|Autobiography of Herbert W Armstrong - Volume II
March 28, 1974 — May 21, 1974
March 28, 1974 Dear Inner Family of Co-Workers with Christ:
When I surrendered completely to the Living Jesus Christ, giving my life literally to Him to use as He might see fit, I counted the cost! It meant giving up my business, and career in the business world. I was well aware that Jesus had said to His disciples — and this included all who would follow Him fully — "If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you." I had to be willing to accept that.
When God inducted me into His ministry more than forty years later I knew what He had commissioned me to do, to "go into all the world and preach the gospel" — "go ye therefore, and teach all nations."
Teach what? Christ's gospel, which is the good news of the Kingdom of God.
And for our time, now, Christ said, "This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations, and then shall the end [of this present world] come."
Not to proselyte — not aggressively to seek Church members — but to announce the good news of the soon-coming Kingdom of God — which will bring us world peace, universal happiness and prosperity, and eternal salvation. To prepare the way for the coming of Christ again to earth in all the divine splendor, power and glory of the Eternal God, as the King of kings and Lord of lords to rule, and to save the world.
This is not the time when God is trying to save the world, spiritually. We are preparing the way for the time when He will do that. If God had been trying to get the world spiritually "saved," He would have saved it! Nevertheless, though we have made no direct active effort to make converts — and absolutely none to compete or take members from churches, there have been thousands of conversions of those who heard the proclamation of Christ's gospel.
And, of course, since God did add to His flock, it became our responsibility to "feed the flock." For this an educated ministry was provided through Ambassador College. There are, at the present time, some 600 ordained ministers, worldwide, in the Worldwide Church of God. The number one purpose and function of these hundreds of ministers and churches is their part in helping us in getting the great commission accomplished! And that job has been getting done — in a very powerful manner!
But in regard to Christ's Church, even in the first century, there were false brethren and even false ministers. The Apostle Paul had called to him at Miletus the elders (ministers, pastors) of the church at Ephesus, where there was a good-sized church.
Paul said to them: "And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more, ... take heed therefore, ... for I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn one night and day with tears" (Acts 20:25-31).
There are many more New Testament statements of ministers turning false, and leaving God's Church, trying to draw away members after them, and trying to destroy the Work of God. We would not be doing the true Work of the Living God if the same things did not oppose us today — persecution, false accusations! ...
Yes, there was a conspiracy. But the back of that conspiracy has been broken by our God! On what do we rely in such an emergency? We rely on the throne of grace in heaven! We go to our knees before the living Christ! He heads this great Work. He guides it, blesses it, produces abundant fruits for His Kingdom through it. And we leave the dealing with adversaries in His hands, only praying for them, that God will cause them to see the serious error of what they have yielded themselves to do and restore them to Him and His Work.
This angry attack has, of course, given us a temporary setback. Undoubtedly it will hurt the income for God's great Work. But it has at the same time actually strengthened us — for it has welded the great loyal majority closer together than ever before.
It came at the very time when I had just arrived in Manila, the Philippines, for the very first public Personal Appearance Campaign ....
Now I cannot go back to Manila and pick up where I had to leave off to rush back to Pasadena headquarters.
What a tragic shame!
But we shall immediately carry right on with these campaigns! The next one is scheduled for Ethiopia in May. Many others will follow.
I wrote you previously, I think, about the eight high-ranking Japanese Diet Members (Japan's Congress or Parliament) who traveled two weeks with me into the Arab oil-producing countries. As we said "goodbye" at the end of the trip, they called themselves my "eight Japanese sons." The following telegram from them, when they heard of this attack causing me to fly immediately back to Pasadena, brought tears to my eyes when I read it. They are loyal! Here is what they telegraphed:
"Dear Mr. Herbert Armstrong. Our sincere prayer for you that you may have precious direction and protection upon your present task which we learned that you had to go back to the States. May the Almighty give you wise wisdoms, peaceful mind and splendid health so you'll be able to carry through your mission.
Your eight Japanese sons
Bunsei Sato and other Members of Japanese Diet"
I also received telegrams of assurance of loyalty from important officials in other world capitals, and from a judge of the World Court at The Hague, Holland.
Dear Co-Worker in the most important Work on earth, from the bottom of my heart, I thank you beyond words to express for your loyalty, your confidence, and for standing behind me, when such crises threaten! We have had to weather many storms, but God has always been with us, as we are with Him, and Jesus Christ has never left us nor forsaken us, and He never will!
Thank you for your prayers for me ....
I pray for you, and am very grateful for your prayers!
