In the past, we have been taught in the Worldwide Church of God (WCG) that the Day of the Lord would be a ONE YEAR event after the prophesied 2 and 1/2 years of Great Tribulation that will happen at the end time prior to the return of Jesus Christ to this earth. Here is what Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong wrote regarding this Day of the Lord:
The “Day of the Lord” is described by the Prophet Joel as a time when God will send DESTRUCTION upon the unrighteous and sinning nations of the world. It is described by Zephaniah as the day of God’s WRATH. It is described all through the Revelation as the time when God Almighty will soon, now, step in and supernaturally INTERVENE in this hellish strife and friction and destruction among men, and send PLAGUES upon the sinners of the earth! It is the time which FOLLOWS the Great Tribulation, and leads up to and CLIMAXES in the glorious SECOND COMING OF CHRIST!
Source: Page 11, The Book of REVELATION Unveiled at Last!
But what really is the Day of the Lord? Are we so sure that we know everything about it? Does it really occur ONLY ONCE, that is, AFTER the so called Great Tribulation? Let us not just base our knowledge on earlier preconceived ideas but rather allow God the Father to pour in His thoughts based on the real version of the story in the book of Revelation.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9)
Our thoughts are not God’s thoughts and His ways are higher than our ways. So in order to know God’s thoughts we need to free up our minds with all the knowledge that we have acquired in this material world because our ideas or opinions were mostly formed without enough thought or knowledge about certain things. Most of the time our knowledge is based on assumptions made by the human source and sometimes we ourselves made our own assumptions on top of the those that we have accepted as truth.
We have received our foundation of biblical knowledge and understanding from the end-time Elijah, Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong. And ministers during the WCG times wrote a great amount of prophecies that became the foundation of the knowledge of all the ministers that came out from that Church which include the Philadelphia Church of God (PCG) and the other Church of God groups. But apparently, God poured out only 4% of the understanding of Bible prophecy to the WCG being the prophesied FORMER RAIN. But of course, God restored all the Church doctrines through Mr. Armstrong on top of the 4% Bible prophecy. Whereas God gave to Mr. Gerald Flurry His revelations known also as the LATTER RAIN amounting to only 22%. But in this last end, God is pouring out the RAIN in the time of the LATTER RAIN (Zechariah 10:1). God has continually poured in His thoughts to His Remembrancers through the tons of revelations equivalent to 74% which is 1,000 years worth of knowledge.
When we were in the PCG, the ministers insisted that their own preconceived ideas of Jesus Christ is true and correct since they have based everything they know about Jesus Christ from the written word of God, the Bible.
We believed the ministers’ interpretation of the words written in the Bible and they would claim that it is God’s words, so we believed them that it was so. We have been taught that the Bible can only be understood by becoming a detective like Sherlock Holmes and the principle that we should use can be read in Isaiah chapter 28:
But the word of the Lord was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; (Isaiah 28:13)
“Here a little, and there a little” – That was our understanding before that Bible knowledge can only be understood if we apply that principle. But we have not considered the context by which it was taken from:
“that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.”
That is the context of verse 13 regarding the “here a little, and there a little” principle of Bible interpretation, i.e., “that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.” And to whom is this message being addressed to? This message is directed to the DRUNKARDS OF EPHRAIM as we can read in verse 1 of the same chapter.
Woe to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim, whose glorious beauty is a fading flower, which are on the head of the fat valleys of them that are overcome with wine! (Isaiah 28:1)
This is the same as what happened during Christ’s ministry in the first century and in this last end. Just like the scribes and Pharisees, the PCG ministers convincingly thought that they knew the Messiah so very well from the description that they read painstakingly from the Bible using that “here a little, and there a little” principle, not knowing that they have fallen into God’s PREPARED DECEPTION.
When we were in the PCG, we have all learned about Christ coming in the flesh through a human messenger and we have been taught about discerning and focusing on the message rather than the messenger. Yet, when Jesus Christ gave His Book of Remembrance in this last end, the PCG ministers ignored him big time even though we have all heard of it being mentioned in the context of the little book in this end time. The PCG ministers and members chose to focus on the messenger of the Laodicean era, Mr. Gerald Flurry whom God has blinded (Isaiah 42:19-20).
Without a single doubt, we humans are like that as we use our own very evil human nature. We pretend to know everything about everything especially when it comes to Bible prophecy and that was our line of thought before. When we were in the PCG, we became so conceited ourselves because have been injected with the idea that we know better than any other COG groups combined because we are the true Church of God who is continuing the Work of God during the last hour.
Our cup of thoughts have been filled with so many of this knowledge and that includes our knowledge of Bible prophecy.
But as it turned out, we know so little of the real interpretation of Bible prophecy. That’s why we need to empty out those previous preconceived and fixed ideas for God to be able to pour in His real interpretation of Bible prophecy. Jesus Christ should be the one to interpret Himself through the written word, the Bible.
To understand a principle in learning new things, let us consider what Bruce Lee taught to his students:
Many people know Bruce Lee as a great martial artist or a famous movie star. But not many people know that he was also a great teacher. He loved to tell stories in the classroom, and one of the stories that he loved to tell his students was about a Zen master and a professor. The story goes as follows:
One day, a famous and knowledgeable professor goes to learn from an old Zen master. But during the session, the Zen master notices that the professor keeps interrupting him. He talks nonstop about his version of his understanding of everything… As soon as the Zen master realizes this, he stops talking… the Zen master starts to make tea for the professor instead.
The Zen master begins to pour a cup of tea for the professor, the professor still keeps talking while holding a cup, the Zen master smiles gently and listens to what the professor is saying. And the Zen master fills the cup but keeps pouring so that the cup begins overflowing.
The professor stops the master and says that the cup is overflowing and no more tea will fill in. The Zen master smiles and says to the professor: exactly, if the cup is not empty, it will not make room for the tea; if you want to learn something new, you have to empty your cup. Bruce Lee concluded this story with a sentence:
“Empty your cup so that it may be filled; become devoid to gain totality.”
Many people have the wrong understanding of the word “empty”. They think that empty means “zero”, ”nothing”, or “void”. But in fact, the “empty” that Bruce Lee loved to talk about means “an opportunity to be filled”. For example, when a cup is empty, most people will see it as a cup without water in it. But Bruce Lee would think that the cup has an opportunity to be filled with water or Coke or any other beverage.
If we want to progress in life and constantly learn new things – whether it be taking up a new martial arts class, learning a new musical instrument, taking a new course, learning a new language, or learning new information or technology – we have to always remember to empty our cups.
But how to empty our cups exactly?
Bruce Lee had many students that come from different martial arts backgrounds, and he always said to his students: “In order to taste my cup of water, you must first empty your cup. My friend, drop all of your preconceived and fixed ideas and be neutral. Do you know why this cup is useful? Because it is empty.”
In this quote, Bruce Lee mentioned about how to empty our cups, which is to drop the preconceived and fixed ideas and be neutral.
The first step to empty the cup is to admit that we have preconceived and fixed ideas…
When learning new things, we have to remind ourselves that we have preconceived and fixed ideas… Only then can we be filled with new knowledge.
IF WE REFUSE TO EMPTY OUR CUPS, WE WILL LET OUR PRECONCEIVED AND FIXED IDEAS TO BLIND US TO THE NEW KNOWLEDGE. Don’t be like the professor that goes to the Zen master to learn new things but keeps talking about what he already knows and misses the opportunity to learn great new things from the Zen master.
The knowledge contained in the Book of Remembrance and the other prophecies being revealed in this last end are quite new for any Church of God groups including the PCG. So anyone who will not empty their cup of thoughts and just allow their preconceived and fixed ideas to blind them, then they cannot expect God to fill them with His thoughts. They can’t expect to learn new things from God.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9)
THE DAY OF THE LORD
Whether the PCG and the other COG groups will accept God’s present truth or not, we are already living in the time of God’s two witnesses of Revelation chapter 11 and God calls them by their names, Jacob and Israel. (Isaiah 44:5)
But now thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine… Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. (Isaiah 43:1, 10)
The whole chapter 43 of the book of Isaiah is being addressed to God’s two witnesses in this last end. He chose them to write “The Last End – A Book of Remembrance” to fulfill a specific prophecy of pleading with His own Church who became a harlot (Isaiah 1:21).
