God often teaches through symbolism in the Bible. And only God can interpret those symbols. We move now to a chapter that has several symbols.
Isaiah 22 discusses “the key of the house of David” (verse 22). This prophecy is dual. The ancient fulfillment is only a type of what is prophesied for these latter days.
The first 14 verses of this chapter also include something we haven’t understood before. “The burden of the valley of vision. What aileth thee now, that thou art wholly gone up to the housetops?” (verse 1). The “valley of vision” could and should read “the valley of revelation, or prophesying.” When God reveals prophecy, His Church is expected to deliver that message. Most of those in God’s end-time churches have rebelled. Their leaders are not on the mountaintop (using television, radio, the Internet, etc) prophesying God’s revealed message, as they were commissioned to do. Spiritually, they are down in the valley. They have forgotten how honorable it is to be chosen by the great God to receive and deliver His magnificent message!
We must look at these verses spiritually.
The city of Jerusalem was the capital of ancient Israel. So today, God uses Jerusalem as a type of spiritual Israel, or the Church, and of the nations of Israel—America, Britain and the Jewish nation in particular. But in this chapter, God is primarily warning His own lukewarm Church today. Only secondarily does it apply to the nations of Israel. God’s people in the end time were given the revealed prophecies of God, through Herbert W. Armstrong. When he died, they turned their backs on God. That happened only a few years before the coming Tribulation, when rebellious America, Britain and biblical Judah (incorrectly called Israel today) will soon experience their worst suffering ever. Signs of disaster are all around. Still, most of God’s people refuse to deliver God’s message, a job for which they were called and chosen.
Here is how the Soncino commentary defines the expression “What aileth thee now”: “The literal meaning is ‘what, pray, (hath come) to thee?’ or ‘what, pray, meanest thou?’ The prophet, weighed down by forebodings, asks the question ironically of the city’s population who have no cares on their mind.” But the message today is primarily for God’s lukewarm people who don’t have their focus on God. They are sick spiritually.
Soncino defines “the housetops” this way: “The flat roofs of the houses were vantage ground for watching the joyful demonstrations or holiday processions in the streets below.” The Laodiceans are enjoying the pleasures of this world when they should be repenting. They have “wholly gone up to the housetops,” or given themselves over to the ways of this evil world. They love this world more than they love God’s Work.
This message is a heavy burden that revolves around God’s rebellious Church. That message is no small burden for God and His very elect.
Eternal Lives Lost
“Thou that art full of stirs, a tumultuous city, a joyous city: thy slain men are not slain with the sword, nor dead in battle” (Isaiah 22:2). These soldiers are not slain physically. That is because this is a spiritual war. Prophecy states that the rebels are dying spiritually. But in Isaiah 22:2, God is discussing spiritual rebels who havealreadylost their eternal lives in this war! They are men who have been slain, but not with the sword. Scripture tells us that 50 percent of them will die forever. Thankfully, 50 percent of them will be jolted into repentance during the Great Tribulation.
More of God’s own people may die eternally in this end time than any other time in history. Even now some of them are dying eternally!
All of God’s people must be intensely vigilant—including the very elect. This is a strong warning for each one of us!
Right in the midst of this warfare, the rebellious leaders and their followers have abandoned their responsibility! “All thy rulers are fled together, they are bound by the archers: all that are found in thee are bound together, which have fled from far” (verse 3). They are not standing up for God or His people. All of the leading ministers cowardly ran from their responsibility! And no responsibility is more important.
How can you calculate the value of a minister who will not desert God’s people? A minister who sacrifices his life for God’s people and tells them the truth?
When Isaiah saw this vision, he was plunged into a state of deep sorrow and shame. He couldn’t even be comforted because he saw the unparalleled suffering and eternal death to come upon God’s Church. “Therefore said I, Look away from me; I will weep bitterly, labour not to comfort me, because of the spoiling of the daughter of my people” (verse 4). Here you can see the duality in this prophecy. The mother rebelled anciently. The daughter is doing the same today. Spiritually, it is the daughter, or the majority of God’s people—spiritual Israel—who have refused to do God’s Work in this end time. It is a massive rebellion! The evil leaders got control of the Church of God and surrendered to the devil.
