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.
Well greetings friends around the world. This is Herbert W Armstrong with the Good News of the World Tomorrow. The Bible Answers the Worlds Most Basic Questions The Bible Need Not Be Interpreted by Man Discerning Spiritual Knowledge God's Purpose How to Understand What God is Saying
Yes, the advance news of tomorrow's world, if you look over beyond the immediate present, is good. Not many seem to realize it, but this news is reported before it happens — in the Bible. An entire third of all the Bible is devoted to foretelling world events. Why doesn't the world know about it?
The main course of history, up to now, has been written before it occurred. What has happened to ancient Egypt, and then to Italy, to Greece, to ancient Babylon, Persia, Britain and America, Russia? All was written more than 2000 long years ago. What is now going to happen to the leading nations of the world in the next fifteen or twenty years is also written in this same awe inspiring book and is just as certain to happen.
Yet, almost no one seems to understand the Bible, especially that third of it that is prophecy. Why do so few understand the Bible? Why do we find such confusion, such disagreement as to what it says, even in those nations which profess the Christian religion? Why do so many individuals capable of understanding almost any other book say; "I just can't understand the Bible"?
Take a recognized text book on biology, for instance. Show this book to ten different biology professors from ten different colleges and universities. Then ask them what it says, or any specific paragraph, or portion of it; they'll all give you the same answer. People do not disagree as to what books actually say, except when it comes to the one book of all the books, the Holy Bible. Did you ever stop to think of that?
But take the Holy Bible to ten different professors of theology and ask them what some particular portion of the Bible, or particular text says and you'll probably get ten different answers. Didn't you ever wonder why? Now, here certainly is the enigma of all the ages. Book of all the books, year after year, the world's best seller. The book owned by more people around this whole round earth than any other book. The one book that has lived, in spite of every effort to stamp it out, down through the ages. And still it outsells all the others.
The one book which has foretold centuries in advance, the very chaotic and uneasy conditions in the world today. The one book that explains the meaning of this perturbed condition. That opens up before us, in advance, the wonderful peaceful, happy world, that is coming tomorrow. The one book that predicted in advance the rise and the fall of specific nations and governments down through the stream of time, for 2500, yes 3000 and more years. And the book that holds the destiny of the world.
My friends, no mere human-devised book could reveal such things. If you want to know the most necessary, the basic knowledge of all life, the very foundation of all right knowledge, where would you go to find it? No book ever written, except the Holy Bible, reveals this foundation of all knowledge. That is the knowledge of what we are, and whether we were put here on this earth for a purpose; and what is that purpose? And by what plan is that purpose being worked out here below?
Now stop and think. Would a Creator, with a supreme intelligence and wisdom and love to have thought out, planned, designed, and then brought about all creation, this earth and all life and life functions upon it, everything that we call mother nature, for instance; would the creative Intelligence have left this whole world of created beings in ignorance of His purpose — if He had a purpose for putting us here? Of the purpose of our very being, of the laws that would bring us peace and happiness and joy and everything good. Of the knowledge of where do we go from here? What is going happen when we die?
You know the Bible is God's divine revelation of basic needed knowledge that mankind needs so badly and yet is not capable otherwise of discerning or ever finding out. No tools or instruments of science can tell you whether you have a soul, whether you are a soul, whether there is any life after death, what is the purpose of your being alive, where you are going, the way to a happy abundant life, or to universal and worldwide peace, or even to having peace right there in your own home.
Our scientists, our world leaders, and statesmen, the great and the near great, have failed utterly to tell us the answers, or to lead us into the universally desired peace and happiness. And into real joyous abundant living. God Almighty did not hide from human minds these all important truths, my friends. He made them accessible to mankind. He committed this treasure house of basic knowledge to writing. He revealed the way to peace, everything that the human heart desires. Get your Bible and open it. The great statesmen and the politicians of the world do not know the way to peace. They haven't brought us peace. They don't know how.
