The book of Psalms is a powerful book. Most of the psalms were written by David, and those he did not write were composed in the same spirit and complemented what David said.
I believe the Prophet Jeremiah authored Psalms 89 and 119. The Worldwide Church of God taught this for many years under Herbert W. Armstrong, and I agree. These psalms are also written in poetry, which Jeremiah was skilled at doing (perhaps with Baruch’s help), especially considering the poetic book of Lamentations.
God commissioned Jeremiah to save David’s throne from Israel and reestablish it in Ireland, so Jeremiah had a passion to understand David and how and why he was a man after God’s own heart. He wrote in the spirit of David as a means of becoming more of a man after God’s heart. One lesson these psalms teach is that we must be people after God’s own heart.
The author of Psalm 89 learned a lesson from psalms like Psalm 22, which David wrote. The author of Psalm 119 patterned it after Psalm 19, which David wrote. If Jeremiah wrote these chapters, then the connection of his thinking to building David’s throne is clearer.
The message from God in these psalms is especially for the Philadelphia Church of God. God’s Church now has David’s throne. God has made us responsible for building up that throne, a great responsibility—greater than we tend to realize! God is educating us so we know how to build it up.
God Builds Up the Throne
The theme of Psalm 89 is God’s covenant with David.
“I will sing of the mercies of the Lord for ever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness …. [T]hy faithfulness shalt thou establish in the very heavens” (Psalm 89:1-2). Jeremiah says, I will make known your faithfulness. God is faithful, and He wants His sons to be faithful as well.
Jeremiah was speaking of what he would do, and now God is speaking: “I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant, Thy seed will I establish for ever, and build up thy throne to all generations” (verses 3-4). God promised to build up David’s throne to all generations!
God keeps His promises, which means He has been building up that throne in our lifetimes, in these last two eras of the Church! Herbert W. Armstrong restored all things (Matthew 17:10-11) and laid the foundation for our understanding of this truth. And this last era is especially unique because we have David’s throne—the throne of God! (This is fully explained in my book The New Throne of David. Request a free copy.) God is going to build up that throne in this last era because it is now within His Church. He has fulfilled that promise and is building up that throne within the pcg today.
What is our part in this? We have specific responsibilities that Mr. Armstrong did not have. God’s ministers and Church members must build up His throne! God is concerned about how we execute this royal duty. He is focusing us on the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, who will rule from this very throne!
Genesis 49 is a prophecy of what would happen “in the last days” (verse 1). In verse 10 God states, “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.” The scepter and the lawgiver would descend from Judah, David’s tribe—even “in the last days,” right up “until Shiloh come,” until Jesus Christ returns! And this is a specific prophecy that those two roles—the scepter (civil government) and the lawgiver—would be combined into a single office. In the past, the scepter and the law were separate—one individual holding the scepter on David’s throne in a civil government and another teaching God’s law in His true Church. But now they are combined in the Philadelphia Church of God.
You cannot combine these responsibilities and build up the throne of David without putting in some work. We must have a level of understanding to be able to tie these two entities together. Now everything is ruled by the royal law of God until Shiloh comes. That law rules the very throne of David! It is stunning to think on what God has given us and the kind of example He expects us to be.
A Strange Turn
Psalm 89 then describes one of the most dramatic and shocking events in the Bible, and it involves God’s covenant with David. This further indicates that the author is Jeremiah.
“Thy seed will I establish for ever, and build up thy throne to all generations. … With whom my hand shall be established: mine arm also shall strengthen him. … My mercy will I keep for him for evermore, and my covenant shall stand fast with him. His seed also will I make to endure for ever, and his throne as the days of heaven. … My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips. Once have I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David. His seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before me. It shall be established for ever as the moon, and as a faithful witness in heaven” (Psalm 89:4, 21, 28-29, 34-37). God stated strongly that He would not alter His promise to David regarding that throne! He says that promise is as enduring as the sun and the moon.
