|Autobiography of Herbert W Armstrong - Volume II
April 25, 1966 — December 10, 1968Dear Co-Workers with Christ:
April 25, 1966
Greetings from Australia: Mrs. Armstrong and I are visiting our offices here in Sydney, Australia — "down under," on the other side of the world where the sun circles around the north on its way to setting in the west.
God's Work is booming here in Australia. It is my wife's first visit here and my first since October, 1960 ....
It has been a tremendous inspiration to Mrs. Armstrong and me to see God's Work booming in rapid growth down here in Australia. While here, I have had conferences with radio station officials in Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney, and we leave in ten minutes for the airport, flying today to Brisbane. These and other business conferences are resulting in stepping up our program for reaching the people of Australia and New Zealand with Christ's own gospel. Additional radio coverage is opening up. Also arrangements are under way for the purchasing of full-page advertising space in national magazines and metropolitan newspapers. These will carry Christ's dynamic message to hundreds of thousands, and millions, in print.
Many hundreds have been really converted — their lives turned around and changed — since I was here last. God is doing a big work here in Australia. What an inspiration it is to realize that the World Tomorrow is heard all over the world.
Let me tell you a rather exciting experience. When I was here in October, 1960, our local manager, a radio station official and I were walking on a wharf to board a ferry when suddenly I heard a sharp, deep bass voice from behind say: "Are you Herbert W. Armstrong?" Turning, I saw a tall policeman. How did he know my name, way down here in Sydney, Australia? Had I done something wrong?
"Well, I want to shake your hand," he said, reaching out his hand. "I hear you on the radio, and I recognized your voice as you were talking to this gentleman."
It was really a startling experience. Well, here is the astonishing sequel. I met this man again the other day, with his wife. He has been converted since I was here, baptized by one of our local ministers. And, more! His wife was also baptized just the other day — since we arrived here — also by one of our ministers. Mrs. Armstrong and I were overjoyed to meet them both.
I am now finishing this letter from Brisbane, where I am to speak tonight to an audience of a few hundred listeners to The World Tomorrow. I have spoken before good-sized audiences in Melbourne, and several times in Sydney, since we arrived in Australia. Tomorrow I have a luncheon appointment scheduled with the manager of a Brisbane radio station ....
Next Monday we fly on to Hong Kong for two days, to try to make arrangements to put the World Tomorrow program on a station there. Then we must take a very long flight all the way across Asia, to Tel Aviv, Israel. We will spend a few days revisiting historic places in the land of ancient Israel. I am especially anxious to visit again the little synagogue in Nazareth, where Jesus spoke from the book of Isaiah (Luke 4:16-30), and other places. Then from there straight to London, and Ambassador College in England.
This 'round the world' trip is an arduous one. I was afraid it would be very hard on Mrs. Armstrong, but thousands are praying for our safety and pleasant flights for her; and so far, all prayers have been answered. We are very grateful ....
I must hurry now to the auditorium where I am to speak tonight. Remember, the living Christ blesses you for your generous part in His Work.
February 27, 1967Dear Co-Heir with Christ:
This letter must be brief, and to the point.
I had hoped that I would be able to announce, in this letter, the biggest, most important, most sensational leap forward in this Work of God, since it started in 1934!
That's why this letter is two or three days late. But I can't delay longer. And now I must make it short so it may be typed and mailed yet today if possible! I feel sure this very sensational announcement will be ready before the next letter ....
Meantime, dear Co-Workers, I have been under the heaviest cloud for years. My dear wife has been stricken with a serious intestinal condition. For three weeks she has been confined to bed. Everything possible was done, including, of course, anointing her and asking God to heal her. At first we thought it was an attack of appendicitis — and, under fasting, such an attack will resolve itself naturally within about seven to ten days. But that time passed, and the pain was not in the appendix. In such a condition there are, of course, certain things we humans can and ought to do — even though we rely on God for the healing. I assure you, that under the best professional advice, everything we could or ought to do was done.
I would like to explain, for your own understanding, that God does for us what we cannot, and ought not, try to do for ourselves. Healing of sickness or disease is something no doctor nor medicine can do. That is why God has promised to heal us. In my ministerial experience over forty years, literally thousands have been healed — of almost every disease or sickness, including — cancer and leukemia — by my prayers, and those of God's ministers in this Work associated with me. Some things we cannot do, and ought leave solely to God. Some He does through us, with certain things we can and should do. Other things we do by ourselves.