And yet, my friends, God makes this knowledge accessible to all who will listen. You can read it in your own Bible. The way to peace, the way that the world rejects. But now, once again my friends, why do so few understand this treasure house of knowledge, this Holy Bible? Now you find the answer in II Timothy the third chapter, the sixteenth and seventeenth verses. Right in this very Book, the Bible. Listen, here it is:
"All scripture [now that's not just a few verses or parts of sentences that you might wish to apply to suit your own desires, but it says; all scripture, every scripture, all scripture] is given by inspiration of God..." (II Timothy 3:16)
Then it wasn't written just by uninspired men. It isn't the ideas of men. No, it was all given by inspiration of God, every scripture is inspired by the Eternal Ever-Living God.
"...and is profitable [is profitable for what? Is profitable] for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." (II Timothy 3:16-17)
Now that's what it says, that's quoted from II Timothy 3:16 and 17. So the scriptures are profitable for the purpose of reproving, of correcting us where we're wrong. But oh; how we do resent being reproved and corrected. How many people do you know, who are really willing to be corrected where they are in error? To be reproved for the wrong things that they do? How many people like being reproved and told they are wrong?
No people don't like that type of thing at all. They love praise, people like flattery, but they don't like correction or reproof, they hate it. And so now, my friends, I think you are beginning to see why it is so hard for so many people to understand the Bible. And why they disagree as to just what it does say. The Bible is God's great spiritual mirror and it shows up every flaw in our thinking. It reveals every spot on our characters. It pictures us as we really are, as God sees us. Not as we like to think we are, or have other men look upon us. For we read in Hebrews four and verse 12:
"...the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword [yes it cuts deep and it cuts both ways]...and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." (Hebrews 4:12)
Yes it opens up and it exposes and it lays bear the very inner soul of man — what he thinks down deep in his heart, what he really is. My friends, when your little children do things that are wrong, that are forbidden, that you have forbidden them, do they usually admit it freely and frankly? Do they come and say; "Father I cannot tell a lie, I did it"? Or do they usually deny it just as long as possible? And then they try to cover it up, or excuse it, or justify it. Or else, when they are found out, place the blame on someone else?
Yes, it's just human nature. You begin doing that sort of thing when you're a little child. You grow up doing it. We are only little children grown up. And so when our heavenly Father speaks to us through His Holy word, and when He reproves and rebukes and corrects us, we usually don't like to admit our errors, our faults, or our wrong ways. And so, too often men have applied some different meaning to the scripture that reproves them. And that is what the scriptures do when you read the Bible. It is going to correct you, it is going to reprove you. So men have passed right over some scriptures that corrected and rebuked them, or else men have ignored them utterly and they have studied diligently to find some other scriptures, or portion of scripture into which they could read a meaning that would justify their own course and would reflect their own ideas.
Today we have hundreds of human interpretations of the Bible. You never hear of hundreds of interpretations of a certain biology textbook, or a textbook on science, or on history, or something else that you would read in a college, or that you would find in the library. Now, why? Why, because these other textbooks, these other books merely written by uninspired men, do not correct men. They don't hold the mirror up till you see your own character, and see it in the raw and see just how it is.
Now instead of acknowledging the truth, instead of repenting of sin and wrong, instead of having it legally justified — as the Bible shows we should, through the blood of Jesus Christ — men seek to justify their own acts by perverting the sacred and the Holy Word of God.
My friends, it seems to me, the longer I live and the more experience I have with mankind, that the most difficult thing on this earth for the average person to do is to admit it, and to confess it, and to repent of it, when he is wrong. Oh, how hard that seems to be. I believe that almost the rarest thing in this world is a person who will always acknowledge it when he is wrong. Who will repent and who'll turn around and go the other way, go the right way. Even though everything in his being cries out to go the wrong way. Who will deny himself, who will use self discipline to do what he ought to do, instead of what he wants to do. Now the world is full of people who profess to be willing to do this, but the one who does it, is one of the rarest persons in the world.
