HERBERT W. ARMSTRONG, Chairman Publisher of The PLAIN TRUTH Magazine
EXTENSION DEPARTMENT An educational service at all levels for all people worldwide
Tokyo, Japan September 24, 1973
Dear Co-Workers in Giving God's Last Message to a Dying World:
I am writing from Tokyo where I look forward on the night of day after tomorrow, to a very great opportunity. It may be the first time in all history such a thing has happened. I am invited by Prince Mikasa, brother of the Emperor, to explain the Bible — proclaim Christ's Gospel of the Kingdom of God — to a most impressive audience. It is the most impressive audience before which I have ever been given opportunity to give Christ's Message.
I am informed that what I originally thought was to be a private Bible study with the Prince alone, will now include some fifty or more of the very top people of this nation — members of the government, scholars and heads of universities, and their wives.
I want you to realize how VERY IMPORTANT this is to the Work of the living God. The Work is moving forward at greatly accelerated pace now, taking on an ENTIRELY NEW DIMENSION in giving God's LAST MESSAGE to a dying world in these last days!
God's end time Commission to us, just before the END of this present civilization, is that "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's society and civilization) COME" (Matt. 24:14).
In the Bible, a king, or chief of government, often represents and stands for the nation. In one sense when Christ's Message is delivered to the heads of government, it has been delivered to THE NATION.
This Work of God started very small — from the most humble beginning. It began at the grass roots, not the top rulers. It spread until it has now reached uncounted MILLIONS all over the world — by radio, by television, by printing press — and by personal preaching to large audiences. But the time has come when GOD HAS OPENED THE DOOR to get His Message to many HEADS OF STATE. And through them to THE PEOPLE OF THEIR NATIONS!
THINK WHAT THIS MEANS! For 18 1/2 centuries Christ's true GOSPEL was NOT PROCLAIMED to the world. They preached CHRIST — but they did not preach His MESSAGE — His GOSPEL! No one else but this Work proclaims it NOW to the world! There may be dozens of programs that claim to be "Gospel Programs" — BUT THE GOSPEL GOD SENT TO MANKIND BY JESUS CHRIST THEY DO NOT PREACH!
I want you to realize how GOD intends His Message to go.
God's Old Testament prophets, such as Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, etc., took God's Message to KINGS, who represented their nations. But where do you find any record that they went out and preached to the masses of the people? They carried Messages to the kings, and they WROTE their prophecies FOR US in the Bible. For examples, notice Isaiah 37:1 2; II Kings 19:1-2; II Kings 20:1, 4-6; Isaiah 38:1, 4-8; and II Chronicles 32:20.
Jeremiah was sent to kings. Daniel was sent to kings. God called the Apostle Paul to "bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel" (Acts 9:15).
And now, kings, presidents, prime ministers and leaders of many nations are inviting me.
Last Wednesday night, in Bangkok, capital of Thailand, I was given just such an opportunity. I did not know of it in advance. But a banquet was held in a special banquet room of my hotel in my honor. Present were Ambassadors representing the governments of Japan, Korea, Cambodia, Ethiopia and Israel, the President of the University, and Her Royal Highness the wife of the recent Prince Regent of Thailand, and other important guests.
I was given a very warm — even emotional — introduction, and asked to speak. I had no idea how long I was expected to speak, so I confined it to exactly 12 minutes. But I spoke earnestly and God gave me power.
I will give you a quick summary of what I said:
"One who travels over the world, as I have, is forced to see the pitiful condition in which a majority of all people on earth live — in utter ignorance, deep poverty, semi or total starvation, wracked with disease, living in filth and squalor. I have to ask, WHY? You people should be concerned about it! We have mind power to fly to the moon and back — yet we find the majority living in such conditions — we can't solve our own problems here on earth — we don't know how to have PEACE! WHY? Even where people are educated and prosperous, they are not happy! WHY?
"For every effect," I said, "there had to be a CAUSE. Years ago, I made surveys. I learned people are not happy. WHY? I finally found the answer — IN THE BIBLE! It's a book people have refused to understand — which people have interpreted all out of natural and intended meaning — but taken for what it plainly says I found it MAKES SENSE — and ANSWERS THE BIG QUESTIONS! It contains the MISSING DIMENSION in knowledge. The world doesn't know: What we ARE — WHY we are — the PURPOSE for which humanity was put on earth — HOW to fulfill that purpose. WHAT are the true values in life? WHAT is the way to peace, universal abundance and happiness? Those are the BASIC THINGS we need to know! Those are the NECESSARY things to know which man, science, technology CANNOT DISCOVER! Those are the things THE BIBLE REVEALS."
Then I covered the incident of the "forbidden fruit" — how our first parents rejected God's revealed knowledge, which He had started teaching them — how mankind cut himself off from his MAKER, and has turned to imaginary and false gods, how man ever since has tried to REASON OUT what is good and what is evil — what to do and how to do it — and has brought on humanity this colossal tragic mountain of human woes and anguish! Then I explained GOD'S WAY of life — the way of "GIVE" — of love which is outgoing concern for the good of others — of cooperation, instead of competition, strife and violence — because mankind has cut itself off from GOD.
