Greetings everybody. I just want to first announce to you that, before the Bible Study tonight, I'm going to do about a 15 minute televised talk that will be shown in all the Feast sites on the opening night. And it’ll be quite brief. When I've been making the circuit, speaking at every Feast site, of course I had to give a full sermon on the opening night wherever I was; or I couldn't get around to enough different sites in the eight days. I've been visiting as many as I believe 12 sites in the eight days. And in some cases I had to speak twice, at two different Feast sites the same day. And so, I'll record this first; and then we'll have a Bible Study.
I'm a little disappointed that there're so few people out tonight. Someone told me they didn't know that I would be here. And that is very discouraging, and very disheartening. I tell you, brethren, I'm going to write an article on the purpose of the Church. I don't think many of our people know it, or else most of our people just want to finally become ashes under the soles of the feet of the few of us some day, in the Lake of Fire.
We're not taking this thing seriously. We're in the very last days. There isn't much time left. And I tell you the reaction is pretty discouraging. This Church has been going down, DOWN, DOWN! I can't bear it all up single-handed and alone. I've got to have some of you to back me up. I get letters from one now and then, "We're back of you 100%". Well, I need more—100% of the people to be back of me.
This Church has to been letting down spiritually. We're told to not forsake the assembling of ourselves together, and so much the more as we see the day approaching. And I guess we don't see it approaching, do we? Well, I think I may talk on that a little bit. And I will announce now that the next time I'm here… I can't tell you now if it'll be next Friday night, or not. But the next time I'm here, I’m going to get back to prophecy. WHERE ARE WE NOW IN PROPHECY? I understand that our ministers are not, so far as I know, not any of them have been preaching on prophecy for the last two years.
It seems like we've all got discouraged. Maybe we didn’t understand the prophecies? Maybe they're not being fulfilled? Maybe they’re not working out? Well, I’LL EXPLAIN THAT! It's a lot later than you think! But God has been holding up things. Did you ever read in the seventh chapter of Revelation how, when we get to the place that we haven't reached yet—that will be after the Great Tribulation, and after God sends these terrific, well, mind-shattering-almost signs in the heavens (in the stars, the sun, and the moon) to sort of shock this world into realizing that there is a God after all; and that He's beginning to intervene; and instead of the things going right on that are scheduled to go at that time, and the last plagues, and the Second Coming of Christ—God sends an angel, and says, “Wait a minute. Hold up. I still got something else, that we’ve got to hold up till it gets done.”
Do you know that is what happened after 1972? And GOD HAS HELD THINGS UP UNTIL THIS JOB GETS DONE. So, we get discouraged. And we decide, “Well, my Lord delays His coming. Maybe He's not going to come at all.” Now, what I'm saying is for the empty seats that are not filled. Obviously, it’s not for you people that are here. It's just too bad that the ones who need it aren't here to hear it. (It was very disheartening to me to find that we were going to suspend the Bible Studies for the summer.)
Now, where are the ministers? We used to have the front row filled with ministers. I don't see a one. Is there a minister here? I can't see you over there. [Laughter] I'm glad there's some one here. A lot of the ministers think, “Oh well, I don't need to go unless I speak. And if it's that Herbert Armstrong speaking, I don't want to hear him any more anyhow.” I don't know whether that's what you think or not. I know none of you would be here if God hadn't used me. I wonder how many of you think you would be here if I hadn't been used? Now, if you do, you had better think twice.
Brethren, let me tell you, I've been working harder these last 3 or 4 weeks than I have worked at any time in the last 15 years. I'm getting more done. I'm getting more accomplished. It's pretty hard to go against everything, when everybody just lays down and does nothing. We need to wake up! I tell you; but, if you don't wake up, I can't do it for you. God have mercy on your soul if you don't! (That's all I can say.) And some of you are going to need it.
And now I want to get my voice down a little bit, if I can, for this; because you will hear this again on the television screen the opening night of the Feast, wherever you are. I might mention now, before I start, that I am planning tentatively, if God is willing, to be at the site they tell me is the largest of the Feast sites—at St. Petersburg, Florida—for the opening night and for the first holy day. And they probably will have to hear this a day or so later, or else not hear it at all, because I will be there in person on that opening night. And I won't say much more than I'm saying here, because I'm not going to preach a whole sermon on that night (I believe it's a Sunday night. I'll have to check that with the calendar again.); and then preach a whole sermon on the next day.
But, naturally, I'm not making any effort to cover all the Feast sites in the United States and Canada again this year, as I have done. (At least one Feast site in Canada several years, up until last year.) And last year I was just starting to recover from complete heart failure, and I wasn't able to attend the Feast at all. But God has brought me back, and I am here. Well, I tell you, the day is coming; and Christ needs the Church all prepared and ready. And I think we're a long way from that. I don't know how to wake you people up! I frankly don't. I just sort of give up.
Now, if you men with the television screens are ready, I'll open up. And we're going to have to pretend that this is the opening night now of the Feast of Tabernacles, if you will for just about 15 minutes.
Well, greetings everybody! Once again, let me ask—as I used to ask time and time again, year after year, at these Festivals—WHY ARE WE HERE?
I wonder if you realize that this is the largest annual Church conclave, or convention, on the face of the Earth. Now there was, at one time, I think a larger number of people than we have at any one site, meeting in the Rose bowl. I don't remember whether it was Jehovah’s Witness, or Mormons, or who; but there was something. But that was only one time; and it didn't happen the next year, or the year before. But ours is a Festival that comes year after year, in Feast sites all over this world. And we have almost 100,000 attending in the combined Feast sites all over the various parts of this world.
Now, these annual Festivals were ordained of God, not by man. And, if God did it, then He had a reason. And, if God did it, it's very IMPORTANT that we REALIZE THAT REASON. Very important! Now, why did He ordain these Festivals? Because our God, our Creator, knew that His people need to be reminded, year after year, of what is the most important thing in the lives of us who are His people—to be reminded of what God has prepared for us, if we love Him.
