Chapter 1: The New Stone of Destiny
In November 2016, I called a Church-wide fast for the growth of God’s Work to be held on Sunday, January 15, 2017. Those who had to work on that day fasted instead on January 14, the Sabbath day.
I have said before that I have never received a vision from God outside of the Bible, and I still say that. But on January 14, I did have some interesting words come to mind about several scriptures. It has happened before that words come into my mind and lead me to a scripture. But this time, I heard a strong voice. That had never happened to me before. This voice said, “There is a new stone of destiny and a new throne of David.”
The stone of destiny is the stone over which British monarchs are crowned. It is also known as the stone of Scone, or Jacob’s pillar stone (read its origin in Genesis 28:10-22). We have written a lot over the years about the importance of the British monarchy and how it is actually a continuation of the royal dynasty of biblical King David. God promised to preserve his line forever (2 Samuel 7:12-16). The Bible shows that Jesus Christ will take over that governance Himself at His Second Coming! The stone has always been connected with the throne, so it is very important, biblically and historically. The stone is a symbol of David’s throne. It is also a symbol of our Rock—Jesus Christ—who is about to rule on that throne forever! You can read all about this in my book The Key of David.
God has shifted the symbol of David’s throne and that royal line to a new stone, and there are scriptures to prove it.
During my time in the Worldwide Church of God (wcg) ministry, I was living in Washington State, serving there and in Oregon for 10 years. Just about 40 miles south of where I lived was Umapine, Oregon.
This is the area where God had worked with Herbert W. Armstrong in the 1930s. Mr. Armstrong went on to found the wcg (first called the Radio Church of God). He was a prolific author, educator, philanthropist and minister. Mr. Armstrong taught the true causes of the problems facing humanity and their ultimate solutions. He published the Plain Truth magazine, read by 1 out of every 583 people on Earth; broadcast the World Tomorrow program from 382 television stations and 36 radio stations; and founded three campuses of the well-regarded Ambassador College.
When Herbert W. Armstrong died on January 16, 1986, he left behind a church with 725 congregations in 57 countries around the globe and a powerful work going out to the world. It had a weekly worldwide attendance of more than 130,000 people, and another 210,000 outside the Church donated money regularly. Serving these many members, prospective members and contributors were more than 1,200 ministers worldwide.
Then there were the many books and booklets—more than 40 million of which had been distributed over the course of Mr. Armstrong’s 50-year ministry. The most requested book was The United States and Britain in Prophecy—mailed to 6 million people. The truth in The United States and Britain in Prophecy is at the core of the key of David vision: the throne of David. His final and most important book, Mystery of the Ages, also makes plain the vital understanding relating to King David’s throne.
On December 7, 1989, John Amos and I were fired and disfellowshiped from the wcg, and the work of the Philadelphia Church of God essentially began. Understanding and remembering this history helps us see what God was doing over a sustained period of time.
Back to Umapine, Oregon. Mr. Armstrong wrote about Umapine in his autobiography. In this town, he and a minister from the Sardis era of God’s Church held evangelistic meetings. The meetings were a failure. But then that minister hastily left to tend to some business elsewhere. Only then, when Mr. Armstrong was left alone, did his efforts begin to produce fruit!
The Autobiography describes the building where the meetings were held, so I traveled to Umapine to see if I could find it. It is quite a small town—you can drive through it in about a minute and a half. I found the only building that could have been used for Mr. Armstrong’s meetings.
It was very inspiring for me to visit that place, which resonated with the fascinating history of God’s end-time apostle.
I mentioned this experience to David Todd, a man I had known in the wcg and who became a minister in the Philadelphia Church of God (pcg). “That kind of sparked my interest to investigate,” Mr. Todd later told the Philadelphia News. “I always wanted to see some of the sites Mr. Armstrong spoke of. I thought it would be inspiring.”
In August 1998, Mr. Todd moved to the eastern part of central Oregon, and he took the opportunity to begin searching for the sites described in the Autobiography. He enlisted the help of some local Church members, and they began looking for every site they possibly could. In every case—sometimes only after intensive investigation—they succeeded.
Their discoveries led to the development of a substantial and fascinating tour through Mr. Armstrong’s history in that area, covering the early beginnings of the Philadelphia era of God’s Church. We have members still giving these tours. There is so much that Mr. Armstrong did that is wonderfully inspiring to us today!
The Powerful Prayer Rock
In his autobiography, Mr. Armstrong described what he called a “prayer rock” that he used very early in his ministry, during his time in Oregon.
