Born: July 31, 1892
Died: January 16, 1986
Member Since: 1928
Herbert W. Armstrong founded the Worldwide Church of God in the late 1930s, as well as Ambassador College in 1946, and was an early pioneer of radio and tele-evangelism, originally taking to the airwaves in the 1930s from Eugene, Oregon.
Before I begin speaking, I want to thank all of you for the generosity and the nice offering that we had this morning, breaking a record once again. We only take up offerings seven times a year. Whereas churches that call themselves "Christian," so many of them take up offerings every Sunday, every meeting; we take up offerings just when God commands it and only when God commands it. HOLY DAYS REVEALED SARDIS ERA REJECTS HOLY DAYS HOLY DAYS PICTURE SPIRITUAL CREATION WE MUST GROW OUT OF SIN HUNGER AND THIRST FOR GOD'S RIGHTEOUSNESS IF ADAM HAD TAKEN OF THE TREE OF LIFE Man Is NOT Totally Physical GOD'S SPIRIT JOINS WITH SPIRIT IN MAN NEW BOOK: MYSTERY OF THE AGES FIRST MYSTERY: WHO AND WHAT IS GOD? SECOND MYSTERY: THE SPIRIT WORLD THIRD MYSTERY: MAN FOURTH MYSTERY: SATAN'S WORLD FIFTH MYSTERY: THE NATION OF ISRAEL SIXTH MYSTERY: THE CHURCH SEVENTH MYSTERY: THE KINGDOM OF GOD THE LAW OF GOD HOLY SPIRIT REQUIRED TO FULFIL GOD'S LAW SELF-RELIANCE OR RELIANCE ON GOD CALLED OUT OF SATAN'S WORLD KEY ISSUE IS GOVERNMENT REVEALED TRUTH: HOPE OF RESURRECTION SPIRIT AND PRINCIPLE OF THE LAW JUDGMENT NOW ON THE HOUSE OF GOD RELY ON GOD
Money is only a medium of exchange; but it takes work to do the Work of God. And it's not only some of us who work in preaching, in writing and editing, in teaching others in College to become ministers, and many of those things. But others have to work to provide so that they will be provided for, so they can work. And what they provide is merely transferred into money as a medium of exchange, and so it does take money. But that only means we're all working together. Actually, we're all one great vast team; and we have a worldwide Work; and I'm glad I can say the job is getting done. It's getting done gloriously.
Now today… That was a time of solemnity—very solemn, very serious. Today's a more joyful time, because today marks the time of our coming out of sin. And in a sense we're only starting out of sin all over again, as we do every year. And I wonder if we really do realize fully and comprehend the real meaning of this festival. I first learned back very early in the year of 1927 that we should keep the Passover and that we should keep seven special Sabbath days—annual Sabbaths or holy days. At that time I didn't know why. Do you know I had to think of Abraham, when God called him OUT of Babylon. And, you know, God was calling me OUT of this world; and He's called you OUT of this world. When God called, his name originally was… I believe it should be pronounced "A'bram" (I think many have called it "A-brahm."),till God changed his name to Abraham.
And God called him OUT to leave the gaiety and the bright lights of the civilization where he was. And he didn't quibble. He didn't say, "Well, do I have to?" Or, "Well, can't I go later?" Or, "Can't I go someplace else?" Or, "Why isn't it just as well here?" It just says one, just two words: "Abram went." That's all. He didn't question. And I think that came to my mind when I saw that we should keep these annual days.
I think you, most of you, have never heard the history of how I came to keep the Sabbath; how I found out about these days. And, in a sense, that's how you came to be here today, how you came to be keeping these days—because God brought it to me. And I don't know of any church that had kept these days for hundreds and hundreds of years. I think there's some record that the annual holy days and festivals were kept by some in the Church, by some of the faithful, for perhaps (I think I have heard) up to four hundred years.
I saw, however, that they were ordained forever. I saw that Jesus Christ had kept these days, and set us an example that we should do the same thing. I saw that the disciples kept these days; and, when they became apostles, they taught the Church, and the early Church kept God's festivals. I saw that they were ordained forever. They were kept in the New Testament as well as the Old. I didn't know why. I didn't say: "Well, why? Well, well, Lord, I won't do it unless you show me why!" I just said, "God says 'Do it!' I will do it!" And my wife, of course, with me; and for seven years we kept these days alone.
And then when the Church, the first Church, was raised up that became "the parent Church" of this Philadelphia Era in Eugene, Oregon (or just west of Eugene) in the country school house—that was in the autumn of 1933—I began to teach these days. That autumn we kept the fall annual Sabbaths; and the next spring we kept, not only the Passover with foot washing, but also the annual holy days. But we didn't know why. And that was in 1933.
Then on through the years, up to 1945, as the Church was growing, the Philadelphia Era of the Church began to keep all of these days. The Sardis Era never did. We fellowshipped with them. I didn't leave them to start a new Church of my own, or any thing of the kind. I've been falsely accused of that. It is not true! We continued as brethren. I continued to minister to the Church of the Sardis Era. In fact, I did until the broadcast was a few years under way. And, finally, the Work was just so all consuming. This Church was growing so fast—the Philadelphia Era; and they were falling farther and farther away.
At first, I continued to pastor one Church up in the Willamette Valley; and, when I couldn't spend all the time to be there every Sabbath, I divided it every other Sabbath with one of the ministers we call Sardis ministers. That's just our nickname. We find them identified as the Sardis Era in the second, or the third chapter rather, of the Book of Revelation, the first seven verses. And, after a while, I could not even get up there every other Sabbath because the Work was growing so fast; and they drifted their way, and we finally drifted ours. But, for several years, it was a gradual transition from the Sardis into the Philadelphia Era of the Church.
