Chapter 5

War Over the Mystery

From the booklet Unveiled at Last: The Royal Book of Revelation

Revelation 10:7 is not the only place that discusses the mystery of God. Look at Colossians 1:26-27: “Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Paul said the mystery was being made known! It is God’s will that man know about this mystery.

What is the Bible all about? What is your life all about? What is this civilization all about? What are those good angels and evil angels all about? What is civilization? What is the Kingdom of God? It’s all explained in Mystery of the Ages.

Paul wrote the book of Colossians to the Colossians and the Laodiceans. It ties in directly with Revelation 3. It is a message for us today. Here is Paul speaking to the first-century Laodiceans, explaining a great mystery that was hidden from the world. The Laodiceans today have the same problems as those in the first century. Paul didn’t have the complete picture like Mr. Armstrong did. So God wanted Mr. Armstrong to write the book Mystery of the Ages.

But still, Paul was very committed to that mystery. This message got Paul put in jail! That’s where he was writing from. (It is interesting that we were in court over the same mystery. But as I’ve said before, our greatest sin would be not to get that mystery delivered now that God has opened the door.) Being in jail is far worse than what most of us have had to endure. But even in the midst of such a trial, was Paul discouraged? No—he was inspired! And he was inspiring God’s people about the mystery of God! “Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily” (Colossians 1:29). Paul’s whole life was geared around Mystery of the Ages—even in jail. Is it any wonder that we have also published it and gotten into a court battle for doing so?

Laodiceans and the Mystery

Notice verse 28, where Paul gives a warning. “Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.” If the Laodiceans had a problem with the mystery in the first century, of course they’ll have problems with it in the last century. All Laodiceans have this attitude toward that book.

“For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh” (Colossians 2:1). Paul was going through great suffering for Laodicea, as Mr. Armstrong did, and as I hope we do. “That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgment of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ” (verse 2). Paul essentially said, I wish you understood this message the way I do. Full assurance means clear and exact knowledge—knowledge which powerfully influences your religious life. So what Paul was saying is, “Most of you don’t get it!” That is what Mr. Armstrong told his flock shortly before he died.

Mr. Armstrong said that on Pentecost of 1985, the day picturing the marriage of Christ’s Bride to her Husband. It was a warning to the Bride of Jesus Christ: You’d better get this mystery! It’s the same warning Paul was giving the Colossians and Laodiceans. The Colossians heeded it; the Laodiceans didn’t. The same is happening today.

“And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words. For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ” (verses 4-5). Order. Stedfastness. These are military words. Paul was writing from jail. He understood that we are in a war, and it’s over a mystery. There is no book, after the Bible, that Satan would rather destroy than Mystery of the Ages. As Mr. Armstrong said, it’s the second most important book on Earth. It’s worth dying for.

“As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving” (verses 6-7). We must be rooted and built up in this mystery. Then no man can beguile us.

“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ” (verse 8). “Rudiments of the world” actually means “ruling spirits of the universe.” Do you know any book, aside from Mystery of the Ages, which explains what these ruling spirits of the universe really are? When Satan is exposed, he’s much more wrathful, and he’ll come after anybody who isn’t rooted and built up in the mystery. This is what the war is all about. Mystery of the Ages is a major theater of that spiritual war. Satan is hopeless, and he wants to lead this world into hopelessness.

This is all in the context of the mystery of God.

“Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of [demons], intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God” (verses 18-19). Paul says the Laodiceans have gotten into some monstrous sins. “Hath not seen” should read “has seen”—they’ve seen it, they know it, and now they deny it.

How does Paul address their government problem? By saying that the Laodiceans didn’t hold on to the Head! They had the Head but didn’t hold it. Where is that happening on this Earth today?

Look at Colossians 4:2-3: “Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds.” Paul continues discussing the mystery of God. This beautiful message, this mystery of Christ, actually got Paul thrown in jail. How could that happen? Well, Satan is the god of this world. He is exposed in Mystery of the Ages. And the little book exposes what he’s doing in God’s Church, and he hates it!

You can see it when individuals leave this Church: They are with us and then gradually or suddenly they have a mind change. One minister vigorously supported Mystery of the Ages and then left, and now his crusade is against Mystery of the Ages. How do you explain that? It’s easy to explain—lose the Head and it will happen to you too!

