In the 1970s and 1980s, one private citizen was jetting around the world and meeting with hundreds of world leaders. He met presidents, prime ministers, kings, emperors, princes, legislators, ambassadors, generals, officers, mayors, judges, scientists, educators, magnates and executives. He talked with heads of state and heads of government in their offices at their invitations. Who was this man?
He wasn’t a head of government; he wasn’t even a government official. He wasn’t a captain of industry; he wasn’t even a businessman. He wasn’t a billionaire or millionaire. He was a man named Herbert W. Armstrong.
Mr. Armstrong was a man who actually gave up his business to follow what he read in the Bible. He followed God and lived for decades in poverty. He eventually led a church and a college. He did not seek to become a world traveler, a friend of prime ministers, an unofficial ambassador for world peace. Even if he had tried, he never could have achieved a fraction of what he ended up doing.
What Mr. Armstrong did in the 1970s and 1980s was nothing short of miraculous.
“I have exciting news!” he wrote from Hong Kong in a Nov. 26, 1973, letter to supporters of the church he led, the Worldwide Church of God. “As this new dimension of the great Work of the living God gets under way there is already tremendous accomplishment! Never in the history of humanity has anything like it happened before! Never has the living God carried His message through His human servants in this manner before.” The “tremendous accomplishment” Mr. Armstrong was referring to was his taking the message of God to prominent world leaders.
When God called Mr. Armstrong into His ministry, Mr. Armstrong taught God’s message, the good news of the coming Kingdom of God, to only a few scattered people in Oregon. Then the message reached several cities over the radio. Mr. Armstrong dreamed of God’s message reaching the whole northwest region of the United States. By the 1960s and 1970s, that message was reaching millions of people around the world.
Despite the global reach among the English-speaking world, Mr. Armstrong was troubled. He wanted God’s message to reach Russians, Chinese, Indians, Japanese, Indonesians, Bangladeshis and others. But how could he reach them? In countries like the United States, Canada and Australia, the message could go straight to the people through television, radio or literature.
Mr. Armstrong prayed earnestly about it and asked God to help him see how to reach them. God answered his prayer. He showed Mr. Armstrong that in order to be heard by the populations of these countries, he had to reach the national leaders first!
An Open Door
Sometime after Mr. Armstrong began praying about it, he received invitations to meet world leaders: one from a European king, then another from Jewish leaders. He couldn’t understand what was really happening or why. Gradually, the invitations began piling up. Yet he was still puzzled about why God was opening those doors. Finally, he made the connection: This was how God planned to get the gospel to those people!
Mr. Armstrong frequently visited top government officials, including leaders who shaped the thoughts of their populations. These officials were in charge of communication; it was their responsibility to get information to the people.
It is phenomenal how much Mr. Armstrong accomplished in those primarily Gentile nations. He visited presidents and kings who wanted to know what his beliefs were!
In that 1973 co-worker letter, Mr. Armstrong continued: “Last April 28, I was decorated by the emperor and the government of Japan with the highest honor ever bestowed on a nonofficial non-Japanese. This gave me a very great credibility in Japan. Then I learned Prince Mikasa, brother of the emperor, had asked for me to give a Bible study on my next visit to Tokyo.” They wanted Mr. Armstrong to give them a Bible study! How unusual for a Gentile nation to ask to be taught from God’s Word!
After Japan, Mr. Armstrong carried on to Saigon, Vietnam. There Mr. Armstrong spoke to senators, members of Congress and the president. They asked him to return the following year and hold a four-day public appearance campaign. God was giving Mr. Armstrong special favor in the eyes of these world leaders. Mr. Armstrong said he was moved by their affection for him.
After Vietnam, Mr. Armstrong went to Manila, Philippines. He said he was getting bolder all the time. He realized that this was a new dimension to the gospel—it had never been done this way before!
When you study what Mr. Armstrong was doing in these various nations and think about the impact he was having, you begin to see how much God loves this world. This wasn’t from Mr. Armstrong—it wasn’t from a man—this was God’s love for humanity! Jesus Christ died for all mankind, expressing the highest level of love. Through Mr. Armstrong, He was again showing His love!
God’s Spiritual Law in Motion
Mr. Armstrong would speak to these leaders about the terrible state of affairs in the world. And he would show them that there is a cause for poverty, violence, war and everything else that plagues mankind today. “[T]he living God had revealed to me the cause of all the world’s terrible evils and the suffering of humanity,” he wrote (ibid). Nobody else understood the cause of these nations’ difficulties. But Mr. Armstrong told national leaders the cause!
That cause went right back to what happened in the Garden of Eden, where mankind rejected the tree of life symbolizing peace, prosperity and the abundant life that all men should be living. For 6,000 years, mankind has rejected this way of life, and instead chose another tree—the tree of death. Choosing this tree has resulted in the world we see around us.
Nobody else ever talked to these leaders about that cause! They were fascinated by this understanding. They knew Mr. Armstrong didn’t come seeking an offering; he didn’t ask for anything. He came to tell them the cause of all the horrific problems, something they had never heard before.
“I explained how God’s invisible spiritual law (the law of love—the Ten Commandments) was set in motion to cause peace, happiness, abundant well-being,” he continued.
This law is invisible; you can’t see it. But it is in operation right now; it is active and living. Whether you keep it or not has a huge impact. If you transgress it, you will have terror, unhappiness and all kinds of problems in your personal life or nation. If you keep this law the way God intends, it makes marriages, families and colleges work! It brings peace! The law is alive and in motion now! And we are blessed according to how well we obey—and cursed if we disobey.
This is basic understanding. But most people don’t recognize that God’s law is a law of love. Man has decided to take on Satan’s nature and the way of vanity instead of God’s nature. It’s all a matter of choice. The way we decide to go determines the result. It gets down to choosing the tree of life or the tree of death.
Soon, God and Jesus Christ are going to teach this invisible law to all mankind, and it will put this world on a totally different course. The way to have peace and joy in every phase of life will go out from Jerusalem to the whole world! This invisible law will put mankind at one with God.