GREETINGS, this time from LONDON! Since I last wrote you, from Jerusalem, things have been happening fast! Both in world events, and in this closing work of God just before THE END OF THE WORLD!
Since my last letter, the whole future of our work has taken on a NEW PATTERN. God Almighty — the God who sustains and RULES the whole universe from His throne in High Heaven — the Eternal who is very soon going to step in and intervene in world affairs — shake up this world as it never was shaken — take all government authority AWAY from human politicians, statesmen, kings and dictators — this same God Almighty is now STEPPING UP this work to which He has called YOU and me as Co-Workers. He is pulling back the curtain of the future. He is now REVEALING to us the pattern His work must take from now on — how it must now INTENSIFY its activity not only in America, but here in Britain, in Australia, in South Africa and nations already being reached — how it must now EXPAND in power into other nations and parts of the world not now hearing His Gospel!
God is opening NEW DOORS! He is issuing to us a dynamic and heavenly CHALLENGE! Can we shake ourselves awake and keep up the pace the living Christ is now setting for us? Can we put on the pressure sufficiently to FOLLOW where He now leads?
I have important news for you.
At the moment we are in the midst of the evangelistic campaign with nightly meetings here in London. The interest here certainly warms our hearts. It's INSPIRING to see people who really HUNGER for God's truth, still in that flush of "first love," eagerly drinking in the sermons night after night.
Of course there have been one or two who have stumbled and taken offense at God's truth. One man said, at the close of the second meeting, that no one could ever convince him that Jesus Christ is divine, and has not been back since. Two women arose haughtily and walked out in disgust, saying "no man will ever be MY head," when I read the Scripture of how God made the man the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the Church. But those two instances are the only ones I know of reflecting any hostility or opposition.
Most of those attending are people who have been listening to "The WORLD TOMORROW" over Radio Luxembourg, and are reading The PLAIN TRUTH, and many are enrolled in the Bible Correspondence Course. And it is surely wonderful to see the happy glow on their faces, and to see them eagerly receiving light and truth from God's Word that is new to them. Religion has been a pretty stiff, and formal and cold thing here in England, and when human hearts do not freeze up and resist it, God's TRUTH really warms them up spiritually.
They don't seem to know any place here where the TRUTH is believed and preached — where Christ's GOSPEL — His very MESSAGE is preached, and where they can have fellowship with those who truly do worship God in SPIRIT and in TRUTH. Two women, the other night after service, said they sincerely hoped we could have a church of our own — a Church of GOD — here in London. At this writing, it does appear that such a Church will have to be established. We already have two ordained ministers resident in London, taking care of the mail, and magazine and literature requests not only from Britain, but from Australia, South Africa, Ceylon, India, Malaya, Formosa, and all Europe. There is no reason why they cannot pastor a real Church of GOD in London.
But before I tell you how God is opening NEW DOORS — giving us a new pattern for the future of the work, and of the splendid NEWS concerning the growth and future of the work, I think you'd like to hear just a little about our experiences on our tour, after leaving Jerusalem.
When I last wrote you, a month ago, we had just arrived in the Jewish side of Jerusalem — had just entered the NEW NATION called "Israel."
It was totally different from OLD Jerusalem, which is now part of Arab Jordan. All of the area of the Jerusalem of Bible days is in Arab hands, and not a Jew is allowed there. I had to issue, as Pastor of the Radio Church of God, written statements that we were not Jewish before we could got a visa to enter the Hashemite kingdom of Jordan. The Old city is not like any we had ever seen, except that the narrow-street congested residence and market-place portions were distinctly Arabic, and a great deal like certain older sections of other Arab cities such as Cairo, Baghdad, Amman and Damascus. They are so utterly UNlike any American city I could not describe them to you in words. There are no lawns — no private houses — just narrow streets, some wide enough for two cars to pass if careful, but without side-walks, or one narrow side-walk on one side only — some too narrow for an automobile to drive through, and brick or stone buildings lined solidly on each side, two or three stories high — all very old, dingy and dirty looking.