This article, as I remember, didn't give the whole thing. It just mentioned that the spiritual creation began with Christ, and that the Passover was the first event to happen in the spiritual creation. And then I could see that the Days of Unleavened Bread represented putting sin out of our lives; and it just naturally unfolded, and God opened up the meaning to me. But the next festival, happening some fifty days later, that we call the Day of Pentecost—actually, in the Bible originally it was called the Feast of Firstfruits; and WE ARE the firstfruits (and I didn't understand that at that time)—but I saw that that meant the coming of the Holy Spirit, after Christ was crucified.
He was crucified for our sins; and, naturally, the next thing we must do in the spiritual creation of man is to put sin out of our lives. What was wrong with humanity? Sin had come into the life of Adam. Sin had come into the life of his children—Cain and Abel, and even Seth; and then of the others as they came along. And ALL have sinned, even righteous Abel! And Jesus called Abel, the son of Adam, "righteous Abel." But he sinned, because the Bible also says:
Romans 3:23 ALL have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.
We read how Enoch walked with God, nevertheless Enoch sinned. Noah was perfect in his generations (meaning his birth, physical birth), but he also walked with God. And he alone was found righteous; but only in the carnal sense, because he did not have the Holy Spirit of God. So God saved him and just his family—his wife, their three sons, and the wives of their sons; and the WHOLE WORLD has come from them. And ALL have sinned. All have sinned.
Well then I began to see, in the seventh month, the Feast of Trumpets. I saw in the Bible how at the last trump Jesus Christ will come again. And it became very plain that the Feast of Trumpets signified the second coming of Jesus Christ. Then I studied the Day of Atonement that came next, the fast day; and I could see how it showed the putting away of Satan as the Azazel goat that was driven out into the wilderness. And then came the Feast of Tabernacles representing for seven days the seventh thousand-year—[the] reign of Christ on Earth. And that is only finishing the first seven thousand years.
Now the Holy Spirit was closed. I'll come to that a little later. But it was closed until Satan is put away—until the fulfillment of the Day of Atonement, until the second coming of Christ. And, of course, Satan will be put away after the second coming of Christ to rule, and He will sit on the throne that Satan is now sitting on. But gradually, then, I came to see the meaning of these days; how wonderful it is that it pictures. No Church on Earth—but this one—keeps these days.
Dr. Hoeh showed us this morning, in one of the parables, how some have split off. They didn't endure but a little time, for various reasons. There are four classifications shown, and only one classification endures. Sometime you think that so many have split off from the Church. Well, if you look at the parable, you'd think that at least three-fourths has split off and only one-fourth remained; but actually not. I don't think over ten or fifteen percent have ever split off. And so I think we have a great deal to be thankful for. But it was foretold. Jesus foretold it, and that is the thing that I'm coming to now.
I John 1:8 If we [in the Church] say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves.
WE DO SIN—even after we have been converted; even after we have repented; have received Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour; have received the Holy Spirit of God to lead us. But not one of us has been filled with the Holy Spirit completely. To be filled completely with the Holy Spirit, every other wrong "contending spirit" has had to go completely out of you; and I don't think that has happened to a one of us yet. It is what the world does not realize: it is a gradual process. We have to GROW in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, as Peter tells us in one of his two books in the Bible. Then we have to grow out of sin. You have to gradually put sin out.
Last Wednesday there was quite a commotion going on over in my home, and Rhona Martin had gotten a number of people over there. And they were helping, and they were scouring every nook and cranny of the house for even some breadcrumbs. They'd heard a sermon over the weekend before, and how they can even get into the carpets; and so carpets were being vacuum cleaned, and everything was. I don't know. Everything was left spick and span when they got through; but there was quite a crew over there working, trying to get all leaven out of the house.
Now, I'm quite sure the leaven was really cleaned out! But have we really completely cleaned the leaven out of our lives? The sin. Whenever you get to the place where you have, you'll be just like Jesus Christ was. He never sinned; and not one of you has ever approached that place yet—where you can be as pure as He was, as free from sin as He was. I'm not, and you're not.
You know, there's one thing the world doesn't understand that I want to mention right here, while it's on my mind. I have to speak to you a little differently now than I used to. I like to have an outline, and have the Bible here, and go through the Scriptures. I can't do that anymore because I, no matter how large I may type out or write out the notes, I still can't see them with a magnifying glass unless I take time to study a long time; but I can't do that right off to you. So I just don't even bring a Bible along anymore. However, in the meantime, God has written a lot of it up here [pointing to his head]. I don't have to read up there. I cannot see in my own brain. I never have done that, and you've never seen your brain either.
That's one thing I mention in my new book. You don't know who and what you are. You've never even seen your own brain. You don't know why you are. Or do you? I hope you do. Some of us do, but most people don't. I used to wonder about that. I won't say I really worried about it at that time; but I was thinking, and I was wondering. And I remember it was in the summer of 1926, and that fall God gave me a challenge that started me into His Word—the Bible—and began to explain all these things to me; and I've been able to explain them to you since.
Anyway, we have not come all the way out of sin. It's a gradual process, and will go on as long as we live unless we could, in this life, attain to the same holy, righteous, perfect, perfection that is that of God the Father and that of Jesus Christ. Only one Man ever lived without any taint of sin whatsoever. And, if leaven represents sin, there was not even a tiny little crumb of it anywhere around in His life. But I can't say that, and not one of us can say it. But, by His grace, He paid the penalty for the past sins.
