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Personal Meetings With Heads of Governments - But Why?
By Herbert W. Armstrong
READERS OF this page know that in the past four years I have had many personal meetings with heads of state, kings, presidents, prime ministers, cabinet ministers, members of law-making bodies, leading educators and other world leaders. But why?
They know also that, besides being the editor of The PLAIN TRUTH, I am an ordained minister and president of the Worldwide Church of God.
So some may wonder, what possible connection could there be between the problems of governments and the message of Jesus Christ?
As I have said before, I have been invited for these private talks. "But what do you talk about in these meetings?" many ask. We talk about their problems - about world problems and conditions. We talk about their struggles to better the lot of their peoples - about their views and efforts toward world peace.
What Possible Relation to Government?
"But what does that have to do with the.gospel?" some will ask. The answer is, governments and government problems have the very most vital connection with the gospel of Christ.
Yet few understand!
The PLAIN TRUTH is a magazine of UNDERSTANDING. And our massive readership of some eight million needs to understand. If and when one knows what is the gospel of Jesus Christ, he will understand why these meetings are so important. He will understand also why higher education and virtually the entire educational system has turned its back on religion and the Bible. He will understand why, in groping for truth to replace the superstition of what educators and scientists supposed was the gospel, they have developed the theory of evolution as the basic concept and approach to knowledge.
Neither religion nor government nor education has found the cause of the frightful evils in today's world, nor have they found the solutions to the tragic problems of suffering humanity. They fail utterly to point the way to or to produce peace! The evolutionary theory gives no explanation for the real vital problems of today's very sick world. It offers no solutions. But the gospel of Jesus Christ - if they only knew what it is - does give the rational and true explanation, and it outlines the solution that will be made!
But, one may ask in bewilderment, doesn't everybody know what is the gospel of Jesus Christ? Hasn't it been preached for more than 1900 years?
Incredible or not, the answer is an emphatic NO! Christ's gospel was not proclaimed to the world for over 18 1/2 centuries!
That, I know, is a staggering statement. It may sound absurd.
People will ask, "But haven't they preached Christ to the world? Haven't they pleaded BELIEVE ON CHRIST and ACCEPT CHRIST? Haven't millions believed on Christ? Haven't millions accepted Christ - professed Christ? Do not millions call their religion after his name - the Christian religion? And isn't Christianity the largest religion on earth, with more followers than any other religion?" Quite true.
Christ Is Not the Gospel
But preaching Christ is not preaching Christ's gospel! Christ the person is not the gospel! Christ was the messenger who brought the gospel - the messenger God sent with a MESSAGE for all mankind - and that message is the gospel.
The very word "gospel" means "good news." Jesus brought BIG news - the most important news announcement ever reported to mankind. It is the advance news of how WORLD PEACE will come!
Jesus Christ, the person, is the greatest, most important person ever to walk on this earth. But he, as a person, is not the gospel. The miracles he performed are not the gospel. The things Jesus did are not the gospel. What he preached - the tremendous good news he announced - is the GOSPEL.
Tune in your television set any Sunday morning, and you'll see the weekly Sunday morning religious diet and hear nearly all preachers telling you about Christ - urging you to believe on Christ - to accept Christ - telling you what a wonderful person he was. They will be called "gospel programs." They will talk about getting out the gospel. But Christ the person is not the gospel! I know that sounds incredible - because they call what they are saying "the gospel."
Millions of viewers and listeners have ASSUMED they were hearing the gospel. People have heard all their lives the preaching about Jesus Christ the person which has been called "the gospel." People have simply taken it for granted that they were hearing the gospel. So they accept what they have heard as the gospel when, in actual fact, they have never heard the gospel of Jesus Christ - the message - the news announcement.
Believers Wanted to Kill Christ
What they have accepted without question as the gospel offers no solution to humanity's sufferings, frustrations and indescribable evils! The true gospel Jesus brought proclaims the solution to the world's troubles, but men rejected that gospel and crucified Jesus for preaching it!
There were those who BELIEVED on Christ, just as millions do today - millions who have not heard his gospel!
Notice! Read it fully in the Bible. It's an eye-opener - for the Bible doesn't SAY what you've supposed. Jesus was speaking in the Temple at Jerusalem: "Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed" (John 8:31).
Understand it! Jesus' word was his message - the gospel he was teaching. He was saying, in other words: "If you continue DOING what the gospel teaches, you will be my disciples."
But they refused to believe what he taught - his gospel - or to do what he taught. They believed on him - they believed in his identity - they believed he was the Messiah - the Christ - but they did not BELIEVE HIM - what he said!