But we came to the place where, under "medical" advice of a doctor who is one of our converts (no longer in active medical practice, but in God's service), the time had come to stand still, and commit it into God's hands. The first two weeks, approximately, she was in great abdominal pain, with cramps, unable to hold anything on her stomach. She did sip water, and take crushed ice into her mouth — but always her stomach rejected it, and it was thrown up. Then, a week ago, I'm sure God performed one miracle — I awoke at 6:30 a.m. and was told she had taken about a half glass of homemade grape juice at 4:30, and her stomach had retained it. She has been taking prescribed amounts about every two hours since. For about three days she was able to take small amounts — two or three teaspoons at a time — of a beef juice, then her stomach refused it further. We have been able, however, to alternate some fresh carrot juice, and even some gelatin.
This nourishment, during the past week, has given her some added strength, and she has been getting in better rest and sleep, and is much improved in mind and spirits ....
Dear Co-Worker with Christ, this great Work of God is on the very threshold of the greatest leap forward in power and scope in its history. The really big work is yet to be done. God started His Work for this time through my wife. He used her to bring me to Him. God said it is not good for a man to be alone — and He gave her to me to be my help. She has been my partner — the other half of this team God called, and has used in building His great Work. As we now face a greatly stepped-up, bigger Work, I need her desperately at my side. God, of course, knows this.
During this ordeal I fasted ten days. I did not fast for her — because we do not bring God "to our terms" by suffering and "doing penance." I fasted to bring myself closer to God. When that was accomplished I broke the fast. I had been concerned over a heart condition and high blood pressure. I was slowed down in my work. That is now all gone. This heart condition I have felt for some four years is no longer noticeable. I have renewed verve, bounce, energy. God has, in this fasting and prayer, opened my eyes to many things — changed my entire daily routine, brought me far closer to Him. I am ready, now, for this big leap ahead in this Work ....
April 17, 1967Dear Co-Worker with Christ:
At last I can give you the one greatest most exciting news announcement in the history of our broadcasting Christ's gospel to the world.
But I am deeply sorry to have to announce, at the same time, that my wife's critical illness has ended in the manner least expected — in her death just after midnight Saturday morning, April 15. In the next second of her consciousness she will awake in the Resurrection, completely healed — and, far more than we beseeched God in our earnest prayers, not in the corruptible body of this mortal flesh and blood, but in an immortal spirit body, in glory in God's eternal Kingdom!
Thirty-four years ago, at this same time of year, when my father died having reached his seventieth year, I had to learn that God's promises are absolutely secure — but not always in the way we expect. For His ways are not our ways. In the "Faith Chapter" of the Bible, Hebrews 11, speaking of the example of faith set by Abraham, Isaac and Jacob — "the Fathers" — and of Sarah, we read: "These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them ... that they, without us, should not be made perfect." (Heb. 11:13 and 40.)
Had they received the promises by their faith at that time, then you and I would have been left out. But God's promises to them are irrevocably secure! They shall receive them in the resurrection — and many thousands or millions of us also with them.
God has promised to heal the sick, upon real repentance and faith. But God has not promised how, or when! That, we must leave to Him in faith.
We did fully expect that God would heal her now. True, she was seventy-five and a half years of age. Even King David, who has been rescued from death, and healed from near-death more than once, "died in a good old age, full of days," at age seventy. (I Chron. 29:28). In I Kings 1:1, it is stated that "King David was old, and stricken with years," just before his death.
God already had given my wife five and a half years more of this life than He gave David. She was just a few months older than I, though part of each year we were "the same age," as they are counted. Yet neither of us have felt or acted in any manner like "old folks," or "elderly" people. We never thought of her as being anywhere near seventy!
God had called her, and then me through her. He had chosen us for His Work. He had built His great Work through us, bearing great and rich spiritual "fruit." ...
If you'll read John 15, you'll realize that God corrects, "prunes," or "purges" every branch in Christ which is producing fruit — that they may bring forth more fruit. It is only those bearing none that He cuts off.
This great Work of God not only has produced fruit — but right now God is opening gigantic new doors for His Work to multiply in power!
In our human thinking, it seemed God would heal her now, that she could continue the remaining few years as my help in the closing years of God's Work preparing the way for Christ's coming, and the Kingdom of God, ushering in the wonderful World Tomorrow! But, we know now, God had intended otherwise ....
To all you who have come to a reawakening through her recent illness, let me plead: Carry on, in this spiritually rejuvenated new life! Never slacken! Never lose courage! Now I need your help more than ever! ...
June 29, 1967Dear Co-Worker with Christ:
Since I wrote you, a week ago, things have happened fast. Indeed, world events are racing on now at an ever-accelerating clip.
I want to give you a little advance news, which you will read in more detail in my Personal column. Page one, in the July Plain Truth. With this coming number, due off the press in a few days, the circulation has reached, at last, the fabulous plateau of one million copies!
It requires about three full freight carloads (large American size freight cars) of paper! Comparatively few magazines on earth publish a million or more copies! That surely is a new milestone of progress! Read more about it in your next Plain Truth!
