Chapter 9: Let No Man Take Your Crown
When Herbert W. Armstrong was alive, it was his tradition to host dinners in his home for the senior class at Ambassador College. By the late 1960s, the Work had grown so large that it had become more difficult to get to know Mr. Armstrong. The senior dinner was considered a big night at Ambassador College. On the night of my senior dinner, my wife was able to sit next to Mr. Armstrong.
Mr. Armstrong oversaw the preparation for the occasion, magnificent beyond description. The place settings used for this dinner were the Russian czar’s gold flatware and china. Seeing the grandeur of the occasion, one student remarked, “This dinner is fit for a king.” Mr. Armstrong answered, “You are a king.” As I remember, Mr. Armstrong’s comment ended the conversation. Yet his comment should have begun an inspiring conversation!
I imagine Mr. Armstrong was the only one at the table that night who deeply understood that statement.
Has Made Us Kings
We have been showing you that Herbert Armstrong was used by God to deliver the key of David message in this end time. He understood the vision. But God has added new revelation about the key of David vision since his death. Do we fully understand what the key of David vision means for us?
Those of us in God’s Church are already kings in embryo! “And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen” (Revelation 1:5-6). Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness—He cannot lie—states that we have been made kings. Notice this is written in the past tense. As long as we remain faithful, we are kings. And there is even more. Verse 6 states emphatically that we are also priests. This means, in the future, we will be over church and state. We will be a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:5).
Are you preparing to share David’s throne? How real is this vision to you? Understanding this vision is what salvation is all about.
Many have trouble believing the full extent of this vision. But realize: The key of David is the only true vision of the future!
How often do our conversations focus on subjects like, “You are a king”? If you think about it, the key of David vision was more real than even the food we ate at Mr. Armstrong’s dinner!
Satan hates God. He proved that by trying to kick God off His throne (Isaiah 14:14). His punishment is to be the blackness of darkness forever (Revelation 20:10). Satan hates the message of the key of David vision because he knows that he has no part in God’s plan. So he wants to destroy that plan and prevent us from taking our place as royal sons.
Satan tried to destroy Jesus Christ before He could deliver the good news about this glorious plan. Even when Christ was a baby, Satan inspired Herod to kill all of the baby boys 2 years old and younger (Matthew 2:16-20). Christ’s stepfather, Joseph, was warned of this in a dream and fled with Mary and the boy into Egypt. Satan tried to destroy Christ spiritually through temptation (Matthew 4:1-11). Jesus Christ preached the gospel for 31/2 years before being crucified for delivering this message.
Yet Jesus Christ successfully destroyed Satan’s works. “… For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8). We must overcome Satan as Christ overcame him. We do this by supporting the messenger and the message—by doing God’s Work.
Satan holds great hatred for the people who do God’s Work today. He hated Mr. Armstrong and worked constantly to stop him. We receive letters that show Satan hates us. The key of David vision contains a message that is so beautiful that only a very sick mind would hate the message. Satan is full of wrath against God’s people who hold true to the vision.
An Eternal Crown
Attaining the eternal glory encapsulated in the key of David vision is no easy task. We will have to endure a lot of suffering in this life to enter into that awesome future (Acts 14:22). Jesus Christ told the Smyrna era, “Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life” (Revelation 2:10). God’s people in this era suffered tremendously. They were severely persecuted for holding true to the message entrusted to them. Yet Christ promised them a crown of life for enduring what they suffered. God’s kings are going to have crowns!
Notice what Christ tells His Philadelphians: “Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown” (Revelation 3:11). Christ tells us we already have a crown. In other words, we are already kings. But we must remain faithful. Jesus Christ warns us that a man could take our crown.
Mr. Armstrong not only believed these scriptures, he lived them! He had the seniors of Ambassador College over to his home, in the most royal setting possible, to drive home the lesson that they were royalty. He created a very special occasion as a spiritual teaching tool. God’s Philadelphians must seize every occasion possible to embed this vision into their minds. Teaching the key of David vision was Mr. Armstrong’s life. It must become ours as well.
