The World Tomorrow

Prophecy and Man’s Choice

by Herbert W Armstrong


Thank God there's good news coming, because the news today is not good. Well, what is going to happen? Back now to prophecy. What does your Bible prophecy say is going to happen in the future? Where are we now? Now we're skimming over a sort of a summary of the prophecies then we'll go into more detail in specific books one at a time.

False Teachers (PLAY FROM 00:46)

Well, we've seen that the very first thing that Jesus Christ foretold that would happen would be the false teachers preaching that Jesus is the Christ and yet deceiving the people by doing away with God's authority — hiding from the people the fact that God is Supreme Ruler. (Matthew 24:4,5) And the very fact, my friends, that God has ordained that we must choose, that He has made us free moral agents, and to carry out His very purpose it is necessary that we come to a knowledge of facts, that we make decisions and that we decide. So, God has set before us life on the one hand and death on the other. And the very fact that He says choose means that He has given us and opened to us the very possibility of choosing wrong, and of choosing death.

Now, the way that leads to life is the way of yielding to the laws of God, and the way of obedience to God. And my friends, the only reason we need a savior is because all have sinned and sin is the transgression of God's law, and we have disobeyed God. And you need a savior to have paid the penalty of that transgression in your stead. Otherwise, we would never need a savior. If all had kept God's Commandments, if all had sought only God, and had come to Him and kept His laws, and when there was a connection with God, had received God's Spirit, and then begotten to become born as a very child of God, there would never have needed to be a savior.

Jesus came and died for you, my friends, because you have transgressed the laws of God. That's why He died. And then to come out and turn grace into lasciviousness and to license, is to crucify Christ afresh, and is to say that Christ's death was nothing but a mockery and a sham. Christ didn't die to make you free to disobey God — to make you free to go the way that seemeth right unto a man, which the Bible says, is the way of death and going to end up in death. (Proverbs 16:25)) But rather, to make you free to come under the Government of God that it may go well with you. The way of peace, the way to happiness, the way to a full, abundant, useful life for all eternity — that is God's way. And the world has lost its way. The world has lost that way.

Now the first thing that Jesus said would happen, would be people just deceiving others, in that very way. He said that they would turn away from the truth and would be turned unto fables. And those that have the fables are the very first ones to turn on the ones that God will call and raise up to preach His truth, and to accuse them of the very things that they themselves are guilty of. Now, the next thing He said there would be, of course, wars, as they have been climaxing finally at this end time in: kingdom against kingdom, and nation against nation, and world war. We've already had two sessions of that. And the third one is coming up. (Matthew 24:6,7)

famine and disease (PLAY FROM 04:01)

Now along this time, and we are beginning to see by the way events themselves are taking place ... pestilence and famine, or famine and pestilence — the famine is first. And the disease epidemic is a natural result of the famine. And it's coming. Then is coming great tribulation. But just prior to these things, and in Luke's account (Luke 21) you'll see that before all these things that is mentioned, it says before all these things, certain things will happen. Now, one of the things to happen just prior to this, and just before the end of the age, this Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world for the witness unto all nations and then shall the end come. My friends that is what is taking place today. (Matthew 24:14)

What is prophesied for now? Prior to now was prophesied the false ministers, deceiving the people. How were they to deceive the people? Jesus came preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. My friends, they still preach about Christ. They still preach that the shed blood of Christ will save you from your sins. Only it will not completely save you, that is, in the sense of giving you immortal life. It will only wipe the slate clean up to the moment of your past transgressions, and it will justify you of your guilty past and reconcile you to God the Father. But now, we turn over here to second Thessalonians, the second chapter;

II Thessalonians 2:1 "We beseech you brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and by our gathering together unto Him, that you be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter, as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition."

Now, what is sin? Your Bible definition of sin, my friends, is that sin is the transgression of the law. Sin is lawlessness. God is the supreme ruler! God has set laws in motion, my friends, and God's laws are living things. If you break them, and you can, but if you break them, they're going to break you. Now, they're automatic. God's laws are in motion, and there are spiritual laws, as well as physical laws.

