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Founder and Pastor General of The Restored Church of God, Editor-in-Chief of The Real Truth magazine, and voice of The World to Come program, David C. Pack has reached many millions around the globe with the most powerful truths of the Bible—unknown to almost all. He has authored 80 books and booklets, personally established over 50 congregations, and appeared as a guest on The History Channel. Mr. Pack attended Ambassador College in Pasadena, California, entered the Worldwide Church of God ministry in 1971, and was personally trained by its founder, Herbert W. Armstrong.Learn more
Who Is the Modern Joshua of Haggai and Zechariah?
By David C. Pack
NOTICE: This is the TENTH in a series of special announcements. They collectively unveil the massive, ongoing expansion that God’s Church, Work and Headquarters are experiencing. There is a reason for this expansion! The reader should contrast these announcements to the increasing bad news and bad events in UCG, LCG, PCG, COGwa and ALL splinters and slivers of the Worldwide Church of God. You must see what they are NOT announcing, and why they never will—and what GOD is bringing upon them. The place to start reading is either the fifth announcement—“God’s People Back Together—SOON!”—or the first one to catch up on all you have missed. If you begin with the fifth announcement, then read those before and after it. They are all important. An enormous and detailed prophecy is now being carried out by God. He is preparing events to soon bring His people back together—all of them. It is not my task to convince you the prophecy is true. God will do that! My job is to systematically lay out the specifics of what will happen and WHY—good and bad, pleasant and unpleasant. YOU WILL NOT WANT TO MISS A SINGLE ANNOUNCEMENT! If you do, CATCH UP. Also, you will miss the full impact if you skip sections of these announcements.
In previous announcements, we saw that the prophets Haggai and Zechariah include instruction to men named Zerubbabel and Joshua. We learned these leaders were prophetic types of men who would come 2,500 years later. Passages in Zechariah reveal that these modern types worked primarily sequentially, not in parallel. Simple observation also makes this obvious. Otherwise, who was Joshua in our past? No one knew. This would make no sense to anyone.
This TWENTIETH announcement reveals the identity of the modern Joshua. It shows how to know who is Mr. Armstrong’s true successor. I urge you to read with an open mind. You will see the Bible interpret itself. You will also see an overwhelming number of facts that will be impossible to misunderstand for those with even a little of God’s Spirit. The truth will be obvious to thinking people.
Most in the splinters are not yet reading these announcements. The Haggai prophecy actually shows that this would be the case, but also that it would change. (Later announcements will explain this.) God, through His Spirit, will communicate individually with these thousands currently cut off from Him. His Spirit now lies dormant in them because, having left His Church, they have for over 20 years been unwilling to “consider their ways” (Hag. 1:5, 7). God had to put them out of His Church—disfellowship them (I Cor. 5:5; I Tim. 1:20)—until they had learned bitter lessons, and until He was ready to address them. Much like people who broke the Sabbath, stole God’s tithes, skipped the Feast of Tabernacles or committed adultery, God is preparing to “reinstate” thousands of people at the same time IF they consider their ways—their false doctrines, traditions, behavior and worldly standards.
Part of what they will have to understand was their rejection of Mr. Armstrong as Zerubbabel, and the man who was his true successor—the one called Joshua.
Back to Mr. Armstrong
We must start with extensive but crucial review. The following quote from an earlier announcement is a reminder of what Mr. Armstrong knew about Haggai and Zechariah, along with his role as the modern Zerubbabel. He was emphatic:
“Zerubbabel built the second temple to which Jesus came the first time. John the Baptist prepared the way before the FIRST coming. But WHO was to build the SPIRITUAL temple to which Christ shall soon come the second time? Who was to prepare the way before His Second Coming?
“Remember God does things in DUAL stages. As Zerubbabel built the first temple of MATERIAL stone, wood and other materials, he was a forerunner or type of one through whom Christ would raise up or build the SPIRITUAL TEMPLE—His Church of our time, prior to the Day of the Lord and Christ’s Second Coming. As John the Baptist prepared the way, in the PHYSICAL wilderness of the Jordan River for the first coming of the HUMAN Jesus (both man and God), then coming to His MATERIAL temple, and to His PHYSICAL people Judah, ANNOUNCING the Kingdom of God to be set up more than 1,900 years later, SO God would use a human messenger in the SPIRITUAL wilderness of 20th-century religious confusion, to be a voice CRYING OUT the Gospel of the KINGDOM OF GOD, about the SPIRITUAL CHRIST, coming in SUPREME POWER AND GLORY to His SPIRITUAL TEMPLE, to actually ESTABLISH that spiritual KINGDOM OF GOD.
