MAN'S INSOLUBLE PROBLEMS

Herbert W. Armstrong

There seems to be no solution in sight today to the frightening world troubles with nuclear World War III threatening to blast all human life off this planet. But there is a solution and it's already underway, but the world doesn't seem to know it, or to understand it. 


Now the United States and the Soviet Union are not going to get together and solve it; the United Nations isn't solving anything; modern science is not going to solve it. They've only built the weapons of mass destruction that can erase all human life from the face of this earth, can destroy all human life. 
   Now there are some religious broadcasters who seem to think that just accepting Jesus Christ, just believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and that's going to solve all of our problems. But I want you to notice what Jesus Christ Himself said and it's in Mark the seventh chapter beginning with verse seven, He said: 
   "Howbeit in vain do they worship me [not only accepting Him, not only believing on Him, but worshipping Him], teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." (Mark 7:7
   If they don't live the way He said to live, and if they teach a different way of living, if they just teach about Christ. Unless you turn from the way you've been living it isn't going to help. And then He said: 
   "For [leaving] aside the commandment of God..." (Mark 7:8
   And they say that the commandments of God are done away, that Christ came and did away with His Father's commandments. But Jesus said He had kept His Father's commandments. He said; "Think not that I am come to destroy the law..." (Matthew 5:17), and yet they say He did. 
   "For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men [the things that men say, but not the law of God, which they say is done away]... And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may [hold to] your...tradition." (Mark 7:8-9
   So, we have what we call, 'traditional Christianity.' And I want to tell you, that while it is necessary to believe on Jesus Christ, and He is the solution; but just believing on Christ, just accepting Christ alone isn't going to do it. It's going to mean that you have to change your life, and that's what He said, and that's what He came to teach. That's what He came to have us understand. Now in Matthew seven and verse 21 He said: 
   "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord [then accepts Christ, that believes on Christ; not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, that just professes Christ, just says; 'I accept and I receive Christ'], shall enter into the kingdom of [God]; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven." (Matthew 7:21
   He that does; "...not [just] the hearers of the law...[shall be just, as we read in Romans again], but the doers of the law shall be [saved]." (Romans 2:13)

The Cause of Troubles and the Cause of Peace

   The troubles in the world have come from the way we have been living. We have been living the wrong way and that has brought all of our troubles on us; there has to be a cause for every effect. And if the world is in trouble today, if the world is unhappy today, if people are discontented all over the world, if half of the world is poverty stricken, living in filth and squalor, if half of the world is illiterate and can't even read or write, and that is true; then there is a cause. And it is the way people have been living, and it is because they have ignored the way of God. 
   Jesus came into Galilee preaching the Gospel; and there is the beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ as I've read so many times on this program, in Mark the first chapter beginning with the first verse. 
   And He... "came into Galilee, preaching the gospel [what Gospel? the Gospel] of the kingdom of God [that's the Government of God, to govern the way we live, to govern our lives], And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand..." (Mark 1:14-15
   The time was fulfilled, because He had just conquered Satan who has been ruling the world. And the Kingdom of God was at hand, because He had come to build the Church which was simply the Kingdom of God in embryo. But not the literal Kingdom of God as yet; just the beginning of it. So, then He said: 
   "...repent ye, [repent] and believe the gospel." (Mark 1:15
   Believe this Government of God, and the Way of life of God. It is all a matter of the way we have been living. So, the cause is the way we've lived, the cause is what we have done. We've been transgressing God's Way of life. 
   And yet the Bible shows that we are going to have peace. Let me give you now the good news, it's in Isaiah in the second chapter, and it's also quoted in Micah, one of the prophets, just word for word. This is the second chapter of Isaiah beginning with verse two: 
   "And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains..." (Isaiah 2:2
   Here 'mountains' is simply a symbol for nations. In other words; the Kingdom of God, God's nation, the Kingdom of God. That's what Jesus Christ came to preach, that's what He came to teach us, about the Kingdom of God. A kingdom of people which are ruled by God, and God's Way of life. And you don't hear that kind of preaching today, except on this program, if I may say so. And that nation will be: 
   "...established on the top of the mountains [or the nations, mountains is used here as a symbol], and shall be exalted above the hills [that's the smaller nations]; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain [or the Kingdom] of the Lord [and], to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways [the way we live, of God's ways of living according to the law of God], and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem." (Isaiah 2:2-3
   And you read in Isaiah, the eleventh chapter, that the earth will be as full of the Word of God and the Way of God, the Way of living of God, as the ocean beds are full of water. That's how it will be in the time just ahead of us when we're going to have world peace. Now listen to this: 
   "...for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among [many] nations [that's when the Kingdom of God is set up on earth], and shall rebuke many [nations]: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more." (Isaiah 2:3-4
   We're going to have world peace! And the time is now near; because this is the generation in which Jesus Christ is coming to rule. Now Christ is the solution yes, but He's coming as a Ruler and as Government. But Jesus Christ came to start it, and it started on the way by His Church. Now Jesus came into a world ruled as the world is going today; man going his own way, and going the wrong way and the way that is causing all of the troubles; everything that we're seeing today.

Christ's Church

   But, when Jesus came He said; "...I will build my church..." (Matthew 16:18). He said He would build His Church. But He didn't build the Church with calling hundreds of thousands and millions of people immediately. Jesus came into a world such as we are living in now only it had not grown as big as it is now, there weren't as many people. The evils weren't as great as the evils are today, evils have multiplied, people have multiplied. It is just bigger in every way, but it is just that much more evil than it was then. 
   The word 'church' means; 'called out ones', the word 'church' means 'called out ones'. And so, you will read in Matthew four and beginning with verse 18. {1} Jesus didn't call thousands of people all at once but you will read how Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee. I've walked by the shores of this same sea many a time - it has to be the same spot, there's only one spot where this could be. And He "...saw two brethren [brothers], Simon [who was] called Peter..." (Matthew 4:18
   That is, he was surnamed Peter, and 'surname' is a title. It's the title of leader, he was the leader of the apostles. To be an apostle but he wasn't an apostle at the beginning; he was a student or a learner. Or, as the Bible calls it a disciple, which means a student, or one who is learning. So anyway Simon was surnamed Peter: 
   "...and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers." (Matthew 4:18
   They were fishermen. Now, they didn't want to be preachers, they didn't want to be apostles; they wanted to be fishermen. And Jesus was not asking now for volunteers, He was calling. And so, He said, He called out to them and He said: 
   "...Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him. And going on from [there], he saw other two brethren [two other brothers], James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, [and they were fishing there with their father in another boat]. And they immediately left their ships and their father, and [they] followed him. And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in [the] synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom..." (Matthew 4:19-23
   And you'll read in many other places how they were astonished at His teaching, at His doctrine, at the things He said; because He was teaching that they ought to live a different way. They were living the way that was causing all of the troubles in the world. And, He was calling them out of the world. The Church is merely the 'called out ones'. 
   Now Jesus didn't begin by calling everybody, and asking for volunteers and saying; "If you just accept me you'll go to heaven." But He called disciples, and He began to teach them a better way of living. He began to teach them about the Kingdom of God, the Government of God, and the way of life of God, God's way of life. And God's way of life is the way Jesus Christ lived when He was on earth. It's the way He and God the Father have lived for all eternity because they have lived forever. There never is a time when they began living, they have always lived. 
   Now let me explain something about the Church that you probably haven't heard before. He didn't just call for everybody to come to salvation; He called certain men, twelve men to be students, only twelve; and He began to teach those twelve. And after He had taught them for three and a half years, then He gave them the great commission, and I'm going to read that in just a moment. But Jesus was building the Church, and He was calling the Church out of this world, out of this way of living to God's way of life, as the beginning, and of the foundation of a different and a new world.

The Result of Adam's Sin

   Now, to understand the world that Jesus came into - what's wrong with the world, why we're having all the troubles we're having in the world. And we still are, because it's still the same world, only as I said a moment ago it is greater. The evils are greater, the troubles are greater, the population is greater. There's just more of everything today. 
   It all began with the incident of the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. Now in the Garden of Eden God had showed Adam and Eve the way of life, His Way of Life. Eve had strayed away just a little bit, and she came across a serpent, a snake. But Satan was in that snake, and Satan is the great former archangel, that is now Satan the Devil, who rebelled against God. Who was filled with vanity, who was filled with an idea of destruction, instead of construction and building. Who was filled with the way of rebellion against God, and God's way of living; against peace, against everything good, against happiness. And he misled her, he said: 
   "'Has God said that you could eat of all of the trees of the garden?' And she said; 'Well, He said we could eat of all of the trees, but the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. But, He said; if we eat it we will surely die' [well then, here came the first lie; he said]. 'You won't surely die, you're an immortal soul, you're going to live forever.'" (Genesis 3:1-4 paraphrased) 
   And do you know that people have been believing — and even traditional Christianity believes that lie today? That you are an immortal soul; you won't surely die, you are going to live forever. Well I nail that lie right here and now, in the name and by the Authority of Jesus Christ. Satan is a liar and he is the father of it. 
   And that was the first lie told. Not by human man but by Satan himself. But Eve fell for it, and she swallowed it hook line and sinker. And she took of the forbidden fruit, and disobeyed God, and gave to her husband. She started the first ERA movement; and she took her husband by the nose and led him, when he was supposed to lead her in love, and in happiness, and in God's way. But he followed his wife and he disobeyed God; and that started another world led by Satan. They rejected God, and they rejected eternal life which God had offered them in the Tree of Life. 
   And God would have given them eternal life by and through His Holy Spirit. His life had to be injected into them, begotten into them; because humans have been made from the dust of the ground. God formed man after His own image, after His likeness, after the God kind. God is reproducing Himself, and He made man to become like God. But He made man of the dust of the ground; and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became - the dust of the ground - became a soul. The dust of the ground became a soul, matter, not spirit. 
   But man disobeyed God, and Adam, the first man, could have taken of the Tree of Life. In other words, of the Holy Spirit of God, and that would have impregnated him with the life of God, and also with a mind like God, and with God's way of living. With an attitude like God, an attitude of love, of giving instead of getting, of obedience to God and God's way; which leads to peace, and happiness, and life, and good will, and joy, and everything that is pleasant and good, and wholesome and right. 
   But he went the wrong way, and that began a human civilization. There'd never been such a civilization on the earth - it was the first man, the first human, but that began this world. It was the foundation of the world at that time. And at that time, you will read in Revelation 13:8 that Christ, there called :"...the Lamb [of God, was] slain from the foundation of the world." (Revelation 13:8
   In other words; it was determined that time would come when Christ would be the second Adam. That Jesus Christ would come as a sin bearer, and He would live a perfect life setting us an example that we should live as He did; following His Father's commandments, keeping the commandments of God, God's Way of life. A way that brings peace, that produces peace, and telling us to follow His example, and live that Way. And He would live in a perfect way, He would never commit a sin; therefore He would never bring a death penalty on Himself. But then He would give His life for you and me, and: 
   "...God [Himself] so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son [Jesus Christ], that [we] should not perish..." (John 3:16
   You are not immortal, you would perish otherwise, except for Christ paying a penalty in your stead. And Jesus gave Himself to pay the penalty of sin that we do not have to die, but that we may yet have the Tree of Life opened to us. And receive the Holy Spirit, which Adam could have received and didn't, and made it available. But at that time God closed up the Tree of Life, and you read of that in Genesis three, verses 22-24, the last three verses of the third chapter of Genesis. Now also at that time, as you read in Hebrews 9:27, it was appointed that man should die because of Adam's sin, that human beings, man, should: "...once...die, but after [that] the judgment:" (Hebrews 9:27
   Then in I Corinthians 15:22 you read, I Corinthians 15:222324, if you read right on from that point: "...as in Adam all die..." (I Corinthians 15:22
   And all do die, and all have been dying ever since Adam up to now. After seventy, eighty, some even a little over a hundred years. I'm not too far from it now myself but God has still given me the strength to talk to you, and give you His Truth. 
   After this the judgment, and: "...as in Adam all die...so in Christ shall all be made alive." (I Corinthians 15:22
   Everyone who ever died is going to be brought back to life by a resurrection.

