The World Tomorrow

Hebrews 13

by Herbert W Armstrong


Now, we're coming to the concluding chapter of this book that is showing us what Jesus Christ has been doing these last 1900 years. What He's doing today, where did He go? Has He had anything to do or has He just gone way off and forgotten all about this world? Did Jesus Christ at the time He left say to the apostle Peter, "Now look Peter, I've got to go away, I can't be around here and I built my church - I've established my church but I can't be here to be the head of it, I can't run it any longer so I'm going to make you the head of it and I won't be the head any longer. I can't have anything whatsoever to do with it now. I'm going to..." well, perhaps be busy elsewhere way off with something else or perhaps He didn't have anything to do. What was the story about it? Now, is that what happened, my friends? A lot of people believe it.

Now, there's only one way that we can know what did happen. I don't think that I could believe just the tradition of men. In the first place, I played a whispering game when I was young. I've mentioned that some before on this program and that's a good illustration of tradition - just handing things down by word of mouth from one generation to another. And, incidentally your Bible tells you not to believe tradition and Jesus Christ said so. He said that by following the traditions of men, we make the law of God of no effect (Matthew 15:6) and we worship Christ in vain (Mark 7:7). He said that. So, that's what He said about tradition; you can make your worship of Christ absolutely in vain. It isn't going to get you anywhere. It's in vain, it means nothing.

But in this whispering game, there might have been we'll say, oh, from fifteen to thirty people, young people around at a party. They would sit around all the room, one next to another, sort of a circle around the room or a horseshoe curve or something of the sort. Now, at one end, one person would write down a sentence. Just a short sentence, but a sentence of perhaps a ten or twelve words, something that you could easily hear and memorize and pass on. Perhaps six or eight words. Then, that person who had written down that sentence would whisper it to the one next to him. And, that person then in turn would whisper what he heard, or thought he'd heard to the one next to him or to her, and so it would go each one whispering what he had heard to the one next until it went clear around to the end of the line. And the last one at the end of the line, maybe the thirtieth person, would then write down the sentence that he heard or thought he heard from the one just before. Now that's carrying it down like thirty generation of traditions. And then they would read it and it wouldn't ever make sense and they would compare it with the original writing as it had started out and it would be quite different.

Resurrection Not On Sunday (Play from 03:45)

And you know, my friends, when we rely on tradition for things like this - that's precisely what happens. Let me just give you an example or two. You have always heard according to tradition, that Jesus Christ rose from the dead on Sunday morning, haven't you? You have heard, according to tradition, that He was crucified on Friday which they call Good Friday. And according to all of the accounts in the Bible, Matthew and Mark and Luke and John, He was buried just before sundown, because one day ended at sundown and another began at that time until several hundred years after the Bible was written. And it's a Roman thing that's set up by the Roman Empire that began days in the middle of the dead night, a dark night, usually dark anyway. So, you have heard by tradition, that Jesus Christ was buried just before sundown; just before the dark period or just about the time that the dark period of one day began, and that He rose while it was yet dark, at the rising of the sun, at dawn on Sunday morning.

Now that's what you always heard; that what tradition tells you. Well, now figure that! That would be all of Friday night, that's one night, and all day on Saturday, that's one day and all Saturday night, that's two nights, and then He rises from the dead. Now, that's one day and two nights in the grave. But Jesus Christ Himself said that the only divine supernatural, miraculous proof of His identity, the only sign which is a supernatural miracle proving identity that He would give, that He was the true Messiah that was to come was that He would be three days and three nights in the grave. You'll find that in Matthew, the twelfth chapter and the fortieth verse; the thirty-eight to the fortieth verses you should read.

Now, that shows you right there about tradition. You know one man I remember back here fifty years ago. This man was not yet at that time converted either but he had heard me preach this. It's like a problem in about second grade arithmetic, you know, it's just that simple and he'd come to believe it. And a brother of his, that was a prominent church member and had been in church all of his life, had taken all of these so-called traditions that come down from Christianity and it is tradition.

