The World Tomorrow

Prophecy And The Church

by Herbert W Armstrong


And now, my friends, let's get prophecy straightened out. What is going to happen next? Where are we now in the fulfillment of biblical prophecy? What is going to lead down to the World Tomorrow, the second coming of Christ? What about Armageddon? When does that come? Is Russia going to attack? Is Russia going to plunge us into World War III? And if so, when and where will she attack? It's all in the Bible. The war that Russia is going to plunge the world into is prophesied. But where will she strike? When is it going to happen? What will happen first? What about this rapture theory? What about the second coming of Christ? What about the Great Tribulation? What happens just before and what happens just after?

Now, we've been dwelling on this for the last several broadcasts, and we have have been covering in the twenty fourth chapter of Matthew, in that Olivet prophecy of Jesus Christ, the fact that He said, that of course from His time on, there would be many false ministers coming in His name, professing to be the ministers of Jesus Christ. Of course if they come in His name they would profess to be His ministers. They would proclaim that He was the Christ and yet would deceive the world. My friends, that's happened. It's been going on for nineteen centuries. And then He said, that finally, at this time of the end, just before the end of the world and the sign of His coming;

"...this gospel of the kingdom [which is the very gospel that Jesus Himself proclaimed, the gospel that God sent by Him as a messenger] would be proclaimed in to all the world as a witness unto all nations; and then [He said, would] the end come." (Matthew 24:14)

That's where we are now. That gospel is now for the first time in nineteen centuries going out around the world. Your ears are hearing it this moment. This is a fulfillment of prophecy. But He also said, that coming down to the time of the end, after there had been wars and rumors of wars, He said that wasn't the end but finally at the end time, there would be world war, nation against nation and kingdom against kingdom. We're already into that, my friends, we're in the intermission or the recess between World War II and World War III. Now, next He said that there would be famines and terrible pestilences or epidemics of disease that the medical authorities would not be able to cope with at all.

The Great Tribulation (Play from 3:00)

And then, was to come, The Great Tribulation. Now all of these things, the world war - at least the early stages of it - and the famine and the pestilence He said was only the beginning of a time of travail or Great Tribulation. And that's where we are, the main Great Tribulation has not even struck as yet. It is coming next. Now, here's the order. At the present time the Gospel, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, not a gospel of men about the person of Christ, but the Gospel of Christ, the very Gospel that He proclaimed and taught going to the world. Next, is to come the real famine and the pestilence which will be so much greater than anything that has ever struck this world that it will simply astound and dumbfound this world. We've had foretastes of it. As I've mentioned, we're getting some foretaste of it now in the United States. We've been having very topsy-turvy weather as you all know. And, we have had disease epidemics. Those, my friends, are all merely little drops of rain before the great storm, that's all. They're merely sort of forerunners.

But there's going to come the famine and the pestilence as I read to you just the other day from Ezekiel's prophecy of exactly how great it's going to be. What's going to happen, speaking of our people and our land, in the fifth chapter of Ezekiel. And Ezekiel was a prophet to the house of Israel, not to the Jewish people of Judah. He said here;

"A third part of thee [speaking of us] shall die with the pestilence, and with famine shall they be consumed in the midst of thee [it is going to take one-third of our people. These are horrifying things that are coming and then]; ...a third part shall fall by the sword..." (Ezekiel 5:12 paraphrased)

That is when the Great Tribulation strikes. And as I mentioned I think in the preceding program, there are two phases, a dual phase to the Tribulation. One is individual on Christians, and the other is national on our peoples, the peoples of Britain, and America, and of the democracies of Northwestern Europe. We are to fall by the edge of the sword as Ezekiel mentions it here;

"...a third part [of thee] shall fall by the sword round about thee; and I will scatter the third part [that remains] into all the winds and I will draw out a sword after them." (Ezekiel 5:12)

Now, it is mentioned in a number of other prophecies that our cities shall be destroyed. You know, my friends, we don't take this seriously, we think, 'Oh, that isn't going to happen here.' I know what most of you people think, you don't take this seriously at all but it is going to strike and where are you going to be, my friends, when it does? You have heard the warning, and if you don't take warning, your blood is on your own hands, it isn't on mine. God has set me as a watchman to declare this thing and to warn you and He has told me He will require your blood at my hand if I don't warn you. I'm giving you the warning. And I know very well that most of you won't heed, because our people have never heeded a warning.

