Mission Of The Philadelphia Church Era

By Herbert W Armstrong

17 December 1983


Greetings everybody! This afternoon I want to speak on the mission of the Philadelphia era of the Church (this Church today) in comparison to the first Church, or the first era of the Church (the Ephesus era of the Church). It has been seeming more and more to me, as the years go by, that the Bible was written primarily for the Philadelphia era of the Church. It has not been understood previously to now. The Bible was not all written yet during the beginning of the Church (during the Ephesian era, the first era of the Church)

Until close to the end of the First Century, the Bible was not complete. There was no printing. Every copy had to be written carefully, slowly, one copy at a time; by hand and by copyists. There were not very many of them. The average person never saw one. Much of the Bible had not been revealed yet, especially the book of Revelation; and I, II, III John; and the Book of Jude. And most of the early Church never saw those books. They had been getting away from the Truth as they had received it from the apostles. And, by the time Jude wrote, he urged the people to contend earnestly for the faith once delivered, because they were getting away from it.

Most prophecy in the Bible refers to our time now, and is concerned with our time—not with the time back in the First Century, not in the Middle Ages. How many times do you find in the Bible “in that day”? Such-and-such will happen “in that day.” “In that day” again and again, especially in the Old Testament prophesies. And it is referring to the time now and leading on into the Second Coming of Christ—the Coming of Christ the Messiah, and these events and these days just preceding—when there is the greatest mission of the Church. And that is the mission that has devolved down on us. Today’s mission of the Church you will find in Matthew 24 and in verse 14:

Matthew 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom [that is the same gospel that Jesus preached] shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations and then shall the end come.

Now, the early apostles had been asking Jesus about this time. They knew… They were somewhat familiar with the prophecies: especially prophesies like Isaiah and Jeremiah, Ezekiel; and then the so-called “minor prophets.” Hosea, Amos, Micah, Daniel, all of those prophets; and how many times they said “in that day.” Jesus had said to them, He said “If I go, I will come again and receive you to Myself.” He had taught them about the Kingdom of God. And He had taught them in a parable that He would have to go to heaven to receive the kingdom and then to return; and that we had to occupy, or continue on the job that He had given us, until then.


And so we read, beginning with the third verse in Matthew 24. And, incidentally, Matthew 24 I think might be called the principle book of prophecy so far as Jesus Christ is concerned, of what Jesus Himself said. Of course, the book of Revelation is the book of prophecy of all of the New Testament. And Matthew 24 is recording, essentially, the same thing that Mark 13 and Luke 21 is also recording; but Matthew 24 goes into more detail and gives us a better summary of the entire thing.

Now, Jesus had been with the disciples at the Temple and just outside of it. He was showing them the buildings of the Temple; and then as He sat on the Mount of Olivet (or the Mount of Olives) a little later, His disciples had come unto Him privately. There were about three or four of them that came to Him privately, saying:

Matthew 24:3 Tell us, when shall these things be?”

Now, what things did they refer to? In the first verse, you will see that He was showing them the buildings of the Temple and telling them that a time of trouble was coming and that all those buildings were going to be destroyed. There wouldn’t be one stone left upon another of the buildings of the Temple. Now, they supposed that that destruction was going to come at the time of the end—the end of this world, and the Second Coming of Christ and the time of His return. They knew that such a time was coming—the end of this world and the beginning of the Kingdom of God, or the World Tomorrow. But they thought that that was going to occur at the same time, and they thought it was going to occur in their lifetime. And so they asked Him, “When shall these things be?” that He was talking about, the destruction of the Temple. But since they thought that was the same time as His Second Coming, they added this question:

Matthew 24:3 …and what shall be the sign of Thy coming, and of the end of the world?”

Because they thought that His Coming would end this world. He had talked to them about another world, the Kingdom of God. So they asked Him about that.


The first question that they asked was what He had just been talking about, the destruction of the Temple; and that did happen in their lifetime. He’d been talking to them along about 30 or 31 AD. And the Church was finally established in 31 after Jesus had been crucified, resurrected, and had ascended to heaven. So Jesus answered first their first question, and said unto them:

Matthew 24:4 Take heed that no man deceive YOU.

Deceive who? He didn’t say “deceive people at the end of the world, at the end time.” He was talking to His disciples, and He said even His disciples could be deceived. “Let no man deceive you.” I tell you, brethren, it is very necessary that we understand one thing, especially in reading the New Testament. Where it says “you,” you need to know who He’s talking to. In most cases, He’s talking to the Church or to the apostles. The apostle Paul says “you;” and he’s talking, very often, to one of the Churches. Jesus was talking to His apostles.

When the expression “they” is used, it usually refers to the outside world. When the expression “we” is used, it’ll refer either to Christians or, in some cases, the apostle Paul might just be referring to the Jewish people (as a nation, or religion, or race, or whichever you might call them). But Jesus said, “For many shall come in My Name. Now be sure that nobody deceives YOU—you apostles in the First Century—because many are going to be coming in My Name, saying that I am Christ; and shall deceive many.” Now, we need to understand that.


After the Church had started, Christ had gone to heaven. One thing: where did the early Church get its teaching? Where did it get its doctrines, its beliefs; and its practices, its customs? The early Church received all this from the apostles. And where did the apostles receive it? They received it primarily from Jesus, who had taught them for three and a half years. They also were familiar, more or less, with the prophecies of the Old Testament because many of them had seen it or had had a copy. Usually a book like Isaiah would be just in a book all by itself. They didn’t have the whole Old Testament. Or they would have the five books of Moses all together. But usually and many times, especially in the prophecies, it’d just be one book of prophecy.

So He said “Many shall come in my name, saying I am Christ; and shall deceive many.” And then He went on talking to them.

Matthew 24:6-7 And ye [That is, you apostles.] you shall hear of wars and rumours of wars [Now He had told them there would be wars at the end time, and they knew that. He said, “Now you will hear of that.”], see that you be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. [In other words, He was telling them plainly the end was not coming in their time; and, when they heard of wars, that wouldn’t mean the time of the end.] (7) For [He said] nation shall rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes…

He could have been referring to the end, when that happened; but He said that the end wouldn’t come when they heard of wars and rumours of wars in their time. Now He said:

Matthew 24:8-9 All these things are the beginning of sorrows.” [He was undoubtedly referring there to the time that we’re in now.] (9) Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted.”