May 21, 1974 Dear Inner Family of Co-Workers with Christ:
the living God, and seeks by every subtile deception and maneuver to destroy this Work! He did it in the first century. He tried it now. But God is more powerful than Satan. And this is the activity of God. And Christ has promised He will never leave nor forsake His Church nor His Work. The living Christ broke the back of that conspiracy! The handful of dissident and disloyal ministers took a certain number of deceived brethren with them. But already, I am informed, more than that number of new brethren have been baptized, replacing those who went with the self-seeking disloyal ministers. They were deceived. They may not have realized Satan was using them. I pray their eyes may yet be opened — that they will be brought to a real repentance and will return to God's Work.
Yes, Satan did strike a blow at this new dimension in God's Work. Satan did not want the very first of the public campaigns to succeed, getting Christ's gospel message into the nations where it had never gone before. He did prevent the originally scheduled date for the Manila campaign. For awhile we wondered if the campaign could ever be picked up again, once it had to be called off. But remember this is the Work of the living Christ! And it finally was carried on much bigger than planned the first time!
But now, more than two months later, all three nights' meetings were held in the Coliseum! All things do work for good, to those who love and obey God!
So let me tell you about the past eventful week.
On arrival at the airport I was met by Dr. Angeles, the Executive Vice President of Angeles University, and other important people, as well as the press — newspaper, radio, television. A government Highway Patrol car, with flashing red light and siren, escorted us to our hotel. This same patrol car, with siren going full blast, escorted me everywhere I went for the nine days we were there. It plowed our way through snarled traffic. and saved much time.
On the first Saturday I spoke to some six hundred people. On Sunday, for a noon luncheon, I was guest speaker before a group of more than two hundred — a combined luncheon of the Knights of Columbus and Daughters of Isabella, where for some twenty-five minutes I opened the gospel of the Kingdom of God to them ....
Monday, at 10 a.m., a visit with the Mayor, and a ceremony in which the Mayor presented me with the Key to the City — a very ornate work of art, by the way. At 12 noon, a luncheon press conference, in a private room at the Manila Hilton Hotel. We received a most favorable press, by the way — more often on the front page of newspapers — every day we were there. Also on television and radio. One evening Channel 2 put on a twenty-minute documentary supplied by our own television people .... The Channel 2 crew came to my hotel room for a ten-minute televised interview which — following the twenty-minute documentary — filled the entire thirty minutes. I later heard from many people who had seen it. This was put on as a public service, without cost to us ....
Continuing, on Monday evening our dinner guest, in a small private dining room in the Hyatt Regency Hotel, was the mother of the President, Mrs. Josefa E. Marcos. She is a delightful person to know, virtually my age ....
Tuesday was another busy, event-packed day. Our four-car caravan (including the pilot siren car), left our hotel Tuesday morning at 8:30 a.m., for Angeles City, a two-hour drive. We passed through three or four other towns on the way. It was almost 10:30 a.m. when we arrived at the Angeles University, a school younger than Ambassador College, yet a full university with some 5,000 students. I was hurried into a changing room where my coat was removed, and the commencement ceremony robes — bright and colorful — put on. At Ambassador College we never use such robes, nor the four-square cap and gown. But so far as I know all other colleges and universities do.
Anyway, once I was robed, as well as many faculty members, we started on a procession, led by the band, to the gymnasium, which already was filled with faculty and students. There, in dignified ceremony, the university conferred on me the honorary degree of Doctor of Humanities. After the ceremony, back in my own clothes, in another auditorium, there was an entertainment program by students, and then a luncheon, hosted by university officials. Then, the long ride back to Manila.
That evening, Tuesday, another private-room dinner with Mrs. Oliveras, President and General Manager of the Times Journal, which has a circulation of 30,000 copies daily. Her newspaper carried many stories about us and the coming campaign.
Wednesday, I was guest of honor at the Kiwanis Club luncheon, at which I spoke some twenty minutes. At 5 p.m. we arrived at the University of the East, largest in the Philippines, with 68,000 students. The President of the University, Dr. S.F. de la Cruz, had just returned about three weeks before from visiting the Ambassador College campus in Pasadena, with Mrs. de la Cruz. Dr. de la Cruz was one of the three university presidents from this part of the world who attended the grand opening concert at the new Ambassador Auditorium. At the U. of E. I met the Chairman of the Board and Founder of the University again (I had met him on a previous trip), and several administration officials and faculty heads. We soon went to their auditorium, where students gave an entertainment program, which was followed with speeches introducing me, and I addressed the filled auditorium of students and faculty.
