WORLDWIDE CHURCH OF GOD
PASADENA, CALIFORNIA 91123
HERBERT W. ARMSTRONG
PRESIDENT and PASTOR
November 5, 1975
Dear Co-Workers with Christ:
It's time, once again, to check up on the STATE OF THE WORLD AT THIS MINUTE -- as compared to 10, 25, and 50 years ago -- as to what is prophesied as SURE to come in the very near future -- and as to the STATE OF AND PLANS FOR GOD'S WORK.
Just where are we now in the panorama of biblical PROPHECY? Look first at what has happened in the past 10, 20, and 30 years. Look how freedom of speech and freedom of action are changing the whole tempo of life.
The new "freedoms" in speech were getting started 30 years ago. In the movie, "Gone with the Wind," audiences were shocked when Rhett Butler said to Scarlett O'Hara, "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn!"
Twenty-five years ago I was emotionally shocked when, in a Broadway play, an actor on stage talked to two other men about "an s.o.b. [he spoke the words] like you [pointing to one of the men] and like you [pointing to the other man] ... and like ME! [pointing with his thumb to himself]" just as the final curtain was rung down. I was stunned to hear such words in a play, for I had taken with me two twenty- or twenty-one-year-old Ambassador College male students who were visiting in New York.
But when things like that no longer shocked audiences, they dished out to the public stronger shocks, until we have come to X-rated movies. Today in most homes, for even the children to see if parents do not prevent it, the public is fed a diet of increasing violence, murder, sex, and themes undreamed of 30 years ago.
The once-taboo subject of sex is freely discussed among teenagers. My son Garner Ted explained on his television program how an embarrassed father felt it his embarrassing duty to talk to his seven-year-old son about a few elementary facts of sex. The seven-year-old said briskly, "Oh sure, Dad. What would you like to know?"
But what of the STATE OF THE WORLD today?
We need to realize that biblical pre-history reveals that once the universe-ruling GOVERNMENT OF GOD ruled over this whole earth. There was wonderful, worldwide PEACE, with shouts of JOY! (Job 38:7) There was a super archangel king on a throne administering the GOVERNMENT OF GOD (Isaiah 14:13) till lawlessness -- iniquity and rebellion -- was found in him (Ezekiel 28:14-15). Then God renewed the face of the earth (Psalm 104:30) and created man (Genesis 1:2-31).
But when our first parents rejected the GOVERNMENT OF GOD in the forbidden-fruit incident (Genesis 3:6), God adopted a "hands-off" policy for six thousand years, to be followed by a one-thousand-year period when the returning glorified CHRIST will restore the GOVERNMENT OF GOD, ruling in the KINGDOM OF GOD over all the nations. Once again there will be perfect PEACE, HAPPINESS, and JOY (Revelation 11:15, 20:4).
Scientists and world leaders have said during the past three or four decades that the only solution to today's world problems and evils is a world-ruling government with supreme power to rule all nations -- yet they say it is IMPOSSIBLE! With man it is. But with God it is SURE to come -- and soon.
Meanwhile God has allowed man to try to rule himself. And human leaders have set up every kind of government man has been able to devise -- oligarchy, monarchy, democracy, communism, etc. None has brought peace, prosperity, or happiness.
And now, as we approach the very END of this six-thousand-year age, human, man-created governments are being overthrown AT THE RATE OF ONE A MONTH! So what is the STATE OF THE WORLD today?
You may read a headline in your newspaper reporting the overthrow of a government in Africa, Asia, or South America. Probably you do not read past the headline. Perhaps you miss it entirely. Anyway, it's a long way from where you live, and its true significance is not impressed on you.
But with me it has been different!
When country after country is overthrown -- when a king, president, or prime minister whom I have known and talked with, one after another, is assassinated, taken prisoner, or forced to flee for his life as his government is overthrown, it STRIKES HOME TO ME!
It means we are in the very last days of this world!
Most people do not realize HOW FAST THINGS ARE CHANGING! When I was a boy, there was very little crime compared to now. Violence was rare. Morals were high by comparison. Families stuck together.
All the world's evils have multiplied since then. And today whole nations are coming apart -- being overthrown -- at the rate of ONE A MONTH!
