The World Tomorrow

Bible Understanding

by Herbert W Armstrong


Well, greetings friends. This is Herbert W Armstrong with the Good News of the World Tomorrow.

What does Bible prophecy say is going to happen now? About a third of your Bible is prophecy. Jesus' very Gospel was, and is, prophetic. Why haven't we heard that Gospel? Why should we ignore Bible prophecy at a time like this? Never in the history of this world has there been a time like this.

I tell you my friends, most of you don't know what you are staring in the face now. And it is about time we opened our eyes, our minds, and look into the future and see what is revealed. It is about time we shake ourselves out of our lethargy of just wanting to be amused, entertained, looking at - oh well, crime stories, and illicit love affairs, and a lot of entertainment and amusement; either on TV or in movies or in fiction stories or wherever we find it. Just wanting to get ourselves off into some kind of a dreamland and think we're living happily ever after, and not realizing what's coming on us. It's time to wake up! It's time to know what the future holds. It's time you began to look into your Bible as never before.

And incidentally, right here let me, before I go any further say; it's about time that the rest of you who have not enrolled in 'The Ambassador College Bible Correspondence Course.' begin to enroll because this is totally unlike any Bible Correspondence Course that has ever been published so far as I know; and it begins where anything at this fateful hour in world history ought to begin – with prophecy. It begins with the very events in the world today and what is going to happen. That's the very first thing you study when you take up the 'The Ambassador College Bible Correspondence Course.' The thing that is current, the thing that is top news, the thing that is the greatest interest right now. Of course is going to take you completely through your Bible, everything in the Bible.

But you need to know what's going on in the world now and that in turn leads to the biggest thing you do need to know; what is the purpose that is being worked out here below? What is it all about, what is the Bible all about? What is religion all about? What is salvation all about, does it have any meaning? What's the connection between all of that and the world conditions that we see about us today? Let me tell you, there's a tremendous connection. There is every connection. The events that you see unfolding in this chaotic world today - and we're in the time of supposed temporary peace in the midst of chaos and it is only lulling us to sleep and it's only the quiet before the great storm; and it's time to wake up.

And it is a part of the working out of that purpose here below. What is that purpose? Why don't you hear it preached? Why don't we wake up and look into it and see what it is? It's about time we knew and understood and you can't understand prophecy unless you know what it is unfolding and what is the purpose; you can't understand world happenings, world news, this very pulsating, living, dynamic world in which you live today. Unless you know the purpose that the Almighty Creator, Ruler of the Universe is working out here below.

Understanding End Time Prophecy (PLAY FROM 03:35)

Well, is World War III just about to descend on us, starting over in China? Listen, let me say first; that no war at this time either with Red China or with Russia is mentioned specifically in the prophecies. But then neither was the war in Korea, and it happened. The Bible prophecies do not mention every little war, they don't mention everything that is going to happen. Bible prophecy merely mentions those events that have a direct part in fulfilling that purpose being worked out here below and you need to know what it is. But they mention all of the major things.

Now, for that matter, even World War I and World War II were not mentioned individually and specifically; though they most certainly were foretold in general, the series of world wars at the close of this age. And that series of world wars is not over yet. We are at the very end of the world.

Biblical prophecy however, does definitely, and specifically, reveal the next real major war; in which the United States, the British Isles, Western Europe are to be invaded and it's coming. And believe it or not, by a new world power now rising up and least suspected by our people. It is right there in your own home in your own Bible, if we only knew about it, but the time is not yet. Something else is going to happen first. You know, don't you think it's about time we learn what these things are; it's a terrible thing. And my friends, you're going to live in terrifying times. Jesus Christ said:

"...except God Almighty, by supernatural power - by an act of God - intervenes and moves to interfere and to shorten these days that no flesh should be saved alive..." (Matthew 24:22 paraphrased)

Leading world scientists today are telling us that it is possible to annihilate human life from off this planet. It is now possible to blast, to destroy, to lay waste, an entire continent in one night without warning. Our continent is in that kind of danger without warning overnight. And here we sleep on, like the silly ostrich with his head stuck down in the sand not knowing what's coming. I say my friends; WAKE UP!

