The World Tomorrow

Why National Punishment

by Herbert W Armstrong


And greetings friends. This is Herbert W Armstrong with the Good News of the World Tomorrow.

My friends, do you understand why we can know the world tomorrow? We can know the future, we can know what's going to happen. No man of himself knows anything about it. Crystal ball gazers can't tell you anything, or astrologers, or fortune tellers, as I have said so many, many times. But, God Almighty does know and He has revealed it to us, because it's important that we know.

And there are two reasons why God Almighty can reveal the future, where no man can. First and above all, because God Almighty set all laws in motion. He is the Creator of force and energy as well as of matter. He controls the universe. He rules the universe. And God is able to say what is going to happen and to make it happen, because God rules.

Now we're going to see that, as we go through this prophecy continuing in the fifty-first chapter of Jeremiah. Looking into the future, seeing what's going to happen to Russia, what's going to happen to Europe, what's going to happen to the United States.

You know I've been showing you, my friends, that catastrophic events are going to happen in the very imminent future. They're in the making now, under cover, only we don't see it. And not understanding the purpose being worked out here below, not knowing prophecy, not knowing what's going to happen, the statesmen in the world are groping in the dark. They don't know how to plan. They don't know how to plan for the future of the United States, because they don't know Bible prophecy. They don't know what God says is going to happen.

And God says He is going to punish the United States. He's going to give us a good spanking like any loving father will spank his children to teach us some lessons that we have got to learn, if we are ever going to find the way to really enjoy, and to continually enjoy, the great prosperity, and all of the great advantages that God has bestowed upon us.

Do you realize, my friends, God has bestowed upon us national prosperity, and wealth, and power, and advantages, and every material blessing, such as no other nation, or no other people, have ever enjoyed since this world began? And we didn't get them because of our own superiority at all. We got them because a forefather of ours, Abraham, thousands of years ago, obeyed God and kept His commandments, His statutes, His laws. And that was 430 years before so many people say God's laws began. You know so many - and I can't understand how anyone could call himself a minister of Jesus Christ, and think that God was not able to start any laws in motion, or have any laws of any kind, until the days of Moses.

What does your Bible tell you that sin is? What is sin? What's the Bible definition of sin? Your Bible says:

"...sin is the transgression of the law." (I John 3:4)

Sin is lawlessness, and God is the One who set those laws in motion. In other words sin then, is disobedience to God. It is disobedience to the laws that God Almighty has set in motion. And God's laws aren't just some ideas written on a piece of paper, or on stone, or something of the sort.

God wrote His great spiritual law on tables of stone – yes. But the law is not a fact and a living thing, because it was written on stone. It was written on stone, because it was a living fact. Because those laws were real and they are active. And there is spiritual divine force, and power, and energy, behind those laws. You break them, they are going to break you. That's all – it's automatic. Those laws are in motion.

Your Bible says; "...sin is...transgression of the law" (I John 3:4). And spiritual sin is the transgression of the spiritual law. And Adam sinned, and as in Adam all sin, and sin began with one man Adam, so Adam had to break God's law, because that's what sin is. And so God's law has always existed. It's about time we wake up and quit having our arguments because of our hostility against God and because it is natural that the carnal mind is hostile to God and doesn't want God's ways.

Now because of that, my friends, and because we don't seem to believe, even here in the United States, after God has blessed us as no people were ever blessed, we don't seem to believe that we ought to obey God. We think it is alright to do as we think is right. The thing that seems good to us, that seems to be the thing that we believe we ought to do and that is what we are doing. But you know:

"There is a way [that] seemeth right unto a man, ...the end thereof are the ways of death." Proverbs 14:12

That's the way we're going. The ways of death, not the ways of life. God's ways are the ways that lead into life.

Why Punishment? (PLAY FROM 05:31)

And so God is going to punish us. I've been showing you what's going to happen to the United States. We're way over past that now, over here in the fifty-first chapter of Jeremiah, showing what's going to happen to this, this daughter of the ancient Babylon. Which is the condition. it's the condition of - well of society, and of the political condition, the economic condition, the religious condition, the whole fabric of society of the world today, and the whole western world is in this system of Babylon.

And God is calling us out lest we receive of her plagues and her punishments. And so we've been seeing how God is going to use Soviet Communist Russia to punish this Babylon. After He has used this Babylon to punish us. And I want to tell you, my friends, that punishment is coming to the people of the United States. But listen, why is God sending it? Not because God hates mankind:

"...God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)

"...the wages of sin [and sin is the transgression of God's law, and] the wages of sin is death..." (Romans 6:23)

It isn't eternal life, it's death. And God so loved you, my friends, that He sent Jesus Christ that you would not have to pay the penalty of death. The penalty is death and it is death for ever, it's eternal death. It's the second death from which there shall never be a resurrection. It's eternal punishment. That's what God has set for those who will not obey Him.

