And greetings friends, this is Herbert W. Armstrong with the Good News of the World Tomorrow.
My friends, why does God permit wars? Why does God permit suffering on this earth? Why does He permit poverty? Why does He permit unhappiness and all of these terrible conditions that we see on the earth?
Now, a good many people ask that question and they reason that if God is all-Powerful He could stop it. And if He is a loving God and a compassionate and a merciful God and really loves us He wouldn't want us to suffer and He has the power to stop it. The answer is then why does God not stop it, why does He permit all of the unhappiness, why does He permit the sickness, why does He permit the suffering, the poverty, the fear and the worry and the empty lives and the terrible unhappy conditions that we see all over this earth?
I was about to say this terrible earth and really if you know the entire earth it is, because we here in the United States are blessed above every other people on the face of the earth. In other nations if you would go around the world you would see a poverty and you would see suffering and sickness and disease such as you don't even dream of here in the United States.
Now, I'm going to give you the answer very quickly.
It is because God permits men to think and to act for themselves. It's because God permits us to be free moral agents. It is because God does not force His religion on us. He does not cram His religion down our throats.
Now, the only way God that could prevent wars the only way that He could prevent suffering, poverty, unhappiness, sickness and disease and all these things would be to cram His religion down our throats so to speak. The only way He could prevent it would be to force man against man's will to do those things that would lead to peace and to prosperity and to happiness and to joy and to health and everything we want.
Now, it happens that "the carnal mind [of human nature] is enmity against God." It is hostile to God. It's antagonistic to God and everything that God has told us to do. God gave man the way to peace. God laid down a law for man to follow which if he would follow would lead him into prosperity and into everything that man wants. We would be happy and we would all be prosperous and we would all have plenty and we would all have nothing but love and everything of the kind.
The reason is because God is permitting man to do as man seems to think is right and "there is a way that seems right to a man [it seems so right], but the end thereof are the ways of death." Now, that happens to be true. That's just a plain fact. Not very many people believe it I know, but it's a fact. It's a fact you can't get around. And the only way that God could prevent all of these terrible conditions would be to prevent man from doing the things that bring these terrible conditions upon us. And man wants to do it and if God prevented man from doing it He would have to prevent man from thinking for himself or acting with free volition as man decides. And to do that He would have to make man like an automaton or like some absolutely brainless mindless creature of some kind that had to do just as God had set it to do and would be totally unable to think or to reason or to plan or to act according to self direction and free volition, free moral agency.
Now, God put us here for a purpose. And if God did that it would defeat the whole purpose of God. But here we are men on earth that have not liked to retain God in our knowledge, men that don't like the Law of God.
And we have set up a society on this earth including not only business and commerce, not only politics and government by man over man — human government, not only our social systems and customs and ways but also our religions. And religions are man-made, man-tailored. Our doctrines are man-fashioned and so we have doctrines that are concocted by man.
And as Jesus Christ Himself said that we...many of us, in fact, I would say it's most people today that do worship Christ, worship Him in vain — to no good purpose at all — it's totally in vain. He said, "In vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines..." What are the doctrines now in the churches? "...for doctrines the commandments of men."
Yes, we have man-formed religious organizations that we call churches. They have done away with the Law of God and the preachers will tell you that the Law of God is done away. And they do away with the doctrine of God that is based on His Law and they substitute therefore their doctrines that are the commandments of men. And so as Jesus said in Mark seven verse thirteen, "Making the word of God [that's the whole Bible] of none effect through your tradition." And that's exactly what we have.
Oh, but we're so blinded we can't see it. We don't want to see it. We want to go our way and we want God somehow to turn it around so that the wrong way brings the right result. Well, God just isn't doing that. Now, that's the one thing God can't quite see our way. He just doesn't see it our way somehow. He isn't doing that.
And until we are going to live and think and act and make our decisions according to the right and the true way which is the way of God, and until mankind is going to see that God's mind is greater than the mind of man and that God's mind is righteous and that it is a mind of compassion and of love toward humanity and in love God gave us the way that would lead us to those things.
But in love God left us free to decide whether we will have all of these things — this prosperity, this peace, this good health, all of the happiness and the joy and the full abundant lives that we could live. He lets us decide whether that's the way we want to live and kind of the results we want or whether we want to go the other way.
And we have such warped, whacky, twisted insane reasoning — we men that God has endowed with part of His own kind of mind. And I'm glad it's only a part because look what we've done with what He's given us.