God's Plan for the Future

   Now then, God had closed up the Tree of Life. It was not even open to ancient Israel, they had no salvation, no eternal life was ever offered to ancient Israel. But in Joel, one of the prophets, Joel 2 and verse 28 you read that the day will come, the time will come when God will again: "...pour out [His] spirit upon all flesh..." (Joel 2:28
   Now, that time had not come yet, but it was just beginning in the time of Christ. He taught His disciples and after He had taught them for three and a half years you read in Matthew 28 and the last three verses beginning with verse 18: 
   "...Jesus came and spake unto them [and this was after His resurrection, and], saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach..." (Matthew 28:18-19
   Now remember He had taught them, He was a teacher and He had taught them as students. Now they had graduated from that college, so to speak, and now they were going to be apostles. That was their degree, their college degree, so to speak. Now He said: 
   "You go, and teach [they now were to become teachers] all nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit: Teaching them [they were to go and teach others, teaching them] to observe [what?] all things whatsoever I have commanded you..." (Matthew 28:19-20 paraphrased) 
   That He had taught them! He taught them God's Way of life, and now He told them to go out and teach others God's Way of life. It's a lot more, my friends, than just believing on Christ and accepting Christ. That's the beginning. First you believe, or first of all you repent, and then you believe, and then you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Now they started out on the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came, and on that day the apostle Peter preached a marvelous sermon. And the people that were there, there were a few thousand people there, and they were pricked in their heart, and they said; Well: "...Men and brethren, what shall we do [now]? Then Peter said; Repent..." (Acts 2:37-38
   That is, change your mind, admit how wrong you are. Admit the way you've been living, you've been living the wrong way. Repent; and it means turn around and go the other way, and start living a different way, and believe on Jesus Christ: "...and [you] shall receive the...Holy Spirit " (Acts 2:38) he said. 
   Now when you receive the Holy Spirit you are not yet born of God, that is only the impregnation, you become a child of God, yes; but you are a begotten child. You are an heir, not yet a possessor of the Kingdom of God. 
   So, then after that what does one do? They were starting the Church, the Church started with Christ, and it started then with Him teaching twelve. And then those twelve went out and they taught thousands. There were three thousand that were converted and baptized in water on that day, and they received the Holy Spirit on that day of Pentecost. About a day or so later there were two thousand or more and the Church began to grow. 
   And the Church then become students. That is, they become disciples and the Church is founded on; "...the apostles and the prophets [the prophets of the Old Testament],...Christ...being the chief corner stone;" (Ephesians 2:20). And the Church itself will grow, and in the time of the Kingdom of God, when Christ comes very soon and Satan will be put away, the Church is going to teach the rest of the world how to live. And the earth will be as full of the knowledge of God and the Way of Life of God, as the ocean beds are filled with water, as I said awhile ago. And then at last we're going to have peace, and I read that prophecy just awhile ago. 
   The Church is the Kingdom of God in embryo, but only in embryo; and when you were an embryo on your mother's womb you weren't born yet my friends; and we need to learn that lesson. 
   Very few people understand the Church, and what it is, and why it is, how it was started, how it grows, the True Church of God. Oh, I wish people could just understand the real truth, if God would open our minds to see it. And certainly we can see the troubles all about us; certainly we can see the result of the way people have been living. And God's Way is a way that makes sense, it's a sensible way, and it makes sense, and it's the only way that does. And we're going to have to live the way that brings happiness, and peace, and joy. And then there will be great production and there will be everything good and that is the real Good News that Jesus came to bring, and the Gospel means Good News.

Related Reading

   I can't give you but a little of it on this program. I have a booklet here that'll tell you a whole lot that I couldn't explain today: 'Never Before Understood - Why Humanity Cannot Solve Its Evils.' Why they're not solving them. This will open your eyes, this will tell you all about that incident of the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden, and what has happened ever since. Leading up to the time of the beginning of the Church, and you need it. JUST CLICK ON THE LINK TO ACCESS THE BOOKLET

Who Should GOD'S Ministers Be?

If the Bible truth were known, thousands would never have "chosen" the ministry as their profession! Should you teach, preach, or "witness" for the Lord? How does God call His true ministers?

   "I'VE BEEN called to preach!" said the eager young man to the elder pastor. 
   "HOW do you know you've been called to preach?" asked the dignified old gentleman. 
   "Well sir, I saw a vision in the sky," began the hopeful youngster, "and it seemed the initials 'P C' appeared to me. I saw them with my own eyes!" 
   "And what do you believe the vision meant?" asked his elder. 
   "PREACH CHRIST! " was the enthusiastic answer. 
   At this the old gentleman sadly shook his head. "No, my son — I'm afraid you've misinterpreted your vision." 
   "Huh?" came the quizzical reply. 
   "Yes — you see," he said gently, "the real meaning of the vision was that you should PLOUGH CORN"!

"A 'Calling' to Preach"

   This story serves to illustrate the manner in which perhaps many sincere people decide upon the ministry as their life's work. Undoubtedly, a number of the students in the theological seminaries of this world feel they have been given a special "calling" of God to preach. 
   Still, many others will readily admit they simply chose the ministry according to their aptitudes, much the same way a man might choose aeronautical engineering, civil service work, or farming. 
   Perhaps some of YOU, reading this article, feel you have been given a "calling" to preach. 
   But just what IS a CALL from God? Surely, should YOU be one who is presently teaching a Bible class, holding a study group, or in any way "witnessing" for Christ — you should want to know EXACTLY WHAT GOD SAYS ABOUT IT, shouldn't you?

God DOES CALL His Ministers!

   It is GOD, not man, who chooses and calls His servants. Jesus said, "I will build MY Church" (Matt. 16:18). Christ DID build that Church, and is its LIVING HEAD TODAY! 
   Jesus intended certain GOD-GIVEN offices be established in His true Church for the CARRYING OF THE GOSPEL — which was the vitally important mission of that Church (Matt. 28:19-20). Notice how the apostle Paul describes the basic foundation of the organizational pattern of these offices: 
   "Now therefore ye (Gentiles) are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; and are built upon the FOUNDATION of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the Chief Corner Stone" (Eph. 2:19-20). 
   Christ is the Head of the Church He built (Eph. 1:225:23), and therefore it is CHRIST who chooses His ministers and officers. 
   "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you..." said Jesus to His disciples (John 15:16).    "But now hath GOD set the members every one of them in the body (of Christ — the Church) as it hath pleased HIM!" (I Cor. 12:18).

False Ministers Prophesied

   Just as the early beginning of the true Church of God was fraught with many dangers from ravening men — men who would KILL because of religious hatred and bigotry — so IS OUR AGE! 
   When Jesus told His disciples of the times just before His return to the earth, He warned, "Take heed that no man deceive you" (Matt. 24:4). In His warning about deceptions, Jesus talked of false ministers who would be masquerading as true ministers of the Gospel, who would "show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect" (Matt. 24:24). 
   This warning is about OUR TIMES — NOW! 
   And to WHOM was the warning given? 
   To the people of God! The students, learners — disciples of Christ! 
   Take warning now! 
   There is a very grave danger that YOU, as a "babe in Christ" could LOSE your salvation by failing to understand and heed these warnings about false ministers. 
   These false teachers who are working right now — as you read this article — will always despise the AUTHORITY of God's TRUE MINISTERS. They will PRESUME to 'themselves a position as leader and teacher of other people. Perhaps even in all sincerity, it simply begins as a Bible study group after a broadcast — but a certain dominant personality will always arise — and oftentimes today it is a woman — and begin to teach, explain and expound to the others — WHEN THERE HAS BEEN NO CALLING FROM GOD TO DO SO! 
   In the early Church, there arose false ministers and lay members, who began to set themselves up (note this well) as "teachers" and "leaders" of the people. 
   The whole theme of the New Testament, from the very inception of God's true Church to the end of the book of Revelation is one of APOSTASY, one Of God's true apostles and ministers constantly struggling against FALSE DOCTRINES creeping in, and against counterfeit ministers who were trying to lead off people after themselves. 
   Notice, the council at Jerusalem was held for this very reason! "And certain men which came down from Judea taught the brethren, and said, 'Except you be circumcised after the manner of Moses, you cannot be saved'" (Acts 15:1). Notice further that these men wanted to ARGUE about the small, physical question of circumcision. "When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question" (Acts 15:2), 
   God's government went into effect, and, after hearing all the facts, and certain recommendations from other leading apostles, James, the chief apostle at Jerusalem (vs. 19) rendered a binding decision, which the others delivered to the churches as an authoritative DECREE! (Acts 16:4).

Paul's Experience with False Ministers

   In Paul's letters of correction and exhortation to the early Church, he was often forced to show them, by the manner of his calling and training, the real authenticity of his office. Notice how many of his letters begin with statements of divinely ordained authority. (See Rom. 1:1-5I Cor. 1:1II Cor. 1:1Gal. 1:24, etc.) 
   Almost immediately after the beginning of God's true Church, certain men arose who began to lead away followings after themselves. Perhaps they were sincere at first — wishing only to share with others their new-found truth. Perhaps they, like many today, only wanted to "witness" to others. But, they HAD NOT BEEN CALLED OF GOD! They let human nature, with its VANITY and LUST FOR POWER creep in. 
   The apostle Paul was constantly being criticized by unthinking, carnal-minded people who did not really fear God's government as they should have. 
   The Corinthians were accusing him of being covetous of what they supposed was their money (which was not theirs, but Gods). The whole underlying theme of Paul's second letter to the Corinthians was concerned with this problem. "Mine answer to them" he had said in the first letter, "that do examine me is this, Have we not power (authority) to eat and to drink?" (I Cor. 9:3-4). He then proved the ministry should be supported from God's tithes. 
   The entire first chapter of Galatians is Paul's affirmation of the DIVINE AUTHORITY with which he spoke and wrote. 
   The important thing to realize is that this defense was necessary only because of the false teachers and "leaders" who were teaching the people — leading them in humanly devised "ideas" and traditions — trying to bring discredit upon God's true ministers. It is part of your nature to want to be important, well thought of, and approved by other people! 
   It has been said the busier a man becomes, and the more he accomplishes, the more criticism he will receive. God's word certainly affirms that statement! Jesus Christ was the busiest, and, at the same time, the most criticized man who ever lived.

