YOUR AWESOME FUTURE
How Religion Deceives You
by Herbert W. Armstrong
This article is reproduced as a study reference by COG-ff. This web-site is in part dedicated to the task of providing interested individuals with a vehicle for research in the writings of our former pastor, Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong, and those serving under him during his life and ministry.
It's positively astounding! It has remained undiscovered by science. Higher education has never taught it. And organized religion has withheld it. How? By suppressing the real gospel message Christ brought from heaven that reveals the awesome purpose of human life.
PREPARE YOURSELF for the most shocking revelation of your life. Does it come as an astonishing shock to learn that the most important dimension in all knowledge was sent from God to this earth by Jesus Christ -- but that message was suppressed in the very first century? That Jesus Himself was put to death for revealing it? That His apostles, with one possible exception, were also martyred for proclaiming it?
Yet this message from the living God, if humanity had received and heeded it, would have saved this world from nearly all of its troubles, sufferings and evils.
The very word "gospel" means "good news." That message, when fully understood, reveals a human potential so stupendous so awesome -- it appears at first to be totally beyond belief, yet it has been suppressed from the world until now.
Why Christ's Gospel was Suppressed
Christ's message reveals the most necessary facts about humanity: what man is, the purpose for which mankind was put on earth, where we are going, what is the way to world peace, happiness and universal prosperity, what are the true values, what is the awesome human potential, and how it may be achieved.
Answers to these questions form the most important knowledge ever made accessible to man. Yet it was spurned and rejected, and soon suppressed.
Christ's gospel message, when fully grasped, reveals what science has been utterly unable to discover. It reveals what religion in this world knows nothing of. It reveals what this world's higher education has never known or taught.
It reveals the most wonderful TRUTH a human mind could ever come to know! It reveals the missing dimension in knowledge, the knowledge most vitally necessary to know.
It was the most monumental good news ever revealed by our Maker to mankind! Why would men have wanted to reject and put to death the messenger who brought it?
Yes, why? The answer is that men were DECEIVED. And all nations are deceived today!
The purpose of this booklet is to reveal HOW men were deceived and to make plain WHAT that good news really was. And is.
Nevertheless, it was suppressed. And that all-important revelation from the living God was not again proclaimed publicly to the world until our present generation.
Even today, most of humanity has never heard the glorious true gospel. And those millions who do hear it have been so drugged and stupefied by false religions and counterfeit "gospels" that they only become confused. The TRUTH, indeed, is stranger than any fiction! Prepare yourself to read astounding truth -- hard to believe, yet TRUE!
It is not intellectually fashionable today to believe in the actual existence of a devil, but biblical revelation says differently.
Biblical prophecies say plainly that in our time, today, the WHOLE WORLD would be deceived. Notice one such prophecy in the book of Revelation, chapter 12, verse 9: "And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world." This Satan is revealed as the arch deceiver who has deceived the whole world. But how did he manage to deceive the human race?
In the third chapter of Genesis he is shown as the deceiver of mother Eve. Through her, he caused the first man, Adam, to commit the first sin by a human.
When Jesus was born in Bethlehem, Satan was still here on earth as the god of this world (II Cor. 4:4). He is also the "prince of the power of the air" today (Eph. 2:2), holding sway over the whole of mankind.
Christ's message revealed the advance news of the total abolition of Satan's power over the world and his banishment from the earth. It revealed that Christ was coming as his successor to take over the RULE of all nations. In Satan's mind, it was necessary for him to go all out to prevent that message from going to the world.
But how could he do it? First, he moved to destroy the Christ child and thus prevent His growing up to proclaim that message. He influenced king Herod, the Roman provincial ruler over the land of Israel, and Herod caused all infants in Bethlehem and surrounding areas two years old or under to be put to death. But God warned Joseph and Mary about this, moving them to flee to Egypt with the infant Jesus until Herod was dead.
Again, when Jesus was about thirty years old, Satan sought to destroy Him spiritually before He qualified to preach a word of His message. But the supreme temptation with which Satan planned to ensnare Jesus became the very test which qualified Christ to depose Satan and to become ruler over all nations. Jesus thus qualified to restore the government of God on the earth and to set up the Kingdom of God. However, it was not in God's master plan for Christ to be inducted into that office until the end of mankind's first 6,000 years on earth.
Nevertheless, Jesus proceeded with the mission for which He had come to earth at that time. He proclaimed His message and taught it to His disciples.
Satan, however, still was the invisible power that swayed the world. Even though many of the Jews to whom Jesus preached believed on Him as the promised Messiah, they were swayed against believing His message -- His gospel.
How did, and does, Satan deceive, move, and sway humanity? The amazing answer will be given later.
Christ's Gospel Rejected
Notice why and how the rejection of Christ's gospel happened.
In the eighth chapter of John, verses 30 through 46, you will read: "As he spake these words, many believed on him. Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word [His message], then are ye my disciples indeed ... but ye seek to kill me, because my word [His gospel message] hath no place in you .... But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God ... for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me .... And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not .... And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me?"
