WORLDWIDE CHURCH OF GOD
PASADENA, CALIFORNIA 91123
HERBERT W. ARMSTRONG
President and Pastor
January 21, 1976
Dear Co-Worker in Christ:
It's time you were becoming ALARMED over the rapidly worsening state of the world you live in. The flaring up of massive violence may not be in your town or city -- but we live in an interdependent world. The increasing mass violence and threat of spreading world war affects the United States and all British countries -- and your town or city.
This world we live in is being rapidly hurled into the prophesied GREAT TRIBULATION -- the time of world trouble, such as never happened before, and never will again. And prophecy says it will be primarily affecting the United States and British countries!
And the living Creator of the universe has called YOU and me to get this message and the message of the ensuing supernatural intervention which will bring PEACE announced throughout the world before the Tribulation strikes in full FURY!
When this letter was written -- January 21 in Europe -- the chief trouble spots of the world were fast escalating in violence.
The most violent flare-up was in Lebanon, the Arab state which is about half Moslem and half Christian. I have had private talks with both President Suleiman Franjieh, who is Christian, and Prime Minister Rashid Karami, who is Moslem. Premier Karami had just resigned, and in the wake of his resignation, Moslems called for total holy (religious) war. On January 19, the twenty-fourth "cease-fire" was announced, but the firing did not cease.
The modern city of Beirut, which has been the financial and educational capital of the Arab world, a city filled with hundreds of high-rise buildings, was a shambles. By January 20, Palestinian and Moslem forces had seized most of the Lebanese countryside. Lebanon's Interior Minister appealed to the United States and the United Nations to intervene. Syrian forces were poised, ready to invade Lebanon, and Israeli forces threatened intervention if Syria entered the civil war in Lebanon.
The United States warned Syria and Israel against any intervention, and probably warned the U.S.S.R. also.
This civil war in Lebanon could easily trigger ALL-OUT WAR in the Middle East, which in turn could lead to NUCLEAR WORLD WAR!
As we should have expected, trouble is flaring up in Spain since the death of dictator Francisco Franco and the accession of King Juan Carlos to the throne. To stem fresh labor and political unrest, the young king drafted 200,000 more Spanish workers into military service. Communist opposition in Portugal is still smoldering and could erupt again any time. The Italian government is in a crisis. These things and other disturbances in European Common Market countries could prompt a sensational Vatican movement leading to the political and military union of ten nations in Europe. This prophesied event will bring about the emergence of a gigantic third world power equal to the United States or Russia.
The crisis in Angola involved both the Soviet Union and the United States and threatened detente. Violence has flared anew in Northern Ireland, and danger of bombing has been a continuous threat in London stores, hotels, and public places.
And while danger and violence are everywhere, and the world only beginning to emerge from worldwide economic troubles, the British, French, and United States governments are dickering about faster and more expensive transportation. The question was hanging in the balance of whether the U.S. will allow the French-English supersonic Concorde aircraft to use the Dulles International Airport at Washington, D.C., and the Kennedy Airport at New York.
If the United States allows the Concorde to land and take off in regular passenger service at these two airports, passengers will fly between New York and Paris in three hours and twenty minutes. The jumbo 747 takes eight hours. Flight time between Washington and London will be three and a half hours, while it takes seven hours and fifty minutes by the 747.
Through history humans have always striven for more speed in travel. I am reminded of the time when my mother's twin sister, an Iowa farmer's wife, overheard her husband drifting off to sleep while praying. He was saying, "O Lord, give us better roads and more speed." It was 1924, and he drove a Model-T Ford over Iowa mud roads at twenty miles per hour. Country roads were not yet paved.
The first Wright brothers' heavier-than-air flight did not take place until after my eleventh birthday. I flew from Portland, Oregon, to New York to attend the first meeting of the U.N. Security Council in a DC-3 in twenty-four hours. A week later I flew from New York to Los Angeles on a first flight of a DC-4, leaving New York after 9 p.m., arriving at the Burbank airport, North Hollywood, about 5 a.m. What a thrill that was! It had been taking three days by streamline train! Until very close to my own lifetime the fastest transportation for human travel was about the speed of a horse. Fulton didn't invent the steamboat until 1803.
What a world! And here I am, finishing this letter I started yesterday, in my "office" in my jet aircraft at 43,000 feet (eight miles) above the Atlantic Ocean at 550 miles per hour air speed.
But what is humanity doing with its modern technology and "progress"? It was military need that inspired many of the marvels man has produced -- weapons for mass DESTRUCTION and VIOLENCE! I travel over the world as an ambassador without portfolio for WORLD PEACE in my comparatively small Gulfstream II aircraft. But most subsonic and supersonic aircraft were developed for WAR purposes.
