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. This is Herbert W Armstrong with the Good News of the World Tomorrow. The Way of Life God of the Old Testament What Christ Preached The Church is Founded on the Prophets and the Apostles Route to Salvation Plain Speech
My friends, why do we have a different Gospel? Why do we hear a different Gospel today than the Gospel that Jesus preached 1900 years ago? Why have most of us grown up believing in many instances, the very opposite of the teaching of Jesus Christ? Oh, of course we've heard a lot about Christ, we've heard a Gospel about His person, we've been taught to accept Christ as personal Saviour, we've heard a lot about salvation, we've heard a lot about grace.
Oh yes; but actually today most people know very little about what Jesus did proclaim! Many of them think they believe what He said. You hear a lot of people today define a Christian as one who follows Christ. But do people today actually follow Jesus? Do they practice the customs He did? Do they do the things that He did? For instance, when you turn back here to the Sermon on the Mount. Take some of the things that Jesus said there in His preaching; everybody's familiar with it, and we believe that a Christian is one who follows Christ and does what Christ preached. Now, Jesus said:
"...if anyone comes up and strikes you, to not strike him back but turn the other cheek." (Matthew 5:39 paraphrased)
Is that what people do today? Do very many people believe in that today? Go through the Sermon on the Mount, take the many, many things that He said there. For instance, He said:
"Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5:17-19)
Well now, my friends, why is it that nearly everybody who professes to be a Christian today believes that the law was nailed to the cross? And they believe that, well that was only for Israelites but that's not for us. You know, a lot of people today say; "Well I know; but Jesus preached a sort of a Jewish religion didn't He? And we're Gentiles. Now the apostle Paul came with the religion for us;" And they say; "well, there aren't any works to it."
You know, a lot of people today sort of look at it this way: that God was the Creator, who created everything back there once, in a long ago. And, of course, the devil entered in and brought about the fall of man. God had gone way off, He had something else to do. Oh, God had to look back and see the damage that Satan had done, and of course He was apparently quite perplexed about it, and so He had to think out another afterthought to repair the damage. And so, it is customarily believed by a lot of people, I don't think everybody believes it that way but a lot of people do, that salvation is merely God's effort to repair the damage.
In other words; to restore mankind today back to a condition as good as Adam was before the fall. Now what I am getting at is this; the customary idea then is that, well God is a little concerned about our eternal salvation. But God is not concerned about our regular, well — day to day life, God isn't concerned about your business, God isn't concerned about, oh — our government or your politics or how you vote or whether you vote or anything like that. God isn't concerned about our social customs; God isn't concerned about our problems of our educational institutions and our philosophies and how we believe about life, and what we teach, and the customs of society, and the things that we set up, the way that we go. Man is supposed to do the things and follow the way that seems right to a man. Most people actually believe that, they believe that God is not concerned at all about this life or how we live, except that there was a fall of man and God is concerned about getting us saved.
Why, I wonder if you've ever noticed here, in one chapter in the Book of Acts, "that way", this way of life is spoken of a number of times? It was considered a way of life. Now today it seems that most people believe that Christianity is anything else but that. That Christianity is not a way of life, it is only a faith, it is only a belief. In other words, you just believe certain things but it has nothing to do with your daily life. Now my friends, you find Jesus preaching things that did have to do with our daily life, all the way through. He said here:
"Ye have heard that it was said of them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:" (Matthew 5:21)
He was taking one of the Ten Commandments. Well, today they say; "Oh well; that was all nailed to the cross and we're not concerned with the Law of God anymore." And today, people seem to believe that the Law of God, the word 'law'; when you speak of it religiously today to people, seems to have a connotation of something dreadful, of something terrible, of something that is contrary to our best interests. And they think the Law of God would be something that is not good for us at all but is very contrary to our best interests and our happiness.
