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“And Jacob called unto his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days” (Genesis 49:1). Jacob’s fantastic prophecy revealed knowledge about his son’s tribes, which have become nations in this end time. It is truly stirring once we let this fact firmly take hold in our minds. Here in Genesis, the first book of the Bible, we have a prophecy about what would befall the nations of Israel in this end time!
All 12 tribes, or nations, are named. But who and where are these modern nations today? We are living in “the last days” and must know who these nations are, or we will be blind to God’s end-time prophecies!
The last book of the Bible, Revelation, is also full of prophecies about Israel. So we have prophecies about Israel from the beginning to the end. The key of David vision has been spoken about for thousands of years. And we will be speaking about it forever.
Let’s look at the specific prophecies about Judah. “Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father’s children shall bow down before thee. Judah is a lion’s whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up?” (verses 8‑9). These two verses give us great insight into the people of Judah, or the Jews in the Middle East. In verse 9, God uses the phases of a lion’s life to describe these people. God talks about a whelp, or cub, then a lion which would be best understood as a violent young lion, and then an old lion.
Historically, and even in our time, the Jewish people have exhibited many lionlike qualities. God warns at the end of verse 9 that all should be careful not to rouse the lion of Judah. In other words, leave him alone if he is at rest, or you will rouse his wrath.
Verse 8 states that Judah’s brethren would praise him. We know that this verse is primarily talking about the scepter promise (which we will explain later in this chapter). But it is also referring to the many benefits that Judah’s warlike qualities brought to the nation. It is a prophecy that Judah would have its hands on the necks of its enemies. Historically, Judah has had a rousing, warlike quality that gave security to the nation. From Numbers 2:3 we learn that while in the wilderness, Judah was assigned to take the lead in all marches. This was an impressive position of honor. Judah received the first lot in the Promised Land. Caleb, a great-grandson of Judah and one of the original 12 spies, had skill and mighty strength as a warrior (Joshua 14:11). And of course, the greatest Jewish warrior of all time was King David. There is no doubt he fought like a lion.
In our recent past, when the Jews had more faith, they were a terror in the Middle East. Now they have lost their faith. They are certainly weaker as a nation. Unfortunately, today’s Middle East peace process will lead to the tiny nation of Israel’s undoing (request a free copy of Jerusalem in Prophecy to know why).
There are many spiritual lessons we can learn from some of the physical characteristics God created in the Jews. For example, we should be lionlike when it comes to preserving the truth. Studying the Jews’ lionlike qualities also helps us to better see the qualities of the real Lion of Judah—Jesus Christ. True spiritual Jews exhibit the Lion’s qualities.
God does use physical people to teach us lessons. And we must be humble enough to learn these lessons. It should make no difference through whom we learn these lessons. Of course, we must put our emphasis on the spiritual, not the physical. But God wants to use the Jewish people for a high purpose. Paul shows us God’s goal. “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth” (Romans 10:4). Our goal is to become like Jesus Christ—the spiritual Jew. This specifically applies to God’s true Church today. But it will apply to all peoples after Jesus Christ’s return.
“The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be” (Genesis 49:10). Remember that this verse is prophecy for the end time. We must see the plan of God being worked out now. The word scepter is referring to David’s throne and Jesus Christ’s rule in the World Tomorrow. In addition to the scepter, there is a lawgiver who is a descendant of Judah (this too is explained in Who Is ‘That Prophet’?). All of this leads us to Shiloh, or the Messiah.
Notice that there is coming a great gathering of all people to Shiloh. All people will gather to the scepter of Judah, or the rule of Jesus Christ. The Hebrew word translated gathering is yiqqahah and means obedience, submission. What a wonderful picture! Why are we submitting to and obeying the government of God now? So we can be there when Christ gathers all people unto Himself! This gathering is pictured by the Feast of Tabernacles. All people will be gathered to the scepter of Judah and to Christ the Lawgiver.
Matthew 17:10-11 state that an Elijah would come and restore all things. Mr. Armstrong fulfilled this role. But he restored all things only to the Church. Compared to the number of people in this world, very few listened to Mr. Armstrong.
Jesus Christ will return soon and restore all things to the world. Christ’s return is described as the time of the “restitution of all things” (Acts 3:20-21). Jesus Christ is coming back to restore the government of God over the whole Earth—the same government that Lucifer established on Earth and then rebelled against. In the near future, all the world will learn to submit to Christ as He sits on David’s throne. This will require humility, obedience and submission on everyone’s part. The change in this world will be wonderful and truly miraculous.
