The World Tomorrow

The Purpose of Life - Part 1

by Herbert W Armstrong


Greetings friends. This is Herbert W Armstrong with the Good News of the World Tomorrow.

Now once again my friends, why were you put here on this earth? Very few realize the purpose of life. As I have mentioned in the preceding program we just live life aimlessly. We don't know why we are here, we don't know where we are going or whether we're going, and the main thing is just to try to make every moment as pleasing and pleasant as possible.

We do want to have things pleasing and we don't want pain or suffering or anything. And of course we get rather empty in our minds, and all that sort of thing, and we try to fill that vacant void with some kind of amusement or entertainment, to get our minds on something material, or go to a movie, or on crime pictures or illicit love, or something like that on television. Now the main idea seems to be to retire. Don't keep busy, don't do anything, just live in idleness and ease. It seems to be a disgrace in America to work.

You know there was a time it got to be a disgrace to work down in Rome. They got wealthy and pampered and living in idleness and ease and luxury and they got their minds on entertainment and amusement and sports, where they didn't want to go out and participate themselves, that is most of the people, but they paid the professional performers to perform for them. They wanted their sports more exciting, more brutal, just like we do now today, and we're going the way of ancient Rome. And they wanted to rely on the government to support them, so of course taxes went way up, just like they are here in the United States. And the main thing was, they didn't want to work.

Well, you know, up north there were the Barbarians, they were ignorant, they didn't know as much as the Romans, they weren't as educated. They weren't the nice dandy gentlemen that the gentlemen down at Rome were, but they were tough and they were strong and they had good health, even if their minds weren't as daintily educated. And so finally the Barbarians came down and overran them, and conquered them and what happened to Rome? Well it fell, good and hard. My friends, we are riding to a great fall right here in the United States right now and we don't realize it. We don't realize the purpose of life or why we were put here. Very few understand.

Flesh Born First (PLAY FROM 02:55)

Now we've been going through this book, a most neglected book, that has a lot to do with the very purpose of your life, although primarily it's the book that tells what Jesus Christ is doing now and what He's been doing for 1900 years. Where did He go? What's He been doing for 1900 years? And so we've come down to see a little of the difference between the way God dealt with people back in Old Testament times and the way He's dealing today.

Now back under the Old Covenant in the days of Moses, God manifested Himself physically to a physical people because, you know, God created man out of the dust of the ground. God said to the first man, Adam, He said, "...dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return." (Genesis 3:19)

Well, my friends, that's the way you were born too. Jesus Christ came along a lot later and He said, "That which is born of the flesh IS flesh" (John 3:6). Well, we've all been born of the flesh. I don't know anybody that's been born any other way, even though Jesus Christ was born, in a sense of God and also of a human virgin, He was born of the human flesh too because His mother was a human woman. And I don't know anybody who is any other way.

But, as I have mentioned before, God did not make us quite complete at the very beginning back there. He made us out of matter, but He made us to need another substance that is not material - it's a spiritual substance. He made us to need to be impregnated by the very spirit of God – that's the mind of God. It's the life of God, it's the power of God and it's the character, the very nature of God Almighty.

Now we've been born of the flesh and we have the very natures of the flesh. We have the natures, the specific natures of our specific individual father and mother born in us. We have a lot of their characteristics.

Jesus Christ said, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh" (John 3:6). But He said we can be born again, and in order to get into the kingdom of God and live forever, you must be born again. Now you can be begotten as a child of God, if and when you receive the Spirit of God, and we're never complete until we have received that. As we were born, we're incomplete! Just like for instance, in one way a man is incomplete without a wife, a woman without a husband, because we're made male and female.

On the other hand, we're made mortal and material only, but we're made to need the Spirit of God. God has made His Spirit accessible. And we have been made in the image of God so that we can receive the Spirit of God, which you might say is the seed (or the germ) and planted within us, of immortal life so that in the time of the resurrection - while we'll be in the same image, the same form and shape as we are now, even as God is - yet we'll be like God, composed of spirit in a spirit body, if you please.

Born To Rule (PLAY FROM 06:29)

You know that each one of us has been born for a great purpose. That purpose is that some day we're to assume authority, and we're to be given authority and we're to rule over a lot of people and we're going to judge a lot of people. And we're going to teach a lot of people for their good, for their happiness and for their salvation. But we have to learn to be under authority before we can ever wield authority. And so the Bible teaches that we are to be under authority, that we are to be subject to the powers that be in human government, because no government could exist except by God's power and God's expressed permission.

Now the governments in this world are just so many human governments fighting it out. Each one has an idea, that is each group of people, which kind of political government they think is the best. And so we have wars, we have all that sort of thing. Well, they are not God's government, I can assure you that, but nevertheless God allows it and God permits it and so God tells us to be subject. We are told to pray for our leaders and those who bear the rule over us.