You know, a lot of people have that idea. But that isn't the God you read of in the Old Testament. Why, the God of the Old Testament that I've read about in my Old Testament is a God of love. A God whose love for us is so great that we just simply cannot begin to understand it or believe it. It just goes clear beyond the bounds of anything that we can seem to understand. You read in the hundred and third Psalm about the God of the Old Testament:
"Bless the [Eternal], O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the [Eternal], O my soul, and forget not all his benefits [oh yes, He gives us benefits. Not anger, not wrath, not just punishment, we bring punishment on ourselves. Now it describes God;]: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases [of course, that's regarded as fanaticism today and the way it's looked on and practiced in some quarters it perhaps is; but if we were to only get the Bible straight and what God says, it isn't]; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction..." (Psalm 103:1-4)
Now is that a God of hate? Is that a god that is — well, like the god of Herbert Spencer, you know, that is egotistical, he loves his own self and he wants us to flatter him and praise him, because that elevates his own vanity. You know Herbert Spencer concede of God as lower than the average man and a God of anger and of wrath and of lots of vanity; He wants us to flatter Him and praise Him all the time; but He's only interested in injuring us and causing us pain and suffering. Well, I don't find that kind of a God in my Bible, not when you understand it. I know the atheist, you know, can take — or unbelievers can find a certain verse here and there, and take it out of its meaning and context, and not put it together with everything else and make it look like God was some creature of that kind I suppose. You know, you can prove just as much fallacy by any book you pick up if you would mutilate it and use the same methods. Here's God though:
"Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's." (Psalm 103:4-5)
You know that all the good food you have, God causes it to grow. And if we would only eat the natural foods that God causes to grow, oh, we could be so happy. They are so good, if we didn't have artificial appetites that have been perverted. You know, one of the best things you can eat, if you only understood it, is parsnips. And the average person just would hate parsnips; because — well, in the first place I think you've never tasted them, most of you, cooked in the proper manner. Cook them below the boiling point and see what you have. Quit cooking the natural sugar and the natural goodness out of them. You know, years and years ago I used to cook parsnips and serve them to people and I never served any parsnips to a person yet who didn't want a second and a third helping, believe it or not. And I did it because no one liked them to begin with; or thought they didn't that is, until they tasted them. Oh, they are very delicious if you cook them properly; or carrots, celery, all those things, natural foods. Oh, they are so good if you only learn to like them and if you don't cook all the good food out of them. Verse six here, one hundred and third Psalm:
"The [Eternal] executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed. He made known his ways [now notice His ways He made known] unto Moses, his acts unto the children of Israel... [and so on]. He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us [listen, here's that angry stern God of the Old Testament, listen]. Like as a father pitieth his children, so the [Eternal] pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust." (Psalm 103:6-7,10-14)
There's the God of the Old Testament. A God whose mercy is greater toward us than the heavens are high above the earth.
"The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ...[Here is this Gospel, then it digresses to show the preparatory ministry of John the Baptist paving the way; and then in verse 14] Now after that John was put in prison [and John's Gospel was completed, or, John's baptism], Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel." (Mark 1:1,14-15)
Now there was a definite time for this Gospel to be given and He said the time had come, the time was fulfilled; and He began preaching the Gospel. This didn't begin at the cross, this didn't begin at Pentecost, this began after John was put in prison with the beginning of the preaching of Jesus.
Now, was this Old Testament doctrine? Was He preaching something that was soon to be done away? Did Jesus come and spend three and a half years proclaiming something in order to get through proclaiming it so He could knock it all in the head and nail it all up to His cross? My friends, do you think that would make sense? I don't think it's wrong to use a little reason about it too:
"...after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God [that's the Gospel He preached], And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye..." (Mark 1:14-15)
That's the first thing He said for us to do; repent. And repent means repent of breaking God's Laws. Because you find that in I John 3:4 says that:
" ...sin is the transgression of the law." (I John 3:4)
Now the law is not just anything man makes up in his own mind. Oh yes, as I was going to say here a minute ago; we think we can do anything we please, that God isn't concerned. That He just left it for man to work out his own ideas of human government, his own ideas of social customs, and educational system, and religious system, and all of that; and God is only concerned, as they say, with the soul, and of course a lot of people don't know what the soul is. But what they think the soul is, and in getting us saved. And only — not concerned with this world, or this life, but only the life to come. Like a certain kind of insurance policy that you have to die to beat it, they say. I guess the insurance man is selling a different kind of a policy more today, aren't they?
Well, anyway, a lot of people think that there is nothing about a way of life in it at all and that man can do anything he thinks is right. Do you know that twice in your Bible it says:
"There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." (Proverbs 14:12)
"There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." (Proverbs 16:25)
And when the Holy Spirit had inspired Philip to go and meet the Ethiopian eunuch that had been worshipping in Jerusalem and he was on the way back down to Ethiopia. He was on the highway, the road that leads from Jerusalem south, down to Gaza and on back into Africa and into Ethiopia. And he was in a chariot, the kind of vehicle that they used in those days. And so Philip climbed up into the chariot with him and he had a book. Now they didn't have the Bible altogether in one book in those days, but each book was a separate book and Isaiah was a separate book; and this Ethiopian man had this Book of Isaiah, and he was reading in the fifty-third chapter of it. And Philip says; "Well, do you understand what you're reading?" And he said; "Well how can I if some man doesn't guide me?"
Do you know, God says, how can they understand without a preacher? It's right that you should listen to preachers, my friends, although, I will say this: and I, I put this on myself, I apply it to myself, first of all. Listen to preachers, my friends, but don't believe them until you find it in your Bible. You check up on the preachers and you study your Bible and see whether these things were so, exactly as the Bereans did, on the apostle Paul. Now, they didn't know whether the apostle Paul was a false preacher, or whether he was a true minister of Jesus Christ.
