Today's news is all bad news. You've heard, of course, about the good news and the bad news; and today it's all bad news in the papers and in newscasts. But out of all the Middle East strife, out of the Poland situation, out of all of these trouble spots in the world, what great world-shaking bad news event is going to happen next before we get the good news?
I can tell you on absolute authority, only the Living God can tell us what is really going to happen. Private prognosticators have no authority; they know nothing about it, but God does tell us in Bible prophecies.
Now the Bible is God speaking; it is God speaking. It is the very Word of God. And approximately one-third of the Bible is devoted to prophecy. And yet it seems almost no one understands Bible prophecy. One thinks this, another thinks that, and another thinks something else. That is because they have lost the key that would unlock Bible prophecy to understanding. And believe it or not that key is the identity of the United States and the English-speaking people in the Bible.
Do you know that we are spoken of in the Bible many, many places? You know the Bible speaks of Egypt; it speaks of Ethiopia; it speaks of little nations. Could it omit, and could it ignore a great nation like the United States and like the British peoples? It does not!
I've mentioned many times, and I hadn't intended to mention it on this program, but I want to tell you once again about a book that I have: 'The United States and Britain in Prophecy.' Where are we mentioned in the Bible? It will open your eyes. You have never heard anything like it. Read this for yourself; read it for yourself. Look into the Bible — see it in the Bible for yourself. It will amaze you, it will shock you. Yes it is shocking! I'll mention this again at the close of the broadcast and I'll give you the mailing address. And you can have it free, no charge, no cost, no obligation, no follow-up, no request for money. And you don't ordinarily hear of anything like that; not on any other program, I'm sure. But you need to understand Bible prophecy.
The Book of Revelation Now the book of Revelation, I've been speaking a great deal about the book of Revelation. It is the chief book of prophecy in the New Testament. The book of Revelation is a story flow of events from the time of Christ actually, on clear to the Second Coming of Christ. From the time that He was on earth 1950 some years ago until His Second Coming.
Now in past programs I have covered a great deal about the book of Revelation. I've covered it pretty well up to, well, into the seventh and eighth chapters and even a little bit into the thirteenth and the seventeenth chapters. But to reveal what now next is going to absolutely stun and dumbfound this world is a very special event that is going to happen next! And to explain that I must backtrack a little bit now; we must go back into the sixth chapter of the book of Revelation which I had covered, but I skipped over this portion of it before.
Now I wish you would remember once again it is the revelation of Jesus Christ. Many Bibles will have over the caption and the title, 'The Revelation of Saint John the Divine.' Well men wrote that in. That is untrue. It is not the revelation of Saint John the Divine, and Saint John was not divine at all. He was a saint, true enough, but he was not divine. Only God is divine. It is the revelation, however, of Jesus Christ, and the words of the Bible themselves say so; and they do not mention the revelation of Saint John.
Day Of The Lord Now I've told you time and again that the theme of the book is in the very first chapter and verse ten during the very introduction of the entire book of prophecy. It is what John the apostle saw on the Isle of Patmos, in a vision, about ninety-some AD. And that goes back a long time, almost 1900 years ago, which he saw on the Isle of Patmos. And he saw things, apparently in heaven, that are going to happen here on earth. Now the first six seals cover just, you might say, the introduction. But the theme of the book, Revelation 1:10, is the Day of the Lord, or the Lord's Day.
I've mentioned before how the Bank of Morgan in New York was Morgan's Bank, or Morgan's Bank is the Bank of Morgan. And the Lord's Day is the day of the Lord. And Jesus Christ spoke about the Sabbath being the Lord's Day.
"...he said, Therefore the Sabbath was made for man [and], therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath day." (Mark 2:27-28 paraphrased)
In other words it is the Lord's Day; and it wasn't on the day of the week, or any day of the week. John was looking into what is known as the day of the Lord.
We've been, for six thousand years, in the day of man or, more properly, the day of Satan, because there is an invisible Satan that has influenced man in the way man has chosen to go; and voluntarily has gone.
But now the day of the Lord covers, beginning with the seventh chapter of Revelation, the last sixteen chapters. And the first six are only introductory and we need to go back into that sixth once again.
Now Jesus Christ reveals the prophecy and opens it to our understanding elsewhere. The book of Revelation is couched mostly in symbolic language. That's why people don't understand it. They try to understand it for themselves; they try to reveal the meaning themselves, and they can't do it. It was intended to be closed until our time. And you read of that, and how such prophecies are closed, in the twelfth chapter of the book of Daniel where they were sealed and closed until today, the time of the end, the time that we're in now.