Paul's Warning

   In some cases even the true ministers of God grew luke-warm, and dropped out of the Church. "For I know this," Paul said to the Ephesian elders "that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of YOUR OWN SELVES shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples [students, learners] after them" (Acts 20:29-30). 
   Paul told the young evangelist, Timothy, "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times [now] some shall depart from the faith doctrine, body of beliefs, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of demons" (I Tim. 4:1). 
   After describing the very conditions which will be extant during this time in which YOU LIVE — Paul, in his second letter to Timothy, warned, "But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived (II Tim. 3:13). 
   Remember, these letters to Timothy were concerned primarily with Church Government. Never forget even false ministers APPEAR, as the ministers of Christ. "For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel, for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if HIS MINISTERS also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness, whose end shall be according to their works" (II Cor. 11:13-15).

Peter's Warning!

   Peter was not unaware of the undercurrent toward apostasy that was beginning then. He wrote, "But there were false prophets among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privately shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction" (II Peter 2:1). 
   Paul had said the "falling away" from true doctrine was a mystery of iniquity, or LAWLESSNESS, that was beginning in his time! (II Thess. 2:7). 
   The entire second chapter of Peter's second letter is a grave warning against false teachers. 
   Notice, however, that there is always ONE THING THESE TEACHERS HAVE IN COMMON. Even Korah, and the ones he led with him in his rebellion against the authority of Moses, showed the same traits (See Num. 16:1-3). 
   "But chiefly them that walk after the flesh," who are concerned about the PHYSICAL SENSES, and the fleshly, carnal sensations, the vanity they might have in leading others — becoming their teacher — the popularity, or the money and the security they covet — "in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government" [AUTHORITY, RSV] (II Pet. 2:10).     Do you see? 
   "Presumptuous are they," continues Peter (II Pet. 2:10). Yes, they are always presuming to be a self-appointed leader over others, "self-willed, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities... but these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand HOT; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption..." (II Pet. 2:10-12). 
   Surprising though it may sound — some individuals are not afraid to deliberately misrepresent, and to CLAIM they represent The World Tomorrow program, or The Plain Truth magazine. There have been cases of some deliberately lying, simply because they know the scope and power of this work of God — and wish to begin to SET THEMSELVES UP as TEACHERS when there has been no calling of God! 
   God prophesied His true sheep would be SCATTERED, and FEW, the "salt of the earth" — not the great, organized, politically powerful machines of the world. It is because of this that many begin to yearn for physical fellowship with other human beings of like belief. This is natural. It is good. But, it is also something to be WARNED ABOUT FIRST! "BEWARE OF MEN!" said Jesus Christ (Matt. 10:17). And remember our first fellowship is with Christ! (I John 1:3). 
   Those who begin to teach others apparently do not even faintly begin to realize the GRAVE RESPONSIBILITY of such an action.

A Dangerous Position

   It is because the true ministers of God must labor in TEACHING OTHERS the WAY TO SALVATION — telling them of the things pertaining to ETERNAL LIFE, that God lays such a heavy responsibility on them. Notice Peter's exhortation: "The Elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder... feed the flock of God which is among you... neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock" (I Pet. 5:1-3). 
   To cause another human being to LOSE SALVATION is the most dastardly act a person can commit! Notice what Jesus said of such an act: "But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe unto the world because of offences (causing another to stumble — to go back into sin!) for it must needs be that offences come, but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!" (Matt. 18:6-7). 
   A minister can be responsible for converting people — for convicting them of sin and bringing them to Christ in real DOWN TO EARTH REPENTANCE! Or, he can, by teaching false ideas — by setting himself up as a leader when God has not called him — send people straight into the lake of fire — Gehenna fire! 
   But it is not only those who deliberately masquerade as the ministers of God, but ANYONE, be he false minister, professing teacher, deliberate liar, or INNOCENT LAY MEMBER simply trying to "do good" to others, but who teaches doctrines which LEAD THAT PERSON ASTRAY — who comes under the condemnation of the word of God — which says WOE unto that man! (Luke 17:1-2).

How God Calls His Servants

   It is GOD who chooses and calls His servants (Eph. 4:11I Cor. 12:38). The WAY He calls them needs to be definitely understood! 
   Notice, Jesus said to His disciples, "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you..." (John 15:16). When He was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He said to Peter and Andrew, "FOLLOW ME, and I will make you fishers of men" (Matt. 4:19). Notice, NOT ONE of Jesus' disciples whom He called and ORDAINED to the ministry CHOSE THEMSELVES! 
   I want you to think very carefully about this next statement! It constitutes a great principle of God's word — and a vitally important KEY to be used in God's true ministry! 
   THERE IS NOT ONE SINGLE EXAMPLE — ANYWHERE IN THE BIBLE, WHERE A CALLED AND CHOSEN SERVANT OF GOD CAME forward and VOLUNTEERED for THE OFFICE! 
   Moses argued that he was unfit for the job, Jeremiah said he was too young, Jonah ran away, Samuel was directly called of God, David knew nothing until Samuel announced it to him. All of the prophets say, "The Word of the Lord CAME unto..." them, not that they volunteered for the office! 
   Jesus called and appointed His true disciples. Paul was struck down by a miracle. Paul "took" Timothy unto him, and so it is throughout the history of God's Church. My father fought vigorously against the truth of God before He was finally called.

God Works Through Human Instruments

   But Jesus said, "Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them! (Matt. 7:20). The Scriptural QUALIFICATIONS imposed upon any person whom God is calling to the ministry are so absolutely RIGID. 
   One great principle that seems so difficult for some few to understand is that the Creator who gives us every breath of air we breathe accomplishes His plan here below — yes, and even governs His Church — THROUGH HUMAN BEINGS — HIS INSTRUMENTS! 
   God is now sending the Gospel of His soon-coming Government into many parts of this darkened world. But He is not yet shouting with His own booming, earth-shaking voice — He is sending the Gospel over the airwaves by the voice of HIS HUMAN INSTRUMENT, Mr. Armstrong! 
   He is seeing to it that YOU are receiving this magazine, to feed and nourish you in His truth, to warn you of impending dangers, to try to HELP each hungry "babe in Christ" gain an entrance into His glorious Kingdom. But the magazine is written, edited, typed, printed, and mailed by human instruments. 
   It is the same in calling His ministry! 
   Many have assumed the apostle Paul was the exception to the rule that ministers were always ordained through HUMAN INSTRUMENTS, by the laying on of the hands of the ministry! 
   That assumption is false!

Paul's Ordination

   Read the account of Paul's ORDINATION by human instruments with your own eyes! 
   Turn to Acts, the 13th chapter. Here, you see the gathering of the elders at Antioch, and the ordination of Paul. Paul had been struck down on the road to Damascus, blinded, and made willing to receive God's Spirit through a real REPENTANCE! 
   He was able to "preach Christ" to the Jews at Damascus then, "proving that this is very Christ!" (Acts 9:20 and 22). But notice that Paul was not a MINISTER — he was not an active member in the Governmental body of the Church — he was merely doing what ANY of YOU should be able to do — "... be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear" (I Pet. 3:15). 
   But notice — it entails giving an ANSWER TO THOSE THAT ASK — not the kind of door-to-door "witnessing" that is being done by many today. I remember a time when I was eating a meal in a restaurant. Two women entered, unnoticed in the crowd of others finding booths or chairs, and gradually made their way toward the rear of the small, somewhat crowded restaurant. Finally, taking up positions just behind the booth in which I was seated, with another minister, they began to SHOUT — at the TOP OF THEIR LUNGS, "FIRE! FIRE! FIRE! is burning in the gates of HELL for every lost sinner!" 
   The near disastrous results could have meant a severe lawsuit for both of them. 
   The people in the restaurant were so shocked by the "FIRE" cry they didn't really hear the rest of it — which was just as well — and some of them began to hastily jump up to flee the place! They thought a customer had discovered a fire! 
   Scenes of this type bring a REPROACH on the precious word of God! 
   Should these women have been "witnessing"? 
   Mr. Meredith answered this question, in the article "Should Women Preach?" appearing in the February-March, 1955, Plain Truth. Your Bible says NO! "Let your women keep silence in the churches; for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a SHAME for women to speak in the Church" (I Cor. 14:34-35). 
   After the short preaching at Damascus on the part of the apostle Paul, that Jesus was the true Christ, Paul went to Arabia (Gal. 1:17) and returned to Damascus (vs. 18). After three years (vs. 18), Paul then went down to TARSUS, the city of his birth. Prior to this time, however, Paul had been with the other apostles in Jerusalem, after Barnabas had told them of the miraculous way in which God struck him down. He learned from them how they carried out their offices in the government of the Church: "And he was with them coming in and going out at Jerusalem" (Acts 9:28). 

   PAUL was TRIED AND PROVED in the actual ministry. 
   Notice how Barnabas, also a disciple of the Church, later took Paul with him when he went to Antioch, and they taught many people for another additional YEAR (Acts 11:25-26). It was only after this time of actual ministerial experience and training — having been alone with Christ in the desert of Petra — having been under the direct supervision of the headquarters Church at Jerusalem, then taken with Barnabas who was older in the faith, to Antioch, that God finally led His servants to ordain Paul! 
   Notice, as the elders were ministering to the Lord at Antioch, they were FASTING (Acts 13:2). During this time as they were in fasting and prayer — the "Holy Spirit said, 'Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them'" (vs. 2). 
   God's Holy Spirit directed the minds of His praying, fasting servants — His HUMAN INSTRUMENTS! For example, the Holy Spirit led Mr. Armstrong to separate Herman Hoeh, Roderick Meredith and others unto the work whereunto God had called them! He directly REVEALED to Mr. Armstrong — who could see by the FRUITS being borne of these men, by their consecration and dedication to God's work, by the need of the work — by their spiritual leadership and qualifications that God was doing the calling! 
   And so it was with the apostle Paul! 
   The ministers were told to "separate" Paul! A setting apart or a "separation" for an office is just another word for ORDINATION! Notice what happened! 
   "And when they had fasted and prayed (as in all cases of ordinations), and LAID THEIR HANDS ON THEM, they sent them away" (Acts 13:3). 
   There is the record of the ordination of the apostle Paul by HUMAN INSTRUMENTS, in the exact same way God always calls and chooses His true ministers — after conversion, a number of years of study and preparation, actual field testing and proving in the ministry, and final ordination when GOD shows His ministers His will! 
   Some, however, who are always looking for ways to GET AROUND the set and established ways of their Creator and RULER, want to "have their own way," and so try to achieve their own goals by wrong means!

False "Visions" and "Dreams"

   Frequently, some will get a certain "feeling" they are being called to the ministry! Setting their heart on the ministry, they DECIDE God has called them to be His stewards — and begin to FORCE THEMSELVES IN! Notice, they have NOT been trained — have NOT fulfilled the divinely imposed Scriptural qualifications, have NOT been observed, tested and proved by God's true ministers — they merely "make up their minds" and then VOLUNTEER! 
   BUT NONE OF GOD'S TRUE SERVANTS HAVE EVER VOLUNTEERED ON THEIR OWN. 
   Others have a "dream" and then come to the ministers, telling them God IS calling them to the ministry! But WHO HAD THE DREAMS IN THE BIBLE? The one being called? Or the human instrument used in the actual calling? 
   Notice! In the case of the apostle Paul, the miraculous vision on the road to Damascus WAS ALSO COUPLED WITH A VISION WHICH APPEARED TO ANANIAS — a truly converted man, who was already in God's Church — whom God used as the instrument in baptizing Paul. Ananias DID NOT ordain Paul — he merely baptized him! 
   God's true servants are not called by weird dreams and visions which God keeps HIDDEN from His already-called and ordained officers of the Church. 
   A lay member will not be called to the ministry without the MINISTERS being the FIRST ONES TO RECOGNIZE IT — BEFORE THE LAY MEMBER EVER DOES!

