"That Way" (Acts 19:23)

In the early 1970’s, I remember sitting in a bible-study that Mr Armstrong was taking at the campus in Bricket Wood. It was about the World Tomorrow and he pounded the table in front of him and almost in exasperation told us, “Most of you here simply do not understand what I am saying – you just don’t get it – you simply can not see!” And he was talking to faculty members, ministers, long time brethren, students and graduates – not the world.

The following Sunday morning after the bible-study, a friend of mine was talking to him, and asked him “what exactly did you mean on Friday night when you said that we simply did not get it Mr Armstrong?” And Mr Armstrong began to explain to him that there is simply nothing within this world that is going to remain as it is today when the World Tomorrow comes. Absolutely everything is going to have to change. So often we have a view that the World Tomorrow is going to be much like today – but just with more of everything. This concept, according to both scripture and the apostle sent to us, is utterly false.

The World Tomorrow is going to be a world that will need to be physically rebuilt from the bottom up. At the time of its inception, today’s society will lie in utter ruin. It says in Rev 6:12-14 “And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake … and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.” This is the first of two enormous earthquakes described in Revelation. The second is described in Rev 16:17-20 “And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air…and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great…..And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.”

This last earthquake seems to actually level the very topology of the earth – probably giving the basis of hugely productive, verdant growing and living areas for the future. But the cities that now stand will be utterly destroyed by these cataclysmic events. And within these cities, the manufacturing base, the government buildings, the educational infrastructure, the transportation systems, the fuel extraction and purification plants, the distribution channels, the medical establishments, the agricultural industry, all communications, all electrical supply, and every place and means of entertainment –completely wiped away. And the new systems that will replace them will be totally, utterly different from absolutely everything that went before.

But this destruction is not only going to be physical. Every philosophy and religion, every creed and denomination, every form of education, every form of government, all charities and welfare programmes, even the very languages used to describe all that we know and hold dear in today’s societies are to be removed and replaced with a new, living, different Way. Based on an entirely different approach. A total about-face for the entire world. And that’s where we come in. What kind of vision do we have in our minds? How do we see the World Tomorrow? Is it just the same as today’s world – but more of it? Is it truly God’s vision we hold? Or is it merely a slightly modified version of our own?

Over the past few years virtually all that was physically owned by the Church has been taken from us. The buildings, printing-presses, campuses, recording studios, libraries, computer systems, ornate gardens, farms – all have gone. Except one thing: the Truth itself. Is God trying to teach us something? Could it be that when Mr Armstrong said, “You just do not get it – you can not see what I am talking about”, that the only way God could really show us was to strip everything away from us, to lay us organisationally bare, and get us to focus on the one element that really is important to Him. To make us concentrate on The Truth we had.

The World Tomorrow is going to be the way it is, not because of buildings or architecture. It is not some clever management method that is required. It is not even a list of do’s and don’ts that men may glean from scripture. It will be brought about by a radical change of thinking, from one way of life to a totally different Way of life. This is why Mr Armstrong continually talked about the two trees – yet we all became bored, because we thought we had heard it all before. But we did not really understand what he said. Subsequent events have proved this. The true scope of that simple change, from a way of get to the Way of Give eluded us. From the top to the bottom of the organisation, we were unable to truly grasp the vision placed before us. We remained spiritually blind and had to stumble into a time of apostasy before beginning to wake up. And even today, too many of us during this Laodicean time remain asleep in varying degrees.

This foundational rock (Matt 7:24) of the living Word of God is the most precious thing we have. This living Word is not merely the raw words of scripture – interpreted by men. It is the spirit of the law, the trunk of the tree -- the thing Mr Armstrong went back to almost every time he spoke, the very mindset that must under gird all we do for eternity. This "Way" had to be revealed -- Mr Armstrong did not learn it himself – and all of us who build on the foundation Christ laid within the Church previously must be very careful indeed that we do not decide to change this spiritual foundation -- or we will be out of line and off track as per 1Cor 3:10-11.