In due time, the Romans crucified Jesus. But He rose from the dead and ascended into heaven. From there, He sent God's Holy Spirit for His disciples.
Christ's apostles went out, as He commissioned them, to proclaim His message to the world. God's Church was raised Up (A.D. 31) to back the proclaiming of the message. The Church began to grow, then "caught fire," and multiplied.
But Satan connived to set up a powerful Gentile religious leader with a counterfeit religion -- the ancient Babylonian mystery religion. He hatched a counterfeit "gospel." He even appropriated the name of Christ, calling that religion "Christianity."
That, I know, is a breathtaking revelation, difficult today, 1900 years later, to believe. But nonetheless, it is true!
The Counterfeit "Gospel" Is Set Up
In Samaria, north of Jerusalem, lived a Gentile people whom the Jews of Christ's day spurned, calling them "dogs." They had been moved there from areas of the Babylonian Empire about 700 B.C. by various kings, including Shalmaneser of Assyria (II Kings 17:18, 21-24, etc.). They had brought with them into the land of Samaria their own Babylonian mystery religion. In the eighth chapter of Acts you'll read of their religious leader in the time of Christ, Simon Magus the Sorcerer.
Christ raised up the Church of God to stand back of the proclaiming of His gospel message by His apostles in A.D. 31. By A.D. 33, after a most amazing initial growth, a great persecution set in against God's Church (Acts 8:1). At that time, A.D. 33, this Simon the Sorcerer was himself baptized along with multitudes of others. He then tried to buy an apostleship in God's Church from the apostles Peter and John -- but of course was refused and rebuked.
Thereupon this Simon appropriated the NAME of Christ, calling his Babylonian mystery religion "Christianity." Satan moved this man and used him as his instrument against the true Church of God. Before the end of the first century -- probably by A.D. 70 -- he managed to suppress the message Christ had brought from God.
There ensued "the lost century" in the history of the true Church of God. There was a well-organized conspiracy to blot out all record of Church history during that period. A hundred years later, history reveals a "Christianity" utterly unlike the Church Christ founded.
It had taken the NAME of Christ and applied it to the Babylonian mystery religion. It had replaced the MESSAGE Jesus brought from God with a "gospel" about the person of Christ -- proclaiming the Messenger but suppressing the entire missing dimension from His message.
And for at least eighteen and one-half centuries the true gospel was not proclaimed publicly to the world.
"Another Gospel" Gains Acceptance
When the apostle Paul wrote his letter to the Galatians, many already were turning to this now new counterfeit "gospel."
Paul wrote: "I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: which is not another [it was not good news]; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ" (Gal. 1:6-7).
To the Thessalonians Paul wrote, "For the mystery of iniquity doth already work ... " (II Thes. 2:7). It was the Babylonian mystery religion, started by Simon the Sorcerer (Acts 8), a religion of iniquity -- lawlessness -- a religion rejecting the law of God.
The True and the False Church
In the book of Revelation are pictured two churches, each of which go under the NAME of Christ. One, pictured in the twelfth chapter, portrays the true Church of God, small in number, reduced through persecution and martyrdom, but obedient to God's law, and hated by Satan. The other, in the seventeenth chapter, called "Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the Earth" (verse 5). In other words, the Babylonian mystery religion steeped in "iniquity" -- abolishing God's law.
During the time of Paul's ministry, these same Simon Magus ministers were troubling the Corinthians. Paul wrote to the Corinthians: "I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. [the true Church, in the resurrection, is to be married to Christ, spiritually]. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he [a minister of Simon Magus] that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit [of rebellion and disobedience] which ye have not received, or another gospel ... " (II Cor. 11:2-4).
Notice, they were proclaiming another Jesus -- as well as another gospel -- and they followed another spirit -- of rebellion and not obedience. That deception has continued through the centuries and is the state today. They took the name of Christ. They called their Babylonian religion "Christianity." They not only presented a counterfeit gospel but a counterfeit spirit of self-centeredness and a counterfeit Jesus, completely different to the Jesus of the Bible.
Of these false ministers, Paul wrote further to the Corinthians: "For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness ... " (II Cor. 11:13-15).
Peter, John and Jude Expose False Ministers
Peter wrote of these deceivers: "But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you who privily shall bring in damnable heresies .... And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you ... " (II Peter 2:1-3).
John wrote of these same perverters of the true gospel, denying obedience to the way of God. "He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him" (I John 2:4). "They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us ... " (I John 2:19).
Jude warned us that we should "earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness [license to disobey] .... Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion [government], and speak evil of dignities .... Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core. These are spots in your feasts of charity ... clouds they are without water, carried about of winds ... twice dead, plucked up by the roots; raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever" (Jude 3-4, 8, 11-13).
The Word "Gospel" Misleading Today
Even the very word "gospel" is misleading today. The world has been, and is, full of "gospel programs" on television, on radio, in print, in personal evangelism.