Put me in remembrance: let us plead together: declare thou, that thou mayest be justified. (Isaiah 43:26)
Part of their work is to empty their cups and prepare their minds to accept new knowledge and understanding from God.
Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert. (Isaiah 43:18-19)
God is doing a new thing in this last end. He is giving us several new knowledge and understanding which may not be totally aligned to what we have learned from the past. That’s why we need to empty our cup of preconceived and fixed ideas and allow God to pour in His own thoughts. Now is the time to learn new things from God.
Let’s begin with our understanding of the Day of the Lord. What really is the Day of Lord in God’s perspective?
The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: (Revelation 1:1)
The apostle John established in the first verse as from whom the revelation was coming from – IT IS COMING FROM GOD THE FATHER.
When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 16:13-17)
Jesus Christ emphasized in this account with His disciple Simon Peter, that it is actually God the Father who is responsible for revealing the knowledge and understanding by pouring it into our minds through His Holy Spirit. It is not even in Jesus Christ’s authority to do it.
Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand. John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne; (Revelation 1:2-4)
Early on in his introduction of this Book of Revelation, the apostle John was making it clear to the reader that the context of the book he has written only concerns the SEVEN CHURCH ERAS.
And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen. (Revelation 1:5-7)
John also firmly established the identity of THE KINGS OF THE EARTH in prophecy and they are GOD’S PEOPLE IN ALL THE SEVEN CHURCH ERAS.
I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty. I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. (Revelation 1:8-9)
John knew that all of God’s people in all the seven Church eras will be reading his book and noticed how he injected the thought of him being a “companion in tribulation.” This simply means that the preconceived and fixed idea of the so called Great Tribulation happening only once in this end time is not an accurate interpretation of the scriptures, but rather God the Father is giving us a “new thing” and He is telling us that the Great Tribulation has happened also to all the other six Church eras. (Read our article, Mount Zion and the 144,000 Firstfruits of God for the explanation. Read also Hebrews 11:32-40).
For emphasis, John said that he was a “companion in tribulation” with all those saints who have suffered in their Great Tribulation in all the seven Church eras. If the Great Tribulation will only happen in this Laodicean era, then John is only a companion for those who live in this seventh Church era and NOT to the other Church eras who were supposed not to have a Great Tribulation during their time. But that is not case here. We shall further prove that the Great Tribulation also happened in each era. Now let’s proceed to consider what the theme of the book of Revelation is:
I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, (Revelation 1:10)
Here is what Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong wrote in his booklet “The Book of REVELATION Unveiled at Last!”
The THEME of the Book
And so here is the very KEYNOTE verse, sounding the THEME of the whole Revelation! And it is here that most people begin to stumble, and to misunderstand! The theme is ‘l’HE DAY OFTHE LORD. Let us read it: “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet” (verse 10). As this is not understood, endless controversy and strife and confusion have come from arguing as to whether the day of the WEEK on which John WROTE this message was Saturday or Sunday. John was NOT referring to any day ofthe week. The day of the week on which this happened to be written – IF it could have been all written within one day – is not important, and that is not what this verse means at all. It does NOT refer to any day of the week – but to that prophetic period referred to in more than 30 prophecies as “The great and terrible DAY OF THE LORD.” As Greek scholar Adolf Deissmann wrote, the grammar and connection both favor the view “according to which ‘the day of the Lord’ here stands for the day of Yahweh: the day of Judgment” (Encyclopaedia Biblica, article “Lord’s Day”). New Testament and textual scholar F.J.A. Hort agrees that this meaning fits “best with the context” and “gives the key to the book” (The Apocalypse, pp.15-16).
Source: Pages 10-11, “The Book of REVELATION Unveiled at Last!”
For emphasis, as Mr. Armstrong wrote that THE DAY OF THE LORD IS THE DAY OF JUDGMENT. But just like the Great Tribulation, will that DAY OF JUDGMENT happen ONLY during our time today specifically in this last end for God’s Church? Let us allow Christ to interpret Himself.
For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? (1 Peter 4:17)
The apostle Peter explained that the Day of God’s JUDGMENT or the Day of the Lord for all the people of God in each of the seven Church eras has happened precisely as God prophesied. How can we be so sure that the Day of the Lord will happen for the seven Church eras?
Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea. And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; (Revelation 1:11-12)
This is the principle of how the Day of the Lord works:
And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. (Revelation 1:13)
Jesus Christ is IN THE MIDST OF THE SEVEN CHURCH ERAS! It means that we can find His judgment in each era. And as He judge each Church era, that is His DAY – the Day of the Lord! We should empty our cup of the preconceived and fixed idea that the Day of the Lord is CONTAINED ONLY FOR A YEAR. Each judgment day for each Church era usually happen at the conclusion of that era. Let’s continue further with the vision in Revelation chapter 1.
His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength… The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches. (Revelation 1:14-16, 20)
The word “angel” in Thayer’s Lexicon means, one who is sent, a messenger from God; while in Strong’s Concordance, it is implied as A PASTOR.
The seven stars are the seven messengers of God for the seven Church eras. After an era has been judged by God through His next messenger or pastor will start another era with the remnant from the previous era. And the same principle goes for all the rest of the Church eras.
THE SIX SEALS OF THE BOOK OF REVELATION
The Pastor General of the Philadelphia Church of God, Mr. Gerald Flurry wrote an article entitled “Nuclear Armageddon is at the Door‘” in their flagship magazine, The Philadelphia Trumpet, wherein on page 10 he stated:
Matthew 24 is the most important prophecy that Jesus Christ proclaimed at His first coming. Mark 13 and Luke 21 also have their version of this prophecy. I believe Matthew has the most complete prophecy.
“And as [Jesus] sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world [age]?” (Matthew 24:3)…
‘Whoso Reads, Let Him Understand’
Matthew 24:21-22 are talking about nuclear war so devastating that no flesh would survive if Christ didn’t intervene and stop it.
Would you say we are close to that time? Intelligence agencies and defense experts say North Korea could now have the power to destroy major cities in America. And the whole world knows that Iran could become a nuclear power extremely soon. This means that two madmen could be ready to attack America with nuclear weapons!
It is childish folly to think anybody but Christ could stop this nuclear madness.
Our only hope physically is to repent spiritually. If nations refuse, individuals can still repent and receive protection—plus they will become kings and priests under Christ forever. Those who have repented already are kings and priests in embryo (Revelation 1:6).
All this nuclear insanity is also a part of the sign of the Second Coming and the sign of the end of the age when Christ will save humanity from totally exterminating itself!
Source: Page 10, The Philadelphia Trumpet
Is God really desperate in trying to save the nations of this world? Let the end time Elijah, Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong answer that question for us. In his book, Mystery of the Ages, here is what he wrote:
Why Jesus Came
Jesus did not come to save Satan’s world while Satan sits on the throne deceiving them. Jesus will save the world at his Second Coming, when Satan shall be put away. Why, then, did Jesus come more than 1,900 years ago? Not to rule, not to reign over all nations, not to save the world while Satan still rules over them.
His human birth was the arrival of the “second Adam.” He had come 1) to qualify, where the first Adam failed, to replace the former archangel Lucifer on the throne of the earth, ruling with the government of God. He had come 2) to announce the future establishment of the kingdom of God and teach that prophetic good news (gospel) to his chosen future apostles. He had come 3) to take on himself, as our direct Creator, the penalty for our sins by his death on the cross—that we might share in that world. And he had come 4) to be resurrected from the dead by God, making possible eternal God-life for the people of God and after his Second Coming for all who are willing, of all humanity, who have ever lived on this earth. And he had come 5) to establish God’s Church, to be trained to rule under him.
