Chapter 4: The Eternal Has Chosen Jerusalem
New Jerusalem is the crux of Revelation 3:12. God’s Philadelphians are infused with a strong vision of new Jerusalem. Our Father wants His vision of new Jerusalem to consume the minds of His people.
Revelation 3:12 says, “Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.”
Throughout the Philadelphia Church of God’s history, we have been reading this verse and applying it to God’s Philadelphians. We may have read this verse hundreds, even thousands, of times. But how much have we thought about what God means when He says new Jerusalem? God tells us in this verse that His Philadelphians have their minds on new Jerusalem.
After Jesus Christ returns and has removed the sins from this world, the Father will come to rule His Family from new Jerusalem. “And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. … And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, Having the glory of God …. And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof” (Revelation 21:3, 10-11, 22-23). God the Father yearns to be with His Family. Our Father will inhabit new Jerusalem with us—after the 1,000-year Millennium has ended and there are no more physical beings.
We need this vision to endure the hardships ahead. “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise” (Hebrews 11:8-9). These faithful men knew that our bodies are temporary—like tabernacles. We must have a vision that reaches beyond this life and even beyond the Millennium! “For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (verse 10). Abraham saw new Jerusalem and God’s eternal Family.
Abraham is known as the father of the faithful (Galatians 3:7). He set an example in righteous obedience. He looked forward to the city built by God the Father. Think about the spiritual depth of this man!
We all need to really think about new Jerusalem, and the time when the whole universe will be inhabited by the Family of God. Human beings, and all the problems we face on this Earth, will be gone. New Jerusalem will be here. So will God the Father.
The Philadelphians will be stationed in the Jerusalem headquarters forever. “[H]e [each Philadelphian] shall go no more out ….” God is making it personal for each one of us. Most of God’s own people have become lukewarm today. They have lost this part of their reward already, because they lost the new Jerusalem vision. Then Satan got to them. What an eternal price they must pay for that failure—even the 50 percent who repent in the Tribulation.
Do we see how real these promises are? And how costly it is if we fail?
We must overcome as Christ overcame (Revelation 3:21). He overcame the devil. The lukewarm Laodiceans fail to do so before the Tribulation.
This strongly indicates that anyone who loses the vision of new Jerusalem becomes far more vulnerable to Satan’s attacks.
God will go to extreme lengths to help us understand and focus on new Jerusalem. We are in the last hour, and I believe one of the most profound and spectacular ways God is getting us to focus on new Jerusalem is by building and properly using His house. Armstrong Auditorium is a $20 million facility we have built at our headquarters campus. We made it the highest quality we possibly could, because it points us to the new Jerusalem that we will inhabit in the future! The same God who shall govern new Jerusalem rules this house today—His eternal message flows from that building! We need to think deeply about this; God’s house and new Jerusalem are connected in a very special way. The new Jerusalem vision reverberates within the walls of this most royal house.
God in His love warns Joshua and the Laodiceans about losing this vision in the context of their rebellion. He has the strongest desire for them to overcome the devil. He gives them every opportunity.
Why the Laodiceans Fell Prey to Satan
“And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. And the Lord said unto Satan, The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan; even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?” (Zechariah 3:1-2).
These verses are talking about an evil Joshua, who represents the entire Laodicean, or lukewarm, era of God’s Church. (This is fully explained in my free book Malachi’s Message.) The whole era has been taken captive by Satan—that includes 95 percent of God’s own people. Most of them are going into the Tribulation, where 50 percent of them will repent and be plucked out of the fire. The other 50 percent will die forever in the lake of fire.
What caused this Laodicean era to be taken captive by the devil? How did this wholesale falling away happen? There is an important element to this verse, which I hadn’t thought much about, that answers these questions. In verse 2 God says, the Eternal has chosen Jerusalem. What does that mean? Why would God talk about the vision of new Jerusalem in the context of this lawless end-time type of Joshua who is in bondage to Satan?