In verses 12-17, Paul names some ministers. To Archippus, a Laodicean minister, he says, “Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it.” He warned this minister because he was getting away from the mystery.

Paul must have written something like Mystery of the Ages, because he mentioned it over and over. But after he was in jail, people began to turn away. And after Mr. Armstrong died, people began to turn away.

Laodiceans are Laodicean in any age! The Laodiceans in the first century were a prophecy of what would happen in this end time—inside God’s Church. It revolves around Mystery of the Ages—a book tied directly to the book of Revelation.

So we have done battle over Mystery of the Ages. Some people may have been discouraged by the challenges and setbacks we faced during that six-year ordeal. Such losses discouraged the Laodiceans in the first century; it discouraged them in the last. But it doesn’t discourage the very elect. They just hold on to the Head, and don’t allow evil angels to depress them.

All the World

The Apostle Paul talks about many prophecies the way Mr. Armstrong did: 2 Thessalonians 2; Colossians 1, 2 and 4; Romans 11; Romans 16. Paul’s age was a type of our time. Notice Ephesians 1:9, also written by Paul: “Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself.”

Paul is talking about this mystery again. Now look at chapter 3: “For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit” (verses 1-5). Paul is in jail again for those Gentiles. Why? Because he was taking them this message about the mystery.

Notice, the mystery came by revelation. How did Mr. Armstrong understand Mystery of the Ages? By revelation. Revelation was given to be delivered, and that’s what Paul was faithfully doing. That’s what we must do. Paul wanted these people to understand “my knowledge.” Mr. Armstrong was pleading with the Church in that 1985 Pentecost message. He said, You don’t get what I get. He wanted us to study Mystery of the Ages to understand what he understood. That’s exactly what Paul was saying. Understand this the way I understand it, and you won’t leave God. You’ll stay with the Head. There’s a lot of depth in that statement.

Verse 9 reveals why we are part of this Work today. “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.” This vision, this fellowship, will be with all the world! The whole world is going to be taught Mystery of the Ages. That carries over to a time when we are Spirit-born kings and priests. Mr. Armstrong used to always talk about the Church being a teachers’ college. You are learning to teach those people how to fellowship in this Mystery of the Ages and bring joy and peace and faith and strength into their lives.

Paul mentioned this over and over. “Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith” (Romans 16:25-26). Our goal is not just to make it known to all nations. Paul says we’ll teach those people how to keep it in faith. It’s not just a matter of merely saying, “Here’s Mystery of the Ages. The hard part is obeying it in faith. That’s what king-priests do today. We believe God. We know we’re going to marry Jesus Christ. What we’re doing today is just a small beginning, and we’re about to deliver it to billions.

End-Time Elijah

Notice Romans 11:1-2: “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.” God will not cast away the Laodiceans forever. With as much love as God has for His people, He’ll do anything to bring them back. You’re His son, His daughter; you’re His Family. He’s not about to let you go if He can prevent it.

“[Don’t you know] what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying, Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged [torn] down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal” (verses 3-4). Elijah felt alone, but he wasn’t. God had preserved 7,000 faithful people—an interesting figure!

Remember this example, taken from 1 Kings 19. Sometimes we forget that this is prophecy: It is talking about a work of Elijah. “And he said, I have been very jealous for the Lord God of hosts: for 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” (verse 10). There is also an Elijah work in this end time. It is the same type of work done by the original Elijah. Mr. Armstrong, the modern-day Elijah, talked about people around him being like vultures waiting for him to die. The original Elijah thought the same way. He even repeated it in verse 14.

“Most of you don’t get it!” said Mr. Armstrong. I was told by one minister that, at one time, Mr. Armstrong wondered if even 5 percent of the people got it. Is 1 Kings 19:10 a prophecy of an end-time Elijah, surrounded by all these Laodiceans, perhaps for a moment, thinking, Am I the only one who gets it?