I Corinthians 2:8-9 Which none of the princes of this world knew [heads of big business; big banks; leaders in every walk of life in the world]: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. (9) But as it is written, [Now listen.] Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has it entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love him.
How does knowledge come into your mind? How do you come to know anything at all? How do you know everything you ever came to know? Well, it's about 95-98% through your eyes and ears; and the rest will come through the sense of smell, taste, or feel. But it continues:
I Corinthians 2:10 God has revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searches all things, yea the deep things of God.
And so these things are revealed by God—the things that God has in store for us. To us, these Festivals are the most important things in our lives. But the last few years we've been getting lazy. We're getting into the Laodicean condition. And that is the condition in which Jesus Christ says He will SPEW US out of His mouth! You spit out of your mouth things you don't want in there any longer, and I think we'd better wake up!
To us, these Festivals are important; but many of us are not considering them any longer as important as we ought. Now, last year, I heard reports of some Feast sites that NOT ONE WORD during the whole eight days was spoken BY ANY MINISTER of telling WHY THEY WERE THERE; WHAT THE FESTIVALS MEAN; WHAT IS THE MEANING OR THE PURPOSE OF HAVING THE FESTIVAL ANY WAY. And some wrote, “I could get better sermons if I'd stayed at home than if to have gone.”
I tell you, we need to wake up! And the ministry needs to wake up! God's ministers need a new SPIRIT OF URGENCY and POWER. Jesus Christ, the LIVING HEAD OF THE CHURCH, has been moving swiftly these last couple of months (these three or four months) to put His Church BACK ON THE TRACK—and so much the more, because we now see the day approaching when Christ is going to appear.
WE are in that generation. And WE are the ones that are getting sleepy. And we're ASLEEP AT THE SWITCH, brethren. And we're deciding that “MY LORD DELAYETH HIS COMING. LET'S SLUMBER, AND SLEEP.” We read in the 25th chapter in Matthew, while some of them were sleeping like that—the Lord came, and THE DOOR WAS SHUT. And they pounded on the door, and tried to get in. But Christ is going to say to those, “Go away, I never knew you. You haven't known Me. And you haven't cared.”
So I've assigned, to the ministers that are speaking here and at the various Feast sites, THE IMPERATIVE OBLIGATION to preach the meaning and the purpose of these Festivals. Not only the Feast of Tabernacles, but all the Festivals that show THE MASTER PLAN of God working out His purpose here below. Now, I plan to speak on this very theme tomorrow, on the first of the holy days.
Let me say that this is the 51st year of these Festivals for me. I first began keeping them with my wife—my wife of 50 years, who was taken from me in death now way over 11 years ago. (But, God has given me another wife, finally.) But she and I began keeping these Festivals alone for seven years because we told the brethren that I had discovered that they were ordained forever; and that we should be keeping them now. That Christ did. The early Apostles did. The early Church did. And, when I told the brethren in the Church then (and they were the Church that we find described as the SARDIS CHURCH in the Bible, the one that was spiritually dead), they laughed me to scorn. That's all. And they would not keep these festivals. And, so far as I know, those same people have not begun to keep them even to this day.
And my wife and I kept them for 7 years until the parent Church of this PHILADELPHIA ERA of the Church was founded, in August of 1933 in Eugene, Oregon. And that is the parent Church. And so, I've been continuing to keep these Festivals for 51 years. I know, I'm the only one here that can say that. But I just want to tell you how much gratitude it gives me to see that it has grown into what is now the largest Festival, or convention, or conclave held by any Church, or religious organization, or group on the face of this Earth every year. So now, there will be announcements. I will see you again tomorrow. And so I will say, “Good night.” until tomorrow.
Now maybe we can get back to what I thought I would bring you tonight as a Bible Study. Maybe I should have gone right into the prophecies, but I had something else that I thought I would go through. Did you ever wonder about THE TEMPLE THAT CHRIST IS COMING TO? Now, you read in Malachi, the first chapter. I mean the third chapter, and the first verse:
Malachi 3:1 Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me.
Now, that messenger was a human messenger and for Christ's First Coming. You'll read in the first chapter of Mark and beginning with verses 1, 2, and 3, and along in there, that it was John the Baptist, preparing the way before the First Coming.
Malachi 3:1 And the Lord whom you seek [which is Jesus Christ], shall SUDDENLY come to his temple...
Well, what about that? Where is THAT TEMPLE?
Now, I remember we were discussing that over at Bricket Wood some ten years ago. And we said, “Well, is there any indication that the Jews are going to build a Temple?” And there was a rumor that maybe the Jews, when they took Jerusalem in the Six Day War… And that was back. In fact, that was just after my wife died, in the year 1967. The Israelis took over the old city of Jerusalem. And Jerusalem (You know, like the city of Berlin.) had been a divided city up to that time. And many of us wondered at that time if the Jews were going to demolish the Dome of the Rock, which is the large Moslem Temple there, and build a Temple to which Christ would come. But I don't know why we didn't understand. IT'S VERY, VERY PLAIN IN THE BIBLE ABOUT THAT TEMPLE, and I thought maybe it would be good if I explained that to you tonight.
Now these books in the Old Testament are not so called “Old Testament stuff.” THEY WERE WRITTEN FOR US. I'm going now to the book of Haggai. What I just read was in the last book in the Old Testament, in Malachi. But, these books were written at a time when BOTH Israel and Judah were IN CAPTIVITY. And the only people in Jerusalem was that small contingent, comparatively small, of the Jews who had been sent back 70 years after the destruction of the Temple (which means about, let me see, that would be right around 475 BC) to build the second Temple. And so, as a matter of fact, this book of Haggai talks about the building of that second Temple. As it starts out, you may think this is just some old history. Oh, no, it isn’t. This is a prophecy for NOW. So, let’s listen.
Haggai 1:1 In the second year…
This is Haggai—just about the second or third to the last book in the Old Testament.
