God was talking to a mere boy—a teenager who had just protested that his youth made him too young to be a prophet. Consider that when you read this well-known passage, quoted frequently in God’s Church: “See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant. Moreover the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Jeremiah, what seest thou? And I said, I see a rod of an almond tree” (Jeremiah 1:10-11). Verse 13 reads: “And the word of the Lord came unto me the second time, saying, What seest thou? And I said, I see a seething pot; and the face thereof is toward the north.”
Twice here God asked Jeremiah, “What do you see,” and Jeremiah replied with “I see ….” God asks him a similar question in Jeremiah 24:3.
A handful of prophets received actual visions of certain prophecies and were asked the same question—including Amos and Zechariah (Amos 7:8; 8:2; Zechariah 4:2; 5:2). The Prophet Ezekiel talked about “visions of God,” and the Apostle John was told, “What thou seest, write in a book” (Revelation 1:11).
John had already received a dramatic vision earlier in his life. He was one of two other apostles privileged to have seen, in a vision, “the Son of man coming in his kingdom” (Matthew 16:28). In this vision, Christ “transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light,” and they also saw Moses and Elijah talking with Him (Matthew 17:2-3). Study this entire vision, and try to wrap your mind around what these men experienced!
Later in the vision, “a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him” (verse 5). This heavenly voice caused the disciples to fall on their faces (verse 6). “And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid. And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only” (verses 7-8).
Upon returning to reality, these three were aware that they had experienced a vision of the future. Though none of these events they witnessed had actually happened yet in human history, God was able to show it to them like a movie that had already been produced. It was even better than a movie because they were able to interact with the characters in it!
In verse 9, Jesus confirmed it was just a vision when He charged them: “Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead.” Can you imagine not being able to tell anyone what had just happened? They had to wait until the Messiah’s death and resurrection—and, as other verses show, they weren’t completely clear on how that would play out. Eventually—after the events occurred in the year a.d. 31, with the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ—they did understand.
Sharing the Vision
In his final epistle, Peter records that he and the others did share this vision when the timing allowed (2 Peter 1:16). Here he reviewed how they were “eyewitnesses of his majesty” and how they heard “such a voice … from the excellent glory … when we were with him in the holy mount” (verses 16-18).
As our editor in chief, Gerald Flurry, points out in his booklet The Epistles of Peter—A Living Hope: This vision gave their teaching “profound feeling and impact! We need this hope to endure to the end. … [C]an you imagine hearing Peter or James or John preach about the breathtaking vision they saw with their own eyes? You would think people would have clamored to hear more about it—eager for every detail of what Jesus Christ and God showed them about the most important event ever to occur in the universe. That had to make for some dynamic messages! People were honored to be able to hear them.
“These men had this vision etched in their memories. And so must we, if we are to be filled with hope. Having given these men this vision, God was able to use Peter and John in special ways—ways that are particularly meaningful for us in this era right before Christ’s arrival.”
That vision filled them with hope, and it also caused them to be able to endure any hardship. “God knew these men would face overwhelming troubles, which meant that, in order to endure them, they needed a gigantic hope! Can you imagine being given a vision of Christ’s Second Coming so you would actually know what it will look like? Wouldn’t that motivate you more? Surely it would strengthen your resolve” (ibid).
James had been martyred about 24 years before this epistle was written, so Peter and John were the only surviving apostles who had experienced that glorious vision.
Notice this statement: “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts” (verse 19). This is “speaking of our becoming the Bride of Jesus Christ and shining as He does! This occurs after ‘the day dawn.’ Christ will return, He will meet His saints in the air—and then the day star will rise in our hearts! Christ in us will rise in our hearts, and in a sudden change we will be sons of God who look like Christ, and we will be the Bride!” (ibid).
Peter wanted them to “take heed”! The Greek word for that English phrase means to bring near—used commonly for bringing a ship to land. It also means to turn the mind to, to attend to, to attach oneself to, hold or cleave—even to be addicted to. Peter wanted you to have your mind on this future—to simply be addicted to thinking about it.
Consider what the other surviving apostle from this experience had to say. In 1 John 3:1-2, he wrote this: “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”
John said to “behold” this—a word we don’t use often these days. But basically he was saying, Look at this! And, when you do, look at what happens! Verse 3: “And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.”
This vision inspires us to clean up our lives! We are living in dramatic times within the final Church age of man’s history—just before the return of Jesus Christ. God has given His Church the throne of David, from which Christ will soon rule. (See our article “Just What Do You Mean … New Throne?” on https://pcg.church.) With that throne, God is requiring a deeper purity from His people. This purity has to do with living by God’s law—a concept we dwell more on during the spring holy day season, where unleavened bread pictures godly righteousness.