Say to almost any person, "The gospel has not been proclaimed publicly to the world for eighteen and one-half centuries," and he will think you are crazy, because it is the counterfeit "gospel" that has been vociferously proclaimed. But it is a "gospel" about the person of the messenger, while IGNORING His message.
That gospel is based on the assumption that this is the time, and the ONLY time, when God is trying to "get the whole world saved." But those preaching such a message do not know even what salvation is, or how it is obtained.
How could the whole world he deceived? What did Christ's gospel MESSAGE contain that a powerful, invisible devil was so determined to suppress and to counterfeit?
What, Then, Is the True Gospel?
The true gospel is the good news that God sent from heaven by Jesus Christ. That message, when fully understood, reveals a human potential so stupendous it appears at first to be totally beyond belief! It is incredibly wonderful news revealed from the Creator.
It reveals the most wonderful TRUTH a human mind could come to know.
It reveals what I term the MISSING DIMENSION IN KNOWLEDGE -- the most necessary knowledge so vital to know!
Were we put here for a Purpose? What is that purpose? Is there, after all, purpose and meaning to human life? A purpose and meaning suppressed from human dissemination? That's vital knowledge OUTSIDE the scope of today's science, religion, or education!
The Missing Dimension in Knowledge
If there is purpose, what is it? Why were you born?
Where are we going? What is the ultimate transcendent potential of man? What is the way? How do we achieve that destiny?
What is the way to peace -- among nations, between individuals, and between groups?
Why all this world's evils? Why can't we solve our human problems? There IS A WAY, and the true gospel reveals it! It's a basic law that works by inexorable and relentless force.
What is human nature? Did God create and instill it in humans to trouble us? Is it hereditary? How does it work? Neither modern science, religion, nor education can tell you.
What is the human mind, and how does it differ from the animal brain? Why, when the human mind can invent the computer and can learn to send men to the moon and back, can't such minds solve their own problems here on earth and live at peace with their fellows?
What is man? Just what are we, after all? Science can't learn that secret, religions have never rightly explained it, but the true gospel, when fully understood, reveals the answer, and in truth!
What are the true values? What is important, and what is insignificant or of no value? Humanity dissipates its energy pursuing false values -- spends its labor and its thinking in pursuits that are valueless and prove useless when achieved.
The true gospel, when fully understood, explains the origin of the devil. Did God create a devil to mislead and harass humanity? The gospel explains how Satan came to be the great though invisible and hidden -- POWER that sways invisibly and actually rules this world. It explains why Satan moved with all his wiles and subtleness to suppress, through humans he could sway, this vital gospel message which God sent by Jesus Christ to mankind.
Remember this: The true gospel message, had humanity heeded it, would have saved this world nearly all its anguish, troubles, suffering, and evils.
It is impossible for me, in a few words, to make it clear enough with sufficient emphasis to cause the reader to comprehend the supreme, tremendous meaning and importance of that true gospel message.
And even today, when heard, it is seldom really understood in all its colossal significance because Satan has thrown up such a smokescreen of false and counterfeit religions, "gospels," and teachings that the hearer or reader is left confused in doubt and unbelief -- or in a state of indifference to the most important things in life.
Nevertheless, now just before the END of this age, Almighty God has decreed that "this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations, and then shall the end come" (Matt. 24:14). This is the message the Eternal God is delivering now, by His end-time apostle, to the heads of governments in world capitals all over the world.
The true gospel, when viewed with all that it embodies -- the reason for it, the prehistoric truth of earth's first (angelic) inhabitants, the reason humans were created and put on earth, the (CAUSE of all the earth's evils and sufferings, the nature of the human mind, the need for spiritual salvation and what it is, the coming world tomorrow of peace, what lies on beyond, and man's ultimate incredible potential becomes the most all-encompassing subject that can enter the mind of man. Beside it, everything else shrinks to total unimportance. It is greater than any story of man ever written before.
What Was Christ's Gospel?
God the Father had promised to send a messenger into the world from heaven, bearing a message from Him for all mankind. This promise is recorded in Malachi 3:1: "Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me [and that messenger, as explained in Mark 1:2, was John the Baptist] and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in." The "Lord," here, of course, refers to Jesus Christ.
That was the prophecy. The record of its happening is in the first chapter of Mark: "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God." Then follows the account of John the Baptist preparing the way before Him. Verses 12 and 13 record the temptation of Jesus by Satan, wherein Satan sought to destroy Christ spiritually, before He proclaimed a word of the message He brought from God the Father. Then follow verses 14 and 15:
"Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel ...." What gospel? "... the gospel of the kingdom of God ...." That is the gospel Christ proclaimed. The message He brought was the message about the Kingdom of God.
That is the message God wanted proclaimed AS A WITNESS to all nations!
But since the first century the world has known NOTHING of the Kingdom of God because that message was not proclaimed publicly to the world after the first century.
