WORLDWIDE CHURCH OF GOD WORLD HEADQUARTERS PASADENA, CALIFORNIA 91123
HERBERT W. ARMSTRONG President and Pastor
September 29, 1976
Dear Co-Workers with Christ,
After a very strenuous and successful trip around the world, with stops at Rome, Bangkok, Hong Kong and Tokyo—with nine meetings and banquet-dinners—I am resting a few days at Palm Springs, to be in top shape for the Feast of Tabernacles—at which I hope once again to speak at every site in the continental U.S.
I am expecting my son Garner Ted to either fly in or drive in to have lunch with me and Mr. Stanley Rader here today—as well as last minute planning for the Feast. Garner Ted also is planning, as in the last three or four years, to try to speak at every continental U.S. site, though I jokingly question whether he will be able to make it. You see, he is now approaching 50, and as you know, I have been only 37 going on 36. However, I have decided it will be better for me to change my age now to 38 going on back to 39 where I used to be.
Ted and I had a rare and enjoyable experience the other evening. I had just landed in our GII jet from Tokyo. We were getting the luggage off the plane and into waiting cars, when suddenly Ted taxied up in the Falcon jet. We had not seen each other in weeks, and we embraced in a real joyful father-and-son embrace. He had a funny story. Although we are in no way involved in politics, we, like God, are observers of what's going on in this present evil world. He had heard a story about how a presidential candidate is so UNclear as to where he stands on the "issues."
The story was that this candidate's father had said, when the boy was about 12, "Son, did you chop down that cherry tree out there?" "Father," answered the son, "I cannot tell a lie. Either I did or I did not chop down that tree." Ted and I have such sobering things to deal with and talk about in this evil world, that a little lessening of tension once in a while is a relief.
My schedule for this last trip called for flying from Hong Kong direct to Seoul, South Korea, where I had a definite and important private meeting set up with President Park. I wrote to you about a year ago that I was trying to get to Seoul before the communist North Koreans reopen the war and attack South Korea. Well, try as we did, it seems we were too late but only by a very few days. The North Koreans are now openly threatening, as I knew privately they were a year ago. It had become unsafe for us to fly in there. However, all other meetings were a real success.
We are looking forward to the most WONDERFUL Feast of Tabernacles so far. We may not be able to have many more. It is even possible, though I do not think probable, that this upcoming Feast could be our LAST. World conditions are worsening SO FAST we may find conditions of VIOLENCE and the on-rushing GREAT TRIBULATION will not permit such joyous meetings together in PEACE again in THIS AGE—now fast coming to its close.
While I was showering and getting ready for a day's writing at my typewriter, this thought came to me: "WHAT," I wondered, "IS THE ONE THING THAT IS UPPERMOST, ABOVE ALL, IN GOD'S MIND? About WHAT is He MOST CONCERNED?
"Is God MOST concerned, above all else, in GETTING ALL HUMANITY 'SAVED'? Especially RIGHT NOW, before the GREAT TRIBULATION?"
You answer "YES!"
W R O N G!! In the first place God has NOT been trying to get the humans in this world "saved"(spiritually), since Adam. During the years of the ancient nation Israel, God at NO time offered them any spiritual "salvation" or eternal life. He gave His HOLY SPIRIT ONLY TO THE PROPHETS—and that for the PURPOSE of getting their "mission accomplished." God is not calling but a VERY FEW, even now, and those FEW of us have been PREDESTINATED to be called NOW. NONE, said Christ, can come to Him, except those the Father has CALLED. No, the others must first learn by experience that SATAN'S WAY, the way contrary to God's LAW of L O V E is NOT good for them.
You see, brethren and co-workers, God does not view this world and its present humanity as PEOPLE do. People CAN'T SEE the millions of invisible demons and their Master, SATAN, all of whom are here on earth. God says of them: "For we are not contending against flesh and blood [human], but against the principalities [rulerships], against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts [multitudes, armies] of wickedness in the heavenly places" (Eph. 6:12,RSV). Or, against unseen rulerships, against the rulers of darkness of this world, against wicked SPIRITS in high places.
Satan is spoken of in Ephesians 2 as "the prince of the power of the air, THE SPIRIT that NOW WORKETH in [is right NOW SWAYING, INFLUENCING, LEADING] the children of disobedience." That is, in all who are not obeying GOD'S LAW. And that is almost EVERYBODY!
Can you understand, then, that we do not really view this world as God does. Humans do not SEE—are not CONSCIOUS OF—the real rulers of this world—NOT humans, but SATAN and DEMONS.
