WORLDWIDE CHURCH OF GOD WORLD HEADQUARTERS PASADENA, CALIFORNIA 91123
HERBERT W. ARMSTRONG President and Pastor
June 29, 1969
Dear Brethren and Co-Heirs with Christ:
I am writing from 39,000 feet up in the air, returning from Jerusalem.
I have just finished writing my Personal article for the August TOMORROW'S WORLD. I want to include in this letter a part of what I wrote in it — but only a PART, so be sure to read it when the next TOMORROW'S WORLD arrives.
In it is a most important question that had come to mind, which inspired this Personal. It relates to the HOUSE FOR GOD which Solomon built. And it relates also to the HOUSE FOR GOD we hope we may be allowed to build, NOW, at Pasadena Headquarters. A most important question had come to mind. It is this:
What is the GREATEST SIN that anyone could possibly commit? The most terrible sin of all is probably the very last one most people would name. Of course, I have known what this supreme sin is for many years. But the seriousness of it was indelibly impressed on my mind as I was reading in I Chronicles 29, in the Fenton translation.
It was 3,000 years ago. David was King over Israel in Jerusalem. It was in the heart of David to build a HOUSE FOR GOD at Jerusalem. God said to David that he did well in desiring to build the Temple. But, because he had been a man of war and had killed many, David was not allowed to build it. God decreed Solomon should build it, after David's death.
Nevertheless, David was allowed to make great preparations for its construction before he died. It was not to be any ordinary building. This was to be a HOUSE FOR GOD at His earthly Headquarters! It had to HONOR the Great God! Undoubtedly it was by far the finest, costliest, most glorified structure ever built by man.
David said of Solomon: "Solomon my son is young and tender, and the HOUSE that is to be builded FOR THE ETERNAL must be exceedingly magnificent, of fame and of glory throughout all countries. . . . So David prepared abundantly before his death" (I Chronicles 22:5).
David sent out a request to God's people Israel (the CHURCH of that time), for them to contribute for the building of the Temple.
Now as you know, lt has been in my heart, in our day, to build a HOUSE FOR GOD at His present earthly Headquarters — on the campus of Ambassador College in Pasadena. God has turned His back on Jerusalem. He will yet choose Jerusalem again, and make it world Headquarters of His government in the WORLD TOMORROW. But it has been trodden down of the Gentiles for 2,500 years. It is sad testimony today to the degeneracy of humanity — ugly, dirty, smelly.
I am writing on the plane, flying high over Greenland, returning from Jerusalem. There, 50 Ambassador College students are digging in the largest archaeological excavation of all, clearing off the accumulated rubble and debris of 1,900 to 2,500 years of Gentile occupation — clearing it down to the very level of the Palace and Throne of DAVID — preparing the way for CHRIST to sit on David's throne — probably in the very location we are clearing off, and making ready for Him!
Doesn't it give you a thrill to realize what we have been called to do? Our students are working there with tremendous enthusiasm! They were so eager to have this part in it they volunteered to pay their own transportation to Jerusalem and back!
But I have emphasized before, the Auditorium I have hoped to build in Pasadena to serve as a HOUSE FOR GOD at His present earthly Headquarters of HIS WORK, is not planned to be remotely as magnificent, costly or glorified as Solomon's Temple. It is not to be a temple. It must be, and serve as the college auditorium — BUT, among ourselves, WE will think of it as GOD'S HOUSE where He, in Spirit, meets in fellowship with His Headquarters congregation every Sabbath. Yet, as I have said before, it must not be cheap, inferior, or even ordinary in construction — but considerably superior to run-of-the-mill construction of our modern day. It is definitely planned to be OUTSTANDING, of better than average quality. It must HONOR our Great GOD!
Whether we build it at all probably depends on how YOU BRETHREN RESPOND TO THIS LETTER! I have sent YOU requests — as God's Church for THIS TIME — for contributions to build it. So far there has been a fairly good response — but NOT AT ALL the overwhelming, generous, enthusiastic response God's Church of David's day sent in!
Those people were really STIRRED with joy and anticipation. They responded with GREAT LIBERALITY! Read of it, yourself, in I Chronicles 29:9: "Then the people rejoiced, for that they had offered WILLINGLY, because with PERFECT HEART they offered willingly to the ETERNAL: and David the king also rejoiced WITH GREAT JOY!" They were stirred, inspired, MOVED, fired up to willing sacrifice of other things they may have wanted or planned, to help in great anticipation for this HOUSE FOR GOD.
