This era of God's Church is now in its second generation. And those of you who've come into the Church in the last ten to twenty years know, perhaps, little — at least too little — about what went on in the Church, how it was started, and what led up to the point where you came in. I've even heard of some who say, "Well now, what's that Herbert Armstrong doing here; how did he get in?"
And perhaps we need to go back a little bit and bring you up to date. I tell you it is a good deal like going into a motion picture theater or tuning in a movie on television right in the middle of it. And you don't know what went on before; you don't know what led up to it and it doesn't make head or tail. You can't understand where they're going, why this is happening, why that; what's that got to do with it. And it's all confusing.
Sometimes we need to go back and bring ourselves up to the present, because there is one, continuous flow of things; there is one purpose that God has from the beginning. Now, I not only intend, this morning, to go back to the beginning of this Church era and to show you where I came in, but, even when I came in we were, perhaps, way past the middle of the movie — if you could call it that. And this certainly is no movie!
And, again, let me just say, we are not here, brethren, to be entertained. And I'm not speaking to you this morning to entertain you. I've known a lot of people who call themselves "Pentecostal" people who go to church for a "good time." They enjoy shouting, "Glory, Hallelujah!" They enjoy getting up in "testimony meeting" and saying, "When you get to your baptism you'll be as good as I am; I am better than you are," of course, and all that sort of thing.
We are here to learn the truth, not only about us and about this life and about how we live, but to learn the truth about what is going to be, where we are going, why is humanity on the earth? Did God put us here, or did we just "happen?" And if God put us here, why did He put us here — is there a purpose; is there meaning to life; are we here because something is to be done and for a purpose; where are we going; what lies on beyond; and what does that have to do with the here and now and what we ought to be doing now?
I'm here to tell you what you need to be doing now and the change that needs to come in your life RIGHT HERE AND NOW! Because there's not a one of you here that doesn't need a change in your life right here and right now — beginning with me. And I realize it and I'm going to make that change. I'm going to set you the example. Let me tell you we're getting dangerously close to the Laodicean condition of lukewarmness. There's been a little of that, of course, in every church all the way along. It just will be the dominant feature at the tail end of this age. But we are beginning to get into it, but we're not quite there, yet.
But if ever there was a time when the Church needed a spiritual refreshening, rebirth, revival — whatever you want to call it — it is now! We're getting spiritually drowsy! And we need to wake up.
However, I'm going to begin clear back at the beginning and bring you all the way up to where we are now and it'll give you meaning, it will make sense to what is going on in the world. Why do we have the troubles in the world; why are they getting worse all the time — and not better? And why are we here; why did God call a Church; why does He want a Church today?
This Church — the real Church of God — is larger today and has more members and more power and more facilities (so far as I know) than it has ever had, perhaps — well, I'm sure — since around 60 or 70 A.D. and, perhaps, even more than it ever had been. And we need to begin to understand that.
In past years, I've begun the services (the last two years, at least, in speaking at all the Feast sites — and by the way I'm planning once again to speak at every Feast site in the Continental United States. I'm going to miss some of the Canadians this time, because they used to come down to Niagara Falls and to Spokane and a few of those places and we used to go up to Penticton and the Canadians are keeping it themselves, this year and I hope it's for this year only. I think it's a good thing if we do mingle and mix, but it was proving to be a little expensive for some of them to come down to the United States and a financial inconvenience.
So, nevertheless, I think maybe the fellowship was worth the cost and I'm sorry that we don't have that with us this year — although you probably never had very many of them down this far south. But I always began by telling you that conditions are worse than they've ever been in the world up till now (alright, I could say the same thing — and it's true — this year and they're getting worse all the time).
But this year I want to give you the other side of the coin; I want to give you the good side; I want to tell you that this Church, right now, is in a more sound and solid condition than it's ever been in this era of the Church since God used me in founding and starting it. I want to tell you that the ministry is more together and more sound and solid in the doctrines and the belief of the truth of this Church than it has ever been before.
I get that from my son, Garner Ted Armstrong. I'm away a good deal of the time. He's at headquarters. I get this, also, from Mr. Dart, who's in charge of the ministers in the churches over the United States and from Mr. McCullough who's in charge of churches around the world.
Alright — what an opportunity, then, lies ahead of us if we're in a good condition now. The world isn't; the Church is. In spite of the troubles, in spite of the prophesied falling away that did happen, this Church has continued to gain not only in membership, but in income. And until this year, the last few years, the income only about equaled the inflation — in other words, how far the money would go.
This year, for the first time, our income is increasing faster than the cost of living — or the price of what we have to use money to buy. And as a matter of fact we wound up last month on thirty percent once again — thirty percent increase over the year before [applause with Mr. Armstrong joining in, saying, "Thank you, I'll join you on that!"]. We have averaged thirty percent a year for thirty-five years. But in the last seven or eight years we haven't been doing that. But we're back up to it this last month. See, we're in October now — that was September. Well, I'm glad of that; that is good news.
But now I want to begin. I want to make it as brief as I can because I've got a long sermon. I'm going to hold you a little extra time this morning, but it's worth it. To begin at the beginning, to see God's purpose, how He planned it, where it started, what's gone before, what's led up to it, it's worth taking extra time! And I'm going to hold you here a little longer this morning.
Now, everything did not start, as you might think, in Genesis 1:1 in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Do you know that the Bible goes, in pre-history, back farther than that? The real beginning is in the New Testament in John 1 verse 1.
John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Now, that doesn't mean that the Word is God and it is just one person. That is like saying at a certain time here was Garner Ted, and Garner Ted was with Armstrong, and Garner Ted was Armstrong. Now Garner Ted was with me, you see, and I am Armstrong, and Garner Ted was with me and Garner Ted is, also, Armstrong, because he's my son.
Now at the time spoken of here in John 1 and verse 1, the Word was not the Son of God. They were co-equals. There never was a time when the Word did not exist as a separate personage from God. And yet He, too, is God. Now later the one called God, here, became the Father and after Jesus was born as a human being He said, "This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased." Well I've said that a few times about my son, Garner Ted. But, nevertheless, at this time, the Word had always existed. There never was a time He did not exist, so He could not have been a Son of God — otherwise God would have had to have existed first.
Now let's get a few of these little points as we go along because I think they are quite interesting.
John 1:2-3 The same was in the beginning with God. (3) All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
In Ephesians the third chapter you read that God (9) "created all things by Jesus Christ." Jesus Christ is the Word. In the Psalms you find that (Psa 33:9) "He spakeand it was done." When He became Christ (and He was the same personage) He hadn't changed in the same character and He said,
John 12:49: The words that I have spoken, I have spoken what My Father commanded Me to speak.
Their minds were the same — that is the first thing we need to know. Now back then there was no matter. Matter had not been created. They were in space. There was nothing else, just two beings — two great Beings! Let your mind go way back. Envision a time of two great Beings — co-equal! Were they fifty-fifty? No — they were not.
You know, some wives say, "I think we ought to be fifty-fifty. I don't believe in this thing about the husband being the head of the wife." But what she means is, "I believe the wife ought to be the head of the husband." You can't be fifty-fifty. One is the leader. God only appoints one leader at a time!
People, lately, have been saying, "Well, maybe it's the doctrinal committee that sets the DOCTRINES IN THIS CHURCH." THAT IS NOT TRUE! and let me tell you right now, with the OFFICIALITY AND THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST, AND IN HIS POWER AND HIS AUTHORITY, THAT NO COMMITTEE SETS DOCTRINE IN THIS CHURCH! GOD HAS NEVER WORKED BY OR THROUGH COMMITTEES! That's the way man does. THIS CHURCH DOES NOT WORK THROUGH COMMITTEES. AND I HAVE DISBANDED THAT COMMITTEE! [applause with HWA commenting, "Yes, thank you for that."]
I'll come to it later. There is AUTHORITY in this Church and the government of God is here! And it's not run by a committee and it's not run by two equals, because there it started and there is God's pattern of the One that later became the Father was the Head and gave the commandment. And the Word created all things and made all things, but as God, who later became the Father, told Him to do.