And I want to say something right here. I want to tell you where the greatest danger to you is — the greatest danger in this world. And I have seen it work on some people, and it's a horrible, terrifying thing. For instance, we're having a great deal of drug addiction now. That is one of the curses of this time. And here in Los Angeles, I know it's quite a question as it is in most large cities today. Now, there is a kind of poison, once it gets into the bloodstream, the first time you can avoid it. But it makes it a little easier to take it the next time, and a little bit harder to say no the next time. If you take it a second time, then it still is easier to take it a third time and still harder to say no. And if you keep on taking it —I don't know how many times, the authorities on that subject can tell you, perhaps it's six, eight or ten times, along in there — and then you are, as they say in the slang or the vernacular of that sort of thing, you're hooked! And once you're hooked, it's too late! Once you're hooked, it's too late.

resentment and bitterness (PLAY FROM 07:53)

Now, there is another kind of disease, my friends, that's even worse and it's just as fatal. But it's a spiritual thing. And that is, resentment and bitterness. And when you resent something that you think someone did to you, whether they're guilty of it or not — regardless — if the other person did something bad and you resent it, listen, that person is going to reap what he sowed. You don't have to worry about it. You don't have to get all disrankled in your mind and in an upheaval, an emotional upheaval, and start to fight that person, and get so mad and so angry and just harbor that bitterness until it shrivels up your soul. You know, if that other person is as wicked and as evil as you think, God is going to take care of him. There's a Judgment Day coming. And whatever he sows he is going to reap. And, listen, whatever you sow, you're going to reap. And so, if you let bitterness, malice, envy, jealousy, anger, well up in your soul, until it's bitterness, that is just like taking dope.

Now, I think that all of us have had a little anger and perhaps some resentment of something that has been very unjust and very wrong a few times in our lives. Most of us, however, get over it rather quickly. Yes, it's human and we're all human and there is something in human nature, especially if we've been really mistreated. If there's been a real injustice, sometimes we flare up for a moment. Now, if you flare up just like striking a match, poof, it flares up, but pretty soon it goes out, alright — I'll say this, if you don't control it, it's that much easier to flare up again next time — just like you take the first little shot, do they call it, they stick it in your arm with a needle, I guess, this heroin, and it's a little easier to lose your temper or to get really angry next time. However, if you conquer it the first time, then it's easier to conquer it the next. Then the next time you do it and pretty soon you begin to harbor it. You begin to retain it, and you don't get it out of you. Let me tell you something, you finally get hooked. And there is nothing that is as great an enemy to you, there is no danger that I believe is as great, and this is a spiritual drug addiction, and it's something that will destroy your soul. And when we see that kind of thing in action, and people getting fighting mad, perverting the truth, using it to persecute others, because they imagined that there was some kind of wrong... You know, if anyone has wronged you, God will take care of it. Or can't you trust God? Do you have faith in God? Can you believe that God will take care of it? You know, I know that God is going to take care of my enemies. And I know that God is going to bring swift retribution and ample punishment. I've seen it happen so much my friends that I shudder.

There have been enemies that have tried to destroy this work. Yes, they've been "soldiers of Christ" and they thought that meant they're to come out and to fight. And they've done everything they could. They became vicious. They tried to destroy the work. Vengeance is mine, saith THE ETERNAL! (Romans 12:19) And God protects His own. God fights my battles. I don't have to fight and I never do. I just don't have to fight. God takes care of my enemies. If I do wrong, I know that God is going to take care of that. Do you have that much faith?

a day of judgement (PLAY FROM 11:39)

