Are You Worthy to Take the Passover?
TO SAVE THIS WORLD….ARE SUPERHEROES NEEDED?
Hollywood movies such as the upcoming Avengers Infinity War, along with the recent blockbuster hits of Black Panther, Wonder Woman and Justice League, are just a few examples of how the plot of saving the world is gaining in popularity with audiences around the world.Mankind seems to share in the belief that this current world, or civilization, is in need of SAVING. In movies, and television shows like the Flash, we see a growing popular genre portrayed by SAVIORS battling great odds, at the risk of this current world being destroyed. At the end though, this world is saved by the superheroes, and the current civilization continues on. In reality, the world is facing tremendous troubles and evils, not from an enemy from outer space, but rather within human nature itself. But let us review this plot with the Word of God to see if whether such a thing will happen, and how. Who will save mankind from total destruction? A human being empowered with super powers, overcoming great odds? Will mankind be able to save itself from it’s troubles? Will our enemy be from outer space, or terrestrial? The Holy Bible has much to say about our near future, and the plot is much more FANTASTIC that any movie coming out of Hollywood. FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD It’s like coming in to a movie when it’s about 90-95% finished. You don’t know what went before. You don’t know what events led up to what you’re seeing in the movie now. Consequently, you don’t understand what’s going on when you see the movie, if you didn’t see it from the beginning. The beginning always sets the foundation for the whole thing. So people try to look at this world that way, from what they see today. If you don’t go back and see what led up to it, you don’t understand the world. You don’t understand how it came to be this way. What was the foundation of this world? God’s purpose is to build a kingdom. That kingdom is something built, and it is likened to a building; and it’s compared to a building in the Scriptures. Like a building, it had to be built on a foundation. We read in Psalm 127 where David wrote: Psalm 127:1 Except the [Eternal] build the house, they labour in vain that build it. There the world is likened to a house that is built; and except God builds the house, they labor in vain that build it. Now God did purpose to build a house. That house is a kingdom. That house is a great nation. That house was a great civilization. And He chose to build it out of matter, out of dirt. So He formed a man out of dirt, out of the dust of the ground. He intended to build the house from that man. Now, the man wasn’t complete. He hadn’t completed even the foundation yet. Physically, the man was incomplete because God wanted him to reproduce and produce more people to build, so that the building would carry on and grow. The man, of course, couldn’t do it alone. So God took one of his ribs; and, out of Adam, He made a woman. He didn’t make the woman out of the ground, like He had Adam. She was made out of him. Woman came from man. Man came from the ground. God had purposed to build a Family. It was His Family; and His Family potentially began with Adam. It was all coming out of Adam, because Eve came out of Adam, and then Cain, and Abel, and Seth. Then they had other sons and daughters after that, who all came out of Adam and Eve. Then other children came out of them. So you trace it back, and ultimately every human being has come out of Adam; and we’re all the family of Adam. It was the potential Family of God. Satan kidnapped this family. And here we had the rather ludicrous and ridiculous idea, or situation, that the kidnapped person actually believed in the kidnapper and the kidnapper’s way of life a whole lot more than the potential Father. God is the potential Father, and He intended them to become His children; but they had to receive Life from Him. They had to first QUALIFY. In other words, God is the perfect spiritual character, and man was given a chance to receive the Spirit of God. First he had to make a decision. He had to want that. Wanting it, it was available to him; and God offered it to him freely. He would have received the Spirit of God. Through the Spirit of God he would have begun to receive the knowledge, and he would have received the LOVE of God shed abroad in his heart. He would have received the knowledge of the law of God, of the way of perfection in life and perfect character. But in order to perform that perfect character and produce it, it takes love. God did not build Adam, or create Adam, with that kind of love. That was like the icing of the cake, would have to come later. It could have come through His Holy Spirit if Adam had taken of the Tree of Life, which he did not do. He rejected it, so he could not have it; and it could not come to humans until the time of Jesus Christ.
SATAN THE KIDNAPPERBut Adam, instead of receiving the guidance of God, now received the guidance of Satan the kidnapper; and so the whole family did go. It was the potential Family of God; but it was kidnapped by Satan, and it has loved the way of the kidnapper. So a world was founded on Adam. He had made a decision. He was going to go the way he did, and he was influenced and led by Satan when he could have been led by God. He became Satan’s property, and it was Satan’s way of self — do your own thing, resent authority, selfishness, vanity — instead of cooperation, and serving, and helping, and togetherness. That became the foundation of the world. But the foundation was faulty, and so the superstructure was bound to be faulty. Now we turn back, and I’d like you to read Matthew the seventh chapter and verses 24 through 27. Matthew 7:24-25 Therefore [Jesus said] whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock [a solid foundation of a rock]. (25) And the rain descended, and the floods came [It was a heavy storm.], and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. It had a solid foundation. It had the right start, the right foundation. And every building starts from its foundation. You know, you don’t build the roof first, and then the top floor and others, and then build under them because what would hold up the roof and the top floor? You build the foundation first. Matthew 7:26-27 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: (27) And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew [It was a big storm.], and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall [thereof]. Now, a house has been built. “Except the [Eternal] — or except God — build the house, they labor in vain that build it.” Humanity has been laboring in vain 6,000 years building this house, this superstructure that we call the world, that we call this civilization. It is a world, it is a building, on a faulty foundation; and every thing has been wrong with that foundation. Not only was it an unsound foundation but it was started out on the wrong attitude, the wrong motive — self — from Satan; and it was influenced by Satan all the way through. Jesus came to save the situation, and I want to tell you how He came to save it; but first I want you to notice this. He came, and Satan tried to kill Him. Later he tried to deceive Him and to get Jesus to sin, and Jesus didn’t. And so, when Satan couldn’t do that and Jesus did found His Church, His Church was a building started on a solid foundation of a Rock; and Jesus Christ is that Rock. The foundation, as I’ll show you later, is the apostles and prophets; and Christ, the Rock, is the chief corner stone and the chief of the foundation. So Jesus came with the good news of another building altogether — the Kingdom of God. God was going to start a kingdom, but Satan kidnapped that kingdom. That kingdom has built a certain superstructure that we call the world, that we call civilization. It’s been built on a false foundation. Now, the Protestant churches have been deceived; and they’re trying to SAVE the world. They’re trying to save the superstructure. They’re not going back to repair the original foundation. No, there’s a Rock in the foundation that’s going to let the whole building crash; and they’re laboring in vain, because the Lord isn’t building their house. They’re trying to work on the superstructure and save that. God has no intention of saving that superstructure. That may be a surprise to you, but just listen. Jesus came and preached the good news of the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is THE FAMILY OF GOD that will rule the world and become a nation. In other words, it too starts with the Church, and the Church is that Kingdom in embryo. The Church is also called a house, or a building, “fitly framed together.” It’s built on a Rock. Now what I want you to notice, Jesus preached this gospel. But, in Galatians the first chapter and verses 6 and 7, the apostle Paul said to the Churches up in Galatia: Galatians 1:6 I marvel that you are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel. What they were called to was this sure and safe foundation — the truth of God and the grace of Christ, who came to restore us back to the Father (God) from whom Satan the kidnapper has kidnapped us. Galatians 1:6-7 I marvel that you are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel [Another message about what it’s all about.]: (7) which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of [Jesus] Christ. Again, I want you to turn … Well, Satan counterfeited with another gospel. He turned them to a different gospel altogether. Jesus did not come to try to save this superstructure. What He came for was to start another building altogether. God had started a potential building that could have been His building, but Adam rejected Him and turned to Satan and Satan’s way instead. Now God is going to let it CRASH! God is going to let this world COME DOWN! GOD IS NOT TRYING TO SAVE THIS WORLD, and this world is going to CRASH DOWN and go into extinction. Now those words are a little bit shocking, I think, to most people. Most religions think Jesus came to save this superstructure. That’s what they are trying to do. They don’t say, “Come out of the world.” They’re PART OF THIS WORLD. The Catholic church is part of this world. The Protestant churches — the Methodists, the Presbyterians, the Baptists, the Lutherans, the Congregationalists, and so on — they’re all PART OF THIS WORLD. They’re the religious part, and they are preaching. They don’t realize it. They’re blinded. They’re deceived, and they don’t know it. I’m not saying they are maliciously, intentionally, wrong. They think they’re right! They’re just as honest in believing they’re right as you are in knowing that we’re right. But they are deceived, and they are trying to save this world.
A NEW AND DIFFERENT WORLDGod is not trying to save this world. And you can’t find where Jesus Christ, when He was on earth, tried to save this world. Rather He called His disciples out from this world and said, “Come out of this world altogether. I’m going to start a new and a different world. We’re going to start a new building. We’re going to let this building crash! We’re going to start a NEW BUILDING altogether.” And it’s based on a foundation that was first a Rock, and then the disciples that He taught became apostles. The superstructure, the foundation of this building that God is building, is: Ephesians 2:20 … built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself [the Rock] being the chief cornerstone. A building built on a Rock. So God sent Jesus Christ into the world as the second Adam, starting all over where the first Adam could have but failed. Jesus came as the second Adam. Now, Jesus made the decision. In fact, He had the Spirit of God from birth because He was begotten by the Spirit of God and not by a human sperm cell. But He was tempted in all points, every way that Adam was and then some. Satan tried to kill Him. Then Satan tried to deceive Him. Satan didn’t succeed. Then Satan went after the Church; and he martyred the leaders of the Church, and they were put to death. Then he started a controversy as to whether the gospel should be the gospel of Christ (that Christ brought, His own gospel) or some different gospel that they would make up (a gospel of men) merely about Christ. There was a 100-year lapse in the history of the Church, and we have no record of what happened. But when the curtain lifts over that which had been drawn down over the history of the Church, 100 years later we find a church calling itself “Christian” that is as different as night is from day from the Church that Jesus started on the day of Pentecost through the apostles — built on Christ and the apostles. It was a totally different church, and that is what all the churches in this world have come on out of that. Men believe what they get from other people in the church. This Church, brethren, did not come that way. The original apostles were taught by Jesus Christ, and the apostle of this time was taught by Jesus Christ. Jesus in person is the personal Word of God. The Bible is the SAME Word of God, in writing. And God taught me by Jesus in writing, just as He taught the early apostles by Jesus in person; but it’s the same Word exactly. The churches have preserved it, believe it or not; but they don’t understand it because it’s written in code. They can’t break the code. They can’t understand what it says. Jesus came as the second Adam. He started an entire, NEW, different building all together — A DIFFERENT CIVILIZATION. Not reforming, not healing up this sick world; but starting a new world all together — from start to finish built on a new, separate, foundation. And He called His disciples OUT OF this world. They didn’t choose Him. They were not volunteers. He said, “You have not chosen Me, but I have called you OUT OF THIS WORLD;” and He taught them.