Now He was talking to them again, and talking of the trouble that did occur at the time of 69 and 70 AD when the Roman armies entered and destroyed the Temple at Jerusalem. And it was a terrible time of trouble then, such as had never happened to any nation up till that time. They were even, for lack of food, killing their own children and eating them. It was a terrible time then; but it was local, and it was just in that one locale in and around Jerusalem.


Then shall they deliver you up. Now He was talking to His apostles, and many of them were martyred. In fact, some people think that all (except possibly John) of the apostles were martyred.

Matthew 24:9-11 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you; and you shall be hated of all nations [or in all nations] for my name’s sake. (10) And then shall many be offended, and [they] shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. (11) And many false prophets shall arise, and shall deceive many.

Now, they did. He said, “Take heed that you be not deceived (now, at the very beginning). For many will come in My name, saying that I am Christ, and deceiving . . .” Here He says, and He’s speaking to them, “Many false prophets shall arise, and deceive many.” Well, they did! And they did come in Jesus’ name, saying that they were His ministers!

Matthew 24:13-14 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. (14) And this GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM [That’s the gospel He was preaching to them—the Kingdom of God.] shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and THEN shall the end come.

The end of the world, and the Second Coming of Christ! That was the only sign He gave of His Second Coming.

You know, Jesus was asked by the Pharisees for a sign that He was the Messiah; and He said only one sign would be given; and that was the sign of the prophet Jonah—that as Jonah was three days and three nights in the great fish’s belly, so Jesus would be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth, or the tomb, which was hewn out of rock in the heart of the earth.


Now He continued:

Matthew 24:15 When you therefore…

I have great difficulty reading it, even with a magnifying glass, though this is very large type; and it takes three books of this size to contain the Bible in the size I have to read now. But you’ll have to bear with me in this little handicap. The Work gets done, just the same. “But I say unto you that you shall not see Me henceforth, until you shall say ‘Blessed is He that cometh in . . .’” Wait a minute. No, I’m back a page. I skipped a page.

Matthew 24:15 “When you therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand).

And you find in Luke 24 and verse 20 that that refers to the same thing, and “the abomination of desolation” there spoken of was Jerusalem being surrounded by armies. Now that applied to 70 AD. It is going to apply again, because so many things happen in a dual manner. Sort of a one-two punch, as I sometimes call it. And Jerusalem will again be surrounded by armies. In fact, it is to a great extent right now.

Matthew 24:16 Then let them which be in Judea [Of course, He was speaking locally there.] flee to the mountains…

And so on. Then He comes down to that terrible time that happened in 70 AD as a type of what is going to happen at the latter time—the Great Tribulation (verse 21).

Matthew 24:21-22 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not from the beginning of the world to [that same] time, no, nor ever shall be. (22) And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved [King James says “saved.” The Moffatt translation says, “saved alive;” and that’s what it means.]: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.

So it shows “for the elect’s sake” those days will be shortened. And it doesn’t mean for the elect’s sake they’ll be shortened so that some can be converted, but it’s speaking about being saved alive.


Now it continues on. He talked about the Great Tribulation, how terrible it’ll be. And now “except those days be shortened.” And now He definitely… That’s referring primarily, anti-typically, to this time yet coming, just ahead of us now, that there would not one person be saved alive. The number one problem before the world today is that of human survival or human extinction. It’s one or the other. That’s a question that I’ll be going into on television tomorrow morning: Will humanity even survive a nuclear war? Will there be a day after? And in this program, I’ll be referring to the movie that created such a sensation just about three or four weeks ago, on “The Day After” about nuclear war. And primarily I’m going to be somewhat concerned with the conference or dialogue that happened, between some of the most important people politically in the United States, that followed the movie. Now most people tuned out, and didn’t even listen to that; and that was the most important part of the whole thing to my mind. And I’m commenting on their comments. And I hope that you’ll all be viewing it tomorrow. Now in verse 29:

Matthew 24:29-30 Immediately after the tribulation of those days [Just to give you the dating of it, and the time it’s referring to. “Immediately after the tribulation of those days…”] shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken. (30) And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall SEE the Son of man [Christ] coming in the clouds of heaven with POWER and great glory.

Coming as the King of kings and the Lord of lords, to rule all nations. So definitely that is talking about the time just ahead of us now.

Now He said—the mission of this Church, then—that “this Gospel of the Kingdom shall be proclaimed in all the world for a witness unto all nations, and THEN shall the end (the end of this world) come” and the Second Coming of Christ to introduce the World Tomorrow, another world altogether.


Now I want you to contrast verses four and five {1}, where He said: “Let no man deceive you. Many will come in My name, saying that I am Christ.” Immediately after the Church started, there was great opposition. And the first opposition, for the first several years (first few years) at least, was Jewish opposition—an opposition of denying that Jesus was the Christ. Most of the preaching of the Twelve apostles at first was proving that Jesus was the Christ.

That is the reason that Jesus chose twelve in number. It’s the same reason that they have twelve on a jury today to decide a case, because twelve is supposed to… A unanimous decision by twelve is supposed to be accurate and convincing. And the Twelve disciples had all been with Jesus for three and a half years, while He was here on the Earth as just an ordinary human being; and then they had been forty days with Him after His resurrection—to PROVE that He had been dead, that He had resurrected, that He WAS the Christ (because the resurrection is the proof).

Now, a little later, that had become established. Of course, the Church at first was Jewish; and many of the Jews would not accept that Jesus was the Christ. Those who did came in and that started the Church. The Church at the beginning was entirely Jewish—of those who HAD accepted the truth that Jesus was the promised Messiah. Many expected Him to come, as He will the second time, with great power and authority to rule all nations; but He didn’t come that way the first time. He came to qualify for the office, but not to set up the nation or the kingdom. He came to proclaim the Kingdom; He came to announce the Kingdom—that it would come. But He didn’t come to initiate the Kingdom at that time.


