RADIO CHURCH OF GOD
PASADENA, CALIFORNIA 91109
HERBERT W. ARMSTRONG
PRESIDENT and PASTOR
The WORLD TOMORROW
The PLAIN TRUTH
a Magazine of UNDERSTANDING
January 20, 1964
Dear Brethren in CHRIST:
GREETINGS! There are so MANY things I NEED to write about to you -- seriously URGENT things. Yet it seems I can find time only rarely. More and more, high level responsibilities crowd in on my time, as GOD'S WORK expands and grows in power and scope.
Right now there are TWO things MOST URGENT I need to talk to you personally (by letter) about. One is the future of the Feast of Tabernacles. A gigantic, breath-taking project has now become possible -- at no extra cost to you or the Work -- surely made possible by CHRIST HIMSELF -- by which, after this year, we may ALL be able to meet once again in the ONE PLACE which God originally chose -- His own grounds at Big Sandy, Texas!
But this is SO BIG a matter I can't cover it in this letter -- but will devote practically a whole issue of The GOOD NEWS to it. I know you'll look forward anxiously for it.
God is BLESSING His Work AS NEVER BEFORE! We have just ended the greatest Ministerial Council ever. While the churches and religions of THIS WORLD are having their Ecumenical Councils at Rome, trying to UNITE by compromise and human bargaining, most of GOD'S MINISTERS met at GOD'S earthly HEADQUARTERS here in Pasadena.
We did not seek compromise. There was no bargaining to have our own way. We did not ask the various ministers whether YOU MEMBERS would "go along with" this or that doctrine. We did not consider what YOU would agree with. We did not even consider what any of us believed, or wanted. WE SOUGHT ONLY TO SEEK GOD AND HAVE HIM REVEAL TO US HIS WILL!
Brethren, there is only ONE such Church on earth today! WHAT A THRILL I get from realizing what an unmatched privilege God has granted me, personally, to be allowed to be A MEMBER of such a Church -- of CHRIST'S BODY -- of GOD'S OWN FAMILY OF HIS OWN BEGOTTEN CHILDREN! Don't YOU?
During the Conference, God revealed something IMPORTANT to me, which came sharp and clear like a bolt of lightning. One night -- or early morning before going to the Conference, I don't remember which, I was reviewing once again the Book of Haggai and the 4th chapter of Zechariah.
A certain number of the House of Judah had returned to rebuild the Temple at Jerusalem. The High Priest among them was Joshua. The Governor was Zerubbabel. God spoke to Zerubbabel through the prophet Haggai.
Fourteen years before, the foundation of the Temple had been laid, and some progress made on the building itself. But the building had been interrupted. And now the Jews were saying, "The time is not come, the time that the ETERNAL'S HOUSE should be built."
Jeremiah had prophesied the rebuilding of the Temple after 70 years. These returned Jews had mis-figured dates. They thought the 70 years had not yet come -- but it had. Then God said to them, through the prophet Haggai: "Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your ceiled houses, and this house lie waste?"
They were building ELEGANT houses FOR THEMSELVES to live in -- but they were neglecting to build the HOUSE for GOD to dwell in.
So, "Thus saith the LORD of hosts; consider your ways. Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, AND BUILD THE HOUSE; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the ETERNAL."
Then Zerubbabel and all the people OBEYED the voice of God, Zerubbabel was the leader in the construction. Then God said to the people: I am with you saith the ETERNAL."
Then the ETERNAL "STIRRED UP THE SPIRIT of Zerubbabel ... AND THE SPIRIT OF ALL THE REMNANT OF THE PEOPLE: and they came and did work in the house of the ETERNAL of hosts, their God.
Zerubbabel was chosen by GOD to BUILD GOD'S HOUSE -- that is, to be the human leader in it. Now this whole two-chapter Book of Haggai is a PROPHECY. It applies to US, today. Near its end, it is recorded that God said to Haggai, "Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, saying, I will (future -- a prophecy) shake the heavens and the earth; and I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms, and I will destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the heathen; ... IN THAT DAY, saith the ETERNAL of hosts, will I take thee, O Zerubbabel, my servant, ... and will make thee a signet for I have chosen thee, saith the ETERNAL of hosts. Thus ends the prophecy.
Plainly, this refers to the very present, just before the soon-coming DAY OF THE LORD, and the second coming of Christ, and beginning of The WORLD TOMORROW!
