Well once again, greetings, everybody! As I said in the first program of this series, that I have been speaking to you, and will continue speaking to you in this series, as no man has spoken in our time. I wonder if we realize the real danger that we're in this very moment.
Now we find that those who know what is going on are very much alarmed because even a private individual can now obtain, merely at the stores that retail, the materials that can make a nuclear bomb. Now we have come to the place where the weapons of destruction, of mass destruction, exist, that can erase all human life off this earth, and could do it 50 times over. And as one speaker has said, once would be quite enough, because there wouldn't be a man, woman, or child left on earth.
And we don't know when these things are going to come, but I have very good news for you. Before that happens, the Eternal God, the creator of the heavens and the earth, is going to intervene. And he is going to send once again Jesus Christ back to this earth, to rule over all nations, and with a supernatural power of the Almighty Eternal God. And at that time, nations are going to beat their swords into plowshares, their spears into pruning hooks, and they will not learn war anymore.
We're going to have a time of peace, and it's coming in our time. But first is going to come the supreme crisis. We're leading right up to it now. It's called the Great Tribulation in Matthew 24. It is referred to in Daniel 12, and in the 30th chapter of Jeremiah in the Bible. And it is a time, especially against this country, the United States, the British Commonwealth of people, and Western Europe.
And we are the ones that are going to have to suffer for our evil deeds, and for the things which we have been doing. We've been carelessly thinking we can get away with anything. Now that is all coming to an end, and in Matthew 24, Jesus Christ said that there would be a time of trouble such as never was, since the beginning of a nation, and never will be again, so that unless those days were cut short, no flesh, not any human being, would be left alive.
But he said, for the elect's sake, the people of God, those days shall be cut short. And Christ will come. Christ will never let this world destroy itself. I think it's time that we know why these things. There's a cause for every effect. And these events could not have happened, all of the troubles — and I don't need to go into a description of them, they're everywhere — violence, crime, immorality, everything that you can think of that is wrong — is rampant all over this world.
It's in our nation. Someone I think said — was it Will Rogers one time — "Just what do you think of civilization?" And Will Rogers answered, "Well, I think it'd be a good idea if we had some." And as a matter of fact, that sort of sums it up pretty well. Now how did the world get this way, so full of evil? Is there a devil, and how did he come to be? Where did he come from?
First Record of Prehistory That's what I've been showing you in the past programs in this series. We go clear back to the beginning, and as I have shown you, the first record of prehistory in the Bible is not Genesis 1:1, where it says "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth," but rather in John 1:1, in the New Testament, the fourth book in the New Testament, where it says "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God, and all things were made by him."
The Word was the one who later, as you read in the 14th verse of that first chapter of John (John 1:14), became flesh and dwelt among us. In other words, he came to be Jesus Christ. Now the government of God ruled the entire Earth at that time. And God placed a super-archangel to rule. His name was Lucifer. Lucifer was the highest creation of angel that God himself could create. He was a super-archangel.
However, God could only instruct him in the right way, but he had to leave the choice to him, because otherwise there could be no character. And Lucifer chose the wrong way, and he led his angels into a rebellion. And the government of God was taken away from this Earth, and that left only God who had the type of character that would not — and because he would not, could not — commit sin, and go the wrong way.
This Lucifer that was set as a super-archangel over the angels of this Earth before man was put here, was said to be — and I read that scripture in the first one of the present series of programs — that he was perfect in all his ways from the day he was created. Now he was a created being. He was not born. He was a specially created being, and he was perfect in his ways as God created him. But it says, "till iniquity was found in him."
But as I say, God couldn't force him. If God decided and made you have to do right, and you could never do wrong, you'd be just like a machine. You would not have any right of choice. You could not have any character, and character is the right to choose, and to choose the right instead of the wrong, to come to know the right instead of the wrong, and to have the self-discipline to force your own self, even against your own desires and wills, and temptations, to do the right instead of the wrong. That is what character is.
Now God had told the angels the right way. He started this Lucifer out on the right track. But he turned, and all of his angels, he turned his angels into rebellion against God instead of going the way of God. In other words, God's great law, the foundation of his government, was the way of love, the way of giving, the way of cooperating, away from self, not incoming but outgoing, and the way of helping, of concern for the welfare of others and not just for yourself alone, the way of humility instead of the way of vanity.
As I often say, as I say in speaking to audiences in national capitals around the world, it the way of giving instead of getting. But this world is on getting. Now how did we get that way? Well, first this Lucifer turned to it. And I read you the scripture in the 28th chapter of Ezekiel, in a preceding program. Then he led his angels into that way. Now as I say, it left only God who had that supreme righteous character.
God Had a Job For The Angels God had a great job he wanted those angels to do, but they, they sort of flunked out on the test. And they disqualified themselves to go on. The job he had is a job that now is the potential of human beings, and the great potential that is ahead of us now, and that is that we are to go to the planets all over this vast universe and complete their creation, and turn them from decay which has come as a result of the sin of those angels and the sins of men, and turn them into production and into beauty, and turn darkness and ugliness into beauty. God is the author of beauty; Satan is the author of ugliness.
