Chapter 1

Habakkuk Reveals the Outcome of Our Court Case

From the booklet Habakkuk

This chapter was written for the Royal Vision magazine one year before our six-year court battle ended in 2003.

The Philadelphia Church of God (pcg) has been involved in a court battle with the Worldwide Church of God (wcg) for well over five years now. We have been restricted from printing Mystery of the Ages and any other material by Herbert W. Armstrong for over a year.

Habakkuk wrote his prophecy in the sixth century b.c., shortly before Babylon destroyed Judah. The temple was a mess. The priests were terribly divided, arguing about law and government. God sent the Prophet Habakkuk to straighten them out.

I want to prove to you that Habakkuk’s prophecy revolves around our court case. This is new revelation from God!

But I can only prove this to people who have faith. If you don’t read this message and apply these words in faith, I guarantee that you won’t understand. Habakkuk 1:5 says God will work something that people won’t believe even when it is spelled out for them. This is why we need to walk by faith—because otherwise we will never understand God’s plan.

Revelation is the major proof of where God’s very elect are! That is a truth you can prove from the Bible. But even more than that, it implies law and government. God doesn’t give His revelation to a committee—that would result in division and confusion. He gives it to one man, as He did to Mr. Armstrong, and He holds that man accountable. That implies law and government, implemented by that man, to keep people focused on God’s revelation.

Habakkuk’s prophecy reveals what happens when you lose that government: God’s revelation is watered down, lost or destroyed, and people stumble at the law.

With the world in its last hour (1 John 2:18; Revised Standard Version), doesn’t it make sense that God would have something to say about the very elect’s five-year court case? He is getting very specific in this end time. He has strong feelings about this battle among His people.

The Middle of the Years

“A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet upon Shigionoth. O Lord, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid …” (Habakkuk 3:1-2). Notice Habakkuk’s attitude: He heard God’s word and was afraid. That is the right way to approach God. Habakkuk had a godly fear, like Mr. Armstrong (the “Levi” type of Malachi 2:4-5) did. He trembled when God spoke.

God only reveals truth to people who fear Him—who “tremble” at His Word (Isaiah 66:2). That is why most people do not understand Bible prophecy. They don’t tremble before God’s Word.

New revelation, such as what you are about to read here from Habakkuk, comes only from God. It is how God speaks to His very elect! God speaks to only one Church. If He spoke to several churches, there would be massive confusion.

God speaks to His Church today. The Philadelphia Church of God is unlike any other church in the world, because here God speaks through His leader, as He always has. God speaks! How much do we tremble?

I believe God has given us more revelation, faster, than any church ever! And we shall be held accountable for every word. Why? Because you can prove that our message is taken from God’s Word.

“… O Lord, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy” (Habakkuk 3:2). Sometimes God has wrath—especially when He sees evil within His own Church. We must pray every day, “in wrath remember mercy.” We are sinners, and we must ask God for mercy.

The phrase “in the midst” is used twice in verse 2. Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon says that phrase means “the interior, midst of a thing; in the middle.” It is referring to the middle of the crisis years in God’s Church. Not at the beginning or the end, but in the middle (stated twice, for emphasis), God must revive His Work. Referring to us today, Habakkuk is asking God to revive His Work. Habakkuk gets specific regarding this end time. We will see that many of his prophecies are surprisingly detailed and specifically for our day.

Revive thy Work in the midst of the years. Aren’t we praying the same thing today? Revive means to preserve alive, live again, recover health, be healed, deliver from destruction of life. This is speaking spiritually. Why does the pcg need to recover health? Look at our situation, and the one area in which we really need to be revived concerns this court case.

The wcg has stopped us from using Mr. Armstrong’s writings. We won in the district court but lost a split decision in the appeals court. We have lost a battle but not the war!

We lost this court case in the middle of the Church crisis years. This is so only because we lost one court battle. Now we must cry out for God to revive His Work.

The pcg has never needed reviving except in the court case. This is a prophecy about God reviving us. So we need to prepare for a spectacular end! Yes—we are going to get Mr. Armstrong’s writings. We must, if we are going to proclaim God’s message in the middle of the crisis years, just before Christ’s return.

God will complete His Work, and I see no way that it is completed yet.

At one time we were printing God’s message—God’s revelation through Mr. Armstrong. Then the antichrist began to fight against Christ (1 John 2:18) and stopped us from sending Mystery of the Ages to the largest audience possible. That hurt the Work. Now we can no longer disseminate any of Mr. Armstrong’s literature. We need to be revived. We didn’t need that revival until the antichrist took us to court.

Why is a man called antichrist, and his helpers, antichrists? Because they not only rebel against God, they also fight against Christ and try to destroy His Work! The most dramatic way they do so is in the court case. They are evil beyond words to describe. The whole world, though they may not understand, can see them fighting against Christ in the last hour.

This is a prophecy for the middle years—to prepare us for a spectacular end. I believe that God will have to give us Mr. Armstrong’s writings. I state that in faith, and I strongly believe He will if we have the faith we need.

In Ezekiel—The End-Time Prophet (which we will send you free upon request), I wrote that for the first seven years of our work our primary commission was to send Malachi’s Message to God’s Church Today to the Church of God, which was falling away from God. After seven years, that became our secondary commission, and God inspired us primarily to get Mystery of the Ages and Mr. Armstrong’s other writings to the largest audience possible. That is still our number one commission today—but we need to be revived! And God continues to give us revelation (this time from Habakkuk) to show how it will be done.

How Long?

Let’s examine how Habakkuk’s prophecy begins. “The burden which Habakkuk the prophet did see” (Habakkuk 1:1). Habakkuk saw a heavy message—a burden. What was it about?

“O Lord, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear! even cry out unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save!” (verse 2). Habakkuk and the righteous Jews of his day were in a temple crisis. It was a type of the injustice that was prophesied for the end time.

There is a real injustice going on in this end time. We see it, as Habakkuk did in his time, and say, God, how long will you let this destruction continue? Why do you keep letting this happen?

