January 27, 2023 Brethren Letter
Tonight, I’m sending a letter written by Mr. Armstrong in 1982. He discusses some of the prophecies found in Matthew 24 leading up to the return of Jesus Christ to this earth.
We also read in verses 1-2, of Christ’s prophesy concerning the future destruction of the temple in Jerusalem. “Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down” (Matthew 24:1-2). That destruction did not occur until 70 A.D., over THIRTY-NINE years AFTER Christ revealed it. A thirty-nine year span of time for a prophecy to be fulfilled, clearly does not change the REALITY of that prophecy at all!
Brethren, none of us should ever begin to think, “…my Lord delays His coming” (Matthew 24:48), and begin to fall asleep spiritually. Some could reason that, “thiry-seven years is a long time since Mr. Armstrong’s death in 1986.” Christ hasn’t returned yet, but the REALITY of the prophecies concerning Christ’s return are just as real today, as they were in 31 A.D. “Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing. Assuredly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all his goods” (Matthew 24:45-47).
Have a wonderful Sabbath.
Your Brother in Christ,
January 22, 1982
Dear Brethren and Co-Workers with Christ:
I have exceedingly good news for you — but right now the newspapers and newscasts are filled with bad news. What’s going to shock and stun the whole world, next, in world news? I can tell you — but only as foretold in Bible prophecy.
But where are we, now, in the panorama of prophesied world events? As former Prime Minister Winston Churchill said before the U.S. Congress during World War II, a PURPOSE is being worked out here below. Bible prophecy reveals in advance the various world events working out that PURPOSE.
It’s very important that we pinpoint where we are at the present moment in that chain of world happenings. And it’s revealed in the principal prophecy of Jesus in Matthew 24. Nothing is more important for us to UNDERSTAND!
Follow this with me in your own Bible. Jesus and His disciples had just left the temple in Jerusalem. Referring to the buildings of the temple, He said, “See ye not all these things?” Then He told them the temple was going to be destroyed — not one stone left on another. A little later, on the Mount of Olives, some of the disciples asked, “When shall these things be?” referring to the coming destruction of the temple, “and” — they also asked Him about another event that they supposed would occur at the same time, very soon in their own lifetime — “what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?”
Jesus had told them He was going to ascend into heaven, and then return to earth. “If I go,” He had said (John 14:3), “… I will come again.” They knew His return as King of kings to rule all nations meant the end of this present world swayed by Satan, and the beginning of a new world of peace, happiness and salvation for all. Actually His Second Coming as world Ruler was not to happen for more than 1,950 years, but they supposed it would occur in their lifetime. The destruction of the temple did occur in their time, in A.D. 70.
So Jesus answered their first question first — events to happen in their time leading to the destruction of the temple.
“Take heed that no man deceive you,” He answered, speaking of false prophets deceiving people in their time, “For many shall come in my name, saying [that, I am Christ; and shall deceive many” (Matt. 24:4-5). This did happen in their lifetime, and has continued to this day.
Jesus spoke these words, in A.D. 31. Approximately two decades later the apostle Paul wrote to the churches in Galatia, that false preachers were already preaching another gospel (Gal. 1:6-7). They were, he wrote the Corinthian church, preaching a different Jesus and a different gospel (II Cor. 11:3-4), and, while professing to be the ministers of Christ, were in fact ministers of Satan the devil (II Cor. 11:13-15).
Now what Gospel did Jesus preach? He proclaimed the Gospel of THE KINGDOM OF GOD (Mark 1:1, 14-15). Paul preached only the Gospel of the Kingdom of God to gentiles (Acts 28:30-31).
Paul wrote the Galatians, as quoted above, that the Gospel of the Kingdom already was being suppressed. Instead of proclaiming Christ’s Gospel about the KINGDOM OF GOD, they proclaimed their own gospel about Christ. They proclaimed that Jesus was the Christ, but His MESSAGE about the Kingdom they suppressed.
Even today they proclaim MAN’S gospel about the Person of Christ, keeping silent on Christ’s Gospel OF THE KINGDOM.
