Christ Said - WATCH!
Good News Magazine
September 1967
Volume: Vol XVI, No. 9
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Christ Said - WATCH!

What did Christ mean? You may not know the answer. Your future safety will depend on HOW you watch! Learn to avoid the tragedy of USELESS watching.

   JUNE 4, 1967. The world stood in numb suspense as Israeli and Arab belligerents faced each other on the borders of Israel.
   The WORLD TOMORROW was also facing one of its most dramatic moments just three days until the first Gospel message in 1,900 years was to be proclaimed from Jerusalem! On the morning of June 4, Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong, Mr. Howard Clark, Mr. Ray Dick and I prepared to board a plane which would eventually bring us to Amman, Jordan on the eve of the first broadcast to be made by Mr. Armstrong from Radio Jerusalem.
   Then the sickening news WAR IN THE MIDDLE EAST!
   Maybe it would be a quickly ending flare-up. Broadcast tapes had been made as a precautionary measure in the event circumstances might make it impossible for Mr. Armstrong to make the initial broadcast in person.

On to Beirut

   With this tape and two other weeks of programs in my possession it was decided that I should continue to Beirut, Lebanon, and then to Amman, Jordan, where these could be delivered to the Hashemite Broadcasting representative.
   On board the plane, I started an article for The GOOD NEWS. It was an article which I hoped would be able to convey to you a little of the excitement this momentous event would surely bring. We still hoped the flare-up would subside and Mr. Armstrong would follow on the next plane and make that first broadcast in person.
   A paragraph or two of the introduction of that article was barely completed when the captain of the plane made an emergency announcement the airport in Beirut was closed! We were then between Rome and Athens. We landed in Athens and I decided to go to the closest place which might still permit me to hand over the broadcast tapes to the Jordanian representative if hostilities ceased.
   Our office in Nicosia, Cyprus, was just being established. This was only a short thirty-five-minute flight from Beirut. The plane from Athens would leave at three in the morning. It was still only the night of June 5. plane for Cyprus with a number of
   Early morning, June 6, I boarded the American and French Correspondents flocking into the war zone. There might yet be time. There was still hope the fighting would cease as quickly as it had begun. There were almost two days left to get the tapes to Jerusalem.

Arab World Explodes

   Suddenly, this last dwindling hope was smashed! A drastic change of attitude exploded over the entire Arab world. Radio Cairo detonated Arab fury by broadcasting that the United States planes were fighting with the Israelis. The volatile Arab world was inflamed!
   The explosion shattered the peaceful little world of the Americans living in Arab territory. The latent, smoldering Arab resentment became a cauldron of hate, bitterness and revenge!
   The American Embassy attaches warned them to GET OUT! They took that warning. They looked into the angry face of Arab mobs who wanted their blood. They KNEW their only safety was in flight!
   I personally witnessed the first victims of Arab wrath. This shocked group streamed out of Beirut, Lebanon, barely protected from revenge-bent mobs by Lebanese armored cars and automatic weapons. Then from Egypt hundreds of them!
   These refugees came out by any means possible. Wives, many separated from their husbands, mothers with small babies, oil workers, students and government employees, ran for their lives. Most had only a suitcase and the clothes on their backs. All other possessions were left behind.
   By heeding this warning, they got out with their most priceless possession THEIR LIVES!

Are You Running for YOUR Life?

   Watching this spectacle, I wondered how many people in God's Church are taking the warning to run for our lives.
   Notice! I said are taking, not will take. Realize it or not, our flight has ALREADY BEGUN! We already face much greater peril than any of these refugees. Don't harbor the delusion that this flight is merely going to be a call at some specified date, that as long as you keep the lines of communication open between yourself and the Church you will pack and leave.
   Don't get the idea that because we may be "cast out" we will be part of that group. It would be real simple, wouldn't it, to harbor the idea that because some government, in anger, casts out the Church, the flight will be obvious. You are a part of the Church you may reason hence you will be cast out and go to a place of safety with the Philadelphia Church.
   If you ride this delusion you are going to take a swift ride into the tribulation and I CAN PROVE IT!
   Let's face reality! God does not warn in vain. He does not need to fill up space to pad out a story. Every word written in His Book is written out of love and concern FOR us!
   God said He is going to pour out His Spirit on us and make His words KNOWN to us! But He also warns that when He does this, people will not turn at His reproof. And, tragically, because we refuse to heed, God is going to totally disregard us when panic, distress and anguish come upon us! (Prov. 1:23-28.)
   We do KNOW for sure that over two million people are going to be told to flee but won't!

