The World Tomorrow

The Present Ministry Of Christ

by Herbert W Armstrong


Most people think God created this earth, once upon a time, way back there some 6,000 years ago. They don't seem to think He's ever had anything to do since. Maybe He's up in His heaven, but He isn't concerned about us any more is He? People think God is like the professor emeritus, He used to do great things but He must have grown old and feeble. Or else He's gone way off somewhere and is busy elsewhere.

My friends, what do you know of the living, present Christ and His present-day mission? The chances are you know very little of it. The chances are you've heard very little explained about Jesus Christ in His present mission of High Priest. Do you know that Jesus Christ has been on the job, on the job day and night for more than 1900 years as your High Priest?

And you don't hear much about it. Jesus Christ spent three and a half years in an earthly ministry and you hear a lot about His crucifixion, His death, His shed blood. You hear a little, about once a year, about His resurrection and then that's all. We stop there, 1900 years ago!

And do you know my friends, that while He only spent three and a half years in that earthly ministry, that Jesus Christ has been spending over 1,900 years on the job! On the job day and night in a present-day mission that you have heard very little about.

Well, I think it's about time my friends, we do blow the dust off our Bibles and that we turn to the one book in all the Bible that is devoted to that one subject. The present, present-day mission of Jesus Christ, what He is doing now.

Christ's Present Day Mission (PLAY FROM 02:00)

Yes, He ascended to the right hand of God in heaven. He's been there too for 1900 years, but He's very busy there. He hasn't been idle. What is He doing? What connection can it possibly have with you? Well, it has a tremendous connection with you. It has every connection and every possible effect on your life and its future.

Go get your Bible. If you've got it now, open it up. Get your Bible. Go to the other room, wherever you need to, and get it if you are home, as I hope you are. If you're riding in a car, next time you tune in remember, every single night at this time over most of the United States, tune in and have a Bible handy whenever you are home.

Open your Bible now to the book of Hebrews, first chapter, first verse. And here it is, Christ in His present living mission. Now first it starts out by telling us just how great Christ is, telling us something about our High Priest and telling us something of His importance. Listen:

"God, who at sundry times and in divers [or different] manners [spoke] in time[s] past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things by whom also he made the worlds." (Hebrews 1:1-2)

Now it starts out -"God who in sundry times and different manners spoke in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, has in these latter days spoken to us by Jesus Christ". It's speaking about God's word. God's word is now in writing, we call it the Holy Bible. Now men have always rejected that word. God spoke to our fathers way back there in Old Testament times beginning with Moses. And from Moses until Christ, by the prophets.

"...holy men of old spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit." (II Peter 1:21 paraphrased)

But men rejected that word, they stoned those prophets and they rejected {1} - the Son, Jesus Christ when He came. And men have continued until today to reject that written word, we have it in writing today. Now I want you to notice in the King James translation it says that God; "Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son." (Hebrews 1:2 KJV)

Do you have a Bible? I am reading this from the Authorized, or the King James translation. Now if you have a King James translation of the Bible, or an Authorized version, you will notice the word 'his' is in italic. Now that means that the word 'his' was not inspired, it did not appear in the original writings. Now it is generally supposed that the apostle Paul wrote this book of Hebrews. I am not so much concerned with those technical facts as I am the content.

This is part of the Word of God. We're concerned with the message, with its deep meaning, its all important meaning in your life today. So this word, as it was originally written, wasn't there. It was written originally, the apostle Paul wrote this in the Greek language and we're reading it in the English language, a translation.

Well in the Greek language the word 'Son' was there and they just assumed that it had to be filled in by 'his Son.' Well, it was God's Son, but you will notice in other translations; now the Moffatt translation for instance has it, 'a Son' hath spoken to us by a Son. A Son, just the word 'a.'

"...a Son whom he hath appointed heir of the universe, as it was by him that he created the world." (Hebrews 1:2 Moffatt translation)

Heir of the universe, think of it. Now in the Revised Standard Version of the Bible it's the same way again. Here it is:

"[Hath] in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son [or A Son]." (Hebrews 1:2 Revised Standard Version)

And that's rather significant. The real meaning of that is not just 'His Son' which might imply the only Son. Now you've heard a lot about the only begotten Son of God, Jesus Christ, yes, speaking of His begettal as a human being in the womb of the virgin Mary. He was the only begotten Son of God. No one else ever has and no one else ever will be begotten in that manner. Jesus Christ was born a human being as a begotten Son of God, begotten of the virgin Mary by the Holy Spirit. Nobody else has ever been begotten that way.