All the powers that man gets his hands on he turns into destruction. Now, we have the atomic bomb, the hydrogen bomb and others even coming up now more powerful and more destructive even than that. And what are we doing with them? Using them to destroy our fellow man. I tell you why we don't have peace. It is because we're in a world that has built up a system, has built up an order of society that is based on greed and it's based on selfishness and on vanity to exalt the self and to debase everybody else, to try to climb up above other people and not care about others. And that, my friends, is not the way to peace. That is not the way to prosperity. That is not the way to happiness or anything of the kind.
God even gave us some laws of health. God gave us a lot of things. He gave us minds with which we could know the way to keep ourselves healthy. God planned and thought out a human body the most marvelous mechanism that exists on this earth.
Now, I know you look at some of the things that men have invented.
Did you ever see a great printing press either one of the large newspaper presses in the one of the large cities or one of the really large magazine presses such as magazines like the "Saturday Evening Post" or "Time" or "Life" or "Newsweek" or magazines like that are printed on? And those presses are marvelous mechanisms. And as you go through and look at them, it is really a journey that is worthwhile. It's an educational experience to go through that great printing plant.
Now, did you ever go into a submarine? Have you ever had an opportunity to go into a fairly modern submarine and go through and see all of the machinery and the mechanism in a submarine? I tell you that's one of marvelous things you could ever see if you ever have a chance. And sometimes the Navy does open up an opportunity for visitors to go through and they're escorted through submarines, when they will take the public through on occasion. Well, if you ever have an opportunity, you go through a submarine. And as they take you through and you see all the mechanism, you will wonder how any man could operate it. It's so complex. It's so intricate.
And then if you ever got into one of the largest planes that they're making today, up where the captain and the men that operate the ship are doing their work and see the mechanism you would wonder how in the world they could ever manipulate that mechanism.
Now, here's another thing, if you would go out to I think they call it Television City — CBS Television Plant — a marvelous thing in Hollywood. And there they have new machines that they have had to invent and construct themselves because no manufacturer would have a market for them and of the lighting systems and of the ways of illuminating various parts of various rooms on the various stages and everything for one TV show. Why, it's so complex you would wonder how could a mind have worked all of that out.
Well, one mind didn't do it. It is the work of many minds. One man starts with quite a crude simple thing that later on we'd laugh at it, but he's the real inventor and other men add a little gadget here and they refine it there and something of a sort and gradually it becomes more and more complex until finally we have an intricate machine — it's a marvel.
Do you know that the most marvelous machine, the most marvelous mechanism that exists on the face of this earth that has ever been designed and planned and put together is the human body with the human mind included? That is the most marvelous mechanism and we are fearfully and wonderfully made and God made our bodies so that they would never be sick if we would observe the laws, the physical laws of health — the laws that regulate and manipulate those bodies.
Now, you have an automobile. You buy that and you manipulate that yourself. Well, there are certain laws now that regulate it. You have to have a certain kind of gasoline. If you get an inferior gasoline you're probably going to have trouble. If you put the wrong kind of oil in the crankcase or I guess it isn't a crankcase deal any longer. I'm a little behind on that I guess. But any way, you put the wrong kind of oil in to lubricate that car and you're going to have trouble. And if you would mix some very adulterated oil with sand and grit in it, your car wouldn't go very far. And if you fail to put water in it or you put something that would boil in the wrong thing instead of something that will keep your engine cooled, it would burn itself out and you'd have trouble.
Now, that's exactly what you and all of our people almost are doing with your human bodies. You don't take the care of your human body that you do of your automobile. You poke any old kind of fuel in your fuel tank that is down in your stomach — that's the gas tank or the fuel tank of the human body. And you poke anything in there.
Now, you have a carburetor whether you know it or not and that's your lungs. And many of you breathe in poisonous tobacco smoke. You don't see any harm in it but we're just beginning to see a lot of harm in it and they're beginning to find that it is causing cancer.
And, so, the manufacturers of cigarettes are doing everything they can to convince you that their brand is not quite as poisonous or as harmful or as irritating as the other brand. And any doctor that they can get for a price to say that their brand is not so harmful they'll pay him for it and all that sort of thing but in spite of all of that it is coming out. Yes, and one of the biggest industries in the United States.
Well, thank God, it isn't going to be too long until the very thing will happen that is prophesied and it'll happen to not only to cigarette manufacturing plants but a lot of others that we read of over here in the eighteenth chapter of Revelation. I wonder if you ever noticed it. That's a time just ahead of us a few years and I think I can say that most of you listening to me will still be alive to see this thing happen when the plagues of this system on this earth. It is know as Babylon. Sure, it's ruled over by a certain great type of religion that fastens itself on people but it includes the whole of civilization. It includes not only the religious organization but it includes the political organization and it includes commerce and industry and business and here it is, it's all going up.
