Here is probably the best single verse in the Bible to explain the key of David vision: “Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this” (Isaiah 9:7).
What a vision! God is going to bring peace to the cosmos forever—and He is going to administer that peace from the throne of David.
Notice: The government, administered from that throne, is what brings the peace. There will never be peace on Earth, or anywhere else, unless it is administered from David’s throne.
This scripture shows that there will be no end to this glorious rule. No end of time—no end of space. Clearly, the throne of David represents extraordinary loyalty. You can see why, if we are to share that throne, God must try and test us so severely today.
One definition Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon gives of one of the Hebrew words for increase (which shares the same root as the one in Isaiah 9:7) is “progeny; increase of a family.” Does this mean that the Family of God will keep growing forever? It very well could! (Request our Prophesy Again booklet for a full explanation.)
The key of David is a marvelous key. David’s life unlocks something grand and wonderful! If we understand his life, it unlocks an unparalleled vision! David was a king ruling over Jerusalem and over all Israel. This vision is about God’s people today becoming kings, also ruling at Jerusalem and over all Israel—which will include all the Gentiles in the future. The whole world will be ruled from Jerusalem. We will be governing from that throne and will help extend peace that goes on and on, with no end! That is something to spend a lot of time thinking about.
Of course, David’s throne is really God’s throne. And just as David used it to unite Israel, we will use that throne—under Christ, and under God the Father—to unite this world in peace. That is quite a spectacular feat, considering how disunited, hateful and violent the world is today. That fact should inspire us forever.
The key of David unlocks this master plan. Only 5 percent of God’s people understand that today. Only they will qualify to rule on that throne at the Jerusalem headquarters, along with others of the top echelon of leaders God has cultivated through the ages. God’s people today must always remember that they are kings and priests in embryo, and must conduct themselves accordingly. This isn’t just what we shall become: God calls us kings and priests today! (e.g. Revelation 1:6; 5:10).
This is a vision, right out of the mind of the great God, that demands everything we have and more—simply to grasp it!
Fantastic Training for Isaiah 9:7
Today, God, through His very elect Church, is raising the ruins of a work that was destroyed. He calls that work “the tabernacle of David.”
“In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old: That they may possess the remnant of Edom …” (Amos 9:11-12). “In that day” is our time now; “the days of old” is the time of Herbert W. Armstrong. “The remnant of Edom” means everything Mr. Armstrong left behind that was dismantled by Edom, or the Edomite Laodiceans (this terminology is explained in our Obadiah booklet).
Here is the highest level of spiritual government on Earth today. It has ruled over the Philadelphians in the last two eras of God’s Church, preparing for the Second Coming of Christ. At no time in the history of God’s Church has He revealed such abundant truth. Never has the world had a greater opportunity or a more powerful warning from God!
Now God tells His very elect today, I will use you to raise those ruins right back up.
That is an enormous job, lifting and raising up such a work as God did through Mr. Armstrong. And though we will never match the size of that Work, nevertheless God commands that we work toward that end. We are great weight lifters—raising up these ruins as in the days of old. We must be excited and stirred if we are to succeed in such a monumental calling.
Building God’s house today could be the concluding chapter of raising those ruins. That magnificent building may go a long way toward blotting out what happened in Pasadena, the greatest tragedy of this age.
Wouldn’t you say that raising the ruins of the tabernacle of David is fantastic training for fulfilling the job described in Isaiah 9:7? We must see the connection between the temporary tabernacle of David and the throne of David graphically explained in Isaiah 9:7. Jesus Christ is going to rule from David’s throne. There is going to be an endless building program throughout the universe for all eternity—administered from that throne!
As we “raise the ruins” of the tabernacle of David today, we are being prepared to rule on David’s throne as the Bride of Christ. Satan has wrecked the Earth, the universe and God’s Church today. As we raise up the ruins in God’s Church now, we are qualifying to raise up the ruins on this Earth and in the universe. Christ is getting His wife ready to rule on David’s throne forever and ever. We are going to make this Earth and the universe look like the garden of Eden.
The Philadelphia Church of God has already started on that endless building program today. The tabernacle of David is the key of David vision that propels God’s very elect—getting them ready to rule in the Jerusalem headquarters forever. This is the hope of all hopes—endless joy throughout the universe.
Our lives will be in ruins if we lose that vision!
To Help Us—Christ Personally Appears!
Look at the sobering truth that precedes the “raising the ruins” prophecy. The last part of Amos 8:14 says, “even they shall fall, and never rise up again.”
So when this tabernacle of David falls, it is the most dreadful catastrophe in this end time and one of the greatest ever.
Many thousands of God’s saints are going to die forever! The most powerful Work of God ever, in terms of numbers, has collapsed. God’s greatest Work has fallen from the highest mountain ever and been dashed, shattered on the rocks below. Never before has there ever been such a catastrophic fall.