The sun and moon give light, and so does this godly promise!The world lies in darkness; it doesn’t see this light. Nevertheless the truth about this throne is real—it is a bright lamp God gives His Church! God’s people must shine that light both to the world and to the 95 percent of God’s people who have grown lukewarm and turned away from God. Their failure shows how difficult this job is.
God expects a lot from His people. He certainly required a lot of Jeremiah. This prophet was persecuted, thrust into a dungeon neck-deep in mud, and left for dead. Surely his nerves were stretched to the breaking point!
Jeremiah saw Judah and Jerusalem attacked and destroyed. He learned how the sons of King Zedekiah and the nobles were executed by the Babylonians. This rattled him! He believed God’s promise to David; he thought one of those sons would rule on that throne. When they were all killed, that was a deadly turn of events! The Babylonians destroyed that royal line—it seemed.
Now, in Psalm 89, comes one of the strangest turns anywhere in the Bible. After those many powerful statements about God’s promise to David, this follows: “But thou hast cast off and abhorred, thou hast been wroth with thine anointed. Thou hast made void the covenant of thy servant [David]: thou hast profaned his crown by casting it to the ground. Thou hast broken down all his hedges; thou hast brought his strong holds to ruin. All that pass by the way spoil him: he is a reproach to his neighbours. Thou hast set up the right hand of his adversaries; thou hast made all his enemies to rejoice. Thou hast also turned the edge of his sword, and hast not made him to stand in the battle. Thou hast made his glory to cease, and cast his throne down to the ground. The days of his youth hast thou shortened: thou hast covered him with shame. … Lord, where are thy former lovingkindnesses, which thou swarest unto David in thy truth?” (verses 38-45, 49).
These are strong words! I do believe they are Jeremiah’s. Maybe Jeremiah is one of the few who would talk to God this way because he had such a close relationship with Him. Yes, this psalm concludes, “Blessed be the Lord for evermore. Amen, and Amen” (verse 52). But does that mean everything was OK?
The attack on David’s royal line deeply dismayed Jeremiah. Clearly he thought God had broken His promise!
Totally Trust God!
Please never forget this: God will never, ever fail to do exactly what He has said in your Bible! You can know His will and have complete confidence in it. God will never fail.
Trusting God is what it takes to build up David’s throne. At this time, Jeremiah did not have total trust in God’s promise to David! He did not totally trust God!
In Psalm 89:34, God promised, “My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips.” Do we believe that 100 percent? Would we stake our lives on it?
God saw a flaw in Jeremiah that needed to be corrected so He could use him to save David’s throne. And at this moment, under those sore trials, that flaw was exposed.
God is saying to Jeremiah and to all of us who have God’s throne in this Church now, You must totally trust me—or you cannot fulfill this commission!
It sounds easy to totally trust God and “live … by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). But it is tough to actually do it—not 99 percent, but 100 percent! This is what God expects from people who are working with David’s throne!
You know Jeremiah had faith—but at this point, he did not totally trust God. He had to grow to where he absolutely knew God would fulfill His word, regardless of appearances to the contrary.
Trusting God 99 percent or less is really a deadly spiritual disease! God’s people must remove this disease. God’s message is, Don’t challenge me. Don’t accuse me of losing my lovingkindness! Just know 100 percent that if I say it, it will be done!
Only those who totally trust God are “sons of Zadok,” named after the priest who remained loyal to David’s throne to the end. That means totally trusting every single word of God, including the scepter promise and the covenant with David.
Jeremiah went on to do a great work for God. God used him to save that throne, which he thought had been destroyed, through King Zedekiah’s daughter. Sometimes it takes a hard trial to have total trust in God. I believe that after Jeremiah made this mistake of not trusting God 100 percent, as reflected in Psalm 89, he studied Psalm 22.
“My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Psalm 22:1). David wrote this psalm, but it couldn’t apply to David. It is actually about the crucifixion of Jesus Christ! (Matthew 27:46). I believe Jeremiah and perhaps David may have learned this lesson of total trust in God from this very psalm.
