Chapter 4: Lift Up Your Eyes!
By Gerald Flurry
Deep study of the Church’s commission to prophesy again will sweep your imagination from this most evil world ever into a wonderful civilization beyond any of mankind’s dreams. Though in the short term God prophesied that Jerusalem would be like Sodom, He also said it would soon after become the most beautiful and inspiring city ever on this planet! The extremely bad news ushers in the best news ever.
America suffered its worst terrorist attack ever on September 11, 2001. Quite a few of the journalists talked about the horrifying new reality we have to live with, but we only see the tip of the iceberg. This horrifying new reality is 10,000 times worse than the world can even imagine! Most of this massive crisis is invisible and hidden from the world.
It all began in 1986, when Herbert W. Armstrong died and Satan was cast down.
What we saw on September 11 was trivial compared with what is coming upon Britain, America and the Jewish nation. These nations will be only the first victims; violence and nuclear war will envelop the whole world.
Satan has been cast down to this Earth, and he is full of wrath because he knows he has a short time (Revelation 12:12). This world has never before faced what it is facing now. The Earth is practically full of weapons of mass destruction! And this is when Satan’s wrath is raging at its peak because his time is so short.
God’s very elect must also be acutely aware of how short our time is to prophesy again! It’s quite a frightening scenario, but we can thank God it’s all directly connected to the return of Jesus Christ.
God’s very elect, in this last hour, face a new reality. God’s people have never faced anything like this before on such a worldwide scale. We have to do a work somewhat differently than any of God’s people have ever had to do: the work of prophesying again in the midst of Satan’s worst wrath. We must conduct ourselves accordingly in this most urgent crisis. We must adjust to this new reality.
Thankfully, God gives us the power to deal with this new reality.
‘I Know Your Works’
Revelation 1:5 calls Jesus Christ “the first begotten of the dead.” The translators made a mistake: Actually He was the firstborn from the dead. Most people seem to get nothing but bad news from the prophetic book of Revelation. But here in the first chapter it talks about Jesus Christ being the firstborn from the dead. That’s a most inspiring statement. Romans 8:29 calls Him the “firstborn among many brethren.”
Seeing a human child being born is an overwhelmingly emotional experience. But imagine our spiritual birth! God says we are going to be born again from the dead!
Right here in Revelation 1:5, Satan’s deceptions begin. He gets mankind to overlook our being born into the Family of God. Why would the translators use the word begotten? That completely obscures the truth of our incredible human potential. Isaiah says that a whole nation is to be born in a single day! The world will be in shock and disbelief at a spiritual nation being born into the Family of God (Isaiah 66:8). That’s an inspiring message that the world knows nothing about. Men refuse to believe that message—though they need it badly.
As you read this majestic book of Revelation, keep this awesome future in your mind. Without this vision, the temporary bad news will discourage you.
The truth about being born into God’s Family is the gospel, which means good news. And it is the only good news there is!
Jesus Christ’s mind was saturated with this magnificent future. That is why God inspired four Gospel writers. Christ is trying to etch the gospel into our minds. Then no trial is too difficult to overcome.
“And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks” (Revelation 1:12). This is talking about the lamp. The book of Revelation is introduced with the light of God—seven burning lamps that give light to this world.
The book of Revelation is seen by this world as nothing but gloom and doom.
This is a dark, dark world—but it shouldn’t be. God’s brilliant light should fill the Earth. Men, however, have rejected the light. They don’t want to hear about changing and being born into God’s Family. That is why they killed Christ.
God’s very elect have the distinct honor to bring light and joy into a miserable world. That is especially true in this end time.
There is a profound spiritual glow in the book of Revelation. Even the bad news is leading this world into God’s light.
Each one of us has the responsibility to let our light shine—to show this world God’s light. We are now being judged by how much light we bring into God’s Church and the world.
How much glow do you add to God’s lamp?
Our big challenge is to see the book of Revelation through God’s eyes—not through carnal eyes. The first three chapters give a foundational light to the whole book. Revelation 1 pictures the fiery splendor of God. Chapters 2 and 3 are about the seven lamps of God—the light of God that glows in God’s true Church on Earth.
God’s people are called to deliver a message of light in a gloomy, black world. The world’s only hope is to receive that light.
In chapters 2 and 3, when the eras of the Church are described, seven times God says, “I know thy works.” The great God who inspired this book of Revelation wants us to know that He knows what we’re doing. Anytime God repeats something like that, you can be sure it’s important to understand. He’s aware of every good work, and He’s also aware of every time we let down. He is intently focused on the works of His elect.