“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). Understand that Elijah never worked with the 7,000. The man who worked with the 7,000 followed the Elijah work and continued the Elijah work. This is a message from God. Paul used this example; Matthew used it; John used it in the book of Revelation. This is about the transition from the Philadelphia era to the Laodicean era, and God says, Elijah, I know how it looks because you’re surrounded by all these Laodiceans, but you’re not alone. Just as Zadok the priest stayed loyal to the throne of David all the way through, the 7,000 remained loyal to the Elijah work all the way through. Even the two witnesses will perform the miracles of Elijah right up until the seventh trump sounds and Jesus Christ returns. Additional information is available in our free booklet The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

God is willing to give us everything for displaying that kind of loyalty. That is what we must keep our minds focused on.

To Him That Overcomes …

Let’s go back to the seven churches of Revelation. “Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden [lamps]” (Revelation 2:1). The great God of Revelation walks right in the middle of those lamps. Wherever you find the lamp, He is right in the middle. Do you believe that? Jesus Christ is walking in the middle of this little Church. Not on the periphery—He’s at the center. God makes everything revolve around this Church. The whole course of the world is determined by what this Church is proclaiming!

“He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches;”—now there is a semi-colon; the thought is not finished. Who hears what the Spirit says unto the Church? “To him that overcometh [conquers] will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God” (verse 7). You have to conquer to be in the midst of this paradise of God. You have to conquer to really hear what the Spirit says to the churches. More military terminology.

“And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive; I know thy works” (verse 8). The God of Revelation 1 was dead, and now He is alive. He died for you. Nobody has ever suffered trials like Christ! His visage was marred more than any man; and He died and shed His blood for you. And now that supreme royal Majesty is walking right in the midst of His very elect. Our Husband took a chance in losing it all, as did the Father. That’s deep love we don’t see today except when we read about it here.

“And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations” (verse 26). Yes, we are going to rule the Earth. “And I will give him the morning star” (verse 28). What’s that? Revelation 22:16 says Jesus Christ is the Morning Star! That’s our Husband! God says I will give Him to you. He’s going to marry you! That’s what the mystery is about!

“He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels” (Revelation 3:5). Christ is not ashamed of us. Here He told the Sardis people, If you conquer, I won’t blot your name out of the book of life. But God does blot our names out if we don’t conquer! That’s the way it has to be. As Mr. Armstrong said so often, this is dangerous knowledge. You can get your name blotted out, and it would be as if you never lived. Is that discouraging? Not at all.

Instead, sacrificing your physical life is a small price to pay for such a towering reward. Of course, it is harder to be a living sacrifice, day after day—but it is worth it. We can conquer! God says even those dead Sardis people could have conquered if they just had been willing. He gave them the formula in verse 3: Remember, and repent.

Beginning in verse 7, God speaks to the Philadelphians. Notice verse 9: “Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.” You could say, “People from the synagogue of Satan right in the midst of Philadelphia? How discouraging!” But God doesn’t look at it that way. This is the way God fashions and molds king-priests! He says you will be at the top of the heap if you can conquer, and remain loyal to the Elijah work from beginning to end.

What kind of confidence and trust will God have in you in the World Tomorrow if you are loyal all the way through? God says the Philadelphians will be pillars, for all eternity, in that headquarters temple. Beautiful pillars make a temple look majestic. Though 50 percent of the Laodiceans will still become a part of the Bride of Christ, they won’t qualify to rule at headquarters.

Your race, your station in life, how poor you may be—these things make no difference if you are a spiritual Jew. God is not even talking about race. People can get hung up on race. God is trying to teach us about spiritual race. We have different races in this Church, but we’re all spiritual Jews committed to this Work! Jesus Christ says, I don’t care who you are, I am going to sit you right beside me on that throne because you’re my wife! Everyone will be a spiritual Jew or they will be nothing.

Christ does His Work through the Philadelphians: “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:20). Why are we knocking on the Laodiceans’ door with Mystery of the Ages and the little book? The following verses explain why.

To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne” (verse 21). We’re talking about kings and priests, on a throne, right at the center of world history—and universe history, eventually!

God promises us a throne. But what will it look like? It won’t just look like David’s throne on this Earth. There should be no break before chapter 4. Let’s get a better insight into the throne God is going to give you. Here is where we will rule with this God of Revelation 1.

