And greetings friends! This is Herbert W. Armstrong with the Good News of the World Tomorrow!
Now, once again, my friends, what is the difference between the Church, the True Church, that Jesus Christ said He would build, and that He did build — the Church that He said the gates of hell shall not prevail against — and all the other churches, denominations, sects, organizations and cults and everything of the kind that we have so many of in this world today? As I have said before, the Church of Jesus Christ is the Church that is obedient to Christ and obedient to God. It doesn't lean to its own reason — it doesn't say, "Well, this is the way it looks to me." And when it finds something in the Bible, it doesn't say, "Well, yes, I know that's what the Bible says, but, you know, now, this is the way I look at it and I don't think that the way it is in the Bible would be quite reasonable and this looks right to me." Those that are in the True Church are those who have given up their own will and have said, "Not my will but Thine be done." They have given up their own will altogether. They have surrendered to God and the True Church is that that realizes that Jesus Christ is living Saviour, not only, but also Living Ruler and King, and that He is the Ruler.
I wonder if you realize, my friends, that from beginning to end of the Bible, God is pictured as Living Ruler of the universe — God rules.
Back in the beginning of Genesis, we read that God created the heaven and the earth and most of us think of God as a Creator who created something once upon a time then went off and left it and forgot all about it and He isn't around anymore. Or else, a God, that...well, isn't too much concerned about our life today and what we do, except that He does expect us to do the things that please Him, in the sense that we give up everything that's good for us. That we give up all pleasures and all good time and everything that we want that would make life worth living and live sort of sorrowful, painful life of penance and that will please God and then all God's interested in is that we can live like we please here, just as long as we give up those things and then we get our reward after we die. Now, a lot of people look at it like that. Oh, how we have mis...well, as a matter of fact, we haven't read the Bible. I was about to say — had misread it. It has been very greatly misread, but most of us just haven't read it all.
The first place, men have made the mistake of interpreting the Bible and it doesn't need any interpretation. The only interpretation is God's interpretation and God's interpretation of one passage in the Bible is found by the Word of God where God speaks in another passage in the Bible someplace else bearing on the same subject on the same thing and which does interpret what you have. In other words the Bible interprets itself and it doesn't need any interpretation by men whatsoever.
Now, here in the very second chapter of Genesis we find this that "out of the ground made the Eternal God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food." God caused things to grow. God caused the air to be here for us to breath. He causes all of those things and He is not a dead God or a Professor Emeritus who has gotten old and feeble and can't do anything anymore. We read here in verse fifteen, the very second chapter of Genesis, "And the Eternal God took the man [that He had created] and put him in the Garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the Eternal God commanded the man saying..." You noticed that God commanded the man? God was giving orders. God is Supreme ruler, Everliving ruler.
Now, the name of God, as it is used mostly through the Old Testament, Yahweh, it is in the Hebrew language (no one knows exactly how to pronounce it). As a matter of fact, no one is absolutely sure of how to spell it. A lot of people think they are and other people think they're wrong and should be spelled a different way. The vowels were not used in the spelling and nobody is absolutely certain, but apparently it is Y-H-W-H or the consonants, and pronounced like Yahweh as far as we know. And that name begins to appear in, let me see, verse 4 of the second chapter of Genesis. Now, that name translated into English, it has meaning and it means the Eternal, the Ever-Living, the Self-Existent One and the very name implies present living and existence, the source of Life, the One who not only lives and has life but has life to give. That's what it implies.
Now, there are a number of names used for God. In Genesis 1:1, we find, "In the beginning God..." Yes, "in the beginning God..." God was before all else. But the name for God there is not Yahweh, but is Elohim, Elohim. And the "im" pronounced as "em" in the Hebrew language pluralizes the name and there it is the name of more than one person. God is not just one person; God is a Family of persons, a Kingdom. And when Jesus came preaching about the Kingdom of God, He was preaching about the Family of God. But that Family happens to be the Supreme ruling Family; God is not only Creator but by the very fact of being Creator is also Supreme Ruler, that's the thing, my friends, that you don't hear preached today. That's the thing that it seems to me very few churches if any seem to recognize or to realize today.
Man, was made in the image of God, so that man can be first begotten of God and later born of God, until he becomes God, until he is born into the very Family of God. We were put here on this earth for that very purpose and we must become like God to be born into that Family. We must come under the rule of God in order that we can do the ruling along with God and as God and as part of the Godhead as we may become in God's own due time and process.
