WORLDWIDE CHURCH OF GOD PASADENA, CALIFORNIA 91123
HERBERT W. ARMSTRONG PRESIDENT and PASTOR
March 11, 1985
Dear Brethren of God's Church,
It doesn't seem possible, but the time has already come to direct our attention toward the 1985 Feast of Tabernacles! Focus your mind now on the most joyous Festival — and also the largest convention — held anywhere on earth. About 133,000 of our brethren will gather for eight days in the glorious and happy reunion with those God has chosen and brought to Christ out of the billions on earth who do not know God and the joys of his way of life.
The time has come that I must remind you to send in the tithe of your second tithe for the wonderful Feast of Tabernacles for the year 1985.
This year will be the biggest Feast since the days of the first century church. We shall assemble at 89 Festival sites in 49 different countries all around the world. This year there will be a new site behind the Iron Curtain in Cracow, Poland, and once again in China and also in Jerusalem.
For the past three months I have been hard at work on a new book — the largest and most important book since the Bible. I hope to have it published before the Feast, and copies available to you at the Feast. The title is Mystery of the Ages. Even you and your own life is a mystery. Did you ever ask yourself "Who am I? What am I? Why am I?" You have never seen your own brain. You are a mystery to yourself. The God who created you is a total mystery to the world. No religion except God's true Church knows who, or what, God is. God doesn't seem real to most people. God is really mystery number 1. The fact of Satan and demons and angels is mystery number 2. The mystery of MAN is mystery number 3. The mystery of the world — how civilization was formed — why it is filled with such awesome advancement and progress and at the same time with such escalating evils, is mystery number 4. Why was there a nation of Israel as God's chosen nation, is mystery number 5. WHAT and WHY is there the existence of a Church is mystery number 6. People do not understand it. The Kingdom of God, which we shall celebrate at the Feast of Tabernacles, is mystery number 7.
All these are mysteries to the world. Even the Bible is a mystery almost nobody understands. This book will be a real eye- opener — in many respects even to our own members.
God has called us out of the world. The world was kidnapped by Satan at the time of Adam's temptation. For eight days we shall enjoy a foretaste of the coming new world of God — a world of peace, happiness, joy and abundance.
DO WE REALLY UNDERSTAND THAT THIS IS NOT GOD'S WORLD? It is SATAN's world. But have we not, most of us, let so much Protestantism rub off on us that we just sort of take for granted that this is GOD's world — GOD's civilization? But it is SATAN's civilization, and always has been. I think we are the only church that knows that TRUTH. God is NOT trying to save the world — NOT trying to make it a better world.
Rather, Jesus came to start a NEW, a DIFFERENT world — an entirely NEW civilization that will be GOD's world.
Stop and THINK of the real PURPOSE and MEANING of the Church in which you are a member! We live in a world of discontent, gloom, sorrow, frustration, despair. In boundless LOVE and mercy the Supreme GOD has chosen and called you and me and all our brethren in Christ OUT of this unhappy and futile world. WHY? Not only to give into our lives HIS happiness and joy and blessed hope, but to PREPARE us through HIS Spirit and HIS spiritual knowledge to rule over and TEACH all humanity during the coming thousand years and the following Great Judgment to have their lives transformed into vigorous happiness, joy and accomplishment with the GIFT of eternal life — when we ALL shall live happily, gloriously, vigorously, productively FOR EVER AND EVER!
We NOW look forward to the coming FEAST OF TABERNACLES. At the Feast we shall rejoice eight days looking forward to the time when we may be used in bringing other millions and billions of precious human lives into immortal glorious GOD-LIVES! Yes, then born into the GOD FAMILY — being VERY God ourselves!
All whose hearts and minds are right with God will be spiritually refreshed, uplifted, inspired, filled with joyous anticipation, enjoying a real FEAST on the SPIRITUAL WORD OF GOD!
Think how important this Festival is! After the return of King of kings Jesus Christ, "It shall come to pass, that every one ... shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles" (Zech. 14:16).
And there shall be plagues and severe punishment on nations that neglect or refuse to attend! People will be compelled to be happy! Of course, that is speaking of mortal people then left alive — not of Christ's saints who then will be immortal and in the very Family of God.
But you and I are, now, still mortal — and the above scripture shows us how very serious in God's eyes it is that we attend this wonderful Feast this year. For we may be attending it as immortal-born children of God before this present decade is out! That certainly is a likely possibility.
We are undoubtedly in the midst of the most explosive decade in the history of man. But it is possible that God will cut short the days of great tribulation ahead and bring us into the wonderful and glorious Kingdom of God before this decade is out. Again, remember, Jesus said no man will know the day or the hour. But he did say we may know by world events when it is near — even at the door!
This will be my 59th year of keeping the annual Fall Holy Days. We did not come to realize the meaning and need to keep the entire Feast of Tabernacles until 1945, though my wife and I began keeping the annual Sabbaths in 1927.
The Feast of Tabernacles pictures to us year after year the glorious thousand years, just shortly ahead now, of world peace, happiness and opportunity for eternal salvation for all not previously called! It will be a world without Satan! It will be a world with Jesus Christ ruling with love!
It is a time for us to get away from the dreary routine of daily life in Satan's world and enjoy eight wonderful days with brethren in Christ and their families! It is the only time in the year that God provides a time when we may get away and rest from our daily regular duties — to be with brethren in Christ to worship him and look forward to his utopia!
Brethren, as God shows us the importance of attending this Feast, it is equally important that all shall have been saving the second tithe to pay your own expenses and enjoyment at the Festival. Of course, part of that expense is rental of auditoriums or halls or convention centers and other expenses the Church must pay. So, as always, be sure to send in a tithe of your entire year's second tithe by return mail. Mark or list it separately from your regular first tithe or offering.
What a blessing from God that we have not had to borrow regularly for the operations of the Work at the banks during all the last six years and so far this year. Formerly we had to borrow a million dollars in January and pay back out of Passover special offerings. Then we had to borrow another million in July to be paid back from the Fall Festival offerings. Loan rates to largest bank customers had gone over 20 percent! What a blessing not to have to pay these excessive interest rates!
Instructions for making your housing arrangements will be included in your Feast information material. U.S. and Canadian brethren will receive this information in a special Festival Planner in April.
I wish you all the best wishes for a solemn Passover and a joyous Festival of Unleavened Bread.