You know, brethren, I've been thinking through this week how wonderful this life could be; of the many things that God has made possible for us to enjoy. God tells us to use our senses, that we may learn to appreciate the good things God has made possible for us. And determine what are the things that are right, what are the things that are good, and what are the things that are evil. A very delicious dinner — how we can enjoy it!
But, you know, we have to cultivate a taste to enjoy things. I just wonder if everyone here enjoyed this music we just heard, as it should be enjoyed? Have we cultivated our sense of hearing, that we can appreciate the artistry and the real beauty and the enjoyment of music like that, that God allows us to have during this service on His Holy Day? Well, I'm very thankful. I'm very appreciative, and I wish to express thanks, and to compliment the choir and the pianist.
I was thinking this week of how, back 50 years ago, when I was just newly converted, and you almost might say 'being converted.' My wife and I at that time attended various churches. I saw right away that the churches are preaching just the opposite of what the Bible says, and that they don't have understanding of the Bible. I hope to give you some understanding today. And so we were attending different churches to see if we could find — surely God had His own Church somewhere in this world, that taught what the Bible says! And we were looking for it.
So we attended a downtown Baptist church one Sunday morning. Here we are on Sunday again, but I'll have more to say about that maybe a little bit later. That's not the important thing. Anyhow, they had been having a contest in that church, and they were awarding a prize to the winner, on this particular Sunday morning. I think the prize was a very deluxe Bible, I'm not sure. At least, that would have been fitting.
The question was, "What is the most common sin?" The most commonly committed sin, or by the most people. And at least the award winning answer was ingratitude. We don't appreciate things, we're not grateful. We don't give God thanks and praise, for the wonderful things He provides for us. We ought to think on that.
And then I thought of something else that might be even more frequently employed as a sin. And that is how we let our feelings get hurt. We've got feelings right out on our shirtsleeves, as they say. And the least little thing, and we get our feelings hurt, and we're all upset, and we can't enjoy anything. And of course, it's always someone else's fault. Or is it? At least we think it is at the time, and how needless it is.
And so I went to my typewriter, and I started writing an article on the subject. I haven't gotten very far with it yet, I think about three or four pages. However I hope that within — of course, for 'The Plain Truth' we are writing about three or four months ahead now, in order to get it around the world, in five or six languages already, we're thinking about adding more. And so I don't know when you will see it, but I hope God will inspire me with enough, to make it not only interesting, but helpful. And it might save you so much pain, that is needless pain, we don't need to suffer.
Brethren, always remember, no matter what the trouble, no matter who we think is doing wrong, that doesn't have to hurt us and make us so unhappy that we can't enjoy life. God is still on His throne. And God is going to work out all things for His honor and glory, as they should be. And God is going to work out all things for our happiness in the end. But it's because we have not been living right in so many ways, and because we don't think enough on these things, and we don't apply ourselves enough, that we cause ourselves so much pain and trouble. I didn't expect to say that. I've preached two sermons already, and now I'd better get back up to the one I intended to preach today.
Well, today is Pentecost. I don't know when I preached to you on Pentecost last. I could tell if I look up my notes, but so often I'm away, halfway around the world, or some place. And we can't simply understand why we are here just by reading Leviticus 23.
This is a day that is for us. There's no connection with the other people that are around the world, today enjoying — well, this is a day that in the world, I think most people, are enjoying some kind of sports. And there's something there too, in different sports, basketball, baseball, football, the 'home court advantage', they say, in basketball is worth about ten points. That's because the people are behind the players, and are rooting for them, and shouting for them, and they're enthusiastic about it. They're throwing their hearts into it.
God has called you, and this is the day that pictures that very thing, and why He has called you. To stand back of the Work of God that He's commissioned me with, of getting His announcement of the coming Government of God, of the family of God, the Kingdom of God, to govern this whole world. And then the cause of all this unhappiness will be ninety percent, ninety-nine percent gone.
We don't realize that there is an invisible power, of Satan. That Satan is real. Far more real than this pulpit that I can hammer on here, and touch, and feel, and pound on, and you can hear the sound. But we don't see him, so we don't know that he's real. And he is the prince of the power of the air, and he broadcasts. And he puts these feelings, and these emotions into our minds, and in our hearts through the spirit that is in man.
God wants to give us His Holy Spirit. But God isn't trying to give His Holy Spirit now to the whole world. No, this is the time when God has a hands-off policy so far as the world is concerned. They have cut themselves off from Him, and He is inaccessible from them. There is no way they can get to Him, because Jesus said;
"No man can come to me, except the Father which...sent me draw him..." (John 6:44)
Today I hope to make that plain, because I think most of you don't understand it, fully at least, and how important it is. If we look at it just from the point of view of the world today, and the few things we see in the Bible on Pentecost, and look at that alone, we are not going to understand why we are here. We are not going to understand the significance of this day.
Let me give you just a little personal, private history. I was challenged on the Sabbath question. I spent six months, night and day study, the most determined research I had ever put into my life, because I was angry. My wife, the wife of my youth, had taken up with what I called 'religious fanaticism.' She was keeping what I called 'the Jewish Sabbath;' and I was trying to find where the Bible said, "Thou shalt keep Sunday." And you know, it took me about 50 years to find that — and that's only once a year! And this is it, and here we are.
Well, finally I found how wrong I was too. Not only were the churches wrong, but I found I was wrong too, and I had to make a surrender. And I had to learn that the natural, carnal mind cannot understand the things that God has prepared for us. And today has something to do with the things that God has prepared for us.
