The World Tomorrow

What Is Life - Part 1

by Herbert W Armstrong


The World Tomorrow - Herbert W Armstrong bring you the Plain Truth about today's world news and the prophecies of the World Tomorrow

Almost nobody reads it and fewer yet understand it. There are some things in the Bible that are so hard to understand. Now most Bibles sold today are the old King James translation that was made back in the year 1611 in the time of King James of England; clear back in the seventeenth century - 1611.

They spoke a different type of English in those days than we do today and so we do get a little mixed up. And then another thing about the Bible, it’s a great deal like a jigsaw puzzle. Did you ever work a jigsaw puzzle? When it’s all broken up you have a whole group of various little pieces here and there and no one of them makes any sense by itself. Of course it’s a picture, and when you get them properly put together with all the little curly Q’s and curves and grooves and everything, you get them properly put together - it’s a beautiful picture.

Well the Bible is a good deal like that. Part of it is here and part there and part another place and you just read straight through - you don’t get it. And even then you sometimes don’t understand this sort of thing and you have to understand other passages in the Bible to understand the text or the passage that I just read to you; of people being dead and still they seem to be alive, how can they being dead and still be living?

Well actually they’re not really living they’re only existing, but let me explain that a little further. You get the Bible all put together and you have a beautiful picture that makes sense, but very few people seem to know that, and they don’t understand it. Let me give you a little example in understanding.

Now there’s another passage very similar to that in first Timothy the fifth chapter and verse 6. Just a short little two line verse here; "But she [or the person], that liveth in pleasure is dead while she lives." (I Timothy 5:6)

Now in the King James Version it says "she that lives pleasure". Actually what it means as in the Revised Standard Translation and other translations is, "she that is self-indulgent [self-indulgent] is dead while she still lives." (I Timothy 5:6 RSV) Can you be dead while you’re living? Well I want to explain that to you because that’s an enigma that a lot of people simply do not understand.

There Are Two Ways Of Living (PLAY from 02:44)

There are two ways of living, just two general philosophies of life, and you’re living one way or the other in general. You might have a little mixture of most of one and a part of another, but most people are living generally, and primarily in one of those two ways. I’ve been saying a lot about that and I put it in the simplest possible language. It’s in the Bible but I’m using language you’ll understand.

One is the way of get. That’s the way people are living today. It’s the way of get: 'I love me but I don’t care much about you.' It’s the way of selfishness, of self-centeredness. People whose whole life is just centered on their own self; they don’t care very much about anything or anybody else. God isn’t in the picture, they don’t care about God of course. They never think about Him. But they are thinking about themselves.

Now the other way, I call give. Or a better way to express it would be outflowing, outflowing love, love toward others. And of course in the Bible it is love toward God and love toward your neighbor. But in the Bible it’s loving your neighbor as yourself. You can love your own self; as a matter of fact God wants you to love your own self, but He wants you to love yourself in the sense of taking care of that mind and body that is yourself, so that you preserve it and take good care of it properly as you should.

Now then, I’ve said so much, the two ways of life are get and give and this world is on the way of get, on the way of selfishness. That is the way of vanity, exalting the self, loving just the self only. It’s the way of coveting and wanting to get, and of course we only think materially. We’re thinking of material goods, and of money and the things that money will buy and most people have their hearts and their lives centered on the things that money will buy, and the things that they can get and most people are covetous.

Then it is the way of envy and jealousy toward others. It is the way of competition, especially hostile competition that leads to strife and violence and war, and that’s one of the causes of wars and all of the troubles that we have. Strifes, wars, violence of every kind all over the world, revolutions, everything of the kind; it’s the way of rebellion. And of course we have rebellion cropping out in nations. We’ve had one just recently in Spain, that didn’t work out. We’re working on one right now of course, down in Central America, and it’s a great problem. I have a letter from people down in Southwest Africa wanting help because the Soviet Union are making encroachments on their country and their nation.

And some time ago I was invited to address the founders of that nation when they were drawing up a constitution of that which is now a new nation just recently. And I addressed them to give them a certain counsel and advice as to the constitution that they should draw up as the foundation of their nation. Well it is a nation now and the Soviet Union or communism are trying to use subversive methods to take it over.

And so the world is in that sort of trouble today; and all of the troubles, all of the heartaches, all of the suffering in the world comes from that way of get. That’s the way the world is living.

In The Beginning (PLAY from 06:33)

Now it all began a long long time ago and once again I want to go back to that, I do that quite often so don’t just think, well, you heard that before because you’re going to hear it again and again and you need to hear it.