The U.S. government indulged in a seven-year, $842-million supersonic transport program to develop the American SST, in competition with the British-French Concorde. Congress scrapped the program in 1971. But the White House assigned responsibility for supersonic research to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and to Boeing and McDonnell Douglas. They now envision a long-range 350-passenger SST cruising at mach 2.7 (the Concorde cruises at mach 2.05 and carries only 128 passengers -- although they would have to begin their Washington service with only 65 passengers -- super-expensive!). But eventually the American researchers contemplate a hypersonic transport (HST) fueled by hydrogren that would cruise at 5000 miles per hour -- mach 7.6. You may be sure that military need will force the United States to enter the competition with faster and faster aircraft.
Actually the jet age did not arrive until 1958, and it seems like a miracle that I am able to do the Work of the living God in a comparatively small jet plane at speeds between 550 and 600 miles per hour -- air speed, that is. With a tail wind of 100 miles per hour, which we do sometimes encounter, I fly at speeds up to 700 miles per hour, but with a head wind of 100 miles per hour, which we have at this minute, at about 450 miles per hour.
As I write, I am flying to Nassau in the Bahamas to work out preliminary plans for a campaign to be held there next month. Then, after about five days, on again to Jerusalem where the very important testimonial dinner is to be held at last. This dinner was scheduled and actually held in Tel Aviv about a year ago, but I suddenly experienced an attack of extreme dizziness at the time and was unable to attend -- so my message was not delivered. After Jerusalem I will fly over to Cairo for a fourth dinner, speaking before a fourth group of top leaders in government, industry, commerce, and education. Then back to Nassau for the three night public campaign.
But it is extremely important that we realize there is a definite upsurge right now in worldwide VIOLENCE, fraught with ultra-significant indications that the prophesied terrifying GREAT TRIBULATION is approaching with increasing speed. Time is fast growing SHORT! The real brunt of this terrifying time will strike the United States and Britain.
The prophecies in the Bible were written to give us a warning. Few, of course, UNDERSTAND. But the living Christ has called us -- you and me -- as co-workers with Him in getting HIS MESSAGE to the world for a witness to all nations. But, if we heed His warnings in prophecy, He does not intend that we should go through the extreme suffering just ahead of us. I know there are some who will hear the warning of these prophecies -- who are foolish -- and will not take it seriously, nor heed. They will suffer a frightful penalty for their negligence.
These warning prophecies are given us as a tremendous gift of God's love for our safety and protection.
To those of us IN THIS WORK Christ says: "Lo, I have set a door open before you ...." An open door is used in the New Testament to signify a way opened before us to proclaim Christ's Gospel MESSAGE. For 40 years I found the door OPEN to get the Message to people in the United States and Canada, and partly to the people of Britain, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and western Europe. But in most nations, the doors were CLOSED to us. Radio, T.V. and means of reaching mass audiences were government owned and operated, and Christ's Message was barred. There was not the freedom of speech and press there that we have in the United States. But in the last three or four years, these doors have been opening. They had been CLOSED by the governments. Now God has been giving me seemingly miraculous FAVOR in the eyes of heads of government and those near the top.
Continue this prophecy: "... which no one is able to shut ...." Enemies have TRIED, but HAVE BEEN UNABLE to shut these doors! Continue: "... for though your strength is small, you have kept my word, you have not renounced my Name ... Because you have kept my call to patient endurance, I will keep you safe through the hour of trial [the GREAT TRIBULATION] which is coming upon the whole world to test the dwellers on earth. I am coming very soon: hold to what you have ..." (Rev. 3:8-11, Moffatt).
Now notice Matthew's prophecy of this Great Tribulation. It is the very NEXT THING TO HAPPEN. In verse 14 Jesus spoke of this VERY WORK in which YOU are a co-worker. "... This gospel of the Reign shall be preached over the wide world as a testimony to all the Gentiles, and then the end [of this age] will come" (Matt. 24:14, Moffatt).
Then the NEXT event in prophecy is the Great Tribulation. It is summarized in verses 21 and 22: "For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved [alive]: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened."
The Moffatt translation has: "Had not those days been cut short, not a soul would be saved alive ..." (verse 22).
There can be only one time of trouble greater than any before or to come after. I don't want to have to qo throuqh it!
The prophet Daniel speaks of the SAME TIME: "And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince [archangel] which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book [of life]. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life ..." (Dan. 12:1-2).
Daniel describes the SAME time of trouble, more furious, more severe than anything before -- and just before the coming of Christ in supreme POWER and GLORY to RULE THE WHOLE WORLD!
Do not read carelessly over this, as if it were some ordinary thing you'd hardly notice! The FOOLISH will do just that, and they will SUFFER as humanity has never suffered before!
The prophet Jeremiah describes it.
Did you ever see a man in frightful, excruciating PAIN, like a woman in childbirth? Read GOD'S WORDS, through Jeremiah: "For thus saith the Lord; We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace. Ask ye now, and see whether a man doth travail with child? wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness? Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob's trouble..." (Jer. 30:5-7).
