The Night Herbert W. Armstrong Changed the World
One of the most significant moments in the fulfillment of Christ’s prophecy of Matthew 24, verse 14, came on the evening of Tuesday, Dec. 4, 1979.
As the internationally recognized ambassador for world peace, Herbert W. Armstrong was “the first church leader from the world of Christianity to officially visit and speak with top officials inside the People’s Republic of China” (Worldwide News, Dec. 24, 1979).
He called it “his most important trip to date,” which culminated in an address to elite Chinese leaders and wives, including 76 ambassadors, the most ever at any of his testimonial dinner speeches.
At the Great Hall, government headquarters building of the world’s most populous nation, in a dining room that Mr. Armstrong recalled was the size of a football field, the distinguished assembly awaited the historic delivery of the gospel message.
On most occasions such as this, a language interpreter had to be used, necessitating use of two microphones and the challenge of speaking a couple of sentences before pausing for the interpreter’s translation. However, on this night the audience understood English, enabling Mr. Armstrong to speak fluently without interruption.
“I gave them the ‘good news of the coming Kingdom of God,’ perhaps in even stronger and more plain language,” he recalled to millions of Plain Truth readers in the February 1979 edition.
He went on to note, “It is important to understand I was speaking to officials from 76 other nations this night. Many of the banquets and dinners of the past 10 years have afforded me the opportunity to speak to official representatives of many nations. There were ambassadors representing 19 countries at a luncheon in Ethiopia a few years ago.
“But, although in a Communist and atheistic-oriented country, I did not use Bible language, I did get over to them the gospel of the Kingdom of God, announcing the coming one-world government of God. Instead of the word ‘God,’ which might sound hostile to them, I spoke of the ‘unseen Strong Hand from someplace’ that will intervene and bring world peace.”
He didn’t accept the historic invitation to show approval or disapproval of communism. In the past, he had written in the Plain Truth against this form of government, atheism and its spurning of God. In the interim, he had come to understand more deeply Christ’s words recorded in John 6, verse 44, which declare, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him.” He saw that the world’s nations, other than those whose history emanated from the ancient tribes of Israel, were cut off by God from the time of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:24).
That historic evening in Beijing was not to judge the government and many of the world’s leaders, their governments, religions and cultures. It wasn’t an evening of revival and attempted conversion from their belief. It was an emphatic pinnacle moment in history. The good news of the coming Kingdom of God was declared to the most distinguished and globally influential audience ever assembled! They were informed that this Kingdom was coming soon in supreme, divine power and authority! They witnessed the announcement of national and international, peaceful, joy-filled salvation forever!
The passionate pronouncement, eloquently delivered in plain, unoffensive English, was not only well understood but well received, with its listeners verbalizing that Mr. Armstrong’s message gave them “much to think about.”
“I have never heard such a message as I heard last night in the Great Hall of the People,” noted an audience member from an African embassy. “There are two ways of life. The way of getting causes all the troubles in the world, and the way of giving is the solution. I wish I could hear more on this subject, and I hope to hear soon that we may have an office of the Ambassador Foundation here. I have never seen such a man as Mr. Armstrong” (Worldwide News, op. cit.).
“When the prophecy says, ‘And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations’ (Matthew 24:14), it does not necessarily mean in all nations,” the unofficial ambassador emphasized in his February 1979 Plain Truth feature article.
The primary significance, he noted, was that “Much of that prophecy was fulfilled on December 4, when the good news of the Kingdom was proclaimed to official representatives of 76 nations! This included nations from Africa, Europe, Asia, South America, pretty well spreading out to all the Earth!
“I do try to explain that I am an ambassador for world peace, that I talk with many heads of governments, that they all have greater problems to face than any man can solve, that, meanwhile I am trying to assist and help toward more peaceful relations between nations now, but that solutions are beyond human ability to handle and that the ‘unseen Strong Hand from someplace’ (and they all know very well I mean God) will have to intervene to bring us real world peace and eternal salvation at last!”
That historic night over three decades ago ought live long in our memories as the internationally beloved white-haired patriarch shared the greatest words human ears could hear, impacting the largest audience possible. Request your copy of his greatest and final written work, Mystery of the Ages, to understand more of this royal vision.