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The 19-Year Time Cycles
-- What HAPPENED January 7 --
What My Commission IS!
By HERBERT W. ARMSTRONG
SIGNIFICANT THINGS DID happen on January 7th, 1972! In this Personal I want to tell you what happened -- but also to make PLAIN and CLEAR:
1) What our Commission IS, and what it is NOT!
2) What are the criteria for determining through whom God is carrying out that Commission which is HIS WORK on earth today.
Thousands know that I, personally, have been called and chosen for a very definite commission in God's service. But I have definitely NOT been called to be a PROPHET -- except as that word, Biblically used, does sometimes refer to a minister or speaker -- one who proclaims the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Emphatically I am NOT a prophet, in the sense of one to whom God speaks specially and directly, revealing personally a future event to happen or new truth, or new and special instruction direct from God -- separate from, and apart from what is contained in the Bible. And I never have claimed to be.
THERE IS NO SUCH HUMAN PROPHET LIVING TODAY!
The Bible is the written Word of God -- and, for our time now, it is COMPLETE! Never have I believed or claimed that God reveals to me new truths not contained in the Bible -- in addition to, or apart from the Bible.
In a special group festival held at Belknap Springs, in Oregon, in the autumn of 1951, I was shocked -- and so were those there -- to hear Herman L. Hoeh, then recently graduated from Ambassador College, say with conviction, as if with authority, "Mr. Armstrong IS NOT A PROPHET -- but a man called to the same kind of commission as the original evangelists and apostles of the first century Church of God -- to proclaim the Message -- the Announcement -- the Good News of the Kingdom of God -- the Message that Christ brought from God and taught His disciples."
I shook my head in astonishment that he would make that statement. I KNEW WELL I was not a prophet. I simply knew I had been called to proclaim Christ's Gospel of the Kingdom of God -- to get a job done -- but I had no illusions about being an evangelist, or an apostle, or anything more than my own part in proclaiming and publishing this Great NEWS, as a witness, to as many as I could reach. I had no vision then of a worldwide ministry.
Let's take a look at the Church of God of the first century, as we find it revealed in the Book of Acts, beginning from the day of Pentecost, 31 A.D. The Bible was not fully written -- only the Old Testament -- in 31 A.D. God then was still communicating new truth, instruction and knowledge directly and personally to prophets. As the Church progressed, it was the function of a prophet to communicate to the apostles special messages which God had personally revealed to them. Others were inspired in the writing of the books of the New Testament.
So we read, in Acts 11:28 and 21:10-11, of the prophet Agabus. But today we have the COMPLETE Word of God, for our time, in the Bible. There are no such prophets -- except false ones.
Now a word about what my Commission is NOT. It is NOT to become an infallible expert on, or to preach, chronology.
I feel at present that the whole question of chronology is in confusion, and no one can be positively SURE of dates.
As of the present I, and a majority of our historians in Ambassador College, and researchers in the School of Theology, feel that it is utterly unsafe to try to SET DATES in regard to future prophesied events, especially the return of the living Christ in supreme Power and Glory to rule all nations of the earth.
But we are only human, and it is natural that we should have been curious to know, as far as possible, how much time we had to GET THE JOB DONE. (More about that later.)
That, however, in fact, is not our MAIN PURPOSE, OR COMMISSION -- which is to proclaim Christ's Announcement of the advance good NEWS of the coming Kingdom of God to rule all nations -- and the message commonly called salvation -- the fact we may be born again through Jesus Christ -- born into that Kingdom.
Our Commission is to GET THAT JOB DONE!
We have been GETTING IT DONE!
The question which Christ, the Head of God's Work, has NOT revealed in the Bible is, HOW THOROUGHLY He intends it to be done!
The prophecy of the proclaiming of this Message IN OUR TIME, is in Matthew 24:14. Jesus said: "And this Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached (and published -- Mark 13:10) in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end (of this age) come."
Let me say now, that in early July last year (1971), I could not have said that had as yet been done. But, in the literal Scriptural meaning of that commission, as of January 7, 1972, IT HAD BEEN ACCOMPLISHED! Six months before we had not yet gotten the Message into Japan, nor into the Scandinavian countries. Now we have!
