Update 121


The Armor of God

On Saturday, December 13, 2003, Rene Messier will be presenting the sermon, “The Armor of God.”

The services can be heard at www.cognetservices.org at the appropriate time, just click on “Connect to Live Stream.”

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Review and Future of UK Activities

by Brian Gale (United Kingdom)

As we approach the end of 2003, I feel that it is appropriate to review the last twelve months in the light of our UK activities. It has, in many ways, been a positive and fruitful year although, by comparison with activities when Mr. Herbert Armstrong was alive, our efforts and success are small indeed. But that is the way of the Church of God, organizationally, at this time.

In conjunction with our associates in the USA and Canada, 4 new booklets have been produced, two of which were printed in the UK. Another new booklet will be printed in the UK very soon. A number of further booklets are currently being considered for publication during 2004. We have advertised a number of booklets in different publications and have received many thousands of replies. Interestingly, the return to this office of booklets sent out has been very small and many requests for other booklets have been received. We also have a growing list of those, not church members, who have asked to be on our mailing list to automatically receive new booklets. This is hardly surprising as the quality of booklets produced is of a very high standard indeed and we really appreciate all the hard work in comprehensively covering each subject in minute, but very interesting detail.

Our web-site, www.globalchurchofgod.co.uk has been continually updated and improved and we are grateful to Mr. Paul Harris for his excellent work in this area. The site now has French and German sections which give it an international flavor and there are many sections that can be accessed including audio sermons, editorials, weekly questions and answers, prayer requests, booklets, member letters, the Feast sites and many other items.

The Feast of Tabernacles this year was held in the historic Pump Rooms in Royal Leamington Spa and the elegant Regency style complete with beautiful chandeliers provided a superb setting for Feastgoers from Bermuda, Canada, Portugal, the USA as well as the UK and the Republic of Ireland. The consensus of opinion was that the spiritual food was of a very high order indeed.

After much consideration, prayer and fasting, the decision has been made to take up the option we had for the Feast at Chatsworth House for 2004. Feast packs will be sent out in the near future and we look forward to returning to what is perhaps the most millennial site possible in the UK.

During the course of this year, the development of speakers has been pursued and this has paid handsome dividends with new speakers being encouraged and some men visiting different church areas to speak. This has not only encouraged the local groups but has assisted in developing the skills of those involved.

We now have circulation lists for people to receive audio sermon tapes (tapes from both the USA and those recorded in the UK), new booklets, weekly updates and member letters. If any recipient of this update does not receive any of these items and would like to do so, please let us know and we will be happy to include you on our circulation list(s).

We are pleased to be able to work closely with the Church of the Eternal God in the USA and the Church of God, a Christian Fellowship in Canada, who have been extremely supportive, encouraging, cooperative and helpful in our efforts and activities this year. Mr. Norbert Link from San Diego, California, will be visiting his parents in Germany in late January 2004 and will stop off in the UK and visit Derby on January 31st where he will give the sermon. All who want to meet up with Mr. Link and attend services that day will be made most welcome.

The year 2004 promises to be another interesting, and probably traumatic one with world events racing ever faster to the conclusion of man’s rule on this earth. We are, unquestionably, experiencing times more than ever before when society calls evil good and good evil (Isaiah 5:20).

Those with true Christian values are becoming more and more isolated in a society which has engaged in behavior and attitudes that strip away any pretence to its Judeo-Christian heritage as it engages in an “anything goes” society. One senior UK politician close to the Prime Minister rather famously, but shockingly and disparagingly remarked earlier this year: “We don’t do God.” This he said in spite of the Prime Minister’s public utterances that he is a Christian. Robert Knight, director of Concerned Women for America’s Culture and Family Institute, was quoted by Christianity Today, as follows: “Christians are sure to be targets of persecution for their beliefs if ‘gay’ marriage is given legal backing.” The article concluded, “In any case, this decision is huge news, both in itself and in its implications.” How much more will we, who keep the law of God and His weekly and annual Sabbaths, be a target for persecution in the months and years to come?