First Begotten, Then Born Spiritually Of God (PLAY FROM 06:37)

But my friends, you and I who have been begotten by human father and human mother can also now be begotten spiritually by God and then born of God. But a begettal comes before the birth. A begettal comes first and then the child must grow in the mother's womb until it's born and we can be begotten of God. Now we are called sons of God if we are begotten of God. You read in the eighth chapter of Romans, for instance:

" many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God." (Romans 8:14)

So we too are sons of God, and that my friends is why it is proper here, and correctly translated 'a Son.' But Jesus is the firstborn divine Son born from the dead, by a resurrection from the dead. Now we're coming to that later. But that's just a little point I wanted to call to your attention here.

Jesus is a Son but He is the only born, divine Son. He is the only one that was begotten in the way He was as a human being. And the only one so far, to be a born Son of God by a resurrection from the dead till where "...this mortal has put on immortality," (I Corinthians 15:53-54), this human has become divine, as is in the case of Jesus.

Now, "...appointed him heir of all things" (Hebrews 1:2 KJV), it is in the Authorized Translation, and here in the Moffatt Translation, "...a Son whom he has appointed heir of the universe" (Hebrews 1:2 Moffatt). In other words, "all things" means more than even just this earth. Jesus Christ is the heir of all the universe, all the universe. Now I want you to notice next verse three:

"Who being [in] the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person [that's the person of God the Father], and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high." (Hebrews 1:3)

Oh my friends, you read right over those words in your Bible and perhaps it's just dull and dry and doesn't mean much and you don't see the tremendous meaning in those words. Now let's just look into that just a moment. Let's just get a little of this meaning. First here it is revealed how tremendously great Christ really is. How great is Christ?

First He is the heir of ALL THINGS, heir of the universe. Secondly, we read here in verse three, "Who being the brightness of his glory" (Hebrews 1:3 KJV) . being the brightness of the glory of God the Father. Let me read that in the Moffatt Translation. "He, reflecting God's bright glory, and stamped with God's own character, sustains the universe with the word of his power" (Hebrews 1:3 Moffatt Translation). Think of that. Just think how great Jesus Christ the Savior and the present High Priest really is.

Now, "...the express image of his [Father's] person" (Hebrews 1:3). He looks exactly like God. You know the disciples said to Jesus, "Well what does God look like?" A lot of times people wonder, "Well why does God hide Himself?" Why is it that you read in your Bible that no man has at any time, seen God? But they did see Christ when He was here on earth. And so the disciples said, "Well what does God look like anyway? We've never seen Him. What does He look like?"

What Does God Look Like? (PLAY FROM 10:17)

Now way back there when Israel rejected her king and set up Jeroboam as a king and then the Jewish people of Judah seceded and they wanted a king of their own. Well they seceded in order to retain the king of David's dynasty, or Rehoboam. But Jeroboam decided that God looked like a calf and so he had two golden calves made and beaten out of gold. And he said, "Hear O Israel, this is what God looks like, He looks like a calf. Here's the God that brought you people, you children of Israel out of the land of Egypt, out of the slavery down there in Egypt." (Reference to I Kings 12:28)

Now he thought God looked like a calf. And you know, other people think God looks like something else. And there have been all kinds of idols, there have been all kinds of images made of people trying to show what they think God looks like. Alright I'm going to let you in on a secret, I'm going to tell you what God looks like. He looks like Jesus Christ looked, and Jesus Christ was "...the express image of his person" (Hebrews 1:3), of the Father's person.

And Jesus said to these disciples when they asked Him, "What does the Father look like? Tell us, show us the Father, that'll suffice us", they said (John 14:8 paraphrased). "We want to see the Father, no man has ever seen Him but we want to see Him. What does He look like? Why does He hide Himself? We want to see Him and we want to know what God looks like."