But Jesus Christ does reveal the meaning in plain language. And you find that in the New Testament in the book of Matthew: Matthew twenty-four and in Mark thirteen and in Luke the twenty-first chapter. And I've been going through it; it's more specific in the twenty-fourth chapter of Matthew.
Signs Of Christ's Return And now to bring the time sequence up to the present, let's go back to Matthew twenty-four for just a moment. Jesus had been with the disciples and showing them the buildings of the Temple in Jerusalem over 1950 years ago and telling them that the building was going to be destroyed, that great Temple. One stone would not be left upon another. (Matthew 24:1-2)
And then a little later they came to Him privately up on the Mount of Olives. And it was really about four or five of the apostles mentioned in one of the other gospels. As He sat upon the Mount of Olives: I'm in Matthew twenty-four beginning with verse three.
"As [Jesus] sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?" (Matthew 24:3)
Now He had been talking about certain things. They said, "...when will these things be" (Matthew 24:3)? What things did they mean? The things He had been talking about; and He'd been talking about the destruction of the Temple. That did happen in the year of 70 AD.
So He spoke first of the things, just as they asked Him, 'these things,' of their time, in the first century prior to 70 AD.
But they also asked Him another question: "...and what will be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?" (Matthew 24:3)
Now you've heard about the end of the world; and it all came from this verse right here in Matthew 24: the words of Jesus. He's not speaking about the end of the earth, or the existence of the earth. He's speaking about the end of the present society called, 'the world.'
And a new, better world is going to come. That is the good news that is going to come on later. I can't get to that in this program, but I want to tell you that wonderful good news is going to come.
But humanity has got to learn a lesson first. There's a cause for every effect; there's a cause for all of the ills, the troubles, the evils of this day that we're suffering right now. And humanity's going to have to learn a lesson; and we haven't learned it yet All of the troubles that we have had have not taught humanity the lesson of why these things are happening, of how we have brought them on ourselves. We haven't turned from the ways that are producing all of these heartaches and all of the suffering, the violence, and all of the evils, and the unsolvable problems that man can't handle in this world. We just have not.
Deceived By False Ministers Anyway, "Jesus answered and said [now first they asked Him, remember, of things that would happen. of the destruction of the Temple, and that was back in the year of 70 AD. So it was prior to the time they asked Him, which was just prior to 31 AD, and the time of 70 AD] Jesus answered and said to them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying that I am Christ; and shall deceive many." (Matthew 24:4-5)
Now that would happen before 70 AD. That happened in the lifetime of those disciples, those apostles. Many would come "in His name."
You can trace through the Bible every place where people come in the name of Christ and every time they are coming representing Christ, claiming to be His minister representing Him; claiming to be a minister of Jesus Christ. Not saying that they, themselves, were Christ. No, everywhere you find people coming in the name of Christ, in the Bible, the Bible itself shows that they were coming as representatives of Christ, falsely claiming to represent Him, when actually, in most cases, they were representing Satan the devil.
"And Jesus answered and said, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying that I am Christ, and [so] deceive many." (Matthew 24:4-5)
Now they've said that Jesus was the Christ, but they did not preach the message of Christ. They preached Christ; they preached about the Messenger. But His gospel was His message. Jesus was a Messenger sent from God. And God sent a great message to mankind by Jesus Christ. And that message that God sent, and that Jesus preached, that is the gospel of Christ.
But people preach only a gospel ABOUT Jesus Christ. They just say, "Do you know the Lord Jesus? Just accept Jesus; just receive: get, get, get!"
This world is on the 'get' basis. And God's way of life is 'give,' not 'get.' God's way is love; and love is out-flowing; away from self. And that is not the way people are living. Otherwise we would have had peace; and we don't have peace. But notice:
"Now ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines and pestilences and earthquakes in [different] places." (Matthew 24:6,7)
Now those things have been happening down through the last 1900 years; they've been happening right along. They're happening today.
Then He said: "Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted [and that did happen to those very disciples in their lifetime], and shall kill you: and you shall be hated of all nations [all people] for my name's sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall arise and shall deceive [the] many." (Matthew 24:9-11)
Coming and preaching that Jesus was the Christ, but deceiving the many. Yes preaching about Christ; preaching the Lord Jesus, but not preaching His message.
