God the Father’s plans for His Family reach into eternity. God has revealed His plans to His Church. The unveiling of His plan officially began with the birth of Jesus Christ, and it will eventually involve all humans who submit to Almighty God.
“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not” (1 John 3:1). Though we are still in the flesh, God calls us sons. We are sons of the Father. Think deeply about this for a moment. If we are sons of the Father, then that makes us family. This spiritual fact is more real than our own physical families. This is truly mind-boggling.
Even the Apostle John was awestruck by this incredible revelation. “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is” (verse 2). It is very difficult for any human being to grasp what God the Father is offering to humanity. We are destined to be spirit beings, just like the Father. God the Father will always be the Head of the Family. But just as physical children share the characteristics and nature of their parents, we will share God the Father’s divine nature and spirit form.
How well do we grasp this extraordinary future? The Father desires to deepen our vision and understanding of His family government. This will only happen when we have a childlike attitude toward Him.
“And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure” (verse 3). This verse has great depth. We will not be motivated to change our evil human nature to God’s nature without this hope. We will not be able to face and conquer our God-given tests! John is telling us that if we have this hope in us, we will change. And there can be no change if this hope is absent. Getting the key of David vision deeply into our minds is the great source of hope for us. The key of David vision is filled with hope. All too often, people bog down in their trials. When we have the hope of the key of David vision in us, no trial can stop us. The main job of the Philadelphia ministry is to fill the lives of God’s people with hope! The key of David vision is that hope.
Christ—The Everlasting Father
Let me repeat two of the most incredible verses in the Bible: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this” (Isaiah 9:6-7). This states that the growth of God’s government will be without end. In other words, the throne of David will expand eternally.
God the Father, rich in mercy, planned to give Jesus Christ as a Savior to a failed humanity. This shows the depth of the Father’s love for man (John 3:16). When Jesus Christ walked the Earth, He was God’s only begotten Son. He was the only Son who could make it possible for the Father to have many more sons. These verses in Isaiah show that God has placed His government upon Christ’s shoulder. The primary spiritual issue for all humanity is God’s government—God’s family government. God gave the world His Son. That means family. With His Son He established His government. It is the same government that rules God’s true Church today. That same government will rule the Earth and then eventually the universe. When we talk about the true gospel, we are talking about God’s royal Family which administers God’s government forever.
Jesus Christ has many names: “Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” One of His names is the everlasting Father. Jesus Christ is a type of God the Father.
Paul states this about Christ in Colossians. “And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell” (Colossians 1:17‑19). Creating for God the Father, Jesus Christ was the beginning of all life. He is the Head of the Church. He is the firstborn from the dead. His position in God’s plan is much like the Father’s. But we must never forget that He is the Son, not the Father.
At the time of the new Jerusalem, the whole God Family will be ruling from the throne of David. There will be one throne for the entire Family. Think about how much history and prophecy is carried in the name throne of David. This incredible knowledge reveals how God and Christ create their royal Family. It all began with one begotten Son—Jesus Christ. All humanity would have lived in vain if Christ had failed. As humans change into spirit, we will never forget how God worked out His plan of salvation. We will always remember that God was able to change sinful flesh into immortal God.
We must develop real faith to finish this process God has begun in us. We are going to need real faith in the key of David vision to make it through the tough times just ahead, the time of Satan’s greatest wrath.
This vision has helped many of God’s leaders through the difficult trials of their calling. Let’s look again at the example of Abraham.
Faith of Abraham
Abraham is known as the father of the faithful (Romans 4:16; Galatians 3:7). He had real faith in a real vision. Exercising faith in God’s promises, Abraham obeyed God, left the home of his father and inhabited tents in a strange country. Why was Abraham able to do this? As we wrote in the last chapter, he clearly saw the key of David vision all the way into new Jerusalem. Paul states that he looked for a city which has foundations (Hebrews 11:8-10). One translation says “sure foundations.”
You should meditate the rest of your life on that statement! The quality of our faith must have “sure foundations.” Our faith must be so strong, so real, that it is established on the “sure foundations” of new Jerusalem!