Of that one million copies subscribed for — to be read by probably two and a half million people — about 2,450,000 of them are noncontributors to God's Work. No one pays for his own subscription, as you know. In addition to receiving The Plain Truth free, these 2,450,000 people who read it have never contributed — and have never been asked to contribute anything!
In other words, beside helping pay for the World Tomorrow broadcast on radio and television, reaching some forty million people every week, your tithes and freewill offerings are helping me to put The Plain Truth into the hands of nearly two and a half million readers who are not even asked for financial support!
Actually, it is monumental, phenomenal, and virtually incredible, how much every dollar you and I put into God's glorious Work actually accomplishes! I know of no place else where every dollar accomplishes so much good! That is because the living Christ actually heads, directs, and blesses this Work of God! What a privilege He allows you and me to have a part in it — to be used as His instruments, through whom He works, carrying on God's Work!
One other exciting bit of advance news, which you will read in more detail, in my next Personal editorial.
When I wrote you on May 29, I was en route to London, ticketed for a jet flight from London to Beirut and Jerusalem on June 5. I wrote in that letter, " ... it looks right now as if I will not be able to go to Jerusalem at this time." As I wrote you in the general semiannual letter to all Plain Truth subscribers, June 21, I was not able to go. The Israelis took over the old city of Jerusalem, including Jerusalem Radio, belonging to the government of Jordan ....
July 31, 1967Dear Co-Worker with Christ:
This letter should have been written yesterday. Things are happening so fast these days, and I have so many things on my mind, that I completely overlooked the fact this letter was due.
And here it is, the 31st of July. For me it is a very important day — a day of mixed emotions. May I be real personal in this letter? ...
Today is a day I had been looking forward to. It was to be the fiftieth wedding anniversary of Mrs. Armstrong and me. But she is no longer here to share it with me.
I could not help, this morning, thinking back fifty years ago today. I was living in Chicago. I had been engaged to marry a girl from Iowa. That very morning I disappointed her. I arrived late at the railroad depot to meet her. And there she was, a girl who had never before seen such a big city, alone in the metropolis of Chicago! ...
Many young ladies would have ended the engagement then and there. They would have become angry, resentful, unforgiving. Because most young brides are in love, most assuredly — but with their own selves! Not with the man they are marrying. And most young bridegrooms also are in love — with their own precious selves!
As soon as the other becomes inconsiderate, or does something, or says something, that "steps on the other's toes," the "injured" one flies into a rage, or becomes sullen and resentful. One thing leads to another, and ultimately to an unhappy marriage — or divorce!
But this young lady forgave me, and later that same day she became Mrs. Herbert W. Armstrong.
This is not to say that in the virtual fifty years of happy marriage there were never any rough spots, mis-understandings, or hurt feelings. There always are, in every marriage. And unless each one is mindful of that fact — mindful that each is human and imperfect — and has enough love for the other to forgive and forget, it would be better to call the whole thing off before the wedding.
Why do most marriages fail? Two reasons. They are not really in love, though of course they think they are. They do not, each, have as much love and concern for the other, as for self. They want the other for what they feel the other means to them. They are on the getting side, not the giving! And when everything ceases to come their way, and the time comes to give, they don't give. And the second reason is part of the first — carnality!! And carnality is vanity, lust, envy and greed ....
But since I am a day late with this letter, I must make it brief ....
Thank you — I do remember you constantly in my prayers!
December 10, 1968Dear Co-Worker with Christ:
Today I can announce this big news at last! Now it's official! I have said before I expected to announce it soon.
Jesus Christ is not dead — He rose from the dead — He is alive right now, actively directing this Work of God — and this is the season more than any other, when He needs these gifts for His Work! He has blest us by drafting us as His Co-Workers. We have our part to do!
And speaking of Christ being alive! That is what this big announcement is all about! And even though I need to get this urgent letter off to you immediately, I feel I must take time to tell you what He has just done for His Work!
Let me give you the background facts first. God originally chose Jerusalem as His city, to become eventually the capital of the whole world. But when He removed Judah (the Jews) from their land, He said: "I will remove Judah also out of my sight, as I have removed Israel, and I will cast off this city which I have chosen, Jerusalem." (II Kings 23:27.) God turned His back on Jerusalem ....
And today it is heap upon heap of ... rubble and filth. All this is going to have to be cleaned away before it can be made, after Christ's coming, the capital city of the world. Then for a thousand years it will be the most beautiful, clean city of splendor on earth.
Briefly, let me tell you how it started. The first seven and a half years of King David's reign, Hebron was the capital city. This is a few miles southwest of Jerusalem. But God had chosen Jerusalem to become the capital. It is recorded in II Samuel 5: "And the king and his men went to Jerusalem against the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land ....David took the stronghold of Zion, that is, the city of David ....And David dwelt in the stronghold, and called it the city of David ....And David became greater and greater, for the Lord, the God of hosts, was with him. And Hiram king of Tyre sent messengers to David, and cedar trees; also carpenters and masons who built David a house" (a palace).