You know that most of what we believe and what we think we have had, that we believe is Christianity, my friends, is not Christianity, it is human tradition and we don't know where it came from. It came from the heathens. It came from pagan superstitions. It came from pagan doctrines and we have swallowed it hook, line and sinker because we're at the end and perhaps about this so-called thirtieth generation. And we believe what been whispered in our ears and we haven't looked at the original writing which is the Bible. And when you compare what you have got, if you write it down, with what was written originally before this little whispering game that tradition started out, you find it's ridiculous. It doesn't make sense. And it isn't the same thing at all.

Back to the faith once delivered unto the saints in your Bible and you find that Jesus was three days and three nights in the heart of the earth because angels testified that He rose as He said. And He said He would be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth or in the grave.

Now of course, one man said "I don't think the heart of the earth means the grave, it means in the hands of Roman citizens." Is that so? As Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale's belly or in the great fish's belly (Matthew 12:40). And you turn back there and he was actually three literal days and three literal nights. Another man says, "Well you know, I think that in the Greek language is an idiomatic expression of three days and three nights doesn't mean that!" In fact some theologians with doctor's degrees after their names will say this. And some of the higher critics, that it's an idiom - which it isn't - that meant three parts of nights or days. No matter which, so you see, you have the three parts, two nights and one day, and that's three parts of days.

That isn't what it means at all. Now, one man came to me, he was a minister, and he had studied at college in a Bible college and he'd gotten all of this information. He came to me and he said that's what it was and in fact, he didn't come to me privately either, he came to me in an evangelistic service that I was holding with an audience there. And, he said this to the whole audience. "Well", I said, "What about the Hebrew language? In the Hebrew they don't have a similar idiom, now do they, that would just mean that? An idiom is peculiar to one language." "Yes", he said, "That's true." "Well", I said, "If you could find a statement three days and three nights in the Hebrew that would mean literal days and literal nights, would it not?" "Yes", he said, "In the Hebrew, but then this written in the Greek language and in the New Testament."

Well, now Christ said, "as Jonah was three days and three nights, so, in the same manner, the same duration of time shall Christ be in His grave" (Matthew 12:40 paraphrased). So we turn back there in Jonah, and there you find it in the book of Jonah, the last two or three verses of the first chapter and the first two or three verse of the second chapter you get the whole story, and Jonah was three literal day periods that we call light.

What Does The Bible Say (Play from 09:13)

Now in the Old Testament, if you want to know how much is a day and how much is a night you get that defined if you want to let the Bible interpret the Bible instead of trying to put your interpretation on it and read your meaning into it. You turn back here in the very first chapter of Genesis and it says here that God saw the light, that it was good, God divided the light from the darkness. Now we know what light is and what darkness is. Light is something today we call it day and darkness we call night.

Now, how about it in the Bible? Well, God called the light Day. That's what God called it and that's what we call it today. That's one thing. It's a wonder man hasn't changed it. He tries to change everything God ever gave him. And since God calls the light Day, man ought to call it something else. Well, I think they are trying to in this particular case. And the darkness God called Night. And the evening, meaning the dark period in the morning of the beginning of the light period were the first day. And here, now, that's one light period that we call day and one dark period we call night and that was the first day. Now, here, the next night period called evening and the day period called day or morning is the second day. And the third night period of approximately twelve hours in a day period of approximately twelve hours - as it is especially at the spring time of the year when Jesus was crucified right near the spring equinox. That constituted the third day and there's the Bible definition of the third day and it means three days and three nights.

Now, the Bible interprets the Bible. It just interprets it itself. Where was it, I was hearing it on radio or television here something about men interpreting something. It wasn't the Bible, but it was something that men put their interpretation on something, and someone was very angry about it. About how men put their interpretation, in other words, meaning that they changed the meaning to suit themselves and that's what people have been doing about the Bible. You know, you should never interpret the Bible. It interprets itself. Let the Bible do its own interpreting. And so, there you have night and day and three days and three nights in the Hebrew language is just three light periods that we call day and three dark periods we call night and that's what it is in Matthew 12:40.

Well, you see how that knocks tradition in the head? When you check up at the end of the line on this little whispering game of tradition, it doesn't jibe with the way it started out. Now if you want the truth, if you'd like to go further on that, because I'm going to leave that part of the subject right here and now. if you want the truth about that let me just announce once again as I have many times in the past that I have for you a very special booklet about the resurrection and that will show you how Jesus was three days and three nights in His grave and He did not rise from the dead on Easter Sunday morning and Easter does not celebrate the resurrection of Christ, believe it or not. Now, I don't think I could make much more of a staggering, astonishing statement for you.