We find that the Gentile people of Nineveh did heed a warning when God sent Jonah to them but you can't find another place that I remember of. I'd be very happy if you could show me another place in all of your Bible where the people of Israel, or the people of our forefathers ever would listen to a warning from one of God's prophets and repent and turn to God, and where the threatened destruction did not come. There have been cases, of course, where individual kings of ancient Judah did repent and turn to God and some little thing of that sort and where ancient Israel back in the days of the Judges when they were taken captive and invaded and controlled by another nation where they finally would cry out to God for deliverance, they never really repented. And God would deliver them, and soon as they were safe and free, they thought they didn't need God anymore. Just as most people are today, human nature has not changed. And then they began to turn to their own devices, their own ways and the ways of the pagans around them. And then again, a little later they were invaded and put under the rule of some foreign potentate again until God raised up another hero or a judge to deliver them. Again, when they cried out to Him and made a profession of repentance at least.

Order of Things to Come (Play from 7:36)

Well now, here we have the order, the Gospel is now going to the world, the famine and the pestilence is to come next, and the flight of those that are accounted worthy to escape. We find a number of places where many are to be accounted worthy to escape all of these things, that shall come to pass, and to stand before Christ at His second coming. You find it, for instance, over here in the twelfth chapter of Revelation where the True Church of God is pictured. And it pictures them here, some of them as being killed in the trouble to come, it says; "...they loved not their lives unto death." (Revelation 12:11) in verse 11 of the twelth chapter of Revelation.

And then again, "...there was war in heaven [we've gone into that in the past few broadcasts]: Michael stood up, the great archangel of our people and our nations, and we find here in verse seven, of the twelfth chapter of Revelation that he stood up] against the dragon..." Who is defined or interpreted in verse nine as being Satan the devil. And, Satan loses out in that battle and is to be cast back down to the earth. (Revelation 12:7-9 paraphrased)

And, in verse thirteen; "...when the dragon [who was the devil] saw that he was cast [in]to the earth, he persecuted the woman which [had] brought forth the man child." (Revelation 12:13)

That's the Church. Now, he persecutes the Church. Part of the Church, however, is to be taken to a place of safety, but not all of it, if you put all of the scriptures together. You read just one passage you might think that by reading this alone, that the entire Church is to be taken to a place of safety, but when you read other passages of scripture you see that there are saints that are really believers in the word of God and in the testimony of Jesus who are to be persecuted and many to be martyred.

Now, here it says; " the woman were given the two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly [she is to take a flight I want you to notice, that she might fly] into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent." (Revelation 12:14)

Now, how is this Church defined? How is this Church described that the devil is so angry with and why is he angry? The very last verse of this chapter describes it. The dragon, or the devil, was wroth with the woman. And woman here is of course a symbol of the church. You'll find that in Ephesians, the fifth chapter and you'll find it in II Corinthians eleven, and other places in scripture. Where scripture itself interprets the symbol of woman where it is used symbolically, as it is in Revelation, to mean or to represent the Church;

"And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed [the remnant is the last generation before the end of this world, in other words the Church at this present time, in the twentieth century]. ...and went to make war with the remnant of her seed which [notice, which Church the devil is angry with, he's making war against], which keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ." (Revelation 12:17)

That's the word of God, the Bible, because Jesus is the Word and the Bible is the written Word, and Jesus was the Word in living human flesh when He was here on this earth, nineteen hundred years ago. And so, here we have the Church that the devil is angry with, have the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.

