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Plain Truth Magazine
March 1982
Volume: Vol 47, No.3
Issue: ISSN 0032-0420
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Herbert W Armstrong   
Church of God

Born: July 31, 1892
Died: January 16, 1986
Member Since: 1928
Ordained: 1931
Office: Apostle

Herbert W. Armstrong founded the Worldwide Church of God in the late 1930s, as well as Ambassador College in 1946, and was an early pioneer of radio and tele-evangelism, originally taking to the airwaves in the 1930s from Eugene, Oregon.

There is no end in sight to wars. The only visible prospect is accelerating escalation. Yet there is a SURE way the West could end the fear of nuclear war IMMEDIATELY! This surprising article is the conclusion of the article "1982—THE YEAR OF VIOLENCE?" in the previous number.

   MANY ASK, "If there be a God, WHY does God allow wars?"
   They argue: "If God is LOVE, He surely wouldn't want all this suffering. And if God is ALL-POWERFUL, He could prevent wars! So why doesn't He?"
   The answer is, certainly God could stop it —and in very few years will!
   But, why in the future? Why did he ever allow it?
   Because a PURPOSE is being worked out here below! Man was put here on earth to develop righteous CHARACTER! That purpose necessitates free moral agency in man. It is absolutely necessary that man be given both the prerogative and the ability to make his own choice, and exercise his own will! Otherwise, — NO CHARACTER!

WHY Must There Be WARS?

   There is a way that will prevent WAR and produce PEACE — a way to happiness and abundant well-being for everybody!
   The ETERNAL God offered mankind that way — and let mankind choose! The ETERNAL created and set in motion inexorable laws that work — not only laws of chemistry and physics — but also a basic SPIRITUAL LAW, which is the way to peace, happiness, abundant wellbeing! That LAW IS the basic CAUSE of peace. Its violation is the CAUSE of war!
   Yes, it's just that simple!
   But a rebellious humanity — priding itself on its rational processes of "intellect" — willingly blinds its minds to simple TRUTH, and embarks on a system of complicated and nonsensical ERROR — MUCH OF IT IN THE NAME OF HIGHER EDUCATION.
   Human nature is basically rebellious against God and the inexorable laws of God (Rom. 8:7).
   The Creator laid before man the KNOWLEDGE of his Law — the knowledge of HOW TO AVOID WARS! But yielding to human nature — vanity, greed, self-centeredness — rebellion against God's Law of PEACE — that is the CAUSE of WARS!

Nations Never Needed Go to War!

   In respect to war, the basic point of God's Spiritual Law is the Sixth Commandment. It says, simply, "Thou shalt not kill."
   If all nations OBEYED that command of God, and followed the way of LOVE and PEACE there would be no war!
   But, an objector argues, "That's a pretty platitude — but it's not practical. It would never work! Any nation that would follow that command would be attacked and beaten by some other nation that was more practical!"
   Oh, but that way WOULD WORK! That way is practical!
   The Creator understands human nature better than we humans do! He provided for that!
   Do you think the Almighty Creator is so impractical that he leaves those who OBEY HIM — who accept HIS GOVERNMENT over them — helpless? Understand this! God Almighty is SUPREME! He created the UNIVERSE — and he RULES SUPREME over the entire vast UNIVERSE. He RULES over the earth — and whatever men do in their politics — their wars — their setting up of their own forms of government — is done ONLY BECAUSE GOD ALLOWS IT!
   God is SUPREME in GOVERNMENT! A prime responsibility of GOVERNMENT is to PROTECT its own subjects! So, open your eyes, now, to the FACTS!
   God did take a people — a family of some two million SLAVES, children of God's friend Abraham — and offered to set them up as a special nation UNDER HIS GOVERNMENT!
   To any people — whether an individual, a nation, or even all nations — who will voluntarily subject themselves under God's GOVERNMENT, God says the SAME THING — he is no respecter of persons! What he said to these Israelites, he says to ALL:
   He said, "… if thou shalt indeed obey his voice, and do all that I speak; then I will be an enemy unto thine enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries … and I will cut them off' (Ex. 23:22-23).
   God promised supernaturally to fight any invading enemy to protect the nation and people under HIS government. God, ONLY, has the right to take human life! He created human life. All lives BELONG to him.
   But, did you notice? There were CONDITIONS to God's promise of divine and supernatural protection. During the first 6,000 years of man's sojourn on earth, it is not in God's Master Plan to force any nation, or individual, to come under his GOVERNMENT. That is left to man's free CHOICE!
   Man must choose which way he will go — the way of give and of submission to God's law and government, or the way of get, of self, of rebellion against the law and government of God.
   But these freed slaves — the lsraelites — accepted God's offer, and became his nation. They AGREED to obey him and his laws — his government — and he agreed to give them PEACE, as long as they obeyed and trusted him.
   But human nature is human nature — and facts are facts.