David was deeply moved emotionally, because he knew that all they gave CAME FROM the Great God! This inspired him to realize the GREATNESS, the MAJESTY, the SUPREME GLORY of the living GOD! He was moved to an inspiring prayer, publicly expressing his gratitude and praise for the living GOD!
It was this prayer that I read in the Fenton translation, that inspired my Personal article for TOMORROW'S WORLD. It begins the very next verse after the one quoted just above — the 10th. verse:
"Blessed be YOU, the EVER-LIVING, — The GOD of Our Father Israel, — From Eternity to Eternity! With You, LORD, is Greatness, and Power, And Beauty, and Splendour, and Glory! For all the Heavens and the Earth are Yours, LORD! The Government, and Exaltation, And Headship of All!"
The Fenton translation omits part of the next verse — the 12th., so I continue in the Moffatt translation in modern English:
"Riches and Honor come from thee, who reignest over all; in thy hand lie POWER and MIGHT, and in thy hand it lies to make all great and strong. Hence, O our God, we ever thank thee and praise thy glorious name. Yet who am I, what is my people, that we should be able to offer such freewill offerings? All gifts come from thee, and we only give thee what is thine" (I Chronicles 29: 10-14).
Brethren, as I read those inspired words, I seemed to catch the vision of the GREATNESS, the POWER, the BEAUTY, the SPLENDOR and GLORY of God — and of His throne in Heaven!
Do you fully realize It? God is not the author of ugliness, but of BEAUTY! Not of unsightliness, or drab, colorless, depressing surroundings, but of magnificence, inspiration, culture! Not the source or giver of cheapness, inferiority, but of quality and CHARACTER! Not of darkness, but of LIGHT and BRILLIANCE!
Some people have the very wrong idea that we ought to live in drab, depressing, inferior surroundings. God Himself dwells in brilliant SPLENDOR! From His throne in Heaven brilliant lightning flashes forth! It is resplendent in BEAUTY brilliance and GLORY beyond description!
Said the Inspired David, "Riches and honor come from thee!" Not poverty, cheapness, inferiority — RICHES, HONOR, CHARACTER, QUALITY! God is the GIVER of all the GOOD THINGS! Poverty is a punishment brought on humans by humans. Filth and squalor do not come from God, but from disobedience to His Laws! It is RICHES that come from God, to those who UNDERSTAND and follow HIS WAYS!
All — absolutely ALL GOOD THINGS, wanted things, desirable things, come from GOD! God is one who GIVES, not one who TAKES! He SHARES, and has given us precious promises that, if we yield to Him and His right WAYS, ALL THAT HE HAS we may SHARE! If we are Christ's, we are His children and heirs — heirs to inherit all that God HAS! To SHARE it all with Him!
I mean His GLORY! I mean the UNIVERSE! I mean His POWER! I mean ALL! I mean ETERNAL LIFE, to enjoy it FOREVER! Can your mind comprehend that?
God IS, and HAS, the ULTIMATE! It is the SUPREME of SUPERLATIVES MAGNIFIED! Yet all His power and glory we may share! We may INHERIT! Absolutely ALL the GOOD THINGS come from GOD!
And that is the VERY FACT that inspired King David to THANK and WORSHIP and GLORIFY GOD, in this passage I was reading in I Chronicles 29! All that the people had been GIVING for that HOUSE FOR GOD, with such willing heart, had come from GOD!
They were only giving back a portion of what HE had given them. And whatever WE give, in an ADDITIONAL sacrifice for this Building Fund, is only a portion of what GOD BLESSED US WITH! ALL GOOD THINGS COME FROM GOD! He is the GIVER of all GOOD!
Brethren, THINK of the happiness, the spiritual gift of God's Holy Spirit He has given YOU! And all your material possessions too! Are we willing to SHOW our gratitude by making an EXTRA and VERY SPECIAL offering for the next two years or more, to HONOR HIM with this HOUSE FOR GOD at His present earthly Headquarters?
If God wills that we build this house for Him, I know that He will show it by enthusing you Brethren for it — by stirring up your hearts, even as He stirred up the hearts of His Old Testament Church to respond to David's appeal, to give WILLINGLY, even as they did for the vastly more costly Temple Solomon built.
The architects' plans — even working plans — are all complete. It will be an outstanding building we can all look to as one that HONORS THE GREAT GOD! A model has been made of it. Perhaps I can take it with me as I visit again this autumn every Feast site in the U.S. and Canada. Also, I will have pictures made and send them to you. I want you to see it for yourself — both the model and the pictures.
But back to the thought I started with — the most TERRIBLE sin anyone can commit.
God not only HAS EVERYTHING — He is the GIVER of every good and perfect gift. ALL GOOD THINGS come from HIM!
Do we realize that?