Source: Mystery of the Ages page 216
It is quite clear that God is NOT trying to save the nations of this world today. What He is most concerned about right now is, what is happening inside His Church. That can be easily proven when we take the context of Matthew chapter 24 just by reading it from the first two verses:
And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. (Matthew 24:1-2)
The context of the whole chapter actually revolves around “the buildings of the temple.” This gives us a crystal clear indication that the whole chapter would only concern God’s temple or God’s Church and NOT the world in general. So all the fulfillment of the prophecies written in Matthew chapter 24 ought to revolve only around God’s Church.
Yes Jesus Christ may have prophesied of the physical desolation of the physical temple as what happened precisely during the 70 AD destruction, yet what He was more concerned about was the spiritual temple, His Church as a whole from Ephesus era down to the Laodicean era (Revelation 2-3). It says in verse 2 that “There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” What are the “stones” being mentioned here by Christ? Let the Bible interpret itself:
Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 2:5)
The apostle Peter compared God’s people to “lively stones” that “are built up a spiritual house.” So when Jesus Christ told His disciples about “the stones” in verse 2, He is actually talking about members in God’s Church being thrown down. And He meant everyone. That statement became a reality for all of the members of God’s Church from Ephesus era up to the Laodicean era.
“There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down” – Have we not seen the specific fulfillment of this prophecy with our own eyes during the transition of the Philadelphia era going to the Laodicean era? And the same is true with the transition from the Laodicean era going to the last remnant in this last end. Literally, everyone in God’s Church has been thrown down including Mr. Gerald Flurry. He has been thrown down by his own son Stephen who introduced the “abomination of desolation” as prophesied by the prophet Daniel. (To understand this subject, read our articles, “THE LAST END Vision of the Prophet Daniel (Part 1)” and “The Revelation 12 SIGN – Your Redemption Draws Near“)
Mr. Armstrong taught us that the interpretation of the seven seals in the book of Revelation can be found in Matthew chapter 24. And bear in mind that the context of Matthew chapter 24 revolves around God’s Church. To better understand the subject, let’s look at the seven seals from Revelation chapter 6 and Matthew chapter 24:
THE FIRST SEAL: White horse – FALSE PROPHETS AND FALSE TEACHERS
And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer. (Revelation 6:1-2)
Let’s consider its counterpart in Matthew chapter 24:
And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. (Matthew 24:4-5)
The word “Christ” in Thayer’s Lexicon can also mean “anointed.” This means that the deception will come from supposedly ordained ministers of God’s Church saying “I AM THE ANOINTED.” Of course you can not hear the false ministers say, the literal phrase “I am Christ” but you can hear them say, “I am the ANOINTED.” Look at the Churches of God that came out from the Worldwide Church of God under Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong. After he died, several ministers claim that they were the ANOINTED ONES and established their own churches to deceive many of God’s own people. Look at the likes of David Pack, Bob Thiel, Ronald Weinland, and several others who claim to be “THE ANOINTED,” not to mention Stephen Flurry who literally took over the role of his father as a prophet.
Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: (Revelation 2:1-2
The Church members in Ephesus era have tried people who say they were apostles but found them as liars. Considering the history of God’s Church through time from the Ephesian era down to our time now in this Laodicean era, the deception always comes from supposedly ordained ministers who says “I am the ANOINTED.” Remember that the deception always happens from within.
But there were false prophets also AMONG the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. (2 Peter 2:1)
That is a prophecy for all the seven Church eras that there will always be FALSE PROPHETS and FALSE TEACHERS among God’s people. So the FIRST SEAL is actually applicable for all the seven Church eras.
THE SECOND SEAL: Red horse – CHURCH DISPUTE
And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see. And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword. (Revelation 6:3-4)
And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: (Matthew 24:6-7)
We have been made to believe that this is mainly referring to the physical warfares that happened in the world. But again, if we will look closely into the context of this prophecy, it is all about the warfare that God’s people are involved with inside the TEMPLE or God’s Church as what we have read in verses 1 to 2. (Matthew 24:1-2)
For emphasis, the subject being discussed in Matthew chapter 24 to be THROWN DOWN is referring to God’s people INSIDE His Church and NOT the people or nation of this world. We will thoroughly understand this subject by looking at the definition of the word “war” in verse 6 which is defined in Thayer’s Lexicon as:
- A fight, a battle
- A dispute, strife, quarrel
Are we not seeing in this last end a never ending picture of A FIGHT, A BATTLE, A DISPUTE, STRIFE, and A QUARREL between God’s people concerning the instruction of preaching the gospel and the doctrines?
For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom… (Matthew 24:7)
Are these nations and kingdoms really refer to the nations and kingdoms of this world? Let’s search it out from Thayer’s Lexicon:
- Nation – a multitude of men associated or living together; a multitude of individuals of the same nature; people group
- Kingdom – dominion, rule (not to be confused with an actual kingdom but rather the right or authority to rule over a kingdom)
So the word “nation” does not necessarily pertain to the nations of this world nor the word “kingdom” denotes the same. If we continue to focus on the context of this prophecy which is all about God’s Church, then everything else fall into place. We could actually replace the word “nation” with the word “church” while the word “kingdom” implies “government.”
Just consider recent Church history wherein there was even a literal BATTLE between the kingdom of the Philadelphia Church of God and the kingdom of the Worldwide Church of God in court for six years because of the DISPUTE over Mystery of the Ages.
There was also this STRIFE and QUARREL between Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong and his son, Garner Ted publicly FOUGHT his father to gain the leadership of the WCG then, even to the point of influencing the government of the state of California to go against the government of God through his father. (Read our articles that fully explain these subjects: “The King of the North and The King of the South Prophecy of Daniel the Prophet (Part 1)” and “The WHIRLWIND Prophecy (The King of the North and The King of the South Part 2)“)
We are also seeing the DISPUTE, the STRIFE, the QUARREL everywhere even among the other COG groups who claim that they have been commissioned to continue what Mr. Armstrong started. The DISPUTE, STRIFE, QUARRELING among God’s Church is also a common denominator in every Church era just like the false prophets.
THE THIRD SEAL: Black horse – SPIRITUAL FAMINE
And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine. (Revelation 6:5-6)
“…and there shall be famines” (Matthew 24:7)
- Famine – in Thayer’s Lexicon, scarcity of harvest
Look at the history of the Sardis era, there was a spiritual famine for so long that it was almost dead when Mr. Armstrong came on the scene.
This famine of God’s word happens to each Church era every time the messenger of the era was taken away by God. No new revelation can be expected. Look at what happened to the WCG, after Mr. Armstrong died, there was spiritual drought for 3 and 1/2 years (James 5:17).
The same is true in this Laodicean era, there is an ongoing famine of God’s word inside the PCG when Mr. Gerald Flurry was taken out of the way as the leader by his own son, Stephen Flurry. When Stephen took over the work and introduced the work in Edstone, noticed that there was a scarcity of spiritual harvest – no growth even in terms of membership. Stephen and the likes of him in each era, is being compared by God to clouds without rain who feed only themselves.
Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam’s error; they have been destroyed in Korah’s rebellion. These people are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm—shepherds who feed only themselves. THEY ARE CLOUDS WITHOUT RAIN, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted—twice dead. (Jude 1:11-12, NIV)
THE FOURTH SEAL: Pale horse – SPIRITUAL PESTILENCE or DESTRUCTION
And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth. (Revelation 6:7-8)
“…and pestilences and earthquakes, in divers places.” (Matthew 24:7)
- Pestilence – in Thayer’s Lexicon, a pestilent fellow
- Earthquake – in Thayer’s Lexicon, a shaking, a commotion
In the dictionary, “commotion” means “a state of confused and noisy disturbance.”
Now, what comes next after God’s people are not being fed spiritually? That spiritual famine would eventually lead to their spiritual destruction. In every Church era, it was always the majority of God’s people who have easily been drawn away by false prophets and false teachers in their midst with their cunning craftiness to lead the members to their spiritual destruction or even eternal death.
That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; (Ephesians 4:14)
In each era, God’s people would always fall into a state of confused and noisy disturbance among themselves whether they would believe the pestilent fellow (or beasts) in their midst who introduces a new doctrine using their own carnal reasoning or would they choose to believe God’s messenger who uses His Holy Spirit to deliver them out of that confusion. It’s always the same story for every Church era and we know that the false prophets would always appear to have won the day while God’s messenger would always be ignored by the great majority of the Church era, thus resulting to the people’s spiritual destruction.
