Herbert W Armstrong Library
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   I wonder if we always realize just how beautiful this music is that my brother had composed for this Church. I think perhaps a lot of the things in the early part of the Church many of you don't realize and perhaps have not heard or been informed on. But when we first began the College and we were raising up a new church here in Pasadena, a local church; and we already had a couple of churches up in Oregon. They were very small and no real minister to take care of them at all. And my brother had composed a piece that I heard him play, and it was very beautiful. And I'd had the idea, ever since I had been converted, that in the congregation we should be singing the words that God Himself has given us.
   You know, the hymns that we had been singing were just regular hymnals that other churches use; and I noticed that they all seemed to sing the praises of the people. If you get some of those books and read the words that go with many of those hymns, composed by people having no knowledge of the Bible actually, they sing the praises of the people doing the singing; whereas the Psalms that God wrote (and "psalms" really means "songs") sing the praises of God and are meant for the worship of God.
   And so I asked my brother if he would devote his time to composing hymns for the Church, and so he devoted the rest of his life for it. Now I think there are about as many hymns that he composed that have not as yet been printed, and that you have never heard, as there are already in the book. And, in due time, they will come along; and we will be learning news ones. However, we have a great many even as it is. And hearing that number just played with two violins and a piano made me realized—when you hear just for the music, and played as special music—it is beautiful music. So, I will say that much in my brother's memory. He died at the age of eighty; and he had devoted the rest of his life, from back about 1947, to composing the music that we all sing.
   Well, brethren, this afternoon is the last service in the first annual festival of the year. We have festivals three times a year—in the spring, in the summer, and in the fall. We have the Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread in the spring, and this is the second holy day at this time. I want to tell you a little later how we come to be observing these days. But first I want to just say: Do we really understand why we keep them? And do we understand this particular festival of the Feast of Unleavened Bread thoroughly?

Just One Apostle

   You know, we have an entirely different situation today than they did in the days of Jesus and the first original, first century, apostles. I think that we have heard compared a number of times, and some of the things that have been put on the motion picture screen for us, of the comparison of what those apostles had to confront and how it is for the apostle today. And strangely, here's a much bigger world today and many more people in the Church than there were the first year or two in the Church back there where they had twelve apostles. Of course, the number of apostles grew even then; but there were Twelve at the beginning. Yet they had to go afoot, or on horse or mule back, or row a boat by hand; or sometimes they could use a sailboat at the whim of the winds.
   But today we have so many more people, and just one apostle today can carry the message out to millions more people that those Twelve could do in those days. Today we have automobiles; we have the airplane; and we have the printing press. Today we are probably reaching somewhere around twenty to twenty-five MILLION people through the printing press. And we are reaching, undoubtedly, much more that a million every week by television.
   How many people do you think, who just happen to tune in and happen to listen to a program on television? And we're never on the best network stations, or at the best time. How many out of a thousand, or out of two or three thousand, who listen do you think are going to go to the trouble of going to the telephone and calling in to request literature? One or two out of a thousand perhaps, or out of two thousand or three. And yet here we're getting up ten, twelve, fourteen, seventeen thousand telephone calls from one program.
   And that is not even half of the number of people that are writing in to subscribe for the Plain Truth or for other literature. There are still more that come in from newsstands and from other means. And we are reaching people by the millions.

More Ways to Sin

   But there's one other difference between the way conditions were at that time and the way they are today. This is the festival teaching us to come out of sin. By putting leaven out of our houses, it is. The idea is to teach us to put sin out of our lives. Well, there are more sins that have been getting into lives today than there were in the days of the early apostles! I wonder if you realize that? Now, they had all of the natural sins that we still have today. But there are more mechanisms today that increase the amount of sins—more opportunities for sin—with the motion picture, and the automobile, and all of the things that we have today, and the printing press.
   Now Jesus said "as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be" in the days just before His Second Coming, and His return to put an end to all of this kind of sin in this world, and to bring in God's world—the World Tomorrow, the Kingdom of God. And certainly, what He said was true. Sins have multiplied, and increased; and there's so many more ways to sin.
   Now today, instead of coming out of sin, in the world it seems that the public media (not only newspapers and magazines but radio, television, every means of reaching the people) are trying to show people how to sin and get a way with it. In other words, how to avoid the penalty of sin! Not how to avoid the penalty by QUITTING sinning, by coming out of sin; but go ahead and sin, and then avoid the penalty.
   One of the greatest sins today (and it has been ever since, I think, the days of Adam and Eve) and one of the things that Satan is using against the world, perhaps even more than any other area of sin, is sex. I wonder if you ever stop to think that Satan has no sex. He cannot reproduce himself. We have been given such a wonderful God-given opportunity to reproduce ourselves, to have a family relationship—a loving, pleasant, joyful family relationship. Satan and the angels cannot have that.


