WORLDWIDE CHURCH OF GOD WORLD HEADQUARTERS PASADENA, CALIFORNIA 91123
HERBERT W. ARMSTRONG President and Pastor
March 25, l975
Dear Inner-Family of Co-Workers:
This morning, Tuesday, March 25, it happened again! Another important government overthrown! A month ago, I wrote you about how one after another of the governments of nations around the world are being overturned.
This morning, too late for the morning newspapers in New York, where I happen to be, King Faisal of Saudi Arabia was assassinated. It was all set up for a meeting between myself and him, possibly on this next trip in April. In many ways King Faisal was the most outstanding of the Arab heads of state. Tall, dignified in his Arab headdress and flowing robes, he was a very picturesque figure. I had met his half-brother predecessor, King Saud, when he was the Crown Prince Emir. That was in London, February 1947.
Co-Workers, as I said a month ago, time is now really running out on us! NEVER has the world been in a time of world troubles such as we live in now. Governments are toppling like dominoes or tenpins. The government of South Vietnam and also of Cambodia may fall to communist North Vietnam any day. I have met and come to know well President Thieu of South Vietnam, and there are many others close to him and at or near the top of the South Vietnamese government. We were all set up for a big campaign there when the war began heating up and the red forces were driving so close to Saigon that it was too dangerous to have so big a crowd — I expected up to fifty thousand there in the university stadium outdoors — to be assembled in one place. It would have been too tempting a target for North Vietnamese rockets.
Now that God is opening before me these wonderful doors in so many of the BIG population gentile nations, we must hurry, because governments are being overthrown almost faster than I can get to them!
We are definitely in the END TIME. Conditions are already worse in the world than ever before. We are rapidly moving into the GREAT TRIBULATION of Matthew 24:21-22, when, UNLESS God supernaturally intervenes to STOP IT (cut it short), NO FLESH WOULD BE SAVED ALIVE ON THIS EARTH!
Some years ago I saw factors indicating the possibility that our work might be completed by early 1972, and immediately followed by the Great Tribulation. I NEVER SET A DEFINITE DATE. I NEVER SAID IT WOULD DEFINITELY HAPPEN — but cautioned there were indications of the possibility. Yet some misunderstood and took it as a definite prophecy for a definite date. We need to be careful lest we fall into the fate of the man who said, "My lord delayeth his coming."
The Apostle Paul thought the end of this age and the coming of Christ would occur in his time, 1900 years ago. The apostles all thought it would happen in their day — 1900 years ago. But let us beware lest we slack off in OUR PART in backing GOD'S WORK.
Jesus Christ Himself said — and LISTEN CAREFULLY to this! — "WATCH therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come ...in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. Who then is a faithful and wise servant [Co-Worker in HIS WORK], whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing [doing his part in God's WORK]. Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods. But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming [and some of you Co-Workers may have thought that].... The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, And shall cut him asunder..." (Matt. 24:42-51).
Co-Workers, I personally must speed up my activities more and more and drive on harder and harder! We don't know the exact day that shall FINISH this great Work — but these world events SHOUT to us that we are very near the end — that time is growing SHORTER AND SHORTER.
The only sign Jesus gave by which we may know when the end of this world is upon us, besides general world troubles, is that "this gospel of the kingdom" IS now going into all the world for a witness (Matt. 24:14). That, YOU are having a part in! Satan knows it, and it means he has but a short time left. He is becoming more and more active in persecuting, in spreading more and more malicious, foul, and lying RUMORS, trying to discredit the Work of the Living God!
Jesus said, "If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you" (John 15:20). There are enemies devoting their very lives to an energetic effort to DESTROY this Work of the Living God! I wonder if WE are as energetic BACKING GOD'S WORK, BELIEVING IN IT — DRIVING FORWARD with the Living Christ — as they are in trying to destroy! But remember, "We wrestle not against flesh and blood [humans], but against...wicked SPIRITS in high places" (Eph. 6:12).
I need your earnest, heartrending, believing PRAYERS for God to RESTRAIN SATAN, the prince of the power of the air, "the SPIRIT that NOW worketh in the [human] children of disobedience" (Eph. 2:2). Jesus said that at this time we are now in, even those who would kill God's servants who are delivering His message would think they are serving God! Both my life and Garner Ted's have been threatened a number of times!
Brethren and Co-Workers, this is no time to believe fantastic and lying rumors deliberately spread by the ENEMIES of this Work — ministers of SATAN (II Cor. 11:13-15), who indeed must have satanic help to think up the satanically-false rumors that they circulate. You never hear good rumors, reportedly spreading something good about somebody. Ever notice that? Always EVIL, false, lying rumors intended to HARM, defame, destroy!
But now I want to make one thing clear. For thirty-five years the operations — and the income — of Ambassador College and the Worldwide Church of God continued to increase at approximately 30% per year. It must be a record growth unmatched. I know of no organization, operation, institution or business with such an amazing record.
The size and scope of our operations doubled every 2 2/3 years approximately. It became 8 times larger in 8 years, 64 times as large in 16 years, and 4,096 times as large in 32 years. And, in 35 years it multiplied to approximately 8,192 times as large.
But now, for the past seven years, this increase in income has slackened off to a very slight increase and inflation has eaten up most of the increase we have had. In the past year we have been forced to make some major cutbacks. We have closed the college in England; we have closed the Imperial Elementary and High Schools; there have been other cutbacks.
But — and listen carefully to this — notwithstanding, the Work has gone forward as never before. Not one facet of the WORK — our Great Commission that God is carrying on through us — has been cut back. Just the contrary!
