HERBERT W. ARMSTRONG, Chairman Publisher of The PLAIN TRUTH Magazine
EXTENSION DEPARTMENT An educational service at all levels for all people worldwide
July 30, 1973
Dear Co-Workers in the Work of the Living God:
A month ago I told you I hoped to have a most exciting announcement to make in this letter. Plans were in the formative stage to launch what we hope may be the biggest drive to get the Gospel into many nations in the history of the Work.
The plans are developing. It is going to take a little time, but I can now tell you more about it. As you all know, I have had invitations during the past three or four years to have personal conferences with several heads of state — kings, presidents, prime ministers and other top-level officials of several governments. In most instances there have been from two to several such meetings with these people. I say these "people" because three prime ministers at the helm of three nations are women — and I have had meetings with all three.
I told you also that on my next visit to Japan it is now definitely planned to have a full-time Bible study with some of the nation's highest officials. I feel sure it will be a real eye-opener to them, especially in the light of already-fulfilled prophecy and prophecies for the immediate future involving their own nation, among others.
Our leading ministers and officials here at Headquarters are VERY enthusiastic over this new program that is developing. It is now possible we feel sure — the way has opened — as a result of the unique and unusual favor God has given me in the eyes of these leaders in many nations, TO GET CHRIST'S GOSPEL BEFORE THESE NATIONS AS A WHOLE.
Remember, THAT Gospel has not been preached for more than 18 1/2 centuries, except by this Work.
I realize that when ministers and evangelists of this world and its organized denominations claiming to have the "CHRISTIAN religion" preach ABOUT CHRIST, urge people to accept Christ, to believe on Christ, to "make their decision for Christ," etc., that they are "preaching the Gospel." BUT THAT IS NOT THE GOSPEL! Christ is NOT the Gospel — He was the Messenger who BROUGHT the Gospel! The GOSPEL was the MESSAGE He brought from God, as the MOST IMPORTANT AND SENSATIONAL ANNOUNCEMENT ever made to mankind.
Isn't it almost UNBELIEVABLE that the MOST SENSATIONAL AND IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT ever made to mankind — a Message from GOD OUR CREATOR — was rejected and HUSHED UP — WITHHELD from the world — for 18 1/2 centuries? Incredible or not, THAT HAPPENED!
That GOSPEL — the very word means "GOOD NEWS" — was sensational advance NEWS. It was the NEWS of the most important and sensational event ever to happen on earth! You'd think the whole world would have hailed the news! But they didn't. They hated it. They martyred — KILLED — those who dared to proclaim it. They preached ABOUT Christ the Messenger! They pleaded with people to ACCEPT HIM as a Person. But they hushed up the MESSAGE FROM GOD!
The peoples in these nations have NEVER HEARD that sensational NEWS. Yet it came from the GOD who is THEIR Creator! God has shown me HOW to present it to them as a sensational NEWS ANNOUNCEMENT that affects their country — and them as a people!
I believe the way has now been paved so that I now may go on my own PERSONAL APPEARANCE tours, in the LARGEST HALLS OR AUDITORIUMS in these world capitals, with the APPROVAL, or perhaps (hopefully) even with the backing or endorsement of the government of such nations, something like my son Garner Ted's Personal Appearance campaigns that have been so remarkably successful — only on a LARGER AND NATIONAL SCALE! I hope to be able to present this startling MESSAGE in such a way that it will go TO THE ENTIRE MASSES OF PEOPLE IN THOSE NATIONS!
HOW? I believe God is showing me how to get this GREAT NEWS before these audiences of many thousands in such a way that their newspapers will PUBLISH THE NEWS — PRINT WHAT I SAY, so that THE WHOLE PEOPLE, IN GENERAL, GET THE SENSATIONAL ANNOUNCEMENT!
Remember, it is not our Commission to make the people believe it, or accept it, or act on it by repenting and being converted. Jesus set us the example, and He didn't do that. He simply made the ANNOUNCEMENT. Only 120 believed and accepted the Message after His 3 1/2 years of proclaiming it.