Do you believe there's a Judgment Day coming? I'm going to be there. I know I'm going to face it. And another thing, let me tell you something, God looks on the heart, and people don't judge that way. And you, you get all bitter and swelled up and resentful against someone else. You're looking on the surface. You can't see that man's heart. You don't know what's in his heart. And perhaps you are letting yourself get all bitter and all resentful and all worked up emotionally over something that is a disease, that is a poison, and it's a spiritual dope. And it's going to get you hooked. And once you're hooked, it's too late. There's no cure. And I tell you, I've heard the authorities say more than once on radio or television, where we've had a few things of that sort here in the Los Angeles area, I know, because this thing of drug addiction. Drugs are being peddled to young people in high school and it's one of the very serious problems. And there's been some effort by authorities to acquaint the public with it and they seem to get young people in high school and junior high age. They start them out on marijuana cigarettes and then from that they go to this heroin. It's a very serious thing. But something that is more serious is a spiritual kind of addiction. Once you get caught, once you get hooked, there is no cure. And I've found that once anyone is in that bitter wrong spirit there's nothing we can do about it except to severe relationships. God says mark those that cause division among you and avoid them. (Romans 16:17) He says that when such people come don't even invite them into your home. Don't bid them Godspeed. And that's the only thing to do. Cut yourself off from them totally. Don't try to harm them. No, I don't try to harm my enemies. I'm not out viciously attacking them.

Now, why are men like that? It is men that try to turn the grace of God into lasciviousness; men that hate the government of God; men that are rebellious against their very Creator and their very God. They don't want to obey Him. They want to climb up some other way than the real way of grace. And grace is unmerited pardon from your transgressions of God's law.

My son Dick preached his first sermon when he was about four years old, I think, about four. I think I've mentioned this before but, a lot of you have never heard it. And my wife had written me about it. There was another little boy that was saying "gosh" and "darn" and "gee-whiz" and words like that. Well, my little son at that time I guess he thought that was bad profanity and anyway, finally he just couldn't take anymore of it. He picked up a couple of sticks and he.., one a little shorter than the other and he crossed it over the other and he said, "Look a'here Donald, do you know what that there is?" and, no, the other boy didn't know. He says, "That there's a cross." He said, "And they nailed Jesus Christ up to a cross and He went to that cross and let them nail Him up there and He bled until He died because you been saying 'gosh' and 'darn' and 'gee-whiz.' Don't you say that anymore!" Jesus Christ was nailed to the cross because you have been breaking God's laws and God's Commandments! Don't break them anymore.

repentance is the key (PLAY FROM 15:00)

And let me tell you something, my friends. The blood of Jesus Christ will never apply to you, and to your dirty sin-cursed life. And every one of us will have to look that in the face. That's true of every one of us, unless we've been forgiven. And it can never apply to you until you have repented of those transgressions, and until you are willing to obey God and to keep His Commandments! That is the truth of God Almighty! Yes, that man of sin be revealed. And I'll tell you of one of the greatest evidences of sin is someone that's all embittered. Nothing constructive. No love, just fighting. Well, I don't want to say anything like this except for the good it may do to many of you. I want something that will give you good. And I hope, my friends, this'll put you on your guard against bitterness. Read what you find in your Bible about it — there's a great deal. You can't remain a Christian and let bitterness come into your heart.

Of course, once anyone is, as I say, they're hooked with it, they're just spiritual dope fiends, and it's just got them hooked, that's all. I am not saying that in the sense of calling anybody names. I am just saying it to make plain what is the truth. God help us, and God save us from that sort of thing. Because you can come to the place where it's impossible to renew you to repentance. Those who have once known the truth of God, and tasted of its wonderful benefits, when they become perverted and soured and embittered, and they reject and they turn away, it's impossible to renew them again to repentance. They're GONE! And it's a pitiful thing to see that kind of thing happen, a very pitiful thing.