It is not a legal dossier. It is not a Talmud. It involves an approach that God gave us and expects us to follow faithfully and clearly. It comes from the identical Spirit that moved men to write the scriptures in the first place and was therefore the reason Mr Armstrong was able to confidently and repeatedly say "don't believe me, believe your bible" as the two are utterly compatible. (cf. 2Pet 1:19-2:1).

To follow within it requires a submission to what was left to us rather than arrogantly assuming that we know better. If adjustments need to be made to what we formerly understood, such adjustments are still to be made in submission to this Way -- to strengthen this Way -- and support rather than destroy the heritage we received. It is our spiritual legacy. And though the words of Mr Armstrong are certainly subservient to scripture, this spiritual legacy remains over us all because it came directly as revealed leadership to our specific church era from the very Spirit of God.

This Way is part of the true “new covenant” that is to be implemented on this earth when Jesus Christ marries His Bride – The Church – resurrected to immortality. This true new covenant is not the counterfeit that those who tried to lead us into apostasy accepted – accepting a form of license to disobey God. We are made administrators of this new covenant – of the spirit, and not of the letter (2Cor 3:6). In this passage it is the administration that is being addressed, not the Law. This Way, this administration, allows us to see what God has actually placed in the Old Testament Law for the first time, as until this new administration came, all who read the Old Testament remained completely blind to what was actually there (2Cor 3: 14-16). It is the future administration that we within the Church are currently training to be part of, which God will use to utterly transform this world in every facet of its existence during the World Tomorrow. The very plan of God itself is waiting for us all to be capable of judging according to it. To administer the very Laws of God according to This Way, so we can indeed function as the kings and priests that will rule and teach in the future.

This Way (Acts 9:2, 18:26, 22:4, 24:14) is not merely Judaism with a belief in Christ tacked on. Christ specifically tells us “except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt 5:20). To understand this verse, we must view it in its context: Just before saying this, Christ explains “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. (Grk: fill to the brim) For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled (Grk: come to pass). (Matt 5:17-18). So the written law of the Old Testament remains exactly the same as it always has – in every detail. What changes is the approach we must take to the words previously written. Christ then begins to describe this approach, a Way of looking at the Law of God that is totally different from the Jewish oral traditions of the time – a more excellent Way (1Cor 12:31) – based on the mind and Spirit of God (Matt 5:48), the Way of Give (1Cor 13:1-13), the Tree of Life – identical to The Way we were also taught during the Philadelphian era of God’s Church, by the apostle sent specifically to us, through whom that identical Way was also revealed.

If we examine the specific examples Christ gives us in Matt 5 of how we must administer the Law of God – both now and in the future – we understand that what He is countering, is not the old testament scriptures, but the Jewish administration of them. Jesus Christ is teaching them that the full meaning involves keeping the spiritual law - the law of love, codified in the Ten Commandments - administering them not according to the strictness of the letter but according to the spirit -- or principal, or obvious intent, of the law (2Cor 3:6). Many Jews emphasized the letter of the law, but through their own traditions (oral teachings), they often stunted the intent of the law - and thereby actually corrupted the law of God.

Judaism, many times perverted the law's intent by replacing the words that God gave with doctrines and commandments of men. (Mark 7:7). Jesus came to counter this. Christ's approach was to magnify the law itself, elevating it away from the traditions that the Jews had added and thereby making the law honorable once more (Is 42:21). He restored the spirit, the intent -- so we can all keep it as God originally intended it to be kept.

Try studying the following scriptures, and notice clearly the two different approaches. These show two different administrations – one from Judaism, the other from Christ, one of the letter, the other of the Spirit. Yet the Law of God on which they are based remains identical. It is merely the approach, the Way, the administration, that is utterly different:

Christ’s words in Matthew 5

Law viewed using Administration of Letter

Additional Scriptures using Administration of Spirit

Matthew 5:21-22

21 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:

22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

Exodus 20:13

13 Thou shalt not kill.

Numbers 35:12

12 And they shall be unto you cities for refuge from the avenger; that the manslayer die not, until he stand before the congregation in judgment.