It all began with the first human being to inhabit this earth. It goes clear back in your Bible to the very beginning in the second chapter of the book of Genesis, the first book in the Bible. Now beginning with the second chapter in verse 7 it says "the [Eternal] God formed man of the dust of the ground." (Genesis 2:7) Now man was formed of the dust of the ground. You know you’re just what you eat, do you understand that? All that is you came and was begotten in your mother’s womb, and it came from food she ate and all of that food came one way or another out of the ground. And all you’ve been eating ever since came out of the ground. So you come out of the ground.

But God formed man out of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. That’s breath that goes in and out of your nostrils and into your lungs and out. It oxidizes the blood as the blood flows though the lungs. "... breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man..."(Genesis 2:7)

Now man - the dust of the ground - became a living soul. In other words a soul then came from the ground; a soul is not spiritual, a soul is matter, a soul is material - from the ground. Not very many people know that because when you read something like that in the Bible most people don’t stop to consider what it really does say, they just read right over it, they don’t get any real meaning out of it.

Well let’s read on. "And the [Eternal] God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground [now we’re getting back to the ground again, out of the earth], made the [Eternal] God to grow every tree that was pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil" (Genesis 2:8-9). Now there were two trees in that garden, one was the tree of Life the other was the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

Let’s read on a little farther, drop down to verse 15. "And the [Eternal] God took the man, and put him into the garden [in the garden] of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the [Eternal] God commanded the man saying, "Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil [that was the forbidden fruit that came from that tree, of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil]. Thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." (Genesis 2:16-17)

If he took of that tree he would surely die, the other tree was the tree of life. Now not very many people understand this. I want to explain it to you now in a way I’ve never explained it before so if you heard me talk on this before you haven’t heard what I’m going to tell you just now.

Spiritually speaking, the man God created was just so much dirt out of the ground. And what life he had or thought he had came from the breath of air and the circulation of blood and it had to be supported by the eating of food and the drinking of water; and the elimination of food and water. And that is what gives it chemical action, it’s a temporary chemical existence and it is only going to last about so long. It’s like an alarm clock that you wind up, and after a while it’ll run down and if you don’t rewind it or add some kind of life to it, it will very soon just run down and as we call it, it will die.

Now take for example your automobile, you put gasoline in it and you start it and give it life by a spark plug that is sparked when you step on the starter or turn your starting switch key, and as long as the fuel is there it will keep going. But if it stops and the fuel stops we say that the motor dies, your motor dies.

You know, that’s the way with us, we have this temporary existence, it is not really life. It is not life that is self-existent, it is not self-containing life, it is not inherent life, it is a temporary existence. That’s what Adam and Eve had when they were first created and that’s what you have, you’ve been born from them. You have been born from them.

Adam and Eve Made Their Choice (PLAY from 11:31)

Now, Adam and Eve made the wrong choice. There were the two trees and Adam had to make a choice between the tree of life, which he could’ve, if he had taken it he would’ve had life. In other words, that tree was the symbol of the Holy Spirit of God which impregnates us with immortal life, eternal life. That is self-existent life - that is life that doesn’t have to be fed on fuel.

You know we have an energy crisis right now and it’s worldwide, not only the United States, it’s all over the world. But we have to keep feeding in energy and we have to give ourselves energy through food. And you have to keep your own existence going. But when you have self-existent life, spirit life, that’s immortal life and it's self-existent and it’ll never run down, you’ll never get old, you’ll be eternally new.

Now Adam was offered that kind of life, but he had to make a choice. Now the fruit of the other tree, if he took it - which God forbad him to take it. God wanted him to take the tree of life; God wanted him to live forever but Adam made the choice that he would decide for himself what is right and wrong. God wanted to tell him what is right and wrong. God was revealing to him the way and the law of God. That is the way of the Spirit of God and being led by the Spirit of God as you will read in the eighth chapter of Romans in the Bible, "…as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. (Romans 8:14)

They’re the begotten and shall be the born sons of God, and they have life. If you have that Spirit of God, it begets eternal life in you, otherwise you only have a temporary existence. Now if you have a temporary existence, listen, you are in the process of dying every minute, every day, every hour of the day and every year that you live.