THE FIFTH SEAL – THE MARTYRDOM OF SAINTS
And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled. (Revelation 6:9-11)
This is the same as what we can read in Matthew chapter 24:
All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. (Matthew 24:8-10)
Again, notice that it is the same story for all the seven Church eras. Faithful members of God’s Church have always been subjected to affliction and at times they were either killed physically or spiritually while they fight for God’s truth and testimony. And God prophesied that the perpetrators and offenders are usually those in the ministry who abuse God’s government to promote betrayal and hatred among the membership.
Now let us pause for a while and ask ourselves the following questions:
- Are there not false prophets or what we also call beasts in each era?
- Are there not war or quarreling among the false prophets and God’s true servants in each era?
- After quarreling among the false prophets and God’s true servants in each era, did it not result in famine of God’s word in each era?
- After the spiritual famine has set in, did it not result in spiritual pestilence or destruction that will lead to their eternal death?
- As for those who overcame and upheld God’s commandments in every era, did it not result to their Great Tribulation and martyrdom?
As you may notice that the Great Tribulation or martyrdom of saints is a recurring theme for all of the seven Church eras. Here are some of the evidences:
And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive; I know thy works, and TRIBULATION, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have TRIBULATION ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. (Revelation 2:8-10)
And so the baton passed from the Smyrna Christians to those of the Pergamos era. These had been called to carry the truth through one of history’s most difficult periods—the Dark Ages. The power and influence of the great universal church spread far and wide, driving those who clung to the truth of God ever further into the wilderness. But they were never far from threat of persecution and MARTYRDOM. And so very few of the Pergamos Christians remained faithful.
Source: Page 220, Mystery of the Ages
Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into GREAT TRIBULATION, except they repent of their deeds. (Revelation 2:20-22)
Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the HOUR OF TEMPTATION, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. (Revelation 3:10)
God has protected Mr. Armstrong from the HOUR OF TEMPTATION brought about by the rebellion of his son Garner Ted and the other liberal ministers of the WCG during the 1970’s. The rebellion of the liberal WCG ministers has greatly affected all the Church members around the world. That HOUR OF TEMPTATION was also the Great Tribulation during the Philadelphia era wherein several thousand members died spiritually because of the liberal ministers’ rebellion.
Is the Great Tribulation really all about a Nuclear World War 3 as what the PCG would want us to believe? Let’s consider again what is prophesied in Matthew chapter 24:
For then shall be great tribulation, SUCH AS was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. (Matthew 24:21)
Notice that God is describing in this verse a Great Tribulation being compared to be greater in magnitude against others before it. We cannot make any comparison if there were no other occurrences that preceded it. This is simply a clear evidence that there were other Great Tribulations which have already happened in the past.
Why is the Great Tribulation in this last end greater in magnitude compared to all the other Great Tribulations? It is because the messenger of the Laodicean era himself became blind of the spiritual condition of the Church.
Hear, ye deaf; and look, ye blind, that ye may see. Who is blind, but my servant? or deaf, as my messenger that I sent? who is blind as he that is perfect, and blind as the Lord‘s servant? Seeing many things, but thou observest not; opening the ears, but he heareth not. (Isaiah 42:18-20)
This Great Tribulation is indeed beyond comparison. How will Church members survive spiritually if the servant or messenger himself cannot see his own spiritual condition? The messenger even implemented the NO CONTACT POLICY which is beyond comparison with any other Great Tribulations in any era.
And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened. (Matthew 24:22)
That policy has brought countless misery and pain to several families around the world. The result was massive martyrdom of the saints so that if it has not been shortened, no flesh would be saved in this era because the Church is “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” which the messenger himself cannot see and Jesus Christ will not marry a Bride with such a spiritual condition. (Revelation 3:17)
Everyone else in this era wanted to save themselves and go to a place of safety in Petra, Jordan. They don’t want to subject themselves in the fiery trial.
Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: (1 Peter 4:12)
The FIERY TRIALS that each Christian suffered in any Church era they were in is their Great Tribulation. But what is the purpose of the Great Tribulation in each era?
But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified… Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator. (1 Peter 4:13-14, 19)
All the saints in each Church era who suffered in their Great Tribulations were actually partakers of the sufferings of Jesus Christ so that when He returns to this earth in all power and glory, they will also partake of that same power and glory He has.
THE SIXTH SEAL – THE TRANSITION OF AN ERA
The sixth seal which discusses the heavenly signs is commonly interpreted among mainstream Christianity as a literal one. But we must remember that God used several symbolism in the book of Revelation, and this one is not exempted from it.
And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; (Revelation 6:12)
This is the same thought we can read in Matthew chapter 24:
Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: (Matthew 24:29)
The sun, which is a symbol of the messenger that Christ used during each Church era was always blocked by the moon or the false prophet. And the result will always be a bloody one spiritually speaking because of the deception. The great earthquake is actually a specific symbolism to the great spiritual shaking or commotion that would happen during each transition from one era to another.
And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. (Revelation 6:13)
The stars as what we have already proven refer to the members of God’s Church in each era wherein they always fell away from God’s truth whenever the sun or the messenger of the era was taken away. In addition to that, the powers of the heaven or the ministry would always be shaken as well. Notice that for each Church era it always depict the same story flow, but different characters portraying in it.
And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. (Revelation 6:14)
There would always be a Church split in each era symbolized by the “mountain and island being moved out of their places.” False prophets would always take a following for themselves which would always be the majority of the membership staying with him. The false prophet and the majority of the members that stayed is symbolized by the mountain, while the messenger of God and the remnants with him would be symbolized by the island.
And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; (Revelation 6:15)
“(T)he kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men” refer to evangelists, regional directors, pastors, preaching elders, ministers and deaconswhile “every bondman, and every free man” refer to the members of God’s Church in each Church era who would always hide and comfort themselves in a Church of God organization after the Church split (read Matthew 16:18 to see that the “rock” as a symbol of God’s Church).
And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand? (Revelation 6:16-17)
Their thoughts in joining a Church of God organization was really to hide themselves from God’s wrath or judgment. So the people would normally think that the new government (mountain) and the new Church organization (rock) they have joined themselves with, will protect them from God. All they do was to deceive themselves into thinking: “This is God’s Church, This is God’s Church, This is God’s Church” and the principle is best explained by the prophet Jeremiah:
Trust ye not in lying words, saying, The temple of the Lord, The temple of the Lord, The temple of the Lord, are these. For if ye throughly amend your ways and your doings; if ye throughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbour; (Jeremiah 7:4-5)
THE DAY OF THE LORD: THE DAY OF GOD’S JUDGMENT
God in this last end has given the full understanding of this subject wherein the Day of the Lord is actually Christ’s day of directly intervening in the affairs of His Church as He transitions from one era to another using His messenger. The messenger of the era is the one who proclaims God’s judgment to the leadership of the Church and its members and the principle is best explained by the apostle Peter:
For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? (1 Peter 4:17)
We thought before that the duration of Day of the Lord is only contained in just ONE YEAR, but Peter gave us a hint that it is not the case:
But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:8-9)
According to apostle Peter, the Day of the Lord can actually last as long as a THOUSAND YEARS. It doesn’t matter to God. What’s important to Him is that people will all come to REPENTANCE in each of the seven Church eras that none of them should perish during the Day of the Lord.
But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. (2 Peter 3:10)
We can look at this verse 2 Peter chapter 3 in another perspective other than its physical fulfillment. To better understand the spiritual aspect of this verse, we can use the analogy of what happened to the WCG. The heavens being a symbol of the WCG headquarters ministry in Pasadena California.
Have we not become eye witnesses on how it passed away with a great noise even feeling the reverberations or the continuing effect until our time today? Have we not seen the elements that have been used during the heyday or popularity of the WCG just melted away with the fervent heat of severe persecution from the inside and out? The WCG is beyond recognition now. It even no longer exist because its headquarters ministry decided to change its name to Grace Communion International.
