Chapter 3: Why Family?
The book of Isaiah is filled with good news about God’s glorious world to come. “The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it” (Isaiah 2:1-2). The term “last days” always refers to the time period leading up to and including the return of Christ.
God’s house, or Church, will be exalted far above any other institution. Then the nations will flow to it—because Christ commands it. Then the people will know that only God’s way works. They will greatly desire to live by God’s law. “And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem” (Isaiah 2:3).
God’s law will go out from Zion, or God’s Church, in the Millennium. That means the law certainly should be going out from God’s Church today. Otherwise, how could we possibly be prepared to rule with Christ? We must submit to God’s government, which is based on God’s law, today. In God’s future world, we will teach the whole world how to submit to God’s law. Today, the whole world, including the world’s religions, rejects God’s law. That is why this world is filled with problems!
What else will we teach in the Millennium other than God’s law? Much will revolve around the truth Herbert W. Armstrong restored to God’s Church (Matthew 17:10-11). We must deeply learn what God taught us through him. We are God’s spiritual college today, and we shall establish God’s colleges all over this Earth very soon. Today, God’s true Church is a college to train teachers for the World Tomorrow. We have a message of hope for the world! That is easy-to-prove truth!
The basis of all our teaching is God’s law. His law will ensure that the whole world will live in peace. “And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more” (Isaiah 2:4). This verse is on a plaque at the United Nations. But in 6,000 years of man’s history, those words have not even come close to being fulfilled! Only God will fulfill this verse—not man. War on this Earth is about to end forever! A beautiful, glorious world is about to burst on the scene. God will use those saints being called now to help create that glorious world!
However, there is bad news just before God’s beautiful world to come. “O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the Lord. Therefore thou hast forsaken thy people the house of Jacob, because they be replenished from the east, and are soothsayers like the Philistines, and they please themselves in the children of strangers” (verses 5-6). God will forsake His chosen people Israel. Some churches today say God wouldn’t do that, but He will. God will forsake His people because they have rejected Him and His law proclaimed to them by His Church.
God made a covenant with the people of ancient Israel, but He divorced them after they broke that covenant. God made a covenant with His New Testament Church. In this end time, many of God’s own people broke that covenant. God will forsake them too. Many of them still have a chance to repent before the Messiah’s coming.
God will never, never, never forsake us if we obey Him. But both parties must keep the covenant if it is to be binding. That covenant is based on God’s law.
God will punish physical and spiritual Israel (His Church in this end time). Mr. Armstrong taught us for years who physical Israel was. These prophecies are aimed primarily at the American and British people.
Just a little sound thinking should prove to us who Israel is. “Their land also is full of silver and gold, neither is there any end of their treasures; their land is also full of horses, neither is there any end of their chariots” (verse 7).
Most of this world is extremely poor. But there have been some nations that have received unparalleled blessings because of Abraham’s obedience. Primarily, the American and British peoples have been the recipients of these blessings. Anybody should see that there has been no end of their treasures! Their lands have been full of horses and chariots, or powerful transportation vehicles and war machines. And remember, that prosperity occurs just before Christ returns. Have we seen such wealth in Africa? South America? China? Russia? Of course not.
Just as God gives blessings, He often has to take them away. The nations of America and Britain are also full of something evil. “Their land also is full of idols; they worship the work of their own hands, that which their own fingers have made” (verse 8). Our people have used that wealth to create amazing things. But we have taken those creations and put them ahead of God in our lives—made idols of them. Our nations don’t worship God. We worship what our hands have made! And that includes religion today.
Now God has to humble us. “The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day” (verse 11). Notice, this all happens “in that day”—the end time, right now.
Only God will be exalted “in that day.” The problem with this evil world is that we exalt men to a level only God should inhabit. That is why God must humble man. Then there will be no more worshiping of men. Only God will be worshiped then.
The Hebrew expression for “shall be humbled” is in the perfect tense. The Prophet Isaiah is so certain that he describes this event as if it has already happened! You and I need that kind of faith in God’s future world! That fabulous world is about to become reality. Nothing can stop it!
“And the idols he shall utterly abolish. And they shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth. In that day a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they made each one for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats” (verses 18‑20). Again we see this is prophesied to happen “in that day,” or the end time.
“To go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the tops of the ragged rocks, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth” (verse 21). God is about to “shake terribly the earth”! He says this twice in three verses! He will shake Israel and then the whole world! He will get man’s attention!
If we don’t heed God’s message today, then we have to learn it through horrendous suffering! Why, oh why, won’t we listen today?