But the part of Jerusalem that is in "Israel" is all comparatively new, much nicer looking, much more modern. Instantly we were struck with the difference between the Arabs and the Jews. The Jews are far more progressive, industrious, and enterprising.
From Jerusalem we drove over to Tel Aviv, the largest city in the new nation "Israel," then on north, and through the land of ancient Manasseh, over into the Valley of Jezreel, and to Megiddo, where the great Battle of the Day of God Almighty (ARMAGEDDON) is to be fought, only a few years from now! I took motion pictures of it, which I will show later on TV, and our son Richard took still pictures, which, if good, we will publish in The PLAIN TRUTH.
Then we went up to Nazareth, where Jesus grew up as a boy, and into manhood. It is now mostly inhabited by Arabs. A very hilly city, on a rather steep hill. We visited an ancient Jewish synagogue, now down underground, since the earth has filled up over the ground-level of 2,000 years ago by some 15 feet or more. This synagogue was a very small one — just a small room that would seat no more than some 50 people. But they claim it is the very synagogue where Jesus "as His custom was, went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read." (Luke 4:16).
From Nazareth we drove thru the village of Cana, in Galilee, where Jesus performed His first miracle, at the wedding supper, turning water into wine. Then we proceeded on to the Sea (or lake) of Galilee, where so much of Jesus' ministry took place. This is where He walked on the water. This is where He called Peter and his brother Andrew, who were fishermen, as He was walking along the shore of the lake, and saw them casting their nets into the lake — where "Peter forsook ALL, and followed Christ." I took motion pictures of the fishermen's boats on this lakeshore, at the only spot we saw along the shore where boats could come to shore. Much of the lake shore — especially on the east side, is high bluff. As in Jesus' day, the fishers' nets were spread out near by to dry.
Then we drove on around the shore to the ruins of Capernaum, where Jesus "taught them on the Sabbath days. And they were ASTONISHED at His doctrine." (Luke 4:31-32). I took several pictures of the ruins of the synagogue, mentioned in verse 33. You can imagine it was something of a thrill to walk over these spots where Jesus walked, and preached, and called His disciples, and performed His miracles!
We drove back across the Valley of Jezreel to the city of Haifa to spend the night. There we encountered some U.S. sailors, from a large cruiser — "The Albany" — which had been rushed into this "Israel" port suddenly as a result of the Arab-Jewish fighting and possible threat of world war. We were unable to eat in the dining room of the hotel that evening. There was a Jewish wedding feast being held there — and having passed twice thru Cana of Galilee (see John 2:1-11) that same afternoon, it gave us some idea of what a Jewish wedding feast is like. It was quite an elaborate affair.
Next morning we drove up atop Mt. Carmel, which rises just above Haifa. Haifa is Israel's port, one of the chief ports on the Mediterranean. Elijah lived on Mt. Carmel, and it was there that the dramatic episode of I Kings 18:17-40 occurred, where Elijah called the fire down from heaven, exposed and slew all the priests of Baal.
On our return down the Mediterranean coast to Tel Aviv, we visited one of the Jewish Hadassah farm-schools for children — certainly a revelation. There they teach children self- reliance and initiative, agriculture, and ordinary school subjects. Then we visited one of the many communal farms the Jews have established in their new nation. Each of these farms is a separate community, where all things are shared in common. Nearly all the agricultural lands of the nation are farmed in this manner. It's a new kind of life, but it seems to be working, and the farms are very productive, farmed by the most advanced methods. The soil, where they now irrigate or get rain, in these valleys and coast- lands of Palestine is just about the richest soil we have ever seen — and don't forget Mrs. Armstrong and I were both born and reared in IOWA! When Palestine is finally restored under CHRIST, with His blessing, after His return, it will become the MOST WONDERFUL, the RICHEST, the MOST PLEASANT to live in, that we have seen in all the world. The climate is a good deal similar to that of Southern California, but the soil is now richer and blacker. It is replete with hills which shall once again become wooded (now mostly barren). The beaches along the Mediterranean are simply PERFECT for relaxation and enjoyment.
