Chapter 13: Sons of Zadok
The book of Ezekiel discusses much about a physical temple that will be set up in the World Tomorrow, when Jesus Christ will establish the Kingdom of God on Earth. But there is much more about a spiritual temple. That is what God is most concerned about.
If you are going to build a spiritual temple, where do you start? We can know where God would start just by reading Ezra 3: The Jews rebuilt the temple by starting with the altar. That may seem strange, looking at it physically. But it is a type of the firstfruits: Today God is building His altar for the World Tomorrow—for the temple that will one day consist of the entire multitude of humanity! God’s Philadelphians will be part of that altar.
Zadok the Priest
The Philadelphians are labeled as sons of Zadok in the book of Ezekiel. Who was Zadok? What does it mean to be considered his sons?
Two of the most loyal priests under King David were Abiathar and Zadok. Abiathar was the chief priest, and Zadok served under him. A rebellion rose up under the leadership of David’s son Absalom, and many in Israel turned against David to follow Absalom. Abiathar and Zadok did not.
Later, when David was getting quite old, another son, Adonijah, rose up against him. This time Abiathar made the mistake of siding with the rebellion. Perhaps he believed David really had gotten too old for his job. The high priest turned on the king! For David, that betrayal must have been one of the most depressing moments of his life.
But Zadok remained faithful. He was made chief priest because of his loyalty. Shortly after, he was given the honor of anointing Solomon king. Unlike all the other priests, Zadok stayed loyal to David all the way into Solomon’s reign, until he died. His sons followed his example.
That is why God calls His very elect sons of Zadok today: We are loyal to the throne of David from beginning to end. Even if we faltered for a time, we repented. Sons of Zadok is a perfectly fitting name for the loyal Philadelphian remnant in this end time. God is referring to the ministry first of all, but that label also includes all of God’s faithful people, because we all will be kings and priests—God’s royalty. This is a special honor.
God is addressing those people who are called and converted in the end time. Of that end-time calling, only the Philadelphians are, and will forever be, called sons of Zadok. Only they remained loyal to David’s throne. Only these Philadelphians from the end-time firstfruits will rule from God’s headquarters temple forever! They will be honored with that position, because they remained loyal when most of God’s people rebelled against Him. They will be a part of God’s very elect headquarters altar, or priests, in the World Tomorrow. Sons of Zadok will be added to their royal title. Most of God’s end-time saints will not be honored with that title.
Who was Ezekiel? We really don’t know much about him except for one interesting fact. He was the son of Buzi (Ezekiel 1:3) and a descendant of the priestly family of Zadok. Ezekiel, even though he was in captivity, was still loyal to David’s throne all the way through. That’s why God can use him as an example. He was a son of Zadok in two ways—of that physical genealogy and of the spiritual genealogy.
A Watershed Event
“But the priests the Levites, the sons of Zadok, that kept the charge of my sanctuary when the children of Israel went astray from me, they shall come near to me to minister unto me, and they shall stand before me to offer unto me the fat and the blood, saith the Lord God” (Ezekiel 44:15). God is talking here about something we have lived through: when the children of Israel—the spiritual Israelites, virtually the whole Church—went astray from God.
“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition” (2 Thessalonians 2:3). A great apostasy was prophesied to occur in God’s own Church—one that would deceive many people. A son of destruction would gain control and begin destroying God’s truth in the name of God!
These verses show that God’s own people would be forced into head-to-head combat against satanic forces within the Church. They point to a fierce battle over God’s truth!
“For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now [restrains] will [restrain], until he be taken out of the way” (verse 7). Mr. Armstrong was taken out of the way, and 95 percent of the people succumbed to Satan in this spiritual war. “And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that [are perishing]; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved” (verse 10). Why are they dying spiritually? Because they don’t love the truth. They don’t believe they need to look to David’s throne. They don’t believe they need the government of God!
But let’s focus on the 5 percent—those who truly do love the truth! Who love the government! Let’s focus on the people who remain loyal to God, who fight for God.
All through that treachery, a noble group, the sons of Zadok, were loyal to God’s throne. Ezekiel 44:15 is specifically about the ministers, but it applies to all of us as we follow God’s loyal ministers. It began through me, and I was strongly supported by John Amos. We weren’t men of stature in that church, but we clung to what Mr. Armstrong had taught! Now many others have followed. God says His sons of Zadok kept the charge of His sanctuary when everybody else was turning away. That impresses God! That makes those sons of Zadok very special to God. What a noble title. Even though it means nothing to the people of this world, there is no other title I would rather have!