Now we have a normal span supposedly about 70 years. A great many die prior to that time and also some live on older than that time, some live up to 80, 90, some live past 100, very few. But there are some that are centurion, no, centenarians I guess we say; I get all stuck on that one. But anyway, I hope I’ll reach it some of these days, depending on how long God gives me the breath of life and how long this mechanism that is me continues to function. That’s all, it’s a temporary existence, that’s all you have, that’s all any of us have. It is not life; we are dying, in the process of dying every day we live. I wonder if you realize that, or did you ever think of that?

Now, the way that Adam chose was to take to himself the knowledge, to create the knowledge of what he thought was right and what he thought was wrong, of what is good and what is evil. Now God was going to give him the Spirit of God which would reveal to him what God says is right and what God says is evil. The way of give, the way of outflowing love. Love to God and love to neighbor is God’s law. And that is the law that can be fulfilled only through receiving the Spirit or immortal life, the presence of immortal life, the impregnation of it at this time in this life; the only way that you can live that way. And the world is not living the way of love toward God and loving your neighbor as yourself, the world is living the way of loving itself more than its neighbor or more than God or more than anything or anybody else.

And we’re a materialistic people we only think in materialistic terms, we never think in spiritual terms and all of our troubles are spiritual in nature and we don’t know how to solve them.

How many times have I talked about the marvelous advancements we have in our twentieth century civilization. The marvelous things we can do; flying men to the moon and back, setting cameras right on the surface of Mars and sending us back photographs right close up, close up photographs of the surface of Mars, close up photographs of Jupiter and of Saturn. Mindboggling things! Think of the marvelous instrumentalities we’ve created, the computer and the many things, the instruments, the type of things that we work with and live with.

But my friends we are dying every day we live, we don’t have real life that will carry on and you don’t know how long this existence is going to last. Some people find its cut off just unexpectedly any second, they just never know. You don’t know whether you’ll be alive tomorrow morning or not, none of us knows. Something could happen, you can’t be sure. Now let me explain a little further.

A Kind of Temporary Existence (PLAY from 16:50)

How were you born in the first place into this kind of temporary existence that is running down, that is in the process of dying every day? You were conceived in your mother’s womb, or if you want to be technical perhaps a fallopian tube as the doctors would say today. But in any event your life came from an ovum which is a human egg. It’s as small as a pinpoint, it’s about the size of a period at the end of a sentence in the small print of your daily newspaper, and it’s no bigger than that.

That ovum had a temporary existence when it left the ovary of your mother and in the fallopian tube was traveling down its way toward your mother’s uterus or womb. It had to have life imparted to it from your father and that came from a sperm that came right from the body of your father. And that added a temporary existing human life to it. Now that is a physical way that we come into this physical existence that we think we call life, but it is only a process of death every day we’re living and we don’t understand that.

Now then, each one of us is an ovum or an egg, the nucleus of that egg is your mind and there is a spirit in man and in his mind, but it’s not the man - man is made of the dust of the ground. There is a spirit in him just like you might have a little small marble you’d swallowed in your stomach, that’s not part of you. {1}That spirit is a bit of spirit essence that imparts to the human brain an intellect that no animal brain has and yet an animal brain is just like a human brain and in most cases of the higher animals just as good, just as fine in qualitatively. And in some cases larger, like an elephant and a whale and so on, and chimpanzees a little smaller but just as good in quality. But man has a spirit that imparts something more - that spirit and that brain is the nucleus.

Now then, that however only has a temporary life just like the ovum from which you were born. That ovum had to have life added to it, it had to have a spark of life imparted by the male, by your father. Every one of us had to have that, that’s the way we happened to be alive, that’s the way we came into his world. Unless we have... we have a spirit now within us and that spirit needs another spirit to fertilize it, and unless the Spirit of God comes to impart eternal and spiritual life to it you are going to die.

Now that ovum, which became you, if it had not been impregnated, if it had not been fertilized by the male sperm of your father inside of 28 days or less it would have died. It had a temporary life, that’s all. You have only a temporary life, and you can only live maybe one or two days, it may be one or two years, it may be 10 or 20, 30, 40, it may be 70 years, it might be 80, 90. Maybe over a 100; very few people live that long.

But that’s the way it is, and we are constantly running down unless that life is imparted to us we are just like you were as an ovum before you even became an embryo in your mother’s womb. And after about 4 months that embryo became a fetus, and the fetus took on the human form and shape inside of your mother and finally after 9 months, you were born, and came into the world and you gave your first “whah” and a cry as everyone of us did when we were first born.

Now, we have only a temporary life, oh, I see my time is up, I’ve so much more of this I want to go into. I want to tell you, that you do not have life until you have life imparted by the sperm cell that comes from Almighty God who has immortal life, spirit life to give.