Now, here you find in verse 26, that Elohim, which means a Family, a Kingdom, it's one God but in many persons. There is one Church but many members. It's only one Church, there is only one True Church, but it isn't one person, it isn't one man or one woman, it is a number of people. God said, "Let us," not, "Let me", but "let us make man in our image, after our likeness." Now, when Jesus was on Earth, He said He was the express image of His Father's person. He was just like His Father. "If you have seen me," He said, "you have seen the Father." And He said that when He comes again we will be like Him for we shall see Him as He is and we too are made in the same form, the same shape, and can become in the same image spiritually, though we're only in the image of God physically. All that God created as we find described in the first chapter of Genesis was a physical creation and man was made physically in the image of God. You cannot find one spiritual thing that God created in the first chapter of Genesis, not one. It's all physical. And what He created was the clay image so to speak. God is the Master potter. We are to be changed. We are to be reformed, reshaped by the very mighty powerful hand of the Living God, the Ruling God — the God who lives and who rules above all.
Now, God has a purpose in putting us here. There is a purpose being worked out below. And that purpose is that we shall be made into the very persons of the Godhead. Now, my friends, that means that we must be made into supreme perfect characters and character is something that God can't just make. God can't just make it instantaneously. Character is an independent entity separate from God, a separate person, a separate personality having separate mind and will and volition and ability to make decisions, ability to think. That's what God does. God is Creator. God designed everything.
Sometime back on the program I went into some extent the feathers and the wing of a bird and what a marvelous mechanism it is. Now, that was all thought out. It was designed. We find that in one feather on a bird, just a little small bird and one feather, there are more than a million parts, think of it, more than a million parts on just one feather of a little bird. And it's a marvelous mechanism. And it's put together very scientifically. Now, that was all thought out.
We found, however, they talk about a bird brain. A bird has practically no brain. As a matter of fact there's practically no room for a brain. The bird, in order to fly, must have good eyes. And its eyes take up so much space in its head there's practically no space left for a brain — think of it. But, the bird doesn't need a brain. It needs eyes to see with. Now, that shows there was design, there was thinking, there was planning to design a bird. It was designed for flight. Do you know that the bone structure of a bird is almost hollow? And it curves around in such a way that while it is very thin, yet it is very strong. It's well braced and it is fortified and it's put together in such a way as to give great strength.
Now, a great portion, I forget now, it's been some time since I read that article, but it seems to me it's either a third of the entire weight or two thirds of the weight of the whole bird, it's an amazing proportion of the weight now, is taken up by the muscles that propel the wings. Oh, the bird must have strong wings in order to fly.
Now, a bird doesn't need to really know much of anything. A bird has no capability of receiving knowledge and growing in knowledge and on the basis of a great vast fund of knowledge in its mind, reasoning and thinking and making decisions and deciding what it'll do. A bird can't think out a plan. It can't invent things and then carry them out and execute them. It can't plan and design something and then build it.
Now, a bird builds a nest, but you know the Eternal Creator who created that bird planned that nest. He is the one who did the thinking and designing of the nest and what did He do? He placed within that bird an instinct. And God had done the thinking and God placed an automatic instinct that causes that bird automatically to do what God thought out and what God had planned in picking up the...oh, the little stray pieces of this, that and the other thing that a bird puts into a nest. Now, some birds will build one kind of a nest and other kinds of birds will build another kind of a nest, but each kind of bird builds its own kind of nest generation after generation, year after year and century after century and millennium after millennium.
And, I told you of the test that scientists had made. They had taken a group of a certain kind of bird and for four successive generations, they kept those birds away from any place where they could have nest building material or where they could see a nest or see other birds building one. Now, that means that those four generations of birds had never seen a nest. They didn't know anything about a nest, they had never seen one. They weren't allowed to be in a nest themselves at all. And there was no possibility of having a nest. They didn't see any other birds make a nest. And then that fifth generation was given access to nest building material and that's all; still kept away from other birds, still not able to see how it was done. And you know they didn't have to think. There was no reason for them to think out the same kind of thing that, maybe, the first bird had thought out or others. They automatically, by instinct, took that nest building material and built nests that were absolutely identical to the nests that their forebears here about four or five generations before had built. The same kind of nests that the same kind of bird had built a hundred years before and five hundred years before and a thousand hundred years before and four or five thousand years before or now, nearly six thousand years before.
Now, isn't that a marvelous thing, the thinking was done by God. And He put instinct in a bird, but there is no character in a bird. They can't make decisions, they can't will to do right or do wrong and make an independent decision.
Now, God created great planets and put them up in the sky. And isn't it marvelous on a real clear night, especially you people who live in other parts of the country and don't have a lot of a smog to look through like we do down here in Pasadena and in Los Angeles. But once in a while, you know, we get some really clear nights here and they're beautiful. And, when you look up on a real bright clear crystal clear night and see all of those marvelous stars up in the sky...
