Born: July 31, 1892
Died: January 16, 1986
Member Since: 1928
Herbert W. Armstrong founded the Worldwide Church of God in the late 1930s, as well as Ambassador College in 1946, and was an early pioneer of radio and tele-evangelism, originally taking to the airwaves in the 1930s from Eugene, Oregon.
Now I know it's almost impossible to believe — yes, it's shocking, it's astounding, but nevertheless it's true — the Gospel that Jesus brought to mankind was lost to our Western world within the first two or three centuries, way back there nineteen hundred years ago! Babylon Mystery Religion God's True Church Study to Show Ourselves Approved The Church is Scattered Apostasy
What you and I grew up supposing to be the Gospel of Christ is not the Gospel that Jesus preached. It's about time we blow the dust off our Bibles and see what is there and what He did preach and what is recorded and we have a lot of shocks coming.
Now I've shown you how Christ Himself foretold apostasy; false preachers accepting His name, proclaiming His person, coming in His name saying Jesus is the Christ and yet deceiving the world. And how New Testament prophesies foretold apostasy; how the apostle Paul said; "...the mystery of iniquity [did] already work..." (II Thessalonians 2:7). ....in his time and his day, in II Thessalonians the second chapter.
Now, we are ready for the actual history: now you read a little of the history from Gibbon's History of the Roman Empire; that is history of the decline and of the fall of the Roman Empire, the most authentic history of the prejudice between the Jewish and the Gentile converts in that early first century Church, and during the second century it was intensified.
And we have seen how the apostle Paul in the book that we call Romans in the New Testament in which was really his letter that he sent to the Church at Rome to those people that were the converts both Jewish and Gentile at Rome; and how first he showed the Gentiles that they had no basis for their prejudice. They supposed they were superior because all of the great men, the great philosophers, yes — and the great captains of industry and in government and affairs of men in the world were Gentiles so they felt that they were superior, and they looked down on the Jewish people. But the Jews felt they were superior because they had the law of God and theirs were the covenants and the promises of God all pertaining to them.
And as the apostle Paul said when he wrote them the letter to the Jew first; but also to the Gentile. Well, he showed the Gentiles how their great leaders had not retained God in their knowledge and how they were condemned, even if they didn't have the law of God, when they violated His principles just the same. Then to the Jews he said; you have the law, you try to teach the Gentiles, you look down on them. But you break it, and you violate the law just the same as they do. Who are you that tries to teach another and won't practice what you preach? So, he whittled them down to their size too. That was one of the fundamental causes — the prejudice between Jewish and Gentile Christians that were converts in the early Church that set up a great prejudice one against the other.
Jesus and the apostles foretold not a universal widespread popular growth of the true New Testament Church but rather a falling away from the truth on the part of the great majority, not just the few. Jesus called His Church the; "...little flock...": (Luke 12:32). It was prophesied all through the Bible and in the New Testament that the little flock, the true Church, would be scattered. They would not rise up to great political power, or anything of the kind; but would be a persecuted Church, that they would be little in number.
So, prophesying a popular universal falling away from the faith once delivered to the Thessalonians, Paul had stated here in II Thessalonians the second chapter: "...the mystery of iniquity doth already work..." (II Thessalonians 2:7). And that was only some thirty years after the Church had begun and after the crucifixion and the resurrection of Christ. He referred to the very Chaldean mysteries that were popular in the pagan world that dominated the world at that time. Yes, the Chaldean mysteries of which two annual festivals; Easter and the one that had come to be called Christmas that was based around the January calends and the time around the twenty-fifth of December, were the two chief festivals — believe it or not. Now that is in almost any ancient history, any history that you want to pick up, my friends; and you can get the truth at any public library.
Now, this is the very fact, my friends, that the world does not realize today; it does not realize that in the New Testament prophecy two groups of professing Christians are described, not just one great popular kind of a Church that might be divided in many denominations and divisions — but two groups of professing Christians. One was great and the other was small. One was to become great and powerful, politically organized; a part of this world. And brought to concrete focus in Revelation chapter 17 — where God calls that group of Christians by a very ugly name — 'apostate'.
