The World Tomorrow

What's Wrong With Religion?

by Herbert W Armstrong


Ladies and gentlemen, greetings. You live in a twentieth century world that is plunging to its own destruction, plunging to human extinction.

I think we need to be reminded not only about the hostage crisis as we have been in the past year, we need to be reminded that four billion of us are being held hostage, and we’re in danger of human extinction.

The weapons now exist for the first time since mankind has inhabited this earth that can erase humanity from this planet. And there wouldn’t be a man, woman or child of us left alive. Man has finally come to the place where man can destroy man, mankind. That’s the way we live.

I know you’ve all heard the joke about the rookie pilot. Now of course commercial airlines don’t have any rookie pilots and in the plane I usually fly I don’t have any rookie pilots either, they’re very experienced pilots. But, nevertheless this is only a joke; and he’s supposed to be on his first flight and as soon as they’ve gained altitude he says, "Ladies and gentlemen this is your Captain speaking, I have both good news and bad news. Now I’ll give you the bad news first," he’s supposed to say, he says, "We are lost. Now I’ll give you the good news: we’re making extra fast time."

I wonder if you realize that’s the way the world is that we’re living in, our civilization? It is lost, it has lost its way and we’re making extra fast time in the wrong direction, plunging to our own destruction. Very few realize that. The pilots of this twentieth century civilization have been flying our civilization in the wrong direction and we’ve all been going along with it.

Now I have been writing full page advertising space in the Wall Street Journal, in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, other newspapers around, even around the world, in the London Times and other London newspapers, and over in Germany and other places. And in those I’ve been showing some of the major facets of our civilization and what is wrong with them.

What is wrong with government in this world? I’ve been showing what is wrong with our government that is helping to lead us into the wrong direction. What is wrong with modern education? I haven’t time to go into that now but that’s another matter that I went into in these full page advertising messages. Another - what is wrong with science and technology? Apparently they are doing even things that we think are mind boggling! They are doing things that are so uh, well, just supernatural almost.

Here we send photographs back from the very surface of the planet Mars to this earth, showing the very surface of Mars, showing things that astronomers with their instruments have never been able to see from the Earth before, and yet we’re going in the wrong direction. What is wrong with business and industry? What is wrong with organized labor? And another one I was showing - What is wrong with religion?

You would think that at least religion now would be leading us in the right direction, but it hasn’t, it hasn’t. Let me tell you one thing that is wrong with religion: it has failed to tell you why Christ came and it has failed to proclaim to you the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Now don’t misunderstand me, it has been proclaiming man’s gospel, the gospel of man about Jesus Christ. Oh yes, they have been proclaiming that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ. But the Gospel is the good news that Jesus came to proclaim; the good news that Jesus Himself preached. And Jesus preached the Gospel that this world somehow has never heard, that is the Gospel - it’s what Jesus actually said.

Two Ways of Life (Play from 4:44)

Why is it that we hear a lot about getting, getting, getting? You get salvation, you receive Christ. There are two ways of life. I’ve been saying that time and again and I’ll continue to say it, year after year as long as I live, I’ll continue to say it.

There are two ways of life, and only two speaking broadly, and one is the way that I call give; actually it is the way of out flowing love. But the transgression of that way is what I call, get. Now by get, I mean coveting. I mean wanting to take away from others, instead of producing. Take it away from someone else who did produce it.

Getting, competition, strife, war, leading to destruction, and we have wars and we have the overthrow of governments, we have nothing but troubles. We have starvation, we have famine, we have illiteracy, we have a world filled with evils, we have a world in our Western world where the home is breaking up, and home and family life. And generally we don’t have much love for the other fellow. If he suffers, we think, "Well I don’t suffer, I’m not feeling it, what do I care if he feels it, what do I care if he’s suffering and having pain, no matter how excruciating his pain may be, I’m not feeling it why should I worry about him?" That is the general attitude today. We have no love for other people, we have only concern about our selfish selves. In other words, it is self-centeredness.

Now what we need is a pilot to pilot this civilization in the way we should go and that’s precisely what we do have.

But why is it that the Gospel of Jesus Christ has not been preached? I mean His Message, the Message that He brought, that is His Good News, His Gospel. Let me just show you something about it. First let me show you some prophecies that they have been overlooking entirely, and you don’t hear them preached very much in the Christian religion.

Back in the book of Isaiah, a prophecy: yes this is Old Testament stuff but do you know that the Church, the very foundation of the Church is the apostles and the prophets with Jesus Christ the Chief Corner Stone? And it is not New Testament prophets - there is no New Testament prophet that had anything to do with proclaiming the Gospel, that had anything to do with telling the Church what the Gospel is, or telling it what to believe or giving it it’s doctrines or the administration of the work of the Church, not one. It’s only the Old Testament prophets who wrote the things that are proclaimed by the apostles in the New Testament and in the True Church of God.