Continuing, "... but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you. I speak that which I have seen with my Father..." (verses 37-38). These very people who BELIEVED ON HIM sought to kill him because they hated what he said - his gospel - the very solution to mankind's troubles - the way that will usher in peace, prosperity, happiness and every good state.
These who believed on him continued to argue. Then he said: "But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God ..." (verse 40). Jesus continued: "... I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me" (verse 42). Further: "And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not" (verse 45). Millions today believe on Christ, but do NOT believe his gospel in most cases because they have never heard it. They have heard of him - of what he did - but not his message of the solution to all man's troubles and how to gain eternal life in joyful happiness, abundance and accomplishment.
A Messenger and His Message
You will have noticed, above, how Jesus stressed the fact that God, his father, had sent him. What he taught, he had received from God.
Notice now this prophecy in Malachi: "Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me ..." (Malachi 3:1). He is speaking here of John the Baptist (Mark 1:2}, but primarily as a type of another to prepare the way before his second coming (Malachi 4:5-6).
Continuing, "... and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in..." (Malachi 3:1). Jesus came as a messenger - the messenger of the COVENANT. This is speaking of the New Covenant. Moses was the mediator of the Old Covenant, an agreement between God and the people of Israel, which set them up as" one of the kingdoms on earth named after their earthly father, Israel (Jacob).
This prophecy leads us directly to the beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, in Mark 1:1: "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight" (Mark 1:1-4).
This shows John preparing the way before the beginning of Jesus' announcement of his gospel. The next nine verses describe John's baptizing and his announcing of the coming of the Messiah, the baptism of Jesus and Jesus' head-on confrontation with and conquering of Satan, by which he qualified to restore on earth the government of God.
Then, verses 14-15: "Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching...." What? What gospel? "... preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, The time is fulfilled. ..." How fulfilled? Jesus had just qualified to restore and rule that government. It could not have been announced sooner - "... the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel." Believe what? He said we must believe the gospel - the good news of the Kingdom of God.
But since late in the first century, that gospel has not been preached to the world! Almost nobody today knows what the Kingdom of God is! Millions think it is a church! Other millions think it is some ethereal nothing "set up in men's hearts." Some have even thought it was the British Empire. (For a full explanation, write for the free, eye-opening booklet, Just What Do You Mean ...the Kingdom of God?)
The word "gospel" means "good news." It was an advance NEWS announcement.. It was tremendous, wonderful news - the biggest, most important news ever announced to mankind! Yet it has been suppressed! Your Bible says ALL NATIONS have been deceived.
The leaders in Judaea and Galilee in Jesus' day rejected that wonderful news. Many of those who BELIEVED ON CHRIST rejected it, sought to kill him for teaching it, as shown above, and finally did have him killed. The apostles who went out proclaiming that wonderful news were martyred for preaching it - with the possible exception of John. After 3 1/2 years of Jesus' ministry and preaching to as many as five thousand men at a time, only 120 were still accepting the gospel and continuing in it by the time of his ascension to heaven - forty days after his resurrection (Acts 1:3, 14-15). Soon a great persecution set in during the time of the apostles' preaching (Acts 8:1). After the Romans took Jerusalem in A.D. 70, Roman persecution virtually snuffed out all true gospel preaching. For the next 18 1/2 centuries, Christ was preached to the world, but NOT HIS GOSPEL!
What Is That Kingdom?
Just what is a kingdom? If I tell you that King Hussein is the King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, you understand what I mean. It is not some nonexistent, ethereal nothing in Hussein's heart.
A kingdom is a government. It is ruled by laws. The function of government is to administer and enforce those laws!
Did you ever hear of a nation or its government without laws? Of course not! The Kingdom of God once ruled this earth. It ruled with the laws of the Creator God. As long as it ruled, the whole earth was filled with peace, with HAPPINESS and JOY. Then that government was taken away, and I do not mean in the time of ancient Israel - but all that's another story.
The gospel of Jesus Christ is a NEWS announcement about GOVERNMENT! The heavens have received Christ until the time of RESTORATION of that government (Acts 3:19-21).
Who Is to Be King?
A kingdom consists of (1) a king, or chief ruler with all his officers who rule over (2) people within (3) certain boundaries in which the ruler has jurisdiction, with (4) a system of laws and government.
First, then, notice WHO is to be the king of the Kingdom of God. Look at the prophecy in Isaiah 9:6-7: "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever."
Next, in the New Testament, just prior to Jesus' birth, an angel spoke to Mary, who was to become Jesus' mother: "And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for... thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end" (Luke 1:30-33).