But there's so much more than just that. When we repent of sin, that means we start to go the other way. We grow out of sin, and we have to GROW out of sin. As you GROW out of sin, you also—at the same time you put sin out of your lives—you put more of God's Truth and God's love in.
What is sin? Sin is the transgression of the law. But I think we don't understand fully what sin is. Now, you think you do. You say, "Oh, I understand sin, Mr. Armstrong. Well, sin is the transgression of the law." Yes, I know. I've taught you that, and perhaps you knew it before I taught you too. And the law is the commandments of God; and it's holy, and just, and good. The law is perfect, but we're not. But I think we don't fully understand.
You can sum up the Law in one word—love. And without love and love in your heart (and a lot more than we have acquired, or developed, or received) from God… And the love of God you have to receive from Him! You don't work it up, or develop it, yourself in your own life at all. You can't go above the human level, and that's the level of the human spirit within you. It takes the level of the Holy Spirit of God that must come into you. And none of us has ever come to the place where we're 100% holy, and righteous, and living according to God's law—and not even a fraction of 1% that is in violation even of "the spirit of the law." Not one of us has ever come to that point. If we GROW (as Peter said) in grace and knowledge, we also grow out of sin. You don't put it all out all at once. We all have some of it left in us.
I think of God's righteousness; and I think of God, and how holy and how righteous He is. God is so righteous He is absolutely perfect! Now God has… He never suffers anything, except sorrow that you and I cause Him; but of Himself He suffers nothing. He has no pain. He has no backache. No hips out of joint. No headache. But He is full of vitality. And He just feels so good, and so active, so strong, and so vigorous, and just feels good over and over all the time; and He's never tired or weary. He is perfect, and EVERYTHING is just perfect in His life. He has NO FEARS and no worries of any kind, because He's perfectly righteous. Perfectly! Now, that's something to hunger and thirst for!
Now, I have some aches and pains. Sometimes they come; sometimes they go, and then others come. So do you. So do we all. But if we hunger and thirst for God's righteousness, if we ever achieve it we will have perfect contentment, perfect happiness, perfect joy just brimful and running over, enthusiastically filled with love and with happiness beyond any description. We'd better hunger and thirst for it. Well now, what is that? It's the absence of sin.
And what is sin? In another way, you can say sin is the absence of righteousness. That's what it is—the absence of righteousness. We sin in many ways that we don't realize. I was just thinking: one of the greatest sins is our tongue. Any of you free from ever sinning with the tongue? Things you say? Are you always courteous, always pleasant? Always tending to make other people comfortable and happy? Always just reflecting love, and joy, and peace? We haven't attained to that quite yet, brethren. It's something we have to work for and strive for—day, by day, by day. And how do you achieve it? On your own power and strength? You aren't that strong! You don't have the power and the strength.
Now, we used to say very little about them at all. We'd hear about Adam's "apple" once in a while, and that meant the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil; but that was just a way of expressing. It didn't mean anything to people. And we began to see that it meant a little something: that Adam sinned, that he rebelled against God. He disobeyed God, and that's where sin started in the world. But we never saw very much about the other tree, the Tree of Life.
I hadn't thought as much about it as I should. And I didn't realize I didn't think about it either, until down in South Africa. I was in the home of Dr. McCarthy in Johannesburg, and it was after a Sabbath meeting, and we were all over there for a buffet dinner that evening. And I was sitting at a table. Some ate dinner on their laps, on a buffet dinner, you know; but I was a little older than most of them, so they let me sit at a table. And then others began to gather around me.
Then somebody came up. I was talking about the two trees. And they said, "Well, Mr. Armstrong, what would have happened if Adam had taken of the Tree of Life?" And you know, they almost stopped me right there! I had never thought very deeply on that before. It just seemed we never thought: "What IF he had taken of the Tree of LIFE?" And I began to think a lot more on that line from that minute on—if Adam had taken the Tree of Life. That's what he should have done; because Jesus Christ, the second Adam, came to do what the first Adam should have done and did not do. Jesus did take of the Tree of Life.
If Adam had taken of the Tree of Life, God's Life would have entered into him. Now, how does God's Life enter into you? Through the Holy Spirit of God! All right, that's the beginning; but that's only part of it. It means so much more than just that. That has great meaning—if God's Spirit had entered into him. He had a spirit in him. God created man mortal but with a human spirit. That is what the world does not understand!
I finally had to come to see that God created the first man with a spirit in him, and the man is NOT wholly physical! His whole body, his brain, everything is physical; but there is a spirit in man that does not exist in the other vertebrates. It doesn't exist in a cow, a horse, a dog, an elephant, or a whale, or a dolphin, or a chimpanzee. They have a brain, and their brain is as good as ours; and they can't find very much difference in the constituency of the brain—the human brain from an animal brain. But the human brain has thousands of times greater output. Now, the human brain has with it a spirit; but it's a human spirit. It's the spirit of man!
I Corinthians 2:11 What man could know the things of man, save the spirit of man which is in him?
"The spirit of man which is in him." Well, it is part of him. I thought, well, it was something that God added with the first breath.
Now the word for "spirit" in both the Greek and the Hebrew language (The Hebrew in which the Old Testament is written, and the New Testament written in Greek.) is the same as the word for "air." Let's see. It is "pneuma" in the Greek, and it is "ruach" in the Hebrew. Now it's "spirit." But it means "spirit," or it also means "breath," and it means "air". And Jesus explaining to Nicodemus about being born again, He said it's like the wind. You can't see it, but you can tell where it's going. Nicodemus couldn't understand about being born again and born of the spirit.