   Now, I think the angels rejoice; and their mission is to aid and service us who are the heirs of God's salvation into His Kingdom. And it is like the [holy] angels are a good deal like the nanny that…
   For example, I think there are two young princes now in England; and there was a new one born not long ago. But the parents don't really take much care of them. They have a nanny take care of the little kids, or they have servants. Wealthy people have servants to look after their children. But when the child grows up, if he is the heir of a very wealthy father, then he will of course be in a much higher position than the servant. But while he's yet a child, the servant is over him.
   And so, the angels are now higher than we are; and they are here to serve us. They are not only [all] demons. The demons are ruling this world, because Satan is sitting on the throne of the world and not an [ordinary] angel. Satan is a former archangel, but he's sitting on the throne. But the holy angels are there to serve us.
   I could tell you of a number of places; and, as a matter of fact, I remember that I wrote that and added it in the book ["Mystery of the Ages"] that I've been telling you about. That is now complete. And I think (unless we discover something else later that we want to update, or alter, or make an addition to, or something) it's now complete and ready to send to the printers for final printing. And, by the way, we are going to print the book in the Plain Truth serially; and the first issue will come out in about another month or so. I have already turned the copy over to the editors of the Plain Truth. Of course, we have the whole book ready by now. But we hope to have the whole book ready before the Feast of Tabernacles. So it's ready to go to press in just as fast as they can get it printed from now on.

Golda Meir

   But, well, I was going to mention something a minute ago (but I think it's slipped me now) that I added into the book. Well anyway, let me get along. I'm speaking without notes now, and I just have to say what comes to my mind. That reminds me, the last two nights have been a movie on channel 13 about Golda Meir. I wonder if some of you saw that? It was two hours each evening. It was a full four-hour movie. Probably about three hours or a little more originally, but the commercials take up so much time on television; so it took two nights for it.
   It concluded with the time when Anwar Sadat made the famous visit to Jerusalem to declare peace instead of war. And it showed them having some kind of a banquet; and President Sadat had made his speech, and others. Finally, Mrs. Meir was going to have to make a speech. And someone sitting next to her said, "Have you thought about what you're going to say? Do, do, do you have something in mind to say? What are you going to say?" She turned and said. "Did you ever know me when I didn't have anything to say?" [Laughter.] I couldn't help think about myself! [Laughter again.] Maybe I didn't have anything to say when I came out here, but I'll keep saying it nevertheless! [More laughter]
   But I knew Golda Meir, and I knew Anwar Sadat. Anwar Sadat was a very courageous man to have made that visit. And I attributed, so far as you can attribute to carnal people that do not go by God's Holy Spirit, I've attributed greatness to her. She was a very unusual woman; and, so far as the natural mind goes, she said some of the very things to me that were said on this movie towards the end.
   She said to me that she wished that the leaders of the Arab nations could all come and sit across the table from her. She said we could have peace. And she said our scientist and our technicians, and our experts could teach them so many things to help them; and they could produce so much more out of their lands; and they could have so much more of the good things of the world. They could be happier, and we could all be happier. Now, I visited many heads of state, but I have never heard any one else say that about enemies. That was one of the things that I noticed.


   Well, there's one thing: There are more sins, and more opportunities to sin, today. And the whole effort is to make sin possible and to then avoid the penalty, to try to cheat God out of the penalty. Now the wages of sin, finally, is death; and all the scientists and technicians in the world are never going to cheat God out of that! However, most of them are asleep at the switch; and they don't know what they are doing. Jesus prayed on the cross, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." [Luke 23:34] And really, I think that far more than 99% of the people in the world just know not what they are doing when they're sinning.
   There's so little of the right kind of education in this world, and their minds have not been open to the truth of God. Satan has blinded them, and they are blind. But one of the things he's tempting people on, almost more than any other one thing today, is sex. Now, they try to make it possible to enjoy illicit sex in a way that God never intended. And in so doing, they enjoy the beauty of sex (as God intended in marriage, and then the production of children, lovely little children to come along and the beautiful family relationship of real genuine love) for a temporary sensation.
   So today, they're beginning to find that what they sow they reap. Now we have the new diseases. Now AIDS, coming from homosexuality, so they try to justify homosexuality. Instead of trying to do away with it, and teach it for what it is; they say, "Well, it's just his sexual preference." Well, indeed it is! And sin seems to be the preference of most people—instead of righteousness. Do you ever think about what is your preference, brethren? Is it sin? Or is it righteousness?
   Because, again, I've mentioned before… (Let's see, was it in the sermonette this morning or was it the sermon this morning? I mean, was it the sermonette this afternoon or was it the sermon this morning?) Anyway, someone mentioned how I had said that sin is the absence of righteousness. That's precisely what it is. And righteousness brings so much peace, and happiness, and joy! It is the absence of that which brings sorrow, and suffering, and pain, and anguish, discouragement, frustration, remorse; and those consequences are not happy. They're not pleasant. And that's what the world is suffering.
   I think they say that… I heard a statement the other day. I don't remember the exact figure, but nobody who had AIDS a certain number of months ago (a couple of years or something like that, or three) is still alive today. They know of no cure. And yet they don't say, "Let's give up homosexuality, and begin to obey God's laws." They say, "No, let's break God's laws; and let's try to find a way round it." And so, the scientists now are trying desperately to find a cure for AIDS. "Let people go ahead and break God's law, let them bring on this disease; and then let us find some way to cheat God by a medicine that will cure it."
   And let me tell you THERE IS NOT A CURE IN A THOUSAND CAR LOADS, OR A MILLION FREIGHT CAR LOADS, OF MEDICINES AND DRUGS! There just isn't. There may be temporary relief. But you know even the government wont let you put 'cure' in advertising any kind of medicine. You can say 'relief.' You can't say 'cure.'
   Then much in the news in the last couple of days has been another one that I frankly had not heard of. Although I have written a textbook on the subject of sex, this is something I think that has come along since; and I had not heard of it—the I.U.D. I had a hard time remembering that, because they only use initials today. They don't want to speak the whole words out. And I have to think it's 'I' and 'U' and then 'D.' And a lot of women have been experimenting with that as a contraceptive. And they're finding that once she uses it, now in so many cases, it makes her barren. And some wives, in order to postpone another pregnancy for a year or two, have used this; and then they find they can never have another child when they want one.
   YOU CAN'T CHEAT GOD'S LAWS AND GET AWAY WITH IT, BRETHREN. YOU CANNOT DO IT! I hope we have the sense to know that. The world does not have that kind of sense. They want to break God's laws; and then use some means of a drug or a medicine, or have science invent something, that will let them sin and then avoid the penalty.
   They throw sex at you in every way today on television. I think it was this morning there was a sermon, yes, about turning on x-rated movies on television if you have the, oh, one of these additions to your television set that you can get now so that you can have the rottenest kind of sex coming right into your living room. And a lot of people like to feast their eyes on something of that sort. Well, we were advised in the morning sermon against that sort of thing.