This astonishing scripture reveals why this evil Joshua and the Laodiceans became captives of Satan, and how we can avoid falling into the same trap.
The Eternal has chosen Jerusalem: God is showing us that the Laodiceans got into serious trouble because they stopped focusing on new Jerusalem. They quit thinking like God. God’s mind is continually set on new Jerusalem: His entire plan is built around new Jerusalem. But Joshua and his followers allowed their minds to stray from God’s vision of new Jerusalem. That led to what is probably the worst disaster ever in God’s Church.
Verse 8 says, “Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they are men wondered at: for, behold, I will bring forth my servant the Branch.” Notice, God says He is going to bring forth the Branch, Jesus Christ. God the Father is directly and intimately involved in these events. He brings forth His Son. But what happens just before Christ, the Branch, returns? Joshua’s fellows are looking to Joshua rather than the Father and Son; they have lost the Eternal has chosen Jerusalem vision. The expression men wondered at would better read men of sign. They are a sign the Messiah is about to return! The bad news is still good news—a sign of the most wonderful news we could hear.
Christ is about to change and beautify Jerusalem as this world has never seen it. It will become the capital city of the world. Then after the Millennium and the Great White Throne Judgment, a still greater change is coming. God the Father and new Jerusalem are coming to this Earth!
“For behold the stone that I have laid before Joshua; upon one stone shall be seven eyes: behold, I will engrave the graving thereof, saith the Lord of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day” (verse 9). The Stone is a symbol of Christ, and the seven eyes are the seven Church eras, over which Christ is the Head. God gives His Church sight. He gives His people the ability to understand world events and to comprehend spiritual knowledge. The Laodiceans have lost this ability because they have gotten away from the Stone and the vision of new Jerusalem given to them by God the Father. They are now blind (Revelation 3:17).
How to Conquer Discouragement
The Eternal has chosen Jerusalem is the deep understanding needed to conquer Satan and remain Philadelphian. Realize what a tremendous blessing it is that we can understand the vision of new Jerusalem! New Jerusalem should be our greatest goal! It is the vision of another world—another universe!
The Laodiceans were deceived by Satan because they lost sight of the vision of new Jerusalem. They don’t know that the Eternal has chosen Jerusalem. It is really the deepest vision in the entire Bible.
God is telling us that if we want to avoid being deceived, and if we want to live exciting, positive, hope-filled lives, then we must understand this vision of new Jerusalem. We must anchor our minds in this mind-inspiring hope. The fact that we think about new Jerusalem the way God does shows we are His sons!
The context of these scriptures in Zechariah is God’s people turning away. Notice how God tries to rescue His sons: He implores them to get their minds on new Jerusalem.
God is talking about types of Joshua and Zerubbabel, two very real men in this end time. We know God works and governs through men (Ephesians 2:19-20). And the fact is, we are not going to understand this vision of new Jerusalem if we have a government problem. The example of the Laodiceans teaches us this lesson.
We need to think deeply about why our Father wants to get our minds to embrace new Jerusalem. Only the pcg has this majestic vision. God wants us to remember that we are His unique remnant. We, like our Father, have chosen Jerusalem. God uses our anniversaries and other occasions to remind us how special we are to Him and how to sustain that miraculous Family relationship. We must do all we possibly can to give this message to the Laodiceans especially, since their salvation is at stake. The devil attacks us continually, grinding on our emotions and seeking to drag us into the depths of despair and discouragement. He tries to destroy the abundant joy we have in the new Jerusalem vision.
It’s impossible to get discouraged when we are filled with the vision of new Jerusalem. How many times have you gotten discouraged when your mind was filled with this vision? Not once! This is not to say we won’t experience rough patches in our lives, but we can avoid discouragement and sadness by setting our hearts and minds on new Jerusalem. Our trials will overwhelm us if we haven’t chosen Jerusalem. We won’t purify ourselves without this understanding.
