In an unprecedented move, in January 1979, the State of California placed the Worldwide Church of God into Receivership, attempting to replace the leadership and the board of directors. Placing any corporation, let alone a church, in Receivership is a drastic legal remedy. It amounts, in essence, to a governmental takeover. The Worldwide Church of God contended that such actions were in direct violation of the church's rights as stated by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. This first article in the Bill of Rights states, 'Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.' Therefore, church leaders, through their attorneys, have been fighting the state's interference in church matters through the courts and have resisted further governmental encroachments upon its constitutionally guaranteed liberties.
As a result, the church has been criticized for its actions by some who contend that a Christian organization is compelled by Christ and other biblical examples to obey all civil authorities.
Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong, the church's founder, addresses the crucial questions of whether Christ did submit to governmental authority when it came in conflict with the laws of God.
The World Tomorrow: The Worldwide Church of God Presents the World Tomorrow with Herbert W. Armstrong. Ladies and gentlemen, Herbert W. Armstrong.
You have written that, contrary to the conception that Christ always submitted meekly to civil authorities, He did resist the governmental powers of the day, didn't he? What form did that resistance take?
The time of Christ, Yes, it's, it's, it's a good thing that people should know this. At the time of Christ, the Roman Empire was pretty well ruling the whole world. And Judea and the city of Jerusalem were all, of course, under the Roman Empire government.
Now, the way the Roman Empire did the ruling, they had one or more garrisons of 100 soldiers each. And, I know of one that's mentioned in the New Testament, and they might have had another, I don't know. But, they had a king or governor there over that local section under the Caesar who was in Rome.
But outside of that, they made the Jews govern themselves. They were really smart. They saved all the expenses of government, but the Jews had to do it, and they had to collect the money to do it.
Now, the Sadducees and the Pharisees were the group they chose to do the governing, and they were governors, and to some extent, the Scribes went along with them in all of this.
Now, they thought that Jesus came proclaiming the future kingdom of God. That what Jesus meant, he was going to come as a subversive and overthrow Caesar right then and there and take over the government then. And when Jesus was only proclaiming something that was going to happen 1900 years and some later, and it's already been 1900 years. In John 10, verses 39 and 40 (John 10:39-40), 'Therefore, they', that is these Pharisees and Sadducees, and so on, 'sought again to take Jesus, but he escaped out of their hand and went away again beyond Jordan, into the place where John at first baptized, and there he abode'. In other words, when they came and tried to get him, he escaped from them.
Now, that's what I've done. I didn't run away. I was already here, but God must have known what was coming, and God saw to it that I was based right here in Tucson when this happened, and there was no way that the California courts could get to me. Oh, they've been outsmarted completely, but they don't realize that yet. They would like to get rid of it right now if they could drop it without losing face, but we're not going to let them drop it without losing face. And every day we're getting a little more; we're building up a case more and more, and we're gonna just jerk the cords some of these days, and they're gonna find they're trapped because they have started a wrong thing.
Now, there's another case here on another scripture. I'd like to read Matthew 23, how Jesus gave in to the government of man. The government of man, remember, was being conducted at all except the highest levels by the Pharisees and the scribes and the Sadducees. Jesus said in Matthew 23:15, 'Woe unto you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites,' again in verse 16, 'Woe unto you. Ye blind guides.' In verse 17, 'you fools and blind.' That is how Jesus talked to the government of that time. Verse 19, 'you fools and blind.' Verse 23, 'woe unto you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites.' And then again in verse 24, 'ye blind guides which strain at a gnat and swallow a camel,' 'woe unto you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites.' Then in verse 27, 'woe unto you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites for ye are like unto whited sepulchers, clean on the outside, rotten inside.' That's the way they were. Then in verse 29, 'woe unto you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites.' Verse 33, 'you serpents, you generation of vipers. How can you escape the damnation of hell?' That is the way Jesus Christ talked to the administrators at the lower levels comparable to wanting to come to us, in his day.
More of our program right after this announcement.
The Worldwide Church of God is an international ecclesiastical organization. Each week it conducts church services in nearly 600 cities in the United States, Canada, and around the world. The church operates Ambassador College in Pasadena, California, a four-year liberal arts institution. The World Church of God is the sponsoring body of the Ambassador International Cultural Foundation through which it supports a wide range of scientific, humanitarian, and cultural endeavors. Despite these activities, adverse publicity has recently characterized the Worldwide Church of God as a cult while the church does not actively solicit members. It is concerned that its international reputation be maintained. This booklet is a clear statement of the church's history and purposes. If you'd like a free copy of, This Is the Worldwide Church of God, call this toll-free number: 800-423-4444, 800-423-4444.
Mr. Armstrong, you just explained that Christ obeyed God rather than man. Were the apostles confronted with the same situation?
Peter and John have been thrown in prison after healing a cripple and preaching a sermon in which about 2,000 were converted. And they were thrown into prison overnight, and the next morning they were threatened very severely. 'Don't you ever dare preach this name of Christ again?' Now, they were a little shaken up. I think anybody would be. And there were the government authorities; they went to their own people, and they prayed, and God answered by shaking the very house like an earthquake where they were but not the surrounding houses.