After a short time, you notice even the apostle Paul went to the Jews first; and a certain number accepted the truth. And then the Jews began to universally just turn away. They would not accept that Jesus was the Christ. And then Paul says, “Lo, I turn to the Gentiles.” And then he began going to Gentiles, and the gospel then was primarily sent to Gentiles after a certain number of years. Now when it went to the Gentiles, there was no question about WHO the Christ was. They accepted Jesus as the Christ. But the Gentiles didn’t like to accept the law of God as a way of life. And then many Jews, who had accepted Christ, still wanted to inject the Law of Moses.

I hope that I will feel up to it; and I would like to take the Bible Study, if I do, on next Friday night. Yesterday I had had a deposition session, and I was very tired; and I just felt I wasn’t in any shape to speak to you last night, and so I didn’t. But I hope that next Friday night I may, because I want to speak on this very thing and the difference between the law of Moses and the law of God: two separate laws altogether. One is physical, has to do with physical labour; the other is spiritual, has to do with the relationship—our first relationship to God and secondly human relationships with other humans. And this is entirely misunderstood in all the churches that call themselves “Christian” today. That is still the greatest difficulty in “Christianity” today, and it became that.

So they were against the law of God. And many Jews were wanting to bring in circumcision and the law of Moses, which was a law of rituals (of physical duties to do morning, noon and night): various eating and drinking and things of that sort, just physical labour. It had nothing do with human relationships or man’s relationship to God. Now about that time… And it was prior still to 70 AD, the time that Paul turned to the Gentiles; and they began preaching about the law. The Jews who had accepted Christ and come into the Church did that; and, of course, Paul and the apostles had to refute that.


But, from that time, there was a great controversy on what the true gospel should be. And we find evidence now in history, and the history is almost missing on this point… There was a great lapse of history for a hundred years—from around, oh, from 30 or 50 AD up to 150 AD—practically no history of what was going on in the early Church that had just come up, of Christianity. This much we do know: that at the beginning of that time there was a great controversy (in which was a life and death matter to many, and there were many martyred) as to whether the gospel should be a gospel about Christ. Because, you see, the early apostles had to prove that Jesus was the Messiah, that Jesus was the Christ; and many thought that was the whole gospel. And the controversy came up: Was the gospel about Christ, just proving that Jesus is the Christ? Or is the gospel “the gospel OF Christ,” which means the gospel Christ preached?

Now Jesus came as a Messenger bearing a message, and the message He brought was the Kingdom of God. That was the gospel! You read in Mark 1, “The beginning of.” Verse 1:

Mark 1:1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I don’t need to turn to it in the Bible again. It speaks about John the Baptist coming, preparing the way before His First Coming. And then it speaks of Jesus’ baptism and His (just one verse of His) temptation before Satan the devil, and His qualification to rule in the Kingdom of God. And then, after that, we find that Jesus came into Galilee preaching THE GOSPEL. But what gospel? The gospel of THE KINGDOM OF GOD! That is the FAMILY of God as a governing Family GOVERNING THE ENTIRE WORLD. A world government by the Family of God, into which those of the true Church may be born. So we have quite a contrast there, at that time.


Now in Galatians 1, verses 6 and 7. I believe I’d better not take the time to read that. You read where the apostle Paul… And this was about 53 AD, only about 22 years after the Church started. Paul found that already they were turning to another gospel. They were beginning to turn to a gospel about Christ instead of the gospel of Christ. But at that time, many of the Jews, they accepted that Jesus was the Christ; but they were coming in now saying that you must be circumcised and keep the law. (And I hope that on next Friday night we can go through the book of Galatians a little bit and get that all straightened out, because some people are terribly mixed up on that point; yet it should be very clear.)

II Corinthians 11, you find that Paul mentions how there would be false prophets coming in the name of Jesus, saying that Jesus was the Christ; but they would be preaching another Jesus. And that is precisely what they did! They preached a Jesus who was a smart aleck young man, who knew more than His Father, and did away with His Father’s law and commandments. They preached a Jesus that nailed the law to the cross. They preached a Jesus that was in opposition to God the Father.

And that is what has come on down through Protestantism! And you will notice that TODAY THE PROTESTANT CHURCHES AND THE CATHOLIC CHURCH TALK ABOUT JESUS (Although the Catholic Church probably talks more about Mary than they do about Jesus even.); but they talk about CHRIST, ABOUT JESUS—BUT THEY LEAVE GOD THE FATHER OUT OF IT. THEY WON’T HAVE ANY CONTACT WITH GOD THE FATHER. THEY TALK ABOUT CHRIST, BUT THEY WANT TO DO AWAY WITH THE LAW.


Now let me make this straight. The law came from God the Father. You know, it’s a great deal like the government of the United States. The Congress is the law-making body; the President is the executive of the administration to administer the government; and then we have the Supreme Court to do the judging. Now, spiritually in the government of God, God the Father is the Congress (or the Parliament). He is the Lawgiver. He makes the law. And when you break the law, you have put yourself clear outside of God the Father. It is God the Father you need to be reconciled to, not Christ. You accept Christ not because that saves you. The receiving of Christ does not save you. And yet they say that you’re already born again if you say “I receive Christ.” And the churches are saying that thing all over, and they are in gross ERROR!

And it is simply, as it says in II Corinthians the eleventh chapter, beginning along, let me see, a little farther along—they are the ministers of Satan the devil, but they pose as the ministers of Christ. They say He was Christ, but they don’t speak much about any connection with God; and they don’t want anything to do with God’s law. And they think the blood of Christ saves you.

Now in Romans 5, and about verse 5, you will read that by the blood of Christ we are RECONCILED TO GOD THE FATHER; but we are SAVED through Christ by His life—the resurrection. And God is the one who resurrected Christ, and who will resurrect you and me. And of course, Christ now is “of God” and “is God.” And He says He has the power to raise us up at the Last Day also. And those things, no wonder they call it “a mystery” today; and they are so confused in the world today.