Galatians 4:25-26 read, “For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.“
These verses are talking about two Jerusalems. There’s the Jerusalem of today, a disunited city plagued by violence and discord, and a symbol of this tragic world. Then there’s Jerusalem above, the Eternal’s Jerusalem, the mother of us all, the source of power and understanding. We are free in a way that is beyond human understanding. This picture of new Jerusalem helps us understand the brutal reality of Jerusalem and this world today.
“By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Hebrews 11:8‑10). Abraham “looked for a city which hath foundations ….” This city, whose builder and maker is God, was vividly real to Abraham! He clearly saw the foundations of this city that will dominate the universe forever! You can read about those dazzling foundations in Revelation 21:19-20.
What a mind-dazzling future God has for His Family!
Also read Hebrews 12:22-23: “But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect.” How much do you think about the heavenly Jerusalem, “the city of the living God”?
Jerusalem and the Philadelphians
In the booklet Ezekiel—The End-Time Prophet, I wrote: “Jerusalem is a type of national Israel. But there is also a Jerusalem above, ‘the mother of us all,’ which is the Church …. In Ezekiel 16, God’s primary focus is on Jerusalem above—the end-time Church of God. God’s Church receives truth from Jerusalem above. This is probably one of the most inspiring chapters in the Bible!” We should all study Ezekiel 16:8-14 again. God’s true Church on Earth is empowered by heavenly Jerusalem. (Please read Chapter 9 of Ezekiel—The End-Time Prophet for more information.)
We support an archaeological project in Jerusalem today, sending some of our Herbert W. Armstrong College students over there to dig in the dirt. Why? Because the Eternal has chosen Jerusalem! We are preparing for Christ’s return to Jerusalem, where He will rule with His Bride. Then for 1,000 years, we will prepare for the Father’s coming to Jerusalem to rule His Family from there forever.
The Seven Church Eras
In Zechariah 3:9, God compares the seven Church eras, beginning with Ephesus in the first century down to Laodicea in the last, to seven eyes. God emphasizes sight here because He wants His people to see. If we are doing God’s Work, we will see what’s going on in the world and in the Church! Zechariah 4:10 refers to the eyes again: “For who hath despised the day of small things? for they shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel with those seven; they are the eyes of the Lord, which run to and fro through the whole earth.”
The lesson is that we must have the eyes of God if we are to see. That applies to all seven Church eras. The end-time Laodiceans are blind because they have strayed from God and lost sight of His vision of new Jerusalem. God’s very elect are the only people on Earth who see as God sees! What a magnificent blessing.
Zechariah 4 continues this theme. “And [the angel] said unto me, What seest thou? And I said, I have looked, and behold a candlestick all of gold, with a bowl upon the top of it, and his seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes to the seven lamps, which are upon the top thereof” (verse 2). These seven lamps also represent the seven Church eras.
What does a lamp do? It sheds light in darkness. Today the pcg is a shining lamp in a pitch-black world.
Revelation 4:5 explains further what these lamps are a type of: “And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.”
Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon states that the root of “lamps” means “to make a field shine.” The pcg work shines brightly in this very dark world. The house of God is the most resplendent representation of that glorious light!
The light shining from the pcg is only a type of the lamp in heaven. God has given us a portion of His brilliant light that shines in heaven. Then we let it shine for the whole world, whether people realize it or not. What is shining up in heaven is also a light for all humanity. People should be able to recognize it; they are without excuse.
We must always remember that God’s Holy Spirit fuels these lamps. It takes oil to make our lamp burn. Oil is a type of the Holy Spirit. It is the Spirit that empowers us. The more of God’s Spirit we have, individually and collectively, the brighter this Work will shine. Herbert W. Armstrong taught us this lesson. It wasn’t by Mr. Armstrong’s might or power that the work was performed, but by the Spirit of God (Zechariah 4:6). The only way we can grasp the vision of new Jerusalem and do the will of God is by the power of God’s Holy Spirit.