When Jesus was on trial for his life Pilate asked: "Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I unto the world..." (John 18:37). But in the preceding verse Jesus had explained, "My kingdom is not of this world...."
A World-Ruling Government
The prophet Daniel foretold the Kingdom of God. In the second chapter, speaking of the kings over governments in this, our generation, he prophesied: "And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever" (Daniel 2:44).
In the seventh chapter is a prophecy of the succession of world empires, beginning with King Nebuchadnezzar's Chaldean Empire, called Babylon, through the Persian Empire, the Greco-Macedonian Empire and its four divisions, followed by the Roman Empire, the Holy Roman Empire of the Middle Ages, and its final revival in Europe now forming. Then, speaking of this soon-coming "United States of Europe" - a revived "Holy Roman Empire": "And the kingdom, and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him" (Daniel 7:27).
How the sects and denominations of the Christian religion can overlook these basic, pivotal scriptures about WHAT GOSPEL Christ brought is indeed hard to understand!
Next, consider the people who will constitute the Kingdom of God. I have shown you Jesus said it was a future Kingdom - not of this present world or age. Daniel's prophecy shows the government will be given over to "the saints," yet Christ is to be the King.
The Future Rulers
There will be two classes of people when the Kingdom of God is set up. One, those whom Daniel called saints, resurrected to immortality, organized into the executive branch of the government, who shall rule under Christ. The other, those mortal humans left alive on earth. Both are referred to in many scriptures.
But Jesus explained to the Pharisee Nicodemus about those who shall bear rule in the government. It's in the third chapter of John. Yet it is misinterpreted by almost every denomination in the Christian religion, in spite of the fact it NEEDS NO INTERPRETATION. It is clear and plain in the Bible - especially when considered along with many other passages on the same subject.
Jesus said: "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.... That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit" (John 3:3, 6). A mortal human cannot enter into or see the Kingdom of God. Only those born of the Spirit (which is God), and who are no longer material human flesh from the ground, but who are spirit - composed of spirit, not of matter - can enter that kingdom.
Yet, because Christ's gospel is not preached (except on our programs and in our publications), this birth is commonly either rejected or represented as an "experience" when one "accepts" or "receives" Christ. Space does not permit a thorough explanation with all the pertinent scriptures here, but the reader is invited to request our free booklet Just What Do You Mean... Born Again? and also the free booklet, Why Were You Born? They cover thoroughly, intriguingly, the most important thing in your life - the PURPOSE for which you were put here on earth, why you are, where you are going and the way. It's the missing dimension in knowledge!
But let me cite just two more brief verses of Scripture that show who will be ruling, under Christ, in the government of God over this earth. In Revelation 3:21, Christ is speaking. 'To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne."
And it is Christ speaking also in Revelation 2:26-27: "And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father."
The Gospel Relation to Government
This has been a very condensed summary of precisely WHAT Christ's gospel is. Christ came with a tremendous ANNOUNCEMENT - Wonderful news of a world-ruling GOVERNMENT to come and solve all of humanity's seemingly unsolvable problems.
It is the message of how we may qualify, now, to be a king or priest (Revelation 5:10) then made immortal and composed of spirit, in God's Kingdom. It is the message that God is the divine, creating, universe-ruling family into which we may be born by repenting of the way of sin that has CAUSED all the terrible EVILS and unsolvable problems in this world, and, through a living faith in Christ, turning to the way of God's law - the way that will CAUSE the peace and joy of the happy world tomorrow. It points out the true and only way to eternal life.
Christ's gospel is a message about government. Christ's gospel is concerned with the evils confronting the world's peoples which the governments of the nations are trying to cope with.
When I discuss with heads of governments today THEIR PROBLEMS, and WORLD PROBLEMS, I am discussing precisely what the gospel is all about.
The gospel is concerned with the CAUSE of all these problems and troubles. The gospel Christ brought is concerned with humans turning Now FROM the way that is CAUSING all their troubles to the WAY that will CAUSE peace, happiness and plenty.
The gospel is concerned with (1) how we may solve our troubles NOW, and (2) how God is GOING to solve them FOR us - and IN SPITE OF us if we refuse to change our way now. To heads of state I make these ways clear by designating them as the WAY of GIVE, as opposed to the WAY of GET. It's a language they understand - and it makes sense to them!
Moses was reared in Pharaoh's palace. Abraham met with kings. Joseph was used in Egypt's government. He virtually became the prime minister. David was a king. God sent Isaiah, Jeremiah, Elijah and others to kings. Paul went before kings. When God opens doors to government heads for me, I walk through them. When he gives me great favor in their sight, I go again. I am merely the servant of the living Christ, and he knows what he is doing and what use he will make of these trips.