So we have to go back and find what led up to it. Again, I think it's something like entering a movie, about the last ten or fifteen minutes. It's been going on for an hour and a half, or two hours. And you haven't seen what went on before. You haven't seen how it started, and you don't know what led up to it, and so you don't understand what you are seeing. It doesn't have any meaning to you, you just don't get it. You sort of have to wait that ten or fifteen minutes out until something else comes on, or else dial to something else, if you are looking at the movie on television as so many do today.
Well, originally, God populated this earth with angels. Now to achieve what He wanted the angels to do, and the purpose for which He put them here, He put over them a government. And He set a super-archangel, Lucifer, on the throne of that government. That government, like all governments, had a constitution and laws to regulate the lives of the angels in getting the job done that God had for them to do.
The angels rejected the government of God. They sinned, and God's government was removed as a result. They were supposed to improve this earth. Instead, they polluted it. They ruined it, and they brought it to ruin and decay. So we read in the first chapter and the first two verses of the book of Genesis;
"In the beginning God created the heaven [s — it should be plural, meaning the entire vast universe] and the earth." (Genesis 1:1)
And there is reason to believe that He created this earth at the same time He created matter, the entire physical universe. There was a time when there was no matter, there was no earth, there was no sun, there was no matter.
"And the earth was without form, and void..." (Genesis 1:2)
That comes from the Hebrew words 'tohu' and 'bohu' that means it had come to a state of decay. It had come to a state of chaos and confusion and emptiness.
"...and darkness was upon the face of the deep..." (Genesis 1:2)
The earth then was completely covered with ocean, no land whatsoever. And where light had been — and God had given them light — this Lucifer, the archangel king, turned it to darkness. Turned the earth, and turned everything good into something evil. And I am convinced that, that is when all the other planets, which had been made, were perfect, were beautiful enough, as far as God went. But God's way, I'm beginning to learn, is usually to create in two phases, and He doesn't do all of the creation at once. Often there's a part of it left, to be done later.
For example: He created man of matter, but that was only the first phase of the man's creation. You read of the physical creation in Genesis one. You read of the beginning of the spiritual creation of man in Genesis two. That's only the beginning, you read much more of it in the New Testament, of course.
And so God didn't create the angels perfectly all at once. They were perfect as far as they went. But their creation couldn't be completed until character, either good or evil, had been developed in them. And they had to have their own part in the development of that character. Because character is something — as I have said over and over, and over, and again, and again, and again — that cannot be automatically created by fiat. It is something that must be developed. And the one in whom the character is instilled, has his part in the development.
Now God, of course, told these angels the right way. He told them about His government, which had a law, and the law was a way of life. He told them His purposes. He gave them knowledge, but it was up to them to decide what to do with that knowledge. He also gave them minds to think with. He gave them reasoning powers. He gave them powers to come to conclusions, to make decisions, to take choices, and He left that to them. Had He decided what they had to do, that they would have to be perfect, and they could be no other way, He would have made them automatons. They would have had no mind. They would have had no part in it. There could have been no character. They would be just like an inanimate something, without life.
But He was giving them the opportunity to develop holy, righteous, perfect character, which God Himself has. And He told them the way, and He gave them the law, that would build that character. But they spurned it. That law was love, it was based on love. They chose the way of — while love is giving and outgoing concern, it's outgoing in obedience and worship. In well, the very thing that this prize was about that, I told you about — in gratitude. Outgoing gratitude and thankfulness to God for all the great blessings that He gives us.
Oh, how often I thank Him for these things. Sure, we have troubles. Sure there are times of crisis. And yet we can have happiness too, in our minds, if we are in tune with God and with His Spirit. And this is the day about His Spirit.
But somehow the angels thought that instead of giving and submitting, that getting would be better. Instead of worshipping God and obedience, that vanity and exalting the self above God would be better. That competition and strife and trying to take away from the other would be much better than sharing and cooperating, serving and helping. And so they turned to that way of life.
And so the government of God no longer existed on this earth. While it existed, there was happiness and supreme joy, glorious joy, on this earth. And the angels were happy, and they were really enjoying life. But they had rejected God, they had rejected God's government and brought, as I say, chaos to this earth.
Now in the one hundred and fourth Psalm, the thirtieth verse, you will find how God sends His Spirit forth, and He has renewed the surface of the earth. He renewed the surface of the earth for man, and He made it beautiful once again. The first chapter of Genesis paints that picture, and it's a wonderful picture. And if you'll take the words of the oratorio 'Creation,' you will find some of the most beautiful things you have ever read, of how beautiful and how wonderfully God did recreate, or renew, the face of the earth for man.
So we read how He made man, Genesis 1:2-3. God said, the first thing He said was; "...Let there be light..." (Genesis 1:3). where there had been darkness, and He went on and created it. And filled it with the birds and the animals. And how much joy can birds and animals even give to man, when we see them, and watch them. And we just need to learn to appreciate things like that more than we do.
Then finally God, who was described at least, as two persons, described in John 1 and verse one in the New Testament, of the Word and God. The Word was God, and the Word has always existed. And was not at that time the Son of God, because it was impossible, since the Word had always existed, and there never was a time when He was not in existence, the same as God.
They were of one mind, but one had to be the leader and in authority and power, and that was God. And the Word did whatever God said. I guess the Word was a 'yes man'. There are times when maybe it's all right to have a 'yes man', although we use that as a slang term, and as an epithet as if it is only a weakling. I guess we are supposed to always disagree and fight.
But God formed man of the dust of the ground. Now if we are going to understand any of these things and why we keep this day, we must see it in the light of what has gone on before. We need to understand that God had decided to reproduce Himself after the angels sinned, to develop holy, and righteous, and perfect character. And He decided that there was only one way He could surely do that, and that was out of matter, and not out of spirit.