Jesus Christ Himself said, "In vain do you worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men, and making the law of God of no effect by your traditions." (Mark 7:7-9 paraphrased)
What do they preach; what do they preach today? They preach that the law of God was done away; that Jesus came and did away with His Father's law.
And yet Jesus said, "I have kept my Father's commandments" (John 15:10). And He said, "Think not that I have come to destroy the law or the prophets" (Matthew 5:17). He did not. He said so.
Now, next: "Because iniquity shall abound the love of many shall wax cold. But he that endureth unto the end, the same shall be saved... [the same shall be saved]." (Matthew 24:12-13)
You know when I was preaching many, many years, about forty years or more ago in a country schoolhouse, there was a Bible scholar there that wanted to trap every young minister who came out there. So he tried to trap me on the second night of my meetings.
"Mr. Armstrong, may I ask you a question?"
I said, "Yes you may, Mr. Belshaw."
And he says, "Let me ask you: are you saved?" You see if I wasn't saved, the audience wouldn't listen to me any longer.
I said, "Mr. Belshaw, you're supposed to be a Bible student; you're supposed to understand the Bible. Don't you know that it says in Matthew 24, "He that endureth unto the end, the same SHALL BE; shall be then [at the end], saved?" (Matthew 24:13)
And he sat down with his mouth wide open. He didn't think I would know that scripture. I'll tell you one thing, most ministers and preachers that proclaim themselves the ministers of Jesus Christ today don't know that scripture. You ought to read it in the Bible. And the Bible everywhere talks about our salvation coming when Christ comes the second time. Read it in your Bible!
YOU HAVE BEEN TAUGHT JUST THE OPPOSITE OF WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS! That was the great shocker that I had fifty-six years ago; fifty-six years ago when I opened the Bible and began to see that all of my boyhood teaching was just the opposite of what the Bible says.
And I'm afraid if you will blow the dust off of your Bible, and look into it for yourself, you'll find that same thing today: that you've been taught just the opposite of what God says in His Word.
The Gospel Preached As A Sign Well, but let's go on. Notice the next verse. Now He comes to their second question: the sign of His coming and the end of the world. And the end of the world comes at the same time as the Second Coming of Christ. And here it is in verse fourteen: "And this gospel of the kingdom..." (Matthew 24:14). THE KINGDOM OF GOD, that was the gospel that Jesus preached; that was the message that God sent by Jesus Christ.
You don't hear that gospel being preached today. That's the gospel of the family of God into which humans, if they are called, and if they repent, and if they overcome, if they receive Christ, if they receive His Holy Spirit, if they grow in grace and in knowledge and in spiritual character, they shall inherit the Kingdom of God. It is the family of God.
God is reproducing Himself. He intended humans to finally be born into His Family. But we must develop His character; we must learn His way of life and live as He lived, live as He DOES live, because He has never changed. And He lives the same way today.
And God is a Great Giver. But the world is all on the getting side of the fence, but God is the Great Giver.
Now as you read on, we come next, several verses in between leading into it saying the same thing, troubles that will be coming leading up to verse 21:
"And then shall be GREAT TRIBULATION such as was not since the beginning of the world even to that same time, no nor ever shall be." (Matthew 24:21 paraphrased)
I've mentioned that before, but I want to tell you now: that is the next great thing to happen, except an event that will trigger it must happen first. And I can't get to that in this particular program today.
Now then notice verse 21, Matthew 24: "For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this same time, no, nor ever shall be" (Matthew 24:21)
Now there can be no two times like that. This is the greatest that ever happened, or ever will be: the greatest time of trial and trouble and violence and wretchedness and every evil that you can imagine. We're getting close to that time; we're in a forerunner of it. We're in evils today that this world has never known.
BUT IT'S GOING TO BECOME WORSE I TELL YOU, in the name of Jesus Christ I tell you; and you'd better prepare for it. The Great Tribulation is not here yet. We're only in the beginning; prior to it. Verse 21:
"And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved [alive]." (Matthew 24:22)
Other translations say "saved alive." It isn't talking about spiritual salvation. Nobody would be kept alive; living. In other words: humanity would be erased from this earth.
Listen: for the first time in all human history, the weapons of mass destruction now exist that can erase humanity. Man has built the Frankenstein Monster that can wipe him out! We can be — ALL HUMAN LIFE — can be blasted out of existence by hydrogen bombs, by nuclear weapons, by the other great weapons that have been invented. And we're just waiting and hoping that no one will ever use such weapons.