False Church (Play from 11:05)

Now, you turn over a little further in your Bible in the book of Revelation, in the seventeenth chapter, you find another woman pictured. Here is a church too, but this is not the same church. Here, one of the seven angels that had the seven vials, of the seven last plagues, came and talked with John, who sees these things in vision and records what he sees, he sees the events to come on the earth, the prophesied events in vision. And this angel of the seven last plagues said to John, in this vision;

"...Come hither; I will show thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters:" (Revelation 17:1)

Now that's not a pure church, that's not the Church of God. There is the tool of the Devil, that is the church that Satan can use.

"With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication..." (Revelation 17:2)

What made her a great whore? It's a spiritual matter. A church is regarded as a spiritual instrumentality, a spiritual collective body of people, and this is spiritually speaking. Her fornication here, has been of a spiritual nature. Now, the Church is - at least professes to be, and it's supposed to be, in God purpose and plan - the affianced bride of Jesus Christ. There is to be a wedding, a marriage at the second coming of Christ and He is to marry the Church. Now, He is the head of the Church. It doesn't mean that He's the head and the Church is the rest of the body either, but He is the head the same way that a husband is the head of a wife. And so, here we find that the thing that made her a fallen woman, was having this fornicating relationship with the kings of this earth.

When Christ comes again, He's coming as the King of kings and the Lord of lords. And the Church is to be married to Him and He will be her husband. And her husband will rule her. You know, that's rather old fashion today, isn't it? Well, it's going to get very new fashioned again at the time of the second coming of Christ. Because the Church and the whole Kingdom of God, and the Church will be changed into immortality at the time of the marriage. How would Christ who is divine being who is God, and very God Himself, how could He marry something that is not divine? How can a human marry some lower animal or some group, is that possible? I never heard of it. And how would Christ, do you think that Christ would marry something that is on a much lower plane when He's up on the divine plane, very God? Is He going to marry mortal animal beings? Because we're in the animal kingdom now. No, we will be changed, from human to divine, from mortal to immortal. And there will be a marriage, and He is coming to rule the world.

But here's a church that didn't wait for Him. That had a relationship with another lover. And instead of letting the lover that she had - this fornicating relationship with, the kings of this earth,- rule her, she ruled those kings. And the wife ruled the roost. And that my friends, is the very thing that has been taught in today's society. That is the thing that is taking place in so many homes today. Women want to be independent of their husbands. They want to earn their own living. They want the husbands to do their share of the housework today. The woman doesn't want to do the housework, she doesn't want to be the mother and the wife. No, she wants to be independent of her husband so that any time she gets tired of him and he doesn't jump around at the crack of her whip, and do exactly as she wants, that she can get rid of him. And she's self-supporting anyway and she not dependant on him any longer.

You know, young men and women today, in considering marriage, I wonder if you have noticed it? I know that, you go back about sixty some years ago, when I was considering marriage, and I know I would never thought of ever considering marriage with any girl that I was going to, until I was on my own feet financially and able to support a wife. I would never have dreamed of such a thing. Neither would any of the other fellows that I went with in my day. And today, young fellows never give a thought as to whether they can support a wife or not. If they think they have this flush of love, and it sort of a mushy something, they just like the feeling, and the exhilaration of it, and they want to get married right away. It never would occur to their minds as to whether they can support her. Let her support herself. All the girls and the women are working today anyway.

What kind of a world are we getting into, my friends, why don't we wake up? You know, today, we don't consider what God said. We just consider whatever is late, that is the latest style, the latest fad and whatever is new, we assume is better. Just so it's different from what we had before. You get a new model automobile, all about is, it's different and we think it's better. Actually, they just change the style and the design a little bit, that's all and we seem to think it's better. And we think that if the present fad and the present style is for women to rule over their husbands that must be better. That's the idea and we go along with it, we're dumb sheep, we don't stopped to think, we don't look at the true values, we don't use judgment and real sense to see whether it's right.

