Loyal Elijah-Youth
How do you connect to this decades-long Work? 

You belong to a group that is promised some splendid rewards in the future. But let’s think about how you fit into the history of this organization, which began long before you were born.

Prophecies about God’s end-time Church are astounding and specific: The majority would fall away, but a faithful remnant would hold fast and be magnificently rewarded.

The Worldwide Church of God was God’s Church through the greater part of the 20th century, namely the “Philadelphia” era of Revelation 3. God used Herbert W. Armstrong, the end-time type of Elijah who restored all things (Matthew 17:10-11), to found that organization. After his death, the Church became spiritually lukewarm, or “Laodicean,” and those who wanted to remain Philadelphian had to leave the wcg.

Elsewhere in the Bible, God calls those in this loyal remnant sons of Zadok—named after the only priest still loyal to David’s throne at the end of David’s life. Ezekiel 40-44 show how these end-time “sons of Zadok” remained with God while many others “went astray” (Ezekiel 44:15).

In Amos 9:11, God promised to use these “loyalists” to raise the ruins of the previous era’s glory. Part of that included fighting in court for the ability to freely distribute Mr. Armstrong’s materials to the largest audience possible.

Much of that prophecy is now Church history. The court case ended over 20 years ago, and Armstrong Auditorium (another magnificent symbol of raised ruins) is 13 years old.

Furthermore, we are over 37 years removed from Mr. Armstrong’s death. The Church split began nearly four years after he died and continued for several years as people realized what was happening in God’s Church and joined the Philadelphia Church of God. Our youth today are the children and grandchildren of those who did this.

You might wonder: Could I be considered a son of Zadok if I never came out of a Laodicean Church? The short answer is: Yes. By remaining faithful during this Laodicean era, you prove you’re a son of Zadok. You might even say to yourself: I wasn’t really involved in raising the ruins either; I’m more benefitting from that. True, all those youth in God’s Church now were born after the court case ended and were small children, at the oldest, when the auditorium opened.

A fascinating period in Bible history really helps put all this into perspective for our youth—about a man named Elijah, his successor Elisha, and a whole group of young people. As much as this pertains to Elijah, he is personally involved in very little of it, which puts Elisha and specific young people in the heat of the action!

Three Remarkable Tasks

Notice what happened while the Prophet Elijah was waiting on Mt. Sinai for God to speak—feeling all alone and wanting to die. In 1 Kings 19:12, God replied in a “still small voice” saying, in modern English, What are you doing here, Elijah? (verse 13).

Elijah was on the run from the government in Israel: Ahab was king, and his evil wife Jezebel exerted great influence—particularly in promoting the dreadful Baal religion. Any attempts to restore godly worship were met with lethal resistance. God told Elijah how He would deal with that resistance.

God commissioned Elijah to do three remarkable things: 1) Anoint a new king of Syria (specifically to go north into Damascus and anoint Hazael, when currently a man named Benhadad ruled); 2) Anoint a new king of Israel (a man named Jehu); 3) Anoint a new prophet (Elisha) (verses 15-16).

Verse 17 shows the connection between these events: “And it shall come to pass, that him that escapeth the sword of Hazael shall Jehu slay: and him that escapeth from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha slay.” This was about executing God’s punishment on the house of King Ahab, which becomes clear as you read how this all is fulfilled.

God then adds: “Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him” (verse 18).

Going through this history contains some profound lessons for the youth in God’s Church and helps answer the questions posed earlier. Truth is, as far removed as we are from Herbert W. Armstrong’s death, God’s Work is still considered the “Elijah Work.” This Bible story contains parallels in that regard. And young people in God’s Church are loyal Elijah-youth.

Enter Elisha

Notice what happens next. Upon leaving Sinai, Elijah “… found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he with the twelfth: and Elijah passed by him, and cast his mantle upon him” (1 Kings 19:19).

Elijah went straight to that third commission, throwing his mantle on Elisha—a symbolic gesture meaning Elisha would succeed him. The mantle was “some sort of cloak that distinguished him as a prophet of God,” Gerald Flurry writes in The Former Prophets. “Even some of the leaders of the land seemed to understand this; they had more respect, or at least more awareness, of the prophet of God than they do today.”

Not long after this, Elijah founded schools that factored into the fulfillment of his other two commissions. But the story flow continues, and these tasks remain unfinished for some time. The next chapter in the Bible (1 Kings 20) is about Syria’s King Benhadad defeating Ahab. Neither country has Hazael or Jehu as its king.