Haggai 1:1 In the second year of Darius the king [And this was the Medo-Persian Empire now], in the sixth month, in the first day of the month, came the word of the [Eternal] to Haggai, the prophet, unto Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel [Now Zerubbabel is the governor of Judah.], and to Joshua [who is the high priest] the son of Josedech, saying, Thus speaketh the [Eternal] of hosts, saying, This people say, The time is not come, the time that the Lord's house should be built.
You know, that's a prophecy for today. And that's what we're saying today. And when you see what the Lord's house is, you will see that what I've been saying to you up to now is absolutely true.
Haggai 1:3-4 Then came the word of the [Eternal] by Haggai the prophet saying, (4) Is it time for you, Oh ye, to dwell in your ceiled houses, and this house lie in waste?
The Temple—they were sent there to build the second Temple of God, and that's the one that was still there extant at the time that Jesus Christ came. Only the Roman king, Herod (who was king over that part of the Roman Empire occupied by the Jews at that time) had added some to it, and had enlarged it somewhat; but it was the same Temple.
Haggai 1:4 Is it time for you, Oh ye, to dwell in your ceiled houses, and this house lie waste?
Many of us are more concerned about the houses in which we live than the House of God that I'm going to show you about.
Haggai 1:5-6 Now therefore thus saith the [Eternal] of hosts; Consider your ways. [Now, this is true today. Notice this.] (6)Ye have sown much, and ye bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put into a bag with holes.
Do you recognize that as being true today? Inflation is going up, and the value of the dollar is going down. Now, there was supposed to be a postal strike today. It's been postponed a day or two. And we have taken precautions that, if that goes into effect; our Gulf Stream II airplane will go around and pick up the tithe money of the people at various places. Local churches will have someone take it by automobile to each of these places. We'll have our own postal service, if they're going to strike. And God has provided us with a way to do it. And “where there is a will, there is a way” brethren. The only thing is, I think we lack a lot of that will. (Now, continue verse seven.)
Haggai 1:7-8 Thus saith the Lord [or the Eternal] of hosts; Consider your ways. (8) Go up unto the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the [Eternal].
Now he's talking here literally about the second Temple that was built at that time. As I say, about 475 years before Christ.
Haggai 1:9 Ye looked for much, and, lo, it came to little; and when ye brought it home, I did blow upon it. Why, saith the [Eternal] of hosts. Because of mine house that is waste, and ye run every man unto his own house.
Now you’re going to see pretty soon that the house it is speaking of is the Church of God and the Work of the Church of getting this Gospel out. And we are growing weary, and we don' want to work on building this Temple—THIS CHURCH, WHICH IS THE TEMPLE!
Haggai 1:10 Therefore the heaven over you is stayed from dew, and the earth is stayed from her fruit.
God sends the rain on the just and unjust alike, and God can control the weather. Now, I don’t mean that He always does every little bit of a change in weather. God has set laws in motion that pretty much work automatically, and all that. God has sent lightening to strike certain ones dead that I guess were better off than if they were to go on living. And He did it for a great and good purpose.
Haggai 1:11-13 And I called for a drought upon the land, and upon the mountains, and upon the corn, and upon the new wine, and upon the oil, and upon that which the ground bringeth forth, and upon men, and upon cattle, and upon the labour of the hands. (12) Then Zerubbabel…and Joshua…the high priest, with all the remnant of the people [This was just a remnant of Judah that remained now, that had gone back over there to build this second Temple.], obeyed the voice of the [Eternal] their God, and the words of Haggai the prophet, as the [Eternal] their God had SENT HIM, and the people did FEAR before [And I hope that is true for us today, that we really will. They did fear before…] the [Eternal]. (13) Then spake Haggai the [ETERNAL'S] MESSENGER in the Lord's Message unto the people, saying, I am with you, saith the [Eternal].
Look brethren, IF we are only with Him, let me tell you, the Living Christ is with us. We've noticed attacks in the public press. Not only our two newspapers here in Los Angeles and Pasadena, but in Time magazine and other magazines all over the world. There's been a lot about us in the daily newspapers in London, England. And people read about us all over. But let me tell you, whenever something like that happens, I don't worry about it. But I do go to the Throne of Grace. I do go to my knees, and go to Jesus Christ—the Living Head of this Church. And He has delivered us every time, and He will! But we've got to BELIEVE that HE IS LIVING—THAT HE IS HERE!
While I'm thinking about it, let me tell you something else that has come to my mind. I'm going to have to write something and get it into The Good News on this line, and try to get it to the whole Church as soon as I can. There are too many people that are wondering, “Well now, who's going to take over if Mr. Armstrong dies?” I'm supposed to die right away because, of course, a lot of people do die before they are as old as I am now. But whether or not I die is going to depend on whether the Living Christ lets me, or whether He keeps me alive. And maybe we’ll see something about that before we get through right here. But someone says, “Well, have I appointed someone to follow and take my place?” THE ANSWER IS, NO! That is NOT MY PLACE to do! I HAVE NO AUTHORITY TO DO ANY SUCH THING!
You know, it's a great deal like the woman who was the mother of two of Christ's apostle; and she came to Jesus. She said, “Lord, when You come into Your Kingdom, I want to make a request. Please let one of my sons be on Your right hand and the other on Your left hand, when You come into Your Kingdom.” He said, “Madam, you don't know what you’re talking about. That is not Mine to decide. I have nothing to say about it. My Father only—God the Father—will decide who will be on My right hand and My left. I can't do it! That’s out of My hands.”
And let me tell you, THE HEAD OF THIS CHURCH IS ALIVE! Do you believe it? Jesus Christ! DO WE BELIEVE HE LIVES? Do we believe He's on the job? Do we believe, if I am in need of correction, that He is able to see to it and give it? Let me tell you, I BELIEVE IT! I believe it through and through. And I FEAR IT! And I TREMBLE AT IT!
