Jeremiah was given a huge job: God ordained him a prophet to the nations (Jeremiah 1:5). In his lifetime he only preached his warning to Judah; he never went to Israel. So we know that if we don’t get his message out to the nations in this end time, he will have lived in vain! That’s why he wrote the message in a book.
Jeremiah could have said, this doesn’t make sense to me—why warn Israel when they’re already in captivity? But God showed him what would happen in this end time.
“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” (verses 11-12). As I wrote in our Jeremiah booklet, the “rod of an almond tree” could be described as “a vigilant watchman.” This prophecy shows that a vigilant watchman would come on the scene in the end time. In sending this watchman, God is giving the nations a chance to repent. God gives him a “rod,” or the authority he needs to do the job. Then he is expected to do as God tells him.
Jeremiah knew God would have to send someone to deliver His message in the end time. And that watchman must have the most important job on Earth, because we’re about to face the worst catastrophe ever, just before Christ returns!
This prophecy does not apply to Herbert W. Armstrong as specifically as it does to me. Here is why: “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. Then the Lord said unto me, Out of the northan evil shall break forth upon all the inhabitants of the land” (verses 13-14). This seething, boiling pot—the king of the north, or the European Union—is about to spill over all Israel. That description dates this prophecy specifically: The vigilant watchman will arrive when the pot is about to boil over. Look at Europe today, and you see a boiling pot ready to spill over at any time! It was never boiling when Mr. Armstrong was around. What he warned about all those years is really boiling today!
“And I will utter my judgments against them touching all their wickedness, who have forsaken me, and have burned incense unto other gods, and worshipped the works of their own hands” (verse 16). This too is dated: Only God’s people can forsake Him. You can’t forsake God if you never knew Him. The world has never known Him, but God’s Church has. God’s own Laodicean Church forsakes Him just as the pot is boiling—at a time when they are most needed! So God will utter His judgments against these Laodiceans. How? Through His watchman.
Ezekiel 33 tells us that this watchman is also a prophet. Under the leadership of one man, the pcg has been warning the Laodiceans about their actions for over a decade. God rebukes them because, not only are they failing to warn the world about the boiling pot, they are adding to the workload by having to be warned themselves!
Though Mr. Armstrong understood a great deal of the book of Jeremiah, there was also a lot that couldn’t be revealed until after his death. That is when this watchman came on the scene.
Again, because of the time element, we can deduce that this watchman is the same individual as “that prophet.”
God says, “I will utter my judgments against them.” How will God do this? He will do it through that prophet—with the help of God’s very elect.
Arise and Speak
God gives this instruction to Jeremiah, but it is also directed, in principle, to that end-time prophet: “Thou therefore gird up thy loins, and arise, and speak unto them all that I command thee: be not dismayed at their faces, lest I confound thee before them” (Jeremiah 1:17). Confound comes from a Hebrew word which means “break in pieces.” God says, I’ll tell you what to speak, and you must speak it, or I’ll break you in pieces! Does that sound like a serious responsibility? That warning is directed specifically to that watchman, that voice—that prophet. It is not primarily directed at the Church members; not even the ministry. The people urgently need to back that one man and support him in his commission.
In delivering God’s message, we will face fearsome situations. If we run as Jonah did, we will face God’s wrath. He forces us to choose: Face them, or face me.
God promises to give the watchman the strength he needs. “For, behold, I have made thee this day a defenced city, and an iron pillar, and brasen walls against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, against the princes thereof, against the priests thereof, and against the people of the land. And they shall fight against thee; but they shall not prevail against thee; for I am with thee, saith the Lord, to deliver thee” (verses 18-19). God’s watchman not only must be a pillar—he must be an iron pillar! And his supporters must be iron pillars. God’s enemies will not prevail against the watchman and his supporters. We are destined to win this war because God is with us; but we will only win after many intense battles.
Again, God ordained Jeremiah a prophet to the nations (verse 5). Jeremiah only went to Judah. God also ordains this end-time watchman a prophet to the nations. He must deliver Jeremiah’s message. The Laodiceans turn away, and God raises up a watchman to give the full message of Jeremiah, to warn them and the world of the pot about to boil over and scald all of them. All of God’s ministers and Church members are called solely to back and support that office.
‘I Magnify Mine Office’
During Paul’s ministry, there were times when people challenged his office. He would often begin his letters this way: “Paul, an apostle of God ….” He would magnify his office, not to get people to follow a man, but to help them see what God was doing through that office. To the Romans he came right out and said, “For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office” (Romans 11:13). We don’t exalt men, but we must exalt the offices that God exalts.