Plot Twist

By 1 Kings 21, Ahab is still Israel’s king, but an interesting twist occurs. The monarchy steals the vineyard of a man named Naboth and has the owner killed. This causes Elijah to make his first official recorded appearance since Mt. Sinai—and since anointing Elisha his successor. He proclaims to Ahab: “… Thus saith the Lord, In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick thy blood, even thine” (verse 19).

Elijah continued to offer specifics—how the males in his family would be killed, plus details about Jezebel’s death (verses 20-24). This connects to Elijah’s two other commissions because those two other kings would take part in executing this punishment. But verse 27 shows the twist here. Ahab responded to this prophecy with a contrite, repentant attitude. He even fasted!

How did God respond? “And the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, Seest thou how Ahab humbleth himself before me? because he humbleth himself before me, I will not bring the evil in his days: but in his son’s days will I bring the evil upon his house” (verses 28-29). So the prophecy would not be nullified but delayed. Even the executioners wouldn’t change, only the timing. It would seem God delayed Hazael’s and Jehu’s rise to power because of Ahab’s response here.

In the next chapter (1 Kings 22), there is a three-year cease-fire between Syria and Israel. When that ended, Ahab died in battle against Syria. But even there, Hazael was not yet Syria’s king.

Remember what God said about Ahab’s death? “In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick thy blood ….” Ahab was killed in Ramothgilead (verse 29), far east of Israel’s capital. So the chronicler is sure to tell us how this specific prophecy was fulfilled—that Ahab died in his chariot, and that’s where his blood was contained (verse 35). Verse 37 says he was “brought to Samaria,” and verse 38: “And one washed the chariot in the pool of Samaria; and the dogs licked up his blood; and they washed his armour; according unto the word of the Lord which he spake” (verses 37-38).

Next on Israel’s throne was Ahab’s son Ahaziah (verse 40)—not Jehu. But now that we are in the time of Ahab’s son, God’s promised punishment on this dynasty, as well as the two commissions of Elijah, can be fulfilled. Ahaziah, however, reigned for two years (verse 51) before he died of complications from an injury (2 Kings 1:2-6).

Since he died having no son to carry on the dynasty, the throne went to his brother Jehoram (verse 17). Not Jehu, but another son of Ahab is on the throne. This king reigned 12 years (2 Kings 3:1). Then comes another interesting plot twist.

Exit Elijah

“And it came to pass, when the Lord would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal” (2 Kings 2:1). Elijah did not die at this time (he shows up later writing a letter to a Jewish king), but God removed him from his responsibilities pertaining to these schools. God took him from everyone’s presence by a dramatic miracle.

Elijah wanted his successor to stay at the Gilgal campus, but Elisha refused. They went to the Bethel campus next (verse 2). There, the students asked Elisha: “… Knowest thou that the Lord will take away thy master from thy head to day? And he said, Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace” (verse 3).

Again Elijah tried to get Elisha to stay back while he visited their third campus at Jericho, but Elisha wouldn’t leave Elijah’s side (verse 4). The students at Jericho asked Elisha a similar question to what the Bethel students had asked. They all knew Elijah was about to go into a “retirement” of sorts, and Elisha reacted as though he didn’t want to think about it.

At this time, neither Jehu nor Hazael were kings. It’s likely that these students knew these two remaining unfinished Elijah-commissions. What happens next is a remarkable instance of miracles that contain the fundamental lesson of how God would fulfill His prophecies in this time period.

Jericho was near the famous Jordan River. Elijah approached this river, took his mantle, and smote the waters. They miraculously divided so he and Elisha could easily get to the other side (verse 8). It was over here, presumably out of eyesight of the students, that God would take Elijah away.

Before this happened, Elisha asked Elijah for a double portion of the Spirit he had (verse 9). Elijah said this would be granted if God allowed Elisha to witness his dramatic exit (verse 10).

This is precisely what happened: “And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces” (verses 11-12).

Additionally, verse 13 shows that Elijah’s mantle also fell down as he was whisked away. Elisha picked it up and walked to the Jordan River. The original Hebrew of verse 14 indicates that Elisha tried smiting the waters with the mantle, and nothing happened. But then he asked, “Where is the Lord God of Elijah? and when he also had smitten the waters, they parted … and Elisha went over.”