Check Things For Yourself (Play from 12:20)

Alright, I challenge you to check this in your own Bible. Write in for our booklet on the 'Resurrection' and check it in your Bible and you see whether you have been believing a erroneous tradition or whether I am preaching something I don't know what I am talking about. You believe your Bible and don't believe the preacher. Don't believe me. If I want you to believe me then I have got to tell you to believe all the other fellows too. And most men on the earth today that profess any Christianity have accepted and swallowed whole this tradition. You know, how does a minister get to be a minister in usual circumstances, in most cases? Well, just like a doctor, lawyer, dentist, anything else, he thinks I'd like to be a preacher when I grow up. Now, that isnt the way Christ's ministry is formed. Christ calls His ministers. And I want to get back to that, about who is the head of the church too in just a minute.

But, nevertheless, today we have a lot that Christ has never called. They say, well I'd like to be a preacher. Another man says I want to be a dentist so he goes to a college of dentistry. Another, I want to be a physician. So, he takes premed and then he goes to medical school in some big university and so on. Then he becomes an intern and finally get a license and he hangs out his shingle and began to practice. And another man goes to Law school to become a lawyer. And so, some of them go to a theological seminary; they graduate from college and then they go to theological seminary and so they become ministers.

Now, how are we taught? How's a doctor taught? How's a lawyer taught? The same way that our system of education teaches everyone in the United States and the system is this. You start in on the first grade and you're taught and you just swallow what you're taught. The teacher says so and so. The book says so and so and it's just like that funny phonograph record, "It's in the book you, know." Of course, some of the things that the book says are ridiculous sometimes and I'm not talking about the book; the Bible. Some people may have taken that to be an off shoot of the Bible, but actually he didn't take the Bible, he took this one about little Bo Peep. Well, "it's in the book. The book must know." Well, anyway, whatever's in the book we swallow it. And, our system of education is merely a system of memory training. You are expected to memorize and to believe what the book says and when final exams comes along, you're graded on whether you write down what the book said, whether you memorized it. Now, the book might be wrong.

Well, I was an advertising man for twenty years before I became a minister back in my earlier years, and I learned this: It's a psychological fact that every advertising man knows, advertising is turning the wheels of industry in these United States. Why I developed businesses, I was able to double and treble the volume of business of many of my clients just by writing what I thought, at least, was clever advertising. Well, the proof of the pudding, they said, was in the eating and another old expression - that brought home the bacon - as we used to say, and my advertising did get results and consequently we thought it was good. But, I know now I couldn't use a lot of the methods I used then.

But here's one principle, that I always knew; that every advertising man knows; "You tell the people a thing long enough and often enough and continuously enough and they believe it." Why do people believe what they do? It's because it's what they've always heard. It's because it's what they've read. It's because they have just assumed and taken for granted without thinking and without questioning and without proof, without investigation. Now, my Bible, which comes from God Almighty, says "Prove all things" ( I Thessalonians 5:21). and I've proved whether or not God wrote the Bible. Whether it's inspired, and I can prove it is inspired. I have proved it over the air. And I can prove it to anybody who has an open mind and who isn't going to reject truth just because of his reluctance to accept it. It can be absolutely proved that what the Bible says is true. Well, there you are,

Now, alright let's get back some of these loose ends. Now then, if you want the proof about and the actual proof about whether Jesus was crucified on Good Friday, which He was not, and if you're not afraid of accepting truth and finding that Good Friday is an absolute pagan tradition, and Easter Sunday the same way, because the resurrection was not on Sunday morning, - that pretty astonishing isn't it? Alright, I just challenge you to get that booklet on the 'Resurrection' and to check your Bible. And, just don't be offended about it. It's a little upsetting, it was to me, when I learned this, it was a little upsetting. But sometimes it's good to be upset because we're not getting turned upside down, we're getting turned right side up and a lot of us have been going around upside down a long time and we didn't know it. And it's about time we get straightened out.