“Brethren, HAS THAT BEEN DONE BY THIS CHURCH?
“Did God raise up a one-man LEADERSHIP to be used by Him in building this spiritual TEMPLE and in proclaiming after 1,900 years the true GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD in ALL THE WORLD—to even go to kings and heads of nations (Rev. 10:11)—in bringing the Church back to the FAITH ONCE DELIVERED (Jude 3)?
“HAS THIS HAPPENED, IN YOUR DAYS, AND HAS GOD BROUGHT YOU INTO THIS PROPHETIC FULFILLMENT AS A PART OF IT?
“HAS ANYONE ELSE DONE IT?..”
“I have shown you that the book of Haggai is a PROPHECY. Zerubbabel’s temple, to which Jesus came at His first coming, was a TYPE of the SPIRITUAL TEMPLE (God’s CHURCH) to which, in its resurrected GLORIFIED state, it will be the GLORIOUS TEMPLE to which Christ will come SOON NOW IN OUR TIME.
“Zerubbabel, therefore, was the typical forerunner of one Christ would use to build that GLORIFIED SPIRITUAL TEMPLE—God’s Church of this END TIME.
“In Zechariah 4:6 and 9, God says of this former type: ‘This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power (humanly), but by MY SPIRIT, saith the Lord of hosts.’ In Revelation 3:8, Christ says of the leader of today’s Church, ‘I know thy works; behold I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength (only a little strength humanly), and has kept my word, and hast not denied my name.’ This Work in our day has not been done by human strength or power, but by FAITH and the POWER OF GOD’S SPIRIT.
“Further, ‘The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house (the first temple); his hands shall also FINISH IT!’ So far as I know, GOD HAS NOT RAISED UP ANYONE ELSE TO FINISH THIS WORK HE HAS USED ME IN DOING!
“God could take my life in the next breath—or He has power to keep me on the job as His instrument for as long as He deems necessary.
“I have NEVER SAID I expect to live until Christ comes.”
Co-Worker Letter, March 19, 1981
Mr. Armstrong in time came to realize that he would die, and without knowing Joshua’s identity (Hag. 1:2, 12, 14; 2:2, 4 and parts of Zech. 3 and 6). He of course knew that Joshua must follow Zerubbabel (himself) and be revealed in his time. As with learning that he was Zerubbabel, and then teaching this to the Church, Mr. Armstrong realized that Joshua would at some point similarly learn his own identity and also similarly teach it to the Church. Of course, merely because of the apostasy, this would not happen in any way that Mr. Armstrong could have imagined, or that any of us could. He (we) could not have foreseen the extent of the confusion, division and awfulness—the spiritual filth—of the Laodicean age that would follow his death. Mr. Armstrong could not have understood Joshua’s identity because it was not for his time.
To understand who fulfilled the role of Joshua, we must understand more about how Mr. Armstrong fulfilled the modern type of Zerubbabel. Haggai 1:1 starts with “the Lord” speaking to Zerubbabel and Joshua. Each figure is obviously spoken to in his own time. (The only explanation that fits.) Understand that, like so many other teachings of God from Mr. Armstrong’s time, the truth of the identity of Zerubbabel (and Joshua) has come under attack. What the whole Church once knew has either been rejected or forgotten by almost everyone. But this will change.
Zechariah 4:9 states, “The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this House; his hands shall also finish it [the foundation].” We saw in earlier announcements that there are two elements to this verse: (1) Mr. Armstrong laid the foundation of God’s Church, meaning that the groundwork was completed for the Temple (God’s Church) to be finished in our time. And (2) he established the standard(s) of God’s Church—the Philadelphian standard(s). If you reject Mr. Armstrong’s role as Zerubbabel, believing he got this wrong, many other BIG doctrines he taught (too many to name) collapse like a house of cards. (I have explained this in many other books and writings.) It also makes it IMPOSSIBLE for you to learn who fulfills the modern role of Joshua.