Consider that in the tabernacle in ancient Israel and in Solomon’s temple, the lamp burned continually. It never went out. This is how we must be individually and collectively. We must make sure our lamp is continually burning brightly!
How brightly is your lamp burning? How much light do you shed? We need to be lamps that radiate the brightness and glory of heavenly Jerusalem! And we can only do this if we are continually drawing on the Spirit and power of God.
Two Olive Trees
God has given me some beautiful revelation that shows an area where something the Church believed for years was incorrect.
“And two olive trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof” (Zechariah 4:3).
I always heard that those two olive trees represented the two witnesses, which are prophesied to come on the scene just before Christ’s return (Revelation 11). But I will show you why that is not true.
“So I answered and spake to the angel that talked with me, saying, What are these, my lord? Then the angel that talked with me answered and said unto me, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord. Then he answered and spake unto me, saying …” (Zechariah 4:4-6). At that point begins the Zerubbabel inset, which continues through most of verse 10.
Verse 11 picks up the subject again: “Then answered I, and said unto him, What are these two olive trees upon the right side of the candlestick and upon the left side thereof?”
If you’re going to understand the truth about the two olive trees, you’re going to have to look to Zerubbabel, and you’re going to have to use the Holy Spirit as he did (verse 6). This is spiritual understanding!
Who are the two olive trees? We get a clue by looking at another reference Zechariah makes in this context.
Two Olive Branches
“And I answered again, and said unto him, What be these two olive branches which through the two golden pipes empty the golden oil out of themselves? … Then said he, These are the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth” (Zechariah 4:12, 14).
Before, Zechariah saw two olive trees. Now here are “two olive branches,” which are “two anointed ones” that deliver golden oil.
If you look ahead in the context, Zechariah 5 talks about the flying scroll (I discuss this in Chapter 5). That is a pre-Tribulation prophecy. That would suggest that this prophecy in Zechariah 4 about the two olive branches will also be fulfilled before the Tribulation. We know that the two witnesses come on the scene during the Tribulation.
Anciently, God commanded that the temple lamps be supplied with pure olive oil. “And thou shalt command the children of Israel, that they bring thee pure oil olive beaten for the light, to cause the lamp to burn always” (Exodus 27:20). The command was also that the lamp be kept burning always, or continually.
Today, we are the temple of God (1 Corinthians 6:19‑20; Ephesians 2:20-22). The pure olive oil is a type of God’s pure Holy Spirit, which flows from God (e.g. Exodus 30:22-33; 1 John 2:20). Only God’s Holy Spirit in us can do the Work (Zechariah 4:6). We must not pollute God’s message with carnal reasoning.
The light from the lamp is God’s message to the world, through the collective body and our individual example.
Today, God commands us to cause that lamp to burn always and with power. Why is such a command necessary? Look at what has happened to God’s temple, or Church, today. We have repeatedly shown that 95 percent of God’s people are not delivering God’s message in this end time. They have rejected much of God’s truth and become lukewarm. They lack the oil, or power, to do God’s Work of proclaiming His message to the world. They are too selfish to love all humanity as God does.
But who are these two anointed ones through whom the golden oil flows out to the whole world? This is end-time prophecy. We must know now!
Throughout these scriptures we have seen a lot of focus on the seven Church eras. In Zechariah 4:11 you see two olive trees, one on either side of the candlestick, or lampstand, that represents those seven eras.
The two olive trees represent God the Father and Jesus Christ. They are there alongside all of the seven eras.
But then in verse 12, the focus shifts to two of those eras: “What be these two olive branches?” the prophet asked. These are the last two Church eras—the only two discussed in detail.
God has used two men in the last two eras to give golden oil from the Father and Son. The golden oil delivers the new revelation that flowed in the sixth era and is flowing in the seventh era.