Much has been written about the appalling evils in society today and the evidence surrounding us in the UK. Films, videos, music, radio, television and newspapers in this area of the world are all party to a society that has surely just about cast off all restraint with much of the public baying for more. In our society’s ever accelerating downward spiral, the norms of yesteryear are now considered old fashioned as boundaries are pushed further and further back. We are instructed in Luke 21:36 to “Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.” This means that we have to watch world events which will help us to primarily, and most importantly, watch over our spiritual condition, as verses 34 and 35 emphasize. We have to be watchful ensuring that the cares of the world don’t affect us in any adverse way and that its ways don’t rub off on us. With the tests and trials that we experience, this may often be easier said than done but it is an essential element of our Christian calling.

Whatever happens during 2004, let us all resolve to continue to “grow in grace and knowledge” as we move forward in our Christian walk towards the Kingdom of God.

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Zimbabwe Resigns From Commonwealth


As Associated Press reported on December 9, 2003, “The Pentagon has formally barred companies from countries opposed to the Iraq war from bidding on $18.6 billion worth of reconstruction contracts… The ruling bars companies from U.S. allies such as France, Germany and Canada from bidding on the contracts because their governments opposed the American-led war that ousted Saddam Hussein’s regime.”

Reuters added the following in their report of December 9, 2003:

“The move is likely to anger France and Germany and other traditional allies in NATO and the U.N. Security Council who are being blocked out of prime contracts after their opposition to the war.” Procurement specialist Prof. Steven Schooner from George Washington University was quoted as saying, “This kind of decision just begs for RETALIATION and a TIT-FOR-TAT RESPONSE from countries (such as Germany, France and Russia).” The article also explained that there are “more than 60 countries eligible for contracts funded by the $18.6 billion appropriated by Congress to rebuild Iraq. The list included Britain, Australia, Poland, Japan, Italy, Norway, Spain, Turkey, Jordan, Egypt, South Korea, the Philippines, Romania and Saudi-Arabia.”

As could be expected, the European press of barred countries reacted furiously. Der Spiegel Online reported: “Governmental officials condemned the decision and announced resistance.” The German government spoke of an unacceptable decision and of “extremely selfish economic interests” of the United States. Associated Press added that Joschka Fischer said, “We will be speaking about it with the American side.” Russia reminded the United States of their promise to allow the entire international community to help reconstruct Iraq, according to Der Spiegel Online.

Associated Press added that it will be “difficult for [Canada] to give further money for the reconstruction of Iraq.” Canada has contributed so far $225 million to the rebuilding effort. The article also pointed out that “The White House… said Wednesday that countries wanting a slice of that lucrative pie must participate militarily in the post-war effort. Responding to the ANGRY RESPONSE FROM GERMANY, CANADA AND OTHER U.S. ALLIES, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said the policy was ‘appropriate and reasonable.'” Earlier, U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz had cited “national security reasons” for the decision.

Associated Press reported on December 11, 2003: “A conference of companies seeking $18.6 billion in reconstruction costs in Iraq has been delayed by eight days until December 19… The delay comes amid a FUROR over a Pentagon memo barring countries that didn’t support the U.S.-led war from bidding on the reconstruction contracts… [The government] declined to comment on whether the delay was linked to the dispute over the Pentagon directive.”

In a related article, Associated Press stated on December 11, 2003: “Europe’s foreign affairs chief… called the U.S. decision… ‘ [extremely] unhelpful.’… But the British government said Washington was fully entitled to limit construction contracts in Iraq to countries that were part of the U.S.-led coalition. The White House said THE BAN WAS NOT UP FOR RECONSIDERATION… The European Commission called the contract ban a ‘political mistake,’ and said it would examine the contracts to see if Washington had violated its commitments to the World Trade Organization… French President Jacques Chirac, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and Russian President Vladimir Putin all raised the contracting issue during previously scheduled telephone calls with President Bush on Wednesday… [The] conservative French newspaper Le Figaro said Thursday the exclusion was ‘bordering on PROVOCATION.’ ‘For the United States, it is truly a shame that the politics of George W. Bush be presented, once again, in such a petty manner,’ the newspaper said. ‘THE ANTI-AMERICANISM THAT NEEDS TO BE COMBATED IS GOING TO BE REVIVED.’… Russia signaled it would take a hard line on reconstructing after being excluded from the contracts. ‘Iraq’s debt to the Russia Federation comes to $8 billion and as far as the Russian government’s position on this, it is not planning any kind of a write-off of that debt,’ [the Russian government stated]… [It] suggested the CONTRACT BAN COULD UNDERMINE THE INTERNATIONAL CAMPAIGN AGAINST TERRORISM.”