From the university we were driven to the studios of Channel 13, where I was interviewed ... in a half-hour telecast.
Thursday, there were more press interviews, and a dinner with officials of the Greater Manila Junior Chamber of Commerce ....
But now we had come to the big event! Friday night was the first night of the Manila campaign — there were to be three meetings in all (lectures they were called in the newspapers). They were for Friday night, Saturday night, and Sunday night — the meetings started each night at 7 o'clock.
We should have arrived very late, had it not been for the police siren pilot car, for traffic was extremely heavy. We were a little tense on arriving, wondering whether there would be a big crowd.
"What if only two or three thousand come?" I wondered. They would look like a tiny handful of people in that huge 24,000-seat Coliseum. They would look as if they were lost! We entered at the rear, behind the stage ....The Coliseum seemed well filled — a few scattered empty seats here and there — what a relief to see such a great crowd present! ...
A most complimentary short speech by the Vice President of Angeles University was followed by a very vigorous speech by Dr. de la Cruz, mentioning enthusiastically his visit to the Ambassador College campus. It was 7:30 p.m. when I stepped up to the podium. I spoke one hour. Following is a brief summary of my first sermon of the campaign:
First, I asked the audience how much they knew about the conditions in the world they live in. Then I outlined the evil conditions I see in all parts of the world, asking why such evils exist in a world where men have learned how to fly to the moon and back, but not how to solve their own problems on earth. This world, I said, is headed toward the supreme crisis at the end of this age — this present evil world. Human survival is now our number one problem. For thousands of years, heads of governments have striven for world peace — but, no peace! There will have to be a cause to bring about world peace. I mentioned my early surveys, learning of this world's unhappy conditions. Finally, beginning 1926, I received the shock of my life, discovering the true answers in the Bible — answers never revealed by science, nor taught by religion or education. Then I went into some detail in the incident of the forbidden fruit in the second and third chapters of Genesis. I explained God's way of life revealed to but rejected in that incident by Adam and Eve — and how humanity has rejected or overlooked the revealed knowledge of God's way of life (based on the Ten Commandments) ever since. Of course the third chapter of Genesis introduced Satan the Devil, symbolized by the serpent. After thoroughly explaining God's way of life, I asked the questions, Where did this Satan come from? What is "human nature"? What is the difference between human mind and animal brain? Why was humanity put here on earth — what is the real purpose in our being here? How is God's purpose being worked out? — and saying that on Saturday night I would answer those questions, and explain how and when world peace is coming, in a message of hope and assurance.
These questions are something most of the audience had never heard answered before!
These questions were gone into on Saturday night — explaining the gospel message, which God sent to mankind by Jesus Christ — and how that gospel — that vital message from God to humanity, has not been proclaimed to this world for eighteen and a half centuries. I reminded the audience that most of them were now hearing that gospel message for the first time! ... I read from Malachi's prophecy about the coming of Christ (Mal. 3:1), and of the beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, Mark 1:1, and verses 14-15.
But to understand that gospel, it was necessary to go all the way back into prehistory. I then explained the presence of pre-Adamic angels on earth, ruled by the government of God. And as long as that government of God ruled the earth, there was peace, happiness, joy! It might have been millions of years. Then, Lucifer and his angels rebelled (did precisely what some ministers were recently doing) and became the devil and his demons. That involved many Scriptures which I read from the Bible. Then the renewing of the face of the earth (Ps. 104:30) described in the first chapter of Genesis. Then I went into an explanation of the human mind compared to animal brain, reading the Scriptures about it; how God put what He wanted into the mind of King Cyrus of Persia (Ezra 1:1); and how Satan has swayed all humanity, injecting what we call human nature — vanity, lust and greed, envy, jealousy, competition, antagonism, rebellion and violence — and how man, swayed by this spirit contrary to the government of God, has caused all the problems and evils that have plagued suffering mankind.
I ended Saturday night with Acts 3:19-21, showing how Jesus Christ is now in heaven until the time when the government of God shall be restored on earth, and once again bring peace to this earth.
On Sunday night, the Coliseum appeared to be packed. It is a huge auditorium, with many tiers or balconies — like a vast bowl with a roof over it ....
Again the President's mother came — all three nights. There were more preliminary ceremonies, with Mrs. Marcos presenting certain honors to me on the platform, and enthusiastic speeches from others, before the sermon. I spoke exactly one hour Friday night, 70 minutes Saturday night, and an hour and 15 minutes Sunday night. Not a soul was seen leaving until the end.