It was 1933, and Mr. Armstrong was holding a series of Bible lectures at the Firbutte school in Eugene, near the Fisher farm where he was staying. “To the rear of the Fisher farm home was a fair-sized hill. Running over this hilltop for exercise I discovered a rock about 14 inches high,” he wrote. “It was in a secluded spot. It came to mind how Jesus had dismissed the multitudes, and gone up into a mountain ‘apart’ to pray—alone with God. I dropped to my knees before this rock, which seemed just the right height to kneel before, and began praying earnestly for the success of the meetings. It became sort of a daily pilgrimage, during my stay at the Fishers’, to this, which became my ‘prayer rock.’ I’m sure that I drank in much energy, spiritual strength and inspiration at that prayer rock.”
Mr. Armstrong wrote that under the subhead “The START of the Present Work.”
Mr. Todd found the former Fisher farm. He walked over the whole area and examined it closely, and there was only one rock that could have been Mr. Armstrong’s prayer rock. Remarkably, its dimensions were precisely as Mr. Armstrong had described.
In April 2002, Mr. Todd took me on a tour of the sites of Mr. Armstrong’s early days in the Work. When I saw the prayer rock, I said it was “the most inspiring rock I’ve ever seen, second only after the stone of Scone.”
We thought that the rock was something we ought to have. We were going to hold off getting it until we could do a little filming there. But Mr. Todd said that someone else was trying to get it. So we hurried along. We offered to purchase the rock, but the man who owned the property gave it to us free of charge, and he was happy to do so. We brought it to our headquarters campus in Edmond, Oklahoma, and put it on display.
God wanted us to have this rock. The Bible has many examples of God using stones for special purposes (e.g. Genesis 28:10-22; 31:45-52; Joshua 4:1-9; 8:30-32; 24:26-27). A stone is tangible. Here we have something that I think is supremely precious to God and the Philadelphia Church of God! I believe God gave it to us because we honor Mr. Armstrong and believe in what he did. It is meaningful to us because it is a tangible symbol of the infinitesimal beginning of the Work of God in our day—the greatest Work ever on Earth in terms of the impact and the number of people reached! Mr. Armstrong reached millions of people with God’s truth, and it started at this rock (sidebar: “Founded on a Rock,” page 6). For this reason, the prayer rock holds great significance to God’s people. It also seemed so unusual that Mr. Armstrong had accurately recorded such precise details about it, and that we were able to find it. Surely God had something important in mind.
There is a towering lesson here: If we are going to succeed spiritually, we must build on a foundation of prayer!
I now see that God was behind those events, and for a very important reason.
Mr. Armstrong’s prayer rock has replaced the “stone of destiny.”
The date on which I came to recognize this is significant. It was yet another example of God making something momentous happen on or near January 16, the anniversary of Mr. Armstrong’s death in 1986. God is continually reminding us that we are continuing the work of Elijah. We have proved that Mr. Armstrong was the end-time type of the original Elijah. We must follow Mr. Armstrong’s example. The understanding that God has given me about this stone underlines this point emphatically!
Establishing God’s Throne
This new revelation about the prayer rock will have far-reaching consequences. It is a major step toward establishing the rule of God on Earth!
Jesus Christ is about to return, and when He does, He will take His place on the throne of David (Isaiah 9:7; Luke 1:31-33). On that throne, He will rule and bring salvation to all humanity! We are living in the final phase of David’s throne just before Christ returns.
As I have said, the stone of destiny has always been associated with the throne. Coronations have always taken place in its presence. Read Chapter 6 of my book The Key of David to learn the history of that stone.
There are a couple of interesting Bible prophecies about that throne during the time immediately ahead of us—before Christ returns.
One was given by the Prophet Hosea: “For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim” (Hosea 3:4). I have pointed to this verse for many years as a prophecy of Britain during the Great Tribulation, a short period of suffering that precedes the Second Coming (verse 5 shows that it is an end-time context). For example, I wrote in Chapter 7 of The Key of David about this verse:
This is describing a very tragic period—the Great Tribulation—almost upon us. It is a prophecy about Ephraim [Britain], Manasseh [the United States] and Judah [the Jewish state of Israel], when they no longer have a king or even a prince. Jeremiah wrote that David’s throne would never lack a man sitting on it [Jeremiah 33:17]—yet here it says that for a time, Israel will have no king or prince. How can you reconcile this apparent contradiction? We must remember that the very elect of spiritual Israel [the faithful Church of God] is being protected by God at this time.
Consider this as well: The word image in Hosea 3:4 refers to Jacob’s pillar stone—the stone Jacob called “God’s house” that stayed with Israel for generations, and that to this day resides in Great Britain. God revealed to Hosea that in this end time, Ephraim is going to lose that stone.
Where do you suppose that stone will be?