We can build our faith to have that astonishing reach! We must pray fervently and meditate seriously on that expression to comprehend its depth. It is a mind-dazzling faith with sure foundations. This is the foundation of the key of David vision.
Understand the time element. This is speaking of the time when God the Father brings new Jerusalem to the Earth. God will have made the foundations of this city sure. Can you imagine—project Earth completed! God will have recreated Himself into multiple billions of Family members. It will be a majestic and royal Family. This vision carries within it the only goal for every human life, if we are to live beyond this world.
Why is this mind-stretching family goal so important? It is the only vision that gives deep meaning to God’s plan. He even gave us physical marriage and physical family, types of our marriage to Christ and the God Family, to give this vision deeper meaning. God the Father’s vision of the future is a family vision. God paid a great price to give us this vision of the future. He allowed His Son to be crucified so all humans could be a part of the future spiritual Family.
Abraham—Type of the Father
Why was Abraham so willing to sacrifice his son Isaac? Because he understood the key of David vision. “And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of. And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him” (Genesis 22:1-3). God’s requirement for Abraham to sacrifice Isaac was the supreme test. It was even harder than sacrificing his own life! Think about the love he had for this special son, promised by God, for whom he waited 25 years! There had to be intense emotions and strenuous mental battles. In this test, Abraham became a type of God the Father giving up His only Son.
This was Abraham’s greatest test! Think about sacrificing one of your children. Imagine the agony. Abraham fully planned to sacrifice Isaac. “And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood. And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. And the angel of the Lord called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me” (verses 9-12).
How could Abraham sacrifice his son? He knew that giving up Isaac was so littlecompared to the Father’s plan to sacrifice Christ! Remember, when God sent His Son to Earth, there was the chance that Christ could have failed. If Christ would have sinned, the plan for man would have also failed. If Christ had failed, God the Father would have been alone for the rest of eternity!
Can we see how profound Abraham’s obedience test was? His willingness to sacrifice Isaac is one big reason why he will have one of the top positions in the Kingdom of God forever. Abraham held God the Father’s perspective. He saw the Father’s love and Christ’s love, and he wanted to be just like the Father. That is why Abraham became the father of the physical nation of Israel. That is also why he became the father of the faithful—spiritual Israel. He had the Father’s perspective—the Father’s view—the whole God Family picture. We must also learn to see the key of David vision as Abraham did. We must strive to develop the same royal faith that Abraham had. It is possible for us to do so.
Jesus Christ’s message to His Church right now is that He is coming quickly and is carrying a reward for all those who have remained faithful. “… I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name” (Revelation 3:12). Christ is writing the name of new Jerusalem in the minds of all Philadelphians today. That is an incredibly far-reaching vision!
At the beginning of the Millennium, we will still be looking forward to new Jerusalem. We must get the new Jerusalem perspective now so we can be ready to teach it in the World Tomorrow. We must have the complete God Family picture in our minds—now!
What really separates the Philadelphians and Laodiceans today? It is this vision of the completion of God’s Family. The faithful Philadelphians hear what the Spirit is saying to them (verse 22). They grasp the vision about the royal Family of God. Because of this fact, God adorns them with the name of new Jerusalem. That is because today they envision this majestic, eternal city! It is a part of their daily thinking. However, the Laodiceans are blind to this incredible God Family vision.
David ruled from Jerusalem. Christ will rule from there in the World Tomorrow. The Father will rule from new Jerusalem.
Philadelphians see as Abraham did. They hold fast to the Family vision. In that sense, they also share the Father’s perspective—seeing all the way to new Jerusalem. It is an incredible, incredible vision. They can see all the way to the time when the Father is here on Earth and His entire Spirit-born Family is working with Him. God’s family plan will not be complete until the Father is on the Earth. And this entire vision is explained by the key of David. None of us can get this vision into our head without a lot of spiritual digging.