A Host of "Volunteers"

   The Bible is also explicit on a whole GROUP of men who "volunteered" for the ministry, or a prophetic office, or a position of leadership in the congregation! 
   "Now Korah... rose up before Moses, with certain of the children of Israel... against Moses and against Aaron, and said unto them, 'You take too much upon you, seeing ALL the congregation are holy... wherefore then lift ye up YOURSELVES above the congregation?" (Num. 16:1-3). 
   Notice! Moses and Aaron were accused of having APPOINTED THEMSELVES and "lifting up themselves" over the congregation! You and I know, however, that Moses and Aaron were called of God! 
   But — as is nearly ALWAYS the case when a presumptuous person tries to USURP authority, he repudiates the office of the one in the already-established position, and accused that person of having arrogated the office to himself! 
   Let's never let this happen to any of us! Notice the fearsome END of Korah! "...the ground clave asunder that was under them, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods... and they perished from among the congregation" (Num. 16: 31-33). 
   Satan "volunteered" to take over the office of God! All the FALSE prophets set themselves up, claiming to be the true prophets of God! Adonijah, Solomon's half-brother, tried to set himself up as King over Israel, and was finally killed for his presumptuousness! Simon, the sorcerer, wanted the power of God, and tried to buy it with money! Peter said, "Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money... thy HEART IS NOT RIGHT in the sight of God" (Acts 8:20-21). 
   Any person who tries to arrogate to himself an office of the ministry joins ranks with Korah, with Adonijah and all the false prophets, and with Satan the Devil himself! 
   REMEMBER! There is not one single example in your Bible where the true ministers of God VOLUNTEERED OF THEMSELVES FOR THE OFFICE!

PROPHECIES Against PROPHETS!

   There are many thousands today who, even in innocence, have taken to themselves the prerogative of teaching God's word. And, it is a great SHAME to state the further truth — that HUNDREDS AND HUNDREDS OF "TEACHERS" OF THE BIBLE TODAY KNOW LITTLE IF ANYTHING ABOUT THE BIBLE! THEY ARE IGNORANT OF IT, GROPING IN THE DARK, and because they have not realized the GRAVE WARNINGS about this very thing in the Bible itself — are heading for an awful END unless they REPENT of it, and CHANGE THEIR WAYS! 
   James warns, "My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation" (Jas. 3:1). In the King James English, this verse is a little obscure, but by taking other translations, and the original Greek, the rendering, in modern English, is this: "Do NOT MANY OF YOU BECOME TEACHERS, KNOWING THAT WE (WHO TEACH GOD'S WORD) SHALL RECEIVE GREATER JUDGEMENT! " 
   The entire third chapter of James — famous as the chapter about the tongue, and evil speaking of man — is directed as a warning to THOSE WHO DARE TO TEACH THE BIBLE TO OTHERS! 
   Jeremiah was a prophet of God. 
   God used Him to prophesy against other prophets — both past, PRESENT and FUTURE! 
   In Jer. 23, a startling prophecy is revealed concerning the' end times. You are now living in these end times — the time just before the INTERVENTION of Almighty God, and the return of Jesus Christ to this earth! 
   Let's notice the dire warnings contained in this prophecy about false teachers! 
   "WOE be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the Lord" (Jer. 23:1). Subsequent verses show God will bring the evil of their own doings upon them (even though they preach against any "works" ir is WORKS they'll be JUDGED BY!). But it is not only those who style themselves ordained ministers this prophecy is directed to. Notice! 
   "I have heard what the prophets said, that prophesy lies in my name, saying, 'I have dreamed, I have dreamed'" (Jer. 23:25). They say, "I know the answers! I can tell you what the Bible means" — but they DON'T KNOW! 
   "How long shall this be in the heart of the prophets that prophesy lies? yea, they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart; which think to cause my people to forget my name by their dreams which they tell every man to his neighbor, as their fathers have forgotten my name for Baal" (vs. 26-27), 
   So they're not all standing in a pulpit, or holding an office — but some are simply teaching their neighbors! When God has NOT CALLED THEM! 
   Here is what God says: "Behold, I am against the prophets... that use their tongues, and say, He saith. "Behold I am against them that prophesy false dreams... and do tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies, and by their lightness; yet I sent them not, nor commanded them: therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the Lord" (Jer. 23:31-32). 
   Finally, when the KINGDOM OF GOD is established on this earth, we read: "It shall come to pass in that day, that the prophets shall be ashamed every one of his vision, when he hath prophesied; neither shall they wear a hairy cloak (marginal reading) to deceive, but he shall say, 'I am no prophet! I am a FARMER, for man taught me to keep cattle from my youth!" (Zech. 13:3-5). 
   YES! In that day a man will aspire to be a FARMER before claiming to teach others in the name of Christ when Christ has NOT SENT HIM! 
   To those who CHOSE FOR THEMSELVES THE MINISTRY — WHO VOLUNTEERED FOR THE JOB — WHO SET THEMSELVES UP AS TEACHERS OF OTHERS — THESE SCRIPTURES GIVE WARNING! 
   You have read this article. You are now RESPONSIBLE for it. May God give you the grace and wisdom to be obedient to Him in ALL things!

 

12 rules for Bible Study

Why is the Bible the most misunderstood book in all history? The most twisted, distorted, maligned, misrepresented and lied-about book there is? Because people refuse to believe it means exactly what it says! This second installment (first installment) explains twelve simple, basic rules to help you understand the plain truth of God's Word!

   Do YOU understand the Bible when you read it? Or, have you not even bothered to study your Bible because you felt it was out-of-date? Because the old English is difficult to understand? Or because you felt the Bible was supposed to be mysterious?

You Can Understand!

   The Bible is the instruction book of the One who created you. It is His instruction TO YOU, explaining clearly and plainly how you can have a happy, filled-with-interest, abundant and successful life! God's Word reveals the purpose for your being! It explains the REASON for human suffering. It explains WHEN and WHY and HOW GOD IS going to intervene to relieve that suffering! It therefore ought to be the one book everyone should understand! But why has it been so grievously misunderstood? Because almost no one, it seems, has been willing to apply the twelve rules of Bible study. 
   In last month's PLAIN TRUTH, the first six of the twelve simple, basic rules of Bible study were explained thoroughly. If you are a new reader and missed this first article because you were not on The PLAIN TRUTH mailing list last month, just write and ask for the August issue of The PLAIN TRUTH — it will be sent to you just as freely as you received this issue.

The First Six Rules

   To summarize, briefly, before going on to the seventh rule of Bible study, here are the first six rules:

ONE — Pray for guidance.

Two — Be willing to accept correction.

THREE — Prove all things.

FOUR — Realize the Bible never contradicts itself.

FIVE — Be sure to read the Bible exactly as it is written.

SIX — Check the context carefully — that is, read all the scriptures around any particular verse in question. 

This brings us to rule number seven.

Get All the Scriptures

   No one scripture can OF ITSELF, taken OUT OF CONTEXT, be used to establish the Truth. "Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any PRIVATE interpretation" (II Pet. 1:20). 
   God has put His Bible together in a very unusual manner. He has written it so that men could study it intricately in its original languages, poring over its pages for their entire lifetime — AND YET NEVER COME TO A KNOWLEDGE OF THE TRUTH. Many people have memorized great sections of the Bible and yet not come to realize what those sections mean. You must take the whole Bible in its entire context, getting ALL OF THE SCRIPTURES in that Bible ON ANY ONE SUBJECT BEFORE you can come to the knowledge of that particular subject from God's point of view. 
   "Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little...." 
   That is how the converted mind is to study the Bible. Yet, when the unconverted study God's Word a little here and a little there they are STILL NOT ABLE TO UNDERSTAND the Message of God's Truth because they do not have His Holy Spirit guiding them. That Holy Spirit — the very mind and understanding of God — is the power that inspired those words in the first place, and WITHOUT THAT SPIRIT TO INSPIRE THE UNDERSTANDING, THE DOOR TO THE WORD OF GOD REMAINS SHUT! (The Holy Spirit is given ONLY to those who OBEY God — Acts 5:32.) Continuing from Isaiah: "... But the word of the Lord WAS unto them {those who DISOBEY} precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken" (Isa. 28:9-1013). 
   Oftentimes people think that the Bible is CONTRADICTING itself when actually all it is doing is SUPPLEMENTING itself. A good example of this is found in Matthew 27:37 as compared to Luke 23:38. Here Matthew and Luke APPEAR to contradict one another in their statements as to what was written on the sign affixed to the stake upon which Jesus Christ was crucified. 
   Now while you're going through this article, just take time to GET YOUR BIBLE and USE this example to PROVE that getting ALL of the scriptures on any one subject WILL give you God's understanding on it. In order to find out WHAT was written on that sign, WHO wrote it, and HOW MANY languages it was written in, you will need to put at least four scriptures together, not just two. So turn first to Matthew 27:37, and WRITE DOWN what the Bible says was written on that sign. Then, GO RIGHT ON to Mark l5:26 and write beneath what you have written what MARK says was written on that sign. Then do the same with Luke 23:38 and also John 19:19. Put them all together and you will see what was written on that sign. 
   If ONE of these scriptures were left out you would not know that it was PILATE who did the writing. If TWO of these scriptures were left out you would not know that the writing was originally done in THREE LANGUAGES. These four bits of information, each from a different author, supply us with a complete record of what was written there originally. No one scripture contradicts the other — each only serves to complement and round out the information of the other.

Let the Bible Interpret the Bible

   So many people write in to The WORLD TOMORROW and comment how much they enjoy MR. ARMSTRONG'S INTERPRETATION of the Bible. Over and over again you will hear Mr. Armstrong explain to the radio audience that it is NOT HIS INTERPRETATION that is being heard over The WORLD TOMORROW, BUT ONLY PLAIN BIBLE TRUTH! 
   In your edition of the King James Bible the book of Revelation will probably be entitled, "The Revelation of ST. JOHN THE DIVINE." This is an excellent example of MAN'S INTERPRETATION. Now in order for you to understand WHAT the book of Revelation IS — WHOSE revelation it is, TO WHOM it was written and WHAT it is about — all you have to do is read the first few verses of THE BOOK ITSELF! In fact the very first words of the very first verse DIRECTLY CONTRADICT MAN'S INTERPRETATION of the Bible with the plain Bible statement that this book is, THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST!" (Rev. 1:1.) 
   Romans 3:4 is a good clear principle to live by in this EIGHTH rule of Bible study — "... let GOD be true, but every man a liar." 
   This book of Revelation has long been an enigma to the people of the world — GOD SAYS it is a book of REVELATION. THE WORLD SAYS it is a book of HIDDEN MYSTERY. PEOPLE have come up with many weird interpretations for the book of Revelation — yet the book of Revelation is VIVID in its own clear description and needs no interpretation! Continue in Revelation 1: 
   As you read in verse 12 that John saw seven GOLDEN CANDLESTICKS, you don't have to WONDER what these seven golden candlesticks are — all you have to do is READ ON until you come, in the CONTEXT, to verse 20 and that verse tells you plainly that the seven candlesticks ARE the seven churches. In verse 16 it states that John saw SEVEN STARS in the hand of the Son of man. There is no need to go into great, eloquent illustrations of what the seven stars are, because again verse 20 reveals the plain Bible truth — no interpretation necessary — that the seven stars ARE the angels of the seven churches. And so it goes through the rest of the Bible. 
   All you have to do is be patient and search God's Word and you will come up with God's clear answers to the muddled questions of mankind.