Now, almost no one has understood Biblical prophecy. Why? There is a reason. Many of these prophecies have been sealed and closed until this time of the end. And then knowledge was to be increased. And as the prophet Daniel wrote:

"...the wise would understand but none of the wicked would understand." (Daniel 12:10 paraphrased)

Now, who are the wise, and who are the wicked in Bible language?

"...a good understanding [your Bible says, back in the hundred and eleventh Psalm] have all they that do [God's] commandments..." (Psalms 111:10)

The very thing that so many in this day and age hate and will not do, and refuse to do. Even some of them that seem to think they are in authority on such matters as prophecy. My friends, you can't understand prophecy unless you realize that:

"The fear of the [Eternal] is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments..." (Psalm 111:10)

Who is it that the devil is so wroth with, and angry with? You turn over to the twelfth chapter of the Book of Revelation and in the last verse its those who keep the Commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. That's the Word of God and faith in it. And who believe His Gospel, the Gospel of the Kingdom which is the Government of God rather than the government either of Satan or of man, or our own ideas. Who are the wicked? What is sin?

"...sin is the transgression of the law." (I John 3:4) God's law.

And I want to tell you, my friends, that no-one that hasn't surrendered one hundred percent to God Almighty can have an understanding in these times. And prophecies have been sealed and closed until now. Now they are open. We can understand them if we are willing. Are you willing? You'll have to yield and surrender to God Almighty or I'm telling you right now; no matter how plain I can make it myself you'll never understand it. "...a good understanding have all they that do his commandments... " (Psalm 111:10). And if that makes you angry, my friends, well you are just going to be deprived of real understanding, that's all. And you're going to be deprived of a lot more than that.

Looking to God's Word for Understanding (PLAY FROM 08:09)

Now the test is this: If a man uses prophecy to reveal in advance what is going to happen in world conditions, then God says; "If it comes to pass that man was speaking God's word faithfully and he was God's called minister." (Jeremiah 28:8-9 paraphrased). But if he uses prophecy to tell you what is going to happen and it doesn't happen, you know he spoke right out of his own mind, and a human mind doesn't know what's going to happen. No one but God Almighty knows the future. But God Almighty does know the end from the beginning. He knows what's going to happen.

All I can say is that if you happen to be one who has been listening, you know that you have been hearing on this program what was going to happen in prophecy in world conditions and world conditions have been going precisely as the listeners to the World Tomorrow program had been knowing in advance. And we've had to stand alone most of the time in what we told you is going to happen. And others would laugh and scoff and say; "That's a false prophet, don't listen to that." It's been happening, my friends, and its going to continue to happen. There's the proof of the pudding.

Now, when you look into Bible prophecy, you find prophecy scattered all through the Bible. Why, the first of the prophets was Moses; and there is a great deal of prophecy in the writings of Moses, way back in the first five books of your Bible. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, on through to Malachi in the Old Testament. There's a great deal of prophecy in the New Testament. Jesus gave us many very, very vivid and important prophecies, the Book of Revelation is wholly prophecy. But listen, it is only in the Book of Revelation that you will find the events of all these other prophecies put together, co-related in a time order so that you can put them together properly.

You know, I've heard the Bible compared to a jigsaw puzzle, and in some respects that's a good comparison. Of course, I think jigsaw puzzles have sort of gone out of fashion right now haven't they? I haven't seen one for quite a while anyhow. And anyhow, the idea is good, you have a lot of parts and if you put them all together properly, each one in its exact proper place; well, you have a beautiful harmonious picture when you get through and all is harmony. But if you don't get them together correctly you've got a very unharmonious picture that isn't very pretty. Now, you find the Bible; " a little and there a little:" (Isaiah 28:10) as Isaiah said we would study it.