But now I would like to go back to the Old Testament and show you what was prophesied to happen. They got turned away to another gospel; and in the book of Malachi, the third chapter and beginning with verse 1, here is a prophecy for our day:

Malachi 3:1 Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom you seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant [That was Jesus Christ. Moses was the mediator of the Old Covenant; Jesus came as the Messenger of the New Covenant. Jesus came proclaiming the New Covenant.], whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.

But now in Mark (or in, well, Matthew, Mark, and Luke and John) you will read of how John the Baptist apparently was the messenger who was to come. John the Baptist was a type of the one it’s speaking of here. This is speaking of one coming to prepare the way for the Second Coming of Christ. Now John the Baptist was a messenger crying out—a voice that cried out in the physical wilderness of the Jordan river—preparing the way for a human, physical Jesus, who was to come to a physical, material, temple (made of stone and wood and other metals, and materials), coming to His physical people, Judah, (who rejected Him), and coming only to ANNOUNCE that there WOULD come the Kingdom of God and the government. But He came as a Lamb, the Lamb of God. He didn’t come to enforce things. He merely came… Well, He allowed them to spit in His face; to put a crown of thorns on Him; to lash Him; to whip Him; beat Him within an inch of His life; and then go out; hang Him up in the most disgraceful kind of a death on a cross; stab Him with a spear till He bled to death; and they finally did kill Him.

So now notice who it’s talking about here. It’s NOT talking about John the Baptist.

Malachi 1:2 But who may abide the day of his coming? And who shall stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap.

Now, a refiner’s fire heats. When you find gold or silver, it is mixed up with a lot of other metals and worthless material. And the way you get it, you melt it; and the gold or the silver will dissolve and melt out from the other. And that way you can divide the one from the other, and come out with pure gold or pure silver instead of a motley mixture with a lot of worthless other metals. And He was talking about burning out the sin of other people here. “Who may abide the day of his coming? For he is like a refiner’s fire, or fullers’ soap” which washes the dirt off. And He would get rid of the sins. Jesus didn’t get rid of the sins when He came. He merely talked about it.

Malachi 3:3-5 And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the [Eternal] an offering in righteousness. (4) Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the LORD [When He came the first time, they didn’t offer any offering that was pleasant to Him. They rejected Him, spit in His face, and killed Him; or had Him killed. So this is talking about the Second Coming], as in the days of old, and as the former years. [And He says:] (5) I will come near unto you to JUDGMENT [He didn’t come to judgment. Then He talks here about the Levites and the priests and others. They rejected Him. “I will come near to you to judgment…”];and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, against the false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widows, and the fatherless…

And so on. So it’s talking there about the Second Coming of Christ. Now it continues speaking about Him in the fourth chapter, where it says (the last two verses of the entire book of Malachi, the last two verses in the Old Testament):

Malachi 4:5-6 Behold, I will send you Elijah, the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the [Eternal] [or, the Day of the LORD]; (6) and he shall turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to the fathers, LEST I come and smite the earth with a curse.

And the Hebrew word there means and is translated in Zechariah and other where as “a total destruction.” Smite the Earth, in other words, unless there is no flesh saved alive—talking about the Great Tribulation and that same time.


Now, later on, during the time of—that is, during Jesus’ Gospel—He came and said, “I will build my church.”

And I want to get into that, again, a little later. But I’d like to turn now to Matthew the seventeenth chapter and beginning with verse 1:

Matthew 17:1-2 After six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into a high mountain apart, (2) and was transfigured before them.

In other words, showing them Himself in the Kingdom of God. And with Him were Moses and Elijah [verse 3], giving them a glimpse of the Kingdom. Now, prior to that, He had said there’d be some standing among “you” that will not die until they have seen Christ coming in the Kingdom of God. Well, this is where they did—in this vision of the transfiguration. When they came down, He said “Don’t tell any man about it until after I’ve ascended to heaven.” And then in verse 9:

Matthew 17:9 As they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them saying, Tell… no man, until [I have] risen again from the dead [it was]. (10) And his disciples asked him, saying, “[Well,] why then say the scribes that Elijah MUST COME FIRST?”

Now, at this time, Elijah had already come. I quoted a while ago Matthew. I don’t mean Matthew, but Mark the first chapter and verse 14:

Mark 1:14 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee.

And that was the beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ. He didn’t BEGIN His gospel until after the mission of John the Baptist was completed. And John the Baptist was probably beheaded by the time that is being referred to here. So why does it say that John the Baptist…or that Elijah, I mean, must first come?

Matthew 17:11-12 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elijah truly SHALL FIRST COME, and [Get this.]restore all things. (12) But [He continued.] I say unto you, That Elias is come already [Referring now to John the Baptist, who came in the power and spirit of Elijah, as he said specifically in another place.], and they knew him not, and have done unto him whatsoever they listed.

Well, they put him to death; and he had been beheaded, his head chopped off. They didn’t recognize him.

Now it is speaking about a second—just as a Second Coming of Christ, a second coming of a messenger to prepare the way before Him. As John the Baptist was the physical messenger in the physical wilderness of Jordan, so there would be a messenger with a message—with a VOICE CRYING OUT in the SPIRITUAL WILDERNESS of the modern Twentieth Century, and the last half of the Twentieth Century—PREPARING THE WAY FOR THE GREAT SPIRITUAL JESUS TO COME TO HIS SPIRITUAL TEMPLE. AND YOU ARE THAT TEMPLE! A SPIRITUAL TEMPLE! You will be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, after the dead in Christ rise first; and rise with them to meet Christ in the air as He comes. HE’S COMING TO HIS SPIRITUAL TEMPLE; AND WE ARE THAT TEMPLE, as you read in the last few verses of the second chapter of Ephesians. To a spiritual temple, and THIS TIME TO SET UP the Kingdom of God and to rule.

So He said, “Elijah truly shall come;” but He said “and restore . . . things”. Now John the Baptist didn’t restore anything. They already knew about the law, and he called them to repentance; but he didn’t have to give them sermons about what all the law is. They knew that. He just called them to repent and turn to another way, and baptized them. He was John “the Baptist.” But this is speaking of one Jesus said (after John the Baptist had completed his mission), “Elijah truly SHALL come and restore all things”.