These first three chapters of Revelation give us the big picture.
The book of Revelation starts with the Father and Son (Revelation 1:1). Then God gives us a picture of these fiery Beings and their power. After that, God describes His Bride and the work she is to do (Revelation 2 and 3). Church eras give us a God Family context. The time span is from the first coming to the Second Coming of Christ.
Along with the prophets, this is the foundational governmental structure of the World Tomorrow. The governments of this world are on their deathbed. A new civilization is almost here.
This is a monumental, earthshaking truth that the world doesn’t see, but that it will see quite soon.
Satan has worked feverishly to destroy the truth about the Church eras, and about the Head of the Church described in Revelation 1.
The Head of God’s Church is described in the first chapter of Revelation. Satan’s number one goal is to get our minds off the fiery God who is our Head!
The second area Satan attacks is Church eras. If Satan destroys this knowledge, we become confused and blind about who we are. Our commission is vague or lost. Understanding Church eras gives us context as to who we are and what we should be doing.
This knowledge makes the Philadelphia Church of God aware of why we must prophesy again during the Laodicean era. How can we know what our commission is if we don’t know which era we are in? How can God use us to fuel His lamp if we don’t know where the lamp is?
We show people what their Creator is doing right now. He is extremely active.
God knows the works of every era. Christ says, I know what you’re doing, and I’m showing you what to do.
In this era, our job is to prophesy again. God knows how zealously each one of us works to complete that job.
Do Not Fear
To those in the Smyrna Church, Christ said, “Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer …” (Revelation 2:10). Do you sometimes fear? Do you fear to face the challenges of doing God’s Work? Christ tells us not to fear what’s coming. We don’t have to fear anybody but God.
Look at the trials the Smyrna brethren experienced: “… 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” (verse 10). What a challenge—but what an end! Who cast some of them in prison? Not men, but the devil! Men are used by Satan. He orchestrates all of the serious persecution against God’s loyal saints.
Many people scoff at Satan because they don’t know him or understand his power! That power has them in abject bondage.
John knew God and the devil. Satan was very real to him. John knew that Satan is our great adversary. If we get thrown in jail or killed, the devil empowers such evil. He is the real source of our persecution.
Satan’s primary goal is to destroy God’s Work and His people. His main passion is to keep us from prophesying again. “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death” (verse 11). Do we hear what the Spirit says about Satan?
God is talking about a profound understanding: You can digest this message so deeply that you don’t even fear being thrown into prison or dying physically. God says you don’t have to fear that—you can die, absolutely knowing you won’t be hurt by the second death. You can die and know you’re going to live forever! That’s how we remove the fear in our lives: by having that kind of vision. We have nothing to fear!
Satan’s primary goal is to destroy God’s people and His Work. We must see and understand our adversary or we can’t defeat him—he will conquer us as he already has conquered 95 percent of God’s people today!
The devil has God’s people thrown into jail and killed. Satan tries to conquer us through fear. It takes a lot of intensive Bible study to grasp that to the point where it eliminates fear in our lives. Perfect love casts out fear. If you love God and His truth, the fears will disappear.
What does it mean not to be hurt? The second death hurts and it hurts forever, because we are dead forever! No matter what we say now, the second death hurts. It is the greatest hurt we can suffer. You can die the first death for God, however, and the next waking moment you rise into majestic splendor forever! You receive a crown of eternal glory.
The book of Revelation is not about the first death. It’s about avoiding the second death!
We will face many trials from prophesying again, but we must not fear those trials if we are to proclaim God’s message to the world.
The end of Revelation 3 talks about us sharing Christ’s throne. Then, in chapter 4 comes a magnificent description of God’s throne. Notice the excitement here: “And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind. And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle. And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come” (Revelation 4:6-8).
These angelic beings are not depressed; they are praising God for everything. They have never been given the potential to be sons of God, yet they still express their joy and thanksgiving to God day and night. Apparently their job is just to praise God—and they are thrilled to have it.
Do you know what makes these angels happy? This two thirds of the angels watched Lucifer’s rebellion and remained loyal to God. That is what makes them happy. And our loyalty to God is what makes the PCG happy today when 95 percent of God’s people are rebellious and unhappy!
These angels support God’s commission. The firstfruits—not the angels—are going to share this breathtakingly beautiful throne with Christ. Still, the righteous angels are 100 percent behind the PCG’s commission, which helps prepare us for that throne.