In such prophecies, the physical nation -- Israel or Judah -- is the type of the SPIRITUAL Israel, or God's CHURCH, of today. And, as of now, that means of our present Philadelphia era of the Church.
The high priest over material Judah, then, is the TYPE of the High Priest over GOD'S CHURCH today -- Jesus Christ. It may be significant that the name Joshua, when translated into Greek, is the SAME as Jesus in English.
Those people were building nice comfortable and even elegant homes for themselves -- while neglecting, or delaying, to build GOD'S HOUSE. God did not criticize them because their homes were nice -- but rather for neglecting GOD'S House!
Now let me tell you how this flashed a message to me in startling manner. Today, God's Headquarters on earth is NOT JERUSALEM. Jerusalem is still being trodden down by the Gentiles -- UNTIL their "times" be ended. God will YET take His Headquarters back to Jerusalem -- WHEN CHRIST RETURNS. Today the Jews have built a city ADJOINING the original "Jerusalem, and they call it by that name -- but all of the original Jerusalem is in the hands of Gentile Jordan.
Today the Headquarters of GOD'S WORK, and of GOD'S CHURCH, on earth, is Pasadena, California.
Today we are entering on a major expansion program on the Ambassador College campus. We had to reduce the number of students this year BECAUSE OF LACK OF NEEDED BUILDINGS AND FACILITIES. One of the buildings planned has been a 1200-seat auditorium. This is to be used as the auditorium for the twice-weekly assemblies of students and faculty. But it also is to be used as the meeting place for GOD'S HEADQUARTERS CHURCH. At present, the Headquarters Church meets at the Shakespeare Club auditorium about a mile and a half from the campus. It seats 900. Every year the Headquarters Church outgrows the seating capacity. So, during the past several years, other churches have been raised up in the Southern California area.
Today there are local churches meeting in rented auditoriums in down-town Los Angeles (about 500 in attendance); in North Hollywood; in El Monte; in Long Beach in San Bernardino; in Bakersfield; in Santa Barbara; in San Diego, and even the church at Fresno is pastored by ministers from Headquarters, as are all these.
Each year, as the Pasadena attendance goes above 900, sufficient members are allocated to attend one of these other churches nearest them to reduce the attendance at the Shakespeare Club to 850 or 900 again.
It has been planned to allow the Headquarters congregation to increase to 1,200 when we build the new auditorium on the campus.
Since we can continue to RENT the use of Shakespeare Club, we had planned to DELAY the auditorium until all other buildings were completed.
But when I read, once again, Haggai's message from God -- it came like a bolt of lightning as a message of God TO HIS CHURCH TODAY!
It struck me as a loud message straight from God that we have been planning to build, FIRST, buildings for college use. But here we are AT GOD'S HEADQUARTERS on earth. And WE WERE PLANNING TO DELAY THE BUILDING OF GOD'S HOUSE, FOR HIM (in Spirit) TO DWELL IN!
Brethren, I went straight to the council of God's Ministers, assembled in our outgrown former assembly hall, and announced to them that GOD'S HOUSE -- the new auditorium -- the meeting place for the Headquarters Church -- MUST COME NEXT on the priority list. We are already engaged in the construction of a new dining hall, and a gymnasium. But NEXT, ahead of everything else, must come the HOUSE OF GOD, at God's earthly HEADQUARTERS!
This is a commandment direct from GOD! It is not for us to question. The LIVING CHRIST is HEAD of God's Church. He leads -- He directs His Church. And, as Zerubbabel was OBEDIENT to the command, and with the enthusiastic and generous help of all the people, started building GOD'S HOUSE, so must we.
Christ does not lead us to build a great costly Temple. I'm sure He gives us wisdom, and makes His will plain. We may not have more than eight more years before being taken to God's place of safety during the Great Tribulation.
On the one hand, we DARE NOT reason that we can get along with just any old kind of shacks for eight years. That would not be God's Way. His way is to do whatever we do the BEST it can be done. But on the other hand, God's great and fine TEMPLE is not to be built in Pasadena, but after Christ returns, IN JERUSALEM. We are not, therefore, to try to make this a super-costly ornate Temple.