Der Spiegel Online published several articles on December 11, addressing the worldwide reactions to Washington’s decision. German politicians spoke of “REVENGE AND BLACKMAIL.” The magazine pointed out that German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder would like to see “constructive conduct” in accordance with “international law.” U.N. General-Secretary Kofi Annan, who was visiting Germany, asked the U.S. government to REVISE their decision. The magazine reported, too, that China is “angry,” and that they have voiced their concern. It added, “Pentagon Spokesman Larry Di Rita said that ‘this is not a final list. It might perhaps include additional countries.'”

Reuters reported on December 11 that President Bush rejected European criticism. He was quoted as follows: “It’s very simple. Our people risked their lives. Friendly coalition folks risked their lives, and therefore the contracting is going to reflect that, and that’s what the U.S. taxpayers expect.”

Not everyone in the United States agreed with the Pentagon’s ruling. As A.P. reported, “Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean… cited the policy as an example of the Bush administration’s ‘confrontation’ approach ‘all over the world.'” He added, “We are now the most feared country on the face of the earth but no longer the most respected.”

As God’s Church has announced for decades, the relationship between the United States and Europe WILL deteriorate. Some, who once understood this truth, have forgotten it and have looked for and begun to preach “alternative” end-time scenarios. However, there is NO ALTERNATIVE for the truth of the Bible.


As FT.com reported on December 5, 2003, “The European Union risks falling apart if heads of government put in place a flawed constitution next week, according to Valery Giscard d’Estaing, the former French president who was the architect of the draft constitution.” The article continued: “Mr. Giscard d’Estaing told the European parliament: ‘History teaches us that bad constitutions, those which are felt to be unjust or ineffective by citizens, lead to revolution or rebellion.’… Should EU leaders fail to overcome their differences next week, Mr. Giscard d’Estaing suggested they should then allow ‘time for reflection,’ possibly until after the June parliamentary decisions, rather than rush into a new round of talks: ‘If there is no political will today… there would be nothing to expect from pushing the negotiations.'”

The article pointed out that “Germany is leading to push to have a system where voting clout is closely tied to population size… On the size of the future European Commission…, [Mr. Giscard d’Estaing] reiterated his belief that the EU’s executive could not operate effectively with as many as 31 commissioners… The draft constitution proposes having 15 commissioners with full voting powers.”

Associated Press reported on December 8 that “European Union foreign ministers admitted defeat Monday in their efforts to find a constitutional compromise between countries seeking greater integration and those who fear a European superstate. Their failure after nearly two months of arduous negotiations diminished hopes for a deal on a first-ever EU constitution despite a weekend deadline for action. The ministers said the issue was so divisive it could only be resolved by EU leaders, who arrive Friday for a two-day summit.”

The article continued:

“The countries also remained at odds over how to bolster the EU’s defense policy without endangering s
ecurity ties with the United States or trampling on some countries’ cherished neutrality. In an eleventh-hour appeal, neutral EU nations Sweden, Ireland, Finland and Austria objected strongly to a proposed mutual defense pledge, similar to NATO’S, stating that if one EU member is attacked, the others are obliged to provide assistance… Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini, who chaired the talks, said he would revise the clause for a new proposal… De Villepin [of France] WARNED Frattini NOT TO WATER IT DOWN… ‘The solidarity as expressed in this clause must not be downgraded,’ he told reporters.”

Der Spiegel Online reported on December 10, 2003, that “Great Britain’s Prime Minister Tony Blair is apparently concerned that he will be treated less than equal by Germany and France regarding the battle for the EU constitution.” The two countries stated, according to the article, that they would work together more closely if a EU Constitution should not become reality at this point.

