Historical Information Regarding "The Messenger of Truth"
The first printing of The Messenger of Truth was in September 1931 and contained articles by Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong and Robert Louis Taylor.
Articles written by Mr. Armstrong in The Messenger of Truth were reprinted in the Bible Advocate.
Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong was baptized in 1927, following his conversion and acceptance of God's Sabbath.
Mr. Armstrong fellowshiped with scattered members of The Church of God in Oregon.
The Oregon Brethren urged him from time to time to preach to them, but becoming a preacher was the very last thing he ever wanted to be, he said. However, in 1928 he preached his first sermon, and many more sermons followed at the Church of God meetings for several years. In 1931 he was ordained to the ministry, and in 1932 he received his Ministerial License Certificate from the Oregon Conference of the Church of God, signed by O. J. Runcorn as President, and Mrs. I. E. Curtis as Secretary.
In this time frame we come to the latter part of the era of the "Sardis Church" (Rev. 3:1-6) and the beginning of the Philadelphia era (Rev. 3:7-13). The Philadelphia era was to take on new life, vigor and vitality, restoring truths that had been lost.
Mr. Armstrong stated in his autobiography "While I began proclaiming the true Gospel in 1931, it did not reach Europe and Britain until-1953, on Jan. 7".
In Haggai and Zechariah, Zerubbabel was governor and BUILDER of the second temple in Jerusalem to which Christ came at His first coming. But read again in chapters 2 and 3 of Haggai and the first four chapters of Zechariah! The real MESSAGE is about our TIME, NOW - the LAST DAYS! The time when God will "shake all nations," Haggai 2:7 and verse 9, "The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former" (Solomon's temple). The physical temple built by Zerubbabel was nowhere near as glorious as Solomon's temple. It is speaking of the TEMPLE to which Christ shall come at His SECOND COMING - soon now - the SPIRITUAL Temple, the CHURCH, which Christ shall marry at His coming, when the Church shall be made SPIRIT and IMMORTAL in GLORY!
John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus' first coming. He was the messenger in the PHYSICAL wilderness of the Jordan River, preparing for the HUMAN Jesus coming to the MATERIAL temple of stone and to the PHYSICAL people of Judah, ANNOUNCING that some 100 time cycles later, He would establish the immortal KINGDOM OF GOD on earth. But read, in Malachi 3, not only verse 1, referring to John the Baptist typically, but verses 1-5, speaking of His SECOND COMING. Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong was the messenger in the SPIRITUAL wilderness of the 20th century religious confusion - spiritual confusion - who was to prepare the SPIRITUAL temple, the Church, for the coming of the glorified SPIRITUAL Christ of all POWER AND GLORY - coming to His SPIRITUAL Temple - the Church of God - and not to announce, but to actually ESTABLISH on earth the spiritual KINGDOM OF GOD!
All these things shout a message to God's Church today!
There definitely IS a 19-year time cycle. It CANNOT be used to prognosticate or foretell future events, but it is a fact that has HAPPENED!
In the early summer of 1931 a former Seventh-day Adventist minister, Robert L. Taylor, moved to Oregon from Southern California. The brethren of the Oregon Conference were swept off their feet by him. They said he was a better speaker than any from Stanberry. The Oregon Conference brethren wanted to team Mr. Taylor and Mr. Armstrong together to hold a tent meeting in Eugene. Mr. Taylor welcomed the idea. Mr. Armstrong had now been preaching for 3 years and his whole heart was in it. Being ordained by the Oregon Conference was the most momentous occasion of his life.
And now Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong in his own words describing the events of 1931, the same time period when The Messenger of Truth was first published.
I was ordained at or near the day of Pentecost, 1931. It was June. The Oregon Conference had a small tent. Robert L. Taylor and I took it to Eugene, Ore., and we placed it in a vacant lot on West 10th Avenue. I engaged an upstairs room in a house across the street, with a small kitchenette. I provided my own food while there.
We placed a small platform at the front of the little tent and managed to set 50 folding chairs. That is all - just 50! I must have gotten out some kind of handbills or advertising in a newspaper - what,I do not now remember.
Our campaign was to last six weeks, six nights a week, skipping Saturday nights. We had the 50 seats filled most of the time.
Mr. Taylor and I alternated preaching every other night. The first night I emceed and led a song service. He preached.
When we had lived in Portland, Ore., I had gained some little experience with "Pentecostal" people. Yet at that time I really knew little about them. I was somewhat overawed by their "speaking in tongues," their glib "testimony" about how Jesus had blessed them. I did not really understand it yet. But one thing I had noticed, they had no desire to keep God's commandments, and they had no real biblical knowledge. There were a certain number of verses - or parts of verses - that they had memorized, but always putting on them a meaning totally contrary to the intended meaning in the context.
The Oregon Conference brethren were definitely against this "tongues" movement, especially a Mr. J.J. McGill, a big 6-foot-4-inch man with a husky frame. Mr. Taylor had been questioned about this, for those brethren wanted none of that in the Church. Mr. Taylor had solemnly assured them he was totally opposed to it.
As the meetings wore on, I noticed two couples of Pentecostals attending, and gradually, when he was speaking, Mr. Taylor encouraged their loud "Amens" and "Praise the Lords" and "Glory Hallelujahs." I began to be suspicious.
There was no sign of any real results in our meetings, and that was discouraging. One night a real storm blew in. Mr. Taylor and I went over to drive the tent stakes in deeper, lest the tent be blown away. No one came, but one couple, who drove up as we were driving deeper the tent stakes. Mr. Taylor said he was going home - no one was coming.
I said to this couple, it was a shame to have driven in - they had come six miles - in such a storm, and then have no service. I asked them if they would care to come across the street to my room, where it would be dry and warm, and we could at least have a Bible study.