If anything should happen to me… And it will only happen if God allows it. God can keep me alive as long as that is necessary; and He will, as long as He feels it is necessary. And I don't think He is going to take me from THIS WORK until this job is finished. But if He should (if I should be wrong about that), can you trust the Living Christ to provide the man that will take over?
If you'd ask me to choose, I couldn't do it. I wouldn't know who to choose right now. And I have no authority to do it. THIS IS GOING TO BE A TEST OF YOUR FAITH! Or, do you want to take it into your own hands, and know who it's going to be—someone YOU can know in advance? Some one YOU can approve? Some one YOU CAN VOTE FOR? Oh, sometimes I say, “Shame on us.” Let’s wake up.
Now, let's see if I can find my place here.
Haggai 1:13 Then spake Haggai the [Eternal's] messenger in the [Eternal's] message unto the people, saying, I am with you, saith the [Eternal].
I think that's where I was. And we need to realize that He is with us. And He's going to take care of His part of it.
I am not here because a lot of people decided to vote for me, or put me here. You had nothing to do with me becoming GOD'S APOSTLE. Someone says to me, “Well Mr. Armstrong, how did you know you’re God's Apostle? Did Christ appear to you? Did He speak to you? Did He say, ‘Now, Herbert Armstrong, I make you My Apostle?’” I answer, “No.” “Did you know back in 1933, when this era of the Church was started, that you were God's apostle, that you would be?” No, I didn’t. “Did you know how big, or how great, this work was going to be?” No, I didn’t. I just knew that God had called me. He was using me. And, I would go as far as He wanted me to go—no further and no less, whatever that is. If it meant the whole world, I knew I would be able to do it, because I would do it in THE POWER and STRENGTH of THE LIVING CHRIST!
So then, how do I know today? Well, I will answer just as Jesus Christ answered when the messengers of John the Baptist came to Him and said, “Well, John wants to know, are You really the Messiah that was to come?” Jesus didn't say yes or no. He said, “You go tell John what you hear and what you see being done. Go and show him THE FRUIT of what you see coming from Me.” And by their fruits you shall know.
No, back in 1933, I didn't know. Well, how do I know now? Because I looked back on all these years, and I see the fruits. And YOU’RE HERE AS PART OF IT! You’re part of THE EVIDENCE because you’re here; and I had something to do with that, and so did Jesus Christ. And He was using me. I didn't do it myself. And woe be to me if I ever take credit for doing it!
Haggai 1:14-15 The [Eternal] stirred up the' SPIRIT of Zerubbabel…and the SPIRIT of Joshua…the high priest, and the SPIRIT of all the remnant of the people; and they came and did work on the house of the [Eternal] of hosts, their God, (15) in the four and twentieth day of the sixth month, in the second year of Darius the king.
Now, come to chapter two.
Haggai 2:1-4 In the seventh month, in the [twenty-first] day of the month, came the word of the [Eternal] by the prophet Haggai, saying, (2) Speak now to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua…the high priest, and to the residue of the people, saying, (3) Who is left among you that saw this house in her first glory? [Meaning Solomon's Temple. It had such great glory, more than any building that had ever been built up until that time on the face of the Earth.] And how do ye see it now? Is it not in your eyes in comparison of it as nothing? [Well, it had been completely torn down, demolished. It was gone.] (4) Yet now be strong, oh Zerubbabel, saith the [Eternal]; and be strong, oh Joshua...and be strong, all ye people of the land, saith the [Eternal], and WORK; for I am with you.
And He says to us today to BE STRONG, AND WORK! And, GET BACK OF THIS THING! Now I tell you, if you look into the New Testament, you will see that Christ did NOT train all of the people. And there were, oh within a few days after the Day of Pentecost (It might have been the very next day.) the Church had grown up to a total of 5000 people. But Jesus Christ had NOT taught them to go out and carry the gospel message. It was only those that became His apostles.
Later, He taught (and apparently appeared, after He had gone to heaven, and yet came down) and appeared to Paul the apostle, in Arabia. And taught him just as He had taught the other apostles. GOD SENT THEM! “Apostle” is a word that means one sent forth. ONE SENT FORTH.
I AM SENT FORTH! And if I go forth, and leave here, some people say, “Well, why isn't Mr. Armstrong staying here in Pasadena and taking care of the Church?’ I'll tell you why! The Church is supposed to HELP ME—not me take care of you! I am one sent forth with the gospel message! That's what God has laid on ME!
Christ didn't work from nine to five, in an office! He went from one city to another. Christ, there is a great deal of evidence that He had even gone over to Britain and to Western Europe. That was before He started preaching, however, at the age of thirty. There's nothing in the Bible about it, but there is other evidence that He probably was there.
I've often thought that He probably was at the very place that is the site of Ambassador College at Bricket Wood, in England. There we have five of the most beautiful cedars of Lebanon. And there are not over 20 or 30 cedars of Lebanon left in Lebanon. They're up high on a mountain. I've seen them, and photographed them. They've all been cut down. But the more beautiful of all are on our campus over there. And I think, though, we are about to consummate a sale of it because we have no further use for it now.
Let's see. I'm losing my place here.
Haggai 2:4-5 For I am with you, saith the [Eternal] of hosts. (5) According to the word that I covenanted with you when ye came out of Egypt, so, my spirit remained among you: fear ye not.
Brethren, is God's Spirit still with us in this Church? We're getting a little spiritless; and we need to REVIVE with the energy and vitality of the Spirit of the Living God!
Haggai 2:6 For thus saith the [Eternal] of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land;
NOW, WHEN IS THAT? He hasn't done that yet! Now, He begins to talk about US today! That’s the point I want you to see! That all of this (about Zerubbabel and Joshua, the high priest, building that Temple) was about the building of the REAL Temple today, to which Christ is going to come. Now, let’s listen.
Haggai 2:7 I will shake all nations; and the desire of all nations shall come [meaning Christ, in that case. Now, they don't really desire Him.]: and I will fill THIS house with glory, saith the [Eternal] of hosts.