Jesus said, "Have I been so long time with you and you ask me what does God look like? If you have seen me you have seen the Father" (John 14:9 paraphrased). You see, the Father looked like Jesus and Jesus looked just like His Father. Why of course, Jesus was the express image of His Father's person.

What Did Jesus Look Like? (PLAY FROM 12:01)

Now what did Jesus look like? Well, He looked just like other men. You read back there in the gospels about His earthly ministry, and we've gone all through that in this program in past months and years. And Jesus came to Nazareth where He'd been brought up, and you know He couldn't even do many miracles there. Even Jesus with all of His power because it takes faith.

It takes faith on the part of those that are healed. It takes faith on the part of those that are being benefited by the miracle, and they had no faith. Why they mocked, and they said, "Why look, is this the Messiah? This the Son of God? Why no, this man isn't divine, why he's just like all the rest of us, why we've seen him grow up from a little boy. Why he's a carpenter, we've seen him building these houses over here. We, we know what he looks like but we don't know what God looks like. God couldn't look like that. Why he's just an ordinary human being."

Yes, He looked like all other people, just another....of course no two people look alike. He didn't look precisely like any other person, just like there's not another person on earth looks just like you do. Did you ever think of that? Not a one, well unless you have an identical twin, and even then I think, probably if you are an identical twin, or if you know of one, the mother of the identical twins can usually tell them apart.

I've know of identical twins where their father couldn't. But usually the mother, and I talked to a mother of two identical twins once, she said, "Yes I think I can tell which is which." But even she might be deceived. But except for that, and even then, I am quite sure that their finger prints would be different and that there are differences if you could only detect it. But nevertheless human beings all look like human beings except for this slight variation in each one of us as we know.

So then Jesus did look like other human beings. Now listen my friends, that's when He was here in the human flesh, that's when He was here in the human flesh, but He died. And He was made mortal for the purpose of death so that He could taste death for EVERY man, for you, for me, for all of us. That was His function then. Now we're interested in what is His function now and so I want you to know something about what He looks like now.

Now when Jesus was resurrected, after forty days and forty nights with His disciples, the apostles, He ascended up to heaven. He just rose right up in the air, no airplane, He wasn't hanging onto anything to pull Him up at all. He just rose right up in the air into a cloud. And a cloud enveloped Him, and then the cloud went on up and He went up in that cloud out of their sight, until they couldn't see Him any more.

You know as He got further and further away, even the cloud that they were seeing became smaller and smaller and smaller, until it finally vanished out of sight. Now the angel that stood there said, "Ye men of Galilee [the apostles], why stand ye [here] gazing up into heaven [trying to see Jesus as He went. No, He was gone now for their lifetime. And the angel said]? this same Jesus... shall so come in LIKE manner [that's the same identical manner] as ye have seen him go into heaven. (Acts 1:11).

He went in clouds, He's coming in clouds. They saw Him go, "every eye will see him" (Revelation 1:7) when He comes again. He's coming "...with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, ...the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: [And] we which are alive and remain shall be [changed] (I Thessalonians 4:16-17). "In [the] moment, in the twinkling of an eye... this mortal [will] put on immortality..." (I Corinthians 15:52;54) "...and...we shall be caught up together...[with those resurrected] to meet [Him] in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord" (I Thessalonians 4:17).

What Does Christ Look Like Now? (PLAY FROM 15:38)

Oh, it's a wonderful thing to think of, but that's getting off into the future. Now let's get right back to the present, this year here in the twentieth century AD. What does He look like now? Listen, when Jesus ascended to heaven He was glorified. And when He was glorified a great change came over His appearance and so He doesn't look the same today.

Now He looks the same with one exception. He was the express image of His Father's person but there is one difference. Yes He still has two eyes, a nose and a mouth, couple of ears, ten fingers, ten toes, two feet, two arms, two legs. Yes, just the same, but there is one tremendous difference in His appearance. I want to read it to you.

I want to see if you have seen a picture of Jesus as He is now. We have a Jesus, my friends, in a High Priest office, and it's an office where we can have, and ought to have, and NEED to have daily, yes hourly contact with Him. And this is what He looks like now. Why are you having pictures around made out of the imagination of men? No photograph was ever made of Him and no two people look alike, and since they don't know, no artist can possibly conjure up in his imagination what someone looked like that he never saw.