In an additional article, Der Spiegel Online reported on December 10 about the “European Fear of ‘Francallemagne.'” It pointed out: “A new German-French power bloc is developing in Europe. Smaller nations are looking at this development with concern.” The article continued: “It’s all about power in Europe… Joschka Fischer declared that there would be smaller groups in Europe if a European Constitution should not be adopted… Especially Britain looks with suspicion at the new love between the former arch-enemies, Germany and France… The message: Be aware of a powerful Germany, and be even more aware of a powerful Germany together with an already powerful France… Former German Chancellor, Helmut Schmidt, is also not supportive of a German-French power bloc. ‘We need a new agreement for a greater Europe, and not one for France and Germany,'” he was quoted in the article.

Associated Press reported on December 11, 2003, that “a new draft constitution has failed to resolve divisions among European Union governments on a voting system for the enlarged union, with growing signs leaders will miss their weekend deadline for agreement. Instead nations hardened their positions as they prepared for the summit of EU leaders starting Friday to debate the union’s first-ever constitution. EU officials have said about 100 issues remain to be decided, including whether God should be mentioned in the charter and whether there should be a majority voting on foreign policy.”

Der Spiegel Online quoted Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi as saying, “If we reach an agreement, that would be a MIRACLE. But sometimes, miracles happen.” The magazine stated, too, that Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski announced that he does not agree with the current draft EU constitution. Jean-Claude Juncker, Prime Minister of Luxembourg, warned that a failure would be catastrophic for Europe. He was quoted as saying that this was the last chance for Europe to reach a political union for all European member states. Otherwise, he added, the core states of the EU might go their separate ways. This would then place a grave responsibility on the countries which originally founded the European Community in 1957, i.e., Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg.

Prophecy is marching on. The Bible reveals that ultimately, ten nations or groups of nations will lead Europe. It is exciting to see how this will work out on the political scene. It is important to watch these world events, as their fulfillment indicates the imminent return of Jesus Christ.


Associated Press reported on December 8 that “the United States briefed NATO allies Monday on plans for an overhaul of American forces in Europe that may see tens of thousands of troops transferred from Cold War-era bases in Germany to new bases closer to potential trouble spots.” The article pointed out that “U.S. officials have previously said the realignment is likely to close or scale down many of the permanent bases set up in Germany and other NATO nations to face the Soviet threat. Instead troops will be shifted to smaller, lightly equipped centers ready for rapid deployment to places like the Middle East, the Balkans or Central Asia.”


Reuters reported on December 4, 2003, that “Australia has decided in principle to join a U.S.-led missile defense system, strengthening military ties with Washington.” The article pointed out, too, that “Australia has also joined the U.S. Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program to develop an advanced stealth fighter-bomber.” Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer was quoted as follows: “Our long and vigorous alliance with the United States benefits the security of both countries and will be strengthened by our participation in missile defense.” The article continued: “Canberra’s decision to join the U.S. program could spark renewed accusations by some Asian neighbors that Australia is playing ‘deputy sheriff’ for Washington in the Asia-Pacific region.”


As Der Spiegel Online reported on December 8, 2003, the African state of Zimbabwe, formerly known as Rhodesia, resigned from the Commonwealth of Nations, after Zimbabwe’s membership had been suspended last year, due to alleged governmental election fraud and a refusal of President Mugabe to open the country to democratic reforms. During a Commonwealth summit in Nigeria, the vast majority of especially Western countries voted for a continuation of the suspension, while eight African countries were asking to revoke the suspension.

The Commonwealth of Nations represents one-third of the world population. It is a loose and voluntary confederation of currently 53 independent sovereign states, formed mostly by the United Kingdom and most of its former colonies. It was formerly known as the British Commonwealth, and many still call it mistakenly by that name.

As nationmaster.com explains, the Commonwealth is the successor of the British Empire and has its origins in the Imperial Conference of the late 1920s. After World War II, the Empire was gradually dismantled, “partly owing to the rise of independent movements in the then subject territories (most importantly India…), and partly owing to the British Government’s straitened circumstances resulting from the cost of the war. Burma (now Myanmar) (1948) and South Yemen (1967) are among the only former colonies that did not join the Commonwealth on independence. Ireland was a member, but left the Commonwealth upon becoming a republic in 1949.”