There may, now, be a very few little countries virtually unheard of into which we have not penetrated. But I was mentioning three or four such tiny nations as an example before some of our executives the other day, when Mr. Ronald Dart, Vice President in charge of the foreign Work, grinned, on the mention of one of them, saying, "We are broadcasting regularly on the leading radio station in that country."
BUT -- the unanswered question is -- HOW INTENSIVELY DOES God intend ALL these countries to be reached? That is the question He has not answered -- IN THE BIBLE. (Unless by one implication of which I will cover later.) But, by what HAPPENED on that very day, January 7th, and since, it appears He has now given us the answer -- He intends the nations to be reached MORE INTENSIVELY than as of now!
More of that, later!
Go back, once again, to the beginning and founding of the Church. First, Jesus called His disciples, whom He taught and trained to START getting this job done. Whom did He call? The most highly educated, the leaders of the world? No, Peter and Andrew, brothers, fishermen by trade. Then next He called James and John, brothers, also fishermen. He chose Matthew, a publican (tax collector) -- and tax collectors were held in no high regard in Judea.
After Christ's resurrection, Peter and John were brought before the high priest and chief rulers. They were accused of benefiting and healing a man crippled from birth. It is recorded (Moffatt), "They were astonished to notice how outspoken Peter and John were, and to discover that they were uncultured persons and mere outsiders" (Acts 4:13). These apostles were from Galilee -- outsiders in Jerusalem. The AV renders it, "... and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men," but that is misleading; as the Greek implies, NOT ignorant, and illiterate, in the ordinary sense but, as Moffatt renders it, uncultured in technical learning of Jewish scribes and rulers, and in their acquired mannerisms.
Again, speaking of true Christians, we read, in I Corinthians 1:26: "For you see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh (intellectually), not many mighty, not many noble, are called ...."
The sophisticated churches of the world seek leaders who are intellectual, socially cultured, leaders in the community. But when GOD chooses His human instruments, He is more concerned about the sincere and honest of HEART. He calls imperfect (ALL men are, anyway) but sincere and dedicated human instruments. THEY ALL MAKE MISTAKES! This fact needs NO APOLOGY!
When I was first called -- autumn 1926 -- spring 1927 -- I first looked for PROOF, one way or the other, as to whether GOD exists. I had had little or no religious interest previously. I did not ASSUME, because of my Protestant ancestry and parentage. I wanted to KNOW -- to be SURE -- I wanted PROOF one way or the other.
After much careful research, involving study of evolution -- the writings of Darwin, Huxley, Haeckel, the earlier Lamarck, plus Spencer, Vogt, Chamberlain and other modern geologists and evolutionists -- as well as a careful study of Genesis and other parts of the Bible -- of all the scientific facts bearing on the subject I could find -- I became SURE! I had PROVED that God IS!
Next I entered an intensive study to determine whether the Bible can be PROVED to be the inspired Word of God -- the revelation of knowledge from the Creator to mankind. By many infallible proofs, this was PROVED!
After that, I had a SOLID FOUNDATION on which to start.
I began then to learn God's Truth, but not until after surrender to Him, repentance, believing, baptism, and receiving His Holy Spirit. This opened my mind to UNDERSTANDING of the Bible. Never before could I understand it!
Now I began to learn, a truth, a subject, a teaching, or a doctrine at a time. Baptized in 1927 (late spring), I was not ordained to the Ministry until late May, or early June 1931. (Pentecost was May 25th). In my study, I did not receive everything perfectly all at once. There were instances where, having felt I had come to understand the true Biblical teaching on a certain subject, other Scriptures discovered later put a different light on it. I HAD, ON OCCASION, TO CONFESS I HAD BEEN IN ERROR, and to correct it.
The Apostle Paul, telling us under God's inspiration of how he came to KNOW God's Truth, said: "But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is NOT AFTER MAN. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ." He received it, as he implies, from an appearance of the living Christ, in person, even after His resurrection and ascension.
I, too, received Christ's Gospel NOT from MAN. I, too, certify that the Gospel I have taught and proclaimed is NOT AFTER MAN. I entered no theological seminary, where I would have received a particular denominational teaching and set of doctrines and practices. I was not taught by MAN. But I was taught, as was Paul, by the revelation of Jesus Christ -- Paul from the living Christ IN PERSON -- who is the Word of God in PERSON -- but I from the WRITTEN WORD OF GOD -- which is the SAME revelation, now set in print.