John 3:6 That which is born of the Spirit is [and becomes] spirit.
We're not spirit. We're flesh, but with a human spirit within us.
God formed Adam of the dust of the ground, but he wasn't complete physically. God wanted him to reproduce, but the guy couldn't do it (and no other man can do it). He couldn't do it until God operated and made a woman out of him, and presented the woman; and they joined together, and they became one flesh. The two became one. They were joined together; and they could reproduce their kind, and they had children.
If Adam had taken of the Spirit—of the Tree of Life—he would have received THE HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD! AND THE HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD COULD JOIN WITH HIS SPIRIT. It couldn't join with the physical brain; it couldn't join with his big toe or his little finger, but it could join with his SPIRIT. GOD GAVE US A HUMAN SPIRIT SO WE COULD BE UNITED WITH GOD. And when you die, you die; but the spirit returns to the God that gave it, and the body returns to the dust from whence it came.
Now, THE SPIRIT IN YOU can't think; it can't reason; it can't know. The brain sees through the eye and hears through the ears. It's the brain that sees and hears, through the eye or through the ear. It's the brain that thinks and reasons. But the brain alone couldn't think and reason and couldn't know without the spirit. The spirit EMPOWERS the brain to do that. Psychologists don't know that. They don't teach that in any university, or any college, because they don't know. They don't know what a man is.
One young woman comes to me and says, "Well, God just isn't real to me!" Well, He isn't real to most people. Why? The new book, Mystery of the Ages, the first chapter is about the mystery of God; and I hope I can begin to make God a little more real to people in that chapter. And, by the way, it will be published serially in The Plain Truth. Now most of you will have a copy of the book sooner than you'll get very much of it in The Plain Truth because it'll only come out a chapter, or a part of a chapter, at a time in The Plain Truth; and it'll be a year or more coming out. We hope to have the book all ready well before the Feast of Tabernacles, and I hope there'll be a copy for every member of the Church. And I want to ask you now to read from the beginning and read every word; and you will come to a comprehension, and an understanding, better than ever before.
You begin reading the Bible in Genesis one and verse one and you can't. "In the beginning God…" And right there you're stuck: Who and what is God? You don't know, and that doesn't explain it. You have to look to many other scriptures in the Bible to know who and what God is. You'll find a lot about God in Isaiah; you find a lot about Him in the Psalms; you find a lot about Him in Proverbs; you find a lot about God in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John; you find a lot about God in Ephesians. You have to go to many other scriptures to find out about God.
This book is trying to take the trunk and the main branches of the whole "tree of knowledge" that is the Bible, and put it together. But it's only a synopsis. It doesn't go into great detail. It doesn't cover the smaller limbs of the tree, or the little twigs and small branches. It's sort of a summary of the whole story of the Bible, making it so plain that, when you read the Bible, you will really understand it. And you must read the Bible along with it, and see how various parts of the Bible come clearly to your mind as they never did before.
I remember when I was a boy eleven years old, some boy had a favourite expression; and we all took it up. Someone would ask a foolish question; and he'd say, "Well, what's that got to do with the price of putty?" So I still use that expression. I sometimes ask, well, some nonsensical question. I say "Well, what's that to do with the price of putty anyhow?" And who cares about the price of putty?
So that chapter explains about the angels and their function, about who and what they are, and why they are. And why did God create them? And how a third of them went wrong. And did God create a devil? And how come there is a devil.
And the Church is merely the Kingdom of God in embryo. In other words, the Church will grow into the Kingdom of God. And that comes finally, that will be chapter seven: The mystery of the Kingdom of God.
And no one seems to know what the Kingdom of God is. Many of the preachers say, "The Kingdom of God is within you." The Roman Catholic Church says they are the Kingdom of God, the Roman Catholic Church. I remember, here about seventy years ago, they used to say the British Empire was the Kingdom of God. They don't say that anymore! There isn't any British Empire anymore.
And then what happens after the Millennium and after the Kingdom of God? That's all in the concluding chapter.
So it begins with God (Who began before time was), and it ends in eternity ahead (which will never, never end). It's the most comprehensive work that I believe has been produced since the Bible, and it is the Bible put in understandable language. Not the whole Bible, as I say, but a synopsis—enough to give you understanding. And still it's going to be well over four hundred pages, I believe. It'll be by far the largest book so far.
Well, I perhaps shouldn't have taken time for that. I better see what time it is, because I don't have an outline now. And I need to look at my watch; or, I don't know, I might talk here like Paul did till midnight one time! Now that I'm not using an outline of Scriptures, I could!
I said, down to the Law School at the University of Southern California, that: "The greatest Book on law in the world is probably one you don't even have in your library! But it's the greatest Book on law, and it talks about Law from the beginning to end. It's one of the largest books ever written; and it's the largest selling book in the world; and it's in more places than any other book. But probably you may not even have a single one in your library!" You know, they looked afterward and discovered they had. It was the Book. It's the Bible, of course. And they found they had one Bible in the library. That's all. And that's the biggest book on law, and yet they never look at that book in studying law.
Now, WHAT IS LAW? Law is merely the rules of human conduct, or the law of conduct. (It doesn't necessarily need to be human.) Our laws are the rules that regulate performance. Now, a transgression or violation of the law always brings a penalty. The rules of a basketball game could be called the law of the game. Now, there are all kinds of penalties. There are fouls that have to be made right along several times during the game, and there are various penalties.