The article continued:

“India is the most populous member, with a billion people at the 2001 census, while Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nigeria each contain more than 100 million people. Tuvalu, in contrast, has only 11,000 inhabitants… One member of the present Commonwealth was never attached to the British Empire [i.e.,] Mozambique. [It] applied for and received membership in 1995… Fiji and Pakistan have had their memberships suspended in recent years because of military coups… South Africa’s membership was effectively suspended during the apartheid era… but was reinstated… in 1994. Nigeria was suspended between 1995 and 1999. Pakistan had earlier left on January 30, 1972… but rejoined in 1989. Zimbabwe was suspended in 2002 over concerns with the electoral and land reform policies of Robert Mugabe’s… government. Charles de Gaulle once suggested that France, though it was never a member of the British Empire (even if for centuries English/British monarchs claimed the title ‘King of France’), should apply for Commonwealth membership. This never happened.”

The current Commonwealth Members and their membership dates are as follows:

Antigua and Barbuda (1981); Australia (1931); The Bahamas (1973); Bangladesh (1972); Barbados (1966); Belize (1981); Botswana (1966); Brunei (1984); Cameroon (1995); Canada (1931); Cyprus (1961); Domini
ca (1978); Fiji (1970, left in 1987, rejoined in 1997); The Gambia (1965); Ghana (1957); Grenada (1974); Guyana (1966); India (1947); Jamaica (1962); Kenya (1963); Kiribati (1979); Lesotho (1966); Malawi (1964); Malaysia (1957); Maldives (1982); Malta (1964); Mauritius (1968); Mozambique (1995); Namibia (1990); Nauru (1999); New Zealand (1931); Nigeria (1960, was suspended in 1995, but readmitted in 1999); Pakistan (1947, left in 1972, rejoined in 1989); Papua New Guinea (1975); Samoa (1970); Seychelles (1976); Sierra Leone (1961); Singapore (1965); Solomon Islands (1978); South Africa (1931, left in 1961, rejoined in 1994); Sri Lanka (1948); St. Kitts and Nevis (1983); St. Lucia (1979); St. Vincent and The Grenadines (1979); Swaziland (1968); Tanzania (1961); Tonga (1979); Trinidad and Tobago (1962); Tuvalu (1978); Uganda (1962); United Kingdom (1931); Vanuatu (1980); Zambia (1964).

As mentioned above, Ireland left in 1949; Pakistan has been suspended since 1999; and Zimbabwe was suspended on March 20, 2002, and left on December 8, 2003.

From the above-mentioned Commonwealth Member states, the following 17 member states recognize the Queen of England, represented by a governor-general, as their Head of State, according to Swishweb.com, 2002:

Antigua and Barbuda; Australia; Bahamas; Bangladesh; Barbados; Belize; Canada; Grenada; Jamaica; New Zealand; Papua New Guinea; St. Kitts and Nevis; St. Lucia; St. Vincent and the Grenadines; Solomon Islands; Tavula; and Mauritius.

It may also not be widely known or commonly recognized that the following 20 member states are still monarchies, according to the Commonwealth of Learning, June 1999:

Antigua and Barbuda; Australia; The Bahamas; Barbados; Belize; Canada; Grenada; Jamaica; Lesotho; Malaysia; New Zealand; Papua New Guinea; St. Kitts and Nevis; St. Lucia; St. Vincent and the Grenadines; Solomon Islands; Swaziland; Tonga; Tuvalu; and the United Kingdom.

At one time the Commonwealth of Nations, formerly called the British Commonwealth, was a very powerful group of nations under British control. This is no longer the case, as nationmaster.com points out:

“With the mutual decline of interest in each other as former British colonies forge closer relationships with non-Commonwealth trading partners and close geographical neighbors, the Commonwealth’s direct political and economic importance has declined.”

Both Great Britain’s rise to power and the influential formation of a British-controlled Commonwealth, as well as Britain’s and the British Commonwealth’s political and economic decline were prophesied to occur thousands of years ago in the Bible. We will continue to inform our readers about these startling developments, as they are happening in front of our very eyes.