With their thinking now overthrown, many former WCG brethren no longer believe Mr. Armstrong was Zerubbabel—and many of these are adamant. But we might ask: If Mr. Armstrong was wrong about this, who else could have been Zerubbabel? Who else finished laying the foundation of God’s House? Who else is even remotely a candidate?
Some critics, loathing the idea that Mr. Armstrong could have been ANYTHING special, actually claim that Zerubbabel is Christ, or that Joshua is Christ. Imagine Christ inspiring the prophets Haggai and Zechariah to carry messages to Himself, or rather to both of “Himselves” since He might be both Joshua and Zerubbabel. Next imagine Christ telling Himself (twice) as He does in Haggai to “fear not” and to “be strong” and that “I am with you.” How would the God of the Old Testament be with Himself? Now imagine Christ saying He “stirred up the spirit” (Hag. 1:14) of Himself when speaking of doing this to Zerubbabel or Joshua, or both. Further—and Zechariah 3 shows this—Joshua is: (1) seen standing with the Lord, (2) described as receiving Christ—“the Branch”—at His Return and (3) an angel duly charges (“protests” to) him about matters no angel would DARE say to Christ, who is God. Do not let ignorant lay members or even ministers distort your thinking.
So, like Zerubbabel, Joshua is a human being—one man!—who lives just before and up to the time of Christ’s Return.
Remember that Haggai 2 concludes with a special tribute to Zerubbabel. One of the major problems in the splinters is that God’s ministers have themselves almost universally forgotten Mr. Armstrong’s extraordinary prophesied role in laying the doctrinal foundation for God’s 20th-century Church.
God announces that His chosen leader becomes (“I will make you as”) a signet. This means a “signature ring, seal or signet” in the Hebrew. Where else in the scriptures does God describe the work of one of His leading servants in such a unique way? Nowhere! Without Mr. Armstrong’s over 52 years of incredible perseverance, resourcefulness, dedication and faithfulness against staggering obstacles and so many enemies, the ministers throughout the splinters today would all be somewhere else doing something else. They would never have learned the truth. Yet, having died over 27 years ago, Zerubbabel has been largely forgotten. God wants Mr. Armstrong remembered for what he was—what he did. Several times in Haggai 2 the ministry is told to “consider,” with part of what they are to consider shown to be in this context. In fact, until they do, these ministers will remain blocked from an enormous amount of understanding regarding what will happen going forward, and they cannot be used as true ministers. And they have no foundation to understand who is Joshua, as well as this man’s role following Zerubbabel and preceding Christ’s Return. Zerubbabel’s identity paves the way to knowing who is Joshua! Without this knowledge, both Zechariah 3 [describing Joshua] and Zechariah 4 [describing Zerubbabel and the Two Witnesses] remain closed off from their understanding.
Being unable to recognize who is God’s final leader COMPLETELY ends the ability of ministers today to serve God’s people. All would agree, no matter who they now think Joshua is, he would only be found in one place—one “House” (Hag. 1:4)—one Church! The leadership of one man cannot be split over several organizations. Joshua’s identity does not lead one to Zerubbabel’s identity but Zerubbabel’s does lead to Joshua. The one who fulfilled the role of Joshua would uphold all of Zerubbabel’s teachings, including traditions, standards, judgments, policies and truths.
We will see the prophet Zechariah makes clear Joshua is alive at Christ’s Return. Haggai speaks of/to this man five times, and Zechariah reveals that Zerubbabel eventually falls out of the picture because Zechariah 3 describes Joshua working alone until Christ’s Return, with Zerubbabel no longer present. A modern Joshua was foretold to arrive after Mr. Armstrong. We might at least ask: Why are people not out looking for this man? The answer is at least partly that they do not want to return to things Zerubbabel taught.