I did not get it all PERFECTLY at the beginning. No one could. Most of God's truths, assuredly, were revealed perfectly and in truth from the beginning. But, as an example, even Peter says "... our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures unto their own destruction" (II Peter 3:15-16). And sometimes, in the light of other Scriptures, I had to confess error AND CORRECT IT.
There were at least two occasions when I was accused by hostile women, bent on discrediting me, of error. On more thorough research, in these two instances, I discovered I had unknowingly been in error -- and they were correct. Humiliating or not, I OPENLY AND PUBLICLY CORRECTED THESE ERRORS AT ONCE.
Even the first century Church at Antioch was UNSURE about a truth, and when they appealed to the Headquarters Church at Jerusalem, so were the apostles there -- UNTIL THE HOLY SPIRIT corrected them, and revealed the real truth to them (Acts 15th chapter).
Let me ask you this question. Do you know of any large, established, well-recognized professing Christian denomination which has PUBLICLY confessed it had been WRONG in what it had been teaching, and which then CORRECTED the error, and turned to the TRUTH?
No, the big established churches and denominations feel they cannot afford to admit having had any error -- having ever mis-taught the people.
But are they ALL perfect and correct in what they teach? If so why do not any two AGREE in all points of doctrine? The REASON is simply that they DO teach certain errors which they are afraid to confess, for fear they would lose members.
THUS THEY HAVE EDUCATED THE PEOPLE TO SUPPOSE THAT IF ANY LEADER, ANY CHURCH, AND WORK OF GOD CAN BE FOUND TO HAVE BEEN IN ERROR IN ANY POINT, THEY CANNOT BE TRUSTED. To confess and correct error is to be branded a false prophet!
Yet they are all HUMAN. They are ALL subject to error, and so are YOU -- and so am I -- and so is this Work of God. Even though it is God's Work, directed, empowered and blessed by Him, He carries it on through frail, weak HUMANS, and we humans are ALL of us subject to mistakes!
What are God's CONDITIONS for salvation? 1st, is REPENT. Repent means CONFESS YOUR SINS -- your errors -- your mistakes -- where you have been WRONG! It means CHANGE from the wrong, and TURN TO the right! A church or a group activity, even such as ours, is made up of HUMANS. Such church or work is merely the INDIVIDUAL HUMANS that comprise it, COLLECTIVELY. If no one of the humans is infallible, NEITHER CAN THE ORGANIZED GROUP BE.
If I were looking for God's one true Church, I would assuredly LOOK FOR ONE THAT HAD CONFESSED AND CORRECTED ITS ERRORS! FOR ALL HAVE HAD THEM -- even the early churches (Rev. 2:4, 14, 20)
Any criterion assuming God's TRUE Work through humans is absolutely perfect, unable to be wrong or make mistakes or hold to any error, is a false measuring stick and will mislead you.
You may ask, do I, then, feel that we in this Work are full of errors, misleading the people? MOST EMPHATICALLY NO! We have not had to correct error many times. But each time we have corrected an error, we have had one fewer error left. If we KNEW of any error still remaining, now, we would CHANGE it! If and when we find one in the future, we shall correct it! The one who follows that principle is THE MOST FREE FROM ERROR!
So, confessing such an error is one of the SUREST proofs to identify the people through whom the living Christ IS WORKING -- and whom HE is USING!
If you are looking for a leader who claims that he is PERFECT, and you think you have found him, and he is human, HE IS A FALSE LEADER. There is ONLY the ONE Leader who is perfect today -- and He is the LIVING CHRIST! We follow HIM -- and we trust YOU, with us, will do the same.
Peter made mistakes. He was openly rebuked by Paul (Gal. 2:11). All prophets and apostles were IMPERFECT -- ALL MADE MISTAKES. All but Christ!
Now I want to tell you the TRUTH about the two 19-year time cycles, ending January 7, 1972, with a frank, straightforward explanation of where we were mistaken -- and WHERE WE WERE RIGHT!
In a Co-Worker letter dated May 22nd, 1953, I wrote the following:
"Listen now to an ASTOUNDING fact! God has set time running in cycles of 19 years. Just once in every 19 years the DAYS, divided by the sun; the MONTHS, marked by the new MOON; and the YEARS, divided by the revolution of the earth around the SUN, all come into conjunction.