The vision of our future motivates this kind of purity and this kind of commitment to God’s law. Our booklet on the epistles of John, The Last Hour, shows how God stresses the vision first, then the law: “The vision must come first.”
With the new throne given to God’s Church, the roles of king and lawgiver have been combined into one office, as Genesis 49:10 shows. In that verse, the Hebrew word for lawgiver can mean to carve, engrave, inscribe, even to paint a picture. God is admonishing us to carve this vision into our minds more deeply—which inspires a greater purity and perfection! If we do this, nothing will stop us. Consider that during this holy day season!
Are Your Glasses Foggy?
Admittedly, there are details about this future that aren’t quite clear. As John said, “it doth not yet appear what we shall be,” but there is enough to look at what God is offering, and for it to impact how we live each day.
Let’s go back to the word Behold in verse 1. It’s from a Greek word eido, which is sometimes translated as “see” or “saw” in the New Testament. This was the word used in the transfiguration vision that we read in Matthew for the three disciples who would “see the … kingdom.” But it is usually translated as know. Actually, the same word is used in 1 John 3:2: “we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him ….” The word implies not just looking at something, but the understanding that comes from seeing.
John used this word in chapter 2 of the same epistle, referring to the time we live in right now—the “last hour” (verse 18; Revised Standard Version). Verse 20 reads about God’s people at this time: “But ye have an unction [anointing] from the Holy One, and ye know all things.”
As we get closer to the end and we see all the rebellion in God’s own Church (“antichrists,” as verses 18-19 discuss), God starts revealing a lot more!
When the Apostle Paul said that we look “through a glass, darkly” (1 Corinthians 13:12), this was in the first century. Perhaps the glass isn’t as foggy for us today!
No Vision—No Restraint
We must see and know what we see. That motivates us to be purer. It impacts how we live and keeps us grounded in God’s law.
The Last Hour reads: “If you see a church or a family bogging down, this is where to look for the source of the problem. But you can’t hammer at the law with people who lack vision. John taught the GOD FAMILY VISION FIRST! Behold! What manner of love! he said. He inspired people with the vision, and then said, If this is what you want, you must keep the law!”
Consider Proverbs 29:18. The original Hebrew of this oft-quoted proverb also shows how the vision keeps us grounded in God’s law. “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.” Yes, perish means to die, but the Hebrew word translated as perish is not the Hebrew word for dying. It actually means to show lack of restraint, or to let loose restraints. Without vision, there is no need to keep things in check. And so, as the King James Version reads, that ultimately leads to people perishing.
It is no happenstance, then, that the second half of this verse talks about the blessings and joy from keeping the law.
This vision should drive our law-keeping, our deleavening, our observance of the spring holy days. If you don’t see what it’s all for, then what is your motivation to live God’s way? If you have trouble with the law, or trouble with this way of life, ask yourself: What do I see?
The Need for Spiritual Eyes
Vision is actually a common theme through Hebrews 11—the faith chapter. Faith is, of course, the “evidence of things not seen,” as verse 1 tells us. But we know that the “things which are seen” were made of things we can’t see (verse 3). The Apostle Paul also said in 1 Corinthians 2:9 that the eye has “not seen”—the Greek eido—what God has prepared for humanity.
The point is, human eyes cannot see the vision we are discussing. Hebrews 11:7 says that Noah changed his entire life for something “not seen as yet.” There was no physical evidence that his ark was a worthwhile building project.
The verses that discuss Abraham, though, show us that all these faithful heroes saw spiritually. Verse 10 says, “… he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.”
Abraham’s vision was remarkable. Our book The Key of David explains: “He looked forward to the city built by God the Father. He was able to look past all of God’s abundant physical promises and focus on the fantastic spiritual promises of new Jerusalem. Abraham was motivated by the vision of God’s Family being complete. Abraham lived for the time when God’s government and throne would spread throughout the universe. What a breathtaking vision! What glory!”
Jesus commented on Abraham’s vision in John 8:56: “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.” There’s the Greek word eido again. Abraham had vision—and it made him rejoice!
Abraham, his wife and sons “all died in faith, not having received the promises,” Hebrews 11:13 says, “but having seen them afar off.” They beheld (Greek eido) what God wanted them to see. And notice the rest of the verse: “… and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.”
Though flesh and blood cannot see the Kingdom of God (John 3:3), these people had spiritual vision to the extent of being persuaded—convinced! And they embraced this vision. Are you persuaded? Convinced? Have you embraced this vision?
“For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned” (Hebrews 11:14-15). God wants us to know our history, yes—to be historically informed in how we act today—but He does not want us to long for the past. Long for the future! He wants us to be forward-thinkers.