Where do we get the oil? From the two olive trees—the Father and Christ.
The two olive branches are two men in two eras. God’s golden oil, His Holy Spirit, flows through these two men when they deliver revelation to the Church.
Who are these leaders? Where is this golden oil flowing? You and I must know! Do you see evidence of golden oil today?
Look at the enormous amount of revelation God has given His Church in this end time. We have a whole library of books and booklets from Mr. Armstrong and from me filled with new revelation from God!
Can you see where God’s golden oil was flowing during the time of Mr. Armstrong? Can you see where God’s Spirit is flowing today? When we find where God is revealing His knowledge, that is where God’s oil is flowing. It is all God’s doing, but He uses a man to lead His Work in each of the last two eras.
God has called people to back and support two leaders in this end time. Together, the physical leader and supporters can make God’s lamp shine brightly with that golden oil!
One commentary said this passage about the two olive branches was speaking of Zerubbabel and Joshua, and I said, Well, that’s not true. But once I started thinking about it, my mind began to change as I thought about that golden oil.
God is trying to get us to understand the value of His revelation! This is golden oil flowing through golden pipes into the golden bowl! The Soncino Commentary says of this scripture, “The oil flowing from golden pipes into a golden bowl and seen in the light of the lamp seems to be golden.” All this gold pictures the spiritual purity and splendor of what God is giving.
Look at all the new revelation God has given through Mr. Armstrong, and now through me. Isn’t that what God is talking about here? When people leave God’s Church today, they tend to criticize some twiggy area, or some insignificant speculation. But they fail to see the golden oil flowing in those golden pipes and into the golden bowl!
Only two men on this Earth have received new revelation from God for His Church in this end time—Herbert W. Armstrong and me. That will sound arrogant to some people, but you can easily prove it!
Read the books and booklets we have written and you will see where the new revelation is. You will find it no place else on this Earth!
These two olive branches are “the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth.” The two anointed ones literally means the two sons of oil, or sons of fresh oil.
They are called sons of fresh oil for good reason! These two men give fresh golden oil—or new revelation—to God’s Church. God doesn’t talk about the other eras this way—but in these last days we have all things restored—and that fresh, golden oil is just pouring into God’s true Church! The light in this lamp is radiating in a special way as God gives more and more of that oil! That is what sets these men apart—not because they did anything spectacular: It is all God’s doing.
Do you see this golden oil flowing? What a majestic and splendid image! What value do you put on revelation from God? We understand and appreciate the value of physical gold. But what about golden oil that flows from the Father and from the Stone through the golden pipes into that golden bowl? If you can’t see that, then you had better stir up the Spirit (2 Timothy 1:6).
How else do you explain all the truth that God revealed through Mr. Armstrong even when he was in the sunset years of his life? That man was terribly weak, physically—there is no way he could have done the Work by physical might. He did it by God’s Spirit. The golden oil was flowing through the golden pipes into the golden bowl—through a man who was 87 years old, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92! We have the evidence!
The same terminology is used in Revelation 11, but notice the difference: “And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth” (verses 3-4).
There is nothing here about golden oil, and I think for good reason. This is a time when new revelation has come to an end, or is about to. These two men won’t be printing literature—they will be fighting for their lives! (e.g. verses 5-6). They will have real power! But they will be proclaiming prophecies that we already understand and have already written up.
The Laodiceans believe they are rich and increased with goods (Revelation 3:17), but they don’t even see this golden oil, or the pipes, or the bowl, or the Stone, or the Father!
In Lamentations 4:1, God describes how the Laodicean ministry, which at one time God likened to fine gold, has become tarnished (you can read about this in our Lamentations booklet). In the next verse, the faithful ministers are called the “precious sons of Zion, comparable to fine gold”!
God just keeps trying to get us to understand what a golden opportunity He is giving His people! We must see this God’s way, and look at it through the Stone’s eyes, the eyes of the Eternal. There is nothing more inspiring!