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What is the "key of David," spoken of in Scripture?

The term “key of David” is only mentioned once in the New Testament, in Revelation 3:7, and a deviation of the term, i.e., “key of the house of David,” is only mentioned once in the Old Testament, in Isaiah 22:22.

Before analyzing the meaning of the phrase, “key of David,” or, “key of the house of David,” let us review Scriptures first which use the term, “key.” In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word for “key” (in the phrase, “key of the house of David”), is “maphteach” It is defined by Young’s Analytical Concordance of the Bible, as, “key, opener” or “opening.” In addition to Isaiah 22:22, the word is only used two more times, in Judges 3:25, and in 1 Chronicles 9:27. In both cases, the word describes a literal key that opens a literal door to a literal building or room.

In the New Testament, the Greek word for “key,” as used in Revelation 3:7, is “kleis.” It is a female word and defined by Young’s as, “a key.” It is used 6 times in the New Testament. In addition to Revelation 3:7, we find it three more times in the book of Revelation, i.e., in Revelation 1:18; 9:1; and 20:1. We also find it used in Matthew 16:19 and in Luke 11:52.

Revelation 9:1 and Revelation 20:1 speak about “the key of the bottomless pit.” The “bottomless pit” is the location where Satan and his demons will be bound for a thousand years, after Christ’s return (compare, too, Luke 8:31, where the word is translated as, “abyss.”). The bottomless pit or abyss describes a (spiritual) future prison for fallen angels, and the “key” to the bottomless pit describes a (spiritual) key to open and shut this prison. The concept of “key” is used in a similar fashion here, as it is used in Judges 3:25 and 1 Chronicles 9:27.

In addition, we read in Matthew 16:19 that Christ gave Peter “the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” The context shows that He was revealing to Peter and the other disciples the KNOWLEDGE as to how to enter the Kingdom of God. (For more information, please study our free booklet, “The Gospel of the Kingdom of God.”) In Luke 11:52, Christ clarifies this, by saying: “Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of KNOWLEDGE. You did not enter in, and those who were entering in you hindered.” (The parallel scripture in Matthew 23:13 shows that Christ was talking about entering the Kingdom of God).

Turning to the book of Revelation, Christ said in Revelation 1:18 that He has the “keys of Hades and Death.” In other words, He has the KNOWLEDGE to bestow on us, of how to escape death. Psalm 68:20 tells us: “Our God is the God of salvation; and to God the LORD belong escapes from death.” Further, Christ decides, of course, who will be found worthy to enter into eternal life.

We have seen so far that a key opens and shuts a literal building or room, and that it unlocks or opens to our understanding the knowledge of how to escape death and how to enter the kingdom of God.

Turning to Revelation 3:7-8, we find that the word, “key” is used in exactly the same way, when it talks about the “key of David.” The passage reads, “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write, “These things says He who is holy, He who is true, He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens: ‘I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name.'”

Christ reveals that it is He who has the key of David, and that it is He who opens and shuts. We also read that Christ gave “the church in Philadelphia” (Revelation 3:7) “an open door.”

Our Update # 107 discusses in detail the concept of the “open door.” One of the meanings is the ongoing obligation and ability of God’s Church to preach the gospel of the kingdom of God. In the process of preaching the gospel message, some will be called and obtain the knowledge of how to enter the Kingdom. The key of David, then, has to have some kind of nexus with the preaching of the gospel message and the response by some to the message.

As we explain on pages 39-42 of our booklet, “And Lawlessness Will Abound,” God made a covenant with David and his descendants. According to that covenant, there would always sit a descendant of David on the throne of David. This throne exists today on earth, and Jesus Christ will return to an existing throne, and He, as a descendant of David, will then sit on that throne and rule from it. Therefore, the “key of David” is associated with the knowledge of where the throne of David is today, and who are today the modern nations of the houses of Israel and Judah (as the throne of David would always rule over “Israel.”). The booklet also explains that God made His covenant with David because David kept God’s Law. In Isaiah 55:3, the new or “everlasting” covenant is described as “the sure mercies of David.”