Judah Will Not Flee

   Let me explain. Even though there is a totally unfavorable political situation in the Arab nations, the initial broadcast beamed into Israel has started from Radio Amman. The entire facilities of the short and medium wave for English language broadcasting are only there because of our program. No commercial broadcasting is allowed as of this date!
   This is truly fantastic! God is keeping His promise Judah is hearing!
   Judah, however, WILL NOT LISTEN. "Run ye to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, and see now, and know, and seek in the broad places thereof, if ye can find a man, if there be any that executes judgment, that seeks the truth; and I will pardon it. And though they say, The Lord lives; surely they swear falsely.... you have stricken them, but they have not grieved; you have consumed them, but they have refused to receive correction: they have made their faces harder than a rock; they have REFUSED TO RETURN! (Jer. 5:1-3.)
   Read Matthew 24:16. "Then let them which be in Judaea FLEE into the mountains." Get a map of Israel and Jordan. Look HOW CLOSE they are to a place called Petra a possible place of safety. That's pretty close, isn't it? It's a thirty-minute plane ride a four-hour automobile ride.
   Isn't it just a little mange that the people physically closest to the place of safety will probably be less likely to take the opportunity?
   Let's look at the rest of Israel. What is prophesied for the United States and Great Britain staggers the imagination and defies description.
   Do words like United States and Great Britain seem impersonal to you? All right, let's make it personal. Your state, your county, city or town perhaps your own relatives and maybe YOU are going to know terror which has never yet been described or experienced!
   You think that is a sensational statement that can't be backed up? Well, let me tell you, it isn't!
   Jeremiah cried out in horror when he saw the future of those two great nations. "ALAS! for that day is GREAT, so that NONE is like it: it is even the time of Jacob's {Ephraim and Manasseh's) trouble" (Jer. 30:7).

Coming Time of Terror

   Don't carelessly gloss over what it says! It plainly says no time of suffering or horror has EVER approached this time!
   These days have no parallel in ALL history. No horror stories yet written of the bestiality, savagery and atrocities of the Nazi concentration camps are capable of showing the misery to come! There has NEVER been a time like it!
   And here is the warning for the Church!
   Notice! "And some of those who are wise SHALL FALL" for what purpose? "to refine and cleanse them..." (Dan. 11:35).
   God is going to literally haul Israel into total destruction. But of all the people of Israel those in God's Church have the matchless gift of being called not just to survival in horror but to survival in safety (Rev. 12:14).
   Unbelievably, some won't choose this way. They will do it the hard way. God specifically says of some, "Take from these [those who are going to die or be taken captive] a small number and bind them in the skirts of your robes. And of these [those offered a place of safety], take of them again, and cast them into the midst of the fire, and burn them in the fire..." (Ezek. 5:3-4).
   Ezekiel could be talking about some of us! Does it disturb you to know that there are specific prophecies about some of us?
   The big question is, WHY? Why, with all the fantastic warnings we have been exposed to, should it happen to any of us? We have had some startling prophecies fulfilled right before our eyes in the last few months.

Prophecies Fulfilled Recently

   I sat in an audience of about six-hundred people who specifically and clearly heard Mr. Armstrong dogmatically say Israel had to take the Old City of Jerusalem WITHIN ABOUT ONE MONTH! Within five weeks the Jews did just exactly that!
   Don't make the tragic mistake of saying it might have been only a shrewd guess. It wasn't!
   There was no war crisis then. No United Nations pullout of the Sinai area. No closing of the Gulf of Aqaba to Israeli shipping by the Egyptians. The understanding of the TIMING of this prophecy came as a result of a Bible Study after a trip to a relatively peaceful Jordan when ALL signs said it wouldn't take place then!
   Could you possibly conceive that any member of God's Church could hear this prophecy, see its IMMEDIATE fulfillment and, in less than sixty days, leave God's Church? Tragically, THIS HAS HAPPENED!
   I have just seen a letter from a man who made up part of that audience who said he has no further interest in God's Work unbelievable!
   For us, there is much more to the story. Today as you read this we KNOW a temple is to be built. It can't be stopped. We WILL SEE the fulfillment of this prophecy. It is already an established fact. It's history that hasn't yet happened that's what prophecy is! As we see this building progress, what will be our reaction casual apathy or excitement? This is our warning like the ARK was to the people of Noah's time. That time is drawing rapidly to a close.
   It's a little startling to think of isn't it?
   As this building and other prophecies take place before our very eyes, there should be a DEEP REALIZATION that what Ezekiel said about those who could have been saved but were cast into the fire WILL TAKE PLACE.
   Don't let this be a prophecy about YOU!