Most of God’s people and the nations of Israel are heading into the worst suffering ever known to man—“a day of trouble, and of treading down” (verse 5). We should strive for the godly emotion Isaiah had if we understand their fate!
Do we go to God in deep concern and tears because of what is going to happen to God’s Family—our Family? We must also have God’s love for the nations of Israel—and the whole world. Nobody with God’s love could want to see the Tribulation come upon our people, unless they saw the happy ending.
Isaiah’s example here should severely correct every single one of us. This loving emotion that Isaiah had has rarely been experienced by any one of us, if at all! How deeply do we love God’s lukewarm people, the nations of Israel and the world? There is only one way to really measure our love for them: Our dedication to God’s Work shows how much we love them!
How much are you and I willing to sacrifice in getting God’s Work finished?
I don’t raise this subject to beat anyone down spiritually. But we must be reminded of how our love for God’s Family and the world falls far short of our Father’s love for them!
We can’t be content with our spiritual growth. We must see how much we still need to grow. We are commanded to become perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect. We’re obviously not there yet—far from it. But are we really striving to become perfect as our Father is perfect?
That is why we were created and called!
These prophecies are real, and every one of them will be fulfilled!
How can God get the attention of those who are rebelling against Him? How can God show them that they can’t solve their problems? We do have a solution! There is a spring bubbling up with living water from the living God that would solve their spiritual crisis. God’s Work delivers a message that really does have a solution to all of our problems.
America, Britain and the Jews in the Middle East face an unparalleled disaster. But here is the shocker: It is “by the Lord God of hosts”! (verse 5). This trouble is sent by God Himself! God is responsible for this horrendous suffering that leaves the victims with no hope—unless they turn to God.
Most people today don’t know who Israel is. Judah, or the Jews (Jew is only a shortened version of Judah), is only one tribe of Israel. That is clearly explained in our book The United States and Britain in Prophecy. There is no excuse for people not to know who Israel is today. The only question is, how much are we going to suffer before we learn that awesome truth?
The nations of Israel won’t solve their problems until they examine themselves and realize that God is punishing them because of their abominable sins! It takes the worst suffering ever to wake them up!
This example alone shows us why we must declare war on our human nature.
Who Is Eliakim?
Isaiah 22:6-14 are explained in our booklet Jerusalem’s Temples. We hope you read those verses and the whole booklet, because it contains new revelation from God!
We taught in the past that the reference in Isaiah 22:20 to an end-time Eliakim referred to Herbert W. Armstrong. We even printed an explanation of that doctrine in an earlier version of this booklet. But in April 2001, I began preparing for a sermon expounding that point, and showing how the passage referred to the Philadelphia era of God’s Church (Revelation 3:7-13).
The day before the Sabbath I was to speak, I received the new Anchor Bible Commentary on Isaiah. I thought this might give me more insight to this subject and determined to study it that night. But when I began studying it, I was startled by something I had not seen before—something that didn’t agree with our previous teaching on a part of Isaiah 22.
“And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will call my servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah:And I will clothe him with thy robe, and strengthen him with thy girdle, and I will commit thy government into his hand: and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah” (Isaiah 22:20-21). This is God talking. But to whom is He talking?
The Anchor Bible Commentary wrote about these verses, “Note that the beginning of the Eliakim section is still referring back to Shebna” (see verse 15). In other words, verse 21 refers to Shebna’s robe, Shebna’s girdle and authority. So Shebna’s office and authority were given to Eliakim. This is different from the way I had understood this passage in the past. This is one man being given the priestly vestments of another man. When did this happen in the end-time Church of God?
The expression “in that day” (verses 20, 25) always refers to this end time. So how is all this happening in God’s Church today?
After further study, I came to realize that it is referring not to the Philadelphian era, but to the Laodicean era.
Isaiah 22 is talking about three individuals: Eliakim, Shebna and Hilkiah. We have always taught that Shebna is a type of the present leader of the Worldwide Church of God. But what I will explain in this chapter is that Eliakim is actually a type of my office, and Hilkiah is a type of Mr. Armstrong’s office.
Connection to Court Case
Interestingly, I began to understand this truth on the same day that the Supreme Court denied our appeal in the case regarding our fight to reprint Mr. Armstrong’s book Mystery of the Ages. I believe there is a reason why these events happened on the same day.