UNDERSTAND THIS! Read the prophecy in Malachi 3:1, showing Jesus was the Messenger sent from God with the Message of the NEW COVENANT — the Message of the KINGDOM OF GOD. But men began proclaiming their own message about the Messenger, but suppressing His Message. And it has continued into our day now.
Dear brethren and co-workers, I began proclaiming CHRIST’S Gospel of the Kingdom of God the first Sunday in 1934. A time cycle later, the first week in 1953, I began proclaiming that Gospel to all of Europe over the world’s most powerful radio station, Radio Luxembourg. (A time cycle, when the sun, moon and earth come into exact conjunction, is every 19 years.) That was also about a century of time cycles after the apostle Paul wrote to Galatia about the Kingdom Gospel being suppressed!
Now back to Jesus’ prophecy in Matthew 24. He answered the disciples’ first question by saying they would need to be on guard against being deceived by a false gospel, merely about Christ –saying Jesus was Christ, yet deceiving the MANY. People were deceived into even worshiping Christ. How could they worship Christ and be deceived? Jesus said, “In vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men … laying aside the commandments of God …” (Mark 7:7-8).
Let me make clear the connection. Christ’s Gospel was the KINGDOM OF GOD. The Kingdom of God is the GOVERNMENT of God, administered by the FAMILY OF GOD — a Family into which true Spirit-begotten Christians shall be born. God’s GOVERNMENT is based on His LAW — His commandments. Most who preach that Jesus is the Christ today also preach that God’s commandments were abolished — done away — “nailed to the cross.” They preach their tradition of men instead. They preach a different Jesus — one who “did away with His Father’s commandments,” although Jesus Himself preached just the opposite.
The Gospel of the KINGDOM was not proclaimed to the world for about 1,900 years!
Now, coming to Jesus’ answer to the disciples’ second question, “What shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?”
Jesus answered this question in verse 14: “And this gospel of the KINGDOM shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end [of this world] come.”
Brethren, YOU are helping me proclaim that Message!
WHAT is happening today — right now — that is fulfilling prophecy? YOU are helping fulfill that prophecy — accomplish that very prophesied event! God has called YOU, with me, as His instruments, by and through whom HE, the living CHRIST, is fulfilling that prophecy! It is the very BEGINNING of God’s intervention in this world’s ways and troubles evils!
It means CHRIST IS COMING SOON! The GOOD NEWS of the WORLD TOMORROW — ruled by Christ — and by you and me — is now NEAR!
Now what NEXT?
The very next verse: “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then … shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved [alive]: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened” (verses 15-16, 21-22).
Now UNDERSTAND! Luke 21 is Luke’s account of this same prophecy of Jesus. There, the abomination of desolation is spoken of as “Jerusalem compassed with armies” (verse 20).
This is spoken of in Daniel 11:31. Speaking of Antiochus Epiphanes in 167 B.C., the King James translation has, “And arms shall stand on his part … and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate.” But more modern translations render this as armed forces coming into Jerusalem and setting up this abomination. Tradition says Antiochus placed a statue or idol of Jupiter Olympus there. But it was accomplished by military invasion of Jerusalem.
Now beginning verse 40 in Daniel 11 it speaks of coming to the time of the end — our time NOW! The Roman power shall “enter also into the glorious land” (verse 41). See also verse 45.
Then, continuing into chapter 12, the time of trouble greater than any before or after on earth — the “Great Tribulation.”
But after the Great Tribulation, Christ’s coming (Dan. 12:2, Matt. 24:29-30). Then, of course, the thousand years of PEACE and salvation for all with CHRIST RULING and Satan banished.
That tells you what’s happening NOW and what shall happen next.
YOUR job and mine, as co-workers with Christ, is a million times the most important Work on earth at this present time. Let’s put our whole hearts into it from now on, as never before. Time is short. Soon our Work will be over. We must sacrifice everything for it. Nothing else is important from now on.
THANK YOU, brethren and co-workers, for your part with me and with Christ who HEADS this glorious Work. I pray with all my heart for you. Please pray for me and for the Work — for Satan tries in every way to restrain or destroy it. Yet he can do no more than God allows — so let’s pray fervently for God’s protection and help.
With deep love, in Jesus’ name,
Herbert W. Armstrong