BOOK: Mystery of the Ages

   Now I thought it might be interesting this afternoon if you would know a little more about why you are here, and how you came to know about these holy days. Here we are on a Friday. What are we doing here on a Friday, anyway? The world will probably think we're crazy. I've explained some of this before, but I think I haven't explained what I'd like to say now in quite the same detail. I thought you might be interested in hearing about it. But I think it's pretty well known that I was challenged in the autumn of 1926, both on the subject of evolution and of the Sabbath Day. My wife began to keep the Sabbath. To me, that was religious fanaticism. I had lost interest in church and religion since I'd been 18 years of age. I was interested in business.
   When I was challenged, I began to study evolution first. Now it was quite convincing, many of the arguments; but there were a few little missing links that changed the whole complexion when I discovered them. Ultimately, I proved evolution is a false theory. I can absolutely, completely, disprove evolution; and I have done it. And I have caused 'dyed in the wool' evolutionists to admit that I've proved it.
   But they say, oh, but they have to go on accepting it and believing it anyway; because they've just been wedded to it for so long, they wouldn't know how to live without believing in evolution. Well that's the atheist explanation of the presence of a creation without the supreme mind of a Creator to have designed and thought out everything and brought it into being by a creation through a Creator.
   So I began to wonder. I said, "I had always supposed there is a God. I've been taught that, ever since I was able to know anything, as I was taken to church from the time I was born. Now, maybe I'd been misled? Maybe they were right, maybe there is no God?" I said, "I've got to have PROOF!" Why do you believe there's a God? So many of you, brethren, have not really seen the proof. You've heard it, and heard it; and taken it for granted. There are a lot of people in the world that say, "Oh, I believe in God all right." Now they don't believe God. He's not a part of their lives. But they'll say, "Well, I believe there is a God. I believe God exists." That's what they mean. Well, they've never proved it. They just heard it and taken it for granted.
   I couldn't take it for granted any longer. I had to KNOW! And I was studying day and night, and often up to one or two-o-clock in the morning; till my wife would call out and say, "Are you ever coming to bed? You need to get some sleep." And I would be up early enough in the morning to get down to the library in Portland, Oregon by nine-o-clock, when they opened, and begin another day's study. I proved the existence of God.
   And then I wanted to go further. Could I believe the Bible? I was going to go into the Koran and into the religious writings of other religions. But I said I would take the Bible first, because it's the book out of which the Christian religion comes; and that's the religion of this country.
   Well, at first I thought the religion of Christianity came out of the Bible; but, in my study, I found that it doesn't. They try to read it into the Bible; but they are teaching precisely the opposite—the very antithesis—of what the Bible says on most important things. They don't know what the gospel is. They don't know what salvation is. They don't know how you get it. They don't know what man is, or why he is. They don't know who and what God is.
   No religion on Earth knows. That's why I decided to write this book, "The Mystery of the Ages." WHO AND WHAT IS GOD? Can you prove He exists? Why is it that people say, "Well, God isn't real to me? God just doesn't seem real." I've heard people say that. Well, we try to make it real—as real as I can in writing—in the book.
   There are many nations over in the east (in the Far East) that believe in evil spirits, and various kinds of spirit gods, and spirit worship; and people for thousands of years have believed things like that. Well, what about it? Are there such? Are there spirits? Are there angels? Why? What are they? Why are they? Did God create a devil? That's a mystery. This book had to explain all that.
   Then man… You see, I was thinking in the summer of 1926 before this challenge came. I remember it so absolutely vividly, just as if it was only yesterday. I was trying to reason out. I supposed I was an immortal soul at that time. And I was trying to reason out: "If I'm an immortal soul, what will happen to me when I die? And just who and what am I?" And you know the more I thought, and tried to philosophize my way around it, and tried to come to an answer; but it was a mystery. I couldn't understand it. But in the study that began that autumn of 1926, I finally found out what a man is, a human being. The mystery of man—that's chapter three in the book.
   And then this civilization that has come from man, how did it develop? A civilization that now in the twentieth century has produced awesome results! Going to the moon and back, the automobile, all the farm implements—most all have been invented either in the last part of the last nineteenth century or in this century, many in this century. Phenomenal progress, and yet people can't solve their own problems. Troubles are escalating. Problems seem unsolvable by human beings. Great minds that can produce great technological advances still cannot solve their problems in their own homes or with their next-door neighbor. We can't solve political problems; we can't solve economic and industrial problems, capital and labor, problems between nations, wars, everything wrong. How did this civilization develop? That's a mystery.
   Ancient Israel, why should there be a chosen people? Did God discriminate?
   Then, why the Church? Why is there a Church? What is the Church? Why is it? Is there any reason for it? Does it have a purpose, and what is it? The world doesn't know. The ministers of the churches don't know. And the whole message that God sent by Jesus Christ—His gospel—was the Kingdom of God; and they don't know that. The ministers don't preach it today. They preach a gospel about the person, about the messenger; but the message that He brought they say nothing about. That finally comes to be chapter seven.
   And when we get through that, that's only still the beginning. But, in that study, I had proved the existence of God. Then I had absolutely proved to my own satisfaction—absolutely proved the authority of the Bible—that it is definitely the Word of God, the Creator God; that it is 100% true in its original writings.
   Of course, we have translations; and a few errors might have crept in here and there. But there are so many translations, and there have been so many copied, that we can get to the exact truth if we just have a little bit of patience and are willing to study a little bit. We don't need to be in doubt about any point.


