sounds, something has to happen on Earth. According to the Companion Bible and the Greek Interlinear Bible, “shall begin to sound” would be better translated “is about to sound.” This happens as that seventh trumpet is about to sound. Just before the trumpet sounds, there is an accelerated work going on in a short span of time, and it’s about the mystery of God.
Notice verse 11: “And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.” Think about this: We have to prophesy again. Delivering the little book is prophesying again in one sense, but the little book is a new message. Here, the angel is talking about prophesying again, and in the specific context of a mystery.
“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, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months. And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth” (Revelation 11:1-3). The two witnesses are still part of the Elijah work, and look how it all culminates: “The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly. And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever” (verses 14-15). Here is the Elijah work, preparing for the Kingdom of God, continuing right on down to the return of Jesus Christ.
God is concerned about the mystery being taught and the message being delivered as this seventh trumpet angel is about to sound—before He brings the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord upon the world. Something happens in the midst of that period of no more delay. God’s very elect deliver a message about the mystery of God.
Read Revelation 10:7 again: “But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he [is about] to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.” In the past, I wondered how verse 7 even belonged in chapter 10—now we see that the entire emphasis in chapter 10 is on that verse! Here is a mystery in the context of a little book, of prophesying again, of no more delay, of rising up and measuring, of the two witnesses—all just before it’s over and the seventh trumpet sounds.
There is only one book on this Earth that truly explains the mystery, and that is Herbert W. Armstrong’s book Mystery of the Ages. That is why we fought for it in court.
When Mr. Armstrong said he wanted to get Mystery of the Ages to the largest audience possible, that really was a COMMISSION for God’s Philadelphia Church today! Mr. Armstrong died only a few months after he finished writing this book. Then the church he founded quickly decided to stop publishing it. So Mr. Armstrong’s expression “the largest audience possible,” which was inspired by God, was showing the very elect a big part of their work that had to be done.
The Philadelphians had to continue the Elijah work. Many prophecies tell us that. The end-time Elijah, who restored all things, said we must reach “the largest audience possible”—with the most important book since the Bible!
The words of such an important leader of God must carry great weight with God’s very elect.
Clearly, we had to continue delivering Mystery of the Ages, a job which Mr. Armstrong only started. The expression “should be finished” should read shall have been finished (see the Companion Bible). This is a work that shall have been finished by all of God’s people. The Laodiceans refused to finish the commission that God and Mr. Armstrong gave to the whole Church. Malachi’s Message explains their failure.
Revelation 10 reveals the continual flowing through these two books. They are both tightly bound to the same Elijah work. This chapter shows that the little book is 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. That means that the Work of God, which proclaims Mystery of the Ages to the world again, “shall have been finished.” 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 before Christ returns!
God’s command was to “prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings” (verse 11). So we can see that God inspired Mr. Armstrong’s goal of getting Mystery of the Ages to “the largest audience possible”! God and Mr. Armstrong had the exact same goal.
The Laodicean problem revolves around a failure to understand how profound and important Mystery of the Ages is!
Now consider this vital, superimportant truth! The little book is only for God’s Church. But Mystery of the Ages is for the whole world—“many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.”
We are to “prophesy again” to the whole world. So this commission applies specifically to proclaiming Mystery of the Ages—reaching the largest audience possible. This refers to the world—not the Church.
People in the world can understand Malachi’s Message only if they allow God to lead them to repentance. They must study Mystery of the Ages first.
So when God commands us to prophesy again to the world about the mystery, that is a direct command to deliver Mystery of the Ages! No other book on Earth today clearly and fully explains what the mystery of the Bible is! So Revelation 10:7 could only be referring specifically to Mr. Armstrong’s final and most important book.
And remember, this critical revelation wasn’t even given to us until AFTER we stepped out in faith and published Mystery of the Ages. Then God showed us clearly where it is prophesied that we must do this very work!
What glorious revelations come to us if we are willing to walk by faith. May God help us to understand this deeply!
Think about how important this book is! Mr. Armstrong said he believed this was the most important book ever written, next to the Bible. Would God permit people right at the end time to just throw it away? NO! We’re preparing to teach the world, and this is going to be the primary textbook! If we didn’t get Mystery of the Ages out there, this world would be in almost total darkness when Christ returns. Until people remove the mystery from the Bible, their lives are meaningless. And the world will never understand the little book, Malachi’s Message, until they understand the “big book,” Mystery of the Ages.