Of course, there is another way to study the Bible; and that is to take every chapter, every book straight through and in most of the books of your Bible you will find a time order, a time sequence. Actually, there is a time order and a time sequence through the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation. But that time order has been mixed up a little bit by men and the Bibles most of us read are not in the order of books as God originally inspired them and as He had had them put originally. We've gotten them mixed up a little bit in order in the books. And when you get it straightened out, and when you get the books in the order in which they should be; there is a direct story flow, there is a time order, there is a pattern. And it is all in order, there is no confusion. God is not the author of confusion but the devil is. And the devil will try to change and mutilate everything that comes from God if he can and he will try to influence men to mar God's handywork, and to introduce chaos and confusion where God has beauty and harmony and order.

Well, in the Book of Revelation you find the various prophecies co-related in time sequence. But when when you turn to the Book of Revelation – what do you find? A lot of symbols and there it is, a book that is supposed to be opened, not closed; and yet it has actually been closed to men because men have not understood it and that's just a plain fact of history. They have not understood it, and the reason is that it is couched so much in symbols.

Now Jesus spoke a great deal in parables and He said that He spoke in parables; "So that hearing they would hear but would not understand the thing He was saying." (Matthew 13:13 paraphrased). That they might see but they wouldn't really get it, they wouldn't understand. That's what He said, that isn't what you believe, but that's what Jesus said and so that is the truth.

But to His disciples He explained the parables in plain language. How are you going to understand the parables of the Bible? Through your own imagination, through your own mind? You'll never get it that way. There's only one way. In another place somewhere in the Bible you find that parable explained. Jesus explained it in plain language to His disciples.

The Bible Interprets Itself (PLAY FROM 13:16)

Now, I've said so often, the Bible does not need to be interpreted. By that I mean that it doesn't need to have any man put his ideas, his interpretation, his reasoning into it to say it means this; when it doesn't mean anything of the kind. A great deal of the Bible is couched in symbolic, or parabolic language, or something of the kind and it is rather mystic in that particular place in its setting; but somewhere, my friends, you'll find that symbol explained in plain language in your Bible. It'll be explained just as plain as anything. I am reminded of the seventeenth chapter of Ezekiel, and here is a symbol that was used in a prophecy in Ezekiel. The word of the Eternal had come to Ezekiel saying, in verse 2, this is chapter 17 of Ezekiel's prophecy:

"Son of man, put forth a riddle, and speak a parable unto the house of Israel [now, this is a parable and a riddle]; And say, Thus saith the [Eternal] God; A great eagle with great wings, longwinged, full of feathers, which had divers [or different] colours, came unto Lebanon, and took the highest branch of the cedar: He cropped off the top of his young twigs, and carried it into a land of traffick; he set it in a city of merchants." (Ezekiel 17:2-4)

Now that doesn't make much sense does it. Just using a lot of figures of speech there to represent something else. Well, that's not literal - well, let's say it has to be interpreted; but, my friends, no man should interpret it:

"He took also of the seed of the land, and planted it in a fruitful field [a place]; he placed it by great waters, and set it as a willow tree. And it grew, and became a spreading vine of low stature, whose branches turned toward him, and the roots thereof were under him: so it became a vine, and brought forth branches, and shot forth sprigs. [Then] There was also another great eagle with great wings and many feathers..." (Ezekiel 17:5-7)

Now what are those eagles? and what are these trees and these top branches and all that sort of thing? What does it mean? If you read on just a little further, verse 12, let God interpret it. Now here's the interpretation and it comes from God and it's divine and it isn't human. Now:

"Say now to the rebellious house, Know ye not what these things mean? tell them, Behold, the king of Babylon is come to Jerusalem, and hath taken the king thereof, and the princes thereof, and led them with him to Babylon;" (Ezekiel 17:12)

Now, go back with that, there is the key to it, go back and read it:

"...A great eagle [that's the king of Babylon] with great wings [yes, he was powerful], long wings, full of feathers [still describing the king of Babylon], came unto Lebanon [now the king of Babylon has come to Jerusalem, then Lebanon here means Jerusalem], and took the highest branch of the cedar:" (Ezekiel 17:2-3 paraphrased)

He came to Jerusalem and; "...hath taken the king thereof..." (Ezekiel 17:12). The cedar tree then means the Jewish race, the Jewish nation, and the highest branch of that tree is the king and he took the King of Judah:

