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Scepter Promises
The Jewish State of Israel is in extreme danger. The Middle East is undergoing radical changes, and the risk of violence engulfing the Jews is growing with each passing month!

The Bible is full of prophecies that apply directly to what we see happening in that explosive region. Those prophecies are lightning bolt warnings to all of us—and the Jews should be especially attentive to them. They came from God, who loves the Jews deeply and who wants to alert them to what is coming.

There are still many Jews alive today who experienced the horrors of the Holocaust in World War ii. Israel memorializes that history in its Holocaust museum, Yad Vashem. Visiting that museum is about as moving as anything one can ever experience. It really brings that horrific history to life. Seeing what those poor people had to go through is so overwhelming, you feel you need to sit down once in a while—particularly when you know that the Bible warns us it is going to happen again.

The history of the Holocaust is only a sample of what is coming upon the Jews—many of them again—as well as upon America and Britain. You can practically hear the blood crying out from those victims as a warning to Israel today!

The more you look at current events, the more you realize just how close the repetition of that history really is!

God has a strong message for the Jews. It is a warning of love.

An End-Time Prophecy

There is a particular passage of Scripture God has helped me to understand more deeply that highlights our message to the Jews. It shows something God wants us to emphasize more.

It is also a message to the spiritual Jews—to those in the Philadelphia Church of God.

This passage of Scripture begins, “And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will call my servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah” (Isaiah 22:20).

God is talking about two personalities “in that day,” in this end time. If you go back to verse 15, it talks about Shebna, another personality on the scene at the same time.

How many Jews do you think would believe that these prophecies apply to our day? How many religious people, who supposedly believe in the Bible, would accept such an idea?

When Jesus Christ came to Earth, He told the Jews, Oh, Jerusalem, Jerusalem! I sent prophets, and you stoned them and killed them!How many times would I have gathered you in like a hen gathers in her little chicks, but you would not! (Matthew 23:37).

Christ couldn’t convince them that God would send a human being to warn them in order to prevent a holocaust. In fact, they ended up killing Him, too!

This world is deeply hostile to the truth of God. People tend to stone the messenger of that truth, verbally or literally—even kill him. They try to destroy the message. As a result, the next holocaust is going to be worse than any in history—and not just for the Jews, but also for America and Britain!

Isaiah 22 continues: “And I will clothe him with thy robe, and strengthen him with thy girdle, and I will commit thy government into his hand [the government Shebna had for a short time]: and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem [spiritual Jerusalem, but all Israel, too], and to the house of Judah” (verse 21).

Here is a “father” to spiritual Jerusalem—somebody giving God’s people the Word of God. He is also a father “to the house of Judah”—not the inhabitants, but just the house, or family, of Judah. He also has a specific message for them. There must be a man coming with a message for the Jews!

God said this end-time personality is a “father” to Jerusalem, a type of all Israel. But why did He add the “house of Judah”?

We talk a lot about the birthright God gave to Ephraim and Manasseh, or Britain and the United States today. We also talk about the scepter promises—but I think God wants us to emphasize them moreespecially to the Jews. These are spiritual promises to all of us, but the Jews had, and continue to have, a special role in them, and I believe God wants us to emphasize that.

The Scepter Promise

Genesis 49:10 contains this prophecy about the Jews: “The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.”

Can the Jews explain that? If the scepter won’t depart from Judah until Shiloh, or the Messiah, comes, then where is it? Is it right there in Judah with the Jews?

Herbert W. Armstrong talked about both the birthright promises and the scepter promises in The United States and Britain in Prophecy(request your free copy). “The spiritual promises—the promises of the ‘one seed,’ Christ, and of salvation through Him—the Bible calls the scepter,” he wrote. “But the material and national promises relating to many nations, national wealth, prosperity and power, and possession of the Holy Land, the Bible calls the birthright.”

