There's no end in sight now to wars; the frightening unthinkable nuclear world war looms closer and closer all the time. The only prospect now in sight is ever accelerating escalation of wars. But why does God allow wars, if God is love? He certainly wouldn't want people to die in the way they do in wars by the hundreds of thousands and even the millions, now would He? And if God is all powerful He has the power to stop it. Then, why doesn't He? It seems that almost nobody understands that there is a purpose being worked out down here below. As Winston Churchill said to the United States Congress during World War II: "I will say that He must indeed have a blind sole who can not see that some great purpose and design is being worked out here below of which we have the honour to be the faithful servents." Very few understand there is any purpose for human life; why we were put here, where we are going, what is the incredible human potential. Very few understand that, very few know what the purpose is or that there even is any purpose to human life. When God does supernaturally intervene to stop wars, He's going to take over and rule over all nations and bring us world peace, and there will be no more wars. But when He does; I want you to notice what'll happen in Revelation 11 in verses 15, it says that: "...The kingdoms of this world are become [or shall become] the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever." (Revelation 11:15) And there'll be no end of it, and there'll be no end of the peace that is going to come to this earth at that time. But, you will notice in verse eighteen: "And the nations were angry..." (Revelation 11:18)... when He comes. And I'd like to have you notice something else now in the seventeenth chapter of Revelation and verse 14. The nations here, that it is speaking of, says: "These shall make war with the Lamb [that is Christ at His Second Coming, shall make war with the Lamb], and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful." (Revelation 17:14) When He comes as the King of kings to bring us world peace and to stop all wars, the nations are going to be angry and they're going to try to fight and make war against Him to prevent world peace. And the nations are going to have to be compelled to have peace, and to be happy, and to enjoy life. Which they don't enjoy now, because there's nothing but discontent and unhappiness, on the face of the earth now. But, what is that purpose being worked out here below? And why does it allow wars now? Why hasn't God stopped wars long before now? Why has He been allowing it these 6,000 years? Well, God's purpose is to reproduce Himself. Very few seem to understand that. I don't think even Winston Churchill fully understood that. He knew there was a purpose, but what is that purpose? Very few know. To a prominent lawyer among the Jews when Jesus Christ was on earth; I want to show you what He said, it's in the third chapter of John. And this man Nicodemus who was a ruler of the Jews came to Him about the Kingdom of God that Jesus was proclaiming; that was the Gospel He was proclaiming, the Kingdom of God. And Nicodemus talked to Him about it, Jesus answered: "...Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot [enter into] the kingdom of God." (John 3:3) Now you notice here the Kingdom of God is something one can enter into but he cannot enter into it unless he is born again. Now what did He mean? You hear a lot of people talk about being 'born again Christians'. Do they even know what they're talking about? I'd like to send you a booklet; 'Just What Do You Mean — Born Again?.' It will stagger you to find out that they don't know what it means to be born again! That they are not born again! Notice what Jesus said to Nicodemus in verse five: "Jesus answered [and said], Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." (John 3:5) Now, it's something you can enter into but you can't enter into it until born of the Spirit. Notice now the next verse, verse six, Jesus said: "That which is born of the flesh is flesh [now you and I were born of the flesh, we are flesh, that's what we are now];...that which is born of the Spirit IS spirit." (John 3:6) You are not spirit, I am not spirit. We won't be flesh and blood any longer, we will be spirit — when we are born again.