So why did an Elijah come and restore God’s government to the Church? Jesus Christ wants His government here when He returns, so we can help Him implement His law. Only spiritual Jews will have this opportunity to rule with Christ.
In the June 1956 Plain Truth, in the article “Was Jesus a Jew?”, Herman Hoeh wrote, “Jesus possessed characteristics both of Mary’s ancestry and the characteristics of the Father in heaven. Jesus looked like other Jews, yet He had the express facial resemblance of the Father Almighty—‘Who hath seen me,’ said Jesus, ‘hath seen the Father’ (John 14:9).” This impressive statement applies both physically and spiritually. Jesus Christ not only had Mary’s physical characteristics, He also looked like His Father—God the Father. Joseph was not Christ’s father. Mary’s pregnancy was from God (Luke 1:35).
“The Jews, then, more than any other race, must resemble the dominant personality of the heavenly Father. God is Supreme Ruler. Judah prevailed above his brethren, and the Prince, or Chief Ruler, was prophesied to come through him. Judah must have had special physical qualities for rulership. …
“The most important truth about this whole question, however, is not the flesh. ‘The flesh profiteth nothing’ (John 6:63). What is important is what we do with our lives. Through the sacrifice of Christ we can all—no matter of what race—become begotten members of the Family, or Kingdom, of God—the new man, as Paul expressed it—where there is no division …” (ibid).
Jesus Christ is predominantly concerned with the creation and development of spiritual Jews, not physical Jews. He wants to focus our attention on the spiritual Jew who will bring us into the Kingdom, or Family, of God. God’s Family will be a Family of spiritual Jews.
Why is there so much hatred for the Jews in this world?
Dr. Hoeh stated in that same article, “In the case of Jesus, the Logos was transformed into a physical sperm from the Father in heaven and was united with the ovum in the womb of the Jewess Mary. Therefore Jesus partook of the human [characteristics] of the tribe of Judah—Jewish flesh and blood.” In unparalleled humility, the Logos was willing to give up His glory and be transformed into a human sperm cell—the tiniest of cells—and impregnate a Jewish woman. Jesus Christ grew up as a Jewish lad. God directly involved the Jews in His plan. From these facts we must assume that God the Father and Jesus Christ have a close connection to the Jewish race—but only to further their spiritual plan.
So why is there so much hatred of the Jews? Look at the Middle East today. The Jews of the tiny nation of Israel are despised by their neighbors. Many Arabs want to see the Jewish nation destroyed. In our time the Jews have been hated in Russia. There is still anti-Semitism in the United States and other countries. And can we forget what Hitler and his Nazi scourge did to the Jews? Where is all of this hate coming from? A thinking person has to wonder! We know the Jews, like all humans, have helped to create some of their own problems. But we must see that there is something deeper behind anti-Semitism.
Satan the devil understands the plan of God. He has a great hatred for God. Because of the plan of God, the word Jew can really stir up Satan’s wrath. The Jews are a type of what all men are to become spiritually. It is God’s association with the Jews that has turned Satan even more violently against them! Hatred for the Jews has been inspired by Satan. He knows that he was never offered what has been offered to mankind. He wants nothing more than to destroy the plan of God.
Satan can stir up vicious hatred. He loves to use out-of-control emotions. A religion taken to the extreme—such as radical Islam—gives him a great field to work in. Nazi Germany exhibited fanatical hatred for the Jews. The Nazis also used emotion to stir up a repugnant hatred. The coming beast power will exhibit the same hatred for the Jews as well.
Most people who hate the Jews don’t even know why they do. Can we see Satan behind such lies and hatred?
Even more chilling is this fact: As much as Satan hates physical Jews, we must never forget that Satan’s hatred runs much deeper for spiritual Jews. Realize that Satan is going after spiritual Jews most of all!
Read these important words again: “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name [government]. 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” (Revelation 3:7-9). Notice: Spiritual Jews are mentioned in the same context as the key of David vision. It is their understanding of this vision that makes them spiritual Jews! It is what separates the Philadelphians from the Laodiceans, a group which sprang from the “synagogue of Satan.”
Verses 7 and 8 show that the Philadelphia era was truly a jewel in God’s sight. It was given the key of David—the single greatest prophecy and vision in the Bible. Mr. Armstrong and true Philadelphians have always treasured this key. God provided Philadelphia an open door that no man could shut. And though small by this world’s standards, the Church kept God’s Word and government.
In verse 9, we see that while Philadelphia was doing its great work, the synagogue of Satan was growing within its ranks. God has revealed that this synagogue of Satan was the Laodicean era in embryo. What is truly amazing about this new revelation is that God did not give it to us until the Laodicean era was already born. There is an important reason why. This astounding revelation is vital for God’s true Church today, in the Laodicean era.