He had created the angels out of spirit. Their creation was not complete until their character was formed. And, when their character was formed, it was an evil character. And being spirit, they could never change it. Once their creation was complete, it couldn't be changed. They will be evil forever, and ever, and ever, because they are immortal. They will live forever, and they will live forever, in hatred, in anger, in wrath, in rebellion, in resentment.
And what an awful thing it is to get hooked on bitterness and resentment. And I have preached that, and pleaded with our people long before we built this building, and when we were over in the auditorium, or the gymnasium. And yet many, who heard me say that time after time, just got absolutely hooked on bitterness and resentment;
"They went out of the Church,...they were not of us, or they would not have left us..." (I John 2:19 paraphrased), as John says, but their minds are still on bitterness. They are still looking for every chance to try to harm or destroy this Church and this Work. They hate it! Now you can't be happy in that state of mind, so they're not happy.
And brethren, instead of praying against them, we ought to pray for them. We shouldn't want to see them, who have sat among us, go into a lake of fire. We should pray that they will see the light, and come back, and I'm very happy that some few are beginning to do that very thing. That ought to make us all rejoice. And if any of us get bitter and angry because a sinner repents, because a prodigal son returns, and we choose to receive him, as the father of the prodigal son did — I think you need to have your head examined, and see which way you are going, and why you are so unhappy and making yourself so miserable.
Let's get some of Christ's happiness in us, because one thing He said; "...my joy I leave with you..." (John 15:11 paraphrased) And we can have it, He had left it with us before He went to heaven.
But man was made flesh because flesh is matter, and matter can change, so that, if man started the wrong way, if man went the wrong way, he could change — being made of matter. Oh, what a wonderful plan God has when you see it. Well, the first man was Adam. So He made man; "...male and female [made] he them." (Genesis 1:27)
"And...God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." (Genesis 2:7)
And first God talked to the man, just as He had talked to the angels, and He enlightened the man. He gave him knowledge. Here was a newly created mind in a man, and also another in a woman. Unfilled with knowledge, new but not knowing anything, but with adult minds able to think, to reason, to receive knowledge and utilize it and reason with it.
And so God kept Satan away until He talked to them first. Then He allowed Satan to come to them, and Adam rejected God's government. He had the chance, there was the tree that meant the Holy Spirit. He could have taken of it, and he would have had the love of God, and the law of God is love. He would have had the love from God that will fulfill that law. And he could have fulfilled it perfectly, and he could have qualified to reestablish the government of God on this earth. And he would have been sitting on the throne over all of the rest, which would be his children born of him.
Now he had not experienced God's way of life. He hadn't lived that way. He hadn't been created and hadn't lived long enough, neither had he yet experienced Satan's way. And Satan didn't say, "I have a better way. Please adopt my way and live my way." Oh no, Satan just tried to make him disobey God. And tried to make him think God was not fair, and tried to appeal to him with some of Satan's ways of resentment, rebellion, vanity, and wanting to exalt himself. It's when Madame Eve saw that the tree was pleasant to the eyes, good for food, and desired to make one wise, she got vanity, intellectual vanity.
And he said, "You will be God, when you eat this" because then, if you take of that other tree, that was to take to themselves the knowledge of what is good and what is evil. That means to decide themselves what is good and what is evil. God has already decided that for us, and His law is the way of good. And to break that law, the transgression of it, is the way of evil. That's already decided for us.
And Adam rejected it, and when he did, he cut himself off from God. And he not only cut himself off, he cut off his family, his posterity. And that's every human being that's ever been born on this earth. So now we had a confrontation between God and Adam, after Adam had made that decision without having tested, or tried, or lived under either way. Adam said, "God, get Your nose out of my business. I don't want You interfering with me. I'll decide for myself what I do. I'll decide which is the better way."
"All right," God says, "Now, I make a master plan to carry out My purpose, which no one can defeat My purpose. Of 7,000 years, I assign the first 6,000 years to have your own way. You've said you want Me to keep out, I'll adopt a hands-off policy, for the first 6,000 years. Now you go build your own government in the way that seems right to you. You've taken to yourself the knowledge of what is good and what is evil. You try to devise good government. You try to devise good religions. You try to devise good business and commercial transactions and life, commerce and industry, education, educational processes, educational institutions. Go on and build your own!"
And do you know what man has done? Fifty percent or more, and I can't give you the percent because I don't know what it is, of what has been taught in the schools of man's devising are pure bunk, are pure fable, are pure lies. The most highly educated men in this world, as I've said time and again, are the most ignorant because their minds are filled with lies.
God said, "I'm going to give you 6,000 years to prove how wrong is the way that you have decided to adopt, your own way. You go your own way, I'm assigning you 6,000 years. You have cut yourself off from Me." Man is cut off from God. Man has to go his own way alone, without any help or guidance from God.
Except God said, "I will intervene when I need to, for My purpose. But, so far as you and your whole world is concerned, as a whole, I'll keep hands off." This is not God's world. Of course, God knew that while Satan is invisible, and while Satan is so subtle, that he doesn't say, "I'm Satan, and I want you to worship me." He said that to Christ, because he knew that Christ knew who he was, but he doesn't say that to man. Man is worshipping Satan and thinks he is worshipping God, because Satan is subtle and clever. He has deceived all nations. His method is deceiving. He hasn't gone out to conquer physically, and overpower all nations. He has gone out to deceive them. A deceived man thinks he is right. Again I say "What you don't know, you don't know that you don't know it!" And you know that's right.
So this means that God has set apart a 6,000 year time to let man go his own way. It means that, during that time, God is making no effort to save man. God will save man, but sometimes you need to go a little slower. You know, we go too fast sometimes. We need some patience, we need to take a little more time, and do it right, and that's what God is doing. God is ultimately going to give every human being a chance to be saved, and a chance of salvation. But He's doing it in such a way, that when about ninety-nine point ninety-nine percent of all humanity finally get their chance at salvation, they will be looking back on the result of 6,000 years of going Satan's way, which I like to call 'get'.
