The Key To Understanding
Telecast Date: December 21, 1978
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   It's incredible that all of these religions now listen, because this is one of the most incredible things you ever heard come out of the mouth of a human being. No man ever talked like this! All of the religions in this world... What is religion? It is the relation of man to his God or creator, and there is no religion except the one true church that knows who and what God is!

The World Tomorrow the Worldwide Church of God presents the World Tomorrow with Herbert W Armstrong... ladies and gentlemen Herbert W Armstrong.
   Now in the present series of programs, I have been asking: "Where are we to find the one true religion? And how can you be sure?" How can you know? How can you prove it? I mentioned on another program of how I was challenged 51 years ago. It was a dual challenge, and it was a very upsetting challenge; both of them were. It drove me into a very intensive study. I mentioned before how my wife had taken up the seventh-day Sabbath. Now to me, that was the absolute acme of religious fanaticism.
   And the first thing I thought, just because I'd been successful in business, and the first thing that I thought was, "What will all of my business associates and my business contacts and my friends say?" I thought if they found my wife had gone into religious fanaticism, that would just be a terrible thing. And I think that when anyone hears of God's truth, that's about the first thing they think of "What will all my friends say?" because usually you'll find you have to give that all up if you're going to come to the real truth.
   Then, I was challenged on this theory, doctrine, whatever you want to call it, of evolution. Now, evolution has been accepted in all of the so-called academic and the intellectual circles, as if it were true, and indeed, they believe it's true. Well, I devoted a very intensive study. It was like I was fighting for my very life, and indeed I really was, but I didn't realize it then. I was fighting to hold my marriage, because I didn't believe in divorce. As a matter of fact, in my family, there had been no divorce and remarriage anywhere within the family, of my in-laws, or cousins, aunts, uncles, anywhere that I can think of. There had never been such a thing.
   And of course, I was pretty well going along with what I'd been taught ever since childhood. Anyway, it took me six months before I came to the answer. Now, as I went into evolution, my head began to swim. I found they had some convincing arguments, but later I found that's precisely what they were arguments. And I began to doubt whether there is a God, and I began to realize I never had proved whether God exists. I'd been taught it ever since I was a child, or a baby, as far back as I could remember.
   I'd been brought up in church, in Sunday school, till I was 18, then I dropped out and lost all interest. And to me, you know, I just took for granted there was a God, and now I began to wonder. I said, "Well, I have never really proved it. How can I be sure that there is a God?" I decided I had to know. Now, I had delved into the writings of course of Darwin, and Spencer, and Huxley, and Haeckels, and Lyell, and Vogt, and Chamberlain, and all the other great authorities on evolution. And as I say, they had arguments.

The Sabbath Question

   Well, I had arguments about the Sabbath question, but they didn't seem to faze my wife, not a bit. She said she found what she had, in the Bible. Well, I said, "The Bible says: Thou shalt observe Sunday." And she says, "Well, how do you know? Did you ever see it there?" I said, "Well, no." I said, "I don't know much about the Bible." You know, I lost all religious interest when I was 18.
   And I remember that in Sunday school, our class I was in a boys' class, and we started from little boys and we all grew up until we were all around the age of 17, 18, 19 together. And we had just, for years, gone through the book of Proverbs. We'd go through it, and we'd start all over again. And we never did go into the regular so-called quarterly lessons, such as the Sunday school quarterlies contained. And, but I had always taken it for granted there is a God.
   Do you know what came to me? Why do people believe what they believe? Nearly everybody believes, and in fact most of you people, you believe just what you've always heard. You believe what you have read, repeatedly and consistently. Now, another thing, people believe what their peers believe, that is, the people around them. Children believe what other kids their own age believe. You parents think they believe what you have. Don't kid yourself. They believe what the other kids believe, and you'd better be aware of that, and counteract it if you want to see your children brought up in the way that they should be.
   Now of course there is another reason. People believe what they want to believe. Or, let's reverse it and say they refuse to believe what they don't want to believe. Now most people are like that, and they're like the old saying that a man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still. And that is very, very true, and that's according to human nature. Well, my mind had to be washed clean of everything I had believed, because my foundations were just simply falling apart from underneath me until I had nothing to stand on. If I couldn't believe in God, what could I believe?
   But just to make a long story short, that was a very intensive study, and I proved, because I delved into other works of science. And there was one scientist, it was a Dr. Moore. He believed in evolution, that is, he went along with it, but he found plenty of discrepancies and he had plenty of arguments against it. And he was very, very convincing. And yet, because it was the popular thing, I think Dr. Moore just went along with all of the others of that time. Now this is all 51 years ago.