World Leaders Frightened
The time for kidding ourselves is past. This world is in a very, critically serious condition. Even after some thirty years of the world-effort to develop the poor nations of the world, they are poorer today than ever before. Millions upon millions face starvation, live in ignorance/utter poverty, filth and squalor, wracked with disease and ill health. In the affluent nations, crime is rampant - even in residential neighborhoods, morals have sunk to the gutter, divorces are breaking up a third of the homes, youths are taking to drugs and, alcohol, staring a hopeless future in the face.
The weapons now exist to erase all humanity from the face of the earth in very short order. The world is sick, and the sickness is rapidly nearing the acute stage.
World-famous scientists and heads of state are saying the world's ONLY HOPE is a single WORLD GOVERNMENT in control of all arms and military force, to insure WORLD PEACE. Man can't bring it about. But Christ's gospel - the most tremendous ANNOUNCEMENT of the most wonderful GOOD NEWS ever given to the world, announces to humanity just that - a supreme world government With TOTAL POWER OVER ALL nations, ushering in world peace, prosperity for ALL, good health for all - a world filled with happiness and joy!
Jesus' gospel taught the way of life that will produce this Utopia - a way true Christians must live NOW - a way that would solve all of today's problems and evils.
That is the light that Jesus Christ brought to the world, but, (John 3:19) men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. The world REJECTED that wonderful good news and crucified their very Maker for bringing it. And while they were sinning so abominably, Christ died for them, to pay the penalty they have incurred in their stead - if and when they repent and turn to the way that brings them happiness! What a commentary on human nature!
Anyway, the restoration of the Kingdom of God does not depend on how much the NEWS is proclaimed. It does not depend on mankind believing it. IT is GOING TO HAPPEN - as surely as the rising of tomorrow's sun!
Jesus proclaimed the Kingdom of God to many thousands. All but 120 individuals rejected it. The so-called "Sermon on the Mount" outlined the way of God's government. His many parables described the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God was his gospel!
Peter, John and the other original apostles proclaimed the Kingdom of God. It was the gospel the apostle Paul preached to the Gentiles. But men rejected it.
For 18 1/2 centuries IT WAS NOT PROCLAIMED TO THE WORLD - Only to a very few - and that generally under cover, lest those preaching it be put to death!
Jesus Said It Would Happen
Jesus said plainly that although he, as a person, as the Messiah, would be preached to the world, his gospel would be withheld and the people would be deceived.
When his disciples asked when he would come again to earth to set up God's Kingdom and of the END of this present world, Jesus said: "Take heed that no man deceive you. For MANY shall come in my name" - many would profess to be his ministers, representing him - "saying I am Christ; and shall deceive many" (Matthew 24:4-5). Untold thousands, ordained ministers in the Christian religion, have PREACHED CHRIST! They have said Jesus of Nazareth was Christ. But Christ's gospel has been withheld. The many have been deceived.
Remember, a deceived person does not know he is deceived. Otherwise he would not be deceived. Millions have been deceived into accepting a FALSE gospel - a false salvation.
But, in Jesus' answer to their question as to his return to earth and the END of this present world or age, the only sign he gave .was: "And this gospel OF THE KINGDOM shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come" (Matthew 24:14).
Stop and think! If Christ's gospel had been preached to all the world during those 18 1/2 centuries, it could not be the sign today of the soon-coming end of this present world, and of Christ's imminent return as King of kings and Lord of lords, to restore the Kingdom of God and the peaceful and happy world tomorrow! That one statement is absolute advance PROOF from Christ's own lips that his gospel would be withheld.
It has been!
But beginning January 1934, Christ's very gospel began going out. By the end of 1952 it was being thundered to the United States and Canada coast to coast via radio. January 1953 it began going to Europe and Britain - and soon, worldwide. Also, as in Jesus' prophecy of Matthew 24, the world is fast-approaching the supreme time of world trouble - the very CLIMAX of civilization called "the GREAT TRIBULATION" (verses 21-22).
This is a frightening and terrifying hour - unless one hides his eyes and ears from the state of the world and its trends!
In such a sobering time, YOU HAVE JUST READ THE TRUTH that ought to arouse you out of the sleep of complacency and indifference! It is, I know, a shocking, staggering FACT to realize that this work - The PLAIN TRUTH, The World Tomorrow program on radio worldwide and on daily TV in the U. S. (and Canada weekly) - the work going out from Ambassador College and the Worldwide Church of God, is the ONLY WORK ON EARTH proclaiming the very gospel of Jesus Christ to the world in great power!