Just smiting the waters with this symbolic robe didn’t make the waters magically part. It was realizing its connection to God who had empowered the office Elisha now filled. “All Elijah’s students were probably wondering who would take over the work,” Mr. Flurry wrote. “And this was the clearest, most impressive sign they could have seen” (Who Is That Prophet?)

Students at Jericho said: “The spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha” (verse 15). They saw Elisha come back with Elijah’s mantle and miraculously cross the Jordan. It was not the “Elisha work” but the Elijah work: It was Elijah’s mantle, and there were still two Elijah-commissions to be completed!

Hazael Eyes the Throne

As the record of Israel’s monarchy continues in chapter 3, we learn about the 12 years that Ahab’s son Jehoram reigned. The next several chapters focus mainly on the activities of Elisha until we finally get to the Elijah-commission related to a new king in Syria. “And Elisha came to Damascus; and Benhadad the king of Syria was sick; and it was told him, saying, The man of God is come hither” (2 Kings 8:7).

This king wanted to ask Elisha if he would die from this illness. So he sent a messenger: Hazael (verse 9). The King James translation of Elisha’s reply is a little hard to understand, but essentially he responded that the illness would technically not kill Benhadad, but he told Hazael that the king would die and that Hazael would rule Syria (verses 11-13). To achieve this destiny, Hazael assassinated the sick Benhadad and took over the throne (verses 14-15).

Elijah securing his replacement before the other two commissions were fulfilled shows the principle of delegation. Elisha, with Elijah’s mantle, could fulfill the other two commissions if Elijah was unable to personally. God removed Elijah knowing Elisha would continue with the “mantle” to finish the last two commissions.

Jehu and Elisha’s Student

This major shift in regional politics allowed for the fulfillment of the one commission left. Remember Hazael would take part in executing judgment on the house of Ahab. He went to war with Ahab’s son Jehoram (sometimes spelled Joram in the kjv) and wounded him (verse 28).

(When studying this passage on your own, don’t be confused by the fact that neighboring Judah also had a King Jehoram; these two kings were related through marriage. This Jewish Jehoram’s son is about to be a factor as well.)

Israel’s King Jehoram went then to Jezreel to treat his battle wounds. There, the son of Judah’s King Jehoram, a man named Ahaziah, came to visit him (verse 29). In fact, Ahaziah was the nephew of Israel’s Jehoram, so he would be included in the destruction coming on the house of Ahab.

The next verse, which begins the next chapter, shows how Jehu came to power as Israel’s king. This is another phenomenal series of events.

In verse 1, we see Elisha delegated the anointing of Jehu to one of his students. He was to go to Ramothgilead where Israel had a military outpost led by Captain Jehu. Jehu, as verse 2 shows us, was properly the grandson of Nimshi. In verse 3, Elisha instructed the student to pour oil on Jehu, deliver a message from God, then get out quickly. Verse 4 shows that this student was a young man.

Verses 5-6 show how the two went inside the house, and the student poured oil on the captain’s head. The student said: “Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, I have anointed thee king over the people of the Lord, even over Israel.”

What the student said did not end there! “And thou shalt smite the house of Ahab thy master, that I may avenge the blood of my servants the prophets, and the blood of all the servants of the Lord, at the hand of Jezebel. For the whole house of Ahab shall perish: and I will cut off from Ahab him that pisseth against the wall, and him that is shut up and left in Israel: And I will make the house of Ahab like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah: And the dogs shall eat Jezebel in the portion of Jezreel, and there shall be none to bury her. And he opened the door, and fled” (verses 7-10).

Remember, the anointing of Jehu as king was commissioned to Elijah back on Mt. Sinai. The intent of that was to execute God’s punishment on Ahab’s house. Later, a specific prophecy about what would happen to Ahab’s line was given after Ahab committed the injustice against Naboth. Though Ahab’s response delayed the punishment so it wasn’t on Ahab personally (except the prophecy for how dogs would lick Ahab’s blood in Samaria), this student repeated the specific things to befall Ahab’s family. These were the things uttered by Elijah to Ahab back in 1 Kings 21:21-24.

So the student anointed Jehu with the oil Elisha provided him. He said God was anointing him king. Then he uttered this prophecy, opened the door, and ran out.

The New Living Translation renders the dialog of the next two verses in more understandable English.

“Jehu went back to his fellow officers, and one of them asked him, ‘What did that madman want? Is everything all right?’

“‘You know how a man like that babbles on,’ Jehu replied.

“‘You’re hiding something,’ they said. ‘Tell us.’