We Can Know the Future

   Let's understand, brethren, our minds have been opened. We KNOW God! Israel and the rest of the world is going to know God through great tribulation. "So will I stretch out my hand upon them, and make the land desolate, yea, more desolate than the wilderness toward Diblath, in ALL THEIR HABITATIONS: and they SHALL KNOW that I am the Lord" (Ezek. 6:14). These are stern warnings that are every bit as sure as the Jews' takeover of the temple site.
   For the past twelve years we have heard prophecy after prophecy. We have seen their fulfillment. One of the first sermons I heard about twelve years ago was a dogmatic assertion that racial violence would cause blood to run in the streets of America and literally rip that nation apart. It was published in The PLAIN TRUTH. Can any of us argue about the fulfillment of that prophecy now?
   Why have we been given knowledge of these prophecies? It is because they are the warning signs to members of God's Church who have a mind to see that we are approaching the end of the road. Just as surely as the diminishing mileage pictured on road signs as you draw closer to your destination, these prophecies are our road signs our mileage markers!
   Are we blind to them? Do they have a profound affect upon us? If they don't, there is a specific reason and that reason is terribly important.
   The only reason we see or can see is because we have something to spotlight the danger in our minds. The world CAN'T SEE. Just like a darkened road sign at night without some illumination the world can't see the signpost.
   The world can see something is wrong, but blindly continues on the path of destruction because it knows no other path. They will hear the broadcast, they hear the prophecies, and see the fulfillment. But there is no real sense of danger.

What Does It Mean to "Watch"?

   Let me explain it to you this way. You and I are just as interested today as we were yesterday in preserving our physical lives. If we saw physical danger approaching we would react just as fast as our ability would permit. We watch alertly for approaching danger when driving an automobile. If danger approaches, we take every precaution possible to preserve our lives just like the American refugees fleeing the Arabs.
   There is a big danger, however. We think we will be aware and be watching for the danger that is to come upon our people. And we will if we know what it means to watch. But we must understand the Biblical meaning of watching. There is a vast difference between watching God's way and watching the world's way!
   Let's assume you watched as the governments of this world do. They spend millions on watching. Huge espionage rings and fantastic communication facilities with listening posts around the world to spot danger by the mode of the day. In every intelligible language, skilled men analyze newspapers, magazines, books and periodicals written in foreign languages. Learned men spend lifetimes in learning languages and how to analyze the slightest movement of a foreign power.
   Governments watch with physical resources. The United States has spent literally billions on earth satellites to keep track of the weather. They know what it is worldwide.
   Now, let me ask you this question what good does it do? At best there is a possibility that they can warn some few people to move out of a possible storm area or international trouble spot. But they don't have the power to watch in the way that could or will save their lives. "... he that flees of them shall not flee away, and he that escapes of them shall not be delivered. Though they dig into hell, thence shall my hand take them; though they climb up to heaven, thence will I bring them down: And though they hide themselves in the top of Carmel, I will search and take them out thence; and though they be hid from my sight in the bottom of the sea, thence will I command the serpent, and he shall bite them: And though they go into captivity before their enemies, thence will I command the sword, and it shall slay them: and I will set my eyes upon them for evil, and not for good!" (Amos 9:1-4.)

Do the Right Kind of Watching

   Only we are given the power to escape! What did Christ mean then when He said to watch and pray always, that we may be accounted worthy to escape? (Luke 21:36.)
   He didn't mean it the way the Pharisees watched. They watched Christ selfishly for their own personal gain (Luke 14:1). Christ didn't tell us to watch for the purpose of escape. That would only serve a selfish purpose.
   The word "watching" indicates a person has a sense of danger. Watching is a job. We are called His watchmen (Ezek. 33:1-9). A watchman is alert and aware of what is going on. He usually watches at a time of darkness because that is the time of greatest danger.
   Christ said, watch and pray that you might be worthy to escape. All right, you just get down on your knees right now and ask God, "Please help me to be worthy to escape." Will that prayer make you more worthy to escape than you were when you went down on your knees? I doubt it seriously!
   The watching and praying, brethren, is not a watching and praying for ourselves to escape. The watching and praying is what is done by an individual who is in the process of becoming worthy. By offering a prayer that we might be worthy, does it make us worthy? No! Of course not!
   If we are only praying to escape, these prophecies will have little meaning!
   Do YOU understand this? Or are we in the condition of the world hearing and yet not perceiving? God doesn't want it this way. It is our doing. God gave His Spirit that we might understand.
   That is why Christ said, Watch! "Watch therefore: for you know not what hour [there is some uncertainty] your Lord does come" (Mat. 24:42). It is called a time of great darkness.
   The only ones who can watch in the way Christ intended (to become worthy to escape) are the people who are not in darkness.