And there are many false preachers today, how are you going to know which one it is? Why, my friends, how are you going to know whether it's your own preacher or the other fellow, or who, if you don't check up? I want you to check up on everything I tell you. I don't want you to follow me, my friends, I'm not looking for followers. I want to point you to Christ, I want to point you to your Bible, I want to point you to believing what you, with your own eyes see in your Bible. Now if I don't preach what you find in the Bible, I don't want you to believe me. If your preacher is honest he'll tell you the same thing.
Now, Isaiah is one of these books, one of these prophets that the New Testament Church is founded on. And here was this eunuch reading the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah and Philip began at that same scripture and preached unto him Christ and the man was converted and baptized and brought into the Church. Do you know that? From preaching in the Old Testament. Do you know that in Paul's letter to Timothy, who was the young evangelist sent out under the apostle Paul, and under his authority and jurisdiction; Paul said to Timothy:
"...that you have known the holy scriptures from a child that are able to make you wise unto salvation." (II Timothy 3:15 paraphrased)
Now what scriptures had he known from a child? Only the old Testament scriptures. Able to make him wise unto salvation? My friends, that was the teaching of the apostle Paul, the special apostle to the Gentiles.
"Seek ye the [Eternal] while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near [here's the way you do it; the next verse says]: Let the wicked..." (Isaiah 55:6-7)
And of course, according to the Bible all are wicked. You know Jesus said; "...none is good, save one, that is God." (Luke 18:19). And; "...all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" (Romans 3:23). So, when it says 'wicked' in Bible language, my friends, that means you and me. It means myself as well as you; but I hope that all of my wickedness has been forgiven and put under the blood of Christ. And that through the Holy Spirit that God is empowering me to have turned away from wickedness now; and to live a holy and a righteous life in Christ Jesus, as you should be doing. But we have the nature of sin in us, and that is what it is speaking of. Now:
"Let the wicked [now that is just every man] forsake his way..." (Isaiah 55:7)
Did you ever hear about a man that is pretty well set in his own ways? And some will say; "Well that's all right to be set in your own ways." Well you know, I disagree a little bit; God doesn't think it is alright to be set in our own ways. Now, are you set in your own ways? My friends, if you can't get unset out of your ways: your ways are going to carry you directly into a lake of fire. That's in your Bible, that's what God has decreed and God is the Judge who's going to determine it. I'm not and you're not. You're just as helpless as a grain of dust to prevent it. If you can't get unset from your ways — you people that are set in your ways — oh, I tell you my friends, we better wake up. That's one reason the Bible says:
"Train up your children in the way they should go: so that they won't depart from it when they're old." (Proverbs 22:6 paraphrased)
Let's get them set in the right ways instead of set in the wrong ways. Now:
"Seek ye the [Eternal] while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way [the wicked man's own way], and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the [Eternal], and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For [God says] my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the [Eternal]. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways..." (Isaiah 55:6-8)
How high is that anyway? That's a long ways up there. Anyway here is a man that is set in his ways, he must unset; he must forsake his ways.
You know, I started out as a young man, in the advertising profession. I used to know Elbert Hubbard years ago; you know that's a long time ago because he went down on the Lusitania before World War I. And I have spent a good deal of time with Elbert Hubbard; I used to read a lot of his books and his magazines and stuff he wrote. He called it 'stuff' himself, incidentally. Yes, that goes back a long time doesn't it? Elbert Hubbard claimed he had the largest vocabulary of any man who had lived since Shakespeare. And I began to be ambitious as a young man about 18 years of age, and 19, and 20 years of age to acquire a very, very large vocabulary. And I started a system of vocabulary training and I was acquiring big words. And then I got into the advertising profession as I mentioned a minute ago; and you know, I began to find that if I was going to use those big words that the people out there, just the common people all over that read my ads, couldn't understand all of those big words. I was trying to read big words that only just a few men, like Elbert Hubbard, could understand. Oh, some college professors and some college presidents might understand them but most people wouldn't. And you know I learned that those big words were not very practical after all because people couldn't understand me when I spoke in them.
And I began to realize my friends, that the purpose of words is to convey a thought or a meaning from one mind to another. Now, if I have an understanding of the Bible and that's the one thing that I wanted and desired above everything else on this earth. First, I just wanted plain understanding, from 16 years of age. But when God had struck me down, and when He had brought me to Him, I was past 30 by that time. God started striking me down at exactly, precisely at age 30, it took Him about three and a half years to bring me there. And by that time, the one thing that I craved, that I desired above everything else, it seemed, on this earth, was to understand the Bible. Very few can understand the Bible and I wanted to be one of those few that could.