The loyal angels are not selfish. Their whole focus is on God and His Work. That makes angels and men ecstatic!
“The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created” (verses 10-11). God is worthy to receive glory and honor. He created all things—including us—and He has sacrificed everything for us. It keeps us humble to remember that. Lucifer forgot that he was a created being. We must never forget our humble beginning. A newborn baby wouldn’t be able to do anything if someone didn’t take care of it. Yet mankind, and even God’s people, can get arrogant and forget how much they need to be taught and cared for by God.
These angels have it right. They know who created them. They are simply rejoicing because God gave them life! They’re thrilled to be a part of God’s wondrous Work, and they will live happily—forever.
So many of God’s people have turned away because they became more excited about things than about their potential to become sons of God. That is why the Creator created us! The Laodiceans have their minds on things—they are “rich, and increased with goods.” The greatest treasures ever found on this Earth are but dung compared to our potential.
We all must learn a lesson from the righteous angels. They focus on the cause of their existence. They think on the beginning of their lives—their creation and the Creator. They understand why they were created.
So must we. We must always see through God’s eyes. Why did the Creator create us? That is what causes us to be filled with praise for God. It is this understanding that brings joy and excitement into our lives! God has given us a temporary, chemical existence only to prepare us for eternal bliss.
The Laodiceans have lost the real treasures of this life. They are “rich, and increased with goods” of this world, but spiritually they are in the most wretched poverty imaginable.
Our transcendental potential must always be our greatest passion, or we will lose everything of value.
We need the gratitude of these angels. We need the joy and excitement that they have. If we don’t have a lot of that joy in our life, something is wrong. Obviously, a serious trial can weigh you down: Still we need to rejoice and praise God like these 24 elders—and even more, because our potential is so much greater.
These angels see the vast difference between the Creator and the created! Lucifer and one third of the created angels made a pathetic attempt to rule over the Creator.
The righteous angels hated that rebellion. They never rebelled against the Creator when He decided to re-create Himself through mankind. They still see a fabulous future for themselves. That attitude makes them happy. It will do the same for us.
Let me give you an amazing thought I believe came directly from God: It seems to me that the righteous angels have greater potential now than they had before Lucifer rebelled!
Before man was created, the angels were going to beautify and rule over the universe, under God and the Word. Now, that is the transcendental potential of man. The righteous angels are still going to help rule the universe, but this time they will be under billions of created sons of God.
Would their future have been more wonderful without the billions of created Gods? I don’t think so.
It seems they could be praising God for making their future even greater by creating so many sons of God!
Was it a win-win situation for the righteous angels, even if one third of the angels did rebel?
I believe that is an extremely strong probability.
This is all consistent with the profound love of God. God is striving to give all of us the most awesome future possible. This is how God thinks.
If we are to do God’s Work and prophesy again, then we must think like God. We must have His vision to do His Work.
Very soon, serious problems are going to accelerate in this world. “And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings. And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. But the court which is without the temple leave out [or cast out], and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months” (Revelation 10:11; 11:1-2).
This is what we face: One way or another, we must be measured. The Laodiceans who go into the Tribulation will lose a big part of their reward. They won’t humble themselves and allow themselves to be measured today, so they must go into the Great Tribulation with the rest of the world.
When we look at these prophecies, we need to realize what they are all tied to. What you’re seeing in Jerusalem today is a prelude to Christ’s return. It will all lead to that climactic event, step by step!
So watch Jerusalem! God’s very elect must watch Jerusalem and prophesy again.
In the Olivet prophecy, Christ talked about seeing “Jerusalem compassed with armies” (Luke 21:20). Why will these European armies surround Jerusalem after they’ve already won a war with the king of the south?
The prophecy continues, “… then know that the desolation thereof is nigh [near]. Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto” (verses 20-21). There is coming a time when we will need strong faith to flee. It will take real faith to flee for your life when people are calling you all kinds of names and heaping persecution on you and on this Church. You and I won’t be able to endure and flee if we don’t have the faith of Christ. God says we had better be ready.
“For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people” (verses 22-23). This is what God must deliver us from. The only way we can escape that is to prophesy again and have God protect us.
“And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem [a type of Israel] shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled” (verse 24). After that, of course, is when Christ returns. We’re about to see biblical Israel trodden down like the mire of the streets. Is that what it will take to get its people’s attention? The Laodiceans will be right there in the middle of that. Because they are so hardheaded, God says, You’re going to be trodden down, because I want to get your attention and save you! I want you to be in my Family!