Now this church group is pictured as a group of religious people with great pomp, ritual and display, decked in purple, scarlet and gold, proud, haughty, worldly, boastful, a universal deceiver, a part of this world. The whole western world spiritually drunk with the false doctrines; the spiritual deception of these people so blurred by paganized teachings and practices that they are unable clearly to distinguish the truth. The entire apostate family of professing Christians, all deceived, and divided against each other. And in confusion of doctrines and yet all united in the chief pagan doctrines and festivals was given a family name; they call themselves 'Christian' but God calls them something else:
" ...MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT..." (Revelation 17:5)
That is in Revelation 17 and I think you'll find that's verse five.
Now, the word 'Babylon', which is the name that God gives to this whole system, this whole group of professing Christians that are deceived people. They are good people, but they are deceived. And this actually happened in history if you go back about 1800 years ago, 1700 years ago; and see how and when it happened. The word Babylon, which is the name God applies to them means 'confusion'. Now God always names people or things by calling them exactly what they are.
And here is the same identical ancient Babylonian mysteries that had come from the ancient Babylon. The same thing that was the fountainhead of all the religions of the world, the religions of mankind. Yes, religions of mankind, not the religions of God! The Babylonian mysteries now wrapped up in a false cloak and labelled 'Christianity'. But the fact is it was the same old Chaldean mysteries coming out now under a new name.
Taking the name of Jesus Christ exactly as He said they would do. Coming and professing that they are His apostles. And I read to you in II Corinthians the eleventh chapter where God Almighty said that; "...the devil has his ministers and that they pose as the ministers of Christ. They pretend that they are the ministers of righteousness." (II Corinthians 11:13-15 paraphrased). And yet they are the ministers of Satan the devil.
Now the devil never comes as an angel of darkness, he never comes with a pitchfork and with horns and a tail. No, he comes masquerading as God, he comes as an angel of light, he comes pretending he has the truth, he comes as a deceiver; and so he is pictured every place in your Bible. And so, God has named that whole system, Babylon.
Listen, the true Church, the real Church of God, the Church of which Jesus is the Head, the Church Jesus that Himself founded, is composed of what? It isn't a physical organization of people, it isn't a political organization; it is a spiritual organism. And it is composed of those people who have completely given up their way and turned to the Way of God, who have repented of their own way. Who have accepted Christ, not only as just Savior on the outside and someone to profess; but as the Living Savior who comes within and lives His life within their own minds and hearts. Who have actually given up their own way; who have completely surrendered to God and who are now led by the Spirit of God. And who live as Jesus said they must — by every word of God.
They are sorting out the wheat from the chaff, error from truth and throwing the error away and keeping the wheat, or the real truth. They are people who rejoice in the light, they are people who are permitting the Word of God, the Bible, to correct them and reprove them. They are people that have given their whole hearts to God.
And the rest of them profess Christ but they continue their own way. They are merely in this world and they are following the devil, and they are deceived. Now do you know what we have been doing all this time? We've been looking at organized groups; we've been looking at physical material things that we can see with the physical eye.
And the true Church of God is a spiritual organism, it isn't something you see; it's something that is written right down in men's hearts. What is the New Covenant? Jesus Christ is the Mediator of the New Covenant and the apostle Paul tells us in Hebrews that it is not like the Old Covenant but:
"This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will write my laws in their minds and in their hearts and in their inward parts;" (Hebrews 10:16 paraphrased)
Now God's own people have the laws of God, the ways of God, the very mind of God written right down in their hearts. It isn't a matter of maudlin sentimentality and worked up physical emotion but is real spirituality. People who have really surrendered their way, people who are willing to be corrected by God and by the Word of God. Who are searching the Word of God, studying the Word of God, to know how to live by it. And who really have, and are empowered, and live by the very Spirit of God — they are the children of God, they are begotten of God.