The Gospel Christ Preached
Now I would like to go a little further on that. The Gospel that Jesus preached you read of in Mark the first chapter, I've gone into that time and time again. In the first verse, it talks of the beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Then it speaks of John the Baptist preparing the way before Him and of Jesus' baptism and of His overcoming Satan and then He comes to preach the Gospel. In verse fourteen, Mark one: "...Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel [but what Gospel? Verse 14, came preaching the Gospel] of the kingdom of God." (Mark 1:14) Now, the Kingdom is a government to rule the whole world. Jesus came preaching — and the word 'gospel' means 'good news'. Good news of peace when there won't be any more wars. He is coming to preach the Good News of the Kingdom of God. "And saying, the time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel." (Mark 1:15) The reason the time was at hand was He had just overcome Satan the Devil, who was the real invisible ruler of the world and was sitting on the throne of the world. Very few people understand that. But Jesus had now qualified to rule the world. But instead of ruling it while He was here on earth, after His crucifixion, His resurrection from the dead, He ascended to heaven to the right hand of God, where He has been this 1950 years as the High Priest of His people, the Church. That's where He has been, at the right hand of God. And there's a reason for that, and there is a reason why He has not come sooner. So, I want you to notice now in I Corinthians 15 beginning with verse 50: "Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood..." That's what we are now, cannot inherit the kingdom of God..." (I Corinthians 15:50) We're not inheritors now, we're only heirs. The Bible says many, many places that we're heirs, not yet possessors or inheritors: "...cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep [that is; be dead, that is Bible language for be dead, and it is a sleep because we don't have life now we have only a temporary existence, but we shall all be changed." (I Corinthians 15:50-51) Now when, when are you changed? When you accept Christ in this life? Are you born again now? "...we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, the dead shall be raised incorruptible [a resurrection of the dead in Christ, all who are in Christ will be resurrected at that time], and we shall be changed....this mortal will put on immortality..." (I Corinthians 15:51-53 paraphrased), as it says in this same chapter. Now along with that I would like to have you notice also in Philippians the third chapter and in verse 21: "[Christ] Who shall change our vile body [of flesh and blood as we are now], that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body..." (Philippians 3:21) Now what is His glorious body like? You find it described in the first chapter of the book of Revelation; Christ, as He is now in His glorious body at the right hand of God in heaven, interceding for us as our High Priest. Well; "His eyes are like flames of fire, and his countenance, his face, shines like the very sun in full strength." (Revelation 1:14-16 paraphrased). It would put your eyes out to look at it without a pretty strongly smoked glass before your eyes. And that's what we shall be like, we shall be like Him, as we'll see as He is, as you read in I John the third chapter.
God Is Reproducing Himself
God's purpose required a 7,000 year master plan. A master plan that takes 7,000 years in working it out. It began with the beginning of this world's present civilization, the civilization that we have that we call 'the world'. And it all began with the creation of the first human being, Adam and his wife Eve, who were created back in the beginning; at least near the Garden of Eden, because God put them in the Garden of Eden immediately after they were created. Now you read in Genesis 1 verse one: "In the beginning God created the [heavens] and the earth." (Genesis 1:1) The word for God here originally as Moses wrote it in the Hebrew language was 'Elohim'; which means... it's a uni-plural word or a noun, and it means more than one person forming one God. It's a word like 'family', more than one person in the family, but it's only one family. Or one group; a group of people, it's one group but it might be five people, might be fifty people, might be several hundred or thousand people. And/or, it's like the Church, one Church but many members as you read in I Corinthians 12, many members but only the one Church, now coming to verse 26 in Genesis one: "And God [Elohim] said, Let us [not me, there's more than one Person, this included God the Father and Christ who was the Yahweh, or the Word of God, and God said, let us] make man in our image, after our likeness..." (Genesis 1:26) Not me, let us; God is more than one Person, God is already a family. You read of God as He originally was in John's gospel in the New Testament, the first chapter beginning with verse one: "In the beginning was the Word [the Word was a Personage, the Spokesman], and the Word was with God [and God was another Personage, but the Word was the Spokesman in this family], and the Word was God." (John 1:1) Now how could that be? Two different people and yet the Word is also God. Well, you can talk — here's a man his name is John and John is with Smith, they're two different persons. But John also is Smith; now John could be Smith's father or John could be Smith's son. Smith is the family name, they're two persons and they're both in the one family. And so, God and the Word are one God, not two Gods, only one God. But God is a family, and God is reproducing Himself, adding to His family. And the real truth is, staggering as it may sound; you can be born into that family. And as you're born into the human family, you become as human as your father and mother are human. And when you're born into the God family you will be as much