They came. They gave the appearance of being a very "poor" couple. He certainly was not handsome (for that matter neither was Abraham Lincoln), and she was not beautiful. I felt sorry for them. But later I learned he was the most successful farmer around!
Mrs. Margaret Fisher asked me, when we reached my room, if I would explain the Sabbath to them. Her husband Elmer believed we should keep it, but she said, "All these churches can't be wrong."
"Why," I replied, "that's precisely what I said to my wife when she began keeping the Sabbath. That's the question that resulted in my conversion. I'll be delighted to explain it." I did, she accepted it, and thereby, unknown to me at the time, began the first convert of the Worldwide Church of God! The Fishers were to mean much to the start and founding of God's true Church of our time!
And, incidentally, this was the SOLE FRUIT borne by our six weeks' campaign - when Mr. Taylor was not with me. GOD NEVER BLESSED ANY EFFORTS WHEN I TEAMED WITH ANY SARDIS MEN!
In due time I learned that R.L. Taylor was, always had been, Pentecostal.
Once he told me I was not "spiritual" enough. He asked me to go with him to an all-night "tarry meeting," so I could get (notice that word GET) my "baptism." I said I preferred to follow Jesus' example and His teaching, to go to a solitary place or into a small closet and pray ALONE!
"You'll never get your baptism that way, brother!" he said sternly and rebukingly.
"Then it's something I don't want," I said.
The six-weeks tent meeting ended with no results, except the night with the Fishers in my room.
Meanwhile Mr. Taylor had brought up the idea of building a small local church building. He felt he could carry on and build up a church. He induced the Oregon Conference to buy a 50-foot-wide lot, then a half block outside city limits at the end of West Eighth Street.
It now developed that Mr. Taylor had not so recently arrived from Southern California, as he had led us to believe. He had been in the retail lumber business in Eugene and had failed. He had a small amount of lumber left on hand - not enough, as I remember, to finish the building of the small church. But he would donate the lumber. Of course he maneuvered to have the property deeded in his name.
The Oregon Conference decided now to team me up with this young minister, Roy Daily. There was "an interest" (to use their expression) up in St. Helens, Ore., 25 miles north of Portland on the west bank of the Columbia River. It turned out that the "interest" there was one woman who was filled with so much zeal she made the church officials think a few dozen people were prospective members.
I bought a half page in the St. Helens newspaper, announcing the meetings. One couple came one night only. Mr. Daily "preached" a full sermon in loud preachy tone at this couple. They never came back.
Then Roy and I went over to Umapine in far eastern Oregon, near Walla Walla, Wash. Roy knew of a member there, a Mr. Preston. He felt we could draw a crowd there.
We drove over, rented a hall, advertised, started a meeting. Roy and I slept in the same bed in the Prestons' spare room. About 35 to 50 came to our service the first two or three nights. Then attendance increased.
After about two weeks of these meetings, a letter came from Mrs. Florence Curtis, secretary of the state conference, saying the treasury was almost empty, and a meeting had been called a couple days after we received the letter to decide what to do. The conference was employing Mr. Taylor as well as Mr. Daily and me, each at $20 per week salary.
"I'm driving back for that business meeting," said Roy, "starting at 5:30 tomorrow morning."
"But Roy," I exclaimed, "we have a campaign going, with increasing attendance!"
"I'm not concerned about that," answered Mr. Daily. "That board will let you and me out and keep Mr. Taylor on, since they can no longer keep all three of us. I'm going back and fight for my own interests!"
I simply could not understand that kind of reasoning. To me, the Work of God came first, not protecting my personal interest.
Nevertheless, at 5:30 sharp next morning Roy started driving back alone. I was left alone to finish the campaign. Now interest in the campaign took on new life. The attendance increased. I had five new conversions and baptisms.
By now I had begun to notice that when I worked alone God blessed my efforts and spiritual fruit was borne. But I noticed that not one of the Sardis ministers ever produced a convert. I asked some older members in the church, and not one of them could remember of a single new convert ever having resulted from the work of one of those ministers.
Had they, themselves, been converted and had God's Holy Spirit working within them, they too, would have been spiritually productive. Had I teamed up with a truly converted minister, results would have been much greater than when I worked alone. But when I teamed up with one of those men - NO RESULTS came!
IT IS THE SAME TODAY! Some ex-ministers of God's Church have gone out to draw a following after them. Some of them have drawn a FEW - yet so far as I can verify, they have drawn ONLY the embittered, resentful, unconverted members whom our local churches have been much relieved to be rid of! THAT is THE WAY CHRIST ACTS!
Actually the business meeting had been postponed, and Mr. Daily had run off from our meetings for nought. But a little later the conference did lay him and me off and keep on Robert Taylor - later to their sorrow!
Again in late February, 1933, Milas Helms drove out unannounced to Astoria. The Oregon Conference had a little money - a very little.
By now - as a matter of fact - since December, 1931 - I had realized the mistake I made in going to Astoria. My wife and I had been praying earnestly to be returned to Christ's ministry. Our prayers at last were answered - but not until God knew I had learned the lesson of STAYING WITH IT, once in His ministry.
Mr. Helms explained a man named A.J. Ray, a former president of the California Conference of the Church of God, had come. He was anxious to bring to Oregon from Southern California a friend, a Sven (Sam) Oberg, supposed to be a "great" preacher. But the Oregon brethren had been "stung" by one supposed great preacher from Southern California, Mr.. Taylor. I had learned that Mr. Taylor had failed utterly to raise up a single member for the church at Eugene, had traded the property off for an island in the river near Eugene, and had established a colony there of "Pentecostal" people, each of whom had donated all their properties and cash over to Taylor. The colony had gone on the rocks, the people had left and some had sued Mr. Taylor. They won their case. That was the end of the "great" Taylor.