   Now in that study, finally of course, I had proved that God exists. I had disposed of evolution, but I hadn't yet disposed of this Sabbath question. And I was reading everything that the Methodists and other people had for Sunday and against the Sabbath. Of course, I was reading what Seventh Adventists had and what the Sardis Era of the Church of God had about the Sabbath; but I wasn't believing what they said, necessarily. I was only using that as a guide to what was in the Bible, and to see whether they had that correct; but the main point was what does the Bible say? And I had finally come to the place where I was just about to accept the Sabbath. And that meant 'eating crow' to me because, in a dispute as intense as this was, a man doesn't like to admit that his wife was right and he was wrong. But I was just about to accept it, and then I came across a booklet written by a dissenter from the Seventh Day Adventist church.
   Now they have had dissenters from their church, just the same as we have. And here was a dissenter who had written something to try to prove that the Adventists were wrong about the Sabbath. And he had in this book, had gone through all of the passages in the Bible where the Sabbath, the monthly new moons, and the annual holy days were mentioned. And they are mentioned many times—all three of those mentioned together.
   Then he came to Colossians 2:14 and 16. And he said, "Don't you see? There they are, and they are from the Old Testament; and that does away with the Sabbath!" And I told my wife, I said, "Well, I was just about to accept the Sabbath; but," I said, "this knocks it all on the head. This is a former Seventh Day Adventist. And this shows that those days are done away. And it includes the weekly Sabbath as well. It says these holy days and new moons are all done away, and that means the Sabbath is done away with it."
   And my wife was worried sick. When I told her that, she didn't sleep that night. She prayed all night long. And in the morning, by the time I awakened in the morning, she told me to go back to the library. And she said, "I want ask you one thing. I want you to do this, before you make a final decision. I want you to go through Colossians 2:16, and look up every single word in the original Greek language and get the meaning; and you will see." She said, "God has shown me though the night, and I know that there is a word there that has been mistranslated; and when you get that straightened out, it does not do away with the day."
   "Well," I said, "I can't believe that; but I'll certainly go down and look up these words in the original Greek language." So, I got a Greek text; and I took the words, one by one. And I looked up each Greek word in the lexicon, which gives the definition in the English language of each Greek word. And I finally came to a word 'respect.' Now I want to take time to show you what it was, so I have asked Aaron Dean to come out and read the text. I can't bring a Bible and read it to you. Aaron?
   [Aaron Dean] "Yes, Sir."
   You're there. Will you read Colossians 2:14 first?
   Colossians 2:14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross.
   A handwriting of ordinances, now nailing it to the cross. The idea was that all this is nailed to the cross; and that meant that the Sabbath was nailed to the cross, and the holy days. Now it says in that verse, "handwriting of ordinances." Well, I thought it meant this—what Moses had, and that included the Sabbath and everything.
   Now verse 16, if you will read it.
   Colossians 2:16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days.
   Now, I get an echo over here. I didn't hear every word of it, but I know it pretty well by heart. It talks about in respect of a holy new… Let's see. What is it—the Sabbath, holy day, and new moon?
   [Aaron Dean] "Holy day, new moon, and then Sabbath."
   The holy day, new moon, and the Sabbath. Now, I'd already read this. And you see, that is what got me because verse 14 talked about nailing to the cross; and in verse 16 there was the holy day, the new moon, and the Sabbath day. And I said, "That does away with the Sabbath." I said, "We know…" I said, "even the Adventist's admit that the annual holy days are done away with. They don't observe these annual Sabbaths."
   So I went to the library, and I came to the word 'respect'. I looked up every word in Colossians 2:16. And I saw that the word for 'respect'—the original Greek word is m-e-r-e-i ; and it means part, parcel, portion, or observance of. And I looked further into commentaries, and I'd looked up in different lexicons; and one lexicon said that one definition of m-e-r-e-i is sacrificial meat observance. Sacrificial meat observance.
   I went back and looked it over; and I said, "Well, that's what's done away! That's what is nailed to the cross." In every one of the texts—wherever the annual holy days, the monthly new moons, the weekly Sabbaths are mentioned together—every place in the Bible there were animal sacrifices held on those days. There was an animal sacrifice every Sabbath and every new moon. And every time that you could possibly mention, there were animal sacrifices. And separate from the things that happened daily otherwise. Then I began to see that what was done away was the observances.
   I began to see (from a further study of Colossians and of Romans, not Colossians, but rather of Romans and Galatians) that "the works of the law" meant "the rituals of the law." And it was not talking about the Ten Commandments (a spiritual law), but a PHYSICAL law. And I found out that God had added [physical ritual observances], besides statutes and judgments.
   Now, statutes and judgments were the national law of the land. We have a national law of the land in the United States that's the Constitution of the United States. We have many national laws that are made by Congress in Washington. We have state laws made by the state legislature up in Sacramento. Then we have ordinances made by the city council, and we have even county laws, and so on.
   The laws that regulated one person's relationship to another person within the nation were the statutes and judgments. But God added another code of law to ancient Israel, and that was the…often they are called rituals. In other words, they were physical things to do morning, noon and night—every day. And they included special animal sacrifices every Sabbath, every new moon, and every annual holy day (or annual Sabbath. "High day Sabbath" the Jews will call it still today, a high day.)
   And so I saw that what was nailed to the cross was the physical ordinances. They had been a SUBSTITUTE for the Holy Spirit. God had CLOSED UP the Tree of Life in the days of Adam and Eve. And the Tree of Life had been closed up UNTIL Christ would come to sit on the throne and do away with Satan; and He hasn't done that yet. The Tree of Life is closed up from the world, and still is today! And today there are some CALLED OUT OF THE WORLD for some special purpose, and that's the Church. But Jesus said, "No man can come to Me (in the Church), except the Father which sent Me draw him." In other words, those coming into the Church are the called out ones; and God the Father calls them out, draws them to Him. And the world does not understand that.