But for those who will obey, my friends, you haven't the slightest conception of what is in store for those who do surrender to God. Who will yield their stubborn wills to God, and come by way of Jesus Christ. In a right spirit, instead of in a spirit of bitterness, antagonism, resentment, and malice and wanting their own way. Wanting to go by their own thoughts and their own wills. Those are the things we have to put down. Now God is going to punish us until we do. But listen, if you'll put that down now, if you will surrender to God now. If you will turn to Him through Jesus Christ now, you aren't going to have to be punished. Why would God punish?

Supposing you had a dozen children in your family. There are families around the United States still with that many children. That seems to be a strange thing today. You go back fifty years, and you find a lot of families of that size, but there are still a few today. Supposing you had a dozen children. Supposing eleven of them are quite evil, and they are all young children, and you are going to start to punish them, as a loving father and parent should. But one of them is alright and doesn't need punishment. Are you going to punish that one along with the others? I don't think you are, if you are a just parent.

Now God is a just parent. And if you happen to be one of His begotten children, and you have quit transgressing against Him, and you have turned to Him with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, and in full faith in Jesus Christ. And you're studying His word, the Bible, which is profitable to correct you, and reprove you, and instruct you, in righteousness. And you're studying it to find the Way, and you're following it. And you're a doer of the Word as well as a hearer, and a reader, and you're studying it to live by every Word of God. Do you think He is going to punish you? No.

And so I was just reading, just a while ago, just before I came on the air. I happen to be turning to this ninety-first Psalm, and I turned to it in the Moffatt translation, because I was just getting ready to come talk to you, and I'm using the Moffatt translation in the fiftieth and fifty-first chapters of Jeremiah.

I want to read to you a little in this ninety-first Psalm first. I want to show you, my friends, that you don't need to suffer. But, if you're going to be stubborn, if you're going to be rebellious, if you want your way, if you love this world, if you think this world is a pretty good place, and you want to get your share of its pleasures, which are false pleasures after all. God wants you to enjoy life to the full. A lot more than people seeking worldly pleasure know anything about. But, if you want this kind of pleasure that is empty, and leaves heartaches, and headaches after its over, and you are still stubborn and rebellious against God, you're going to be punished.

The Need for God's Protection (PLAY FROM 09:59)

But if you'll put that down and turn to God, here's what He says about you. You're not going to have to go through all this punishment that's coming. You're not going through this Great Tribulation. You won't go through this Day of the Lord. God has a way of protecting you. Listen, ninety-first Psalm:

"Happy [is] the man who stays by the Most High in shelter..." (Psalm 91:1 Moffatt)

That is who goes to God for protection and for security. You know we all want security, we all want safety, we all want assurance for the future, that no evil is going to happen. We don't want to live in terror, or in fear of what's going to happen. Now:

" Happy is the man who stays by the Most High in shelter, who lives under the shadow of Almighty God," (Psalm 91:1 Moffatt)

Why, because he has absolute security. And there is no fear in his mind, because he knows he has the promise of God and when God promises a thing, God keeps His word. You know, some of you parents, you say; "Now little Johnny, you've been naughty. If you do that again, I am going to spank you." And Johnny does it again and so you say; "Now Johnny, what did you do that for? Didn't I tell you I'd spank you if you did it again? Now don't make Mommy or Daddy spank you. Johnny, I will have to spank you if you do it again." So Johnny does it again. "Oh Johnny, what did you do it for, I told you, now I will spank you if you keep on doing it." And Johnny keeps on doing it, and you don't keep your word at all. You lied to Johnny. You said "I'm going to spank you," but you don't keep your word.

Listen, when God says, I'm going to punish, God punishes. When God says He will protect you, He will protect you. When God says He'll do a thing, God does it. God is no liar. God has power to keep His word and God tells the truth. You can call every man a liar, but don't ever call God a liar, because God cannot lie (Titus 1:2). And God says here that, the man is happy who will come under His protection, because that protection is absolute. If you want security, my friends, there it is. And the way to come to it is by surrender.

"Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto [God]..." (Isaiah 55:7)

Because God's ways, God's thoughts are not yours or ours. And when you really have the Spirit of God, you'll see things in a different way. You won't argue about things in the Bible about what you should and shouldn't do. You, you'll understand. You'll be led by the Spirit of God. So that man is happy, and verse two, the man "...who calls the Eternal 'My refuge and my fortress..." (Psalm 91:2)

Yes God is your refuge. You don't need to have a big barrier built out of rock, or stone, or mortar, or brick, or something of that sort. And the kind of barriers that armies provide in military maneuvers. You know they can be battered down. Let me tell you, my friends, the refuge and the fortress who is Christ, and who is God, can't be battered down. There is no power in heaven or earth that can batter that fortress down. That's Almighty. So, the man is very happy who can call: the Eternal: "...'My refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust.'!" (Psalm 91:2)

You know what we want to do, we want to put trust in men. We want to rely on men. What are we doing in our nation now? Well we are trying to rely on Germany and Japan. We're hoping that they are going to be allies, and we're hoping that we will be able to control them. While we begin building up a frankenstein, and you're going to be in fright and terror of it pretty soon, if you don't know God. That's your only protection, my friends, and you'd better heed it while you may.

"He saves you from the fowler's snare and from the deadly pit; he protects you [from] his pinions and hides you underneath his wings. You need not fear the terrors of the night, nor arrows flying [by] day;" (Psalm 91:3-5 Moffatt)

Nor need you fear hydrogen bombs. Let's say, you don't need to fear the fallout of atomic energy, and all that sort of thing today. You don't need to fear anything that's coming, if you really know God. But not very many of you do, my friends. A lot of you have been kidding yourselves. You think you know God, you're taking a lot for granted.

" ...let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall." (I Corinthians 10:12)

So says your Bible, and God is the author of that Bible. You need fear no plague, if you make God your fortress:

" need...fear [no] plague stalking in the dark, nor sudden death at noon;" (Psalm 91:6 Moffatt)

You know that could come, if they unleash atomic or hydrogen power on us, and it's coming – it's coming. Do you think they are building these things so that they never can use them? Why do you think the nations are building all these things? You look back in history; can you find a time when nations built weapons and then never used them? Never happened yet, they have always used them. They are going to use them, my friends. Your Bible says so, and God knows, and when He says what's going to happen, you better pay attention, because it's certain to happen.

Now, sudden death at noon. That's the way it's going to come, or it might be midnight, when you are sound asleep and you don't know. You know a thing can happen to you when you are sound asleep. I remember here, the last really big earthquake that we had here in Southern California. It came around five o'clock, I believe, or a little after, five in the morning. I was sound asleep. All of a sudden the bed began to shake, and the whole room was shaking, and I heard the whole house creaking and shaking. That's quite a sensation. All of a sudden you wake up and you realize - you don't have any warning, there it is, it's on you.

And you know what Jesus Christ said? He said these things that are coming on us now and on our nation and our people - they're coming like a snare. We are going to be caught like rats in a trap. You know when you set a trap, you get a gopher, or a rat, or something in it? He doesn't know it's there, all of a sudden 'click' it's got him. The first thing he knows, it's too late. No time now to prepare, no time to run, and no time to escape. Now is the time! Jesus said:

" ye therefore also ready: for at such an hour as you think not these things are coming on you." (Matthew 24:44 paraphrased)

" need not fear...plague stalking in the dark, nor sudden death at noon; hundreds may fall beside you, thousands at your right hand, but the plague will never reach you," (Psalms 91:6-7 Moffatt)

God is going to punish the nation for their sins. Yes the hundreds around you, the thousands around you, they're going to be punished, but not you. If you turn to God. If you'll surrender to Him. You know you read these things, you've read the ninety-first Psalm many times. But did you ever stop to really analyze it? To really think it through and see what it really does say, and what it means? Just think of that - thousands will be falling beside you: "...but the plague will never reach you," (Psalm 91:7 Moffatt) a safe shield by His faithfulness. Or: " shielded by his faithfulness [by God's faithfulness]. You have only to look on and see how evil men are punished;" (Psalm 91:7-8 Moffatt)

God Punishes in Love (PLAY FROM 16:57)

They are going to be punished. Why does God punish? God punishes every son He loves (Hebrews 12:6, Proverbs 3:12). God doesn't punish those He hates. Why, you know if God hated you, my friends, and if God wanted to see you really suffer, He wouldn't need to punish you. All He needs to do is just let you alone, just give you lots of rope and watch you hang yourself, because you'll do it.

