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OF GOD'S TRUE CHURCH
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.
By Herbert W. Armstrong
GOVERNMENT OF GOD AND
CREATION OF HOLY,
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.
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.
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).
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.
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, "... 1 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.
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?
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!
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 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.
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.
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 other religions - another PROOF that identifies the one true Church of God!
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.
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).
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.
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!
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 out flowing 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! 1 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 1 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 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).