Chapter 4: The Universe Vision
God keeps reminding us in the book of Isaiah that He dwells in Zion (Isaiah 8:18). And where God dwells, there is a vision so great the human mind can barely comprehend it—even with God’s Holy Spirit!
The great tragedy is when God’s own Church turns away from God and that vision.
When Christ returns, where will He focus our attention? It will be focused on God’s family government. “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” (Isaiah 9:6). This verse discusses Father, Son and government—God’s family government.
“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” (verse 7). Isaiah repeats one subject over and over—God’s family government. There will be no end to the increase of this government! It will increase for all eternity!
God’s plan is first of all to teach family government to His Church today—the firstfruits. Secondly, this government will be taught to the whole world by God and His firstfruits. Thirdly, God’s government will fill the universe and never stop growing! God’s universal paradise will continue expanding forever!
The Feast of Tabernacles shows that God is now teaching His government to His Church. Then God shows how that government will fill the Earth. God’s purpose for “operation Earth” is to prepare mankind to rule the whole universe forever! Of course, we shall rule within God’s government.
God’s plan for His whole Family really begins here. If we can grasp this universe vision, it will revolutionize our lives! At this point, God’s Family has been created. Its purpose is then to rule the universe. Our glorious destiny reaches far beyond this Earth. We desperately need to fill our minds with this vision!
The Apostle Paul discussed this same vision. “But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him? Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him” (Hebrews 2:6-8). Why man? He was created to rule “all things”—the whole universe! But that is not a reality yet. We have to be trained for such a towering responsibility.
This job will be given only to God’s own sons—born into His Family. This calling is so great it should take our breath away! The angels were created by fiat. God never gave them an opportunity to be His born sons. “For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?” (Hebrews 1:5). You and I must choose to live God’s way. In the process, we build the very character of God. We are God’s begotten sons. There could never be a more exalted calling!
The angels never had the chance to become God’s begotten sons with God’s own character. Do we humans truly grasp the exalted calling God has given us?
Isaiah says God’s government keeps on growing forever. What does that mean? Will God continue to expand His Family forever? That certainly seems to be a good possibility!
Many of God’s Laodicean saints fail to grasp this awesome vision. Do you know why? Simply put, it is because of their government problem! Mr. Armstrong probably did the greatest work for God on this Earth in nearly 2,000 years in terms of the number of people involved (see Malachi 4:5-6; Matthew 17:10-11; 24:14). Yet God’s Laodicean churches deny that work because they don’t want to submit to God’s government!
This is why the Laodiceans don’t have new revelation from God, while God has given abundant new revelation to the Philadelphia Church of God. “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). God has only “revealed them unto babes,” or Church members who become as little children (Matthew 18:1-3). If we fail to submit to God’s government, God closes the door to using us in His Work.
There are many revelations God must give us in this end time. We have a warning message to deliver. Much of it is bad news—in the short run.
However, the greatest prophecy of all is the universe vision discussed in Isaiah 9. There must be some gloomy times and severe trials before we get into the universe. But all of these trials are a part of God’s plan to get us there. We must keep this universe vision in our minds, or the trials will discourage us. If we keep this glorious universe vision in our minds, nothing can get us down for long!
Imagine the whole universe filled with God’s beauty and joy. Today, we only get flashes of that breathtaking glory. Soon it will be reality in our daily existence!
Unfortunately, God’s Laodicean churches are losing or have lost the universe vision. They are sliding or plunging back into this world! They are now bogged down in the present evil world with no vision to lift them out of it. They have all accepted a form of this world’s government—not God’s government taught by Mr. Armstrong.
The Laodicean youth are especially vulnerable. “Enflaming yourselves with idols under every green tree, slaying the children in the valleys under the clifts of the rocks?” (Isaiah 57:5). Anciently the Israelites sometimes physically sacrificed their own children. Today we sacrifice our youth spiritually when we give them no uplifting vision. We sacrifice them to sexual lust and fornication. The Internet alone does $10 billion to $13 billion worth of business in pornography every year just in America! It is the most profitable online business. We also sacrifice our children to demoniac music, drugs and greed. In the nations of Israel, this is done even before our youth are taught to use their minds! They get so hooked on coveting that they never even learn about the wondrous potential of our God-like minds!
The people of Israel today have forgotten God (verse 11).
