GREETINGS from Pasadena once again. Mrs. Armstrong and I returned by jet polar flight a week ago Sunday from London.
This letter should have been written in time to enclose with my semi-annual letter dated November 10. But now circumstances impel me to rush it to you without further delay.
For almost a week we, here at Headquarters on the Ambassador College campus, as well as the whole nation — and in somewhat lesser degree almost the whole world — have been almost in a state of shock. On Thursday afternoon I had addressed our entire student body in the weekly Assembly, arousing them to a more real sense of URGENCY. I had mentioned that the apparent easing of the Cold War with Russia — the sort of lull in world happenings of VIOLENCE — was only temporary — that violence and world tensions could break out again any moment. We have a tremendous job to do, and not many more years to do it in.
Then late the next morning came startling emphasis to those remarks — the stunning, almost unbelievable news that President Kennedy had been assassinated!
We are making the forthcoming January number of The PLAIN TRUTH a special Kennedy Memorial number. I will save further comment about this tragic incident of violence for my editorial in this edition — and I must write it immediately, yet today.
So I will try to come immediately to the point and make this letter as brief as possible. Tragic, shocking, horrifying though the killing of the President of the United States was, the WORK OF GOD must press right on without slacking, just as the activities of the nation and the world will continue right along. And I am informed by our Business Office that receipt of tithes and offerings for the Work have dropped off to a trickle — even less than half of normal — since this event. Indeed, it seems as if most of our Co-Workers have been stunned and paralyzed into inactivity.
Co-Workers, shocking though such terrible happenings are, THEY ONLY PUT VIOLENT EMPHASIS ON THE STERN TRUTH THAT THIS WORK OF GOD MUST BE PRESSED ON, MORE URGENTLY THAN EVER!
We need, as never before, to pray: "THY Kingdom come — THY will be done on earth, as it is in heaven." Our mission is to SHOUT to the world in awakening POWER the advance news of the imminency of the coming of CHRIST as WORLD RULER — as KING of kings — to rule over all nations, and to bring this unhappy and violent world PEACE!!
Think of it! When the living, glorified all-powerful CHRIST appears, and sets up the GOVERNMENT OF GOD over all nations, acts of violence are going to stop! Under Christ, ruling over our American and British Commonwealth nations, and those of northwestern Europe, will be King David — resurrected, immortal! Ruling over each nation descended from the twelve tribes of old, will be the original twelve apostles of the first century A.D. — resurrected, in bodies composed of SPIRIT, not matter.
Then ALL NATIONS will have rulers who shall have been changed to immortality — from material flesh and blood to SPIRIT — from mortal to immortal — from human to divine!
NO DEMENTED, FANATICAL, VICIOUS ASSASSINS WILL THEN BE ABLE TO KILL OUR RULERS! They will all be immortal, no longer subject to death! THAT IS A PART OF THE GOOD NEWS God is spreading to the whole world through you and me, under the guidance and leadership of the living Jesus Christ!
We need, now as never before, to dedicate ourselves to the task to which the Eternal God has called us! We need to sacrifice for it as never before — to PRAY FOR IT as never before — to press on with an inspired sense of URGENCY as never before!
In my general letter of November 10, I mentioned a heart condition, and irregular pulse beat, which caused me to be concerned — and VERY CAREFUL. I do sincerely appreciate, and am inspired by, the concern so many of you have expressed — and from the bottom of my heart thank you for your prayers. This condition is somewhat improved — not now so noticeable, especially the past two or three days. My blood pressure on returning to Pasadena was too high, but has since been reduced below the danger point — though I feel the need of reducing it still further. I will take every precaution to be careful in every way — and if you continue your prayers, I'm sure I will soon be as good and energetic as ever. There has been nothing like a real heart attack, or stroke, or anything like that — just a sort of heart-flutter I could feel, and irregular pulse. I took it as a WARNING to be careful. There's no cause for worry or alarm — but I DO need your prayers.
There are those who would like to do to me what this warped-minded assassin did to President Kennedy. Satan himself would do away with me, and my son Garner Ted Armstrong — if God would allow. We have no Secret Service bodyguard — but something better! It is through God's protection that we are enabled to remain alive. I do think you ought to realize that.
And now, finally, here we are again in the Christmas shopping season. Right on the heels of this stunned apathy resulting from the tragedy of presidential assassination, and the sudden dropping off of the receipt of funds, comes the biggest splurge of gift-spending in history. This is the season when people FORGET all about any gift for CHRIST, to keep HIS WORK GOING — and indulge in frenzied shopping for presents to trade back and forth.
Once again, REMEMBER — the "wise men" gave their gifts to CHRIST — they did not exchange them among themselves. And Christ was not born December 25, or even in that time of year. And further, those gifts were not presented to Christ on his birthday — but a good deal later.
The Christmas tree is described in Jeremiah 10, and God's Word FORBIDS US TO PARTICIPATE in such things! Christmas is a PAGAN custom. Write for our special FREE booklet on the truth about Christmas! God's Word commands us NOT to take these pagan CUSTOMS and use them in the worship of CHRIST. He will not accept such false worship.
IF it were right to give GIFTS at this season, don't you think all the gifts should be given to CHRIST, for HIS WORK — not to other people, friends, family, relatives, who are also giving to us?
This is our most difficult month.
Co-Workers, it is going to take EXTRA EFFORT on the part of every one of us, if we are to prevent going behind this month. Let's show our GRATITUDE to Christ our Saviour — and our FAITH in Him — by EXTRA LARGE offerings for His work, as far as circumstances allow, through this crucial month of December!
We are planning a big expansion in GOD'S WORK for this next year. Additional MILLIONS are going to hear the TRUE GOSPEL — the SAME Gospel Jesus preached — the GOOD NEWS of His soon coming, and of HIS KINGDOM — the WORLD TOMORROW! You will be thrilled, I know, when I announce, as early in the new year as possible, the big leaps forward now being planned! NOTHING MUST PREVENT THIS EXPANSION! Even TELEVISION is being planned!
REMEMBER! No "widow's mites" are too small to HELP, where one is not able to send more. Yet, for those who are able, the NEED for generous BIG sums has never been so great. And the loans of large sums from those who are unable to give outright such amounts, yet can let this money be WORKING in Christ's Work UNTIL you have to have it back, are as seriously needed as ever. WHATEVER your own circumstances, GIVE to Christ as generously as those circumstances allow.
The mails are again congested. AIR MAIL speeds it to us. I am praying for YOU — and I'm grateful for your prayers for GOD'S WORK, and for me! Let's put our WHOLE HEARTS and EFFORTS into God's Work! Make it FIRST above everything else. Read Matthew 6:33! THANK YOU!!