That message, when explained and fully understood, covers a very wide range of revealed knowledge. It reveals -- I repeat, what science has been utterly UNABLE to discover, what religion has never revealed, what this world's education has never known nor taught.
Note These Points
There are a number of points to be noted which are significant.
One is, that in Malachi's prophecy, Christ was called a messenger bearing a message. He is called the "messenger of the covenant."
Again, notice the fifteenth verse of Mark 1. Jesus came into Galilee "preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God" and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel."
What did He mean, "The time is fulfilled"? And why was the Kingdom of God then "at hand," when it had not been before that precise time?
These points are of prime significance. But first, before I explain more fully just what the Kingdom of God is, notice further that this definitely is the very gospel message Christ brought from God the Father -- the same gospel the original apostles proclaimed -- the same gospel the apostle Paul proclaimed to the Gentiles.
Christ Brought No Other Gospel
Jesus said, "I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also: for therefore am I sent" (Luke 4:43).
Jesus commissioned His disciples to teach the Kingdom of God. "Then he called the twelve disciples together, and ... he sent them to preach the kingdom of God ... " (Luke 9:1-2).
"But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women" (Acts 8:12).
"And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom ... " (Matt. 4:23).
Jesus' parables concerned the Kingdom of God. To His disciples, in explaining the parable of the sower, He said: "Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God" and then He explained to them the parable.
Again, "Then said he [Jesus], Unto what is the kingdom of God like? and whereunto shall I resemble it?" (Luke 13:18) -- and then came a parable.
"And again he said, Whereunto shall I liken the kingdom of God? It is like leaven ... " and then follows the parable of the leaven (Luke 13:20-21).
One of His most important parables is recorded in the nineteenth chapter of Luke: "... he added and spake a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear" (Luke 19:11). Then He gave the parable of the nobleman going to a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return -- the picture of Christ's ascension to heaven, where the coronation ceremony shall take place, and His return to earth to rule all nations, as King of kings and Lord of lords, in all the supreme power and glory of the great God.
What gospel did the apostles and Paul proclaim?
Did Apostles and Paul Preach a Different Gospel? After Christ's resurrection, the disciples were with Him forty days. Were they talking among themselves about any other gospel during that time than the Kingdom of God? Notice, just before Jesus ascended into heaven. Luke had previously recorded what Jesus had done and said "until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy [Spirit] had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: to whom also he showed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God ... " (Acts 1:2-3).
Notice after His resurrection Christ was speaking to His disciples about "the things pertaining to the kingdom of God." They, then, just before He ascended into heaven, asked him: "Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?" (Acts 1:6.)
The apostles seemed never to understand that the Kingdom of God was not to be set up on earth in their lifetime, even though Jesus' teaching -- especially the parable of the pounds (Luke 19, quoted above) -- should have made it clear to them.
After two years, from the inception of the Church of God on the day of Pentecost, A.D. 31, the counterfeit movement set in, headed by Simon the Sorcerer. The historic book of Acts records: "And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles .... Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word." What word? Continue:
"Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria ... but when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized" (Acts 8:1-12).
The apostle Paul spoke boldly at Ephesus for three months "disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God." On a later trip, at Miletus, Paul called for the elders of the Church at Ephesus. Saying his farewell to them, Paul said, "And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more" (Acts 20:25).
At Rome, "there came many to him [Paul] into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God ... " (Acts 28:23).
Again at Rome, "Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him, preaching the kingdom of God ... " (Acts 28:30).
Did Paul preach any other gospel? To the Galatians he wrote, "But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him he accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him he accursed" (Gal. 1:8-9).
But verses 6 and 7 showed that the Galatians had, already, turned to another gospel.
Jesus spoke of His message the Kingdom of God -- as the "word" that He spoke. The apostles, as you'll read all through the book of Acts, went everywhere preaching "the word" -- meaning the Kingdom of God.
The "Gospels" Being Preached Today
I have said that you hear many gospel programs today. One uses the slogan, "Preaching Christ to the Nations." One might ask, "Well, what's WRONG about preaching ABOUT Christ?" Or, "What's wrong about preaching a gospel of grace?" Or "What's wrong about proclaiming a message about salvation?"
I have shown you the scriptures showing they started, even in the first century, preaching about a DIFFERENT Jesus -- a Jesus supposed to have abolished His Father's commandments -- who turned "grace" into license to disobey (II Cor. 11:4, 13-15 and Jude 4). They do not today preach the REAL Jesus, who said, "I have kept my Father's commandments," setting us an example that we should keep them also.
If those who claim to preach a gospel of SALVATION understood and proclaimed WHAT salvation really is -- whether it is going to a PLACE, being changed into a different CONDITION, or WHAT -- or WHERE- -and HOW it may be obtained, it might be a part of the true gospel. But today's "gospel" programs do not teach what salvation really is or how one may receive it. When the blind lead the blind, they all fall into the ditch.