Human Nature at Work

   And HUMAN NATURE? Yes, these Israelites were full of it!
   These Israelites, even while being blessed and delivered by God with MIRACLES, still were rebellious. After the MIRACLES God had performed in FREEING them from slavery in Egypt, these people began to gripe, grumble, complain and DISOBEY God.
   These people — 600,000 men, besides women and children — came to the Red Sea. There were no ships, no bridges. They could not swim such a distance. They could not walk on the water. They were STOPPED by this obstacle beyond their own power.
   They looked, and within eyesight, Pharaoh's ARMY was coming after them.
   Right here, God demonstrated he would preserve his people from having to undergo military service, or fighting war, or taking human life!
   In spite of their faithless complaining in this initial EXAMPLE of God's faithfulness, he was determined to fight this battle and save them.
   "And. Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord which HE WILL SHEW YOU to day…The Lord shall fight for you. and ye shall hold your peace"(Ex. 14:13-14).
   The Israelites were not to fight — but STAND STILL! God would fight their wars for them! They were to remain at PEACE!

How GOD Fights for Us!

   "Moses stretched his hand out over the sea; Then the Eternal swept the sea along by a strong east wind, all night, till the bed of the sea was dry, and the Israelites marched through the sea on dry ground, the waters forming a wall to right and left. Thus did the Eternal save Israel that day from the Egyptians. Israel saw the mighty act of the Eternal against the Egyptians …" (Ex. 14:21. 22, 30-31, Moffatt).
   After this miraculous delivery from disaster — from a WAR — a whole army of a then great nation destroyed — those Israelites murmured against Moses and Aaron … and said "… would to God we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt …" (Ex. 16:3).
   Again and again, "… they tempted the Lord, saying, Is the Lord among us, or not?" (Ex. 17:7.)
   Repeatedly, God had given these people awe-inspiring and miraculous demonstrations of his intention to fight their battles for them. After all of this OVERWHELMING PROOF, these people DOUBTED God's faithfulness — DOUBTED his power — even DOUBTED his very existence. They disobeyed. They went the way of SIN!
   Moses was distraught, his nerves shattered, his patience about exhausted. After all, Moses was only human!
   "What shall I do unto this. people?" Moses appealed to God, "they be almost ready to stone me" (Ex. 17:4).
   At this juncture, Amalek came against the Israelites in great strength with an invading army. This time God ALLOWED the Israelites to write the lesson of experience. He allowed them to SIN. God does not forcibly prevent humans from sinning.
   Moses, at the end of his patience trying to induce these stubborn, rebellious people to believe in and TRUST God, said to Joshua, "Choose us out men, and go out, FIGHT with Amalek" (Ex. 17:9).
   It was altogether unnecessary for these Israelites to arm themselves and wage WAR. It was WRONG! It was SIN. But God let the decision be theirs!
   This, incident was the turning point.

God's PURPOSE Stands!