Psalm 22:1 shows that Jesus Christ was severely shaken by the trial He experienced. Paying for the sins of mankind required unfathomable physical suffering. Yet that wasn’t what shook Him so much. His greatest trial was when He became sin (2 Corinthians 5:21) and was momentarily cut off from His Father. That had never happened before throughout eternity!
Yet look how this psalm continues: “O my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent. But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel” (Psalm 22:2-3). Even amid the most scorching of fiery trials, Christ proclaimed God’s holiness.
While experiencing that greatest trial of His life, Christ “trusted on the Lord that he would deliver him” (verse 8). This literally means “He rolled Himself and His case on the Lord.” Barnes’ Notes explains, “The idea is that of being under the pressure of a heavy burden, and of rolling it off, or casting it on another. Hence, the word is often used in the sense of committing to another; entrusting anything to another; confiding in another.” Christ had total trust in God! He trusted His Father’s every word! He was absolutely confident in His Father and put His case completely in His hands. In the face of crushing adversity, He never lost faith. He knew this was the only way salvation could be opened to billions of people!
Christ maintained total trust in His Father even when the Father forsook Him! When He became sin, still He said, My Father knows what He is doing. It is in His hands. I know what He said, and I’m going to totally trust Him. He had to maintain that mindset to avoid sinning.
David had to study this and think deeply on this to be able to fulfill that himself. He saw this extraordinary quality of God and wanted to share that understanding—so he wrote a very moving psalm on it. And I believe Jeremiah recognized his own inadequacy and wanted to learn more from David. I think he studied Psalm 22 or other psalms where David learned the lesson of total trust in God. For example, in Psalm 55:22-23 David wrote, “Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved. But thou, O God, shalt bring them down into the pit of destruction: bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their days; but I will trust in thee.”
How well have you learned this lesson? Like Jeremiah, we all fall short at times. But we must not be content with that. Also like Jeremiah, we must grow in faith.
The Rod of God
God’s commission to Jeremiah is found in Jeremiah 1:10. The Ferrar Fenton translation reads, “See! I have appointed you today over nations, and kingdoms; to pull up, and to break down, and to destroy, and to erase, as well as to build, and to plant.”
As I explain in The New Throne of David, “pull up,” “break down” and “destroy” refer to the three overturns of David’s throne prophesied in Ezekiel 21:27—after which it was “erased”—ruined, utterly destroyed. After that, it needed to be built and planted. That means there must be a new throne. The question is, where is it? God says there is a new throne, and we have to know where it is! And a major way we are going to build up David’s throne is by totally trusting God on that.
“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. Then said the Lord unto me, Thou hast well seen: for I will hasten my word to perform it” (Jeremiah 1:11-12). When this happens, God is going to dramatically hasten events.
Numbers 16 and 17 record a disagreement over who should be in charge in Israel. Without clear government, authority and leadership, you have murmuring and problems; that is human nature. So God instructed Moses to have the leaders of each tribe submit a rod, and then said, “And it shall come to pass, that the man’s rod, whom I shall choose, shall blossom: and I will make to cease from me the murmurings of the children of Israel, whereby they murmur against you” (Numbers 17:5).
What do you do if there is murmuring against God’s leader? Somehow you have to convince them they are wrong, or they are going to be put in the outer court. Here, God performed a wonderful miracle: “and, behold, the rod of Aaron for the house of Levi was budded, and brought forth buds, and bloomed blossoms, and yielded almonds” (verse 8). This was so spectacular, even the carnal Israelites could not deny God’s presence!
The principle is, compare the rods and see where God is working. None of them will miraculously bud and produce fruit except for the one God is using.
Revelation 10:11 contains our commission to “prophesy again.” Revelation 11:1 says God’s leader is given “a reed like unto a rod,” a symbol of authority to do the Work. In the end time, God’s people were divided and confused, and 95 percent of them turned away from God, and they are murmuring, and they are in the outer court, and they don’t understand what God is doing—a tremendous failure! They need to prove who has the rod that is blossoming, budding and bearing fruit!