Yes, this is the land God has chosen, of all His earth which He created, but because of the rebellion and pollutions of mankind that land has been for many centuries under a CURSE — and still is.
In Haifa they were having an industrial fair, displaying the products of the new nation's agriculture and industry. We were amazed at the progress already made in manufacturing — almost every conceivable item needed for the living of the people. All over this new nation "Israel" we saw vigorous industry, ambition, energy, PROGRESS in the material sense. The people are spurred on with terrific zeal in building their nation once again in what they consider THEIR homeland. Everywhere we heard the expression, "WELCOME to Israel!" — and everywhere we were greeted constantly with "SHALOM!" — meaning, "Peace!" but said as we would say, "Hello!"
But just ONE THING IS DIABOLICALLY WRONG with this whole vast effort of the Jewish people: THEY HAVE LEFT THEIR GOD COMPLETELY OUT OF IT! They have forgotten God! There is almost NO religion in "Israel." The Sabbath day is rigidly observed, as a civil day of rest. All shops, stores, offices, and business is closed up tight from sunset Friday until sunset Saturday. We spent a Sabbath there, in Tel Aviv, and we particularly watched to see how they observed it. Their one leading synagogue in this, their metropolis, population some 350,000, is a comparatively small one. I have seen much larger synagogues in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, and other American cities. Only a small fraction of the people ever attend worship services. Their Sabbath is a day of pleasure-seeking and recreation, freedom from their usual work or jobs.
Unless GOD builds the house, they labor in vain that build it. Whatsoever God has not built, shall be TORN DOWN and destroyed. God is not building this nation "Israel." This is NOT the prophesied return of Israel and Judah, weeping, repentant, and SEEKING their God!
As I told the secretary of the Zionist movement in New York in 1946, they are getting ahead of God, taking things in their own hands, and only stirring up WORLD TROUBLE! Here is an example of a tremendous burst of HUMAN ENERGY, HOPE, and accomplishment, that shall ALL COME TO NAUGHT! The "BEAST" now taking form and soon to rise up out of an alliance of ten nations in Europe will overrun this land, and seize it from the Jews. What a pity! But WHAT a glorious land it will become, WHEN God's time comes, and CHRIST sets His hand to rebuild that land! — in The WORLD TOMORROW!
We also drove down to Ashkelon, now nothing but total DESOLATION, and RUIN. They defied God. Their proud efforts went for nothing. We drove also past Ashdod, which continued to exist until 1948, but it was inhabited by Arabs who fought the Jews, and were driven out — and Ashdod seems now to be rather desolate. We also drove over to Ekron, ancient seat of the "god of flies," Baalzebub, the patron diety of medicine. It is now inhabited by Yemenite Jews, and many children came running to get into the moving pictures I was taking, so perhaps you may see them some day on TV.
From Tel Aviv, we flew to Istanbul, Turkey, which is the former city of Constantinople. The Turks are westernizing. We did not see a single Fez — it is now illegal to wear one. This city sits astride the Bosporus, which is the narrow strip of water, the width of a good sized river, that divides Europe from Asia, and the ONLY outlet for Russia to the warm-water sea lanes of the world. We took a boat trip up the Bosporus to a point within sight of the Black Sea, the north shore of which forms the south boundary of Russia. We saw the mines all across the Bosporus, to keep out Russian naval ships and subs. This, too, is a spot to figure very soon in prophecy. This is the spot where Turkey will double-cross Britain and America, and many thousands of our boys will be killed as a result — but probably by the European Fascist "BEAST" and not by the Russians.
