By Herbert W. Armstrong
Dear Brethren and Co-Workers with CHRIST
We look forward, now, to the most significant fall Festival season in our lifetime.
We know by many world-shaking events we are in the very LAST DAYS - the coming of Jesus Christ back to earth in SUPREME POWER AND GLORY is NEAR!
Looking at world events and God's PROPHECIES we know that time is now short On the other hand, it seems GOD HAS BEEN HOLDING WORLD EVENTS BACK in order to get His Church - His soon-coming BRIDE - ready. And we must face it! - we are NOT yet READY!
But there are definite signs now that prophesied world events may SPEED UP SUDDENLY in a breath-taking manner.
The recent visit of the Pope to his native Poland may be a most significant event in bringing this evil world to its END!
Brethren, it is imperative that we WAKE UP! Here we are, NEAR the end - NEAR the time of Christ's return to earth in supreme POWER AND GLORY! True, a few prophesied events must come first, such as the Great Tribulation and the testimony of the TWO WITNESSES to be heard worldwide, but all these climactic events can whisk past us in a quick 3 1/2 years.
Less than two years ago, God brought me back from death. Recently I asked myself WHY did God bring me back? HOW has God used me these 22 months? The answer is: PUTTING GOD'S CHURCH BACK ON THE TRACK!
Brethren, we've got to FACE IT! God's Church - and Ambassador College - had been shockingly derailed SECULARIZED! The whole WORK had become the work of MAN! My son Garner Ted had taken to himself authority never given to him. He took advantage of the fact I was in other parts of the world, carrying Christ's Gospel Message into other countries, to assume authority to CHANGE DOCTRINES, and to CHANGE POLICIES. I had denied him BOTH! Much of it was done SECRETLY! Top-ranking ministers were warned of being fired if they told me what was going on.
Many of the basic BIBLE TRUTHS God had revealed to me as the very FOUNDATIONAL BELIEF OF THIS CHURCH were BEING CHANGED! It was no longer GOD'S College or GOD'S Church! It was becoming precisely what my son is now trying to build - GARNER TED ARMSTRONG'S CHURCH! He was surrounded by a small group of secular self-professed intellectuals.
Jesus Christ is once again the HEAD of this Church and this Work! Over two years ago some men in high office finally worked up enough courage to come to me and say, Mr. Armstrong, your son is trying to DESTROY everything Christ has built through you, and build something for himself. That was true!
Jesus Christ is the HEAD of this Church and entire Work.
HOW has He used me, since bringing me back from total heart failure and death? Recently I asked myself this question. Although Christ has made me His Apostle to carry HIS GOSPEL around the world, He has used me since my recovery primarily in SETTING HIS CHURCH AND HIS COLLEGE BACK ON GOD'S TRACK! GREAT PROGRESS HAS BEEN MADE! But the job is not yet complete.
I know I have been chosen to carry the true Gospel around the world as a witness before Christ returns. BUT HE ALSO HAS COMMISSIONED ME WITH SOMETHING MORE - and VITALLY - IMPORTANT.
Let me explain. When I was in England a few years ago, some of us were wondering how the temple was to be built in Jerusalem to which Christ shall come at His imminent SECOND COMING in supreme POWER and GLORY. Would the Israelis dare to demolish the Islamic Dome of the Rock that now stands on the site of the temple to which Christ came over 1900 years ago? Would they build a new temple on that spot?
But since then God has revealed additional prophecies. Let's begin in the Book of Haggai. In Ezra I :1-2, you'll read of how God influenced King Cyrus to issue a proclamation sending a colony of Jews back to Jerusalem to build the second temple 70 years after the destruction of Solomon's temple.
The Governor and head of this colony was Zerubbabel, who was sent as the builder of this second temple to which Christ came at His first coming, more than 1900 years ago.
You read of this in Haggai 2. In reference to the temple, God said through Haggai, For thus saith the Lord of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; and I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come [till the treasures of all nations are brought hither (Moffat translation)]: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of hosts. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the Lord of hosts. The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the Lord of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the Lord of hosts (Haggai 2:6-9).
Notice! This is a PROPHECY - for the future. The TIME? The present and immediate future.
The theme at the beginning of chapter 1 has been the building of the second temple. Then, in the verses above quoted, it becomes a PROPHECY - no longer a history of Zerubbabel building the temple over 500 years before Jesus came, yet the same temple to which He came at His first coming. But suddenly the HISTORY changes to PROPHECY of our time now, and it speaks of the temple - this latter-house - having glory far greater than that of Solomon's temple. Now what temple is it talking about- The one Zerubbabel built was no where near as glorious as Solomon's temple!
But THIS IS NOW PROPHECY - no longer HISTORY! It is speaking of OUR TIME, late in the 20th century! This latter house is the temple to which the GLORIFIED CHRIST shall come at His second coming - soon now, in our lifetime. It is speaking about the temple to which the GLORIFIED Christ shall come in our day!
But this time Christ is not coming as a human, to die and give His life for us! This time He is coming IN SUPREME POWER AND GLORY to RULE ALL NATIONS! He is coming as the all-SPIRITUAL GOD! And He is not coming to a physical people who, 1900 years ago, rejected Him - or to a temple of stone, gold, silver, and wood. You find the temple to which He will come this time described in the NEW Testament:
Now therefore ye are ... fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household [family] of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto AN HOLY TEMPLE IN THE LORD (Eph. 2:19-21).
Brethren in Christ, WE ARE THAT TEMPLE!
How GLORIOUS shall it be? The Church shall be CHANGED! The dead in Christ shall rise first - at Christ's coming. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent [precede] them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord (I Thess. 4:1517).
But now we come to the IMPORTANT PART of this letter!
Notice the picture of the Church - as the BRIDE, or wife of Christ, at His coming: Let us be glad and rejoice and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready (Rev. 19:7).
When Christ comes this Church shall have MADE HERSELF READY! HOW READY?
Notice how ready: ... Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it ... by the word, that he might present it to himself a GLORIOUS CHURCH, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thinq; but that it should be holy and WITHOUT BLEMISH (Eph. 5:25-27).
BRETHREN, WE ARE NOT READY!
And TIME IS NOW SHORT!
We still have many blemishes to remove (spiritually) - many spots to clean off and wrinkles to iron out!
THAT IS WHY THIS COMING FEAST OF TABERNACLES IS SO IMPORTANT!
In the past year Jesus Christ our HEAD has moved swiftly through me, whom He brought back from death, to set many parts of the Church back on GOD'S TRACK! True, many blemishes have been removed - many spots, and wrinkles ironed out. Praise GOD for that! BUT WE ARE NOT YET READY!
Satan is now pulling out all his stops to defeat this Church! We are persecuted by the state government. A few disloyal ministers have had to be removed. A few dissident members who were causing an atmosphere of discontent and doubt and rebellion have left or been put out - some going over to Garner Ted.
We still have a way to go, and not too much time.
THAT IS WHY THIS FEAST OF TABERNACLES MAY BE THE MOST IMPORTANT IN HISTORY!
Brethren, start PRAYING more than ever before - praying with all your hearts for God's help in cleaning us up, making us READY for HIS SOON COMING!
And, I M P O R T A N T ! Send in to the Festival office, at once, your TITHE OF THE SECOND TITHE, for the expenses in getting all the many festival sites READY!
Also PRAY FOR THE WORK, and even at personal sacrifice, send in the most generous offerings for the GOSPEL WORK!
Pray for me. My eyesight is worsening somewhat. Would you pray for God to restore stronger sight? THANK YOU! THANK YOU! May God richly bless you all.
With deep love, in Jesus' name,
Herbert W. Armstrong