"As Adam and Eve DISBELIEVED GOD, rebelled, and disobeyed HIS INEXORABLE SPIRITUAL LAW — SINNED — so now man, by repentance of that disobedience, and faith which is to BELIEVE GOD and HIS WORD, can be reconciled to God and receive eternal life." Then I explained how "Christ is coming again as the divine Messiah in supernatural power to RULE ALL NATIONS, and lead nations in GOD'S WAY, which will bring world PEACE, abundance, happiness, and ETERNAL LIFE as God's Gift."
Twelve minutes is not very long, but they did get the Message! And, short though it had to be, THAT was Christ's very Gospel! And there was a very enthusiastic response! It DID make important people THINK — and want to KNOW MORE!
On this present trip, I spent one week in Lebanon. This was the BEGINNING of our NEW CAMPAIGN to GET THE GOSPEL TO THE ARAB WORLD! I had important personal meetings with President Franjieh (several hours with lunch), the Prime Minister (we talked for an hour and ten minutes), the Foreign Minister, and the Minister of Education.
It was a MOST SUCCESSFUL and profitable beginning — and this time from the TOP — for getting the Gospel Message THEY HAVE NEVER HEARD to the entire ARAB WORLD of many nations.
Let me brief you a bit on HOW THESE IMPORTANT MEETINGS CAME ABOUT.
It began in 1967. We had been negotiating with the Jordanian government about purchasing time on JERUSALEM RADIO (the Old City of Jerusalem was part of Jordan then). King Hussein wanted to increase the power of that station to a MILLION WATTS, equal to the power of Nasser's station at Cairo. A four-year contract had been negotiated, the cost of which would finance the new equipment to provide that tremendous power. It would be a great thing to put The WORLD TOMORROW program on so much power in the Middle East.
It was the very next morning after the funeral and burial of my wife (after 50 years, less 3 1/2 months, of happy marriage), that I boarded a Pan-Am polar flight for Amman, Jordan. There I met Messrs. Raymond F. McNair and Charles F. Hunting from our campus in England. Our negotiation was with Mr. Adlay Muhtadi, officer in charge of communications for the Jordanian Government. We drove to the station just outside Jerusalem and back. The contract was signed.
But on the Sunday morning in June, 1967, when I was enroute from the campus in England to London airport, to go to Jerusalem and put on the first broadcast in person, the 6-day war with Israel had started. Six days later, Jerusalem and that station were in Israeli hands!
Shortly after that, Mr. Muhtadi came to see me at the campus in England. He wanted me to take a time, at half the price, on Radio Amman, the cost of which would go to the Jordanian refugees from the war. I did.
Mr. Muhtadi became acquainted in this manner, and on succeeding visits, with Ambassador College, and our Extension Program of Education worldwide — getting Christ's Gospel to the world. He came to believe wholeheartedly in the Message and what we were doing. About a year ago, he joined our organization, moving his family to Bricket Wood, England.
In his enthusiasm, he brought other high ranking men of the Arab world to the British campus. They caught his enthusiasm for the Message, and its importance to the Arab people. One high ranking man visited the campuses at Pasadena and Texas with Mr. Muhtadi. The Egyptian Ambassador to London was our guest at Bricket Wood.
Among the Arab leaders to become interested, and imbibe Mr. Muhtadi's enthusiasm and interest in getting this Message to the Arab people was Dr. Lucien Dahdah, chairman of two or more very large corporations in Lebanon and the Middle East.
These men communicated with their friends, government leaders in Arab countries. They briefed them on the unique worldwide educational program of Ambassador College. As a result, President Franjieh of Lebanon extended the invitation for me to come to Lebanon. He and other Lebanese leaders wanted to get to know me personally, and also some of our top personnel.
On this occasion, Dr. Dahdah had come to Bricket Wood for the opening of the new school year, and to accompany me on the visit to Lebanon. In our plane, besides the crew of five, our party included Dr. Dahdah, Mr. and Mrs. Muhtadi, Mr. and Mrs. Charles F. Hunting (one of our Vice Presidents, in charge of Financial Affairs for Britain, Europe and the Middle East), Mr. and Mrs. Stanley E. Rader (he is our General Counsel), and my daughter, Mrs. Beverly Gott.
We were welcomed at Beirut airport in VIP manner. Our meeting with the President and First Lady was on Friday at the summer Presidential Palace, high in the mountains, and a two hour automobile drive from Beirut. Our entire party was invited.
No other visitors were there. The President had reserved this entire day for our visit. We spent about an hour, before luncheon, in explaining about our Work, the truth we teach, and going through an Ambassador College annual publication, The ENVOY, which the President carefully went through page by page.
We were interrupted by an attendant bringing a telephone to the President. Suddenly he looked very serious.