Now, I don't think that He ever did, in that sense that it is intended here, fill that second Temple with glory. But now He’s talking about a DIFFERENT Temple. That was only a TYPE of it, TYPICAL of it, A FORERUNNER of it. Now He carries on and says:
Haggai 2:8-9 The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the [Eternal] of hosts. (9) The glory of this LATTER house shall be greater than the FORMER.
The glory of that second Temple NEVER remotely compared to the glory of Solomon's Temple. And yet, He's talking about a Temple that will be FAR GREATER in glory than Solomon's Temple. He's talking about the Temple to which Christ is coming—now in our time, in our living generation. Now, keep your ears and your mind open, brethren. You’re going to hear something here.
Haggai 2:9-14 And in THIS place will I give PEACE, saith the [Eternal] of hosts. [There's no peace on Earth yet! You see, it's coming when this happens!] (10) In the four, and twentieth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius, came the word of the [Eternal] by Haggai the prophet, saying, (11) Thus saith the [Eternal] of hosts; Ask now the priests concerning the law, saying, (12) If one bare holy flesh in the skirt of a garment, and with his skirt do touch bread, or pottage, or wine, or oil, or any [food], shall it be holy? And the priests answered and said, No. (13) Then said Haggai, If one that is unclean by a dead body touch any of these, shall it be unclean? And the priests answered and said, It shall be unclean. (14) Then answered Haggai, and said, So is this people, and so is this nation before me, saith the [Eternal]...
He's talking about our nation today. And he's talking about our Church today. And I'm going to prove it to you.
Haggai 2:14-18 …and so is every work of their hands; and that which they offer there is unclean. [And we better take heed.] (15) And now, I pray you, consider from this day and upward, from before a stone was laid upon a stone, in the Temple of the [Eternal]. [Or, the beginning of today’s Church of God in the Philadelphia Era of the Church today.] (16) Since those days were, when one came to a heap of twenty measures, there were but ten: when one came to the pressfat for to draw out fifty vessels out of the press, there were but twenty. (17) I smote you with blasting and with mildew and with hail in the labours of your hands; yet ye turn not to me, saith the [Eternal]. [He's speaking of us today, my brethren.] (18) Consider now from this day and upward, from the four and twentieth day of the ninth month, even from the day that the foundation of the Lord's temple was laid, consider it.
Now, I've marked here in my Bible: Is the glory of the second Temple greater than Solomon’s? No. This is speaking of the Day of God, and the Temple yet to be built—which is THE WORLDWIDE CHURCH OF GOD; and it's pretty well built already.
Haggai 2:19 Is the seed yet in the barn? Yea, as yet the vine, and the fig tree, and the pomegranate, and the olive tree, hath not brought forth: from this day, I will bless you.
And God has blessed this Church. But we are getting very lazy in returning His blessing, and being appreciative.
Haggai 2:20-21 And again the word of the [Eternal] came unto Haggai in the four and twentieth day of the month, saying, (21) Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, saying, ‘I will...
Now he doesn't mention Joshua, the high priest now. But “speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah.” He was the one who was sent to build this Temple.
Haggai 2:21-22 I will shake the heavens and the earth; (22) And I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms, and I will destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the heathen.
You know, that has been occurring in the last four to five years at the rate of one a month. The kingdoms haven't been completely overthrown. It was THE THRONE of the kingdom being overthrown—a military coup, turning it into a military government. That happened in Greece; and then, about a year or more ago, the military government decided to turn it back to civilians. And it's just a change in the government, just like we have a change when we elect a new President. It’s talking about a time when He would overthrow the throne of kingdoms, or governments, all around the Earth; and that never happened until now. It's speaking of today.
Haggai 2:22-23 And I will overthrow the chariots, and those that ride in them; and the horses and their riders shall come down, everyone by the sword of his brother. (23) In that day, saith the [Eternal] of hosts, I will take thee O Zerubbabel, my servant... [And it's talking about today, and not that day. Zerubbabel was only, as I say, a type.] saith the [Eternal], and will make thee as a SIGNET; for I have chosen thee, says the [Eternal] of hosts.
Now that is the entire book of Haggai, which consist of only the two chapters.
Now, I'd like you to turn to the third chapter of, or the fourth chapter rather of Zechariah.
Zechariah 4:1-2 And the angel that talked with me [Now, this is the Zechariah the prophet’s book. “And the angel that talked with me…”] came again, and waked me, as a man that is waked out of his sleep. (2) And said to me [And we need to wake up, brethren. He “said to me…”], What seeth thou?’ And I said, I have looked, and behold a candlestick all of gold, with a bowl upon the top of it, and his seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes to the seven lamps, which are upon the top thereof.
Now a candlestick, you'll find in Revelation the first chapter, is symbolically referring to the Church.
Zechariah 4:3-6 And two olive trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left thereof. (4) So I answered and spake to the angel that talked with me, saying, What are these, my lord? (5) Then the angel that talked with me answered and said unto me, Knowest thou not [what these are] what these be? And I said, No, my lord. (6) Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the [Eternal] unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by MY SPIRIT, saith the [Eternal] of hosts.
THIS BUILDING IS BEING BUILT BY THE SPIRIT OF GOD! Not by might and power. Not by brick, and mortar, and wood, and plaster, and other physical materials; but by the Spirit of God!
Zechariah 4:7-9 Who art thou, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel thou shall become a plain: and he shall bring forth the HEADSTONE thereof with shoutings, saying, Grace, grace unto it. [Which is Christ, of course. Speaking of Christ's coming, and bringing forth Christ in OUR GENERATION.] (8) Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, (9) The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the Foundation of THIS house; [What house is it talking about? The one to whom Christ is coming.] HIS HANDS SHALL ALSO FINISH IT: AND THOU SHALT KNOW THAT THE [ETERNAL] OF HOSTS HAS SENT ME UNTO YOU.