Now They both discussed it together, They both went over the plans together. But the One made the decision, the One was in authority. Let's get that. That's God's principle. It was when there was no matter; there was no earth — there was nothing but those two great Beings. They were Spirit, composed of spirit. But they had form and shape — just like we do. They had two eyes; They had a nose; They had a mouth; They had two ears. Each of Them had two arms and ten fingers, two legs, two feet and ten toes, because later God made us in the same form and shape as Himself.
But way back here there were only the Two. The facts of radioactivity prove there was no past eternity of matter. There was a time when matter did not exist. Then there was a time when matter did exist. And I cannot imagine something coming out of nothing gradually.
But let me tell you something. God has given us minds — something like His — and we think and plan before we build or construct or do something. It was in my heart, when I read how David had built a great temple in Jerusalem and it would cost about three to five billion dollars if we wanted to build something like that today — so I didn't have anything like that in mind. Besides, Pasadena is only a temporary headquarters for the work of God and the Church of God. Jerusalem will, yet, be appointed and God will, yet, choose Jerusalem (although His back is turned on it right now).
But, I didn't know that it was God's will — so I talked to Him about it and I prayed about it. And I told Him that it was in my heart, if it was His will, to build an auditorium — not a temple. But I said, "This should be Your house, and since it should be Your house and Your Name on it, it should be the best, the finest." Now I said, "If that's what You want, please show me by providing the finances for the finest auditorium on earth."
You know God tried my faith; God tried my patience. At that time the freeway was coming through which split our campus in two. We had to hurry and build a gymnasium. We found only one firm that was able to plan it, design it, and build it in time to stop the freeway.
After that was done, another building had to come and, after that, then another and, then, another and, it was twelve years before we were able to start the auditorium. But all that time we were planning. I started the architects in 1960; they sent me rough drawings in 1960. I was in England — they sent them over there. And I chose the design — with the big pillars rising up out of the pond of water. The lake of water was my idea — and the pillars. And that's the one we chose — with the overhanging roof. And that was chosen way back in 1960. And we began to plan; and we began to design for this house of God. And every cubic inch of that building was designed, planned, and layed down on paper before we began to build a thing.
Now I know that God began to plan way ahead. There was just God and the Word — nothing else — nobody else — no other beings. But They had all power and They had supreme mind and perfect thought. And They were the essence of love. And They had the character, the principle of outgoing concern — the principle of give, not get.
Now when I talk to heads of governments, when I talk to people that are the same as senators, representatives, to people who are the same as heads of departments or in the cabinets of foreign governments, I say that there are two ways of life. I don't talk Bible language; they don't understand it. But I say there are only two philosophies, two ways of life; you go one way or the other.
The one way I call get — that's the way humanity's living. We want to get; we want to take. The other way I call give — or better stated love — because love is giving. Love is an outgoing concern for the good of others equal to your own self-concern. But the get way is vanity, lust, and greed; the get way is jealousy and envy; the get way is competition which leads to strife and violence and war. The get way is resentment — and especially resentment against authority. The get way is, "You stepped on my toes; I'm going to get even with you. You dirty so-and-so; how dare you step on my toes!"
I think I stepped on some fellow's toe yesterday in the crowd somewhere. I turned around and said, "Oh, I'm so sorry. Will you forgive me?" Well he was nice and he did. I'm glad he wasn't one of those guys who said, "You dirty so-and-so. Why did you step on my toe for? I'm really going to sock you one!"
Just two ways of life — but God and the Word were imbued with this one way of life. They knew that was the only way that would lead to cooperation and harmony and pulling together and peace. And Their minds were absolutely together — just like one mind.
Now, They began to plan ahead and I think They thought farther ahead than you could believe. And They began to first design beings out of spirit — angels. There was no matter; radioactivity proves there was a time when there was no matter. Radioactivity is a process of disintegration. You know, radium is flicking off light rays. I've seen it. They're just like in a magnifying glass. I've seen it just like shooting stars coming right at me — in a tube with a mirror down at one end and a magnifying glass near my end — with a piece of radium on the other end just shooting light rays out at me.
The ultimate product is lead. There would be no thorium, helium, no radium. Eternity is so long that even though it has what they call a half-life and it takes, probably, millions of years before even a piece of radium will become lead — that's its ultimate destiny. And there would be nothing but lead; there would be no radioactive elements, except that there was a time when matter was first created.
So, first God created angels. They weren't on any earth, or any planet; they were in space. They're made of spirit; they're immortal — they can't die. But they have minds — and they have minds that can think. And God had shown them His way — the way of give, the way of love — the way of loving God first and obedience to God and all going that same way. But they had minds to think with. And they began to think out a different way. I'll come to that later. I don't want to get ahead of myself.
Now we're ready to go back to Genesis one, verse one — if you want to get things in the right sequence and in their time order. This says "in the beginning God created the heavens [this should be plural, as Moses wrote it in the Hebrew] and the earth."
Now, if He created the heavens and the earth, the indication there is He created them all at the same time. Now, how did He create? Well, you get down to the last verse of this chapter and it says that, (31) "God saw everything that He had created and, behold, it was very good."
You cannot find a place where God made or created anything that it was not very good. God never created anything in a state that was very bad — never!
Now let me give you something to think about! Right now, out of Pasadena and only a walking distance from Ambassador College, is the government agency that has, (and it's also aligned with Cal Tech, another university in Pasadena) that has, right now, an unmanned satellite on Mars — on the planet of Mars. And photographing pictures right there, on the surface of Mars, and sending them down to us.
Do you know what we're finding? Decay — absolute decay! Now, decay is something that was not made decay. It was made something else. Decay is a process, or a result of a process, of rotting and decaying — instead of growing and building and getting better.
We have sent men to the moon. It's in a state of decay. No one can live there. Conditions are not right for it. BUT I KNOW THAT MY GOD DID NOT CREATE THEM IN A STATE OF DECAY! He created them so that they could be improved upon. He created the earth in a perfect condition.
Now let me explain it. First, the Hebrew words, here, indicate a perfect creation. Next, you turn to Job 38, where God is speaking to Job, and He says ..."spoke to Job out of a whirlwind," verse 1 and, finally, He said in verse four... "Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?"
Job had just built (I think) the Great Pyramid — some great building. And it's a building where the cornerstone was the last stone laid on top (that's the only kind of building I know where that could be). So, He's whittling Job down to size. He says, "You created that building. I created the whole earth. "Where were you?" He says,
Job 38:6"Whereupon are the foundations (of the earth) fastened? or "who laid the cornerstone thereof; "when" (you see, at the finish) "when the morning stars" (which means the archangels — the lightbringers) "sang together and all the sons of God" (the only sons of God that existed then were the angels) "SHOUTED FOR JOY?"
Why? Here was solid matter with the force of gravity to hold them to it. Only I'm not sure that angels were subject to gravity, but they could be. I mean they could stay on the earth. Maybe they could lift up and leave. Now angels are not pictured in the Bible as having had wings, except the Seraphs (or Seraphim) and the Cherubs (or Cherubim). They had wings, the other angels, apparently, did not. That's just a little point in passing.
Now, why did God create matter? Because so many great things could be done with it. Look at what man has been able to do with matter; look at the power of matter: force and energy and all of the things that are in matter — electricity, power. What about nuclear energy? Look at the marvels that lie in matter. And even what man — puny man — has been able to do.
Now it could have been made gloriously more beautiful when God started it. I'll tell you it's just like someone creating a very fine home. All the outer structure is there; it's all built. They haven't got the final outside — whether it is to be stucco, or shingles, or boards, or brick, or what. They haven't got the final floor or final walls inside. No furniture or furnishings. But someone has certainly built something which, as far as it goes, is perfect — there is nothing wrong with it.
But He expects man to move in and complete it — finish up that outside, put floor coverings on, get beautiful curtains and drapes on the windows, bring in beautiful furniture and furnishings — finish it up. You see what I mean? God can create something that's perfect, but is not, yet, finished. It's only perfect as far as it goes. So we can go further with it. And many things can be done with matter. And do you know that angels inherited this earth first — before man. And they were here only on trial.