Now that includes vanity, lust, and greed, jealousy, envy, resentment, bitterness, rebellion, getting your feelings hurt, all of that kind of thing. All of that comes from Satan. And yet you get your feelings hurt over every little thing. Every one of you do, including me. And then I wonder why sometimes. You know, we all do.
Now God cut off all in the world except a very few that He's called for His purpose. In order that later He can bring the others to a change, from the way they have gone to the way they should go — to God's way, from Satan's way to God's way. He has called a few. He called Abel, and Christ named him "righteous Abel." And why He did, I don't know, but someday we will know that God had a purpose in calling Abel.
Then Enoch walked with God, and then Noah. Noah was the only man on earth that would obey God, would listen to God, would live God's way. Everybody else wanted to live the other way, the way that leads to trouble. That leads to pain and suffering and all of the hell that this whole world has been living in all these 6,000 years. And the 6,000 years is up in our generation. We have reached that generation now, and we are in it and we are in, I think, way past the middle of it. I mean of the generation.
Then there was Abraham, and Isaac, Jacob, Joseph. Later He took their descendants, the Israelites, when there were probably about two and a half million of them, called them out of Egypt. And God must have revealed some of His plan, and some of His truth, and some of His purpose. While man was cut off now, and had to originate his own knowledge. And the real source of knowledge is God, and man cut himself off from it, and man came now to discover his own knowledge.
And the only knowledge that can come into the mind of man normally, and naturally, is that that comes through your eye, or comes through the ears. Or, that's perhaps better than ninety nine percent, and the rest of it is the knowledge that you gain through the sense of smell, or taste, or feel and touch. There is no other way! I'll give you a check for a thousand dollars if you can show me any other way that knowledge comes into the mind of a man naturally.
Now I can show you how we can get knowledge in another way, and that's what I'm going to show you. That's through the Holy Spirit of God. That's not what I mean. But I mean just carnally, naturally, a man can only, in other words, he can only have physical, material knowledge.
Why is it that after 6,000 years we have developed to the place where we have every kind of machine you can think of, every kind of instrument. We can send men to the moon and back. But we can't live happily even with ourselves in our own home. We can't live happily with our next door neighbors. We can't live happily within a nation. The nation can't live happily with other nations. And we are having nothing but wars, and the overthrows of governments, and the overthrows of this, and that, and the other thing.
You will read in business magazines of successful business men who will say that no man can reach to the top in business, without jerking the rug out from someone who is over him. And discrediting someone else, and using some very illegal, unfair means to get up there in this world. That's the world you live in, and it is not God's world at all.
Now, in the nation Israel, God called them for a great purpose and as part of His plan. He began revealing certain knowledge, but most of humanity never could understand it. And I'll show you why a little later. But He began revealing it through Moses, and for the first time now, in writing. I know He must have revealed verbally knowledge to these other men I named a while ago. But here we find, in the writings of Moses, the Holy Days and the Festivals of God.
But they didn't know why back in those days. Israel never understood why they should have this Day of Pentecost. Or, they didn't call it Pentecost then. It didn't come until the New Testament time. It was called 'The Feast of Firstfruits' or 'The Feast of Weeks.' They didn't know why, they didn't know why they observed the Passover. They didn't understand its meaning. I think that Moses, I think the prophets, did. God undoubtedly revealed it to them, but the rest all were carnal, and they couldn't have really comprehended it.
But you must take what you find in Leviticus, where you find the Holy Days primarily, and in some parts of Deuteronomy and other parts of the writings of Moses, you must put that with other scriptures later, some in the New Testament, before you get the meaning and how they picture the plan of God, and His plan of working things out.
And do you know that that fact applies only to a very small few? Just a very few that God has called, and God has not called ninety nine-point-ninety nine percent of humans. They're in this world, it is their world, they think. Actually, it is Satan's world, and they don't know it. And to those of us who have had some knowledge revealed, God has called us, and called us out, and opened our minds to receive His Spirit and to understand.
Now God called Israel, not for spiritual salvation. Do you understand that, brethren? I've shouted that to you time and again. GOD DID NOT OFFER THEM ANY SPIRITUAL SALVATION WHATSOEVER. He called them to be one of this world's nations, but living under God's laws instead of the laws they would make up for themselves, like the other nations around them. They were to be guided by God.
And therefore while God was ruling them through Samuel, the prophet. They came to Samuel and said, "Look, we don't want this, and we don't want the rule of God through you. We want a king over us, like the other nations. So we'll have our own kind of government that we will fix ourselves. We want a king over us, like the other nations around us. We want to be like this world." (I Samuuel 8:5)That was Satan's world, but they didn't know it. As I say, Satan sort of hides himself so that people don't recognize who he is or what he is doing.
The very fact that they didn't even know why they were observing these days. And that reminds me, When I was going through that study, and found my wife was right. And I had to, as we say, eat crow. And realize, not my own inadequacy, but my own sins, my own worthlessness, my own uselessness as I was. And surrender and give my life over to God, and be converted and receive His Spirit. When I came to see that we must observe the seventh day Sabbath, I said to my wife then finally, when I had come to the last thing that I had studied, "Then that means we have to also keep the seven annual Sabbaths." And she looked, and saw what I pointed out to her, and she said: "Well, so it does, that's very plain, and they are commanded forever."