And so the time truly is come, just as the apostle Paul continued under God's inspiration to write in the Bible in II Timothy 4 and the first four verses, when many will not endure sound doctrine today. And so men have turned away their ears, as the scripture says, from the truth. And they have been turned unto fables. Yes; fables palmed off as the truth of God's Word. Until people believe today that the Bible says many things it does not say at all; but in many cases it says precisely the opposite. Well these are the latter days that the prophet Isaiah foretold, when men would demand of their ministers:
"...Preach not unto us right things, preach unto us smooth things, preach deceits." (Isaiah 30:10 paraphrased)
You'll find that in Isaiah the thirtieth chapter, the eighth through the eleventh verse. Yes; that was foretold and that's prophesied in the Bible.
"...the natural man [now that is the natural born unconverted mind, just the normal natural person] receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." (I Corinthians 2:14)
That is the things written in the Bible. They are spiritually discerned and the ordinary man just doesn't receive them. And then again, in John 16:13:
"...when he, the Spirit of truth, is come [that's the very spirit of God, that comes from God not from man], he will guide you into all truth..." (John 16:13)
And since the Bible is God's Word and it is distinctly written: "...thy word is truth." (John 17:17) So that the words of the Bible are truth, then it requires the Holy Spirit, the very spirit that comes from God to open up the human mind to this marvelous revelation of God. And so the Holy Spirit within the human mind is the key which alone can unlock the doors to scriptural understanding. But God gives His Holy Spirit only to those that repent and obey Him; instead of obeying their own impulses and following the crowd and doing just the way all the other people do, and keep thinking all the time, "Well, what will people say?"
Did you ever stop to think that knowledge can be transmitted into the human mind naturally only through five channels? The only means by which the mind can receive any knowledge, normally and naturally, is through the eye, the ear, the nose, the mouth, or the sense of feeling and touch, the five senses. My friends, the Bible reveals spiritual things; and spiritual things cannot normally be seen, neither can you hear them, nor taste them, nor feel them, nor smell. And so the natural human mind is incapable of understanding these spiritual revelations.
But, as the scripture has said; when we receive the Holy Spirit of God, which comes only when we are willing to repent of our ways, and willing to obey God and turn to His right ways, as revealed in the Bible. And when He then gives us His Holy Spirit, when the mind becomes spirit-led; then through this supernatural process of God, spiritual knowledge is revealed. And the spiritual mind can begin to understand. And the only conditions in the Bible, that are mentioned anywhere in the Bible for receiving God's Holy Spirit are just two; repent, which means be willing to obey God, it means you must be absolutely conquered by God. Until you say; "Not my will, but Thine be done." Until God becomes your Lord, your Master, your Ruler.
And the second condition, that you believe. That means, not only that you believe on Jesus Christ who was God made flesh, and now has been resurrected from the dead as very God. Not only believing IN Christ, but you must believe Christ. You must believe the message He brought. You must believe what He preached and what is written in the Bible, because He is the Living Word of God and the Bible is the merely the written Word and He is the author.
Yes, repent means much more than being sorry. It means a complete yielding to the will of God, as that will is expressed in the Bible. A complete willingness to accept and to do what it teaches, no matter what the cost, no matter what the persecution, the sacrifice, or the effort. And, my friends, it's going to lead you in a direction opposite to the way the world is traveling today. And then Jesus said, as recorded in John chapter 7 and in verse 16:
"...My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me [it came from God Almighty, the Father, then He said]. If any man will do his will [God the Father's will], he shall know...the doctrine..." (John 7:16-17)
That is, he will understand the Bible. Yes, my dear friends, if you will just surrender to the will of God, then Jesus says, you can come to understand the Bible. Many are like the man that said to me, "I wouldn't do anything that I thought was wrong, for the world." Yes, but the Bible says :
"There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the [ends] thereof are the ways of death." (Proverbs 14:12)
And death is the penalty of sin. And so the way that seems right to the natural mind must be the ways of sin. And so I submit, my friends, that these ways that have seemed so right to men, the ways that men have been going have not made this world happy. Here's an upset world full of chaos, a divided world today; and the average person living an empty life, an unhappy life. Oh my friends, it need not be, let's wake up.