Now I'll tell you, and later I'll prove it to you (I hope that there's time before I get through) that the ultimate thing was that they were to go to all of the planets in the whole, vast universe and do the same thing. But this was the test — the trying ground. First they had to do it to the earth. God has chosen this earth — and ultimately it will be the headquarters of the universe because, ultimately, God the Father is coming down here after the thousand-year reign of Christ.
So this earth is very important. But what happened? In II Peter the second chapter verses four through six you read, "The angels sinned!" And you get a time element. That happened before Adam because then it tells next of the sin between Adam and Noah. And next in time sequence it tells about Sodom and Gomorrah — and the destruction that came as a result of that sin in every case. Destruction came, then, to the earth as a result of that sin!
Alright, God cannot create character instantaneously — unless He makes you an automaton — where you have no mind, no thought, no personality, no character — if He makes you go the way He wants you to go and you have nothing to say about it! He showed these angels the way to go. And in the archangel that He put over them, Lucifer, He created the greatest being that even God can create. You can go no further — you can create no more wonderful being, because he's just about next to God.
But they had minds to think with. And they had to think and determine the character and determine the direction. God did not do that for them. They had to do it, but once they had done it, it was set. Matter can be changed — it's always changing and will rot and decay, but spirit never changes and once they had made that decision it could never be changed and they're immortal!
Now, they got to reasoning. They had the powers of reasoning, of thinking, of coming to conclusions, making decisions, making choices. The one that God put at the head was so great that there could be no greater. He sat on a throne; there was the government of God.
Why did God put His government here? Well, why would we need government? Well, I'll tell you if you don't, one man thinks we ought to go this way and another thinks we ought to go that way and the first thing you know they're hitting against each other. One man starts to do something; another man thinks, "I'm going to tear it down." And you get nowhere; you go in every which direction.
God wanted the job done and He wanted the job done that's going to take billions of beings to do because it's the whole universe. Now look how big the universe is right now! This earth is a part of our solar system. Mars is part of our solar system — so is Jupiter and Saturn and Venus and the other planets of our solar system. But our solar system is only a tiny speck, a tiny spot in our galaxy. There are many others (well, we call them stars) and some of those stars are bigger than our sun that are in our galaxy. And they have their "earths," their planets around them, just like we have all these around our sun. And there are many, many galaxies.
Now I lost you there; your mind can't go that far — that goes for so many centrillion times centrillion miles into space that you can't conceive of it. When God created matter He did a tremendous, awesome thing! And as far as it had been created up to that time it was perfect — but it needed finishing. God is a creator; He wanted others to be creators — to build, not to tear down. God is the author of light, not of darkness, the author of give, not of get.
Alright, they had to all go the same way. They had to have peace; they had to have harmony; they had to pull together to get the job done. That required government. You cannot have government without law. You don't know of any government without law. You've got a town here and another one just across the bay. But you've got some kind of a city charter or government. The state of Florida has a law. The United States government is based on a constitution and laws. There is no such thing as government without law.
God's law is simply His way of life. It's love; it's a way of life; it's the way that brings peace; it's the way that brings harmony; it's the way that pulls us all together in building up and not tearing down. It's the way of love — and love is the fulfilling of that law. So God placed His government over the angels — who first inherited this earth.
Now, I want to give you a little bit from Isaiah — the fourteenth chapter of Isaiah and the twelfth verse. It speaks of this archangel who was on the throne over these angels — and his name was Lucifer.
Isaiah 14:12-14 "How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!" [The name Lucifer means, "Bringer of light" — bringer of light or "the morning star" — the one who has truth and light. And light stands for the truth.] "how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!" [That got a little mixed up in the way that they translated it there. "How art thou who didst weaken the nations cut down to the ground!"] (13) "For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne [Vanity had seized him. He had a throne. It was under the heaven.] He said, "I will ascend into heaven. I'll exalt my throne above the stars" [or the angels of God — stars are simply the symbol for angels. You read that in Revelation the first chapter.]"I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, [In other words, "I will sit where God does and do the ruling!" That's at the throne of God.] (14) "I will be [here it says "like." It should be translated, "I will be, or become, the Most High."] I am going to take God's place.
Now he must have reasoned, "God created me; therefore, God must be greater than I am. I don't believe I have enough power to go up there and knock Him off and take His place. But look at all these angels." Apparently one-third of all the angels were here on earth under him. That was millions upon millions of them. So he had to teach the angels.
Now here he had been taught at God's headquarters because you find over here in Ezekiel that it tells who he was. Verse fourteen in the twenty-eighth chapter of Ezekiel...
Ezekiel 28:14 Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth.
That takes you back to Exodus 25:20 showing he's one of the two archangels whose wings covered the very throne of God. He had been at headquarters of the government of the universe. At the throne of God he was instructed in the government of God. He was instructed in the laws and the ways of God. He was put here on this earth and He says, "Here are your angels; here's your congregation. This is your congregation. I want you to rule over them as I have taught you. You didn't have to raise them up or convert them or anything." But no, he wanted to rule over God's headquarters congregation in the sides of the north.
We have taken young students and educated them at headquarters. Now when I started out, brethren, God used me in raising me up the parent church of nineteen members. And I had to hitchhike; I didn't have an automobile like you ministers do — you fellows that are ministers here. I didn't have things easy like I've been able to give them to you — if you want to know where I came in on this picture. I had something to do with giving you these things. You ministers that are living so well — I didn't live in the kind of homes you do. And I had to hitchhike to speak to thirty-six members — and out of them a church of nineteen members — and that was the start of this work. It started pretty small.
But we send men that are trained out to people that are already my sons and daughters in the Lord — a local congregation — there they are. We give them an automobile — either once a year or every two years. Go teach them.
And do you know some have said, just like Satan — they begin and they will work on one member and get that member against the church with them. And then he will help them and work on another. And each of them will go to another. It's just like a lot of apples in a crate — you get one rotten apple in there and they'll rot the ones next to it and they'll rot the ones next to them and pretty soon the whole crate is rotten.
DON'T TELL ME that this was not the work of Satan — through the prophesied falling away that did happen here a couple or three years ago. They got the SAME IDEAS. They said, "We don't want any more of that GOVERNMENT over us!" LUCIFER DIDN'T WANT THIS GOVERNMENT OF GOD OVER HIM ANY LONGER! So he began to get the others so that they wanted to get instead of give. He began to teach his angels so that they would have a spirit of resentment against authority. He began to turn them against God and to think they had been mistreated.
Oh, I know, I've gone all through it. You see, I've been in this church longer than any of you. This is my fiftieth Feast of Tabernacles — fifty! [audience applauds and Mr. Armstrong responds with, "Thank you."] Let me see the hands of any of you who have kept the Feast of Tabernacles longer [audience laughs]. You see, my wife and I kept the festivals of God and the annual holy days for seven years before we could get anyone else to do it with us. They laughed us to scorn when we went to the people who professed to be the people of God — we now call them, "the Sardis church."
After God had used me in raising up His Church, they all began to keep these days. And God's Church has done it ever since. But the Sardis people didn't then — and they don't to this day. They're described in the third chapter of Revelation as that.
Now notice, he was instructed in the administration of the government of God; he was perfect as God created him. You read here in the eleventh verse of Ezekiel twenty-eight.
Ezekiel 28:12 "Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty." In other words, the sum total of perfection, wisdom, and beauty. God doesn't say that about any man. He says here in the fifteenth verse:
Ezekiel 28:15 "Thou wast perfect in all thy ways from the day that thou wast CREATED, [He was a created being, not born] "till INIQUITY was found in thee." Iniquity is "lawlessness" — breaking law, antagonism, resentment against law.
Now the light had gone out. The earth was filled with darkness. Also, decay came to the surface of the earth. And decay came to the rest of the planets of the earth. And the government of God was no longer here.