Just What Is the Kingdom of God?
So it's time we come to UNDERSTAND just what is the Kingdom of God!
What is a kingdom? The Bible speaks of several kingdoms. The first world empire the Chaldean Empire often called "Babylon" -- was a kingdom. God inspired the prophet Daniel to say to its king, Nebuchadnezzar, " ... the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory" (Dan. 2:37).
Then there was the kingdom of Israel -- the family descended from Israel, which became one of earth's nations or governments.
The kingdom of Israel was a forerunner of the Kingdom of God. It will be composed of the Spirit-born children of God -- the Family of God, organized into a governing Kingdom.
Therefore the kingdom of God will be dual: (1) A GOVERNMENT. A government -- or kingdoms composed of four things: (a) a KING, ruling over (b) people, subjects or citizens within (c) a definite jurisdiction of territory, with (d) laws and an organized system of administering them.
(2) A FAMILY (as the kingdom of Israel was a family of the children of Israel) -- in this case the Family of God -- a family into which humans may be born, which shall be a GOVERNING or RULING family that shall have jurisdiction over ALL NATIONS -- that is, the WHOLE EARTH -- and, later, the entire universe.
The Kingdom: a Government
Christ is to be the King of the Kingdom of God. He is the Son of God, whom He addressed as His Father. When the Church, by a resurrection or instantaneous change from mortal to immortal (from physical to spirit composition) becomes the Spirit-composed children of God, Christ will marry the Church which shall become His wife. So we have Father, Son, wife, and children of the Father- -all a FAMILY relationship the Divine God Family!
Notice, now, some of the prophecies: "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel [which means "God with us"]" (Isa. 7:14).
"For unto us [Israel] a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Eternal of hosts will perform this" (Isa. 9:6-7).
The angel Gabriel is a super archangel -- a cherub -- one of only three mentioned in the Bible. It is recorded, "And in the sixth month [of the pregnancy of Elizabeth] the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, to a virgin espoused [betrothed] to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women .... And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end" (Luke 1:26-33).
When Jesus was on trial for his life before Pilate, the Roman ruler said to Him, "Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth."
However, Jesus also explained to Pilate that His Kingdom -- His rulership -- was not of this world -- this time -- this present age, saying, "My kingdom is not of this world ... but now is my kingdom not from hence" (John 18:36).
What Christ's Gospel Was All About
Christ's gospel -- the message He brought from God -- was the advance good news of the establishment of the Kingdom of God.
But just what does that include? And why is the Kingdom of God necessary? Just how does it affect and relate directly to your personal and individual life?
Actually, Christ's message of God's coming Kingdom is directly concerned with world conditions as they are -- with human nature -- its source and origin with world evils, suffering, unhappiness -- with world peace. It's concerned with government -- with the reason present human governments fail to be the benefactors of their peoples they are supposed to be.
His message hits directly at the very roots of individual personal happiness and at the awesome transcendent potential of each human life. It is concerned with the CAUSES of present conditions that affect every human and with the WAY that will solve all problems.
But it is concerned with far, far more. It is concerned with God's tremendous, overwhelming, overall purpose as Creator of the entire universe. It's concerned with the entire vast universe, filled with its uncountable galaxies, nebulae, suns, stars, planets, and with God's purpose for them. It's concerned with all the angels with the fact that one third of all God's created angels turned to SIN, and God's great purpose and plan to prevent such a catastrophe happening to the other two thirds.
Most of these things are never remotely considered in religious teachings in this world. God's message is concerned with overall truth.
The Incredible Human Potential at last Revealed!
Does it make sense to you -- when humanity has been endowed with such tremendous mental power -- that more than HALF of all people on earth should be illiterate, living in abject poverty, near starvation, in filth and squalor?
Does it make sense to you that human civilization has developed modern science, higher education, the world's religions and its great governments, yet all these are in total ignorance of the way to world peace? None of these can tell us what man is, whether he was put on earth for a purpose, what that PURPOSE IS, where he is going or how to get there.
Does it make sense to you -- with man endowed with such great powers -- that the world should be filled with so much unhappiness, troubles and evils? Did God Almighty the Creator purpose and ordain all of this?
It's time to clear up this mystery. It's time we understand. It's time we come to the answer of these supposedly unanswerable questions that seem to baffle all human thought.
Man Has Rejected This Knowledge
What is the most necessary of all knowledge to know?
It is the knowledge of what man is; the knowledge of why he is -- the PURPOSE for which humanity was put on earth; the knowledge of the way to achieve that purpose -- of the way to world peace, peace between individuals, groups and nations; the knowledge of the cause of all the world's troubles and evils; the knowledge of the solution to all these problems; the knowledge of the true values -- what is important and what is worthless.
That is the missing dimension in knowledge. Look at the situation as it is now -- our present, pulsating twentieth century. Supposedly this is the day of enlightenment and mass production of knowledge. But both modern science and higher education have rejected the sole source of this basic knowledge revelation -- and no religion has given us this most-needed knowledge, though it is all contained in the book generally supposed to be the source of belief of at least three of the world's great religions.