I have taken great courage in reading that, more than once. Maybe you can understand why.
Zechariah 4:10 For who hath despised the day of small things? For they shall rejoice, and shall see the PLUMMET in the hands of Zerubbabel with those seven; they are the eyes of the [Eternal], which run to and fro over the whole earth [and so on].
Now, I'd like to go back to Malachi again. And let me just say that in the New Testament you will find that the Church is built into a holy Temple unto the Eternal. And it talks about every joint, and every part of it, is built by Christ; and it is built perfectly. Now some are going to be cast out. But those who really are in the Temple of God—in the Church—are going to be here for the coming of Christ.
On over now to Malachi once again, and I'd like to go right on from where I was. Now, he talked about a messenger coming to prepare the way before Christ. And, as I say, you will find in a number of places (in Mark, and Matthew, and so on) that the one who prepared the way before Christ's First Coming was John the Baptist. But I'm going to prove to you now that this is talking about not just a First Coming but a Second. Let's go on reading the second part of the verse, which I didn't read before. It says that:
Malachi 3:1 The LORD…shall suddenly come to his temple [which is the Church. And that Church—by the power of God, and with the Holy Spirit in it—it will be made immortal. And its glory will be greater than the glory of Solomon's Temple; but no human physical Temple ever was, or will be.], even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the [Eternal] of hosts.
That is speaking of Christ. He is the Messenger of the New Covenant. Now, the Old Covenant set up the children of Israel as one of the nations of this world. But Moses was the mediator of that Covenant. It was a material physical Covenant, of a material physical people, with only physical and national and material promises. No promise of the Holy Spirit whatsoever was given to ancient Israel—only some of the prophets. Moses will be in the Kingdom of God and some of the prophets, of course; but not the people as a whole.
Now then, let's go right on—verse two.
Malachi 3:2 But who may abide the day of his coming? [The Coming of Christ.] And who shall stand when he appeareth?
This is in, if you remember, the oratorio that we have had sung. Let's see. I don't know whether we've had that yet on this particular stage up here or not. But we have had it here. We did have it over in the Civic Auditorium. And we brought people all the way from England for it—The Messiah. And you've heard this being sung in The Messiah. Who shall abide the day of His coming and shall stand when He appeareth?
Malachi 3:2-5 For he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap: (3) And he shall sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver [Now, Jesus didn't do any of these things when He carne the first time. Not a one of these things.]: and he shall purify the sons of Levi [He didn't do that, when He came before.], and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the [Eternal] an offering in righteousness. (4) Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the [Eternal] as in the days of old, and as in the former years. [That didn't happen when He came before. The Jews rejected Him. Judah and Jerusalem was not a pleasant offering that was so happy and peaceful and joyous and all that.] (5) And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness, against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers.
Jesus didn't come doing that, when He came the first time. But, when He comes to RULE WITH A ROD OF IRON over all the nations, that's when He's going to do this. This is talking about the Second Coming. Now, it talks about a messenger coming before Christ. But Christ's coming is…the only coming described here is the Second Coming.
Do you think, if He had John the Baptist preparing the way before the First Coming of Christ, He wouldn't have someone preparing the way before His Second Coming (when He's coming in glory, in the power and Spirit of GOD ALMIGHTY, in all the supernatural power to rule the whole world, and to take over the thrones of every nation on this Earth)?
Malachi 3:5-6 And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers [I guess I read that.], and…against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turneth aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the [Eternal] of hosts. (6) For I am the [Eternal], I change not.
But some people think He's changed! Some people say, “This is OLD TESTAMENT STUFF. This doesn't apply to US, today.” The only people that could have read this were a little contingent of a part of the tribe of Judah. There might have been a little of Benjamin and Levi among them, but none of Ephraim and Manasseh. None of the Ten Tribes were there, and not even but a small part of Judah.
Malachi 3:5-7 …that turneth aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, says the [Eternal] of hosts. (6) For I am the [Eternal], I change not; [Some people think He does change.] therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed. (7) Even from the days of your fathers you are gone away from my ordinances…
THIS IS TALKING ABOUT US TODAY! It's talking as coming just before the Second Coming of Christ! THIS IS A PROPHECY! It's not a case of some old ancient history. We need to see what the prophecy’s all about here.
Malachi 3:7 Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, says the [Eternal] of hosts. But you said, Wherein shall we return?
Yeah, we don't know where we've gotten away from God. Well, let me tell you, we have in more ways than one—in this Church!
But He comes to this one thing:
Malachi 3:8 Will a man rob God?
That is NOT some OLD TESTAMENT STUFF! THAT IS FOR US TODAY! And if you think it isn’t, and you think stealing is all right, and you’re withholding your TITHE—“God have mercy on your miserable soul,” is all I can say. THIS IS A PROPHECY! It's for NOW! And GOD SAYS, “I CHANGE NOT.” You think He's changed today? Jesus said you tithe with mint and anise, and so on. “This ought you to have done.” Why did He say you “ought”? Because it is commanded! And TO WITHHOLD IT IS STEALING FROM GOD. God doesn't want THIEVES in His Church.
They say, “There's no law.” And the ministers have tried to come out. And I’M GOING TO CHANGE ALL OF THAT. And any minister that doesn't want to go along with it can just GET OUT OF THE CHURCH, and OFF OUR PAYROLL! Now those are pretty strong words, and I MEAN EVERY WORD I SAY. I would rather have one or two faithful ministers with me, than four or five hundred that have gone the way of Baal; and they wanted to make this a secular work, and get Christ out of it! They say there is no law at all about TITHING. THEY ARE MISLEADING YOU! And THEY ARE LIARS! Now, if anyone wants to come to me and say, “Ok, let's… I challenge you to a duel on that.” All right, let him come. I'M SPEAKING WITH THE AUTHORITY OF JESUS CHRIST! And these others are not.
