God accomplished His Work through the prophets in Old Testament times. He worked through Christ and His chosen apostles in early New Testament times. But where is God's Work today? How can you prove who is doing His Work in this modern era?
YOU, THE readers of this magazine, The Good News, believe in the Creator God. You know He exists. He is not dead — has not gone way off and forsaken this earth. But do you realize just how vitally concerned God is about events on this earth right now — concerned about you, your happiness, your future? And have you ever wondered where and how this Creator God is carrying on His Work on this earth today? How could you know, of all those who claim to be doing His Work, who is really doing the Work of God in this pulsating last half of the 20th century?
Gospel to All Nations
Jesus Christ, the founder of true Christianity, said: "And this gospel [this good news] of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come" (Matt. 24:14). But what gospel, what good news, was Jesus Christ referring to? Today, there are hundreds of different Christian sects and denominations — all claiming to believe in and teach the gospel. But it is a sad fact that there is little agreement as to what that gospel really is all about. It is clear that the true gospel which Jesus Christ preached is to be proclaimed among all nations before the close of this present age. Prior to the establishment of the soon-coming utopian Kingdom of God, the advance good news of that Kingdom must first be preached and published over all the earth. Present world economic and political conditions plainly point to the fact that the nations can't go on indefinitely on their present course. Horrifying World War III — with all of its ghastly hellishness — will be hurtled upon an unsuspecting world. Bible prophecy reveals that "when they [the nations] shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them..." (I Thes. 5:3). But we can thank God that this terrible time of death-dealing nuclear warfare will not last long. It just couldn't — if man is to survive. God's Word reveals that the Ruler of this universe will cut short the fiendish tortures and agonies of a great tribulation period which will be so horrifying that it would obliterate all human life from this planet — if God Almighty didn't supernaturally intervene (Matt. 24:21, 22). But, thankfully, He will intervene.
A Powerful Work
Do you realize that right now this divine commission to first preach and publicize that gospel in all nations is being fulfilled before your very eyes? This Good News magazine which you hold in your hand is helping to fulfill that very commission. But that is not all The World Tomorrow program is broadcasting, via TV and radio, that same good news over many hundreds of stations, reaching into vital areas of this earth. Furthermore, the dynamic, interest-filled magazine, The Plain Truth, is also proclaiming that gospel as a powerful witness to many millions. Already ten or twelve million read each issue of this magazine which is now being sent into most of the major nations of this world. It is being read by kings, presidents, prime ministers, government and religious leaders as well as average people all over this earth; and The Plain Truth is being published simultaneously in five major languages: English, French, German, Spanish and Dutch. In addition to these powerful witnesses of the truth (the very gospel of Jesus Christ), scores of booklets and over a hundred reprint articles are being disseminated to the spiritually starved peoples of this earth. And a Bible Correspondence Course is also sent out to many thousands of those who are really hungry to learn the plain, unadulterated truths of the Word of God. And the amazing thing about all this is that these TV and radio programs, these magazines, booklets, articles and correspondence course lessons are all sent out absolutely free. How and why we are able to give away all this is astounding to a highly commercialized world, where the public is badgered constantly for contributions to this or that, and where nothing is free except the air — and even that is polluted! The answer as to why we do all this without charge of any kind is simply because that's the way God says it is to be done. "Freely ye have received, freely give" (Matt. 10:8), commanded Jesus.
How Can You Really Know?
But how can you, or anyone, really know who is teaching, preaching and publishing the true gospel which Jesus Christ taught? Are there not many counterfeits in the world today? Even Jesus prophesied: "For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect" (Matt. 24:24). Even in the days of the Apostle John (about 90 A.D.), he said: "Even now are there many antichrists" (I John 2:18). And the Apostle Paul lamented the fact that there were many false apostles, teaching a counterfeit gospel even in his day. He marvelled that some of the Galatians were so quickly removed from the true gospel unto a spurious gospel: "I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed" (Gal. 1:6-8). And he further repeated that this curse or anathema would fall upon anyone who would pervert and preach a spurious gospel (verse 9). This was written about 20 years after Christ's death. The truth is, so many different, perverted gospels are being taught as the true gospel today, that many do not really know what the true gospel is. Many just would not know how to recognize it. Paul, in his letter to the Corinthian church (written around A.D. 60), warned about those who preached "another Jesus," received "another spirit" and accepted "another gospel" (II Cor. 11:4). The Jesus they preached, the spirit they proffered, the gospel which they taught, were all spurious — were totally foreign to the Apostle Paul. He, therefore, gave this solemn warning: "For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works" (verses 13-15). And you can be assured that false apostles and their counterfeit gospels have greatly multiplied since the, days of the apostles.