When we have this vision etched into our minds, then we will recognize the opportunities to teach it to others. After Jesus Christ returns and puts the vision into effect, we don’t want to look back and wonder what could have been. We must actively teach this vision. Now is the greatest moment in the history of the Church. We have more truth than any Church era has ever had, and Christ is about to return!
Woman Clothed With the Sun
God’s Church is about to step into one of the most exalted offices for all eternity. “And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars” (Revelation 12:1). Mr. Armstrong taught us for years that the woman in these verses represents God’s true Church. Satan’s great false church is represented by the whore in Revelation 17. The woman in Revelation 12 is clothed in a way no man could clothe her. She is dressed in apparel bright as the sun. Her clothing is a sign of righteousness. She is dressed the exact opposite of the fallen woman in Revelation 17, who is clothed in “scarlet” (verse 4). This earthly color represents sin (Isaiah 1:18).
The Church has the moon under her feet. This vision shows this woman has rule and authority. She holds a royal position. She is crowned with 12 stars, which represent the 12 tribes of Israel. This vision holds the key to understanding Israel’s past and the Church’s future. The depth of meaning in this verse is incredible!
Who is to rule the tribes of Israel in the future? Jeremiah tells us clearly. “For it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord of hosts, that I will break his yoke from off thy neck, and will burst thy bonds, and strangers shall no more serve themselves of him: But they shall serve the Lord their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up unto them” (Jeremiah 30:8-9). David has already been appointed to rule over the 12 tribes of Israel—forever! Can we see the breathtaking glory that is coming?
There is more. Who will sit on David’s throne? Jesus Christ, the King of kings. Jesus Christ will rule over David, Israel and all Gentile nations. Who will share in this rule? The firstfruits. For a millennium, Jesus Christ and His royal Family will work to graft all of the Gentile nations into the family of Israel. What inspiring, royal offices the firstfruits will have. God’s firstfruits will be the only group with the Bride of Christ title (Revelation 19:7). Christ and His Bride will bring multiple billions of children into the Family. David’s life and reward are a symbol of how men have the opportunity to become a part of the Father’s royal family Kingdom.
The key of David emphasizes how majestic and royal the firstfruit positions will be. It focuses on how royal the gospel is.
Remember, the Kingdom of God is the Family of God. In God’s Kingdom there will not be any spiritual Gentiles—no rebellious children. All will become converted spiritual Jews. Can we see the end result of the key of David vision? All willing human beings will be converted into the spiritual nation of Israel. God the Father and Christ will be joyously ruling over them for all eternity. The creative work that will be accomplished will be mind-staggering!
Great Red Dragon
But the near future is fraught with grave spiritual danger. “And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads” (Revelation 12:2-3). Satan hates God’s Church. He desires to do us great harm. In symbol, John shows that Satan has seven heads, 10 horns and seven crowns. Satan holds authority over the nations today—deceiving the whole world (verse 9). He rules over men, but only as God allows.
In these scriptures, God’s Church is placed in direct conflict with Satan’s church. They are the worst of enemies. God’s people have suffered more persecution from the devil than anybody in all of man’s history. And it will be that way until the seventh head of the so-called Holy Roman Empire is destroyed (request our free booklet Germany and the Holy Roman Empire). But we have nothing to fear if we use God’s limitless power.
Luke reveals this fact in his record of Christ’s temptation. “And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine” (Luke 4:5-7). He offered all of the nations of this world to Christ. Christ rejected his offer. But Christ never denied that these nations were Satan’s to give.
Revelation 12:3 reveals that Satan has ruled over every resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire. The final resurrection is now almost fully formed.
If Christ is King of kings, then Satan is king of beasts. Revelation 13 shows that man’s rule over other men is like the brute beasts running wild and dangerous. Satan is the inspiration behind man’s wicked rule.