Now next, he’s coming to prepare the way before Christ. I want you to notice: Christ is coming to restore all things. So in the third chapter {2} of the book of Acts This is a day or two after the Church had started. Peter and John were in the Temple. Peter had healed that cripple; and the crowd came around, and Peter preached to them for some little time. And this is Peter talking to them at that time.


Verse 19, the third chapter of Acts, Peter said:

Acts 3:19-22 Repent you therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, WHEN the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; (20) AND HE SHALL SEND [the time when He shall send] Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: (21) Whom the heavens must receive [Now, He’d ascended up to heaven; and the heavens would receive Him UNTIL a certain time.] until the times of restitution of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all of his holy prophets since the world began.

Now “restitution.” Look that word up in the dictionary. Restitution means “restoring to a former condition, a former state or condition;” “restoring what had been taken away.” Restoring what had been taken away.” So now I ask you, “What is Christ coming to restore that had been taken away?” What had been taken away was THE GOVERNMENT OF GOD. The Government of God! And, if you know the whole Bible, that’s the whole story of the Bible. That’s the whole purpose. Everything!


You read, back in Isaiah 14 verses 12-14 (and I’ve gone over it so many times, I’m not going to turn back to it now); but you read there first about the king of Babylon. And then he is a type of the one whom he served and who really ruled over him, who was Satan the devil. And then the type lifts up to the one that he represented, Satan the devil. And it spoke to him then (beginning with verse 12 in Isaiah 14), calling him “Lucifer.” Lucifer was the name of a super archangel, a cherub; and this cherub’s wings had spread out over the very Throne of God. But he was on a throne, and it was on Earth; and he said:

Isaiah 14:13 I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt MY THRONE above the stars [or, the angels] of God.

Now he had a throne, and he said he would rise above the clouds. So he was under the clouds, and he was on Earth; and there was a throne on the Earth.

Now in Ezekiel 28, also beginning verse 12. Verse 1, or in the earlier part of the chapter, it began speaking of “the prince of Tyre.” Now as Babylon was the political capital of the ancient world at that time and the capital of the first great world empire, Tyre was also the commercial capital, where all the ships went by that were transferring freight and merchandise and that sort of thing. It was the New York, you might say, or the London, of the ancient world. Not the political capital, but the merchandising capital. There it speaks first of “the prince of Tyre” who was the human ruler. Then the type (the same way) lifts up to the one it represented, Satan the devil; and he’s called “the king of Tyre.”

And there it says [in Ezekiel 28] that he sealed up the sum total of wisdom, perfection and beauty; that he had been CREATED; and he was perfect from the day he was created until iniquity was found in him. And he was made so beautiful that he became jealous, and full of envy, and also full of vanity. And vanity means he exalted himself above everything. Above God! Above everything! It means he wanted to be served, and not to serve. He wanted everything to come to him. He wanted to receive; he wanted to get; he wanted to take. (God is the great Giver! Just the opposite.)

Now, prior to this, God had had a law. But this Lucifer ruled on this Earth. He was put on the Earth and the throne of the Earth. He ruled over the whole Earth. And the Earth at that time was occupied by angels. You find something of them in the thirty-eighth chapter of Job, at the time that Christ created the Earth; and the angels were there shouting for joy, because they were going to inhabit this Earth at the time of its creation. But in II Peter 2 and verse 4 you read of “the angels that sinned.” And, in the next verse, you read of the sins between {3} Adam and the time of the Flood. And after that you read of the time, later, of the great destruction that came to Sodom and Gomorrah. So there’s a time sequence there; and it shows the sin of the angels was prior to the creation of the first man, Adam. Now, as a result of the angels being turned against God, the Earth came to a state of decay.


But I need to explain a little something here about the government of God. You read in John the first chapter in the New Testament, John 1 and verses 1 to 4 or 5:

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Now, who’s the Word? Verse 14 says:

John 1:14 The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.

And became Jesus Christ: the Word is the one who was made Jesus Christ. In other words, the Word was Jesus Christ before His human birth and before He became Jesus Christ. And He was also God. And in the third chapter and the ninth verse of Ephesians, I believe it is, “God created all things by Jesus Christ”. Jesus obeyed His Father.

Now, They were together. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. All things were made by Him, the Word; but God made it by Him, and Jesus did only what His Father said. He was the Word, the Spokesman, He said “I’ve spoken only what My Father commanded and told Me to speak.” And so He is the one who created man.

Now we turn back to Genesis the first chapter. Well, first I want to explain about the government of God. Two can’t walk together except they be agreed. So They were in absolute harmony. And everywhere in the Bible it shows that Jesus and God the Father were completely as one—of one mind; of one belief; of one agreement; no discord; no disagreement of any kind whatsoever. Also two cannot walk together except one is the leader. You must have leadership, and we had a sermonette on that. You must have leadership! And God was the Leader. Jesus obeyed His Father. He said “I have kept My Father’s commandments.” And He also said He’d set us an example. We should also keep them.

Now, law is merely a way of life. Their way of life was love: cooperation; mutual love and affection. God ruled over Jesus, but it was loving authority. Loving authority. And Jesus obeyed, in love. And They loved one another, and there was no conflict whatsoever. It was total cooperation, but God was the Head. And you will find where Christ is the Head of the Church, but God is the Head of Christ; and we must never forget that. So that is the basis of government.

Now a LAW has to be the basis of ANY GOVERNMENT. You can’t have government without a law. The basis of the United States is the Constitution, which is a law; and all laws must be according to that basic law, the Constitution. That’s the foundational law of all the United States’ government. But the basic law of the whole universe is love (L-O-V-E), which is outgoing concern. Outgoing concern toward others: first toward God and then toward our fellow creatures.

Now God and the Word worked. They lived. It said, “in them was life.” If They had life, They lived. If They lived, how did They live? They had to DO something to live! What did They do? They created. Now, They had a way of creation. How did They create? Well, God created all things by Jesus Christ. God told Him what to do and what to say. He spoke; the Holy Spirit responded; and it was done. Now God said, in Genesis the first chapter, it says there:

Genesis 1:1 In the beginning [God] [Elohim, which is a plural word, meaning “Gods”] created the heavens and the earth.