The Law of God is the way we ought to live. It's the way God does live. IT'S THE WAY TO BE HAPPY. IT'S THE WAY TO DO AWAY WITH PAIN, WITH SORROW, WITH SUFFERING. IT'S THE WAY TO DO AWAY WITH FEARS AND WORRIES. IT'S THE WAY TO HAVE PERFECT PEACE, AND HAPPINESS, AND JOY. IT'S THE WAY THAT PRODUCES THAT; AND YOU VIOLATE IT, and it produces something else.
If Adam had taken of the Tree of Life, God would have REVEALED His Law in a more full manner. I think that God did reveal His Law to a certain extent to Adam, but I don't think He went into the full details. If He could have and if Adam had taken the Tree of Life, and then he would have had a direct contact with God. He would have been connected to God. He and God would have been joined together, in a sense. And God, and God's mind, would have been in him; and God could begin to put some of God's righteousness in him.
Now, Adam would have received the knowledge in his mind of WHAT to do. He would have received the POWER TO DO IT! If he had only taken of the Tree of Life, he would have had direct contact with God; and been made one with God; and begotten as a son of God. Now, just as a child is a begotten son of its parents, there is, in human life… A child begotten of human parents goes through a period of gestation, as we call it. And in the human family, that's a nine-month period. In some animals, it doesn't take that long before their young are born. That's a period of development and growth. And, if Adam had taken of the Tree of Life, he would have received all of this. He would have been a begotten son of God, and then he would have had to develop just as we do. But there was one difference: Adam had never yet committed sin. God told him this before Adam had been tempted by Satan, before Satan could get to him. Satan didn't get to Adam until after God had talked to him.
But Adam eventually would have sat on the throne that was occupied by Satan, and Satan would have been deposed; but he didn't do it. And so Christ had to come as the Second Adam, and do what the first Adam did not do. And Jesus Christ did have the Holy Spirit. He was born with it; and He kept the Holy Spirit; and He obeyed His Father. He said, "I have kept my Father's Commandments." And He said, "Of Myself I can do NOTHING." He was entirely DEPENDENT on His Father.
Now, if Adam had taken the Tree of Life, he would have been dependent on God for everything. He would have relied on God. If he'd got in trouble, he would rely on God to show him the way out, or deliver him—either show him what to do; or, if it wasn't anything he could do, God would have done it for him. But he said, "No, I will rely on myself." And humanity has been relying on humanity ever since! They don't rely on God. That's the trouble! If we're sick, we don't rely on God. JESUS WAS CUT TO PIECES AND BEATEN, as we saw night before last; but we don't rely on it. If we're sick, we rely on the doctors. Adam would have relied on God.
I've come to the place where I see that, of myself, I am absolutely helpless: I can't do anything. Jesus said it is the Father in Him that was doing the work. Anything I do, if it's any good, brethren, I'm not doing it: Christ in me is doing it. And some of the enemies that hate me and hate the Church had better understand that. And it is not me that they hate. It is Jesus Christ, and it is God the Father.
That's why I pray for them, and I hope they'll come to their senses and understand it. They could be devoting their talents to something better; and that would bring them more happiness, and joy too. And I'd like to help contribute to that happiness and joy. If they'd only turn the right way, that would make it possible.
Jesus said, "I will build my Church." The word "church" comes from the Greek word "eklesia," and it means "called out ones." In other words, "I will CALL OUT some people from this world that's been developed here to start another world—to start God's world." This is Satan's world. And He said, "I will start God's world." And, brethren, we are the begotten children of God in the stage of gestation, being developed where we will become God when we're born. And we'll be in the world of God. We will be kings, and we will be rulers; and we will sit with Christ on His Throne, right here on this Earth. And we will be given power over the nations.
I thought maybe I was an immortal soul (I'd been raised in one of the regular Protestant Churches), or if I had an immortal soul. I didn't know which. But I thought that when I died, if I was good, I'd go to heaven; if I was not, that I'd burn and burn forever in hell fire. But when I was challenged—before I learned about the holy days or anything, one of the… I was challenged on the point of GOD'S LAW and of GOD'S GOVERNMENT: THE WHOLE THING WAS GOVERNMENT! THE THING THAT SATAN TOOK AWAY WAS GOVERNMENT. THE THING THAT CHRIST IS COMING TO RESTORE IS GOVERNMENT. AND WHAT HE RAISED ME UP FOR WAS TO RESTORE GOVERNMENT IN HIS CHURCH. And the whole test, the challenge in the first place (after God had softened me by other things that'll be recorded in this book), was a point of government.
Romans 6:23 The wages of sin is death…
Now, I knew that wages meant the pay you get for what you've performed, what you've done; and that said that what you get for sin is death. I thought that what you got for sin was eternal life in hell fire. If you sinned, you'd burn and burn forever; but you'd never die. I didn't think you'd really die. And then "…the GIFT of God." Now this, this was a bigger surprise still:
Romans 6:23 …the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
That's the last half of the same verse. And I said, "Well, I already HAVE that gift! I'm an immortal soul! I've got eternal life. I'll never die. I'll either go to heaven or hell, but I won't die!" Then I began to look into the Bible, and I saw this golden text. John 3:16 they call the golden text of the Bible.
John 3:16 God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish.
And I began to see that a soul can die. I saw twice where it says, "The soul that sinneth, it shall die". [Ezekiel 18:4, 20] I saw, back in Genesis, where Adam was a soul. God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a soul. [Genesis 2:7] And to that soul God said, "You take of the tree I forbid you to take, and you will die. [Genesis 2:17] "You shall surely die." And he did die.