Are You Worthy to Escape?

   There are going to be millions who know through the broadcast and The PLAIN TRUTH what is going to take place but who are not going to be accounted worthy to escape!
   Many are going to "almost" make it!
   They are going to be, OH SO CLOSE. Just as close as their radio. Some are going to be ever so much closer. They are going to be in the very company of those who will make it. Notice Daniel: "But many shall cleave to them with flatteries. And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white..." (Dan. 11:34, 35). That's real close. Close enough not to have missed.
   But then look at the Ten Virgins. You can't get any closer than they were. Notice Matthew 25:6, "And at midnight (a period of great darkness) there was a cry made..." There is a great cry going out in this period of great spiritual darkness. In this hour of great darkness there is light. That is, for those who want it. This parable shows clearly that the wise took "oil." Because they "took" the oil (did what was necessary to acquire the ingredients that would light their path) they could see at a time of darkness.
   Without oil they couldn't see. Neither can we! These tremendous warnings, the unbelievable opening of prophecy to God's servants, will not be plain and clear OR motivate you unless they are spotlighted by the illumination of God's Holy Spirit.
   Don't be like the Foolish Virgins. They saw it too lute just when the rest of the world did.
   They saw danger, but the curtain had dropped it was too late!
   I have seen just how fast the borders can be closed. I was about to participate in the most exciting phase of God's Work in 1,900 years, and WHAM! the door was closed. Doors are going to be closed even more swiftly in the future. A blitzkrieg attack could close off any part of the world and its borders in minutes especially in the Middle East.

Be Spiritually Motivated

   What we must come to understand is that the flight is physical. But it's going to be SPIRITUALLY MOTIVATED. Without seeing in the light of God's Spirit we are like those described in Matthew 13: "And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah, which says, By hearing you shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing you shall see, and not perceive: For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes THEY HAVE CLOSED..." (verses 14-15).
   Yes, I know this refers to the world. But it also refers to ANYONE who permits his eyes (spiritually speaking) to close.
   Yes, we should watch, but watch in a particular way. You could subscribe to all leading newspapers, periodicals, magazines and study them diligently. You can listen to news on the radio and television. Yes, you might even read The PLAIN TRUTH magazine and study it until your eyeballs become bloodshot and hang to your knees and still miss the boat! That's what the world is doing.
   Here is how we are to watch. The Holy Spirit inspired Peter to write, "The end of all things is at hand: be you therefore sober, and WATCH UNTO PRAYER" (I Peter 4:7).
   This is the key to the WAY we should watch. This is how the prophetic knowledge will cause us to react so we can become worthy. This is how we will really understand. This is the big test!
   If these prophecies are a reality in our mind we will be engaging in more of the spiritual work of God's Church praying! fasting! serving the brethren!

Be Spiritually Alive

   Notice carefully in Luke 21 the admonition: "And TAKE HEED to yourselves [carefully examine yourself], lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting [the opposite of fasting], and drunkenness, and cares of this life..." (verse 34). Making the cares of this life your first concern is going to take you in exactly the opposite direction from concern for God's Work. God's Work will lose meaning for you! You will no longer care about the broadcast in England, or any part of God's Work around the world. And if this is true, brethren, this day will come "as a snare to those who dwell on the face of the whole earth" (verse 35).
   The word "watch" means to become spiritually alive spiritually active! This isn't a matter of seeing with our eyes. It is not a matter of looking at newspapers or a magazine, or hearing a broadcast, or even reading The PLAIN TRUTH. You could be blind and deaf and still do God's Work. This is a matter of a spiritually active individual!
   Let's ask ourselves, brethren, if we are spiritually alive. Are we watching in the right way? If we are, we are putting out ALL effort in this last-ditch struggle to get the Work of God done.
   Brethren, let's examine ourselves so we won't just almost make the really BIG EVENTS to follow! WATCH GOD'S WAY!

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Good News MagazineSeptember 1967Vol XVI, No. 9