Let me give you an example. I want to just show you how Jesus does not look like the pictures you've seen of Him. NOT AT ALL. You know a man wrote me a letter, I had had thousands of requests for my photograph and I would never let anyone have it because I said, "No." I don't want them to see me, there's nothing about my looks." I'm just an ordinary human being and I think I have been the greatest sinner of all of them, just like the apostle Paul thought he had been.

Maybe he really was and maybe I am not and I just think so, but it certainly seems to me. When see, I know all the inner secrets of my life and I know how much I have had to repent of, and how much I have had to throw myself on God's mercy for and ask Him to forgive through the blood of Christ. And it has just overwhelmed me. I can't believe any of you have had to ask Him to forgive as much, and I know that in me, in my flesh, is no good thing.

And all you can see is flesh if you see a picture. Why in the world should you want to see it? And for years I ran from the photographers and they'd try to take a snapshot of some of us sometimes, and I would always run. I'd dodge behind someone else and I had had no photograph taken from the time I was, I think about twenty-two or twenty-three, until some listener wrote me and he said, "Mr. Armstrong, if you go into a church and the preacher hides behind the pulpit and he just begins to preach to you but he won't show his face, he hides and you can't see him, what are you going to think? Don't you think he's got something to hide about, something he is ashamed of maybe, or something?"

He said "Don't you get a little of the message by watching the face of the man as he speaks? Don't you get more of whether he is sincere or not and all that sort of thing?" And I had to admit I did. Well you know that put it in a little different light.

Now it's true that in any one of us, my friends, there is no good thing. But yet, I guess, some of the sincerity and the earnestness, or lack of it if it might be that, sort of comes out in the eye and in the expression. And I know that often people want to see the man that they have heard speak. Let me just say this my friends, many people, as I started to say, have come out here to see me and they say, "Well, we sort of want to see that man we've been hearing so long."

Maybe you felt that way, I find that a good many have. I never could understand why but I, perhaps I'd feel the same way. Well the point is this, there have been literally hundreds of people that have come here and they're introduced to me and I shake hands with them and they just look so surprised. They say, "Why Mr. Armstrong, you don't look like we thought you would." You know some people say, "Well I thought you'd be a great tall man."

I guess some of them thought I'd be seven feet tall or something like that, and very skinny or slender. And you know I'm not like that at all. I can tell you I weigh more than one hundred and fifty pounds but I'm not real tall. And, of course, maybe the weight's put in a different way, but just so we have the weight, it's alright isn't it?

No One Knows What Christ Actually Looked Like (PLAY FROM 20:02)

Well the point is my friends, supposing one of these people was a world famous artist. He's heard me, he's heard about me, he's actually heard my voice! Now no-one ever heard Christ's actual voice. You, you know more of me and all of these people have, than you ever knew about Christ. And if some artist would try to draw a picture of what he thinks I look like, why he'd be just like all these people. They all thought they knew what I looked like and when they get here, I don't look at all like they thought. Well, if you would see Christ today you know what you'd say? And these artists that drew these pictures you have and they say, "Here this is the Christ that died for you on the cross."

My friends, if you stop to think about it you can see that that is just about as much of an idol as those golden calves were. Christ probably doesn't look much more like those pictures then He looked like those golden calves. You don't know what He looked like, and people would say, "Why you don't look like we thought?" They'd say, "Why, we thought you had long hair. We thought you had a beard. Why we thought that's the way you looked." That's the way the picture shows Him.

But in your Bible, of which HE is the Living Word and the Bible is the written word and He inspired every word of it through His Spirit, the Holy Spirit, He says through the apostle Paul that "...even nature ought to teach you it's a shame for a man to wear long hair" (I Corinthians 11:14). And yet, my friends, these artists have all thought Jesus wore long hair. Now He, He never did, that isn't the way He looked.

The Glorified Christ Now (PLAY FROM 21:34)

Well, now I'm going to show you how He looks now. At least He looked like other human beings then at that time, but that isn't the way He looks now. He still has, He looks the same except for this change. Here it is, listen. It's... I've given it to you before, it's in the first chapter of the book of Revelation, and here it is.