Revive the Spirit of the Humble
You and I must work to understand and think like God. “For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones” (Isaiah 57:15). This verse is probably more revealing than any verse in the Bible about God’s plan for man! Let me show you what I mean.
God inhabits eternity. He is apart from time. Men are constantly hounded by time. We live a few years, then we die, usually doing a lot of groaning along the way. God wants to free us from the bondage of time.
God lives in a “high and holy place.” But also notice, God is inviting man to live with Him—if man is of a “contrite and humble spirit”! That is where character-building comes into the equation. We are called by God today to “revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” That is not the prevailing spirit in this world.
The word “contrite,” according to Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon, means: “to break in pieces, to crush, … to be crushed, humbled, broken in spirit, … broken very small.” God says this is what must happen to man—if we are to dwell with Him in His “high and holy place.” Today, man is filled with pride, vanity and rebellion toward God. That rebellious spirit must be crushed and broken before we can dwell with God!
You and I are called today to revive that humble spirit before God. It is not a spirit you see on this Earth today! God is calling His firstfruits to revive that spirit and then help lead the world to God! It’s not easy to have that self-willed spirit crushed. In fact, it’s the hardest thing we have ever had to do! But it can be done, with joy, through the power of God’s Holy Spirit. It is the only way we will ever be a part of God’s “high and holy place.” When we learn this lesson, we receive the exceedingly joyful job of teaching the world that same lesson! What unparalleled ecstasy God has given His people. How can we contain our excitement in the presence of such godly joy?
Again, we see that it comes back to God’s government. We revive the spirit of the humble by submitting to the very government God taught us through Mr. Armstrong. All of the Laodiceans refuse to humble themselves and submit to that government. Are you and I strong enough to revive the spirit of the humble? Of course, we should be. If we are, then we will share God’s own throne in His “high and holy place” (Revelation 3:21).
After all that stupendously good news, Isaiah discusses some bad news.
The Germans Are Coming
God will correct the people of Israel very harshly. For over 80 years God has warned them, first through Mr. Armstrong and now through the PCG. Remember, this book was written for the end time. “The Lord sent a word into Jacob, and it hath lighted upon Israel” (Isaiah 9:8). God sent His “word” (or “message”; see the New American Standard translation) into Jacob, which has the patriarch Israel’s name before he became converted. God’s message also “lighted upon Israel.” The Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary explains the expression “lighted upon Israel” this way: “fallen from heaven by divine revelation (Daniel 4:31).” This is a coded message to the nations of Jacob (which are unconverted, as Jacob was) and to spiritual Israel (God’s Church) in this end time. That means God reveals His message to spiritual Israel, or His very elect. Then the very elect takes that message and warns Jacob, or the unconverted nations of Israel.
Who is delivering this message? That is a question you and I must answer from our Bibles. If we can’t, God says we are “blind.” God will send the Germans (descendants of ancient Assyria) to correct the unconverted nations of Israel. But He always sends a warning message to Israel before its captivity. We can’t afford to be casual about such a thunderous warning. It is interesting that God precedes the warning message with glorious news about His government, which Israel and God’s lukewarm Church reject.
“The bricks are fallen down, but we will build with hewn stones: the sycomores are cut down, but we will change them into cedars” (Isaiah 9:10). Israel is collapsing, but people still try to solve their problems themselves instead of turning to God.
“For the people turneth not unto him that smiteth them, neither do they seek the Lord of hosts” (verse 13). God is smiting the people of Israel. But they still won’t repent, so the smiting must continue. Ancient Israel experienced this collapse, but this was only a type of what is to happen in this end time.
“For wickedness burneth as the fire: it shall devour the briers and thorns, and shall kindle in the thickets of the forest, and they shall mount up like the lifting up of smoke. Through the wrath of the Lord of hosts is the land darkened, and the people shall be as the fuel of the fire: no man shall spare his brother. And he shall snatch on the right hand, and be hungry; and he shall eat on the left hand, and they shall not be satisfied: they shall eat every man the flesh of his own arm” (verses 18-20). Conditions will get so bad that people will eat their own arms—or their own families! One third of Israel will die because of internal problems before the Germans strike with nuclear bombs (see Ezekiel 5). It didn’t get this bad anciently. This is mainly for today.
“O Assyrian, the rod of mine anger, and the staff in their hand is mine indignation” (Isaiah 10:5). The word “staff” refers to their power to strike. But remember, we must not blame the Germans. They are only the tool in God’s hand—an expression of His indignation.
