Verses 16 and 17 of Isaiah 1 tell us to “plead” (Hebrew—“fight”) for the widow. We are command-ed by God to fight for the helpless people. But there is a deeper spiritual meaning here for the word widow.
A woman is used throughout the Bible as a type of God’s Church. The context in these verses concerns God’s own Church. His Laodicean Church has lost her Husband—Jesus Christ! (This is shown very clearly in our Colossians booklet. Request a free copy.)
We are to plead for the Laodicean widow. The Laodicean leaders have led God’s Church away from Christ. The Philadelphia Church has the responsibility to plead (or fight) for that church! The pcg warns and tries to help God’s people reject the false doctrines taught by their leaders. God commands that we do so!
Verse 18 reveals more about why they are Laodicean.
‘Silver Is Become Dross’
Many people are confused about the following verse: “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isaiah 1:18). Remember, this is still in the context of the temple service. That means it applies to God’s Church in this end time.
What does God mean by “let us reason together”? A better translation would be, “Come and reason with me.”
How does God reason with them? Does He personally come to this Earth and reason with them? No, as always, He works through those saints who remain loyal. He works today through His Philadelphians. God tries to persuade the Laodiceans. Through the Philadelphians, God says, “Come now, and let us reason together.” If they fail to do so, then God spews them out of His mouth and into the Great Tribulation! (Revelation 3:14-19).
Today, God’s own Laodicean people think they can choose the Laodicean church of their choice. There probably will be seven different Laodicean churches (Isaiah 4:1). At this point, you can only see three significant ones. Request our booklet on Hosea for a full explanation. None of these seven women (types of the churches) have a husband. Jesus Christ has only one wife that He directs. You don’t have a choice when it comes to God’s Church. You either go with God’s only true Church and Work, or you have no husband!
Christ is the Head of the Family. The Church has lost its Head. That is the biggest of all crises!
We don’t have a choice as to which of God’s churches we like best and desire to attend. The only choice we have is between life and death (Deuteronomy 30:19-20). When we choose a church, there is only one choice—God’s choice! Not yours! Not mine! Our Husband doesn’t have seven different wives—He has one.
Then God gives the same warning that He gives the Laodiceans in Revelation 3:19. “If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it” (Isaiah 1:19-20). God’s own lukewarm people will be devoured by the sword. This is an end-time prophecy.
“How is the faithful city become an harlot! it was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers” (verse 21). The faithful city was where God’s temple was located. The faithful are God’s own people. But in this end time, and anciently, God’s faithful “become an harlot”! They were “full of judgment,” and then lost that judgment! This prophecy is happening now to God’s Church. They were faithful under Herbert W. Armstrong, then they lost that faith!
They are “murderers” because they are guilty of the blood of Israel. They are failing to warn Israel, which God called them to do! (Again, see Ezekiel 3 and 33.) God always calls His people for a great purpose. There is never an exception.
The Laodiceans were pure sterling silver. But notice: “Thy silver is become dross, thy wine mixed with water” (Isaiah 1:22). The silver has become dross. That means they were pure silver, and then became dross—or polluted. They had the very truth of God and then lost much of it!
Their spiritual wine has been watered down. Spiritually, this is the ultimate disaster!
Perhaps the best way to get an overview of the whole book of Isaiah is to read the last chapter first. Isaiah 66, the last chapter in the book, will help us see that God is addressing those living in the end time—especially God’s Church.
The Anchor Bible states that Isaiah 66 is “prophecy against the temple.” That means it is for God’s own end-time Church.
To This Man
“Thus saith the Lord, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest?” (Isaiah 66:1). Here is a crucial question: Where is God going to reside? Where can you find God? Where is His temple today? God answers that question for us: “For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the Lord: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word” (verse 2). The word “contrite” means broken and smashed. The word “poor” means meek.
We need to get our minds off thinking that God resides in a huge organization or large church. Today, it always gets down to “this man”—the individual who trembles at God’s Word! “This man” doesn’t tremble before men, but before God! God will look to and use this man, who is childlike before His Word (Matthew 18:1-3). For example, this man will read God’s Word as revealed in Malachi’s Message and act on it out of godly fear! He knows that book contains God’s truth. He trembles and obeys.
This subject is at the end of Isaiah for a good reason. It shows why people fail spiritually!
This man doesn’t go along just because some high-ranking evangelist leads the way. This man of God is not waiting for a man of stature to lead him. He studies God’s Word diligently and has spiritual depth. He looks to our great God of awesome stature—and trembles!
This is consistent with what God is doing right now. He is working very carefully with each person who comes out of the Laodicean Church. “I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: ifany man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:18-20). “[I]f any man” (or individual) hears God’s voice, God will come in and dine with him spiritually. When Laodiceans repent and come into the Philadelphia Church today, they always say they were starving spiritually.