The Throne of God

Revelation 4:1: “After this”—after this knocking on the door and after Christ told us about the throne—“I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter. And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald. And round about the throne were four and twenty seats [or thrones]: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold” (verses 2-4). We really are in a royal environment! This is the expanded, glorious throne God offers us in Revelation 3 if we conquer. Revelation 3:22 says, He that has ears, let him hear what I am saying.

Let me give you an expanded vision of that throne—the real, majestic picture of the way God says it will be in His Kingdom and even beyond that 1,000-year period, out into eternity. When I talk about David’s throne, I’m not talking about a little wooden chair with a rock under it. I’m talking about the estate and the meaning behind that throne—the dignity and the character of the God who rules it. Our estate will be the whole world in the Millennium, and the whole universe after the Last Great Day. That is the real estate over which we will rule. It takes a special being to zip out into the universe and back when you have something like 400 billion stars in our galaxy alone.

What does that throne mean to you? Would you give your life for it? That’s what Luke 14:26 is about, isn’t it? You may have to give up your family, your husband, wife, children—and, it says, even your own life. It usually doesn’t happen, but it’s certainly conceivable. Some of these people in the Bible did. But when you really look at what God is giving you, what kind of a sacrifice is that? It’s hardly worth mentioning.

To His very elect, God says, I will open doors for you, my kings and priests. It’s an open door leading all the way out into the universe. We’re talking about the ultimate royalty of God and what He will give us.

“And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God” (Revelation 4:5). There are seven lamps before God’s throne. They were there before the Church eras were here. The Philadelphia lamp in the Laodicean era today is a TYPE of one of those seven lamps before God’s throne!

We give light to the world because we, like the moon, reflect the sun’s, or God’s, glory. That’s what we do as the lamp of God. We must keep it burning with Mystery of the Ages and the little book. Prophesy again. Rise up and measure. God says, Let me lead you. I’ll open doors for you. I’ll astound the world. I’ll astound you. And He does, week by week by week. God accomplishes the Work using very limited means—as in Judges 7, where a little group of 300 out of 32,000 just grabbed a handful of water and off they went, ready to do battle. They knew God would win the war! They were eager warriors! God had said, Get rid of the fearful—give me 300 loyal men who look to me, and I’ll astound you and the world and everybody else! These 300 didn’t look around and say, “Well, let’s see, am I in the right place?” They knew God was there. They said, “What an honor!” We must have the same type of loyalty.

“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 [or creatures] full of eyes before and behind” (verse 6). There’s a lot of activity and excitement going on there, and those lamps are shining brightly before God’s throne. Today, we have that lamp in the form of revelation. Elisha received two portions of God’s Holy Spirit. We certainly have two portions of revelation today: The revelation given to Mr. Armstrong and the revelation God has given us since that time. Our job is not to try to accumulate buildings or land or things; we are not striving to become “rich and increased with goods”—we are to keep the lamp burning! What spiritual thunder and lightning comes out of that throne!

“And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever, 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 9-11). Those living creatures have seen so much, and learned from it. They watched Christ come down here and die; they watched God the Father and Jesus Christ build this Family. They’re really impressed, and they just cast their crowns before God, so thankful to be a part of this royal rule of God.

And yet we will be over them. That galls Satan. When did God ever say to Lucifer, “You are my son”? He never did—but He says it to you!

The creatures say to God, “You have created all things.” We are created. Lucifer must have forgotten that. You are created. Keep yourself humble. Remember, you are dirt. And remember what God is!

Here’s the conclusion of the matter: “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” (Revelation 19:7). This wife actually knew that Jesus Christ led this Church. What wife would ever get ready if she wasn’t sure that the husband would be at the wedding altar? You don’t see women go out and prepare for great weddings when they don’t even know if the man is going to show up. This wife got ready because she knew her Husband would be there. He’s given His life for her! This Husband is going to show! These two know each other.

This royal book of Revelation has it all. Sure, there are tough times to come, but it won’t be long before we are through those, once we get the rebellious, evil spirit out of man—the spirit that won’t let God the Father and Jesus Christ be his Head. After that, all you have is full, full, full joy everywhere you look!

Continue Reading: Chapter 6: Thunder and Lightning