Personal from Herbert W Armstrong The other day our managing editor, Brian Knowles, who was in my office to go over some Plain Truth copy for future articles, asked : "Would you mind if I gave you an idea or two which I thought our readers might enjoy in one of your 'Personal' articles?" "Shoot!" I said. "I'm listening." I'm always looking for new IDEAS. Maybe you didn't know I was once the "idea man" for the country's largest trade journal — traveling constantly over the eastern two-thirds of the United States — just looking for IDEAS that could be worked into articles for the magazine. That was in 1913 and 1914. "Well, here's a typed sheet full of suggestions," he laughed, handing the sheet to me. "How the world has changed in your lifetime" was one of them. I, too, thought you might like to read that. But you won't believe it! Just in my short lifetime of 85 years, the CHANGE in this world — and how it has changed our lives — is almost unbelievable. But that, as they say, is only the tip of the iceberg! Nearly all the change — or "advancement," as we like to call it — since Adam and Eve has taken place since the birth of my maternal great-grandfather Elon Hole, whom I well remember. And more than half of all the world's "advancement" since Adam has been made in my lifetime. Up until my generation, there was practically no transportation people weren't going anywhere. People in England knew little or nothing about Russians or Chinese. There was virtually no communication even between towns — let alone between countries. How did the prophet Daniel know that until the last days (we are NOW in the LAST DAYS) people would not be able to understand what he wrote then? He said: "... shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased" (Dan. 12:4). Daniel couldn't write, "Many shall drive fast cars and fly to and fro around the world from country to country at 600 miles per hour." The railroads were invented and first used not long before I was born. The "dinkey" streetcars were just replacing the horse-drawn cars when I was a boy. When I was eleven, we still called the first crude automobiles " horseless carriages," and Orville Wright flew the first plane about a city block. There were no paved roads between towns and cities. Only the main downtown streets were paved. And some towns of 5,000 people or larger had no street paving even downtown. Radio and television? Send sounds and pictures instantaneously through the air? "Are you CRAZY?" one would have asked had you suggested such a thing. Beginning at eighteen years of age I was an advertising man — but we didn't sell "commercials." We sold "space" in newspapers and magazines. Radio and television had not come yet. And come to think about it, even the printing press was invented only about 500 years ago. Most of the great leaps forward in knowledge, most inventions, and most of what we call "progress" came since the printing press. Before that books had to be written by hand — with pen and ink — one at a time. There weren't many books. People couldn't afford them. There was no diffusion of knowledge until about 100 years after the invention of the printing press. It took about that long to produce more presses, to write and print more books, to train teachers and organize schools. Of course, there were schools on the ancient Platonic model. Only a FEW — mostly the rich were "educated" — and they by private tutors. Until knowledge began to spread — until IDEAS could be disseminated and imparted in print to the. many instead of the very few — how could our kind of civilization advance? When I was a boy, only a small percentage got as far as graduation from high school. And less than five percent of high school graduates went on to college. Today nearly all graduate from high school in the United States, and in California, 95 percent of high school grads apply for college or university admission. We know little of the first approximate 1,900 years since the creation of man on earth. But here again, to UNDERSTAND what's going on in our lives today and what's been going on in this world, we need to keep in mind the background — prehistory — what CAUSED the Eternal to create MAN and put humankind on the earth. WHY has what we call "progress" so suddenly sped up — and what of the climactic CRISIS we are now heading into? Once again, remember God created angels first — spirit beings less than God. They were to be used in FINISHING the creation of the planets throughout the entire universe. But first, even their own creation could not be completed until CHARACTER, either good or evil, had been developed in them. Character, I repeat, CANNOT be instantaneously CREATED by fiat. That required time, and their own reasoning and decision — making process. For this purpose — the completion of the creation of this earth and the development and creation of their character — God placed over the angels HIS GOVERNMENT, with the supercherub Lucifer placed on the earthly throne to administer the government of God. Lucifer's jurisdiction was the whole earth. He led his angels into SINNING (II Pet. 2:4), rejecting God's government based on His law (the way I call "GIVE" to simplify it). They turned to the opposite way of "GET," which is vanity, lust and greed, envy and jealousy, competition leading to strife and violence, and resentment