Now what was God going to do? I just want you to realize what that rebellion had done. And what it posed God, then, with this problem. I think God had thought all this out in advance. I'm sure that God didn't know what decision the angels would make. He left that to them. He chose not to know. If He had known (and He could have) but if He had, He would have had to compel them to go His way and make His decision — and that would not have been character. So I'm sure God did not know.
But now so far the other two archangels have stuck loyal with God. And, certainly, more than two-thirds of all of God's ministers have stuck loyal to His Church, too, today. So I guess history does sort of repeat itself and the majority of the angels are still holy. And I think the majority of our members are still in unity and with us and are stronger today than ever. But there is the comparison and I wanted you to notice it in passing.
Now this earth was in a very bad condition. The angels had failed. They had polluted everything on the earth — the water, the soil, the air — everything. Instead of building it up they had torn it down. It left a condition where God (and now that is God and the Word, not yet Father and Son) were the only type of Being on earth that would not and, therefore, could not ever sin — that is — go contrary to God's law — which is the foundation of His government — would never go the other way — would always cooperate, share, go together.
You know, I had been in places where there was so much I needed to do I just said, "There are not enough of me. I wish there could be at least two of me, or, maybe if there could be a dozen of me. Twelve of us could do so much more work than I could do alone." Well, God must have thought something like that. God had to begin to realize, "I've got to reproduce myself. I've got to have millions and billions that, like Me, will not sin, will never turn to the way that Lucifer had!"
Lucifer had started a civilization where every man went the way that was right in his own sight. He had started the way where they were filled with jealousy and envy and resentment and rebellion! He had started in a way where they were filled with vanity and feeling superior to everybody else.
God said, "I will reproduce Myself. Now I can't do it out of spirit. I've tried spirit — spirit turned and can't change. Once it's made its decision it's solid — it can't change. I will make man in My image! And if man, then, decides he is wrong — if he goes the way of Satan, if he goes the way of get and later decides to repent and wants to turn to the way of give — being made of matter — he can change." That's why God chose to make man out of matter.
So first God had to prepare the earth, though, for what was coming. And so you read in Psalm one hundred and four and verse thirty, "Thou sendest forth Thy spirit, they are created, and Thou renewest the face of the earth."
The face of the earth had gotten into a terrible condition. And God had to renew it and create man and put man here — if you want to know how we came to be here.
Now go back to Genesis one and verse two.
Genesis 1:2 And the earth was [or came to be] without form, and void.
Now I don't like that English translation; other translations are different. The Hebrew that Moses wrote it in was "tohu and bohu" and it means "waste and empty." It means, "a state of decay." It means, "chaotic and confusion." It means the state in which you find our moon and which we now know that the planet, Mars is. So, this "man from Mars" is all fiction. You can enjoy it on television if they ever repeat it, but it's not true.
And notice something else, "and darkness was upon the face of the deep."It was now all water — no land. And it was all dark — darkness had descended — and no light.
Now God sent forth His spirit and it says, next, "the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
Thou renewest the face of the earth.
The rest of the chapter (Genesis 1) shows Him renewing the face of the earth — making it ready for man. Now, God created animals and other things for the use of man. You come down to verse twenty-five and 26,
Genesis 1:25-26 "And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind"[after the cattle kind], "and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind" [dogs after the dog kind, horses after the horse kind, lions after the lion kind and so on]. (26) "And [then]God said, "Let us" [NOT ME because it starts out in this chapter, "in the beginning [elohim] created."Elohim is more than one person, but one God — one God in more than one person — a uni-plural noun. This is the Word and God together, who later became Father and Son.]
Genesis 1:26 And God said, Let us" [not me] "make man in our image, after our likeness.
So He made man, but He made him out of matter. In verse seven,
"And the Eternal God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life — " [just like animals, but man is not an animal.] "And man became." Man is made out of what — the dust of the ground. Then what was made out of the dust of the ground BECAME a living soul, not an immortal soul.
A SOUL, THEN, IS MADE FROM MATTER; A SOUL IS MORTAL AND CAN DIE. God said, here, "In the day that you take of the wrong tree here and make the wrong choice, as the angels all did and became demons, you will DIE! They couldn't die, but God said, "I made you of matter and YOU CAN DIE!" God said, "You will die." But Satan said, "Oh, no you won't."
Now Satan came along and got to Adam through his wife, Eve. And he said, "Now God knows better than that. He knows that you're going to be God yourself. And your eyes will be opened. And if you take to yourself the knowledge of good and evil — why let God tell you what's good and what's wrong and what's evil. Why don't you decide that for yourself?"
Well, that really appealed to her vanity — intellectual vanity. Then she saw that the fruit was good for food and beautiful to the eyes — lust, desire to get and to take began to come. Vanity had seized her. Finally, she took of it and gave to her husband also — and he did eat! And they disobeyed God. They made the first scientific experiment. And the result of that experiment — they died! And their posterity and their children have been dying ever since!
Now, where are we here? I want you to remember the grand purpose — that the angels were to have finished up the universe. Let me just skip what I was going to say for a moment and turn over here now to Hebrews the second chapter and read you a little and how man is now going to... God has raised up man in order that man can accomplish this purpose. God's purpose stands. If the angels didn't do it God is going to raise up beings who will do it. And there will be, ultimately, billions of us — billions of humans — and not many are converted yet.
Hebrews the second chapter beginning with verse five, "For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come." You see, this world was in subjection to the angels, but now man is going to take it over. And the world to come will not be under subjection to angels. (6)"But in a certain place one testified, saying, 'What is man that thou art mindful of him, or the son of man that thou visitest him?'"Why should God be concerned about man? It's like a lot of little ants running around down here on the earth. Who and what are we?
Brethren I tell you I don't think many of you have ever come to have a real concept of the incredible — the AWESOME POTENTIAL — that God put you here for and that lies ahead of you — if you're willing to WAKE UP AND COME TO YOUR SENSES AND MAKE THE CHANGES YOU'VE GOT TO MAKE IN YOUR LIFE! AND I MEAN WE'VE ALL GOT TO MAKE A CHANGE. And I'm telling you by the authority of Jesus Christ — whom I represent! And I speak by His authority!
Here is what lies ahead of us — listen!
Hebrews 2:7"Thou hast made him a little lower than the angels"[or "for awhile lower" as another translation has it] "thou crownest him with glory and honor and didst set him over the works of Thy hands."
What are the works of God's hands? He created the universe.
Hebrews 2:8 "Thou hast put all things under his feet" [in subjection, that is, under him. The world to come will not be under subjection of angels. But now it will be under subjection to man.] "For in that He put all" [God put all] "in subjection under him" [under man] "He left nothing that is not put under him."
God spoke to Adam and Eve before He let the devil get to them. They didn't believe what He said. Christ came and He preached the same thing. But do you know that after three-and-a-half years of preaching to thousands upon thousands upon thousands of people only one hundred and twenty believed what Jesus said.
Now you people sitting down here, are you just being entertained; are you just being amused? Do you believe what God says? I'm telling you what God says here — I believe it! Do you believe it?
Now, in the Moffatt translation, which gives the right meaning, in the first chapter it talks about Christ being the brightness of God's glory and the third verse,
Hebrews 1:3"and the express image of His person and upholding ALL THINGS by the word of His power!" Moffatt translates that "the entire universe" — the whole, awesome, vast universe! Christ is upholding, sustaining — right now — with His power. And He is the firstborn of many brethren who are to be born like He was. We are heirs and co-heirs with Him, to share with Him, everything He has inherited.
Now let's go right on, the last part of that same verse now says,
Hebrews 2:8 "But we see not yet all things" [that is the whole universe under man — oh, not yet. But that is what God has in mind. Now do you get the story? But what do we see now?] "we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death" [just like us] " crowned with glory and honor that He, by the grace of God, should taste death for all men" to make it possible that we come on where He did.
He is the pioneer who has gone on ahead. The first chapter shows He is now ruling and sustaining the entire universe. That's what we are to do. And if you read the right translation — if you get the Revised Standard Version of Romans the eighth chapter — you find that the whole creation is groaning and waiting for the revealing of the born sons of God when we will be changed into spirit like God — because we're going to do something to this whole creation that is now in a state of decay. THAT IS OUR ULTIMATE PURPOSE!