Now we didn't then know why, it didn't make sense to me. All I knew was God said, "Do it." And if God commanded it, and said, "Do it," I was going to do it, whether I knew why or not. When God said to Abraham, or Abram, his name was then, He said; "Get out of your country, and your father's country, and your kindred, and all the bright lights and the gaiety of the world where you are. And go to a desert country. Go out into a desert country among the rocks and sand and cactus." Abraham didn't question. He didn't say, "Do I have to?" Or, "Can't we just talk it over first?" Or, "I like it better here. I think I'll stay here." It just says Abram departed. He did what God said.
Well, I had read that. When I found that God commanded us to keep these annual Holy Days, they are commanded forever. I'm not going over that part of it today. You know that, you should, and if you don't, you'd better study it up for yourself, because I won't have time to say that and the other things that I want to get over to you today.
But, nevertheless, my wife and I began to keep that Passover that Spring, and that was in 1927. That's quite a while ago, and I would say that most of you have been born since then, or a great many of you here have. I don't know, maybe not half of you. Anyhow, that's quite a while ago.
And now, we were meeting with, we hadn't joined, we didn't belong to, but the only church people we found that believed the Bible, and had more Bible truth than anyone else. There was a lot of it they didn't have, and what they didn't already have, they refused to believe. And so I brought this truth to them. And they only laughed me to scorn. They were going to hold fast to what they had, but they would not learn any more from the Word of God. And my wife and I kept these Holy Days seven years, all alone by ourselves. So I think I can say I've been keeping these days now a little longer than any of you, because that wife died ten years ago.
But God called Israel, not for spiritual salvation, but to, and to, test their willingness to live under God's government. Now what was the result? Just the same as the angels had been: rebellion. Actually, the covenant that made them a nation, and God didn't force them, God put a proposition up to them. "If you will be My people, My nation, and let Me rule over you. And you will keep My laws and do them, I will make you the greatest nation on earth." He didn't promise any soul salvation. "You will be the head nation, you'll be the most powerful, you'll be the most prosperous." Well, they wanted that. So they said; "...All that the Lord [will say] we will do..." (Exodus 24:7)
But they didn't mean it. Now the Old Covenant that made them a nation, one of the nations of this world, also was a marriage covenant and made them God's wife. But, like a wife committing adultery, they went further than harlots do. As God said, a harlot charges for her service, but Israel, as a whore, went out paying her lovers.
And we are Israel today, and we're doing the same thing. Our lovers today are our allies, and they are bleeding us to death. We're paying them, paying them, paying them, and they are taking all they can get from us. So some of the scriptures, and I believe it's in Hosea or Amos, say that they have just sapped and drained us of our material wealth, that God has blessed us with. And we don't even know it, we don't realize what they've done, and how they've done it. We're the biggest — "Uncle Sam" I've often thought should be called "Uncle Sap."
But they didn't understand why they were keeping these annual festivals, and God gave them, to them. It was just like Mrs. Armstrong and I, God said, "Keep them," and we said, "Okay, we will." The only difference is, we said, "Okay, we will," and they said, "No, we won't." And they didn't know what they meant though.
Now you must remember that they were living in Satan's world. The people all around us are living in Satan's world. And this Church, keeping these days, is living in this deceived world of Satan. Just remember that we are in it and God has pulled us, and chosen us out of it. And is causing us to do some things the rest of the world neither does, nor understands.
Alright, first then was the Passover. Now the Passover really, when you get down to it, applies only to those that have been called to spiritual salvation and to Christ. And Christ said in John 6 that; "No man can come to [Him], except the Father...draw him..." (John 6:44)
And the Father is not drawing many. The Father is only drawing those that were predestinated to be drawn, and that's a very, very few. And the rest couldn't have this knowledge. They couldn't understand it, it would seem like foolishness to them. But to us who do understand, who have been called, the Passover represents the crucifixion, and the death of Christ to pay the price of our sins.
But does that save us? I think a lot of the people that are not God's people, but think that they are, and are deceived in their religions. Especially the religions and different denominations of Christianity. They think that the blood of Christ actually saves us. Well, I want you to notice in the fifth chapter of Romans, just a couple or three verses here beginning in verse 8;
"But God commended his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us [we were still sinners, we hadn't turned away from sin yet, but He paid the penalty even before we had deserved anything]. Much more then, being now justified by his blood..." (Romans 5:8-9)
Justified means your pass guilt is cleared up, and justified, and is no longer held against you. You are forgiven. That's all it means. But let me tell you something, the only One who has eternal life to give is God the Father, and you are still cut off from God. You'd better find a way to be reconciled to Him, and get back in touch with Him, and have a contact with Him, before He can give you eternal life. He is not going to give eternal life to those that are just cut clear off, and there's no connection.
"Much more then, being now justified by his blood [and that doesn't mean given salvation, just forgiven, that's all], we shall be saved from wrath through him [that's in the future, most people will say, "Well, you're already saved if you believe in Christ." Oh, no, you're not. It says here you shall be saved]. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son..." (Romans 5:9-10)
In other words, the crucifixion of Christ paid our sins, and having paid our sins. They are what cut us off from God, and now we are reconciled to God. There's nothing, we now have a contact. We can pray to God and He listens. He will hear us because Christ has reconciled us to God.
"...by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled [to God, who has eternal life and the Holy Spirit to give], we shall be saved [by what? By His blood, by His death? Look in your Bible, it doesn't say that. It says] by his life." (Romans 5:10)
We shall be saved by His resurrection. And the only hope of eternal life for you, or me, or any of us, is the hope of the resurrection. So let's understand what the Passover really means. It means reconciling us to God. It does not mean giving us eternal life.
Now, let's go on. So next then comes the Festival of Unleavened Bread. And that is a type, a type of it is their coming out of Egypt, going toward the Promised Land, that is the Israelites. And putting leavened bread out of our homes seven days, leavened. Leaven puffs up like sin, so that leaven is a type of sin. And that only pictures putting sin out of our lives and seven days. Well, it doesn't mean just seven days. It is seven days because seven is God's number of completeness. And so, what it means is, we do it seven days to show that God means, that we must put it out completely. No part way doings.