Luke 21:24 is directly tied to Revelation 10:11 and 11:1-2. We must prophesy again about the times of the Gentiles.
Lift Up Your Eyes
Hosea 5:5 prophesies that the three primary nations fighting terrorism right now—America, Britain and Israel (or Manasseh, Ephraim and Judah)—are going to fall together. Isn’t it interesting how united they are today—and how isolated from the rest of the world? Britain has even moved out of the European Union.
This war against terrorism is just the outer edges of a coming storm—the times of the Gentiles!
These three nations of Israel are going to be conquered and destroyed. (For more information request our Hosea booklet.)
These prophecies are being fulfilled today. You are reading about them and seeing them in your daily news. We must all be vigilant or be caught in the worst storm ever on this planet! There will never be a storm greater than this one.
“And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken” (Luke 21:25-26). But notice the good news: “And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh” (verses 27-28).
This passage is so critical. If we’re not careful, we will be prone to get depressed when these difficulties break out in the world. We have a propensity to hang our heads and get caught up in the calamity, which is getting worse all the time.
God knows our human nature, and He is warning us not to get discouraged. Don’t let this get you down, He is telling us. Lift up your head, because your redemption draws near! Jesus Christ is about to return! Don’t lose your hope or your positive attitude! You’re getting awfully close to the end! That’s the battle we have. We must not look only at the bad news!
Look at the little nation called Israel today. The Israelis have been coping with a consistent terror threat for years. They’ve lived in fear; they’ve had loved ones die. And it’s robbed them of hope. The majority of them are convinced their children’s lives will be worse than their own, and they live in open despair!
What if you lived there? Would you go around in open despair, downcast and crestfallen because of what’s happening to your land? It would certainly be difficult not to.
But God says, No! No! Don’t do that! Lift up your heads! This is good news! We must believe God and prophesy again.
Israel is trusting its worst enemies rather than trusting God. Its double cross is coming (to learn about this, request our free book Ezekiel—The End-Time Prophet).
We have to be able to connect what’s happening in Jerusalem—and in the U.S., Britain, Canada, Europe and Asia—to the return of Jesus Christ! That is nothing to hang your head about!
Can you feel the times of the Gentiles? Can you see and sense that everything’s going so well for the Gentiles? And that God Himself has actually put it in their minds to do what they’re going to do to the nations of Israel? Can you see what’s happening in the Middle East? It’s all right there before us.
The nations of Israel—America and Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the Jews—keep wondering, Why is Germany against us? Why is Russia against us? And China, and Europe? Why is everybody against us? It’s because we are facing the times of the Gentiles! God says we can see the sword, and we can feel the storm already building—the outer periphery of that perfect storm. We must prophesy again while there is time!
But it’s all leading to the best news ever! Don’t let it get you down. Lift up your head. Because if we don’t lift up our heads, we’re not going to prophesy again. We’ll be too discouraged.
You and I must connect what is happening in Jerusalem today to the imminent return of Christ. This is where we must keep our minds. This is the only hope there is.
We Must Be Measured
In Revelation 10:11, God gives us our commission. It is a grand vision of what we’re going to be doing: prophesying again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues and kings.
Notice, then, how God follows that vision with correction: He immediately talks about measuring us in chapter 11. God begins to measure us and show us where we need to change. That is a wonderful blessing from our loving Father. Every loving father measures his children so they can be happy and successful. If we are going to prophesy again, we must worship in that temple and we have to be measured. That includes the altar, which symbolizes the ministry, including me. We all have to be measured.
God gives the prophesy again vision before talking about measuring—for an important reason. We won’t accept that correction if we don’t have the vision.
First, God gives us the commission to prophesy again. God’s Church had become Laodicean and stopped proclaiming God’s message. The very elect had to resurrect God’s Work and understand their new commission to warn the Laodiceans and the world. So God revealed and inspired us with a new commission. God established His government again through one man. We were given “a reed like unto a rod” (Revelation 11:1). Then God could measure His ministry (the altar) and His very elect.
First God gave us the vision, then His law and government. The Laodiceans rejected the vision and were unable to keep God’s law, submit to His government, and be measured. God is in the inner court. The Laodiceans were put into the outer court to be trodden down by the Gentiles in the Tribulation (verse 2). They will have to repent the hard way. But 50 percent of them will never repent. They will be plunged into the lake of fire.
That is what happens to those Laodiceans who refuse to be measured. So let’s be positive about being corrected, or measured, by our loving Father.