And they are the only ones that are the children of God, and God's Church, the true Church of God. The Church that Jesus said He would build is composed of those people that are the begotten sons of God; and being led by the very Word of God, the Way of God, the will of God, the law of God. They are the people that have — that keep the commandments of God and have the faith of Jesus; as you find them described in the fourteenth chapter of Revelation, and also in the twentieth chapter of the Book of Revelation, and all through your Bible, my friends.
Well now, there we are. But that was a small Church. You know Jesus said that; "...broad is the road, wide is the gate that leads to destruction... " (Matthew 7:13 paraphrased). It's a very popular road, it's so easy and everybody goes that way, and all like sheep follow. But He said; "The gate is very narrow, and the road is hard and rutty and difficult that leads to eternal life [and real salvation] and few [He said] there be that find it." (Matthew 7:14 paraphrased). He said many shall seek eternal life and strive to enter into the gate that leads to eternal life and shall not be able.
That's what Jesus taught, that's what He preached — that's in your Bible if you'll read it my friends. Oh, that isn't what you believed, that isn't what you grew up believing. No, but we are in a very deceived world and it's about time we wake up. So, listen; did the true Church of God of which Jesus Christ is the Living Directing Head then, did it become perverted and apostatized? No, because the people that apostatized — the people that turned away from the truth of God were no longer in the Church — if they ever had been in it.
Oh, the Church isn't a group that meets in a certain building, not at all. The true Church of God is a spiritual organism; and the gates of hell never have prevailed against that Church. But that true Church is called the little flock. The New Testament describes that Church as continually persecuted, despised.
The Church grew, it multiplied at first and then persecution set in and then they were scattered. My friends, they've been persecuted and scattered ever since because that Church is not of this world. It was despised by the world, it is not of this world, it's not of this world's ways, its politics. It has kept itself unspotted from this world. It has always kept the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus; and so you find God's Church described in your Bible.
Well, as I mentioned I think in the preceding program I don't think I would have ever been willing to, but God had knocked me down so much, so many times, so repeatedly, and taken all of the breath, you might say, out of me until I felt I was the biggest failure that had ever been. Until I felt there was nothing in my life for myself any longer and then I was willing to give it up and give it over to God; and I told Him if He could use it He could have it. Well, He took it and He has used it; and He's using it this very second to preach His Word to you. And I want to say if you have ears to hear you'd better open them and listen.
The true Church of God has kept God's Festivals — not pagan holidays! It has been empowered with the Spirit of God. These things are new to most of you. I say you'd better throw away your prejudices and not throw away the truth. You'd better begin to look into these things and I say to you; believe only what you see in your Bible. And so far as it comes to actual factual knowledge of what has happened, believe what you read in reliable history; and check it closely. And believe the truth and verify it and study to show yourself approved unto God.
God has given you a mind to study with; He's given you twenty-four hours a day to use; how do you use those twenty-four hours? Is there something else more important than knowing the destiny of life and eternal life? Are other things more important, crowding out the truth of God and what is going to happen to you for all eternity? You have eyes to read with, you have feet to walk on to a public library, or someplace to study, and you've got twenty-four hours a day. My friends, why don't you begin to use them in searching out the true values? I think we can begin to see that most of us haven't been putting our time to the best of use all along — now have we?
Now first, I want you to remember that this Church was never large, it was never politically organized, it wasn't a world-known organization of men; it never was. It was a spiritual organism, most of the time not organized at all. Many of the people that are in that Church not knowing who else is in that Church. Let me tell you; someone isolated maybe a thousand miles away from the next true Christian, if such a thing is possible. Such a person is in the Church and might not even know who else is. But the Church is made up of those people that are surrendered to God, that have given up their own way, that have given their life to Him.