These examples in Hebrews 11 were such forward-thinkers that verse 16 says it caused them to “desire”—literally, reach—for a heavenly city. This is referring, of course, to new Jerusalem, which will descend to Earth at the end of God’s 7,000-year plan for humanity (see Revelation 21).
Our Biggest Motivator
Hebrews 11:24-28 describe the spiritual journey and foresight of Moses who, “when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter” (verse 24). He refused his royal title in Egypt—why? Verses 25-26: “Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.”
Moses saw the reward as being exponentially greater than any treasure that Egypt had to offer. Verse 27 explains this further: “By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.” These rewards, and the vision of something invisible, motivated him to suffer and endure—to forsake Egypt without fear.
Having this vision will do the same for us! What is more appealing to you: the “treasures of Egypt” or God’s reward? It depends on the answer to this question: What do you see?
This passage of the Bible continues to talk about spiritual giants who endured a great deal for a “better resurrection” (verse 35). It leads into chapter 12, which shows how Jesus Himself “endured the cross, despising the shame.” And why did He do this? The same verse explains: “for the joy that was set before him”! (verse 2).
When the Apostle Peter was concluding his final epistle, he brought up this subject again. “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. 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 3:10-11). Seeing these things motivates us to seek greater godliness! Verses 13 and 14 say something similar—that when we “look for new heavens and a new earth” it causes us to “be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.”
Also notice that this even impacts how soon we experience these things we are longing for: “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” (verse 12). By looking for it, we can speed up its presence!
Blessed Are Your Eyes!
When explaining to His disciples why He spoke to the multitudes in parables, Christ said that He was trying to obscure the message from the masses—as it wasn’t time for them to see and hear. He then told the disciples: “But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them …” (Matthew 13:16-17).
How much more could that be said of us? As we get closer to this future, this vision should get stronger. We, of all eras of God’s people, should be particularly strong in this—we “know all things.” All things have been restored to the Church (Matthew 17:10-11). This happened in the Philadelphia era of God’s Church—when God gave the Church the “key of David” to understand this remarkable future (Revelation 3:7). The sad thing is, however, that this is when the largest percentage have turned away.
In verse 11, Christ warned the Philadelphians: “Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.” Those who have held fast are involved in a work of raising the ruins of those who have turned away. God gives them the throne of David to flow right into the rule of Jesus Christ. Those who hold fast have the spiritual vision to see their crowns!
A singular moment in Adolf Hitler’s life switched him on to his twisted purpose (which is detailed in Germany and the Holy Roman Empire). That moment for Hitler was when he was in Vienna and saw the ancient crown that belonged to Charlemagne. Hitler immediately claimed ownership of that crown and wanted to bring it to Nuremberg permanently.
If Hitler could get excited—and be motivated in a maniacal way—about a crown that belonged to someone else, how much more should we be switched on to God’s purpose for us? The crown in question is not someone else’s; it’s your personally assigned crown—the double crown of a king-priest!
When we study the vision God is giving us, we are figuratively staring at the God Family crown jewels!
Sure, God hasn’t given any one of us a vision like He gave Peter, James and John. But, unique to our time, He has given us David’s throne—which is packed with the kind of “vision” we’re talking about here. This helps us understand our crowns better, so we can hold on to them more tightly. It helps us understand the key of David better. It helps us understand our future in Jerusalem better—so we can hasten the coming of new Jerusalem, as Peter said.
“Perhaps nothing can make the World Tomorrow more meaningful than David’s throne. What could be more helpful to really get a vision of the future? … This is mind-staggering revelation. We have been given a great gift and a clear vision of what God wants us to do. It is going to make God’s new civilization come alive for us! This is a preview of the World Tomorrow!” (The New Throne of David).—Request a free copy if you don’t already have one.
You Have Seen Well
Several issues ago, True Education went to a great deal of effort to paint a clearer picture of future Jerusalem and the heart of that city as described in the last nine chapters of Ezekiel. Remember what God told Ezekiel about this: “Son of man, behold with thine eyes, and hear with thine ears, and set thine heart upon all that I shall shew thee; for to the intent that I might shew them unto thee art thou brought hither: declare all that thou seest to the house of Israel” (Ezekiel 40:4).
God wants us all to use this as a teaching tool in our work today. But we will also use this actual campus in the World Tomorrow’s capital city as a motivator for what’s coming afterward—the heavenly city it represents: new Jerusalem!
Ezekiel: The End-Time Prophet states: “God uses His temple to get the minds of men focused on Him! If He can fill men’s minds with this vision, nothing will stop them from being a part of it!”
In the World Tomorrow, we will use the vision to motivate those we teach—to make them unstoppable.
Could anything stop you? Ask yourself: What do I see? And let us pray God replies this about us—as He told Jeremiah, in Jeremiah 1:12: “Thou hast well seen: for I will hasten my word to perform it.”