In GOD's MIND, He knows only too well WHAT THIS MEANS!
It means God placed on this earth HIS GOVERNMENT. His government is merely the administration of HIS LAW over all those UNDER His government. Angels first inhabited this earth. But they SINNED —rebelled against God's government (II Pet. 2:4-6).
Their rebellion (Isa. 14; Ezek. 28) REMOVED THE GOVERNMENT OF GOD FROM THIS EARTH. I want to repeat that! Their rebellion REMOVED THE GOVERNMENT OF GOD FROM THIS EARTH!
In six days God renewed the face of the earth for the inhabitation of MAN (Psa. 104:30; Gen. 1) but MAN (Adam and Eve) also rebelled against GOD'S GOVERNMENT, rejected God's LAW, obeyed Satan.
Why did God put humanity on earth?
Because God (Elohim—more than one person—the God FAMILY) ALONE could be relied on to be true to God's government. And so God planned to REPRODUCE HIMSELF. So MAN was formed in the image and likeness of God.
But why did God establish the GOVERNMENT OF GOD on the earth in the first place?
To answer that let's go back further. WHY do we find that God placed angels upon this earth? We find angels existed before earth's creation, since they were already here, and SHOUTED FOR JOY when the earth was first created (Job 38:4-7).
So now—next question: WHY did God place angels here?
Very evidently God has created MAN to achieve the goal for which angels had first opportunity to achieve. Let me state it briefly.
In Hebrews 2:5 we read, "For unto the angels has he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak." Notice the subject matter—the context—the WORLD TO COME. It will NOT be put under subjection to angels. Angels will not rule it. This implies the world has been under angel rule.
Continue, beginning Hebrews 2:6. Why is God concerned about MAN? Made lower than angels, or for awhile lower, yet God has crowned (it is His purpose to crown) him with GLORY and HONOR. God did set man over the works of His hands. Now this earth is the work of His hands—and so is the whole of the UNIVERSE. "Thou hast put ALL THINGS under his feet." That is, in the world to come "of which we speakn—ALL THINGS are to be put under man's rule—not as formerly planned—to be under subjection to, or the ruIe of, angels.
In Hebrews 1, the Moffatt translation renders the Greek here translated "all things" as "THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE." The word "ALL" is, indeed, ALL-conclusive.
Read on: "...he [God] left NOTHING that is not put under him [MAN]." It means the entire UNIVERSE! But notice the next words, "But now we see NOT YET all things [the entire universe] put under him"—under MAN!
But what do we now already see? We see Jesus (verse 9) "CROWNED WITH GLORY AND HONOR." And, as in chapter 1 "upholding ALL THINGS [the entire universe] by the word of his POWER." Jesus is "the firstborn among many brethren" (Rom. 8:29). Already born of GOD by a RESURRECTION from the dead (Rom. 1:4). Yes, as we shall be! He is the PIONEER who has gone on ahead, preparing the way for us (Heb. 2:10).
Now in Romans 8, notice further the incredible, fantastic potential of man.
Speaking of the glory that shall be revealed in us humans, "For the CREATION [whole universe] waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God..."—that is, we shall be REVEALED in GLORY, by the RESURRECTION—the life to come—when we are CHANGED from matter into SPIRIT composition. Continue, "...for the CREATION [physical universe] was subjected to FUTILITY, not of its own will but by the will of him who subjected it IN HOPE; because the creation itself [physical universe] will be set free from its BONDAGE TO DECAY and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God. We know that the whole CREATION [physical universe with all life upon it] has been GROANING IN TRAVAIL [suffering as in childbirth, as we shall be born by the RESURRECTION] together until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the FIRST FRUITS [the first to be called to spiritual salvation] of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we [now called—God's Church] wait for adoption [BIRTH as it here should be translated] as SONS, the redemption of our bodies" (Rom. 8:19-23 RSV). "For our citizenship [correct translation] is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body [present physical body] that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious [SPIRIT-COMPOSED] body..." (Phil. 3:20, 21).
Brethren, grasp if it doesn't explode your mind, the INCREDIBLE, AWE-INSPIRING, fantastic POTENTIAL of man through Christ.
This ultimate potential of man through Christ is almost too AWESOME to believe.
But, dear co-workers, THIS was the potential first offered to angels. The commission to finish—to complete—the creation of the universe—to UPBUILD, improve, perfect the entire UNIVERSE!
That includes this earth—the other planets of our solar system, which is only a part of our galaxy—not only earth, but Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Venus, etc. Beyond our galaxy of which our solar system is but an insignificant small part are perhaps MILLIONS of other super galaxies.