The Wall Street Journal reporter who wrote about our case and spent a lot of time with Laodicean church groups told us that the other churches were intently watching our case. The Journal, a newspaper produced by Church of God splinter groups, had five articles about the Wall Street Journal story in one issue, in addition to reprinting the article itself. One of our members from Tyler, Texas (where many of these splinter groups reside), said she couldn’t find that edition of the Wall Street Journal anywhere in town—all the copies had been bought. When she later called the Wall Street Journal headquarters to order a copy, they informed her that they too had no copies left. People were very interested in our battle over Mystery of the Ages, and not just church members.
The Laodiceans received a strong warning from our court case—even from outside sources. Why would they have been watching us so closely? After spending years in God’s Church, they still remember Mr. Armstrong and some of what he taught. Our work makes certain they don’t forget.
In a way, we are like the Israelites in Joshua 24:32: They carried Joseph’s bones out of Egypt all the way to Shechem because they wanted to remember this great man of God. We too keep thrusting Mr. Armstrong into the public consciousness through our efforts to keep his work alive.
“Thus saith the Lord God of hosts, Go, get thee unto this treasurer, even unto Shebna, which is over the house, and say” (Isaiah 22:15). Here is a man over God’s house who is also a treasurer. In this end time, there is a Laodicean Church that is “rich, and increased with goods” (Revelation 3:17) and motivated by Satan. They love the riches of this world.
God is telling someone to “get thee unto this treasurer.” God has a great controversy with this treasurer. He is elsewhere called the “son of perdition” (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4).
This passage never talks about Satan. But we know that Judas, the first-century son of perdition and the only other one mentioned in the New Testament (John 17:12), was possessed by the devil (John 13:26-27). He too was a treasurer, overly concerned about physical riches (Matthew 26:14-16; John 12:4-6).
This end-time Shebna or son of perdition is likened to a treasurer because he led God’s Church to be “rich, and increased with goods.” He put money and things ahead of God. He is the ultimate treasurer, motivated by evil.
Judas and Shebna were treasurers who misused God’s money. This end-time son of perdition followed in the same path.
Who in this end time has all the money and goods? The annual income of the wcg was over $200 million just after Mr. Armstrong died. The Worldwide Church of God accused us of stealing Mystery of the Ages, but look at the goods it inherited from Mr. Armstrong’s work! Still wcg leaders refuse to teach God’s revealed truth and do His Work. Who is doing the stealing?
God instructs someone to go to this treasurer and deliver this message: “What hast thou here? and whom hast thou here, that thou hast hewed thee out a sepulchre [or tomb] here, as he that heweth him out a sepulchre on high, and that graveth an habitation for himself in a rock?” (Isaiah 22:16). God wants one man to go to another and say, I know you have grandiose ideas, but you are only carving out for yourself an eternal tomb! God wants this end-time Shebna to know exactly what he is doing. As Mr. Armstrong often said, this is dangerous knowledge—eternal life is at stake!
We have a heavy responsibility: We speak for God! This is not an easy message to deliver, but God commands it. We must faithfully obey and not back down.
The message to Shebna continues: “Behold, the Lord will carry thee away with a mighty captivity, and will surely cover thee” (verse 17). The King James reference says this “mighty captivity” is “the captivity of a man.” God reinforces this point with Shebna, who apparently is so mentally and spiritually off track he doesn’t even consider himself a man! That is precisely what 2 Thessalonians 2:4 states. He acts as if he were God! Is he possessed? The Scriptures certainly indicate that he is. God is saying, By the time I am finished with you, you will know that you are just a pitiful man!
“He will surely violently turn and toss thee like a ball into a large country: there shalt thou die, and there the chariots of thy glory shall be the shame of thy lord’s house” (Isaiah 22:18). This man will experience the Great Tribulation. Barnes’ Notes says of the phrase “He will surely violently turn”: “Lowth has well expressed the sense of this: ‘He will whirl thee round and round, and cast thee away.’ Thus it refers to the action of throwing a stone with a sling, when the sling is whirled round and round several times before the string is let go, in order to increase the velocity of the stone. The idea is here, that God designed to cast him into a distant land, and that he would give such an impulse to him that he would be sent afar, so far that he would not be able to return again.” And of “into a large country,” Barnes says, “Probably Assyria.” That is pretty good insight for a commentary, and is probably where this man is going.
