Herbert W. Armstrong, as chairman and founder of the Ambassador Foundation, was officially greeted at the White House on May 17, 1984. He arrived for meetings with government officials and to attend performances by the Little Ambassadors of Shanghai. The foundation had been working with the Little Ambassadors and sponsored their four-city U.S. tour that included performances at Ambassador Auditorium, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and Seattle.
At the White House, First Lady Nancy Reagan thanked Mr. Armstrong for sponsoring the tour of the Little Ambassadors in the U.S. Thereafter, they moved into the famed East Room, which was used for entertainment by presidents Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt. White House and Ambassador Foundation officials, along with over 400 guests from the Republican Women’s League, assembled for a special performance by the Little Ambassadors. After the entertainment, the children, first lady and Mr. Armstrong gathered for photographs. As he was departing the East Room, Mr. Armstrong noticed a piano and, to the delight of those present, sat down and performed a few pieces. Afterward, members of the Chinese media interviewed him regarding the Ambassador Foundation’s strong relationship with the Little Ambassadors of Shanghai, who by now were affectionately calling Mr. Armstrong “Grandpa.”
Two months later, on Aug. 13, 1984, Mr. Armstrong hosted Chinese Ambassador Zhang Wenjin at the Ambassador College Social Center in Pasadena, California.
The ambassador, born in Beijing, studied in Germany from 1927 to 1931. He returned home and was active in resistance to Japanese territorial claims. He engaged in further study at Qinghua University and later worked with the Red Cross. In 1944, Zhang began work in the field of foreign affairs, serving in various posts. He was particularly effective in the areas of language translation and border negotiations, notably throughout Asia.
Zhang served as Beijing’s ambassador to Pakistan from 1966 to 1967 and 1969 to 1971. From 1971 to 1973, he assisted in border negotiations with the ussr and normalization of relations with the U.S. From 1973 to 1976, he was ambassador to Canada, which engaged him in travels to Europe, then as deputy foreign minister from 1978 to 1981. Thereafter he served his country as a key representative to the United Nations in areas of economics, diplomacy and space exploration, which took him to Central America, South America and the Mediterranean. In 1983, he began his tenure as ambassador to the U.S.
On his visit to Ambassador College, Zhang was accompanied by his wife, Zhang Yin; Yang Jiechi, his second secretary; and Chinese consul from San Francisco, Tang Shu Bei.
“Conversation touched on China, the United States and the Ambassador Foundation,” reported the Worldwide News. “The guests visited Mr. Armstrong’s study, admiring his autographed portraits from world and civic leaders. They smiled appreciatively at the photograph of Mr. Armstrong and the Little Ambassadors from Shanghai” (Aug. 27, 1984).
After the group had enjoyed an evening meal, the ambassador was heard complimenting the work of the Social Center staff by stating the dinner “was more elegant than a state dinner in the White House” (ibid).
They retired to the living room, where Ambassador Foundation officials answered questions about the activities of the Church and Ambassador College. Before bidding their farewells, the Chinese offered Mr. Armstrong their help in logistical details for his upcoming trip to their capital.
A key high point of Ambassador Foundation relations with China came two months later in the Great Hall at 10 a.m. on Nov. 7, 1984, as Deng Xiaoping greeted the internationally recognized ambassador for world peace. The visit to the world’s most populous nation was supremely historic—it was the first time a leader from Christianity had been invited to speak before leaders of the People’s Republic of China. After group photographs, the two sat together at the rear of the room and, as was Mr. Armstrong’s custom, Mr. Deng was presented with a piece of handcrafted crystal, titled Winter Trees, by the famed American artisans at Steuben.
Sadly, the death of Herbert W. Armstrong in January 1986 stalled the progress of his and Deng Xiaoping’s project set in motion at their meeting two years earlier: construction of the Golden Bridge Exchange Center in Beijing. A year before his death, Mr. Armstrong oversaw planning meetings conducted at Ambassador College with Chinese officials for the building to be modeled on the architecture and engineering of Ambassador Auditorium. The shelving of the project was exacerbated by the cadre that assumed control of the Ambassador International Cultural Foundation. They ultimately destroyed its humanitarian endeavors, lacking both the vision and diplomacy to further the momentum of cultural humanitarianism worldwide as led by the internationally recognized ambassador for world peace.
At the time of Zhang Wenjin’s death in 1991, at the age of 76, he was serving as vice chairman on the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National People’s Congress, China’s legislature, and president of the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship With Foreign Countries.
Six years later, in 1997, Deng Xiaoping died. He and the late ambassador would be pleased that Armstrong Foundation founder and chairman Gerald Flurry followed in Mr. Armstrong’s footsteps and took the time to review the blueprints of Ambassador Auditorium before authorizing construction of its successor, Armstrong Auditorium. Visit the Armstrong Auditorium website for a detailed look at the U.S.’s latest polished jewel, lifting the human spirit. Adorned with Swarovski-trimmed chandeliers, Baccarat crystal candelabra, American cherry wood veneers, Spanish marble and Azerbaijani onyx, the hall’s superb acoustics and soaring Swans in Flight sculpture combine to set Armstrong Auditorium apart as the jewel in the cultural crown of the Midwest United States.