But here is one of the prophets {1} that is one of the foundations of the very Church of the Living God.

And back in Isaiah in the ninth chapter and beginning with verses 6 and 7. They don’t proclaim this about Christ. Here is a prophecy about Jesus Christ. It says here,

"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder" (Isaiah 9:6); Talking about government, about ruling as a Ruler over government. You don’t hear anything about that when they preach about Christ, and yet that’s what Christ came for.

Notice it again; "the government shall be upon his shoulder". It’s talking about Christ who was born as a babe in Bethlehem. "... and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." (Isaiah 9:6)

All of those wonderful names go to Him because He is God; He was God in the human flesh.

"Of the increase of his government..." (Isaiah 9:7). You don’t hear government proclaimed as part of the Gospel of Christ. Why?

The Throne of David (Play from 9:10)

Why are they afraid to proclaim what Jesus brought?

"Of the increase of his government and peace there is no end, upon the throne of David [now it’s speaking of a throne of David] and his Kingdom [that’s speaking of government, and I mean literal government, of David and His Kingdom], to order it and to establish it, with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this." (Isaiah 9:7)

Now that is a prophecy we hear absolutely nothing about. Well, let’s look at a prophecy in the New Testament now, over in the book of Luke in the first chapter beginning with verse 26. And... speaking before the birth of Christ, the very beginning, the first chapter of the book of Luke: "And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin was named Mary" (Luke 1:26,27). Mary was her name.

Now skipping to verse 30: "And the angel said unto her [to Mary], Fear not, Mary: for thou has found favor with God. And behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest [God the Creator, God Almighty is the highest that there is in existence]: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:" (Luke 1: 30-32). Now that’s a throne; there was a man by the name of David who sat on that throne and who ruled a nation of this earth.

I speak to men who rule nations, I probably know as many Kings and Presidents and Prime Ministers, yes and even Emperors as any other man alive today. And they rule nations, and they’re in government. And this is speaking about Jesus Christ in terms of government. You only hear of Christ as Savior. You just get the password, say 'I receive Christ,' you get, you receive. They’re preaching the getting way and that’s caused all of the troubles and evils that we have in this world - this way of getting instead of love, outflowing, which is giving.

Now notice this, "He shall be great [and], shall be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will [shall] give [unto] him the throne of His father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever [and ever] (Luke 1:32,33). He will reign forever. And He’s coming to reign, to rule, to head a government.

Christ's Kingdom Not Of This World (Play from 12:20)

Now I would like you to notice over in the book of John. Let’s skip to the end of Jesus’ ministry after He had grown up to age thirty and had preached for three and a half years and now is on trial for His life just before He was crucified; and before He gave His life for you and me.

And in John 18:37, "Pilate therefore [before whom He was on trial for His life, Pilate was the Roman governor there] And Pilate therefore said to [unto] him, Art thou a king then?" (John 18:37) Are you a King? We don’t hear Jesus preached as a King today, only as a Savior. Oh of course He was a Savior, I’m not denying that, but He was so much more, He was a King. Let’s get that phase of it.

And, "Jesus answered; Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born and for this cause came I into the world that I should give [bear] witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice." (John 18:37)

He said "I am a king,". To that end was He born, to be a King, we don’t hear that preached very much. Now the verse just ahead of it said however, "Jesus said [answered], my kingdom is not of this world" (John 18:36). That is, of this present time, of this age, it was of another time that is still ahead of us. Now He said this over 1950 years ago as a matter of fact, and still it hasn’t happened yet; He was talking about the far future. Jesus was a prophet Himself, He came with a prophecy, His Gospel is prophetic. And He said, "My Kingdom is not of this world [this time, this world]; and if it were of this world then would my servants fight" (John 18:36 paraphrased) …and so on. But His Kingdom was not for this time or this world.

I’ve been meeting the people sitting on the thrones of this world. I know them and they’re human men just like I am, just like you are, if you’re a man, we’re all humans we’re all people, and today they’re trying to make us unisex so no one knows whether you’re a man or a woman anyway.