"The works of his hands [God's hands] are verity and judgment [He wrote the Ten Commandments with his own finger]; all his commandments are sure. They stand fast for ever and ever, and are done in truth and uprightness. [Then we read] The fear of the [Eternal] is the beginning of wisdom: [and] a good understanding have all they that do his commandments..." (Psalms 111:7-8,10)
Oh, my friends, I think you can begin to see now why it is that men are unable to understand the Bible. They are not yielded to God, the Eternal's, will. They are filled with the fear of men and of self desire and of vanity and of greed and selfishness, instead of the fear of God. They tremble at the thought of what people will say; but let me tell you, my friends, you had better begin to tremble before the Word of the Living God.
Truth is revealed. It is revealed by God's Spirit and that involves a supernatural act by God. The terms and the conditions are utter surrender, repentance and faith. Now David had understanding, the old patriarch David, king of the ancient Israel and David said:
"Thy word [which means the words of the Bible in scripture] is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." (Psalms 119:105)
Now today's generation is like that in Jesus' day, when He said:
"...this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil." (John 3:19)
They didn't want to be reproved, they didn't want to be corrected. Surely the world today is in gross darkness. But why, oh why, will men prefer to stumble on in the darkness with all its attendant misery and suffering and unhappiness and death and the way that seems so right to men? The way of the world. The way that has become the way of society today. When here is the light, in the Bible. The light that will illuminate our pathway out of this horrible darkness into the glorious light of peace and of happiness and of joy and with it life eternal. Why is it, my friends? Turn in your Bible to the one hundred nineteenth Psalm, that's the one hundred nineteenth Psalm and the one hundred fifth verse, which I read just a moment ago:
"Thy word [that's the words of the Bible here, thy word] is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." (Psalm 119:105)
It shows you the way to happiness, to peace, to eternal life, to everything that you want. And then begin reading up here now, with the ninety-seventh verse where this psalmist, who is David wrote this; how many of us can say this with him today?
" O how love I thy law!..." (Psalm 119:97)
That's the law of God. God created laws; every law of nature, every law of physics, and of chemistry. He set these laws in motion and there are spiritual laws, my friends, that regulate your happiness. And these are living things. And David said; "Oh how love I thy law!..." (Psalm 119:97). Oh my friends, if you can ever learn to say that with David. And begin to love the truth and the Word of God, instead of the ways of men, and the ways of this world; then you'll be on the right track at last. You may suffer some persecution, but you'll have happiness within and you'll be on the right way for the first time in your life.
Yes, God's word is like to walking, And just the minute that any single man rejects one single way of that light, that has been plainly revealed to him, that God has revealed, so that he really sees it himself, in his own mind. No matter how unimportant it may seem in his estimation, just the minute that God reveals something to you and you reject it, God will cease to reveal further truth and understanding of the Bible. You'll never be able to understand another word of the Bible, until you go back where you left off and repent and become willing to walk in the light that you have rejected.
Then do as God says and begin to study. Study it for yourself, study the Bible, study to find proof; and study to show yourself approved unto God. Now the Bible is going to correct you, it is going to reprove you, it is going to show you where you are wrong. So ask God for guidance, ask Him to reveal the true meaning. Then believe God, believe His word, accept it in its plain, its simple natural meaning, just as you would accept any other book in which you have confidence. Be careful to prove all things. Be cautious; avoid jumping to any hasty conclusions, or taking things carelessly for granted.
And above ALL, my friends, do not try to interpret the Bible. It interprets its own self. One scripture is interpreted by other scriptures in other parts of the Bible. Don't take any interpretation of any man or any sect or denomination, the Bible interprets itself. God would not have us shut our ears and our minds from hearing what is being preached, even though it differs from what you've already been taught.
When the apostle Paul came to Berea, the Bereans found he was teaching something utterly different than what they had been taught and had come to believe. They didn't know whether Paul was a false prophet, or whether he was a man sent from God. But we read of them in the seventeenth chapter of Acts and eleventh verse that:
"These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind [that is without any prejudice], and [they] searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so." (Acts 17:11)
Now, my friends, follow that example. Listen, listen without prejudice, but be careful. Prove all things, search the scriptures of the Bible, whether these things are so.