To answer this question, in the same chapter I tie in the Hosea 3 prophecy with the one given by the Prophet Isaiah: “And in mercy shall the throne be established: and he shall sit upon it in truth in the tabernacle of David, judging, and seeking judgment, and hasting righteousness” (Isaiah 16:5).
This prophecy is in the context of God’s people being protected in a place of safety. Verse 1 speaks of a group of people (taught by God) sending a special tribute to the ruler of Sela, which means rocky fortress, the equivalent word in Greek being Petra. It is a time of turmoil in the Middle East, when the Jordanian people are trying to get away (verse 2; Moab refers to the modern-day country of Jordan). Verse 3 shows people dwelling in caves, probably in a place like Petra, Jordan. In verse 4, God tells Moab (the Jordanians) to protect His people, who have become “outcasts.” Why are they outcasts? Because people would rather hate God’s truth and the Ten Commandments than repent and save their nations! So they cast out the people who deliver God’s message to them! But God always protects those who do His Work.
It is there, in that place of protection, that God says “the throne”—speaking of David’s throne—will “be established”! In The Key of David, I explain:
That throne of David is in Britain today. For millennia, the kings and queens who have been crowned on that throne have done so over Jacob’s pillar stone, also called “the stone of destiny.”
How could that throne be established in the context of Isaiah 16? Only the stone of destiny could firmly establish the throne of David!
Is Isaiah 16 telling us that God will somehow give us that stone when God’s people go to the place of safety? After all, we are going to be sharing that throne with Christ in a matter of just a few years!
The stone of destiny is really the symbol of David’s throne—not the chair that sits in Westminster Abbey. … God said there would never lack a man to sit on that throne—and here He says the throne will be established in a temporary, Tribulation setting, with God’s loyal people dwelling in a rocky fortress!
Isaiah’s prophecy says the individual sitting on the throne at that time will be “seeking judgment, and hasting righteousness.” I wrote how this implies it will be occupied not by a member of Britain’s royal family, but by a Spirit-led member of God’s Church. I then pointed to the prophecy in Micah 2:13 referring to the leader of God’s Church as “their king.” “It shouldn’t be too upsetting to think of God calling a man in the Church a ‘king,’” I wrote. “After the 3½-year period of the Tribulation, every converted member in God’s Church will be a king and a priest forever!” (ibid). (We will discuss this prophecy in greater detail in the next chapter of this book.)
This is all spiritual understanding God gave us that we have had for many years. We must possess the throne of David in the place of safety, meaning we must also possess the stone that represents the throne. I encourage you to read Chapters 6 and 7 of The Key of David book to refresh your memory.
Now, this new revelation about the prayer rock brings these prophecies into sharper focus. I was wrong in thinking the way I did about us getting that stone. God had a better stone in mind—one superior to that original stone!
God is making this significant change for a good reason: We are ready to go to the place of safety, and we now have the new stone of destiny! This is much more practical than what we thought would have to happen. This significantly helps our job of preparing the way for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ!
A Purer Symbol
Hosea prophesied of a time when Britain would be “without a king, and without a prince … and without an image”—referring to the coronation stone. We are in that time now! Britain doesn’t possess the image—the stone—any longer. We in God’s Church now have an even better symbol of King David’s throne.
This is what God wants. I realize it is radical to say that there is a new stone of destiny. But it is also radical to say that God’s people will have the throne of David, and that is straight out of the Bible! And the stone is a symbol of the throne.
God used Mr. Armstrong to prepare the way for Christ’s Second Coming (e.g. Malachi 3:1; 4:5-6). Mr. Armstrong also received the key of David vision (Revelation 3:7) and was a physical descendant of King David. It would be logical for Mr. Armstrong to have a personal connection with the rock that symbolizes the throne of David that Christ will rule from. Mr. Armstrong had a special calling, and you have to be impressed with all that he accomplished. God wants us to learn even more from what he did.
God used him to “restore all things”! (Matthew 17:10-11). What a monumental work! Mr. Armstrong did in God’s true Church what Christ is about to do in this world!
Jacob’s pillar stone ties back to Jacob when he was unconverted. God changed his name to Israel upon his conversion (Genesis 32:28). That stone has been witness to generations of coronations of unconverted men and women who have carried on the royal line of David. In the final phase of His Work in this end time, surely God wanted to have a different stone—a purer spiritual symbol found within God’s Church, where His people possess the Holy Spirit. This symbol embodies so much more. I believe that is why God made the change. God’s faithful people today are following through on what Mr. Armstrong did as he prepared the way for Christ’s Second Coming. We are raising up the ruins of his work and magnifying him and what God did through him.