How much longer do you think God will allow people to withhold His great message from this world? How long will we have to battle for God’s truth? God is making us fight; He wants us to stand up for His truth. He wants to know how much we love Him. So many of God’s people are just sitting and letting the man of sin take it all away. But there is a group fighting tenaciously for God.

Only a fool would think God is not concerned about this court case. For almost six years this has gone on—the last year of which we have been prevented from printing Mr. Armstrong’s works.

Our own booklets are not enough to offer on our television program. We desperately need Mr. Armstrong’s writings.

We get a good response from our television programs. However, without the foundational writings of Mr. Armstrong, we can’t educate people deeply in God’s truth.

What is God preparing us for? I believe we are in for a significant and dramatic change in this Church. We deeply need that material of Mr. Armstrong’s, and I have to beseech God and ask, How long will this go on? I see now that the answer is right here in Habakkuk.

Strife and Contention

“Why dost thou show me iniquity, and cause me to behold grievance? for spoiling and violence are before me: and there are that raise up strife and contention” (Habakkuk 1:3).

After Mr. Armstrong died in 1986—even after 1989 when the pcg started—there was some measure of strife and contention, but nothing significant. We simply left the wcg. But here Habakkuk discusses real strife and contention! And it is written in the present tense. In other words, when this prophecy is revealed, we are living it! The whole world can see this strife and contention. A lot of people outside the pcg have talked and written about it.

Strife comes from riyb, which means a contest, personal or legal. Another meaning is to strive or defend. It also means controversy, lawsuit or adversary. Several times in the Psalms, David asks God to “plead my cause.” Both plead and cause come from the Hebrew word riyb.

Contention comes from madown, which is derived from diyn—by implication to judge as an umpire, or to strive as at law. The Anchor Bible says the etymology of contention “is closer to the language of the law courts …. It could be subordinate to what follows: ‘when there was a lawsuit … the verdict came out perverted’” (emphasis mine throughout). Did that happen? It certainly did. Anchor continues, “[I]t could be describing corruption in the courts of the land.” Have we seen that? Yes, we have.

In these first few verses Habakkuk talks twice about violence, which merely means unjust gain by cruelty or lawlessness. One Bible scholar says iniquity in verse 3 is a technical legal term for a court dispute. Grievance means injustice. The Companion Bible explains it as “sin viewed in light of the trouble it causes; and of its burden; and its grievousness.” Where have we beheld injustice and grievousness?

All of these words directly relate to our court case!

Two Individuals

Notice the phrase at the end of Habakkuk 1:3, “there are that raise up strife and contention.” Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary shows that it is really speaking of an individual: “In the English version the relative ‘that’ is to be understood—literally, ‘there is (he that) raiseth up strife and contention.’” One man is raising it up. How?

Spoiling in verse 3 means desolation and destruction. This too is referring to a man. In fact, it is the same man spoken of in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 as the son of perdition, or destruction. In other words, the phrase “spoiling and violence are before me” in Habakkuk 1:3 could read, “the spoiler [is] before me.”

If you look at the court case physically, it is hard to understand why one church would go to such effort and expense simply to destroy what we’re doing. But if you understand Satan and his demons, you clearly recognize that there is a force out there intent on destroying God’s truth! People have pressured us to make a deal to resolve this dispute. But we won’t compromise or make a deal with such an evil force—we will only fight, using any means at our disposal! [See the Epilogue on page 52 for an overview of how this case unfolded.]

“Therefore the law is slacked, and judgment doth never go forth: for the wicked doth compass about the righteous; therefore wrong judgment proceedeth” (verse 4). The Anchor Bible continues by saying that wicked and righteous here also refer to individuals: “The text is best left as it is; ‘the righteous’ (one) is a specific individual. … ‘[T]he teacher of righteousness’ is enough to show that this person was identified as ‘the righteous one’ and that the wicked priest was ‘the wicked one.’” In other words, there is a man representing God and a man representing the devil, and they each have a church supporting them. The Companion Bible says the “lawless one” compasses about “the just one.”

This is about two men who are battling. This would not be happening if we weren’t in this court case!

Legal Language

Habakkuk 1:4 mentions the law being slacked, meaning feeble or faint. Has that happened in God’s Church? Yes. Many ministers don’t like the law today.

Notice the legal language Habakkuk uses: “judgment doth never go forth … therefore wrong judgment proceedeth.” Judgment comes from mishpat, which means a verdict, pronounced judicially. One commentary says it is to pronounce sentence or litigate—which is to get a lawyer and go to court. Gesenius’ Lexicon describes it as the “sentence of a judge …. Especially used of a sentence by which penalty is inflicted. … Sentence of death … to pass a hard sentence upon one, to impose punishment upon him.” Our adversary would sentence this Church to spiritual death if he could.

Lange’s Commentary says of wrong judgment, “the sentence goes forth perverted to injustice. … Mishpat is not merely a righteous verdict, however; in which case the meaning would be: There is no more any righteous verdict given ….” This is unquestionably about a court battle. The Anchor Bible says, “[T]he juridical language of verse 4 is unmistakable”—juridical relates to the administration of justice, the office of a judge, a lawsuit or verdict. “[I]t could be describing corruption in the courts,” speaking of human courts. Other commentaries say this verse is about a “formal lawsuit.”

There appears to be a contradiction between the two phrases “judgment doth never go forth” and “wrong judgment proceedeth.” But the judgment is on two levels. Within the wcg, judgment never goes forth. Its leaders are simply antichrists. But within the courts of the land, sometimes the judgment is perverted; other times you’ll get a right decision. In the lower court we won, but in the upper court an unjust decision was handed down that never should have been made.

The Anchor Bible says, “[M]agistrates have perverted justice. … The second part of Habakkuk’s first prayer … is unified by the language of legal disputation …. [T]here are quarrels (or lawsuits) …. [It] would mean that when a court case takes place, the wicked win the suit ….”