"It took just ONE COMPLETE CYCLE of 19 years for this Work to grow from nothing until it carried the very Gospel of Jesus all over the North American continent in mighty power! That 19-year time cycle ended, and the second 19-year cycle began, during the first week of the present year, 1953!
"The very start of the second 19-year cycle marked the beginning of proclaiming this Gospel to ALL EUROPE AND THE BRITISH ISLES! It must still go to Asia, Africa, South America, and Australia."
But MORE ASTOUNDING than I had noticed, or written then:
We started on the air on the little station in Eugene, Oregon, the first Sunday in January, 1934. That first Sunday was January 7. For some time I talked of starting also on the air in Europe during the FIRST WEEK of 1953 -- 19 years later -- not the first Sunday, but the first Wednesday.
What I did not realize, then, is, that one year from today -- or two, or 19 years from today will NOT be the same DAY OF THE WEEK as today!
Let me add here, THAT I DID NOT HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH setting the DAY on which we started in Europe. I had negotiated to purchase time on that station two or three months earlier -- late autumn, 1952. I sent over a transcribed or taped program, but for some reason the contents did not completely conform to technical station requirements. I re-recorded the program and sent over a second transcription. Because of language barriers, I had not understood their technical requirements. Again it was rejected.
The third time the program was okayed, as were all programs thereafter for years. The station put it on at the first open date thereafter -- which happened (?) to be, the first WEDNESDAY in January, 1953.
But, incredible as it may sound, when later I checked with calendars, that Wednesday was January 7, 1953! 19 years to the exact SAME DAY OF THE YEAR. I checked with the Hebrew calendar. January 7, 1934 was Sunday, Tebeth 20th. Also January 7th, 1953, was Wednesday, Tebeth 20, by the Hebrew calendar! So the door opened in Europe, NOT only the FIRST WEEK in 1953, but on the exact SAME DATE -- 19 years TO THE VERY DAY!
That seemed SIGNIFICANT, to say the least!
Another possibly significant analogy: Jeremiah's calling as a prophet was from the 13th year of king Josiah (Jer. 1:2) -- apparently 626 B.C. It seems unlikely Jeremiah would have entered his ministry without some training.
If he underwent a 3-year training, similar to the training of Christ's disciples, his actual ministry would have begun approximately 623 -- (a date apparently not verifiable historically). The first phase of his ministry carried to the beginning of the siege by Nebuchadnezzar's forces on Jerusalem, 604 B.C. That was 19 years, assuming the pre-ministry training period. His ministry then continued until the fall of Jerusalem, 585 B.C. -- a SECOND 19-YEAR TIME CYCLE. However, there is ample reason to believe Jeremiah's ministry continued into, but probably not completely through, a 3rd 19-year period with his escaping from Jerusalem and, with one of King Zedekiah's daughters, migrating to northern Ireland, where this "King's seed" took root downward, and bore fruit upward.
If you will put yourself in my place -- and in the place of my associates in God's Work -- I think you may imagine how we felt! This was ASTOUNDING -- yet it was FACT!
As God set the earth, the moon and the SUN TO MARK TIME HERE ON EARTH, each 19 years is A DEFINITE CYCLE OF TIME. Granted, there was no prophecy in the Bible specifically saying THIS WORK would be given one 19-year time cycle, at which time God would open the door for us to get His Message into Europe.
BUT, we checked the early Church. It STARTED on its mission from the day of Pentecost, 31 A.D. (Acts 2). The Apostle Paul said a DOOR was opened for him to get the Message into EUROPE (II Cor. 2:12-13 and Acts 16:8-13). This was in 50 A.D. -- after 19 years. And there is reason to believe that the "Sabbath" mentioned in Acts 16:13 was the ANNUAL Sabbath called the day of Pentecost -- or 19 years to the day from the time the Gospel was first preached by the Church!
To us these FACTS and probable facts were truly ASTOUNDING!
There IS the definite time cycle, SET BY GOD in the earth, moon and sun, of 19 years. That is a FACT!
It WAS, to the very DAY, precisely 19 years from the start of this Work until the door was opened to proclaim the Message to EUROPE! That is not surmise, conjecture, or "probably" -- that is FACT! IT HAPPENED!