The Armstrong International Cultural Foundation has continued the legacy of the internationally recognized ambassador for world peace and the efforts of the humanitarian Golden Bridge Exchange. This was clearly on display when on February 28 this year, China’s National Symphony Orchestra made its debut performance at Armstrong Auditorium in perpetuation of the spirit of the efforts of its namesake and China’s late leader 19 years ago. With each movement of the orchestral alchemy, the audience responded with avid applause, and as the final dulcet tones rang out, the adoring listeners responded with a standing ovation.
During his first term, President Obama spent considerable energy trying to build America’s relationship with the Muslim world. He never visited Israel, and repeatedly showed hostility toward the Jewish state. His reelection seemed to vindicate this approach.
This made his decision to take his first-ever visit to Israel this past week intriguing. It took place against a backdrop of increasing radicalism in the Arab world, a rise in Islamist authoritarianism, growing anti-Americanism among Muslims—and American retreat from the Middle East.
The president went out of his way to soothe the Israelis and say a lot of nice things. He made guarantees about Israel’s future, and about keeping Iran from going nuclear. He condemned groups that deny Israel’s right to exist. He was extremely friendly with Prime Minister Netanyahu, whom he repeatedly called “Bibi.”
However, President Obama refused to speak before the Knesset, opting instead to address a group of handpicked university students, symbolic of his wanting to reach the Israeli people directly. This set the stage for the most telling and remarkable moment in the president’s trip.
Most of the speech was champagne and chocolate: ingratiating, sensitive, appealing to the Jews. He acknowledged “the changes sweeping the Arab world … uncertainty in the region—people in the streets, changes in leadership, the rise of non-secular parties in politics.” Just listening, one would never know the role this administration has played in encouraging and fueling these dangerous changes. Then came the real point of the speech: admonishing the Jews to give the Palestinians a state. And among the Israeli intellectuals in the crowd, he found glowing support.
“The Palestinian people’s right to self-determination, their right to justice, must also be recognized.” Applause. “And put yourself in their shoes. Look at the world through their eyes. It is not fair that a Palestinian child cannot grow up in a state of their own.” Applause. “Living their entire lives with the presence of a foreign army that controls the movements not just of those young people, but their parents, their grandparents, every single day. It’s not just when settler violence against Palestinians goes unpunished.” Applause. “It’s not right to prevent Palestinians from farming their lands or restricting a student’s ability to move around the West Bank (applause begins) or displace Palestinian families from their homes.” Applause. “Neither occupation nor expulsion is the answer.” Cheering applause. “Just as Israelis built a state in their homeland, Palestinians have a right to be a free people in their homeland.” Applause.
These words characterize the Palestinians as yearning for peace through negotiations with Israel, if only Israel would cooperate. Apparently this view is shared by these Jewish academics.
They woefully ignore several pressing realities: that the Palestinian children of which the president speaks are being raised on virulent Jew hatred; that Arab leaders who support negotiations with Israel lose public support; that Arab leaders, whatever they may say to the international press, consistently speak to their own people in terms of war with the Jews; that when Israel ended its “occupation” of Gaza, that territory became a terrorist haven; that Israel’s “controlling” security measures are necessary to protect citizens from unprovoked terrorist attacks. The crowd’s applause signifies stubborn adherence to beliefs long proven false.
The president followed up these comments by encouraging the Israelis to demand their leaders make concessions for peace. “[L]et me say this as a politician, I can promise you this: Political leaders will never take risks if the people do not push them to take some risks. You must create the change that you want to see.” But the fundamental change required for peace cannot take place in Israeli hearts. Who will change the hearts of the Muslims—not just those in Gaza and within Israel—but also in Egypt and elsewhere in the surrounding countries—who want to eliminate the Jews?
Some of the audience’s most enthusiastic applause came when President Obama spoke of some Palestinian youths he met. “I honestly believe that if any Israeli parent sat down with those kids, they’d say I, I want these kids to succeed. I want them to prosper. … I believe that’s what Israeli parents would want for these kids if they had a chance to listen to them and talk to them. I believe that.” Wonderful sentiment. Any right-thinking person would agree. But how many Muslims would think that about Jewish youths?
The president assured his listeners that peace is possible. He said they had a “true partner” for peace in the Palestinian Authority leadership—a notion that has repeatedly proven false. Several of the president’s statements were founded on the old belief—contrary to the reality of human experience—that, deep down, everyone wants peace.
Speaking of the Muslims who heard his speech in Cairo four years ago, he said, they’re basically like you: They want “the ability to make their own decisions; to get an education and a good job; to worship God in their own way; to get married; to raise a family.” It’s quite remarkable to invoke America’s involvement in Egypt as proof of the potential for peace. It was with Egypt that Israel had enjoyed a peace pact that lasted for three decades. But since President Obama’s speech there four years ago (a speech to which he invited the Muslim Brotherhood)—and thanks in no small part to America pushing Hosni Mubarak aside—Egypt has shifted dramatically toward radicalism, and that peace agreement is in tatters. The new Egyptian president has called the Jews “blood suckers … descendants of apes and pigs,” and said “we should employ all forms of resistance,” including military resistance, against the “criminal Zionists.”