And WHO is "Jacob"? Jacob was the son of Isaac and grandson of Abraham. This is speaking of his descendants -- the "House of Israel." But NOTICE THE TIME OF THIS PROPHECY. The context shows it is a prophecy for OUR TIME, NOW -- shortly before Christ's second coming. Daniel set the time as just prior to the resurrection of the just -- at Christ's coming. Matthew 24 sets the time as just prior to Christ's return. So does Jeremiah in this chapter and continuing in chapter 31.
WHERE is "Jacob" -- the "House of Israel" -- TODAY? Ancient Israel was divided into TWO NATIONS after the death of Solomon. A new capital was set up at Samaria, north of Jerusalem. But the tribe of Judah remained with their King Rehoboam, son of Solomon, while ISRAEL made Jeroboam king over ISRAEL at Samaria. Jeroboam threw the priestly tribe of Levi, and that tribe joined with Judah and Benjamin, forming the nation JUDAH, and BREAKING OFF from ISRAEL. After 19 evil kings, ISRAEL was conquered by King Shalmanezar of Assyria -- uprooted from their cities and farms -- and taken as slaves to Assyria. Some years after, the Assyrians and the people of ISRAEL migrated north and west -- the Assyrians settling in Germany, where they are known as Germans today, and the ten-tribed people of ISRAEL migrating on into western Europe and Britain. They lost their identity and their language. The world called them "the LOST TEN TRIBES." Jesus called them "the LOST SHEEP OF THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL." Today Britain is the tribe of Ephraim, and the United States the descendants of the tribe of Manasseh. If you have not read it, send for our free booklet The United States and the British Commonwealth in Prophecy.
This prophecy of Jeremiah and other prophecies show that OUR PEOPLE (who do not know their real identity), are once again to go into captivity, but at Christ's return are to be delivered out of it.
Go back to this prophecy now: "... the time of Jacob's trouble; but he shall be saved out of it" (Jer. 30:7).
NOW go back to verse 3 in this prophecy. Let me give it to you from the Moffatt translation: "... the day is coming, the Eternal declares, when I will restore the fortunes of my people Israel and Judah, and bring them back to possess the land that I gave to their fathers."
This is NOT referring to the return of Jews to the ancient land and the present nation set up in 1948, except that this is preliminary to it -- and includes JUDAH ONLY.
But the prophecy given in Jeremiah refers to BOTH Israel and Judah. It speaks of CHRIST, at His coming, delivering them from a yet future captivity, and returning in an altogether different manner than the Zionist movement that led to the present nation of descendants of JUDAH, who fought their own way back, and have had wars, and shall, says prophecy, have more.
Listen to Moffatt's translation, beginning in verse 4: "Here are the words spoken by the Eternal with regard to Israel and Judah: We have heard a SCREAM OF TERROR; all is alarm and unrest. Ask now and inquire, if a man is ever with child; for why do I see every man pressing his hands on his loins, and why is every face turned to a deadly pallor? Ah, this is an awful Day! what day is like it? -- an hour of anguish for Jacob; but he shall come through it. For on this Day, says the Lord of hosts, I will break the yoke from their neck, and snap their thongs; they shall serve foreigners no more, but serve their God, the Eternal, and their Davidic king, whom I shall raise up for them."
It is speaking of the RESURRECTION from the dead of the ancient King David -- the time of Christ's return and the resurrection of the just!
Co-workers, this ought to give you an idea of what trouble is ahead.
But you and I CAN BE SAVED FROM BEING IN IT! Those of us who are FAITHFUL, making sacrifices, even if only financial, will be spared from having to go through it (Rev. 3:10).
Co-workers, I know only too well that very FEW people will ever heed a warning. But this warning I must give you, for it is true -- and IT IS SURE!
THINK of all the troubles on earth NOW -- and yet this TERRIBLE GREAT TRIBULATION is YET TO COME! It will be indescribably WORSE!
But I am announcing the GOOD NEWS of the soon-coming KINGDOM OF GOD to bring us WORLD PEACE! God has willed that this wonderful GOOD NEWS MUST GO OUT FOR A WITNESS TO ALL NATIONS, and it must go BEFORE Christ comes to FREE our people of what is prophesied that I have just covered -- and free the hundreds of MILLIONS from extreme poverty, hunger, ignorance, and the whole world from its monumental TROUBLES.
LET'S HELP SPEED THE DAY! The living Christ is BLESSING YOU. He expects YOU to respond, even as I devote all my energies to this monumental task. He is OPENING THE DOORS -- your PRAYERS and your sacrifice are seriously NEEDED to make it possible to go through those doors.
DON'T FORGET! Garner Ted and I NEED YOUR EARNEST PREVAILING PRAYERS! God IS blessing you!
With love, in Jesus' name,
Herbert W. Armstrong