WORLDWIDE CHURCH OF GOD WORLD HEADQUARTERS PASADENA, CALIFORNIA 91123
HERBERT W. ARMSTRONG President and Pastor
December 24, 1976
Dear Brethren and Co-workers in Christ,
VERY FEW MEN in this world know personally as many heads of governments as I. Yet I am absolutely AMAZED at how short a period of time most of them last. Many have a tenure in office—if they stay healthy—of only four to six years. Many die in office. Some are assassinated—others shot down in a military coup or violent overthrow of government. Some are forced to resign.
I think over, in my mind, about many I have known, some closely and intimately—now GONE! One was Prime Minister Eisaku Sato of Japan. He and I had a personal agreement we would throw away a year annually—become one year younger each year. And also, as he said to me, "One of us must live into the 21st century, so to have lived into THREE CENTURIES—and that must be you, Mr. Armstrong, because I was born in this century."
Before he died last year, he received the Nobel Peace Prize.
There was Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia, taken prisoner in a military coup which overthrew his long-established government. He died in military custody.
There was President Allende of Chile, machine-gunned in the back in the very room where I had the private conference.
There was President Rahman of Bangladesh, assassinated in an overthrow of his poverty-stricken, illiteracy-cursed country.
There was the King of Afghanistan, whom I was invited to visit, but who was overthrown and driven to European exile before my visit could be arranged.
There have been others, affectionate friends of mine, whose terms of office have expired, such as V.V. Giri, ex-President of India.
Prime Minister Thanin Kraivichien of Thailand has been driven from office in a military coup, again overthrowing the Thai government. He is being held in "protective custody." Three weeks before this military coup, I had a private meeting with him in his office in Bangkok, and that night he sat next to me at a banquet.
I see these heads of state personally. I see them IN TROUBLE. And, very often I soon get news that THEY ARE DEAD! Men I KNOW! Men with whom I have had private talks!
Perhaps it is not quite as REAL to you. You have not KNOWN these men in a close, personal way, as I have. It has struck CLOSE to me! Yet I try to share my experiences with all of you to help you also feel the reality of what is going on.
For what it portends as ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN SOON TO STRIKE IS GOING TO AFFECT YOU, personally, just as much as me—and perhaps a LOT MORE TERRIFYINGLY unless you are as READY as I.
It means THE END of this world, as currently organized, IS UPON US!
God Almighty sent Jonah to warn the Gentile city NINEVEH! They HEEDED his warning. And the destruction did not come, BECAUSE God saw their deep repentance—their turning from their evil ways— He heard their desperate PRAYERS asking for MERCY!
But God said that if He sends a prophet to modern Israel as He now uses us to warn the people of America, Canada, Britain, Western Europe, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, they by nature WILL NOT HEED! So, if they DON'T, then I tell you what IS CERTAIN TO HAPPEN.
Let me give you a picture of it from GOD'S OWN WORD, AS GOD HIMSELF HAD IT PICTURED!
"HOWL YE, for the DAY OF THE LORD is at hand; it shall come as a DESTRUCTION from the Almighty. Therefore shall all hands be faint and every man's heart shall melt, AND THEY SHALL BE AFRAID! ...PANGS AND SORROWS shall take hold of them, they shall be in pain as a woman that travaileth: they shall be AMAZED one at another: Behold, the DAY OF THE LORD cometh, CRUEL, both with WRATH and FIERCE ANGER, TO LAY THE LAND DESOLATE: AND He shall DESTROY the sinners thereof out of it..." (Isa. 13:6-9).
These world happenings now are NOT just ROUTINE world news! They signal the great world crisis that will usher in the government of God to finally and effectively bring peace at last. They are GOD'S LOVING WARNING TO US, of the fast-coming SUPREME CRISIS at the END of this world's society, civilization, governments,— man's whole evil SYSTEM.
Then, afterward, shall come the HAPPY, PEACEFUL WORLD TOMORROW, ruled by the GOVERNMENT OF THE LIVING GOD!
Dear co-workers, I hope you realize ours is not an easy job. The living Christ has called us to labor together to WARN this world. In JESUS CHRIST is the only hope and safety! Some are going to heed our message and receive God's protection through the tribulation (Luke 21:36).
Together we have been given the job to prepare the way for Christ's return (Matt. 24:14). It is a privilege and responsibility no other generation has shared. It will also mean a better reward! God rewards us individually according to our works—our zeal and wholeheartedness in supporting and carrying out the greatest task in this world.
Thank you for your continuing prayers and your regular tithes and offerings. You are building up a great reward in the Kingdom of God!
With deep love, in Jesus' name, Herbert W. Armstrong