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What About God - Revealed Knowledge?
By Herbert W. Armstrong
IN TEN YEARS the world has experienced a KNOWLEDGE EXPLOSION! Its fund of knowledge especially in technological, scientific, and medical fields has DOUBLED. The world's TROUBLES also have doubled in the same decade.
But what about GOD-revealed knowledge?
That knowledge knowledge new to us has burst on our consciousness like a shocking EXPLOSION!
God said, at "the time of the end, many shall run to and fro, and KNOWLEDGE SHALL BE INCREASED" (Dan. 12:4).
Do you realize HOW MUCH vital knowledge, revealed by GOD, has come to God's Church in the last two decades? When I look back on it, in retrospect, it is AMAZING!
Many in God's Church -actually more than 99% of you, have come into the Church in that last 20 years. Probably you have never realized how THE TRUTH was revealed. Most of you have been put into God's Church by the living Christ with THE TRUTH all laid out in order for you. When you came in, you came into a Church that already possessed the Truth. You were able to learn it, and come to full understanding, in a very short time, comparatively.
That is not the way Mrs. Armstrong and I came in!
We don't have ALL the Truth God's revelation (the Bible) holds for us, even yet. I believe we now have MOST that is vital to us at this particular time! But I had to come into God's Truth a single doctrine, or a single bit of Truth, at a time. It was not all laid out in order, in a clear-cut, plain, well-organized pattern as it is today for YOU!
So I thought it would be interesting - and profitable to you, to start at the beginning and give you, briefly, the story of HOW God put His Truth into His Church of this "Philadelphia" era.
The "Philadelphia" era of God's Church had not come into existence when God first called me.
I'm sure most of you know something of the early background: of my early life in the advertising profession, having my business taken away by nation-wide conditions beyond my control three times -of being angered into my first, actual STUDY of the Bible.
Mrs. Armstrong had been, in my view, "deceived" into taking up with religious fanaticism. She had begun keeping,what I then called "the Jewish Sabbath." Unable to argue her out of it, I started to study the Bible to find where the Bible commanded "Thou shalt keep SUNDAY!"
Of course I couldn't find it. But the study widened in scope and lasted about six months, before Truth began to clear before my mixed-up and befogged vision. I was simultaneously challenged on the theory of evolution.
Both challenges the Sabbath and evolution took me to the first chapter of Genesis. The simultaneous study of the evolutionary theory brought on an intensive study into the question: Does GOD exist? For evolution is the atheist's attempt to explain the presence of a CREATION without a Creator.
That six-months' study proved these BASIC Truths:
1) God does exist.
2) Evolution stands disproved an error a false theory.
3) The Bible (in its original writings) is the inspired INSTRUCTION BOOK of the Creator GOD to mankindinfallible.
4) The SABBATH is binding today, the SIGN that identifies GOD to us, and identifies us as His PEOPLE.
5) At the very last of this study, the fact that the annual Holy Days and Festivals of God are also binding became apparent.
6) Also I had learned that the wages of sin is , DEATH, not eternal life in hell fire that it is eternal punishment, not eternal punishing.
7) I had learned also that eternal life is God's GIFT by His grace, imparted to us by His Holy Spirit.
Brethren, do you see, from this, HOW METHODICALLY God began revealing His Truth to me? Those seven points are BASIC the FOUNDATION! Knowledge of the TRUE God; getting rid of the false god (evolution); PROOF of the AUTHORITY of the Bible the SOURCE of knowledge; the Sabbath as God's SIGN; the annual Sabbaths, picturing God's PLAN (though I did not yet at that time understand their meaning); the PENALTY for sin; and the need of God's Holy Spirit for salvation and eternal life!
But now the details had to be filled in.
I had not yet received God's Holy Spirit. I was still searching with a carnal mind-but, with this knowledge, I had SURRENDERED my will, my hostility against God, all rebellion against His Law. I had REPENTED, and I had come to BELIEVE in Jesus Christ as personal Saviour.
But I was still puzzled about water baptism. My parents, and ancestors for 200 years and more, had been "Quakers." I had been brought up in that church, though I didn't know much about what they believed. I did know they did NOT believe in water baptism.
So I next studied that question diligently, in the Bible. I went to four preachers for help, but relied solely on the Bible for final decision. A Seventh-Day Adventist preacher seemed coldly legalistic, lacking spiritual warmth. A Church of God (seventh-day, Stanberry, Missouri) preacher didn't want to be bothered and was insulting. A Quaker minister was friendly, but had to admit, finally, that he himself questioned his church's doctrine on this point and only went along with it because other "holy men of God" (as he called them) in his church did. A Baptist minister had the best and clearest explanation, and was warm and friendly and, I felt, more spiritual in a sane and sensible way. So I asked him to baptize me, not into his church, but into Christ. For this I had to obtain permission from the rather august and dignified Board of the Church. On being baptized I knew God then and there gave me His HOLY SPIRIT!