Should we deliver Mystery of the Ages? I tell you we must deliver it! When the Bible talks about prophesying again, that primarily means the same prophecy—again. God is talking about a message that has been prophesied before. We must prophesy again, because we haven’t yet reached the largest audience possible with Mystery of the Ages. The job is still incomplete.
God won’t allow anybody to stop this message until that work is done.
The whole vision of chapters 10 and 11 revolves around Mystery of the Ages, not the little book. The little book just tells you what happened to God’s Church and Mystery of the Ages. It’s not about the little book; it’s about the great mystery of God which this world must be taught.
Mr. Armstrong didn’t understand the meaning of the holy days until he stepped out on faith and kept them as God commanded. After a few years, God revealed the deep meaning behind each festival. I didn’t get the understanding of the little book until I decided to fight against the Laodicean rebellion. Then the revelation came.
We printed Mystery of the Ages almost a year before God revealed this understanding of Revelation 10:7. Now that we understand, what an encouragement this revelation is!
Remember, the book of Revelation puts events in their proper time sequence. Even the Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary says, “Revelation is to teach us to understand the times ….”
We’re living right in the thick of this vision of Revelation 10 and 11. The little book is here. Mystery of the Ages is going out again. Understanding this really puts things into a greatly reduced time frame.
We have been commissioned to get this book out to the world, and it’s probably going to be published and proclaimed right up until the return of Jesus Christ! The little book and Mystery of the Ages have a direct tie to the seventh trumpet angel—when Jesus Christ will return to this Earth!
When Christ comes, what is He going to do? He will need kings and priests, and He’ll need a few textbooks to put into colleges and into people’s homes so they can understand how to live. When Christ gets here, we’re going to begin to educate the world. This world is going to be God’s world very shortly!
Would you say that getting Mystery of the Ages out to billions is worth dying for? I believe if I didn’t get this book out I would lose my salvation! Understand this: We are being measured, carefully and precisely, by how effectively we publish and proclaim Mystery of the Ages. We have to prophesy again. We have to give the people of this world one final warning, and give them the greatest gift we can possibly give.
Do you love the world—as God does? (John 3:16). Do you love those people in the world? Are you willing to show God you really love them? Are you willing to put your life on the line for them? We must love those people. The single best way to do that is to offer them Mystery of the Ages. This is God’s future Family!
What a message of joy this is. Revelation 10:7 says that God has declared this mystery to His servants the prophets. The word declared is from the Greek euaggelizo. It means to declare a message of joy. God wants us to celebrate getting the joy and the good tidings of Mystery of the Ages to the world.
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 goes out, this world would be in total darkness. Only the Philadelphia Church gives light to this world. And Mystery of the Ages is the major oil supply for the lamp.
God has opened the door to proclaim Mystery of the Ages. It is our supreme responsibility to walk through that door.
We know most people are not going to respond until they’re in the Great Tribulation. But if we do our job, I know what the buzzword will be in the Tribulation—people will be talking about Mystery of the Ages. That book is the hope of this world. There isn’t any other hope. Mystery of the Ages has the answers to this world’s problems!
Revelation 10 has one main subject—getting God’s message to the Laodicean Church and to the world. We have a message of rebuke to the Laodiceans because they refuse to deliver God’s message to the world! (Revelation 3:19-20).
Revelation 10 is about doing God’s Work. It is not hard to find God’s Church if you keep your focus on the work of delivering God’s message.
This is the vision that the Laodiceans have lost. This is why they can’t find God’s very elect. If we know where God’s Work is, we know where God is. That is where the lamp will be glowing.
2 Thessalonians 2 is tied directly into the royal book of Revelation. “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day [the return of Christ] shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God [or Church of God], shewing himself that he is God” (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4). This son of perdition is a man who destroys. He is empowered by Satan, who is out there seeking whom he may devour, trying with all his being to destroy the truth of God.
Why did we have to battle the Worldwide Church of God in court? It had nothing to gain financially by keeping Mystery of the Ages from us.