That's the distinction of being subject to civil authority and whether they obey it or not.
So far as being subject to the civil authority they are referring. And some of our, one of our ex-ministers has made a great point of that. As you're reading in the 13th chapter of Romans, notice it says (Romans 13:1). 'Let every soul be subject under the higher powers.'
Now, remember what I said, that God told man to go form your own governments, and they're formed under Satan. And that's the kind of governments we have. And yet God says here to be subject to those powers. And yet he says that we're not fighting against human beings, we're fighting against wicked spirits in high places that are invisible, and people don't see them and don't know they exist.
Now, 'let every one of you be subject to the higher powers'. That is speaking to those of us as far as our individual lives are concerned, that is not a message to the church as a body. There is no power but of God. You see, God gave that power when he set Lucifer on the throne, and God has not removed it as yet. He's still allowing Satan there whose name has been changed from Lucifer to Satan. There's no power but of God. The powers that be were ordained of God; whoever therefore resisted the power resisted the ordinance of God and so on. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Now that is true in most things. Satan is wily, and he is very clever, and he poses as an angel of light.
Now, he takes, for example, he takes two of God's great 10 Commandment laws against murder and against stealing. And you'll find that almost every law of man has a law against stealing or against murder. Well, Satan could not keep a society going any other way, but Satan is trying to make this his society and not God's society, and he's fighting God.
Now, I'm speaking about a different level altogether than an individual just living in his own life. I'm speaking about attacking a church. God's church is organized; it is not an organization. God's church is a spiritual organism. Let me repeat that: God's church is a spiritual organism rather than an organization, but it is organized, and the government of God does rule it. And this thing that was brought by the State of California was brought without any accusation. We were not charged with any crime. It was brought to take over a complete government of another kind of government, the government of God.
Well, now, you recently wrote a quote, 'In the history of mankind on earth, we have come down to the final question: Who is Lord?' What way is that the focal point of human history?
So far as the world is concerned, remember I said a while back, the world is cut off from God completely. Jesus said in John 6:44, 'No man can come to me except the Father which sent me draw him' (John 6:44). And I quote, I don't turn to it. That's word for word. And now in other places, Jesus said there is no other way to get to the Father to God except by Christ, and anyone that tries to climb up some other way, he said is a thief and a robber. And yet he said that no man can come to him unless the Father draws him. Do you know that the Father, God the Father, has only drawn a very few from the time of Adam until now that he set as a time of 6,000 years to keep hands off this world and said to man, go form your own governments, form your own religions, create your own kind of gods made out of wood, marble, or steel or whatever, and your own kind of knowledge and dissemination of knowledge. But God is going to send Jesus Christ back to this earth, and God's government is going to take over all the governments of this world in our lifetime very, very soon now.
I can't set dates, and I don't know whether it's three or four years or 30 or 40, but I don't think it's any 30 or 40. There is a great, for example, a great tribulation to last 3 1/2 years that definitely has not come yet. And so many things that have to be done, we can't set a date, but we are very, very close to that time.
There will be a union of nations in Europe all under the Roman Catholic church. It will be a union of church and state. It will be a sort of resurrection of the medieval Holy Roman Empire that has to happen first. And the United States has a lot of things coming to it that it doesn't realize now. And I guess I better not get into that right on this time at this program. But we are going to have to pay very bitterly for a lot of things in this country.
Maybe that's the beginning of the tribulation?
Yes, but that time is coming. We're in the very, very last days. I know that, and that's why this gospel must go out now. It hasn't been going out since about 58, 60 A.D. The gospel has not been going out to the world. Instead, the men preach man's gospel about the person of Christ.
There is one denomination respected in the world that has a program preaching Christ to the nations, and they do, in other nations beside the United States and on radio and television. And there are many such efforts at getting out the gospel, but it's man's gospel about Christ. They don't know what the real gospel is. The real gospel is the message Christ brought, which is, the message he brought is in Mark 1:1, and 1:14, and 15, which the beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ. 'And he came preaching the gospel of the Kingdom of God.' The Kingdom of God is the family of God, begotten and born of God, which also becomes the government of God and rules the whole universe.
More of our program right after this announcement.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof or abridging the freedom of speech. More and more Americans are recognizing how actively they must guard the liberties guaranteed them by the Bill of Rights. In January 1979, the state of California brought a landmark lawsuit against the Worldwide Church of God attempting to replace the church's leadership. The suit claims that the church is a ward of the state. Church funds and assets are called public property because of the importance of the First Amendment issues involved. The Worldwide Church of God invites you to examine this packet of information. Call this toll-free number: 800-423-4444. That's 800-423-4444.
As an aspect of Christ's message, you've talked about the family of God. Could you elaborate more about it? How one can become a member of God's family?