That city of David was the original Jerusalem. Later, Solomon rebuilt, or greatly enlarged, the palace. Solomon also built the Temple. The Temple was probably the most glorious, costly building ever constructed on earth. It was built on a rectangular plateau. Mount Moriah, high above, and directly adjoining the city of David on the north. As the city of Jerusalem grew, it spread to the west and north of this Temple Mount — or Mount Moriah. Near the center of this Temple Mount is a large rock. It was on this rock that Abraham built an altar, when God tested him to see if he would obey even to sacrificing his own son (type of God sacrificing His Son Jesus). This also was the rock used as a threshing floor by Ornan the Jebusite. At God's command, King David purchased this from Ornan. This same rock was the site of Solomon's Temple. Also of Zerubbabel's temple in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah. That Temple was remodeled, renewed and greatly enlarged by Herod — the Temple in Jerusalem during Jesus' lifetime. It was destroyed in A.D. 70.
That same rock is in the very center of the present Moslem mosque, called the Dome of the Rock.
On the south side of this Temple Mount a great massive stone wall was built from the ground below at, or just north of the City of David. This wall was perhaps fifty feet or more high. The original inhabited part of Jerusalem was far below at that point. Long after Solomon's palace and the Temple had been destroyed, Gentiles built other buildings on the rubble. Succeeding generations built on that rubble. As a result, the surface at this site of the original Jerusalem and City of David is perhaps forty to seventy feet higher than it was when David first built his palace there.
Now I can explain to you this important announcement. Ambassador College has just been given the great honor and responsibility of entering joint participation with Hebrew University of Jerusalem in the most important archaeological excavation of our time — uncovering 3,000 years of history! We are now actively engaged — Ambassador College and Hebrew University — in excavating down, layer by layer, removing the accumulated rubble and filth of century after century of Gentile occupation!
Hebrew University is recognized as the top center of scholarship in the Middle East. It is a large university of 12,000 students. Like Ambassador College, its students are serious, studying with purpose. Like Ambassador, there are no hippies, and no student rebellion, or student riots. The fact that they are Jewish and we are not makes no difference (we do have a few Jewish students at Ambassador). This great archaeological project is under the direct supervision of Dr. Benjamin Mazar, one of the world's recognized outstanding experts on archaeology, former President of Hebrew University.
Now I wonder if you can realize how important this is!
First, it is one of the most important scientific projects under way anywhere on earth today. It will mean great prestige and recognition of Ambassador College. If some wonder why we need recognition by the world, remember that we are commissioned to go into the world to preach the gospel. We have to deal with the world. We have to obtain the use of the world's facilities — radio broadcast time on their radio facilities, television facilities, and publishing facilities when we buy large advertising space in the great mass-circulation magazines. This is increasing the readership of The Plain Truth by hundreds of thousands. Without favorable recognition and status in our "public image" we simply could not carry out Christ's commission!
Secondly, we are contributing to the known fund of knowledge!
Thirdly, we are preparing the way for Christ's coming as King of kings and Lord of lords — as world ruler, to set up the government of God to rule all nations — and to save the whole world!
How are we preparing the way for Christ's Messianic coming? In three ways. 1) by proclaiming and publishing worldwide the gospel of the kingdom of God (Matt. 24:14; Mark 13:10). This we have been doing for thirty-five years, with constantly increasing and multiplying power! 2) by making ready a people for His coming! These are "the elect" (Matt. 24:21-22) for whose sake God will save humanity alive! Otherwise "no flesh would be saved alive" in the great tribulation now almost upon us! Thousands are being converted — their lives changed — receiving Christ as Saviour, and receiving God's Holy Spirit — every year.
And 3) something that even I did not realize until recently we were also commissioned to do — clean up the filth and rubble in that area that was the original Jerusalem and City of David (actually several acres of ground — this is a major operation of excavation).
Why is that important? Because Christ has said He will yet choose Jerusalem, and make it the capital city of the whole world tomorrow! Jesus is coming in all the supernatural power and glory to rule the world. His throne will be there. Do you not suppose it will be in the very spot He chose for David's throne? Jesus is to sit on David's throne! Where was David's throne? It was on this very spot where we are now cleaning up and hauling off the rubble of century after century of accumulation! And even David is to be resurrected! That is the spot we are cleaning up! So there is a physical preparing, as well as spiritual, in preparing the way for Messiah's coming! Further, God says we are to shout, with amplified power, to the cities of Judah the glad message that the Messiah is soon coming. This is leading to the opportunity to do this (Isaiah 40:1-11).
That is all I have time to say now. I must rush this letter into the mails.