It appeared probable that Jeremiah had been given 19 years for the first portion of his ministry. It was definite that he was given another 19 years for the second phase of his ministry. It is established by prophecy that a third stage of his ministry carried INTO a third 19-year time-cycle -- though probably lasting only an indefinite few or several years during the 3rd 19 years.
The early Church was given 19 years for the first phase of its ministry, when the door was opened to carry the Gospel to EUROPE! The same, TO THE PRECISE DAY, was true in our case! And that is FACT!
Yes, this seemed SIGNIFICANT!
It SEEMED we would have a second 19 years to get the Message "in all the world, as a witness to all nations."
I admit we were somewhat excited by this realization of FACT. We are HUMAN! Our hearts are IN God's Work to which He has called us. This was, to some extent, an emotional revelation. Would YOU have the same normal human reaction, had you been in our place? I think all but dour, prejudiced, hostile critics, who would like to see God's Work destroyed, would have reacted as we did!
I said at the beginning, "Emphatically I am NOT a prophet." Later, "Now a word about what my Commission is NOT. It is NOT to become an infallible expert on or to preach chronology." Later again, "But we are only human, and it is natural that we should have been curious to know, as far as possible, how much time we had to GET THE JOB DONE. That, however, in fact, is not our MAIN PURPOSE, OR OUR COMMISSION -- which is to proclaim Christ's Announcement of the advance good NEWS .... Our Commission is TO GET THAT JOB DONE! We have been GETTING IT DONE!"
This is the PARAMOUNT FACT our readers and Co-Workers need to keep uppermost in mind!
Our human interest, and enthusiasm about facts and indications pointing to the probable amount of time we had left is of MOST MINOR consequence compared to the BIG point of the Commission -- WHICH WE HAVE BEEN GETTING DONE!
Now let me continue.
It has never been our intention to SET DATES! Time after time, I have said -- Garner Ted Armstrong has said -- our literature has stated -- "WE DO NOT SET DATES!"
Yet, in our human zeal and enthusiasm for getting this greatest mission on earth done, we have a few times come close to it or appeared to -- and that we deeply regret.
If we were not human enough to be virtually carried away with what appeared inevitable -- in the light of fact and probability -- we surely would not have been imbued with the energy, vitality, sense of urgency and enthusiasm to GET the job done!
So let me give you a few actual QUOTES:
In 1959, we issued a booklet, (now out of print) "A True History of the True Church", by Herman L. Hoeh. He said: "God ... opened a DOOR to the apostle Paul AT THE BEGINNING OF THE SECOND NINETEEN-YEAR CYCLE by which the Gospel went to Europe (Acts 16:9; II Cor 2:12-13). So now, just before the second coming of Jesus Christ, God has given His Church ... JUST TWO nineteen-year cycles in which to carry the Gospel to the world! The first cycle PASSED. Then God suddenly opened the door for the second cycle in January 1953, and the Gospel is now going to all the world!"
My only comment: By the end of the second cycle we HAD gotten it into all nations -- and not even six months before. We still face the question: How THOROUGHLY must all nations be reached?
An edition of a booklet, "1975 in Prophecy", issued 1957 -- now for some time out of print -- had the following:
"Feverishly science, technology and industry are working to produce a fantastic, push-button world of leisure by 1975."
Let me say here in regard to this booklet, the title date, "1975" had NOTHING to do with any prophecy, or fulfillment of any prophesied event whatsoever. It was a date set by certain scientific and technological sources, for accomplishing certain materialistic objectives. Scientists set dates for the times they HOPE to accomplish certain breakthroughs. But does anyone discredit THEM, if they set the wrong date? Of course not!
Let me give you other examples:
Sir Philip Noel Baker (Nobel Prize winner in 1959) before television cameras, radio mikes, newspaper and magazine reporters, this dedicated man of science, deadly serious, said, "I believe that WITHIN TEN YEARS we will all be dead and the earth will be an incinerated relic." That ten years passed three years ago. But no one calls Sir Philip a false prophet. At any time during that ten years his statement COULD HAVE come true! What he said is even more of a possibility today than in 1959. There are MORE WAYS to destroy man kind now than then!
This man of science, well informed, trying to get SOMEONE to heed the deadly SERIOUSNESS of the world condition, boldly stated that he felt it would be decided WITHIN TEN YEARS!
Author Gordon Ratray Taylor put the threat to the extinction of mankind this way: "THE THREAT IS TOO SERIOUS TO BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY."