Crucial Opening Night Message
Having established that Mr. Armstrong understood his role, who was his true successor?—who was Zerubbabel’s successor? We begin by looking at what Mr. Armstrong taught. Most do not realize he spoke plainly about succession. The following excerpt from a sermon Mr. Armstrong gave on Opening Night of the 1978 Feast of Tabernacles titled “Zerubbabel’s Temple” shows he had complete faith God would take care of appointing the true leader of the Church after his death. Take careful note of the phrase in italics in the second-to-last paragraph (all caps are used when he was thundering):
“While I’m thinking about it, let me tell you something else that has come to my mind. I’m going to have to write something and get it into The Good News on this line, and try to get it to the whole Church as soon as I can. There are too many people that are wondering, ‘Well now, who’s going to take over if Mr. Armstrong dies?’ I’m supposed to die right away because, of course, a lot of people do die before they are as old as I am now. But whether or not I die is going to depend on whether the living Christ lets me, or whether He keeps me alive. And maybe we’ll see something about that before we get through right here. But someone says, ‘Well, have I appointed someone to follow and take my place?’ THE ANSWER IS NO! That is NOT MY PLACE to do! I HAVE NO AUTHORITY TO DO ANY SUCH THING!
“You know, it’s a great deal like the woman who was the mother of two of Christ’s apostle, and she came to Jesus. She said, ‘Lord, when You come into Your Kingdom, I want to make a request. Please let one of my sons be on Your right hand and the other on Your left hand, when You come into Your Kingdom.’ He said, ‘Madam, you don’t know what you’re talking about. That is not Mine to decide. I have nothing to say about it. My Father only—God the Father—will decide who will be on My right hand and My left. I can’t do it! That’s out of My hands.’
“And let me tell you, THE HEAD OF THIS CHURCH IS ALIVE! Do you believe it? Jesus Christ! DO WE BELIEVE HE LIVES? Do we believe He’s on the job? Do we believe, if I am in need of correction, that He is able to see to it and give it? Let me tell you, I BELIEVE IT! I believe it through and through. And I FEAR IT! And I TREMBLE AT IT!
“If anything should happen to me, it will only happen if God allows it. God can keep me alive as long as that is necessary. And He will, as long as He feels it’s necessary. And I don’t think He is going to take me from THIS WORK until this job is finished. But if He should (if I should be wrong about that), can you trust the Living Christ to provide the man that will take over?
“If you’d ask me to choose, I couldn’t do it. I wouldn’t know who to choose right now. And I have no authority to do it. THIS IS GOING TO BE A TEST OF YOUR FAITH! Or, do you want to take it into your own hands, and know who it’s going to be—someone YOU can know in advance? Someone YOU can approve? Someone YOU CAN VOTE FOR? Oh, sometimes I say, ‘Shame on us.’ Let’s wake up.”
God used Mr. Armstrong to reveal how God would handle his successor—and in a sermon titled “Zerubbabel’s Temple.” Mr. Armstrong did later go on to appoint Joe Tkach, who obviously was not the true successor to lead God’s Church, but rather was selected by God to bring a great test on God’s people regarding whether they would hold to the truth or follow deceiver(s). Mr. Armstrong did understand he had no authority to make Mr. Tkach an apostle, who eventually declared this of himself when NO fruits had appeared. Mr. Armstrong’s TRUE successor—and this becomes obvious—would necessarily have to be revealed later.
Who Is Joshua?
With this foundation, we are ready to examine the question of, “Who is Joshua?” First understand that this prophecy was a vacant doctrine in the Worldwide Church of God. Mr. Armstrong once believed his son was Joshua. (Coincidentally, it was at this time many were privately speculating that these men might be the Two Witnesses.) But Mr. Armstrong’s thinking evolved and he eventually realized this would be impossible, for a number of reasons. When Mr. Armstrong and I spoke on the phone, we often discussed prophecy. I once asked him who was Joshua and he said that he did not know.
Gerald Flurry, the leader of PCG, originally taught that Joe Tkach was Joshua. After Joe Tkach died, he changed to Joe Tkach Jr. One effect of these crazy unbiblical ideas is Satan has brethren looking backward for false “Joshuas,” instead of forward for the true one.
Other splinters hold no teaching on Joshua other than “some day we may know.” They could never discover his identity because they lost the clues to finding him. And they are looking for the wrong profile. Grasp this! Misunderstanding Zechariah 3:3-4, people are looking for a kind of chief sinner. Obviously, no leader would claim to fulfill this description. In effect, the identity of Joshua has been hidden due to a false assumption. However, just as the point came when Mr. Armstrong had to see and explain that he was Zerubbabel, God would do the same with Joshua.