And, do you know that some of those little tiny twinkling stars about as big as a dot that twinkle and shine and sparkle, do you know that some of those stars are many many times, perhaps a thousand times bigger than our Sun and that our Sun is so much bigger than this Earth it would take your breath. I don't...there's no need of my becoming scientific and giving you the figures, because our minds don't quite grasp it. Some of those stars are so big, so large you can't imagine. But listen, they can't think, they can't plan, they can't make a design, they can't build, they can't decide, "I don't like the course I am traveling, I'm going to change my course and do it." God is the Creator and the Creator is one who can think, who can plan, who can design and then can carry out that design and execute it. And the Creator is the supreme Character, who knows and who has mind and can reason and think and plan with that mind and then can do and can do the right thing. vNow, God has all power. God has given to man some power. If God had given to us anywhere near the power He has, what would we have done with it? Well, my friends, I can answer that by letting you look at what we have done with what power God gave us.
Now, I've mentioned this before; but, man learned to make a wheel, and finally from a wheel he made carts and wagons and buggies and one thing and another and then he learned to put motors to them. That's just in our generation, the first buggies that had motors in them. We called them horseless carriages.
And I remember back in Des Moines, Iowa, when I was about, let me see, eleven years old, I can remember it yet, it was a favorite joke of my father, he would call us, you know it was quite a sight to see one of those horseless carriages going by, and we would all race to the window and Dad would say, "Hurry! Come quick! Here's a horseless carriage going by in front of our house." And we would come running you know, we come to the window...and there was...a mule...pulling an old wagon and Dad would laugh and haw-haw, it was a good joke, it was a horseless carriage. And, you know, that was the name we used for those things, I..., we didn't quite call them automobiles, yet, in those days. Oh, my Dad used to have a great laugh over that.
Well, pretty soon man was turning these vehicles into tanks and into armored cars and putting cannons and guns in them to go out and to destroy.
Man learned at first to raft and then how to make some kind of boats and then he learned how to put a sail on them and make sailboats and then the steam engine was invented and the steamboat and now we have other kinds of power to propel our ships at sea. And we build great ships, but what do we do? They're aircraft carriers for airplanes that are armored to go out and to shoot or to protect from the other fellow's guns, one or the other. Very often our guns, I guess, are pursuit planes or one thing or another to keep off the other fellows from harming us; but anyway, it's all warfare.
And then we build our great battleships. Now, I've been on the Battleship Missouri in exactly one year from the day that the Japanese signed the surrender before General MacArthur, and one year to the day after the Japanese had signed the surrender on the Battleship Missouri, I was on the exact spot, on the same identical Battleship Missouri, it was in Boston Harbor at the time in Boston Massachusetts. And on that very spot was, I believe, it's a copper plate or bronze, I don't know whether it would be bronze or copper, a large circular plate right on that spot on the deck, marking the exact spot where the surrender was made.
Of course, we have to make things for destruction as a matter of preparedness and as a matter of protection in the United States. We have more atomic bombs than all the other nations in the world put together. It's in a sense horrifying when you think of the power and the hydrogen bomb power that the Untied States has in its stockpile at the present time. And the bombs that we have now, so many times more powerful that those that ended the war in Japan by destroying Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Now, the United States has never used any of those bombs and it never will unless it's forced to. But, my friends, other nations are not quite so good. They're not quite so nice. And if other nations had that power we would have been bombed long ago, I can tell you that...that is, I don't mean every other nation, but if some other nations had it, we would have. I think we would be perfectly safe if Britain had had them but there are nations that would not have hesitated to use them. But we have to keep that sort of thing to protect ourselves and as a retaliatory measure to act as a deterrent against other nations. Well, that's what we have done.
Now, think what we would have done if we had had more power. Now, we're gaining power to split the atom and to bring about this system of hydrogen bombs. And...let's see, I am not enough of a scientist to get it right, fusion I think it is and the atom bomb is system of fission. But, we have already done that and it's being used only for destruction. Think what we would have done if we had had more power. So God limited the power that He gave to man.
But we do have a certain amount of power and the purpose of our having that power, the purpose of God having made us in His image, the purpose of God giving us mind to think with and ability to plan and ability to make decisions and God made us each one an individual entity. And each one has his own personality, he makes his own character, he makes his own decisions. You have a baby, that little baby's going to grow up to have a mind of its own. He's going to have a mind of his own and it's going to conflict with yours on occasion and he isn't going to always agree with you. And you can't just simply put your mind on him and make him do your will. His body isn't going to work according to the directing and the thinking and the volitions of your mind but according to his own. Yes, indeed. Did you ever think about that? Each one of us is a separate entity.