John Platt of the University of Michigan has stated in "Science" magazine, "We may have even less than a 50-50 chance of living until 1980!"
The Federation of American Scientists IN 1960 declared, "It appears unlikely that the world will avoid a nuclear holocaust if another 15 years pass without arms control agreement!" HE set a date -- 1975!
In 1966 Dr. Binay Sen, Director of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization said, "If the rate of food production cannot be significantly increased, we must prepare for THE FOUR HORSEMEN OF THE APOCALYPSE."
We are living in a lost, empty world, hopeless, just about to commit cosmocide! Concerned, dedicated, sincere, intelligent, sober men in government, science and education are sounding a unanimous alarm: MANKIND WILL END BEFORE THIS CENTURY DOES!
THE POINT: Because these men added a date to their concerned comments regarding mankind's future, does it mean that their concern, and all the overwhelming facts which cause that concern, are wrong? NO! When the house is on fire no one seems interested in the exact number of minutes one might have before he is finally consumed! When it gets down to the last few straws, no one volunteers to lie down under the loaded camel whose back is about to be broken.
Time marches on inexorably, and so do all the prophetic events leading to the collapse of mankind's experiment in self-government. And better yet, the sure coming of God's Kingdom to save man from himself IS NEAR!
Emphatically, if we -- in our dedicated enthusiastic ZEAL to get God's WARNING of the end of mankind's world before this sick, sick world -- DO, even though we intend not to, appear to set a date, I FEEL I DO NOT NEED TO APOLOGIZE! No one but the enemies of ALL GOOD will accuse!
Now, continuing the booklet, "1975 in Prophecy", on page 3: "MAN does not know the WAY to peace and happiness and joy. What man is bringing on the world is the diametric opposite -- such catastrophic and terrifying destruction that human life will be erased from the earth in 25 years UNLESS GOD ALMIGHTY INTERVENES!" That would be by 1982.
On page 10: "While modern science and industry strive to prepare for us a push-button, leisure-luxury world by 1975, United States Assistant Weather Chief I. R. Tannahill warns us unofficially to really fear 'the big drought of 1975.' But the indications of prophecy are that this drought will be even more devastating than he foresees, and that it will strike SOONER than 1975 -- probably between 1965 and 1972!" I said "indications are" and "probably."
On page 20: "Yes, millions of lukewarm inactive professing Christians will suffer MARTYRDOM -- and that BEFORE the anticipated push-button leisure-year of 1975 dawns upon us!" I did not set that 1975 date -- spokesmen for science and industry did. I still say it will occur BEFORE their dream-world materializes!
In THE PLAIN TRUTH, October 1965, appeared the following (page 16): "But we know that the time is soon coming -- PROBABLY at the end of the second 19-year time-cycle of this Work -- when our voices shall be stilled -- our printing presses stopped!" The main statement remains as certain today as then -- ONLY the "PROBABLY" by 1972 has proved to be premature.
In a reprint from an issue of THE PLAIN TRUTH during 1963, an article, "There Is a Way of Escape," by Herman L. Hoeh, has this: "The new slogan of the neo-Nazi parties is that the west is 'THROUGH by 1972' .... It is time we recognized that civilization has less than 15 years to go." The Nazi slogan, dating 1972, was OFF -- but Dr. Hoeh has six more years to go before his is!
In my "Personal," THE PLAIN TRUTH for February 1967, I said: "I wish ALL OF YOU could realize that this wonderful coming world (that Jesus' GOSPEL announced) is REAL -- AND MOST OF YOU WILL BE IN IT -- I hope as one of its changed IMMORTALS. It's not only REAL -- it is coming SOON. Possibly (I do not set dates) in less than ten years! Yes, VERY POSSIBLY that soon!" I still say, it WAS -- and still IS -- possible; but I specifically said "I do not set dates."
In a Co-Worker letter to those contributing financially, dated December 29, 1969, I said: "While I EMPHASIZE, WE CANNOT SET DATES, yet I am prepared to say now, for the first time, the second coming of Christ COULD happen during this coming decade, which we enter later this very week. Don't under any circumstances take this as setting a date -- but we are now far closer to the END OF THIS WORLD -- and the beginning of the HAPPY and PEACEFUL WORLD TOMORROW than people realize. TIME IS SHORT!"