Prove The Existence of God

   And, but again, as I say, to make a long story short, I not only proved the existence of God, I completely disproved the theory, or the hypothesis, of evolution. I found not only that God does exist; the next question was... Well, you see, in order to answer my wife's question, I had to start in the book of Genesis. That's where you start with the Sabbath. And evolution also starts with Genesis and creation.
   You see, evolution is the atheists' explanation of the presence of a creation without the pre-existence of a creator. How did the creation come? And the atheist is left in a vacuum. He had to get some answers, so they figured out this doctrine of evolution. And it's their attempt to explain it. Now there have been thousands of young men, in growing into maturity and all through their lives, in the realms of higher education, that have devoted their lives to that kind of study.
   So it's a very complex thing, and they have about 10,101,000 different arguments. I never stopped to count them. Anyway, it took me six months before I had the answer to that. Now my study didn't stop then, but I had proved the existence of God. Now, since I'd had to begin in Genesis anyway, I had decided, you see, before, that I was going to study into all of these religions.
   Now I knew that the other religions that I mentioned awhile ago, the Eastern religions of Asia and of Africa, and other nations, I knew they all had their sacred writings. And I decided I would go into that, as well as the Bible, which were the writings of the so-called supposedly Christian religion. At least, that's what I thought at the time. I really.... Well, I'll come to that a little later. I found out a little bit differently as I went along.
   However, they have adopted the Bible, and they just say, "Here." The Christian religion is attempting to read what they believe into the Bible. They did not get their religion out of the Bible. Now that ought to knock you over, and it did me. It really did. That was one of the most shocking things I ever found in my life.

[Commercial break: The Plain Truth Magazine]

   I proved the Bible is the inspired of that God whom I had proved was the creator of all that is. Now I had a solid foundation under me, but I had to eat a lot of crow. You know, I had to come to find out that the Bible didn't say, "Thou shalt observe Sunday." My wife had said, "Have you ever seen it?" And I said awhile ago that, no, I didn't know anything about the Bible. "Well," she said, "you show it to me, and I'll go back to Sunday." So I really fished for it all over.
   But I never studied the Bible before, but I soon found there are a lot of things to help you study the Bible. Like a concordance it'll give you every word in the Bible, and where you can find it. All you have to do is have a word, and you can find where it is in the Bible through this concordance. So I began to check up a lot of these things. I found this about "the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life." (Rom.6:23)