God, as God and Christ are God. You know, it took me years to believe that! I'd seen it in the Bible, I'd seen passage after passage that stated it plainly, clearly, but it seemed to me it would be blasphemy to believe something like that. And after I just saw it, and saw it, and saw why, and saw it in so many different ways, and so many different places; God opened my eyes to really comprehend it all the way through. And it's such a wonderful truth that seems hidden from most people. Well, let's go on now; God had formed, animals, each after his own kind. Cattle after the cattle kind, but; "...God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness..." (Genesis 1:26). In other words; let us make man after the God kind. Man is made after the God kind, but he is not God now, he's only human. And man does not have life, he has only a temporary existence. So, you read in the seventh verse of the second chapter in Genesis: "And the [Eternal] God formed man of the dust of the ground [that's what we are, we are flesh, we're not yet spirit, we're formed of the dust of the ground], and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man [formed of the dust of the ground] became a living soul." (Genesis 2:7) A living soul; the Hebrew word that Moses wrote is 'nephesh' and he uses that three times in the first chapter of animals, they also are living 'nephesh', or living souls. Only in translating it to English the translators have called it 'living creatures'. And when it comes to man, same thing exactly, but they didn't write the same word, they wrote it 'soul'. And man, made of the dust of the ground, became a living soul, the dust of the ground became a soul; a soul came out of the ground. And therefore is not spirit. Now, we only have temporary life, a temporary existence, we don't have life. But in John 1 verses 1-5 you find that in the Word and in God was life. L-I-F-E, that is life inherent, self-containing life in them. They had life that we don't have, we have a temporary existence that comes from the breath of air. You have someone stop your breath of air by holding your nose and stopping your mouth, and you can't breathe, and in five minutes you'll be dead. You won't live five minutes without the breath of life. And your life comes from the circulation of blood and the beating of your heart. "...the blood [thereof] is... the life thereof" (Leviticus 17:14) is another scripture in the Bible, that says that our life comes from the blood.
Man Decides for Himself
Now then, God took the man and the woman that He'd created, put them in the Garden of Eden. He intended for them to have immortal life but He hadn't given it to them yet. And before them in the midst of the Garden of Eden were two trees. One was the Tree of Life, if they took that they would receive eternal life. How would they receive eternal life? Well God offers it to us now in the Church through Christ, and how does He give us eternal life? Through His Holy Spirit; and if we have the Holy Spirit of God, He that raised up Christ from the dead will also make immortal our mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwells in us, if we have the Holy Spirit. It's the impregnation of God life, of immortal life. Now that was offered to Adam. But there was also another tree. And that was called — it really was the tree of death because it was called the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, but God forbad that. That was the forbidden fruit, and God said; "If you take of that fruit you shall surely die." (Genesis 2:17 paraphrased). So it was the tree of death. One was the tree of life, the other was the tree of death. And the tree of death was the tree of a certain kind of knowledge. The tree of life was also the tree of a certain kind of knowledge. The tree of death then was the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. If man took to himself the knowledge of good and evil, of right from wrong, that is spiritual knowledge, and man did not have the capacity of acquiring spiritual knowledge. God had not created him that way, His creation was not complete. God put within man a spirit. There are many scriptures in the Bible that explain the spirit in man. And the spirit in man doesn't give him his life or his existence, the spirit in him gives him his attitude, his personality, and imparts to a physical brain the power of intellect, that's all. But, it doesn't give him life, it doesn't give him immortal life. It has nothing to do with his temporary existence; his temporary existence comes from the breath of air and the circulation of blood. But man was made incomplete and he needed another Spirit, he needed the Holy Spirit of God and the Tree of Life meant he would have received the Holy Spirit of God. That doesn't mean that he would have been made immortal instantaneously. The Christian can receive the Holy Spirit of God now, but he then is only an heir, he is not an inheritor, he is not yet born of God. Oh, if we could only understand these things. So, man decided he was sufficient unto himself, and he took of the knowledge of good and evil; and has tried ever since to decide good and evil — spiritual knowledge, and he was not created with the capacity of acquiring spiritual knowledge. He could deal with things, but not with people, or with God. And that's why we find awesome progress materially, and the things we make out of matter, while we find appalling evils and troubles, when we try to deal with one another and ignore God. We have no relationship with God, the world in general has none. And it can't get along with — nation can't get along with nation, husband and wife don't seem to get along with one another. Parents and children often fight, and any police chief will tell you there are more murders right in the home than any other place, right in within a family. Neighbor can't get along with neighbor, capital with labor. Nation can't get along with nation so we have wars, and that's what we have.