Now I've jumped a little ahead of myself, but I did it purposely. I wanted to show you that God chose man and through man is going to do that. But the first man went Satan's way. He rejected it; he took of the wrong tree; they deliberately went the wrong way. I don't have to read these verses — you know them well enough. And he chose the way of get; he chose the way of self; he rejected the government of God and he started out in the way of Satan.
The grand purpose requires people that will work together in harmony and it requires the government of God! They went under the way of Satan.
Now God then, on that, laid out a seven thousand year master plan for man. He said, "I'm going to let man, for six thousand years, go the way he's decided to go." Lucifer was on that throne. He's immortal. No one has qualified to take his place. And until someone qualifies and is inducted into that office, that former Lucifer (that Satan) is going to stay there.
Oh you can't realize how POWERFUL he is because you don't see him — he is invisible; he is spirit. But I'm going to show you in just a few minutes how powerful he is and what he has already done to every one of you — EVERY ONE OF YOU — he's done it to you. You've been his victims. And I'm here to show you, as a minister of Christ, how He can pull you up out of it and ransom you away from that and make you what God intended in the first place!
The first six thousand years of that seven thousand, God ordained that man could go ahead and take the way that he had chosen — decide for himself what is right and what is wrong, take to himself the knowledge of good and evil. But seven thousand years-He's going to see by that time Christ will have qualified and He will come and set up and restore the government of God.
Now then, the human mind, or the human brain, God made us out of matter just like animals, He made our brain just like animal brain. You take a brain of a chimpanzee and it's a little smaller than a human brain, but just like it. You take the brain of a dolphin, the brain of an elephant, the brain of a whale and they are larger than a human brain but just like it and just as good and, qualitatively, just as fine. The animal brain doesn't have the one-millionth part the intelligence, the intellect, the mental output that the human brain does.
There's only one reason. God put in the human being a spirit. I call it a "human spirit" although it's not made of matter — it's spirit because it is confined to humans and there is a spirit in every human. I think it comes at the time of birth — at the first breath because "spirit" and "breath" are the same Hebrew word and the same Greek words mean both "breath" and "spirit." And they're compared so much that I'm sure you'll find that I'm right — although there's no "Thus saith the Lord" directly. God gives that spirit at the first breath. Otherwise it would have to come at some prior time and I can't reason out any way that could happen.
Now, the human mind, then (let me explain this), is confined to material thinking because the spirit can't see. The brain sees through the eye; the brain hears through the ear. The spirit can't think; the brain thinks. The spirit is a computer — and everything you see through your eye, hear through your ear, every thing, every bit of knowledge you gain through feel and touch is programmed into the computer. And the computer gives you instant recall and your brain can reason and think. Where it is no better than the animal brain, but it can reason and think because it has instant recall fed into it that is not fed in to that of a chimpanzee or an elephant.
Now an elephant can remember certain things. You go harm an elephant, abuse an elephant, and you come back after about four or five years and that elephant will remember you — and it doesn't have a spirit. So I know that memory is stored in the spirit — but maybe a certain amount in the grey cells of the brain, too.
I won't dispute that, but I will say that I know because it's the only way God accomplishes the resurrection. Not only is your knowledge stored in this spirit, but your character as you build it — your whole attitude and whatever you develop within yourself, it's stored in this spirit and it goes back to God when you die — and the body is buried.
Now the only promise of any life after death is the resurrection. The question is asked in I Corinthians fifteen, "With what body do they come?" It says, "The body that you plant (or bury) in the ground at death is not the body that will come up." There is God's Spirit in addition to our spirit, we will be born made of spirit — not of matter any more at all.
All the rest in the Great White Throne Judgment which you will celebrate the last day of this festival — which really is another festival altogether — will be resurrected with matter, it will be matter formed and shaped. The spirit is like a mold, a pattern, and it will be formed and shaped right down to the fingerprints — the same as you were, but it will be different matter.
As a matter of fact, you are different matter; your body is different matter now than it was seven years ago, anyway. All of your cells are decaying and breaking down constantly. And new ones are being built through blood circulation and through the ingestion of food. And so we become completely new, physically, every seven years, anyway, whether we realize it or not. I think that's regarded as scientific.
Now remember, God is reproducing Himself. He cannot put character into us automatically. We have to have something to do with building it and yet is has to be God's character and it has to come from Him. And we have to seek it and be willing.
Now God, then, withdrew. God withdrew His hand. He took a "hands-off" policy for six-thousand years TO LET MAN LIVE AND PROVE BY SIX-THOUSAND YEARS of humans trying to do what Mr. Rader told you this morning — trying to devise his own society, but he'd been enslaved by Satan. He's trying to do it with the get way, trying to devise his own governments.
And as Mr. Rader said, when these candidates for president stand up before you, let me tell you every one of them is more intent on himself and what he's going get than what he's going to give to the world. He's on the get side. And don't you tell me he isn't. Oh, I think the president, once the weight of that responsibility falls on him; I think he means to be, as far as the carnal mind can, I think he means to be really sincere. And I think he has a concern for his people. I know the king of Thailand has a love for his people. But it's a carnal, human love.
But, let me tell you, we have what man has built. And it has been built on the get way and it is, every institution, is crumbling and falling down. The governments in this world are being overthrown at the rate of one a month — twelve a year.
How many have I known and where I knew them and had a campaign all set up and then there's an overthrow of the government and I can't do it. And, of course, people blame me and enemies say, "That Herbert Armstrong bragged, saying that he was going to have a campaign. He didn't have it, did he? Well, why didn't he?" It's all my fault; I guess it's all my fault that the government of Thailand was overthrown here just within a week, well, four days ago, when I sat and dined with the prime minister less than a month ago.
Well, God had this hands-off policy except in certain places where, for His purpose, He knew it was necessary to intervene. Now, he intervened in the case of the Flood; He intervened in the fact that Abel was called "righteous Abel," and there must have been some contact with Abel although it's not recorded. Enoch walked with God; Noah was the ONLY ONE of millions upon millions of people living at the time that would go God's way — the give way and not the get way. Otherwise, God would have had to save the others, wouldn't He? And He only saved Noah's family because of Noah.
Now, you see, God offered the Holy Spirit to Adam and Eve freely. They didn't have to repent. They had never done anything wrong, yet. They did not take it. Instead, they did wrong. Then God threw them out lest they go back and take of the Holy Spirit and live forever, because the Tree of Life represented the Holy Spirit.
MAN IS CUT OFF FROM GOD; HE CUT HIMSELF OFF FROM GOD! HE CANNOT REACH GOD BY HIMSELF! It's impossible for a man, of himself, to decide, "I will repent of this way of get; I will repent and turn from Satan's way to God's way; I am going to go God's way." NO MAN CAN DO THAT OF HIMSELF!
Let me read you what Jesus said in John 6:44 "NO MAN CAN...NO MAN CAN..." [NO WAY, as they say, today]..."come to me, except the Father, which has sentme, draw him." Brethren, I'm a little disappointed sometimes and that God reveals truth through me. And let me tell you that all of the doctrines that you believe, and all that has come to be the official doctrines of this church, have been set by me through Jesus Christ. And He's using me as His agent — and NOT BY A COMMITTEE!
Some people have said recently, "Well who is setting the doctrines in the Church, the doctrinal committee?" Well, I just answered that awhile ago, and got some applause. I disbanded that doctrinal committee. But I know who the real scholars and students are, and I still will call on them, "Research this, research that, and bring me a report."
But God has laid it on me to make the decision. I didn't choose myself. That is God's choosing. And I'm going to have to account to Him for it. And don't think that responsibility doesn't weigh heavily on my shoulders.
The government of God is already restored on this earth IN HIS CHURCH and in no other place. And it never has been, really, the government of God in any other time and in any other way. And oh how Satan hates it! How Satan hates it!