Why would God want to focus more on the office of “that prophet” now? Is it because of what is ahead? The greatest event ever in this universe is about to occur. The opposition we will face before that time is to be the most intense ever! God’s people must understand this office so they can support it. It will be under attack, so we’d better know who we are and what we’re a part of. If we don’t, we will never withstand Satan’s attacks.
We need to focus more on the office Mr. Armstrong had. He had 50 years to build a powerful work that was about 25 times bigger than what we have.
Yet in some ways, we face a more intense warfare. So I also believe it is now time that God wants to magnify my office. Otherwise, why would He reveal the truth about that prophet at this time?
No Prophets Today?
Mr. Armstrong made this statement in the Tomorrow’s World magazine, June 1972 (emphasis his):
Emphatically I am not a prophet, in the sense of one to whom God speaks specially and directly, revealing personally a future event to happen or new truth, or new and special instruction direct from God—separate from, and apart from what is contained in the Bible. And I never have claimed to be.
There is no such human prophet living today!
The Bible is the written Word of God—and, for our time now, it is complete! Never have I believed or claimed that God reveals to me new truths not contained in the Bible—in addition to, or apart from the Bible ….
Let’s take a look at the Church of God of the first century, as we find it revealed in the book of Acts, beginning from the day of Pentecost, a.d. 31. The Bible was not fully written—only the Old Testament—in a.d. 31. God then was still communicating new truth, instruction and knowledge directly and personally to prophets. As the Church progressed, it was the function of a prophet to communicate to the apostles special messages which God had personally revealed to them. Others were inspired in the writing of the books of the New Testament.
So we read, in Acts 11:28 and 21:10-11, of the Prophet Agabus. But today we have the complete Word of God, for our time, in the Bible. There are no such prophets—except false ones.
I agree completely with this quote. Mr. Armstrong was not a prophet in the sense that God spoke to him like He did with the prophets of old. God spoke to Mr. Armstrong through the pages of the Bible. Mr. Armstrong was careful to make this distinction when discussing his office. Why? Probably because of the office he knew he was fulfilling. He, and just about everyone in the Church shortly before his death, believed he had fulfilled the end-time office of Elijah the prophet (Malachi 4:5). The mere fact that he was an apostle, the highest rank God gives to a human being, means he also held the office of prophet—and every other office below the rank of apostle.
When Mr. Armstrong said he was not a prophet like those of old, he meant that he did not communicate with God like they did—in visions mostly. He communicated with God through the pages of the Bible. God gave him an abundance of new revelation—making the hidden truths of the Bible plain before all.
God has worked with me in the same way. He has not spoken to me directly in vision. But He has given me all kinds of new revelation from the Bible—new revelation that you can prove. You can easily prove this fact from Malachi’s Message and most of the booklets I have written.
I need to better understand what God requires of this office. This isn’t really pleasant to think about sometimes. It is sobering to me. I know what the Laodiceans and many in the world will say when they hear this. Grappling with heavy responsibility is never easy. Coming to realize the weight of his office caused Jonah to run. It has caused me to think about that a couple of times. Perhaps it has you too, because of what God has called you to do. But God considers the turning away of His own people the worst tragedy of all.
An apostle is the highest rank God gives to a man (Ephesians 4:11). The next highest office is prophet. Mr. Armstrong had the highest office—an apostle. If I were vainly seeking an exalted office, surely the office of an apostle would have been my choice. But I had no choice. God placed me into the office of a prophet. The fruits of new prophetic revelation and a work to declare the message prove who I am.
I must always be subject to what God taught through Mr. Armstrong—government, law, statutes and judgments.
This work is not about a man. It’s about what God taught or teaches through a man. Again, you are under a curse if you follow a man! At the same time, however, you are also under a curse if you fail to follow God’s man! (1 Corinthians 11:1). The only safe way is to follow Christ.
Remember, we must place this understanding in its proper context (John 1:19-21). The subject is the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Right now, the world is hearing the last voice they will hear before He returns—at least prior to the Tribulation. And my job and your job is to passionately support this office of God, so we can finish that all-important work. We don’t need to be ashamed of my office. I hope it gives us a better perspective on what God expects from each one of us. He expects us to finish the Work! We desperately need to work together, unify and be a family so we can achieve what God has given us to do.
Excerpt from: Who Is ‘That Prophet’? by Gerald Flurry