Leviticus 19:16–18

16 Thou shalt not go up and down [as] a talebearer among thy people: neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy neighbour: I [am] the LORD.

17 Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him.

18 Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I [am] the LORD.

Matthew 5:23-24

23 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;

24 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.

Leviticus 6:2-6

2 If a soul sin, and commit a trespass against the LORD, and lie unto his neighbour in that which was delivered him to keep, or in fellowship, or in a thing taken away by violence, or hath deceived his neighbour;

3 Or have found that which was lost, and lieth concerning it, and sweareth falsely; in any of all these that a man doeth, sinning therein:

4 Then it shall be, because he hath sinned, and is guilty, that he shall restore that which he took violently away, or the thing which he hath deceitfully gotten, or that which was delivered him to keep, or the lost thing which he found,

5 Or all that about which he hath sworn falsely; he shall even restore it in the principal, and shall add the fifth part more thereto, [and] give it unto him to whom it appertaineth, in the day of his trespass offering.

6 And he shall bring his trespass offering unto the LORD, a ram without blemish out of the flock, with thy estimation, for a trespass offering, unto the priest:

Matthew 5:25-26

25 Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison.

26 Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.

Proverbs 6:1-5

1 My son, if thou be surety for thy friend, [if] thou hast stricken thy hand with a stranger,

2 Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth, thou art taken with the words of thy mouth.

3 Do this now, my son, and deliver thyself, when thou art come into the hand of thy friend; go, humble thyself, and make sure thy friend.

4 Give not sleep to thine eyes, nor slumber to thine eyelids.

5 Deliver thyself as a roe from the hand [of the hunter], and as a bird from the hand of the fowler.

Matthew 5:27-28

27 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:

28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

Exodus 20:14

14 Thou shalt not commit adultery.

Leviticus 20:10

10 And the man that committeth adultery with [another] man's wife, [even he] that committeth adultery with his neighbour's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.

Exodus 20:17

17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that [is] thy neighbour's.

Matthew 5:29-30

29 And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast [it] from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not [that] thy whole body should be cast into hell.

30 And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast [it] from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not [that] thy whole body should be cast into hell.

Proverbs 5:8-14

8 Remove thy way far from her, and come not nigh the door of her house:

9 Lest thou give thine honour unto others, and thy years unto the cruel:

10 Lest strangers be filled with thy wealth; and thy labours [be] in the house of a stranger;

11 And thou mourn at the last, when thy flesh and thy body are consumed,

12 And say, How have I hated instruction, and my heart despised reproof;

13 And have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined mine ear to them that instructed me!

14 I was almost in all evil in the midst of the congregation and assembly.

Matthew 5:31-32

31 It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement:

32 But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.

Deuteronomy 24:1

1 When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give [it] in her hand, and send her out of his house.

Matthew 19:8

8 He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.

Malachi 2:16

16 For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: for [one] covereth violence with his garment, saith the LORD of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously.

Matthew 5:33-37

33 Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths:

34 But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne:

35 Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King.

36 Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black.

37 But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil (or evil one).

Exodus 20:7

7 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

Numbers 30:2

2 If a man vow a vow unto the LORD, or swear an oath to bind his soul with a bond; he shall not break his word, he shall do according to all that proceedeth out of his mouth.

Genesis 3:1,4

1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:

Deuteronomy 32:4

4 …a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right [is] he.

Matthew 5:38-41

38 Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:

39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.

40 And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have [thy] cloke also.

41 And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.

Exodus 21:22-25

22 If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart [from her], and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman's husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges [determine].

23 And if [any] mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life,

24 Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot,

25 Burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.

Exodus 22:5,7,9

5 If a man shall cause a field or vineyard to be eaten, and shall put in his beast, and shall feed in another man's field; of the best of his own field, and of the best of his own vineyard, shall he make restitution.