The last part of verse 18, the Chaldee renders, “And there the chariots of thy glory shall be converted into ignominy, because thou didst not preserve the glory of the house of thy lord” (ibid). This is what we’re really talking about: preserving the glory of God’s house! Look at what Satan has done to God’s Church. Even while Mr. Armstrong was alive, Satan had a real stronghold inside the Church (Revelation 3:9). We have to work exceedingly hard to preserve the glory of God’s house inside this Church!
“And I will drive thee from thy station, and from thy state shall he pull thee down” (Isaiah 22:19). God will forcibly strip this end-time Shebna of his office.
In all the book of Isaiah, no one is singled out for such severe punishment as Shebna. God does not take his sins lightly!
It is in the context of this message to Shebna, warning about the Great Tribulation and being stripped of his office, that God says, “And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will call my servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah: And I will clothe him withthy [Shebna’s] robe, and strengthen him withthygirdle, and I will committhygovernment into his hand: and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah” (Isaiah 22:20-21).
This prophecy was delivered three millennia ago; yet, look at its detail! There are three specific personalities prophesied here, all connected very closely with God’s Church in these end times.
Eliakim means “God establishes.” If we really know God, we should be able to see God and how He establishes. That places responsibility on my shoulders, and also on yours, to ensure that we allow God to establish Himself in our lives. He wants to rule us and be our Father.
This is the opposite of what is happening with the Laodiceans. They are tossed to and fro, in confusion and misery. They know they are wrong, and they just watch God’s very elect to see what is happening! They sense that God is establishing this Work, and that we have the truth they ought to be keeping.
When did God strip this end-time Shebna of his robe, girdle and government? Revelation 11:1-2 discuss an inner court and an outer court. That prophecy was fulfilled quickly after John Amos and I were fired from the wcg. The inner court is where God dwells. God established His Church. And where He dwells, you will find one-man government, an exciting work and dedicated people. These people will have new revelation from Isaiah and all the other major and minor prophets. It will be given through Eliakim. There will be persecution—Satan will be attacking that group—but you will also find people who are bold as a lion! And where God dwells you will find the key of David vision.
The Transfer of Authority
When John Amos and I were summoned to Pasadena headquarters over Malachi’s Message, the one who dealt with us was Joe Tkach Jr. Though his father was in town, he never showed up.
At the time, I didn’t know just what God would do, but I knew that He was behind me. I had thought that God might use this meeting to help straighten out the Church. But after I saw the direction everything was going, I realized that was not going to happen. That was terribly discouraging to me.
On December 7, 1989, Joseph Tkach Jr. was already in charge of the wcg in spirit. Two ministers were being fired, and would later be disfellowshiped, and the top leader of the Church (Joseph Tkach Sr.) didn’t even show up! I believe that indicates he had already lost control. We were dealing with Shebna.
I have already fulfilled Isaiah 22:15-16 in part—delivering a warning to this end-time Shebna. As we left, I told Mr. Tkach Jr., “This is only the first sip of a very bitter cup you’re going to have to drink.” I may as well have told him he was carving himself an eternal tomb! But the warning didn’t stop there: Mr. Tkach Jr. was one of the first to receive a copy of Malachi’s Message, in which there is a chapter about a man of sin inside God’s own Church acting like he is God! (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4).
There was something I didn’t understand then, but do now. According to these verses, I was given Shebna’s authority—his priestly vestments. When did that happen? It must have happened that very night when I was fired—December 7, 1989. Joe Tkach Jr. was given a final chance to repent. He did not, and God stripped him of his authority. From that time to the present, God has been using me to resurrect and do His Work! Thefruitsprove that statement absolutely!
Conversely, look at the free fall the wcg has experienced since that night!
When God started the pcg, He transferred Shebna’s priestly vestments and His government over to Eliakim. God’s government is here! That is not a casual statement. If you take God’s government from the Church, it will wreck the Church! That is exactly what happened to the wcg. After that night, it no longer had access to God’s government.
John Amos followed that government from the beginning. We were two nobodies in the ministry, and yet he never argued over who was in charge. He was one nobody submitting to another nobody! That is to his eternal credit, and it demonstrates that we had the government of God right at the start.