Receiving the Spirit of God (PLAY from 21:31)

Now, that tree was merely a symbol; the tree of life in the Garden of Eden was just a symbol of receiving that Spirit of God which Adam could’ve received from God. He didn’t, he took to himself the knowledge of what is right and wrong. In other words, the wrong way to live, because he did not decide the right way and his children had not decided and he made the decision for his family. And all of us are the family of that Adam. All of us have been born from Adam.

You want to know your ancestry? Well, I know my father and my mother, my grandfather and my grandmother and I have my ancestry, believe it or not, clear back to the ancient King David of Israel. I’m a direct descendant also of an ancient king of France, and an ancient king of England, Edward the First of England. Now you may not have your genealogy that far, very few people do. But it is a marvelous thing.

Now then, you cannot have immortal life unless it is imported through that Spirit of God. Adam rejected that. The tree of life would have given him the Spirit of God, and God offered it to him, God wanted him to take it. But when he took the other tree he rejected it. He had to take one or the other, he had to make a choice; he made the choice for you and me.

And so, you just turn over a page here in Genesis, and in the third chapter, it’s a page in my Bible at least, the third chapter. "And the Eternal God said that lest Adam now put forth his hand and take also the tree of life and live forever," (Genesis 3:22 paraphrased)

Living the wrong way, but go on and get immortal life living the wrong way that would only bring unhappiness and suffering and all of the woes that humanity is suffering to death on him and live forever in that condition; God then sent Adam forth from the Garden of Eden, and so He drove the man out from the Garden of Eden and He put flaming swords to keep the way of the tree of Life so that Adam and his children could not get back and just themselves take of that tree of Life. In other words, so you cannot get the Spirit of God. And unless or until you do you are dead while you yet live, you don’t have real life you have a chemical existence. That’s all you have, that’s all I have, that’s all any of us have until, and there are terms and conditions by which God has given some, and as a matter of fact several, His Holy Spirit that impregnates us with immortal life.

Now all that we have now in this time and in this present life is the potential life, just like we were in our mother’s womb. We had a potential life, but if there’d been a miscarriage we would’ve never come into this world and had what we call life. But what we have and what we call life is not life, it is only a temporary existence, that’s all it is.

Now, Jesus Christ said that "No man can come to me except the Father which sent me draw him." (John 6:44)

Now there’s only one way to get to God and how to get that Holy Spirit and to receive it; to be impregnated to receive life; and by a resurrection at the second coming of Christ to receive immortal life so that you will have life and live forever. First you have to repent of living the wrong way and second, you have to believe in God and what God says.

Now I want to just read you once again that same thing that I read a minute ago in the second chapter of Ephesians and as it is in the Revised Standard Translation, it’s a little plainer. "And you he made alive when you were dead through the trespasses and sins in which you once walked." (Ephesians 2:1-2 RSV)

That’s the way all of us were living unless some of us have turned from that way and repented of it and received Jesus Christ as Savior and then received the Holy Spirit of God because the blood of Christ paid your sins for you and reconciles you to God the Father who has immortal life to give you. And God can impart immortal life through His Holy Spirit adding to your spirit.

Now not too many people have that Spirit today, but all will have a chance to have it. All are not called now and I want to explain that in the next program. All are not called now, all will be called. Some of us are being judged as to whether we receive it now, others not yet. But all will, and everyone is going to have a chance to have life and have it more abundantly and have eternal life.

Now I’m going to have to break off there, because I want to have you read a booklet that I have. It's a booklet 'Just What Do You Mean–Born Again?' 'Just What Do You Mean–Born Again?' You hear a lot about 'born again' people who don't understand what it means. Jesus said to Nicodemus, "you must be born again." (John3:7) That's what Jesus said when He was alive here on the earth but very few people know what He meant. And people just read that and just like so many other things, just like they don't understand how you can be dead in trespasses and sins. They don't understand that. And there is a lot more I want to explain on that, on the is same time and the same station. I want to continue on this, but meantime write in for this booklet, 'Why Were You Born?' It's going to open your eyes. You are going to be absolutely surprised. Now there is no charge. We have nothing to sell.

So, this is Herbert W Armstrong, goodbye everybody.

{1}Footnote: In his sermon on the first Day of Unleavened Bread, 6 April 1985, “Rely On God” (from 33:30 to 37:25 on the audio file), Mr. Armstrong gave further understanding about the spirit in man actually being a part of the man.