   Even though God ALLOWS humans to make their own decisions — nevertheless God's PURPOSE must stand! His PURPOSE was to settle these descendants of Abraham in the land he had promised Abraham — "the PROMISED LAND."
   God's faithfulness demanded that he plant these people in that land, regardless of their conduct!
   These descendants of Abraham had made their decision to be a fighting, war-waging nation. That decision was theirs to make. And since they had made it, God used them to do the fighting in driving out the inhabitants illegally possessing the land God had allotted to Abraham's descendants. Consequently God gave orders for them to do what fighting — and killing — was necessary to accomplish God's PURPOSE of putting them in the land of Promise!
   But that did not make war RIGHT. Whether to DO right or wrong — that is MAN'S decision! These Israelites did not need to fight.
   God ALLOWED them to SIN by taking up arms.
   Now you know WHY the nation Israel went to war — WHY God himself even commanded them to go to war, driving out the pagan nations from the Promised Land.
   Many people have wondered WHY, if God's teaching is that WAR IS WRONG, he actually commanded his own nation to fight in war.
   The answer is that God made man with FREE MORAL AGENCY — God not only allows humans to have a CHOICE — he compels us to choose!
   God alone determines WHAT is sin. God does not allow MAN to decide WHAT is sin, or WHAT is righteousness. But he does allow man — he actually compels man to decide WHETHER to sin.
   God made it PLAIN to ancient Israel that they need never go to war. He guaranteed complete protection from outside enemies. He guaranteed PEACE — if they would trust him and obey the laws of his government! He demonstrated his ability — and his POWER! But the Israelites chose WAR. Just as ALL nations have chosen WAR! Just as our nations do — needlessly — today!

Case History No. 2

   The preceding article gave the first actual case history showing, in detail, how the ETERNAL God, by supernatural miracles, did deliver the Israelites at the Red Sea from the army of the then greatest nation on earth, the Egyptians.
   Notice Case History No. 2.
   This concerns King Asa of the kingdom of Judah. The king of Ethiopia came against the Jews with 300 chariots and an army of ONE MILLION soldiers. They had major size armies in those days, strange as that may seem.
   In those days the Jews also had a sizable army — but not nearly large enough to withstand an invasion of a force of a million troops.
   Perhaps, had the Ethiopians come with a smaller army, Asa might have gone to war with them relying wholly on his armed force, instead of on God. But, regardless, the FACT is that in this instance this king did rely on God for his defense!
   "And Asa cried unto the Lord his God, and said, O Lord, it is nothing with thee to help, whether with many, or with them that have NO POWER: help us, O Lord our God; for we rest on thee, and in thy name we go against this multitude. O Lord, thou art our God; let not man prevail against THEE! So THE LORD smote the Ethiopians before Asa, and before Judah; and the Ethiopians fled"(II Chron. 14:11- 12).
   But there is an unhappy sequel to this tremendous event — where reliance on GOD put A MILLION ARMED MEN TO FLIGHT!
   The king of ISRAEL, Baasha, came with an armed force against the Jews. Incidentally, note carefully, the kingdom of ISRAEL was here fighting against the JEWS of the kingdom of JUDAH! They were two altogether different nations! The people of the northern kingdom of ISRAEL never were called Jews!
   This time Asa neglected to rely on God to fight off the attacking military force! This time he did PRECISELY WHAT THE UNITED STATES AND BRITAIN ARE DOING TODAY! He hired an ALLY — the kingdom of Syria (II Chron. 16:13).
   "And at that time Hanani the seer came to Asa, king of Judah, and said unto him, Because thou hast relied on the king of Syria, and not relied on the Lord thy God, therefore is the host of the king of Syria escaped out of thine hand. Were not the Ethiopians and the Lubims a huge host, with very many chariots and horsemen? yet, because thou didst rely on the Lord, he delivered them into thine hand. For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself STRONG in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. Herein thou hast done foolishly:—JUST LIKE THE UNITED STATES AND ALL NATIONS TODAY! — "therefore from henceforth THOU SHALT HAVE WARS" (II Chron. 16:7-9).
   If you wonder why OUR NATIONS are continually having WARS, there is your answer!