Part of verse 4 in Soncino says the wicked one “literally ‘surrounds,’ hems in the liberties of the righteous.” Has this man hemmed in our liberties? Yes, he has! How could he do that except in a court case? Throughout history, it has been almost routine for God’s people to be in court battles, at loggerheads with the law of the land.

There is a warning in all this for the court system. It’s true that God will condemn the Laodiceans—but He will also condemn the courts of this land. They have never had an easier case to decide than this one. Their bad judgment condemns them. Their time is coming—the final judgment is almost here! By the end of the book of Habakkuk it talks about nuclear winter. Events in this world are about to trigger that nightmarish scenario! Habakkuk says it is time to get urgent.

Wonder Marvelously

Notice Habakkuk 1:5, remembering that this is all in the context of the court case: “Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvellously: for I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you.”

“Behold ye … heathen.” God is specifically talking to His people who have betrayed Him through the worst kind of treason and become heathen! As John says in his first epistle, they went out from us and began fighting Christ! (1 John 2:18-19).

God says He wants them to “wonder marvelously.” The Hebrew says “wonder, wonder”! Something is about to happen that should overwhelm us with wonder. What is it?

God says He will raise up a work that people or the heathen who have never known God’s truth will also hear about but won’t believe—and this is in the context of the court battle. I believe this has already been fulfilled in general, but is God also saying there will be a specific fulfillment related to the court case—a specific miracle—that will fill God’s people with wonder? A miracle that will remove the injustices and destruction? Do we have the faith to believe?

I believe we will see something dramatic on the scene very soon! I can’t read these verses any other way. This is in the context of a revival and a court battle, and God says a double wonder is coming. God is going to revive His Work, and I believe it is starting with this new revelation! [One year after that was written, the wcg agreed to sell us the copyrights.]

Mr. Armstrong’s Battle

The Church faced a life-and-death struggle with the courts that began in 1979. Mr. Armstrong fought with all the strength he had.

He wrote in a letter to the Church at the time, “This may be the most important letter I have ever written. The very life of God’s Church and His Work hangs in the balance” (co-worker letter, Jan. 18, 1979). The fact is, churches die! We must have faith to keep God’s Church alive!

“This letter may have to be long,” he continued. “I want you to know all the facts about this master-blow of Satan to destroy the Church of God through the civil power of the state, in flagrant violation of the Constitution of the United States!” (emphasis his). What the wcg is doing to us violates the Constitution as well. For someone to talk about his “Christian duty” to keep books out of print is not constitutional!

Mr. Armstrong continued, “[A] tremendous injustice was done through the courts and judges of men. I knew 52 years ago, that as they persecuted Jesus, so would they me—and His people—if I surrendered and was baptized and received the gift of His Spirit. I counted the cost. And now I am paying it!—and unjustly! …

“I have told you this was actually precipitated by my own son [Garner Ted Armstrong], whom I still love in deep sorrow. My son, just before I excommunicated him, stood over me as I was seated, thundering, ‘Dad, I could destroy you!’ His wife, Shirl, telephoned saying, ‘This is war!’ My son said in a letter that this is a war I can’t win because, he said, it is a nationally known television personality fighting me.”

But Mr. Armstrong’s son didn’t win.

This co-worker letter was reprinted in the second volume of the Autobiography. The paragraph I just quoted had been cut out—edited by men who thought they were somehow qualified to edit God’s apostle when he wrote a letter like that. Where did that thinking get them? Where are those men that would have the arrogance and the rebellion to say so many evil things about Mr. Armstrong, but who don’t want anything in his autobiography about war in the Church or about what Garner Ted and his wife did? We need to know what happened and what can happen to any one of us if we unjustly edit God’s apostle.

This is a war. What happened to all those men who were so free in editing what Mr. Armstrong wrote? They are no longer around. Mr. Armstrong warned that the Church was drifting into a careless, lukewarm spiritual condition. We in the pcg are the only ones who have survived that debacle!

Mr. Armstrong said, “Don’t ever worry about God or Christ forsaking us or His Work. He won’t! We need to be concerned about whether we have begun to veer away to some extent from Him—have we unknowingly begun partly to forsake Him?”

World Crisis

Right after Habakkuk discusses this miracle in the court case, he reveals what is about to happen on the world scene. “For, lo, I raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, which shall march through the breadth of the land, to possess the dwellingplaces that are not theirs” (Habakkuk 1:6).

God is going to use the Chaldeans, or the Holy Roman Empire, to punish America, Britain and the Middle East Jews—along with God’s own Laodicean Church, the same sinning church that has fought against or failed to support God’s own Work in this court case.

These are the times we are living in! We are watching Habakkuk’s prophecy—even on the physical level—beginning to unfold before our eyes! In response, we must take on an appropriate level of urgency in our relationship with God.

Seeking Correction

Look at Habakkuk’s attitude. In chapter 2 he said, “I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what he will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved” (verse 1). Some commentaries believe Habakkuk didn’t have a good attitude here. In fact, he had a great attitude! Habakkuk went to his tower to see what God would say. He wanted to be reproved by God!

The Anchor Bible states that stand “specifically indicates the respectful posture of a courtier attending on a king or of the heavenly hosts waiting on the Lord.” He went to God with a very submissive, childlike attitude. He sought God’s correction. That is why God spoke to him and revealed His prophecy.

This is the kind of attitude that we must have for miracles to flow. Then God speaks to His Church through new revelation.

The expression “stand upon my watch” is a military expression. Habakkuk was a spiritual soldier, waiting and watching so he could concentrate all his senses on God’s revelation. He did all he could “to see what he [God] will say.” God always speaks to His Church through a man like Habakkuk. He reveals His precious truth.

Each individual has the responsibility to prepare himself for God’s revelation as Habakkuk did. It is a rare person who will receive and love God’s revelation.