Revelation 11 then talks about the two witnesses and how the beast power is going to hate and kill them. “And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city [Jerusalem], which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified” (verse 8). The Father hasn’t forgotten about His Son being crucified—that horrendous sin of all sins! God prophesied how evil we would become in this end time. The book of Revelation came from God the Father. And here He is calling Jerusalem, and Israel, Sodom—the filthiest city ever on the planet!
Do you view the nations of Israel the way God does? He sees total perversion! Israel was the only nation founded by God—He wanted it to be a kingdom of priests! Instead, Israel’s descendants have become a deeply vile example to the rest of the world! God is going to incinerate them with fire, just as He did Sodom, which happened as an example (Jude 7). Sodom is a type of the lake of fire, which is where they are going if they don’t repent. If you live like Sodom, you’re going to die like Sodom!
This end-time catastrophe is going to be 10,000 times worse than Sodom’s destruction! And time is running out. This coming crisis of all crises must motivate us to prophesy again while there is time. You can be sure God the Father is concerned about the rise in homosexuality. Today it’s a constitutional right to practice sodomy in Israel. Paul called it abominable! (Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9). Many scriptures tell us it is abominable, perhaps the worst adjective in all the Bible. It is a lifestyle Satan is pushing to destroy the family!
Physical family prepares you to enter the Family of God. When the sanctity of family is gutted, it blots out man’s potential to become members of the God Family! How long will it take to straighten out those homosexual minds to the point where they can understand marriage the way God defines it? How long before they can grasp family and father the way God defines them? If they want to defy God, they’re going to answer for it. That sin destroys your will to do anything that requires character. Those who glory in that perversion have reprobate minds, and they’ll never be in the God Family until they get rid of it. Their potential is being marred and blackened by the devil.
Spiritual sodomy is far worse than just homosexuality. The physical family is the primary institution to prepare us for God’s Family.
Is God going to back off and be timid about what Satan is doing? Satan tries to intimidate people into thinking it’s OK, or that it’s a private matter and an individual choice. But God is white-hot with indignation about it! We had better view it God’s way.
Genesis 18:20-21 say the cry of Sodom went up to God. He knew exactly what was happening there. Do you think that same cry has gone up to God today?
God told Lot to get his family out; He protected them from the destruction (as He will the very elect today), but when Lot’s wife looked back, God turned her into a pillar of salt. She still found something appealing about Sodom! God wants us to begin to hate spiritual Sodom as He does, and tell this world what God thinks!
What did Jesus Christ have to say about it? “Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed” (Luke 17:28-30).
This is God talking! Just before Christ returns, fire is going to come down from heaven to destroy modern-day Sodom—and that just happens to be the nations of Israel, the only people who have had a history with God.
God says we have to watch and warn. Nuclear bombs are coming on Israel. We can be sure of that, because Jesus Christ Himself said so. When Satan gets people deep into those types of sins, it’s getting pretty close to the time when God is going to blot out the people who commit them—and if they don’t repent, it will be for eternity.
You have a Father who gave His Son to die for you. But He’s not going to use His Son’s death for people who want to live in such twisted evil. They follow their queer god, the devil. When God says that city is Sodom, He’s saying even the Laodiceans are into sodomy, spiritually and physically. You can’t get anything through to those people because they won’t listen to their Father; they have another father, who is twisting their minds.
If people don’t heed this message, cities will be incinerated! Those who remain alive will be taken into captivity to a foreign country. They must get to the point where they realize there was a prophet in their midst and repent before God can begin to work with them. This is God’s message, and He won’t accept anything other than repentance.
We must keep the overview in mind. The book of Revelation came from God the Father—not Christ.
The sin of sodomy destroys the family structure—which is a type of God’s Family! This sin rejects the father as the loving head of the wife and children—a God-plane relationship.
Spiritually, sodomy rejects the Father as Head over the God Family. That is the very gospel of God—the good news of the coming Kingdom, or Family, of God.
Sodomy is satanic to the core. Spiritually, it destroys God’s family plan. Generally, the people who commit this sin have no concept of how evil it really is.
The ashes of ancient Sodom tell us clearly what God thinks of this abomination!
We must proclaim to Israel what is coming.
The Rod of God
“And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein” (Revelation 11:1). The word rise occurs 141 times in the Bible, and 70 times it’s referring to resurrection. God really wants us to rise up! His Church is dying. He needs someone to rise up and measure! That is talking specifically to one man, supported by a group of faithful people who are willing to be measured.