You know, we are bringing all this evil on ourselves. Look at this world. God has kept hands off, God has let the world do what it wants. God hasn't crammed His religion down anybody's throat. He hasn't let anybody else do it. God has given us all free rein. Look at this world. Look at your blanched white, anaemic, pale faces, because of lack of health, because we don't know enough to eat the right kind of food. Look at the heartaches, look at the headaches, look at the fears and worry, look at the empty lives all around you. Look at the despondent people, the frustrated people all over this world!

What's wrong? They just lost their way, that's all, God's letting them have their own way. They want their own way, God is letting them have it. Look, if God really hated you and wanted you to be punished, all He has to do is let you alone and in time, you'll punish yourself beyond endurance.

That's why God has set a time limit, only six thousand years for mankind to have his own way, without the intervening interference of God, and the rule of God forcefully upon us. These are the last days, the very end time days of that six thousand years. That is why prophecy is now coming to a climax. We are at the climax, at the close of the six thousand years God has given mankind. And we are coming to the place where scientists tell us that very near in the future now, men will blast human life from off the face of the earth, unless, they think, unless we can have world government.

Well that's the solution in a way, but men can't bring about world government. And they never will. Don't think I'm talking any politics. Don't think I'm advocating any idea of human beings trying to get together and form a world government. You can't do that. But God Almighty is going to bring world government, because God Almighty is going to step in and rule us to save us from ourselves.

Now, God punishes those He loves. If God didn't love you, He'd never punish you. He'd just let you punish yourself. Because you would ultimately, you know; "[Sin and sinful men] wax worse and worse..." (II Timothy 3:13) your Bible says. And you would continue, because sin is a thing that continues progressively and it increases in its momentum all the time, and finally, well life wouldn't be endurable. If God would let this thing go on for seven thousand years, instead of six thousand years, there wouldn't be any people left on earth. Men would destroy themselves from off this earth.

And so God is going to punish those that need the punishment, because He loves them. But, if you don't need it, you won't even have to be punished. Now, listen my friends, the thing is we've got a lesson to learn. If you learn that lesson, then sure, a hundred will fall at one side and a thousand beside you here, as it says. You have only to look and see how evil men are punished.

It's evil men that God punishes, but why? Because God loves evil men. Did that ever occur to you, or do you think God is just hate? Oh no, God only hates sin, because sin is you're enemy, and your full of it. Yes, you are, you're full of it, and you'd better confess it and get rid of it. Because, only Christ, through the blood of Christ, forgiving your past sins, and the power of Christ through the Holy Spirit that keeps you from sinning any further. That's the only way you can ever be delivered from it.

So, you can see how evil men are punished because God loves them. Because He is going to teach them a lesson and bring them out of what they are doing.

"but you have sheltered beside the plague can approach your tent. ...he puts you under his angels' charge, to guard you where ever you go." (Psalm 91:9-11 Moffatt)

Blessings Have Been Abused (PLAY FROM 20:59)

Well, there you are, you know I just thought that was wonderful. I looked at it again, just before I came on the air awhile ago, and I thought I have just got to tell our listeners that, because I've been telling them what's coming on the United States. It doesn't need to happen to you, my friends, if the whole nation will repent of its ways and turn to God, destruction won't come to the nation. And the only reason God is going to punish this nation of ours, and the only reason that this type of punishment, and destruction, and this great tribulation I have been telling you about is coming on our own beloved United States, is because we are God's chosen people. And because we are going the wrong way, and we're going to bring a terrible end upon ourselves.

God has given us wealth, God has given us power, He's given us luxuries - we don't know how to use them. We are putting them to a wrong use. And power, my friends, is a great potential danger when it is uncontrolled, or when it is guided in the wrong direction. And that's what we are doing. We have invented great powers, great forces, great destructive forces. But in our educational process, we've been so interested in technologies, and in sciences, and in teaching men to invent greater forces for evil and for destruction. But we've been a great deal more intent, and put much greater emphasis in education in this United States today on developing such forces, that men are turning to destructive use.

Oh, I know theoretically we think we are building them for a good use. Sure, we think, we build atomic energy because it can be harnessed and put to a good use. It could be surely. Nothing wrong with atomic energy. The only thing that's wrong is the use man puts it to, but what use has it been put to so far? What are submarines? Peace vessels carrying merchandise and everything to make us happy, or are they used in war – which? You answer.

Why can't we wake up? Why are we so dumb? Why are we so stupid? Why are we so blind? That we go on, and most people - most people would rather, well, tune in a movie on TV, or something that will carry you off into a make believe dreamland. Just to see the troubles of others, or the joy of others, or something, and carry you off into a dreamland. You know why, my friends? It is because you are a bunch of escapists. You want to escape the truth. And when you try to escape it, it is going to come right on you. Now I'm showing you the way of escape. Jesus Christ and God Almighty is the only way of escape.