Look at the situation as it was more than 1900 years ago. Jesus Christ came from heaven with a message from God containing this knowledge. But even most of those who believed on Him disbelieved the message He brought and demanded His crucifixion for declaring it. His apostles went forth proclaiming the message; they too, with one possible exception, were martyred. Before the end of the first century, Christ's gospel message was suppressed and a spurious "gospel" proclaimed.
Go now all the way back to the beginning of humanity on the earth. Our very first parents rejected this same revealed knowledge imparted to them by their Maker in person. They disbelieved what He said. Yet they did believe Satan's lies. They disobeyed by stealing the forbidden fruit. They took to themselves the knowledge of what is good and what is evil. All humanity has followed their example ever since.
The Eternal God nevertheless has made this vital revealed knowledge and truth available to any willing to BELIEVE what He says -- in His inspired book, the Book of books -- the Holy Bible. This book has actually become the world's best seller. But this precious book has been interpreted and misinterpreted, distorted, twisted, misrepresented, misunderstood, and maligned as no other book ever has.
Humans have written uncounted millions of books. People BELIEVE what these books say, though they may be partly, mostly, or totally in error and devoid of truth.
People take these books literally to mean what they say. Yet of the Bible they will say, "You surely don't take the Bible literally, do you?" They will not believe this book means what it says. It is the very Word of the living God, but they refuse to believe what God says.
And thus disbelieving humanity continues stumbling on its way, piling up the mountains of human woes, discontent, unhappiness, sorrows pain, suffering and death.
Yet the Eternal God of truth and mercy makes available even today -- in this end-time of the present evil world -- vital, exciting, new knowledge to those willing to believe what He says and to obey it.
More than fifty years ago ON PROOF, I came to BELIEVE and OBEY.
And in His Word the living God has opened my mind to the awesome human potentiality, the missing dimension in knowledge; to the CAUSES of all humanity's evils and to the WAY to world peace and how it finally is going to come. And the same God of all creation is now opening before me the doors to unusual favor in the eyes of heads of state all over the world as an ambassador without human portfolio for world peace and a builder of bridges for peace between nations.
The Vast Universe -- and Man
In this Book of all books, God reveals Himself as Creator of all, not merely the earth and man, but the entire limitless universe. The Maker of mankind is also the Creator of all. On a clear, cloudless night one may behold the star-studded sky. Is it possible there is an unrealized connection between the galaxies with their mighty suns, their planets -- and man?
In this true story of the incredible human potential, I deem it well to look first to the Creator's overall purpose.
Prepare yourself for exciting new knowledge -- the incredible awesome potential for which humanity was created and put here on earth.
Winston Churchill said before the United States Congress that there is a purpose being worked out here below. Few indeed know what that purpose is; yet it is plainly revealed.
And it's the most exciting, most wonderful, hope inspiring truth that could ever be revealed.
Did you ever wonder about the countless millions of shining stars you have seen on an otherwise black, cloudless night? Sometimes they appear like a stupendous skyrocket which has just burst out into a glittering cluster.
Many of them are tremendous suns incredibly larger than our sun. Probably most of them are surrounded by planets, like our sun is surrounded by Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and the other planets of our solar system.
Haven't you wondered about them? Are any of them inhabited? Did they evolve, as most scientists -- astronomers, biologists, geologists theorize? Or were they created by an all-intelligent, all-powerful Creator Being? Were they created and set in space FOR A PURPOSE? Do any of the planets contain any kind of life, or are all like our moon -- dead, decayed, lifeless, wasted, empty, uninhabitable? And if they are in a dead state and lifeless, WHY would an intelligent Creator have created them thus?
Or did He? All indications are that only our planet Earth is a life-supporting planet. Others appear to be like our moon -- dead, decayed, wasted and empty. Our earth is part of the solar system which is part of a single galaxy called the Milky Way. There are many other galaxies on beyond ours. They extend in space distances so vast the human mind cannot conceive of them in terms of miles, meters, or any measure of distance except light years.
So even though science knows comparatively little about the limitless universe, revelation tells us something amazing beyond words about them.
The first verse in the revealed Word of God correctly reads: "In the beginning God created the heavens and earth." The word "heaven" in the King James should be translated "heavens," since the original Hebrew is in the plural.
The ancient King David of Israel wondered about the stars and was inspired to tell us God created them.
Created -- But Why?
David was inspired to write, "Oh Lord our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens .... When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; what is man, that thou art mindful of him?" (Psalms 8:1, 3-4).
It may be that King David was not given the revelation of the real connection between man and the stars of outer space, for he continues: "For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: all sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; the fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas. O Lord our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!" (Psalm 8:5-9.)
David here limits man's dominion to the present -- that which God gave mankind in the creation of man the solid earth, the earth's atmosphere, and the waters and sea (as in Gen. 1:26-28).