Well, I found you have to pay a price if you're going to understand it. Well now, if I understand the Bible and I want to help you to understand it, and you should want to understand it and you want me to help you. The purpose of words is to get that understanding, the thought — clearly as I see it and perceive it, with clear perception from my mind into your mind.
Now, if I use words you don't understand I might just as well speak some foreign language you don't understand. And you know, a lot of people do not understand a lot of words in the English language. And so, in my early advertising training I found had to drop off those words and so I began to unlearn them, you know? I got them out of my vocabulary, I quit using them. And I began to then try to acquire as wide a range of words as I could that were common words that everybody understands. And I began to realize that when you speak to people's own language then they understand you, that's why I even use a little bit of a certain kind of a slang once in awhile because it's so expressive and people understand it. I like to use the language you understand. Well, that's what I started to say here a while ago, so, if you hear me use a little of that kind of language once in a while; I hope my language is always good taste, clean, and everything of that sort.
There's one thing I did have to get rid of that I had back in the old advertising days, when I was converted I had to try and get rid of some of the slang that was well; not profanity because I don't remember that I ever used profanity in my life. I won't say when I was boy around 11 years of age I got in with a gang of kids that at that age I know I might have used profanity once, but I don't remember of it. And so far as I know, I don't believe I ever did in my life. That is literally, I think we've all broken the commandment on taking the name of the name of the Eternal our God in vain in ways we don't realize and understand, at least in the spirit and principle but not directly; and I'm glad I can have a clean slate on that. I hope you can too. You know Billy Sunday used to say that's the one sin the devil doesn't pay you for, you don't get any satisfaction out of swearing; I don't think you even get much relief out of it.
Well, God says His thoughts are not ours; and so my friends, a way of life is what God wants us to come to. His Way and we have to reject our own way and to come to God's Way, now that's what Jesus preached. You know, in Luke 16:16 you read that:
"The law and the prophets were until John [the law and the prophets were until John, that's the Old Testament, the Old Testament message]: since that time the kingdom of God is preached [now not since the cross, not since Pentecost, since John; when Jesus came into Galilee preaching this Gospel, the Kingdom of God is preached], and every man presseth into it." (Luke 16:16)
So the Gospel of the Kingdom of God began from John and is from that time on. My friends, I tell you we need to look into our Bibles and see what Jesus preached because it is the New Testament message, He was the Messenger of the New Covenant and God sent Him from Heaven with a message. Why have we lost that message?
Night after night you will hear it on this program, tune in and listen all the time and learn what is the Gospel that Jesus preached, my friends. Your whole salvation depends on it and your happy life now.
The Way of LifeIn other words; what I'm getting at, my friends, is that very few people today realize that the religion of Jesus Christ, is a religion that has to do with your very life today. With every moment of it, with every phase and activity of it, with your social life, with your business life, with the kind of government that you are concerned about, your educational life; everything about your life. Very few realize that in the New Testament the early Christians regarded Christianity as what they call by two words; "the way". W-A-Y, way. It was; 'the way', or 'this way'. And it was everywhere spoken of as a way of life.
God of the Old TestamentAnd that's one reason that false teaching, that a lot of people seem to accept; I don't know why they believe that way, but a lot of people do today, you know. And that is why some people will say, like one woman said to me not so terribly long ago, she said; "Well, I might believe in Christ, now, He was represented as a kind and loving person that was going about trying doing good and did have love for others — but that God of the Old Testament;" she said; "I can't stand that God of the Old Testament. Oh, He was a God of wrath, that God of the Old Testament was a terror!"
What Christ PreachedOh yes, and when Jesus came preaching, my friends, He preached a way of life. Now, was He preaching just for the Jews? Or just for something that was to be nailed to the cross? And then did He expect the apostle Paul to come and preach something altogether different? No, Paul preached the same Gospel Jesus did. Now what Jesus preached was the Gospel of the Kingdom of God; everywhere, that is the Gospel He preached. You read of it in Mark, the first chapter, and the very the first verse:
The Church is Founded on the Prophets and the ApostlesNow the New Testament Church is built on a "..foundation of the apostles and the prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;" (Ephesians 2:20). Of course, the prophets, that stands really, in a sense for the Old Testament and the apostles for the New because the prophets wrote the Old and the apostles wrote the New, mainly. And so, when you come to some of these Old Testament prophets, Isaiah for instance, the New Testament Church is built on it.
Route to SalvationNow, here is a little of the teaching of Isaiah on how to be saved. Isaiah 55 verses 6 and 7:
Plain SpeechI don't know if that was very grammatic for a man who is president of a college to be saying. Listen, my friends, I'm not trying to appear as a dignified college president, even though I happen to be one; when I'm speaking to you, I'm trying to speak to you in language that you can all understand. I want to make it plain, I want to make it clear. I can use big words but you know, years ago I quit doing it.