The final Sunday night I quickly reviewed the state of the world, and the number one problem, survival of humanity on earth. Never before was it possible to erase all human life from the earth fifty times over! One H-bomb could destroy all of Manila (four million people). Again, there had to be a cause for this alarming condition — and if we are to have peace, something must cause it. I explained in retrospect how Friday night I showed how the first humans, Adam and Eve, had rejected knowledge revealed from God, and turned to the way that has caused all the world's evils. I explained the two ways of life — God's way of love — the giving, sharing way of outgoing concern, and the getting way of self-centeredness, and rejection of God and His way. Then a quick summary of how God's government, based on His spiritual law of love had once caused happiness on earth, and the rebellion that turned the archangel Lucifer into Satan, and his angels into demons. Then the creation of man, and his rejection of knowledge of God, and rebellion against God's way. And how the all-important dimension in knowledge has been missing since. Then, the fact man is created of matter, dust of the ground, but God is composed of Spirit. God's purpose for man, shown in Genesis 1 — the reproduction of Himself. This was startling new knowledge to nearly all there. His purpose also, through man, to restore the government of God to earth, bringing world peace. The seven days of Genesis 1 and 2, a type of God's plan for working out His purpose. Adam rejected God's way. Then how the second Adam, Jesus Christ, qualified to restore the government of God (the Kingdom of God) to this earth. I read the Old Testament prophecies of Christ coming to rule, setting up the Kingdom of God on earth, then in Luke 1:30-33, how Christ was born to rule as King. Then the beginning of Christ's gospel (Mark 1:1, 14-15), and teaching we may be born of God (John 3:1-8 which I read and explained). This was new to nearly all. How we may be converted, receiving the impregnation of God-life (eternal life) by the Holy Spirit from the very person of God. I read Romans 8:9, 11, 14, 16. I explained how we may receive the Holy Spirit, being begotten as a son of God (Acts 2:1-4, 37-38 which I read). I explained how God created all things by and through Christ (John 1:1-5, Eph. 3:9) — He is our Maker — therefore when He gave His life on the cross, by His shed blood He paid the death penalty for all humanity — for His life was greater than all He created! Christ rose from the dead, making eternal life possible for us. Christ ascended to the Father's throne in heaven. I went through the parable of the pounds, Luke 19:11-20,24, showing we who grow in grace and knowledge in the Christian life will rule in God's Kingdom. Then I quoted Christ's promise, that we shall reign over the nations with Him, (Rev. 2:26-27; 3:21), and we shall reign with Him on the earth (Rev. 5:10). I read of the Second Coming of Christ to rule all nations, restoring peace — Revelation 19:6, 11-16. Then I read of putting Satan away for a thousand years, and the Kingdom of God ruling a thousand years, Revelation 20:1-6, and how converted Christians, then resurrected and changed to spirit composition, will reign with Him.
I explained how that will complete the 7,000 years. But, then what? What is our ultimate destiny? I read of man's ultimate transcendent glory, once real God-like character is developed in him in this life. I had explained how God is a family, into which we may be born, and now in Hebrews 1-2, how Christ is now very God, sustaining the whole universe (explaining that "all things" means the entire universe) with His power. Then, in Hebrews 2, beginning with verse 6, how God has put the entire universe under man — but (verse 8) we see not yet the whole universe under man, but we do see Jesus, having gone on before as our Leader — the firstborn of many brethren (Rom. 8:29). I ended by stating how much more wonderful is the knowledge God reveals in the Bible than that taught by science, religion or education! They had heard the good news (gospel) of the Kingdom of God! The people were astonished, as in Jesus' day (Matt. 7:28).
After this last sermon, we were dinner guests at the lovely home of Minister (Mrs.) Lim.
I have taken the time and space to give you a full synopsis of all three sermons before those many thousands in the first of these new public appearance campaigns in the world capitals around the world. For I want you to see and realize that Christ's great commission is being effectively fulfilled — that what He has commissioned you and me to do is getting done — and done effectively — for the first time in 1,850 years and more! I want the living Christ to be able to say to you and me, "Well done, good and faithful servants."
I wanted you to realize it fully, because this is the most important of the things God's tithes which you send in are going for! God has opened the doors. God has been in it — it has gone out in His power! ...
It is now full steam ahead! A glorious new start, on a new plane! We are moving on in rejuvenated power!
Thank you, dear Brethren and Co-Workers, for your loyalty, for standing by us faithfully. We forge ahead unitedly, now, as never before. God's blessing will continue to be with you, and His Work!