RECONCILED TO GOD THE FATHERNow then, Jesus came to reconcile those who are called OUT of this world. They are no longer part of the world, and they are reconciled to God by the blood of Christ. The world thinks you are saved by the blood of Christ. You read in the 5th chapter of the book of Romans, and you will see that we are not saved by Jesus’ blood. We are reconciled to God by the death of Christ, not saved by the death of Christ. Death can’t give you life. But we’ll be SAVED BY HIS LIFE, His resurrection! We are not saved by His death. We are saved by His Life. But His death reconciled us back to God from whom we’d been kidnapped. Now THE WORLD DOESN’T WANT TO GO BACK TO GOD; AND THE WORLD BELIEVES IN A FALSE JESUS. MOST OF THE CHURCHES PREACH ABOUT JESUS. THEY PREACH ABOUT CHRIST. THEY DON’T PREACH ABOUT GOD THE FATHER. You don’t hear very much about GOD. That’s why they say, “The law is done away.” The law is honoring God. It is GOD who established the Sabbath. It is GOD who said you are stealing when you take His tithe that is holy to Him. The things that are holy to God they’re not concerned about. They’re only concerned selfishly about the things that seem right to them, and that’s what the Protestant churches are teaching all the time. Well now, at the foundation of the world God had a plan; and our annual holy days picture that plan to us. Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die [That’s from the foundation of the world.], but after this the judgment. Now the judgment will come by a resurrection. Next you go to I Corinthians 15, beginning with verse 22. I Corinthians 15:22 For as in Adam ALL die … Adam died. He lived 930 years, then he died. His life ran out. We find men then lived to be about 500 years old. Then they lived to be about 120 years old. And finally, in the days of king David, he was 70 years and was “old and stricken with years.” Then he died, when he reached 70. And today that’s about the expectancy of life — 70 years. God has blessed some of us with a little longer life than that, but: I Corinthians 15:22-23 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall ALL [the same “all”] be made alive. (23) But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits [by a resurrection from the dead, the firstborn among many brethren]; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming [will be resurrected out of their graves]. Those that are alive and remain at that time will changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, from mortal to immortal; and will rise to meet Christ in the air as He’s coming back to reign in the new world that He came to start. Not this same world at all! An entirely new and different building — a new world, a new civilization. The present world started on a foundation. God started another world on this foundation of Christ, but He’s not trying to save this world so that whosoever will in this world can just get saved; and the whole world is going to be saved one by one. Instead, Jesus said in John 6:44: John 6:44 No man can come to me … Now, there’s only one door to God. The main thing is to get back to God the Father. The Protestant churches and the Catholic church ignore God the Father. The Catholic church teaches you to go to Mary, and the Protestant churches teach you to go to Jesus. But, you see, the law came from God the Father. Christ came to restore us to God the Father and reconcile us to God. It’s God who has eternal life to give. God is the Father from whom the potential Family has been kidnapped. Jesus said: John 6:44 No man can come to me [And He’s the only door to get to God.], except the Father which hath sent me draw him. It’s a case of getting to the Father; and the Father has to choose and call you and draw you, or you can’t come to Christ.
BUILDINGS: THE CHURCH AND THE WORLDSo the Church now is, and is called, a building. Notice in Ephesians, in the 2nd chapter of Ephesians. I’d like to begin first in verse 1. Ephesians 2:1-2 And you [said to the Church at Ephesus, and they had been Gentiles originally. You … ] hath he quickened [or, made alive and given the spirit of immortality], who were dead in trespasses and sins; wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world … You were part of this structure — this superstructure built on a false foundation. It is led by Satan, who has built a superstructure we call “the world.” And you were part of it. You were deceived by Satan. Ephesians 2:2 … according to the prince of the power of the air [who is Satan], the spirit that now WORKS [now is working] in the children of disobedience. And he was working in every one of us, brethren; but we’ve been called out, so he doesn’t work in us any longer. We are no longer part of this building. This building is going to CRASH! This building is coming down. If you are in a big building and it is going to topple over in an earthquake, if you can get out and away from that building maybe you can save your life. But you don’t want to stay in it or you’ll crash with it. This world is going to crash down! It’s a building that’s going to CRASH and CRUMBLE and BE DESTROYED. If you stay in it, you’re going to be destroyed with it. Jesus said, “COME OUT of this world and be separate.” He called us out of the world, and it is only those that are called. Now I took a sermon one time to devote considerable time going through actually dozens of passages all through the New Testament showing that all of those who get into the Church have been called, have been chosen by God. They are not volunteers. They are draftees. We have been conscripted. Well, now then, I wanted to go a little farther. Coming over next to Ephesians the 2nd chapter, beginning with verse 19: Ephesians 2:19 Now therefore you [who were Gentiles. He said to the Church at Ephesus:] are no more strangers and foreigners [because the true Church was Israel converted and receiving the Spirit of God], but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God. Now house — household — that is the family. It’s a family living in a house; and that house is built on a faulty foundation, and we are to come out of it. But the new Family is built on a new foundation, and it is new house. It’s the house of God. In the Bible, we find the kingdom of Israel and the kingdom of Judah are so often called “the house of Israel” and “the house of Judah.” The word “house” is used to designate a nation in many, many places in the Bible. Ephesians 2:20-21 And [you are] built on the foundation [Now notice the foundation here. And in the Church we are built on a NEW and DIFFERENT foundation. Not the foundation of Adam and Satan. Built on the foundation:] of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone [Just as I’ve been saying, we are built on a Rock. We are built on a solid foundation.]; (21) in whom ALL THE BUILDING [You see, we are a building. The Church and the world to come, the civilization, is a building. “In whom all the building … “] fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord [a spiritual temple]. And you, brethren — and I’d like to include myself with you — are that temple to which Christ is coming. Some people think the Jews are going to build a new temple for Christ. The Jews reject Christ. They’re not going to build the temple for Him to come to. But GOD IS BUILDING THAT TEMPLE! And you and me — we, individually — each are the temple of the Holy Spirit; and as a collective body we are the temple of God in whom the Holy Spirit dwells. We are built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets. Jesus Christ the ROCK is the chief corner stone, or the foundation on which we are built. Ephesians 2:22 In whom you also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. It’s the building in which God will dwell, a habitation of God — an entirely new and different building, an entirely new civilization. Jesus taught the knowledge about the Kingdom of God. And so He taught us that this world is going to crash, and He is going to come as the King of kings, the Lord of lords, to start a new world. Jesus had to meet Satan head on. He conquered Satan, and He qualified to replace Satan on the throne of the earth. Satan is on the throne of the earth, and this says he has kidnapped the potential Family of God. It has been his world, and he’s on the throne of the world over all the governments of the different nations of the world; and Satan is the king over all of them. They are blinded and they don’t know it. He has blinded them so they don’t see the truth, as you read in II Corinthians; let me see, I think it’s 4 and verse 3.
BUILDING A NEW WORLDNow in Matthew 24, they asked Jesus about the end of the world. This world is going to come down and crash. This building is going to crumble and be destroyed. He said that this same gospel of the Kingdom that Jesus preached would be proclaimed in all the world; and it was not for 1900 years. God has raised me up to proclaim that worldwide, and it has gone worldwide. Matthew 24:14 This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations [Not in all nations, but for a witness to them.]; and then shall the end come [The end of this world, the collapse of the world.]. It will be ended. It will be over. In verse 21 and 22 you find the final crash, being the Great Tribulation; and ALL HUMANITY would be destroyed — there wouldn’t be a man, woman, or child left alive from the nuclear war — except that God will for the Church’s sake (the elect’s sake that He has elected) shorten those days before everybody is made extinct. For our sake, the whole world will be … Not all of the world will be saved, but enough at least to start a new world; and we will be ruling over them. Now then, finally in Revelation the 3rd chapter and the 21st verse, Jesus said: Revelation 3:21 To him that overcometh [That’s in the Church.] will I grant to sit with me in my throne [That’s in the new earth, after this earth has crumbled, and fallen, and crashed; and He’s come to start the new world, the new building.], even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne [that was in heaven]. And then in the 2nd chapter and verses 26 and 27 of Revelation: Revelation 2:26 He that overcometh [And we have to overcome, and we have to endure to the end. “He that overcometh:”], and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations. We’re finally, after the world has crashed and Satan is gone, now we’re going to start a new government — a new world. And we are, say, the first floor or two of the next high-rise building built on the original foundation of Jesus Christ and the apostles and prophets. We’re going to build the rest of the superstructure. And, as Christ taught the apostles and they began to teach others, I’ve been teaching you people. You are being taught so you can teach others at this time, when you’re going to have POWER over the rest of the world. You’re going to rule them. You’re going to judge them. And you’re going to teach them the truth. And then they will be able to repent, and come and receive the Spirit of God, and take of the Tree of Life — which Adam rejected (the first Adam), and which the second Adam did take, and which we’ll ALL be taking at that time. Revelation 2:26-27 He that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations; (27) And he shall RULE them with a rod of iron … Other scriptures say we’re going to judge the world. We’re even going to judge angels. But this world God is not going to save. He’s going to save a lot of people out of it. Those in the world that are not called now, I read you the scriptures of how all who are not still alive have all died; and many more are going to die before Christ comes. In fact, I would say that more than two-thirds of all the people on the face of this earth. I would say that probably close to 3 BILLION people on the earth are going to die or be killed between now and the Second Coming of Christ, and that’s in our lifetime. TERRIBLE things are going to happen, and the world now is frightened. The world’s leaders are frightened and perplexed, and they don’t understand. They don’t have any solutions. They don’t know what to do. Brethren, God is using us as the solution. We’re going to not save this world. We’re going to build a new world. And those that are left alive, they will have been called out of this world because this world will have CRASHED and be dead. We’ll be starting a new world, there won’t be any devil around to deceive them. And then for 1,000 years — which we celebrate at the Feast of Tabernacles every year — we’re going to be saving the rest of the world, and judging them, and ruling over them IN GOD’S WORLD, living God’s way according to God’s law and through the Spirit of God. They will be given the Spirit of God, and then they will be given eternal and immortal life. That is, all who are willing. But they will have to repent. They will have to make a decision — every one of them. But there won’t be any Satan around to deceive and mislead them. They won’t be deceived.
