Personal from the Editor
Plain Truth Magazine
January 1964
Volume: Vol XXIX, No.1
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Personal from the Editor

   Personal from Herbert W Armstrong - PROBABLY you will always remember precisely where you were, and what you were doing, when you were stunned with the news of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
   Personally, I was teaching a class here at Ambassador College in Pasadena. For some years now I have dispensed with all teaching, personally, except this one class. This particular class I hope to continue teaching for life. It is our course in Principles of Living. I teach it each year both at Pasadena, and at the college in England. This class includes the vital and sacred subject of sex and marriage.
   Dr. E. H. Owen collaborates with me in this class. It lasts two hours ten to twelve on Fridays.
   The 10:55 buzzer had sounded. I had paused momentarily until the buzzer silenced, then continued speaking. The red light flashed beside the telephone. Dr. Owen, sitting near the telephone, answered. It was a call for me.
   As I left the platform and walked to the telephone, I wondered what the call could be. Our switchboard would never interrupt me in the middle of a class unless it was an emergency. Was my wife taken ill? I hurried to the telephone.
   "Mr. Armstrong, President Kennedy has just been shot in Dallas, Texas!" came the startling message. "Also Governor Connally of Texas. They have been rushed to a hospital. The President is still alive, but in critical condition."
   All of us in the room were simply stunned. Back on the platform I asked the class immediately to rise. The Word of God instructs us to pray for our civil rulers. As the class bowed, I prayed immediately that if Mr. Kennedy were still living God would spare his life and restore him to a fit condition.
   But the President was already dead. It was then just after 1:00 P.M., Central Standard time, in Dallas.
   I tried to carry on with the class lecture. It was difficult. I doubt whether the students got much out of it.
   Then, some forty-five minutes later, the red light on the telephone flashed again.
   Dr. Owen answered.
   "The President is dead," he announced quietly.
   IMPOSSIBLE! The President was so young! He was too young to die. It simply couldn't be yet, shocked and stunned though we were, we knew it was true.
   I remember, President William McKinley had been assassinated when I was a boy nine years old. He was the first President of the United States I had ever seen. He made a rear-platform speech from a train in Des Moines, Iowa, when I was five. My father had held me up high, in his arms, so I could see the President. That had impressed itself on my memory so that I never forgot it. But the shooting of the President, four years later, had not.
   I remembered, also, how in 1932 I was advertising manager of a daily newspaper. In the newsroom one day, the city editor, reporters, and others got into a discussion as to what possible event would make the most sensational banner headline. The very first suggestion was the headline: THE PRESIDENT ASSASSINATED! A few others were suggested: WORLD WAR II BREAKS OUT! NEW YORK CITY BLASTED OFF THE MAP!
   Then the city editor said, "This one tops them all: SECOND COMING OF CHRIST OCCURRED TODAY!" "Ha! Ha!" They all laughed, in ridicule.
   "You're going to write that headline sooner than you think!" I snapped sharply and the laughing stopped.
   Yes, thank God! THAT event, to eclipse all the world-shaking happenings of history, is nearer than people think! The savagery of the world today, with its assassinations, wars, crimes of violence, causes those of us who know the TRUTH to cry out to God the more earnestly, "THY Kingdom come! THY will be done in earth, as it is in heaven!"
   Dastardly crimes like this impel a look once again at this ugly world. In the Bible we find three worlds spoken of. There was the world that was "the world that then was, being overflowed with water," which "perished." (II Peter 3:6) also spoken of as "the old world," (II Peter 2:5). Then there is "this world," or "this present evil world," (Gal. 1:4), and also "the world to come" (Mark 10:30; Luke 18:30), also called "that world" (Luke 20:35). This latter is the one we call "The WORLD TOMORROW" a world of peace, happiness and right ways, governed by GOD.
   No rulers then will be assassinated. They will be immortal.
   In this present evil world, the same nation the United States of America richest, most blest (materially) of all in history, produces BOTH the President, and his crazed, warped-minded, perverted, twisted, distorted little killer! The SAME COUNTRY produced both! Did you ever stop to think how opposites spring from the same sources?
   James speaks of the human tongue. It, too, he says, is a "little member, and boasteth great things" just like presidential assassins! "Out of the same mouth," says James, "proceedeth blessings and cursings. My brethen, these things ought not so to be" (James 3:5, 10).
   Look at the assassins, or would-be assassins, of presidents nearly all were little men, of twisted, perverted minds, bent on making BIG HEADLINES. The supposed and accused killer of Mr. Kennedy was Lee Harvey Oswald. If you watched TV those three fateful days following the heinous tragedy and who didn't? you noticed that Oswald was a slight man, wearing a BIG smirk of arrogance and conceit.
   Of all presidential assassins, or those who attempted assassination, only one, John Wilkes Booth, murderer of Abraham Lincoln, was even average height of his time. Booth was 5 feet 8 inches tall. That would be short, today, but was about average or just slightly above in 1865.