Understand. MUCH proof exists identifying Joshua beyond what can be covered in this article. Those who wish to know this additional proof—this includes all who return to God’s Church—can hear my sermons on this subject given in August 2009. Now begins examination of the “Joshua” prophecy in Zechariah 3. A verse by verse approach is best.
3:1: “And He [Jesus Christ in the context, see Zech. 2:13] showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him.”
The ancient Joshua described in Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai and Zechariah had a different name then. Ezra and Nehemiah call him Jeshua, but Haggai and Zechariah use Joshua. There is a crucial reason for this difference! Joshua means “Jehovah-saved.” (Jeshua means “he will save.”) So this man is one who is saved, not one who delivers (saves) others. Of course Jesus Christ is our ultimate Savior and High Priest.
How interesting that it was a man named Joshua who followed Moses, and was used to deliver Israel from enemies and the wilderness to the Promised Land.
Verse 1 pictures Joshua standing before Jesus Christ being resisted by Satan. The Hebrew word for resist is the verb form of the word translated Satan. It means “to attack, accuse, be an adversary or resist.” In summary, the devil is doing to Joshua what he naturally does, but in a closer and more direct way. Notice Joshua is not in Satan’s clutches, as some mistakenly believe. This man is in the devil’s crosshairs—constantly attacked, accused, opposed and RESISTED. This should not be hard to understand since the devil would most want to destroy the final leader of God’s Church. (Incidentally, I have been attacked more than any other leader alive. Only Mr. Armstrong, having had more years, was attacked more.)
3:2: “And the Lord said unto Satan, The Lord rebuke you, O Satan; even the Lord that has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?”
Next, Satan is rebuked by Christ (twice). Rebuke means “to chide, corrupt, rebuke or reprove.” This does not mean the devil is bound or has been cast into the bottomless pit. But Satan and his chief agents over the splinters are removed from being able to resist Joshua as they do. Verse 2 also describes Joshua as a “brand [poker or firebrand] plucked out of the fire.” The Hebrew word for brand means “to rake together; a poker (for turning or gathering embers).” The purpose of pokers is to stoke fires, which increases heat. God identifies Joshua as someone who does this—who continues poking the fire. This is certainly my nature, and describes my whole life. I did not ask for this personality type, but it was the type apparently necessary for the duty. During and after the apostasy, as the very first field pastor fired for standing for the truth, I did constantly stir things up to show brethren what was happening. Mr. Armstrong was the same way—very much so. Recall how he often tried to “JOLT!” (his word) people out of complacency.
The word plucked is fascinating. It means “to snatch away, whether in a good or bad sense, to defend, deliver, escape, pluck, recover, rescue, save.” God intervenes in Joshua’s life and snatches him from the fire. But what was the fire? Consider. I was pulled from Laodicea, which is eventually going into the fire of the Great Tribulation (Rev. 3:16-18). Since the prophecy is symbolic, it also relates to all fiery trials. In some ways, my whole life has been one long, fiery trial. I was in a fire, stirring and poking, and I was jerked out of the greatest one. I was saved, but also helping save others (recall the names Joshua and Jeshua) through my early books and “90 Reasons to Follow the Truth” sermons that helped many thousands leave the WCG. I never looked to be the leader. I looked for a leader. I did not resign from the WCG—I was fired for defending the sheep! Neither did I leave Global—I was fired for defending the sheep! My approach, the biblical approach, was, “A shepherd stays and dies for his sheep.” I loathed the fact that other ministers and leaders just QUIT. Some of them simply disappeared into the night, thinking they were “doing the right thing.” These men thought they were “standing for the truth” when in fact they were taking the cowardly approach. When they saw wolves coming to destroy God’s flock, they bailed out—went to wait in the back of the hall for a severance check. Ironically, the men who were looking to lead were not chosen by God. The one who was not looking for personal opportunity WAS chosen. Thousands will soon have to come to grips with this.
3:3: “Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel.”
At first glance, this is NOT a flattering picture. It is one of two phrases that led so many to think Joshua was a special sinner above others. The word translated “filthy” can also mean “excremental.” So this is a man wearing very dirty garments. We will see momentarily what these garments represent. The next verse holds the key to understanding who is Joshua.
3:4: “And he answered and spoke unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from you, and I will clothe you with change of raiment.”