Until Christ personally comes to this Earth, this is the way it will work. God will pour out His revelation if we just believe what He has to say. God wants people like Habakkuk who won’t talk back to Him, who will go to Him to hear what He has to say. He wants people who seek correction.

God is proclaiming His message today, and people with faith want to be a part of that.

At the End It Shall Speak

“And the Lord answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it” (Habakkuk 2:2). God answered Habakkuk. Where is God revealing His answers today? We don’t have to guess. We must not guess!

What is God’s plan? What is God doing? Where is God working? God answers all of our questions. He is the living God—our Father. A loving father answers his child. But the child must be submissive to God’s government.

God promised to reveal His answers in the end time. Where are those answers? You are reading some of them.

The pcg has beseeched God for revelation, and now we are writing this vision down. God commands us to make the vision plain, and we are. People can now read it and run—they can become urgent in this last hour. It is a time not to walk, but run spiritually!

Weapons of mass destruction are proliferating rapidly; terrorist groups are arming for religious war; the nations of Israel are collapsing morally, and will soon collapse economically, politically and militarily. Meanwhile, Europe is quickly moving toward a full-scale resurrection of its imperial past. The Middle East is ready to explode and drag the whole world into the deadly morass. And God asks, “[W]hy will ye die, O house of Israel?” (Ezekiel 33:11). Nations are going to die if we don’t wake up and heed God’s warning!

If ever there was a time to run, it is now!

“For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry” (Habakkuk 2:3). God is speaking! We have waited for revelation, and now God is giving it to us.

“[A]t the end it [the vision] shall speak.” Has it spoken to you? The revelation has come, just as God prophesied. The vision has spoken. That means justice will also come to God’s very elect—“at the end.” God has spoken. It must come.

A specific time “appointed” by God is upon us. The new revelation in Habakkuk is a specific sign that shows where we are in prophecy. Be patient and wait—this prophecy will be totally fulfilled. It “will not lie”!

The Anchor Bible states, “These few ‘prose particles’ are enough to show that the discourse is not general, but is referring to specific topics and concrete objects.” God is getting extremely concrete and specific. We now see Habakkuk’s prophecy is about a concrete, specific court case at a precise, appointed time.

God is filling in the details as never before in this end time. We are going to be left without excuse.

Live by Faith

“Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith” (Habakkuk 2:4). This goes back to speaking of those two individuals: one whose soul is not upright, and another who is just—“the just one” it should read. The Companion Bible refers to them as the “lawless one” and the “righteous one.” Their followers are also lawless and righteous.

This first man is “lifted up” by pride and vanity. One translation says he is a proud, treacherous person. Of the second man the Anchor Bible says, “The words of encouragement in verses 2-3 are addressed to the prophet, who, we suggest, is himself the righteous person of verse 4. The continuity of what follows requires identification of the person whose rapacity is described in verse 5 ….” In other words, here are two men who each represent a church, one of which is a work of faith, and the other, a work of pride and vanity.

Satan and his man are real. So must God and His man be real to you!

There is a god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4). There is a man of sin (2 Thessalonians 2:3). We know all about that. But there is also a prophet of God we must understand as well.

Some people don’t like me to talk about government and one-man rule. But that is what God is talking about!

This just man must live by his faith. He believes God and lives by the Bible. And every one of you should follow that faith—not the man. If you really want to live—if you want God to fill your life with stunning miracles and exciting growth—you must live by faith. That is the only way this work can reach the largest audience possible.

We must fight this court battle in faith! A few members who have thought we shouldn’t be involved in this case have left the Church. Now we see that the court case is prophesied! Where would we be if we hadn’t stepped out and fought in this court case? We would be Laodicean.

Faith is not a fuzzy thing. This is the real world, and our faith must be based on specifics like what Habakkuk is talking about. Many people reject the fact that Habakkuk is discussing specific events and personalities in this end time. But that attitude shows a lack of faith.

The court case is fought by people who live by God’s faith in them (Galatians 2:20). Only the faithful will fight this war. As Paul said, we must “fight the good fight of faith” (1 Timothy 6:12).

People of faith know that we were commissioned by God to reach the largest audience possible with Mr. Armstrong’s writings. Therefore we fight for God’s revelation.

Satan tries to extinguish this light—the lamp—for the world. Without those works and the revelation given to the pcg, this world would be in total darkness.

A Proud Man

Habakkuk gives some startling detail about the enemy we face.

“Yea also, because he transgresseth by wine, he is a proud man, neither keepeth at home, who enlargeth his desire as hell, and is as death, and cannot be satisfied, but gathereth unto him all nations, and heapeth unto him all people” (Habakkuk 2:5). He transgresses—a man. There is a specific man fulfilling this prophecy spiritually today; the physical fulfillment will come shortly.

The International Critical Commentary explains, “As with wine the wrong-doer vaunteth, He hath more than enough, but he is not filled; Who enlargeth his desire like Sheol [the grave], And like Death he is not sated; But gathereth to him all the nations, And heapeth to him all the peoples.” He is just trying to draw all the members and prospective members to himself.

Of the statement that this man “is as death,” the Anchor Bible says, “[T]he imagery is quite concrete. It is death as a monster that opens its maw …. The insatiable hunger of death is shown by the fact that its meal of the living never ends.” This is talking about eternal life and death. There is a man out there eating people alive spiritually! There is no end to his desire to destroy people’s eternal lives! He destroys people’s faith, and they die spiritually (2 Thessalonians 2:10). This is nothing to be casual about—this is what we are up against!

“Shall not all these take up a parable against him, and a taunting proverb against him, and say, Woe to him that increaseth that which is not his! how long? and to him that ladeth himself with thick clay!” (Habakkuk 2:6). Again, this is within the context of the court battle. It occurs before the Tribulation. The work of this man will be smashed in the Tribulation. Here is a man trying to increase what is not his.

Why are Mr. Armstrong’s writings “not his”—that is, they don’t belong to this man in Habakkuk 2:6? Because revealed truth comes only from God, and God always expects His people to proclaim that truth. This man is doing the opposite. He wants to destroy this truth and suppress it from the whole world!