Don't Put Vague Scriptures First

   Perhaps a better general statement of this NINTH RULE of Bible study would be: NEVER ESTABLISH A DOCTRINE BY A VAGUE OR DIFFICULT-TO-BE-UNDERSTOOD SCRIPTURE. 
   Too many people ASSUME that the vision which Peter had regarding the unclean beasts lowered to him on a sheet affirms that God "cleansed" unclean meat. Because they TAKE OUT OF CONTEXT a verse, unclean of itself, that says, "What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common" (Acts 10:15). However, all they need to do is read on TWO MORE VERSES and verse 17 very plainly says that PETER HIMSELF DOUBTED what the vision meant when he saw it — he didn't jump to any conclusions, but vague-scripture quoters are eager to! Further reading in the same chapter will explain what Peter finally came to understand about the vision — read verse 28: "God hath showed me {by means of this vision} that I SHOULD NOT CALL ANY MAN COMMON OR UNCLEAN." 


Don't overlook TENTH rule.

Use Several Translations

   In Matthew 27:46 Jesus Christ, while hanging on the stake before He died, used the ARAMAIC translation of the first verse of Psalm 22. Even though the original Word of God was inspired in the Hebrew or the Greek, God has allowed it to be translated into nearly every language spoken by mankind. If we were going to be particular about which language we used or which translation, then we would all have to learn Hebrew and Greek and study the Bible in its original languages. 
   The King James Version was written 353 years ago. In the time since, the English language has undergone many changes. Sometimes those texts which are vague and unclear in the King James can be cleared up very easily by just reading a MORE MODERN TRANSLATION, such as the Moffatt or the Revised Standard Version. 
   There is one thing to note about the King James translation and that is regarding italics. This word ITALIC is written in italics. Words that look like this in your King James Version are NOT in the original languages but are SUPPLIED by the translators. So everywhere in the King James Version where you notice words in italics they are supplied to help you understand the meaning of the sentence. However, since the translators were carnally minded, they did not always supply the words correctly. So some of these words in italics are incorrect and do not help but rather hinder your understanding. 
   On the other hand, NOT ALL OF THE WORDS WHICH ARE SUPPLIED by the translators are in italics. Take I John 5:7 for instance, where the reference to three who bear witness in heaven is a completely erroneous reference inserted by a monk-copyist in the Middle Ages. The fact is this particular verse appears only in the King James Version and is in NONE of the other translations of the Bible. 
   Often these difficulties will be cleared up by merely reading another translation and comparing it to the King James. Any questions arising after a thorough reading through several translations of any one verse will be few, and can be handled by studying further in Bible helps. 
   If there are WORDS that you have difficulty in understanding, remember not only to look them up in an English dictionary such as Webster's, but if possible in A BIBLE DICTIONARY OR IN STRONG'S CONCORDANCE so that you can see what the meaning of the word in the original is. Sometimes people will look up a word in a modern dictionary and find a definition that is not at all the SENSE of the word as used in the King James Version. Take for example the word "conversation" in I Peter 3. Conversation to us today means talking between two people. A modern dictionary will give this definition. However, in the time of King James this particular word meant THE ENTIRE CONDUCT of a person and that is the meaning in the BIBLEusage of this word. In order to understand it then, you need to understand the meaning of the ORIGINAL word, and not just the meaning in a modern dictionary. 


 But this leads to our ELEVENTH rule.

Don't Establish Doctrine With "Bible Helps"

   "Clarke's Commentary" and the commentary by Jamieson, Fausset and Brown are good reference works — as is Halley's "Pocket Bible Handbook". Sometimes in the back of Bibles there will be sections called "Bible Helps." Even the marginal references in your Bible, which SOMETIMES prove to be very helpful, are often misleading. These "helps" often turn out to be the insidious instruction of Satan himself and they may lead you astray. 
   Therefore, all of these Bible helps should be used ONLY to establish historical or grammatical facts related to the Bible and MUST NOT be used TO ESTABLISH DOCTRINE OR TO INTERPRET THE MEANING OF THE BIBLE ITSELF. The chain reference in my Bible in the center of the two columns at Revelation 1:10 says, "I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day..." and by the Lord's day there is a little "z". In the column by the "z" there are two scriptural references — one to Acts 20:7 and the other to I Corinthians 16:2 which both refer to the FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK but have nothing to do with the Lord's day which is explained in the rest of the book of Revelation. 
   Yet to find out what the BIBLE says about what day Jesus Christ is Lord of, read Mark 2:27-28! "And he said unto them, the Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath: therefore THE SON OF MAN IS LORD ALSO OF THE SABBATH." 
   So, with Bible helps you must remember to use them only for technical facts and not for interpretative facts. And now, rule TWELVE:

Mark Your Bible!

   Perhaps you have thought the Bible should not be marked. But realize that what is HOLY about the Bible is not the paper, ink and leather out of which it is made, but the WORDS OF TRUTH the SPIRITUAL FACTS! Any PHYSICAL tool you can employ — such as marking with a pen or colored pencils — to help you remember and apply the spiritual truths in your life, is right with God! He expects you to USE His written Word to worship HIM — not physical paper ant ink! Sometimes we hold back from marking the Bible and think that we'll do it later — especially when we're listening to a point that we need to remember about a particular scripture — but we never seem to get around to it. It's always so difficult to get out the pencil and ruler, and have our hands clean. So I have found over years of experience that the best way to mark the Bible is to JUST MARK IT! 
   When you find out for instance that the word "conversation" in I Peter 3:1 ought to be "conduct," the thing you need to do is to IMMEDIATELY WRITE DOWN "conduct" in the margin and draw a little line and circle the word "conversation" in the verse. This way you will always remember.

Use These Rules

   Apply these twelve rules diligently, and your Bible study will be both interesting and rewarding. 
   And if you are not already one of the nearly SEVENTY THOUSAND students of the "Ambassador College BibleCorrespondence Course" — Click Link for it NOW! Don't put it off! This course is designed to help you study YOUR BIBLE. It employs all of these twelve rules of Bible study — it can help YOU REALLY UNDERSTAND YOUR BIBLE as you never have before. 
   This course is entirely free of any cost to you! You'll always be glad you did!

 

 

Proof Two: THE GOVERNMENT OF GOD AND CREATION OF HOLY RIGHTEOUS CHARACTER

   The most important feat of creation is holy, righteous CHARACTER. That is so stupendous an accomplishment that even the GREAT MAJESTIC GOD, in all His matchless supernatural power, cannot create such character instantaneously or automatically by fiat. That ought to take the reader's breath! Is there actually something that even GOD cannot do—by Himself alone? 
   Such character is the ability of a separate conscious, thinking entity with free moral agency—capacity for free choice—to come to KNOW the right from wrong, good from evil, to make the decision, and then with God's help exercise the WILL to DO the right or good, even contrary to self-desire.

Angels Created First

   Now for the moment go back to John 1:1: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."  That is the very earliest prehistoric record. It could have been millions or thousands of millions of years ago. The two eternally living Spirit Personages, who together constituted the ONE God, were ALONE in empty space. There was no physical universe—YET! 
   But, even as man thinks, and designs and plans before making—so did God, who much later made MAN in His own image.  God—with the Word—first conceived the plan and design to create angels, also immortal spirit beings, composed wholly of spirit. So God created angels before creating the material universe, as revealed elsewhere in the Bible.

The Duality in Creation

   There is the DUALITY principle in God's creative process. Angels were the first thinking, reasoning, separate entities created by God.  Angels were created with minds—ability to know, reason, make choices. But their creation could not be a finished creation until CHARACTER—either good or evil—was developed in them. And this is a PROCESS, to be EXPERIENCED. That character development was the second part of the DUAL stage of their creation. God initially INSTRUCTED them in His WAY—that of righteous character. It was THE WAY of God's spiritual law—the basis of God's GOVERNMENT. Then came the time of the creation of the PHYSICAL UNIVERSE. There was a vital connection between the creation of angels and the creation of the material universe. For that, too, was created on the DUALITY principle. To illustrate, I compare this physical creation to the manufacture of unfinished furniture—sold in stores of most cities. Such furniture may be of fine quality, but lacks the finishing polish, paint or whatever. So God created the heavens and the earth—the universe with its countless planets in innumerable solar systems and galaxies, including planets such as our Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, etc.  Genesis 1:1, where "heavens" is in the plural in original Hebrew and modern translations, together with Genesis 2:4, which speaks of "... the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the Eternal God made the earth and the heavens," indicates the earth was created as part of the material universe—all simultaneously created. Other scriptures imply this.  But, like the unfinished furniture, the universe, including the earth, was not at that time completed. Angels had been created prior to the universe, because they sang together and shouted for joy at earth's creation (Job 38:4-7).

A Double Duality

   Now we come to the fact of a double DUALITY in the creation of angels and of the earth. For the earth was inhabited by angels prior to the creation of man. Apparently God placed a third of the created angels on earth. They were given opportunity to share in God's creating activities by FINISHING the earth—working in and with its many elements, improving, beautifying, completing it. 
   This required harmonious teamwork—all working together toward the common God-ordained goal. The earth was the proving ground to QUALIFY them, by righteous CHARACTER development and finishing earth's creation, to share with God the same creative participation in completion of the myriads of planets of the vast universe. To regulate this effort of the angels, God placed on earth's THRONE the archangel, the cherub Lucifer, to administer the GOVERNMENT OF GOD over the angels.  I repeat: That GOVERNMENT is based on God's spiritual laws—as all governments are based on a constitution of foundational law. God's spiritual law is the way of God's holy, righteous CHARACTER.

Angels Led into Rebellion

   The third of the angels (Revelation 12:4) on earth completed their creation by developing evil character—sinning (II Peter 2:4). The super-archangel Lucifer (Isaiah 14:12-14) had been perfect in all his ways from the day of his initial creation, till iniquity—lawlessness—was found in him. "Thus saith the Lord God; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering ... in the day that thou wast created. Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee" (Ezekiel 28:12-15). 
   Lucifer was not satisfied with rule over only the one planet—as the testing ground to prepare him for all planets. He wanted to rule all at once. He said, "... I will exalt my throne above the stars of God ..." (Isaiah 14:13). He had been created with exceeding beauty, which "lifted up his heart" in vanity (Ezekiel 28:17). He became lustful, jealous and envious of God, decided on a WAR of invasion, attempting to overthrow God on the heavenly throne of the universe. He led his angels into rebellion. These angels "kept not their first estate, but left their own habitations"—meaning this earth! (Jude 6.) 
   But Lucifer and his angels were cast back down to earth (Revelation 12:4). The creation of this third of all angels was finished—creation of evil character within them completed. Once their creation was completed, being spirit, they could never change! And they are immortal! The GOVERNMENT OF GOD no longer was operative on earth! Lucifer's name was changed to Satan the devil. His angels became demons. Their minds had become perverted for eternity.