We are told in Scripture that we will rule on this earth, with and under Christ, sitting on thrones (compare Matthew 19:28). The rule of the saints on this earth is clearly part of the gospel message. In fact, only when we have entered the Kingdom of God as Spirit beings, will we be able to rule with Christ on this earth. We will then be part of the Kingdom or Family of God, ruling – as God beings – over man. King David will be in the Kingdom of God. He, too, will be a member of the God Family at that time. Jeremiah 30:9 prophesies: “But they shall serve the LORD their God, And David their king, Whom I will RAISE UP for them.” (Compare, too, Hosea 3:5).

God’s covenant with David makes it possible that Christians, when they are born again as Spirit beings, can rule, with and under Christ, in the Kingdom of God. Christ came as a human being to qualify so that God the Father would “give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end” (Luke 1:32-33). We will share in Christ’s rule in Jerusalem (Daniel 7:27; Isaiah 2:1-4), which will be established first over the modern houses of Israel and Judah. We understand, of course, that God’s government and rule “upon the throne of David and over His kingdom” (Isaiah 9:7) will increase and finally include all nations (compare Isaiah 66:18-20).

Turning to Isaiah 22, we find a description of the judgment on Shebna, a scribe and steward over the king’s house. Although Shebna was a historical figure (Isaiah 36:3; 2 Kings 18:37), this judgment could very well also be directed at an end-time personality, as the context of the prophecy is the Day of the Lord (verses 8, 12 and 20 speak of “that day,” a prophetic reference to the Day of the Lord). This end-time “Shebna” could be an unworthy political leader over the modern house of Israel or Judah, or it could perhaps refer to a religious figure in the spiritual house of God – the Church. Isaiah 22 prophesies that “the LORD will throw you [Shebna] away violently, O mighty man, And will surely seize you. He will surely turn violently and toss you like a ball Into a large country; there you shall die, and there your glorious chariots Shall be the shame of your master’s house. So I will drive you out of your office And from your position he will pull you down” (verses 17-19).

This remarkable prophecy continues in verses 20-25: “Then it shall be IN THAT DAY That I will call My servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah; I will clothe him with your robe And strengthen him with your belt; I will commit your responsibility into his hand. He shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem And to the house of Judah. The key of the house of David I will lay on his shoulder; So he shall open, and no one shall shut, And he shall shut, and no one shall open. I will fasten him as a peg in a secure place, And he will become a glorious throne to his father’s house. They will hang on him all the glory of his father’s house, the offspring and the posterity, all vessels of small quantity, from the cups to all the pitchers. IN THAT DAY, says the LORD of hosts, the peg that is fastened in the secure place will be removed and be cut down and fall, and the burden that was on it will be cut off; for the LORD has spoken.”

Eliakim, the son of Hilkiah, was a historical figure who became the steward or prefect over the palace, as had been foretold by Isaiah (compare 2 Kings 18:18; Isaiah 36:3, 22; 37:2). Since the prophecy in Isaiah 22:20 talks about the Day of the Lord, it seems to refer to an additional “Eliakim” who is still to appear. The context of the passage deals with the rulership of the house of David over Israel. Originally, Shebna had been in a trustworthy position in the king’s rule. The Nelson Study Bible explains that “the steward had the key that gave him an audience with the king.” Scripture foretold that Shebna would be replaced by Eliakim, and that Eliakim was to become “a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah.” Eliakim would receive the key of the house of David, so “he shall open, and no one shall shut, And he shall shut, and no one shall open.” We know from Revelation 3:7 that Jesus Christ is in possession of that very key. It is therefore obvious that the “end-time” Eliakim is none other than Jesus Christ Himself.

Jamieson, Fausset and Brown, Commentary on the Whole Bible, points out:

“‘key’ — emblem of his office over the house; to ‘open’ or ‘shut’; access rested with him. Upon… shoulder – So keys are sometimes carried in the East, hanging from the kerchief on the shoulder. But the phrase is rather figurative for sustaining the government on one’s shoulders. Eliakim, as his name implies, is here plainly a type of… Christ, the Son of ‘David,’ of whom Isaiah (9:6) uses the same language as the former clause of this verse. In Revelation 3:7, the same language as the latter clause is found.”