I have written before of how, in June 1973, at a luncheon in New Delhi, India, the ambassador from Ethiopia invited me to visit his country and meet Emperor Haile Selassie. The Afghanistan ambas- sador invited me to visit his country and have a meeting with King Mohammed Zahir Shah. Before I could arrange to visit Afghanistan, the government was overthrown; and the king fled into exile. Twice I visited Emperor Haile Selassie, but in August 1974, he was taken prisoner in a military coup overthrowing his government; and about a year later he died.
In August 1973, I went to Santiago, Chile, for a meeting with President Allende; and three weeks later he was assassinated by a machine gun in the very room where I had the meeting. I had visited Prime Minister Kittikachorn of Thailand twice in his residence in Bangkok. A riot of 200,000, mostly students, overthrew his government; and he fled to the United States. I knew President Thieu of South Vietnam, but he fled to Europe shortly before the North Vietnamese took over Saigon. I KNEW these men. When their countries were overthrown, you may be sure I realized the significance of it.
One of the most recent government leaders whom I knew was President Rahman of Bangladesh, who was recently assassinated and whose government was overthrown.
But what about the world TODAY?
In Europe, the troubles in Portugal and Spain may trigger a resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire in the form of a UNITED EUROPE. Leaders in Europe have long wanted a political-military UNION in Europe. They just have not known how to bring it about.
In Portugal, communists virtually took over the government, then suffered a temporary setback. But communists never give up or quit. If they stage a comeback, gaining the government in a country that has for centuries been Roman Catholic, Rome may take drastic action to unite all Europe.
In Spain Franco won the war against communism, 1936-39, and he has kept the government rightist. But recently Franco has been under sharp criticism from all over Europe for executing guerrillas who had killed Spanish policemen. Since then he has suffered a series of heart attacks. Conditions are becoming ripe in Spain for a united, religious-dominated European government, with Prince Juan Carlos as king.
Since World War II, the nations of Europe have relied on U.S. military power to offset Soviet power. But they are fast losing all confidence in the United States as world power.
Right now I feel sure that North Korea is planning an invasion of South Korea. If it comes and the United States does not go immediately to South Korea's aid, the United States will no longer be recognized as a world power! And the present temper of the American Congress seems to totally forbid any U.S. intervention again in Korea!
In the Middle-East we have a temporary agreement Secretary of State Kissinger worked out between Egypt and Israel. At best, it will be temporary. It is under attack by guerrilla leader Yassir Arafat and other Arab nations. Biblical prophecies show that the Middle East around Jerusalem will be the focal point of war and world trouble from now until the END of this age. And that is rapidly growing close.
Violence has been continuing DAILY in Beirut. Violence has continued in North Ireland. And that Catholic-Protestant battle reaches into London. Recently in London I went over to Harrod's department store. It was about 3:30 in the afternoon. I found all doors closed, and a group of people accumulating to enter. There had been a bomb scare. Later, when the doors opened, I found the official I wanted to see, white and shaking.
"This is the second bomb scare in this store," he said, "and the last time the bomb exploded and caused a lot of damage."
Yes, one way or another, I personally am made very much aware of the troubled state of this world. And the troublous state of the world is rapidly becoming more and more troubled. At this point, if you realize the true significance of this world trend, you will do well to notice -- and heed -- some of the numerous biblical prophecies foretelling this very time.
When Christ walked on this earth, His disciples asked Him when the end of this present age would come and what sign would signify it. This is really the pivotal point -- the center and the crux -- of all New Testament prophecy. In answer, first He warned them of false gospels being proclaimed, in His name, and deceiving the many; that is, the world as a whole. During the first century, the gospel message Christ proclaimed had been sabotaged, and the world of that time had turned to another gospel (Galatians 1:6-9; II Corinthians 11:4). But, continued Jesus, "... this gospel of the kingdom [of God] shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and THEN shall the end [of this age] come."
The word "gospel" means "GOOD NEWS." Jesus came as a MESSENGER from God (Malachi 3:1), and His message was the GOOD NEWS of the coming KINGDOM OF GOD. His MESSAGE was the ANNOUNCEMENT that the KINGDOM OF GOD is coming and will bring us WORLD PEACE AT LAST (Mark 1:1, 14-15).