DECIDING TO GO GOD’S WAYIf they make a wrong decision, their blood will be on their own head. They won’t be deceived. Today most people are deceived. God knows that, and He puts the blame where it belongs — on Satan the devil. That is, the primary blame. Then, after the Millennium, there’ll be the Great White Throne Judgment; and everybody that ever lived is going to come back to life. Those converted during the Millennium, plus us, will all be in the Family of God in this NEW BUILDING, THIS NEW STRUCTURE. And the old structure will have crumbled and been long forgotten. Then, every one of them is going to be just like Adam was in the beginning. They’re going to face the two trees, so to speak; but there won’t be any devil there to deceive them. We’ll be there to teach them, and every influence around them is going to be a godly influence to lead them God’s way. You know, personally I believe the overwhelming majority are going to respond and be saved when they are no longer deceived; but not all, otherwise the Bible wouldn’t say that there are going to be those who will become ashes under the soles of our feet. It’s not a universal salvation. No one can be saved except he makes the decision himself. It’s not only making the decision, it’s acting on that decision. Sin is the transgression of the law, not just the temptation and the desire. It is acting on that temptation. It’s when the desire comes, you meditate on it and you think, and finally you give in and say, “Well, I’ll go ahead and do it.” The doing is the sin! People are going to have to make their own decisions. They’re going to have to be doers as well as hearers. But finally it will be God’s building, built on a sound foundation. But this world, this building, is on its last legs. We talk about the end of the world. It’s drawing near. Be sure that you’re not caught in the destruction, when the building crumbles that you don’t fall down with it. Come out of it before that time, because we are going to have protection. Come under that protection and we have nothing to worry about, but all hope and glory lies ahead for all of us. The current popular genre in movies today are about mankind SAVING THIS CURRENT WORLD from being destroyed! The movies and television shows are portraying mankind, in it’s super human glory, battling a great being from outer space, from destroying this current world and civilization. We read about how mankind will try to FIGHT JESUS CHRIST with armies when He returns to establish the Kingdom of God, in the battle of Armageddon. They themselves are being deceived into thinking that they need to SAVE THIS WORLD, but they are simply unable to. Since the beginning it was DOOMED to fail! It’s foundation is faulty. But THANK GOD, that His plan did not end with this current house/civilization which has been built upon Satan’s “GET” way of life! He gave a choice to Adam, and he rejected God. Then it was decided for Christ to come, and to start a NEW CIVILIZATION, and those whom God has called today, is being CALLED OUT of this current world, to be part of this NEW CIVILIZATION- the Kingdom of God. We see a lot of movies and television shows portraying superheroes saving this world, but this plot is contrary to what the Bible says and is being used by the great deceiver Satan to deceive the people in eventually fighting JESUS CHRIST, the very creator who is trying to DELIVER MANKIND FROM THEIR KIDNAPPER- SATAN! The wonderful HOPE is that all of mankind WILL BE SAVED from the enemy who seeks our destruction! Not by super human beings, but by the very GOD who created them and who seeks their good. Those called today have been called to be part of that HOUSEHOLD OF GOD, called out of this doomed world. Jesus Christ will return soon with the Church of God, His bride, who will be joint-SAVIORS OF MANKIND, to save us from total annihilation. Satan our kidnapper will be finally removed and all of mankind will have a chance to live in happiness, prosperity, and in abundant living in THE WORLD TOMORROW. HOW WONDERFUL IS THE HOPE AND SALVATION OF MANKIND! * Most of this article was said taken from Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong’s sermon: “Foundation of a New World By Herbert W Armstrong given December 31, 1983”. If you would like to listen to this sermon, please click here. ]]>
The REAL HISTORY of the TRUE CHURCH
Few indeed know the Bible reveals a great false church, deceiving millions, and a true Church of God, persecuted, yet enduring. Few know the real PURPOSE of the Church, who built it and why. Now we are warned of a forthcoming effort to deceive even this generation concerning who really built the present era of the true Church. Here is the plain truth.
by Herbert W. Armstrong [The Plain Truth Magazine, April 1982]FIRST of all, let the true FACT be stated that Jesus Christ built the true Church of God. It was founded by the resurrected living Christ, after his ascension to heaven. He has remained permanently the HEAD of it. The questions, then, are WHY was it built-what is its PURPOSE- by whom did Christ build it-and through whom has he built up the present era of the Church? What is the Church? WHY does it exist? What is its PURPOSE? People in the Western world take the church as an institution for granted-they know not why! A large segment of millions flock to services Sunday mornings. But WHY the Church? But WHY? Just what is the Church? Is it a building with a sharply sloping roof, with a steeple atop pointing heavenward, a cross on its facade? Do the members go to the church? Or does the local church assemble in a building or place? Winston Churchill said before the United States Congress during World War II, “There is a PURPOSE being worked out here below.” Does the Church have anything to do with that PURPOSE? To understand what the world does not understand, we need to consider the world into which Jesus came when he said, “I will build my church.” He came into the same world in which you and I live today. It’s the same world, though it has undergone significant changes in two directions. Its technology, its materialistic science and production have awesomely increased, while conversely the complexity of its social, regulatory, governmental, judiciary and educational systems has tremendously expanded. It has produced appalling evils, unsolvable problems, human discontent, unhappiness and suffering. But all that is merely the expansion of human systems already functioning. We cannot therefore understand the PURPOSE of the Church until we first understand the origin of civilization-the world into which Jesus came to build his Church. For indeed the Church is the Master Plan of the Eternal GOD for working out his PURPOSE here below. What was wrong that needed such a PURPOSE to be worked out? Not God’s Civilization This world has been blinded from the truth about its very civilization and how it started. Many people assume this is GOD’S civilization. Actually it all started in the dim recesses of prehistory. A super archangel, the cherub Lucifer (Isa. 14:12-15), invisible but immortal and extremely intelligent, was very high in rank in the government of the universe. He was one of two majestic cherubs whose wings overspread the very throne of the supreme Creator God in heaven (Ezek. 28:14-15). At the creation of the earth, Lucifer was set on earth’s throne to administer the government of God, in which he was adequately trained and experienced. Lucifer reigned over angels whose abode was then the newly created earth. But, while still on the inside of God’s universe-government, perfect in all his ways from his creation, Lucifer allowed vanity to corrupt him into covetousness, envy and rebellion. A spirit of competition entered him. He attempted to take over the government of the entire universe. He and his invading army of angels (II Pet. 2:4) swooped up to heaven in violent conquest to overthrow the Creator God from his throne over the universe. But they were cast back down to earth. Lucifer became Satan the devil, still on the throne of the earth, but no longer administering God’s government. His angels became demons. This angelic rebellion brought confusion, decay and darkness to the earth (Gen. 1:2). Then God (Ps. 104:30) in six days renewed the face of the earth (Gen. 1:3-25) for MAN (verse 26), created in God’s own image, after the God-kind-with God’s grand PURPOSE to be worked out here below of reproducing himself through MAN! That supreme PURPOSE provides that man shall be born, finally, into the very GOD Family! Yet the world seems never to have grasped that PURPOSE, or the incredible human potential! Man was created with human spirit (Job 32:8, I Cor. 2:11, Rom. 8:16), which imparts the power of intellect to the human brain. Except for this, human brain is like animal brain. Man was created with power of mind, in the form and shape of God, yet, even as dumb vertebrates, of matter from the ground with only temporary existence. Man, since rebellion entered his world, has been blinded as to what, and why he is-except for those to whom God has revealed this truth. Civilization Is Founded God is composed of Spirit. God is immortal, possessing life inherent-self-containing life. Man’s life is animal life-temporary physiochemical existence. But immortal, self-containing life was freely offered the first created man! That man was named Adam. But he was first made incomplete in two ways: he was of one gender only and to reproduce he needed another gender with him, so God made for him a wife, named Eve. Also his mind was incomplete, with the one human spirit. This gave him capability to acquire material knowledge-to deal with things. But God’s ultimate PURPOSE for him required a close relationship with his Maker, God, and also a workable, peaceful and happy relationship with fellowman. His mind therefore was incomplete as first created. For completion, another Spirit was needed-the Holy Spirit of God. All this wonderful truth seems to have been missing from humanly taught knowledge. It is revealed in the incident of the forbidden fruit, explained in the second and third chapters of Genesis. WHY has this been ignored-misunderstood- misrepresented? The entire founding of man’s civilization has lain hidden in this incident of the forbidden fruit. What if-yes, what if Adam had eaten of the tree of LIFE? The theologians and religionists seem never to have asked-or answered-that question. Before the first created man and woman were two symbolic trees. One was the tree of the “knowledge of good and evil.” This tree produced the forbidden fruit. That tree (Adam did not eat an apple) represented knowledge. To take to himself this knowledge production (of good and evil-of right or wrong)-would result in death. The other tree was the tree of LIFE-immortal, inherent life. But it, too, represented KNOWLEDGE. How do we know? Because immortal LIFE is today offered to the called Christian. And how does he obtain it? Not all at once, instantaneously, but by first receiving the very Spirit Adam lacked-the Holy Spirit of God. When one receives the GIFT of God’s Holy Spirit, he becomes merely a begotten child of God. And the Spirit of God opens the mind to UNDERSTAND the spiritual Word of God-the Bible! Man needed spiritual knowledge for fellowship with his Maker, as well as for contact with fellowman. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of a sound mind-the Spirit by which the mind is enabled to comprehend-to UNDERSTAND-spiritual knowledge as revealed through God’s Word (I Cor. 2:9-14). Placed before the first created man, father of the human family, were two very special trees in the garden of Eden, symbolic of tremendous meaning. The man was required to make a choice. One symbolic tree represented LIFE – self-containing life inherent-immortality. The other, DEATH! The tree of LIFE symbolized the gift of God’s Holy Spirit, the begettal of eternal LIFE. The forbidden tree was called the tree of “the KNOWLEDGE of good and evil.” When Adam disobeyed God and ate the fruit from that tree, he TOOK TO HIMSELF “the knowledge of good and evil”-that is, potential SPIRITUAL KNOWLEDGE! Understand at this point. God had created man with a mind capable of acquiring and utilizing material knowledge-the knowledge to work with matter-with things! This knowledge he could acquire on his own. But he had not been created with a mind that could discern, by itself, right from wrong-that is, SPIRITUAL KNOWLEDGE! The one human spirit created in man-and born in all humans since-can acquire physical, material knowledge. But it is unable of itself to discern spiritual knowledge. And spiritual knowledge can be imparted to the mind ONLY BY GOD! Adam, in taking to himself the “knowledge of good and evil”- that is, potential SPIRITUAL KNOWLEDGE-limited himself to material knowledge only. WHY? Because the one human spirit in man is not the faculty that sees, hears, smells, tastes or feels. The physical brain sees through the eye, hears through the ear, smells through the nose. And human man is LIMITED IN KNOWLEDGE to that which may enter his brain through these five physical senses! Adam, father and progenitor of the human family, had chosen self-produced humanly acquired knowledge and death. He lived 930 years and he died. All his children subsequently died after a temporary physiochemical existence! And so, at that time, “the foundation of the world,” Christ, the Lamb of God was slain (Rev. 13:8). That is, it was set by God at the foundation of the world that in due time Christ should come and die to pay the penalty for human sin. It was also decreed that “it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Heb. 9:27). It was then that God shut up the “tree of LIFE”-that is, the Holy Spirit, from mankind until after Jesus Christ, the second Adam, had come and paid the penalty of human sin in man’s stead. How Civilization Was Built God did not shut himself off from man, however. God even appeared to or communicated with Cain, Adam’s first son and the first murderer. God called out the Hebrew slaves from Egypt and communicated with them en masse at Mt. Sinai. He gave them his spiritual law-but, not having the Holy Spirit they neither comprehended it nor obeyed it. Lacking the Holy Spirit of God, they neither understood spiritual truths nor obeyed them. However, God did make one necessary exception, for the ultimate foundation of his Church! He did reveal truths to his prophets, for the writing of the Holy Scriptures, the very written Word of God! Much of the Church of God is based on the writings of the prophets, and they, with the apostles, became the foundation of the Church, Jesus Christ being the chief cornerstone (Eph. 2:20). Now consider the building of this world’s civilization, and the world into which Christ came to build his Church. With the Holy Spirit shut off from man, the human family started building its own world, influenced and swayed and deceived by Satan. ALL have been deceived by Satan (Rev. 12:9). Perhaps man did not realize it. Satan is a spirit being, invisible to humans. Without the spiritual perception of God’s Spirit, man does not recognize spirit beings or truths as existent. Yet Satan has been the “prince of the power of the air” (Eph. 2:2) working in and deceiving humans in a manner not realized. Ideas are transmitted through the air by radio and television waves and ultimately appear in the form of audible words and visible pictures. Does it, then, seem strange or impossible that Satan has transmitted attitudes, impressions, motives and impulses inaudibly and invisibly into human minds whose human spirits are tuned automatically to Satan’s wavelength? It is thus that even infants under one year old, when the teaching of whom is neglected by human parents, are being instilled subconsciously, by satanic broadcast, with selfishness and resentment of authority. Satan doesn’t neglect them. So, as man began to expand in numbers on the earth, taking to himself the knowledge of relationships with others, man, swayed by Satan, began building his own system of society. He built his own concepts of human GOVERNMENTS, utterly contrary to the government of God. Through human-devised and Satan-swayed GOVERNMENT, humans began regulating human lives. Humans began and developed a system of EDUCATION by which an adult generation seeks to brainwash, instill, inject into the minds of coming generations their concepts, ideas, opinions and supposed knowledge. Humans developed their own system of economics, business, industry, commerce. They developed their own systems of RELIGION, created their own concepts of God-and to this day not one organized religion except God’s true Church knows WHO and WHAT God really is! Humans developed their own social customs and systems. Thus CIVILIZATION was produced actually by Satan, using humans as his pawns! God’s way of life is based on LOVE-outgoing concern for the good and welfare of others, and love above all toward God who IS LOVE! The world’s civilization was built on the contrary way of GET- of vanity, covetousness, envy, jealousy, competition, strife, violence, rebellion against authority. And that is the world into which Jesus Christ was born. Remember God’s ultimate PURPOSE is to reproduce himself in and through MAN-to create in MAN God’s own holy, righteous spiritual and perfect CHARACTER! But all mankind had gone astray. The prophet Isaiah was inspired to write: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way …” (Isa. 53:6)-contrary to the way of God’s CHARACTER. How, then, get humanity back? HOW carry out the divine PURPOSE? The Purpose of the Church How could God have offered salvation to the children of Adam and Eve? Satan had broadcast and inoculated their minds during infancy with the attitude of SELF-centered-ness. Before they were old enough for conversion (as Christians know it), they had already sinned, and incurred the DEATH penalty. None could be reconciled to God and receive his Holy Spirit until their death penalty had been paid for them! Therefore it was prearranged for the Word, who also was God, to be born of a human woman, to become Emmanuel (God with us), God in human flesh-both man and God. He, tempted in all points like the rest of us, never sinned. Though he did not incur the death penalty, he paid it-for YOU and for me-for all humanity! So, in God’s Master Plan for working out his PURPOSE, “as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (I Cor. 15:22) by a resurrection. Judgment was not yet passed on the deceived in Satan’s world. But it was appointed for men once to die, and after this the judgment (Heb. 9:27). All who ever died shall be made alive by resurrection (I Cor. 15:22-24; Heb. 9:27). But HOW was Jesus Christ to become SAVIOR-to save all lost humanity? Just dying for us was not enough. God’s CHARACTER had to be built into us. God performed an act of creation in Adam. That was a PHYSICAL creation! It began with the first Adam. But the SPIRITUAL creation began with Jesus Christ. The true Christian will “put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Eph. 4:24). We become a NEW CREATION. So God’s spiritual creation is still in progress! Now WHY the Church? What is its PURPOSE? It is God’s means of working out his PURPOSE here below-his overall PURPOSE! That NEW CREATION – that SPIRITUAL CREATION-started with the Church of God! How the Church Was Started Notice now how Jesus started the Church. First, after being baptized himself-after being tempted in the supreme temptation by Satan, and overcoming Satan-Jesus started by CHOOSING 12 disciples. A disciple is a learner-a student being taught. Jesus was the teacher. Even these disciples were still carnal. Yet he said that when they received the Holy Spirit, the Spirit would bring to remembrance all that he had taught them-and then, with the Holy Spirit, they would UNDERSTAND! These disciples were not the Church. They and the prophets preceded and became the foundation of the Church. Jesus used these 12, taught in advance, to form the foundation and to teach and rule the Church. The disciples were not volunteers. They were chosen. Those in the Church are ALSO CHOSEN! Jesus said emphatically, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him …” (John 6:44). In the same way, God has chosen the CHURCH to become disciples- students-learners-starting not only a new Spirit-led life and way of living in themselves, but also to “grow in grace, and in the KNOWLEDGE of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (II Pet. 3:18). The repentant, believing Spirit-led Christian must BE TAUGHT SPIRITUAL KNOWLEDGE. He is being converted-that is, changed! From carnal to spiritualmindedness. From this world’s way of living to GOD’S WAY OF LIFE! As the disciples were a foundation for the Church, so the Church is a foundation for the KINGDOM OF GOD, to be reestablished on earth at Christ’s return in POWER and GLORY. He will reestablish the GOVERNMENT of God through the FAMILY OF GOD, then to become the KINGDOM OF GOD. The Church was assigned a dual commission: 1) to carry Christ’s Gospel of the KINGDOM OF GOD to the world for a witness (NOT to convert the world at this time); and 2) to “feed the flock”-instruct the Church as the members GROW in spiritual knowledge and character. At Christ’s glorified return to earth, the dead in Christ will be resurrected, and the living in Christ instantaneously changed from mortal, to immortal, and all shall rise to meet the returning Christ in the air and to reign and rule with him in the KINGDOM OF GOD! Satan shall then be removed for a thousand years. The Church will then BE the KINGDOM or FAMILY OF GOD. We shall be kings AND PRIESTS, reigning ON THE EARTH (Rev. 5:10). But, looking into our time today, what about the Church TODAY? By whom and THROUGH whom did Christ build up the present era? That modern history will be covered in a succeeding number.]]>
DESPITE TROUBLES TODAY- PEACE, PROSPERITY, HAPPINESS IN THE WORLD TOMORROW!