My friends, all who will live Godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. If this work were not maligned and misrepresented and lied about, and if people didn't try to twist facts and pervert it and everything of the sort, this would not be the work of God. And I could not be a servant of God nor even a child of God, if I were not being persecuted. But God save me from being a persecutor.

the gospel christ preached (PLAY FROM 17:14)

Who are the accusers of the brethren? Satan the Devil, and his servants. You can find the truth in your Bible, and I ask you to follow your Bible. (Revelation 12:10 ) Now this gospel that Jesus brought was the gospel of the government of God, the Kingdom of God, which is the government of God. And God's government is also a family. It is a governing family. And in that family, the Father is at the head, and He rules the family, and the family rules the world.

And God is the supreme ruler, but He has put man on the kind of test, which is necessary to work out God's purpose, where we are told we must choose. We must choose right or wrong. We choose eternal life as the gift of God, and it comes by grace. Listen, you can't earn it. Keeping God's commandments isn't the way into eternal life so far as earning it is concerned. It's the way in that God will not give it to you any other way. That's what you do, yes, but you don't give yourself eternal life.

And I have said and I have put emphasis, time after time after time, on the fact that all of the commandment keeping in the world does not of itself give you any salvation or eternal life. Neither can your faith save you. You're saved by faith, but not of yourselves. It is the gift of God, even that faith. You have to believe in Christ, however. You have to have that faith. And you have to have obedience. And yet you cannot fully obey God in your own power and strength, rather it is the love of God shed abroad in your heart by the Holy Spirit, which is the love that fulfills the divine spiritual law.

God's law is spiritual, so Paul said in the seventh chapter of Romans. And it takes a spiritual love to fulfill that spiritual law. And it's the love of God — love of God, not hatred and malice and envy and bitterness and all that sort of thing. God said, "If my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight." (John 18:36) But God isn't a fighter. You know, when some people would like to fight and think that's being Christian they'd better read the scriptures a little bit more. And, I think some of them need to repent, if they haven't gone too far, where it's now too late.

gospel of the kingdom (PLAY FROM 19:33)

Well, the gospel of the Kingdom, the gospel of the government of God, and the Kingdom of God and how we can be born into that kingdom. You know, most people today don't know what salvation is. They don't know where they're going, they don't know whether it is a geographical location of heaven or on the earth, or some other place, or perhaps hell or purgatory. They don't know whether it is a state or a condition. They don't really understand at all. But Jesus preached about it.

Now, how would they be turned, as they were, from the truth into fables? Here it is! There will come a "falling away." There hasn't been a falling away from preaching Christ. There hasn't been a falling away from preaching about His shed blood. There's been no falling away in that regard. That's still being preached all over the world and has been right down through time.

"Let no man deceive you by any means [II Thessalonians 2:3], for that day [the day of the coming of Christ and the Day of the Lord] shall not come, except there come a falling away first." What do people fall away from? The truth. What part of the truth? Not about the fact that Jesus is the Messiah. No, they haven't lost that. Not the fact that the blood of Christ will forgive your transgressions. No, that's still being preached. But what they have fallen away from is the knowledge that God is the supreme Ruler! And the law of God! The right way! And in the New Testament always Christianity was a way. This way and that way — it was spoken of as a way continually in your New Testament. Will you read your own Bible? It's there.

Now then, Jesus said, and all of the prophecies said, that there would be a turning away from the truth. There would be a turning away from the true gospel, and that they would come to have another gospel, as you read in II Corinthians the eleventh chapter, a different gospel. They would even preach a different Jesus, yes, like a smart aleck young man that came to do away with his Father's laws. Why Jesus said, "I've kept my Father's commandments."(John 15:10) He said He set us an example that we should do as He had done. That's what He said. That was His teaching.

Now, the gospel of the Kingdom is the gospel Jesus preached. It has not been preached to this world in 19 centuries, and that is a fact that cannot be disputed. I tell you my friends, it's about time we get our eyes opened. And it's to be preached now only as a witness. And there are going to be plenty of scoffers. And one who will dare to come out and preach it. Do you think anyone would preach that to run a racket or to make money? Do you think, my friends, that anyone would come out and preach the things that are so unpopular, that go against the grain of a lot more than 99 and one-half percent of the people — just to be popular? Or just to make money? That just wouldn't make sense, would it? It doesn't add up. Well, I don't think people are so devoid of common sense and reasoning.