Now He also tells us to teach our children discipline. And above all, the one great power and to the one supreme authority that we don't seem to know anything about and you don't hear it preached very much, is God Almighty. God Almighty is the supreme authority of the entire Universe. God is permitting men to usurp authority and set up human governments of various kinds on this earth. God intervenes when He pleases in human affairs, but for the most part God has kept hands off for about 6000 years.

He's intervened at times. He intervened with the Flood. He intervened with plagues in Egypt to deliver the children of Israel out of Egypt. God intervened and sent His Son down to this earth. God has intervened and called certain prophets and He's intervening and calling certain ministers to preach His gospel to the world, but He's made us free moral agents. He allows you to hear and to observe it or to reject it. He allows you to listen and then to make your own decision. Are you going to accept the truth of God or are you going to reject it?

Free Moral Agents (PLAY FROM 08:54)

He allows you, if you wish, to snap off the dial or turn to some other program if you'd rather be amused and entertained probably whiling away your time. That's up to you and God allows it, He's made you a free moral agent. God doesn't try to cram His religion down your throat. But God has decreed that the gospel must be made available. My friends, I've said before and this may startle you, this is not the time that God has called everybody. This is not the time when God is trying to save the world, but rather He has blinded most of our people deliberately and they couldn't have saving knowledge if they wanted it. Did you know that?

If you want the explanation of that, write in for our booklet on 'Predestination.' Now that's pretty strong meat if you can take it without becoming offended. Write in for our booklet 'Predestination,' if you want to have that explained, there is no charge. The booklet on 'Predestination,' and that will explain something that will really floor you if I'm not mistaken.

Now we'd come down to the place where he told us to, "Follow peace with all men and holiness without which no man shall see the Lord [and I have expounded and explained that. And then]. Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God." (Hebrew 12:14-15)

Now we can "fail of the grace of God," or, as you read back here in II Corinthians six and the first verse, you can come short of it, and so we are told to "work out [our] OWN salvation with fear and [with] trembling." (Philippians 2:12)

And so here in this book of Hebrews the apostle Paul has been making it plain to us that we need to follow peace, we need to follow holiness lest we might fail of the grace of God. Lest there be a fornicator, or someone like Esau and so on, who sold his birthright (Hebrews 12:16). And as I explained in the preceding program, a good many of you can very easily sell your birthright too if you're not careful. I mean your birthright to – and it isn't really a birthright, it's grace. It really is not birthright. Birthright has to do with race. But grace is something else again. And a birthright is something that is your right by birth but salvation is not. It isn't your right, you don't deserve it, it's an undeserved thing that comes as a free gift from God.

But he says here in verse eighteen, let's come to that again; "For you are not come unto the mount that might be touched... [like they were back in Moses time, mount Sinai, and we covered that yesterday, but in verse 22] ... you are come unto mount Sion [that's the spiritual mountain] (Hebrews 12:18;22).

In other words my friends, God had to manifest Himself physically to a physical people, as He did at mount Sinai. They heard the thunderings and the lightnings. They heard His voice. There were things they could see, things that they could actually hear and they could even go up and touch the mountain by the sense of touch. But the spiritual things are not seen, they are not felt, they are not heard, not any of those things.

And as I read to you in the preceding program, as Jesus said to the doubting Thomas, He said, "You believe because you've seen me [but He said], blessed are they that have not seen and yet have believed" (John 20:29 ). And that's the way you have to accept Christ today. You haven't seen Him, you have to believe in spiritual things, things you don't see, things you can't touch, things you can't feel. So we're not come to a physical mountain you can reach out and touch where you see the lightnings and hear the thunders and hear the voice of God.

God isn't manifesting Himself to us in that physical manner because we have the possibility of receiving the Holy Spirit which they could not receive at that time. Even during Jesus' ministry He was speaking of the Holy Spirit which they that believe on Him could receive, but "the Holy [Spirit] was not yet given; because Jesus [had] not yet been glorified" (John 7:39). But the Holy Spirit has been given now and you and I can receive the Holy Spirit of God and the spiritual things of God so that our minds can be illuminated to understand and to comprehend spiritual things which they could not understand back there.

So, as he says, " are come [and that always means Christians, that ye or you] to mount Sion unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem." (Hebrews 12:22)

Preparing A Place For Us (PLAY FROM 13:40)

Now in the preceding program I was showing you how the heavenly Jerusalem is "...coming down from God out of heaven prepared as a bride adorned for her husband." (Revelation 21:2)

Now Jesus went to prepare a place for us. Actually the place He went to prepare, if you understand it, the Greek words that were inspired really mean a position in God's kingdom, a position that we are to occupy. And He is up there helping prepare that place in this way, that "...we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should [live] in them." (Ephesians 2:10)

And He is in heaven doing that work as our High Priest now, and we are His creation. "If any man is in Christ he is a new [creation]" (II Corinthians 5:17), and he is being created even now to become an immortal in the kingdom of God. Now Christ is there to do that creating. We are only the instruments but we can resist or we can yield into His hands to let Him do it, or we can resist and refuse to respond and yield ourselves.