Personal by Herbert W. Armstrong [The Good News Magazine, May 1982]How did you come to be here on earth? Did you just happen, an accident of blind, unintelligent, unknowing, lifeless EVOLUTION? Or were you put here and given life by an all-knowing, all-intelligent, purposeful, living, supreme God, who designed and created the human mind and body? Let me tell you and I can prove it, and so can you if you are willing – that the great Creator brought YOU into existence on this earth FOR A GREAT AND MIGHTY PURPOSE! You were born into a world that has developed a certain type civilization. The instant you were born you knew – NOTHING! But your eyes opened, you looked about and knowledge of what you saw began registering in your memory – began putting knowledge into your mind. Your ears heard sounds, and thus additional knowledge entered through the sense of hearing. Very elementary at first, but gradually, each bit of new knowledge, entering your mind through your senses of taste, smell, feel, sight and hearing, was added to what had previously been stored there. Gradually you came to know, and take up with, the customs, ways, generally accepted ideas and beliefs of this world. You accepted them, took them for granted without question. Some of them were good – many of them were BAD. But you took them for granted without realizing they were bad. Human nature, you see, wants to BE good – that is, to believe it is good – to be considered good. It just doesn’t want to DO good. Because GOOD is the WAY of God’s invisible, inexorable, spiritual LAW. That LAW is, simply, LOVE. It is love toward God in the form of trusting and willing OBEDIENCE to God’s every command and direction, knowing it is for our highest good. It is love toward God in the form of being GOD-centered – having the mind continually (consciously or subconsciously) in contact with God, relying on God, seeking guidance from God, worshipful in the sense of gratitude, obedience, faith and complete trust. It is love toward fellowMAN – in the sense of outgoing concern, equal to love and concern for self. Now NO MAN exercises that kind of love naturally. You simply were not born with that kind of love. You DON’T HAVE IT! That is, not unless you have received it from God through His GIFT of His Holy Spirit. THAT love – God’s love – that of His Holy Spirit – travels a certain road. It is the road that leads to peace, to happiness, to confident assurance, security, well-being, ENJOYMENT without kickbacks, prosperity – every good thing the heart desires. Everyone wants that result. That is to say, everyone wants to have the RESULT of doing good. But no one, it seems, naturally wants to GO that way to DO good. That WAY – doing good – is the WAY of God’s law. This world is not FULL of happiness, peace, joy and universal prosperity. It is pretty well filled with strife in the home, in business, in politics, in war between nations. It is pretty well filled with unhappiness, frustrations, insecurity. It is pretty well filled with crime and violence, with broken homes and unhappy, quarreling homes, with sickness and disease, with frustrations, failures, tragedies. Now God is not the author of all these troubles in the world. God has, FOR A GREAT PURPOSE, made humans free moral agents, and allotted 6,000 years for mankind to make a choice – whether to accept God’s government over him, to be ruled by God’s law of LOVE, or whether to set up his own ideas of man-made government, following what comes naturally – HUMAN NATURE. That 6,000 years is about up. When it is – a very few more years, perhaps less than 10 – God Almighty is going to step in, intervene supernaturally and in divine POWER abolish governments and ways of society – rule all nations with GOD’s laws – and BRING PEACE AND HAPPINESS TO HUMANITY! HOW can that be done? It’s simple! There is A WAY of personal, group and organized living that will automatically produce that utopia. And there is A WAY that has, for 6,000 years, produced curses, war, strife and violence, frustration, failure – everything this world has. God is simply going to enforce, with divine power, HIS WAY. He is going to take over all governments, in a super WORLD GOVERNMENT ruled by the very CREATOR. It will rule by GOD’S LAWS – the WAY of love! Why do some people – even college professors and some who are intellectually inclined – become Communists? Because they see many things WRONG in this world – they want to BE right – they grasp communism as a last straw and only hope, under the delusion that THEY CAN HAVE A PART IN MAKING THIS A BETTER WORLD! They want to BE right – but they don’t want to DO right. So they grasp the straw that makes the lying and false PROMISES of producing the solution. But communism is only another IDEA OF MAN BASED ON HUMAN NATURE. It is a theoretical WAY that would destroy what little good there might be in this world’s society. It is the most false of false hopes. But YOU can have a part in actually bringing PEACE, happiness, joy and abundance to humanity. God Almighty is going to do it – whether or not you have a part in it! But He is not going to do it alone. He is going to take certain human beings, born in the very LIKENESS of God, who REPENT of their carnal human nature – who cry out to God to CHANGE that nature and give them the matchless supreme GIFT of His divine LOVE that will travel THE WAY toward peace, happiness and joy. These are they who, through real repentance of what they are as well as what they have done, through faith in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ as well as in His resurrected LIFE and POWER, are forgiven their guilty past, given contact with God, changed, converted, receiving HIS HOLY SPIRIT, being begotten as HIS CHILDREN, receiving the DIVINE nature. In other words, they REPENT of human nature – they REPENT of hostility to authority, of resentment against God’s law. They SURRENDER unconditionally to GOD, and wholeheartedly WANT Him to rule in their lives. They CHANGE (through God’s power given by His grace) from rebellion to submission – from SELF-centeredness to GOD-centeredness. They let Jesus Christ (in Spirit) come into their lives and actually live their lives for them (Gal. 2:20). They change from THE WAY that has brought all the curses upon this unhappy world to THE WAY that will bring a brilliant, joyous UTOPIA to earth in a very few years when God sends the living Jesus Christ in all power and glory to RULE ALL NATIONS and bring the happy, peaceful WORLD TOMORROW! This CHANGE is conversion. This is what it means to become a Christian. A Christian is NOT merely one who PROFESSES Christ. God’s own instruction to us – the Bible – says that if one has not received God’s Holy Spirit, he is NONE of His – he is NOT a Christian (Rom. 8:9). God gives His Holy Spirit ONLY to them who OBEY Him (Acts 5:32). This implants within the mind the divine nature – it means a CHANGED MIND! But it does not remove the HUMAN nature. The mind governs whether the converted Christian now follows the pulls, the impulses, the desires of human nature, or whether he resists them and is LED BY the newly received divine nature. “As many as are LED BY the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Rom. 8:14). But one’s human nature cries out to be satisfied – does not like to be repressed. Just receiving God’s Spirit is not enough. One must be LED by God’s Spirit. His Spirit opens the mind to UNDERSTANDING of spiritual truth, and the KNOWLEDGE of God’s law. It opens the mind to THE WAY one should follow. God’s Spirit also is the love of God – God’s own divine love – flooding into the human heart, and flowing on out in love to God and love to neighbor. One must therefore GROW in spiritual knowledge and in God’s grace (II Pet. 3:18). He must become a DOER of God’s law – actually LIVING in THE WAY of peace and happiness and joy. This means he must OVERCOME his own carnal nature, his old habits, the temptations of the world – HE MUST BE CHANGED! He must develop toward perfect spiritual and righteous CHARACTER. The real Christian is undergoing a life of TRAINING to become a RULER in God’s Kingdom – in the happy and peaceful WORLD TOMORROW. One cannot learn everything in a minute, a day or a year. One does not become perfect at one jump. It is a continuous PROCESS. No Christian becomes perfect at the very beginning. He does not overcome or root out all the sins, the wrong habits, all at once. He must do it little by little. But, “he that overcometh, and keepeth MY WORKS unto the end,” says Jesus Christ, “to him will I give power over THE NATIONS: AND HE SHALL RULE THEM” (Rev. 2:26-27). WHY do THE NATIONS of this earth need ruling by Christ and those trained under a Christian life? Because all the unhappiness – everything WRONG with this world – has come from living THE WAY of hostility to God’s law and God’s government. Because the only way this world can have PEACE, PROSPERITY, HAPPINESS is to be forced to build a society based on THE WAY that produces these desired blessings. If you have started on THAT RIGHT WAY, don’t get discouraged because you have slipped and fallen down along the road a few times. Get up and KEEP GOING. Even if you have sinned and are truly sorry, you can repent and Christ is your High Priest to forgive. Read and study I John 1:7-10 and 2:1-2. This is written to converted CHRISTIANS. At the time of Christ’s coming, the dead in Christ will be resurrected and rise to meet the descending Christ in the air. At that instant those living who have been thus changed, begotten by God’s Spirit, will be changed in composition, from mortal to immortal – from matter to spirit – from human to divine. THEY are then to RULE with and under the all-powerful, living Christ, until ALL NATIONS beat their swords into plowshares and PEACE shines forth on this war-weary earth! Jesus Christ taught His followers to PRAY: “THY KINGDOM COME. THY WILL BE DONE IN EARTH” (Matt. 6:10)! How about it? Shall we pray that prayer? I DO!]]>
July 28, 1980 Dear Co-Workers and Brethren in Christ: Last night on TV Channel 4, Los Angeles, during the evening news, the newscaster held up, so the viewing audience could read the large-type headlines, my full-page ad. These full-page ads are appearing weekly in the Los Angeles Times, New York Times and other metropolitan newspapers over the United States. The newscaster, Jess Marlow of NBC, was interviewing the attorney general of California. The advertisement headline was addressed: “MR. ATTORNEY GENERAL OF CALIFORNIA.” Mr. Marlow asked the attorney general (as reported to me by telephone) WHY he had picked on the Worldwide Church of God in the state’s massive lawsuit to gain control, ownership and operation of all churches in California. The attorney general gave his stock answer to this question: his contention that “all charitable trusts ought to be supervised to protect the public.” There is no one else, he contends, to protect the public on how the public’s money is being handled. Therefore he says it is the duty of the attorney general to manage and supervise the expenditures of all funds of public charitable trusts. Mr. Marlow then asked if the attorney general thought expenditures for this advertising in the nation’s leading mass- circulation newspapers was mishandling public funds. The attorney general, I was told by telephone, was then a little confused and had no direct reply. I reply, first of all, the Worldwide Church Of God is NOT a “charitable trust.” It is not a public CHARITY! It is a CHURCH! Second, we do not handle the PUBLIC’S money! We never do — NEVER DID — solicit the public for money. We do not solicit or receive the public’s money. Therefore we are not responsible TO the public. We ask nothing from the public. We receive nothing from the public. We do not have, receive or handle and expend the PUBLIC money. Therefore we owe NOTHING to the public except love, and upstanding law-abiding individual citizenship and good neighborliness! WHAT IS a CHARITY — in the public sense? Webster’s dictionary defines it: “Charity: an institution engaged in relief of the poor; public provision