Now I had added one technical doctrine to my spiritual knowledge.
Very soon after this my wife was taken ill with multiple acute conditions under which she could not have lived another 24 hours. She had blood poisoning from a rosebush thorn, moving toward her heart; a dog bite that was acute; quinsy with a big hard lump completely blocking her throat so nothing could pass;. and lockjaw. She had not had a bite of food, a drop of water, nor a wink of sleep in three days and three nights. The doctor could do nothing said she could not live another 24 hours, without sleep and the blood poison moving rapidly toward her heart.
A neighbor lady asked if I would allow a man and wife to come and pray for her. Reluctantly, and embarrassed, I consented. They came about seven in the evening. I questioned and cross-examined them. I didn't want any fanaticism. They answered all questions with the Bible. They read Scriptures new to me. My wife and I both began to believe. They knelt by her bed, anointed her, and the man just talked quietly and earnestly to God, reminding God He had PROMISED to heal, saying we EXPECTED Him to keep His promise, and then thanking Him for it. I had never heard a prayer like that.
The couple left quietly. My wife asked me to walk her out to the street sidewalk and back. The lump in her throat had disappeared and her jaw was unlocked. She laid down in bed again, went soundly to sleep, did not awaken until eleven next morning completely healed of EVERYTHING! After that I pursued an intensified study into all that the Bible revealed about HEALING of sickness and disease.
Now came a study about heaven and hell. Then a more intensified study of the Kingdom of God, and the coming millennial reign under Christ a thousand years on this earth.
Meanwhile, I was pursuing an intensified study of PROPHECY. The prophecies about a "beast" or the "four beasts" of Daniel 7 were a problem. I read many booklets and pamphlets on the subject all , clearly in error. Finally, I began putting down in chart form on paper all the Bible reveals on it, and the meaning cleared up.
Also, even during the initial six-months' study before baptism, a minister in Florida I had contacted by mail, wrote, saying that unless I knew of the identity of the United States and the British as the Birthright people of Israel heading the so-called "Lost Ten Tribes," I was IGNORANT! So I obtained all the literature I could find on the subject, comparing every point with the Bible. I found many errors errors in every book or pamphlet I could find on the subject. But what I did find in the Bible PROVED our identity. This was the needed KEY to unlock all the prophecies!
I studied seventh-day Church of God literature, and Seventh-Day Adventist literature. I found the Adventist doctrine about going to heaven for a thousand years completely unscriptural. The Church of God taught correctly a millennium on earth, but didn't seem to know much about what will happen during that time. So I delved deeper into those details.
I studied the popular "rapture theory" about the second coming of Christ, found the Bible proved it false-dug out the TRUTH from the Bible. Then came such subjects and doctrines as "the Mark of the Beast", law and grace, Bible teaching about angels. Another subject that had come up during the very first year was the origin of Satan, and the true meaning of Genesis 1. The true meaning of the Old Covenant, and the New Covenant, and many similar doctrinal questions continued to clear up.
Little by little, a doctrine at a time, a question or subject at a time, TRUTH was emerging. But the Bible is like a jigsaw puzzle.
One must get all the individual pieces put together in their right relation to other pieces before the WHOLE PICTURE comes clear!
You brethren today get the TRUTH all put together in ORDER. You get the WHOLE picture. I had to study, and grope, and search, and study, and discard error, day by day, month by month, year after year.
I had to REALLY WORK AT IT!
It was a continuous process. By the time Ambassador College was founded, in 1947 (20 years after my conversion), I felt that we had the Truth rather thoroughly. I did not then realize HOW MUCH MORE was still to come. What has come since is like a BOMB (containing the MOST IMPORTANT knowledge) had suddenly exploded, opening up the BIG TRUTH!
I had tried to fellowship with the Church of God which, in my early days of conversion, was located at Stanberry, Missouri. But their ministers fought me, did all they could to discredit me, break up the broadcast, hinder and stop THE VERY WORK OF GOD! Soon they became divided, with one group making headquarters at Salem, West Virginia.
Then they split and re-split until I lost all knowledge of HOW MANY splintering groups there are. One established headquarters at Denver, Colorado, another in Los Angeles, another in a town near Jefferson, Oregon, another in Stocktoh, California, and another in or near Nampa, Idaho, and the man who headed it when I first came in contact with them went to Jerusalem, Israel, which he calls "world headquarters."
Even though they fought me, and very unfairly, I do not wish to impute motives or speak disrespectfully of them, because we find them described and identified in Jesus' own prophetic message in Revelation 3:1-6. Even though it describes them as spiritually dead, they are the remnant of what is, or HAS BEEN, one of the seven successive eras of GOD'S TRUE CHURCH.
As we are, and are doing the Work of, the "Philadelphia" era (Rev. 3:7-13), so they were the "Sardis" era.