Look at the context of these verses in Isaiah 22: It speaks of “in that day” and the Great Tribulation. That clearly puts it in these end times.
Understanding Eliakim does not mean following a man. It means following what “God establishes”! We dare not follow a man. But you know that if I really let God rule me and make the decisions Christ wants me to make, there will be a few decisions that you don’t agree with. Even I probably won’t like all of them, initially. But if we ever fail at this test, like Shebna we will only be carving out for ourselves an eternal tomb!
This is also a strong message for me. When God says He has given His government, that means I had better use it! God forbid that I should ever abuse His Family. But things will only work if we use this government. Can we prove which man on Earth is truly using God’s government—the government that will one day rule the world and the universe?
In Revelation 3:8, God praises the Philadelphians for not denying His name—His authority or government. Think about that. Philadelphians are not establishing it again. They are keeping God’s government that was established by God through Mr. Armstrong.
If you understand prophecy—true prophecythe way God reveals it—you are ruled by God! You have been given revealed prophecy because that prophet has been ruled by God. Of course, you must be careful, because Satan is always trying to counterfeit God’s government. But the Laodiceans do not understand God’s prophecies simply because they have denied God’s authority.
When you have God’s government, the doors will swing open for you. What doors do the Laodiceans have opening for them? Most of their open doors have already been shut. They are spending their time watching doors swing open for us!
I believe we will not lose the court case. [This was written before we won the court case. Request our free booklet on Habakkuk for a full explanation.] Yes, our chances of winning are small. But that only makes greater odds for God. He is like the Supreme Court in that He only takes certain cases. But He usually takes them when you’ve already gone into the fiery furnace! Mystery of the Ages was an open door for us. God has put it on hold temporarily. But Isaiah 22:22 says that when Eliakim opens a door, none can shut it. We must have faith in that.
Eliakim is a father “to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.” Jerusalem is a type of Israel and Judah. Looking at this spiritually, it is talking about the Church of God (spiritual Israel) and the very elect—the spiritual Jews of Revelation 3:9.
I have written many times that Mr. Armstrong is a spiritual father to us in the Church, as I covered in the last chapter. That is one reason I had trouble seeing this truth initially. He certainly did fulfill that office.
But is that the end of the story? Mr. Armstrong completed the work of an era of God’s Church before he died. Today, even if you had all of Mr. Armstrong’s material, could you come to God and do His Work with just that understanding? Some today say yes. But the answer is no. You need also to come into God’s true Church with Malachi’s Message and other new revelation God has given me. That is, people come into the pcg, directly or indirectly, through what God revealed to me. In that sense only, I am a father.
Given the importance that God places on the father in the God Family vision, doesn’t it seem logical that He would give us a father-type today?
Remember Elisha’s attitude toward Elijah when he said, “My father, my father” (2 Kings 2:12). We must retain that attitude. Elisha really understood the depth of the Family of God. We must realize that we are in God’s Family, and sometimes our heavenly Father charges a man to bring people to Him. The job makes that man a father to those people.
How well do we understand our spiritual Father? “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). What does that mean? This is more than just looking to Christ. God wants us to see everything through His mind—the mind of a Father. He is a Father with a Family; Christ will be the Husband, we will be the Bride, and we will help bring billions of people into the Father’s Family.
If you understand God the Father, you will have no trouble understanding whom He is using. But understanding the Father requires fervent prayer and deep study.
Think about it: How much do you love your children, just as a physical parent or grandparent? I feel I love children more and more as I grow older. How could a father not love his children? They bring such joy into your life. And look at how much children need their parents. It is a rough world out there—people are willing to abandon their children to go into the workforce, neglecting them and leaving them to grow up alone. That creates terrible problems in this world!
As I go out and face this world, I want to know that I have a Father there, guiding me, encouraging me, helping me! I know God will always be there, because He is a Father! If He weren’t a Father, He would probably be out in the universe doing something else. But because He has children, He looks after them. Yes, Christ is the Head of the Church, but He constantly points us to the Father. We must capture this tremendous family vision!
The Key of David
“And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open” (Isaiah 22:22). Mr. Armstrong received the key of David from Christ. Here it speaks of the “key of the house of David,” which means descendants from David.