for the relief of the needy.” WHAT IS a CHURCH? Jesus Christ said, “I will build my Church.” The CHURCH was built by JESUS CHRIST — not by the public! The first place the word “church” appears in the Bible is quoted above from Matthew 16:18. In Acts 2:47, “The Lord added to the church daily.” It is that Body of believers to which THE LORD adds members! The Church is the spiritual organism (NOT a secular or political or public ORGANIZATION). The CHURCH is subject to Christ — not to the political attorney general of California! WHO is the HEAD of the Church? Your Bible says CHRIST is the Head of the Church (Eph. 5:23) — not the California attorney general. The Church is SUBJECT UNTO CHRIST (Eph. 5:24) — NOT to the California attorney general! Jesus Christ built His CHURCH on the FOUNDATION of the apostles and prophets, JESUS CHRIST Himself being the chief corner stone (Eph. 2:20). What is the function, PURPOSE, great commission of the Church? Jesus said, “Go ye into ALL THE WORLD and preach the Gospel” (Mark 16:15). The CHURCH is NOT a public CHARITY or a “CHARITABLE TRUST.” The California attorney general — in a political and elective office by vote of the people of ONE STATE ONLY — contends he ought to own, possess, direct, manage the CHURCH — ALL CHURCHES IN CALIFORNIA — supervise their expenditures of money. Now suppose the California attorney general had been managing this Church and its Work from the foundation of the present era of it — now called the Worldwide Church of God. What would have happened? It started in Eugene and Lane County, Oregon. It started with 19 members — mostly new converts from a six-weeks’ six-nights-a- week series of services I held in a 36-seat one-room country schoolhouse 8 miles outside Eugene. But, had the California attorney general been managing and directing it and all financial expenditures, he would have delegated just as he tried to do on January 3, 1979 — the actual management and expenditure of funds to the Honorable ex-Judge Steven Wiseman — appointed receiver of the Worldwide Church of God. Immediately — January 7, 1934 — Jesus Christ opened the door of radio for me to start going into all the world proclaiming Christ’s Gospel ON RADIO. The cost was then $2.50 per weekly broadcast. But Judge Wiseman would have had to decide whether to spend that $2.50 per week. Now actually we in that fledgling church did not have the $2.50 per week to allocate. The very little membership in 1934, at the very depth of the century’s worst depression, was able to pledge only $1.35 per week for the broadcast. The other $1.15 per week had to be allocated ON SHEER FAITH. And it was contrary to our Church policy to REQUEST FUNDS ON THE AIR or in any way to solicit the public for that $1.15 per week! Now the Honorable Judge Wiseman was reared in the Jewish faith, certainly not to his discredit. However, those reared in Judaism KNOW NOTHING OF PROCLAIMING THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST. That religion, respected though it is, has never accepted Jesus Christ nor His Gospel message! Would, then, the living Jesus Christ, the HEAD of this new fledgling rebirth of God’s Church, have entrusted decisions and management of His great commission to GO INTO ALL THE WORLD and proclaim that Gospel to a man who by life-long religious training does not BELIEVE in proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ? The Work grew. By traveling to Des Moines, Iowa, I was able, almost 10 years later, to buy time on 50,000-watt Radio WHO. Would the attorney general’s receiver, Judge Wiseman, have approved and allowed that expenditure? We received requests for free literature from ALL 48 states of the continental United States from that station. The Work grew. In due time we were purchasing more wattage of radio time than any program on earth. Would that expenditure have been approved? Meanwhile, the income for this rapidly growing worldwide Work obeying Jesus Christ’s commission was increasing as its needed expenditures mounted. WHERE DID THAT MONEY COME FROM? We never solicited the public. We never charged for anything. We GAVE one of the world’s finest mass-circulation magazines (published in five languages), with NO SUBSCRIPTION PRICE — and we sold NO ADVERTISING! The Work growing WORLDWIDE was all GIVE! God did, as in the first century, continually “add to the Church such as should be saved.” And, as the Bible commands, these members paid their first tithe (10% of income) to GOD through His Church. That money is GOD’S money — not public money. In addition, a small percentage of listeners to the broadcast and subscribers to the “no-subscription-price” PLAIN TRUTH began — unsolicited — sending regularly tithes or freewill offerings. But these STARTED CONTRIBUTING VOLUNTARILY of their own free will! It was GOD’S MONEY — not public money. God had built this great worldwide Work through me as His chosen Apostle. I OBEYED HIS COMMAND TO GO INTO ALL THE WORLD WITH HIS GOSPEL MESSAGE. It was HIS money that came — without solicitation or charging — and I was accountable to HIM, not the California attorney general for the way HE directed it to be handled. We have through the years made continual reports to the Church of the operations of its Work, the expenditures of God’s money and direction of God’s Work. We have made full and regular reports, submitted to regular audit and examination and scrutiny of receipt and disbursement of funds of GOD’S MONEY to the Internal Revenue Service of the federal government, and to the Franchise Tax Board of the State of California, who usually have accepted the IRS audits as official. I just felt that our co-workers, members and occasional voluntary donors would be interested in this explanation of the financial operations of this large world-encompassing Work of GOD. All finances are handled by one of the finest, most advanced systems of accounting anywhere in the world. In addition to our own auditors and the federal IRS, we employ one of the largest and most reputable firms of certified public accountants in the nation, Arthur Andersen & Co., who regularly audit our books. It’s time the PEOPLE know the TRUTH about this political attack against the CHURCH in violation of the Constitution of the U.S.A. It’s true, we have to ASK GOD, in prayer, as Jesus taught us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” There is ALWAYS a NEED in this great Work of the GREAT GOD! But He does not supply tomorrow’s need — nor next year’s need — today. I know you will join me in prayer that GOD will supply current needs as He has done these past 53 years. For Jesus said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you!” He never has! With grateful love, in Jesus’ name, Herbert W. Armstrong]]>
God offers Christians vital lessons through the Days of Unleavened Bread. What do these days picture, and how can they help you lead a happier life?
The apostles were jolted! First, the sound of a violent windstorm filled the house where they were meeting. Then, almost before they had time to think, glowing flames of fire began leaping upon them. Continue reading…
ARE We Back on the Track? – When We Lack Faith?
by Herbert W. Armstrong [Good News Magazine Oct/Nov 1981]Is it because there is no God in the homes of our families, that we rely on “the god of Ekron”? I am shocked — saddened — discouraged — hurt! I am writing this in flight. We just took off from Orr, Minn., flying back to Pasadena. At the SEP camp I spoke to 728, including 280 brethren from surrounding churches. I was informed that the youths in camp habitually demand a doctor for every little thing. It seems they have been taught at home to rely on doctors rather than God. When it is suggested that they may be anointed by a minister of God, in prayer for God to heal, as God PROMISES in James 5:14-15, they will consent, but seem to regard it as a perfunctory ritual of no effectuality, and still demand a doctor who can make them well. Their faith is wholly in the human doctor, not in God. Apparently their parents have no faith that God can keep His promises, and have not relied on God for healing their children. Brethren, I was shocked. It was like being stabbed in the heart. We are the generation looking for the coming of Christ and the Kingdom of God. We are the Bride of Christ. We have to be READY for His coming, or the door to eternal life and salvation will be SLAMMED IN OUR FACES (Matt. 25:10-12)! Jesus said, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches”! Read again these solemn scriptures:”Christ . . . loved the church, and gave himself for it . . . That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish” (Eph. 5:25-27). And, “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready” (Rev. 19:7). The Church as a whole will be ready. But the passage in Matthew 25 shows those individuals in it – or who profess to be in it — and are lukewarm and lacking in faith in God’s Word will have the door slammed in their faces! Brethren, ARE YOU READY? I believe the Church as a whole is rapidly getting ready. But apparently some are not. God says, “WITHOUT FAITH IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO PLEASE HIM” (Heb. 11:6) Work up faith? But some will make the excuse, “I just can’t seem to work up enough faith.” What you mean is, “I don’t believe God will keep His promises — I don’t believe God’s Word, the Bible.” God says, “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10:17). Jesus ministered as the Son of man. He said: “Of myself I can do nothing. The father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.” Jesus had, by the Spirit of God, the GIFT of healing, as mentioned in I Corinthians 12:9. Peter had it. Paul had it. Only a few had it. But to MEMBERS OF THE CHURCH, God says: “Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he hath committed sins, they shall be forgiven him” (Jas. 5:14-15). God wants us to BELIEVE Him — believe what He says — believe He is able — believe it is His WILL to do what He promises — and believe He WILL do it! Do you have to “work up faith” to believe God is able – God will keep His PROMISES? A woman who called me to anoint and pray for her healing once said, “Well, I know God is able to heal me but I don’t know whether it is His will.” I read to her, “Bless the Lord, 0 my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities” (Ps. 103:2-3) and I stopped there. “Do you believe that? Do you believe it is His WILL to forgive all your sins?” “Oh, yes,” she replied. “But WHY do you believe it?” I asked. “Because it says so in the Bible,” she answered. “Then do you think God lied in the other half of that verse, which says, `who healeth all thy diseases’?” How about you? Do YOU who read this believe God? Do you have to struggle and try to work up faith to believe God MEANS what He says, and will DO what He says? “Yes,” some will answer, “but what about times when people called the elders of the Church, who anointed and prayed for healing, and they were not healed?” But HOW DO YOU KNOW they were not healed? Well, they reply, because the pain was still there. They could still FEEL It. They could SEE that they were not healed. But, God answers, “We walk by FAITH, not by sight” (II Cor. 5:7). What one sees or feels has nothing to do with it. Jesus said, “According to your FAITH be it unto you” (Matt. 9:29). A trying experience I had to learn this, personally, by a trying experience. I was visiting my parents’ home. In the evening my father was suddenly stricken. Another minister was with me. We anointed and prayed for him. He did not improve immediately so we continued to pray. We prayed without ceasing all night. I prayed in positive faith. I KNEW God would heal my father. Occasionally I opened the Bible, and each time I opened it to a scripture that seemed to imply God heard and he would be healed. My faith was actually strengthened through the night. Yet at 9:40 next morning my father died. It was a traumatic shock and blow to my faith. For a while I simply couldn’t understand it! I knew God had PROMISED. I had obeyed His command in James 5:14 in implicit FAITH. I had not doubted. I prayed for understanding. I turned to the “faith chapter” of the Bible — Hebrews 11. There I was reminded again, “Faith is the . . . evidence of things NOT SEEN”(verse 1). 