A Better Resurrection
What does it mean to have the name new Jerusalem written upon our foreheads? It must mean that we will be right there in new Jerusalem with God the Father! What a mind-stirring, magnificent future.
Christ saw all the way to new Jerusalem and beyond. He was able to endure all that He suffered to open the way for us to make it there. Paul wrote in Hebrews, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2). Abraham, like Christ, saw far into the future and was willing to do whatever it took to make it there. Grasping this vision now unites us with Christ and Abraham and all faithful people who have come before us. It is this key of David vision that motivates God’s people to always move forward.
Study Hebrews 11, known as the faith chapter. Paul shows us here that some of God’s people were tested to the point of death. But the threat of death didn’t stop them, because they also had this vision. Before Christ returns, some of us may also have to give up our physical lives. This shows the importance of the key of David vision. There is a direct connection between how well we endure trials and the depth of our understanding of this vision. This is what Hebrews 11 is all about.
How do we make our place secure in the new Jerusalem? It is by grasping this vision now. In Revelation 3:12 Christ promises that we will “go no more out.” This represents a fantastic blessing and opportunity. All Philadelphians are promised a secure headquarters position that cannot be taken away from us. But is this position for the Millennium only? No. When Christ says we will “go no more out,” this is within the context of new Jerusalem! We are destined to work at headquarters with Christ during the Millennium and with Christ and God the Father in new Jerusalem. Astounding revelation!
No city even remotely compares to the grandeur of new Jerusalem.
This magnificent city will be over 1,300 miles in width, length and height (Revelation 21—a furlong is one eighth of a mile). If placed in the U.S., that city would extend from the East Coast to the center of the country! It would cover nearly half of America! And imagine the height. Planes only fly about 5 or 6 miles high. Just thefoundationof new Jerusalem could be that high!
Does it seem unreal? Remember, this will be headquarters of the universe! And to Abraham, this city had “sure foundations.”
How does your faith compare with Abraham’s? Or Christ’s?
The only way we will grasp this vision is through the use of God’s Holy Spirit. After the letter to each era, Christ says, “let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches” (Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22). He makes this statement over and over for good reason. Most of God’s people don’t hear what the Spirit says. Are we listening to what the Spirit says today? How could we possibly get this vision without God’s Spirit?
To allow ourselves to become carnal and reject this vision is such a shameful sin. To fail to grasp the key of David vision in all of its significance and beauty is truly a tragedy.
The Philadelphian Work
Can we begin to see the importance of the work of the Philadelphia Church of God? Someone must deliver a strong message to the Laodiceans about what they are throwing away. They are giving up their royal positions in the Family of God! Look at how Christ feels about what they are doing. “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent” (Revelation 3:19). Jesus Christ says the Laodiceans need rebuking and chastening. Christ always rebukes in love. But if there is no response to the rebuke, He must resort to difficult chastening.
The Philadelphia Church is often criticized for promoting an “attack gospel.” In truth, Jesus Christ is using us to knock on the Laodiceans’ doors. He is working through us to help them see God’s family government vision. They all have lost the key of David vision.
Who does the rebuking? God doesn’t personally do it. It has to be done by His spiritual Jews who remain Philadelphian to the end.
God is using the Philadelphians to “rebuke” the Laodiceans. If they don’t heed the message, God will “chasten” them in the Great Tribulation. This is all done in the context of God’s love (verse 19). We do not attack others, but we do attack sin in the context of God’s love!
All of the Laodicean groups fail to see their wretched spiritual condition. Christ is on the outside of their churches. He is knocking to get in. He is not inside their churches directing them and guiding them as they suppose and teach.
Christ in Us
Revelation 3:20 shows that Christ must not only be in our Church, He must live in all of us individually as well. The Laodiceans don’t have the key of David vision within their churches, and their individual members don’t grasp this vision. The vision is not in them. It must be in us. It must motivate our every act. If we see what Christ and God the Father see, then Christ and God the Father are in us. The Laodiceans do not see as Christ sees. All of them have rejected the government of God. How can they ever help establish the throne of David if they reject its government now?