I believe I can proclaim this true Gospel as something SO NEW — so STARTLING — so SENSATIONAL — that it will get big headlines in newspapers, and the MESSAGE printed for THE WHOLE PUBLIC TO READ! So, large public meetings, government approved or sponsored, are in the planning stage. Our present target date for the first such large-scale public meeting, is next February!
And WHERE? That is as yet undecided. Tokyo, New Delhi, and Djakarta will be our BIGGEST meetings — in capitals of nations with 100 million, 550 million and 125 million people, respectively. However, we will want to START in a smaller capital. How about SAIGON? How about the WAR ZONE from which the United States has just pulled out its soldiers? How about PROCLAIMING WORLD PEACE by the divine intervention of the Creator GOD in the capital which has been publicized as the WAR-capital of the world? I have had, already, THREE visits to Saigon. That's a leading POSSIBILITY!
THINK! I wonder if you can realize it! The true Gospel is SO DIFFERENT from ANY religion — and from any religion or missionary teaching, that it actually means GOD IS ABOUT TO SEND US INTO THESE MANY COUNTRIES WITH (TO THEM) A BRAND NEW STARTLING ANNOUNCEMENT — INVOLVING THEIR OWN PEOPLE — AN ANNOUNCEMENT OF A TREMENDOUS EARTHSHAKING EVENT SOON TO SHAKE THEIR COUNTRY AND THE WHOLE WORLD!
It's NEW to them. It's NEWS! It's GOOD NEWS! It's NOTHING LIKE what missionaries have taught in those countries! They will not recognize any connection WHATEVER. It will not appear as anything competitive to THEIR religions. In Japan it will be thundered to them as direct from the CREATOR OF THE JAPANESE PEOPLE. I will not say anything against their religions. This is just something different — and NEW! It is WHAT THEIR TRUE GOD AND CREATOR IS GOING, VERY SOON, TO DO! In Ethiopia it will be (AS IN TRUTH IT IS) the Message from the CREATOR of the Ethiopian people. From the CREATOR of ALL MANKIND! I DO — always have — speak in the name of that one and only CREATOR! I know God will reveal what to say and HOW to say it!
This is a tremendous undertaking. It will take TIME to organize it. We need YOUR earnest PRAYERS for this new activity. The chief rulers in the governments of these countries, will know precisely what I propose to say. I feel sure they will WANT their peoples to hear this tremendous ANNOUNCEMENT. It is NOT to be in any sense a member-getting drive. We are not going into this type program to GET anything. Just to make God's tremendous ANNOUNCEMENT. That's all our Great God wants us to do.
THAT'S OUR COMMISSION! Just the ANNOUNCEMENT of the soon-coming KINGDOM OF GOD. Of course I must reveal this great announcement to these heads of state first. World conditions are now such that I know they want to hear it! I did not have this in mind when I first began receiving invitations to come for personal meetings with these world leaders. I just knew GOD was opening the doors, and wanted me to walk through them. Some people criticized. But I knew God would reveal the PURPOSE He had in mind in His due time. I know these leaders will WELCOME the GOOD NEWS.
HOW ABOUT YOU? We're all excited about it here at Headquarters!
Brethren, Co-Workers in God's Work — I simply KNOW that THIS IS A NEW DAY IN GOD'S WORK! I have PRAYED — and PRAYED that God would reveal to me HOW to MAKE THIS WHOLE WORLD KNOW IT HAS HEARD GOD'S GOSPEL MESSAGE AS A WITNESS! He is showing me!
Now, also an ANNOUNCEMENT of how God has moved to give us all a SENSE OF SECURITY for the future of the Work!
A couple of weeks ago, I was down in Mexico, dedicating our new offices in Mexico City, counseling with our people there.
I was reading in I Chronicles 28 what King David said to his son Solomon, when he was turning the throne of government of Israel over to Solomon. I saw a parallel between them on the one hand and my son Garner Ted and me on the other.