Let me tell you how I came to understand the real truth of God — how I proved the truth according to God's Word, and how I proved where God's true Work is being done today. Early in life, through a series of unusual experiences, I was led to the habit of diligent, daily Bible study. I found the Bible the most fascinating, the most inspiring book I had ever read. For years I just could not read the Bible enough. In fact, during a period of about seven years, I read the entire Bible through three or four times, and I probably read the New Testament through six or seven. I found in the book of Proverbs great wisdom and understanding which I knew, as a very young man, I lacked. This inspired me to read Proverbs through, fifteen or twenty times. During those years I became so acquainted with the Bible that I could quote verbatim a half dozen chapters, and knew many hundreds of key scriptures by heart. The Bible was interesting, fascinating. It revealed the answers to why man was put here on this earth. It told man what his destination was, and (most important of all) it showed mankind how to get to that destination — how to achieve eternal life and everlasting joy and fulfillment in the Kingdom of God.
Letting Us Choose
My father and mother belonged to different Protestant churches. There was a clash of their religious beliefs; so my parents agreed to refrain from teaching their denominational views to their children. Rather, they would let us children choose our own religious faith. There were eight children in the family. But at that time only one brother (who was a year older than I) took any interest in diligently studying the Scriptures. When he and I started studying the Bible, our parents were, at first, highly pleased; but when we began studying the Scriptures more than they thought good for us, they became somewhat concerned — for fear we would "go off the deep end." Furthermore, they were puzzled by many of the Bible questions which we kept asking them.
A Doctrine at a Time
One of the first Bible truths which I remember learning was that Christians must keep the commandments of God — must learn to obey God — if ever we expect to enter His eternal Kingdom. But I was surprised and disappointed to hear local ministers, and also many radio preachers, teaching that one did not have to keep the commandments. This I found utterly dumbfounding. How could these preachers claim to be ministers of Jesus Christ, yet teach that the law of God had been nailed to the cross? How could they teach that it was not necessary to keep the commandments? Why did these ministers claim it was unnecessary to keep the Ten Commandments, when the Founder of Christianity had said: "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill [to fill full or perform to the fullest]" (Matt. 5:17). And this same Jesus, when asked by a young man, "What good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?" — had given a plain, unequivocal answer: "If you wilt enter into life, keep the commandments" (Matt. 19:16, 17). And then Christ proceeded to mention five, in order to show that He meant all of the Ten Commandments. But later, I found many who professed to be Christians did not believe it wrong to make or bow in front of images or likenesses if they thought these were likenesses of "Christ," the prophets, or biblical saints. This in spite of the fact that no one knows what Christ, the apostles, the Old Testament prophets, or the holy men and women of the Bible looked like. (Read our free article "Is It Wrong to Have Pictures of Christ?") Nonetheless, here were very devout men and women bowing before, sometimes even kissing, or at least reverencing, religious pictures and/or statues. This was in direct violation to the plain command of God. And then I read where God commanded us to keep His Sabbath day holy. Yet I found many professing Christians who believed it unnecessary to keep that command. This was in spite of the fact that the four Gospels clearly show that Jesus kept the Sabbath, and so did the Apostle Paul according to the book of Acts. It soon became clear to me that I must not believe all I heard from the lips of this world's ministers. When the Scriptures taught that Christ would "magnify the law, and make it honourable" (Isa. 42:21), yet many ministers taught that He through His death abolished the commandments — I somehow knew I should believe God's Word — and not the preachers! The Bible plainly taught: "He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him" (I John 2:4). And the same apostle added: "For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous" (I John 5:3). Yet many of the radio preachers of those years (in the 1940s) were teaching that one did not have to keep God's law. In fact, they seemed to clearly teach that it was a grievous thing for one to keep the law of God — and it might even bring you under a curse!
On My Way to Heaven?