Oh, we have a report here on the offering. Maybe you would like to hear it? The Ambassador Auditorium total $24,416. Thank you, brethren. Thank you [audience applauds]. At the college in, Garner Ted is preaching over there, $20,630. Now let's see, the attendance here we had 1263. He had 1010. So we are pretty close. Ours was $19.33 per person. He beat us a little there, $20.43; but it's very, very close. Now that means including every child, everybody here. The Imperial gym are tuned in here, $9,598.99; attendance 395. They beat us all on a per person basis of $24.30. You brethren over there listening in, thank you in the name of Jesus Christ [again, the audience erupts into applause; and Mr. Armstrong chuckles]. Maybe you can hear the applause here as our brethren here are applauding you. Now total attendance 2,668 and per person $20.48 - a total of $54,645. That is encouraging.
Now, I hope that will give us enthusiasm so we'll go spend a little more time on our knees praying now that others will send in one hundred times that — others outside of the Church. You know that God could cause even millions upon millions of dollars to just rain down on this Work. You don't know what God can do. I haven't time now to tell you of some of our past experiences; and, when we prayed, how proportionally great God did rain the money down. When we pray, when we believe and trust God, when we go to Him, brethren — oh, let's do it. Let's do it. Let's really prove to ourselves we are the Church of God, and the people of God, and the people that have that faith.
Now let's go on and get a little more of the meaning of this. Unleavened Bread, in the first place, they could eat no leaven, because they had to rush out of Egypt so fast, and so they came out without it. So it's a picture of their coming out of Egypt. Well, Egypt is a type of sin. That's our coming out of sin. And also, putting leaven out of our homes for seven days, as we did, means — you know, when we are abroad, we even have to get all the leaven out of our airplane. [Mr. Armstrong chuckles.] We just get it out altogether.
So it means the developing of character. It means coming out of Satan's way. Coming out of the 'get way' and coming into, now we have repented of that way, we have accepted Christ to pay our sins for our transgressions. Now we are going to quit transgressing. We are going to live God's way, the 'give way,' the 'love way.' But we have to have the love of God to do it, and we don't have that yet.
And Israel, you see, they had to have some help from God. They started out of Egypt with a high hand. But they got to the Red Sea, and there they were stuck. And they couldn't walk on the water, and there were no boats, and it was too deep to wade, and they would have all drowned. And here came Pharaoh's army after them after all. Moses said, "Never mind. Trust God. He'll deliver you!" And God performed miracles to get them out of there, and take them through on dry land. And let Satan's army come in, and get right in the middle of the sea, and then let the walls of water fall in on them, and drown them all. And they were rid of Pharaoh's army once and for all.
Well, it is a gradual growth, brethren. Once we decide that we've repented and we've turned from Satan's way of 'get' and we want to go to God's way of 'give'. And we've been giving a little bit today, but we've got to give more than money. We've got to give our whole hearts and our prayers, and sacrifice of prayer, and it is a gradual growth.
Now their trek into the Holy Land, God kept them forty years in this desert. They didn't accomplish it all at once, they couldn't go too fast. Then once they got to the River Jordan, and once they were ready to go over, I want to read to you in Deuteronomy 7 what God said, even after they were able to go into the Promised Land, which is a type of our coming into God's righteousness;
"And the [Eternal] thy God will put out those nations before thee [a] little and little..." (Deuteronomy 7:22)
They were squatter nations, God had assigned this land and given it to Abraham for his children. And those nations that were in there didn't belong there. They were trespassing there, and God said we will put them out. But He said, "I will put them out little by little."
"...thou mayest not consume them at once, lest the beasts of the field increase upon thee." (Deuteronomy 7:22)
In other words, a greater danger would come. If we could become righteous all at once, the minute we're converted, and we're righteous and we don't do anything wrong, and we don't get bitter, and we don't get our feelings hurt any more, and we don't forget to be grateful and thankful, yet we'll have many other sins. We really will.
I'm going to tell you something personal, he's not here, now maybe I shouldn't say it unless he was here, but I don't think he would mind - about Mr. Radar. I baptized Mr. Radar, I think it's about a year and a half ago now. And one of his daughters was getting quite interested in the truth. She had listened to the broadcasts, and she was attending Church. And she was getting quite interested, but she saw some things in her father that she thought were not perfection. I've seen him get angry. And maybe I haven't been around when you were angry, to see you, otherwise I would have seen you angry too. And so she lost interest because she thought her father hadn't been converted.
And when we are away from here on the Sabbath, our little touring team have our own Bible Study. And I was reading this chapter and others, and going through this same thing that I'm going through right now, and made a Sabbath study of it — that we are not converted all at once. That God is building character. And it is a slow development, and growth, and experience, and you continually overcome.
I still have things to overcome at my age! Sometimes I am fearful lest I don't get them overcome in time. But I'm working on them, and I need your prayers, that you'll pray that God will help me. Now, if you are back of me a hundred percent like nearly every one of you say, do that. Not only pray for the Work, not only pray for my part in the Work, but pray for me personally because I have things to overcome.
And, oh, I don't know. My wife and I were sitting out on our veranda of our new little home over in Tucson. It's out among the cactus, and the sand, and the rocks in the desert, mountain views around on this way, and flat desert views in the other direction, beautiful views. And I was just saying "My, how God does bless us. How beautiful it is here; and those birds out there playing, and the little dog going back and forth." It went exploring a few rocks. It's been over and explored them, I'll bet fifty times, if not a hundred, but it goes and explores them again.