"He cropped off the top of his young twigs..." (Ezekiel 17:4)

The top of his young twigs would be his own sons; and you read the history of it and they had all been killed. And all of the nobles of Judah beside; "had taken the king thereof and the princes thereof and led them with him to Babylon." Well they were killed in Babylon, but he took them, and he took the young princes, that were the top branches along with the top twigs along with the top branch; the kings and his sons are the princes. And he led them to Babylon see, and he; "...carried [them] to a land of traffick..." (Ezekiel 17:4). A land of commercial traffic, of great business. Yes; it dominated the whole world at the time. He set it in the city of merchants, that's Babylon.

Now; "He took also of the seed of the land, and planted it in a fruitful [place]..." (Ezekiel 17:5). Well:

"And hath taken of the king's seed, and made a covenant with him, and hath taken an oath of him: [and] hath also taken the mighty of the land [that's the mighty people of the land]: That the kingdom might be base, that it might not lift itself up, but that by keeping of his covenant it might stand." (Ezekiel 17:13-14)

That was up here;

"... it grew, and became a spreading vine of low stature [a slave people as the Jews were up there], whose branches turned toward him, and the roots thereof were under him: so it became a vine, and brought forth branches, and shot forth sprigs." (Ezekiel 17:6)

And the Jews continued to grow and, and, they had more and more children up there but they were a slave people. Now there it's all described. Now, if you read on, you'll find it plainly says here a little further that well:

"...he rebelled against him in sending his ambassadors into Egypt, that they might give him horses and much people. Shall he prosper? shall he escape..." (Ezekiel 17:15)

Anyway, this other eagle is the King of Egypt as it is explained here in very plain language. (Ezekiel 17:15)

What Does Christ Look Like? (PLAY FROM 18:19)

Now when the disciples didn't understand the parables they came to Jesus and He explained those parables in plain language. Now you turn back to the Book of Revelation. Here we find the beginning of the key right in the very first chapter. Here you find some symbols, the very first chapter of the Book of Revelation, you find the picture of Christ as He is. Here, is this like you see in your pictures of Christ? Now, have you got a picture of Christ around your home or in your Bible or someplace? Let's see if you have a false Christ, an idol, or whether you have the true Christ. Because if you're going to follow false Christs or anyone except God; and worship that, you are guilty of breaking the first commandment and you are guilty of idolatry:

"[Here is] one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and his hairs were white like wool..." (Revelation 1:13-14)

Is that the way they picture Christ, with white hair, white as wool? And you'll find that the apostle Paul said; "it's a shame, that nature alone ought to teach you, it's a shame for a man to have long hair." (I Corinthians 11:14 paraphrased). So He didn't have long hair:

"...white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as [flames] of fire;" (Revelation 1:14)

Is that the way your picture shows Christ? His eyes as flames of fire? That's the way He looks. No; He isn't dead hanging on a cross; He is risen and He's gone to heaven and been glorified and this is the way the glorified Christ looks now since He has arrived in heaven and been glorified:

"...his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters [or like the voice of thunder, it's a similar expression used other places] And he had in his right hand seven stars..." (Revelation 1:15-16)

Now what are those stars? They are symbols, are you going to try to interpret it, and say you know what they mean? Well, I'll show you here in a minute; but the Bible tells you what they mean:

"...and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword [now the Bible interprets that and tells you that sword is merely the Word of God, you have it in your Bible in writing]: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength." (Revelation 1:16)

Does your picture shine out like the brightness of the sun till it almost blinds your eyes when you look at it; your picture that you think is Christ, or have you got an idol, and have you got some kind of a false saviour and a false god that you look at my friends? I think it's about time some of us begin to wake up, I think it's about time we look at that thing and take it seriously and see whether we should throw idols out of our homes or not. What do you think?