"...whosoever will seek to save his life shall lose it: whosoever will lose it for my sake [said Jesus] shall find it." (Matthew 16:25 paraphrased)
The Church is made up of those that have been willing to lose it, that have given it to Christ, He bought it and paid for it. He paid for you on the cross, He died in your stead, He bought and paid for you, you belong to Him. And the true Church is made up of those that have given themselves over to Him and said; "My life isn't my own anymore, take it and use it." And who can say with Paul — that I'm not living my own life anymore: "I am crucified with Christ: I do live; but Christ liveth in me. The life I now liveth is lived by His faith. The faith of the Son of God, who purchased me, bought me and paid for me." (Galatians 2:20 paraphrased)
Now I don't know whether you are a thousand miles away from the next Christian or not. But if that's what you are, and if you have the Spirit of God, and have been begotten by the Spirit of God who opens up your mind to understand, to comprehend His Word, the Bible; and if you're really obedient and following it; well, then you are a member of God's true Church. And God put you in, you didn't join. The true Church of God is a Church you cannot join. It is a Church that God put you in when you conform to the terms and conditions of absolute, utter unconditional surrender and complete faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Master, as well as your Savior, your High Priest, your coming King.
Now that Church — spiritual organism, not a political organization — it's composed of all those whose hearts and lives have been changed. Yes, conversion means change, those whose lives have been completely changed by the very Spirit of God.
Now under the lash of continual persecution and opposition of the organized forces of this world and its governments and its politics, it's very difficult for such a people to remain united and organized together.
Now the prophet Daniel prophesied the true Church of God would be scattered, you'll find that in Daniel 12 verse 7; Daniel 12 verse 7. Ezekiel foretold that they would be scattered, not organized together. Ezekiel 34 verses 5-12. I'll repeat, that is Ezekiel 34 verses 5-12. I hope that you are taking down those scriptures so you can read them after the broadcast because I won't have the time just now. Then Jeremiah prophesied it; Jeremiah 23 the first two verses.
Jesus foretold it; Matthew 26 verse 31. The Apostolic Church was soon scattered by persecution. Acts the eighth chapter and the first verse. James addressed his letter to the Christians scattered abroad. James the first chapter and the first verse; in the Book of James in your New Testament in your Bible.
Now you don't read much of this true Body of Christ, this real Church that is the real Body of Christ, you don't read much about it in the secular histories of this world. No, my friends, the world little notes, nor long remembers the activities of this little flock; hated and despised by the world, who were driven to the wilderness by persecution. Always opposed, usually scattered.
But there are enough references to it in authentic histories to show that it has continued through every century until now. The prophecies bring this Church into concrete focus in the twelfth chapter of the Book of Revelation, Revelation 12. There you find the prophecy of the real Church of Jesus Christ that He founded; that He has preserved, the Church of which He is the Living Head. No man is the head of that Church.
Jesus Christ is alive, He is not dead on a cross, He is no longer hanging on a cross — why do we picture Him that way? Jesus rose from the dead and He is alive for ever more and has all power; and slays all power, controls all power in all the universe. God Almighty has given Him all power and all glory and He's coming in all that power and glory right back to this earth again; and your eyes are going to see Him when He does.
In the twelfth chapter of the Book of Revelation you find this Church prophesied. There she is shown spiritually in the glory and the splendor of the Spirit of God, but visibly in the world as persecuted. Commandment-keeping Church; yes, keeping the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, as you notice in the very last verse. But it is a Church driven into the wilderness for the 1260 years, in the middle of this time, from the time of Christ until now.
But: "...men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil." (John 3:19)
And they turned away from the truth; they accepted Jesus and His name after they had crucified Him. And they proclaimed Christ, they 'accept' Christ, but His message; the way out of all this darkness and unhappiness — no; men love darkness rather than the light and want to stay in the darkness. What is wrong with humanity?
Even in Paul's day many among those attending at these churches — Antioch, Ephesus, Corinth, and so on, Jerusalem — they began to apostatize and turn away from the truth. Division sprang up among them just as Paul said it would, right there at the Church at Ephesus. Those individuals, unconverted, or turned from God's truth and God's Way of Life, attending in those Churches, false brethren; right in the Churches as Paul said there would be. And there were already in his time, they were no part of the true Church though they visibly assembled, they were seen with the eye assembling, attending Church meetings with those who were in the True Church.