The Laodiceans have allowed themselves to become trapped in an attitude of spiritual arrogance. In this wretched spiritual condition, they have rejected revelation. “At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes” (Matthew 11:25). Jesus Christ revealed marvelous truths about the key of David vision through Mr. Armstrong. And Christ is adding new revelation through the Philadelphia Church. God has always revealed truth to people who are babes in attitude.
Whether we live or die spiritually revolves around God’s revelation. God’s truth is revealed. If we are stubborn, self-willed or rebellious, God will cut us off from His revelation. We will never understand the meaning behind David’s throne unless we are in a humble, childlike frame of mind.
We must believe that there would be abundant and spectacular revelation in the timejust before Christ returns!
Thayer’s Lexicon defines the word revealed in Matthew 11:25 as “God revealing to men things unknown. To uncover … what has been veiled or covered up. Disclose what before was unknown. Of Christ teaching men.” The key of David vision represents some of the most incredible revelation from the mind of God! Yet to whom is God giving that revelation? To babes. When will men learn this vital lesson? We must be childlike to have God speak to us through new revelation (Matthew 18:1‑3). When we remain childlike, Christ will continue to reveal to us. When we become stubborn, self-willed or rebellious spiritually, the revelation stops.
Never, never, never will we be able to understand the deep vision of David’s throne unless we are childlike in attitude! Remember, the key of David vision is the Father’s vision. As God’s begotten sons, let’s do all we can to grasp this royal vision of splendor. When we do, we will ensure our place in new Jerusalem and will be a part of God’s completed Family.
I watched the birth of my two children. It was an emotionally overwhelming experience! I also watched the last six hours of the labor and agony of my daughter giving birth to my first grandson.
When her baby was born, she was very tired and drained from the labor. Then they showed her the baby. The glow on her face lit up the whole room! “Oh, I have a baby boy!” she joyfully exclaimed. Her pain and agony quickly faded when she saw her beautiful son—made in the likeness of God.
Imagine how the faces of the Father and Christ will glow when we are born into God’s Family! Our faces will also glow.
There is a giant lesson in the physical birth. We experience trials and tests—or labor pains—as God prepares us to be born into His Family. We struggle and shed tears as a mother does to give birth—especially with the firstborn child. The firstfruits have a harder struggle to be born than the other children. But we are also given a much greater reward! So it’s worth it. We must keep our minds on what it means to be truly born again. Suddenly, we will become vibrant spirit beings whose faces will shine like the sun in its full strength! All we need to do is envision our birth to know the struggle is worthwhile.
When you see a child born, you can better understand what it means to be born again. You finally see the head crowning, and then suddenly there is a child before you. It’s a living, breathing human being. That’s about the way it will happen spiritually! It’s going to be a magnificent event!
Our spiritual Father is going to shed some tears when He sees our birth—just as my son-in-law did when his son was born. Life is so precious if we view it in the context of the God Family. These babies are precious beyond words to describe. Words are inadequate to explain our incredible human potential. That is why the mainstream conception of born again is so diabolical. It hides from most people the truly awesome meaning of being born again.
The Royal Gospel
David was a king who sat on a throne. The key of David vision is the gospel put into a royal Family-of-God framework. The very elect, men and women like David, become royal God—as God is God! It is God’s ultimate, most majestic creation.
There is the supreme, royal Father, who is the Head of the royal Family. Then there is the royal Son of the Highest—the Father’s beloved Son. He is Christ, the royal Husband of the royal Bride—the firstfruits. They are not only kings and priests, but kings and priests who are God!
This royal government shall sit on a royal throne and administer God’s royal law. Billions of royal children shall be brought into God’s royal Family.
This is royalty unknown to the mind of man apart from God. These kings and priests are called today to have the most exalted crowns in God’s Family.
Not even the angels were ever offered these positions of royalty. It will be the supreme royalty of the universe forever!
God creates sovereign gods out of clay!
Even today, I can address God’s very elect as “Your Royal Majesties, Sons of God,” because they are God in embryo.