Now I have time just for a very brief word about the actual method of Bible study. The right spirit, the right attitude, full submission to its dictates, being willing to be corrected and reproved by it; that my friends, is the main thing. But study the Bible on your knees. Did you ever try that? Try it, pray for guidance and for understanding, pray as you study; you'll be surprised at the results.
"If any man lack the wisdom [says the Bible], let him ask of God..." (James 1:5 paraphrased)
God will reveal it to you in the Bible. And then remember that the verses as you find and divided in the most used translations are mainly just for convenience. They were not inspired and some verses are only parts of a single sentence. Now be sure that you get the whole thought where ever you're reading or studying. Often it's necessary to read the whole chapter, even a whole book, in order rightly to understand any one verse in its proper setting. Be sure that you get the meaning intended for that chapter and that book. And then study one subject at a time and get every passage in all the Bible relating to that particular subject. Use a good concordance and the marginal references in your Bible. I wish I had time to illustrate how all of the truth on any subject does not necessarily appear in just one place or one text. Why, you get it; "...here a little, and a little there:" (Isaiah 28:10 paraphrased), as you find actually directed in Isaiah 28 and verses 9 and 10.
Now just before I leave the air, my friends, I see time is about up. I know I am going to receive hundreds of inquiries asking whether we have available a Bible study correspondence course for those who really want to study the Bible and understand it. Yes, you can take 'The Ambassador College Bible Correspondence Course.' right there in your own home. So listen carefully, if you are to attain to the glory that is your potential destiny, to really fulfill the tremendous purpose for which you were put here on this earth you must not only surrender unconditionally to God in real repentance and receive Jesus Christ as personal Saviour, you must be converted — that is changed by continual overcoming and growing in grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. You must, as Jesus Christ said, actually live by every word of God. That is by every word of the Bible. So now request your first lesson of the 'The Ambassador College Bible Correspondence Course.'
The Bible Answers the Worlds Most Basic QuestionsWhy are human beings today so discontented? Why are human lives empty and unhappy? How may human life become happy and filled with interest, abundant, successful, and prosperous? What is the true cause of wars? And what is the way to world peace? What is it that lies on after death? When a man dies, then what happens to him? Is he just dead? Is he extinct? Or is he still living and does he go somewhere else, or does he go off into some other form, or shape, or something? What happens when we die? And what is the way to happy, abundant, and eternal life? Is there any life after death? My friends, these are the things that we ought to want to know. These are the most important things, the basic things, the very foundation of all right knowledge. My friends, are those questions important? Well one might ask, is anything else important?
The Bible Need Not Be Interpreted by ManAnd so men began centuries ago, to interpret the Bible. Now the Bible need not be interpreted, it ought not be to be interpreted. To interpret the Bible is to put your meaning into it, instead of drinking God's meaning out of it. And so God's Word has become perverted. It has become twisted, wrested, distorted. And almost every false and counterfeit meaning imaginable has been read into it, instead of drinking the natural meaning, the plain simple intended meaning out of it.
Discerning Spiritual KnowledgeAnd now I want you to notice I Corinthians the second chapter and the fourteenth verse:
God's PurposeGod's whole purpose is to rescue men from this false way that appears so alluring, this way that seems so right to man; and yet ends up in despair and suffering and death. And so we read in one of the scriptures given by inspiration of God, and Jesus Christ said that the scriptures cannot be broken, we read in Psalms 111, verses 7 and 8 and verse 10 that:
How to Understand What God is SayingMy friends, that's why men can't understand the Bible. How then can you understand the Bible? Well I shall tell you now how you may begin this thrilling soul-satisfying adventure. Here is how you can begin to really understand the Bible. The first thing is; surrender to God, surrender your will to Him and to the authority of His Word, the Bible. You must begin to look into the Bible and to study it to find out, by every word of the Bible, how to live. Forsake your ways, your thoughts, and those of the society of this world, and of your friends. Accept Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour. Receive His Holy Spirit.