Mr. Armstrong quoted the Standard Dictionary definition of scepter: “kingly office; royal power; badge of command or sovereignty.” “The promised kingly line culminates in Christ, and involves grace to all,” Mr. Armstrong explained. “We have seen how both sets of promises, right of birth and gift of grace, were unconditionally made by God to Abraham. Both the birthright and the scepter were re-promised by the Eternal to Isaac and to Jacob. But the fact that should open your eyes, as a joyous truth newly discovered, is that from that point these two sets of promises became separated! The scepter promises of the kingly line culminating in Christ, and of grace through Him, were handed on to Judah, son of Jacob and father of all Jews. But the astonishing truth is that the birthright promises were never given to the Jews!” (emphasis mine).

He then quoted Genesis 49:10: “The sceptre shall not depart from Judah …” and 1 Chronicles 5:2: “… But the birthright was Joseph’s.”

“Of course it is well understood that the scepter went to Judah and was handed down through the Jews,” he continued. “King David was of the tribe of Judah. All succeeding kings of David’s dynasty were of the house of David, tribe of Judah. Jesus Christ was born of the house of David and the tribe of Judah.” Christ is going to sit on David’s throne, and God’s firstfruits saints are going to share that throne with Him! (Revelation 3:21). So we are tied in to the scepter promises.

We get to tell the world about those wonderful promises! But I think God wants us to emphasize the scepter promises more than we have. I believe He particularly wants us to emphasize them to the Jews, and make them see their key role.

The Jews ought to be inspired by this message! They can relate to the kingly line. God says it’s not going to depart from Judah, and that’s talking about the last days (Genesis 49:1). God has used the Jews to do some amazing things in this world, and given them, in a sense, the most exalted honor of any race on Earth. Mr. Armstrong expressed that so powerfully: “The scepter promises of the kingly line culminating in Christ, and of grace through Him, were handed on to Judah, son of Jacob and father of all Jews.”

But they are not impressed! Oh, the hardness of the human mind! Oh, Judah! What an honor! Why won’t you listen to the message of God? There were scepter promises handed down to the Jews, but they refuse to understand that! They wouldn’t listen to the Son of God, and they’re not apt to listen to somebody He sends. People can be awfully hard. But when they go into the second holocaust, maybe it will register a lot more on many of them—if they live, which most of them will not. But how many holocausts do you have to go through before you’ll listen to God and His message?

To be a part of those scepter promises must be the greatest honor given to any race of people on Earth! But how much do they understand, and how much are they willing to understand?

How much do you spiritual Jews understand about those scepter promises? When God talks to the house of Judah, most of all He is talking to the elite of the house of Judah, which would be the spiritual Jews. We must understand these scepter promises of salvation through Christ—that kingly line that culminates in the return of Jesus Christ, and then grace through Him to the whole world, which was handed to the Jews. Those promises really have to do with royalty! That message will be taught to the whole world, and we will be right there ruling on the throne of David with Christ, teaching the world about the scepter promises.

We must deliver this message today. God says, I want you spiritual Jews to understand about these scepter promises, deliver a message about them and emphasize them, especially to Judah!

Satan’s Hatred

Look at the way children were treated in the Holocaust. The Nazis herded little children into trucks and took them off and killed them and buried them like they were worse than dogs. That is how they looked upon the Jews.

A lot of the reason for that had to do with the fact that Satan KNOWS the role of the Jews in God’s plan—and hates it! It’s too bad the Jews don’t know it, because that is a major reason why the Jewish nation is so hated in the Middle East. That nation is in grave danger!

If you give a race honor like God has given the Jews, Satan hates them for that. He inspired enemies to rise up and strip them of all dignity! The Nazis would often shave their heads, take their clothes, beat them, use them for medical experiments. God says it will be far worse the next time around. Do you believe God?

Look at the opposite: the way God treats His spiritual Jews. God gives us so much dignity we can hardly even comprehend it!