God is certainly concerned about purity. As Mr. Armstrong wrote in Mystery of the Ages, when Jesus Christ came to Earth the first time, He “was born of the tribe of Judah, and it was necessary that He be of the original pure racial strain, even as Noah was.” As God prepares for Christ’s universe-shaking Second Coming, He is surely thinking about representing and preserving spiritual purity! God wants more purity there; and He achieves that with the prayer rock and all that it means.
God gave Mr. Armstrong the key of David to help him build the Philadelphia era of the Church (Revelation 3:7). This key unlocks the focus of God’s entire Bible, Old Testament and New Testament. It reveals to us all about how God is going to use the house of David—physically and spiritually—to establish God’s rule and offer salvation to all mankind! The key of David means everything to us!
It is also something that Satan passionately hates. It reminds him that his reign on Earth is almost over and that he will be cast into outer darkness forever. He has consistently and repeatedly worked to stop the key of David message.
Soon after Mr. Armstrong died, the people who took over the Church rejected the truth unlocked by that key in Mr. Armstrong’s book The United States and Britain in Prophecy. Worldwide Church of God leadership slashed away 70 percent of that book. Then they lied about shelving the book for a short review process. Joseph Tkach Jr. said that the marvelous understanding in that book boils down to: “So what?”
“So what?” The key of David message is the only fundamental message that Christ gave to the last two eras of His Church! (Revelation 3:7). That is the message that Herbert W. Armstrong delivered to this world. The Philadelphia Church of God must deliver the same message. The United States and Britain in Prophecy is an indispensable part of this message!
These liars are in the thrall of the devil, who hates the throne of David and hates the rule of God and the law of God. Christ shed His blood for the sins of all mankind, including theirs, and they are throwing that away!
Satan stirred up antichrists, one man especially, within God’s own Church to destroy that epic vision for 95 percent of God’s people (1 John 2:19). We must understand Satan’s power. He turned our brothers and sisters—God’s Family—away from the marvelous Work of God built through Mr. Armstrong.
The prayer rock is a wonderful symbol of a man getting on his knees before the Father, then getting up and defending God, His law and His government. Mr. Armstrong was a great spiritual defender. His corrupt successors knew nothing compared to him, but they thought they were so intelligent and scholarly. God considers them fools.
“Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts. But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap” (Malachi 3:1-2). Christ’s return will be a fiery time for the rebels.
God makes a blanket statement here: “[H]e shall prepare the way before me.” Period! No caveats or qualifications. What an endorsement of this man! God made a covenant with Mr. Armstrong, and He knew that Mr. Armstrong would do the job. Did he ever! What a messenger!
Wouldn’t it be wonderful for God to trust absolutely that we will fulfill our purpose?
Mr. Armstrong’s life is one of the highlights in the history of man. God really was moved by how he delivered His message. He was moved by how he used the prayer rock to keep himself fervent and stirred to do God’s will! So now, Mr. Armstrong is going to be honored forever through the prayer rock!
Isn’t it wonderful that God will bless us so richly for being obedient and loyal to Him?
Mr. Armstrong prepared the way for Christ’s Second Coming. That means a lot. No matter whom he spoke to, at the Firbutte schoolhouse or in front of kings and dignitaries, he spoke about God’s law and way of life. He made mistakes as we all do, but he never stopped serving God.
It would make sense for the new stone of destiny to relate to Mr. Armstrong. This new stone is more appropriate for introducing the perfect Jesus Christ, who was crucified so we can be born as sons into God’s Family.
Christ is pleased with His messenger! How God is honoring Mr. Armstrong with this new stone of destiny!
God is also pleased with the spiritual “sons of Zadok” who, like Zadok the priest to King David anciently, remain loyal to God’s throne from beginning to end. He trusts His people to take care of the prayer rock—the new stone of destiny. This is a noble and worthy cause.
We recognize this reality, though the world does not. But many will come to see this truth while we are in the place of safety.
God has commanded us to raise the ruins. Now, I am a man with vanity and sins just like anyone else. If I ever begin to think that I can do my job without following Mr. Armstrong’s example, I will be falling into a fatal way of thinking! But I have realized that every time I honor Mr. Armstrong, God honors me. Isn’t that wonderful? This is God’s government. It is a wonderful truth that we all must learn deeply.
Near the end of his life, Mr. Armstrong wrote, “That restoration of God’s government is the one great purpose uppermost in God’s mind” (Plain Truth, July 1977). God wants to restore His government in our lives right now. And soon He will restore His government to the whole world.
“Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this” (Isaiah 9:7).
That is what this is ultimately about. David’s throne will unite the world. God is going to bring all mankind, including those who are so rebellious today, to the point where they will bow down to Him—the Rock—and take a closer look at the love, the way, and the life of God! We must humble ourselves before God, and then take on anyone who challenges our Father, the Head of His Family! We have nothing to fear with God on our side.