1 could SEE that my father was not healed. But that was not the evidence proving whether he was healed. FAITH is the evidence — the PROOF — that God’s Word is good. Then, reading on, I saw again that God had made the PROMISES on which our salvation and eternal life depend to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The only PROOF we have of eternal life is GOD’S PROMISES according to His conditions. But Abraham, Isaac and Jacob all died IN FAITH, not (yet) having received the promises. But verse 40 shows God’s promises are SURE! They SHALL receive the promises in the resurrection. There I saw the TRUTH! God opened my eyes to see. God did not tell Abraham HOW or WHEN He would fulfill His promises. He will do it HOW and WHEN He wills, not when we will. My father will have the healing I prayed for in the resurrection. That will be the next split second of his consciousness. God keeps His promises This fact — that God keeps His promises HIs WAY and in His TIME — I realize, means a great test of faith to our people today. But faith is RELYING ON GOD’S WORD! Let me repeat that: FAITH is RELYING ON GOD’S WORD! Sometimes the things God expects of us by FAITH seem IMPOSSIBLE! Look at Abraham’s case. Abraham had wanted a son. He had yielded to temptation, and sired an illegitimate son by his wife’s handmaid, Hagar. He wanted God’s promises to Abraham to be carried out through Ishmael, Hagar’s son. But God refused. God keeps His promises GOD’S way. God’s way required a miracle. When Abraham was 99 years old and his wife Sarah was 90, God caused the barren Sarah at last to have a son. All God’s promises had to be fulfilled through this son Isaac. Then God put Abraham’s FAITH in God’s word to a severe TEST. God told Abraham to offer up Isaac as a sacrifice. Now most people would have used human reason. If Isaac were killed as a sacrifice, how could God keep His promises through a dead son? There was NO WAY except if God performed a MIRACLE to keep His word. But, impossible as it must have seemed to Abraham, he RELIED ON GOD’S WORD! HE OBEYED! At the very last second, God caused a ram to be caught by its horns in the bushes behind Abraham, and God told Abraham to offer the ram as a burnt offering instead of his son. WHAT A TEST OF FAITH! Believe God’s Word Yet God expects you and me today to BELIEVE HIs WORD — to RELY ON HIM to keep His promises! Jesus Christ was beaten with stripes terribly, suffering indescribable pain and agony, to pay the PENALTY of physical sin, so that you and I and our children may be HEALED. And by His stripes we are healed (I Pet. 2:24). Jesus’ suffering by being beaten with stripes was in vain unless God’s Word is good — unless we are healed! James 5:15 says the prayer of FAITH shall save the sick, and the Lord WILL HEAL. Yes, there are conditions to God’s promises. Jesus said, “According to your FAITH be it unto you.” He said to a young woman, “Thy FAITH hath made thee whole.” When you don’t believe, you do two things: 1) You nullify His promise by not performing His condition to healing and 2) you make God a liar — you don’t believe His Word! There is another condition: “And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight” (I John 3:22). You must be yielded to obedience to His commandments. And you must be doing what is pleasing in His sight — and that includes BELIEVING He will do what He promised. You MUST BELIEVE God will heal! You can believe another human person if he promises to do something for you. WHY can’t you believe God will do what He has promised — what Jesus suffered a terrible beating with stripes for, that you may be healed? WHY is it hard for you to believe God means what He says — that He WILL DO what He has promised? WHY can you believe a human doctor who is a sinner (for all have sinned) — and cannot believe God? WHY? Medicines can’t heal. Drugs can’t heal and always have side effects, which often are harmful. Surgeon’s knives can’t heal. A famous doctor said, “If all the medicines in the world were thrown into the ocean, it would be so much better for humanity, and so much worse for the fishes.” According to your faith But, brethren, “According to YOUR faith be it unto you.” If you can’t believe God when He speaks and promises, you simply have no hope of salvation and eternal life! These are the LAST DAYS! These are days of trying and testing. We are taking FINAL EXAMS to see whether we make it into God’s Kingdom. Must some of you FAIL? When I was in school, in the hours before final exams, I really “crammed.” I “crammed” desperately, for I had lagged somewhat during the school year. But by the last spurt of effort, I usually got close to 100 percent in final exams — and I passed after all. Fasting and prayer often will restore faith. It will bring faith from God if you never had it before. I fasted and prayed for two days once in a serious emergency when the lives of two members of my family were at stake. I spent the first hour in prayer. The second hour in Bible reading to try to see why I lacked faith. The third hour in contemplation, self-examination, trying to THINK where I was wrong and why my faith had weakened. The next hour again in prayer, then an hour in Bible study, an hour in contemplation and so on for two days, while fasting. At the end of that time, slightly less than two days, FIVE miracles happened, and a few days later a sixth I had not asked. We are all now in the time of final exams. Looking down into this very time, Jesus said, “Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8). Brethren, are some of you going to Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron? King Ahaziah of Israel was severely injured and in sickness. But he sent for Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron, for healing (II Kings 1:1-4). But God said through the prophet Elijah, “Isn’t it because there is not a God in Israel that you go to Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron?” This Baal-zebub was known as “the god of flies” — the medical god of that day. So God said the king must die because of lack of faith. Is it because there is no God whose Word is good for healing, that some of You brethren rear your children relying on Baal-zebub in the form of the doctors of our day? Which God is in YOUR home? In which do you have FAITH? Brethren, let us be READY when Christ comes. Do your cramming to learn FAITH now, for the time is short. Let’s all make it into His Kingdom!]]>
What Is a Liberal?
by Herbert W. Armstrong [Good News Magazine, March 1979 ]Jesus Christ says a house divided against itself cannot stand! A few “liberal” ministers have caused “division and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned.” God’s House has been divided. But NO LONGER! GOD SAYS to His Church, through the apostle Paul, “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (I Corinthians 1:10). This passage continues saying the church at Corinth, precisely like today’s Church of God, was following various and differing men with differing doctrines. They, like many today, were forgetting that the HEAD of the Church is Jesus Christ —that Christ is ALIVE today! That HE really is leading us! Satan has been striking at God’s Church and Work from within and from without! And as in the Ephesian church, where Paul said “. . . of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them” (Acts 20:30). What happened in those churches in the first century has happened to us today. Those guilty of causing division are fighting God and shall be judged by Him! My son, Garner Ted, fell under the influence of certain liberals, with whom he surrounded himself. He had had some liberal leanings prior to that. There were those around him bent on changing the doctrines of God’s Church, watering down God’s TRUTH. I am learning now that my son was swayed under this liberal and secular-oriented influence. Because of his position of executive vice-president, and because he assumed authority beyond that delegated to him, those who were sound in the doctrines Christ had put into God’s Church, who had been taught directly by me in earlier days of the college, were demoted, shanghaied away from headquarters. Gradually, subtilely, systematically, while I was in other parts of the world carrying Christ’s Gospel message, doctrines were being watered down, the college was being made secular, God and Christ were being cast out and a conspiracy was in progress to get rid of Christ’s chosen apostle, unless he accommodated the conspirators by dying. Church teachings were being changed. The most resultful booklet of all, The United States and British Commonwealth in Prophecy, was attacked, greatly deleted and later put out of circulation—the same with a number of other basic and important booklets written by Christ’s apostle. This group of liberals assumed the authority of setting Church doctrine. The one who primarily wrote the Systematic Theology Project later wrote, “My only goal in coordinating the project was to bring doctrinal consistency, stability and unity to the ministry”—that is, unity in watered-down doctrines that older loyal ministers did not and never would accept! THAT WAS NOT UNITY—IT WAS DIVISION! But what do we mean—LIBERAL? Let’s understand what defines a liberal—and GOD’S WORD about it. What is the basic difference between Old Testament teaching and that of the New Testament? The same BASIC SPIRITUAL LAW was given to both Old Testament Israel and the New Testament Church. But there was still a great difference. Notice how the apostle Paul defined this difference. “[God] Who also hath made us able ministers of the NEW testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit; for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life” (II Corinthians 3:6). It’s the same basic SPIRITUAL law. But without the Holy Spirit, the people of Old Testament Israel could keep the law of God only by the strict letter of the law—not by the SPIRIT or its obvious intent or principle involved. Years ago God showed me, by an incident, what He means by the spirit of the law. My elder daughter, Beverly, was in school, possibly the seventh or eighth grade or high school— I don’t remember the year. She was an avid and a rapid reader. One day her teacher sent me a note, saying Beverly was injuring her eyes and her progress in schoolwork by excessive reading. She had been bringing books of fiction—love stories—from the school library. She would read a whole book in two or three evenings at home. I spoke with my daughter and told her she must stop bringing the fiction books from the school library and stop her excessive reading—because her teacher had sent me a note saying it was interfering with her schoolwork. The very next evening I noticed Beverly reading a book, and she was almost halfway through it. “Is that another fiction book?” I asked. “Yes, Daddy,” she replied. “Didn’t I tell you to stop reading these fiction books?” “Yes, Daddy, but you said to stop bringing the books from the school library, and I obeyed you. I didn’t bring this book from the school library, I borrowed it from Helen.” She obeyed the strict letter of the law, but certainly not the spirit or obvious intent. Jesus gave some examples of the spirit of the law. He said: “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shall not kill . . . But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment . . .” (Matthew 5:21-22). Speaking of the Old Testament observance of the law, Jesus said: “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery. But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman, to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart” (Matthew 5:27-28). The SPIRIT of the law The spiritual law of God is a general principle, which, in its spirit, covers EVERY act. God intends for us today to apply the principle to every act. It is summed up in Ecclesiastes 12:13: “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” The