"An Ethiopian aircraft with Emperor Haile Selassie on board has just been highjacked," he said. He was gravely concerned, lest, with so famous a personage on board, the highjackers might make them land at Beirut airport. That would have been a delicate emergency for the President to handle. But less than five minutes later, the telephone again was brought to him.
This time his face broke into a smile.
"False alarm," he said, greatly relieved. "A pilot had accidently touched off the highjack alarm button. The Emperor is on the plane all right, but no highjack." I explained my meeting with the Emperor, at Addis Ababa, a few weeks before.
Many photographs were being taken.
The First Lady herself had specially planned the luncheon, and during luncheon sons and grandsons came in, the grandsons receiving affectionate kisses from the President. But none but the family were there. Ordinarily, I was told, MANY others would have been there. I did neglect to mention that one of Dr. Dahdah's brothers was there. He was part of the family, married to the President's daughter.
All the meetings with top officials were especially warm, friendly, and they were extremely interested in the Work we are doing. While they recognize it as an EDUCATIONAL Work, they recognize it also as the Work of God, as evidenced by a remark made by the Minister of Education, when he said, "Your presence here, Mr. Armstrong, is evidence of the presence of God."
The Prime Minister had to be seen on Saturday morning. He had just returned the night before from the Conference of Nonaligned Nations at Algiers. But, my visit with him was really to go into phases of the Gospel, and for an hour and ten minutes, we were remarkably in accord in regard to principles and philosophies. He, too, surprised us with a remark, "Your appearance and physical presence denote your character and the nature of your activities. Great men accomplishing important things bear their age well."
On our last Saturday night a special reception and dinner was held in my honor at a very large building on the outskirts of Beirut, facing the sea. Among other things, it contains a large casino — I think called the largest in the world. Also a large theatre, private dining rooms, etc., etc. It is owned by one of the companies of which Dr. Dahdah is Chairman.
The reception and dinner was held on a very spacious veranda on the second story, overlooking the sea and the lights of the city. It was a warm evening, and delightful in the open air. Many important people were present, to whom I was introduced. At dinner, I sat with a Dr. and Mrs. Charles Malik. Dr. Malik is a former President of the General Assembly of the United Nations, New York, and today he is a member of the cabinet and legislative body. He asked many questions about Ambassador College and our worldwide Work, and seemed pleased.
As a coincidence, I also know Mr. Adam Malik, also a former President of the General Assembly of the United Nations, and Foreign Minister of Indonesia. He is President Suharto's right hand man, and second in authority in the Government of Indonesia. I have visited him in his home in Djakarta. Also, I happen to know another very important Mr. Malik, of New Delhi, a good friend of King Leopold.
All in all, the Beirut visit was very important to the Work, and in spite of the fact that the religion of the Arab world is Moslem, as I have said, the real GOSPEL has not been preached to the world for 18 1/2 centuries, except through this Work, and it is NEW — and does not offend Moslems. The world has its RELIGIONS. I do not go to them with another or competing "RELIGION." But with NEW revealed TRUTH from the God and Creator of the Arab people — and ALL people! And THEY ARE LISTENING! AND INTERESTED!
I have SO MUCH MORE to tell you — but must not take time. This Work of God is off to a TOTALLY NEW START. More radio stations — more TV stations — a WHOLE NEW BIG CAMPAIGN of personal evangelism — other leaders and powerful speakers, among our very top officials in the Work, are leaving desk-executive jobs and carrying on PERSONAL APPEARANCE meetings in important cities, in campaigns quite similar to those my son, Garner Ted Armstrong, has been conducting.
The GOOD NEWS is now going out to a GREATLY EXPANDED list of Co-Workers, and occasional donors who are not regular Co-Workers. The whole Work HAS TAKEN ON NEW LIFE!
But that is all the more reason it now NEEDS YOUR EARNEST PRAYERS! YOU can do as much by PRAYING EARNESTLY for God's blessing and guidance on His Work, as most of us who have active full-time jobs in the Work.
I know that God will be with me day after tomorrow night, when I have this unprecedented opportunity to address so many of the very TOP LEADERS in this great nation. I shall not be confined to 12 minutes — but free to speak as long as I need and hold their interest. I shall GIVE them the true GOSPEL that has not been proclaimed to the world for 18 1/2 centuries! I shall go through the Bible from Genesis to Revelation — including the Old Testament prophecies of the coming of Jesus and the Kingdom of God, and Christ's own Message.
Let me remind you, before I close, I am not inviting THEM to come and hear me — they are inviting me to give this very message to THEM. And I come not as a stranger — but as one THEY KNOW and RESPECT, and whom the Emperor and the Government has HONORED with the highest possible honor for a non-official alien.
Government Ministers in Saigon have said they will certainly endorse my holding the first big PUBLIC PERSONAL APPEARANCE in Saigon, as well as WHAT I SAY — for they have heard it already! THIS IS AN ENTIRELY NEW PHASE OF THIS GREAT WORK! God is leading as never before.
REMEMBER YOUR PART!
With sincere love, in Jesus' name, Herbert W. Armstrong