Fifty percent of God’s people are going to fall, never to rise again. Their names will be blotted out of God’s book of life. Surely, this is one of the strongest warnings in the Bible.
To the people in the Sardis era of His Church, God said, If you repent, I won’t blot your name out of the book of life. If you don’t, you will fall and never rise again (Revelation 3:5). As Mr. Armstrong so often said, God’s truth is “dangerous knowledge.”
Amos’s prophecy about the Laodicean failure continues: “I saw the Lord standing by the altar: and he said, Smite the lintel of the door, that the posts may shake: and cut them in the head, all of them; and I will slay the last of them with the sword: he that fleeth of them shall not flee away, and he that escapeth of them shall not be delivered” (Amos 9:1).
What a remarkable picture: Here is the Eternal standing by the altar—not just any altar. The Anchor Bible explains, “God’s presence in the sanctuary, where normally the priest would be standing or officiating, would indicate that something out of the ordinary, something ominous, was about to happen.”
That extraordinary, ominous thing DID happen! As I wrote in my booklets The Lion Has Roared and Habakkuk, in order to deliver His very elect in our court battle against the Laodiceans over Mr. Armstrong’s writings, Jesus Christ personally appeared! Even worldly commentaries studying these verses recognize that they describe God personally doing something very dramatic for His people!
This is one of the rarest miracles in all the Bible. It is some of the most dramatic revelation God has given this Church. As we raise the ruins of the tabernacle of David, we should never forget it or take it lightly! Read, or reread, those booklets to renew your appreciation for it.
Christ knows He has given us a mountain-size responsibility. He is the Head of this Church. So it shouldn’t surprise us that, as these scriptures reveal, He had to come personally—in spirit of course—to intervene on our behalf. Christ’s personal involvement in this Church is what makes us different from every other church and religion there is. Here is why this Church experiences such miracles!
When that tabernacle—a temporary dwelling—becomes permanent at Christ’s imminent return, it will never fall again!
Another Personal Appearance
Remember Habakkuk 3:1-3. There the prophet asked God to “revive thy work in the midst of the years,” and then “God came from Teman, and the Holy One from mount Paran.” As the Habakkuk booklet says, this is not talking about the time in the future when Christ will return from Mount Paran—which is probably within the area where the biblically prophesied place of safety will be—with 10,000 saints (Deuteronomy 33:2). Here He came in the middle of the crisis years, without the 10,000 saints.
Why was Christ in Mount Paran during the Church’s present crisis? We can’t be certain about the details, but He was probably there to look after the area where He plans to protect His people in the future. It appears He personally took care of that! So there must have been a serious crisis—a situation with no margin for error. (Shortly after the September 11 terrorist attack in the U.S., terrorists tried to bomb Petra, Jordan. However, the attack failed. Christ’s appearance could have been related to such an event.)
This is as dramatic as anything in the Bible! Here is scriptural evidence of two appearances Christ makes on Earth: one that had to do with saving the Work of God; the other that involved the place of safety.
There was an all-out attack on the Philadelphia Church of God by Satan the devil. He was trying to destroy God’s Work through a six-year court battle. He also apparently tried to destroy the area or get control of the country where the place of safety will be.
In both battles, Christ personally came to this Earth and stopped Satan! That may give us a good idea of how much more dangerous Satan and the demons are after they have been cast down and confined to this Earth. They are all full of wrath and know that their time is short! (Revelation 12:12).
Our war against Satan is vividly real. Those saints who fail to understand that are going to be conquered.
As Satan intensifies his warfare, God empowers His Church accordingly. Expect God to provide more and more miracles for His very elect in this end time.
Do you believe the Scriptures? Do we realize how ACTIVE God is in His Church today? This is reality! This is the real world of the Philadelphia Church of God. Christ, our Head, is deeply concerned about His Church!
After all, His remnant Church is made up of the 5 percent of His people who—even as the tabernacle of David was being reduced to ruins—did not deny Him (Revelation 3:8).
And think about this: If Christ is that involved with His people as a collective body, how active do you think He is in your personal life? How concerned is He about helping you through trials, for example?
Jesus Christ knows exactly what is going on with His people. We should be sobered, and honored, and overjoyed about that truth. We are never alone. Do you really see the fathomless love God has for you?
How powerfully and completely our Husband provides for and protects His wife!
Habakkuk 3:4 says, “And his brightness was as the light; he had horns coming out of his hand: and there was the hiding of his power.” Many times God hides His power, and we don’t see it.
But here is the reality. God says that when He opens a door for His people, no man can shut it (Revelation 3:8). That is a challenge God hurls out to anyone who would defy Him. I am opening this door—and you just try to shut it! If the Church’s enemies understood what they were up against, they would be scared to death!