   But all others were shorter, ranging down to Giuseppe Zangara, who attempted to assassinate Franklin D. Roosevelt two and a half weeks prior, however, to his first inauguration. This little anarchist was just 5 feet tall (or should I say short?) and weighed only 106 pounds. This small piece of misguided humanity fired five shots. Five men and women near Mr. Roosevelt were hit and wounded, though the President-elect was not. But Mayor Anton J. Cermak of Chicago was killed.
   Other little men with big-murder ideas were Charles J. Guiteau, who shot President James A. Garfield in the back, July 2, 1881. Then there was Leon F. Czolgosz (pronounced "Cholgosh"), who walked up in line to shake hands with President McKinley in Buffalo, September 6, 1901, and, as the President smiled cordially, and extended a friendly hand, this contemptible little malcontent, with a gun in a hand wrapped in a bandage feigning an injured hand, pulled the trigger twice, killing the President.
   There was John N. Schrank, who on October 14, 1912, in Milwaukee, shot Theodore Roosevelt in the chest as he was stepping into the rear of an open car, though this shot was not fatal.
   Then there was the attempt on the life of President Harry S. Truman. It was during the rebuilding of the White House. The President was living temporarily in Blair House, across the street. He was taking a nap on November 1, 1950, and was awakened by gunshots. Two Puerto Rican Nationalists, Oscar Collazo and Griselio Torrezola, were trying to shoot their way past Secret Service agents to rush inside and assassinate Mr. Truman. Two men were killed and three others injured in this attempted assassination.
   A European assassination touched off the fuse that started the first World War, in 1914. There was a somewhat recent attempt on the life of President Charles de Gaulle of France. There have been many other assassinations and attempted assassinations of heads of state. The Communists took over the government of Russia by this method.
   But we may be thankful that the accused and probable killer of John F. Kennedy was not, apparently, an agent of an organized conspiracy.
   Think what might have happened afterward, had this assassin been either a Negro integrationist, trying to kill the President because he might have felt the government was not bringing about Civil Rights as rapidly as he wanted; or, a Southern White Segregationist seeking revenge because he felt the President was bringing about integration too rapidly.
   Ether way, would there not have been riots and mass murders breaking out all over the land spontaneously, before hot-heads could be cooled?
   Or, suppose it had been an agent of the Kremlin, on direct orders from Khrushchev. Might that have led to an all-out NUCLEAR World War III?
   Actually, it happens that, apparently, all of these self-appointed President-killers were acting independently, as individuals. Each was a man possessed of a fancied but wrong CAUSE, holding emotional feelings of personal animosity, feeling he was a man of DESTINY, an instrument in the hand of God.
   How TWISTED AND PERVERTED, in their thinking about GOD, can men get? After shooting President Lincoln in the back, assassin Booth wrote: "Our country owed all her troubles to him, and God simply made me the instrument of His punishment."
   In one respect, only, he might have been right. He had the wrong god Satan, the God of this world!
   After Guiteau killed President Garfield, he explained his reason: "His removal is an act of God." Later, on trial for his cowardly act, he said to the jury: "Let your verdict be that it was the Deity's act, not mine." The jury didn't see it that way.
   After Czolgosz killed President McKinley he explained why: "I thought it would be a good thing for the nation to kill the President."
   After attempting to kill President Truman, Collazo justified himself in court thus: "I did it for the cause of the liberty of my country."
   Did any of these little warped-minded assassins repent of their foul deeds? NOT ONE! All thought they were men of destiny, taken over by the power of God to do their murders.
   And very possibly many, if not all, were taken over, and actually possessed, by demons in the service of the diabolical god of this world, Satan the devil!
   Did you notice their foreign names? Most were of foreign birth, yet all were United States citizens at the time of their deeds. Not one did his terrible act out of personal animosity resulting from personal or official relationship. Not one was, apparently, a part of an organized conspiracy by any foreign government or even any organized cause.
   It seems each acted on his own, independently of human organizations. Each was a little man, seized by an invisible satanic force, with illusions of diabolical grandeur, and a perverted sense of mission.
   How can a nation completely protect its head from such men? Probably, in this world, it can't. But in the WORLD TOMORROW, with the divine and glorified Jesus Christ ruling all nations as KING of kings, all rulers will have been born again born of GOD as immortals, who CANNOT DIE! Then, there will be no more assassinations.
   I know that I am an instrument in the hands of the true Creator GOD but I am commissioned to preach LOVE, and MERCY, PEACE and JUSTICE, and the Commandments of God, one of which is: THOU SHALT NOT KILL (do no murder).
   John F. Kennedy was a Roman Catholic, and I am not I take no part in politics, and therefore I did not vote for him BUT I DID PRAY FOR HIM, and I hope you did, too!