We became sons of Zadok in the midst of that watershed event. That Church split was a special moment in our history, one that will ennoble us for all eternity—the greatest moment in our spiritual lives! Developing and displaying loyalty in the midst of that betrayal was really an act of qualifying for very prestigious positions.
We must qualify to become an eternal son of Zadok! What a vision this is! This is a job God will give us for all eternity because we remained Philadelphian in the midst of the Laodicean rebellion. God is challenging us with this vision. Our eternal reward depends on the choices we make now, on a daily basis!
Why won’t the Laodiceans be at headquarters in God’s Kingdom—even if they repent in the Great Tribulation? Because they are not qualified! They don’t have a headquarters mentality today! The people who will be at headquarters in God’s Kingdom are the people who have a strong headquarters focus now.
Think about this in practical terms. Government is everything, as Mr. Armstrong often said. Government is the first of the Ten Commandments: You shall have no gods before the true God. When Laodiceans say they are experimenting with another government, that means they are turning to another god! How could God rely on them in headquarters positions in His Kingdom?
“Where there is no vision, the people perish …” (Proverbs 29:18). It doesn’t say, where there is no government, the people perish. The reason is that in order to follow God’s government, you must have far-reaching vision! The reason why that fundamental doctrine trips up so many people is because they lack vision! They can’t see, as the sons of Zadok do, how everything today is preparing us in very specific ways for being a part of God’s royal family government in the Kingdom. They have lost this vision.
Why does God have us look to headquarters today? Because He is preparing us to teach the whole world to look to headquarters in the future! How else could we prepare for such a job? No wonder God places such importance on being a son of Zadok.
The Key of David
Each time a monarch is crowned in England, a song titled “Zadok the Priest,” by G. F. Handel, is sung. Why would this song be used?
Queen Elizabeth ii was crowned Queen of the British Commonwealth on June 2, 1953. As you read what the Chronicle-Telegram of Elyria, Ohio, wrote at the time of her coronation, imagine yourself in a much higher position someday: “The communion service after the opening ‘recognition’ ceremony changes the atmosphere of the coronation to one of devotion and deep religious significance. It is from this point that the sovereign, having dedicated herself to the service of her peoples, is solemnly consecrated, like a bishop, for her task. … Meanwhile the choir sings, as they have sung at this point in the ceremony since the earliest known English coronation service, the anthem, ‘Zadok the Priest’” (May 21, 1953; emphasis mine). A song about Zadok the priest has been sung every time a king or queen has been crowned since “the earliest known English coronation service.”
The United Kingdom and the United States would not face national disaster if they had Zadok’s vision! This is the greatest need of our nations.
Why would this song about Zadok be so bound together with the coronation ceremony for the throne of David? I believe God inspired that to help God’s people understand who they are! What we are part of is worth giving up anything, anywhere, anytime on this Earth!
What makes us sons of Zadok? Consider, as an example, the fact that we printed The United States and Britain in Prophecy. I believe God reserved that for us because it was absolutely essential for doing His Work. The copyright of the 1945 version had expired, and anyone could have reprinted it. But no one else did. We wanted that book passionately, and no one else was interested.
Only the sons of Zadok wanted the version that God inspired Mr. Armstrong to write! Why? That book is about David’s throne! The Laodiceans are turning away from it just as surely as Abiathar turned from David. I could stake my life on the fact that God inspired that book. Can we casually push aside such revelation from God?
Why would we call our television program The Key of David? Because we are the sons of Zadok. In truth, we don’t make those decisions. The great God is preparing us to sit on the throne of David as He uses us to do His Work today.
Look again at that newspaper report: It says that Queen Elizabeth “dedicated herself to the service of her peoples.” That is a noble cause, and I do not mean to belittle it; but when you look at it from our perspective, it is actually somewhat shortsighted. The sons of Zadok are to dedicate themselves to the service of the whole world! When we sit upon that throne of David with our Husband, Jesus Christ, it is the world we will serve! What a tremendous honor!
David’s throne is the only throne from which this world will be served. Can you imagine it being served by the Jews or Palestinians in the Middle East? By the governments of the United States or Britain or anywhere else? The politics of this world have become extremely corrupt. There must be a massive change to bring this world the rest and peace that it cries out for. Only God, supported by His faithful people, can accomplish that.