President Obama’s handpicked listeners were cheering a fantasy. The peace they hope for simply cannot come by the means they wish for. “The way of peace they know not; and there is no judgment in their goings: they have made them crooked paths: whosoever goeth therein shall not know peace” (Isaiah 59:8).
Don’t be distracted by the attractive visuals of this visit. The underlying realities were only reinforced. Negotiations will not solve these problems. The threat to Israel’s security will increase. The limits of American support will be further exposed. And the need for another foreign advocate will become ever more painfully clear—an advocate to which the Jews will look, mistakenly, for salvation.
The Voyager 1 spacecraft has just drifted beyond the reach of our solar system, according to a paper published in the Geophysical Research Letters journal on March 20. It will be the first man-made object to travel so far from home.
According to researcher Bill Webber, Voyager 1 passed through what is known as the “heliocliff” on August 25 last year, citing the detection of a dramatic fall in radiation emitted from the sun. Beyond the influence of the sun, Voyager-1 continues its voyage onward.
Speculation remains as to whether the Voyager 1 probe has arrived in interstellar space or an undefined region beyond the solar system. Upon its arrival on the edge, a change in the direction of the sun’s magnetic field should be observed as it is acted on by interstellar magnetic fields. This has not happened, leading some to speculate that the probe is now in a no-man’s-land between Earth and the vast emptiness that divides our solar system from the next one.
Voyager 1 has had a long journey. Launched in September 1977 from Cape Canaveral, Voyager 1 was sent to observe the outer planets and the interstellar region beyond the solar system. Following the completion of the first part of its journey, it set off for the far reaches of space and was followed by its counterpart Voyager 2.
The fact that the two probes are still traveling is a marvel in itself. They run off of basic 1970s equipment. Each one has 68 kilobytes of computer memory. An average iPod today has over 240,000 times that much memory. However, those 68K are still doing the job. Radio waves are still being bounced back across the solar system. It takes these waves 16 hours to traverse the distance between man and machine.
So far, Voyager 1 has traversed across 18 billion kilometers of space. It is powered by a plutonium power source which is set to stop generating electricity in 10 to 15 years. At that point, the probe will go silent and drift on through the darkness alone.
It is incredible to see what man has been able to achieve. He has sent out technology that broadcasts information back across the universe. Voyager 1 is a fantastic piece of technology. But it also raises a larger question.
Herbert W. Armstrong, founder of the Worldwide Church of God, wrote in his book Mystery of the Ages, “Why do we find a world of awesome advancement and progress, yet paradoxically with appalling and mounting evils? Why cannot the minds that develop spacecraft, computers and marvels of science, technology and industry solve the problems that demonstrate human helplessness?”
Though mankind has made amazing advancements across the fields of technology, we have yet to bring about world peace. War ravages the planet, millions live in poverty, and millions more go without basic education or a reasonable standard of living. Man finds it easier to peer over the precipice of the solar system than to solve the crisis that faces him on Earth.
But this world is not without hope. The galaxies that Voyager 1 is slowly drifting towards are directly connected to the future of mankind. Man has a potential that exists among the stars. In all reality, mankind will reach those distant solar systems before Voyager 1 ever will! It will be over 40,000 years before that probe will come even close to another star.
Read Our Awesome Universe Potential to see what God has in store for those who will heed his message. The Voyager 1 trip to the edge of the solar system doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface.
Just what is the abomination of desolation? According to your Bible, we need to understand what it is in detail to escape the worst suffering ever coming upon this Earth. The Bible says it is a sign of when God’s very elect are to flee. But to flee from what? Christ personally talked about it when He was on this Earth. And those prophecies that Christ talked about are certainly being fulfilled today. There never has been a more exciting time to live, but also, there’s never been a more dangerous time than what we’re living in today.
Argentina’s president met with Pope Francis in Rome on Monday to solicit his help against Britain. President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner requested that the pope intercede to “facilitate dialogue” over Britain’s Falkland Islands, which lie off the coast of Argentina. Buenos Aires claims that it has jurisdiction over the islands, and calls them the Malvinas.
In the past, relations between the two have been cold. Before he was elected pope, Jorge Mario Bergoglio accused Kirchner’s government of demagoguery. He also opposed homosexual adoption, a stance that she compared to the Dark Ages and the Inquisition. However, these differences were set aside at Monday’s meeting.
It remains to be seen how much Pope Francis will intervene in the Falklands, but his Argentine roots may be bad news for Britain.
On Friday, political economist Rodney Atkinson drew attention to the Catholic Church’s historical antagonism toward Britain, saying that the Vatican has threatened British sovereignty for almost a millennium.
Continue to watch the Falklands conflict. With help from the Roman Catholic Church and the European Union, Argentina may be able to force Britain to relinquish its sovereignty. For more information, read “Empire’s Last Hurrah.”