The Soul That Sinneth Shall Die

   "Now," I said, "I don't need a gift because I'm an immortal soul, or I have an immortal soul." So I began to look up the word "soul" in the concordance. And I found two places where the word is used, where it just says, in the same words: "the soul that sinneth, it shall die." (Ezek.18:4, 18:20) A soul will die. Then I found that God had said to Adam that if he took the forbidden fruit, he would die. Now he didn't say, "Your body will die, but you'll go off to heaven or something like that." He just said, "You will die," the conscious man. (Gen.2:17)
   And so, as I say, my head really was swimming for a while, but I finally found that what the churches were saying is just the exact identical opposite, in most important cases of what the Bible says. Now that is a shocker. That ought to knock anyone off the so-called "Christmas tree." But then, I had to find how wrong I had been. And as I say, my mind was swept clean. I had taken a beating. I had been conquered.
   You know, I think that most people who call themselves Christians and profess Christianity, you know how I think they came into it? I don't think they came into it the way I did. I don't think they found they had to take a beating and to eat crow, so to speak, and to admit how wrong they were. I think they have seen, perhaps they've heard me preach, they've heard our message, they've read our literature, and they say, "Well, now that makes sense," and indeed it does. It does make sense.
   And they say, "Well, now that sounds right to me. And so, I'm so good, and in my goodness, I'm going to accept that, because it's right, because it's good." I think most people have never come to really repent. I think most people would even claim Christianity. And let me tell you, all of you listening to me: you had better examine yourselves and see how did you come to believe what you believe? I began to realize that I had just assumed what I believed, and now I had to prove it. And when I proved it, I found what I didn't want to believe. And I came to believe what was proved, whether I wanted it or whether I didn't want it.
   You tell me, any founder of a religion, or any leader of a worldwide religion who ever came to his belief like that? Go ahead and tell me, write me, tell me. I'd like to know, because I never heard of one. That isn't the way most people come to what they believe at all. They don't prove it, and prove it even against their own wishes and their own desires. But my mind became into a condition where it was swept clean, and where I saw the Bible was the word of the creator God, that it is absolutely infallible, and that I could rely on what it says.

The Wages of Sin Is Death

   Now I had a solid foundation under me, and from now on I just had to study what does it say. Now I hear a lot of discussion these days about being liberal or conservative. I wrote a man who was concerned about that question just the other day, and I said, "Well, I'll tell you. I don't claim to be liberal or conservative. I just believe what the Bible says." Jesus Christ is the living word of God. The Bible is the written word of God, and it is Jesus Christ and his word in writing. And I believe in what it says. If it says the wages of sin is death, I believe it's death and not eternal life in hellfire.
   Now I just came to believe these things, because I'd proved it! I'd proved the existence of God. I had proved the authenticity and the authority of the Bible. Well, as I say, I think that's a pretty rare experience. You might check it with your own. Now the question came: "Why are humans on Earth?" How did the human race come to be here? If there is a God, did he put us here or did we just happen? The evolutionists say we just happened, but there was no one that put us here, there isn't any God.
   Well, I found that there is a God, and that God did put us here, and I found there is a reason. But have you ever heard that reason? You know why? What is the purpose of life? Where are we going, and what is the way? And what are the true values, and why is all humanity so busy chasing the false values? And why are we having all of the troubles we're having in this world?
   What is the cause, and what would be the solution? Do you know that's something that science can't answer? Do you know that that's something that no religion has ever revealed to you? Do you know that that's something they can't teach you in any university in the world? And do you know why? Because they are ignorant they don't know. Now that's quite a challenge, but I throw out that challenge, and I dare you to try to prove I'm wrong or false in that.
   Now the question is, then, that I came to want to know, and I want to give you now some proofs. I started to give you seven different proofs on what is the one true church, because I read where Christ said that the gates of the grave would never prevail against his church (Matt.16:18). It must be around somewhere. And yet I had found that the churches, as far as I knew, were reading their beliefs into the Bible and not getting their religion and their beliefs out of the Bible.

What Is Religion?

   So where is the one true church? But first, I wanted to know: "What is the one true religion?" Well, It's incredible that all of these religions now listen, because this is one of the most incredible things you ever heard come out of the mouth of a human being. No man ever talked like this! All of the religions in this world... What is religion? It is the relation of man to his God or creator, and there is no religion except the one true church that knows who and what God is!

[Commercial break: Just What Do You Mean... Born Again?]