And you know, we sit there and drink our morning coffee and enjoy it. And then I'll hear Dr. Lockner's voice coming on up, and "Well, come on, you've got to go to work." So I have to get in on the massage table and get a big old vigorous rubdown. And he's fairly rough, you know. He really lets me have it. And that's what I need, so that's what I get.
And I just think, in spite of the fact, that since my recent marriage, and while we've been out there on the so-called honeymoon, in which has been mostly spent writing I don't know how many articles and things, and on the telephone with problems, and troubles, and almost everything to worry you, and to hurt your feelings, and all of that. And still there has been happiness because one by one God has been solving every one of these problems for us. Not always the way we wanted, but in the way we can see is going to be best as God sees it. And that's the way we want it, what is best for Him, because this is His Work.
And I was thinking too, if the Roman Catholic Church gets in trouble, and it is. Right now the Pope has got more trouble, than any Pope before him, that I know of in history. I've haven't read all of their history, but as far as I know, and I know pretty well. I've seen the last three or four Popes at least. And the history of the Roman Catholic Church, when they have their troubles, they don't go to their knees, and go to the throne of God in heaven for help. No, they go to some new political or military scheme and tie up with other nations and try to solve it in a military way.
They solved it by persecuting and martyring and torturing the real true Christians through the Middle Ages, until millions were killed that way. They force people, and bring people to their knees, to believe in their religion. Once again, it's going to happen. And the Mark of the Beast is going to be enforced. But I believe there'll be another Pope before that happens. But things can happen, as I say, so swiftly you just can't realize it.
Now, third, we come to the day we are observing now. Now we're coming down to the day that we are observing now called Pentecost, and it's called Pentecost because that's what it's called in Acts 2:1
"...when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all gathered together." (Acts 2:1 paraphrased)
I won't take time to read that now because you know where that is, and I must hasten along. Huh, my time's up now; but I'm not through yet.
Originally, Leviticus 23:4; 10; 15-16; and 21 are the main verses there, give us the truth about it. And it tells us to count. Now God has us do that, we have to do the counting, He has to tell us when. And every translation of the Bible, because I checked every translation that existed so far as I knew, that I knew of knowingly, at the time. Every translation said that, let's see, that you count fifty days, in other words, from a Sunday, from the morrow after the Sabbath. Well, that's what I did.
I know how to count fifty, and I didn't make any mistake in that counting. And every — I don't read Hebrew, I'm not a Hebrew scholar, so I have to depend on those that are Hebrew scholars that have translated it into English. And they must be among the best Hebrew scholars who translated all, not just the King James, but all of these translations. And every one of them said you count from that day. Well, one day from today is not still today. One day from today is tomorrow. One day from Sunday is Monday.
People tried to make me change it. They couldn't make me change it. No, I'm kind of bullheaded, until you give me some reason, or some proof. I have not departed knowingly or willingly from the truth of God, ever. You'll find that in the third chapter of Revelation, and that is true.
But it is called also 'The Feast of Firstfruits.' Let me read that part of it here; "...then [you] shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest;" (Leviticus 23:10)
And they were not allowed, this is at the time of the spring harvest. God has two harvests in Palestine, and God has two spiritual harvests of humans from this life, human life, into the spirit life, of God life. And this is the completion of the early harvest, the Day of Pentecost. And it also is the day on which the Holy Spirit came. So it symbolizes the receiving of the Holy Spirit.
Now let's go back. I said that the death of Christ only reconciled us to God. But that doesn't give us the Holy Spirit. God has it to give, and now we are reconciled to Him. Now we have started out, at least, and we'll have to keep it up for the rest of our lives, coming out of sin, putting sin out of our lives, overcoming! Which means the starting of the building of character, and that's the purpose for which we are here. We have to come to have the character like God. God is reproducing Himself. And that's the way He's going to correct what those angels did.
Now, Pentecost first pictures, that we are only the firstfruits, and it's called 'The Feast of Firstfruits.' And that's one of the scriptures, and I won't take time to read that now. But remember it has only to do with those called. In John 6:44, Jesus said; "No man can come to me, except the Father...draw him..." (John 6:44)
And the Father is not drawing everybody. And the only ones being drawn, as you will read in Romans 8:18 — no — verse 29;
"For whom he did foreknow [predestination], he [or God] also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son [He did not predestinate some to be lost, He predestinated us to be conformed to the image of his Son], that he might be the firstborn among many brethren." (Romans 8:29)
And we are the firstborn in general, Christ individually, we as a group. We are the firstborn group. And then, the only other place where predestination is mentioned is in Ephesians the first chapter and the fourth and fifth verses;
"According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love [not that we should be lost, that we should be holy, that we should come to a state of holiness, and develop character. That's why we are called]: Having predestinated us unto the adoption [well, it means real born sonship, not adoption] of children [that's a mistaken translation], by Jesus Christ [to] himself, according to the good pleasure of his will." (Ephesians 1:4-5)
Now you keep on reading in this wonderful first chapter of Ephesians, and in verse 12 you read; "That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ." (Ephesians 1:12)
We are the first of the spring harvest, it's the firstfruits, the first to be called, the first to be saved. And it began with Peter and the apostles. It began with those in the early Church back there, those that had been in the true Church of God, that had suffered the persecution. Many martyrs have given their lives. And it is us today, and today, brethren, we are the biggest church, and more people, and of bigger numbers, than God's Church was even in the days of the original apostles. It never got this big until the persecution began to tear it down, because then the gospel message of Christ was abolished. And they stopped it, and it didn't go out again until now, and now God has raised you up to back me in getting it to the world.