I remember back in the earlier years of my conversion. It was during the time my family and I had to live 28 years in real economic POVERTY. There were many times when we had to go hungry — literally! That is, until we learned the truth about tithing. The day I started tithing we had something to eat — and from that time onward we did not have to suffer hunger, though still in poverty.
But WE WERE SUPREMELY HAPPY! We had found GOD! We had the living CHRIST, living His life within us! We were daily learning more and more of HIS TRUTH — and no physical food can stimulate and make you feel as good as that!
We visited other poor people. I remember having a Bible Study in a one-room house — just one room — bare wood floor, beds against the wall at one end, an old second-hand cook-stove and a bare scratched-up table at the other end. And chairs that had wires to keep the legs from falling apart. Yet it seemed like God's GLORY was there! It seemed that ANGELS were there! Our hearts were filled with JOY and REJOICING! We had learned what HAPPINESS really is!
I still know! DO YOU?
But WHAT IS IT we have, that others don't have? We have GOD'S WONDERFUL TRUTH! We have God's Holy Spirit! We have the living CHRIST in our hearts! We know GOD'S WAY of life — the way that CAUSES happiness and joy! That's what we have! I've had that joyous and blessed gift of His for more than 42 years! Many business men tell me that no millionaire on earth enjoys as happy a life as I.
All the GOOD THINGS have come from GOD! EVERYTHING worthwhile — EVERYTHING! comes from HIM!
What, then, is the WORST, most TERRIBLE sin?
It is that which cuts you off from EVERYTHING GOOD — FROM THE SOURCE OF ALL GOOD — from the God from whom ALL good comes — from INHERITING and SHARING with God ALL THAT HE HAS!
The SUPREME sin is to lose the supreme BLESSING — to be CUT OFF from GOD! The most AWFUL sin is to have another god before Him! And nearly every-body in this sick, polluted, unhappy world is worshipping other gods!
They may not be literally bowing down before an idol made of wood, stone, gold or other material. But devoting themselves to PLEASURE: to excessive TV viewing, to "enjoying" the wrong kind of TV diet: to filling the mind with FILTH in front of the TV set, or reading material of a wrong kind; to MATERIAL pursuits and interests; to material things!
Could it be that EVEN YOU are putting some of these things ahead of HIM — or ahead of YOUR PART in HONORING our God with this EXTRA SPECIAL BUILDING FUND — or ahead of YOUR PART In HIS GOSPEL WORK? As I write this letter I am INCREASING my own personal monthly SPECIAL OFFERING for the Building Fund. I have increased it before. And I have never stopped putting in this SPECIAL OFFERING since the Building Fund first began, several years ago.
Meanwhile, the WORK OF GOD must continue to GO FORTH with INCREASING POWER, WORLDWIDE! Your TITHES must go for that — your first tithe, that is. God calls on all of us to make ADDITIONAL offerings regularly FOR HIS GOSPEL WORK. What we give for the BUILDING FUND must be EXTRA, in addition to ALL THAT! It must not come out of the REGULAR offerings and tithes.
Brethren, I KNOW we can finance this HOUSE FOR GOD, if we allow God to make our hearts willing. Two years ago we were able to contribute $150,000 per month to the BUILDING FUND for other buildings! There are almost half again MORE OF US now! We CAN contribute $200,000 per month to this EXTRA SPECIAL FUND — IF OUR HEARTS ARE RIGHT WITH GOD — IF we really DO not put other false "gods" or interests, or desires, ahead of HIM! And IF we can put in $200,000 per month, with the financing big banks and insurance companies are willing to make available to us, WE CAN START BREAKING GROUND THIS AUTUMN!
If we fail, — well, I'm simply going to lose heart! Those people in David's day did not have God's HOLY SPIRIT. Our response to this appeal will show whether WE have! We can do it IF WE ARE WILLING!
ARE YOU WILLING, according as God has prospered you? I know too well, many of you simply are not able. God understands that, and so do I. But ENOUGH of us are ABLE — IF willing! Are you PRAYING? I will know by the over-all answer.
Brethren, I think we are going to break ground very soon on that beautiful building!
With love, in Jesus' name, Herbert W. Armstrong
P.S. If you did not send in your statement of intention, IT IS IMPORTANT THAT YOU DO NOW. I cannot authorize this work to proceed unless the statements of intention mount up to $200,000 per month. It does not bind you — but lets me know whether we can go ahead. I do not want any to give what you are not able, or to harm yourself or family. But we should be willing to SACRIFICE and GIVE UP things we planned to do or buy if they are not necessary. We should use WISDOM! PRAY for wisdom and good judgment.