   I think there could be nothing more jolting than to think that of all of the world's religions, when religion is the worship of God, or the supernatural, that there is no religion that knows, as such, who or what is God. And even in Christianity, there's only one church, and that's the original true church, that Jesus Christ himself raised up in 31 A.D.
   Now the intellectuals of Athens, way back in ancient Greece, and you know, the real intellectuals in the world in those days were in Greece, and especially in Athens. And a group would always meet up on Mars Hill. I haven't been up there, but I've been just across the Areopagus and other places. Anyway, I've been all around and seen it many, many times. And the apostle Paul happened to be over in Athens, and there were people there, and I'd like to read you his experience. Here were people that had their religion. These were the intellectuals. They were the scholarly people of their time.
   And we'll begin here in the 18th verse. (Acts 17:18) "Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans and of the Stoics encountered Paul. And some said, What will this babbler say? And some said, Well, he seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods: because he preached forth unto them Jesus and the resurrection. And they took him, and they brought him unto Areopagus, saying, May we know what is this new doctrine whereof thou speakest? For thou bringest certain strange things to our ears: and we would know therefore these things mean."
   Of course, they were probably sneering. They were sarcastic. They weren't going to believe a word, no matter what he said, one way or the other, anyway. "For the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing. Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars' Hill, and he said, You men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are too superstitious." Superstitious. They were ignorant, and yet they were the intellectuals.

To The Unknown God

   "For I perceive, I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with the inscription, To The Unknown God." They did not know who God is. "...Whom therefore you ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is the Lord of heaven and Earth, dwelleth not in temples men made with hands" out of physical buildings of stone or brick or wood or clay or whatever, "neither is worshipped with men's hands as though he had need of anything, seeing he giveth to all life and breath and all things." He's the source of life, the source of breath. That's where your breath comes from.
   "And hath made of one blood all the nations of men, for to dwell on the face of the Earth. And hath determined the times before appointed and the bounds unto their habitations," and so on. Paul was not taken back. They tried to make fun of him. They tried to ridicule him, but he just said, "I perceive you are so ignorant." And let me tell you, the men who are the most highly educated and the most intellectual men in the world today, are actually the most ignorant.
   This doctrine of evolution it is their foundation. It is their approach, it is their starting point. They view everything through it as the eyeglasses through which they see everything. And they're bound to get it all out of focus, looking through a false eyeglass like that. Well, in my initial six-month study of evolution and the Bible, my mind had been opened. And I did not know, I had not proved, but I looked into this as Paul said. Here's what I found. Paul said pretty well who God is, this verse is 24-26 (Acts 17:24-26), that I just read. Let me read it again.
   "God, that made the world, and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and Earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands, neither is worshipped with men's hands as though he had need of anything, seeing he gives to all life and breath and all things, and has made of one blood all the people and the nations on Earth." Now I learned, not only that God is creator, but God is the revealer of basic knowledge.
   And I tell you why the greatest intellects are the most ignorant, is because they don't believe God! And it's because they have the one spirit that imparts the power of intellect to a physical human brain, which no animal has, so they have very great minds and mindpower, but they are limited and they are confined to the physical and the material only what they can see or hear, smell, taste, feel, or touch. And you can't see spirit, and you can't hear spirit, and you can't touch it or feel it, smell it or taste it.
   So the result is, how are you going to know anything about spirit? Normally, naturally, you simply cannot. There is another spirit, and God intended that we should receive that other spirit the Holy Spirit of God. That's the very spirit that comes from God and will beget us with God life, a new kind of life. And in this life now, as long as we're in flesh and blood, we can only be begotten children of God, never born. By the way, a lot of people wonder what it is to be born again, and almost nobody understands that.
   You know, sometimes I just wonder if anybody understands anything. People believe so many things that are absolutely not true, it's ridiculous! What Do You Mean... Born Again? Write in for a special booklet What Do You Mean... Born Again? God reveals what it means to be born again, and I would like to have you get that little booklet. There's no charge whatever. I'll send it to you free. So I leave that with you, until next time. This is Herbert W. Armstrong saying goodbye, friends.

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Telecast Date: December 21, 1978
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