The Cause of Our Problems
What is the source of our problems today? God says, “Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of?” (Isaiah 2:22). Man is the cause of our problems today. We must cease following man and follow only God. Man is incomplete. Mankind must replace human reasoning with the mind of God (Philippians 2:5). Human reasoning is causing all of our problems today. And as a result, a mind-chilling change is coming quickly to the American and British peoples!
“For, behold, the Lord, the Lord of hosts, doth take away from Jerusalem and from Judah the stay and the staff, the whole stay of bread, and the whole stay of water” (Isaiah 3:1). That means all of our support will be gone—a total disaster! Most of the food and water is about to go.
Israel will go from the peak of prosperity to the depths of deprivation. In other Bible verses this is called the worst time of suffering ever (Matthew 24:21; Daniel 12:1; Jeremiah 30:7). This is the kind of calamity about to strike Britain and America!
Will you repent before the Great Tribulation?
The strong leaders are taken away. “The mighty man, and the man of war, the judge, and the prophet, and the prudent, and the ancient, The captain of fifty, and the honourable man, and the counsellor, and the cunning artificer, and the eloquent orator” (Isaiah 3:2-3). Our leaders have degenerated to a child’s level in judgments and decisions! “And I will give children to be their princes, and babes shall rule over them” (verse 4). Then we see anarchy and violence erupt throughout the land.
It’s especially bad in America, where violence has spiraled out of control. Even our schools are no longer safe. The whole world sees crime exploding in America. Ezekiel says, “[T]he land is full of bloody crimes, and the city is full of violence” (Ezekiel 7:23). Violence and bloody crimes were prophesied to fill our land today (request our book Ezekiel: The End-Time Prophet).
How much violence and bloodshed must there be before we wake up and turn to God? And I don’t mean turning to so-called Christianity today—I mean turn to the great God of Isaiah!
The strong oppress the weak because our weak government doesn’t protect the people. “And the people shall be oppressed, every one by another, and every one by his neighbour: the child shall behave himself proudly against the ancient, and the base against the honourable” (Isaiah 3:5). The strong people abuse the weak. God says the problems will get so bad that nobody wants to rule! (verses 6-7). That is frighteningly bad! And this is all prophesied to happen “in that day.”
“For Jerusalem is ruined, and Judah is fallen: because their tongue and their doings are against the Lord, to provoke the eyes of his glory” (verse 8). Jerusalem was the capital of ancient Israel. Today, it is a type of Israel—mainly America, Britain and the Jewish nation. God says Israel is ruined! Notice, it reads that “Jerusalem is ruined”—as if it has already occurred. These verses reveal the very prophecies of God. They are absolutely certain to happen. Nothing can stop them!
The foundation of any strong society is strong families. “As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths” (Isaiah 3:12). Here we see upside-down families with women ruling. The children are not taught and disciplined properly, so they oppress the parents.
This applies to the nations of Israel, but only in a general way. Israel has a history with God. It was chosen by God to lead the world in God’s way of life. But the people rebelled, and God divorced them. “Then said God, Call his name Lo-ammi: for ye are not my people, and I will not be your God” (Hosea 1:9). God named Israel “Lo-ammi,” which means “you are not my people.” Then, just to make sure they understood, God told them they were not His people! The nations of Israel have rejected the most honored calling any nation has ever received. God will still use them in the future, after He punishes them and brings them to repentance. But right now, they are not God’s people, except in a general way.
God’s Church is where His people are today. They also have twisted families. The leaders cause the people to go astray (Isaiah 3:12). God’s own Church follows leaders who reject God (as do the nations of Israel). Therefore, we see the family disintegrate. But this problem reveals a far greater sin. The families would not be twisted if they followed their true leader, God the Father, and their Husband, Jesus Christ.
The family is a God-plane relationship. The physical family is patterned after the God Family. Why? Because the physical family was designed to prepare us to be born into the God Family!
What rich rewards we can receive now and in the future, if we would build godly families. What fiercely painful penalties we pay for rebelling against God. Some even reject the family relationship and are proud of it! (verse 9).
Into Worldly Fashions
God’s own Church is deeply into this world’s evil fashions. “Moreover the Lord saith, Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet” (Isaiah 3:16). Zion is God’s Church, where God dwells (Isaiah 8:18). The daughters (plural) of Zion here refer to the end-time Laodicean churches. There are many different Laodicean churches today.
The Soncino commentary translates “stretched forth necks” in Isaiah 3:16 as “with their head in the air.” The expression “wanton eyes” is “ogling with their eyes.” The Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary reads, “deceiving with their eyes or falsely setting off the eyes with paint.” They have a haughty attitude and are involved in evil lusts. They are into the fashions of this world, giving little or no thought to God’s style of fashion. God’s Church in this end time has had a history of problems in this area. That is why God is so condemning in these verses. They have been taught the truth and ought to know better.