We next flew to Athens, where we saw the dead and dismal remains of the once-proud Grecian civilization. I photographed the ruins of the old market place where the Apostle Paul expounded the Gospel of the GOVERNMENT OF GOD, and of Mars Hill, just above, where Paul told the Greek philosophers they were too superstitious in their religion, and also of the Acropolis. From Athens we flew on to Rome, which now took on new meaning after having been thru all these Bible lands, though we had been to Rome before.
We went again thru the Vatican Museum, and for the first time visited the Vatican Treasury, where the great Triple Crown is kept, and a large portion of the Vatican jewels, precious stones, and ornate robes — in fact, their riches of "gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple and silk, and scarlet." etc. etc. (Rev. 18:12). NEVER have we seen such dazzling riches and treasures, and yet in every one of a certain type of object used by the cardinals or the pope in mass, I think called the "host," was a dead man's bone inside a little window covered by a curtain of velvet. It brought to mind Matthew 23:27-28!
Everywhere we have seen the RUINS of a once-proud SPLENDOR of HUMAN effort, without GOD! It has all come to naught. Temples, Palaces, Shrines built by men who hoped they would endure forever, soon lost their shiny new and dazzling brilliance. They faded, they decayed, they toppled over in ruins. MANY of these pagan places of worship and adoration were destroyed by EARTH- QUAKES!
The MATERIAL things man devises and builds do not last! ONLY the spiritual things of GOD are permanent and everlasting! All the glory of MAN soon fades, rots, decays. It becomes dismal, musty to smell, depressing to the eye. Yet everywhere we have seen people still worshipping and glorying in these decayed RUINS. Everywhere the guides wanted to take us to see TOMBS! TOMBS! TOMBS!!! Everywhere people seem to have nothing but DEATH to adore, to exalt, to bow before! Also we drove down to see the ruins of Pompeii — more death, destruction, and ruin!
THANK GOD! WE HAVE A RISEN, LIVING CHRIST TO WORSHIP!
I can't begin to tell you of all we saw and learned on our Middle-East trip. I must now get back to the state of the WORK, and its future.
It is absolutely NECESSARY to the work that I get away from Pasadena, and even from the United States, occasionally, to get the true perspective, and see this WORLD-WIDE work in its true aspect.
When I'm in the daily grind and routine in Pasadena, England and Europe, and South Africa, and Australia, and the rest of the world, seem so far away that they sort of FADE in my view, and the local and home problems in America get all my attention. But over here, this work in Europe and in the British Isles looms up in its TRUE IMPORTANCE — and it is MIGHTY IMPORTANT!
Here ia what I find: We are only reaching people over here once a week, and that between 11:30 and midnight on Monday nights. No other or better time is available on Radio Luxembourg. No other radio station is available for reaching people in Britain — and no TV station. Now we learned long ago in the United States that a once-a-week broadcast IS NOT SUFFICIENT to really carry the Message to people so they GRASP IT thoroughly.
That's why we have temporarily gone off TV. The once- a-week telecasts just were not enough to "GET THE MESSAGE OVER." We MUST find a way to reach the people over here DAILY, or every night. It cannot be done by radio, or by TV. The medium of buying large display space in mass-circulation newspapers is now opening up, but that cannot be done more than once a week.
These meetings are already proving what an EVERY NIGHT message does — how much more interested people become when they have their WHOLE thought and attention on God's truth, hearing it every night. Back in Oregon and Washington, in the early years of this work, we were on radio only once a week. BUT I was then holding evangelistic meetings EVERY NIGHT in first one city, and then another — year after year — and it was these every-night meetings, following up the radio (which aroused the interest and caused people to attend), that really changed people's hearts and lives, and built the work.
There is only one medium open to us for reaching the people EFFECTIVELY, and intensively, in the British Isles — personally-conducted evangelistic meetings every night, such as we are holding right now here in London. We must, in a very few years, have at least three to five teams of evangelists, two men to a team, to devote their ENTIRE TIME to conducting evangelistic campaigns in from three to five different cities at a time — meetings to last not less than 6 weeks, and perhaps as long as three months in one city — then move on to another city.