That one statement epitomizes what we have said all along.
Scores and scores of times we have said, "We do not set dates." Yet, in our zeal, we have used "possibilies" and "probablies" and even appeared to set dates we really didn't intend to set.
Scientists have done the same. Other writers in other fields have, also. I'm sure all our sincere readers UNDERSTAND OUR INTENT!
Hundreds of times I have said -- Garner Ted Armstrong has said -- our other speakers and writers have said -- "DON'T believe ME because I say it -- but listen with open mind, without prejudice, search your own Bible, and BELIEVE WHAT GOD SAYS IN YOUR BIBLE."
I have never tried to induce leaders to FOLLOW ME -- but to follow CHRIST, and to follow me ONLY as I follow HIM.
NOW A FINAL SUMMARY:
Let me give you now what was our thinking, based on prophecy (which does foretell certain EVENTS to come, but NOT their dates), based also on world events and trends, and at the same time being influenced to some degree by the 19-year time cycle that HAD DEFINITELY OCCURRED, ON THE VERY DAY. I do not mean merely my own thinking, personally. I include the combined thinking of our top men here at Pasadena in the Work.
First, in 1945, before the end of World War II, I was saying on the air that the Nazis were organized to go UNDERGROUND, in case of defeat, and to COME BACK. By war's end, later in 1945, it seemed history might repeat -- it often does. It had taken Germany 21 years from the armistice bringing the end of the first round of world war -- an "armistice" is a RECESS -- to be ready to start the second round, World War II. The armistice had COME OF AGE -- 21 years!
So, we looked then to 1966 as a POSSIBLE date for the next round -- nuclear World War III. I do not remember ever having stated this publicly, either on the air or in print. It was merely our PRIVATE thinking of a POSSIBILITY. But by no means even as a probability.
By 1952, when my elder son, Richard David, and Herman Hoeh spent a summer in Britain, France, and Germany, their glowing reports of German progress in a post-war COMEBACK even strengthened our private view of POSSIBILITIES.
But, after the astounding fact of discovering our first broadcast into Europe and Britain had been 19 years -- TO THE VERY DAY by both Hebrew and Roman calendars -- we gained further insight into the probable time it would require to reach all nations. And we knew this HAD TO BE accomplished before World War III would break out. It seemed, then, it would require another 19 years at least.
Then we DID begin to mention the possibility of God's Work extending another 19 years -- or at least until January 7, 1972. In fact, we were so overwhelmingly impressed -- perhaps more than we should have been -- by the FACT of what happened after 19 years, we did, a few times, go further than we should with it -- though basically, we continued, time and again, to say "we do not set dates." But some statements gave the IMPRESSION that we did set the date, January 7, 1972. It is difficult to control sincere, dedicated enthusiastic ZEAL; and we were human!
However, after June, 1967, and the six-day war between Israel and the Arab nations, just when world events COULD HAVE plunged suddenly by that impetus to a climax in a few short years, world events, instead, began to slow down. But we could not discern that for a year or more.
De Gaulle, in France, began to slow down the Common Market moves toward POLITICAL union in Europe, in order to prevent Germany from dominating. He wanted to dominate.
In the Vatican, in Jerusalem, in Germany and Europe, in United States economy, affecting THIS WORK, the pace SLOWED! But we were so impressed with what already had happened in the 19-year time-cycle, that we failed to divorce actual contemporary world events, as they were slowing, from our time-cycle analogy.
During the past two or three years, the realization came upon us more and more that events were slowing -- that the world-crisis would NOT be reached by January, 1972. All this has happened SINCE the 1967 edition of the "U.S. and British Commonwealth in Prophecy" book came out: This book contained statements that seemed justified in 1967 -- before this slowing down was noticeable -- such as: "Events of the next five years may ..." in the very beginning -- and, "A staggering turn in world events is due to erupt in the next four to seven years." And again, "the next five to seven years" on page xi. You will notice that, even here, we were not setting a definite YEAR, but expressing a general period in different ways. On page xii, the statement, "The events prophesied to strike the American and British peoples in the next four to seven years are SURE!" By this we meant the EVENTS are SURE -- not the "four to seven years." Lower on the page, however, the statement was made that these events will come "on schedule, BUT NOT UNTIL THE WARNING HAS BEEN MADE AVAILABLE" -- which certainly qualified it.