Satan deceives in every way he possibly can. The Jewish nation calls itself Israel, and even that is a horrible deception. The Jews don’t even know who they are! How can they know about these scepter promises being passed on to Judah when they don’t really know who Judah is? That blinds them to this wonderful role God has given them to play, even in this world.

The pain of that first Holocaust was so bad, in some cases the Jews don’t want to talk about it ever again. But at least some of them said they would talk in order to help others. Yad Vashem has videos of some of them relating their horrifying experiences. One man was there with his father, and he said his exhausted father fell down to his knees. The man knew the Nazis would kill anybody who helped a person up, and he said, I didn’t even help my own father. I’ve had to live with that the rest of my life. It is hard to even imagine how difficult that would be.

The Jews have the expression, “Never again!” Sadly, we have to tell them they are dead wrong. It is going to happen again, and it’s going to make the other time look like just a dress rehearsal.

The Jews suffered horribly in World War ii. But that history is a stark warning of what is about to come upon them! They can see that conditions are terribly bad and getting worse, and most of them are in a depressed state because of it.

They need to know about the scepter promises! They need to know what an exalted role God has given them! They need hope! This whole world needs hope.

Those wonderful scepter promises came through Judah. When you understand those promises, you can see how Satan hates the Jews. But there’s something he hates a lot more, and that is the spiritual Jews. He would really love to put you and me into a holocaust. We must use the power of God, or we don’t have a CHANCE to survive! Satan wants to take away all your dignity and all the glory God has given you. There’s no way we can survive in this world without the power of God when we are such a target! Be strong in the Lord! Understand these scepter promises—or Satan will destroy you! He’ll destroy you if you don’t use the power of God!

God’s goal is not to create physical Jews. His goal is to create spiritual Jews. That is what He is doing within His Church. We have the opportunity to be a part of the scepter promises spiritually. We are spiritual Jews, and we should relate to this far more than any physical Jew ever should because we’re going to share that rule with Christ on David’s throne and teach this to a world that desperately needs it.

Do you realize how close those scepter promises are to being fulfilled? We’re not just learning about the scepter promises—we are going to receive them! We are going to be saved and then help God save all of humanity! They won’t ever have to experience another holocaust!

Think about the whole world receiving these wonderful scepter promises!

People don’t want to listen today, but we have a message for this world. We not only have to teach the world about those scepter promises, we have to go back and again teach the Laodiceans—95 percent of God’s people—about those promises, and about how God wants them to be a king and a priest! They don’t think very much of the most awesome promises in the Bible; they have turned their backs on them, and chosen the holocaust instead. And that’s what they’re going to get. And then, thankfully, 50 percent of them will have a change of heart.

This man is father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah, which spiritually is focused on us. We need to tell the Jews about that kingly line that culminates in Jesus Christ—the one they killed, and that we all killed—and then about grace through Him. We need to tell them what their role was, and is, in this world today.

In Isaiah 22:21, God distinguishes between “a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem,” and “a father to the house of Judah,” with “house of Judah” second. It also is that way in Isaiah 40. I believe God expressed it that way because, as we are so close to Christ’s return, He wants to emphasize the scepter promises. Certainly to the Jews, but also to the spiritual Jews.

We must understand what we’re here for: God really is going to wipe away all tears, and we will never
have to experience another holocaust! That is what God has wanted all along, but we have chosen the holocaust.

More Vessels in David’s House?

“And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open” (Isaiah 22:22). God says He will lay the key of the house of David—the key that unlocks this palace of David—on the shoulders of this “father” to the house of Judah.

“And they shall hang upon him all the glory of his father’s house … all vessels of small quantity, from the vessels of cups, even to all the vessels of flagons” (verse 24). These vessels, which anciently were items used in the temple service, refer today to all of our books and booklets, both from Mr. Armstrong and from me, filled with all the revelation God has given us.