Nobody can ever stop you from obeying God! They can even kill you—but you can die obeying God.
How mighty is God. If we have that power living in us, how can we not raise up the ruins?
God Challenged Baruch
One biblical example shows how easy it is for us to lose sight of this reality.
Baruch was Jeremiah’s scribe. He took the words from Jeremiah’s mouth and wrote them down. Those words became the book of Jeremiah.
“The word that Jeremiah the prophet spake unto Baruch the son of Neriah, when he had written these words in a book at the mouth of Jeremiah, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, saying, Thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel, unto thee, O Baruch” (Jeremiah 45:1-2). This is a message directly from Christ. Jeremiah delivered it to Baruch—a “Thus saith the Lord.” Jesus Christ is the Head of His Church. He directly leads it. The Philadelphians understand that. The Laodiceans do not. When Christ sees one of His workers who was hired to do the Work get into a bad attitude, that is serious. Christ often deals directly with the problem.
Somehow, Baruch was doing far-reaching damage to God’s Work. This scribe was actually writing the Bible—not an insignificant responsibility! Perhaps he was neglecting his writing that was to become canonized. That would have caused acute problems for Jeremiah.
“Thou didst say, Woe is me now! for the Lord hath added grief to my sorrow; I fainted in my sighing, and I find no rest” (verse 3).
Baruch was enduring a serious trial—and God held him accountable for how he handled it. Here God parroted Baruch’s words right back to him. God was thoroughly aware of everything that was happening in Baruch’s life.
In verse 4, God brought Baruch right back to the purpose of his calling. He reminded him of the commission He had given to Jeremiah (recorded back in Jeremiah 1:10), which Baruch should have been supporting! “Thus shalt thou say unto him, The Lord saith thus; Behold, that which I have built will I break down, and that which I have planted I will pluck up, even this whole land.”
The King James Version says “I will pluck up”—but the original Hebrew is written in the present tense. God was saying, I am plucking it up! I’m in the process of plucking up the throne of David right now! This was electrifying prophecy being fulfilled right before Baruch’s eyes—and he should have been passionately supporting God’s man! But instead, Baruch was wrapped up in HIMSELF!
Perhaps he got off track because Jeremiah was in jail so much. Clearly, to some degree, he had drifted from his calling and was out doing his own thing. God challenged him, “And seekest thou great things for thyself? seek them not: for, behold, I will bring evil upon all flesh, saith the Lord: but thy life will I give unto thee for a prey [or prize of war] in all places whither thou goest” (verse 5).
Nebuchadnezzar was about to conquer Judah. Baruch was about to enter into the holocaust of 585 b.c.—and yet he had become ambitious for himself somehow. Whatever he did, God was very upset.
How would you like to have God deliver a message to you personally through His prophet? And on top of that, God had it recorded in His Word to remain as a lesson for all time.
The correction God gave to Baruch is primarily for us today. God didn’t “bring evil upon all flesh” at that time—but He is about to do so today!
The good news is, Baruch turned it around. He did end up accompanying Jeremiah to Ireland. He made it to a place of safety.
God makes the same promise to us that He made to Baruch: I will give you your life as a prize in this war—even as everyone else loses theirs. We must remember that we are in a war with Satan in his worst wrath. God gives strong emphasis to that unparalleled war (Revelation 12:9-12). And considering the horrors ahead, the place of safety is a wonderful PHYSICAL prize. That is a promise from God—so He has to look after that place of safety, wherever it is, to ensure He can fulfill that promise. God will never break a promise.
Baruch thought his trial was too much to bear—but God loved him, and saved him through correction. If we trust God, He will get us through every trial we experience.
Like Baruch, we are all prone to allow our thinking to get off at times. But look at the big picture: Evil is about to come upon all flesh. Almost all humanity is about to be destroyed! How important is your life? How important, really, are the things you are concerned about? This is no time to have some great ambition for yourself.
Baruch had to get his mind off himself. Sometimes we must do the same. It saved Baruch—and it will save us: sometimes physically, sometimes spiritually.
Always remember: God gives us trials not to destroy us, but to save us!
The Key of David Perspective on Bad News
The world today is saturated with depressing problems, heavy with hopelessness. But even as the nations approach a nuclear Armageddon, God’s people must keep their spiritual balance and remain filled with hope. We must be positive people.
Look at how Christ teaches us this invaluable lesson using the key of David. This is a perspective that our ministers and all of us need to remember as we do God’s Work.
In Revelation 3, beginning in verse 7, when Christ speaks of the key of David, He is so inspiring and positive. Even when He gives bad news, He puts it in a positive context.
“Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie”—that is very bad news, but notice—“behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee” (verse 9). Half of the Laodiceans are going to make it into the Family of God! That is wonderful news that we must keep in mind.
You find more bad news in verse 10, about the Great Tribulation. But again, Christ supplies the positive perspective on it: “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.” God’s faithful Philadelphians will not have to experience that trial. Again, God promises us a place of safety. That too is good news.
“Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown” (verse 11). This verse is directed to all of God’s people. Sadly, only five percent of them will hang on to their headquarters crown!
If you have that crown, you had better hang on to it! You are going to be in Jerusalem forever! (verse 12). Don’t let anyone take that away from you! God wanted every last member of His Church to hold their crown! But so many lost it, and so many others let someone take a big slice of that reward.
Those who hold that crown will be stationed right at headquarters in the new Jerusalem with God’s very name written upon them. What wonderful news. Even the bad news needs to be viewed from the inspiring perspective that the key of David vision provides.
There is a lot of darkness in this world. But don’t look at these as days of darkness—recognize them as the days when the darkness is about to end. Mankind has suffered horrendously for 6,000 years! God the Father and Jesus Christ and the great host of angels have all been waiting and waiting for this day—and now it is almost here!
The Noble Sons of Zadok
In Ezekiel 44:10, God condemns the Levites “that are gone away far from me, when Israel went astray, which went astray away from me after their idols.” He warns: “they shall even bear their iniquity,” or lawlessness. God has strong words against those end-time Laodicean ministers. In Revelation 3:9, He calls them liars! They may have deceived themselves into believing they are telling the truth, but God says otherwise—and He warns that they do bear their own sin. They will pay the penalty for what they are doing.
Amid that terrible falling away, a little group remains loyal. God commends these individuals because—even as everyone else turns away—they don’t look to human beings or follow the multitude.
Notice the title God gives them: “But the priests the Levites, the sons of Zadok, that kept the charge of my sanctuary when the children of Israel went astray from me, they shall come near to me to minister unto me, and they shall stand before me to offer unto me the fat and the blood, saith the Lord God” (Ezekiel 44:15).
Zadok was the chief priest. He had the honor, along with Nathan the prophet, of anointing Solomon. He was the only priest who remained loyal to David’s throne throughout his entire priesthood!
Zadok knew that David’s throne was God’s throne. He wasn’t looking to David; he knew that man had faults. But he remained loyal to the throne of God! God loves Zadok for that loyalty—so much, in fact, that He labels the faithful five percent in the last hour as “sons of Zadok”! That is the title of God’s highest nobility in the last era of God’s Church!
Like Zadok, these individuals stay with the key of David. They hold on to the understanding about David’s throne. They remain excited about the idea of ruling with Christ in Jerusalem forever! They love that vision and won’t let anyone take it from them! Even when 95 percent of God’s own people turn away, they remain loyal.
Those faithful sons of Zadok are going to rule from the highest mountain forever if they stay true to the key of David.
“They shall enter into my sanctuary, and they shall come near to my table, to minister unto me, and they shall keep my charge” (verse 16). These sons of Zadok will be headquarters personnel forever, being near to God, ministering to Him!
How could we possibly get wrapped up in material things in this dying world—or be ambitious for ourselves—if we keep this glorious vision in mind?
“And the chamber whose prospect is toward the north is for the priests, the keepers of the charge of the altar: these are the sons of Zadok among the sons of Levi, which come near to the Lord to minister unto him” (Ezekiel 40:46). This “altar” is referring to the ministry in the World Tomorrow—the sons of Levi, or ministers, who will not be sitting on David’s headquarters throne. God’s faithful elect today will be given charge over those ministers. We will come near to God, receive our instructions directly from Him, and carry those instructions out—directing operations from headquarters throughout the universe and for eternity!
Notice this command: “And thou shalt give to the priests the Levites that be of the seed of Zadok, which approach unto me, to minister unto me, saith the Lord God, a young bullock for a sin offering” (Ezekiel 43:19). In other words, God is instructing people to give His precious sons of Zadok anything they need to get their work done!
God shares His throne so its occupants can serve Him and serve mankind. The sons of Zadok understand that truth: Above all, we are here to SERVE. That is actually what makes us priests. That title is meaningless if we don’t understand that.
God described David as “a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will” (Acts 13:22). David did all of God’s will. Whatever God asked of him, David did everything possible to do. Not 80 percent of it, or 90 percent—not even 99 percent of God’s will. David strived with all his heart to do 100 percent! That is quite an attitude. He sang for God—he danced for God—he dressed for God—he served for God. It was all for God!
That beautiful attitude has a lot to do with the key of David. God calls this glorious, all-encompassing vision “the key of David” because this is the profound understanding He wants all of us to have!
Royal Vision, May-June 2010