 

Proof Three: WHAT AND WHY IS MAN?

   It must be as shocking to the reader as it was to me to learn that NONE of the religions or churches but the Worldwide Church of God understands both WHAT man is and WHY humanity was put on the earth! 
   Science cannot give you the answer. Modern higher education does not know or teach the answer. And, along with these basic and important questions, WHY all the evils in this chaotic and sick world, now facing the number-one problem of whether human life can survive through the remainder of this 20th century? I ask, HOW can even the most highly educated be so IGNORANT of SO IMPORTANT a TRUTH?

Earth's Face in Devastation

   Instead of improving, beautifying, completing earth's creation, the sinning angels brought it to desolation and ruin. Come now again to Genesis 1:1-2: "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep... ." 
   The original Hebrew for "without form and void" is tohu and bohu—meaning "waste, desolate, deteriorated." The word "was" may also be translated "became." All was oceanic surface —and light had been by angel lawlessness turned into darkness. Let me here interject a biblical principle. The entirety of a subject is often not stated within the context of one place. There is this instruction in Isaiah: "Whom shall he teach knowledge? And whom shall he make to understand doctrine? ... For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little" (Isaiah 28:9-10). But most who try to apply this principle in biblical understanding take each "little" out of context, in order to interpret their own idea into it. Much directly concerned with what is revealed in Genesis 1 is filled in by other passages of Scripture in various parts of the Bible. 
   So now, let's UNDERSTAND the background. Earth's angels had not completed the creation of this planet by improvement, development and beautification. Rather, they had brought it to desolation and ruin. The GOVERNMENT OF GOD had been nullified on earth. And now only God could be certainly relied upon never to depart from the way of His law and His government. No higher, more perfect kind of being could be created than Lucifer—and he had rebelled. Since GOD ALONE would never deviate or turn from GOD'S WAY, God now determined (or probably had already predetermined) to accomplish the SUPREME creative feat—to REPRODUCE HIMSELF! In God's supreme wisdom He knew this must be brought about through matter!

Man in God's Image

Genesis 1:2. The earth was in a state of ruin. "... And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters To prepare the earth for the creation of MAN, God first renewed the face of the earth. This is explained in Psalm 104:30: "Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth." Now back to Genesis 1:2. The earth was in a state of ruin. "... And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters."  The first thing God did was turn darkness back into LIGHT as originally made. God said, "... Let there be light: and there was light" (Genesis 1:3).  So in six days God RENEWED THE FACE OF THE EARTH (the six days in Genesis 1." The first thing God did was turn darkness back into LIGHT as originally made. God said, "... Let there be light: and there was light" (Genesis 1:3). So in six days God RENEWED THE FACE OF THE EARTH (the six days in Genesis 1 is not the time of earth's original creation), preparing it for the creation of MAN! Once again the earth was a perfect creation—but lacking the finishing touches.

 

The Purpose of Man on Earth

 

   WHY did the Creator God put man on the earth? To improve the physical earth as God gave it to man, finishing its creation, which sinning angels had deliberately refused to do; and in so doing to restore the government of God, with God's way of life, and, further, in this very process, TO FINISH THE CREATION OF man by the development of God's holy, righteous CHARACTER, with man's own assent. Once this perfect and righteous character is instilled in man and man converted from mortal to immortal spirit, then is to come the INCREDIBLE HUMAN POTENTIAL—man being BORN INTO the divine FAMILY of God and then participating in the completion of the CREATION of the entire endless expanse of the UNIVERSE! 
   So, on the sixth day of that (re)creation week, God (Elohim) said: "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them" (Genesis 1:26). 
   Man was made to have (with his assent) a special relationship with his Maker! He was made in the form and shape of God. He was given a spirit (essence) to make the relationship possible. Much more of that a little later.

 

The Soul Is Mortal

 

   But God made MAN wholly of MATTER! This was necessary for the supreme accomplishment God willed. "And the Eternal God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath [air] of life; and man became a living soul" (Genesis 2:7). Man, formed from material dust of the ground, upon breathing air BECAME a living soul. It does not say man is or has an immortal soul. What was formed from material ground BECAME a soul. Therefore the SOUL is physical, composed of matter, and can die. This is a TRUTH believed by very few denominations and probably by no religions other than Christianity—another PROOF that identifies the one true Church of God!

 

How Human Mind Functions

 

   Now we come to another truth, so far as I know exclusive in the one true Church.  Did you ever wonder about the vast difference between human mind and animal brain? This incidentally is another PROOF of the falsity of the theory of evolution! The physical brain of vertebrates in the animal kingdom is almost precisely the same in physical form, design, and constituents as human brain—and the brains of whales, elephants, dolphins are larger, and of chimps almost as large. Yet the output of human brain is indescribably greater. Few indeed know WHY! 
   Many passages of scripture show that there is a spirit in man. Spirit is not matter, and man is wholly matter. But, as there could be a small metal object swallowed by mistake in man, yet no part of the man himself, so with the spirit within each human. It is in the form of essence—not a ghost or being of itself, and to distinguish it from God's Holy Spirit, I designate it as the "human spirit." Nevertheless, it is spirit and not matter. 
   This "human spirit" imparts the power of intellect to the human physical brain. The spirit cannot see, hear, taste, smell or feel. The brain sees through the eye, hears through the ear, etc. The "human spirit" cannot of itself think. The physical brain thinks. 
   What, then, is the function of the "human spirit"? It is NOT a "soul." But it 1) imparts the power of intellect, of thinking and of MIND power to the human brain; and 2) it is the very means God has instilled to make possible a personal relationship between human MAN and divine GOD.

 

Two Stages of Man

 

   God creates, as previously mentioned, by the principle of DUALITY. So it is with the creation of MAN. It is accomplished in TWO STAGES: 1) the physical phase, which began with the first man, Adam; and 2) the spiritual stage, which begins with the "second Adam," Jesus Christ (I Corinthians 15:45-46). 
   So also, man was made from creation (and birth) with the one "human spirit"—but he is INCOMPLETE. He was made to need another Spirit—the HOLY SPIRIT of God, and when that gift of God is received, His "Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God" (Romans 8:16)—in the begotten or first stage of the spiritual creation. 
   This is most clearly explained in I Corinthians 2. "... Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart [mind] of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him" (verse 9)—spiritual knowledge. The natural mind can know only what the brain can physically see, hear, taste, smell or feel. The natural mind is confined to physical, material knowledge!  "But God hath revealed them [spiritual things] unto us by his Spirit..." (verse 10). "For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? ..." (verse 11). A cow, sheep or dog cannot know the things a MAN knows—and neither could a man, except by the spirit of man which is in him. Likewise, the natural man with this one spirit is limited to material knowledge: "... even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God" (verse 11). 
   ONLY when the Holy Spirit enters, combining with the "human spirit," can a man come to know that which is spiritual. "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned" (verse 14). 
   That is WHY the most highly educated are overall the most ignorant. They are confined to knowledge of the material. Knowledge of God and the things of God are foolishness to them. But, of course, God says, "... the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God" (I Corinthians 3:19).

 

World Cut Off from God

 

Now back to the first human, Adam. 
 Remember God's PURPOSE in creating man on the earth: 1) to restore the GOVERNMENT OF GOD on earth, and by regulating human life through that GOVERNMENT, to complete the physical creation of earth where angels turned it to ruin, and in the process to complete the creation of MAN by developing righteous spiritual CHARACTER; and 2) to establish the KINGDOM OF GOD and eventually the incredible human potential of finishing the creation of the vast UNIVERSE. 
   This supreme PURPOSE required: 1) that MAN reject Satan's WAY, embracing GOD'S WAY of LOVE, based on God's spiritual law; and 2) that man be made first of matter so that if he were led into Satan's way of GET, he could be CHANGED, converted to GOD'S WAY of LOVE. 
   Spirit, once a finished creation, cannot be changed! That is why the one-third of the angels who followed Satan are forever demons. Spirit is constant and eternal—not subject to change. But physical matter is constantly changing. 
   Through God's master plan for His spiritual creation, to be covered later, it had been determined by God and the Word that the Word would divest Himself of His supreme glory, and in due time take on Him the likeness of human flesh as Jesus Christ, making possible the spiritual phase of the creation of MAN—God REPRODUCING HIMSELF! What a MASTER PLAN for the extreme ULTIMATE in creative accomplishment! How GREAT is our God—in mind, purpose, planning, designing, as well as CREATING—from the tiniest germ or insect to the most huge sun, dwarfing our own great sun to insignificance! 
   And the incredible human potential is that the GREAT MAJESTIC GOD is, in MAN, reproducing Himself—man can be born into the GOD FAMILY!  The first human, Adam, was created with the potential of qualifying to replace Satan, the former Lucifer, on earth's throne, restoring the GOVERNMENT OF GOD. But it was necessary that he resist and reject Satan's GET way and choose GOD'S WAY of His law—the way of LOVE (GIVE)! His Maker talked first to Adam and Eve—instructed them thoroughly in the GOVERNMENT and spiritual LAW of God—even though in Genesis 2 only the most condensed summary of God's instruction to them is revealed. Satan was restrained from any contact with them until God first had completely taught them.

 

Two Symbolic Trees

 

   In the gloriously beautiful Garden of Eden, in which God placed them, were two symbolic trees. One was the "tree of life." Taking its fruit, freely offered, symbolized obedience and faithfulness to God's law of outgoing LOVE and receiving the gift of God's Holy Spirit. 
   The other was the "tree of the knowledge of good and evil." Taking of its fruit was taking to themselves the knowledge of what is good and what is evil—deciding for themselves what is right and what is sin. This, of course, meant rejection of GOD'S LAW, which defined for them the right and the wrong. 
   The glorious archangel Lucifer, as God originally created him, was the pinnacle of God's creative power in a single being. Few today remotely realize the great power, now turned to cunning deception, possessed by Satan. Apparently Adam completely underestimated him. The wily Satan got to Adam through his wife Eve. He did not say, "CHOOSE MY WAY." He appeared as a subtle serpent. He cleverly deceived her. He put DOUBTS in her mind about God's veracity. He deceived her into believing God had been unfair—selfish. He subtly injected vanity of mind. He misled her into thinking it was right to take of the forbidden fruit.  Adam, not deceived, nevertheless went along with his wife. With her, he took to himself the determination of what is right and what is wrong—thus DISBELIEVING what his Maker had said, REJECTING God as Savior and Ruler—rejecting God as the Source of revealed BASIC KNOWLEDGE. He believed and followed Satan's WAY!