Christ Paid Our Penalty
Well, when man did that the penalty was death. God said you will; "...surely die." (Genesis 2:17) if you take the forbidden fruit. He took it, and he did die. And as a result, you read in Hebrews 9:27: "...it is appointed [to] men once to die, [and] after this the judgment:" (Hebrews 9:27 paraphrased) The judgment comes by a resurrection from the dead. And then you read in I Corinthians 15 beginning with verse twenty-two: "...as in Adam all die...so in Christ [the second Adam] shall all be made alive." (I Corinthians 15:22) Now then also, in Revelation 13 and verse eight: you will read, that Christ as; "...the Lamb [of God was] slain from the foundation of the world." (Revelation 13:8). That is, from the time that Adam sinned and rejected the Holy Spirit and the Kingdom of God and immortal life. That it was then agreed that Christ was to come, born of the virgin Mary, of a human woman, yet God in the human flesh. And He was to come as the Lamb of God slain for our sins that by His shed blood our sins could be — the penalty of them — could be paid in our stead. And by His resurrection we may have immortal and eternal Life. God shut off the Tree of Life as you read in Genesis three. He shut up the tree of life until Christ should come; but now it is open to those that are called by God in the Church. But immortal life was shut up; but Christ is coming again and He came to call the Church out of this world — a civilization that was built from Adam and his children. And you know Adam's very first son became a murderer and killed his bother Abel, and then lied to God about it, committed two major sins right there. And: "...all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" (Romans 3:23) God told ancient Israel they did not need to fight; He would fight their battles for them. And no nation has ever needed to fight. And if Adam had taken the Tree of Life there would have been no wars. And any nation that would have obeyed God would never have had to fight. But nations have elected to fight. Now God does not forcibly prevent you from sinning. He allows you to make up your own mind, because otherwise you couldn't build character. And for God to reproduce Himself He has to build His own character within you with your own knowledge and consent. You have to work at it yourself, and you receive it from God, because it is God's character, and God's life put within you through the Holy Spirit.
I want you to understand this, I'd like to have you again, read our booklet, if you haven't ever written for it, our booklet on born again; 'Just What Do You Mean... Born Again?' Very few people understand that and this will explain it. Something that you have never probably heard, or seen, or read before. 'Just What Do You Mean... Born Again?' And then another booklet that explains a whole lot of what I just started on but didn't have time to finish; 'Never Before Understood - Why Humanity Cannot Solve Its Evils.' Why do we have wars? Why do we have so much trouble in the world? Why is there so much crime? Why all of these things in the world? Why do we have this thing we call human nature? Did God create us with a nature to do wrong? No, He did not. Well where did human nature come from? Those things are mysteries, and let me tell you, most people don't understand them. Here are two booklets that will at least give you a start to understanding, an understanding that you have never had before. My friends, there is a lot to the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ besides just saying; "Praise the Lord," and just saying "Oh well, I know Christ, and I have accepted Christ, and that's all there is to it." It's a matter of a changed life, and we have trouble in the world, and we have evils in the world, because we don't live right, and because of the way we're living. And Christ came to teach us the right way of living, and to pay the penalty of our wrong ways of living which is sin. And to bring us into a right way, and into a final resurrection, into the very Kingdom and Family of God. [The Plain Truth Magazine Advertisement]..... So, until next time: Herbert W Armstrong, goodbye friends.
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