But no weapon has ever been designed and produced yet that has not been used. And God says it will be used!. And God is not going to intervene and bring us happiness and peace until we've come to the end of our rope where, if He delayed another day, we would wipe out the human race. But notice what He says:
"...except for those days be shortened, no flesh should be saved [alive]: but for the elect's sake [the elect are those who are crying out to God in prayer day and night, who are obeying God, keeping His commandments, filled with His Holy Spirit, for their sake-] those days shall be shortened." (Matthew 24:22)
God is going to shorten those days; He is going to do it. And peace will come afterward. But humanity has got to learn a lesson. There is a cause for every effect. There is a reason for the unhappiness, and for the violence, for the terrible state of the world condition today. Humanity has brought it on ourselves; we have done it, my friends. And God is going to teach us a lesson.
Now actually no such thing could happen except that God Himself is going to allow it. But why will God even allow such a terrible time of trouble to come, even though humanity brings it on himself? We bring it on ourselves. It really is the wrath of Satan rather than the wrath of God.
The Day of the Lord is the wrath of God. That's another thing that follows. But even professing Christians still think that this world is a pretty good world. UNTIL WE COME TO THE PLACE WHERE WE'RE FED UP WITH IT God is not going to intervene and bring us peace.
Civilization's Faulty Foundation You know the Alcoholics Anonymous people have done a fine work in their way. But they will tell you that they can't begin to help an alcoholic until he admits he is one. Do you know the hardest thing for any human man to do, or even a woman: man or woman, child, anybody? To admit you are wrong; to admit you are wrong! Humanity has not admitted he is wrong. Humanity doesn't admit his world is wrong, that he's built a wrong system, a wrong society, wrong education, wrong governments, wrong business structures, wrong social systems: wrong everything in our world today.
Some voice has to cry out in this religious wilderness in this modern day and TELL YOU PEOPLE what is happening. And God Almighty tells me, "Cry aloud and spare not, and show my people their sins" (Isaiah 58:1). God says, and I'm trying to do it!
Now a very special world-shaking event is going to cause that Great Tribulation. It'll be triggered by a world-shaking event. And let me tell you in the capitals of the world, and I should say of Europe, both eastern and western Europe, are secret conspiracies and talks going on right now. And it's not in the public press; the public media are not informing you because they don't know. But all of a sudden the whole world is going to be SHAKEN AND STARTLED IN WONDER when they see a tremendous great third world power burst forth! And that is going to provoke the Great Tribulation. I'll have to leave that for another program. I can't cover that at this particular time. But I want to show you:
"Immediately after the tribulation of those days [come to verse twenty-nine, the same twenty-fourth chapter of Matthew], immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, the moon shall not give her light, the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heaven shall be shaken." (Matthew 24:29)
I've read you that in the latter part of the sixth chapter of the book of Revelation. We've already covered that. But this great tribulation comes first; that is the fifth seal of the book of Revelation in the sixth chapter.
"And [verse 30 now] and then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven; and then shall all the tribes [or nations] of the earth mourn. And they shall SEE the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with POWER AND GREAT AUTHORITY." (Matthew 24:30)
The Second Coming of Christ as the KING of kings and the LORD of lords to rule all nations on this earth.
That is going to come immediately after the Great Tribulation and the signs in the heavens, the Day of the Lord, just preceding the coming of Christ.
And I want to tell you we're very close to that event. We're very close to the event that will trigger that Great Tribulation.
The world is in tribulation now, but it's not that great yet. People still love this world. They love its entertainment; they love its ways; they love the beautiful things of this world. And we've got to get sick of the ways that have brought so much anguish, and so much unhappiness, so much discontent until no one is happy any longer.
We've got to learn the way to live to be happy. And God is going to COMPEL this world to be happy when Christ comes. We're not going to bring happiness and peace. It's going to have to be done to us.
Now once again I mention this book: 'The United States in Prophecy,' that I mentioned before; just write in for it. It's well-illustrated; it's a thick booklet.
But if you want to know about the book of Revelation; I'll mention that once again. I've mentioned this booklet many times before: 'The Book of Revelation Unveiled at Last.' This is just a small booklet; you can read this at one sitting. It's just a small booklet, but it will explain the book of Revelation as you've never seen it explained and opened to your understanding before.
Now there's no charge; no charge at all.
I tell you, my friends, we've got to live God's way. We're trying to do it. We're living God's way and that is the way of giving, not getting. We are unique; we are different. And I hope that you will be unique and be different along with us.
And so until next time this is Herbert W Armstrong: goodbye friends.
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