Man's Sentence Pronounced

 

   When the Eternal God "drove out the man" from the Garden of Eden and barred reentrance—lest he go back and receive eternal life in sin (Genesis 3:22-24)—God PRONOUNCED SENTENCE! 
   God said, in effect, "You have made the decision for yourself and the world that shall spring from you. You have rejected me as the basic Source of knowledge—you have rebelled against my command and my government—you have chosen the GETTING, TAKING way of Satan. Therefore I sentence you and the world you shall beget to 6,000 years of being CUT OFF from access to me, my revealed knowledge, my WAY of life—EXCEPT for the comparative exceedingly few I shall specially call for special service preparatory to my Kingdom. Go, and produce your own fund of knowledge with your carnal, hostile minds. Produce your own carnal scholarship and system of disseminating it. Go, and create your own gods and religions. Go, FORM YOUR OWN HUMAN-DEVISED GOVERNMENTS. Satan, in all this, will deceive your world into receiving his ATTITUDE of vanity, lust and greed, envy and jealousy, suspicion and disbelief, competition and strife and violence—into unrealized REBELLION against me and my WAY of outflowing LOVE! After your world has written the lesson of your WAY in 6,000 years of evils, troubles, frustrations, sickness, sorrow, suffering and DEATH, I will INTERVENE! I will by supernatural divine POWER take over the government and education of the whole world, calling all to me—to repentance from your false way, and to eternal salvation." 
   Except for those specially called for special duty preparing for God's KINGDOM, ALL HUMANITY HAS BEEN CUT OFF FROM GOD THESE 6,000 years! 
   I know and privately discuss world conditions with many heads of state—kings, emperors, presidents, prime ministers, ambassadors, men high in governments. They all have to deal with problems and evils with which they are utterly unable to cope. 
   WHY? Few indeed know. But I have just told you the cause. This knowledge makes the one true Church of God unique in the world! 
   The TRUTH that all are CUT OFF from God except those specially called by God was emphasized by Jesus. He said, plainly, "No MAN CAN come to me, except the Father which ... sent me draw him ..." (John 6:44). No scripture contradicts that.

 

The Only Day of Salvation?

 

   The most universal false teaching, believed by virtually all churches called Christian, except the one and only true and original Church of God, is that ALL are automatically lost unless they profess Jesus Christ as Savior and that now is the only day of salvation. 
   Those cut off from God are NOT lost—unless called and then lost. They are simply NOT YET JUDGED! All so far called since Adam have been called, not for salvation alone, but primarily for a special mission—and salvation goes along automatically if they do repent, believe, receive and are led by the Holy Spirit. 
   All still living will be called during the millennium, with Christ ruling all nations—and all others previously uncalled will be resurrected and called in the "great white throne judgment" following the millennium. There will be no Satan to overcome then.
   Just as Adam was required to reject and overcome the pull of Satan to qualify to succeed to the throne of the earth, so was Jesus Christ, the second Adam. Jesus Christ did qualify. Those converted prior to His return must also qualify, in order to sit with Him on His throne (Revelation 2:26-27 and 3:21).

 

TO BE CONTINUED

7 PROOFS OF GOD'S TRUE CHURCH: Part One

Herbert W Armstrong

Where is the one and only true Church today—the Church founded by Jesus Christ in A.D. 31? Seven major eye-opening proofs identify it unmistakably.

 

YOU LIVE in a world of religious confusion. WHY so many different religions? The world has Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Shintoism, Hinduism, Islam and Christianity, with its many denominations and sects. Religion is generally regarded as the worship of the Creator or the supernatural—although some Oriental religions are primarily philosophies.

The largest religion in the world, in asserted number of adherents, is Roman Catholicism. Its claim of being the original church of Christianity has won near universal acceptance in the Western world. But where is the absolute AUTHORITY to identify the true religion, and the one original Church, of the Christian religion? Or, is any authentic? Communism rejects religion, labeling it "the opiate of the people." I seriously doubt if anyone has been put through the experience that came to me in settling this question with PROOF POSITIVE.

WHY do most people believe the things they believe? The philosopher C. E. Ayers said truthfully that few, indeed, have ever stopped to ask themselves in retrospect why they believe the things they believe, or HOW they came to believe them.

I have said many times that most people believe that which they have repeatedly heard, read, or been taught, and have carelessly assumed those things to be true without question and without proof.

The Disturbing Dual Challenge

I was born of stable and upright parents, whose Quaker ancestors had emigrated from England to Pennsylvania with William Penn a hundred years before the United States became a nation.

At age 18 I dropped all but the most passive interest in religion. I had put myself through an intensive self-examination, coupled with a survey of the various occupations and professions, to determine where I belonged—to avoid fitting the proverbial square peg in the round hole. This led me into the advertising profession and business life. I was unusually successful. I had continued through the years diligent study and application. I had planned that my business contacts were largely with "the great and the near great." Then, at age 34, I was assailed by very disturbing dual challenges. My wife, after our nine years of happy marriage, had begun keeping the seventh-day Sabbath. I was aghast! That, to me, was religious fanaticism! She claimed to have found this teaching in the Bible.

My first upsetting thought was, "What will my business contacts and friends say?" It was a devastating thought, humiliating!

All the arguments came quickly to my mind. They were of no avail. She said she found this teaching in the Bible. "But the Bible says," I protested, " 'Thou shalt observe Sunday.' "

"Can you show that to me in the Bible?" she asked. "No," I replied. "I don't know much about the Bible. My interest and studies have been in the area of business. But I know the Bible teaches Sunday observance, because all these churches can't be wrong, and they derive their beliefs from the Bible."

"If," she smiled sincerely—but to me exasperatingly, "you can show me where the Bible commands Sunday observance, I'll go back to it." There was no dodging the challenge. My marriage depended upon it! Coincidentally, a sister-in-law, newly married and fresh out of college, hurled at me a second humiliating challenge. "Herbert Armstrong," she accused contemptuously, "you are just plain ignorant! Everybody who has any education knows human life has come by evolution."

I was proud. I had not neglected study and education. I thought I knew the facts about evolution, and I didn't believe in it. But now I had to admit I had never pursued a thorough, in depth research of the question. The dual challenge drove me into determined, almost night-and-day research. That intensive study continued for six months before I found the proven answer. Yet the study to this day has never ceased.

I was not only angered by these challenges—I was determined to prove both my wife and sister-in- law wrong. Both challenges focused on a common starting point—the book of Genesis in the Bible—although that was only the beginning.

These challenges came at a period in life when I had ample time on my hands. I plunged with intense concentration into the study. But I did not begin the research in Genesis. First I delved thoroughly into the works of Darwin, Lyell, Haeckel, Huxley, Spencer, Vogt, Chamberlin and Moore, and even into the earlier works of Lamarck and his theory of "use and disuse," which preceded Darwin's "survival of the fittest" hypothesis. Immediately those writings appeared convincing. They would have to be, to have won virtual universal acceptance in the world of higher education. I readily understood how the field of education had been gripped in the clutch of the evolutionary concept. Evolution, as I finally learned, is the atheists' attempted explanation of the presence of a creation without the pre-existence of a Creator.

This initial stage of my research rudely shook my faith in the existence of God. It brought me to the realization that I had assumed the reality of God, because from childhood I had heard—and therefore accepted—it. For a while my head was literally swimming. Was all I had ever believed mere myth and error, after all? I was awakened to the realization I had never seen PROVED the reality of God. Now I was determined to know the TRUTH! My mind was being cleaned out from ideas and beliefs previously taken for granted. Of all the writers on evolution, Moore alone had culled out many discrepancies in the theory, yet he, too, went along with the doctrine overall.

But now I had, first of all, to prove or disprove the existence of God. It was no casual or superficial study. I continued in this research as if my life depended upon it—as, in actual fact, it did, as well as my marriage. I studied books on both sides of the question. Suffice it to say here that I did find irrefutable PROOF of the existence of God the Creator—and I found proof positive of the fallacy of the evolutionary theory. I had the satisfaction of winning the admission of one thoroughly steeped in evolutionary thought (she had spent years in graduate work at the University of Chicago and at Columbia) that I had definitely chopped down the trunk of the evolutionary tree; though, like Dr. Moore, she had been so thoroughly brainwashed in evolutionary theory she had to continue in it, even though she had seen and acknowledged PROOF of its falsity. Also I had the enjoyment of being able to cause my sister-in-law to "eat those words" branding me as "ignorant." This, of course, was mere vanity on my part, which I had not yet eradicated. I had proved the reality of THE GREAT MAJESTIC GOD! But my wife's challenge was still tormenting my mind. Already, in the evolutionary research, I had studied Genesis. I knew each of the world's religions had its own sacred writings. Once God's reality was proved, I had expected to pursue the study of comparative religion—to see if any such sacred writings proved authoritative. Through which of these did GOD speak to mankind—if any?

Since I had to research the Sabbath question anyway, and had already delved into Genesis, I decided to continue my study of the Bible—intending to examine in depth the writings of other religions afterward. Eternal life—I am, or I have, an immortal soul." I researched the word "soul" by means of a Bible concordance. Twice I found the words, "The soul that sinneth, it shall die" (Ezek. 18:4 and Ezek. 18:20). Then I remembered I had read in Genesis 2 how God said to the first human, "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die" (verse 17). In Genesis 2:7 I read how "God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man [dust—matter] became a living soul." This states plainly that a soul is physical—formed from matter. I found that the English word "soul" is translated from the Hebrew nephesh and that in Genesis 1, fowl, fish, and animals, all three, were nephesh, as Moses was inspired to write.

Next, I happened to read where Jesus said, "And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man" (John 3:13). I researched the heaven and hell teaching further. I saw that the inspired Peter, on the day he received the Holy Spirit, said: "For David is not ascended into the heavens" (Acts 2:34).

I was, in utter astonishment, coming to realize that what I had been taught growing up in church was the precise opposite of what the Bible says in clear language. This is not the place for a lengthy, detailed account of my intensive search in the Bible—when I was bent on proving to my satisfaction that "all these churches can't be wrong—for their teachings come from the Bible." The essential point here is the simple fact that I did find irrefutable PROOF of the divine inspiration and SUPREME AUTHORITY of the Holy Bible as the revealed Word of God as originally written. Even all the so-called contradictions evaporated upon unbiased study. Yet, to my utter dismay and chagrin, I was forced to "eat crow" in regard to my wife's supposed "fanaticism." It was not what I wanted to believe, THEN! But by now I had taken a real beating. I had proved truth contrary to what I wanted to believe.

Let me pause here to add a point to what I wrote above, saying most people believe what they have repeatedly heard, read, or been taught. There are two other psychological truisms in regard to WHY people believe what they do. One is that people carelessly accept what those around them believe. Most Thais are Buddhists, because those around them in Thailand are Buddhists. There is the psychological tendency to "go along" with one's peers. One other reason for people's beliefs is that human nature tends to cause one to believe what he wants to believe—and refuse, regardless of proof, what he does not want to believe. There is the old saying, "One convinced against his will is of the same opinion still."

That is why I have said the experience I was painfully subjected to in this six months' intensive study was UNIQUE in human life and conduct. I know of no world religious leader who arrived at his teachings in such a manner. Perhaps that is why GOD'S INSPIRED WORD alone—as I proved—is TRUTH. Only GOD is infallibly correct!

I was brought, by the spring of 1927, to a complete MIND-SWEEPING—my mind swept clean of previous assumptions and beliefs and surrendered to the WORD OF GOD which by then I had proved to be TRUE and the SUPREME AUTHORITY.