"Therefore," verse eight of Revelation eighteen, "shall her plagues [this whole system, this whole civilization] come in one day, death and mourning and famine and she shall be utterly burned with fire for strong is the Lord God that judgeth her." You wonder why God does not prevent wars and these things. God Almighty is going to step in and supernaturally intervene.
For six thousand years, God has permitted mankind to do as he pleased. And what has man done? He's brought misery and squalor and poverty and sickness and fears and worries and everything wrong upon himself and his fellow man. God has allowed six thousand years for that. For six thousand years God Almighty has not crammed His religion down our throats. For six thousand years He's let man do as man pleased and man has thought the wrong way was right and that the right way was wrong and man has done these wrong things.
And God is going to step in. And I'm reading you now the picture of when He steps in. And I would dare say, my friends, that this will be within the next quarter of a century and I am not setting the exact date. But I want to tell you it's a lot nearer than you think.
"The kings of the earth..." Now here's what's going to happen. Listen. "And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her..."
Now, that is the governments of the earth that have gotten along with this religious system and these religions or this religion, if you want to call it that, that has consorted with the governments of the world. You know Jesus Christ said, "My kingdom is not of this world." But here are the churches that make this world their world and the world of their god. And the god of this world is not the true Creator ruling God, but is Satan the Devil. And they have gotten in with this world's politics. Jesus Christ had nothing to do with it. But here are those that have done it. And here are the kings, that is, the human rulers over civil government that have committed fornication and lived deliciously with this religious system.
"...shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they see the smoke of her burning..."
That's what's going to happen to this kind of religion, my friends, that has deceived people, made people think they're already saved when they don't even know the way of salvation. God have mercy on us. It's time for someone to shout out and cry out the Truth in these days.
"Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying..." This is verse ten now, Revelation eighteen.
"Alas, alas, the great city Babylon..." Babylon means confusion and we're all confused and we've brought sickness and death and poverty and fear and anguish and suffering on our people.
"...that great city Babylon that mighty city. for in one hour is thy judgment come."
Now, here we come to the commercial part that is allied with this whole civilization.
"And the merchants," verse eleven, "the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more..."
I tell you, my friends, that's already beginning to set in in some cases.
"...no man buyeth their merchandise any more..." Let me tell you something. You know a lot of us, that think we know more than God, are going to come to a very sad and sudden awakening pretty soon.
"...the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more..." This is the type of religious system that has supported a lot of wrong things on this earth that have been sold in the merchandising channels.
For instance, the Christmas season — the greatest merchandising season of the year and it's kept alive by two things. First, the churches and secondly by the advertising of the merchants of commercial trading season. It is not the birthday of Jesus Christ. It is not anything that the early Church did. It was not appointed even as a Christian holiday until about three hundred years after Christ. It is an old pagan festival and the Bible tells us not to make the way of God and the Word of God of no effect by these traditions and it is a tradition of men.
The Christmas tree is explained back in the tenth chapter of Jeremiah. Jeremiah ten — look it up for yourselves.
Or do you believe that the Bible carries any authority over you and yours. Or do you say, "Well, maybe that's what God says in His Word but here's the way I look at it." Why does God permit wars? Why does God permit sickness and suffering? Why are you not more happy? Because God permits you to say, "Well, here's the way I look at it," instead of doing what God says.
And in that tenth chapter of Jeremiah speaking of the Christmas tree, God says learn not the way of the heathen and paints it as a heathen way. December twenty-fifth is not even anywhere near the time of year in which Jesus was born.
And what was born there was the birth of a life that was to be given for you and for me in death. And what was born was a human being, a Divine who had been changed into humanity in order to bring us a message which we have refused to take and to listen to. Why celebrate the birth of the human Jesus when we won't accept the message that He was human to bring us?
There are three things in connection with Jesus.
One, His birth and His human life and the purpose of His human life was to bring us a message that we're rejecting. I'm coming to that in just a minute.
The other was His death, to pay the penalty of your sins and mine. We try to accept that but without heeding the Commandments He came to preach us we ought to keep.
The third is His Resurrection and of course continuing from that His present office as our High Priest at the right hand of God in Heaven for us.
Now, the next is His Second Coming and that's coming in the very very near future. But when He comes, these things will happen.
Now, let's continue on here.
Yes, the merchants of the earth are going weep and mourn over this religious system when it's destroyed and it will be and the Truth of God will emerge, my friends, "for no man buyeth their merchandise any more..."
"The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner of vessels of ivory, and all manner of vessels of precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble, and cinnamon, and odours..."