Now, God gave us minds that are not just the mind of God. He gave us carnal minds, human minds. God's mind is a Divine mind — there's a great difference there. But, our minds are like God's in this respect in that we can think, we can accumulate knowledge, we can reason with and from that knowledge, we can make decisions, we can plan, we can design, we can execute designs up to a certain point. But God limited our possibilities and the scope of our activities, they're not as wide as God's and He was very wise in doing it because we would have used for such terrible destruction.
But now why did God make us as He did? He didn't make the moon like that, He didn't make Mars or Venus or Jupiter or Saturn like that, they have no character. A plant has no character. It can't decide whether it wants to bloom out into a beautiful rose or carnation or a flower of some kind or whether it doesn't. It just happens. That's according to the thinking, the planning, the designing of God and God causes it. But God gave each one of us a separate mind. We make our own decisions. Because, my friends, in no other way could we ever come to the place of developing by experience the character that becomes the character of God! And that's why we were put here. And in order to make such a character, in order to accomplish such a purpose, God had to make it possible that we would have free will of our own which means that we can decide whether we want to rule ourselves or let God rule us or what we want to do. And for that very purpose, God has purposely made it possible for man to obey God and have the blessings of that obedience and to come to have the good sense to realize that God's mind is greater than ours. That God is love and that God is patience and faith and compassion and mercy and goodness and everything that's good. And that God is not a God that wants to see us suffer but a God that wants to see us prosper and who wants to see us in health and who wants to see us happy and full of joy and even to be merry on occasion and to enjoy life in a right way and not in a wrong way. Oh, yes, if we could only realize that. We have had a wrong picture even of God. And God is the only one who knows that way to peace, and to happiness, a full abundant life that is just so pleasant to live, so enjoyable that it's almost thrillingly enjoyable every minute.
Now then, if we would have the good sense to realize that God knows the way and that in His Word which He has revealed and caused to be written down in paper and preserved and copied down generation after generation in the form of the Holy Bible which we can read and that there we can find the way to all this peace and happiness. Well, if we could just realize that and seek God and His way and do that way and make up our minds each one of us makes his own decision and use our minds to decide that that way is right and that God is not wrong but right and to go that way. Then we can begin on the course of developing through human experience that kind of character that ultimately can make us like God.
Now, just think, my friends. A bird can't ever become like God. A bird can't think and plan. It can't make decisions. There can't ever be character. Neither can a dog, a horse, a cow, an elephant, a snake or any animal that walks or crawls or flies or whatever it may be, nor any fish that swims in the water. They weren't made in the image of God. They can't receive the Spirit of God and the Mind of God, but you can. You can receive the very Spirit of God which is the nature of God which is the Divine Nature.
Now, God purposely made us with a material nature which we call a carnal nature and it's said in the Bible that the carnal nature is enmity, it's antagonistic against God. Somehow it's just natural that we fight off God that we just want to, something makes us, something inside we don't understand, makes us think God must be wrong and we want to go the other way. And that's what we've been doing and batting our heads like a lot of silly fools up against stone or iron walls or something. We've almost batted our brains out haven't we? And we've given ourselves headaches and we've given ourselves heartaches and others also and all kinds of pain and suffering and poverty and fears and worries and sicknesses and diseases and everything of the kind we've been doing it ever since Adam because Adam rejected God. "God commanded the man saying..." But God had made man a free moral agent who could do what he decided to do and he decided the wrong way. And that's exactly what you've done as one of Adam's children. You have decided the wrong way. You have been living the wrong way and it's made you unhappy. It's made others unhappy and when you will turn to God, when you'll repent of your way, when you'll look into that looking glass and see how wrong you are, not how wrong everybody else is and repent of that way and turn to God through Jesus Christ, He'll put His Spirit within you and the very mind of God, the attitude of God, the approach of God to all reasoning and all questions will come and when you say, "Not my will, but Thine be done." Then, my friends, and not until then can you begin to come to the way of happiness and the way of peace and the way of making yourself useful and helpful to others and the way that will really do some good. Oh, God help us to see. Why, is it we just want our own way and then wonder why we suffer?
We're right now on the very eve of tremendous world shaking events. The most important thing in your life, right now, is to know what's prophesied to happen in the next twenty years and God's way of complete protection from terrifying events that are prophesied to happen in the near future. Now, most prophecy has been closed and sealed until now. But today, prophecy stands revealed. God's time has come for it to be revealed. Now, where is our nation, where is your nation mentioned in Bible prophecy? Listen, my friends, write in for our free booklet — "The United States and the British Commonwealth in Prophecy" and the nations of northwestern Europe are included in that. Now, there's no charge.