We all have to be corrected and measured; otherwise, we can’t fulfill our commission. If we have a problem and we won’t allow God to measure us, how can He reach us? We can’t let anything stand in the way of our being measured. Everybody gets corrected.
The rod in that verse is a symbol of government. Numbers 17:2-3 discuss the princes of Israel. Each was commanded to bring a rod, which was an ensign, or a sign, that he was the leader of his tribe. In 1 Corinthians 4:21, Paul asked, “[S]hall I come unto you with a rod …?” Revelation 2:26-27 say Christ is going to give His people a rod of iron to rule with. There is authority in God’s Church. We’re all corrected by it.
In the ark of the covenant in ancient Israel were the Ten Commandments, some manna (symbolizing the spiritual manna that we receive today, God’s truth), and Aaron’s rod, representing the authority that God gave a man to rule over Israel. Somebody had to apply the Ten Commandments in Israel, and it takes authority to do that. If you have a law, you must have a law-implementer.
God isn’t upset with the Laodiceans because they rejected Mr. Armstrong—He is upset because they rejected their spiritual Head, Jesus Christ! You don’t have to accept a government of any man, but God help you if you reject the government of God. We’re not asking anybody to follow a man. In fact, we’re telling you that you’re under a curse if you do.
How our carnal nature hates the rod of God! The religions of this world have a come-as-you-are approach because they don’t like God’s government!
Aaron’s rod was made of either wood or some kind of metal. Whatever the case, God made it bloom and bear almonds (Numbers 17:8). Why? Because He wanted to show how His government produces growth. Did you ever notice that a little correction for your children brings growth? We all have to keep ourselves humble. I do too; I’m human and have a carnal mind too much of the time, just like you. God corrects me—sometimes pretty hard—but what a wonderful blessing it is. What growth we experience as a result of God’s correction. Revelation 11:1 says this rod is “given.” It’s a gift that shows we are God’s submissive sons!
You can see in Revelation 11:2 that if we don’t allow ourselves to be measured and corrected by God, we won’t prophesy again!
That ark was called the ark of the testimony. It was a testimony that God was with them. The PCG today has all the ingredients of that ark. It’s a testimony that God is with us. You don’t have to guess about where God is, you can know He’s here!
It is through God’s government that we are directed to prophesy again.
Mourning for the World
“And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth” (Revelation 11:3).
Sackcloth here is not really referring to humility; it’s talking primarily about mourning. These two witnesses are among those who sigh and cry because of all the abominations in Israel (Ezekiel 9:4). This is why we warn: We’re mourning for our people Israel, and we’re warning the whole world because they are, after all, created sons of God, and they have the potential to become God! We’re mourning what’s happening in the world.
However, if we’re thinking like God, we won’t allow that mourning to descend into discouragement.
We have to realize that Satan the devil is deeply discouraged. There has never been a being so discouraged as the devil is right now. If you find yourself getting bogged down in discouragement, you need to realize that Satan is getting to you. He is bitter because his time is so short. He knows what we’re doing, and he knows about the God Family. Satan has been rejected by God and confined to this Earth. No being has ever hated God more. So he persecutes God’s people far more than anyone else. He knows he’s blown it, and he’s trying to get us discouraged the way he is—and he’s a master at that. This cast-down dragon is raging in discouragement. And his primary goal is to keep us from prophesying again.
But God is giving us the armaments to fight him and win. We have more truth than God’s Church has ever had. God never thrusts us into battle without equipping us for victory. All we have to do is use the tools He provides.
The Church and the Man Child
I want to show you something very inspiring. “And she [the true Church] 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 12:5). This verse provides quite an overview. It depicts Christ being born as a child, His future ruling all nations with a rod of iron, and His present responsibility at the right hand of God in heaven as our High Priest.
Now notice how this thought is repeated. “And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child” (verse 13). There was a definite cause for such a massive rebellion in God’s own Church. When Satan was cast down, God’s Church was his first target. This verse tells about the crisis in the end time where God’s Church has been attacked by the devil and 95 percent of the people have turned away. In this context, God points right back to the fact that this Church brought forth the man child who will rule all nations with a rod of iron and now sits at the right hand of His Father.
There is a vision in this verse! You can clearly see why the Laodiceans fell: because they didn’t realize who they were! They never deeply understood, or they forgot, their own history!
When Christ repeats an expression in one short chapter, we need to see why He emphasizes it. The PCG is the same Church that brought forth Jesus Christ as a baby! And look where He is now! And if you follow Him, that’s exactly where you’re going to be—except, of course, you’ll be ruling with Him on Earth; nevertheless, you’re going to be on the throne of David.