God revealed the meaning of Isaiah 22 the very same day that the Supreme Court denied our appeal in our court case to win the rights to print Mr. Armstrong’s literature. It was revealed at the darkest hour in that battle. When the Supreme Court refused to hear us, God quickly showed us that all the “vessels”—those wonderful pieces of literature—would come. Remember, we didn’t technically ever win, but we got more than what we even thought we would get or even asked for! How about that for Supreme Court justice? The real Supreme Court let us know that everything was on track. And sure enough, we got all of those spiritual vessels God had given to His end-time Elijah.

I wonder, though, whether there might be another physical application of this verse as well.

The Philadelphia Church of God has been involved in some exciting archaeological excavations in Jerusalem. Archaeologist Eilat Mazar discovered David’s palace and has uncovered some of it. It includes walls that are 16 feet wide. These are huge finds! After our college students joined the dig, they discovered Nehemiah’s wall.

You have to wonder, in all of this digging, will we find maybe some more physical vessels, like we did spiritual vessels? I believe we could be on the edge of discovering some pretty exciting things, more than what we already have. Of course, we’ve already discovered a lot and perhaps enough, but I think there will probably be more. We will see.

The word house in Isaiah 22:22 can mean sepulcher. It can also mean family or palace. I believe those three words virtually mean the same thing, and here is why. All the kings on David’s throne would be the family of David or Judah, and the sepulchers were traditionally under the king’s palace. So might the tombs of the kings be under David’s palace? Could we find something under there that might have to do with the tomb of David or other kings?

There were strong traditions to bury the king under his house. “All the kings of the nations, even all of them, lie in glory, every one in his own house” (Isaiah 14:18). It says in his house, but the king wouldn’t have himself buried upstairs in the living room.

I think God might be showing us a certain amount of symbolism with David’s palace and Nehemiah’s wall. David was the one who prepared for the first temple, and Nehemiah built that wall around Jerusalem and the second temple. This is really all about the temple.

Now, the temple today is God’s Church! God is really concerned about His spiritual temple! That’s where His focus is and His concern is! He says, We all have responsibility here. Just like Nehemiah built a wall around Jerusalem and around the temple, He says, Now I want you members who are the temple to take a stand and build walls around the truth and the Work of God! Your responsibility is to defend the temple! Each of us must take a stand. Don’t let anybody take any of these vessels away, and don’t meddle in the vessels of the devil. We are that temple, and we have a responsibility.

What kind of a member won’t stand up and build a wall around the temple? Protect the temple! Protect the scepter promises! Protect all those spiritual vessels God gave us because we were willing to stand up and fight in court! That is our duty. If we love God, how could we not do that?

The temple today is what really matters. God is concerned about His people most of all. We are a part of that scepter message in a very significant way. That kingly line is here today. It’s getting close to when Jesus Christ returns, and it’s through Him that grace goes to everybody—and we have the unparalleled honor to help Christ bring peace to Jerusalem and this world!

Israel talks about peace quite a lot. But the Jews absolutely will not have peace until they listen to what God has to say about the scepter promises and other doctrines. And that absence of peace is what we too have ahead of us unless the great God protects us.

Many people actually believe they can think their way through this world’s problems. That is the very reasoning that led people to negotiate with Adolf Hitler! That didn’t work! The Holocaust museum proves it.

Look deeply at what is happening in this world. Power is rapidly shifting away from America. The great American economy is destroyed—the value of the dollar is falling and will continue to fall quite rapidly! That is a result of America’s debt, which is so monstrous that no nation could ever pay it off. Do you know where these events are leading?

Mr. Armstrong told us to prepare to reduce our standard of living. That is beginning to get forced upon us now, and it’s not going to get better. It’s going to get a lot worse, and it’s all leading to a holocaust of such magnitude it’s hard to even describe.

It’s all happened just like Mr. Armstrong said. He told us it was coming, and here it is! And right after that, then we have the holocaust. That will besiege anybody who doesn’t embrace the scepter promises—and the birthright promises as well, since we must understand those and who Israel is in order to understand biblical prophecy.