More, I had been brought to realize my own inadequacy and nothingness. I had been brought to a real repentance—CONQUERED by the GREAT MAJESTIC GOD—and received as God's gift a solid rock-based FAITH in Jesus Christ. I was baptized, and the indwelling of God's Spirit opened my mind to the JOY UNSPEAKABLE of knowing God and Jesus Christ—of knowing TRUTH—and the warmth of God's divine LOVE! What I once hated I now LOVED. I found the greatest and most absorbing joy of my life in continuing to dig out those gold nuggets of TRUTH from God's Word.

Now came a new enthusiasm for biblical study and receiving the REVEALED knowledge of God. And I was led to find that ONE and ONLY true and original Church of God, founded by Jesus Christ on the Day of Pentecost, A.D. 31.

I now reveal to the reader SEVEN MAJOR PROOFS that identify it.

 

Proof One: WHO AND WHAT IS GOD?

 

It seems utterly unbelievable! The religions of this world do not know WHO or WHAT God really is! Yet religion is the worship of God. HOW can one worship what is UNKNOWN?

The only answer is that the Bible reveals that ALL NATIONS have been deceived (Rev. 12:9). The true understanding of the very identity of God is one proof that the one and only Church founded A.D. 31 by Jesus Christ is, today, the Worldwide Church of God. (READ “WHO ARE WE” ON OUR HOME PAGE OF OUR WEBSITE)

It seems inconceivable—but you live today in a world of religious CONFUSION! Among the largest of the world's religions are Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Shintoism, Hinduism, Islam and Christianity, with its hundreds of denominations and sects. The latter is the largest in number of adherents. And yet only one religion, neither Roman Catholic nor Protestant, knows WHO and WHAT God is! Modern science does not know. Higher education does not know or teach it. The intellectuals of the world in the first century were the Athenians. Certain philosophers of the Epicureans and of the Stoics encountered the apostle Paul. "What will this babbler say?" queried some in ridicule (Acts 17:18). Others sneered sarcastically, "He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods." 

They took Paul and brought him to Areopagus, the supreme tribunal, on Mars Hill. "May we know," they asked cynically, "what this new doctrine, whereof thou speakest, is? For thou bringest certain strange things to our ears."

Here were the world's most "scholarly." Paul was preaching the truth of GOD. "Ye men of Athens," said the apostle forthrightly and boldly, "I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions [idolatrous objects of worship], I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. 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 needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; and hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth."

WHO is GOD?

CREATION is the basic proof of God. These Athenian Epicureans and Stoics did not even know that. Perhaps the adherents of many religions do not.

But what of the real NATURE of God? Just WHO and WHAT is God? We need a more concrete understanding than to say, merely, that God is the Being who created all. That is the starting point. Only the one original Church Jesus founded in A.D. 31 has the full answer. It seems inconceivable that, of all the religions and churches in the world today, only ONE is unique in UNDERSTANDING the nature of the CREATOR of all that is!

Mankind could know! God reveals Himself in plain language in His Word, the Holy Bible. But no book has been so distorted, twisted, and misrepresented as this ONE SUPREME AUTHORITY OF TRUTH! The generally accepted teaching of traditional Christianity is that God is a "Trinity"—God in three Persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, which is designated as a "Ghost."  By about A.D. 59 the gospel Jesus Christ proclaimed had been suppressed (Gal. 1:6-7). A counterfeit "gospel" had replaced it. From about A.D. 70 there ensued "the lost century" of Church history. All historic record of the true Church of God had been systematically destroyed during that hundred years. The curtain had been rung down on Church activities, and when the curtain of recorded history lifted, an entirely different church appeared, calling itself "Christian." Extreme persecution by powerful forces had driven the true Church of God underground.

The church by the fourth century was more like the Babylonian mystery religion, having appropriated the name "Christianity" (Rev. 17:5).

There had been two heated doctrinal controversies—one called the Quartodeciman controversy between Polycrates and the bishops of Rome on the observance of the spring festival (should Passover or Easter be celebrated?). The other, between Arius, a priest of Alexandria, and the Roman bishops on the Trinity doctrine. Emperor Constantine, the supreme head of the Roman Empire, called the Nicene Council in A.D. 325 and made both the pagan Easter (named from the goddess Astarte) and the Trinity doctrine LAW! The Trinity doctrine limited God to three Persons. More of that later. The King James biblical scholars translated the Greek words for Holy Spirit as "Holy Ghost," under the delusion that the Spirit of God was a third Person. Also the translators of the 1611 version usually used the pronouns "he," "him," etc., in relation to the Holy Spirit, but not always: The pronoun "it" also is used.  But how does God reveal Himself authoritatively? If one should ask, "Where, in order of time sequence, do we find the real beginning in the Bible?" the reply probably would be Genesis 1:1, beginning with the words, "In the beginning God... ." RIGHT? WRONG! In order of time sequence the earliest prehistoric revelation is in the New Testament, in John 1:1-3: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made."

The Word was one Personage. God was another Personage. Yet the Word was a Personage separate from God—as shown in verse 14: "And the Word was [much later] made flesh, and dwelt among us... . " The Word became Jesus Christ. The English "Word" is translated from the original Greek Logos, meaning "Word" or "Spokesman." That all things were made by Him is confirmed in Ephesians 3:9, where it speaks of God "who created all things by Jesus Christ." "He spake, and it was done" (Ps. 33:9).

Here are TWO Personages, yet both are GOD. How is that? A man named David Smith may have a son named Paul. But Paul, though a separate individual, is also a Smith. However, Jesus Christ did not become the Son of God until about 4 B.C., when born in human flesh of the virgin Mary. Prior to that, He had ALWAYS existed, even as had God. Christ was originally "without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life" (Heb. 7:3).

Now come to Genesis 1:1: "In the beginning God... ." This was written originally by Moses in the Hebrew language. The English "God" is translated from the Hebrew Elohim—a uniplural noun. It is uniplural in the same sense as the words "family" and "church"—denoting more than one component forming the whole. Not two Gods—but ONE God consisting of more than one Person. When, only nineteen hundred-plus years ago, Jesus was begotten of God in the womb of His human mother Mary, He was the only human ever so begotten prior to human birth! Yet, as we shall see later, humans may become begotten children of God—after human birth, but preceding a spiritual birth.

Throughout the first chapter of Genesis, the Hebrew name of God is always the Hebrew Elohim, which denotes both the Word and God. But in chapter 2, Moses began adding another name for God—Yahweh in the Hebrew, usually combined with Elohim: Yahweh-Elohim. In the King James English translation, it is rendered "LORD God," which is somewhat misleading.

It is interesting, at this point, to explain this name Yahweh. There is no one word in the English language which adequately translates it. It means "the self-existent, eternal-living, creative one." The Moffatt translation renders it "the Eternal." The Fenton translation uses "the Ever-Living." Personally, I prefer to use only the one word "Eternal," instead of "Lord."

In any event, the English "LORD" in the King James translation refers to that Person in the Godhead who in John 1:1 is called "the Word"—the very one who later became Jesus Christ.

 

Who Was the God of the Old Testament?

 

That leads to an important point in the UNDERSTANDING of WHO and WHAT GOD is. Many if not most seem to believe the God of the Old Testament was the one Jesus prayed to as His FATHER. But many New Testament passages quoting from the Old Testament prove that the one of the Godhead who was born in human flesh as Jesus Christ was the Yahweh of the Old Testament and the Word of John 1:1. That knowledge is a portion of PROOF #1 identifying the true original Church today.

Jesus came, among other purposes, to REVEAL the Father. Ancient Old Testament Israel knew of only ONE PERSONAGE in the Godhead—although their Scriptures contained the Hebrew Elohim. But to them, primarily, God was conceived of as not only ONE God, but only ONE Person! The truth is, Israelites generally knew nothing of God—the Person to whom Jesus prayed and the Father Jesus came to REVEAL.

However, another technical point is: God only became the FATHER of the GOD FAMILY when Jesus Christ was begotten and born as a human. Yet He may become our Father in heaven when we are begotten by His Holy Spirit. More of that later.

Now notice that God (Elohim) is more than one Person, even though only ONE GOD. In Genesis 1:26, Elohim said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness... ." Notice! Not "Let me," but "Let US"—plural, or uniplural. Then, in Genesis 2:2-3, "On the seventh day God [Elohim] ended his work which he had made... . And God [Elohim] blessed the seventh day... ."

Then, verse 4: "These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God [Yahweh Elohim] made the earth and the heavens." Again it was through the Word, in the Hebrew named Yahweh, that the earth and heavens were made—as GOD created all things by Jesus Christ (Eph. 3:9).

Does God Have Form and Shape?

 

God reveals that He is spirit-composed (John 4:24). Unless supernaturally manifested, spirit is invisible to human eyes. Jesus said to His disciples, "Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape" (John 5:37). Later "Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us." Jesus answered, "Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? He that hath seen me hath seen the Father" (John 14:8-9). WHY? Because God the Father—if human eyes could see—looks like Jesus. And what did Jesus look like? Certainly NOT like artists' renderings you have seen which are supposed to picture Him. For one thing, HE DID NOT HAVE LONG HAIR (I Cor. 11:14). He looked like other Jews then in Judea, else the chief priests would not have paid Judas Iscariot 40 [sic] pieces of silver to identify Him. Now notice once again Genesis 1:26: "God [Elohim] said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness [form and shape]... . " God is described in the Bible as having eyes, ears, nose, mouth, hair, arms, legs, fingers, toes. Jesus was "the express image of his [the Father's] person" (Heb. 1:3).

What Is the Holy Spirit?

 

If the Holy Spirit is not a Person—a "Ghost"—then what does the Bible reveal about the Holy Spirit? The natural carnal mind of man simply cannot grasp an understanding of spirit. It is not matter. The Hebrew word for spirit, ruach, and the Greek pneuma both are often translated into the English "wind," "air," or "breath"—because these physical words perhaps most closely explain spirit to the human mind—yet spirit is not physical or material. The Holy Spirit is the spirit (not Ghost) that emanates out from both God and Christ everywhere in the universe. Through His Holy Spirit, God projects Himself, in spirit, everywhere in the universe—yet both God and Christ have form and shape, even as man.

The Holy Spirit is many things. It is the very LIFE of the immortal God, which, entering into a human, begets him with God-life.

It is the POWER of God by which, when Christ "spake," it was done. It is the POWER by which God stretched out the heavens—created the vast endless universe.

The Holy Spirit, entering into man as God's gift, opens the mind to UNDERSTANDING of spiritual knowledge, unknown to the human mind otherwise. It is the LOVE of God "shed abroad in our hearts." It is the FAITH of Christ which may be given to God's begotten children. It is the POWER of God, begotten within humans, enabling us to overcome Satan and sin.

 

"How Great Thou Art"

 

We have covered the nature of God. Now consider HOW GREAT He is. King David was meditating on this, and man's insignificance by comparison. He wrote: "When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; what is man, that thou art mindful of him?" (Ps. 8:3-4.) Isaiah was inspired to write: "Who hath measured the waters [oceans] in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance? ... Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance... . All nations before him are as nothing ..." (Isa. 40:12-17). Then God is quoted: "To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? ... Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power ..." (verses 25- 26). Yet, there is much more to come, in relation to David's comparison of God to man, and why God should be concerned about us, in a later installment—and fantastically thrilling it is!

NONE but the Worldwide Church of God today possesses the REVEALED TRUTH and knowledge of WHO and WHAT God is!

(To Be Continued)