“So Jehu told them, “He said to me, ‘This is what the Lord says: I have anointed you to be king over Israel’”” (verses 11-12).

We see how these military men viewed students from Elisha’s college: It was like a crazy cult to them. But all of a sudden, what the kooky kid said seemed worth paying attention to! “Then they hasted, and took every man his garment, and put it under him on the top of the stairs, and blew with trumpets, saying, Jehu is king” (verse 13). All the men at this military outpost enthusiastically threw their support behind Jehu. They even held some sort of brief ceremony to honor this event.

Jehu’s Judgment

“So Jehu … conspired against Joram [Israel’s King Jehoram]. (Now Joram had kept Ramothgilead, he and all Israel, because of Hazael king of Syria. But king Joram was returned to be healed in Jezreel of the wounds which the Syrians had given him, when he fought with Hazael king of Syria.) And Jehu said, If it be your minds, then let none go forth nor escape out of the city to go to tell it in Jezreel” (1 Kings 9: 14-15).

These verses remind us where Israel’s King Jehoram was—wounded and trying to recover in Jezreel. Jehu had gone there to remove the reigning monarch by dealing a death blow. The rest of chapter 9 shows how Jehu fulfilled all that God had prophesied about him. Verse 26 shows that this would also serve as retribution for what happened to Naboth (of which Jehu seems to have had living memory).

This was about 14 years after Ahab’s death. The prophecy God gave Elijah on Sinai probably preceded Ahab’s death by over three or four years. So this prophecy took around 18 years to be fulfilled. Isn’t it fascinating that the anointing of Jehu—as well as the prophesying of what his reign would accomplish against the house of Ahab—was not done personally by Elijah, or even by Elisha, but by a student of Elisha’s?

Think about those three commissions God gave Elijah on Sinai. Two of those, he did not do personally. Elisha even delegated one of them to a student!

Interconnected with those three “Elijah commissions” was God’s declaration that 7,000 Israelites weren’t steeped in paganism. In The Former Prophets, Mr. Flurry comments: “Elijah didn’t deal with those 7,000; Elisha did! He received the mantle. He received the government. He received the one-man rule.”

The Elijah Work Continues

Think what that means for God’s Work today­—an extension of the Elijah Work God started under Mr. Armstrong.

Yes, you were born many years after he died. You never met him personally. I’m a middle-aged man who has only a vague memory of seeing him speak live once—at the 1982 Feast of Tabernacles in Lake of the Ozarks, Mo. I was 6.

You were also born many years after the Church split: You never attended the wcg and came into the pcg. Even I was only a teen when my family left the wcg four months after the first distribution of Malachi’s Message, so it wasn’t even my decision to leave (though I was old enough to read, understand and agree with what was happening). The first person who read Malachi’s Message on July 16, 1989—a teenager at the time—is now in his 50s.

Enough time has passed that some of the pcg’s youth (whose lives never overlapped with Mr. Armstrong’s, nor were they ever in the wcg) have grown up and become baptized members of God’s Church. They are still termed “sons of Zadok,” because of their loyalty to God’s truth and God’s throne in the Laodicean era. Sure, they never came out of the wcg, but they show their loyalty to where God is—because they know where God and the mantle of Elijah are!

As far removed as we are from the death of Mr. Armstrong in 1986, God’s Work is still the Elijah work. “God is repeatedly reminding the pcg that we are still doing the Elijah work today,” Mr. Flurry wrote in The Former Prophets. “There was not one work under Mr. Armstrong and then a separate work today. The two are tied together into a single work. This is not the ‘Elisha work.’ It is the Elijah work in the Laodicean era of God’s Church.”

When God was talking to Elijah about those 7,000—the group Elisha would be working with—how old was the kid who actually ended up anointing Jehu king? He might have been a little child, and it’s likely he never even met Elijah personally. Yet he helped fulfill one of those three Elijah-commissions!

The book of Malachi shows how the “Elijah” Work is still being done today, even with Elijah physically gone. Malachi 4:5 states: “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.” A type of Elijah comes in the end time, just before the prophesied Day of the Lord—an event which obviously hasn’t happened yet. This prophecy comes at the end of a book where God is correcting His Church for falling away after this Elijah-type physically had left the scene and stopped doing the Work. So God is sending “Elijah” through the Work of this Church.