Now this Lucifer that was the super-archangel — God changed his name to Satan the Devil. "Satan" means... Lucifer, let me tell you first what his name "Lucifer" meant. Lucifer was a word which meant "cherub" or "shining star of the dawn." It meant he was a bringer of light and truth. But "Satan" is just the opposite. It is a rival, an adversary, or an enemy, and that is the meaning of the word "Satan the Devil." Now this Lucifer became Satan.
God saw that he was the only one now. He knew that there's no use in trying to just create more and more angels. Well, a third of the angels had gone wrong. I don't know about the other two-thirds, the Bible doesn't tell us, but maybe they turned to the right way because they are called holy angels. And I think the Bible could not call them that if they had not made the right decision and gained that right character of holiness and perfection, and in other words, according to the way of God, which is a way of life, and a way of conducting yourself in your relation to other people.
[Commercial break: Why Were You Born?] Then God created man. It was only god left, but God must have said, 'There are not enough of me, I've got to have millions and billions of beings with my kind of character' that can go throughout this entire endless universe, throughout all space, and restore these that have come to a state of decay, and restore them to beauty and to production. So what was God going to do?
God Creates Man Well he said, 'I'm the only one that has that character, but there are not enough of me.' So he said, "I will create man in my own image." In other words, I will reproduce myself. Now in order to do that, man had to go through this same thing of developing character and he had to make his own decisions. And so, in case man went the wrong way, instead of making him immortal as God had made the angels, God made man out of matter.
That's why we're from the dust of the Earth. We're only matter. There is a spirit in connection with our brain that imparts the power of intellect, but we are not spirit. In the 2nd chapter of Genesis, verse 7 (Genesis 2:7), "God formed man of the dust of the ground." Now the man was formed from the dust of the ground, and God "breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man" (formed from the dust of the ground) became, became, was turned into, "became a living soul," not an immortal soul.
That's one of the first things I learned in the Bible 50 years ago. That was the most shocking thing that had ever come to me in my life, to learn I was not an immortal soul, and to learn that the Bible says "the soul that sinneth, it shall die," and that Adam was a soul, and Eve was a soul, and God said to them, 'If you disobey me, you will surely die.'
Now God offered them eternal life and his Holy Spirit if they would follow his way. Adam had the chance to qualify to restore the government of God on the Earth, which had been lost through Satan. Adam had that opportunity. However, God had first talked with Adam. He created man after his own image and likeness, in other words, the same form and shape, but we were made of matter and God is composed of immortal spirit. And God, as I say, has this holy righteous perfect character, but man does not have it, at least not yet.
Now God started with the same way he did with the angels. He taught the man. And God did not allow this Satan to come to him until he taught the man and the woman, then he did allow Satan to come along. Now Satan said, in effect, he said, 'Look you can't believe what God is saying. God knows better. He's lying to you, and you can believe me.' And there was the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and he said, 'You go ahead and take of that and you will be God yourself.'
Man Believed Satan Not God So they believed what Satan said. They did not believe God. They believed in God, they knew he was the creator, but they did not believe God. That is, they didn't believe what he said. I hope I make that plain, because most people don't know the difference between believing in Christ and believing Christ. There are a few million people in this world, several million, who really believe in Christ and believe in God, but they don't believe God, and they don't believe Christ. They don't believe what they have said.
When Jesus Christ came in the human form, 1900 and some years ago, almost 2000 years ago, he preached to thousands. Thousands heard him, but how many really believed him? Adam and Eve made the wrong choice. Adam said, in effect, where God had given him the chance now to qualify, to take the place of Satan and to restore the government on the Earth, Adam said, 'Lord, I know who you are. You're my creator, but I don't want you for my God. I don't want you to be my ruler, and I don't want to obey you, and I don't want to believe that I have to get my knowledge from you, that you are the basic source of knowledge.'
And in other words, to paraphrase it in modern language, he said the same as, 'God, get your nose out of my affairs. What are you trying to get from me? Well, I'll decide for myself what is right and wrong. I'll run myself.' So God said, in effect, and this is in my own language now, but this is what it means in the Bible.
God said, 'All right, Adam, you have had the chance. You have made the decision. I give what you want. I will adopt a plan of 6,000 years of keeping hands-off, and I'll keep my nose out of your affairs.' In other words, 'I am sentencing you. And this is a sentence for you, and your children who will become the world, to 6,000 years of being cut off from me.'
'You have to decide for yourself what is right from what is wrong. You must go out and choose your own religions, choose your own gods, make up your own gods out of your own minds of what you think God is. You go out and form your own governments. You form your own systems of civilization and education. But I'm cutting you off from me.'
Then God said, 'But I'm making one exception. As we go along, here and there there's going to be a man or perhaps in some cases a group of men, that I want to call and deal with personally, and give a commission to, to perform for me. So I reserve the right to call them out of this world of yours.'
The World Is Not Lost Now that's what I want you to realize, that except — and this is what no church in this world understands or believes — that the world is cut off from God. Now let me tell you what that means. Most people think that everyone is lost unless they get saved by believing on Christ, and they just think it's believing on Christ, and they don't believe Christ.