The Living CHRIST is the HEAD of this Work! He has never forsaken this Work — and He never will! He continues to guide and bless it, and the Work continues to grow!
The WORK continues to march forward — BIGGER AND BIGGER, more effective than ever!
WHY, then, this apparent paradox?
The Imperial Schools were not the Work.
Some may have thought the Commissary retail store was the Work. It was merely a special service to our members. Some wanted these stores all over the country. I closed the store down two years ago.
Some wanted us to establish a BANK — go into the banking business — and hope that all our members would transfer their accounts, savings and checking, to our own bank. They wanted us to go into the insurance business, so that all members might carry their insurance with the Church's own company. There were other ideas which I rejected.
Were such enterprises the Work?
Emphatically they were NOT!
I would like at this time to make the facts CLEAR! What IS the Work?
WHOM did God call, choose, and use in starting and developing the Work?
God called and chose me to proclaim Christ's gospel MESSAGE of the coming Kingdom of God in all the world — not to convert the world now — but as a WITNESS preparing the way just before Christ returns to set up that Kingdom.
God did not call me to go into the retail merchandise business. God did not call me to go into the banking business, or the insurance business.
The first law of SUCCESS is to have the right GOAL, and to keep one's eye constantly on the GOAL. Those things were not the goal that God gave me! The GOAL — the purpose of the Work is to proclaim or announce the coming Kingdom of God.
WHY was Ambassador College founded? God did lead me to found Ambassador College. He did NOT call me to go into the college or the education business, or any business except God's Work of going into all the world and PROCLAIMING CHRIST'S GOSPEL MESSAGE!
But that Work needed the prayers, the encouragement, the financial support of GOD'S CHURCH. So God raised up His Church. WHY? To be the means of giving HIS MESSAGE TO THE WORLD, and to back the one in the Church God chose and used in proclaiming it.
And as I started PROCLAIMING the Message by radio, by print, and personal preaching, God added to the Church. The Church grew, and I saw the need for training shepherds to feed the flock, to stand back of the Work. Ambassador College was not the Work, but it was needed to train ministers and others to back the Work.
When the Church membership was growing 30 percent a year, we needed to increase the number of ministers, foreign office personnel, and those in functions serving the WORK, and God supplied that need.
The Imperial Schools were not a NEED of the Work. They were a very fine and beneficial thing for those members whose children could gain superior education in them. I even seriously questioned whether we should go ahead with them at their start. I called a special meeting at that time to discuss this question. But the growing income at that time seemed to indicate that we could afford them; members wanted them; and so, we went ahead with them. Now they have become something we can no longer afford, and we cannot curtail the WORK in order to keep them operating. So we closed them.
We have made a change in the format of the Plain Truth. We have reduced greatly the cost of paper. That is in keeping with the times, especially since now we give readers more articles, twice as often, now twice a month. Now we can afford to increase the circulation, carrying Christ's Gospel Message to more and more people. And THAT IS the WORK — and an effective leap ahead in the Work.
Christ sent the Gospel first to "the lost sheep of the house of Israel" — the so-called "lost ten tribes." The first 40 years we reached primarily these countries who are the "house of Israel," the United States and Canada, Britain, Australia, South Africa, western Europe. But the Great Commission is: "Go ye into all the world" with the Gospel Message of the soon-coming Kingdom of God.
We tried to reach the large gentile nations via radio stations outside their borders. But these radio stations did not reach them.
Now God has opened the doors to the great-population gentile nations right at the top, beginning with their kings, emperors, presidents, prime ministers, and other high-ranking officials next under them. This is perhaps the GREATEST and MOST IMPORTANT step forward in the Work in 40 years! It is the only sign Christ gave that we are very near the end of this world, and Christ's coming! (Matt. 24:14).
And so, the Work — that which the Living Christ has called us to do — is leaping ahead faster than ever, in spite of the worldwide economic crisis, in spite of the serious recession now crippling the United States!
True, we have had to make cutbacks — but the Work has gone forward at the same time.
What about the college in England? When we started it in 1960, the Work needed more trained men and women. The Bricket Wood campus trained some of our most valuable ministers and department and branch office managers. For years we absorbed into the Work virtually all of our graduates. But finally we became more fully-staffed — we needed no more graduates than the two United States campuses could supply. And it was difficult sending so much money from the United States to England to support the college, no longer needed. So we closed it.
Now we are faced with still increasing costs. Postal costs are mounting — another increase is expected. Mail deliveries are slower. But the WORK is GETTING DONE in spite of dastardly false accusations made up in perverted, Satan-deceived and led imaginations (I would never know how to make up such false rumors), and the Living Christ is on God's Throne guiding, leading, blessing this Work.
But Satan is vicious, a LIAR, and the father of lies, and Garner Ted and I do need your earnest prevailing prayers for God to restrain Satan. Surely we are now in the time — or very close to it — when the WAR IN HEAVEN between the archangel Michael and his angels was fought against Satan and his demons, and Satan was cast back down to the earth where he is now falsely accusing God's servants and brethren, persecuting those carrying the LAST WARNING MESSAGE to this violence-filled, war-torn world! It is a FIGHT, dear brethren. The stakes are HIGH — for ALL ETERNITY!
I need your PRAYERS — your confidence and trust — in the face of imagined, concocted, Satan-inspired outright LIES and false accusations — and your assurance that you are continuing to be back of us to the full in this fight against desperate forces of EVIL bent on destroying the Work of the Living GOD!
As long as we are in the hands of God, under His leadership, following Him, HE, with all power in heaven and earth, is on OUR SIDE and WE WILL WIN!
Remember, we must again get the income back up to a substantial GAIN! I am praying for you!