The Laodiceans today are disgracefully divided. They don’t want The United States and Britain in Prophecy, which reveals the key of David. That would unite them. In 1987, about a year after Mr. Armstrong died, they chopped out 70 percent of that book. A year later they shelved it completely while officially saying they were only “reviewing” it. That was a lie! Neither do they want Mystery of the Ages, which also talks about the key of David. The real reason is, they don’t want God’s rule! God says they are like a dog returning to its vomit (Proverbs 26:11).
Some of them ask, Why can’t we all get together? The only way that would be possible is if we all united through the key of David. That is the vision that will unite this world! It will unite America and China, Arab and Jew.
It truly angers Satan when we talk about David’s throne. He knows that his reign is about over. He has nothing to lose. He is composed of pure hatred. He is stirring up all kinds of hatred in this world—racial and other problems that can only be solved with the key of David. The tighter we hold on to that vision, the angrier he gets—but the less he can touch us.
“And I will fasten him as a nail in a sure place; and he shall be for a gloriousthroneto his father’s house” (Isaiah 22:23). When you talk about this throne, you’re talking about God’s government.
God will make this Eliakim as a “nail in a sure place.” But in principle, as we support Eliakim, that is what God will do to all of us! People look at us and say, That Church just won’t give up! As we encounter more persecution, they will really think we are crazy! But we simply are giving ourselves passionately to God, and we are thankful to be honored by God. We look forward to being placed into headquarters, ruling beside Jesus Christ forever. This empire will extend into the universe! That is quite a future. No wonder we can be so strong and dedicated—such a nail in a sure place.
All the Glory
“And they shall hang upon him all the glory of his father’s house, the offspring and the issue, all vessels of small quantity, from the vessels of cups, even to all the vessels of flagons” (Isaiah 22:24).
Barnes’ Notes says this about the phrase “The offspring and the issue”: “All that proceeded from the family; all that were connected with it. Kimchi and Aben Ezra render it, ‘Sons and daughters.’ … The Chaldee, ‘Sons and grandsons, youth and children.’” God is talking about family. The Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary says, “[R]ather, ‘the offshoots of the family, high and low’ (Vitringa). The Hebrew for ‘issue’ [… to put forth, especially vile things, as, for instance, worthless shoots, excrement, Exodus 4:15].”
The “offspring and the issue” refer to two groups: the Jacobite Laodiceans and the Edomite Laodiceans (see Malachi 1:1-3; request our Obadiah booklet for a detailed explanation). Both groups are rebelling. One is called “offspring.” This group will repent in the Tribulation and be born into God’s Family. But the others—the “issue”—are so far gone, God calls them spiritual dung! That’s all they are to God now! They have no future.
Why would the issue or spiritual dung be part of “the glory of his father’s house”? This is all a part of the spiritual war necessary to build God’s Family. Eliakim and his supporters exposed and defeated the Family enemies from within. This helped them to qualify for headquarters positions for all eternity in Jerusalem. They serve as a good example for God’s people today. The Eliakim work in this end time will serve as inspiration and a warning to people during the Millennium. All of these events add to God’s glory.
The wcg had property worth about $200 million; yet, when you compare that to what we have spiritually, it is just so much dung! Assets worth $200 million amount to nothing more than a measly bowl of soup—what Esau gave up his birthright for. The Edomite Laodiceans have given up eternal glory for nothing more than dung!
What are the “vessels of small quantity, from the vessels of cups, even to all the vessels of flagons”? Anciently, these were items used in the temple service. What do we use today in the temple service? These must refer to all of our books and booklets. All the glory hangs on Eliakim—all the revelation from Mr. Armstrong, plus all the new revelation God has given to me. That is quite a lot of glory! We have it all!
It requires great faith to believe this truth. I have faith that these verses show we will get Mystery of the Ages and those other works back. [We won the copyrights to all those works in the court case.] If I am wrong, I will change my views as God directs. I am following the pillar of fire, just as the Israelites did, and if it changes direction, I will still follow it. Perhaps there are things I don’t understand at this time. But I do know this: It also says that all of this glory hangs on the office of one man. We must make sure God has established that man. If He has, there is a lot of glory there.
How could God’s people talk about the evils of one-man rule? That is out of the mind of the devil! You don’t read that in Isaiah 22—you read just the reverse! That is the reasoning they use to reject God’s government. We must follow where God has established His rule!