And so Jesus came to proclaim a message. Now what was His message that is not being preached today? Alright, I’d like to have you turn with me now to Mark, the first chapter; I think it’s good if we just begin at the very beginning of Jesus’ message, which is in the very first chapter of the book of Mark in the New Testament. And it says here,

"The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God" (Mark 1:1). Then it speaks about John the Baptist preparing the way before Him (verse 3), about Jesus’ baptism (verse 9), and about Jesus overcoming Satan (verse 13), and qualifying to sit on that throne and to rule. And then it comes to Jesus Himself proclaiming and what was His Gospel? And "Jesus came [see after that John was put in prison, verse 14] Jesus came into Galilee preaching [preaching what? The Gospel. What Gospel? Notice]: the gospel of the Kingdom of God" (Mark 1:14). The Kingdom of God, my friends, is a government.

You’ve been told the Kingdom of God is just some wishful nothing set up in men’s hearts. "When the Kingdom of God is set up in all of our hearts then maybe we’ll have peace on earth good will toward men". Oh, tra la la la la la. Let’s get down to the hard cold facts my friends, of the way the kind of a world we live in and what was the real common sense Gospel of Jesus Christ. It’s about time we get down to it and know what He came to proclaim because it has to do with the life you and I are living right now today and the conditions of this latter part of the twentieth century.

Notice now, He came "preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom of God" (Mark 1:14). That’s the Government of God; He was born to be a King, the Government will be on His shoulder. Why don’t you hear that proclaimed? Why don’t you hear that preached? Now notice; "And saying [what did He say?], The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand:" (Mark 1:15). Why? Why did He say the time is fulfilled? It had not been fulfilled before.

You know it isn’t very popular to believe in a devil any more today is it? Well the Bible says an awful lot about a devil but I guess it isn’t popular to believe in the Bible. And yet you find a common sense, trouble back of all of our troubles today, the cause, I’m trying to say, of all of our troubles and all of our evils today in the Bible, and you won’t find it anyplace else. And I simplify it all by the term 'get.' Alright, call it sin if you want to, that is the Bible term but what do you mean by sin? Most of you think sin is just what ever you want to think is wrong. Oh, no, that’s what Adam and Eve thought. They took to themselves of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, that is, to decide the knowledge of what is right and what is wrong and what is sin and what is righteousness. And the world has been going that way all these years ever since.

Lucifer Resented Government (Play from 17:45)

But you know, there was an archangel called Lucifer set on the throne of this earth over angels, that’s even before Adam was created. But he rebelled, he resented government over him and it was the Government of God and he rejected that Government yet he was the ruler on a throne that ruled over angels on this earth.

And so the earth was destroyed and it was renewed. You find in the one hundred and fourth psalm in the thirtieth verse that God has renewed the face of the earth for man. And then He created man, and put man on it and created man, but there was Satan and Satan was misleading old mother Eve. You know she was the first one that started this woman’s movement for women to be superior to men, that’s what we actually have going on in the world today. It’s about time we wake up to some of these things and see the way we’ve been misled and the troubles that we’re having in this world.

Anyway, Jesus had qualified, He had met Satan and He’d overcome Satan, and He qualified where Adam, the first Adam, did not, to reign and to rule over the whole earth and to sit on that throne.

Now since He had just qualified by having just conquered Satan and the temptation, the time was at hand. The time was fulfilled (Mark 1:15), someone had come who had qualified to replace the devil, and get rid of the devil so there won’t be any devil to mislead and to deceive all of you wonderful people out there.

So He said "repent therefore and believe the gospel"(Mark 1:15 paraphased). That is, believe the good news! The good news, what? The good news of the Kingdom, the Government of God. And we’ve been forgetting all of that.

Now, what is sin? It’s the transgressing of that basic law of that government; you can’t have a government without a basic constitution or a basic law.

In the United States we have a constitution and we can’t go contrary to it. And even the Supreme Court can’t go contrary to the Constitution, that’s the foundation, the foundational law, and all law must be in accordance with the Constitution. A law that is passed by Congress or by a state legislature must not be contrary to the constitution of the United States.

Now to the Government of God there is a basic law, a basic constitution, and that is outflowing love toward God and toward neighbor. Love, the way of give - not get. The way of cooperation, the way of helping, the way of serving, the way of giving and cooperating. But we want competition, we want resentment of authority over us, we want vanity, we want to glorify the self and self wants to, well, it covets to get and to take away from others.

Now, if we all would produce and help the other fellow produce and not take away from the other fellow what he has produced, but help him in producing and he’d help us we’d all get along a lot better. And it’s about time we did try something like that.