“Turn, O backsliding children, saith the Lord; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion” (Jeremiah 3:14). This is prophecy for the end time also. God is taking “one of a city, and two of a family” to do His Work. (For more information on this subject, request our free booklet Jeremiah and the Greatest Vision in the Bible.)
Isaiah 66:2 is aimed precisely at God’s own people today. Verse 5 reveals that God’s Church is split—and those in power are leading the Church astray. The leaders excommunicate those who tremble at God’s Word!
When Mr. Armstrong died, it scared some people. But it was a marvelous test from God. God is learning who trembles at His Word and who doesn’t!
When a Laodicean member says he would come to the pcg if an evangelist would also come, what is he saying? Such a statement reveals that he does not tremble at God’s Word!
This is not a small issue. God says, “[T]o this man will I look”! This is where God’s power is! This is where God’s Work is done! This is where God reveals His truth! This is where the omnipotent God dwells!
God’s goal is to get other men out of the picture. He wants a one-on-one relationship with you—His begotten son! God is your loving Father, and He does not neglect His sons!
I believe Isaiah 66:2 is one of the most important verses in the Bible. Salvation is between you and God. You and I must tremble at God’s Word, or God can’t work with us.
This verse is at the heart of God’s government. Only this man can be ruled by God. Government is the one central issue that separates all of the Laodicean churches from thepcg. The pcg is comprised of individuals who tremble at God’s Word. That is why you see God’s great power behind this little Church today!
Trembling before God’s Word is the epitome of God’s government. As Mr. Armstrong said, “Government is everything”!
The Laodicean ministers don’t fear God (Malachi 2:5-9). So what is God to do if His own ministers desert Him? He looks to the Isaiah 66:2 man, and raises up another work through saints with that attitude.
Do we need high-ranking ministers to do God’s Work? No, no, no—a thousand times no! What we need are people with the Isaiah 66:2 attitude. Then we have all the power of the universe behind us! God’s “very elect” cannot be deceived about government—or anything else. Because they tremble at God’s Word, He will never allow them to be deceived. He reveals His truth—His prophecy—to them (Amos 3:7).
Maybe we can understand Isaiah 66:2 better if we look at a physical marriage about to be consummated. Let’s suppose a man and a woman are to be married. The groom is eager to prepare for this happy event, so he asks his fiancée to accompany him in making the final preparations. She says yes, but only if her old boyfriend can also go with them. She doesn’t feel personally secure going alone with her husband-to-be.
The groom would surely be insulted. And so is Christ, when people say they would come to the pcg if a high-ranking minister they like would also join! How does their Husband—Jesus Christ—feel about such a statement? Deeply insulted!
We are to tremble at our Husband’s Word. No man should prevent us from being intimate with our Husband. If we truly tremble at God’s Word, no man will ever separate us from Christ!
The context here is the end time. “Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children” (Isaiah 66:8). A nation is about to be born. Obviously, this has not happened yet. And just before it does, God’s own Church is divided (verse 5).
“He that killeth an ox is as if he slew a man; he that sacrificeth a lamb, as if he cut off a dog’s neck; he that offereth an oblation, as if he offered swine’s blood; he that burneth incense, as if he blessed an idol. Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations” (verse 3). Today, that means God’s Laodicean Church is eating unclean spiritual food, and the people are going their own way—not God’s! Their temple sacrifices today are offending God.
“I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not” (verse 4). God sent them strong delusion—their own leader is betraying Christ (2 Thessalonians 2:4, 11). God called and they didn’t answer. He spoke and the Laodiceans did not hear. When did this happen? It is happening this very moment. The pcg has the distinct honor to speak for God! We are warning the Laodiceans, but they refuse to hear (Jeremiah 6:16-17). For that reason, they must go into the Great Tribulation—unless they repent.
If God speaks, it is our responsibility to be aware of it! God is alive, and He is speaking! We must know God well enough to know when He speaks. God’s own people ought to know when this occurs. Then they should answer. The Laodiceans refuse to hear and answer. They violently reject what God is saying and cast out members who heed God’s Word. “Hear the word of the Lord, ye that tremble at his word; Your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for my name’s sake, said, Let the Lord be glorified: but he shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed” (Isaiah 66:5). Why are the very elect cast out? Because they tremble at God’s Word. This causes the Laodiceans, who don’t tremble at God’s Word, to hate them! Satan has done vile damage to God’s Church in this end time.
“Your brethren that hated you”—their own God Family, their own spiritual brothers, betrayed them! This is a tragedy of towering proportions! Those saints who tremble at God’s Word today will have great joy when Christ returns. However, there is no joy today in experiencing this split in God’s Family.
Zion Gives Birth
God’s Church is experiencing severe birth pangs. “A voice of noise from the city, a voice from the temple, a voice of the Lord that rendereth recompense to his enemies. Before she travailed, she brought forth; before her pain came, she was delivered of a man child. Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children” (Isaiah 66:6‑8). Zion is God’s Church. The literal translation at the end of verse 8 is, “For Zion has both travailed and brought forth.” There is a very happy ending!