Christ Is The Head Of The Church (Play from 17:28)

Now, listen, did Jesus Christ just turn the Church over to one of the apostles? Did He bow out and say I can't run it any longer? My friends, Jesus Christ went to heaven to the headquarters of the whole universe to run His church from headquarters. Headquarters is the throne of God. That's headquarters of the entire universe. And Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church. Your Bible says so. No man is the head of the Church! Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church. He calls men and makes them His instruments. But He never appointed any man the head of any church, of His Church that is. I don't think He did of any Church because the other churches He doesn't have very much to do with in that sense. Now, Christ is the Head of the Church. He's been in heaven running the Church; His Church. But what is His Church? A lot of people don't know what to look for. A lot of people think His church would be a great big politically organized body, respected and powerful in the world, and that the object and function of Christ's Church was to save the world and to reform the world and make the devil's world a better world. To reform Satan in other words. Your Bible teaches that this world belongs to Satan, that he's the God of this world; he's the God this world worships. This world has its religion. This world, and one of its religions or another, worships its god. And the god this world worships according to your Bible if you blow the dust off of it, is Satan the devil.

You know, you hear a lot of things that are rather astonishing if you listen very much to this program. Because you get the plain truth. And you haven't been getting it. You've been swallowing and you've been assuming whatever you have read, whatever was in some book written by man, whatever has been taught by men, whatever has come down by tradition. And it's rather ridiculous sometimes and it's about time that we wake up.

Now here, we find, what Christ has been doing and we've been going through it in the book of Hebrews, and we come to the very last chapter. Now, let's go through this last chapter. "Let brotherly love continue" (Hebrews 13:1). Thirteenth chapter, and it isn't unlucky either. Men wrote these chapters numbers in here, incidentally, they weren't inspired. It isn't lucky or unlucky but it's mighty good for you if you get the truth. Now, this comes to the conclusion of this letter about Christ and what He has been doing for 1900 years, what He's doing now, the living resurrected Christ, the head of the Church. Your High Priest and mine who is there to help us when we need help, to give us wisdom, to give us guidance, to pull you out of every kind of trouble, to relieve you of fears and worries, to see that it's possible for you to make ends meet. Now, you'll have to have patience sometimes. God doesn't answer your prayers immediately.

Perhaps you're having a lot of financial troubles. Well, that doesn't mean that God's going to pull you out of it immediately but He promises to supply every need. Your needs are not always your wants, it isn't everything you think you want. You may misjudge what your needs are. But if you'll trust God and you'll begin to live His way, if you will repent and turn to Him, if you'll let Him conquer you, He'll pull you out of all your financial troubles. Now, He doesn't do that immediately, sometimes He tries your patience; to develop patience in you. Tries your faith, I should say, to develop patience. But He will do it. Perhaps you have a lot of sickness in your home. You know, when I say sickness in the home, and financial troubles in the home, I'm speaking to nearly everybody. How many of you have neither any sickness, nor any financial troubles? Not very many. Well, I tell you, we've had plenty of both in our home but God has ridded us of both of them. Oh, we have some financial concerns in conducting God's work - don't think we don't, we do. But that's only a concern and I cast that over onto Christ and trust Him. And He always takes care of it. And this work keeps growing bigger and bigger every year, because we trust Him. We trust the living Christ, not some man at the head of the church but Jesus Christ, the Divine Head of the Church.

Brotherly Love (Play from 21:53)

Now, here he concludes this wonderful book or a letter to the Hebrews. "Let brotherly love continue." (Hebrews 13:1) Now in the Moffatt translation that's "Let your brotherly love continue" because if you're in the Church, you have it. You already have brotherly love, "Let your brotherly love continue [don't stop it], Never forget to be hospitable, for by hospitality some have entertained angels unawares." (Hebrews 13:1-2 Moffatt) That's in the Moffat translation and in the Authorized, "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers [it says], for thereby some have entertained angels unawares." (Hebrews 13:1-2 Authorized)

Now we've seen a lot about angels, and angels are put here to help you and me. There are invisible messengers; agents of God. They are a part of the government of God from which He governs the world. And He puts them around Christians, real begotten children of God to help them; to protect them physically. You don't see them, you don't hear them. You don't feel them. You probably don't even know they're there and yet God has angels there to help you. I want to tell you, my friends, you haven't the slightest, infinitesimal percentage of an idea of how much you have to thank God for. You don't realize how much God is doing for you. If you're a real Christian, He keeps.. and if you're not one there's an angel just waiting to come and take up his station to help you and to safeguard you as a bodyguard and a help in everyway the minute you surrender completely to God and come to Him through Jesus Christ as your personal savior. That's just one of many things of the blessings and benefits that God pours out on Christians.