   I believe all true and understanding non-Catholic Christians were as shocked and grieved by this terrible murder as were Catholics. Mr. Kennedy was the President of the United States! As such we felt a respect, a high regard, and even a LOVE for the leader of the country of our birth and the country which has blest us so richly and given us its protection, its liberties, its freedoms, its opportunities and blessings!
   I wonder how many of our readers know that the Bible commands us to pray for the heads of our nations? The Bible does not command us to take part in this world's politics strange as that may seem to many. But it does emphatically teach RESPECT for, and SUBMISSION TO the government of man that is over us.
   Jesus Christ took no part whatsoever in human government but He did command, "Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's" meaning taxes, as well as subjection and respect.
   Actually Jesus Christ came to qualify to become KING over the whole world. But His kingdom was not of this present world. The Old Covenant with Israel "married" (spiritually) that nation to the Eternal. The NEW Covenant is to "marry" God's Church to Christ. This is to set up GOD'S GOVERNMENT on earth.
   The Church, then, is the affianced Bride of Christ (Rev. 19:7-9), now engaged, and expected to remain true to her future husband by avoiding fornication. The false church has committed fornication HOW? By mixing in this world's politics!! (Rev. 17:1-2)
   But though Christ's Church is forbidden to be a part of this world's governments, IT IS STRICTLY COMMANDED TO BE SUBJECT to the worldly government to honor and pray for its rulers.
   Notice: "I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; FOR KINGS, AND FOR ALL THAT ARE IN AUTHORITY; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty" (I Tim. 2:1-2).
   Again, "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever, therefore, resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation" (Rom. 13:1-2). These little assassins resisted and, in every case, TO THEIR OWN DAMNATION!
   To Titus, Paul admonished: "Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready for every good work" (Titus 3:1).
   Peter speaks of those who "despise government,... not afraid to speak evil of dignities" (II Pet. 2:10). He says they shall receive the reward of unrighteousness (which is death). "Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings."
   God's Word teaches us to have RESPECT FOR AUTHORITY. There can be no power, except as God allows. The Bible does not teach that this world's governments are righteous, or representing God. But, so long as God allows them to wield an authority HE established even though they wield it contrary to His laws to disrespect the government is to disrespect God.
   OBEDIENCE TO LAW is the basic teaching of the Bible.
   Therefore, whether we agree with the man in office his religion his political party his ideas, or whatever GOD COMMANDS US TO RESPECT HIS OFFICE, TO HONOR IT, AND TO PRAY FOR HIM!
   If any good whatsoever can conceivably come out of a presidential assassination, let it sober us and teach us some of these lessons.
   Our staff at the college in England report that the British were as shocked as if it had been their Queen and mourned Mr. Kennedy's death in just about the same manner they would have, had it been Queen Elizabeth! There may be a certain nationalistic feeling on the surface toward the United States on the part of some in Britain but when something like this comes along, all that is immediately forgotten, and brother Ephraim mourns with brother Manasseh, and we realize we are one and the same people.
   Personally, I think I was too stunned to shed tears. But Garner Ted Armstrong received the news before I did an hour and ten minutes before he was due before the microphone for the daily broadcast of The WORLD TOMORROW.
   He went immediately to his desk to prepare the broadcast. Then, when news came later that the President was dead, he shed real spontaneous tears, and prayed to God to inspire him to say what ought to be said in his noon broadcast.
   The program goes, live, on the air over a local station from our own studio at 12 noon. As the program is being heard over the Los Angeles area between 12 and 12:30, it is simultaneously being recorded on tape by our large battery of Ampex tape recorders. There is a master tape, from which scores of other tapes are recorded later in the day, and dispatched by air-express to radio stations all over the world. What was said on that program, one short hour after the assassination of the President, was spontaneous, and nearly all adlibbed as are virtually all WORLD TOMORROW programs. I hope most of our readers heard it.
   But, emotionally as tragedies like this strike us, it is for us, the living, to press on. We in the Work of God have our biggest work yet to do. Time is short. It is later than we think!
   I know that the same Satan, who undoubtedly is the real author of these assassinations of so many heads of governments, would if he could have me killed. And also my son Garner Ted Armstrong, and the other ministers on our growing staff.
   Right now Satan is very ANGRY because he knows well that he has but a short time left (Rev. 12:12). And against whom is he stirred to such satanic fury?
   Against those people of God who "keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ" (Rev. 12:17).
   This is the Work of God that preaches that very TRUTH so hateful to the god of this world! But Satan is LIMITED in his powers! He can do no more than God allows!
   I well know that my very life must be in the hands of the Eternal Almighty GOD. Unless He protects it, Satan would instantly destroy it! But we here, at the Headquarters of God's Work, take courage and inspiration to press on in the knowledge that thousands are praying earnestly for our protection and safety, as well as divine guidance and power!
   But we should pray, even more, and in renewed fervor and intensity and faith, "THY KINGDOM COME; THY WILL BE DONE, IN EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN!"

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Plain Truth MagazineJanuary 1964Vol XXIX, No.1