This nation to be born at once is going to be comprised of Israelites and Gentiles.
Verses 5 and 8 are extremely revealing. How does the rebellious Worldwide Church of God hate God’s very elect? Here is one way: Its leaders hate the message in Herbert W. Armstrong’s book The United States and Britain in Prophecy. (Request your free copy.) That book shows us how God has chosen Israel to do God’s Work. They are not “God’s favorite people.” They were chosen to do God’s Work anciently. But they failed.
In this end time, God has chosen spiritual Israel—or His Church—a spiritual nation, to do His Work of proclaiming His gospel and warning the world.
Some wcg leaders have accused us of racial prejudice against the Gentiles, when they know that to be a lie. There are many Gentiles in God’s Church today. They have been grafted into Israel (Romans 11). The Bible teaches that the people of the whole world are going to become Israel when they are all converted in the World Tomorrow.
The words “shall a nation be born at once?” reveal how the wcg is lying. Again, God’s Church today is comprised of Israelites and Gentiles—the spiritual nation of God. Isaiah 66:8 says all of them—Israelites and Gentiles—are going to be born into God’s Family in a day and be the nation of spiritual Israel. They will help Christ rule from the Jerusalem headquarters forever.
What a beautiful, all-inclusive plan! The wcg leaders label us racist only because they hate God, His people and His loving plan!
Verse 8 condemns their hateful, racist charge.
The picture here is not of the time early in a pregnancy. We see the time when God’s Church is going through its worst birth pangs—just before the actual birth. We must hang on because the birth is almost ready to occur.
There were two terrible splits in God’s Church in the 1970s. Now we have seen another split in the latter 1980s and 1990s. Next, the Laodiceans will be plunged into the Great Tribulation where 50 percent of them lose their eternal lives. But 50 percent repent and are born, along with the Philadelphia saints, into the very Family of God! So much travail makes the birth of God’s own Church even more splendid. So much pain! So much joy! But in the long run, the joy far outweighs the pain!
We agonize and struggle now to be born again as members of the God Family. Our mother, the Church, is in the most painful stage of childbirth labor! God gives us the birth image to help us understand this terrific struggle.
Nation in Embryo
The firstfruits are a nation in embryo! They are also the Family of Godin embryo! Our trials today will result in our being born again into God’s Family!
This birth, in a general way, includes the trials and spiritual birth of all God’s saints—dead and living. “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God” (Ephesians 2:19). We are fellow citizens of the nation of spiritual Israel. We are members of the household of God, or God’s Family. We are about to be born as the spiritual nation of Israel. Surely Isaiah 66 is the greatest “born again” chapter in the Bible!
Imagine, a mighty spiritual nation born at once to help Christ rule the world! What a mind-shaking event this will be. The whole world will be in a state of shock. Many people will be filled with joy to see the horrendous suffering end. What a mind-boggling event this world is about to see. Next to Christ’s coming, it will be the greatest event ever to occur in the universe!
The Zion of God is about to give birth. Now we are experiencing birth pangs. But hang on, the most spectacular birth ever seen by man—or God—is about to occur!
“Shall I bring to the birth, and not cause to bring forth? saith the Lord: shall I cause to bring forth, and shut the womb? saith thy God” (Isaiah 66:9). Sometimes we get worn down and depressed. It can even look hopeless. But keep your mind on God. If we do our part, God will make our birth certain. Nothing can stop it!
It’s not easy to give birth. And sometimes the labor is long. That is why we must keep these verses in mind. This is one of the most powerful visions in the Bible. It will get us through any trial! God is not going to close the womb when the birth is about ready to spring forth. And remember, the whole world will be served by God’s born-again saints.
“Rejoice ye with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all ye that love her: rejoice for joy with her, all ye that mourn for her: That ye may suck, and be satisfied with the breasts of her consolations; that ye may milk out, and be delighted with the abundance of her glory. For thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream: then shall ye suck, ye shall be borne upon her sides, and be dandled upon her knees” (verses 10‑12). Jerusalem has had less peace than any city on Earth! But peace is about to flow out of Jerusalem like a river—and never stop. Jerusalem is about to nourish the whole world, under God’s family leadership!
The image in these verses is of nursing children, mom and dad—a type of God’s Family. God is about to bring the whole world into His Family! We are being offered the opportunity to share His throne and help rule that Family!
“As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem” (verse 13). We will help God comfort the whole Earth from Jerusalem!
“And when ye see this, your heart shall rejoice, and your bones shall flourish like an herb: and the hand of the Lord shall be known toward his servants, and his indignation toward his enemies. For, behold, the Lord will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire” (verses 14-15). The whole Earth is about to flourish and break outin singing! (verses 18, 23). How great is the calling God has given His people!
Today is just a small beginning. But we are about to see the greatest event this universe has ever experienced—the Messiah is coming. Then comes the second-greatest event ever to occur in the universe: A nation shall be born at once!