In reference to Revelation 3:7, Jamieson, Fausset and Brown states:

“…he that hath the key of David – the antitype of Eliakim, to whom the ‘key,’ the emblem of authority ‘over the house of David’ was transferred from Shebna, who was removed from the office of chamberlain or treasurer, as unworthy of it. Christ, the Heir of the throne of David, shall supplant all the less worthy stewards [or one particular steward, perhaps a political or religious figure, see discussion above] who have abused their trust in God’s spiritual house, and ‘shall reign over the house of Jacob,’ literal and spiritual (Luke 1:32, 33), ‘for ever,’ ‘as a Son over His own house’ (Heb. 3:2-6). It rests with Christ to open or shut the heavenly palace [the heavenly Jerusalem, verse 12, which will come down to this earth; Revelation 21:9-10], deciding who is, and who is not, to be admitted: as He also opens, or shuts… ‘having the keys of hell (the grave) and death (ch. 1:18).”

The New Bible Commentary: Revised, adds the following:

“Jesus is true in the sense of ‘true to His word’, i.e. faithful. This is spoken in connection with His possessing the key of David, a phrase that recalls 1:18 but actually quotes Is. 22:22; it claims for Christ the power of admitting individuals or shutting them out from the city of David, the new Jerusalem, the Messianic kingdom.”

The Nelson Study Bible agrees: “The key of David represents authority as the One who opens and shuts the door in the Davidic kingdom (see Is. 22:22), a prerogative that is Christ’s as the rightful ‘Son of David’ (see Matt. 1:1).”

The Broadman Bible Commentary concurs: “To say that Christ is the one who has the key of David is to affirm his messianic authority to admit or exclude from the messianic kingdom. The Old Testament passage to which this refers (Isa. 22:22) indicated that Eliakim held the keys to David’s house… The figure of keys was used elsewhere ([Revelation]1:18) and reference to David is at the close of the book ([Revelation] 22:16).”

In conclusion, Isaiah 22 and Revelation 3 confirm, in light of all the Scriptures quoted herein, that the “key of David” has to do with the knowledge that Christ, the “Son of David,” will rule over the nations of Israel and Judah, as well as over the entire earth. It includes the understanding as to who the modern houses of Israel and Judah are, where they are located today, and where the throne of David can be found. It includes the knowledge that only Christ has the power to give us access to, or reject us from entering God’s Kingdom (compare Acts 4:12). It reveals to us how we can avoid paying the death penalty for our sins (compare Romans 6:23; John 8:24); how we can inherit eternal life by entering and becoming members of the Kingdom of God; and how we can qualify to rule, with and under Christ, over the houses of Israel and Judah, and the entire earth.

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New Booklet and Member Letter

A new Standing Watch program, titled, “Who Are You?”, has been posted on the Website.

A new member letter was sent out this week. You can find a version of the letter at: http://www.eternalgod.org/lit/letters/brethren-20031210.pdf

Our new booklet, titled, “Are You Already Born Again?”, is finished and on its way to the printer in the United Kingdom. It has been placed on our Website at: http://www.eternalgod.org/lit/booklets/bornagain.htm

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How This Work is Financed

This Update is an official publication by the ministry of the Church of the Eternal God in the United States of America; the Church of God, a Christian Fellowship in Canada; and the Global Church of God in the United Kingdom.

Editorial Team: Norbert Link, Dave Harris, Rene Messier, Brian Gale, Margaret Adair, Johanna Link, Eric Rank, Michael Link, Anna Link, Kalon Mitchell, Manuela Mitchell, Dawn Thompson

Technical Team: Eric Rank, Shana Rank

Our activities and literature, including booklets, weekly updates, sermons on CD, and video and audio broadcasts, are provided free of charge. They are made possible by the tithes, offerings and contributions of Church members and others who have elected to support this Work.

While we do not solicit the general public for funds, contributions are gratefully welcomed and are tax-deductible in the U.S. and Canada.

Donations should be sent to the following addresses:

United States: Church of the Eternal God, P.O. Box 270519, San Diego, CA 92198

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