God says it is headed by a “son of perdition,” or destruction. The wcg’s only motive in the court case was to destroy God’s truth! Those fighting against us were stirred by Satan’s hatred of the truth.
We fight against them because we share God’s love of His truth. This is very simply what the battle is all about.
“Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time” (verses 5-6). This mystery will also be revealed. God commands His very elect to reveal it! “For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth [restrains] will let [restrain], until he be taken out of the way” (verse 7). As Malachi’s Message reveals, this is talking about an end-time Elijah being removed.
Why did God inspire the word mystery here? It’s the same Greek word that is used in Revelation 10:7, denoting something hidden or unknown. Here, right in this verse about an end-time Elijah being taken out of the way, suddenly we have another mystery. We know that Satan is a great counterfeiter, but this is not Satan calling it the “mystery of iniquity”—God calls it that.
This verse contains a coded message from God. He’s showing us what a deceptive counterfeiter Satan really is. Satan has a false gospel, another spirit, a false church, false co-workers; he’s a false father—a father of liars and murderers. He has a counterfeit family and a law of sin. He is a false christ. And he comes on the scene with a false mystery—a mystery of lawlessness. After Mr. Armstrong’s death, the Laodicean leaders said, Stop printing that book—don’t even copy from that book! We have the mystery! But it wasn’t the mystery of God; it was the “mystery of iniquity.” Satan quickly filled the vacuum created when the mystery of God was taken out of circulation.
What a thunderous conclusion to Mr. Armstrong’s life Revelation 10:7 contains. Mystery of the Ages summarized his life more than any other book. It was a summary of all that God taught him.
Now, if you want to know about the mystery of iniquity, all you have to do is read the little book, Malachi’s Message. The Elijah was taken away. Then the mystery of iniquity was revealed by Malachi’s Message. Again, we see the close tie between Malachi’s Message and Mystery of the Ages and its author.
“And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that [are perishing]; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved” (verse 10). The problem with the Laodiceans is they don’t love the truth. Do we love God’s truth enough to fight for it—enough to go to court for it? We’ve already proved we do. And just look what God has done through this little group.
Verse 11 says, “And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.” That should read the lie. Specifically, the big lie is teaching that the mystery of iniquity is the mystery of the ages! That is strong delusion. Mr. Armstrong died in 1986, and in less than three years, a book that summarized his life’s work was stopped, and a new counterfeit mystery became available to people.
“Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions [or past instructions] which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle” (verse 15). Those who prophesy again have held on to the traditions and instructions we received in the past, like Mystery of the Ages.
Mr. Armstrong said the greatest gift he could give you was Mystery of the Ages. The greatest gift the pcg can give to the world is Mystery of the Ages.
I received a special gift at the Feast of Tabernacles in 1997: a leather-bound copy of Mystery of the Ages, with gilt edges and a handsome leather-bound container. Mr. Armstrong had a few of these special copies published to give as gifts to world leaders. As with so much of what Mr. Armstrong did, this is a book of great quality and value. The physical quality shows the value Mr. Armstrong placed on that message.
What a message it is! It explains the whole Bible! People can read one book and know God. They can have all the mystery taken out of the Bible. Everyone in the world must be taught from this book, so they can understand this royal vision.
Let’s get excited about this revelation! God is speaking to His people. That’s the way it always is in the inner court. He’s telling us that what we’re doing is fantastic. Because we stepped out on faith and delivered Mystery of the Ages, God revealed Revelation 10:7—a prophecy about this book!
We may ask, Why didn’t God reveal this BEFORE we printed that book? Well, this is just another case of God waiting and testing, wanting to learn more about His people. If we would have understood this before, there would have been no doubts about publishing and freely giving Mystery of the Ages. But God wants to know if we are going to step out on faith. And now look what He does if we do! How encouraging!
God will work the same kinds of blessings in your individual life if you step out on faith. Everything will open up to you. This is what God promises. Nobody can stop God.
Now that we have Malachi’s Message and Mystery of the Ages, does that mean there’s no longer a warning? No, it means that with Mystery of the Ages, people can deeply understand our warning! To this world, Malachi’s Message is almost worthless without understanding Mystery of the Ages.Continue Reading: Chapter 5: War Over the Mystery