   The new book I'm writing will make every bit of this so plain, so clear. Now it's going to take you a long time to read it. It'll be over 400 pages. You are not going to read this book at one sitting. You are not going to read it in any one day. And by all means, when you get a copy of this book, I want you (after you have read it) to go back and read it again—because there are many things that you are going to forget that you read in chapters one, two, and three by the time you get the chapters six and seven. And with that in your mind, you go back and read it all over; and it'll all make sense. And, if you don't do that, you're likely to still be mixed up.
   There's nothing essentially 'new' in this new book. Let me explain that. But the Bible is like a jigsaw puzzle. Like it's cut up into a few thousand pieces, each one in a different form and shape—little curlicues, and some oblongs, triangles, and squares, rectangles. But in different forms and shapes, and there's only one way that one piece will go with certain other pieces. They'll go together no other way. And when you get them together, it forms a beautiful picture, a jigsaw puzzle.
   That's the way the Bible is. It's in different parts here and there, any one subject. You study the Sabbath, and you find some of it the second chapter of Genesis; and you find some of it clear back in Revelation, clear to end of Revelation. You'll find it all the way through—a little here, a little there. So the Bible itself tells you, in the book of Isaiah, that God has made it a coded Book; and it is here a little, there a little.
   Well, the book I am writing is trying to take all those pieces and put them together in time sequence; and still it's only a synopsis. In other words, I'm covering the root, the trunk of the tree, and the major branches. But the little minor branches and the twigs, I'm not trying to fill in. It is a sort of… Oh, what is the word I want to think of? Well it's a summary, anyway. But it explains it so you can begin to understand the Bible. And it is the Bible made plain. That's what it will be.
   Aaron Dean and I have been working very hard on this. And since I can't see to read anything any more, he has to sit there and read to me. I start to type on the typewriter; and every time I stop, he has to come and read what I wrote and set the typewriter for the next word. And I hit the wrong key quite often; but he is able to figure out where I hit the wrong key and correct it. That is the way we get things done.
   You know, if you read the booklet on the Seven Laws of Success, you'll find that one of the laws is having the… Oh, now, what's the word I want? You not only have to have education and drive, but you have to have the… Someone will have to tell me the word, I guess. It won't come to me. The ingenuity to think your way through it, anyway. And then you have to stick with it and never give up. Well, I've tried to practice that; and the job is still getting done. There is always a way.
   I find, now, we're serving handicapped people over in Jordan. And I can really suffer to an extent with them and appreciate them, because I find I have quite a handicap now. And I find that you can go ahead and get things done in spite of a handicap. That's a thing a lot of people would learn, and I suppose some people have not learned it.