What does it mean to us to be a part of the Church that brought forth the man child? What wonderful history. God loves you very much, and He wants you to really understand this history.
We are going to rule with Christ and help Him change this world and the universe—this same Church that brought forth the man child!
It’s hard to imagine Christ’s sacrifice for us. It’s even harder to imagine our eternal future with Him. We must not forget what we are a part of and who we are!
Satan can conquer people who lack this vision. That is why there was a great falling away from God’s truth. This past history of the man child gives a mind-staggering vision of our future and keeps us on track!
The Word, who was God, came to this Earth as a helpless physical child. This unparalleled sacrifice could have cost Him everything—His eternal glory. But His success gives us the potential to be very sons of God.
How can we “neglect so great salvation”? We have seen a gigantic falling away of God’s people because they didn’t get this vision.
These verses give us cause and effect. There is a cause for such a mountain-size failure.
Mr. Armstrong told us that we must not forget our rebellious 1970s history, or we were destined to repeat it. And so the Laodiceans have—on a scale even greater than Mr. Armstrong imagined.
Verses 5 and 13 have the solution to the Laodicean problem. The vision is right there in the same verse where Satan attacked them! You can see why he was successful. Are they going to prophesy again? Can God use them to prophesy when they don’t even comprehend this vision? They don’t understand what the God Family is all about, and they let Satan take it all away!
“And the dragon [Satan the devil] was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (verse 17). The Laodiceans who repent have the commandments and the testimony—but it doesn’t say they have the faith of Jesus Christ, and that’s what got them in trouble. God corrects the hardheaded, rebellious Laodiceans by plunging them into the Tribulation. This is the fate of those who fail to prophesy again.
“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” (Revelation 13:1). This is probably the paramount prophecy of evil in all the Bible. There is nothing like this beast that is talked about in Revelation 12, 13, 17 and 18. Look at all the space that John uses to describe this monster—and in the most important book of prophecy in the Bible. That means we need to give special attention to this beast.
How many people in the world understand about the Holy Roman Empire—this beast of Revelation? It has almost risen from the sea. The world is about to see and experience the most destructive beast ever on this planet!
You need to understand how this will impact your life.
This beast will conquer America, Britain and the Jewish nation! Our peoples will be attacked with nuclear bombs. Those who remain alive will be removed from their own lands as slaves.
That gives you a good idea of how vicious and deadly this beast will be.
Only God can protect us. He will protect an individual or a nation if they repent.
That helps you to see just how important this message is.
But notice what this beast receives from the dragon. “And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority” (Revelation 13:2). The all-powerful dragon gave him his seat and great authority. Where is there a church-state combine on this Earth where the devil is actually giving it authority and power? We ought to be able to see it!
“And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?” (verses 3-4). People of the world will wonder after the beast. They’ll be virtually hypnotized in amazement as they worship it.
Daniel saw four beasts. If you compare all these scriptures, John is saying that this seventh head of the Holy Roman Empire has the strength of all the beasts. This will be the beast of all beasts! It will cause unparalleled destruction. It is on the scene, and the world is going to know it very soon—because the dragon has given the beast power and authority! This is what we are heading into! The times of the Gentiles. We’re about to see the worst beast ever—horror of horrors!
Mr. Armstrong talked about this prophecy for many years. God’s Church has been talking about it for many hundreds of years. The beast has seven heads; it has been around for a long time. Still, nobody on Earth today really understands about the beast—but they ought to. God’s people have told them.
This world is about to see the worst leaders of that beast ever in the history of the “Holy” Roman Empire. We’re going to see a roaring times of the Gentiles worse than any storm ever on Earth, and we have to be strong people to stand up to that and thunder God’s message of what is happening to this world. We must prophesy again now!
Defending the Family
“And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven” (Revelation 13:6). The beast power is going to blaspheme our Father. We must be infuriated by that! It will blaspheme His tabernacle—speaking of God’s people. We have to stand up and fight for our Family! Because we love our Father and our Family, when people start casting these vile aspersions, we must let them know what we think! We’re going to have to call that whore what she is, and that blasphemer what he is!
Revelation chapters 13 through 15 and 17 show that a number of the Laodiceans won’t accept the mark of the beast. Many of them will repent and stand up for God. “And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads” (Revelation 14:1). This 144,000 who repent in the Tribulation will have the Father’s name written in their foreheads. They will honor their Father. The Kingdom of God is about the Family of God!