As we enter rougher times, it will take power and boldness and courage to survive. I need your prayers, because without God’s power I am just as weak and cowardly as anyone. We are in this together. We must all be as bold as lions to accomplish what God has given us to do!
This is not an easy job. The longer we go on in this Work, the more intense our trials get. And yet, our blessings are being magnified even more quickly. Being denied by the Supreme Court, and then receiving this revelation on the same day, helps me to realize more deeply that God is alive and truly loves us. Christ is about to return and bring all His saints with Him.
But to be effective, and to really have God behind us, we must remain pure. “Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the Lord” (Isaiah 52:11).
When Solomon’s temple was destroyed, Gentiles stole the temple vessels. In Ezra 1:5-7, when the Jews rebuilt the temple, God made those men bring the vessels back! Those vessels are a type of Mr. Armstrong’s books and booklets. Ezra is a prophetic book, because it is about temple building. The characters in Ezra are also discussed in the minor prophets. I believe we are certain to receive those stolen vessels back.
Remember, though, what a battle those Jews had to rebuild that temple! They built with one hand while they held a weapon in the other! (Nehemiah 4:17). We simply will not finish this Work without a war. Anciently, the temple building actually stopped. But they didn’t give up at that point. Just because Mystery of the Ages isn’t here right now doesn’t mean God wants us to stop fighting. [We now own the copyright to Mystery of the Ages.] We must fight and fight and fight until we know that God is the one who has stopped it. He doesn’t want us to let Satan-inspired men stop His truth! He wants people who will stand up and fight to give this world the truth it so desperately needs!
Some Laodiceans call us and say, “We really hope you win this court case.” I have to wonder, do they really? They are sitting out there on the fence doing nothing. They don’t have the courage to join the fight for God. Doesn’t God expect more? He wants deeds. How can we be neutral in a time of war?
Remember Amos 9:11: “In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old.” If you’re going to build this tabernacle “as in the days of old,” you would have to have the books and booklets you once had. “That they may possess the remnant of Edom …” (verse 12). That must include Mystery of the Ages and Mr. Armstrong’s other books and booklets. That is what I believe, and faith firmly dictates that I continue to believe that until God says otherwise.
Famine of the Word
“In that day, saith the Lord of hosts, shall the nail that is fastened in the sure place be removed, and be cut down, and fall; and the burden that was upon it shall be cut off: for the Lord hath spoken it” (Isaiah 22:25). I believe this is talking about the famine of the word (Amos 8:11), when God’s continual Work is taken to a place of safety. If there is more to it than that, then God has yet to show me.
When I saw the appellate court decide against us in our battle for Mr. Armstrong’s writings, I got a taste of what the famine of the word will be like. Some people called in who were genuinely upset that they could not receive Mr. Armstrong’s books. You mean, I can’t even get a copy and read it? they asked. They experienced a famine of the word to a degree.
I firmly believe that in the future we will face an even more significant battle with this end-time Shebna. Amos 7:10-11 show a priest of God going to the leader of the land and trying to get God’s Work shut down. In verses 12-13, he speaks directly to God’s prophet telling him to prophesy not. We do have a work of prophecy, and we are not trying to hide it. We talk about the rising beast of Revelation 17, and we warn that the nations of Israel are quickly losing their power. We are making ourselves a target for some intense persecution.
I was wrong about two personalities and which era Isaiah 22 refers to. But I again ask, Why would God give me this understanding on the very day that we were denied by the Supreme Court?
Remember the example of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. They were being cast into the fiery furnace, which was so hot that the guards who brought them there were burned alive. The three must have believed they were going to die. Then they were actually thrown in. Surely that would have seemed like the end. But then Nebuchadnezzar and the others looked into the furnace and saw them still alive, walking around in the fire. Even more amazing, they saw a fourth figure walking around with the three they had just thrown in. Jesus Christ was right there in the furnace with them! (Daniel 3:23-25).
Christ wants us to know that we are His Family. When we trust Him, He will get right into the furnace with us. We must see where He is. This is a test of our faith. We need these tests. They indicate how truly precious we are to God. He is saying, It’s ok—I’m right here in the furnace with you. What else matters?
Mr. Amos has these words written on his gravestone: “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” (Revelation 3:21). I know Mr. Amos is going to be there with Christ on that throne. Will we be there with him?