Mr. Flurry writes in The God Family Vision: “It originally seemed that the Day of the Lord would come immediately after Elijah came. Some say that Mr. Armstrong’s death proves he was not the Elijah. But look at it spiritually: Elijah is still here! Because the group that held fast is bringing Elijah’s message back! That work will continue right into the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord.”

Even if you have trouble understanding these spiritual concepts, God has endowed the pcg with some physical elements to reinforce this. The “mantle” given to Mr. Flurry—that office—is a spiritual concept. But we also own the copyrights to the major writings of Mr. Armstrong. We have certain physical elements that were significant to Mr. Armstrong’s administration. Our auditorium contains items that graced the Ambassador Auditorium in Pasadena, California: the two candelabra in the lobby and one of the Steinway concert-grand pianos. The lettering on the central onyx lobby wall are the gold letters displayed in Ambassador’s lobby. The Swans in Flight in front of Armstrong Auditorium came from the Big Sandy campus of Ambassador College. We have the conference table and chairs from the Bricket Wood campus in England. We also possess the rock where Mr. Armstrong prayed early in his ministry while stationed in Oregon. God has opened doors for us to continue some of the same humanitarian and archaeological efforts as were conducted under Mr. Armstrong.

You can see those things with your own eyes—just as those 50 students in Jericho saw Elisha use Elijah’s mantle to part the Jordan. Keep in mind that it was when he asked “Where is the God of Elijah?” that the waters parted. People could say he was worshiping Elijah, or worshiping a coat, but that is clearly false.

Malachi 4:6 says this about the Elijah Work: “And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.” That familial aspect of the commission is still happening today! And it is still an effort of the Elijah Work.

Absent But Still Present

Consider one more passage that drives home the point about the Elijah work continuing even in Elijah’s absence. This scripture uses a different biblical figure, but it’s the same principle.

Haggai 2:23 reads: “In that day, saith the Lord of hosts, will I take thee, O Zerubbabel, my servant, the son of Shealtiel, saith the Lord, and will make thee as a signet: for I have chosen thee, saith the Lord of hosts.”

This Zerubbabel figure would be made a signet. If you had a signet ring (with which a ruler would stamp documents), you had the authority of the person who owned the ring. That was useful if the ruler physically couldn’t be where his authority needed to extend.

Zerubbabel is another type of Mr. Armstrong. And we have that “signet” ring. That indicates the same authority bestowed on the person who has the “signet”—as in we are a continuation of the “Zerubbabel work.”

Whether it’s the symbol of a mantle or a signet, we show our loyalty to God by supporting this Work in the final era of His Church. He is the God behind the Work of end-time types of Elijah and Zerubbabel. God is the one behind those who follow Zerubbabel in his absence—the same God behind Elijah, Elisha and the students who come on the scene years later.

Because we are still doing the “Elijah Work,” you are “sons of Zadok” if you are loyal to this Work. If you are loyal to God’s true Church right now—whether you were born after the Church split, or even called out of the world straight into the pcg—your loyalty to God during this Laodicean era qualifies you as a “son of Zadok.” We also have David’s throne in God’s Church now, so your loyalty to His Church is showing that Zadok-like loyalty to that throne.

What matters is: Where is the God of Elijah? If you are with that God, you are an Elijah loyalist—whether Elijah is here, or retired to some undisclosed location, or dead and buried.

Knock, Knock

Christ says: “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne” (Revelation 3:20-21).

Malachi’s Message comments on this passage: “Salvation is not a group affair. Each one of us has the individual responsibility to respond—or not respond! Following Christ is an individual matter. Being in a church can be meaningless without this understanding. Christ is knocking on your spiritual door. How will you respond to Christ? The one who responds positively receives the awesome reward of verse 21! That means he or she remains a Philadelphian—by leaving the Laodicean Church.”

Overcoming in the Laodicean era is not just “leaving” a Laodicean Church, or God wouldn’t continue to call people straight out of the world, or allow two or three more generations of potential Church members to be born. Neither is it just leaving a Laodicean Church, because plenty left the wcg and then soon left the pcg.

Overcoming in the Laodicean era is about remaining a Philadelphian and letting Christ into our lives—regardless of how many have turned away or continue turning away. No matter where we are on that timeline, the overcoming we are doing is still occurring in this Laodicean era. And the question always remains: “How will you respond to Christ?”

This is truth. We either choose truth, or we choose lies.

Stay loyal to the truth, and what honor awaits! What an honor to be part of the Elijah Work! Stay loyal to the God of Elijah (whatever your age!) and support this incredibly miraculous work He has given us.