This evil rebel has already been judged by God.

How could he try to increase what’s not his except through the courts? He couldn’t come and forcibly take Mystery of the Ages from us—he needs the help of the court. And that’s when Habakkuk responds by saying, How long, God? How long will you allow him to do that?

Why is Mr. Armstrong’s literature not this man’s? We could argue this forever, but that’s what God says. He may have a court on his side, but God has already ruled on this issue. The Supreme Court of heaven says it is not his property! So we don’t have to worry about what the courts of this land say; we look to God. (But we always try very hard to be obedient to the laws of this land.) Mystery of the Ages belongs to God and to the people who are trying to deliver it to the largest audience possible!

Satan has struck a dangerous blow against this Church by forbidding that printing. This is not an easy battle. It wasn’t easy for Jesus Christ to sweat blood to keep Himself going in spite of the persecution He faced, but He did it. Sometimes we have major obstacles in fighting the man of sin today.

Coveting God’s House

Habakkuk 2:9 says this evil man coveted a house. Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon says, “steward, a servant set over the household and the other servants …. [A] royal house, a palace.” Another definition is, “the house of God, i.e. temple.” We must not forget that God’s house was once on the wcg’s Pasadena property—the Ambassador Auditorium, the building Mr. Armstrong dedicated to the great God, which he always referred to as the house of God. The auditorium is the only house on Earth built and dedicated exclusively to the great God! [In 2010, we built Armstrong Auditorium, dedicated to the great God.]

Another definition is “family.” God honored His Family by letting them use this house. God always puts the emphasis on the spiritual. However, the house probably also means God’s physical house. [It has now been sold.] God is very concerned about that house, and I believe He is pointing to it as a symbol. (For more information request our free booklet on Haggai.)

“Thou hast consulted shame to thy house by cutting off many people, and hast sinned against thy soul” (verse 10). This evil man is “cutting off many people”—from what? From God and the truths He revealed to Mr. Armstrong!

This antichrist is destroying the faith of many Church members and prospective members. Now he is trying to destroy the pcg, God’s faithful remnant, in this court case.

God pronounces, “Woe to him”! (verse 9).

The Connecting Beam

“For the stone shall cry out of the wall, and the beam out of the timber shall answer it” (Habakkuk 2:11). This verse undoubtedly has a spiritual and a physical application. Stone, wall, beam, timber—these are elements of a physical house.

Who can understand this verse of great symbolism?

Stone is referring to God (i.e. in Genesis 49:24 He is called “the stone of Israel”). Christ isn’t silent or passive about what is going on. He is crying out today through the pcg!

Beam comes from kaphiyc, which means to join together or connect. Strong’s Concordance says it is a girder beam to connect. What is it connecting? Soncino says this beam is “derived from a root meaning ‘to fasten’ and signifies ‘a connecting girder.’” Put this in context with the court case.

This verse says that a Stone cries out, and this connecting beam answers. The present court battle is over Mystery of the Ages. Mystery of the Ages provides a synopsis of the whole Bible. It binds everything we believe together. It connects all of our doctrines. All of the foundational mysteries of life are revealed in that book. Every vital question about life’s purpose is answered.

This beam summarizes all of our doctrines. This beam connects the whole spiritual building. It’s as if it holds the whole building together. Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary calls it “the main rafter connecting the timbers in the walls.”

Mystery of the Ages would unite the wcg and all its dissenting groups, if they believed its message!

Jess Bravin, a journalist from the Wall Street Journal, said all of the wcg dissenting churches have a great interest in this court case.

The Stone is crying out. But are they heeding that cry?

The main emphasis of the court case is on the beam—Mystery of the Ages. God personifies the Stone who cries out.

That house has experienced all of the good and evil described here. Now the Stone is crying out about this monstrous evil. The Stone cries out about this court case and His revealed truth, and also about the evil that is impeding God’s Work.

Mystery of the Ages contains all of the vital answers. Study that book and the Bible is no longer a mystery. It should remove the confusion and blindness from God’s Laodicean churches! It shows where the Stone is! It points to God’s government and His law.

Mystery of the Ages should connect all of God’s people to the Stone. It should hold the temple, or Church, together. It should unify God’s people into one voice.

But sadly, no church outside the pcg even wants that book! At least, not enough to fight for it. Therein lies their main problem. They don’t love God’s truth (2 Thessalonians 2:10), and they lack Habakkuk’s faith.

Habakkuk is speaking of our court battle. We are getting quite a lot of publicity. All the other churches are glued to this case. It’s as if, through the pcg, the Stone is crying out, and Mystery of the Ages answers.

If you don’t look at these verses with faith, you’ll think this is nonsense. But remember, the Bible is a coded book, and it takes God’s Spirit to decode it. God only decodes the Bible for people who use that Spirit and walk by faith.

There was a physical house of God on Earth. These verses personify that house. There is a dual meaning—spiritual and physical houses.

Mystery of the Ages was the first book of Mr. Armstrong’s the pcg printed (except for the uncopyrighted 1945 version of The United States and Britain in Prophecy, which we are still able to print). That started the whole battle. God inspired us to realize that we needed that book, but then He let Satan attack us. The whole issue, in God’s mind, is determining how much we love His truth.

Why is God discussing a physical house in Habakkuk’s end-time prophecy? First of all, this is a spiritual message. But there was also a physical house of God on this Earth with great spiritual meaning, and God is deeply concerned.

Who and What Is God?

The first mystery solved in Mystery of the Ages is who and what is God. That is the most magnificent and wonderful question ever asked in the universe! Knowing that brings us all together. All people will have to learn that truth, or they will have no future. Where is God today? If He is alive, where is He? If you know who and what God is, you will know where He is doing His Work. You will know where the Stone is. You will know about the law, the government and every other doctrine, all of which are unified by that connecting beam, Mystery of the Ages.