After the Holocaust, some people said they couldn’t wait to go to Zion, the land of David. Now we have a message for them about Zion and the land of David. We can explain to them about the city of David, and what will ultimately happen there for all humanity. We can show how they will never have to see their children experience another holocaust ever again!

The Second Coming of Christ is almost here! That is what will bring peace to this Earth. Looking at the terrifying problems in this world, you know our leaders cannot solve them! Christ is going to stop the madness and the suffering once and for all! God knows we need that stopped. We are digging in David’s palace and making fantastic discoveries because we are preparing—even in a physical way—for Christ’s return!

In Hosea 11:9 God says, “I am God, and not man”! There is a big difference! We are preparing to teach the world about a new civilization ruled by God!

Shebna

Isaiah 22:15-17 are a prophecy about Shebna and this future holocaust. In verse 15, God instructs that a message be given to “this treasurer, even unto Shebna, which is over the house.” He is a man over the house in the last days. Who is that?

The message is, “What hast thou here? and whom hast thou here, that thou hast hewed thee out a sepulchre here, as he that heweth him out a sepulchre on high, and that graveth an habitation for himself in a rock?” (verse 16). This man is trying to carve out his own salvation and his own place of safety, like most religious people. But God says it is a vain, futile effort.

“Behold, the Lord will carry thee away with a mightycaptivity, and will surely cover thee” (verse 17). God says He’s going to give this man a sepulcher—but not the type that man thinks. He’ll take that man away in a mighty captivity in the Tribulation, and bury him!

The Lawgiver

Genesis 49:1 shows that this chapter is a prophecy about the last days for the tribes of Israel. The entire passage is for the last days, those days we’re living in now. And verse 10 says that “The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet [or his ancestry], until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.”

God said that in the last days, there would be a scepter—a ruler on a throne—at the same time there is a lawgiver.

Traditionally, we have believed this lawgiver to be Christ. In principle, that is true. Christ always gives the law; He is the source. But notice the scripture says the lawgiver would not depart from Judah’s feet until Shiloh, or Christ, come. Would it make sense to read that Jesus would not depart from Judah’s feet until Jesus come?

God also said there is a lawgiver—a person here on Earth who is giving a law—right up to when Christ comes! The people doing this Work are going to introduce Christ to the world! And this man who has the law will be teaching about the scepter and the scepter promises.

Can you find that on Earth today? Can you identify a group of people that give the law to the world? There is only one. God has worked through human beings throughout history, and even though people run them out of town, or stone them or kill them, God is going to continue the way He’s always done it until Christ comes!

You can see why God separates the scepter and the birthright, because there are two distinctly different messages.

In John 4:22, Christ said that “salvation is of the Jews.”

Paul wrote in Romans 1:16 that “the gospel of Christ … is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”

The wonderful promises of grace were handed down through Judah! What an honor! That really ought to galvanize the Jews and electrify God’s people.

Ultimately, we are talking about salvation for the spiritual Jews! We need to be stirred and moved by this! It’s almost time to receive those spiritual promises and rule with Jesus Christ!

What good is it to know about the birthright and not about those scepter promises? The birthright promises are physical, but these are spiritual promises. That is what God is really concerned about. Scepter has to be one of the most illustrious words in the Bible! We, of all people, ought to really relate to scepter and its kingly offices. We are the kings of the Earth—the Kingdom of God in embryo!

We need to gain a much deeper understanding of those scepter promises. I hope our ministers will be talking about that more, and that you will strive and struggle to get every crumb you possibly can, because this is something worth dying for! Nobody will take it from the Bride of Jesus Christ!

Faithful With the Saints

“Ephraim compasseth me about with lies, and the house of Israel with deceit: but Judah yet ruleth with God, and is faithful with the saints” (Hosea 11:12). God is telling us that the Jews have still hung onto a small amount of their faith. They do love Jerusalem, and I think much of that faith revolves around Jerusalem.

The land of Israel was the birthplace of the Jewish people. That is where their spiritual, religious and political identity was shaped. That is where they first attained statehood.