But the government of God is love; it's based on love. And I try to rule it the way I know God wants me to rule it. I try to rule it in love, in mercy, in compassion, in wanting to help — not in dominating authority, not harshly, not in a way of revenge and hate, but in a way of kindness and love.
But God, also, demands justice and He tempers His mercy with justice — and I have to know that. And that responsibility is on me. And the government in this Church, let me tell you how it is, starts with God, the Father. He's the real Head. Next, it's Christ under Him. And Christ does exactly what the Father says. And next is myself that He chose — NOT GARNER TED, NOT DAVID ANTION sitting down in front of me here. I DIDN'T MAKE IT THAT WAY, BRETHREN. Garner Ted was three years old when God made it that way.
AND, YET, THERE ARE SOME, BECAUSE GARNER TED IS CARRYING ON THE WORK FOR ME AT HEADQUARTERS SO THAT I CAN DO WHAT GOD WANTS DONE TO GET THE GOSPEL AROUND THE WORLD, THERE ARE SOME MINISTERS, EVEN, THAT NOW THINK GARNER TED IS THE HEAD OF THE CHURCH. HE IS NOT THE HEAD OF THE CHURCH.
He is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased. I've done everything to elevate him that I can. I have made him President of the College. But I can't make him what only God can do. I can't take God's prerogative away from Him. That is not in my power. There is no rift between Garner Ted and me and there never has been and there never will be — if I can help it. And I'm sure I can and I think, if he can help it — and I think he will. I don't know how many times I've told him that I love him above everybody else on earth. And he turns around and he says, "Dad, I love you above anyone else on earth."
I know he has certain likes that are not mine and I have certain likes that are not his. That doesn't mean anything — and so some people draw the conclusion that there is a difference between us — that kind of difference doesn't mean a thing. Let me tell you something, there never has been a time, since Garner Ted's conversion, when he has let rebellion come into his heart. There never has been a time when he disagreed with the doctrines. There was once he would like to change one, but what do you think he did? Do you think he ran off and did it himself? No — he came to me. He gave me all the conditions, all of the facts. He said, "Dad, I hope you'll decide a certain way, but whatever you decide I will do."
Yes, there was once he wanted to change a doctrine. He was wrong. I wouldn't change it. I said, "Son, I'm sorry. I can't change it. I have to answer to Christ." He said, "I know, dad. I knew you wouldn't change it, all along." He said, "It was just, maybe, a little human reasoning I let get in for a minute. But I wouldn't do it if you didn't say so, dad."
He didn't object to any church doctrine. He was not against the church. He was not against the college. He was not against me. Some ministers thought he ought never to be allowed to come back. Well, then I'll tell you, David should never have been allowed to sit on his throne. But he was a man after God's own heart when he repented.
Garner Ted (newspapers kept hounding us,), "Why is he out; what's wrong with Garner Ted Armstrong?" We said, "Personal, private, emotional problems — nothing more." We told the truth and we weren't going to be any more specific than that. Further than that, it's nobodies business. So you all keep your noses out of it. I think it's already dead and past now. And the world can keep out because we're not going to tell them anymore. That's all they needed to know.
Now when some had rebellion like Satan did, and they want to come back, I'm going to consider a lot of things first. I won't say that such a man never would be allowed to come back. I know of two or three that are out, and you'd know their names in a second if I'd mention them. And there are rumors going around that one of them has already been accepted back — from England.
Alright a few heard that rumor. They said that rumor is going all around up at Mt. Pocono. He has not been allowed to come back — unless somebody has a lot more authority than I have that let him back. And if they do, they took their own authority and Christ will not back them up in it. And that man will not come back — unless or until he talks to me and can convince me that he will never again do what he did — and that he had thoroughly repented. And I doubt if he stayed long enough he'd be able to do it — very frankly.
He started teaching other doctrines and misrepresenting and letting the people in England think that came from headquarters. He said, "I got this straight from Pasadena." Well, he did...he did...he got it straight from Pasadena. But what they had been talking in Pasadena came to me at headquarters. He got it from a certain man who used to be in the Church and is now trying to start a work of his own. I don't need to mention names. I'm not trying to destroy anybody. I don't have to. I'm too busy trying to get the job done.
But no one can come except the Spirit of the Father draw him. Brethren, I want you to get that. The only people — God did not try to save people — God did not start out and has not been for six thousand years trying to get this world saved. He's been letting this world live the wrong way. He's been letting this world WRITE THE LESSON in human anguish and suffering — and in human blood and in death and SORROW OF HEART — that the get way of Satan is wrong!
But He picked a few. Now He saved Noah; then Abraham obeyed Him. And He gave Abraham promises. And you're all Abraham's children. You're my children in the LORD and you're also, if you're of faith, the children of Abraham, aren't we — all of us, including me. Of course, he's sort of a human, spiritual father.
God did not offer His Holy Spirit to a single one in Israel, except the prophets. Now let me get this over to you. Now listen carefully. Please get this; please understand this. God has given His Holy Spirit to no one, except for the purpose of getting a certain job done — a certain work done that He wants done at the time.
God gave His Holy Spirit to the prophets of ancient Israel because they were given the Holy Spirit to do a job! He didn't give them the Holy Spirit so they could sit around and do nothing and just get into the Kingdom.
Now when Christ came, He and God (before God was the Father) had thought this out. Christ, if He would be willing to give up all of the glory that He had with the Father and come down to this earth and become a human being born of a woman and, therefore, human and able to die. He had a human body, but He had the Holy Spirit of God from the time of birth — which no other human has ever had.
All humans are born with the human spirit. But He had, also, the Spirit of God. You see, He got the human spirit through His mother, Mary. We get the human spirit through our father and mother — and neither one of them imparts it. So I think it has to come at the time of birth. Nevertheless, consider that my opinion, if you wish. I think I'm right and I think God will show us someday that He's given me a little insight into it. And Christ, though, had the Holy Spirit from the beginning. And Christ, being God as well as man, was able to resist Satan entirely.
Christ was able to be tempted in ALL POINTS like as we are and, yet, without sin. Jesus Christ is the only one that could and no other of the billions of people that have been born on this earth have ever been able to live that way. ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God.
Christ was sinless. But Christ was also our Maker because God created all things, including humanity, by Jesus Christ. Now, when He gave His life He was able to pay the penalty of our sins and He took our sins on Him. Therefore, if the Father calls us, if we believe in Christ, our belief in Christ reconciles us to the Father — and that'll never happen unless the Father calls us.
And, brethren, I'll have to admit I was a little disappointed when I read in the "Good News" recently an article by four of our most high scholars and most loved brethren of mine — a four-part article on "predestination." And in all of that they missed the big point. Sometimes I feel, "How long?" I know how Jesus must have felt. It seems so difficult to get the real truth over to some of my children. I'm speaking to you now as a father because I am father to all of you in the knowledge and the understanding of the Word of God. I don't hesitate to say that and I know there's no one here that is going to try to contest it.
Predestination is for one purpose and has to do with one thing. Those that are predestinated are those that God has chosen to call now instead of when He's going to try to save the world. And He's calling us to get prepared so we can help save the world. He is not trying to save the world like all the Protestants believe. He has never tried to save people from the very beginning.
The reason He called the Church was to back up those apostles to whom He gave the great commission: go out and announce the Kingdom of God. The thing uppermost on God's mind is restoring the government of God. And He wants men to go out and preach it. Only one or two will preach it, but they have to have hundreds back of them or they can't do it.
Now we have facilities they never had before. We have the printing press, we have radio, we have television, we have rapid transportation. I can go from here, in a few hours time, to any capitol, any point on the face of this earth. And God has provided me with the airplane to do it.
Why is it that the Church is bigger, more members today, than the true Church of God has had at any time, unless it was in that very first century early?
Because, you read in Galatians the first chapter beginning in verse 6, how they had already, in that time, before 60 A.D., turned away from the gospel of Christ to a different gospel. The King James translation says, "another gospel," the Moffatt translation says, "a different gospel."