The “earth” or its members and the works have been burned up spiritually and most of them don’t even want to associate themselves in any Church of God association. They became antagonists of any idea of the Church. Just like the exitsupportnetwor.com and the armstrongismlibrary.blogspot.com websites who actively opposes what they have learned from Mr. Armstrong. They all melted away spiritually.
Just like what we discussed in Matthew chapter 24 that all the stones in God’s temple have been thrown down. The same is true with all the seven Church eras. The heavens or the ministry of each era has passed away together with its members and their works were all burned up spiritually. But what is God’s purpose for the Day of the Lord?
Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, (2 Peter 3:11)
The Day of the Lord is all about GODLINESS AND HOLINESS!
Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. (2 Peter 3:12-14)
Those members who looked forward for God to intervene in the affairs of the Church for the ministry of the current Church government to be dissolved together with all the work of their hands through the intense heat of persecution and tribulation. The new heaven is referring to the new messenger who will deliver God’s judgment on the Day of the Lord at the conclusion of an era while the new earth is the new remnant that will come out with that messenger from the previous era during each transition. This is the same principle the apostle Paul explained in his epistle to the Thessalonians:
But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. (1 Thessalonians 5:1-4)
Remember that the apostle Paul delivered this message “unto the church of the Thessalonians” as we can read in 1 Thessalonians 1:1. So let’s ask ourselves this question: Why would the apostle Paul discuss the subject of the Day of the Lord if the Day of the Lord is just speaking of the time we are living in today in this last end?
This just clearly indicates that the Day of the Lord being spoken of by apostle Paul was God’s judgment on the Church for a particular period of time, i.e., for each of the seven Church eras. Can we really prove that the Day of the Lord is applicable for each of the seven Church eras? Let us consider God’s judgment for each Church era written in Revelation chapters 2 and 3:
God’s judgment on the Ephesus era:
Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; I KNOW THY WORKS, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. (Revelation 2:1-3)
God knew the works of the Ephesus era and the rest of the Church eras. Notice here God’s judgment on the Ephesus era, their time to be judged by God in their Day of the Lord:
Nevertheless I HAVE SOMEWHAT AGAINST THEE, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I WILL COME UNTO THEE QUICKLY, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent. (Revelation 2:4-5)
Noticed that? It says here “I (JESUS CHRIST) WILL COME UNTO THEE QUICKLY” – that is the Day of the Lord for the Ephesus era! God came in the flesh through the MESSENGER OF THE ERA. That is the Day of the Lord for an era! When the MESSENGER FOR THE ERA CAME ON THE SCENE, THAT IS THE DAY OF LORD FOR THAT PARTICULAR ERA! That is the same principle for all the SEVEN CHURCH ERAS! That is how God judges HIS HOUSE as what we can read in 1 Peter 4:17.
God’s judgment on the Smyrna era:
And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive; I KNOW THY WORKS, and TRIBULATION, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, THE DEVIL SHALL CAST SOME OF YOU INTO PRISON, THAT YE MAY BE TRIED; and YE SHALL HAVE TRIBULATION ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. (Revelation 2:8-10)
Notice how the Church members during the Smyrna era were subjected to their Great Tribulation as well. God proclaimed His judgment on those blasphemers from the synagogue of Satan in their midst. Will anyone who has an open mind consider what the faithful saints during the Smyrna era went through as Great Tribulation? They became FAITHFUL even until their DEATH and that was God’s judgment on the Smyrna era. They were martyred. Will you not consider that as Great Tribulation?
God’s judgment on the Pergamos era:
And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges; I KNOW THY WORKS, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, WHO WAS SLAIN AMONG YOU, where Satan dwelleth. (Revelation 2:12-13)
Notice the martyrdom of the saint named Antipas. Is this not referring to the FIFTH SEAL or the Great Tribulation? Here again is another proof of the Day of the Lord, this time during the Pergamos era:
Repent; or else I WILL COME UNTO THEE QUICKLY, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. (Revelation 2:16)
Jesus Christ came quickly through a new messenger who delivered God’s judgment to the ministers and members of the Pergamos era in its concluding hours. And here is God’s judgment to them:
But I HAVE A FEW THINGS AGAINST THEE, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate. (Revelation 2:14-15)
God’s judgment on the Thyatira era:
And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass; I KNOW THY WORKS, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first. Notwithstanding I HAVE A FEW THINGS AGAINST THEE, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into GREAT TRIBULATION, except they repent of their deeds. (Revelation 2:18-22)
Notice the term “GREAT TRIBULATION”? This simply indicates that each era really have their own GREAT TRIBULATION to come out from. And notice again the Day of the Lord during the Thyatira era:
But that which ye have already hold fast TILL I COME. (Revelation 2:25)
Notice again the Day of the Lord when Jesus Christ told the Thyatira era to hold fast “TILL I (JESUS CHRIST) COME” in the flesh of another messenger who has delivered judgment to Thyatira era of God’s Church:
And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works. (Revelation 2:23)
God knew the works of each Church era and He judges them accordingly during the Day of the Lord when He sent His messengers to declare it.
God’s judgment on the Sardis era:
And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I KNOW THY WORKS, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I WILL COME ON THEE AS A THIEF, and THOU SHALT NOT KNOW WHAT HOUR I WILL COME UPON THEE. (Revelation 3:1-3)
Notice that Church members during the Sardis era are dying spiritually because of spiritual FAMINE, that’s their Great Tribulation.
Notice how Jesus Christ came as a thief at the conclusion of the Sardis era through Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong with the United States and Britain in Prophecy message. Christ came in the flesh through him to proclaim judgment on that era. That was the Day of the Lord for the Sardis era. He then came out of the Sardis Church with some remnants and later on, he became the MESSENGER OF THE PHILADELPHIA ERA by becoming the PASTOR GENERAL of the Worldwide Church of God.
God’s judgment on the Philadelphia era:
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; I KNOW THY WORKS: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name. Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee. Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the HOUR OF TEMPTATION, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. (Revelation 3:7-10)
God has protected Mr. Armstrong from the HOUR OF TEMPTATION brought about by the rebellion of his son Garner Ted and the other liberal ministers of the WCG during the 1970’s. The rebellion of the liberal WCG ministers has greatly affected all the Church members around the world. That HOUR OF TEMPTATION was also the Great Tribulation during the Philadelphia era wherein several thousand members died spiritually because of the liberal ministers’ rebellion.
BEHOLD, I COME QUICKLY: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. (Revelation 3:11)
Notice the Day of the Lord at the conclusion of the Philadelphia era? Have we seen Jesus Christ in person coming out in the heavens from His throne during the transition from the Worldwide Church of God going to the Philadelphia Church of God? Of course not!
What we saw was Mr. Gerald Flurry to whom Christ has come in the flesh with. Through Mr. Gerald Flurry, God revealed the apostasy and the Laodicean era with the little book, Malachi’s Message.
Mr. Gerald Flurry came out at the conclusion of the Philadelphia era with a small remnant. God’s judgment was delivered to the WCG ministry and membership through the little book, Malachi’s Message written by Mr. Gerald Flurry. That’s the Day of the Lord for the Philadelphia era. He eventually became the MESSENGER OF THE LAODICEAN ERA as he established the Philadelphia Church of God.
God’s judgment on the Laodicean era:
And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; (Revelation 3:14)
Angel – in Thayer’s Lexicon means, a messenger from God; Strong’s Concordance, A PASTOR. Mr. Gerald Flurry is God’s PASTOR GENERAL during this Laodicean era.
I KNOW THY WORKS, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: (Revelation 3:15-17)
The PCG thought they have need of nothing. They though that they don’t need Jerusalem to FINISH God’s work.
I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. BEHOLD, I STAND AT THE DOOR, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I WILL COME IN TO HIM, and will sup with him, and he with me. (Revelation 3:18-20)
Who is now standing at the Laodicean door today and doing the knocking? It’s Christ coming in the flesh through the two witnesses with the Book of Remembrance in their hands. The appearance of the two witnesses is the Day of the Lord that came as a thief in the night for the PCG.