Case History No. 3

   The next case history involves Asa's son, Jehoshaphat, the next king of Judah.
   Three allied armies came against Judah, with a mighty military force.
   "And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah, And Judah gathered themselves together, to ask help of the Lord….
   "And Jehoshaphat stood in the congregation of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the Lord, before the new court, and said, O LORD God of our fathers, art not thou God in heaven? and RULEST NOT THOU OVER ALL THE KINGDOMS OF THE HEATHEN?" — that is, over all gentile nations, as well as lsraelitish.
   Continue: "and in thine hand is there not POWER and MIGHT, so that none is able to withstand thee? Art not thou our GOD, who didst drive out the inhabitants of this land before thy people Israel…? And now, behold, the children of Ammon and Moab and mount Seir, whom thou wouldst not let Israel invade…. Behold, I say, how they reward us, to come to cast us out of thy possession, which thou hast given to us to inherit. O our GOD, wilt thou not judge them? for WE HAVE NO MIGHT AGAINST THIS GREAT COMPANY that cometh against us: neither know we what to do: BUT OUR EYES ARE UPON THEE" (II Chron. 20:3-7, 10-12).
   Could God be GOD, and fail to heed a heartrending prayer like that — coming from helpless people who were obeying and TRUSTING him?
   Immediately God answered through one of his prophets: "Thus saith the Lord unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is NOT YOUR'S, BUT GOD'S….
   "Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord…. And Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground: and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell before the Lord, worshipping the Lord.
   "… Jehoshaphat stood and said, Hear me, O Judah…. Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper. And … he appointed SINGERS unto the Lord, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the Lord; for His mercy endureth forever.
   "And when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab and mount Seir, which were come against Judah; and they were smitten. For the children [soldiers] of Ammon and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of mount Seir, utterly to slay and destroy them: and when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, every one helped to destroy another. And when Judah came toward the watch tower in the wilderness, they looked unto the multitude, and, behold, they were dead bodies fallen to the earth, and none escaped" (II Chron. 20:15, 17-18, 20-24).
   But would not most Americans hoot and jeer in sarcasm, if one suggested that "the great and powerful United States" TODAY humble itself — and trust in the INVISIBLE God — and WORSHIP him, bowing our heads to the ground? Couldn't you just hear the snorts and raucous ridicule of stiffnecked proud Britons at the suggestion that they send before an armed enemy an army of SINGERS, saying, "PRAISE THE ETERNAL!" — instead of relying on the nation's MILITARY strength?
   Yes, WOULDN'T it seem RIDICULOUS to suggest that OUR proud nations do this — and march to war SINGING praises "to the beauty of holiness"?
   Well perhaps so! But that kind of "foolishness" turned out to be mighty PRACTICAL for Jehoshaphat and those Jews!
   Someday — and in the next few years — America and Britain will be forced to WAKE UP to the sobering REALIZATION of which way is truly the "foolish" way! And God's true Minister is telling you, as you read this, that you'd better make the right choice NOW, before it's too late! For indeed it is later than you think!