So, "Let brotherly love continue, be not forgetful to entertain strangers." (Hebrews 13:1-2)

Now I've shown you angels sometimes appear; they manifest themselves, the process isn't explained in the Bible, I don't know how it is. But, they have appeared, as you read in the Bible, and they appear like men, and you might think that it is a man when actually it might be an angel. You know, I remember a man that came to our home one time and he seemed like the most perfect human being I had ever known. And, he was doing some preaching, and he preached before a lot of us and, well, he certainly knew how to put his best foot forward but we didn't realize that at the time, and we thought here was a man who were too perfect to be human. This was the most saintly, the most wonderful man; why he had spiritual phraseology, the way that he talked, Oh, he seemed so good. And actually, my wife and I wondered if we were entertaining an angel unawares; this man seemed so perfect. Well, actually he turned out to be a long, long way from an angel. We found a lot of things wrong with him, a lot of deceit and he was living in an adulterous condition and well, for one thing, he tried his best to break up this ministry. And he wanted to replace me. But of course, God didn't let him do that. And there was some schemes and one thing and another that were very deceitful but God seemed to always show us and we knew more than he thought we knew about it and it's pitiful the end he finally came to. And, well God takes care of those things but you might be entertaining an angel unawares. So, nevertheless, you'd better be careful.

Now, another thing, one of the qualifications for a minister is that he must be hospitable; given to hospitality. And God will not call one that isn't. And a minister is to set an example as you're going to find a little later in this chapter and you should copy the minister if he is the right kind and he should be the kind that you can copy. A minister should practice what he preaches and he should perhaps preach only what he practices so that he can set you an example. And he should say like the apostle Paul, "Be ye followers of me [or copy me], as I am a follower of Christ [or as I copy Christ]." (I Corinthians 11:1)

However, don't follow a minister any further than that. And I say listen to your minister, listen to me, just weigh carefully what he says and check it with your Bible and believe the word of God. Believe what you find in your Bible. On these things I've told you, don't just judge that I don't know what I'm talking about. You get that booklet on the resurrection. And you believe what you find in your Bible - thats the place where you can really believe.

Now, "Remember them that are in bonds [or let's get that, now remember, prisoners, as if you were in prison yourselves, is a better translation in the Moffatt rendering], and them which suffer adversity, as being yourself also in the body" (Hebrews 13:3 - KJV). And that King James translation isn't always very clear.

Let's read that in the Moffatt translation, "...remember those who are being ill treated [suffering adversity, or it might mean having financial adversity or something or being ill treated], since you too are in the body." (Hebrews 13:3 - Moffatt)

In other words, my friends, God says that the body of Christ, the Church is the body of Christ and it's like the human body and it is compared to it and if one member suffers, they all suffer; if you're in the true body. You're not really in if you're not experiencing that. If one member, maybe it's a finger, in your body has been cut or bruised and it's very painful, you know, you suffer it in your mind and you seem to suffer it in your feet and every part of your body. The other members of the body seem to suffer right along with it.

Now, here comes something next, "Marriage is honorable in all and the bed undefiled" (Hebrews 13:4) and that is not the correct translation. And I remember that some people bring that up that believe that God made a great mistake when He created sex and made us male and female and said that a man shall leave father and mother and cleave to his wife and it's true that the correct translation is "Let marriage be held in honor by all and keep the marriage bed unstained." (Hebrews 13:4 Moffatt) Now, their idea of keeping the marriage bed unstained was that you stain it if you follow God's command when He said be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth. In other words, that married people ought to live a continent life and that sex is a very - well a very impure thing and that God made a great mistake when He created sex. My friends, God didn't make any mistake but a lot of human beings are making a big mistake. The way you defile a marriage bed is by adultery, my friends, not in marriage.