This problem still relates back to the family relationship. “Therefore the Lord will smite with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, and the Lord will discover their secret parts” (verse 17). This is how God corrects these daughters of Zion. God smites “the crown of the head.” That is because they follow the wrong head! “[T]hey which lead thee cause thee to err …” (verse 12). Their greatest evil is following the wrong “head.” The Lowth translation reads, “humble the head of the daughters of Zion.” That means they have a government problem. All of the end-time Laodiceans follow a human “head”—not Jesus Christ! They follow man’s reasoning, not God’s Word.
Again, let’s remember that the time setting is today—“In that day” (verse 18). The subject of verses 17-18 is the daughters of Zion in this end time. Not only does “in that day” date this prophecy, it is also dated by the expression “daughters of Zion.” The temple service in ancient Israel was referred to as Zion. In this end time we have the daughters of Zion—not the “mother,” or ancient Zion! What happened in Isaiah’s time was only a type of the end-time prophecies.
This appalling prophecy is coming to pass right now. But the worst part of this horror is yet to occur. “And it shall come to pass, that instead of sweet smell there shall be stink; and instead of a girdle a rent; and instead of well set hair baldness; and instead of a stomacher a girding of sackcloth; and burning instead of beauty” (verse 24). The “sweet smell” of our fabulous prosperity is about to become a putrefying stench of oppressive poverty and national captivity!
We need to keep the overview in mind. Isaiah 2 shows the blessings that are coming to this Earth. God’s law will be taught. God’s government is based on that law. God has a family government. God’s Church and the nations of Israel are destroying the physical family, which should be patterned after God’s Family! Soon “all nations shall flow” to Zion where God’s family law is taught (Isaiah 2:2). Those who deeply learn the lesson today about God’s family government will be teaching all nations in the very near future! Christ is getting His Bride ready to rule this world! (Revelation 19:7). We must learn today or we can’t teach in the beautiful World Tomorrow.
Soon the people of this world will be seeking God’s law and God’s way. We must be ready to teach them. What a fabulous future God is offering to His Church today!
Women Without a Husband
Those saints who rebel have some sad times ahead. “And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach” (Isaiah 4:1). Again, Isaiah talks about “in that day”—the end time. During that time, seven women are living in reproach. These ladies all want to marry one man.
If we look at this spiritually, we know God teaches that a man should have one wife (1 Timothy 3:1-2). A woman is used to represent a church in the Bible. Since the context of Isaiah 3 and 4 is about Zion, or God’s Church, I don’t see how these seven women could refer to anybody but seven rebellious Laodicean churches in this end time. These ladies want to be called by this man’s name. Christ is represented by the man. God has removed His lamp from the Laodicean Church. It no longer does God’s Work or has His name. This must be talking about Christ and the rebellious Laodiceans today.
Again, we see an end-time setting. “In that day shall the branch of the Lord be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel” (Isaiah 4:2). “In that day,” God will establish His rule.
Zion is mentioned repeatedly. “And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem: When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning” (verses 3-4). God is about to wash away the filth of the daughters of Zion—His own Church! These daughters are obviously the seven women discussed in verse 1. They must be cleansed before they can again be called God’s true Church.
The word “daughters” is plural. How many Laodicean Church daughters will there be in this end time? Perhaps there will be seven. Regardless, this is still the same rebellion as the one mentioned in Revelation 3:14-19. The Laodiceans in this end time have lost the God Family name. If they didn’t refuse to be led by the Father and Christ, all of God’s end-time churches would be one body—unified and doing one Work of God!
All of the Laodiceans have one common sin. They won’t let Christ rule them. That means they have rejected their Husband and Father! This is a major, major sin that must be repented of before they can again be a part of God’s Family and Work.
God watches over and protects His loyal people. “And the Lord will create upon every dwelling place of mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night: for upon all the glory shall be a defence. And there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the daytime from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for a covert from storm and from rain” (Isaiah 4:5-6). There was a time when God led the nation of Israel. During the day, a huge cloud was located over the tabernacle. At night, the cloud became a pillar of fire. The cloud was a sign that God was with the Israelites. He watched over and protected them. The Old Testament says that “every dwelling” was watched over by God.
And so it is today. Every individual and every family who follows God is protected (Romans 8:31). Of course, we have our trials. But if we are loyal to God, He always watches over us.
That is the focus the Laodiceans have lost. They simply lack the faith to have God’s protection.
Every individual on Earth will wish he or she had God’s protection before Jesus Christ returns! And I do mean every individual!