of God's authority. God's way of "GIVE" is giving to God obedience, adoration, worship, trust and faith, and a return of the LOVE which HE gives us. Angelic sin brought physical destruction to Lucifer's entire jurisdiction — the whole earth — and I think it is indicated it brought waste and decay to the planets of the entire UNIVERSE, since that was the potential jurisdiction of Lucifer and the angels. Of all spiritual beings, this left ONLY GOD (Elohim, ONE God consisting of "the Word," who later became Christ, and GOD) to renew the face of the earth (Ps. 104:30) from the physical chaos and destruction caused by the angels' sin and to reform the earth for MAN. On this renewed earth with sea life, bird life and animal life, God created MAN, male and female, out of MATTER from the ground. God's transcendent AWESOME purpose was reproducing HIMSELF into, finally, billions of God-beings like Himself, with perfect, holy and righteous CHARACTER. It was the most ambitious, majestic, supreme project even the GREAT GOD could conceive and accomplish. Angels, composed of spirit, could not be CHANGED, once their creation was completed with their own CHARACTER set in them. MATTER, on the contrary, is changeable and always CHANGING. IF man sinned, he could either: 1) be granted and voluntarily accept REPENTANCE — that is, CHANGE from the "GET" to the "GIVE" way — and completing a life of spiritual growth and character development, be made immortal; or, 2) be put to DEATH — become as though he had never been — if, on being offered forgiveness by God, he chose rebellion and the "GET" way. First, God talked to Adam and Eve, the first and originally created humans. Through the reproductive process they were to become parents of all humanity. God freely offered them ETERNAL LIFE (the tree of life), if they chose the "GIVE" way — the GOVERNMENT OF GOD. But then Lucifer — his name now changed to Satan — got to Adam through Eve. This first human pair then chose — without having experienced life under either of the two WAYS — the "GET" way of Satan. They rejected the government of God and flagrantly disobeyed God in TAKING of the forbidden fruit; taking to themselves the knowledge of good and evil; deciding for themselves what was right and what was wrong. Adam cut himself and mankind off from God, and from contact with God, who alone has eternal life to give. Anticipating this, God had designed a fail-safe 7,000-year master plan for working out His purpose here below. The first 6,000 years He sentenced man to carry out what Adam had demanded for the human race: to go its OWN WAY, cut off from God. Satan had tempted and misled Adam into SIN. Satan, the former Lucifer who had the EARTH as his domain of government, must remain on his throne where GOD placed him UNTIL a successor has QUALIFIED to restore the government of God and been inducted into office. So mankind started on his first 6,000 years with Satan actually ruling him, not directly and outwardly, but by deception. Man didn't know it, but he was subtly deceived into acknowledging Satan as the "god of this world" (II Cor. 4:4). God had said to man, in effect: "Go, then, your own way. Form your own governments, your own religions, your own society and civilization. I will adopt a hands-off policy for the next 6,000 years — except that where it suits my purpose, I shall intervene in certain ways and on certain occasions. But YOU, mankind as a whole, are cut off from access to me." That is why Jesus said plainly; "NO MAN CAN COME TO ME, except the Father... draw him" (John 6:44). Except when God does intervene by calling one to repentance and salvation, NONE can come to Christ. WHY do not men understand that? Because they have accepted their own man-made religions! I realize that the human mind is inclined to reason about WHY God does things as He does. Some might question: "WHY would God deliberately adopt a hands-off policy toward the whole human race (with the few exceptions where He has purposely intervened)?" The answer, apparently, is that it was God's PURPOSE to PROVE, once and for all time, by 6,000 years of human EXPERIENCE that the "GET" way contrary to God's government is NOT good for those who follow it, and can result only in unhappiness, discontent, suffering, pain, discouragement, frustration, and utter complete FAILURE — just the OPPOSITE of what man really WANTS. Too often, that which looks good may be very dangerous, harmful, UNdesirable. Apparently only a third of all the angels were involved in the SIN. Perhaps God wanted to prove His point to the other two-thirds of all the angels, as well as to mankind; to show what we shall become when changed into immortality in His Kingdom; to teach, by 6,000 years of EXPERIENCE, that only the holy, righteous and perfect CHARACTER of God based on His law and on His way of LOVE is really good for us. God had a reason for allowing man to so punish himself for 6,000 years under the delusion he was going the better way! We know little of how man, CUT OFF from God (except for those God Himself called), developed prior to the Flood. Man seems to have had some knowledge of God. Abel was called righteous by Christ; Enoch walked with God. Noah was perfect before God — yet it was God who called and chose Noah. Cain built a city. Jabal headed a tribe that dwelt in tents and dealt in