We must strike a middle ground. It is to be just an AUDITORIUM -- a meeting place for GOD'S HEADQUARTERS CHURCH. In our worship services, our fellowship is with God, and with Christ, and through THEM with one another. But this is to be GOD'S HOUSE at His Headquarters on earth. It CANNOT be of cheap, inferior, cracker-box construction. It must reflect CHARACTER, and good quality.
The architects retained a year ago to design our new campus and buildings are the largest firm of architects and engineers in the world. So they -- the world's largest, and, we believe, most competent and experienced firm, have been retained to design this new House for GOD. It will be plain and simple -- just a 1,200-seat auditorium -- yet a truly fine one in character and quality and architectural design.
Now let me report to you members the present FINANCIAL STATUS of God's Work.
A year ago, we were behind financially. Most salaries on our payroll -- virtually all of those who were members of God's Church -- were two to six weeks behind. We were running close to an average of 90 days late in paying most bills -- both at Pasadena and at the college in England. We then could show a good financial statement EXCEPT ONE IMPORTANT THING -- we were running behind, and we had almost no financial reserve in the bank!
I ordered the "austerity year." GOD HAS BLESSED US in it. Today God's Work is current in paying all bills -- in our every office around the world. Today we have a sufficient cash reserve in the bank to show any banker or business firm a FINE financial statement -- though we do not, as yet, have what we feel is an adequate cash reserve for an operation as large as God's Work has become.
This is no longer a small one-man Work. Today it is a BIG world-wide operation. The calendar year 1963, just ended, was just a trifle under a nine million dollar year. The business phase of God's Work is today BIG BUSINESS, matching many of the nation's big corporations. And today God has blessed us so that the business phase of GOD'S Work is in a most HEALTHY condition.
WE MUST FINANCE MOST OF THIS BUILDING OPERATION BY PAYING CASH AS WE GO!
Brethren, THIS MESSAGE FROM GOD TO BUILD THE HOUSE FOR HIM TO DWELL IN is His command to YOU as much as to me!
Not only did Zerubbabel move to build God's House, but he "WITH ALL THE PEOPLE OBEYED the voice of the Eternal their God. SPIRIT OF ALL THE REMNANT OF THE PEOPLE; AND THEY CAME AND DID THE WORK IN THE HOUSE OF THE ETERNAL OF HOSTS, THEIR GOD."
Brethren, will we let the SAME GOD STIR UP OUR SPIRITS to DO THE WORK of building this HOUSE OF THE LORD, at His earthly Headquarters, TODAY?
It is going to mean extra sacrifice -- generous offerings. The way YOU, as one of God's people today, do the work on this HOUSE is by your SPECIAL offerings to the PROPERTY AND BUILDING FUND.
Over a year ago I asked for statements of intention, letting us at Headquarters know what amount you will try to contribute -- IN ADDITION TO your tithes and REGULAR OFFERINGS, each month, for this special fund. That statement was for one year.
I am NOT asking for any vow or even a pledge -- merely a statement of the amount you expect (God making it possible) to be able to send monthly for this special fund. IT IS UNDERSTOOD that if your income is cut off or reduced -- or if emergency conditions make it impossible for you to continue, you will not be bound.
WHY do we NEED this? Because we have to PLAN AHEAD -- we have to fix a BUDGET of the amount we can spend each year on this building program. I hope you understand I would not ask this if it were not NECESSARY.
The Israelites of old WERE NOT GIVEN GOD'S HOLY SPIRIT. Today we have the indwelling of His precious Spirit. HOW MUCH MORE WILLING ought we to be today, to do our part for GOD'S HOUSE, than the remnant of Jews at Jerusalem in those days? THEY PUT THEIR WHOLE HEARTS INTO IT!
To Zerubbabel and God's people then, God said: I AM WITH YOU!" You may be sure God will be WITH US today, and prosper us and guide us! When their hearts moved to OBEY, God said to them: "FROM THIS DAY WILL I BLESS YOU." He will bless us, today!
Brethren, NEVER BEFORE have we of this time built a house for GOD to dwell in. In Old Testament times God had His people build houses for HIM to dwell in. Of course we realize that God, IN PERSON, was on His throne in heaven -- the Throne of the entire UNIVERSE. He dwelt in these temples, tabernacles, or houses built on earth IN SPIRIT. But Pasadena is God's EARTHLY Headquarters. It is the Headquarters of HIS GOVERNMENT on earth. Washington, D.C. is the Headquarters of MAN'S government of the United States -- London of MAN'S government for Britain, Moscow for MAN'S government for the U.S.S.R. But not one of those is GOD'S Government.