Another shocking truth concerned whether or not God promises that the righteous will go to heaven after death. I had been taught this, had heard it all my life, had read it in religious literature. But as I continued studying the Bible more intensely, even as a very young person, God through His Word made it clear to me that He does not promise heaven as the reward of the saved. Shocking? But true! Hadn't Jesus Christ plainly said: "Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth"? (Matt. 5:5.) And David had been inspired to make a similar statement: "But the meek shall inherit the earth..." (Ps. 37:11). Did God mean that the meek would only live on the earth for part of eternity, then go to heaven? Again, David said: "The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever" (verse 29). This seemed to be conclusive Bible teaching; nonetheless, I found many other plain, clear statements in the Scriptures which taught that the hope of the righteous was not heaven but was a resurrection to life eternal right here on this earth. The Apostle Peter clearly taught that David had not gone to heaven. He said: "Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day" (Acts 2:29). (For even more conclusive scriptural proof that David did not go to heaven, see the article on page 32 of this magazine.) I could see the Bible revealed that the saved do not at death go to heaven to live in the "new Jerusalem" "way up in the clouds." The Apostle John was inspired to write of the "new earth" (Rev. 21:1). Then he described the vision he saw of the holy city to be established on the earth: "And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband" (Rev. 21:2; see also 3:12). Notice verse three: "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them.... "
Was My Soul Immortal?
Another shock to me was to learn that the "soul" is not immortal. "The soul that sinneth, it shall die" (Ezek. 18:4,20). But did Jesus believe the soul was immortal? He plainly commanded us to "fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell" (Matt. 10:28). And the Apostle Paul spoke of Jesus Christ as "the King of kings, and Lord of lords; who only hath immortality..." (I Tim. 6:15, 16). And he also taught that it was "Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel" (II Tim. 1:10). The Bible reveals that Jesus Christ promised immortality as a gift from God — not as something which man receives at birth. No, we were not born with eternal life inherent within us. Notice how this is clearly taught in Romans 2:7. "To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life."
What About Tithing?
One of the Bible teachings which I came to understand in my early years of Bible study was the truth about tithing. Was tithing only commanded for Israel of old, and abolished by Jesus Christ? Many sincere Christians have wondered about this. I found that Jesus Christ never taught against the law of God — whether it was the command forbidding killing, stealing, lying, Sabbath- breaking or even tithing! Christ condemned the overly strict way in which some of the Jewish people of His day kept the Sabbath, as well as their extreme scruples over exactly what should be tithed. But nonetheless, He did not teach against these plain commands of the Bible. Notice His teaching as regards tithing: "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone" (Matt. 23:23). Any way you look at it, it was the abuses in tithing which Christ condemned, not tithing of itself. He taught that both tithe-paying and having "judgment, mercy and faith" were essential! Many fail to realize that God is consistent. It is man who is fickle — not God. Notice how God's unchangeable character and nature is clearly revealed: "For I am the Lord, I change not" (Mal. 3:6). This same changeless God used the tithing system to support His Old Testament Levitical ministry (though tithing was in force even before the time of the Levites), and He still uses the same system today to support God's Work (I Cor. 9:14). It is not God's way for His ministers to have to beg for money, or continually pass the collection plate under the noses of the congregation to finance the preaching and publishing of His Word. Rather, God finances His Work through the system of tithing and freewill offerings. That has always been His way, and He does not change. Many, ignorant of God's commanded tithing system, have, without realizing it, brought a curse upon themselves by failing to give God His rightful due. Remember, our Creator owns this earth and everything upon it, including all gold, silver, houses, lands, goods and all humans. He lets us freely use the bulk of our increase. He does, however, command us to pay one tenth of our income for the financing of His mighty Work which must preach and publish His true gospel worldwide before the catastrophic end of this age. Many feel they can't afford to tithe! How about you? Do you have money, not only for the necessities of life, but also for numerous nonessentials and luxuries? Do you spend lavishly at Christmas — yet have little for God's Work — the most important activity on this earth? Many are under great financial strain — under a load of debts, and are constantly trying to make ends meet. But why is this so? Have you considered that this curse might be because God has withheld the fullness of blessings from you because you have not been faithful to Him and His Work, and have, in fact, actually robbed God? The Prophet Malachi gave the answer to any such cursed income-earner. He asked: "Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation" (Mal. 3:8, 9). The following verses then reveal just how God will abundantly bless that person or nation who faithfully pays his tithe. And, remember, "the scripture cannot be broken" (John 10:35). God cannot lie (Titus 1:2). He will stand behind His promise and "open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it" (Mal. 3:10). Any who have the faith to claim God's promise will be amply rewarded! (For further information on this subject, read our free booklet titled Ending Your Financial Worries.)