That is the dominion man has now. In the New Testament, written much later, far more is revealed.
Incredible Human Potential Revealed
In the book of Hebrews we read: "For unto the angels hath he [God] not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak" (Heb. 2:5). The theme of the context here is "the world to come."
There is but one earth, but the Bible speaks of three worlds, ages, or civilizations on the earth -- the "world that then was" (the antediluvian world from Adam to Noah); this "present evil world" (from the Flood until Christ's return, yet future); and "the world to come" (which starts when Christ comes and sets up the Kingdom of God).
This verse speaks of angels as if the world had been put in subjection to angels; in fact, in the very beginning of this book of Hebrews, the first chapter, it is speaking of Christ and angels and the relation of angels to humans.
But bear in mind the general theme here, or context, is "the world to come, whereof we speak" not this present age, now coming rapidly to its end! Continue on in verse 6: "But one in a certain place testified, saying ... " Then follows a quotation from the first six verses only of the eighth psalm.
In this psalm, David continued showing specifically that God has now placed in subjection under man the solid earth, the earth's atmosphere or air, and the sea. But now the writer of the book of Hebrews is inspired to follow with something radically different -- something to happen in the world to come!
This revealed knowledge of God's purpose for mankind of man's incredible awesome potential staggers the imagination. Science knows nothing of it -- no religion reveals it, so far as I know -- and certainly higher education is in utter ignorance of it.
Nevertheless, it is what God says He has prepared for them that love Him (I Cor. 2:9-10).
I have said before that God revealed necessary knowledge to our first parents, but they didn't believe what He said! Some 4,000 years later, Jesus Christ appeared on earth with a message direct from God the Father in heaven, revealing the same necessary knowledge -- but only a handful -- a hundred and twenty -- believed what He said, though many professed to "believe on him" (as in John 8:30-31, 37-38, 40, 45-46).
Today science, religion, and education still do not believe WHAT HE SAID.
But now let's see what is said in this passage in Hebrews, beginning where Hebrews leaves off quoting the eighth psalm: "Thou hast put all things in subjection under his [man's] feet. For in that he [God] put all in subjection under him [man], he [God] left NOTHING that is not put under him" (Heb. 2:8).
Is it possible God could mean what He says ("all things")? Nothing excluded?
In the first chapter, the Moffatt translation of the Bible renders the Greek word translated "all things" as "the universe. "
In other words, for those willing to believe what God says, He says that He has decreed the entire universe -- with all its galaxies, its countless suns and planets -- everything -- will be put under man's subjection.
But wait a moment! Before you disbelieve, read the next words in the same eighth verse: "But now we see not yet all things [the endless universe] put under him [man]." Remember (verse 5), this is speaking of the "world to come" -- not today's world. But what do we see now, today? "But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels [or, "for a little while lower"] for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour." Man, other than Christ, is NOT YET "crowned with glory and honour."
But see how Christ is already crowned with glory and honor. Continue: "For it became him, for whom are all things [the entire universe] and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings .... for which cause he [Christ] is not ashamed to call them brethren" (verses 10-11).
In other words, Christians having God's Spirit are joint-heirs with Christ to INHERIT all that Christ already has inherited. He is now in glory! He has already inherited the entire universe. He sustains it by His power. Man, if he is converted, having God's Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:9), is now only an HEIR -- not yet a possessor.
But see now how Christ already has been crowned with glory and honor -- and is already in possession -- has already inherited. Begin with Hebrews, chapter 1:
"God ... hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things [the entire universe], by whom also he made the worlds; who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding [sustaining] all things [the entire universe] by the word of his power ... " (Heb. 1:1-3)
The living Christ already sustains the entire universe by His limitless divine power. The passage continues to show His superiority over the angels -- He is the begotten and born Son of God -- angels are merely individually created beings. Angels are now administering spirits (invisible to us), ministering to us -- to us who are now in lower status than angels -- but who are heirs of salvation, when we, like Christ, shall become born sons of God (Heb. 1:4-14).
Outer Space -- Planets Now Dead
Now put this together with what is revealed in the eighth chapter of Romans.
Here it speaks of Christ as God's Son: " ... that he might be the firstborn among many brethren" (Rom. 8:29). Humans, having God's Holy Spirit are heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ who, alone of all humans, has already been born as God's Son by a resurrection from the dead (Rom. 1:4). He is the FIRST of the human family to be born into the Family of God -- the Kingdom of God. He is our pioneer who has gone on before. We shall follow at the resurrection of the just at Christ's return to earth in supreme power and glory.
This eighth chapter of Romans, verse 9, says if we have within us the Holy Spirit of God we are His begotten sons, but if we do not have His Spirit we are none of His -- not Christians at all. But verse 11 says that if we have God's Holy Spirit growing within and leading us we shall be raised from the dead by His Spirit -- (or if living when Christ comes we shall be changed from mortal to immortal).