We are like the clay, He is the master potter, He is doing the forming and the shaping (Isaiah 64:8). We are merely the clay but yet we have our part in it. And so it is, there is a duality, we have our part. It's a mixture of the spirit which is the nature of God mixing with our nature, our spirit, or our mind and our attitude, and all of that. When our attitude becomes right. When we have been conquered by God. When we've seen how wrong we have been. When we have come to acknowledge our own errors. When we have acknowledged our sins, we have acknowledged that we have been in error and we've been thinking wrongly and acting and doing wrongly, that we have been disobeying God, that we have not been subject to the law of God or the authority of God!

Now God has so ruled that we must make that decision. God allows you to rebel. God does not force anyone to obey, but when you obey then the real blessings begin to come. And when you disobey if that's what you choose to do, God will let you, but then you're bringing curses on yourself. But just the same a lot of people my friends, are finding that the word of God is the best thing after all. It may not seem good at first but it is, and it is for our good.

We Are God's Workmanship (PLAY FROM 16:11)

God's laws are inexorable and God is a Ruler who rules for OUR good not for His good. God doesn't need anything from you or from me my friends, He has all He needs. God is working out a purpose here below and that purpose is to bring you and me to a state of happiness, and of peace and of joy and – well, where we can be like God and where we'll be in need of nothing either. God doesn't need anything you have. No, no, but He does lay on you the responsibility of doing certain things, even for Him. Not because He needs it but because you need it, because it's for your good.

That's why God actually lays on us the responsibility of tithing, for instance, and of a good many things that He does. Well, it doesn't look that way to us does it? The carnal mind is hostile toward God, enmity toward God in Bible language. And it just isn't "subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." (Romans 8:7)

Now if you're going to get the blessings of God, if you're going to have eternal life, you have to make the decision. You always have your part, there's a teamwork in it, and yet in another sense we're His workmanship (Ephesians 2:10). And as Job said, "If a man die, [will] he [ever] live again? [And he answered] all the days of my appointed time will I wait until my change come." (Job 14:14)

Now he said his change would come. Then he said, "Thou shalt call and I will answer thee [that's in the fourteenth chapter of Job in the {1} fifteenth verse. He said]: Thou shalt call and I will answer thee" (Job 14:15]:

Now there's a companion passage to that, that Jesus expressed in the New Testament. He said, "The hour is coming [when] all that are in [their] graves [that's where they are, not up in heaven, in their graves] shall hear his voice ....and... come forth [they will then hear, they'll come forth] they that have done good [into] the resurrection of life." (John 5:25;29)

Now Job is one of those and he says, "Thou shall call and I will answer thee [but here's the explanation, the last part of that fifteenth verse there]. Thou wilt have a desire to the work of thine hands" (Job 14:15). We are the work of God's hands. God is the workman. Christ has been on the job these 1900 years. He is the master potter, we're only the clay and we are the work of His hands. Now He's given us of His Holy Spirit.

So my friends, we are come to mount Sion which is the spiritual mountain now, which is really the church. "Unto the heavenly Jerusalem" and that is the church. That's another expression for the church, because you read in the New Testament of "Jerusalem above, which is the mother of us all" (Galatians 4:26 paraphrased).

Now Christ has gone up to prepare a place, and the place is really a position, but my friends, our citizenship in the meantime is up in heaven (Philippians 3:20). Now we are – if we are Christ's, then we renounce this world, then we come out from the world and out from among those of the world to become separate (II Corinithans 6:17). Do you understand that? And we are then in a position as the apostle Paul said and as he was, "ambassadors for Christ." (II Corinthians 5:20)

Ambassadors For Christ (PLAY FROM 19:37)

Now here in Pasadena, California we have Ambassador College where young people are being trained, not only in just ordinary education as they are of course, liberal arts education, a co-ed college, but nevertheless they are also being trained to become "Ambassadors for Christ."

Now the Ambassador of the United States over to Moscow, Russia, he doesn't live there except temporarily - he's there temporarily. His real home may be here in the United States but he's not allowed to be here, but his citizenship is here in the United States. He represents the United States there. He is our representative there. Now he doesn't help them make their laws. He doesn't fight their battles or anything of the sort. He's representing us over there. However he does have to conform to their rules and regulations.

Now I haven't been in Russia and I don't know whether they drive on the right side or the left side of the street, but I know they drive on the left side in England and on the right side in France for instance, and Germany. Well now, if they drive on the left side over there our Ambassador drives on the left side. In other words he conforms to their rules and regulations but yet he's no part of their government. He represents us at their government.