And in mercy shall the throne be established: and he shall sit upon it in truth in the tabernacle of David, JUDGING, and seeking judgment, and hasting righteousness. (Isaiah 16:5)
And saviours shall come up on mount Zion TO JUDGE the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the Lord’s. (Obadiah 1:21)
God established His government in the spiritual wilderness to proclaim His judgment on the Philadelphia Church of God in the context of the Eternal choosing Jerusalem (Zechariah 3:1-2), specifically using a work in Mount Zion. (Read our booklets that fully explain this, “In Mercy Shall the Throne be Established” and “Mount Zion Dig Thunders: ‘BEHOLD YOUR GOD!’”)
God has set up the work in Mount Zion through His two witnesses to JUDGE the spiritual Edomites inside the Philadelphia Church of God as prophesied by Obadiah, but there is another aspect to that prophecy – “and the kingdom shall be the Lord’s.” This pertains to the other project that God wanted His Remembrancers to FINISH – the restoration of the Children’s Playground with the installation of a KINGDOM THEME play structure in Liberty Bell Park in Jerusalem. Here are some updates concerning that project:
Aside from declaring God’s judgment to the spiritual Edomites in the PCG with the DOUBLE WONDER in Jerusalem, what is the other part of the commission of the two witnesses? Let’s consider God’s commission to Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong for the answer:
And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. (Matthew 24:14)
The word “for” – G1519 “eis” in Strong’s: to or into (indicating the point reached or entered, of place, time, figuratively purpose, result); which can also mean “till; to the end; until”
In the dictionary, “until” means: up to the time of; up to the time that
In Strong’s Concordance “unto all” can also mean: every way; all means
In Thayer’s Lexicon the word” “unto all” is defined as “altogether, in all ways, in all respects”
In the dictionary, “altogether” means, “taking everything into consideration”
“then” – in Strong’s Concordance can also mean “at that time”
“end” – in Strong’s Concordance is G4930 “sunteleia” in Greek which can also mean, “a completion, consummation”
Consummation in the dictionary is defined as the action of making a marriage or relationship complete; the point at which something is complete or finalized; the act of bringing to completion or fruition, the ultimate end.
Let’s substitute the meanings, and we can actually read verse 14 this way:
And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world UP TO THE TIME OF a witness IN EVERY WAY or BY ALL MEANS THE GENTILES; and AT THAT TIME shall the action of making the marriage complete come.
And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world UP TO THE TIME OF a witness ALTOGETHER THE GENTILES; and AT THAT TIME shall the act of bringing the marriage to its completion come.
And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world UP TO THE TIME OF a witness TAKING EVERYTHING INTO CONSIDERATION THE GENTILES; and AT THAT TIME shall the action of making the marriage complete come.
And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world UP TO THE TIME OF a witness IN ALL RESPECTS THE GENTILES; and AT THAT TIME shall the act of bringing the marriage to its completion come.
This is the same prophecy as declared the prophet Zechariah:
The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also finish it; and thou shalt know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me unto you. (Zechariah 4:9)
The two witnesses are the two hands of Zerubbabel being referred to here. They are commissioned to do a short Gentile work which is all about the consummation or the action of making the marriage complete. They were commissioned to prepare the Bride of Jesus Christ and to prepare Jerusalem for its King. This is connected to the messenger of the marriage covenantas prophesied in Malachi chapter 3.
Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts. (Malachi 3:1)
The messenger being mentioned here is referring to Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong while the messenger of the covenant is referring to the two witnesses. (For further proof, read our booklet, “The Gold of Ophir – the Philippines in Prophecy Part 3“)
I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; (Isaiah 42:6) – the first witness, Jacob
Thus saith the Lord, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages; (Isaiah 49:8) – the second witness, Israel
Both were given by God to become a light of the Gentiles. This strongly indicate of a Gentile work that will continue the Elijah work as stated in Matthew 24:14.
This further proves that the message of the Day of the Lord is being delivered today by God’s two witnesses.
For emphasis the Day of the Lord or the Day of God’s JUDGMENT for all the saints of God in each of the seven Church eras have happened precisely as prophesied by God. And all those remnants of each era who overcame were sealed to be included in the 144,000 saints.
And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write: These things saith the Amen, the faithful and the true witness, the beginning of the creation of God. (Revelation 3:14)
Because during the Laodicean era, this will be the time of the two witnesses and the beginning of the creation of God through the 144,000 saints in which period it will be finally completed.
In this article, we will not discuss the SEVENTH SEAL which is written in Revelation chapter 8 onward. But to give an overview, it’s about the history and prophecy of the SEVENTH ERA of God’s Church which details how the Laodicean era started and how it will end. It also tells how the faithful and true witnesses of God began and how they came out from the Great Tribulation during the Laodicean era together with a small remnant. It further discuss how the beginning of the creation of God will happen. We will discuss this in future articles.
HE SHALL CONFIRM THE COVENANT FOR A PERIOD OF SEVEN
Now how did God able to complete those 144,000 saints? The principle can be found in the prophecy written by the prophet Daniel:
And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, (Daniel 9:24)
The first fulfillment refers to the period from 27 A.D. to 34 A.D.. This is the ONE WEEK or the seven years, and in the midst of the week of April 25 Wednesday 31 A.D., Christ caused the sacrifice and oblation to cease. And as for the rest of the prophecy, just read from the Book of Remembrance.
When we consider the meaning of the thought “one week,” we will be able to see another perspective to this prophecy and it is actually connected to what John saw in the book of Revelation. Now, first let us look for the word “one,” from the thought “one week.” Let’s look for the word “one,” the word “one” in the original Hebrew is “echad” (H259) in Brown-Driver-Briggs it is also defined as “a or an” which is an indefinite article, in Strong’s it can also mean “a” which is an indefinite article, so what is an indefinite article? Let us define that:
In grammar, it is a determiner. “A” and “an” in English that introduces a noun, phrase and implies that the thing referred to is nonspecific, typically the indefinite article is used to introduce the concept into a discourse.
So as for the word “week” in Hebrew is “shabua” (H7620) in Strong’s Concordance and in Brown-Driver-Briggs it has been defined as “period of seven.” In Strong’s it is defined as literally “sevened.” So the phrase one week can also mean “A (the indefinite article), PERIOD OF SEVEN.” “ONE WEEK” can also mean A PERIOD OF SEVEN. Now what is the meaning of the word “period”?
From the dictionary, it is defined as:
- a length of time during which a series of events or actions take place or its completed.
- the completion of a title, a series of event or a single action
- a length of time that is very important in the history of the world, nation, etc.”
Now let’s have the synonym discussion of the word “period.” From Merriam Webster Dictionary, this is like a synonymous word for the word “period.”
Period – epoch, era, age (means “a division of time“)
So the word “period may designate an extent of time or any length.” An “era suggest a period of history marked by new distinct or order of things.” Now what is the full definition of ERA?
A fixed point in time from which series of years is reckoned; it is a memorable or important date or event, especially one that begins a new period in the history of a person or thing.
So the meaning of ONE WEEK which is A PERIOD OF SEVEN actually refer to the SEVEN CHURCH ERAS – God’s Church written in Revelation chapters 2 and 3. That is A PERIOD OF SEVEN, A PERIOD OF THE SEVEN CHURCH ERAS. And each era, as the word “era” is defined, is identified by some prominent figure or characteristic feature. Now let’s read from the book Mystery of the Ages, how Mr. Armstrong described the seven Church eras.:
Seven Church Eras
The Book of Revelation records seven messages to Seven Churches that existed in Asia Minor toward the end of first century AD. These churches: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea were located along one of the mail routes of the old Roman Empire. Riders would follow the route, carrying messages from town to town. The messages of the seven churches have words of both encouragement, and correction as they clearly show the dominant characteristics of each of the congregations at that time, but these messages were intended for a wider audience than in the Christians in these small towns. They are a series of remarkable prophecies.”