This earth was the training ground—the testing ground—for the hundreds of millions of anqels who were placed here.
God the CREATOR is going to do something SO GREAT as to be almost BRAIN-SHATTERING! It will require MILLIONS OF BEINGS to accomplish.
Now THINK!! How can BILLIONS of beings—whether angels or humans—work together to accomplish such a grand scale, mind-staggering achievement UNLESS THEY WORK TOGETHER—in harmony, in peace, in unity!
They had to be beings, beings with MINDS—capable of thought, of reasoning, of coming to conclusions, making decisions, making choices. But if one thinks one way is right and another a different way, they CLASH!
Lucifer, king over all the angels, was given the rulership on a THRONE (Isa. 14:13) to administer the GOVERNMENT OF GOD over the angels. GOD'S GOVERNMENT is based on LAW! His law is THE WAY OF LIFE of L O V E! That is the way of OUTFLOWING CONCERN for the welfare of others. It is submission to God who is love. Lucifer chose THE WAY of everyone deciding for himself whlch way is right and which way is wrong. This resulted in one struggling against another, in competition, strife, destruction. And DESTRUCTION CAME TO THE FACE OF THE EARTH. Instead of building it up from the beautiful condition in which God had created the earth and turned it over the angels DEFACED it—brought DESTRUCTION.
Now W H Y did God create MAN? Because it left God ALONE as the only kind of being that would NEVER depart from God's government which is based on harmony, peace, cooperation, and LOVE. But God is a FAMILY. The word for "God" in Genesis 1, verse 1, is, in English, "GOD," but Moses wrote the Hebrew word "ELOHIM"—a uni-plural word meaning more than one person forming the ONE GOD. God is a family of beings.
God's only way to accomplish His PURPOSE was to REPRODUCE HIMSELF—a family of ultimate super beings, all children of God, all having rejected SATAN'S WAY, and voluntarily choosing and coming under the GOVERNMENT OF GOD—THE WAY OF COOPERATION AND PEACE.
God created MAN in His image and likeness—but composed of matter. On REPENTANCE of Satan's WAY, on BELIEF IN CHRIST, and BELIEVING GOD—that is, believing what God says—those humans CALLED may receive God's Holy Spirit.
Soon, now, Christ is coming, as KING OF KINGS, to take over all the kingdoms of the earth—to restore the GOVERNMENT OF GOD. If we reject Satan's WAY AND OVERCOME IT, we may rule with Him on His throne—in the WORLD TOMORROW—for the first thousand years from then. Thereafter—the WHOLE UNIVERSE.
Can you see, then, that the ONE THING UPPERMOST IN GOD'S MIND IS RESTORING THE GOVERNMENT OF GOD ON EARTH!!
Getting humans "saved" is a means to that end.
The END—the PURPOSE—is, first to RESTORE THE GOVERNMENT OF GOD as it will be in THE KINGDOM OF GOD.
The time is now VERY NEAR—IN OUR GENERATION. God wants His Kingdom announced. It is SOON-COMING. He commissioned me 43 years ago to carry that announcement—that gospel—to the world. Will you stand 100% back of me in this commission?
There is no more CENTRAL, PIVOTAL passage in the Bible than this: "Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the PRESENCE OF THE LORD; And he shall send Jesus Christ, ... Whom the heaven must receive UNTIL THE TIMES OF RESTITUTION OF ALL THINGS...." Restitution means the RESTORING of something that had been taken away—RESTORING THE GOVERNMENT OF GOD TO EARTH (Acts 3:19-21).
Brethren, the WORLD doesn't understand the awe-inspiring things God is preparing for us. The time is OUR GENERATION. The one thing above all else IN GOD'S MIND right now is RESTORING HIS GOVERNMENT TO THIS EARTH. Forty-three years ago He committed that great commission to me. It has taken every SACRIFICE. God has preserved my youth, vitality and power. God has infused His POWER within me. Now His Work is leaping ahead on the HOMESTRETCH!
I need YOUR sacrifice, your prayers—your financial sacrifice now, as NEVER BEFORE. Show me, by YOUR PRAYERS, BY YOUR FINANCIAL SACRIFICE AND LARGER OFFERINGS that you really are 100% back of the Work the Living God has commissioned to me. Many of you ARE, and have been doing so for a long time. THANK YOU—THANK YOU!! And God's greatest blessing be wlth you.
With deep love, in Jesus' name, Herbert W. Armstrong