God gave a harsh name to the Laodicean fetus, calling it the synagogue of Satan. This means that some within God’s own Church were falling prey to Satan, getting into worship of the devil even while Mr. Armstrong was alive! In Revelation 3:9 God also calls them liars. How did they lie? They were acting like Jews but were not true spiritual Jews at all.
Only the pcg understands Revelation 3:9 today—which means that most of God’s own people don’t deeply understand God or the devil!
Only those saints who have the key of David vision truly understand God and the devil!
The Laodicean era is identified as being blind. The overwhelmingly dominant trait of God’s people today is blindness!
This knowledge leads us to one of the most important questions of our time: Who are the true spiritual Jews? There are members of God’s Church who say they are Jews, but whom God calls liars. And there is a group of God’s people who are true spiritual Jews—they don’t lie! We must know the difference. This knowledge also reveals Satan the devil. A full understanding of the key of David vision must include knowledge of Satan the devil and his attack on God’s Church in this end time!
To the Philadelphians, God promises that all those people pretending to be Jews will He make “to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee” (verse 9). Christ uses the expression “I will make” twice in reference to the synagogue of Satan. God will force the lying Jews, today’s Laodiceans, to admit that Mr. Armstrong was right. He will make them admit that the Philadelphia Church was right. He will force them to know He loved Mr. Armstrong and the pcg.
Do we doubt God will do this? Christ says, “I will make ….” This is a very personal statement. If they refuse to admit Mr. Armstrong was right—if they refuse to admit the pcg is right and that God loved Mr. Armstrong and loves us, then there will not be any Family of God for them. How will God force them to do this? Through the terrors of the Tribulation. It would be far better for them to repent and admit this today, which is why warning the Laodiceans is a large part of our work.
In these verses, Christ shows clearly that the true spiritual Jews are deeply loved by God. Why? Because they are loyal to His key of David vision. They keep God’s Word, which includes the astonishing knowledge about David’s throne. They maintain God’s government and walk through God’s open door. How do we determine who are the spiritual Jews? By seeing who holds fast to the key of David. That vision not only gives us incredible understanding, it identifies true spiritual Jews.
The Laodiceans don’t understand God’s love. They have fallen prey to Satan’s deceit. True spiritual Jews know the meaning behind the key of David and cannot be deceived. Now look at what the Laodiceans are about to face—the Tribulation and the potential loss of eternal life.
We have already shown you how deeply Satan hates physical Jews. The Holocaust of World War ii is a testament to that fact. But Satan hates spiritual Jews most of all.
“Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time” (Revelation 12:12). Christ warns us that Satan is full of great wrath. He has been cast back and confined to Earth. Upon whom did he first unleash his wrath? “And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman [God’s Church] which brought forth the man child” (verse 13). Satan has gone after God’s Church—the true spiritual Jews!
Never forget that Satan’s primary goal is to destroy God’s Work and Church. Within four years of Mr. Armstrong’s death, the Church suffered a serious split! This came as a devastating shock to many of God’s people. The destruction of the Worldwide Church of God has continued steadily since January of 1990. Today it is only a shadow of its former glory.
Satan has also stirred up much trouble for the nations of Israel. Just look at the British royal family. It has the royal Jewish heritage of King David himself. But today the monarchy has been so battered, bruised and beaten, it will never recover the dignity it once had. The walls of the palace have been riddled with scandal. Who has been the driving force behind the defamation of the royal family? Satan the devil. He desires to bring as much indignity to that throne as he can. Do we realize that the British royalty could stop all of the gross degeneration and its painful consequences? All they would have to do is be guided by God’s spiritual Jews.
If you look closely at the royal thrones in Thailand and Jordan, you see a very different picture. These two royal families are revered by most of their subjects, not ridiculed. These two families even had a close relationship with Herbert Armstrong through the Ambassador International Cultural Foundation. They respected and listened to Mr. Armstrong. God blesses those who honor His people (Genesis 12:3).
Why is the British throne declining in popularity while these other two are quite stable at this time? The throne in England never developed a close association with Mr. Armstrong. He did meet Prince Charles (and, also, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, when she was in power). Yet there was never a special project with God’s end-time apostle, as there was in Jordan and Thailand. Could that be part of the reason why that throne is not blessed today? Would it have been a little too embarrassing for the British royalty to join league with a religious old man? And yet there were two Gentile families who loved him and respected him. They realized how special he was and wanted to work with him. Britain all but shut the door on God’s Work. How typical of Israel to reject God’s prophets and apostles.