Source: Mystery of the Ages
So as what has been discussed here regarding the meaning of “period,” i.e., it is a series of events or an action that takes place. It is a SERIES of an era, so this is a period of seven. Verse 27 of Daniel 9 is discussing about “a period of seven.” Now, continuing on from the Mystery of the Ages:
They are a SERIES of remarkable prophecy by which the future of the true Church was foretold in outline form. From the day it began of Pentecost A.D. 31 until the second coming of Jesus Christ.
Again this is the period, this is the PERIOD, “from Pentecost of A.D. 31 until the second coming of Jesus Christ,” again this is the period of seven, a period of seven or a period of the seven Church eras. Now continuing on,
The history of the Church would fall into seven distinct eras, each with his own strengths and weaknesses and its own special trials and problems. Just as a message could pass along the mail route from Ephesus to Laodicea, so would the truth of God be passed from era to era. It was like a relay race in which the baton is passed from runner to runner, each doing his part until the finish line is reached.
Again for emphasis on the meaning of the word of “period” is, “the length of time during which a series of event or action takes place or is completed,” or it can be defined also as “a length of time that is very important in the history of the world or nation.” Now this period, the period of seven, is the length of time during the series of seven Church eras takes place or is completed, this period is the length of time that is very important in the history of the world. A nation, in this case is God’s nation, spiritual Israel in the world. So “a period of seven” actually pertains to “a period of the seven Church eras” as what what we can read in Revelation chapter 2 & 3.
Now let us consider this time from what Mr. Gerald Flurry wrote in his booklet The Royal Book of Revelation on page 24. As what we have discussed regarding the period, it has to complete a series of events for the series of each era, so here is what Mr. Flurry wrote:
Seven equals completion
The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches” (Revelation 1:20). The magnificent and powerful God is in the midst of the churches (verse 13). So we ought to have faith and should not deal in could be’s. We ought to know whether or not the Church eras are successive if this great and powerful God is in our midst! This vision also shows that Christ is only in the midst of the seven Churches. They were many more when John wrote this history. Why only seven? Because this seven represent the entire Church of God, from the time of Christ first coming to his second coming.
These Churches were located in successive order on a long mail route. The number SEVEN MEANS COMPLETION, so the seven churches are the seven eras from the time of Christ to the end, that is the COMPLETE picture.
Source: Page 24, The Royal Book of Revelation
That is the PERIOD in the Church era. So a PERIOD again, it has to be completed, and we are now in the completion stage. Again going back to Daniel 9:27
And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week:
Paraphrasing it, we can read it this way:
And He (the Messiah, Jesus Christ) shall confirm the covenant with many for a period of the seven Church eras.
Mr. Gerald Flurry wrote further in his booklet:
The book of Revelation is the only book of the Bible that gives us the time sequence of when a prophecy is to occur. Revelation 2 and 3 tell us the true Church history from the time of Christ’s first coming to His Second Coming. (comment: Noticed that? That is the period of the seven Church eras.) The critics sometimes challenge this belief. But even common sense tells us this account is in the book of Revelation because it is a prophecy for that 2,000 year PERIOD. There were to be seven Church eras in that 2,000 years. Most eras would turn away from God. And each time that happened, He would raise up another era, or another Church.
Source: Page 14, The Royal Book of Revelation
Noticed that? That is now the PERIOD, a PERIOD of the seven Church eras, a PERIOD OF SEVEN. This gives us a clear perspective of how God is working out his plan through the fulfillment of the seventy weeks prophecy, how it connects to our time right now. And since we are in the midst of this Laodicean era, it is inclusive in that “period of seven.” It says there in verse 27 that the Messiah Jesus Christ shall confirm the covenant with many for a period of the seven Church eras.
What does that mean? And how was Christ able to do that? How did Christ able to confirm the covenant in each era?
To better understand what the phrase “confirm the covenant with many,” let’s define the word “covenant.”
A “covenant” in the dictionary means “a written agreement or promise, usually under seal between two or more parties especially for the performance of some action.”
We must remember that we are in the new covenant, but we have not yet entered that covenant yet. That covenant is actually a marriage agreement, a marriage covenant. A new covenant is the marriage agreement between Jesus Christ and the Church. And under that new covenant, Christ will marry the Church and this is made plain in Ephesians chapter 5 verse 23.
In the new covenant, the Bride or the Church will marry her husband, Jesus Christ at His Second Coming. Few seem to understand that the new covenant is not yet consummated. We have not yet entered the new covenant. The new covenant marriage has not yet been made. The new covenant will come into existence and completed at the return of Jesus Christ for the marriage. Currently we are now living under the terms and conditions of that new covenant. Now in Jeremiah 31:33, it speaks of the covenant that God will make, that “I will make” as it says there and it’s still in the future. Jeremiah 31:33 is quoted in Hebrews 8:8-12. And this was after the death of Christ on April 25, 31 A.D. and the establishment of the Church of God in 31 A.D.
The new covenant is to be established at the return of Jesus Christ. It was not established by the blood of Christ on the cross as many have assumed. For emphasis, the new covenant has not yet been made. But the terms and conditions have been revealed already by Christ to all the true Christians through all the seven Church eras, from Ephesus era down to our time today in the Laodicean era. We are living under those terms and conditions in the new covenant.
Now how did Christ confirm the covenant or the marriage agreement to His Church through all the seven Church eras? How did He reveal the terms and conditions to each of the seven Church eras? How did Christ confirm the covenant for a period of seven?
It’s actually written in the book of Revelation.
To Ephesus, here’s what Christ said when he confirmed that covenant. Verse 7, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches;” Note this, this is the terms and conditions: “To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.” So, that was the term and condition during that time.
Now to Smyrna, He said in verse 11, “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.” Christ has confirmed the covenant in each era.
Now to Pergamos, He said in verse 17, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.” Noticed that? Christ is emphasizing there always, that is how He confirmed the covenant in the period of seven.
“He that hath an ear, to him that overcometh” – that is the term and condition.
To Thyatira, verse 26, “he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:” and verse 27, “he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. And I will give him the morning star.” Now in verse 29, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” So this message is for all the Churches, this is not specifically only for the Ephesus era, this has been repeated seven times – “he that has an ear let him hear what the spirit saith unto the Churches.” This is the message, this is how Christ confirmed the covenant for a period of seven. This is applicable for all of us, even while we are here in Laodicean era, it has been uttered to the Ephesian era down to our time right now, it’s applicable for all the eras, it’s applicable for all of us.
Now to Sardis era, in Revelation 3:5 He says: “He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.”
Again, Jesus Christ repeated, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”
For Philadelphia, verse 12: “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. Again, in verse 13, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”
Jesus Christ kept on injecting that idea that He indeed has confirmed the covenant with many, for a period of seven, in the period of seven Church eras.
To the Laodiceans, verse 21: “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” Verse 22, for the seventh time, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”
Indeed, Jesus Christ has confirmed the covenant with many for a period of the seven Church eras with those that we can read in Revelations 2 and 3. Only those who heard what the spirit says unto the churches are those who came out of their Great Tribulations as overcomers. So if we will overcome, we will become part of all the saints to whom Christ has already confirmed His covenant with. We have to satisfy first the terms and conditions, before we will be able to enter the new covenant.
Again, a covenant as defined, is a written agreement, so it has been written in Revelation chapters 2 and 3, a written agreement or promise, there’s a promise there right? “will I grant to sit with me in my throne, I will give you the hidden manna, etc.” Again, a covenant is defined as a written agreement of promise usually under seal between two or more parties especially for the performance of some action. So we have to perform, we have to do some actions, we have to overcome. That is how we will be able to enter the new covenant, we have to suffer, of course if we have to overcome, we have to suffer in our Great Tribulation.
Are those being mentioned in Revelation chapters 2 and 3 promises written in the pages of the Bible between Jesus Christ and His wife, for the performance of overcoming? Indeed, those verses are the fulfillment of Christ confirming the covenant. Notice how it has been written, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” Christ uttered it seven times, a period of seven means complete. He has completed it, He has confirmed the covenant. Seven means completion, Christ completed confirming the covenant with many for a period of the seven Church eras, from Ephesus down to the Laodicean era, when that covenant will be consummated. The covenant will be consummated at the end of the Laodicean era.