Well, now then, I saw it said that God loved us enough He gave Jesus so we wouldn't perish. And I thought then that die meant to PERISH, and that was terrible. That meant we'd be as though we'd never been. And then I began to see further in the Bible. And these things came gradually to me, before I could reveal them to you.
I Corinthians 15:22 As in Adam all die, so in Christ shall [the same] allbe made alive [by a resurrection from the dead].
I began to see that there would be a resurrection from the dead. And then I began to see that the final penalty is a second death, and not the first death at all! And I began to see the hope of the resurrection. And it was a long time before it dawned on me that God had closed off the Tree of Life in the days of Adam, and it's still closed off to the world. And it is opened ONLY TO THOSE THAT GOD HAS PREDESTINATED, AND GOD HAS CHOSEN, AND CALLED, and drawn to Him. If you have really come to Christ, it's because God selected you and predestinated you and has drawn you to Him. No man can come to Christ except the Father that sent Jesus draws him. [John 6:44]
The Law is one word—love. Now, it's subdivided into two divisions. One is love toward God, and the other is love toward neighbor: the two great commandments. [Matthew 22:37-39] Then that, in turn, is subdivided into the Ten Commandments. [Exodus 20:3-17] The first four of them are love toward God; the last six are love toward neighbor. But then that expands in principle to include EVERY possible sin.
The Law covers EVERYTHING. You don't have to find… I've mentioned so many times, when I was converted, I wanted to know about smoking: Is that a sin? And the Bible doesn't say anything about it. I didn't have to find a direct command "Thou shalt not smoke." There's a principle involved in the SPIRIT OF THE LAW. The Law is love toward God and toward neighbor.
Did I want to smoke because of my love toward God? Did that help me love God more? No. I read in the Bible where God loved the sweet-smelling savour of our prayers, but I don't think He loves second-hand cigar or cigarette smoke! And then neighbors: You know, once in a while you might find, out of a great big crowd, you might find one who might enjoy your cigarette smoke second hand. I don't know. But I know there are a lot of them that don't enjoy it. And I can't see how you are really ministering toward your neighbour and conferring love, showing your love toward your neighbor, by smoking!
Now, of course, you're to love your neighbour as yourself; and we love ourselves. Because our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit, part of loving ourselves is to take care of this body, because it's the temple of the Holy Spirit; and that's an obligation. I knew the purpose of lungs; and I knew that smoke would impede that purpose of elimination of toxins and poisons through the breath as the blood circulates and passes through the lungs and is oxidized by air. I could see then that smoking violated the SPIRIT and the PRINCIPLE of the Law of God.
Women can't see what's wrong with PAINTING THEIR FACES! Women won't admit it's vanity that makes them do it. They won't ADMIT IT'S BECAUSE THEY WANT TO BE LIKE THE WORLD, want to look like other people and will admit that! But "OH, NO! I DON'T WANT TO BE LIKE THE WORLD!" Oh, yes they do, or they wouldn't do it. I guess some women don't know their own minds. I don't think any woman's going to come to me, and just look me in the eye, and tell me she isn't doing it because of any vanity or because she doesn't want to just look the other women of the world. She's ashamed not to be like the other women of the world. That's why she puts it on her. Same principle exactly as why smoking is wrong: It violates the SPIRIT of the Law, and not very many can see that. You don't have to have a "Thus saith the Lord: you shall not do this." But there are plenty of scriptures about painting the face besides—when you understand them correctly, if you don't try to twist them around like some have done.
And I know that's been the thing that's come up here in the last four years in the Church, this thing. I don't think we've had much contention on the smoking issue, but we have on women painting their faces. It's a little thing, yes; but it's a GREAT BIG THING in principle. It's a BIG THING in principle. And there are MANY OF YOU WOMEN SITTING RIGHT HERE THAT ARE KEEPING PAINT OFF YOUR FACES JUST BECAUSE I SAID YOU HAVE TO, AND YOUR HEART ISN'T IN IT. AND YOU BETTER GET YOUR HEARTS RIGHT WITH GOD! YOU CALL ME "GOD'S APOSTLE." YOU'D BETTER LISTEN TO WHAT I SAY, and you'd better quit KIDDING YOURSELF, because time is short.
And we can't do it on our own. We have to rely on God. He will give us the help. Jesus is there at the right hand of God as our High Priest, interceding for us. RELY ON GOD. Seek His righteousness. Hunger and thirst for God's righteousness. Rely on God. Go to Him in prayer about these things, and continually; and spend more time in prayer. I think we're getting toward the Laodicean condition, and we need to check up. Now we're just starting all over again, one more year. This is the time for "new year" [Exodus 12:2] resolutions, only you'd better make them stick this time!
Well, I can't make an outline of a sermon. I can just come out here and talk. But I think I've talked to you long enough for today. We're on the way out of sin. Let's look forward to the glory that shall be revealed in us, brethren. It's a struggle. It's a struggle for me, the same as it is for you. We all have it. We're going to be accused falsely, by others. We all have Satan to contend with. But we have Jesus Christ as our High Priest. We have God as our Father. And we can rely on both Christ and God the Father. Be sure that you do.
HOLY DAYS REVEALEDThe night before last, we had a very solemn ceremony. We had to be reminded, once again, of how Jesus was beaten, whipped, bruised—as no man ever had been. And in Isaiah 53 you will read that He was beaten as no man had ever been. Or is that in the latter part of Isaiah 52? It's right in that passage. And then He was nailed to the cross and died the most shameful, agonizing death possible because you and I have sinned.