Is stealing part of the law of God? “Thou shalt not steal.” Is that part of the law of God? It says, “Will a man rob God? Yet, you have robbed me.” YOU’RE STEALING! We ask Him, “How?” And he says, “How have we robbed Thee?” And He answers, “In TITHES AND OFFERINGS. You are cursed with a curse.” And this Church has been CURSED WITH A CURSE, and this is one of the reasons. And I'm going to try and KNOCK THAT OUT. I think maybe we’re going to lose a few members. You know if you've got a crate of apples and one or two of them become rotten, they're going to rot the ones next to it. And that'll keep on, if you don't get them out of there. They'll rot the whole crate. Now if we've got any rotten apples among us, I’ll tell you the quicker we get rid of them the better, brethren
Malachi 3:9-10 You are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. (10) Bring ye all the TITHES into the storehouse [That's to God's Church, and not just to any individual you want to.], that there may be meat [or, food] in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the [Eternal] of hosts, if I will not [He says, “Prove Me…if I will not”] open the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
Brethren, back in the early days, we (what few of us there were then) were tithing. Most of you weren't in the Church yet. I'm talking now about 1948. And very few of you were in the Church in 1948. There may be three or four here. I doubt if there's any more than that. And, if you are, you’re pretty faithful to have still been here all that time.
But in 1948 we were going to lose all of the campus that we had at that time. And we had to come up…I didn't know how much money; but, I found out later, it was going to take $50,000. At that time, how much do you think was the income of the Church? The whole Work of God was averaging $500 a day.
Now we thought that was pretty big. That was pretty big compared to what it had been when I had to hitchhike in order to preach in a country schoolhouse. And the only reason I had to go up to the country schoolhouse was because I didn't have money to hire a hall in town; and I could get the country schoolhouse without any charge whatsoever. That is the way THIS WORK was built! Others that have come along later saying, “Oh, I’ve devoted my life for the last so many years to this Work.” But YOU DIDN’T go through the hell I DID TO START IT! I lived—and I sweat, and bled, and died—that this Church could be built, and this Work could go on, and that Ambassador College could be built.
And we were going to have to turn a lease, an option, on what is now just the Library building, into a sale. And there had to be back taxes, and back property tax, and insurance to be paid. And what I didn't know is that the man we were purchasing it from had also borrowed about seventeen or eighteen thousand dollars that he was delinquent on, and he had not paid. And he couldn't turn it over to us until that was paid. And we had to have enough money to pay him that much before we could even get the property.
I had done everything I knew how. I had sent letters telling people of the situation. The money didn't come. I had gone… And this is before Mr. Rader’s time, when we had Bolivar O'Rear (who had been for some ten years an attorney in the Internal revenue department of Washington D.C). And Mr. O'Rear died a good many years ago now. But he was our attorney at the time. And he and I went to Washington, and to a lawyer friend of his that he thought was the specialist with this kind of thing, and could help us raise the money. We tried every way we could. The money didn't come.
Then I got on my knees. And I asked another, “Let's fast and pray, and let's take it to the Lord Jesus Christ.” And we did. And do you know that, about Thanksgiving time… I had to have this by about the 15th of December, and about Thanksgiving time, lo and behold, one day—instead of the five hundred dollars—two thousand. Let's see. Was it two, or three, thousand dollars? I believe it was three thousand dollars, came in. I've got to go back. I've printed this before. Some of you may remember it better than I do. I believe it was three thousand. Anyhow, the next day, to our amazement, three thousand dollars came in. And we couldn't account for it. But we had fasted and prayed, and we had put it up to Christ.
And that kept up for over ten days, until we had over $50,000 on hand. I finally came to find out that we had to have more money than I had dreamed of. But Christ had answered, and had sent every bit of it. I KNOW. I've been through this. I've seen the answers to prayer. I KNOW that Christ is living, and I KNOW that He hears us when we pray. And some of you have never had that experience. It's time that some of you get it. Get down on your knees, and wear them out! I'll buy you a new pair of stockings or trousers, or whatever, if you wear them out. And some of you may need it!
But this Church is cursed with a curse if we don't tithe. So, I'm going to correct that—no matter “come hell or high water,” or whatever else. And if some of our ministers say, “Oh well, we’re not for tithing.” All right. Goodbye. The Baptist probably will open up for you. They don't believe in it either. Maybe you can get a job with the Methodist.
Maybe they're like the man that came to me up in Oregon about 35 years ago, and he said… No, this was about 40 years ago. Anyhow, this man came to me and said, “Well, I've just recently married.” And he said, “Now I've got a wife to support.” And he said, “I am a minister, but I've not had a pastorate for some years. I've been out of employment.” He said, “Mr. Armstrong, do you know of a vacant pastorate in some church in this county?” He says, “I have to be in this county because my wife wants to live here.” “Well,” I said, “I know of just one; and, so far as I know, that's the only one. But, that won't help you a bit.” Well, he says, “Why?” I said, “Because that's a Church of Christ, and you’re a Methodist. And you'd have to preach different doctrines than the Methodists believe if you...” “Well,” he says, “That's all right. I'll preach whatever they want me to. I just got to have a job!” That's the way it is! Now, if we've got any of that kind of ministers, I'll be very happy to say, “Good riddance.” And God will supply us with men filled with His Spirit.
Well, He goes on to show the blessings He will pour out then, if we do obey Him and we trust Him. Can YOU believe that Christ is alive? Are YOU worried about if anything happens to me? I'M NOT. I know that God will do one of two things: He'll either keep me alive OR He'll raise up the right man, that'll be His man. And it won't be someone that you people are going to vote on. You’ll have nothing to say about it!
You have nothing to say about the fact I am where I am. CHRIST DID IT! And there's no way you could've stopped it, is there? CHRIST PUT ME IN. And all of you put together couldn't put me out, not if you wanted to! Some have said the Church would desert me in the last three or four months, with some of the actions that Christ has led me to take. The Church is 100% solid! Believe you me, brethren, THE CHURCH IS SOLID! AND WE ARE NOT DIVIDED ANY LONGER! Up until two or three months ago, for the last ten years, this Church has been divided. And people have said, “Well, who's in charge around here?” There's no doubt about WHO IS IN CHARGE any more now.