So the reader knows in advance where the following explanation is going, it is helpful to first state that the filth described is simply NOT JOSHUA’S! Start with this in mind as you read. It will become crystal clear.
When I began studying this subject four years ago, along with our Headquarters ministers, serious questions came to mind. First, if verse 3 is describing Joshua’s sin(s), why would God choose such a leader—one He knew in advance would commit major sins? Imagine God putting His Church in a position where it must wait (for a short or long time) for its sin-laden leader to repent. If the sin(s) was in Joshua’s past, I was left asking, Where are they? The Hebrew for iniquity means “perversity, (moral) evil, fault, iniquity, mischief, punishment (of iniquity), sin.” There was no doubt what this referenced.
I certainly did remain in a spiritually filthy environment in the Global Church of God for years (this also describes the latter WCG years)—full of division, accusation, covetousness, nepotism, every kind of favoritism, respect of persons, doctrinal compromise, false accusations, false doctrine and gross ignorance of the Bible. But these things describe all the splinters!
Another curious omission is that Joshua’s sin is never identified. Nothing is said about what mistakes he made. Significant sins committed by biblical figures are almost invariably named. Think Cain, Adam, Noah, Job, Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Aaron, Korah, King David, Uzzah, Solomon, kings of Israel and Judah, Judas, the apostles Peter and Paul—and many more. If Joshua is a kind of great sinner, WHY ARE HIS SINS NOT LISTED?—even one of them? This fights the Bible pattern. God typically LISTS sins so others can learn from them. He does not give vague reference to something unknown. See this!
Also missing from the account is any statement of forgiveness or grace. This is typical when God’s servants are forgiven. And why is Joshua not seen as repenting if he was supposedly wrapped (clothed) in his sin? And if this is describing Joshua’s sin (iniquity), the whole Church would forever be watching to see if he slipped back into that sin. Imagine the ongoing scenario that God would have authored by selecting such a man. Why would He do that, and when has He done it before?
Looking into the Hebrew words for “thine iniquity” brought clarity. First, the word thine was added by translators. It is not in the Hebrew! The iniquity is NOT Joshua’s. As did Mr. Armstrong on a couple occasions, our Headquarters ministers asked leading rabbis if this verse was referring to Joshua’s sin. This phrase was not obscure or hard to determine for the rabbis. They knew immediately. Many preeminent Jewish commentaries and scholars explain that this has to do with the nation of Judah having fallen into sin. Also, anciently, Ezra describes (in what is a helpful type) how the men of Judah had married foreign wives. As with Solomon’s foreign wives, this led to the worship of false gods. Notice: “And the children of Israel, which were come again out of captivity, and all such as had separated themselves unto them from the filthiness of the heathen of the land, to seek the Lord God of Israel…” (Ezra 6:21). Also read chapter 9, verse 11.
In summary, it became clear that Joshua’s filthy garments were connected to his role as HIGH PRIEST. Let’s see this.
Role of the High Priest
Symbolically, high priests bear other people’s sins. In ancient Israel, the top spiritual leader bore responsibility for the nation’s sin. This office brought tremendous responsibility. (High priests served until death and, like Christ, were anointed.) The collective sins of the people were imputed to the high priest. This concept should not be foreign to Christians since Christ takes on our sins as our ultimate High Priest. This never caused anyone to conclude that Christ Himself sinned. It should also not be a stretch to believe that the Church’s leader could (in temporary circumstances) typify a high priest. Revelation 5:10 shows the Church is made up of “kings and priests.” I Peter 2:5 also describes it as a “holy priesthood,” and as a “royal priesthood” in verse 9. Joshua is a man living in unique circumstances, a time when most of God’s people are away from His Church, caught up in all kinds of sins and “ways”—FILTH!—that they have not considered as they should.
The filthy garments come from the spiritual condition of the majority of God’s people today. Joshua is a symbolic high priest carrying the filthy conduct of spiritual Israel. It becomes a reminder to him to always carry the concern of a high priest about the sin-laden people he is about to lead and serve. It has certainly been that for me. Read the Revelation 3 description of the awful condition of Laodicea. Joshua was plucked out of the Laodicean environment. Like ancient Judah, most of God’s people today are terribly—desperately!—off-track. The story of Zerubbabel and Joshua is that each left the filthiness of his Church era. Mr. Armstrong was forced from Sardis, a dying group, and I had to be taken from Laodicea. Passing through the seventh era helped me greatly in writing the “splinter books” that God has used—“Anoint Your Eyes,” The Work of God and The Government of God, among others.