And a different gospel has been preached and the people have never heard the true gospel. You're hearing it today! You're getting this today! You never hear this in any Protestant church. I'm trying to give it to you and you've got to get it from the beginning to understand what's going on now!
Just like I say about going into a movie in the middle of it — that's why I told you it's going to take a long time and I don't know how the time is going. I'll probably be another half-hour. I'm getting tired and I know you are, but, just the same, this is the most important thing you've ever heard in your life.
This is not just your life; this is not just life and death in this life — this is life and death for all eternity. This is for the entire, vast universe. That's what it means and that's how important it is. And I hope, brethren, I hope to God, it is that important to you and to your mind! Or am I just wasting breath and wearing myself out up here?
Of course, you know, I have been, for the last few years, thirty-seven going on thirty-six. But, really, I do get a little tired once in a while and I'm thinking now of changing it to thirty-eight going on thirty-nine.
Now Garner Ted will be here in a few days, let's see, tomorrow night I expect to spend the evening with Garner Ted. I expect to go out to, any of you who know Big Sandy, to 'Johnny Casey's' for one of those KC strip steaks that I hope I'll get to have with Garner Ted and his family. I'm looking forward to it.
Now, none can come to Christ except the Father draw them, but, if the Father draws them, repentance is toward God. Repentance is you repent of Satan's way — you want to turn from it. You're sick to the stomach of it. You don't want any more of that "get way."
You're like David: rather than dwell in the palace of a king and have all the riches and money of this world, you'd rather be a doorkeeper in the Kingdom of God. You begin to find where the true riches are — and that's what you want.
Then, if you believe, and not only believe in Christ (there were thousands who believed in Christ, but didn't believe a word He said) John the eighth chapter beginning with verse thirty: From that time on many believed on Him and to those Jews who believed on Him He said, "You seek to kill Me because you do not believe what I say."
Did you realize that before? If you didn't it's time you begin to believe it. Now, Jesus gave them the great commission and, then, He ascended to heaven.
Now I want to show you what's happened since.
Over here in the third chapter of Acts beginning in verse nineteen. Peter was preaching and he said,
Acts 3:19-20 Repent ye, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Eternal (or the LORD). (20) And He shall send Jesus Christ (God will send Jesus Christ back to earth) which before was preached unto you whom the heavens must receive (Christ is going to stay in heaven) UNTIL the times of restitution of all things.
Did you ever look up the word, "restitution," in the dictionary? It means "restoring something that had been taken away." What's He interested in restoring; what's He coming to restore? The government of God, that's what! But this time, not ONLY the government of God, but, this time, the KINGDOM of God! The Kingdom of God is different; the Kingdom of God is the government of God administered by the BORN CHILDREN that make up the FAMILY of God!
Now, Lucifer administered the government of God over the angels. But he was not a born child of God. And he was not the family of God. This time it's going to be the very family of God. And let me tell you the condition, now, that we're going to have to be in.
It's back here in first John the third chapter and verse nine: "Whosoever is born of God." (Now this is speaking of being born of God when "this mortal puts on immortality; when He will change our vile bodies, this physical body unlike His glorious body made out of spirit.) "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed (God's)" remaineth in him; and hecannot sin, because he is born of God!"
God cannot sin. God is making us into a condition where we will be like He is where He cannot sin.
Now then, God is calling a very few. He has predestinated those to be called. Predestination has nothing to do (and this article brought all these truths out — wonderfully) with the decision you will make. But what I wish they had brought out now, maybe I skipped it; maybe, I see through one very dim eye — I don't see a thing out of this eye. And the best eye doctor, or surgeon, in the United States said he'd win a Nobel Prize if he could restore this eye. It makes it very difficult to read even using this magnifying glass I have here. And so I'm still able to get the job done. That's the main thing.
Now, He's only calling some now. And if you don't believe that (and I know many of you, if not most of you, don't believe it. We don't believe what God says; we think we do and we don't.) So much Protestantism has rubbed off on us. We think God is trying to get everybody saved. He is not! HE'S CALLING SOME OF US NOW TO GET A JOB DONE! AND HE ONLY GIVES YOU THE HOLY SPIRIT TO HELP GET THE WORK DONE! AND FOR NO OTHER PURPOSE ARE YOU CALLED NOW!
FIRST THAT YOU WILL GET BACK OF ME! AND I'M THE ONE THAT HAS THE COMMISSION! And next under me is Garner Ted and then the rest of you helping me — to get this great commission out, to announce the coming Kingdom of God to the world.
Now I got you down to the time of Christ. The thing has gone along and soon they did away with the gospel. They changed to another gospel and this world has gone along like that up until now.
But now we're right at the time of the end. We're right at the time when the Kingdom of God is going to be set up — the government of God is going to be restored, when Christ is soon to return to this earth.
And now, God wants that announced to the world! How often have you heard my son, Ted, say on the air, "Whether you believe what I'm saying, or not, if you're ears have heard it, I've done my job. From there on it's your responsibility; you're going to be judged, not me."
God's purpose is to get the message out. People do with it what they want. That's your choice. And I'll tell you, if you really have responded, it's because you are predestinated. And it's because God called you. This article did go into one point: were you predestinated that a certain ovum would be in your mother's womb and a certain sperm cell would come from your father that would create you and did God have that in mind that many years ago?
And the answer in the article was, "Well, the Bible isn't specific on that point and doesn't say." And I agree with that because, it's like this, God has decided that He would choose certain ones and we can be predestinated to be called and it was predestinated that some would be called, not that each individual, but God has seen those He could use — and He has called them.
But that's what predestination has to do with — the time of calling, not anything to do with your ultimate fate one way or the other.
Now then, oh brethren, I think sometimes there are so many things, I wonder what you think the Kingdom of God is like when we get into the Kingdom. We're going to have to have sermons on that. Some think it's like a camp meeting — all sitting around with nothing to do. Many of us, I think, think that the Kingdom of God is just exactly like the Baptists think heaven is, except it'll be on this earth, instead of heaven.
The Kingdom of God is a time when we're going to rule. And some think, "Well I just want to get into the Kingdom. I just want to get salvation." IF YOU'RE JUST ON THE GETTING SIDE, YOU WILL NOT GET IT — if you think, "I just want to get salvation; I'm not going to have anything to do with getting the gospel around the world!"
Alright, I'm going to take a little time out, now. I hadn't intended to. Luke the nineteenth chapter; you know it; I'm not going to take time to read it — the parable of the pounds. To each of the ten of His servants (Christ pictures Himself as the young nobleman who's going to go to a far country, to heaven, to get for Himself a Kingdom and to return and) He gave one pound to each one of His ten servants.
Now that pound, undoubtedly, represented the Holy Spirit. But whatever it represented, he had to do something with it. Now when He was returned, having received the Kingdom, He called them to an accounting. One man said, "I put that to work. I have been busy. I've done something about it. With what you gave me, I've multiplied it ten times over."
And Christ says, "Good and faithful servant, well done. You have been faithful over little; I will make you ruler over much. You will rule over ten cities." Another had done only half as much, but still he had done pretty good. He didn't just do nothing. He only applied himself half as much and produced half as much. He increased it to five pounds. God said, "You will rule over five cities." And if I remember right, God didn't say, "Good and faithful servant" in that case, either.
Another said, "Well I'll tell you, Lord, I just wanted to get salvation. I didn't think that...I heard that we're not saved by our works anyhow." Well Christ must have answered to him, "Well didn't you ever hear that you are rewarded according to your works?"
What are your works; how much have you done; how much reward are you going to get? "Well, I haven't done anything. I just kept this Holy Spirit that you gave me and I just thought that gets me into the Kingdom and that's enough." He got kicked out! He did not get in!
Take the parable of the talents — same thing. Only there God gave, let's see, wasn't that five to one, two to another, and one to another? Anyway, proportionally, each man according to his own personal, several, ability. God will give us according to what we have already. The one who had five gained another five and he was ruling over ten cities, the one who had two doubled it. He did as much as he had to do with and he, also, got into the Kingdom and he got the same reward. I guess it doesn't say how many cities there and that's in Matthew twenty-five. And the one who had done nothing in this life got nothing.