Now then, this gospel of the Kingdom is to be preached to all the world, and it is now, just before the end, and we're mighty close to the end, and the fact, my friends, that your ears are hearing the same gospel that Jesus preached. And all we do is go right back in the Bible and see what He preached. And instead of just telling you about Him, that's fine, I don't say anything against it, I say it too. How wonderful, how great was our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. That's being stressed, however, by the many. A great many are telling you all about it, and about what He went through, for us. And that should be preached. But the thing that they have deceived the people with is His gospel, His message about the government of God, about the Kingdom of God.

My friends, you cannot be saved ever just going your own way! You can only be saved if you're willing to surrender to the way of God! You can't ever have any salvation any other way. So, that's what is going on now. Now, you find Jesus prophesied the false prophets here, II Corinthians 11, verse four, and verse 13 and 14. You find there that that the Devil would have his ministers coming in the name of Christ, they'd preach about Christ, they'd preach that He is the Messiah, that Jesus was the true Christ, yes, but yet deceiving the many. II Thessalonians, I just read it to you there in the second chapter; II Timothy 4, again you read how they would be turned to fables; II Timothy 3; go back to Jeremiah 23; go back to Ezekiel 34; go back to Isaiah 30, verses 8 & 11, a prophecy for our time, and there again, here is a people that will not hear the law of THE ETERNAL, that say to their preachers, "Don't preach us right things but preach soft and smooth things, easy things." Oh, that day has arrived. That day is here, my friends.

preached as a witness (PLAY FROM 24:39)

Now, we're right in world wars, between World War II and World War III. And now is the time that gospel is going out, this gospel to the world and as a witness only. And Matthew 24:14 says that it will be preached in all the world and Mark 13:10, Mark's version of the same identical speech by Jesus, says it is to be published in all the world as a witness unto all nations. And, my friends, I tell you it's going now around the world into all nations. I want to tell you that the power of God is back of it and nothing can stop it. Our faith is very sorely tried sometimes. God allows that. But God always sees that every apparent setback and every discouraging moment is like the cocking of the trigger of a gun, and it shoots the work of God forward faster than ever before. It's been going on that way from the beginning.

Now the very next thing to come then is The Great Tribulation, and here you find it, Matthew 24, verse 21, "then shall be great tribulation." But just before that another thing is to happen. There is to be a flight of those who really believe in God and really trust Him and obey Him. Now, you find it right here in Matthew 24;

"When therefore, [this is speaking specifically of those that will be in Jerusalem, but in a duel sense it refers to God's people anywhere] when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, whoso readeth, let him understand, then let him which be in Judea flee into the mountains. Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take anything out of his house, neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes and woe to them that are with child and them that give suck in those days. But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day. For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not from the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved [alive]." But for the elect's sake, God will shorten those days. (verses 15-22)

Now, in the twelfth chapter of Revelation, we find that at the time of this Great Tribulation that is coming that to the Church — The True Church, of Jesus Christ, the very Church that He founded, those that in the last verse says that keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ — to them will be given the two wings of the great eagle that she may fly, to her place that is prepared where she'll be protected from all this great tribulation that is coming and the terrible plagues that God will send of The Day of the Lord to follow that. You find it in Luke 21:36, that if we are watching and praying without ceasing, we shall be accounted worthy to escape all of these things that are coming to pass. And, as I said, then, my friends, if this nation will wake up it won't come on us. And if we don't wake up, it'll come on the nation. But, if you as an individual, will cry out to God, if you will repent, if you'll put your life in His hands, to live His way, to live by every word of God, trusting in Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, in real living faith, then, my friends, you'll be accounted worthy to escape all of these things that shall come to pass and to stand before Christ at His second coming.