“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth” (Revelation 3:7). Revelation 3 really gives us the big overview of who we are. The Philadelphia name goes with the key of David, and both are associated with a powerful work that walks through the doors God opens. This is all one package—Philadelphians, key of David, open door to the whole world—because that’s what we’ll be teaching in the World Tomorrow. We must reach the world today to be ready for the future. We must be world-oriented!
Don’t ever let this vision slip—this is what makes you who you are. We must know who we are and how much Jesus Christ loves each one of us. Even in times of trial, we must recognize God’s love for us. Every trial will pay off in the long run. God is working to prepare us for eternity! Don’t ever let Satan make you believe otherwise. God has a love we can’t even fathom.
Pillars in the Temple
“Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out …” (Revelation 3:12). What a majestic honor for the sons of Zadok! They will forever be headquarters personnel, because they learned to look to headquarters today, from where Christ is leading the 5 percent of His people who have remained loyal. How beloved they are for their loyalty.
Hannah said this of her son Samuel: “[T]he pillars of the earth are the Lord’s, and he hath set the world upon them” (1 Samuel 2:8). She saw that vision! God wants strong people—people who can have the world set upon them and who will remain stable in difficult times. Realize that such pillars must be built over time. They will be in God’s Kingdom because they were built before Christ’s return. It takes time, and God must put those pillars through some tests. That is exactly how the Philadelphians are proving themselves today. They won’t be intimidated by a son of perdition or a whole church going astray! They will stay with God even if it gets them killed!
Think for a moment of the flip side of this picture: The Laodiceans turned away as if this was a casual religion or a game. How could God possibly use those people at headquarters? “So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth” (Revelation 3:16). God is sickened by their treachery!
Ministers and members in far-flung areas must keep their headquarters focus. Losing that focus is their biggest danger. Christ leads His Church, which is His prerogative as the Head of the Church.
Can we clearly see how having a headquarters mentality today leads right into being part of the headquarters temple in the World Tomorrow? Everyone on Earth will be looking to the place Christ is ruling from. This vision goes beyond Jerusalem in the Millennium—it goes out to new Jerusalem, out into the universe and on and on forever! It all revolves around the First Commandment. All people must first look to God—which means having no other gods and no other government! We can’t experiment with another government. Once we understand this basic truth, God can do so much with us.
Preparing to Build
“In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old” (Amos 9:11). This verse is about the sons of Zadok being loyal to David’s throne. This happens before the Tribulation. The tabernacle of David is a temporary structure, and it has fallen in this end time. Ninety-five percent of God’s people have been toppled by the devil in their spiritual lives.
But there are some pillars still standing, surviving in the midst of spiritual ruins all around. These pillars, these sons of Zadok, are the only people on Earth who can raise up these ruins.
Look at the work God has been raising up! God has given us 170 acres because He wants us to build! Christ is preparing us to build throughout the World Tomorrow—and we will one day finish building the universe! We can raise up these ruins because we are empowered by the great God. This is a prophecy about us! We’re raising up the tabernacle of David like it was in the days of old, the days of Herbert W. Armstrong. We keep on raising up those ruins even if we have to fight in court to do so! If we have to go so far as to face death, I hope and pray that we remain loyal to this cause!
What a beautiful prophecy this is. The sons of Zadok simply won’t let go of the tabernacle of David, which is attached to a monumental vision of God. These are our fruits. As long as we have God in us, strengthening us for this Work, I know that we cannot be defeated. When Christ returns, His wife will be ready. She will know how to build, because she’s been doing it all along. He will marry her and then direct her, and she will go out and lead in God’s building program forever.
“For thus saith the Lord; David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel; Neither shall the priests the Levites want a man before me to offer burnt offerings, and to kindle meat offerings, and to do sacrifice continually. … If ye can break my covenant of the day, and my covenant of the night, and that there should not be day and night in their season; Then may also my covenant be broken with David my servant, that he should not have a son to reign upon his throne; and with the Levites the priests, my ministers” (Jeremiah 33:17-21).
God will always have ministers teaching about the throne of David! He will always have a number of loyal, Zadok-like ministers. And as you follow those ministers, you also become sons of Zadok. God says if you walk outside and see that it is either day or night, this covenant is still binding—you can be absolutely sure that there still are sons-of-Zadok ministers to lead you to God and prepare you to rule on that throne of David forever! Follow those men, and at the end you will be kings and priests for God—kings and priests who know how to solve the problems of this world, who know how to implement the government of God, who point people to Christ and to the Father, and who know how to build the Family of God! That is the true gospel.
There are simply no people on Earth more noble than these sons of Zadok!