The kingdom of God is the GOVERNMENT OF GOD -- of which Christ was born to be the KING (Luke 1:30-33; Isaiah 9:6-7; Revelation 11:15).
I repeat -- world-famous scientists say that the only hope for the world now is a world SUPER GOVERNMENT to rule ALL NATIONS! And that is precisely what Christ announced -- that was His message -- His gospel.
I began proclaiming that message -- announcing the soon-coming kingdom of God to rule all nations in 1934. THAT GOSPEL had never been proclaimed to the world since the first century A.D. Instead, a message about the MESSENGER was proclaimed -- but NOT HIS MESSAGE -- NOT His GOSPEL (Galatians 1:6-7).
Through PLAIN TRUTH, by radio and television, and by personal proclamation, THAT gospel is now going TO THE WORLD. That means that the END of this present world is IMMINENT!
Following Jesus' answer to the sign just prior to this end and Christ's return to earth, He foretold the TIME OF TROUBLE this world is now heading into. "For then," He said, just after the worldwide proclamation of the coming WORLD GOVERNMENT, "shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved [alive]: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened" (Matthew 24:21-22).
NEVER have world conditions been as bad as they now are. We are rapidly heading into this "GREAT TRIBULATION."
The prophet Jeremiah foretold it as the time of the great trouble to come on America and the British nations (Jeremiah 30). The prophet Daniel described it as coming JUST BEFORE Christ's return and the "first resurrection." "And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life ..." (Daniel 12:1-2).
Great national PUNISHMENT is foretold for the British nations and the United States. WHY? Let the prophet Isaiah answer. Speaking of our people, the Eternal God says:
"Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the Eternal hath spoken. I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me. The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider. Ah, sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity [lawlessness], a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the Eternal, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward" (Isaiah 1:2-4).
There is the saying, "It is darkest just before the dawn."
It is already quite DARK in this world.
It is going to get a lot DARKER!
But THEN! THEN will come the glorious KINGDOM OF GOD to rule all the earth -- ALL NATIONS -- with the rule of the living God and with the basic LAW that is LOVE and full of mercy, compassion, and forgiveness. Then every man will learn to have outgoing concern for the good and the welfare of others and seek to help, serve, and share, not to take unfair advantage of, beat in every deal, rob, cheat, deceive, and harm. The fact that you read this is evidence that that happy, peaceful WORLD TOMORROW is NEAR! VERY NEAR!
Brethren and Co-Workers, I was called, 49 years ago, to take this ANNOUNCEMENT of the coming KINGDOM OF GOD -- this true GOSPEL MESSAGE -- to ALL THE WORLD, for a witness to ALL NATIONS! That's why I was called NOW instead of after Christ comes to RULE and also to CALL and SAVE (spiritually) the whole world.
The reason YOU were called NOW instead of after Christ comes is to GET BACK OF ME in taking this MESSAGE to ALL THE WORLD! That's WHY you were called. AND YOU, AS WELL AS I, ARE BEING JUDGED by the Almighty right NOW as to whether we put this calling FIRST in our lives, or whether we trample the sacred call underfoot and put other things -- including personal interests -- first. Judgment is ON US right now! (I Peter 4:17)
For 40 years I found the doors CLOSED for getting this all- important MESSAGE into most MASS-POPULATION countries of the world. But now, at last, GOD has started OPENING those doors wide before me. The work I am doing now is PAVING THE WAY for other of our ministers to follow in delivering this END-TIME MESSAGE into these great nations!
I am writing you from Paris. The day before yesterday I had another hour's conference with Prince Bernhard of Holland. Today I am to have lunch with my warm and affectionate friend King Leopold of Belgium. Then, after a few days in Pasadena, on to Jamaica for a testimonial dinner with some fifty or more top officials, followed in one or two weeks by a full campaign.
Let's GIVE OUR FINAL SUPREME EFFORT from now on to finish this great Work to which the Creator GOD has called us. PRAY earnestly that God will again give us an increased income for His Work of 30 percent a year, as He did for 35 years!
To give what I have written here a much wider circulation, I am having most of it reprinted as a "Personal" editorial in PLAIN TRUTH.
Pray earnestly and continually for Garner Ted and me, and for the whole Work!
With love, in Jesus' name,
Herbert W. Armstrong