What is the cause of problems in the Middle East? It is a clash of two religions that are misled about who and what is God! They often want to kill each other! Religion is the cause of so much division in this world! They may get angry when we tell them this, but they don’t know God!

God condemns false religion as being the major cause of all the world’s evils. The most powerful nations of Israel are going to be destroyed by a church-state power that is now rising on the European scene.

The whole world is deceived (Revelation 12:9), and that includes religion—religions that don’t know who and what is God!

Remember, the first religious challenge Mr. Armstrong faced was dual: First it was the Sabbath question, which involves the special covenant that reveals where the people are who know the true God; next it was evolution, which takes God out of the picture. God raised up a man who brought God right back into the picture! There is no truth so important as who and what is God! But sadly, even God’s own people—95 percent of them—don’t deeply know God.

None of the other dissenting groups from the wcg want Mystery of the Ages. Most of them want the pcg to lose the court case.

Such reasoning only condemns them. They are really saying they don’t truly know who and what is God! That is why God says they are blind Laodiceans (Revelation 3:14-17).

In Acts 17:16-31 Paul talked to the philosophers of Athens about the unknown God. You don’t know God, he was telling them. Even Jesus Christ, at the end of His ministry, had only 120 faithful disciples (Acts 1:15). How many people really know God? Most Christians believe in a “trinity.” They don’t understand the Father and Son and the fact that God is opening His Family to mankind. The gospel is all about God building a family. How many people understand that gospel?

God says that an ox knows its owner, but Israel does not know God (Isaiah 1:2-4). When are we going to believe God and His Word? Apparently only unparalleled suffering will teach that awesome lesson.

Soon we will teach the whole world who and what God is. Mystery of the Ages will fill the Earth.

Satan’s Wrath

Chapter 2 of Mystery of the Ages addresses angels and evil spirits. This book exposes Satan as no book on Earth. The devil hates and fears exposure most of all. He is in a fitful rage and is trying to destroy Mystery of the Ages. Never has this Work suffered such wrath. So far he has been dangerously successful. But we must not let him succeed. God is on our side. Now each one of us must walk by “his faith.”

Satan knows that if he can destroy Mr. Armstrong’s writings, God’s message cannot reach the world. Spreading that message is the very reason why we are called now!

Through Habakkuk, God is telling us not to be discouraged because He is going to revive His Work before our eyes! And it will be in the context of the court case.

Satan is working on our members intensively. We must be grounded in Mystery of the Ages—that connecting beam—to withstand those attacks. And we must trust God when He says He will deliver us, even if it takes a while!

Even our prospective members are being attacked. It seems some will be coming along, and in just a short time something happens and they stop coming. God’s Church members need to be praying for them all the time—our co-workers and prospective members.

The world has never seen violence as it is seeing today, in the Middle East and all over the Earth. Why? “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). Satan knows his time is almost over! “And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child” (verse 13). His first target is the Church. We have to expect that.

Satan’s rule is about up. Now is not the time to give in! Now is the time to take the victory!

“And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent” (verse 14). God will protect His people from the devil.

Events are poised to explode in this world. People, including the Laodiceans, are about to get to know Satan and his demons through the worst suffering ever!

The Other Mysteries

Mystery of the Ages Chapter 3 discusses the mystery of man. We are here to replace those evil spirits in their positions of rulership.

Chapter 4 talks about the mystery of civilization. If you understand what man’s civilization was founded upon, you know exactly why the world is in such violent turmoil today.

Chapter 5 is the mystery of Israel. The Laodiceans don’t want The United States and Britain in Prophecy. They reject that book and don’t understand the third of the Bible that is prophecy.

Chapter 6 is the mystery of the Church. How many people understand this truth? This chapter reveals the purpose of the Church. In fact, this reveals why it is so important that we publish Mystery of the Ages and get as many people studying it as possible. If pcg members really studied and believed Mystery of the Ages, they would never leave the true Church!

There was a voice crying out in the Philadelphia era under Mr. Armstrong. And there is a voice crying out in the Laodicean era from the pcg. But do the Laodiceans understand? No, they don’t comprehend the mystery of the Church chapter. They no longer understand God’s purpose for the Church.

Finally, it is the mystery of the Kingdom of God chapter which unveils the Family of God. How can all the conflicting ideas in the world—even the various splinter groups of God’s Laodicean churches—ever unite? The only way is through family—the Family of God. If people don’t want to be part of the Family, if they don’t want “one-man rule,” or God’s government, or God’s law, they’ll never be part of that Kingdom.

Laboring in the Fire

“Woe to him that buildeth a town with blood, and stablisheth a city by iniquity!” (Habakkuk 2:12). This is talking about the blood of God’s people! If we don’t get this message out, we are guilty of the nations of Israel’s blood! God is a God of justice, and He holds us accountable for the truth He has revealed to His Church through Mr. Armstrong and me. That truth must be proclaimed to Israel and the world! That is why God reveals it! He wants to give to this world. Having the blood of God’s people on your head is a terrible guilt! (Ezekiel 33:7-9).

There could be no stronger warning to all the Laodiceans than this!

“Behold, is it not of the Lord of hosts that the people shall labour in the very fire, and the people shall weary themselves for very vanity?” (Habakkuk 2:13). That’s right—many of God’s people today are simply laboring in the fire! Eternal life really is at stake! Many of the Laodiceans are working, but it is all for vanity, and they are laboring in the fire! Fifty percent of God’s people will die forever! This is dangerous knowledge.

Jesus Christ took His work seriously. He came to Earth and had His body beaten and mangled to the point where His bones were protruding through His flesh. He worked so hard that He sweat blood! People who shrug off their calling, or who think this isn’t the way God does things, don’t know who and what God is! They won’t humble themselves so God can reveal Himself to them.

This is not a chess game. We are here to receive eternal glory or eternal death! And there is not much time to qualify!

