"The Eternal gave, and the Eternal has taken away; blessed be the name of the Eternal!" WHY does God allow some things which seem utterly contrary to anything we can understand? "My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the Eternal." He often does not act as we think He ought.
"Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him," said Job. Can you and I TRUST Him, whether we understand or not, as yet? God called on Abraham to be willing to sacrifice his son. God was willing to sacrifice His Son for you and me. I have had to give up my son. Richard David Armstrong died Wednesday morning, July 30, as the first real martyr for God's cause in these latter days just before the RETURN of Christ in all power and glory.
In the days of Christ and the original apostles, Satan could generate angry, murderous crowds to stone God's true ministers to death or otherwise cause their martyrdom. The best historic records tell us all those apostles were martyred because of the Message they preached.
Today, God has provided different methods of reaching a far more vast earth population,—by radio, television, printing press— AND AUTOMOBILE. Today we preach the SAME Gospel Message that angered and riled up mobs to kill Christ's ministers just after He went to heaven. Today Satan and those of this world and this world's false religion HATE that Message and those who dare to preach it just as bitterly. This summer we were sending out four baptizing teams, into all parts of the United States, visiting a total of nearly 2,500 people who have written us that they have REPENTED, and ACCEPTED CHRIST as personal Saviour, and want to be baptized. These men travel by automobile. We have fourteen other ministers who travel thousands of miles every week in this work.
Dick Armstrong and Don Billingsley were on such a tour, proceeding north through California. On these tours they call on one or two candidates at a time. Satan cannot stir up a blood- thirsty mob against men on such a tour. Satan is cunning. He CAN strike at them thru the instrumentality God has provided to be used in reaching people over such great distances. He CAN use an automobile wreck to kill those who proclaim the Message he hates.
WHY does God allow it? Why did He allow Stephen to be stoned to death? Why did He allow the apostles to meet violent death in martyrdom? You know He DID allow it—and they were MEN OF GOD, killed because they were willing to be in God's service! Let me tell you, dear Co-Workers, every minister in this great work of God realizes fully that he may at any instant be called upon to lay down his life for God's Work. I did not know until after my son died that he had an abiding premonition that he was going to be called on to glorify God, in furtherance of God's Work, as a martyr by violent death. He confided this to his wife before marriage, and mentioned it a number of times after marriage. He didn't know HOW, or when. But he had given his life to Jesus Christ who bought and paid for his life (and ours) on the cross, for God's service in whatever way God chose to use it—and he was willing to give up his life.
We are now in the VERY LAST DAYS of this evil world. I have said that God will soon intervene in world affairs. Co-Workers, God began intervening in world affairs 24« years ago in the smallest and least-noticed manner—proclaiming over merely a part of one county in Oregon the GOOD NEWS of Christ's coming and the KINGDOM OF GOD to rule the earth and bring us PEACE and salvation. Satan didn't pay a great deal of attention to it then—it was too small to notice. But like the grain of mustard seed, it grew and grew, and multiplied in scope and power. At the end of a 19-year time-cycle, the first week in 1953, it was covering the entire United States—and that very anniversary week God opened the door for His Gospel to leap over into Europe. The early Church was given exactly two 19-year periods to carry the Gospel to the world in an organized manner. God has allotted two 19-year periods to US WHOM HE HAS CALLED AS CO-WORKERS WITH CHRIST to complete the shouting of that Gospel to the whole world as a witness before there is a FAMINE of hearing the true Word of the Eternal. WE ARE NOW DEEP INTO THAT LAST 19-YEAR PERIOD.
Today Satan is getting mighty disturbed. He knows how this work is growing with increasing acceleration. This year it has taken on greater expansion than ever before. Satan is AROUSED, and "as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour" (I Pet. 5:8), is attacking this work and those of us in it. Today Satan is WROTH with us in God's Work, and is striking out to make WAR with this very LAST GENERATION of God's people who keep His Commandments and have the testimony (Bible) of Jesus Christ (Rev. 12:17), because he now knows he has but a short time (verse 12) until Christ is coming to depose him entirely.
Brethren in Christ, these are the days when God is ALLOWING us to go through a terrible time of TRIAL and TEST (Dan. 12:9-10). Prophecy says plainly THIS IS THE TIME! This is the time of James 1:1-4; I Peter 1:3-9; and 4:12-13 PLEASE OPEN YOUR BIBLE AND READ THESE. But, as God tells you and me in Heb 12:4: "Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. We MUST now put on the WHOLE ARMOR OF GOD (read Eph. 6:10-18) or we shall be helpless, and fall, and fail to attain salvation in God's soon-appearing Kingdom! We must press on and fight harder than ever!
If we sometimes cannot understand WHY God does not heal now, and answer His PROMISES for healing as we believe He should, now, we need to read Hebrews 11, especially verses 8-13. God made binding promises to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Sarah. THESE ALL DIED, IN FAITH, NOT HAVING RECEIVED THE PROMISES! Has God gone back on His word? NO!!! He has not told us HOW or WHEN He will act to heal as He promises. As Abraham will yet receive the promise of actual POSSESSION of the promised land and ETERNAL LIFE in it—AT THE RESURRECTION—so will my son Richard David Armstrong. God's promises are SURE! Never lose FAITH! I know that even now, three days after he was buried, God CAN, if it is His will, raise him from the grave back to completely healed mortal life to again resume his important PART in God's great work. But we must remember this is GOD'S work, and He will do as He knows is best.
Dick Armstrong GAVE his life that, through awakened realization and renewed dedication of OUR lives to God's Cause, THOUSANDS and MILLIONS of OTHERS might hear God's WAY to receive HIS GIFT and LIVE FOREVER!
May I borrow a fitting application from Abraham Lincoln? It is now for US, the living, rather to be DEDICATED here to the unfinished WORK OF GOD which he who now lies buried helped thus far to advance. It is rather for us to be now dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from this honored dead WE take increased devotion to that cause for which HE gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here and now surrender and give OUR LIVES to God a living sacrifice—that Richard David Armstrong shall NOT have died in vain; but that this nation and the WHOLE WORLD shall hear the GOOD NEWS of that GOVERNMENT OF GOD, and BY God, FOR the people, that shall usher in lasting WORLD PEACE, SALVATION, in the joyous WORLD TOMORROW!!