WORLDWIDE CHURCH OF GOD
PASADENA, CALIFORNIA 91123
HERBERT W. ARMSTRONG
President and Pastor
October 29, 1976
Dear Brethren and Co-Workers in Christ,
Here I am in flight again -- this time to Rome, Rhodesia and South Africa, returning to the Middle East -- and if conditions settle down after the recent military overthrow of the government in Thailand, a stop there, and then on to Tokyo.
I had just returned from speaking at every church festival site in the continental U.S.A. during the biblical Feast of Tabernacles which is held each autumn. I spoke twice at each of the eleven festival sites, once before the entire membership assembled and once at each site before the ministers and their wives -- and that was 22 times speaking in eight days. My son, Garner Ted, spoke at ten sites.
This year was by far the best festival ever so everybody said. At every site I visited, aside from opening day in the northeast U.S., the weather was perfect. It was the 50th Feast of Tabernacles for me.
I was happy to report that the work, the church and the ministry are in the most solid and firm condition they have ever been. All were solidly TOGETHER in Christ more than ever before. The plans for the future now are absolutely EXCITING!
Of course we do have to contend with sickening and ever-worsening conditions in the world. Barely a month ago, I had two personal meetings with Prime Minister Seni Pramoj of Thailand, including a banquet at which he and I sat next to each other. Now his government has been overthrown by a military coup, and he is held in "protective custody," if you understand what that means. I was scheduled to be decorated (highest honor) by the king of Thailand about next week. Since the riot and overthrow of the government, we are going to South Africa first and hope conditions will settle down in Thailand before our return. But -- these governmental overthrows notwithstanding -- plans ahead are absolutely exciting.
Plans for the new magazine -- Quest/77 -- of the AICF (Ambassador International Cultural Foundation) are developing and we are all up on "cloud nine" in enthusiasm at the wonderful prospects.
The new plans for putting The PLAIN Truth on the NEWSSTANDS in the U.S.A. (and other countries) are positively EXCITING. We believe they will ultimately result in about one in every three or four homes in the United States and Canada becoming subscribers to The Plain Truth. Also, the same newsstand method will multiply subscribers in Britain, Western Europe, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
During the Festival of Tabernacles I implored the many thousands of members to join me in a RENEWED START in this all-important WORK OF GOD. The church must be REVITALIZED -- REINSPIRED -- REDEDICATED -- REIMBUED enthusiastically by God's Holy Spirit in the most IMPORTANT WORK on the earth in 1,900 years.
This is not my work or YOURS -- but the Work of the living God! I am only the human instrument to whom God committed His GREAT COMMISSION -- the purpose and reason for the church in this present END-TIME -- to proclaim to the whole world as a witness to ALL NATIONS the gospel-announcement of the soon-coming KINGDOM OF GOD.
REMEMBER THIS! Adam and Eve rejected God's government over them. They rejected the knowledge of the WAY TO LIVE -- the way of GOOD -- and instead they chose the way of EVIL.
They thus cut themselves off from God. They had NOT been given eternal life. They were driven from the Garden of Eden, and God put angels with flaming swords to guard the TREE OF LIFE, lest man take to himself eternal life. In other words, man's SIN -- REBELLION, REJECTION OF GOD'S GOVERNMENT -- put a BARRIER between man and God. Man therefore is CUT OFF from God.
God marked out a 7,000-year period. The first 6,000 years God left Satan here as the god of this world, the god of this world's religions. Satan is busy swaying ALL MANKIND (except the few that God is now especially calling) into HIS WAY of SELF-centeredness, contrary to God's way. For the way of God is the way of love -- of giving, helping, serving, sharing and obedience to the law of GOD'S GOVERNMENT.
During all those 6,000 years, now almost at an END, God has kept "HANDS OFF" man's society and man's government. Man has formed his own system of government swayed by Satan, based on the way of "GET" -- that is of vanity, lust and greed -- of jealousy and envy -- of competition, strife, violence, destruction and WAR -- of resentment against AUTHORITY.
Then, after the 6,000 years of misrule, God will send CHRIST in all His SUPREME GLORY as the Almighty CREATOR -- and KING of Kings -- to rule all nations with the GOVERNMENT OF GOD. Satan will be imprisoned, unable to influence humanity (spiritually). Christ will bring people to repent from Satan's WAY and turn them to the God-centered WAY OF LOVE -- the way of GOD'S GOVERNMENT.
Meanwhile during this 6,000 years, God has saved, spiritually, ONLY Abel, Enoch and Noah in the first 1,900 years up to the Flood. After the Flood, only Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph, and the PROPHETS of the nation Israel. GOD NEVER OFFERED SPIRITUAL SALVATION TO THE NATIONS ISRAEL AND JUDAH. He promised them at that time for obedience, ONLY material and national blessings.