Now the mystery of iniquity was already working as Paul said in his letter to the Thessalonians. Inside those visible Churches, even in that very first century, even in the very first generation that started out the Church. That apostasy then increased and by the year of one 125 AD the majority in most Churches, especially of those Gentile born that had accepted Christianity were continuing — now get this; those Gentile born, the majority in most of the Churches, were continuing in many of their old pagan beliefs and practices though they professed Christ and professed Christianity.
Listen my friends; I think you can see just how it is. When we grew up we continued to do those things. And as the other young people grew up and another generation came into the Church — well; they were just a little more, shall we say, liberal minded, or 'broad' minded, you know what I mean, my friends. Now you know it, you've seen it take place right here today. My friends, that very thing took place in that Church back there. And by the year of 125 the majority of the Gentile people that professed Christ brought their Gentile beliefs, many of them, and their Gentile practices right into the Church, they kept on doing it.
Gradually a smaller and smaller portion of the visible Churches going by the name of Christian remained truly yielded to God and to His Truth and led of His Spirit. And after the fourth century and the time of Emperor Constantine of the Roman Empire; when Constantine took virtual control of the visible professing Church in the early fourth century this visible organization became almost wholly pagan and began excommunicating and persecuting all who held the true Word of God.
And finally, it became necessary for real Christians — who even as a scattered people — alone composed the true Church of God, to flee the jurisdiction of the government in order to truly worship God. And so, what was left was not the real true Church at all. The real Church was in the minority, and had really, by persecution, been forced out of the visible assembly until they weren't even there at all. And you find how they were taken care of in the wilderness and protected by God, outside of the jurisdiction of organized government for 1260 long years.
I tell you my friends, we ought to get our eyes open to these things and know what happened. And the deception that we have been born into and get our eyes open to the truth because this is the day that Jesus said that His Gospel, the very Gospel of the Kingdom once again is to go to the whole world. The prophecy says that the people aren't going to receive it either but we have to warn them just the same.
God help you to open your heart and your mind and dispel prejudice because the true Word of God is coming into your ears.
Babylon Mystery ReligionNow secondly; although Jesus had said that; "...the gates of hell would never prevail against His Church, that He said, He would build" (Matthew 16:18 paraphrased). Yet it is everywhere prophesied through the New Testament as a little flock, never as a great large popular universal church that would dominate politically over the world.
God's True ChurchBut where then is the True Church? Jesus said; "...I will build my church..." (Matthew 16:18). Did He? Where is it? Did the true Church of God, of which Jesus Christ is the Living Directing Head become perverted? Now did it apostatize into the system that I have been talking about, the system that is foretold in the Bible? Did the true Church apostatize, go clear away from the truth, completely degenerate — and then later come back and reform again, or something of that sort? Oh no my friends, the gates of hell have never prevailed against the true Church of God and never will. The true Church has never fallen; it couldn't be the Church when it falls.
Study to Show Ourselves ApprovedMy friends, why do you have a Bible in your home when so many of you don't even know what it says; and you don't follow it and you don't believe it. I'll tell you why; the Bible is profitable to correct and reprove you and — now listen, honestly, how many of you really like reproval and correction? How many of you are going to really take it? How many of you really like it? Oh, you don't and you know you don't.
The Church is ScatteredWell, where did that Church go? It has always existed, it does exist today, believe it or not. Where is it? Where did it go? Where was it during the Middle Ages?
ApostasyEven in Paul's day, my friends, many among those attending the churches that grew large, at Antioch, at Jerusalem, and Ephesus, at Corinth and other places began to apostatize. To turn away from the truth that Jesus had brought direct from God. God's message to mankind, a message of love bestowed by a loving God on mankind. The way out of this wilderness of headaches, and heartaches, and fears, and worries, and poverty, and all the distresses and sufferings of mankind. Jesus brought the way out of that, He brought the way of truth and He said: "...truth shall make you free." (John 8:32)