“For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea” (verse 14). Here is what our work is all about. This process of spreading God’s knowledge has already started, and it will be completed in the Millennium. This is what our fight for Mystery of the Ages is for—filling the Earth with the knowledge of God’s glory. God has given us this commission. It isn’t vanity. Why is God’s Church here today? To fill this world with His truth!

It “shall be” done in the future. Not yet. Not in the middle of our end-time crisis years. But we have started the process. That is why we try to reach the largest audience possible. This Work of God will continue until this marvelous prophecy is fulfilled! This is where our work is leading. Habakkuk reminds us of our wonderful goal.

We are not motivated by vanity. We are motivated by God to fill this Earth with His truth as the water covers the seabed.

‘Christian Duty’

“Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink, that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also, that thou mayest look on their nakedness!” (Habakkuk 2:15). Some people were sober, and a man made them drunk. They knew God’s precious, revealed truth, and he pressured them into surrendering to the devil.

This chief rebel strips them of all their spiritual clothing. Then he gloats as he looks upon their nakedness. That nakedness was also prophesied (Revelation 3:17-18).

Woe unto him—a man. This is what can happen if you trust a man. Habakkuk is speaking spiritually—of God’s Church.

In his book Transformed by Truth, Joseph Tkach Jr. writes, “We feel it is our Christian duty to keep this book [Mystery of the Ages] out of print … because we believe Mr. Armstrong’s doctrinal errors are better left out of circulation.” Is this just a wish that he has? Or is it something he will fight for fiercely, to make sure no one is ever able to get that truth of God? He wants to suppress Mr. Armstrong’s “doctrinal errors”—which refers to everything of significance Mr. Armstrong ever wrote!

In the language of Habakkuk, this man considers it his “Christian duty” to strip their clothing off and look on their nakedness! An ugly picture. But like Satan, he comes as an angel of light. He makes it sound so nice—he would never do this if it weren’t his “Christian duty.” But he’s following another christ! He’s saying, I don’t want anyone to read this book any place on Earth!

Who is really behind that kind of global passion? That is Satan’s message. Revelation 13:11 talks about a beast that looks like a lamb but speaks like a dragon.

“Thou art filled with shame for glory: drink thou also, and let thy foreskin be uncovered: the cup of the Lord’s right hand shall be turned unto thee, and shameful spewing shall be on thy glory” (Habakkuk 2:16). Do you want to lose your glory? Some of God’s people are getting into the worst kind of shame. What glory they had—and now what shame!

God will uncover the foreskin of this filthy, Satan-led spiritual pervert. That means his putrid spiritual life is going to be exposed! This is a very ugly portrayal.

And remember, this is all in the context of the court case. If we had won in the appellate court, this could never have happened. We would not have exposed the wcg and the devil as we are doing now—as Habakkuk prophesied! God is leading our cause. We must trust Him, and we must believe His prophecy.

None of our prophecy is more timely than this. God revealed new prophecy to us after we stepped out in faith and fought for Mystery of the Ages. But now we have lost the second round, and God has revealed very specifically why: Satan and those he inspires must be exposed.

We lost a battle, but we will win the war. God has said that we must prophesy again (Revelation 10:11), and nobody can stop God’s Work but God!

Even this new revelation signifies the beginning of something more serious for this man. We need to watch for dramatic developments—I suspect quite soon.

“For the violence of Lebanon shall cover thee, and the spoil of beasts, which made them afraid, because of men’s blood, and for the violence of the land, of the city, and of all that dwell therein” (Habakkuk 2:17). Look at Lebanon today. This is a prophecy that Lebanon would be in disastrous ruins in the latter days! Those who have destroyed God’s truth are going to experience a similar disaster.

They are guilty of “men’s blood” because they failed to deliver God’s message.

Teacher of Lies

“What profiteth the graven image that the maker thereof hath graven it; the molten image, and a teacher of lies, that the maker of his work trusteth therein, to make dumb idols?” (Habakkuk 2:18).

This teacher (singular) of lies is in God’s own Church. He is getting God’s own people to look to dumb idols. Idols means anything worthless or vain. Graven image means a vain object of worship. The man has a kind of worship, but he is not worshiping the true God. Molten image could be a covenant or an offering to a false god—a false god inside God’s own Church! This man is rich and increased with goods, and that helps him to teach his lies. Lies means a way of life contrary to the law, one that breaks God’s covenant. This teacher of lies has a gigantic lust for physical things!

The Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible says the word teacher (Hebrew yarah) “definitely has the connotation of aiming or controlling.” He doesn’t run a haphazard operation; it is controlled, and it is aiming at something. It has the design of the devil. In Numbers 21:30 and 2 Chronicles 35:23, yarah is translated shot; in 1 Samuel 20:36 it is shoot. Satan is spiritually aiming and shooting at God’s people through this man! When yarah is used, there’s always someone behind the shooting. 2 Thessalonians strongly indicates that this man is possessed. It’s as if the teacher is an arrow shot by the devil.

Satan is controlling people through a man, and the only thing standing in his way is the faithful remnant of God’s people. One manuscript has the word bitterness for teacher. I believe that is absolutely right because we are dealing with Satan’s bitterness! Usually that bitterness is expressed through a man. How could you break God’s law as much as Satan has and not be extremely bitter? And he got a man inside of God’s Church to become antichrist and begin fighting Christ and His spiritual Jews. That is what we are facing in court today.

“Woe unto him that saith to the wood, Awake; to the dumb stone, Arise, it shall teach! Behold, it is laid over with gold and silver, and there is no breath at all in the midst of it” (Habakkuk 2:19). This is the fifth woe against this man in Habakkuk 2 (the others being in verses 6, 9, 12 and 15). That is God’s number of judgment. Here this man is pictured bowing down before a piece of wood! There is no sense in it, but God’s people are doing it.

Keep Silence Before God

Now, a beautiful verse: “But the Lord is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him” (Habakkuk 2:20). Don’t forget, the context is the court case. God is in His temple, and the whole world ought to keep silent before Him.