cattle. Jubal, his brother, was the father of those that handled the harp and organ. Tubal-cain was an instructor of every artificer in brass and iron. Cain was a farmer, and Abel a sheep-raiser. That's about all we know of the first approximately 1900 years (Gen. 4). But God had no "soul-saving crusades" going. Soon after the Flood, Nimrod rose up as the world's first despot, forming a government, and building a wall around his capital city. His mother-wife, Semiramis. according to profane history, founded the world's mother pagan religion — other pagan religions in ancient Egypt, Assyria, and even Greece and Rome, springing from it. But for thousands of years humanity stumbled along with little change — little or no progress or development in material advancement — until, as I said, the printing press was invented. Meanwhile, contrary to generally accepted religious belief, God made no effort to save the world — spiritually. Rather, the world had CUT ITSELF OFF completely from God. Satan plied his cunning work of DECEPTION, and the WHOLE WORLD — ALL NATIONS — Were deceived (Rev. 12:9). Some 4,000 years after Adam, God sent Jesus Christ into such a world as a MESSENGER, bearing a message of hope and good news for mankind. It was the good news announcement that the government of God would, after all, be RESTORED by the KINGDOM OF GOD, which would be composed of the BORN family of God, ruling the whole world under His highest authority. Christ came with the good news' that those called by God may be born of God and become God's own children, ultimately CHANGED from material to SPIRIT composition. But of MANY THOUSANDS who heard this message from Christ in person, only 120 believed what He said (Acts 1:15). Jesus called and taught His twelve disciples His message of the coming Kingdom, and sent them out as apostles to ANNOUNCE to a world cut off from God the good news. But before A.D. 70 that message was SUPPRESSED by the fast-rising FALSE church and was never again proclaimed to the world until God started proclaiming it over radio through me, first in October 1933. Finally, the world came to the development of technology and industry. Nearly all this modern development has come in the past 200 years, and far more than HALF of ALL the world's technology and scientific and industrial development has come in my lifetime! I have lived through the machine age, the age of mechanized agriculture, the nuclear age, and the space age. I have seen the development of the railroad, the automobile, the gigantic transoceanic vessels, the airplane, radio, television, and a thousand and one kinds of laborsaving devices. Today millions of workers sit at machines, going through the same motions all day long. We have WONDERS in mechanical development — almost every kind of labor-saving device and every kind of entertainment and amusement. But, when we stop to think about it, IS IT GOOD FOR US? Someday soon, we shall realize how BAD it all has been. It has been the DAY OF MAN, subtly influenced and swayed by an invisible Satan endowed with superpower next to that of God Himself which He uses to foster the "GET" philosophy of life. All this world's "progress" and development has been along the lines of SELF-CENTEREDNESS: "Get the best of the other fellow." This present civilization is a colossal monument to VANITY, LUST and GREED; the spirit of competition — beating out the other fellow — which leads to destruction, violence, war and murder; jealousy and envy; resentment against real or imagined affronts; resentment against authority. The DAY OF MAN has built a world of supreme UNHAPPINESS, DISCONTENT, NEEDLESS SUFFERING. It is a SICK world. It is a world of medical "science" that has doubled in medical and technical knowledge each of the past two decades, yet we have more sickness and disease than ever before. The medical establishment gets a few diseases, such as tuberculosis and" smallpox, almost stamped out, only to be plagued with onslaughts of heart diseases, diabetes, cancer, and other ailments that puzzle and confound medical science. Once again, as in the days of ancient Noah, we have come to a POPULATION EXPLOSION. And for the first time, man has come in the past three decades to the development of means of MASS DESTRUCTION that can wipe all human life from this planet — probably in less than 24 hours — UNLESS there is an almighty great GOD who will step in and prevent human cosmocide and save humanity ALIVE! Now, at last, we see how 6,000 years of HUMAN EXPERIENCE, of God-rejecting MAN going his own way, taking TO HIMSELF the knowledge of what he SUPPOSES is good and what is evil, has PROVED that ONLY GOD'S WAY'S GOOD — and good for us! Also we see that man, left to HIMSELF, has finally become proof of the greatness of God because of the design of the human MIND. Man has been able to design and produce marvelous things OUT OF MATTER — intricate machinery, the fantastic computer — and send men to the moon and back. Yet, at the same time, this 6,000 years has PROVED that man's mind, without God's Holy Spirit, is confined to physical and mechanical things. His systems of education have become wholly materialistic, and all his motives have been based on the attitude of "get." He cannot live in harmony and peace with his neighbor. He is missing totally the greatest possible blessing