Everything that God creates is done in a system of duality of one and a two. Not never just all at one fell swoop. For example, there was the first man, Adam. Christ is often called the second Adam. The first man was entirely physical, but the spiritual creation of man begins with a second Adam or Christ. The spiritual creation of man does not begin with the first Adam. And it's too bad that most people don't realize these things, but they just don't. And so, here was this archangel, and he was over the other angels that sinned. Now it says here in verse 14, 28, chapter of Ezekiel (Ezekiel 28:14), 'Thou art the anointed Carib that covered,' speaking to this Lucifer, this great archangel that God had created, 'and I have set thee so thou wast upon the holy mountain of God,' and so on. 'Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created till iniquity was found in thee.
Now, this archangel was a rebel, and he rebelled against the government of God. I said God creates in a, in a system of duality. Now, first, he created the angels, but their creation is not complete until character is formed in them. Now, character is something that even God cannot himself create all by himself by fiat. He can't do it. Character, if you're going to have character, is something that requires your own decision. Like Billy Graham is always asking people to make their decision for Christ. Well, it does take a decision. All right, and perhaps a little more than a lot of people don't understand. But, nevertheless, this archangel got a little jealous. He had been, if I read a little farther here, he had been one of the angels right over the very throne of God whose wings covered over the very throne of God. Now he turned in rebellion. He turned against the government of God. The government of God is based on this law of God, which I say is love, but it's outgoing concern and loving God and loving your neighbor as yourself and not lust. So, the character of this Lucifer and the angels who were with him was not completed until they had made the determination one way or the other, which required their own decision of character.
Now, character is the ability within one, which is some being that is a separate entity all by itself, having mind power and having the ability to think and reason and to form decisions and conclusions. And holy and righteous character is one who will see the holy and righteous way of God, and even though he might for some reason think he wanted to go the other way, would restrain himself and use the willpower to go the way that he sees is the righteous and the holy way of God. And thus, we form our own character. We are not born with character. Every baby which is born is born, neither having any bad character or good character. There's no evil in that little baby. People talk about how sweet a little baby is, and they are, they're just as sweet as people think they are. And some of them say, 'Yeah, but look at the terrible nature that's in that little sweet thing.' No, there's no human nature in a baby when he's born. A lot of people don't understand that, but human nature is what Satan, who is so powerful that he has influence over the whole world, is injecting into people as early in life as little babies or children begin to think and to receive knowledge. And so, long before they reach the teens, the average child has what we call human nature. In other words, he has selfishness, and he has a desire for self and anger and against others. And he says, 'I'm mad at you, so there,' and all that sort of thing that kids will say.
And so, we're forming character as we go along, and that is part of God's purpose. And most people don't understand that the great purpose of God, after all, is to form holy and righteous character. Now, very few people understand it, and very few know. But in the human being, as the first baby is born, is a spirit, a spirit that works with the human brain and which imparts the power of intellect to the human brain. Now, without that spirit, the brain would not be able to think in the way that we do. The example is our brains are exactly like animal brains. Now, chimps, chimpanzees, have brains just a little smaller than the human brain. But elephants and, I want to say porpoises, and, well, I could use the word porpoise, but I'd rather say dolphins and whales have larger brains than the human brain, but they're just as good and they're exactly like the human brain. Scientists have taken them apart, have looked at them, and then qualitatively they are just as good, but they don't think like we do, they don't make decisions like we do, they don't have the output, the brain or the mental output that we do. And you know why the main reason is there is a spirit in man which imparts that power of intellect to the brain that is not in the animal.
Now, that was a great thing to learn that, to me that was interesting. A lot of people say, "Well, I won't waste my time on that. I might watch a prizefight on television or something that would be more important." Well, a lot of people need to find out what is important and what is not.
Anyway I found this, that God is reproducing Himself. So, He gave us this spirit that we could think and reason. But that spirit itself does not see; the brain sees through the eye. The spirit doesn't hear anything. It's the brain that hears through the ear. It is the brain that smells through the nose and tastes through the mouth and feels through the nervous system, mostly of the hands and fingers. And consequently, man knows only what he can see or hear, smell, taste, or feel.
Now, you cannot see or hear, taste, smell, or feel spirit. That's something you cannot; spirit is not visible, it is invisible to the human eye. And consequently, the animals see the same thing we do, but they can't think about it. They can't reason about it like we do. I'm not sure that I know just how it works. Animals have what we call a certain amount of intelligence, but that does not even remotely approach the intelligence and the brain output of the human being.
Now, in man, God has created man for the purpose of, listen and get this, reproducing Himself. You know, it took me a long time to come to believe that. For years I saw it so plainly here and there and many, many places in the Bible, especially in the New Testament, that God is reproducing Himself, that man can, in his potentiality, ultimately become very God, as much as God is God, only we will be sons of God, and He will always be superior in authority. And Christ will always be second in authority and superior to the rest of us. But otherwise, we'll be as much God as either the God, the Father, or Christ, the Son.
Now, very few people understand that or realize it. I couldn't believe that for years. I saw it. I saw the Bible sentiment. I said, "Well, wouldn't that be blasphemy to believe that? Can I let myself believe it?" And finally, I saw, I had to believe it. It's there. That's what God says that's God's purpose.
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