Case History No. 4

   Several years later, "Sennacherib king of Assyria came and invaded Judah … And when Hezekiah [king of Judah] saw that Sennacherib had come and intended to fight against Jerusalem, . he … gathered [the people] … together to him in the square at the gate of the city and spoke encouragingly to them, saying, 'Be strong and of good courage. Do not be afraid or dismayed before the king of Assyria and all the horde that is with him; for there is one greater with us than with him. With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the Lord our God, to help us and to fight our battles.' And the people took confidence from the words of Hezekiah king of Judah" (II Chron. 32:1-2, 6-8 RSV).
   Supposing, in the event of a threat of nuclear war, Western leaders broadcast words like those to all the people in America and Britain — saying we would RELY ON THE ETERNAL OUR GOD to fight this battle FOR US!
   Have our EDUCATIONAL SYSTEMS so deceived and drugged the minds of our people with rationalism — with agnosticism, atheism and the entire evolutionary philosophy — that people would ridicule our leaders as cowardly mollycoddles, and would our military leaders instantly give the signal to unleash the full all-out NUCLEAR destruction of our vast arsenals?
   This is just a hypothetical question. But YOU answer it! — and I think you'll realize that OUR PEOPLES have gone so FAR away from the ETERNAL our God that, in most minds today, he seems nonexistent! Yet he is just as REAL — and as POWERFUL — as in Hezekiah's day!
   Continue: "After this Sennacherib, king of Assyria … sent his servants to Jerusalem to Hezekiah king of Judah and to all the people of Judah that were in Jerusalem, saying, 'Thus says Sennacherib king of Assyria, "On what are you relying, that you stand siege in Jerusalem? Is not Hezekiah misleading you, that he may give you over to die by famine and by thirst, when he tells you, `The Lord our God will deliver us from the hand of the king of Assyria'? … Do you not know what I and my fathers have done to all the peoples of other lands? Were the gods of the nations of those lands at all able to deliver their lands out of my hand? … How much less will your God deliver you out of my hand!" '
   "Then Hezekiah the king and Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, prayed because of this and cried to heaven. AND THE LORD SENT AN ANGEL, who cut off all the mighty warriors and commanders and officers in the camp of the king of Assyria. So he returned with shame of face to his own land. And when he came into the house of his god, some of his own sons struck him down there with the sword. So THE LORD SAVED HEZEKIAH AND THE INHABITANTS OF JERUSALEM from the hand of Sennacherib king of Assyria and from the hand of ALL HIS ENEMIES; and HE GAVE THEM REST [PEACE] ON EVERY SIDE" (II Chron. 32:9-11, 13, 15, 20-22 RSV).
   War is so needless!
   War is WRONG!
   Yes, the United States could put an END to the threat of nuclear war IMMEDIATELY — IF not only leaders in Washington, but ALSO the PEOPLE AS A WHOLE, could recognize REALITY — could understand that God is REAL — and would humble themselves before him, BELIEVE him — RELY ON him!
   But, if our people WILL NOT, then it is decreed, we shall, in fewer years than you will believe, see OUR CITIES DESTROYED, along with a full third of our populations by a foreign invasion!
   The God who is REAL says of OUR PEOPLES: "… Prophesy against the prophets of Israel…. O Israel, thy prophets are like foxes in the deserts. Ye have not gone up into the gaps, neither made up the hedge for the house of Israel TO STAND in the BATTLE IN THE DAY OF THE LORD" (Ezek. 13:2, 4-5).
   That is NOT a message to ancient Israel — but to the English-speaking world of TODAY. The "DAY OF THE LORD — a time foretold in more than thirty prophecies — is going to strike sooner than you may think! You will know, then, how REAL it is. You will wish, then, you had heeded. I am not writing foolishly, but very soberly, ON AUTHORITY of the living CHRIST!
   Continue this WARNING to OUR nations TODAY: "They have seen vanity and lying divination, saying, The Lord saith: and the Lord hath not sent them: … Because, even because they have seduced my people, saying, Peace; and there was no peace"(verses 6, 10).
   Perhaps you need to read the free booklet, The United States and Britain in Prophecy, and then read this whole chapter seriously! It is a last WARNING from the ETERNAL GOD!
   God says to US, TODAY: "Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: For WHY WILL YE DIE, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God: wherefore, TURN YOURSELVES, and LIVE YE" (EZEK, 18:31-32).

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Plain Truth MagazineMarch 1982Vol 47, No.3ISSN 0032-0420
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