7 If a man shall deliver unto his neighbour money or stuff to keep, and it be stolen out of the man's house; if the thief be found, let him pay double.

9 For all manner of trespass, [whether it be] for ox, for ass, for sheep, for raiment, [or] for any manner of lost thing, which [another] challengeth to be his, the cause of both parties shall come before the judges; [and] whom the judges shall condemn, he shall pay double unto his neighbour..

Matthew 5:42

42 Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.

Deuteronomy 15:7-9

7 If there be among you a poor man of one of thy brethren within any of thy gates in thy land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thine heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother:

8 But thou shalt open thine hand wide unto him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need, [in that] which he wanteth.

9 Beware that there be not a thought in thy wicked heart, saying, The seventh year, the year of release, is at hand; and thine eye be evil against thy poor brother, and thou givest him nought; and he cry unto the LORD against thee, and it be sin unto thee.

Proverbs 3:27-28

27 Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do [it].

28 Say not unto thy neighbour, Go, and come again, and to morrow I will give; when thou hast it by thee.

Matthew 5:43-47

43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.

44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?

47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more [than others]? do not even the publicans so?

Leviticus 19:18

18 …thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I [am] the LORD.

Exodus 17:16

16 For he said, Because the LORD hath sworn [that] the LORD [will have] war with Amalek from generation to generation.

Exodus 23:4

4 If thou meet thine enemy's ox or his ass going astray, thou shalt surely bring it back to him again.

5 If thou see the ass of him that hateth thee lying under his burden, and wouldest forbear to help him, thou shalt surely help with him.

Proverbs 25:21

21 If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink:

22 For thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and the LORD shall reward thee.

Matthew 5:48

48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

Exodus 19:6

6 And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These [are] the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.

Leviticus 11:44-45

44 For I [am] the LORD your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I [am] holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

45 For I [am] the LORD that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I [am] holy.

This administration of the Spirit as described and explained by Christ in Matt 5, did not come from the human mind. This Way – the Way of Give – also did not come to us today from a human source either – though it was revealed through a human being, an apostle that God selected and sent for the purpose. Understanding the things of God cannot come from human reasoning or intellectual scholarship. This is why it says, “In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight.” (Lu 10:21)

Regardless of intellect, education or position in this world, this Way must always be revealed (1Cor 2:9-11) as it comes from the very Spirit of God, and on God’s terms. Of and by ourselves, we would have remained utterly ignorant of the most important aspects of life today (1Cor 2:12). The scriptures that provide our entire hope and destiny would have remained closed, as even though we may have read them, they are not for private interpretation. (2Pet 1:20). We should not therefore glory about what we currently know and understand as if somehow we received this knowledge by ourselves (1Cor 4:7). But always keep on our knees, as the people of God, recognising the true source of our strength. Without such effective, constant contact with the source of our understanding, we will unquestionably once again drift away from that understanding.

This utterly different, living Way of God will govern every aspect of life in the future. As Mr Armstrong said, “In God's kingdom, commands of His, will be obeyed. They'll become the standard for regulating commerce, business, finance, and the entire economic structure of the world. And all will be on the giving basis. Christ said: "Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again" (Luke 6:38). The giving standard will be followed in God's rule on this earth—not the grasping, conniving, striving, deceitful, clandestine, furtive, scurrilous, devious, cheating and lying chicanery that is commonplace in today's business world.” (Mystery of the Ages Page 323)

So for us to be there to teach it, we must first develop this Way ourselves in every aspect of our own lives today. Knowledge of This Way has been given to us specifically that we may grow in the grace and knowledge within the revelation handed to us as a spiritual legacy – not go outside it to elevate our own ideas. It has been given so we shall be ready to teach and judge correctly as kings and priests in the future. A people called by God, who both have and also continually exercise the gift of being able to see spiritually in a dark and lost world – ready and willing to then continue doing so for eternity.

With fondest love to all who currently strive for That Way,

From all of us here in Wales,

Jon Bowles