Let me show you what it means. The world as a whole is not lost. The world as a whole is not saved. Since God cut them off — God cannot be unfair and say you're condemned now for eternity — they were only sentenced to be cut off from him for 6,000 years in this life. But as you read in the 37th chapter of Ezekiel, and in the 20th chapter of Revelation, there is coming after the thousand years rule of Jesus Christ to bring peace on this Earth, there is coming a time to be known as the Great White Judgement.
Then all the dead, starting way back with Seth, the son of Adam, and all the way through, all of those people that have been cut off from any chance of any kind. They were not condemned, they're not lost, they're going to be resurrected right back into mortal flesh. Read the 37th chapter of Ezekiel, and you'll find quite a description of that. And God is then going to speak to them and put his spirit into them, and they will stand on their feet, and that's when they will come to be converted.
In this life, God knew Satan would be there, and would be deceiving the world. In other words, what he knew was that man would go the way of Satan, and he wanted them to have 6,000 years of proving that this way of Satan, the way of getting, the way of vanity, the way of jealousy and envy and of competition and strife, is wrong and can only bring heartache, and can only harm people and bring nothing but the kind of violence, and the terrible things that have come to this Earth.
That's why there has to be a cause. We've gone the wrong way. We've gone the way of Satan. We've gone the way of vanity, lust, and greed. We've gone the way of competition and strife. We've gone the way of jealousy and envy, but not the way of love, not the way of giving and of kindness, and of helping. And there is such a great difference.
[Commercial break: The Plain Truth Magazine] God arranged so that Christ could come and be born, and be a human being. And being born of God, he was God, but being born of a human woman, he was also human. He is the only person who ever lived who was both human and also divine God. Now he was able, because he also God, to live a perfect life without any sin whatsoever. Then he gave that life of his, because he is the one who's our real maker. All things were made by him.
And in Ephesians the 3rd chapter, God created all things by Jesus Christ, and through Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 3:9) But Christ was the maker and the one who did what his Father delegated to him to do. And consequently, when Christ died, he took on himself our sins, your sins and mine. And paid the penalty in your stead and my stead, for us. And God is a great giver, a great forgiver. He forgives, he blesses, he wants to give us every blessing in the world.
Well now, finally coming to verse 22 of the 3rd chapter of Genesis (Genesis 3:22), and I read this in a preceding program: "And the Eternal God said, Behold the man has become as one of us, to know good and evil, and now lest he put forth his hand and take also of the Tree of Life and eat, and live forever," now lest he gain immortal life, which god had not given him.... God had said 'You will die if you disobey,' and they did disobey.
God Drove Man Out of the Garden "Therefore the Eternal God sent him forth from the garden of Eden to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man," and of course his wife with him, "and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword which turned every way to keep the way of the Tree of Life" lest they go back and gain the spirit of God and immortality and live forever.
God cut humanity as a whole off from salvation, right there. But he reserved the right to call those whom he would call. Now he has called a number. Jesus Christ said, "No man can come to me, except the Father which sent me, draw him." (John 6:44) Otherwise, no one can come to Christ. They say, 'Come and give your heart to the Lord. Give your heart to Christ.'
Brethren, the world as a whole cannot do that, unless God has called them. Now you'll find two places in the Bible where it speaks about predestination. One is in the 8th chapter of Romans, and the other is in the first chapter of Ephesians. And the meaning of predestination, practically no one understands it. Almost no one ever gets it. It.... You're not predestinated to be lost, no one is. But some are predestinated to be called now while Satan is still ruling and reigning over this Earth, instead of later.
After when Christ comes, the first thing he will do is put Satan away. And then Christ will... everybody will be called to salvation that is still living on Earth. And after that thousand years, everybody else who ever lived before will be resurrected and given the chance to come. Oh, what a wonderful God, and what a wonderful savior we do have!
Why can't we realize it, instead of the fables that are being taught and called Christianity, which are just the opposite of the Christianity of your Bible, and of your real God? Well, God cut humanity off except those who he would call. Now it has been that way all the way along. You come down to the time of Christ, and there were the disciples of Christ, they wanted to do something else, but Jesus called them. And they followed him, and he taught them to be apostles.
Apostles are ones sent with the gospel, and the gospel is that Christ brought — and I'll be coming to that in about the next program, I hope — is the good news of the coming government of God being restored to this Earth, but it'll be more than just the government of God, it'll also be the kingdom of God which is the family of God into which we may be born.
Let me tell you, there are very few — even though you might become a president of the United States — very few who understand what it means to be born again. Those who are born of God become like God, and they're in the family of God, and they're no longer mortal, they're immortal. They're no longer like, made out of flesh, they're made out of spirit, composed of spirit, and holiness, and righteousness, and they cannot be born that way until they have developed this holy, righteous, perfect character.
Now I'm going to leave you with that, that's the purpose of God in this life. I hope that we can go on from there in the next program of this series, and I hope that we can keep this series going for some little time now. Well, I say goodbye now. This is Herbert W. Armstrong saying goodbye, until the next time.