And from era to era, Christ already confirmed His covenant to those who overcame through their Great Tribulations. That’s the reason God sent a messenger of the covenant (the two witnesses) only during this time, the Laodicean era, in the context of a Book of Remembrance as written in Malachi chapter 3 (Malachi 3:1, 16), because God is about to have the final confirmation during this era. The saints that died in the faith from Abel to Mr. Armstrong during the Philadelphia era have already been confirmed. How about us in this Laodicean era? Are we part of those whom Christ will confirm His covenant with? If we want to become part of that covenant, then we should fulfill the terms and conditions written on it. We have to overcome, if we will be able to confirm that covenant.
There is a reason why God called our organization, the “ARK of God Foundation” and our website address is appropriately named “arkofthecovenantfoundation.net” because God is confirming His covenant right now through us, but we have not yet entered that covenant. Yet God is already in the process of confirming the covenant with us, right now. Some may ask, but you are not a Church? Peter has been emphasizing, it’s not important that we are a Church, it’s not important. What’s important is, IF Christ is with us, IF Christ is confirming the covenant with us, that’s more important. Now notice that, God is confirming His covenant right now through us, IF we will overcome, that is the big word “IF.” IF we will overcome, like those saints before us who went through their Great Tribulations, as what we can read in Hebrews 11. (You can read our booklet, “Mount Zion and the 144,000 Firstfruits of God” for further explanation on this subject.)
That is the condition that we should perform to be able to enter into the new covenant. Christ’s marriage agreement with us, that is the new covenant with us. This is how Christ will fulfill the 6th part of the condition to anoint the most Holy (Daniel 9:24). In other Bible translations it is read, “to anoint the Holy of Holies” because it is two words, “qodesh qodesh,” the same word “Holy of Holies.” It’s actually about the Ark of the Covenant, the 6th part, that’s the conclusion of the work of the two witnesses:
Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant. And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake and a severe hailstorm. (Revelation 11:19, NIV)
That’s the only time that will be able to enter the new covenant. That’s the conclusion of the work of the two witnesses. What a wonderful vision of our immediate future, so we need to deeply search our hearts for areas we need more overcoming, because only those who overcame will Christ confirm the covenant. That’s the only time that we can only enter the covenant IF we will overcome, IF we will be able to fulfill the terms and conditions as what we have read in Revelation chapters 2 and 3.
BUILDING GOD’S TEMPLE
Notice that after the apostle John wrote the SIXTH SEAL at the end of chapter 6 of the book of Revelation, he interjected the vision of the 144,000 in chapter 7:
And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel. (Revelation 7:1-4)
The four angels is the same four angels prophesied to be loosed in chapter 9 (Revelation 9:14; This will be discussed in a separate article). Why did John interject the vision of the 144,000 saints before he wrote about the SEVENTH SEAL in chapter 8? Because chapter 8 is all about the history and prophecy of the Laodicean era in this last end when God will finally achieve the completion of the 144,000 saints that came out of their Great Tribulations from all the seven Church eras:
And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. (Revelation 7:13-14)
For emphasis, those who overcame in each era that came out of their great tribulation will become part of the 144,000 resurrected saints. They will constitute the spiritual temple to which Jesus Christ will come into when He returns to this earth.
Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. (Revelation 7:15)
Let us consider what the end-time Elijah, Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong said in one of his sermons concerning this spiritual temple:
“Building The Temple“
There are prophecies regarding the preaching of the gospel of the Kingdom at this time; and then there is to be a bride ready to meet Him when He comes, because He’s going to marry the Church. That Church has to be raised up…
He’s coming TO HIS TEMPLE. I want you to get that… Zerubbabel built the temple to which Jesus came. The temple of Solomon was destroyed. Zerubbabel’s temple followed that, but it was destroyed in 70 AD. Now then:…
Everybody’s wondering what temple is Christ coming to? Are the Jews going to build another temple over there? Oh, poppycock! I’ll show you the temple He’s coming to! YOU, BRETHREN, ARE THAT TEMPLE; and all the rest of us…
Now then, John the Baptist was asked, “Are you the Elijah that was to come?” He said, “No, I am not.” I have been asked, “Are you Elijah?” And I have said, “No, I am not.” Jesus Christ said one time, “But if you will bear it, the Elijah has already come.” Then they questioned Him a little further. And then Jesus Christ said Elijah in person, the same Elijah, didn’t come. But John the Baptist came in the power and spirit of Elijah. That prophecy meant and referred to John the Baptist coming, but that was only the First Coming.
The prophecy is someone to prepare the way for the Second Coming. The first was physical — the physical Jesus coming to the physical temple, to a physical people. Someone to prepare the way for the Second Coming is preparing the way for THE SPIRITUAL CHRIST to come to HIS SPIRITUAL TEMPLE for the marriage of the Lamb (of Christ) with the Church; and the Church is that temple!…
Now, let me read this in Ephesians the second chapter, near the end of it.
Ephesians 2:19-21 Now therefore you [You people up at Ephesus, who were born Gentiles. You…] are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God. [Now they are citizens. That is like a country. But they are in a household. That is, a family. Notice, they are a family.] (20) And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone [They’re the Church.]; (21) in whom all the building fitly framed together [The Church is a building fitly framed together.] groweth unto A HOLY TEMPLE IN THE LORD.
“Grows into a holy temple in the Lord.” THE CHURCH IS THAT TEMPLE. The Church is to meet Christ in the air. The Church will be changed from human to divine. We won’t be human beings. We’ll be God-beings. We’ll be God-persons, just like God is. GOD IS REPRODUCING HIMSELF. Now that temple has to be built for Christ’s coming…
Source: Sermon Transcript — “Building The Temple” 14 February 1981
Jesus Christ will have to come to a complete spiritual temple which will comprise of the remnants of the Laodicean era who overcame and repented, together with the rest of the 144,000 saints that came out of their Great Tribulations in each of the seven Church eras. Can we know the numbers of how many more will be included in this last end that will complete the 144,000 saints?
And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven. The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly. And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. (Revelation 11:13-15)
Notice the “great earthquake”? God is really putting an emphasis to each transition from one period to the next one with a great earthquake. A great earthquake can also mean a great spiritual shaking and commotion among the Church membership.
Notice carefully that the temple of God is already being represented by three groups that currently exist in this last end:
- The remnant who were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven, i.e., the ARK of God, the Remembrancers – they will represent the saints from the 144,000 who will be included in HOLY OF HOLIES
- The 10% from the PCG- they actually represent those saints from the 144,000 who will be included in the INNER COURT
- The 7,000 men from other COG groups – they represent those saints from the 144,000 who will be included in the OUTER COURT
The temple of God will not be complete if the 10% from the PCG and the 7,000 men from the other COG groups are not included in the picture. So as for all the 144,000 resurrected saints in all the seven Church eras, there would be saints among the 144,000 who will belong to the Holy of Holies, and there would be saints who be included in the inner court whereas, there will also be those who will belong to the outer court. The spiritual temple will have to be completed before Jesus Christ returns to this earth.
And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. (Revelation 22:12-13)
The reward to be given by Christ will be according to our works. Do our works in this last end reflect a Holy of Holies attribute? Or does it only have an equivalent reward with that of inner court or an outer court?
Is the vision clear in our minds now?
The conclusion of the Day of the Lord or God’s judgment for the whole Church can be read in chapter 20 of the book of Revelation:
And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were JUDGED out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. (Revelation 20:11-12)
This is the GREAT WHITE THRONE JUDGMENT, which would be for all those people in each Church era who did not overcome. The main purpose of the Day of the Lord for each Church era is to separate the remnants who overcame and repented from the majority of the membership that fell away who were led by false prophets (FIRST SEAL).
And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:13-15)
The GREAT WHITE THRONE JUDGMENT is God’s final judgment to those wicked men in all the seven Church eras who chose not to repent toward God. Ask yourself honestly these questions: “Where will I be during this time?”, “Will I become part of God’s spiritual temple?” or “Will I become part of those who will not be found written in the book of life?”