during human life: a CLOSENESS with his Maker and his God, the warmth, satisfying PEACE, and ASSURED SECURITY of contact with God. That is why the human race as a whole is discontented, unhappy, harboring feelings of insecurity, suspicion and frustration. God gave man — even God-rejecting man — the wonderful human MIND by giving him the human spirit, which imparts intellect to the physical BRAIN. Whale brain, elephant brain, dolphin brain — all larger than human brain — are almost identical to it, as are chimp and other smaller brains, but they lack the human spirit which adds intellect to the brain. What a marvel! God formed and made it! But it is confined to knowledge of the PHYSICAL. God made the human brain to need with it another spirit — the Holy Spirit of God — to add SPIRITUAL comprehension as well as spiritual life and love. Without God's Holy Spirit, which Adam rejected, man is of all creatures most miserable! For 6,000 years God sentenced MAN — at man's own choice — to live his own way, with PHYSICAL COMPREHENSION ONLY. THAT is why he is smart enough to go to the moon and back, but can't get along with his neighbor. He lacks the spirit of GOD'S LOVE. But even man's materialistic and mechanical development started slowly, gaining MOMENTUM, until more than HALF of all his "progress" has come in my lifetime. For 6,000 years God's Holy Spirit has been withheld from mankind; given only to the infinitesimal FEW whom God has selected, called, and given His Spirit for a special Work which God wants done. Spiritual salvation will be opened to ALL humanity after Christ comes to take over the throne of the earth and RULE ALL NATIONS, and Satan shall be removed. THANK GOD! We are now in the very last generation in this 6,000-year period. Remember, this 6,000 years, NOW ENDING, is to be followed by 1,000 years of happy and joyous UTOPIA: WORLD PEACE in our PRESENT GENERATION; happiness, joy, universal abundance; universal right education for all; eternal salvation — with eternal life offered to all! No Satan around to plague and deceive us! As I have indicated, God called only "righteous Abel" (Matt. 23:35), Enoch and Noah to have contact with Him and receive His Holy Spirit during approximately the first 1900 years. He specially called Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph. He made the slave descendants of Abraham a special nation, called Israel, but never offered them spiritual salvation or His Holy Spirit. From then to Christ, only the prophets were given His Holy Spirit, in order to empower them for THE WORK He called them to do, almost altogether within Israel. More than 1,900 years ago, he sent Christ, but of the unnumbered thousands who heard the GOOD NEWS announcement of His coining Kingdom, only 120 believed (Acts 1:15). He called and instructed His apostles to announce His gospel, but that gospel was suppressed and replaced before A.D. 70 with a false one which denied His Kingdom. He raised up His Church in A.D. 31 to back His apostles and make His Work through them possible, but persecution dispersed and sent the Church underground, as it were. From then the true gospel was not heard by the world, and even the Church, when I first came among them in 1926, had lost most of it. Today God is adding to the Church until it has become larger than in all history to get done the greatest WORK in history. Today He gives us of His Church His Holy Spirit, first, to help me get out the ANNOUNCEMENT of His Kingdom, and second, to build within ourselves the CHARACTER to rule with Christ on His throne — and He gave the first as THE MEANS of attaining to the second. We have reached the very last generation of this age — the generation when THIS world of man will END and the Kingdom of God will take over. We reached it when I was 40 years old. As God called Moses at 40, so He called me at 40. That was 45 years ago. Time is short, and getting shorter every day! Jesus' disciples asked Him what would be the sign of the END of this present world of MAN. Jesus answered: "He that shall endure UNTO THE END [of this age], the same shall be saved. And THIS GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the END come" (Matt. 24:13-14). I began preaching it locally in 1933, and to the world in 1953. A few verses later Jesus said: "For then shall be GREAT TRIBULATION, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved [alive]: but for the elect's sake those days SHALL BE SHORTENED"! (Verses 21-22.) I am announcing the coming of Christ the Messiah to cut short those days, and usher in the WAY OF "GIVE" — the restoration of the government of God by the Kingdom of God. After the millennium and Great White Throne judgment, there will be no more sickness, no more pain, no more unhappiness, no more poverty or ignorance, no more stealing — no more locks on doors or keys to carry around, no more discontent or getting feelings hurt! Mankind is going to change from the way of "GET" to the way of "GIVE." Some of us already have. How about you?
RECOMMENDED READING What is the kingdom of God? Is it the church? Is it something, "set up in the hearts of men"? Is it "the good within you"? Is it "the millennium"? Each of these is widely taught — yet none is right! The shocking truth is made plain in the booklet Just What Do You Mean... Kingdom of God? Be sure to read it today.