law of God is a WAY OF LIFE. It is all-encompassing, IN PRINCIPLE—that is, according to its spirit. It is an attitude. It may be summed up in ONE WORD: LOVE. That one word is a principle of life. It is the way of OUTFLOWING love toward God and man. It is the way of GIVE, instead of GET. It is then magnified into the two great laws—love toward GOD, and love toward neighbor. In turn this is magnified into 10 general principles—the first four of the Ten Commandments express the principle of love toward GOD, the last six the principle of love toward man. We are commanded to love God more than self—with all our hearts. We are told to love neighbor AS, or equal to, ourselves. A principle—not every specific detail In the Bible God does not write down every specific detail of the PRINCIPLE or SPIRIT of His Law! He expects us, with His Holy Spirit, to apply the principle to every circumstance, act or question. The whole duty of man is keeping God’s law IN THE SPIRIT— far more than the specific detailed letter. It is the ATTITUDE or the principle of the law. The law does not list every detail included in the duty of man. Reduced to its simplest overall denominator, the whole law is the one word, LOVE. HOW does God’s Church receive its doctrines, beliefs and teachings? Direct from God, through the channels of Jesus Christ as HEAD of the Church, and from Him through the apostles! NEVER by any others! NEVER by a group of ministers appointing themselves as a Doctrinal Committee! So it was in the first century. HOW did the Worldwide Church of God receive its doctrines, beliefs and teachings? EXCLUSIVELY THROUGH CHRIST’S APOSTLE! True, I have practiced the biblical principle that “in multitude of counsel there is safety.” On many occasions some top-level ministers have contributed certain input that has helped me in setting doctrine. BUT EVERY DOCTRINE, BELIEF AND TEACHING IN THE WORLDWIDE CHURCH OF GOD HAS COME FROM CHRIST THROUGH HIS CHOSEN APOSTLE! Now, for example, we have a teaching that smoking is a sin. HOW did the Church receive that belief? Let me tell you. Fifty-two years ago, at the time of my conversion and baptism, I had to decide that question. I had been smoking—believe it or not! But only lightly—about three cigarettes a day. But I had to decide whether it was right or wrong. Now Adam and Eve took TO THEMSELVES the knowledge of right and wrong. Only GOD can give us that knowledge. I knew that. I had to decide at the time, for myself, but I knew I must look to CHRIST, the Word of God, for the answer. Of course I knew the Bible contained no teaching specifically on smoking tobacco. But I had learned the truth of II Corinthians 3:3 that sin is violation of the principle or intended meaning of the law. So I asked myself: “Why do I smoke? To love or honor God?” Answer, NO! “To express love, or outgoing concern, for the welfare of other people?” Again, NO! I knew that some found second-hand tobacco smoke objectionable. “For my own good—health or otherwise?” Again, NO! For although I did not know, nor anybody else 52 years ago, that smoking was a cause of lung cancer, I did know the function of the lungs in filtering out impurities from the blood and expelling the impurities through the breath. And I knew that inhaling smoke only clogged up the lungs with added impurities and interfered with their normal functioning. On every count I found smoking was CONTRARY to the PRINCIPLE of GOD’S LAW! Therefore I knew it was a sin, and I stopped smoking and have not smoked for 52 years. Jesus Christ through me put into God’s Church the teaching that smoking is wrong—mild or not, nevertheless, it is sin! Now if I had decided that as some of our ministers wanted to decide doctrine, I would have said, “The Bible does not contain a specific LAW against smoking.” That is the way of the LIBERAL —who wants to water down the truth of God and go as far into this world—which means as far in Satan’s way—as possible and still get into God’s Kingdom. The liberal is one who has a DIFFERENT APPROACH to questions of human conduct than God, or those who have really been CONQUERED by God and are being led by God’s Holy Spirit. What is God’s attitude? What is God’s ATTITUDE? Does God really want to sin, but, because He has power of resistance, He uses willpower and does not ALLOW Himself to sin? Can you realize that SIN is absolutely ABHORRENT to God? God DOES NOT WANT TO SIN! He has no such desire! He HATES sin! He is not tempted to sin! God loves and desires righteousness and holiness. That’s what He LOVES, DESIRES AND DOES! Listen, my children in the living Christ! Do you really WANT to smoke—want to have birthday parties— want to go along with this world in its ways? Is that what you really want to do? Do you have to use self-resistance, self-discipline and willpower to prevent going along in this world’s ways? If so, you have not yet been really CONQUERED by the all-loving GOD! If so, you do not yet have the mind of Christ or His attitude or approach to problems or questions! IF so, you’d better begin TREMBLING at the Word of God! Or, do you really hunger and thirst for God’s RIGHTEOUSNESS AND HOLINESS? You can’t have both attitudes! You have one or the other! Which is it? Are you like Mrs. Emma Smith, one of the new converts in 1933 who formed the parent church of the Worldwide Church of God? She came to me one day saying her father had died and his will left her some money. “How much of this do I have to tithe?” she asked. “I don’t want to tithe any more than I have to to still get into God’s Kingdom.” The doctrine of Balaam She was, in principle and attitude, like Balaam, mentioned as an evil man in Jude 11 and Revelation 2:14. The story about Balaam is found in Numbers 22. Balaam was a liberal—only perhaps more so. The Israelites under Moses had finally encamped on the east side of the Jordan River in the vicinity of Moab and Ammon. They were just across the river from Jericho. Balak, king of the Moabites, was afraid, for the Israelites greatly outnumbered Moab. So he sent messengers to the sorcerer Balaam, a pater or pagan leader, apparently with bribe money, asking Balaam to remain overnight. He prayed to God, for he knew he could not do this evil unless God allowed. The point is, Balaam wanted the rewards of divination, which the messengers from Moab had brought. He wanted to go as far in the GET way of life, even for doing evil, as he could. But he knew his curse against Israel would be ineffective unless he had God’s permission. God said to Balaam, “. . . Thou shall not curse the people: for they are blessed” (Numbers 22:12). There is much more to the story, but the point I want to show here is the ATTITUDE of wanting to go as far in the way of evil as possible. In Jude 11, God says, “Woe unto them! for they . . . ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward . . .” And in Revelation to the church at Pergamos, Jesus said, “But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam . . .” (Revelation 2:14). Christ is now purging out of His Church those that “hold the doctrine of Balaam!” Balaam was a liberal. The liberal is going also in the way of Satan. Satan’s evil attitude “. . . there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Eternal, and Satan came also among them . . .” The Eternal asked Satan if he had considered God’s servant Job, “. . . that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man . . .” (Job 1:6-8). Satan argued that Job served God in SELF-interest, for God had given him all his material wealth. But if God would allow Satan to take all his possessions from him, Satan said Job would curse God. The Eternal answered, “. . . Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand” (verse 12). Satan destroyed all Job’s wealth and even his sons and daughters. But Satan caused other humans to do his evil. Yet Job maintained his own righteousness and refused to curse God. Satan tried again. Satan argued that a man would give all he had for his own life. But he contended that if God would allow him to do evil to Job’s person, Job would curse God. God allowed this, but said, “save his life.” Did you ever have a boil? I did—just once, many, many years ago. I shall never forget it. The pain was nearly unbearable. And that was only one boil. Job was covered with boils from head to foot! But still he did not curse God. In the end God spoke to Job. Job’s one great sin was one Satan could not ascertain. It was SELF-righteousness. When God spoke, opening Job’s eyes to his self-righteousness, Job repented deeply, and God restored to him two-fold for all he had allowed Satan to destroy. The point I want to make here is, Satan CANNOT go farther than God allows—but Satan wanted to inflict as much evil and destruction and harm as possible. It is Satan’s ATTITUDE that is his prime evil. He does not hunger and thirst for God’s righteousness. He harbors only the deep-rooted desire to DO EVIL—TO GO CONTRARY TO GOD’S LAW OF LOVE AND RIGHTEOUSNESS! He wanted to go as far as he could in the evil way contrary to GOD’S WAY. That was in his heart. The liberal attitude The liberal among us today wants to GET! He wants to GET into God’s Kingdom, but he wants to go along with this world’s ways AS FAR AS GOD WILL ALLOW AND STILL LET HIM MAKE IT INTO THE KINGDOM! The liberal has deceived himself! I do not believe the liberal realizes his own attitude. He really wants to get into the Kingdom of God—he wants to RECEIVE the eternal rewards of happiness, joy and eternal life in security. But he still would like to hang on to some of this world’s ways. He doesn’t want to tithe, unless he can see beyond any of his arguments there is a specific LAW compelling him to tithe. He wants to be free to vote, at least in local elections. The argument was made to me that our Church people actually outnumbered others living in Big Sandy, Tex., BUT (what a big word is “BUT”) you see, if they did not vote, the minority would vote to incorporate the Ambassador College campus into the town of Big Sandy, and we’d have to pay big taxes. It never seemed to occur to the liberal mind that CHRIST will solve our problems, and we do not have to go contrary to HIS ATTITUDE! Like Mrs. Emma Smith, who was too new as a child in Christ and had not grown sufficiently as yet in His grace and knowledge —like Balaam—like Satan—the liberal wants to see how close he can come to the precipice without falling and losing his eternal life. Like Mother Eve, they use HUMAN REASON to justify straying partly away from the SPIRIT of God’s LAW. They want to keep the law in the strict letter, but not in the spirit! In his heart, the liberal would like to “go along” at least part way with this world. What is the mind of Christ? But God says, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5). What is the mind of Christ? What is His attitude—His approach to viewing and deciding all activities? Does He, as I asked before, really WANT TO sin, to think and act contrary to His Law, but because of His super power, restrain Himself? We know He has never sinned. But why? Is He sinless because He has such supernatural POWER to restrain Himself? A THOUSAND TIMES, NO! The living Christ has never sinned because He does not want to sin! What is His MIND, that should be also in us? It is a mind that HATES sin, that LOVES righteousness. It’s a matter of ATTITUDE! The liberal is not hungering and thirsting after RIGHTEOUSNESS! He WANTS to ease off a little on God’s Law, He wants to do only as much as he has to, to receive the reward of eternal life. He has not yet fully gotten rid of the GET attitude, and come into the GIVE attitude. It is Satan who deceives and puts into many human minds the desire to go as far into this world as he thinks God will allow—and into its ways of VANITY and INTELLECTUALISM (carnal, secular)—vanity of mind. Having the ATTITUDE of the “SPIRIT OF THE LAW” is the attitude of the mind of CHRIST!]]>
By Herbert W Armstrong
Given March 04,1982 DOWNLOAD AUDIO (Right click, select “Save Link As”)[embed]http://sermons.wwcg-archives.com/1982-04-03%20-%20Passover%20Examination.mp3[/embed]