Brethren, I tell you, if you just think that you are a member of the Church and you just think that you just come here and you're not back of this work, I WOULDN'T GIVE YOU A PLUG NICKEL FOR YOUR CHANCES OF RULING OR DOING ANYTHING IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD! And I doubt whether you'll even get there! Now I'm laying it on the line and that's putting it pretty straight. You had better get back of me in getting this work done, because I'm only doing what Christ is using me to do. That's what He gave me His Holy Spirit for — and I know it! And if I don't use it, I know I won't even get there — let alone have a bigger reward.
Once in a while I think, "Where will I be in the Kingdom of God?" Well, I haven't got that answer. So I just don't think on that; God will decide that for me. And that will depend on what I'm doing now.
Now Jesus came in such a world; it went on until our time. Now the disciples came to Jesus and they had been in the temple and they had gone up to the Mount of Olives and as He sat on the Mount of Olives the disciples came to Him privately saying, "Tell us when shall these things be and what will be the sign of Thy coming and the end of the world"(or the end of this age — the end of this man-made civilization)?"
I understand some of our members think that in the Kingdom of God the world will go on just like it is now. It'll be a NEW AND DIFFERENT WORLD — EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE CHANGED. I'll tell you one thing, I don't think there's going to be any tobacco growers; I don't think there's going to be any doctors — or if there are, there'll be very, very few. I don't think there's going to be any medicines manufactured. A lot of things that are going on now won't be around.
But He said to them, "Take heed that no man deceive you, for many will come IN MY NAME (I have traced that down...every place any one comes in Christ's name, they come saying, "I represent Christ"). No place can I find where it means that they're coming saying they, themselves, are Christ. And I've only heard one example. One man claimed he was Jesus Christ and he walked into Garner Ted Armstrong and he told Garner Ted, "I am Jesus Christ." Well, Ted said, "Are you now?" "Yes, sir, and I came to announce to you that Christ is here. I am Christ."
Well, I'm not sure I'm telling this just like Ted says, but this is, as I remember it, approximately the way he tells it. "Well now look, if you were Jesus Christ, you'd be so much stronger than me and I wouldn't be able to throw you out of here." So he grabbed him by the nape of the neck and seat of the pants and threw him out! He said, "No, I don't think you are Jesus Christ."
Well, David, you know better than I do if that's the way he said it or not, but that's the approximate meaning.
Well, I know Elijah has come to me and told me he was Elijah. But you know, somehow, I didn't believe him. I had to see the works of Elijah before I would believe he was Elijah.
So, they turned to a different gospel and the whole world has been deceived and the gospel of the Kingdom of God had not been proclaimed until I came on the scene. Tell me who proclaimed it before that. Other people sit and laugh and say, "Here's that old thing all over again; who does he think he is. The gospel was never preached until he came along."
Oh yes, a gospel was preached, but it was the wrong one. It was not the message of Christ. But, verse fourteen,
Matthew 24:14 And this gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations and then shall the end come," the end of this age.
Brethren, I want to tell you something, some of you may not believe that! BUT SATAN BELIEVES THAT! SATAN KNOWS THAT — and knowing it, he knows that he has but a short time. In Revelation twelve you find he knows he has but a short time. How does he know? Because this gospel of the Kingdom, for the first time in nineteen-hundred years, is going out to the world. And he is scared. That's why he hates me; that's why I need your prayers. I need you to pray your hearts out that God will restrain Satan from me and protect me!
The thing God wants most of anything, right now, the thing uppermost on His mind, is restoring the government of God to this earth, but with the Family of God — so it will be the Kingdom of God.
The thing that is uppermost over everything else on Satan's mind is to destroy that very thing and prevent it happening. That's why some people hate me; that's why I've had threats of assassination and death. But I have to rely on God to support me and to keep me going.
Well, brethren, I wanted to go on and show you how God had prepared me for many years before He called me for this ministry, in a way that I don't know of anyone else who has been prepared in any such a way. But not in the ministry — not even as a converted person. But He did put me through the things that prepared me for the job that had to be done. He taught me as He taught the Apostle Paul. I could show you figures, just a comparison; I don't know whether they mean anything: Moses started defending the children of Israel, trying to help them, at age forty. And he led them out to other countries, out of Egypt, at age eighty. And the same things happened in my life. And, anyway, those things are not so important.
But, God started the Church through me in 1933. He commissioned me in early July; He commissioned me to get His gospel to the world — and that was after I had to pass quite a severe test. Then He raised up the Church through me and it was finally (I was already in the process of it and the Church was) raised up in August of 1933. And the purpose of the Church, now, is that we are right near the time of the coming of Christ and the establishment of the Kingdom — and God wants it announced — whether you think He does or not. You'd better think so because you're going to be very surprised some day.
And I'll tell you, this is a life and death matter for all eternity and for all of the vast universe and for all of those things that stand ahead of us. That's how important it is. All that God ever gave His Holy Spirit to He gave to them for a use. God has given to the Church the Holy Spirit that by your prayers (and you can do more with your prayers than with your tithes and offerings, believe me) that you stand back of me — and also Garner Ted and the others that are under me — that you pray your heart out for us and put your heart in your prayers! Not just, "Well, dear God, it's my duty and I'll pray now for a minute and I must mention Herbert Armstrong and I hope that You'll bless him. And bless Garner Ted," and so on.
That almost makes me think of my little grandson. We call him, "little Dickey." He's the son of my son, Dick, Ted's older brother who was killed as a result of an automobile accident about eighteen years or nineteen years ago. And when "little Dickey" was three years old and he was over in England and his mommy put him to bed and he had to say his prayers before he went to bed at night. "Please bless Jackie and please bless Joey and please bless Freddy and please bless grandma, who's back in Pasadena and lonesome for me," and please bless some of his other little playmates, "Amen." And he got in bed.
Well, I don't think he was old enough to know how to really put his heart into his prayer. That wasn't his fault. I just thought it was cute; it's the only reason I mentioned it, not in criticism, certainly.
But, if we overcome, we are the ones to reign and rule with Christ. Those who are converted after Christ comes, then He's going to set his hand to save everybody that is still living. They don't have that and they don't have Satan to overcome. Satan will be gone, then. And we have to overcome Satan just like Christ did. We have got a very serious calling. And I am trying and trying and trying to get our people to understand that — the seriousness of our calling.
Now brethren, I just want to say, in closing, the church is in the most sound and solid condition it has ever been. We can leap forward, but we need to get busy and go forward faster. And now we have worked out plans for getting the Plain Truth on newsstands that is going to multiply the circulation of the Plain Truth, especially in the United States and Europe and, perhaps, even Australia.
There are things like that I wanted to tell you. I have a statement here I wanted to read, but I can't take time now, but you'll get it through the mail. God is blessing this work; He is blessing those who are back of this work. And I don't know anyone, in my forty-nine and a half years of Christian living, I do not know of a one who has ever grown spiritually that was just trying to get spiritual growth, to get into the Kingdom. I only know this: only those whose hearts have been in the work and have been doing all they could do through prayer, through help — every way they could for the work of getting this gospel announced to the world — have grown within themselves, spiritually. Otherwise you're going to go the other way.
Now many of you may not believe that. But you'll find, if you don't believe it, to your very, very great sorrow, how important it was that you do believe it.
I need your prayers. I know Garner Ted needs them. Life has not been easy for us. I've been through trials and troubles and tribulations you can't dream of. Ted has, still is, he's turning grey now before his time — and I like to laugh about it. We're both trying to get up here and speak at every feast site. And I made it alright up these stairs. But Ted, you see, is now past forty-six, so he's going on towards fifty and I sort of doubt he'll be able to make it. He may have to have someone help him up. But he'll be here in a couple or three days and I hope he makes it. And I hope you'll give him a great big, warm welcome because, I hope you'll love him as I do. And I know he loves all of you as I do, too. And, my children, finally, just let me say I love you all. And let me hear from you often. (applause)