   Now, how did this all start? How did sin start? It started in the Garden of Eden. God had one man created. Now that man, as far as he went, was perfect. God saw whatever He had created, and it was not just good. It was very good, very good. But He hadn't finished it yet. Now I've said so many times, there is so much duality in the Bible; and in this book you will find the duality is mentioned dozens of times all the way through. There's so much duality—the first and the second. The first is usually physical. The second is spiritual. The Old and the New Covenant. The first Adam and the second Adam.
   Adam was made in sort of a dual process. First God made the man. God's purpose was to reproduce Himself. But He started out with a physical man, made from the dust of the ground. The man, as far as he went, was made very good. You could call it perfect. Physically, he was absolutely perfect. There was nothing wrong with him. As long as he observed nature's laws, he wouldn't be sick. But he was not complete yet. His creation had not been quite completed. God wanted him to reproduce, and he couldn't do it; so God had to complete him by putting him into a deep sleep. (That's exactly what they do when they operate on you in the hospital. We call that anesthesia.) And then God operated on him, and God took out one of his ribs.
   And, you know, there's a little point there that may interest some of you. A lot of people say, "Well, if God did that, how come we all don't come short of one rib?" Well, you know, acquired characteristics are not carried on by heredity. A man can have a leg amputated, a finger amputated or a toe; but that doesn't mean when he has children that they will have it amputated, or gone, and be born without one. So Adam's children had the full number of ribs when they were born.
   But He made a woman out of one of Adam's ribs. The woman wasn't made from the dust of the ground. She was made from the man. Now, right now one of the things—one of the evils—that are coming along… God made the man to rule over the woman, but it was the kind of ruling in love. God is a ruler, but God is love. His mercy is as great towards us as the heavens are high above the Earth. As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us, if we repent and because He paid the penalty in our stead through Christ.
   That is the way a man should rule over his wife. It is a loving supervision. Loving her as himself. Sometimes a man loves his wife more than himself; and does things for her that he shouldn't, that are not good for her. A lot of men love to please their wives, and still they neglect the right kind of leadership over them. This rule is merely leadership. Loving leadership—that's what it is.
   And so man was finally physically complete, but not mentally. He still just had one spirit, with a brain; and that gave him human mind—with perhaps several million times greater output than an animal brain, and yet the brain is the same. And the animal brain is just as good. The difference is that there is a spirit in man, but man is not a spiritual being.
   On the television this morning, I heard a man say that. I was watching my program this morning on television, and there was another program following mine. I won't mention the man's name. He will mention mine. He says I don't have any credibility. I don't think he has any either [Laughter], but I don't have to mention his name.
   Anyhow, he was saying that God formed man of the dust of the ground; and he became a spiritual being. That is not so! The Bible doesn't say that. A spiritual being is spirit, is become spirit, and can't die. And God said to this soul, "You shall surely die" if you take of the forbidden tree. And "the soul that sinneth, it shall die." And so the soul is not spiritual.


   Anyway, then God had created the woman. And how did sin start? Well, Satan slipped in. Now as to whether Eve had stolen away from Adam and Satan got to her alone, or whether Satan got to her while she was right there in Adam's presence, frankly, the Bible doesn't state. It does say that when Eve was tempted and deceived that "she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat." [Genesis 3:6]
   Now, at that time, the husband was there with her. Well, was he with her at the time Satan tempted her? The Bible just doesn't say one way or the other. I'd always assumed she'd stolen away from him, and he should have been looking after her. Now, perhaps so. And, if so, she came back to take it; and her husband was with her when she took the fruit, but might not have been with her when the Devil tempted her. I don't know. I only know what God says. When I tell you these things, I'm only telling you what God reveals; and you can check up on it. It's all in the Bible, and you can see it the same as I can.
   I'm not giving you things that I made up in my mind. I didn't originate the truths that I teach. But I learned them the same way the apostle Paul did, directly from Jesus Christ. But, you see, Jesus Christ in person was on Earth and taught Paul. And, but, Jesus... The Bible is Jesus Christ in writing. It's the same Word exactly. Jesus Christ in person was the Word of God, and the Bible in print is the Word of God; and they're both the same. I just learned it from the printed Word; and he learned it from the verbal Word and from Jesus in person, who spoke to him. But the Word was the same, precisely the same.
   Now, they disobeyed God. They sinned. And when they did, God closed the Tree of Life. And it was closed UNTIL the second Adam would come, and remove Satan from the throne, and sit on that throne. As long as Adam had obeyed Satan, Adam and his family were to be Satan's kidnapped children. And this world is being held hostage.

Qualify to Rule

   And Jesus came to pay the ransom price for the kidnapping, when He paid for our sins. And so all through time, up till now, the Tree of Life has remained CLOSED! That's why the world can't understand. And again in Ephesians 4, the first few verses up to verse 4, you will read how Satan has deceived the world and blinded them. And blinded them, so they can't see spiritually. They can't see the truth.
   Now, when Jesus came, He was the second Adam. But He did not come to sit on that throne. Jesus came… (Now I want you to get this, because I haven't put it quite this way before.) Jesus came first to QUALIFY to sit on that throne, where the first Adam failed. The first Adam could have qualified to sit on that throne, and replace Satan; but he failed. Jesus came, and He had to meet Satan head on; and He conquered Satan. Satan tried to conquer Him. That was the most titanic battle ever fought! No great war involving millions of people and shedding of much human blood has ever been as titanic a battle as the one that Jesus fought when He had fasted forty days and forty nights and was tempted of the Devil in the three very great temptations, both physical and spiritual. You read of it in the fourth chapter of Matthew, the first verses.
   Jesus had to come… He couldn't just come and sit on the throne. He had to come and QUALIFY. Now He didn't have to be taught how to do it. He already knew that. But He came to call others out of this world, to join Him in sitting on that throne when He was going to sit in the throne.
   HE DIDN'T COME TO SAVE THE WORLD! He made no effort to save the world. Not once can you find Him begging people to give their hearts to Him. Not once did He promise them the Holy Spirit if they would only accept Him and receive Him. Not once! Not once did He go out, or did He send anyone out, on a soul saving crusade.
   On the contrary: He was walking up through Samaria, and He came to Jacob's well; and there was a woman, a Gentile woman. And He mentioned… He asked her to give Him some water, draw a little water out of the well. He was thirsty. And He said she wondered who He was. She said, "How come You, a Jew, would ask me, a…?" Oh, they were Samaritans; and the Jews would call them 'dogs,' and would have nothing to do with them. And it was surprising that He would even talk to her, because Jews would not. And she asked Him, "How come?"
   And He answered her, "If you knew who has asked you for that cup of water, you would ask Him to give you living waters; and He could give you living waters, and you would never thirst." Well, right away, she did ask Him. She said, 'Well, give me of this living water." By "living water," He spoke of the Holy Spirit. Oh, what a wonderful chance for Him to say, "Daughter, if you confess Me now, you can have the Holy Spirit. You'll go to heaven when you die!" [Laughter.] He didn't say anything of the kind!
   You know what He said to her? He told her about her sins. He said, "Go call your husband." Well, she looked a little strange at that. "Well, er, er," she said. "I have no husband." "Well," Jesus said in effect, "for once you've told the truth (as if she'd never been accustomed to telling the truth). You've had five husbands, and the one you're living with now is not your husband." Well, she wondered, "How did He know all that about me? He never saw me before."