I never became a member of that church, though I was ordained by a group who had been in it, locally organized and incorporated as the "Oregon Conference." But when I had contact with them they refused to correct error or to accept any truth new to them. They ceased to GROW spiritually and IN KNOWLEDGE. - And, of course, what has THE NAME of the living Church, but ceases to GROW, soon DIES (Rev. 3:1).
I do not rejoice in that, but say it in sorrow, because there were many in that church that I loved.
But in my days of trying to work with them, between 1927 and somewhere around 1941 to 1947, there was so much controversy over what constituted God's CHURCH GOVERNMENT that - I, myself, became completely confused on that point. I could see that their systems were so wrong that I assumed that God's Church is a SPIRITUAL ORGANISM, and not a church ORGANIZATION. I did not want to assume any rule or authority that I ought not, and consequently when troublemakers and wrong attitudes came into our little Church in Eugene, Oregon, I wielded no authority whatsoever, and the result was a church split in two.
Perhaps the beginning of the Biblical KNOWLEDGE EXPLOSION we have enjoyed since the college was founded was the clearing up of the Biblical teaching on CHURCH GOVERNMENT. Personally I had gotten so CLOSE to all the errors among the "Sardis" people with a "General Conference" type government at Stanberry, and a "12 apostles seven deacons and 70 elders" type at Salem, West Virginia, that I was like the man so close to one tree he couldn't see the forest.
Ambassador College started with only FOUR students. The three male students were Herman Hoeh (now Dr. Hoeh), Raymond Cole (now District Superintendent of the New York District), and my elder son Richard David. The second year there were added Raymond McNair (now Deputy Chancellor of Ambassador College in England, and Director over the Work in Britain), his brother Marion, and Kenneth Herrmann (now Registrar of Ambassador College, Pasadena campus). Perhaps my son Dick and Raymond Cole had been, like myself, too close to all the confusion in Oregon. But the others were free from that, and God was able to reveal clearly, through them, precisely what is His form of Church Government.
Once clearly seen, it was put in operation. I had to repent of neglecting to assume the responsibility God had charged me with in Oregon. God's government is always government from the TOP God the Father on down. Christ is the living HEAD of this Church. There is authority in the Church. Troublemakers, bent on dividing and breaking up God's Church, are not tolerated. THERE is NO DIVISION, but happy harmony and order, in LOVE!
Many NEW truths have come to light in the past twenty years. Some have been revealed through various of God's ministers my son Garner Ted, Mr. Roderick Meredith, Dr. Herman Hoeh, Mr. Raymond McNair, Mr. Albert Portune, Mr. Charles Hunting, Dr. Ernest Martin, Dr. Charles Dorothy, and others. And also God has continued to reveal important and basic truths through me.
Among these have been the TRUTH about the PURPOSE of human life the fact that God is not merely one Person, or a "trinity" but the divine FAMILY or KINGDOM. The truth - that we are now only BEGOTTEN, and that being BORN AGAIN is to be actually BORN into that very FAMILY, as sons of God, even as the living Jesus Christ is a divine Son of God. THAT Truth is BASIC and I did not understand it until after the college was founded. I could "see" it, even up in Oregon, but was AFRAID to accept it it seemed like "blasphemy" to assume we humans could become members of the DIVINE FAMILY that IS God! But finally I had to accept it, when faced with the fact that it is taught throughout the New Testament!
Another BIG Truth is the final COMPLETE knowledge of what man is! This came through my year-after-year perplexed search to learn the difference between human MIND and animal brain. The fact that there is a human spirit IN man a spirit that imparts the power of intellect to the human brain converting it from pure physical BRAIN to human MIND. This makes clearer than ever the need of God's HOLY SPIRIT, which bears witness with our spirit that we are, indeed, the CHILDREN OF GOD!
Another is the knowledge that human nature is NOT, after all, as I believed and taught for years, a mixture of good and evil. It is ALL bad. Human nature wants to CONSIDER ITSELF GOOD, while doing evil. It is a "pull" like gravity in the direction of evil SELF!
Another is the origin of what the world regards as the Christian Church, by the Simon referred to in the 8th chapter of Acts the fact that the "Christian" churches of this world are not, and never were, the same Church Jesus Christ founded in 31 A.D. The knowledge of the "lost century" 69 to about 170 A.D.
And now that God has placed His COLLEGE in Jerusalem, preparing the way for the coming Messiah to sit on David's throne at the very place where that throne originally was located, opens up a whole new labyrinth of prophecies concerning Jerusalem and events to occur in the next three to ten years!
Yes, the WORLD'S "knowledge explosion" may have resulted in DOUBLING the world's ills and troubles and problems. But our own KNOWLEDGE EXPLOSION of GOD-REVEALED KNOWLEDGE is opening before our eyes the WHOLE FUTURE GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE AND OBEY HlM.