Some will claim I am being self-righteous. I am certainly not claiming to be sin-free. High priests were never perfect. In Leviticus 16, when the high priest went into the Holy of Holies once a year on the Day of Atonement, he had to first offer a bullock for himself. Only then could he offer a sacrifice on behalf of the people. And remember, the modern Joshua is only a symbolic high priest. In the New Testament, only Christ is a literal High Priest.
3:5: “And I said, Let them set a fair mitre upon his head. So they set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the Lord stood by.”
Mitre means “a head dress (that is, piece of cloth wrapped around), diadem, hood, mitre.” This is a symbol of rulership and authority in the Church. God’s government exists in HIS Church. This meaning is not hard to understand.
3:6-7: “And the angel of the Lord protested unto Joshua, saying, Thus says the Lord of hosts; IF you will walk in My ways, and IF you will keep My charge, THEN you shall also judge My house, and shall also keep My courts, and I will give you places to walk among these that stand by.”
This passage contains special instruction to Joshua. The second half of verse 7 is contingent on the leader fulfilling the first two points. He will “judge My House” (IF he walks in and teaches God’s ways). We saw in Haggai the definition of God’s “House.” Let’s speak plainly from God’s Word: JOSHUA IS THE LEADER OF GOD’S CHURCH at the end of the age—exactly as was Zerubbabel (Mr. Armstrong). The word protested brings fascinating—and sobering—meaning to Joshua: “to duplicate, to repeat, by implication to protest, to testify, to reiterate…admonish, call to record, call to testify, give warning, bear, call to, give or take to witness.” This implies Joshua is hearing something again—something he already knew but of which he is being reminded.
The Hebrew for keep brings powerful meaning: “to hedge about (as with thorns), guard; generally to protect, attend to…be circumspect, take heed (to self), keep (-er, self), mark, look narrowly, observe, preserve, regard, reserve, save (self), sure, (that lay) wait (for), watch (-man).” Charge means “office, ordinance, watch or duty.” The Hebrew for “places to walk” means “a walking (in a collective sense), access.” Joshua has a certain course to walk, and he will make it through if he continues to follow God. But the primary meaning is that, as leader of God’s House (Church), it is his duty to be sure the WHOLE CHURCH walks in God’s ways. I worked alongside Mr. Armstrong (Zerubbabel) while he was putting the Church back on track. In fact, I worked most closely with him during that period. It was enormously important to spend these hours on the phone with him in the late 1970s as he put doctrines discarded by the liberals back into place.
“Places to walk” also implies certain access to world leaders is given as occurred under Zerubbabel. Read Revelation 10:11 focusing on the word “kings.” The “court” that Joshua keeps has to do with a kind of “village” or “hamlet”—a “court” (singular—the translators thought it was the several courts of a literal Temple.) Look up the word in Hebrew. It is not hard to understand in light of our expanding Headquarters campus.
In order to walk in God’s ways, whoever would be Joshua must clearly understand ALL of God’s ways. He must know without a doubt what was established, re-established and revealed through Mr. Armstrong (Zerubbabel). He must be someone who will not compromise ANY of God’s ways. I take this instruction very seriously—and the record of my life PROVES this.
3:8: “Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, you, and your fellows that sit before you: for they are men wondered at: for, behold, I will bring forth my servant the BRANCH [this is obviously referring to JESUS CHRIST].”
These “fellows” do not belong to Joshua (“your fellows”), but are more like “friends” or “companions.” (“Your” is not in the Hebrew.) One does not own his friends or fellows. This has to reference (certain?!) men under Joshua. “Men wondered at” means “a miracle, by implication a token or omen, a sign, a wonder.” This is almost certainly talking about the Two Witnesses—better translated as “men of wonder”—introduced just five verses later in the next chapter—the only Old Testament reference to these two final prophets. These are of course men of miracles and signs. This is in part why I have repeated often that the Two Witnesses will come from God’s one Church, and nowhere else. Branch obviously refers to Jesus Christ (also read Zechariah 6:12).