Just going to fill your mind with a lot of sawdust, and a lot of chaff, of worldly entertainment, and worldly amusement, to just get it out of your mind. And shove the truth out of your mind, because you don't want to listen. Or because you're too lazy to use your mind to think. And you'd rather just let it go blank in a happy dreamland that gives you pleasing feelings and sensations for the minute. But wasting your time. You know your time is mighty precious. You just have one life to live. Why don't you live it like you should? Why don't you live it in a way that is going to give you eternal life, and let you live it happily, and fully, and abundantly forever. That's what God offers you and you can have it.

Well, now we don't have very much time left here, but let's get back into Jeremiah 51 for a little, well let's go back to 45, because I know we were in that verse in the last broadcast:

"Come out of her [this Babylon], my people..." (Jeremiah 51:45 Moffatt)

And that's what God says to us. We are in this system of Babylon now and Babylon, as I say, it is a great system. It is the system of our western civilization. Now, we have different customs and ideas, in different nations, that's true, but the system is the main thing. It's the big system:

"Come out of her, my people, save your lives, every man of you, from the Eternal's burning wrath." (Jeremiah 51:45 Moffatt)

And I showed you in the preceding program how that is quoted exactly in Revelation 18 verse four. And it goes right on to show the plagues that are coming on this modern harlot Babylon, the daughter of the Babylon of ancient Chaldea, of six hundred years before Christ:

"Never be daunted or dismayed by rumors that you hear, when rumors rise year after year, and tyrants lord it [over] the land. For [mark this], the day comes when I [will] punish the idols of Babylon..." (Jeremiah 51:46-47)

Now, Babylon is this power that's rising up now in Europe. It's a power yet to rise up of ten dictatorships in Europe. You're going to see them happen in a very few years. It's on the way right now, only you haven't seen it yet. It isn't in the news yet, but all of the plans are maturing. I don't know which ten nations are coming in, or which ten dictatorships. God doesn't tell us that. I only know what He tells us, but what He tells us is certain to happen, and you are going to see it in your time. Now mark this:

"...the day comes [that] I [will] punish the idols of Babylon, when all her country is confounded, and her inhabitants drop dead. Then heaven and earth and all their host shall exult over Babylon; for invaders from the northland..." (Jeremiah 51:47-48 Moffatt)

That's Russia, Russia is north of old Babylon, and Russia is north of Palestine. And again as I have shown you that is the USSR. That's Russia coming to punish Babylon, after this modern Babylon yet to rise up, has been used to punish us, to teach us a lesson. Because God loves us. Now then:

"Yes, Babylon shall fall, O slain of Israel, as slain men have fallen everywhere for Babylon. You who have escaped the sword, stay not, get away; remember the Eternal yonder, bethink you of Jerusalem. 'We are ashamed,' you say, 'at hearing of this outrage; foreigners entering the sacred temple [foreigners entering God's sacred temple]!- it covers us with shame [that's what our people are quoted here as saying].' But [mark this] a day comes, the Eternal answers, when I punish the idols of Babylon, till wounded men groan over...the land." (Jeremiah 51:49-52 Moffatt)

You know, God will take an evil nation, and use them to punish another nation. In this case, He is going to use them to punish His own chosen people. That's us, not just the Jews alone. The Jews and our people. Yes because we are Israel, if you don't understand that, write in for that booklet 'The United States and Britain in Prophecy’, because you don't understand prophecy unless you know that. That's a challenge. I hope you'll take advantage of it, and really not be ignorant anymore, but know this very foundation of all prophecy. Now:

"Though Babylon mounted to the sky, though she entrenched herself on high, yet I would speed invaders [to assail] her, the Eternal answers. Hark! shrieks from Babylon, a mighty crashing in Chaldaea! 'Tis the Eternal battering down Babylon, stilling the din of her city-life [yeah, there's modern city life in Babylon]! The enemy surge in like the roaring tides, shouting aloud; for the invader has reached Babylon, her soldiers are captured, their bows all shattered. For the Eternal is a God of retribution, he never fails to punish." (Jeremiah 51:53-56)

He'll keep His word. He's going to do it. Well, I am going to have to stop there. He is going to make her nobles her sages drunk, and one thing and another, and it shows it is an empire, if you read on. But we'll come to that, we will wind it up in the next broadcast.