That is exactly what God is talking about with Jeremiah’s commission and the “rod of an almond tree.” Rather than a lemon tree or some other type of tree, he even uses almonds, just as He used with Moses and Aaron. Jeremiah saw a bare branch, then came the new throne, and everything changed! This new throne buds and blossoms and bears fruit. There is a miracle here you can see. You can understand where God’s government is. We do look at things spiritually today, yet we have to see the spiritual buds, blossoms and fruits. It is your responsibility to prove that, and God provides that proof with many biblical passages so you can prove where His government is. The blossoms, buds and fruits are there for us to see!
In Moses’s day, God warned that those who didn’t stop murmuring and rebelling would die (Numbers 17:10). That is what God says to us spiritually. At some point you must stop the murmuring and rebelling, or you’re going to die! That is the opposite of the total trust God is building in His people. This is about eternal life and eternal death. Amos 8:14 speaks of people who “shall fall, and never rise up again.” Fifty percent of God’s people who turn away from Him are going to die forever!
Some of God’s people will soon present that throne to Jesus Christ at His Second Coming! How can someone do that if he doesn’t really understand these things? We must believe what God is doing! We are sons of Zadok, and we are going to share the throne with Jesus Christ. So God expects the very highest standard. To fulfill that role, we must have demonstrated total trust in God!
We can put Psalm 89 in this context, and it makes it much more meaningful.
‘I Will Never Leave You’
Shortly after Jeremiah learned this lesson, God sent him with Zedekiah’s daughter to preserve David’s throne, and he was one happy prophet! He traveled to Ireland where he established a college and began teaching history, including the history about David’s throne. God said He would build up David’s throne to all generations, and I think He did that mostly through Jeremiah.
What a tremendous lesson! No matter how hard the trial gets or how fierce it is, just look in the Bible. See what God says. And when the temptation to question or challenge God arises, refrain! Don’t even go there! That is total trust in God.
God’s ministers have the responsibility to teach God’s Word—not what they would like it to say or what they think it should say, but exactly what God tells them to say! That is total trust!
God says in Hebrews 13:5, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” The original Greek words convey a fivefold emphasis on “never”: I will never, never, never, never, never forsake you! Do you think God is way off someplace far, far away when trial comes? No matter how bad circumstances may look, or how dreadful the trial, God says, I will never, never, never, never, never forsake you! And God cannot lie (Titus 1:2).
When I heard a voice announcing the new throne of David, it was absolutely like no experience I have ever had. But hearing it made me realize all the more that God is right here! He is not in some far-off place. The angels, too, are all around wherever God’s people are. That experience helped me see this even more deeply.
God wants to build in us total trust! If you are a loving father, you will not forsake your child. Yet God and His love exceed that commitment by many miles! God is perfect! Jesus Christ is perfect! Even amid the agony of torture and crucifixion, He totally trusted God.
I am a descendant of David, and God has given me the title of a king. I probably want to use this office even less than I should because I don’t feel worthy to be anything for God. Nevertheless, it means a certain responsibility for me and for all of us. We have a duty to raise and build up David’s throne.
Many prophecies warn that God’s Church will receive real pressure in the future. Enemies will castigate our people in unmerciful ways. They will probably say people who hear a voice belong in insane asylums, and it is crazy to follow someone to a place of safety who says he is a king. They will compare us to cults like Jim Jones, which committed mass suicide. That will be hard to take! It will take strong courage to resist that. And that will only come from knowing and totally trusting this revelation.
God doesn’t want one speck of distrust! We are human, and we all sin. We are not perfect like Christ and the Father. But we are striving to be like them as much as we possibly can. We are striving to totally trust our Father! That is the primary lesson we need to learn from Psalm 89.
If Jeremiah can have a breakdown of his faith, so can all of us. He had a breakdown, but I think he quickly recognized it. And remember, he was one of the great men of the Bible.
If we are to do great things for God, we have to believe God! We have to trust God totally! If we do that, then no matter the opposition and obstacles, we will do a great work for Him!