The Roman Empire has won its fame by maiming and slaughtering—in the name of God! Who has inspired the violence? Satan has been attempting to accomplish his purpose of destroying God’s plan through that system. The soon-coming final resurrection will cause more destruction than any that came before—more than all of them combined! In spite of all the destruction, men still act like that system is a gift from God! Mankind has learned far too little from history, and look at the cost of that ignorance!
Jesus Christ is about to return and destroy the Holy Roman Empire forever. As Daniel prophesied, “And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever” (Daniel 2:44). All of Satan’s present plans will fail miserably in the end.
We must make sure we are not one of Satan’s casualties. “And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne” (Revelation 12:4-5). We must never underestimate Satan’s hatred for God’s Church. He rabidly hates each member! He hated Christ. He wanted desperately to destroy Him. Should Christ’s Church expect anything less?
Each faithful member of God’s Church is a terrible threat to Satan the devil! We are about to take his crown and rule with Christ from David’s throne. Satan knows his days are numbered (verse 12). He will soon lose his rule and authority. Our coming rule is more certain and more real than Satan’s is today.
Right now, Satan is the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4). But soon, under the guidance and instruction of the Family of God, everyone will worship God. “But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the Lord of hosts hath spoken it. For all people will walk every one in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name of the Lord our God for ever and ever” (Micah 4:4-5). When Christ returns and we are installed into office, peace will burst into full bloom over the entire Earth. Satan-inspired violence will end. The mass of humanity will no longer be deceived. All will be able to come to a true understanding of God and His family plan for man—most of them through a resurrection from the dead!
Place of Safety
We must know our enemy, Satan the devil. His attacks on the Philadelphia Church will continue as we fulfill our commission. His negative pressure will become much more intense. “And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. 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” (Revelation 12:13-14). Satan has only one great goal—to destroy the Church of God. He is a master strategist. Even during a period of relative calm, we must never forget that Satan is hard at work.
His attacks on the Church will eventually become so intense that the Church will have to be taken to a place of safety. God’s people will be “cast out” of their own nations (Isaiah 16:1-5). When we see that God’s very elect are “cast out,” it should be obvious that there will be a perfect storm of persecution leading up to this event!
Revelation 12:14 is referring to the same woman as verse 1—the one with a crown of 12 stars. What gives her the ability to withstand Satan the devil? She sees the crown of 12 stars. She sees the throne of David ruling over the tribes of Israel. Her mind is focused on the key of David vision. She is so inspired by the magnitude of the vision, nothing can dissuade her.
Our individual lives must be totally wrapped up in this vision, or there will be no place of safety for us.
War Against the Saints
God’s Church is in a war with Satan. What is the fighting all about? The battle is over ruling the Earth.
In the near future, Satan will be forced to face the fact that his life is a miserable failure. The war is real to Satan. It should be real to us. If we have the key of David vision firmly planted in our minds, we will understand the titanic battle raging against the Church.
Today our war with Satan is mostly spiritual. However, it is about to become physical. Satan is going to bring an army of this world against us (Revelation 12:15). In Bible symbolism, a flood usually represents an army. This army will undoubtedly come from the European political combine now coming to power.
This power is discussed in Revelation 13: “And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy” (verse 1). This political power is the seat of Satan’s kingdom and church.
Notice, this power is comprised of 10 crowns. God’s Church is the greatest threat to this political power, because we are going to take those crowns away.
Satan and his human associates will use all violence to keep their crowns. Revelation 12:16 shows that Satan’s final move to destroy the Philadelphia Church of God will come to nothing. His final attack will fail. The earth will open up and swallow that army. This will anger Satan so much that he will turn all of his wrath against the Laodiceans. A great slaughter of God’s people will occur for the last time.
How important is the key of David vision to you? Remember, it is the only true vision of the future. God has called each one of us to prepare to rule with Jesus Christ. We are destined to share Christ’s own throne—that of His father David. We are kings. With this vision firmly planted in our minds we will be able to overcome Satan and take our place in the Family of God.