Then they tried to play this thing: That I was old, and imbecilic, and that I had become senile in my mind. And even one of our own main—or WHO USED TO BE one of our main—ministers, (And I'm just shocked that I heard this on a tape and heard his sermon that was preached in one of our other auditoriums, but not this one.) saying, when he was changing a doctrine that I had taught all these years (and which IS TRUE, and I’LL CHALLENGE HIM if he wants to debate on it). And he said, “Of course, now, Mr. Armstrong is old and feeble; and we just have to consider him as just a sort of father figure.” Some of you will remember! Some of you heard this sermon! I won't tell you who it was, but some of you will know.
He said, “His mind wouldn't be capable of going into this.” Well, let me tell you, my mind is a lot more capable than his mind! And it's going to be the way that Jesus Christ shows ME! And NOT the way some scholarly someone wants to get in a scholarly kind of a NON-Christian type of attitude, with a carnal mind, instead of the spiritual mind of Christ. And get into this leaven of intellectualism, and higher education! It's being kicked right out of this college, and out of God's Church!
Well, there are many promises here. Let’s prove God. He says, “Prove Me,” if He won't do this. I've been proving Him. He's taken care of me, all of these years. So, I think that I'd like to go on and read all of the rest of that in the fourth chapter. But I think we've taken enough time tonight.
And I will tell you that, two weeks ago when I spoke here, I'd had a very busy day all day. I had been in the office. I had conference after conference, with so many different ones; and some of it a little more strenuous than others. And then I finally had to work out something to say for the Bible Study that night. And I tell you, when I got home that night after the Bible Study, my blood pressure was down to an alarming place. It was really alarming, and my life was in danger. But I was just exhausted. I was tired. I had been over reaching, and going a little faster. And I haven't regained full physical strength yet. Let me say, I've regained about 80% of it. But, my mind is 100%. My mind is better today than it was twenty, and thirty, and even forty years ago! It is actually better. And you be the judge—by what you are hearing, and what you are reading, and what you are seeing.
I've been turning out more articles, and more books. And there's a big book ready to go to press now that will be sold in bookstores all over the United States—the first time I've ever been willing to do that. But there is a great audience of people that will not ever read The Plain Truth; will not reply for many of our broadcasts, or telecasts; are not going to be reached by us now. But they do go into bookstores and buy books. And if it's offered free, they won't take it. They want to pay for it. So, we're going to let them pay for it, if that's what they want. And I'm going to make it the highest price that the experts tell me will sell. Now, I'm not going to make it $50 a copy, because it wouldn't sell enough. But it will probably be in the neighborhood of say $9.90or $10. In this day in age, you know the businessman always has to cut it down to about $9.90 or $9.99. Sounds less. They always try to fool the people. I don't believe in that. So maybe we’ll just put a straight price on it, and let it go at that.
But I turned most of that copy over today. I still have to write one or two chapters. But that will be done within the next two or three days. I will tell you this: I consider that it is the most important book—the important writing—that has been written through any human being, or by any human being, in the last 1900 years. That’s how important I consider it!
Now, it has already appeared (most of it) it) in The Plain Truth of two years, or more, ago—in the tabloid edition. But I doubt if you read it. I told the one who was then the managing editor that I wanted this put in big type; and I wanted it right up front. But he got orders. I was apparently not the boss, and I didn't know it. THIS WAS KEPT FROM ME! Boy, would I have COUNTERMANDED THAT if I had known. He was told to BURY IT IN BACK and put it in the kind of type that nobody will read it. And that's what happened. Well, those days are gone. Nobody else is going to say, “Just countermand what Herbert W Armstrong says.” No one BUT JESUS CHRIST; I mean, but no one!
So I hope that will be ready by the Feast of Tabernacles. And I don't know if books of that kind go out to the bookstores about twice a year (once in the fall, and once in the spring). And we're hoping, if I don't extend myself too far, that we'll have it ready for the fall. But, anyway, I don't want to over extend myself now tonight. And I'm going to rest you and let you go home and get some rest.
Now, tomorrow afternoon I expect to speak with the cameras. You see they’re all here. And it will be the message that... I will not have a message for you people tomorrow. But you can sit in on it. It will be the message that will be televised and sent to every Feast site in the world. I can't appear at all of the Feast sites in the United States and Canada this year, as I've done in past years. But I will appear AT EVERY FEAST SITE on the screen. And it will be shown on sixteen-millimeter film. On good-sized screens like the big one we have up here, when they let it down, under the curtains. At every Feast site all over the world—and not just the United States, but Australia, South Africa, South America, New Zealand—everywhere. And I will be doing that now tomorrow.
And I still have to prepare that tomorrow, before tomorrow night. So, I always have something to do. Well, I working harder now than I worked ten years, fifteen years ago, even twenty years ago. And I'm having to come back and do it. God will give ME the strength, and the energy, and the vitality. But, will you let Him give YOU the strength, and energy, and vitality YOU need for YOUR PART, brethren?
The apostle is the ONE SENT. Not you. YOU are TO BACK. You will find, in the New Testament, the Church didn't go out. THE APOSTLE'S WENT OUT. Then there was one who had the Holy Spirit and had been beaten, who went out preaching, and that was Philip. And God blessed him because he had been with the apostles. But he then became a minister, and became an evangelist.
But the people as a whole were just back of those sent. An “apostle” is a word that means one sent forth with Christ’s message. And I just look back at the fruits of the last fifty-one years. And I know by the same way that John the Baptist knew whether Christ was the real Messiah or not. I know, because “by their fruits” you know; and that’s how I know.
Now, have a good night’s sleep. And I think I'm not as badly worn as I was two weeks ago tonight. And I hope I'll have a good night's sleep And I'll see you tomorrow afternoon.