"And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead [I'd think he would, and if you had a picture that looked like that, my friends, when you'd see it or some guest would come into your home and see it, why they'd fall down like they were dead, it would terrify them; you don't have a real picture of Christ in your home, there is the real picture of Christ]. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth [does live now!] and was dead..." (Revelation 1:17-18)

He died for us. But God the Father was still alive while He was dead and God the Father raised Him from the dead. God the Father has life to impart. He is the life giver and He gave eternal immortal life to Christ as the firstborn of many brethren. You can be one of those brethren. Oh, what glorious good news that is; you can be one of those brethren and you can be just like Him, you shall see Him as He is and this is the way He is.

Becoming Perfect (PLAY FROM 21:43)

Now look, did it ever dawn on you that you could look like that someday? I tell you, you are going to have to get a lot of rebellion out of your heart against God. You are going to have to get a lot of your ways out of your mind and out of your actions and you're going to have to find God's thoughts and God's ways. You are going to have to let God make you over; or you will never look like that. You'll have to find, and become holy, find holiness, and you can only get it from God because He's the only One that has it. You will have to be perfect; your Bible says:

"Be your heaven is perfect." (Matthew 5:48)

We are going to look like that, we are going to be His brother; "...we are going to be like him, for we shall see him as he is." (I John 3:2). Made like unto his glorious person. Yes:

"...we have borne the image of the earthy [made of the earth, just like the image of Adam], we shall...bear the image of the heavenly."... (I Corinthians 15:49)

This is the heavenly image. Well now:

"Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter; The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand [Christ is talking, Himself; which you saw in my right hand, here's Jesus revealing the meaning, here is the interpreter Jesus Christ, what does He say?], and the seven golden candlesticks [what are they?]. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches..." (Revelation 1:19-20)

Well, what are you going to do now, twist that around and say; "Angels don't mean angels, they mean something else." I can show you books, I got some nice books, nicely bound, tell you all about what the Book of Revelation means. According to some human author that didn't know what he was writing about and he'll tell you that those angels are something else, that they're not angels. Well if you want to know what angels are turn back to the first couple of chapters of the Book of Hebrews; you'll find something about angels, they're spirits, they're not mortal flesh. Now:

"...The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches." (Revelation 1:20)

Well then, that ought to settle it - that's what they are. Now that's what I believe. When I tell you that I don't interpret the Bible, my friends, that's what I mean. I take Jesus' own interpretation, I don't bring you any Herbert W Armstrong interpretation, I bring you God's own interpretation.

Now a great deal of the Bible is in plain language, it means just what it says. When it says; "...the wages of sin is death..." (Romans 6:23). The wages, that's what you are earning by your sin; and you are going to get paid off some day. Yes, you're going to be paid in full. "...the wages of sin is death..." (Romans 6:23). It doesn't say the wages of sin is eternal life in hell fire, does it? But that's what you've always believed.

Well, now, how do we get around it? So, we have to twist the Bible, we have to interpret it, we have to interpret and say; "Well, death doesn't mean death, death means separation from God." And of course, separation from God means just the opposite of death, eternal life, so we finally, we twist it once and say it means separation from God and then we twist that around and of course, you would be alive when you are separated from God and so we get back to the exact opposite. Now, it's speaking of life and death as two opposites, but:

"...the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life..." (Romans 6:23)

There's eternal life on the one hand and eternal death on the other because it is eternal punishment and the punishment is death!

Someone wrote in and said the other day they didn't hear me speak about punishment of the wicked very much. (Mr Armstrong chuckles) I feel like saying; "Is that so? I speak a lot about punishment, it's a terrible punishment."

And as in Adam all die [or all do die] in Christ shall all be made alive." (I Corinthians 15:22)

Even the wicked; and there's going to be a resurrection of the just and the unjust and the doomed, those who have completely rejected Christ. I tell you, my friends, they are going to see that lake of fire they are going into. And it will be the second death from which there will never be a resurrection. It is punishment, and it's going to be a terrible punishment when they see those that have attained salvation, what they look like; and the glory that shall be revealed in them, as the sons divinely born of God, and see what they have lost out on, and see the lake of fire that is going to devour them. And they're coming to what God said:

"...God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not [should not what?] perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)

Well that's what they're going to do, and it's a terrible punishment and it's for all eternity.