We must have competent, consecrated, God-called and God- empowered-and-used evangelists with the personality and speaking power to hold large audiences, and move men with the MESSAGE that CHRIST brought, but which men rejected. Today we have perhaps seven men who, with one or two more years' experience in NIGHTLY preaching in such campaigns, could fill that bill. BUT these men are every one tied down to a certain post and full-time duty from which I cannot release them. Only ONE of these men is available for use over here in Britain.
We have more promising men coming along in Ambassador College — but FAR FROM ENOUGH. The harvest is PLENTEOUS — the laborers TOO FEW! Therefore God commands YOU, to PRAY to the Lord of the Harvest to send forth more laborers — more young men of personality and ability, whom God has called, to enter Ambassador College, that they may be trained to become evangelists of real POWER.
We are now on a national radio net-work in Australia. The very first broadcast in Australia has brought in some 45 letters, requesting literature or The PLAIN TRUTH. We are receiving a good mail every week from the broadcast in South Africa, and also from Radio Ceylon.
Soon — within a year or so — we shall have to establish additional branch offices in Australia, and in South Africa to answer the letters from listeners, and to mail to them promptly the literature requested. As it is now, radio listeners in those far-flung nations, half way around the world, have to wait many weeks to receive the magazine or requested literature. In another two years we ought to have teams of evangelists holding dynamic series of every-night meetings in those countries.
Plans are now under way here in London. with our London advertising agency, to begin a campaign of Gospel messages thru the mass circulation London newspapers. Those papers publish around 5 million copies of their paper DAILY, circulated nationally all thru the British Isles. Perhaps 10 to 15 million people read each paper. There is no newspaper in the United States with such huge, mass circulations. We plan to purchase advertising space, and then place in that space a Gospel Message, about like an article in The PLAIN TRUTH, but reduced to fewer words. We hope to get this campaign under way later this year. This, along with the broadcast over Radio Luxembourg, will attract the attention and arouse the interest to create audiences for the evangelistic meetings in the various cities, when we are prepared to start them.
And now — ON TO SOUTH AMERICA! The one great continent we have so far not reached at all is South America. People in South America do not understand English. Most of them speak Spanish — those in Brazil, Portuguese. Also Central America and Mexico are Spanish-speaking countries.
I have just received a letter from our Professor of Spanish at Ambassador College, Mr. Benjamin Rea, informing me that my younger son, Garner Ted Armstrong, is now sufficiently advanced in his study of the Spanish language to be ready for at least 15-minute broadcasts. Ted speaks Spanish just as natives of South America do — without any "foreign" accent, and very fluently. Our Spanish department at the college has now completed the translation of nearly all our booklets into Spanish. As soon as these can be printed, I now plan to put Ted on the air, in Spanish, on a large South American radio net-work. I hope to complete arrangements for this with our over-seas advertising agency in New York, on our return to America. God's time has come to REACH SOUTH AMERICA! Yes, Co-Workers, God is moving His work at a rapid clip!
Work is fast progressing in the translation of our booklets into German. As soon as this is completed, we hope to be ready at last to put Herman L. Hoeh, Executive Editor of The Plain Truth, and Acting Dean of Ambassador College, on a special German- language program on RADIO LUXEMBOURG, listened to by the German people.
As soon as the translation of our literature into FRENCH is completed, and booklets printed in French, we shall be ready at last to put my elder son Richard David Armstrong on the FRENCH- language band of Radio Luxembourg, which has a bigger listening audience in France than their own national net-work. These men all speak these languages fluently, without foreign accent.