They're seeing," like the Son of man [and that is Christ, and]' ...with a garment down to the foot, ...girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head [here's the description, His head] and his hairs were white like wool [doesn't say anything about long hair though does it? Oh no. His head and his hairs were white like wool [that isn't the way you pictured Him is it?], as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire." (Revelation 1:13-14)

Think of that my friends - His eyes are as a flame of fire! They weren't like that when He was on earth. They weren't like that when He said, even after His resurrection to doubting Thomas, "Reach and put your fingers here in the very nail prints in my hands and feet and see that it is I" (John 20:27 paraphrased). You see doubting Thomas couldn't even believe it was He. Well His eyes weren't like a flame of fire then, they would really have been frightened. But that isn't all, let's go a little further.

"...his feet like unto fine brass, [same form, same shape, same ten toes alright but different now in appearance] as if they [were] burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. ...and his countenance [this is His face now listen. His face, or his countenance] was as the SUN SHINETH in his strength." (Revelation 1:16-17)

Think of that my friends. CAN YOU VISUALIZE THAT? As the sun shines in its strength. No cloudy day, no stained glass in front of you, no glasses or anything on, just look up with your bare eyes into the sun on a clear day when the sun is shining in its full strength. And that's the way the face of Christ is now. Now it looks just like it did, it looks just like our faces, but for that difference.

You know no one can paint a picture like that. If you would look at the sun in its full strength my friends, it'll blind you if you look at it very long with your naked eye. My friends, that's one reason that no man can look on God and LIVE because His face SHINES like the SUN in FULL strength. Now that's the way Christ is now. And that's the way the Father is, and Christ is the express image of His Father's person. I'm showing you here how great, how great He is. And now I want you to notice:

"...being the brightness of His glory, ...the express image of his person [the Father's person] and upholding all things by the word of His power..." (Hebrews 1:3)

Let me read that in the Moffatt translation: "He sustains the universe with the word of his power [He sustains, He upholds, He preserves, He operates and regulates the WHOLE universe by the word of his power. He is the Word of God, He speaks and it is done] ...he sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high" (Hebrews 1:3 Moffatt); where He is your High Priest.

Christ Our Great High Priest (PLAY FROM 24:43)

Now just in closing, why I've just gotten started. I want to go on and show you all through the rest of this chapter it shows you just how great Christ is. But here in the fourth chapter is something;

"Seeing then that we have such a GREAT high priest [the end of the fourth chapter], that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an High Priest [that] cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin [He lived in the human flesh, He knows what it is]. {2} "Therefore let us come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in [the] time of need." (Hebrews 1:14-16)

Go to that throne of grace in prayer. There's the Christ, mighty and powerful, yet He was here just like you, tempted like you, He can understand everything, your weaknesses and your needs. Go to Him in time of need in prayer. Listen my friends, if you were to attain to the glory that is your potential destiny, to really fulfill the tremendous purpose for which you were put here on this earth, you must not only surrender unconditionally to God in real repentance and receive Jesus Christ as personal Savior, you must be converted.

That is changed by continual overcoming and growing in grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. You must, as Jesus Christ said, actually live by every word of God. That is by every word of the Bible. You need to come to really understand the Bible, but you need help. At last you can enroll for the 'The Ambassador College Bible Correspondence Course,' by correspondence and study it in your own home.

If you want to really understand the Bible. If you are willing to set yourself to devote a half hour or more every day to the study of your Bible with this wonderful Bible Study Course, then we will start sending you the lessons by mail. We're not charging any tuition. We mail it to you without charge, trusting God by faith to supply the need. I'm quite sure that you have never seen a Bible Course that will even compare with the 'The Ambassador College Correspondence Course.'

First of all, it will take you through those vital prophecies revealing our tremendous world upheaval present, and what now lies on immediately ahead. It will make plain to you the purpose that God is working out here below. It will make clear such subjects as salvation, the original creation, all doctrinal questions. But the one text book remember, is your Bible and you'll have to be willing to devote sufficient time to really study it if you hope to comprehend and to clearly understand it. And it is non-denominational.

And so now this is Herbert W Armstrong saying, "Goodbye friends."


{1} Mr Armstrong seemed to make a slip of the tongue and said, stoned

{2} Mr Armstrong reversed the order of the words here. The original says, "Let us therefore..."