WORLDWIDE CHURCH OF GOD PASADENA, CALIFORNIA 91123
HERBERT W. ARMSTRONG PRESIDENT and PASTOR
March 21, 1984
Dear Brethren and Co-Workers with Christ:
The most solemn time of the year is coming up in a few days. THINK what it means, especially this year, so near the END of this world.
Have we fully grasped it — the real significance — yet? This world started with one man, Adam, formed from the ground in GOD'S image, after God's likeness. He was formed in God's physical likeness — as to form and shape — but he did not choose to be formed in God's SPIRITUAL CHARACTER image. Upon Adam's decision, God shut off the tree of LIFE — God's Holy Spirit which would have injected into him both immortal life and God's spiritual character. That tree of LIFE remained shut off from mankind until Christ the SECOND ADAM.
Satan had kidnapped Adam and his family which grew from him — that is, this whole world. Deceived and swayed by Satan, Adam's world developed the present world civilization — with its governments, systems of production, commerce, education, religions and society. Jesus likened this world to a building, built on a foundation of sand, and the whole building is very soon going to CRASH to its DOOM — and "great was the fall of it" (Matt. 7:24-27).
Meanwhile, nearly 2,000 years ago, came Jesus, the SECOND ADAM, to start GOD'S WORLD, which the first Adam could have founded. As this present evil world of Satan started with the ONE man, Adam, so the coming World Tomorrow (the Kingdom of God) was founded by ONE MAN, Jesus Christ. He said, "I will build my Church" and he started it by calling out of this world 12 students to be taught by him — called disciples.
But Satan sits on the throne of the earth, and he fought with all his might and cunning to prevent Jesus from building GOD'S WORLD and taking over the throne of the earth. He tried to kill the child Jesus shortly after his birth. He tried to destroy Jesus in the great temptation when Jesus was about 30 years of age. But Jesus conquered Satan and qualified to sit on earth's throne and establish GOD'S WORLD. Next Satan moved to DESTROY GOD'S CHURCH. During the first 50 years he turned much of the Church to a FALSE GOSPEL (Gal. 1:6-7). Satan deceived men into becoming his (Satan's) ministers (II Cor. 11:13-15). A great false church sprang up, called "BABYLON THE GREAT, the mother of harlots [Protestants]."
But the TRUE Church stood, through centuries of trial and persecution. It lost much original truth, but clung to what truth it had, retaining the true name "Church of God," and the Law and God's Sabbath.
Meanwhile, the great false church went through a Protestant "Reformation," which failed utterly to reestablish the faith once delivered. In Europe, Protestant churches — like the Catholic Church — mostly became religions of the state: the Church of England in the U.K., Lutheran in northern Germany and Scandinavian countries. But with the establishment of the 13 colonies in America, new sects and denominations sprang up. Disciples of John and Charles Wesley fled to America for religious freedom. Those of George Fox fled to America to carry on the Quaker religion. Scottish Presbyterians sprang up in America. Numerous other sects sprang up in the United States as the nation grew.
BUT NOT ONE OBEYED JUDE 3, to "earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints" by Jesus Christ.
But in due time, 1926-27, God beat me down, challenged me on the very point of his Law, opened my eyes to his TRUTH. This TRUTH of the faith once delivered had been preserved in the Holy Bible. But NONE of the sects of so-called traditional Christianity believed God's Word (II Cor. 4:3-4), for they were blinded by Satan.
And now, through us, the original true Gospel OF Christ, the Kingdom of God, is going in great POWER to the whole world. We have churches in 54 countries of the world — THINK OF IT! We have baptized members in 127 different countries. By the combination of television, radio and the PLAIN TRUTH magazine "this Gospel of the Kingdom" is now going into all but three tiny, small, almost unheard — of countries of the world — certainly fulfilling Matthew 24:14, "This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end [of this world] come."
We are comparatively small in membership, compared to large traditional churches, yet a VERY GREAT AND REAL P O W E R in the world! Matthew 24:14 says this is THE SIGN THAT THE END OF THE WORLD IS NOW VERY NEAR!
The world is so spiritually DRUNK on false gospels that the TRUTH sounds strange. But it is their false teachings that are crazy.
We are not OF this world. We have been called OUT from among them of this world, to be separate in living GOD'S WAY.
It is only by God's tithing system that we can be such a tremendous power in the world. But God requires special offerings beside. Ours is the ONLY program that does not beg the public for money. We rely on GOD, and God supplies the need through HIS PEOPLE — YOU! He does not rain down financial manna from heaven. He does promise blessings, both spiritual and financial, to the tithe-payer — and, conversely, God says the one who does not faithfully tithe is robbing God.
This Philadelphia era of God's Church began in October, 1933, with only 19 baptized members. It started the smallest, but like the grain of mustard seed it grew, and GREW, until today it is fulfilling God's Great Commission in a power not equaled even by the largest professing churches of this world.
Every sign now points toward a real upsurge in the power and scope of the Work this year. The harvest is abundantly plenteous, but the laborers are too few. More ministers are trained and ready, but for lack of sufficient funds we cannot put them in new churches being formed. The need for TITHE and OFFERING laborers was never greater. There is not much time. We must all put the needs of God's Work ahead of personal pleasures and desires and be diligent in the sacrifice of PRAYERS and special larger offerings. If we will step out more generously in faith, God will make it possible and our real needs will be supplied. This is a time for DEDICATION ANEW!