Now the word “God” should be pluralized, or “Gods.” And the word “created the heaven” as it is in the King James, also is translated in every other translation, as far as I know, “heavens [It’s plural.] and the earth.” And they were all created at the same time, you read in the second chapter of Genesis also. And in verse 26 of Genesis 1:

Genesis 1:26 God said [And this must have been God saying it to the Word.], Let Us make man in our image.

And so God told the Word to do it, and the Word formed man. And in the second chapter, Yahweh is mentioned, and always speaks of the Word who became Christ.

Genesis 2:7 [And the LORD God] formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man [dust of the ground] became [a soul] a living soul [Not an immortal soul!].

So the dust of the ground became a living soul. And God said, “If you disobey, you will surely die.”


Now the Two Trees were merely a test of character. The Tree of Life simply meant obeying God; letting God reveal knowledge to you; letting God reveal His law. The law is merely the Way of LIVING. And, if Adam had taken the Tree of Life, God would have revealed His Way of Living—His LAW—to Adam. Now I have never put it quite that way before. Get that firmly in your mind. But what he did, he took to himself the knowledge of good and evil. In other words, he took to himself the way of life. HE MADE HIS OWN LAW of how he would live, but he was influenced by Satan and Satan’s way.

Well, what did Satan say to Eve when she came? He didn’t say, “Worship me.” He didn’t say, “Disobey God.” Even. He said, “Just go do your own thing! Do your own way, use your own head, use your own mind, do what you think is right!” And that is the way that Adam took as the law of his life: the way that seemed right to him. Now God’s Word, the Bible, says:

Proverbs 14:12 There is a way that seems right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.

You see, it is the law of God that tells us which is the right way. That was in the Tree of Life, which Adam rejected. Now God’s purpose was to reproduce Himself: to reproduce Himself. But God is, first of all, perfect, spiritual, righteous character. And man could not be made God until the very CHARACTER of God had been implanted within him. And it wouldn’t be character unless the man himself made the choice to receive it, and unless it came with the man’s not only consent but by his own will even. And yet it had to come from God, and God would give it to him; but a man had to make the decision, and want it. And that same thing faces all of us today. You see, all of us have found that the Tree of Life has been opened to us.

Now Adam rejected the Tree of Life and took the Tree of the Knowledge—self-knowledge of what is right and wrong. In other words, of law or the way of life. And then God closed up the Tree of Life until Christ, the second Adam, should come. Now that meant the Holy Spirit, because human eyes have not seen, human ears have never heard what God has in store for us that love Him. That is in I Corinthians the second chapter and verse 9.

And verse 10 says but God reveals to us what He has (spiritual things ahead for us) by His Spirit that dwells in us. Now the Spirit doesn’t do the revealing. God reveals it, but He reveals by His Spirit that is in us. Not by His Spirit that He has that He sends to reveal. The Spirit is already in us. His Word says it. Here’s the Word. I read it, and the Spirit lets me understand it. You know the world can’t understand this Book, the Bible. It’s just a lot of foolishness to them. They don’t understand it at all. They don’t regard it as the most important Book ever written.

I was talking to some lawyers yesterday, there were three lawyers in the room. I mentioned something about the Bible. One of them said, well, he respected the Bible. I said, “The Bible is a book of law. It talks about law from the beginning to the end.” Beginning the second chapter, the first book in the Bible, Genesis—it talks about God’s law and obedience; and clear up to the last chapter in Revelation, it’s talking about law (a way of life). Law regulates conduct. It regulates human performance, or angelic performance if you please, or what ever.

Now Adam made the decision for all of his family that were born from him. Even Eve came out of Adam. And all of us have come, then, from Adam. And he made that decision for all of his family. And the Spirit of God, the revelation of SPIRITUAL knowledge and of God’s SPIRITUAL law, was hidden from people until they couldn’t understand it.

Now it takes love to fulfill that law; but human love won’t fulfill it. It takes “the love of God . . . shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit.” (And that’s Romans 5 and verse 5.) And you can’t really fulfill God’s law, even if you know what it is, UNTIL you have received the Spirit of God. The Spirit of God in you will fulfill it, and very few have that; but that has been opened, through Christ, to the Church.


Now then, Adam chose his own self way. The Holy Spirit was closed until Christ came. Jesus came; and He said, in Matthew 16:18, “I will build MY Church.” He’s called the second Adam. He came, and He already had the Holy Spirit. He had what Adam, the first Adam, rejected. He called disciples; and He opened to them the Tree of Life, which had been closed ever since Adam. And He called The Twelve; and He called them out from the world (which had only a human kind of love, and didn’t have divine love of the Spirit of God)—to live separately from the world and live according to God’s law, according to God’s government. And God’s law is the foundation of God’s government. And it’s a matter of government.

Jesus started the Church. Now I’ve already quoted to you from Mark 1 and verses 14 and 15, which simply shows that God put government in the Church. Jesus came to restore the government of God. In Isaiah 9 verses 6 and 7, you read that He was to be born as a Child; and THE GOVERNMENT would be on His shoulder. He’s going to take over the government and sit on the throne, where Satan is now sitting, and to rule over the whole world. Well, when He came, He called a SMALL nucleus (the small embryo) to begin the Church—starting, as He explained, small as a grain of mustard seed; but to grow till it fills the whole Earth ultimately. Ultimately the whole Earth is going to be filled with the people of God. Did you know that? Now it’s almost filled with the people of Satan. But it is “for the elect’s sake” that this world is going to be spared.

Now in Revelation 2:26 and 27 and Revelation 3:21 you read that, if we that are called into the Church (to whom the Tree of Life is opened; and we have accepted the Tree of Life and the Spirit of God), if we overcome and we grow in grace and knowledge, and we overcome and endure—we shall be given… We’ll rule with Christ on His throne when He comes to TAKE that throne of the Earth away from Satan. We will be given power over the nations, and we shall RULE them with a rod of iron. And it is only the called who can come. All through the New Testament you read Jesus called His disciples. It is those that are called, and they’re called out of this world. On the day of Pentecost Peter said, when they wanted to know what to do, he said

Acts 2:38 Repent, and be baptized [into] Jesus Christ [every one of you], for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the Holy Spirit. (39) For the promise [of the Spirit of God] is unto you, and to your children…as many as the Lord our God shallcall.