   No, He wasn't on a soul saving crusade. HE SAID, "NO ONE CAN COME TO ME EXCEPT THE FATHER WHICH HAS SENT ME DRAW HIM!" Now, WHY? Why is the Church the firstfruits? Brethren, today we're ending the first festival—the spring festival. And we begin to look now towards fifty days from last Sunday, and we come to the time of the day of Pentecost—or, the Feast of Firstfruits—picturing the Church as the firstfruits of God's salvation.
   Why are we the firstfruits? Is God discriminating against the rest of the world, when He calls us out and says others can't come to Him? We have been predestinated to come to Christ. You have been PREDESTINATED, if you have God's Holy Spirit. Otherwise you wouldn't have God's Holy Spirit.
   But now, why are we the firstfruits? Why is God not calling the rest of the world? Why are we being called to become teachers in the World Tomorrow? We're going to be called "kings and priests." [Revelation 5:10] As kings, we will rule. Jesus said to us in the Church (not to anyone outside of the Church), "If you overcome, you will be given power over the nations to rule them with a rod of iron." [Revelation 2:26-27]
   Revelation 3:21 [paraphrased] He that overcometh, to him will I grant to sit with me in my throne (when He sits on Satan's throne), even as Jesus did overcome and is now set down with His Father on His Father's throne (in God's heaven).
   We're called for a SPECIAL reason. Now, why are we called now? WHY? Is God discriminating against the rest of the world? Or is He discriminating against us? We have to fight Satan. And when they're [called], when God finally saves them, they won't have Satan to fight—because He's not going to call and save them until Satan is put away.
   All right, let me tell you something you never thought of before. Now open your ears please and listen, because here is a truth I think you haven't thought of. Jesus had to come and QUALIFY by OVERCOMING Satan before He could sit on that throne. We are going to sit with Him on that throne. So, we have to be called at a time when WE qualify by also having to overcome Satan. "He that overcometh." What do you overcome? Satan, and the world (Satan's world), and your own self (that Satan's already inoculated his spirit and attitude into you).
   THAT'S WHY WE'RE THE FIRSTFRUITS. WE HAVE TO QUALIFY DURING SATAN'S REIGN! The rest of the world will be called when Satan is not reigning any longer. Now you never heard that before, brethren. God has called me as one to whom He can reveal His truth, and through whom He's revealed the truths that you have. He revealed the truth to me.
   I started to tell you at the beginning of the service this afternoon—how God called me back at the fall of 1926, and how I came to this about the Sabbath and Colossians 2:16. When I saw that the days weren't being done away with, but that the sacrificial meat offerings on the days were done away with (and only the physical things, but not the spiritual things); then I said, "Then the days are not nailed to the cross. The days are not done away with." And I said to my wife, "That means you're not keeping enough of the Sabbath. You're only keeping the weekly Sabbaths, and we've got to keep the annual Sabbaths as well." And she was overjoyed! She could see it right away [Laughter]; because now I could see the Sabbath, and I could see that it meant the annual Sabbaths as well.

Has Elijah Come?