On May 14, 1948, at the forming of their nation, the Jewish People’s Council approved a proclamation saying that Israel’s founding fathers had placed their trust in the “Rock of Israel.” Israel’s birth certificate begins with the Bible and ends with faith in God.

Most of them do not believe that today! The Jews gave to the world the eternal Book of books. They preserved what we call the Old Testament for the world! I doubt that the leadership in Israel today understand that. They don’t believe the Bible is a Book of books, or that God is the Rock of Israel! Oh, if only they BELIEVED that today!

The Oslo Accord was the death knell of Israel. That peace pact in 1993 literally divided the nation into a fighting camp. But it did even more: It destroyed much of the faith the Jews did have. There is a tremendous breakdown in Judah because of that. Shimon Peres has been through that process almost from the beginning to the end. In 1993 he was trying to broker a deal to have a mayor of Jerusalem from the Palestinians and a mayor of Jerusalem from the Jews and let the pope rule over Jerusalem! In other words, both of the mayors would have to submit to the Holy See, as it is called. Peres entered that into the Oslo negotiations! Look what prophecy says about that in Revelation 17:13! Leaders in Israel were willing to hand the city over to whom? Read Revelation 17 and see who the beast worships! They will do anything except trust in the Rock of Israel! God is the only solution, and the only salvation for the Jews—physically and spiritually!

At a conference in Jerusalem I attended in 2008, one rabbi named Yisrael Ariel talked about Jerusalem being a mother. Ariel means lion of God. I imagine that name came from the Bible. “Where is the joy in Jerusalem, the city of God?” he asked. He must know about all those prophecies. Well, we can tell him what’s going to happen. He even knows about those prophecies of little children playing in the streets, and the elderly people are there watching over them and delighting in them. What a world that will be—and it’s almost here! Where is the joy in Jerusalem, the city of God? It’s about to come, and they can’t imagine how.

He said, “Today we must ask God for peace in Jerusalem.” We have to tell them, Okay, but in order to have peace you will have to keep the law!

“Angels oversee other places on Earth, but God oversees Jerusalem,” Mr. Ariel said. Maybe he was right to some degree. God has chosen Jerusalem; He has a special interest there, and He watches over it much more than He does other cities. Oh, how God loves Jerusalem! Mainly He loves the Jerusalem that’s going to come, but He certainly has a strong interest in that land area where He plans to establish that city.

However, that city is going to become one big cemetery! All of Ephraim and Manasseh and Judah will just be one vast cemetery—a holocaust not in a museum, but in reality! This is the way it will be when we don’t listen to the Rock of Israel!

Ariel said, “Two thousand years of exile and murder could not extirpate Jerusalem from being engraved in the minds of the Jews.” That’s right, and that’s wonderful. Cling to it. It’s wonderful that they love Jerusalem and keep hanging on. But they also need to ask themselves, Why were we exiled? What happened? Why were the Jews driven out and never allowed to come back until 1948? Think about why God, the Rock, would allow that to happen to the City of God!

Jerusalem is not the City of God today!

The same Christ whom they killed prophesied exactly what they’re seeing today.

Oh, Jerusalem, Jerusalem.

Isaiah 40:9 talks about proclaiming these scepter promises to the Laodiceans and to Jerusalem, or the nations of Israel, and then lastly to the cities of Judah. The kingly line is about to culminate in the return of Jesus Christ. It’s getting close. He is about to return, and we need to put more and more emphasis on the scepter promises.

It will take another holocaust for the Jews to finally accept the scepter promises and the spiritual promises—so they can understand how God does love Jerusalem and has chosen that city, and will love it forever and ever.

Verse 10 describes the reward God will have for the spiritual Jews when He comes back. They will be the very Bride of Christ and share that throne and teach the whole world about these magnificent scepter promises. The key of the house of David adds an exhilarating dimension to that great message.

How blessed we are, people of God, to be a part of this and to understand about those scepter promises!