Now God Almighty set laws in motion and He made laws that work. And, some of these laws are invisible, you can't see them. You can't see the law of gravity, you don't know what will pull some object down to the ground if you don't hold it up. But there's something that is pulling it to the ground and you can't see that something. There is a law that works. And God has made a law that the husband should rule his wife. And when a husband isn't man enough to do it and isn't strong enough to do it and when a wife begins to assert herself, and she has a weakling of a husband, who is more of a mouse than he is a man, you have something that's contrary to very nature that God Himself instituted. And it does not work out. And that is another reason we're having more divorces today. The divorce rate is going up and up. They just... marriages don't work out like they used to and people can't see why. They changed their fad, their style. Well so it is.

Well, here was a church that wanted a new style. She wasn't going to wait for Christ, she was going to marry the kings of this world and she was going to rule and dominate them. And that's called fornication in God's language and she's called a great whore. That's very ugly language, I wouldn't use such a word on the air except that I'm quoting it out of the very holy, sacred Word of God, it's in your Bible. And she is pictured as the instrumentality of Satan the Devil. Now, she is also pictured back here in the thirteenth chapter of Revelation where this same so-called Beast here, this civil government is mentioned, it's in verse two of Revelation thirteen;

"...and the dragon [who is the devil] gave [this civil power] his power, and his seat and great authority." (Revelation 13:2)

Because the Devil is the real ruler of the world. But here is apparently a church that is doing the ruling and giving this Beast his power. So you can see, whose god this church is, and it is made very plain. Now, there my friends, is the persecuting instrument. And there is the instrumentality of the Devil that he can use. And that shows that there is a government going to rise up over in Europe, by a union of ten nations in Europe as you find it in the seventeenth chapter of Revelation. And they are going to attack the American people and the British people. And God says if we don't cry out to Him and heed this warning that we are going to be overcome.

Now, I tell you, the Devil is going to insist that everybody will come to his religion and give up the Word of God. The Devil does not like the commandments of God. What is the great controversy between the Devil and God? What is it that made a devil out of him? He refused to obey the Government of God. He said, 'I'm going to ascend' and he was an aggressor, he said, 'I'll organize my army of angels.'...I will ascend [up] to heaven. I will exalt my throne above [the angels] the stars of God..." (Isaiah 14:13)

And so he started to fight God because he would not remain inferior and subordinate to God. He would not obey God and carry out God's government, as God had set him to do. And that's exactly what he had been influencing people and nations to do here on this earth ever since. So, now here we are.

True Church (Play from 19:54)

Some of the people of the True Church are going to be accounted worthy to escape. They're going to fly to a place of safety. But the ones the Devil is angry with, are those that keep the commandments of God, and they then my friends, are the True Church. Now, we find that this other power has deceived all nations. You read of that over here in the seventeenth and eighteenth chapters of Revelation. That that power - this fallen church - that has gone into the politics of this world, has deceived all the world, has deceived all nations. But now this gospel of the Kingdom of God, the Government of God is to go out to all nations. Not to change them, not to convert them - because they won't heed it, they won't listen - but merely as a witness. Because they are all going to come into the judgment seat of Christ later on, when He comes to rule.

But some of the church is to be terribly persecuted and martyred. Now, we find the same time order in the sixth chapter of Revelation under the seals. We've gone into it before in previous broadcasts, let's skim over it very rapidly. In the sixth chapter of Revelation, here the first horse that we see here that John sees in his vision where he sees first the four horses in his vision. The first was the white horse, which is the false preachers. And yet nearly everybody believes it's Christ or the true preachers. And second was the horse that was red, and that's the war. And third, is the black horse, which is famine, and next comes the pale horse that Jesus had interpreted as the pestilence or the disease epidemics.

And then after that, now the very next thing to happen is then the Great Tribulation. The Great Tribulation is dual, as I said, it is nationally an invasion of our people by this very force, this factor, this great power that is now rising up in Europe. The groundwork is being laid, the plans are being perfected undercover right now this very instant in Europe. And also then, it is a phase of persecution against all that are true believers in Christ and in the Bible and who keep the Commandments of God and believe in being governed by God. Who have not been praying enough, and who have not kept close enough to God and have not been watching these events and have not studied their prophecies and don't recognize it when it is coming. And are not worthy to escape and to take this flight to a place of safety. And those that are not accounted worthy, are going to be forced to take up the pagan religion that will then dominate the world and give up the religion of Christ and give up any obedience to God and give up the truth of the Bible, or be persecuted until they are killed, martyred.