A Lone Voice
For years, my brother and I twirled our radio dial, listening to perhaps dozens of different radio ministers. We were seeking the truth. And, we were seeking to find others who really preached the truth. Invariably when we listened to these radio preachers, they taught against the plain teachings of the Bible. It became painfully clear to us that not one of those we listened to really knew or taught the true gospel of Jesus Christ. And this is not said in condemnation. In those years, we were saddened and disappointed to learn that no minister seemed to be teaching the real truth of the Bible. We even wrote off for some literature from numerous radio ministers, but here again, we soon realized the financial contributions we gave them were actually supporting the untruths they we're teaching. Then, in 1945, my brother and I heard a lone voice coming all the way from radio station XEG in old Mexico. We listened intently. The radio voice carried conviction. The speaker spoke with authority! Ah, but would this radio minister — like all the others whom we had listened to for years — would he also prove false, preaching and teaching doctrines diametrically opposite to what we had read in the Bible? We continued listening but feared that the next broadcast would reveal that this radio preacher was just another false teacher, masquerading as a true minister of Christ. Night after night, week after week, month after month we continued listening. But we were happy to learn that this minister, Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong, was teaching exactly what we had learned directly out of the Bible. Then we wrote for The Plain Truth magazine, and also requested numerous booklets. Our search continued for many months, then for years. It appeared to us this man was a lone voice in proclaiming the truth among a veritable babel of radio preachers — all of whom we had found teaching a lot of error, but precious little real Bible truth. At this stage, we still did not know for sure if Mr. Armstrong would go all the way — teaching only what the Bible taught.
Convinced at Last
So in the autumn of 1948, my brother and I appeared early one morning on Mr. Armstrong's doorstep. We wanted to speak to this man with whom we had been corresponding for years. We were intent on asking him further questions regarding certain Bible teachings. To our surprise, and delight, Mr. Armstrong answered all of our questions according to the truth of the Bible. At this point we became convinced that he was a man of God who really did teach the Word of God in truth and in faithfulness. My brother and I entered Ambassador College shortly afterward, in the autumn of 1948. We saw the need of being taught more perfectly in the way of truth which we now knew Mr. Armstrong was faithfully teaching. And let me add that all through four years of college, and even ever since, I have continued to check up and prove the things which Mr. Armstrong and those working with him in the now globe-encircling Work of God were teaching. I wanted to know that not only the teachings but also the lives of Mr. Armstrong and his associates were according to the Bible. I was now convinced that this very Work was indeed the Work of God. That was a quarter of a century-ago.
Since then, I have met many thousands of people who through this Work have been helped, not only to learn Bible truths, but also have been helped in dozens of other ways. Today countless millions are being helped through this mighty work worldwide. Many have written telling us how their marriages have been saved. Not a few have told us how contact with the truth of God, through this Work, prevented them from taking their own lives. And countless thousands of others have had their families blessed through the wonderful teachings of the Bible, as taught by this Work. Many divided families have been once again united. Others, who didn't seem to know how to get and hold a good job, have learned the laws of success through this Work and have become more prosperous. These principles, if followed, will assure real success. Today, many millions are receiving a constant stream of facts, knowledge and understanding from their contact with this Work which is available to them through no other source. They are able to receive God's truth via the TV and radio programs, the magazines and other literature (all for free), which help them to become more enlightened to the real truths of the Bible. Now, countless millions are being told for the first time why they were born, what is their ultimate destiny, and how to live a life which will be pleasing to God — how to live in such a way as to be assured a place in the Kingdom of God.
Prove These Things for Yourself
For over 28 years I have been privileged to have a part in this Work, the Work of God, the most important work or activity on this earth today. And, for nearly a quarter of a century I have spent my time actively, full-time in this mighty Work; and there is no other work or activity on earth which I feel is so worthwhile or which is accomplishing so much good — a Work which is so mightily serving mankind. Why don't you prove where God's Work is — prove where the Creator is working today? Have you really proved what your purpose in life is? Do you realize God promises peace and happiness now — plus a wonderful future to every person who will learn and truly follow His wonderful way of life? (Mark 10:29, 30.) These are important questions. You too can learn the answers to them, if you will be willing to "search the scriptures" (John 5:39; Acts 17:11). How many of you have really learned to search the Scriptures in order to prove whether what you were taught is the real truth? It is high time we all learned to "Prove all things; [and] hold fast that which is good" (I Thes. 5:21). May God help each of you to prove where He is working mightily today. And may He enable you to have the blessing of taking a greater part in that dynamic Work!