Now we, if we are Ambassadors for Christ, we represent Christ's government which is to come to this earth, but has not yet. The headquarters is now in heaven. We're not up in heaven. we're here on the earth. We're His Ambassadors here and we represent Him here. And now just as an Ambassador has a certain amount of authority, as much as his home government delegates, so we are given a certain amount of authority to represent Christ. Of course there is a limit on that authority and it's only the authority that Christ Himself has delegated to us because we become His Ambassadors. But where is our real citizenship?

Well, you read here in the third chapter of Philippians, Philippians the third chapter and the twentieth verse. Now in the King James Translation it says "Our conversation is in heaven." Well, that is a flagrant mistranslation. Opposite that word 'conversation' if you have a King James Authorized version, and if you have the marginal references you probably will find a little number. Now in my Bible, is a little number two, right opposite the word 'conversation,' which refers me over to the margin, where it shows that the right translation, out of the Greek word, should have been 'citizenship.' So that's what you should read there 'citizenship' - it's in the margin.

"For our [citizenship] is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ" (Philippians 3:20)

Now it doesn't say that He's up there looking for us to come up there. It says that our citizenship is there from where - in heaven - we look for Him to come back here. Jesus said if He went to heaven He would come again. And when He receives us to Himself He's here on this earth, that where He IS at that time we may be also. Or if you want to take it "where I am" (John 14:3)- when He said that He was here on earth at that time. So we are looking for a Saviour to come from heaven, Jesus Christ. The next verse says:

"Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body..." (Philippians 3:21)

And His body my friends, you find the description of it in the first chapter of Revelation. His eyes like flames of fire, his hair white as wool, His feet like burnished brass and His face shining like the sun in its full strength in all of its power. (Revelation 1:14-16 paraphrased) Oh there's power, and power means energy, and energy actually creates light and heat. I wonder if you can realize it. So that God has a face that is just like the sun for brightness. And so has Christ in His glory, and we're to be glorified "like unto His glorious body" (Philippians 3:21).

The New Jerusalem (PLAY FROM 23:52)

That isn't the kind of face He had before He ascended to heaven even after His resurrection, because that was not His glorious body yet, He had not yet been glorified but now He is. Now you see our citizenship is in heaven.

Now this Holy City, new Jerusalem, we don't go up there to it, but John hears the voice here, out of heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men [in the third verse and the second verse], And I [John] saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband" (Revelation 21:3;2).

How's Christ preparing this place, or position? He's doing it my friends, because we, while we're on earth and He is up there, we are His instruments. We're the clay, He's the master potter. He is fashioning, molding us. The citizenship is there. The reward is being kept in reserve in heaven. Our names are written in heaven but all that comes down here, and when Jesus Christ comes your Bible says... You haven't heard this my friends, but it's in your Bible.

Now don't get offended, I advise you to open your Bible and blow the dust off of it and read it and see that it's there. I'm not just trying to say sensational things, I'm merely trying to get over the truth but the truth is sensational because as your Bible says, this is a time when all the world has been deceived. We've been believing a lot of things that are not true, they're not in the Bible. They are things you think are in the Bible that are not there.

But in the Bible you will find that it says that when Jesus comes His reward is with Him (Isaiah 40:10, 62:11). He brings the reward here. It's up there, it's in store for you but you don't go to that, it comes here to us. And Christ is going to dwell with men. He's going to live on this earth when He comes to rule, not up in heaven. He's merely living in heaven at His Father's throne now while, as our High Priest, He is preparing us for this place, preparing that place by preparing us. That's what He is doing.

And so the holy city, New Jerusalem comes down here and we're going to dwell in it and live in it. And in a sense it is the church. In another sense I think it perhaps, represents a real city. Now whether a literal city made of matter is going to come down but it talks about the streets being paved with gold. Most people think that's a description of heaven itself, but that's only the holy city that is to come down to the earth. Anyway it says that God will dwell with us and not we to go up there and to dwell with Him (Revelation 21:3).

Now then, we "are come [to this] mount Sion [now let's get that again], and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem [which is the church, Jerusalem above, the mother of us all, and that is the church] and to an innumerable company of angels." (Hebrews 12:22)

I explained I think in the preceding program how the mother feeds and nourishes the unborn child, and so on, and so - that's on physical food, but the church nourishes and feeds its children on the spiritual food. And we have to grow in grace and in knowledge, we have to be overcomers and we're going to be judged and rewarded according to our works. Not SAVED according to your works, but your reward, or the way you're judged and the degree of your reward, is according to your works.

Now too, also we have come "To the general assembly of the church of the firstborn." (Hebrew 12:23)

Now get that, the church of the firstborn. We are the first to be begotten and will be the first to be born as the children of God.


{1} Mr Armstrong said 'fourteenth, but quoted the fifteenth verse.