Satan hates the British throne. Remember, we must factor in the knowledge about Satan and his wrath if we are truly going to understand the key of David vision and the serious truth involving spiritual Jews. Only true spiritual Jews will be protected from the Tribulation to come upon the whole world. This is a promise from God.
When Satan realizes that he can no longer get to us as we flee, he will direct all of his violent efforts against the Laodiceans—even as they are beginning to repent because of the Tribulation. “And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 12:17). Satan’s anger is directed most at God’s Church. He detests our fantastic potential. In the Tribulation, the Laodiceans will recognize how wrong they were. Half of them will repent and return to God. They will return to the understanding they had rejected. They will reject Satan’s deceit. Because of their repentance, they will feel the full force of Satan’s wrath. At that time, he will have gained full control of all the negative and destructive forces on this planet. All Laodiceans who repent and obey God during the Tribulation will be marked for destruction. That is why it is so important to repent and obey God now.
Why does God offer His faithful spiritual Jews protection from what is coming? “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth” (Revelation 3:10). The answer is simple. God always protects those who keep His Word. The Philadelphians are held in high esteem by God for doing so. They are people God wants to protect.
The name Philadelphian is synonymous with spiritual Jew. Our name, Philadelphia Church of God, did not come to us by coincidence. God gave it to us because we value His revelation. The Philadelphians have the key of David. They are not embarrassed by it or ashamed of it. They proclaim it to the world. They do not look to men—they look to the God who possesses the key of David vision (Revelation 3:7).
True spiritual Jews understand the vital importance of God’s revelation. “What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God. For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?” (Romans 3:1-3). One of the greatest gifts committed to the physical Jews has been the preservation of the Old Testament Scriptures. In addition, God committed to the Jews the preservation of the sacred calendar, the knowledge of the Sabbath covenant and holy days, and the knowledge of tithing. These reflect the “oracles of God,” which could be translated divine utterances. Many faithful physical Jews kept these on the letter-of-the-law level—a physical level.
God always intended that the oracles entrusted to the Jews be understood by the Church. “This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us” (Acts 7:38).
God does not reveal new revelation about the oracles to physical Jews, but to His spiritual Jews—the Philadelphians today.
We know that God revealed His key of David vision to the spiritual Jews. The oracles of God are included in the context of that vision. What God revealed to Herbert Armstrong, He has given to His spiritual Jews to preserve. God has “committed” to the pcg what He gave Mr. Armstrong. This verse applies to us today in that way. (Edmond, the city where the pcg is headquartered, means “preserver of wealth.”)
This is why we fought a battle in court for Herbert W. Armstrong’s books and booklets. We really had no choice. This literature was given to the Philadelphians, whether we are in the Philadelphian or the Laodicean era. So where you find all of God’s truth that was revealed to Herbert Armstrong, you will find the spiritual Jews!
We continue the Elijah work. God’s Church cannot die (Matthew 16:18). Each one of us has the responsibility to know where that Church is.
As Paul states in Romans 3:3, we must understand what God has revealed and then use the faith of God to preserve that truth. Think about this. What is the faith of God? It is believing what God says. What brought people into God’s Church under Mr. Armstrong? The faith of God. We believed Mr. Armstrong taught what God revealed. What gave us the courage to move to the pcg? The faith of God. What keeps us in God’s Church? The faith of God.
We must use that same faith to preserve—never to reject or diminish—God’s oracles. We can be in God’s true Church physically and still not be a spiritual part of Christ’s Body. God lives in His oracles. Luke (who wrote Acts) referred to God’s oracles as the lively oracles.
We fought in court for God’s truth—in faith. We cannot preserve the key of David vision without faith!
That is what Romans 3:3 explains. Through faith the spiritual Jews knew precisely why they were in a court battle, fighting for God’s truth. The Laodiceans did not fight for God’s truth because Christ’s faith is not in them! That is why He is on the outside knocking on their door (Revelation 3:20).
Preserving God’s oracles requires great spiritual depth. It requires a spiritual Jew. Only the spiritual Jews have the faith of God.
God’s primary focus is always spiritual. The physical Jews fulfilled a critical role for God in preserving the oracles. But the role God has given spiritual Jews is far greater. All of God’s people who remain close to the divine utterances cannot be hurt by Satan the devil. Spiritual Jews have their heart, or their inner man, circumcised (Romans 2:29). They have been deeply converted to value what God values. They seek God’s praise, not the praise of men. They can detect Satan’s deceit and reject it. They are inspired by the key of David vision.Continue Reading: Chapter 9: Let No Man Take Your Crown