And now, last but far from least: I have just received a cablegram from our United States advertising agency stating that the super-power ABC Network radio station, WABC, New York, has at last offered to us availabilities for a half-hour broadcast EVERY NIGHT. I have wired back for details as to time and cost. If these are right, we shall put the program immediately into this condensed, thickly-populated New York-Philadelphia-Boston area for EVERY NIGHT broadcasting immediately.
Already we cover all the rest of the eastern part of the United States very well over the 50,000-watt station WWVA, near Pittsburgh. But because of the density of population and large number of powerful stations in this condensed New York area, WWVA does not give us coverage from Philadelphia to Boston — though it does reach the Atlantic Coast areas south of Philadelphia, and north of Boston. WABC is the big basic station of the ABC Network for this area. It will add hundreds of thousands of REGULAR every- night listeners. PRAY for this, Co-Workers — that God will open this mighty door — give us a good time not too late in the evening, and at a reasonable cost!
Well, THERE IT IS! You see how God is moving His work forward in great power and accelerating momentum! God is setting a FAST PACE for us. He is opening mighty doors thru which His MESSAGE may go in POWER to America, and to new parts of the world.
It is WHEN "this Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in ALL the world, for a witness unto ALL nations," that the END of this world shall come.
Co-Workers!! We are constantly finding God is carrying His Message, thru us, into more and more parts of the world. Just recently Australia has been added, and also Formosa and Red CHINA! Soon now, SOUTH and CENTRAL AMERICA and Mexico. Yes, time is RACING on! It's LATER THAN YOU THINK!
But last reports from headquarters in Pasadena were that the work was again in a financial slump.
SOMETHING MUST BE DONE ABOUT THAT IMMEDIATELY! That, dear Co-Workers, is YOUR part of this work — YOUR very grave RESPONSIBILITY! I am doing all that is humanly possible for ME to do, relying on the POWER of God's Spirit to use me as His instrument. But YOU have YOUR part, and now again, I have to call on you to respond IMMEDIATELY — and CONSISTENTLY — week after week, and month after month! After all, these tremendous DOORS God keeps opening before us are doors involving PHYSICAL and mechanical instrumentalities for carrying His Message in a GIGANTIC MASS SWEEP OF POWER to countless MILLIONS of people ALL OVER THE WORLD! And these mechanical instrumentalities cost MONEY — and I can go no faster than YOUR sacrifice, and honest tithes and generous offerings make possible!
We are now in the summer months when many tend to let down. Let's all PUT ON MORE PRESSURE — make more SACRIFICE financially for God's work. Right NOW I need your earnest prevailing PRAYERS as never before! That's a definite PART of your DAILY Christian life — PRAY DAILY, earnestly, intensively, with your WHOLE HEART, for this work! God is blessing it as never before. We must do OUR part as never before! We need more large offerings immediately — a continuous downpour of widows' mites — whatever God has made possible. God bless you in your efforts for HIM!
Keep sending your tithes and largest possible offerings — whether large or small — to me at Pasadena — the staff there is anxiously, desperately, waiting for it. REMEMBER, this work has grown too large for me, personally, to handle the money and pay all these radio-station and other bills to keep this great world-wide work going. This part of the work is now handled by a large and efficient office staff in Pasadena. They have to pay out big bills every day, whether I am over here in Europe or at home, OR ELSE THE RADIO STATIONS WILL SHUT THE PROGRAM OFF THE AIR, no magazines could be printed, no literature mailed out to the 700 to 1,000 people EVERY DAY who write in for this literature.
I never handle the money, any more, even when I am home. So, Co-Workers, KEEP YOUR TITHES AND OFFERINGS going in to the office in Pasadena — addressed, of course, as usual to me — for otherwise I would never be able to continue carrying this great work around the world. And remember — the need at the moment is VERY URGENT! I do THANK YOU, from the heart, for your loyalty — and that by FAITH I can go on about MY duties over here, knowing I can RELY on you as one of our faithful Co-Workers, to keep the work going financially.
Again, GOD BLESS YOU for your sacrifice and loyalty and faithfulness!