   Brethren, so far as I know, no one else on earth except those or those who got it from us (and that's very few) are observing God's annual Sabbaths. It just has not been done through these ages. God said someone was to come and restore the truths that had been lost; and they were lost mostly during the very first century of the Church, over nineteen hundred years ago.
   You know, there's a prophecy about John the Baptist. Well, the prophecy's about Elijah. But if you read in {1} Malachi 3 and verses 1-5, it is talking not about someone preparing the way about Christ's first coming, but when Christ comes to sit on the throne of the Earth and remove Satan. You read verse 1, and you can apply that to John the Baptist. But you read on through verse 2, 3, 4 and 5; and you'll find it's talking about the second coming of Christ, the things that He will do then. But He did none of those things that are in verses 2, 3, 4, and 5 when He came the first time.
   Now, John the Baptist did fulfill verse 1. Even Jesus said so. Jesus said that he had come in the power and spirit of Elijah. [Matthew 17:12-13] Was he Elijah? No, he wasn't. They asked John the Baptist, "Are you Elijah?" He said, "No, I am not." [John 1:21] And he wasn't a liar. He knew the truth. He was not Elijah.
   Am I Elijah? No, definitely not.
   Now, huh, I've met "Elijah." [Laughter] "Elijah" has come and announced to me that he was Elijah, but I showed him the way out of the office. [Laughter] I didn't believe him. I suppose there're a lot of "Napoleons" around and a lot of "Elijahs." Even one came into one of our offices one time and said he was "Jesus Christ." Well, he got thrown out. And, if he was Christ, he couldn't have been thrown out. Christ was too strong for that. So there are some crackpots around. But just because we have truth doesn't mean we are crackpots by any matter of means.
   In the 17th chapter of Matthew, you find the transfiguration—when a couple of apostles were with Jesus; and, in the transfiguration, they saw a vision. And there was Christ as He will be in His second coming, in glory; and with Him were Moses and Elijah. And He said, "Don't tell anyone until after." (I think it was after His crucifixion.) But then the disciples asked Him, "Well, how do they say now that Elijah shall yet come?" At that time, John the Baptist had already come and had been taken prisoner; and his ministry was all finished. And, undoubtedly, he had already had his head taken off and was dead.
   And they asked Jesus, "How do they say that Elijah shall first come?" before the Day of the Lord and before Christ's second coming. And Jesus answered, "Truly, Elijah SHALL COME and restore all things." What was He talking about, brethren? John the Baptist did NOT restore anything! He came and called those who already knew. He didn't restore knowledge to them. He called them to repentance and baptized them in a baptism of repentance. But he didn't teach them new knowledge. Jesus did that. Jesus was the one who came as a teacher. John the Baptist was a baptizer, not a teacher. But Jesus said (after John the Baptist had come and gone) that ELIJAH WOULD YET COME, before the second coming of Christ and before the Day of the Lord.
   Has anything been restored? The original truth that was lost has been restored to this Church. Brethren, these are days when God's prophecies are being fulfilled! And we don't have too much longer until even the second coming of Christ is going to occur.
   Now, every now and then I see that some crackpot gets something out saying that I have said I am going to live until the second coming of Christ. I don't remember ever having said that. And, I'll tell you, I have no reason whatsoever to believe that, absolutely no reason in the world to believe it. I will just say this: I'll live as long as Jesus Christ and God the Father want me to live. My life belongs to Them. It's not mine. As long as He wants to keep me here, I will be here. And, if I die, it's because He's going to let me die. And that may be before tomorrow morning. I don't know. I absolutely don't know.
   For your sakes, I want to stay on. I feel a lot like the apostle Paul did when he said he would like to go and be with Christ, but it was needful to them that he stay on longer. [Philippians 1:23-24] It's the same way now. So, I'll try to take care of myself so that I can stay on as long as God wants me to. I will try to continue to lead you into the truth, but there are those who would love to destroy that truth.

Special Mission

   We are the firstfruits. Now think of why. We are going to come to that holy day next. It will be only fifty...less than fifty days now. Fifty days from last Sunday. That is the Feast of Firstfruits; and we have to come to realize that we are called as the firstfruits because we are called to have to qualify to sit on that throne, the same as Jesus did.
   Now, we'll be under Him; but we will be made VERY GOD, the same as He is made God, by a resurrection from the dead. If we die between now and then, we will be resurrected immortal as GOD BEINGS. If we're still alive, we'll be "changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye" [I Corinthians 15:51-52]; and rise (not in an airplane, but just rise up in the air by yourself without wings); and meet Him in the clouds in the air [I Thessalonians 4:16-17]. And everybody will come down over the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, or just to the east of the main city of Jerusalem. That's why we go up in the air. God's going to get everybody over there in a hurry. And I think somehow you'll go faster than you would in an airplane. I don't know just how God is going to work that out. We'll wait and see.
   But we're living in the very last days. Sin is increasing by leaps and bounds. Sin is coming at you and being thrown at you, in every way and from every direction, as never before.
   Now we've had seven days to show us that we have to put sin out of our lives. We're called for a special mission. We are special with God. But that puts the responsibility on you—to resist sin, to put sin out of your lives; and put the righteousness of God in, and to hunger and thirst for God's righteousness.
   Brethren, I've come to see why I should hunger and thirst for God's righteousness. You see, every bit of pain and suffering, every bit of stress, mental torment of any kind, every bit of everything that is unhappy and unpleasant comes from sin. If you are righteousness, that's the absence of sin; and sin is the absence of righteousness. But if you get rid of the sin and supplant it with God's righteousness, then you have none of those things to worry about.
   I think about God; and God has no worries, no frustrations. God has full confidence and faith, and full assurance. God is supremely happy. The only thing that could possibly make Him unhappy is some of us, and maybe we do. But I think He loves us so much He's willing to suffer that for us, if necessary; and He does.
   But I do hunger and thirst for His righteousness, because it means the absence of the consequences of sin. This world is trying to do away with the consequences of sin, AND THEY CAN'T DO IT! And they are not accomplishing it, and they never will. The consequences of sin are going to be there. We should come out of it all together.
   Now look forward to the next festival, the Feast of Firstfruits; and remember we're called. And we're only starting now in getting sin out of our lives, and growing in knowledge and in grace, and overcoming constantly, and enduring to the end.
   Well, God bless you and help every one of you. And keep close to Him.

{1} Editorial note: Mr. Armstrong inadvertently said the wrong name for the book. The original says, "But if you read in Elijah 3 and verses 1-5…"

Last Day of Unleavened Bread

Sermon Date: April 12, 1985
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