In the latest edition of that book, ALL THESE STATEMENTS HAVE BEEN CORRECTED.
As I have said, Moses made mistakes, Abraham made mistakes, David made mistakes, Elijah made mistakes, Peter made mistakes, and so have ALL MEN God has ever called and used. Making a mistake is NOT any evidence at all that a man is NOT being used of God. But these men CORRECTED their mistakes! AND SO HAVE WE! And I am correcting a few in this very "Personal"!
The BIG POINT is -- WE HAVE BEEN GETTING THE JOB DONE -- and no one else on earth has!
One point remains. The question, HOW THOROUGHLY does God intend His Work to reach the nations?
It DID take a second 19 years to get the message into all nations -- but, as of January 7th, 1972, we had reached many of them ONLY SUPERFICIALLY -- not intensively!
I know of no place in the Bible where, in specific plain words, this question is answered. The one possible answer is in Matthew 24:14, the very prophecy defining our COMMISSION for this latter day. There we are to preach and publish this Gospel OF THE KINGDOM in all the world FOR A WITNESS unto all nations. The answer may be tied up in the words "for a witness." One commentary, on this phrase, has: "AS A WITNESS: God never sends judgment without previous warning." In Amos 3:7 may be found a corollary: "Surely the Lord Eternal will do nothing, but He revealeth His secret unto His servants the prophets." (Amos 3:2) The inference is that God's servants warn the people, as Jonah did Nineveh, of God's judgment to come.
If that is the meaning intended, then we must say that God does intend many nations to be warned more intensively than as of now. We have gotten the Message into Japan, for example, in the past six months -- but reaching only a superficial fraction of the people. To say Japan has been warned would not be the truth.
In view of WHAT DID HAPPEN, on January 7th, it seems God has revealed no uncertain language, BY THE VERY THINGS THAT HAPPENED on that day, that we must now reach all nations MORE INTENSIVELY!
1) On that very day, the MOST POWERFUL DOOR so far opened to us, swung wide open. We had hoped for it, but not really expected it. We had no idea WHEN the answer would come. On that day the purchase of advertising space in the ENTIRE UNITED STATES edition of "Reader's Digest" opened before us. Total circulation, 17,750,000 copies -- with a readership of 50 to 70 MILLION people -- by far the largest of any magazine. That is from 1/4 to more than l/3 of ALL the people in the U.S. The first two-page ad will appear in one half of that circulation in the April number, and in the other half of the circulation in the May number! For years we have purchased advertising space in overseas editions. Now the entire U.S. is opened to us!
2) On that day we received from our bankers the signed, sealed and delivered financing for 80% of the superb new auditorium, NOW ACTUALLY UNDER CONSTRUCTION on the Pasadena campus. Since, besides being the college auditorium, for us it will also serve to honor GOD at the present Headquarters in Pasadena, it seems God assures us of a few more years at least to go, since it will take two years to complete it.
The other 20% of the financing was already on hand, received and accumulated from Co-Workers. So the financing is 100% completed! Only we still must -- over several years -- repay the 80%.
Since, one of the most powerful radio stations, KOA Denver, has opened time for THE WORLD TOMORROW at 7:30 every evening, seven nights a week, and for the Garner Ted Armstrong T.V. program at noon Sundays.
Since then, the NUMBER ONE independent T.V. station in the U.S. -- top rated outside the major networks -- WOR, New York, has opened PRIME TIME -- actually in the very center of prime time for New York -- 10 p.m., Sunday nights, beginning February 13th!
Yes, THINGS DID HAPPEN January 7th! And now THE MOST POWERFUL DOORS ARE OPENING. Next watch for major openings in Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas, and elsewhere.
So where are we, now, in the Work?
ALL SYSTEMS ARE "GO!"
Welcome aboard! Glad you're GOING WITH us! You know, I'm reminded of the time Jesus was criticized, persecuted, misrepresented by His enemies. He asked His disciples, "Will ye also go away?"
"Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? THOU hast the words of Eternal Life!"
And we in His Work, today, have those SAME WORDS OF ETERNAL LIFE!
Yes, ALL SYSTEMS ARE "GO!"
With renewed energy, greater than ever before, WE PLUNGE ON TO FINISH THE WORK WE HAVE BEEN GIVEN TO DO!