God has to call us. Jesus said, in John 6:44 “No man CAN come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him.” God chooses the one He’s going to call. JUDGMENT IS ON US NOW! When Christ comes, He’s coming to JUDGMENT! Then judgment will be on all that are still living on earth. Judgment now is only on those that are called, in the Church. And we need to understand that. But we’re being called to become teachers; and we’re going to rule, and we’re going to judge.

Now I explained about the government of the United States a while ago. God is the Lawgiver; but Jesus is in the office of President, or the executive. But Jesus also is given the Judgeship. And even in the United States government, the President appoints the Supreme Court Justices; so there’s quite a similarity there. But it is only “the called” that can receive the Spirit of God NOW. That’s just a question of when. And we are the firstfruits! The rest of the world will be called later. In Ephesians 1 verses 9 to 12 you learn we’re the firstfruits. Also it’s explained, and predestination is explained, in Romans the eighth chapter.

Now the Gospel was suppressed; and, as I say, they turned to a gospel ABOUT Christ. But they have not talked of His message! And His message talked about God as being the Supreme Ruler. And His message had to do with the Government of God; and God is the Lawgiver. And when you sin, the sin is the transgression of the law; and that has cut you off from GOD THE FATHER. BUT WHAT ARE THE PROTESTANT PREACHERS PREACHING? “JUST RECEIVE JESUS CHRIST AND YOU’RE ALREADY BORN AGAIN.” POPPYCOCK! THEY ARE WRONG! THEY ARE IN ERROR. THAT IS THE TEACHING THAT SATAN THE DEVIL HAS GIVEN THEM. That alone is not enough! That’s a start, but it’s not enough. It takes far more. The world has lost the purpose of God. They have lost all knowledge of the gospel of Christ, which is the Kingdom of God. They have lost all of these things.


Now then, coming back to what I was saying in the beginning. Oh yes, I was showing the Church is persecuted, Revelation 12 verses 5 and 6, and so on; and they’ve had a false gospel. Elijah was to come and restore things. (Jesus is going to come and restore the government and, through the government, everything.) But WHAT was Elijah to restore? And, brethren, HAS it happened yet? HAS it been restored? And what was restored?


The world had lost the gospel. They didn’t know what the gospel was. I came among the true Church of God of the Sardis era. They didn’t know what the gospel was. They thought it was what they called a “third angel’s message.” They didn’t know what the gospel really was. They called it a “third angel’s message.” God revealed it to me, and through me to the Church, that the gospel is theKingdom of God. That is the gospel Jesus preached. That’s the gospel Paul preached to the Gentiles. That’s the gospel that Peter and John preached. And you’ll find when Jesus sent them out, and sent out a seventy, He said: “Preach the Kingdom of God.” That is the only gospel! It is the gospel OF Jesus Christ. The world has a gospel about Christ. Now the first thing to be restored to the Church is the true gospel.


The second thing to be restored is the purpose of God. And the gospel has to do with that: that God is reproducing us, and that MAN CAN BECOME GOD. No other Church on Earth believes that, brethren. And now let me tell you, I’m going to reveal to you now things that have been restored in this Church. And, let me tell you, these are all things that some of those who have been MINISTERS IN THIS CHURCH, IN HIGH OFFICE, HAVE GONE OUT AND NOW ARE SAYING, and saying publicly, that we are departing from the faith and that we are going farther and farther into error—because they will NOT receive the truths that God has been restoring into the Church. God’s purpose is that He is reproducing Himself, and that we ultimately become God.


Now another thing that has been restored is, through the Holy Days, God’s Plan—His master plan for accomplishing that purpose, and the annual Holy Days. And no other church has had those Holy Days and understands them.

All right, what’s the next thing restored? I’m saying, I don’t think these are in any special order. But the next one I have listed anyway, if I can even read my own writing. Well, the true Church has kept the commandments of God and the true name; and the Sardis era did have that. And many of them had tithing, but they didn’t all even believe in tithing. But I think you could say the Church did, and God’s true Church has believed those three things through most of the time. But many of these other things had to be restored to the Church, which had been lost.

That the end time was coming after World War I: Malachi 3:1-5, well I just read that to you. But to go on with the things that have been restored. Let’s see. The gospel, and the true gospel was first preached to the world precisely 100 time cycles after it was lost in 53 AD. It went out to the world on Radio Luxembourg in Europe for the first time. It had gone coast to coast in the United States and Canada, and then it went to all of Europe 1900 years after Paul wrote in Galatians 1 that they had turned to another gospel: a century of time cycles.


The government of God has been restored to the Church. And the government of God has been placed in the Church! You read that in Ephesians 4 and I Corinthians 12. Christ is the Head of the Church; and under Christ in the administration of the government are an apostle or apostles; then evangelists; then pastors. Then all are called elders, all ministers, all the way up and clear down to the lowest. So then there are teachers and elders (both speaking elders and preaching elders), deacons and deaconesses. And the Church is restored in that form of government. Sardis Church, even, didn’t have the right form of government.

The purpose of God—that we can be born into the Kingdom of God and the Family of God and become God—that knowledge has been restored to the Church.


Who and what God IS. NO RELIGION ON EARTH KNOWS WHO AND WHAT GOD IS. No religion on Earth! Billy Graham doesn’t know it. Jerry Falwell doesn’t know it. Roman Catholics don’t know. God is NOT a Trinity! God is NOT a single person. God IS a FAMILY of persons—and THE FAMILY began with God and the Word. You read of that in John 1 verses 1 to 5. You read of it in Genesis 1 beginning with verse 1. You should learn about God first; and it begins first both in the New Testament and the Old, because many experts feel (That is so-called experts, let me add.) that the book of John should be placed first in the New Testament, although it was not written first. God is A FAMILY, and it began with the Two; and WE can be born into that Family.