Don't you think it's an easy task for me, these long, long trips. On this trip we'll leave at ten o'clock at night. We'll be flying all night, through to London. Then to Paris for about a day and a half or two days, where we will meet Mr. Radar, who already has left for Washington DC. And then we go over behind the Iron Curtain, where many are waiting for us. And many meetings are set up with the top people, and the top people in government, in nations like Czechoslovakia, and, let's see, in Poland and nations of that sort in eastern Europe, that are Russian satellites. Then we are also to meet our Japanese — some of my Japanese sons, as they call themselves. They are congressmen, high in the Japanese Diet, and they are working to get us into both Moscow and Peking.
And sooner or later, you will find God is going to open these doors. We are getting into those places, and we're getting the gospel there in a way that astounds them. Now we're not required to make them believe it. We just give the message. We are only to announce it, and that's all. But it's getting announced.
Well, the Day of Pentecost pictures the receiving of the Holy Spirit; but that is only the start. You can't begin the building of character until you really receive the Spirit of God. Now the first of the festivals meant that Christ paid the penalty in our stead. We have to first start out of sin before God will give us the Holy Spirit. That's what the seven Days of Unleavened Bread pictured.
And now today pictures the fact that we receive the Holy Spirit. That means we are begotten of God. Now each of us was begotten when we were smaller than a pinpoint. And we grew for nine months before we were ready to be born. We are, when we receive the Holy Spirit, we are about as small, when it comes to real Christianity and spirituality, as that little pinpoint. And we have to grow, and grow, and grow in grace and in knowledge, and in more knowledge; and grow closer to God all the time. Closer and closer to Him, and farther and farther away from this world and its interests.
And brethren, I want to tell you, for the last five or seven years this Church, more than we realize, has been tending to want to just get a little more of this world, and do a little more like the people of this world are doing. I've tried to sort this Church out, God's way - altogether different, no part of this world. But we, we just want to be more like the world. You women all want to use a little bit of lipstick. And you, you want to be painted like the women of the world, you know you do! I'm trying to lead you, I'm trying to set the example. It's not easy, it's not an easy life.
Well, brethren, in closing I am going to just forget the rest of what I was going to say. Trumpets, the next festival, will be the one that pictures the Second Coming of Christ. And we are right down to the time now when that will be the next big event. And then the putting away of Satan on the Day of Atonement. And then the Feast of Tabernacles is the great fall harvest. That's when everybody living on earth, who is still alive, will be called; and we will be there reigning on Christ's throne with Him. But we have got to overcome now, and that's why we are predestinated.
We are the ones that are predestinated to have to overcome while Satan is still here. And brethren, when we help convert the whole world, Satan won't be here anymore. He'll be removed, as the Day of Atonement pictures. Now can I make that plain enough so we all understand it? We've got a little harder job than they'll have then. But we are going to have greater honor and greater glory, and if we make it, and if we do it, we're rewarded according to our works. And we will reign with Christ on His throne when He comes.
And then comes the Great White Throne Judgment, when all of those people that God has kept hands-off, and has not given them any chance of salvation. They were among the people which couldn't come to Christ unless the Spirit of the Father drew them. And the Spirit of the Father did not draw them. They will be resurrected, and they will live. I believe it's a hundred years, it doesn't make any difference, the relative time, that's not the important point. The thing is, they will be allowed to live long enough to see, and to see what went on in that 6,000 years, and to see the results of the heartaches, and every kind of, well, the results of sin.
They're so great that I just get stopped when I try to tell you. The hurt, the pain, the suffering, the injustice, all of the terrible things, the evils, of this world. They'll look back on them and see that they were caused by living the way we lived instead of the way of God's government.
Now what do you think? When they look back and see it, after having experienced that way, I think they are going to want to come right out of it. I don't think they are going to want to stay in it. Now maybe only one percent of them will be saved, but I would rather believe it will be more nearly ninety nine percent. I hope, I don't know, and God doesn't tell us. And they'll have to make their own decision then. But right now God has called us to get a job done, and that is to announce that the Kingdom of God is coming. That it's near, and that God is once again going to rule this earth, and rule it His way.
What this Church needs is a spiritual revival. And I was just thinking of this, I think you can compare it to some of our sports, as I mentioned earlier in the sermon. The home team always has about a ten point advantage. Why? Because they've got the people there cheering for them, urging them along, helping them. They are not praying for them. It is not that kind of a thing.
I need that ten point advantage, and I need you to be the ones that are pulling for me. And you don't know, I tell you that your prayers, brethren, can bring in more money than you can contribute. And not only a little more, but maybe a hundred or a thousand times more, if that's how much God decides we need. God has ways of sending it. And your prayers, back of me, will increase the effectiveness of the job of getting this message announced over the world. That right now is the first priority in the mind of God. And if you don't agree, you just don't agree with God because I know.
I don't have to prove that God has used me. He used me to raise up this Church. He used me to start this Work. He used me to start 'The Plain Truth.' He used me to start sending co-workers out before 'The Plain Truth' started. He used me to found these colleges and build them. I don't have to give you any credentials, do I? No, my credentials, like Paul said to the Corinthians, are written in your hearts.
And the thousands, yes thousands, first it was hundreds, but they kept coming, many big boxes, that big square and this high some of them, filled with letters and cards of congratulation on my very recent marriage. Oh, and so many of them showed extra love, real affection and love, as well as just congratulations.
Brethren, I know that certainly most of you really love me. I want you to love my wife the same way because I certainly do. And well, it's pretty hard to talk about it when you get to something like that. You just want to let your eyes water up, and choke up, and get to the point where you can't talk. But I love all of you, and I know you are backing me a hundred percent. I want you to continue, and I'm going to go on this trip knowing that you are praying for me. I know you won't let me down. Thank you. [Applause by the audience.]