The ONLY people on earth who are really OBEYING the GOVERNMENT OF GOD, as He governs HIS CHURCH, are you Brethren.
Brethren, aren't you SIMPLY THRILLED to know that God has granted us permission -- has actually COMMANDED US -- to BUILD A HOUSE FOR HIM, as His dwelling place (in Spirit) at His EARTHLY Headquarters? I AM!
It must be a building that will reflect CREDIT on CHRIST and HIS CHURCH and HIS COLLEGE. It must not be one cheaply regarded -- but a building to be respected and admired, reflecting, as nearly as He inspires us to design and build, the very CHARACTER of CHRIST.
Won't you PRAY that God will inspire and guide ME, in conveying to the architects the KIND of building this must be -- what CHARACTER it must reflect? I am praying that God will move on their chief designers -- the best in the world -- to catch the vision from me as I describe to them what it must look like. It must be beautiful -- and often the plain simple things are most beautiful. An example is a lily -- a beautiful flower. It must reflect the CHARACTER of GOD!
If you will pray, and subscribe the largest amount of SPECIAL offerings within your means, I'm sure God will guide me to transmit to the architectural designers the type of structure, and to reject everything UNTIL they do come up with the RIGHT DESIGN. Already God has given me a considerable experience in such things, preparatory to this.
Let's PRAY for God's direction. Let's PRAY for God to prosper all of us, so we can increase our offerings for this purpose. Pray NOT ONLY that God will prosper YOU, but all other members and Co-Workers also.
There are many NEW members among us since last year. I now ask every one of YOU to send in your statement and join the older members in this great enterprise which God commands. Those of you on your third-tithe year may have to set a smaller amount, or even be unable to subscribe to this SPECIAL fund for this year. Ask God to guide you in what you should do. But those of you who were on your third tithe year last year can now send in your statement of intention for THIS year.
As I did last year, I now ask YOU -- EVERY MEMBER -- or family head where there are more than one member in a family -- to fill in and return the enclosed card -- UNLESS YOU ALREADY HAVE DONE SO, returning the card sent you about a week ago in the general CO-WORKER letter. If this is your third tithe year and you are not able to send any special offering for this SPECIAL Building fund this year, RETURN THE CARD ANYWAY, and simply mark on it: Third Tithe Year -- and we will understand. It you are a widow supported by the Church Third Tithe fund -- or if you are on state welfare aid and unable to subscribe to this fund, just say so on the card -- BUT RETURN IT ANYWAY. If you are a wife whose non-member husband will not permit you to subscribe to this special fund, just write the facts on the card.
Brethren, the VERY FACT there are a good many members in one of these above categories simply means that the REST of us WILL HAVE TO MAKE EXTRA SACRIFICE to make up for what they CANNOT send. LET EVERY ONE SUBSCRIBE TO THIS ACCORDING TO FINANCIAL ABILITY! If one of the above described conditions makes it impossible to subscribe -- state this on the card and mail it in. God does not expect us to do more than we are able! BUT if you ARE able, then SEE IF YOU CAN'T BE EVEN MORE GENEROUS THAN YOU HAD PLANNED -- OR MORE THAN LAST YEAR! God loves a cheerful GIVER!
This HOUSE FOR GOD TO DWELL IN, at His Headquarters for this earth, MUST be started before this year is over -- though of course it will take some months to complete architects' plans.
I'll be praying for YOU -- and WITH you. I need you to PRAY FOR ME, AND FOR THE WORK. Christ has PROMISED that He will be WITH us -- and He will BLESS US! So now, LET US PLUNGE FORWARD IN GREAT AND JOYOUS ZEAL with this Work!
With much love, in Jesus' name,
HERBERT W. ARMSTRONG
P.S. IF you signed one of these cards any time in September or later last year, then please sign this one for THIS year -- and we will throw out your former card. Although I sent you one of these cards a few days ago, in the monthly Co-Worker letter, I am enclosing another now, in case you did not sign that one. If you have already mailed that card, then destroy this one -- UNLESS you want to make the amount larger -- in which case WE will destroy the former one. When you send in THIS card, it NULLIFIES any and all previous cards. I hope this explanation is clear.