SARDIS ERA REJECTS HOLY DAYSI explained these days to the Church that we regard now as the Sardis Era of the Church, but was the Church of God, down in the Willamette area of Oregon. They laughed me to scorn. They would have nothing to do with the annual Sabbaths. They kept the weekly Sabbath, but they would go no further. In other words, they would do what they had been doing all their lives. They had been taught by their parents, I guess; but they would go no further. They would not GROW in grace or in knowledge.
HOLY DAYS PICTURE SPIRITUAL CREATIONAnd then in 1945… I think you never heard of the history of why we keep the Feast of Tabernacles; and why we keep all these days, and what they mean. In the public library in Eugene, Oregon (and I think it was one of the commentaries), I saw something. Someone could see that in some way these annual festivals of God pictured the SPIRITUAL creation of man. Now, God had started a creation in the human family. The first was the physical creation. That started with the first man, Adam. The spiritual creation was started with the second Adam. Jesus Christ is called the Second Adam. He called people out of the world that had built by the first Adam, influenced entirely by Satan. And I want to go into a little of that in just a few moments. But I want to continue with this history just a moment.
WE MUST GROW OUT OF SINToday [this first Day of Unleavened Bread]—what does it mean? It means the coming out of sin. And we have to renew it every year; because, brethren, you have NOT fully come out of sin. Not one of you! Neither have I. You read in First John in the first chapter (not the Gospel of John; but First John, near the end of your New Testament):
HUNGER AND THIRST FOR GOD'S RIGHTEOUSNESSIn the last year or more, I've been especially concerned about the passage of scripture that talks of hungering and thirsting for God's righteousness. I began to wonder: Did I really hunger and thirst for it? I knew I ought to want to have God's righteousness. And I had to really stop to think, and begin to pray about it, before I began to really. And I thought I had, but I hadn't really hungered and thirsted for it. I WANT God's righteousness! Now if you can understand, you will too.
IF ADAM HAD TAKEN OF THE TREE OF LIFESo that's where we have to get back to the beginning. I'm always going back to the beginning: the first man Adam. And we are his children. Now, once again, I go back there where I've gone dozens and dozens of times in the last few years now. Before Adam were those two symbolic trees among, perhaps, hundreds of other trees in that beautiful Garden of Eden. But two were special symbolic trees: the Tree of Life and also the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
Man Is NOT Totally PhysicalWe learn gradually. I hadn't learned it all at once, but gradually. Back here about four, five years ago I began talking to you about the Two Trees; and I began seeing. And I had seen prior to that time for some five or ten years—I had been seeing about "the spirit in man." Well, I thought the spirit of man is something in man; and I said then that it seemed to me, at that time, that the spirit is no part of man at all. It's something different. It's just something in - Man is WHOLLY flesh and blood, wholly physical. I said, at that time, "A man might swallow a marble, and the marble is in him; but it's not really part of him." Well, I don't know. As long as it's in him, I guess it is a part of him.
GOD'S SPIRIT JOINS WITH SPIRIT IN MANNow THE SOLE VALUE OF HUMAN LIFE IS THAT SPIRIT, because every bit of the rest of you is going to die. And everybody who ever lived has already died, except those that are alive today; and no one is as old as 150 years. There's no one alive that was alive 150 years ago, on the face of the Earth. No one. I think we've heard of someone right around 135, over somewhere in Europe (south of Russia somewhere), if they can count. But we don't live to be 930 years old, like Adam did, any longer. But that spirit is of EVERY possible importance because that makes possible a connection with God. GOD'S SPIRIT COMES INTO US AND IT JOINS WITH OUR HUMAN SPIRIT. THE TWO JOIN TOGETHER!
NEW BOOK: MYSTERY OF THE AGESI want to mention, just a moment in passing, about the new book that I am writing. It will fully explain all of these things. The mystery of man: What is man? Of course, first of all, we were created by a wonderful God. And nobody knows who and what God is, it seems—unless you can understand as God reveals Himself in His Word , and very few do. So the first great mystery of all is the mystery of God. Who and what is God, and what is He like? Why is God not real to people?
FIRST MYSTERY: WHO AND WHAT IS GOD?There's not much that is "new" in this book. The Bible is like a jigsaw puzzle—with many, many pieces. Perhaps a few thousand pieces here and there; and they have to be put together in exactly the proper way; and one relates to another; and then finally you have a beautiful picture and it all clears up. And this book is merely a synopsis of the Bible: putting it together so it can be understood.
SECOND MYSTERY: THE SPIRIT WORLDThe second great mystery that will be handled in this book is the mystery of the spirit world. The first thing God created was not human beings. The first thing He created was not the universe. He hadn't created the Earth yet. He hadn't created the sun, the moon. He hadn't created any of the stars or anything we see in the universe. The first thing He created was angels. Now, about a third of the angels sinned. But what about the other two-thirds of the angels? And what about the angels that sinned? And WHY? And HOW? And what has that got to do with us?
THIRD MYSTERY: MANThe third, then, is man. The third chapter is the MYSTERY OF MAN. Man is a mystery. He doesn't understand himself. That goes into the spirit in man. That goes into the two trees. That goes into the sin of Adam, and how the whole world was kidnapped and is being held captive.
