WORLDWIDE CHURCH OF GOD
PASADENA, CALIFORNIA 91123
HERBERT W. ARMSTRONG
President and Pastor
January 15, 1984
Dear Brethren and Co-Workers with Christ:
I'm writing from Australia. But wherever I am, it is needful to keep in touch with the fast-moving world conditions. We all live in the same world. And the atomic scientists have now moved the DOOMSDAY CLOCK one more minute forward -- from four to only THREE MINUTES TO MIDNIGHT!
I mentioned before how the President of the United States had said it seemed we are fast approaching Armageddon and the END OF THIS WORLD.
Not too long ago if anyone mentioned "the end of the world," people would have thought him to be a crackpot doomsday freak. But today the sanest atomic scientists and heads of nations are talking about doomsday and the END of this world.
These sober men are not wild-eyed religious fanatics. They KNOW what is actually happening. They know how the EVILS in this world are mounting. They know how the weapons of mass destruction have been produced that now can blast all human life into extinction.
AND THESE SOBER LEADERS ARE WORRIED! One said, "I am frankly scared!" They are bewildered, confused and perplexed. They see no way to stop what now seems inevitable!
That is because they don't see GOD in their thinking. They know not what GOD says about it.
Jesus' prophecy for NOW -- our very time now -- says, "This gospel OF THE KINGDOM shalI be preached in alI the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the END [of the world] come" (Matt. 24:14). The Church of God was founded in A.D. 31. About A.D. 53 the apostle Paul wrote to the churches in Galatia that they had already turned to ANOTHER Gospel! At that time a fierce controversy arose over whether the gospel to be preached was the gospel OF Christ, or ABOUT Christ. The Gospel OF Christ -- that is, the Gospel he proclaimed, was the good news of the Kingdom of God (Mark 1:1,14-15). That Gospel (or "good news" announcement) was not preached from about A.D. 53 until 1953 -- a century of 19-year time cycles -- when God opened up the most powerful radio station on earth, Radio Luxembourg in Europe, to me.
Now that Gospel OF Christ, the Gospel of the Kingdom, has been proclaimed in all the world, as a witness to all nations. Jesus was talking of the end of the world. Verses 21 and 22 of this same 24th chapter of Matthew quote Jesus saying that following the end-time proclamation of the true Gospel would come the GREAT TRIBULATION. Present world troubles are only preliminary to it. It will be a time of world violence so great that "no flesh should be saved alive." Humanity would be erased from the earth. But for the sake of God's Church, God will stop the world violence short of human extinction. But the nuclear warfare will reduce the world's population to perhaps less than a third of all humanity. Immediately after the stoppage of this nuclear tribulation, there will be frightful signs in the sky -- the sun, moon and stars. Then what remains of humanity shall see Christ coming in clouds with POWER AND GREAT GLORY -- as King of kings and Lord of lords to RULE ALL NATIONS!
Satan will be removed from earth. The Glorious GOD FAMILY -- hopefully including you and me -- will establish God's NEW CIVILIZATION -- a WHOLE NEW WORLD -- the WORLD TOMORROW!
Brethren, can you realize HOW NEAR we now are to that time? Yet in the short time left we have a tremendous job to complete under Christ, the Head of the Church.
Here in Australia I have visited the SEP summer camp for youths 13 to 18 years of age. First I visited the camp in New Zealand, then here in Australia. Words simply cannot describe the IMPORTANCE of these summer camps. These hundreds of young people will be adults being married and having children in just one decade. They will be LEADERS in the WORLD TOMORROW. They are learning GOD'S way of fun, and are being taught God's TRUTH. Their lives are being changed. These camps and the Church's YOU program for youths worldwide are turning THE HEARTS OF THE CHILDREN TO THEIR PARENTS, and the parents to their children. And in this age when families are being broken up and youths are turning to alcohol, drugs, sex and violence -- and becoming strangers to their parents -- that is one of the VITAL things God is doing through his Church -- as prophesied in Malachi 4:6.
I have spoken to large church audiences in Auckland and Wellington, New Zealand, and in Brisbane and Melbourne, Australia. In less than an hour we will land in Perth, where I shall speak to several hundreds within the hour. I am writing on our plane as we near Perth.
Later: I spoke to about 550 at Perth.
I want to say more about these summer SEP camps, and the entire YOU program. I want you to realize what an IMPORTANT part of God's work this is. Our GREAT COMMISSION is to TEACH all nations -- teach Christ's Gospel of the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is the FAMILY OF GOD into which God's Church shall be born. God himself is a FAMILY -- the GOD family. These are children of members of God's Church. They have access to Christ (I Cor. 7:14), whereas those of the world DO NOT! Jesus said: "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him" (John 6:44). Except God calls and draws them, people in the world DO NOT have access to God! Other churches DO NOT REALIZE THAT!
At the time of Adam's rejection of the TREE OF LIFE, God CLOSED OFF that tree of eternal LIFE through his Spirit -- until Christ the second Adam. Even when Jesus came, it remained closed to all EXCEPT THOSE CALLED INTO GOD'S CHURCH! To others we proclaim the Gospel AS A WITNESS! But to the children of those called into the Church the Bible clearly reveals they DO have access freely to God.
God's TITHE money, which you pay, brethren, goes primarily for preaching and teaching the Gospel. Of all those we can reach, these youths of those already in the Church are by FAR the most important. I feel you never realized that before.
Not only are these summer camps of such supreme importance but also our program of working with you parents so you may come closer to your children. As God's apostle I call on you, brethren, to have a CLOSER RELATIONSHIP with your children. The last two verses of the Old Testament are a prophecy showing how important that is for YOU, TODAY!
That is only ONE of the things we have YET to accomplish before the END OF THIS WORLD. But it may be even the MOST IMPORTANT!
Brethren, last month I had to call on you to sacrifice more and more, financially, for this most important activity on earth today. Our finances had dropped. This past month they have started back up. But now we must CONTINUE from here on to the END to make God's work the MOST IMPORTANT THING IN OUR LIVES! Put it before your pleasures and everything else. We must be READY for Christ's soon coming. Time grows shorter. It is MOST URGENT NOW! I pray for you daily, and I thank YOU for praying for me with all my heart -- for I seriously NEED your prayers.
With deep LOVE, in Jesus' name,
Herbert W. Armstrong