Now the next thing that’s restored to the Church: What and why man is. WHAT IS MAN? Why did we come to be on Earth? The Sardis Church didn’t know. They didn’t know in the Middle Ages. Man was made from the dust of the ground. Man was made with one spirit, and he needs another Spirit—the Spirit of God, which unites him with God and is the impregnation of God-life in him; and he will be born of God.


Next the human spirit IN man. No other church knows about that. That has been REVEALED to the Church. That is knowledge that has been RESTORED to the Church of God, and this Church has that knowledge.


Another, the next piece of knowledge, that has been RESTORED to this Church that the rest don’t know and no other church knows it: That this Church is the FIRSTFRUITS. That God is NOT trying to save the whole world now. He’s calling us out NOW, and He’ll use us as teachers to help save the others IN THEIR TURN. And they, in turn, from the Millennium will help save all the rest in the Great White Throne Judgment. And ultimately God is going to go after the saving of everybody who ever lived! But no church understands that: That we are the firstfruits. We are the embryo of the Kingdom of God.

The fact that we have to be CALLED BY GOD and that salvation is not open to just anyone “whosoever will.” The whosoever will may come is found in the last chapter of the Bible, and does not pertain to this time at all. And no other church seems to know that. That knowledge has been restored to this Church.


The knowledge of the Millennium and what it is. Now the Sardis people knew that Christ would rule a thousand years. They knew it would be a Millennium. They had NO IDEA IN THE WORLD about what would happen in the Millennium. They had NO IDEA what is the purpose of the Millennium. We know. And we assemble for the Feast of Tabernacles. That’s what we’re celebrating. And we know what’s going to happen in the Millennium, and that salvation will be opened then to all that are still alive; but it is not open to all now. No other church knows that. These are things that YOU, brethren, ARE PRIVILEGED TO KNOW. You! God has BLESSED YOU with this knowledge—has RESTORED THIS KNOWLEDGE to you.


Now, truth regarding the Holy Spirit.


And the fact that we are BEGOTTEN NOW. You’re NOT born yet, only begotten.


That we will become born at the time of the Second Coming of Christ, when this mortal puts on immortality [I Corinthians 15:54], when we won’t be human any longer. We’ll be divine. The knowledge that he that his “born of the flesh IS flesh,” mortal. And that’s what we are! That is, that when you are BORN of the Spirit, you will BE SPIRIT. (Someone please go tell Jerry Falwell that, so he’ll know he’s not yet “born again”.)


Another thing restored to us is our roots, our identity, WHO WE ARE. We [in the USA] are the tribe of Manasseh of the lost Ten Tribes of Israel; and no other church on Earth knows it. That knowledge has been RESTORED into this Church. And God restored that to me 53 years ago:


Our identity! And that opens all the doors of ONE THIRD OF THE WHOLE BIBLE—PROPHECY you can’t understand without that knowledge. That opened up a whole third of the Bible, which is prophecy. That’s a third of the Bible. And so, a third of the Bible and the understanding of prophecy has been opened to THIS Church, that has been restored to this Church.

Has God sent someone TO RESTORE KNOWLEDGE to this Church, brethren? I’m not tooting any horns. I’m just telling you what has actually HAPPENED, and you know it’s happened!

The fact of the annual Festivals, that they represent God’s plan.


The second and third tithe (What other church knows about that?) that was restored by this Church! That knowledge, restored by this Church.


Then the great deception, the counterfeit of Revelation 17:5: “BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH”—her daughter churches, and who they are.


And the fact that Satan the devil has deceived the whole world. Brethren, Satan is the one who is guilty. Those people in the Catholic Church and the Protestant churches have been deceived. And I think they really believe. God just hasn’t opened any more truth to them. We don’t sit in judgment of them. We’re not judging them yet. We’re going to do it. And, when we judge them, then all truth will be open; and God will take away the blindness from their eyes so they can understand, if they’re willing. Today they couldn’t understand it, even if they’re willing. I don’t think they’re willing either, far as that goes.


And how, in Revelation 18:4, that God has called us OUT from among them TO be separate.


Well, brethren, ALL THOSE THINGS have been restored; and there is a mission for this Church that never applied and has never been done by any other Church: “This gospel of the kingdom” has been restored and “shall be preached in all the world for a witness to all nations.” [Matthew 24:14] Has that been done? Has that been restored? Is that gospel going out to the world? You listen on television tomorrow.

Or do you have something more important to do? You might think about that. Maybe the telecast of the Truth of God is not important. Maybe you have something more important to do. And maybe, when you do something else, you’d better think “Was it more important, or should I have been listening to the program?” I’m afraid a lot of you don’t listen. Well, I hope it’s not a lot of you either. Maybe it’s only a few. But I know that some are bound to be a little bit careless.

But thanks and praise to God, He HAS restored knowledge. That is all God’s doing. None of us can be anything more than human instruments. If I have been willing to do anything, it is only because God Himself brought about circumstances to compel me and make me willing, whether I wanted to be or not; and even then I can take no credit whatsoever. It was all the doing of God, through Jesus Christ.

But remember this: the Protestant churches, they just have Christ. We have to come to Godby way of Christ. And Jesus taught us: When you pray, pray “Our Father which art in heaven.” And we pray in the name of Jesus Christ. He said whatsoever we ask the Father in His name (the name of Christ), God will do—if we ask in faith, believing. We must ask what God has promised to do. Remember that faith is simply believing that God will not lie; and that, what God has promised, He will perform. So let’s be thankful. Let’s praise God for it. Let’s give all thanks to God Almighty, the Father.

{1} Editorial note: Mr. Armstrong inadvertently gave the wrong scripture reference.

The original says, “I want you to contrast verse 3.”

{2} Editorial note: Mr. Armstrong inadvertently gave the wrong chapter.

The original says, “In the 19th chapter of Acts.”

{3} Editorial note: Referring to II Peter 2:5 and the old world, Mr. Armstrong inadvertently said “Moses” when he meant “Adam.” That is, the sins from Adam to the Flood, not from Moses to the Flood.