FOURTH MYSTERY: SATAN'S WORLDThen the next chapter is the development of Satan's world. The mystery of the world. What about this world? Why is the world one that is producing awesome progress, just fantastic progress, the things we do today? The minute things we do in little instruments and machines. And the great vast things: sending men to the moon and back; transplanting hearts and other human organs; all of the machinery. And at the same time, men with brains that can do that kind of thing don't have enough brains to solve their own problems, get along with their wives and children, get along with their next door neighbors. Or men that employ others who do these things can't get along with their employees, or with competitors, or anybody else. The men that head nations are men of great minds, but they can't get on with other nations. They're always having wars. Why? That's a mystery. And how did this world develop?
FIFTH MYSTERY: THE NATION OF ISRAELAnd as the world developed, God intervened in the world and brought out one nation. Were they His favorite nation? Israel. WHY THE NATION OF ISRAEL? What have they got to do with the price of putty? God chose the nation. Did God discriminate against other nations? WHY the nation Israel and what do they have to do with the whole thing?
SIXTH MYSTERY: THE CHURCHThen the next is, in this world came Christ and built the Church: The mystery of the Church—and that's the biggest chapter of all! Why should there be a Church? Most people take "church" for granted. They don't know why there are churches. They say, "Well, there's a church down there on the corner." Well, there are all kind of churches around. Why? Is there any reason for them? Is there any purpose? That's a mystery, and people have never understood. We need to know why and how: Who, and what, and why, and how.
SEVENTH MYSTERY: THE KINGDOM OF GODWhen Christ came, He came with a message from God; and His message was the Kingdom of God.
THE LAW OF GODBut how did I come to these things? Well, let me go back and finish what I was saying. If Adam had taken of the Tree of Life, he would have received the Spirit of God. That would have given him the knowledge of how to live, God's Law. Now, we say that sin is the transgression of the law. Adam would have received knowledge then about sin. That's the thing we're interested in today: coming out of sin. Well, sin is the transgression of the law. Then what is the LAW?
HOLY SPIRIT REQUIRED TO FULFIL GOD'S LAWIt not only would have given him the LAW of God, the knowledge of WHAT to do and HOW to live, and what not to do; but, in order to do it, you have to have something to do it with. You can't fulfill the Law except with something, and that something is love. "Love is the fulfilling of the law." [Romans 13:10] But man was not created with the love that will fulfill the Law of God, because the Law of God requires the HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD to fulfill the Law: It is "the love of God…shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit" [Romans 5:5], and that is the only love that can fulfill the Law of God.
SELF-RELIANCE OR RELIANCE ON GODNow, Adam didn't have a natural tendency to hate God, or to be hostile to God. The natural mind of man today is hostile against God: Romans 8 verse 7. The mind is hostile against, and always is. They don't believe it, but they are. They're hostile against God, whether they believe it or not. They'll say, "Oh, I am not hostile to God." Oh, yes they are! And God knows they are. A lot of people are alcoholics; but they deny it and say, "I am not." But they are, and they need to admit it before they're ever going to get over it. And a lot of people need to admit their hostility to God and get it out of their hearts and minds.
CALLED OUT OF SATAN'S WORLDWell, Adam did take of the wrong tree; and we have all been born that way. And so, at that time was the foundation of this world. At that time it was decreed that Jesus, the Second Adam, would come. He would come as the Lamb of God, and He would be slain for us. He would pay the ransom price to ransom us back from Satan, who'd kidnapped us. He would be the Second Adam. He would do what the first Adam failed to do. And, through Him, God would call us out of the world that was developed from the first Adam and by, actually, by Satan through Adam's children. And this world was developed, and we were born into this world; and God has called us OUT of this world.
KEY ISSUE IS GOVERNMENTNow, I didn't understand any of that; and I was giving you a little history of how this all started. I was challenged; and, you know, I was wondering back. And I've written this in this book. I remember very distinctly. It was the summer of 1926. And I got to wondering about myself; and I asked, "Who am I?, and What am I?, and Why am I? How'd I come to be here? Is there any purpose in my living? And just what am I?"
REVEALED TRUTH: HOPE OF RESURRECTIONBut early in that study I ran across a scripture in Romans six and verse 23, the last two verses. Yes, the last two verses. Well, the last verse. It's the one verse in two parts.
SPIRIT AND PRINCIPLE OF THE LAWIt all began to come clear, and I began to see a little more about what sin is. It is transgression away from the Law of God. And God's Law is a perfect Law; and we keep the Law according to its SPIRIT—not the letter, but the spirit.
JUDGMENT NOW ON THE HOUSE OF GODBrethren, I won't compromise. If you want to compromise, go join one of these factions that have turned off from us that are LIBERAL. They'll be real liberal. They let you go if you want to go Satan's way instead of God's way, and PRETEND that you're in the Kingdom of God, PRETEND YOU'RE IN GOD'S CHURCH. If you want to KID YOURSELF, go do it until you die. But you're being JUDGED NOW. JUDGMENT IS ON THE HOUSE OF GOD. JUDGMENT IS ON US. JUDGMENT IS NOT ON THE PEOPLE IN CHINA AND THE PEOPLE IN INDIA AND THE PEOPLE IN RUSSIA. JUDGMENT IS NOT ON EVEN THE PROTESTANTS AND THE CATHOLICS YET. BUT JUDGMENT IS ON US; AND WE'RE BEING JUDGED, BRETHREN.
RELY ON GODSo we begin the seven days today of Unleavened Bread: coming out of sin. We still have to come out of more sin. There are many little things—oh, there're so many, I can't go into all the things. The many things you can say, just by hurting someone's feelings with something you say. The tongue is something no man can tame. The many, many sins: the temptations that we have. Now, we all have to fight these things, and it is a struggle. But finally there won't be a struggle, brethren, if we win out!