Disciples To Preach The Kingdom of God (Play from 21:14)

Now, I’d like for you to turn with me now to the ninth chapter of the Book of Luke, the ninth chapter of Luke and you will notice here in the first two verses. Jesus was sending His disciples out on a special trip that He had. And then Jesus called His twelve disciples together, and now verse 2: "And he sent them to preach the Kingdom of God" [to preach the Kingdom of God, the Gospel Jesus brought was the Kingdom of God. He sent His disciples, the apostles to preach the Kingdom of God], and to heal the sick." (Luke 9:2)

And then again if you will turn with me over to the Book of Acts now, the Book of Acts, in the last chapter of the Book of Acts, verse 28 and the last two verses as a matter of fact at the very end of the Book of Acts: "Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house" (Acts 28:30). That is after he’d come to Rome and it’s in the Book of Acts after Paul had come to the city of Rome.

Two whole years in his own, and it was a hired hall, that he’d hired to preach in, or his own hired house it is in Bible language. "And received all that came in to [unto] him, preaching [what Gospel?] Preaching the kingdom of God..." (Acts 28:31). The Government of God. The Government of God is not a church. The Government of God is not just some feeling in your mind or in your heart or some sentiment that means nothing.

The Kingdom of God is a government with rule that enforces its rule and with a basic constitution and a basic law and that basic law is the way of life of outflowing love, and all that’s wrong with us is that we’ve been breaking that law. We have been breaking that law and we have been going the way of get, which is just the opposite way. Our own way, our selfish way, the way of vanity, the way of coveting, of lust and greed, the way of envy and jealousy, the way of resentment of authority and the way of competition against others.

Oh how we love competition, especially in sports today. Competition, the competition must get started. You know the author of competition is Satan the Devil, but people don’t believe that, you think I’m terrible. Well maybe someday you’ll think you’re terrible, someday some of us are going to wake up and the sooner the better.

Paul Preached the Kingdom of God (Play from 24:00)

Now Paul also preached the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. Now let’s turn over to the Book of Galatians, I want you to notice what Paul said about it. In verses 6 and 7 in the first chapter, the very first chapter in the Book of Galatians, Paul said: "I marvel that you people up there in Galatia, in the Church, are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ, you’ve been removed unto another gospel." (Galatians 1:6 paraphrased)

No wonder you haven’t heard the Gospel. This was written right around 52 or 3 AD and the Church had started in 31 AD. The Church hadn’t been going very long and just twenty years or a little more that’s all. They were already going to another gospel.

And you’ve heard another gospel my friends today. Open your Bible and open your eyes, and open your minds and you will come to understand it. There’s something wrong in this world and there’s a cause for every effect, there’s a reason for these wrongs.

Now notice, Paul said: "I marvel that you’re so soon removed {2} …to another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of [Jesus] Christ" (Galatians 1:6,7). That is the good news, the message He preached. 'Gospel' means Good News.

"But [He says,] though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that we have preached... let him be accursed" (Galatians 1:8). And then in the next verse he goes on and repeats it: there’s a double curse on a man or angel that would preach any other gospel.

And I want to tell you my friends another gospel has been preached these 1950 years. God have mercy on the people. No wonder religion has gone wrong, business has gone wrong, education has gone wrong. Science and technology have misled us and created the instrumentalities that can destroy us all! That’s the civilization we have built - materialistically minded. And it’s about time that we wake up and realize where we are.

The Gospel was the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, but my friends what is the Kingdom of God? I have a booklet I would like to send to you. It is called 'Just What Do You Mean The Kingdom of God?' 'Just What Do You Mean The Kingdom of God?'

People don’t understand what the Kingdom of God is. I’ve even heard some people say; of course this was while we still had the British Empire, that the British Empire was the Kingdom of God. They used to brag that the sun never set on the British Empire. Well, the sun does set on it today because there is no British Empire anymore. That is gone.

But, I want to tell you, the Kingdom of God is not the church, and it is not just some sentimental thought in people’s minds or hearts. The Kingdom of God is a real government. The Kingdom of God has a basic law which is a spiritual law, it’s a spiritual way of life and that way of life is – it is a spiritual way of life. It is the way of outflowing love and that’s a spiritual principle. It is the way of cooperation; it’s the way of peace. And until we cooperate with one another and until we get rid of competition and strife and this idea of get, we will never have peace. So I’d like to send you that little booklet. You can read it. It is about 30 some pages. You can read it in one sitting, and it is a very attractive booklet, 'What is the Kingdom of God?' What is the real true gospel in other words?

Or, I’ll send you another booklet, 'What is The True Gospel?' If you‘d like that one, ask for that also and we’d be glad to send them both to you. So until next time, this is Herbert W Armstrong saying, "Goodbye friends."

{1}Footnote: Mr Armstrong said Apostle instead of Prophet in referring to Isaiah

{2}Footnote: Mr Armstrong said 'so soon called to another Gospel'