Now continue: "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God .... The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ, if so be that we [in this life] suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us... " (Romans 8:14-18).
Continue, Revised Standard Version: "For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God; for the creation [all the suns, planets, stars, moons] was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God. We know that the whole creation [stars, suns, and moons now in decay and futility] has been groaning in travail together until now; and not only the creation but we ourselves [we Spirit-begotten humans], who have the first fruits of the Spirit [the very FEW now being called to salvation -- the "first fruits"] groan inwardly as we wait for the [birth] as sons" (verses 19-23).
What an amazing marvelous revelation of knowledge! No more amazing, awesome, eye-opening passage could be written!
It is so astonishingly revealing, one doesn't fully grasp it just reading quickly through.
First I quoted from verse 29 of Romans 8 stating Christ WAS the firstborn of MANY BRETHREN.
In Hebrews 1, we see that Christ, the first human to be born by a resurrection from the dead, has been glorified and now sustains the entire universe. He is our pioneer who has gone on ahead.
At His return to earth in power and glory those who have been converted and received God's Holy Spirit shall be born into the God Family by a resurrection. Then the entire universe will be put into subjection UNDER them!
Then, from Romans 8, if we have and are led by the Holy Spirit of God, we shall be raised to Spirit composition and immortality in the God Family even as Christ was in A.D. 31 upon His resurrection.
Now once again from verse 19, "For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God" (RSV). This shall happen at the time of the resurrection, when those who are human actually become -- by a resurrection or instantaneous change from mortal flesh to Spirit immortality -- sons of God.
Now understand please. Why should the whole universe -- the creation -- be waiting with eager longing for the actual birth and appearing of all these sons of God, to be born into the Family of God? The following verses portray a universe filled with planets in decay and futility -- yet as if subjected now to this dead state in hope! "Because the creation itself [the universe not now capable of sustaining life] will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God."
How did all the planets fall into the bondage of decay? Surely God did not so create them!
Decay signifies a state or condition caused by degeneration and decomposition from a previous undecayed state. God, then, created these planets in a state of NON-decay. But something caused deterioration to set in.
What could have caused all this "bondage to decay"? It cannot be the state in which God created them! Everything we read in God's revealed Word about God's creation shows it to have been "very good." Angels, who were perfect from the creation until iniquity or lawlessness was found in them, caused the whole surface of the earth to turn into a state of decay, confusion and emptiness.
Could the whole universe have been created capable of sustaining life? We are not told specifically by revelation in God's Word whether it was or not, but what we are told throws additional light on why God decided to create man!
Continue this passage in Romans 8:22: "We know that the whole creation [universe] has been groaning in travail together until now." Consider that the creation is compared to a mother about to be delivered of her child. The creation is pictured as groaning in travail in hope (verse 20), awaiting the birth by resurrection to immortality, of the children of God. It is as if the creation is the mother and God is the father. Anyway the whole thrust of the passage is that when we (converted humans) are born of God -- then having the power and glory of God we are going to do as God did when this earth had been laid "waste and empty" -- Hebrew tohu and bohu (Gen. 1:2). Christ, who renewed "the face of the earth" (Psalm 104:30), was renewing what had been destroyed by the rebellion of the sinning angels.
What these wonderful passages imply and indicate goes far beyond the amount specifically revealed.
This passage indicates precisely what all astronomers and scientific evidence indicate -- the suns are as balls of fire, giving out light and heat; but the planets, except for this earth, are in a state of death, decay and futility -- but not forever -- waiting until converted humans are BORN the children of God; born into the very Divine Family of God, forming the Kingdom of God.
Jesus' gospel was the Kingdom of God. Christ's gospel of the Kingdom actually includes all this knowledge here revealed -- even the whole universe is to be ruled by us, who, with God the Father and Christ, become the Kingdom of God.
God is first of all Creator, but God is also Ruler. And He is Educator, who reveals knowledge beyond and outside the scope of human mind of itself to comprehend!
Put together all these scriptures in this booklet, and you begin to grasp the incredible human potential. Our potential is to be born into the God Family, receiving total power! We are to be given jurisdiction over the entire Universe!
What are we going to do then? These scriptures indicate we shall impart life to billions of dead planets, as life has been imparted to this earth. We shall create, as God directs and instructs. We shall rule through all eternity! Revelation 21 and 22 show there will then be no pain, no suffering, no evil, because we shall have learned to choose God's way of good. It will he an eternal life of accomplishment, constantly looking forward in super-joyous anticipation to new creative projects, and still looking back also on accomplishments with happiness and joy over what shall have been already accomplished.
We shall never grow tired and weary. Always alive full of joyous energy, vitality, exuberant life and strength and power!
What a potential!
This article is reproduced as a study reference by COG-ff. This web-site is in part dedicated to the task of providing interested individuals with a vehicle for research in the writings of our former pastor, Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong, and those serving under him during his life and ministry