3:9-10: “For behold the stone that I have laid before Joshua; upon one stone shall be seven eyes: behold, I will engrave the graving thereof, says the Lord of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day. In that day, says the Lord of hosts, shall you call every man his neighbor under the vine and under the fig tree.”
First understand the setting of verses 9-10. Joshua is described in the context of Jesus Christ returning and His Millennial reign being established. Verse 9 describes a stone with “seven eyes” in front of Joshua. Zechariah 4:10 shows these are the “eyes of the Lord. ” Revelation 5:6 says these seven eyes are seven spirits. Isaiah 8:14 shows the stone is CHRIST: “He shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel…” Isaiah 28:16 states, “I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation…” It should now be obvious that Joshua leads the Church until Jesus Christ—the Stone—returns. The leader stands behind the stone that lays before him. Now get this! If no one fulfilled the modern role of Joshua, there would be no leader of God’s Church awaiting Christ’s Return. The final leader of God’s Church is present when Christ ushers in His government over all nations! This Joshua is led by Christ, Who stands in front of him.
Accept the facts from God’s Word! The honest reader will at least admit that someone fulfills the role of Joshua today. Someone, somewhere—one man—must do this. And realize that this man would (so obviously) be the first to know who he was. Imagine Joshua not knowing he was Joshua. I learned my identity almost four years ago. Haggai’s prophecy means you must learn it now.
Great Test for God’s People
Think. If God had revealed to Mr. Armstrong who his true successor would be, it would have made the difficult decisions facing God’s people at the end much too easy. There would have been no need to seek, reprove and fight to retain the truth, no need to pass the continuing test of false leaders—both the apostates and the top splinter leaders who copied many of their teachings—and no need in the same way for faith, patience, diligent study or careful examination of fruits to determine where Christ is leading His government today—and connected to this, no need to discern where His Work is being done and where He is actively building God’s Temple. God knew that all of these points His people could—and should!—have remembered on their own. (But the Haggai prophecy makes plain they NEED HELP, and they will soon receive this help.)
Similarly, God did not reveal from Mr. Armstrong’s lips who the final, true leader of His Church would be after the apostasy because there would have been no test if He did. (When in the New Testament era did God ever reveal in advance who His next leader would be?) Again, everything would have been too easy. No searching and proving would have been required. Similar to the mindset of the thousands in PCG, the thinking would have been “just follow this (designated) man and protection is secured.” This would have turned God’s people into so many robots—Catholics—who believe they just follow their pope to be saved, without concern for truth or anything else.
Also realize God would have to send a man at the right moment, after Mr. Armstrong’s time, but before the age ended, to explain crucially important prophecies. He did this! Make yourself recognize and ACCEPT that someone had to be sent (the literal meaning of apostle, the highest New Testament office) to correctly teach the Haggai prophecy itself. This happened! A messenger was sent to explain critical matters! At a point, God had to reveal to His people His “message” (Hag. 1:13) in Haggai. Who would He use? His second and final leader—the man introduced alongside Zerubbabel! Grasp this. The prophet Haggai is himself referred to as “the Lord’s messenger…unto His people.” But no one would understand Haggai’s message—GOD’S message (also Hag. 1:3)—if another messenger were not sent to explain it.
So obviously, that man would be Joshua, the figure found throughout Haggai!
You are counseled to concern yourself with the meaning of the Zechariah 3 prophecy, not why Mr. Armstrong did not understand its timing! Much is at stake for you in who fulfills the role of Joshua. You are also counseled to not let smugness defeat you—to be willing to deeply examine YOUR CONDITION—to “consider your ways.” And you are further counseled to focus on the importance of finishing God’s all-important Work, and whether you will come at God’s appointed time to support it.
Other crucial verses in Zechariah speak directly to Haggai’s prophecy. These will be covered beginning late next month in the final two weeks of scheduled postings!
Understand that your leaders will almost certainly race to defeat proper understanding of this subject. They will not submit to God’s government, and thus not to God’s final leader. Some will probably claim Mr. Armstrong “taught something different” about it. But Mr. Armstrong never knew who fulfilled the role of Joshua. Try to find a single quote—one place—where Mr. Armstrong in any way identified Joshua. It remained an open question at his death.
Do not miss upcoming announcements!