Now here it is, the fifth seal; "And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain [that's in the past tense. The time of the prophecy is now. And those that have already been slain] for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:" (Revelation 6:9)

These are the martyrs of Jesus. And history records that there are between fifty and one hundred millions of them that have been slain, that have been killed for believing the Bible and wanting to obey God as God's word commands in the Bible.

Now, they cried according to this vision of John; "...they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?" (Revelation 6:10)

Now, vengeance is God's, we know that. And the judgment where they say judge and avenge us, the judgments are on this great whore, you read here in Revelation seventeen, where this angel said; "Come hither; I will shew...thee the judgment of the great whore.." (Revelation 17:1)

And then over in the eighteenth chapter, it says; "...Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins...receive not of her plagues [and then again in the eighth verse of Revelation eighteen]. Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning... [and so on. And then in verse ten] Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas...[for the] great city Babylon... [and that city is the power, this false woman here, or church that is pictured] for in one hour is thy [God's] judgment come." (Revelation 18:4,8,10)

So God's judgment are these plagues that He is pouring out on her. Now, these people want to know, 'How long before your judgments, how long before you are going to judge her?' And those judgments, the seven last plagues are poured out in the very presence of Christ and all the holy angels at the very time of the second coming of Christ. That's exactly when they'll be poured out. So, actually, what they are asking here, pictures these dead souls as asking, 'How long are we going to have to wait until the second coming of Christ, until you avenge our blood, until these seven last plagues?'

And here's the answer, verse eleven; "...white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet...a little season, until their fellow-servants [and also] their brethren, that should be killed [that's in the future] as they were [that's in the past] should be fulfilled." (Revelation 6:11)

In other words, my friends, the second coming of Christ will not occur, the last plagues are not to be poured out until there has been another martyrdom of saints. That is the Great Tribulation.

Now in Revelation six, under the fifth seal, it shows the personal phase of this Great Tribulation. It shows the fate on those Christians that are not accounted worthy to escape. On those Christians that are drowsy, that are lukewarm, that are left behind. You read of them again in the third chapter of Revelation, as the Church of Laodicea. The Church that is lukewarm and Jesus says; "...I will spue thee out of my mouth." (Revelation 3:16)

He says repent, before it's too late. That's what He says to people that believe they are the true followers and real Christians today.

After The Great Tribulation (Play from 26:30)

Now, then, what is next? What happens immediately after the Great Tribulation? Let's go back again to Matthew twenty four and in verse twenty nine. Now that Great Tribulation is so great there has never been any time of trouble like it, as I've read to you before that Jesus Himself said that; "...except God steps into it to intervene and to shorten those days no flesh would be saved alive." (Matthew 24:22 paraphrased)

In other words, human life would be blasted out of existence on this earth. But, for the elect's sake, there is some of the elect Church here being persecuted, there are some of the elect Church here that are now going to be turning to God at that time, and for their sake God is going to step in and intervene and shorten those days.

Now, verse twenty nine; "Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken." (Matthew 24:29)

There my friends is the very beginning of the intervention of God. God will first begin, not by an actual physical intervention on earth, but just by signs that men will see up in the heaven, that will throw stark fear and terror into the people. And they will run frantic crying for the rocks to fall on them and hide them from the face they are going to see sitting on the throne in heaven at that time.

Now, I want you to see one other thing here; "And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven..." (Matthew 24:30)

Now, if the sign is going to appear, men will see it. Where are they going to see it? It will appear in heaven. They will look up in heaven and see it. Now, what do you find over here in Revelation six, here you are, the same thing;

"I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and... [immediately after the Tribulation] there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth..." (Revelation 6:12-13)

There you are. Now, stars in Bible language means any heavenly body. It can mean a very small meteor or a great star millions of times larger than this earth. This will naturally be those that are smaller than the earth that will fall. It will be very large meteors falling on this earth.