After prayer I was moved to write Ted about it. Although the precise circumstances are different, I wrote to him my paraphrase of King David's words to his son. I want to share that paraphrase and portions of my very personal letter to him with you, as follows (compare with I Chron. 28:4-5, 8-10):
"The Eternal God of Israel chose me, before all the people of the earth, to be His servant in raising up the Philadelphia era of His Church; and to preach and publish the gospel of the Living Christ — the gospel of the Kingdom of God — in all the world for a witness to all nations, as the only sign given by Jesus Christ (in Matthew 24) that the end of the age and the coming of Christ in POWER and GLORY is now VERY NEAR.
"And of my two sons God caused you, Garner Ted, to be born. You were the only one of our four children that your mother and I did not ourselves definitely plan. You were without power of speech until after two years of age. But when I was anointing you for healing of pneumonia, God put it in my mind to ask also for the miracle of giving you the speaking voice that God later was to use in proclaiming His gospel to MILLIONS worldwide.
"So, in due time, God also chose you, Garner Ted, for this very supremely great Commission, that your voice, in addition to mine, should proclaim His stupendous message in amplified power.
"Now, therefore, in the sight of all the Worldwide Church of God, and in the audience of our God, keep and seek for all the commandments of the Eternal your God, that you may enter into and inherit the Kingdom of God with eternal life.
"And you, Garner Ted my son, KNOW the God of your father, and serve Him with a perfect heart and a willing mind; for the Eternal searches the heart, and understands all the imaginations of the thoughts. Guard the imaginations of your thoughts and keep them set on the things of God.
"If you seek Him He will be found of you but if you forsake Him He will cast you off forever.
"Take heed now, for the Eternal has chosen you. And I have given you greater latitude and authority than ever before, in full confidence you will keep yielded and close to God in prayer and serve Him faithfully in carrying out the policies HE set through me for His Work, His Church, and His College. (End of paraphrase.)
"Of course you are not to be King over Israel as was Solomon. But it may be that what God has chosen you to do, and prepared you for doing, will prove to be even more important in His sight. God has given me already eleven more years of life than King David. And although I hope He may give me several more years of active oversight of His Church and its many worldwide operations, if He should cut short those years He has chosen you to succeed me, as He chose Solomon to succeed David. Not only has the Living Christ, HEAD of God's Church and Work, revealed this to me, the very fruits He has borne through you in His Work adequately confirm it. You are now two years older than I was when God started the Work through me on the air and in The PLAIN TRUTH. You were then almost four. And you can't know the blessed relief God has given to me with that assurance. If God should allow such an eventuality to occur, you would need the guidance, direction, intervention, and the power of God as never before. The whole Church, as close-knit brethren in Christ, would have to seek and RELY on God and the Living HEAD of the Church, Jesus Christ, as never before, standing solidly behind God's chosen."
"Dear Co-Workers With Jesus Christ:
"I know all of you can appreciate the mixed emotions of soberness, gravity, and near-fright at the awesome responsibilities God and His servant are placing upon me. I am not 'excited' about it; not 'elated' or 'happy.'
"Rather, I must honestly say I am sobered, and challenged, with the greatest burden of my life now lying squarely before me. I know our God wants His Work to really increase in scope and power — to rock this world back on its heels in shock — to really become a powerful WITNESS and a WARNING in preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom of God to all the world.
"I have known for most of my adult life that God wanted to use me as one of His servants in doing His Work, no matter how unworthy of His calling I am, or unworthy of His grace and mercy. The events of recent weeks have, I know, been both a trial and a tremendous blessing to all of us. I have seen God's hand in quite a literal way, performing miracle after miracle in guiding and directing His Work through trials and troubles and bringing us all into a closer, loving, warm, brotherly harmony; strengthening us all together to face the challenge of the great job waiting to be done, and preparing us to endure the persecutions and afflictions awaiting us in the world.