Then came Jesus Christ with the gospel ANNOUNCING the future coming KINGDOM OF GOD. Jesus did NOT come on any "soul-saving" crusade. After three-and-one-half years of ANNOUNCING His GOVERN- MENT, only 120 had accepted and become His followers (Acts 1:15). He committed His GREAT COMMISSION to ANNOUNCE His coming KINGDOM to His apostles. But before 70 A.D., Christ's true GOSPEL had been suppressed (Gal. 1:6,7; Rom. 1:18 [RSV]; II Cor. 11:4), and from the first century A.D. THE WORLD HAS NEVER HEARD THE TRUE GOSPEL THAT CHRIST PREACHED (announcing the coming Kingdom of God) until God began proclaiming it through this Work!
Meanwhile God has not called the WORLD to spiritual salvation, any more than He did between the times of Adam and the Flood, and from the Flood to Christ. Satan has continued as the god of this world and its religions, the largest of which is called "Christianity."
UNDERSTAND THIS, co-workers-for it is TRUE!
ALL NATIONS (including their religions) have been deceived by Satan (Rev. 12:9, etc.). This is NOT the time God is trying to "save" this world!! He is allowing this world to live SATAN'S WAY OF REBELLION against GOD'S GOVERNMENT. He is letting 6,000 years of human life WRITE the lessons in human suffering and anguish, violence and war, heartache, sickness and disease -- and DEATH!!
But Jesus raised up HIS CHURCH to stand back of the apostles as they proclaimed HIS GOSPEL MESSAGE. When the apostles were in prison and threatened and frightened, the brethren of the church prayed for them and God answered so the very room where they were assembled SHOOK (Acts 4:17-31). But, as the persecution set in, two things happened: (1) the true gospel was SUPPRESSED -- no longer proclaimed to the world. Then, (2) the same persecution reduced the church in number through the generations until now it grew small.
And when I came among the people of God's Church, they were small in numbers -- not proclaiming this Gospel, mostly spiritually dead, but still clinging to the NAME (Rev. 3:1).
In July, 1933, GOD COMMITTED TO ME HIS GREAT COMMISSION! We were now at the END-TIME, the beginning of the generation when Satan's world of 6,000 years shall END and Christ shall come and rule the world with the KINGDOM OF GOD.
In August, 1933, the PARENT CHURCH (only 19 members) of this "Philadelphia Era" of God's Church was raised up through my preaching. In October, 1933, the KINGDOM OF GOD was announced VIA RADIO for the first time since the very first century. The first Sunday in 1934 the program (THE WORLD TOMORROW) started regularly on the air. The first of February, 1934, The Plain Truth was first published announcing God's message.
The WORK has grown steadily, and God's Church to back it up has also grown. Today it is, so far as I know, the LARGEST MEMBER- SHIP in the history of God's Church, founded the Day of Pentecost, 31 A.D. Today the ANNOUNCEMENT is going by personal proclamation, by print, by radio, and by television WORLDWIDE. Today God is opening doors to KINGS, PRESIDENTS, EMPERORS, PRIME MINISTERS -- heads of governments all over the world are giving us almost unbelievable favor in their eyes, opening doors that have been previously CLOSED to this message of Christ.
Soon now Christ is coming as KING of Kings to take over all the kingdoms of the earth -- to restore the GOVERNMENT OF GOD. If we reject Satan's WAY and OVERCOME IT, we may rule with Christ on His throne -- in the WORLD TOMORROW -- for the first thousand years from then. Thereafter -- the WHOLE UNIVERSE.
Can you see, then, that the ONE THING UPPERMOST IN GOD'S MIND IS RESTORING THE GOVERNMENT OF GOD ON EARTH!!
The END -- the PURPOSE -- is first to RESTORE THE GOVERNMENT OF GOD as it will be in the KINGDOM OF GOD.
The time is now VERY NEAR in OUR GENERATION. God wants His Kingdom announced. It is SOON COMING. He commissioned me 43 years ago to carry that announcement -- that Gospel -- to the world. Will you stand 100% back of me in this commission?
There is no more CENTRAL, PIVOTAL, passage in the Bible than this: "Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the PRESENCE OF THE LORD. And he shall send Jesus Christ...whom the heavens must receive UNTIL THE TIMES OF RESTITUTION OF ALL THINGS ..." Restitution means the RESTORING of something that has been taken away -- RESTORING THE GOVERNMENT OF GOD TO EARTH (Acts 3:19-21).
Brethren, the WORLD doesn't understand the awe-inspiring things God is preparing for us. The time is OUR GENERATION. The one thing above all else in GOD'S MIND right now is RESTORING HIS GOVERNMENT to this earth. Forty-three years ago He committed that great commission to me. It has taken every SACRIFICE. God has preserved my youth, vitality and power. God has infused His POWER within me. Now His Work is leaping ahead on the HOME STRETCH!
I need your sacrifice, your prayers -- your financial sacrifice now, as NEVER BEFORE. Show me, by your prayers, by your financial sacrifice and larger offerings that you really are back of the Work the living God has commissioned to me. Many of you ARE, and have been doing so for a long time. THANK YOU, THANK YOU -- THANK YOU!! And God's greatest blessing upon you.
In deep love in Jesus' name,
Herbert W. Armstrong