The main evidence that God is in His temple is the new revelation, such as this from Habakkuk! He is not going to come in thunder and lightning, or destroying armies—yet. But His temple is in full service because He is speaking. God has a lot to say during this court case. He is telling the whole Earth to be quiet and listen! They are not ready to do that yet—the Laodiceans even talk back to God! But let me tell you: They ought to be listening to this revelation and listening to what is coming upon this world. God is not some dumb idol. Those who don’t listen to His voice now will have to learn the hard way. If we, on the other hand, keep silent and listen, we will see some dramatic changes.

Some of God’s people can’t tell the difference between the living, omnipotent God and a dumb idol! That is the greatest of spiritual disasters.

God is speaking through new revelation. Just because people refuse to listen doesn’t change that fact. The whole Earth should carefully listen and heed His warning. If they don’t, their immediate future is black and gloomy. But soon this world will change its course—after intense suffering.

How wonderful and spectacular to be honored to hear and heed God’s voice. Where is there a greater blessing than that?

Make Known

“A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet upon Shigionoth” (Habakkuk 3:1). Shigionoth means crying aloud. That’s what we are doing, even in this court case—crying to God. We will get answers if we heed the next verse.

“O Lord, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O Lord, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy” (verse 2). Habakkuk feared God. That is a condition for receiving revelation: First we must fear.

Habakkuk said he heard God’s speech. How did God speak to him? With thunder and lightning, as He did from Mount Sinai? No—as far as I can tell, God spoke to him in the same way God speaks to me. Do we hear God’s speech—His new revelation?

The Laodiceans are failing today because they don’t fear God. They don’t tremble at His Word. God is speaking today and they refuse to hear. They would rather look to speechless idols.

Do you hear God’s speech as Habakkuk did? About 95 percent of God’s own people are refusing to hear His new revelation, so this is not an easy process. But the rewards—even today—are monumental.

Why is God revealing most of Habakkuk now? Because He is about to revive this Work in the middle of the years. We must believe it! We are about to see miracles from God! They have already started because He is revealing Habakkuk to us—words shaped by the Spirit and revealed by the Spirit.

If God reveals Habakkuk, then it follows that He is going to revive this Work soon if we walk by faith. It must happen in the middle of our crisis years—not at the very end. The new revelation is proof that God will revive our work!

This new revelation also proves that we are walking by faith. We must continue. If so, we cannot lose. God will revive His Work. Probably most of it will be done through His people, as is usually the case.

Make known, Habakkuk says, means to really know God. That is a euphemism for sexual intercourse! How will people get to know God—through punishment, or through these inspiring words? What is it worth to know God? We are just the tiny beginning of this whole world coming to know God. All that black, gruesome violence in Jerusalem is connected to the return of Jesus Christ, when He will make God known to the whole world from Jerusalem—a marvelous work and a wonder!

The whole world is about to become God’s Family. What a joyful wonder!

Mount Paran

“God came from Teman, and the Holy One from mount Paran. Selah. His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise” (Habakkuk 3:3). Mount Paran is probably within the area where the place of safety will be. Petra is in this vicinity. This time, though, Christ doesn’t have 10,000 saints with Him (Deuteronomy 33:2; see the last chapter of our booklet No Freedom Without Law).

The International Critical Commentary says it’s better to put this chapter in the present tense. In other words, it’s happening right now. That means Christ comes from Mount Paran in the middle of this court case. What was He doing in Mount Paran? Why would He be there now? We must put this in context with the fact that we are Christ’s Bride, and that our loving Husband protects His Bride and prepares for our safety and protection.

Within a short time of the September 11 terrorist attack, terrorists tried to bomb Petra. Did Christ stop that Himself? I don’t know, but I think it is reasonable to believe that our Husband will come to our aid personally when He needs to. He came or is coming from Mount Paran today for some purpose.

These verses indicate Christ will be personally involved in the court case. This is all going to lead to the Earth being “full of his praise.”


“And his brightness was as the light; he had horns coming out of his hand: and there was the hiding of his power” (Habakkuk 3:4). God sometimes hides His power. We didn’t see it in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, did we? But that doesn’t mean our faith is hidden. And God’s power will not remain hidden.

“Thou didst march through the land in indignation, thou didst thresh the heathen in anger. Thou wentest forth for the salvation of thy people, even for salvation with thine anointed; thou woundedst the head out of the house of the wicked, by discovering the foundation unto the neck. Selah” (verses 12‑13). This too is before the Tribulation. God is going to save His people and His anointed.

And God will also wound the head of the wicked, just as in Amos 9:1. That man—certainly that organization—will be exposed and wounded. The word woundedst (Hebrew machats) is translated smite in Numbers 24:17, pierce in Numbers 24:8 and pierced in Judges 5:26. Never in Scripture is it used to denote destruction. The man of sin and his work will be destroyed in the Tribulation. But this is a wound in the middle of the years. The Revised Standard Version says God will “[lay] him bare from thigh to neck”—a real exposure!

Again, this is all about two men, one whom God will save and another whom God will wound.

What if we had never tried to acquire Mr. Armstrong’s literature? Well, we would not understand this revelation from Habakkuk! In fact, we wouldn’t even be here with the Creator of the universe who speaks to His people. God has to guide the man in charge to fight the battles that He wants fought.

God is in His Church. He looks after us with special, loving care, tender mercy and kindness, as no man or army of men ever could. This Church means so much to Him. What wonderful truth He gives to His Bride! We are about to claim a victory! God is going to save His people.

All I am is a delivery boy. I don’t say that just to sound humble. The message I’m delivering is God’s. How does that involve you? You have to help me deliver that message if we are to escape the Tribulation.

We are so honored to be part of this marvelous work and a wonder. Keep your mind on this Work so we can get the job finished, and then God can usher in His glory to all the Earth.

Continue Reading: Chapter 2: Germany Rises and Conquers—Again