“I will send him against an hypocritical nation, and against the people of my wrath will I give him a charge, to take the spoil, and to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets” (verse 6). Who sends the Assyrians, or the Germans? (For more information, request our free, full-color booklet Germany and the Holy Roman Empire.) God is full of wrath against Israel, and He sends the Germans to punish and bring Israel to repentance. It is horrifying beyond words when the nations of Israel become “the people of [God’s] wrath”! These words ought to ring in our ears! “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31). Why can’t we just listen to God’s Word today?
“Howbeit he meaneth not so, neither doth his heart think so; but it is in his heart to destroy and cut off nations not a few” (Isaiah 10:7). It is not that difficult to prove that the Assyrians are modern-day Germany. God says Germany has a history of destroying “not a few,” but many nations!
Anybody who knows anything about history would surely think of Germany first when reading this verse. Germany has a famous history of military destruction as no other nation.
“For he saith, Are not my princes altogether kings? Is not Calno as Carchemish? is not Hamath as Arpad? is not Samaria as Damascus?” (verses 8-9). These were powerful cities anciently. Israel thought they were invulnerable—just as we think nobody could destroy New York City, Washington, d.c., Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas, Toronto, Vancouver, London, Sydney or Melbourne. But God says these cities will be destroyed and the American and British peoples enslaved.
Not one of those mighty cities escaped anciently. And not one of our major cities will escape either. God has spoken!
“Wherefore it shall come to pass, that when the Lord hath performed his whole work upon mount Zion and on Jerusalem, I will punish the fruit of the stout heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his high looks” (verse 12). God will punish Jerusalem (or Israel) and Zion. God’s own Church is to be punished also.
Then, later, God will humble the stout-hearted Assyrians. “Therefore thus saith the Lord God of hosts, O my people that dwellest in Zion, be not afraid of the Assyrian: he shall smite thee with a rod, and shall lift up his staff against thee, after the manner of Egypt. For yet a very little while, and the indignation shall cease, and mine anger in their destruction” (verses 24-25). God tells His Church, or Zion, not to fear the Assyrian. It won’t last long—31/2 years.
Can we be certain these are end-time prophecies? “And it shall come to pass in that day, that his burden shall be taken away from off thy shoulder, and his yoke from off thy neck, and the yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing” (verse 27). “In that day” always refers to the time of Christ’s return and just before.
Germany is already a great power in Europe. In 1991, Germany recognized the breakaway Yugoslav republics of Croatia and Slovenia, even though other European countries, America and much of the world opposed it.
Why was the world so opposed? Because it remembers that Croatia and Slovenia were strong Nazi satellites, or puppet states, in World War II.
Russia kept quiet when all this occurred, only because it was receiving such huge loans from Germany.
Many people believe that the main cause of the conflicts in Yugoslavia that followed was Germany’s recognition of those two Yugoslav states. The U.S. tried to help stop the civil war. It met one deep frustration after another. Finally, former U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher said that the Germans “bear a particular responsibility.” This statement was quickly picked up by the press—and the Germans were enraged. Mr. Christopher rapidly backed off and said that the U.S. didn’t want to point a finger at anybody. Just another indication of how powerful Germany is—and that happened over two decades ago! Germany is several times stronger today. To learn more about this situation, request a free copy of Germany’s Conquest of the Balkans.
Germany and the European Union are a great power on the world scene! The U.S. and Britain are on the verge of collapse.
Herbert Armstrong proclaimed that Germany would rise again, even as it lay in ruins after World War II. Now it has risen. Otto von Habsburg, of the Habsburg dynasty that ruled the Holy Roman Empire, was one of the primary architects of the European Community (ec), today the European Union. He spoke with Mr. Armstrong about the ec. Mr. Habsburg was concerned that the ec was uniting too slowly. Mr. Armstrong told him that he believed a severe crisis would shock Europe into finally uniting. Mr. Habsburg agreed with him.
Mr. Armstrong thought that crisis would be the collapse of the Western world’s monetary system! America’s banking system collapsed in September 2008. The American economy is already destroyed, we just don’t know it yet! Request our booklet He Was Right to see in detail how it was all prophesied.
The currencies are all tied together—the pound, dollar, shekel and many others. This crisis is going to cause the collapse of the American and British peoples in particular.
These prophecies are accelerating with lightning speed! God help us to heed while there is still time.