"I have had many very far-reaching, serious, and enormously important meetings with my father in recent days and weeks. His letter to me (excerpts from it) are published, at his personal request, as a main part of this letter. In sober conversation during a four-hour meeting on Sunday, July 1 — a day I shall always remember — my father told me: 'Ted, I'm turning over the reins to you...,' and he repeated this, or similar phrases, several times throughout that day, and in subsequent days, both personally and over the telephone.
"He and I have drawn wonderfully close together through recent days — and I know he has never failed to illustrate his deepest personal love toward me.
"In the Bible study in Pasadena, June 30, my father said he was planning at some future date to make me 'President' and 'Chancellor.' In deep and profound personal conversations, I have told him I desire NO such titles; that I want him alive and well, healthy and vibrantly active. What really matters is that I have his full support and confidence. That has been given! And how we both thank God for it!
"My father has had to be a fighter — all his life. He has had to fight to make these wonderful institutions what they are; fight to preserve God's Church against all outside persecution, and against enemies from within; fight to salvage the Work when terrible financial adversity threatened its very life; fight to preserve and protect that way of life he originally laid down as fundamental for Ambassador College.
"It seems to me, as his son, that it is a fabulous blessing for my father to be able now to see, to know, and to understand that his son is fighting WITH him, and FOR him; that he can enjoy the fruits of his labors in more of a relaxed, high-level atmosphere, where, as God opens doors for him, he can produce for God's Work in his speaking with world leaders and in his writings to millions of people. My father's visits with these leaders in all fields, at the very highest echelon in many countries, evidence enormous fruit of a positive kind for God's Work — and that, while my father is engaged in these very critical and far-reaching activities with incalculable future potential for all of us in God's Work, he can rely on his son to take up the banner and the shield and stand up to fight for those same basic principles that have always guided this great Work.
"I am feeling as if a great weight has settled down on my shoulders — a weight I cannot carry alone. I told my father it was like standing under the Rock of Gibraltar — or, at least, so it seems.
"I need the prayers of every one of our brethren and CoWorkers; I need the support of the entire worldwide ministry. I can only be thankful that God has provided — called and trained — a qualified, dedicated and loyal group of ministers and executives to hold up my hands as I hold up my father's.
"I know, and I know other thousands know, that one of the most important things really needed in this whole Work is for my father and me to be REALLY CLOSE TOGETHER. THAT REAL CLOSENESS IS AN ACCOMPLISHED AND PERMANENT FACT!
"I intend to make it my aim and one of my primary goals to see that NOTHING and NO ONE comes between that close, personal relationship with my father and me. Our Creator has shown that He wants this Work to go on to greater proportions than ever before. I know with all my being that our commission is the real reason we all draw breath. It's the greatest calling given to any human beings in history, the only goal worthwhile in a lasting, permanent sense.
"With deep love, in Jesus' name," Garner Ted Armstrong
It seems there is a NEW SPIRIT OF CONFIDENCE AND SENSE OF SECURITY FOR THE FUTURE being expressed by all executives, ministers and brethren here at Headquarters — a definite sense of ASSURANCE for the future of the Work. Everyone seems to SIMPLY SENSE that we are on the very threshold of a real firm and steady UPTURN in the Work.
My son Garner Ted and I NEED YOUR EARNEST PRAYERS as well as your financial support. The Work continues in a very tight financial condition. However the mail from new TV viewers and radio listeners took on an unprecedented upsurge — especially response from the daily TV programs. The few TV stations brought more requests for literature and The PLAIN TRUTH than all the radio stations. This is a barometer of an upsurge in new Co-Workers. We need you to join us in prayer that these will increase. The indications are for a continued tight financial squeeze for the next 6 to 18 months, but with a gradual increase, accelerating, in additional Co-Workers. Please do pray earnestly for that. We pray for YOU daily.
With deepest love, in Jesus' name, Herbert W. Armstrong