Odours. Let me tell you. The only reason that any of you ever smoke a cigarette is for the odor of it and not the taste of it. You don't taste it unless it's just the tobacco, but you cannot taste smoke. I have seen tests that absolutely prove it.
You can blindfold a man and you can let him puff on a cigarette or a cigar, one lit and one unlit and you close up his nostrils till he can't smell and blindfold him till he can't see and he cannot tell whether he's puffing on the one that is lit and has smoke or the one that is not lit and has no smoke. I've seen that proved. They talk about it taste better and all that. Why taste? It has nothing to do with the sense of taste it only has to do with the sense of smell. When will we wake up and get some common sense, my friends?
Yes, and these odors and all that sort of thing and there it goes.
"The fruits that thy soul lusted after are departed from thee, and all things which were dainty and goodly are departed from thee, and thou shalt find them no more at all."
"The merchants of these things, which were made rich by her [multi-millionaires that can own their yachts because you people burn up their cigarettes], shall stand afar off for fear of her torment, weeping and wailing, and saying, Alas, alas, that great city, that is clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls! In one hour is so great riches come to nought. And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by the sea, stood afar off [there's your commerce, trading all around the earth], and cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city!"
We're coming to the end of these things. Why did God permit all the unhappiness, the suffering, the wars? Because He has allowed us six thousand years. He's given us a lot of rope and we're surely hanging ourselves. Oh, I say, "When will some of us wake up?"
Listen, my friends.
Civilization and society as a whole is not going to wake up. Not until God sends Jesus Christ to intervene just before man destroys human life from off this earth with hydrogen bombs and other mechanisms and technologies that man has invented. God will have to step in and He will and He set a time limit of six thousand years. We've lost the chronology exactly, that is we're very close to it but we can't know the exact...I don't believe that we can even know the exact year but we can tell very close. And there is a time now just for us to wake up and heed and the only reason that God Almighty is holding back these things from sweeping over this earth and the terrible things that are coming to wake us up is that this message may go out — this Gospel of the Kingdom.
In such a world, God Almighty sent His own Son to bring a message. And the only reason that the birth of Christ is of significance at all in God's Plan is that there was born the One that brought the message of God. And He was born to be able to die for us. But His human life before He died was devoted to one purpose that has great significance and that was preaching the Gospel, which men today deny. You hear about Christ. You hear about what a great a person He was, you hear about Him as a Savior and as a dead Christ, but you don't hear the message He brought.
Now, here, we read back here in Malachi that God said He would send a messenger and he came bearing a message from God.
"Behold, I will send my messenger..." There were two messengers. This is John the Baptist who prepared the way before Christ. "I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me..." Who is it speaking? Me, the One who came, the One whom John the Baptist prepared the way before and that was Jesus Christ. He's the Logos, the Word, the One who spoke and the One who inspired these very words.
"...and the Lord, whom ye seek [the Lord Jesus Christ that happened to be], shall suddenly come to his temple, even..." Who was He? "...even the messenger of the covenant..." The New Covenant Messenger, the One who brought the Message, the Gospel of the New Covenant.
Why have men rejected that Gospel?
That Gospel is the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and men don't even know what the Kingdom of God is. It is a Family, a great kingdom from one Family grown great into a great nation that shall become the greatest on the face of this earth. One that we can be born into but flesh and blood can't see it and flesh and blood can't enter into it. Flesh and blood cannot inherit that Kingdom. You have to first be begotten of God as one of His children.
And the only way you can begotten of God is that you repent of your way of this way that has brought on wars and unhappiness and strife and confusion and bad health and sickness and disease and poverty and fears and worries and all of those things, that you repent of the way that's brought those things on and that you turn to God through Jesus Christ to let God rule your life and surrender your heart your whole soul and your life to God to let Him rule you. And He rules through His Law and it's revealed in the Bible and that means the authority of the Bible over you. And if the Bible tells you to learn not the way of the heathen and shows you it's a Christmas tree and tells you to turn away from it — that is authority and you'll obey it. But the people say, "Oh, I still don't think God is right." Well, you're going to have...I tell you, my friends, there is a day of reckoning coming and it's about time we wake up.
Jesus Christ came bearing a message and it was the Gospel of the Kingdom. I wanted to go on through these parables and show you what He preached. We'll come to that in the next broadcast in this series.
Oh, my friends, I hope you'll get your eyes opened on this. Why don't you write in for our booklet — "What Kind of Faith Is Required for Salvation?" I want to tell you, my friends, millions, millions of professing Christians are deceived and they have no salvation at all. They're trusting in something that is pure fabrication and fake, in plain language. Why don't you put yourself to the test and be sure? Write in for that booklet on "What Kind of Faith for Salvation?" It's free. There's no charge.