What do the Laodiceans have to repent of? Not honoring their Father (Malachi 1:6). Most of them say that Jesus Christ is the center of their religion (Matthew 24:4-5). But Jesus Christ Himself says they are deceived by not looking to our Father. We must declare the Father as Christ did (John 1:18).
Why do so many have to go through such suffering to receive such a majestic message from God? Why will so many lose so much because of rebellion? Those who wait until the Tribulation to repent will lose their headquarters reward. Why is the human mind so hard that we won’t let the loving God give us everything? Look what they have to go through: They have to resist the mark of the beast—the great whore is going to kill them.
Those who are faithful today truly are special to God. You stand out like a beacon in the darkness. You are a lamp shining and letting the people of the world know what their real hope is. There’s nothing more exciting than this Church of God going to the world and letting our lamp burn brightly! How exciting that is to God! So many scriptures tell us how God loves His very elect—those people who love Him and His truth. God loves us because we prophesy again.
The Faith of Christ
Satan really is in a rage. He’s going to come after us by trying to poison people’s minds against us. Expect that. But we can take care of that and anything else they throw at us. Here’s how: “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus” (Revelation 14:12). Do you have the faith of Jesus? God’s very elect do more than just keep the commandments of God—they have the faith of Jesus Christ.
When we decided to print Mystery of the Ages, there really wasn’t a scripture that I could point to and say, God says do it. We had to get out and do it because we had the faith of Christ. Why were we prepared to fight for it in court? Because we had the faith of Christ. That’s the kind of faith it’s going to take to prophesy again. (After we stepped out in faith, God revealed several scriptures that apply to our court case!) God is helping us to grow in that faith. We don’t want you to follow men; we want you to follow Christ. We want you to have the very faith of Christ. The same faith that Christ had! If He could endure what He did with that faith, then so can we.
Everything is going to turn out right. As Mr. Armstrong said, you can read the end of the Bible and see that we win.
Bride Reigns With Christ!
Revelation 18 and 19 show that old Babylon is going to be blotted out forever!
This is truly a cause for rejoicing in heaven. “And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God: For true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand” (Revelation 19:1-2).
God’s saints will have had their heads lopped off by this great whore in the name of God! And God is going to avenge that! He’s going to judge the whore. So we have to prophesy of God’s judgment on her, too, in the context of our Work. We’re not supposed to stand by while a great whore corrupts the Earth. God says to cry aloud and tell the nations!
“And again they said, Alleluia. And her smoke rose up for ever and ever. And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts [living creatures] fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia” (verses 3-4). These spirit beings are really excited about this. This is the last act of the 24 elders and the four living creatures in the Bible: They fall down and say, Oh, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, praise God!
Why all the excitement? “And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great. And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth” (verses 5-6). This is a tremendous burst of song about the great, all-powerful, omnipotent God reigning! It’s like the voice of many thunders and a great multitude or many waters!
About that time, Christ will be crowned by the Father. This will be the greatest coronation ever by our Father.
But notice, further, the context: “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready” (verse 7). That’s what it’s all about: the marriage of the Lamb! That’s what these 24 elders and the four living creatures are really getting excited about: the marriage of the Lamb to the Bride of Jesus Christ!
This is why we are tried and tested. We must get ready! We’re going to rule with Jesus Christ! This is already there in the Book. It’s going to happen so soon. There is nothing, nothing, NOTHING on Earth like it, and never will be! And it’s really about you! We have a key role to play right here in this end time.
“And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years” (Revelation 20:4-6).
In one instance there it says God’s people “reigned” with Christ; two verses later it says they “shall reign.” Jesus Christ is talking to us, and He uses those words interchangeably as if we already reign! God sees the picture as if we’re already reigning. That’s reality! This future is ours for the taking! We must view our future as our Husband does, with His perspective. All of those Laodicean martyrs who were put to death by the great whore are going to rule and reign with Him for a thousand years.
After that, God is going to resurrect multiple billions of people, probably more than 50 billion people, on the Last Great Day. This is where it’s all leading. God needs help for all this work. He needs you! Christ needs a helpmeet, and that is the opportunity He is giving to you.
Revelation 21 says that in the new Jerusalem, there is no more need for the sun or the moon because of the glory of God. We will be a part of that glory.
God says we have to prophesy again about this Family vision. It’s not going to be easy, but oh, what an inspiring message it is! When you understand that, nothing else really matters.
So let’s get out and fervently prophesy again!