Mystery of the Ages (2020)
By Gerald Flurry • June 26
The Book Nobody Knows. Advertising executive Bruce Barton wrote this book in 1926—about the Holy Bible! At that time, people really didn’t know the Bible, and the problem is even worse today. The Bible is a mystery to the entire world, not understood by religion, science or education. Many assume they know this book, but they actually don’t.
I can show you how to remove the mystery from your Bible. This will be a gigantic spiritual achievement in your life, the greatest blessing you will ever experience prior to entering the Kingdom of God.
Our predecessor, Herbert W. Armstrong, wrote a book titled Mystery of the Ages for the purpose of unlocking the seven fundamental mysteries of the Holy Bible. The quip of his book reads, “Did you ever ask yourself: ‘Who am I? What am I? Why am I?’ You are a mystery. The world about you is a mystery. Now, you can understand!”
Only God can reveal the answers to these crucial questions. What is this rare understanding worth to you?
The Philadelphia Church of God fought in court for six years to win the copyrights to Mystery of the Ages and 18 other writings by Mr. Armstrong. This legal struggle cost us millions of dollars, but now we can offer these precious truths to you free. Why would we do that? God wants the whole world to understand the Bible! He commands us to freely give His truth to all who want it (Matthew 10:8).
Mr. Armstrong said Mystery of the Ages is a synopsis, or the gist, of the Holy Bible. Since the number one problem today is the question of human survival, don’t we need to know the Bible’s solutions now more than ever? The Bible teaches us how to deal with the proliferation of nuclear weapons and every other problem we could possibly have, whether individually or collectively.
Seven Fundamental Bible Mysteries
The first fundamental mystery of the Bible, as explained in Chapter 1 of Mystery of the Ages, is: Who and what is God? To most, God is not real. The vast majority of those who think they know God, don’t know Him at all.
We are the cause of all our problems. God is not to blame. Our evil human nature is instinctively hostile toward God (Romans 8:7). (Request our free booklet Human Nature: What Is It? to learn how we developed this hostility and how to conquer it.)
On a trip to New Delhi, India, to visit the prime minister, Mr. Armstrong marveled at the many cows wandering far from home. He asked his taxicab driver whether they ever got lost and how the owners found their cows. The driver explained that the owners never have to search for them because the cows always find their way home on their own.
This experience helped Mr. Armstrong to understand Isaiah 1:2-4 clearly for the first time ever: “Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the Lord hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me. The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider. Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the Lord, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward.”
God wants the whole Earth and even the heavens to hear this warning! Ninety-five percent of His Church has rebelled against Him in this end time. God says they are less than oxen and donkeys because at least those farm animals acknowledge their master! God’s own people no longer know Him. The same is true of the modern descendants of ancient Israel, God’s chosen nation—primarily America, Britain and the Jewish nation in the Middle East. (Request our free book The United States and Britain in Prophecy for proof of these biblical identities.)
All humanity has closed their minds to the truth (Matthew 13:15; Romans 1:28). Jesus Christ came to Earth and preached the good news of the coming Kingdom of God (Mark 1:15), but everyone who heard Him, except 120 students, rejected Him! Only 120 converts by the Son of God in the flesh!
Now, Christ did speak in parables so the masses couldn’t understand God’s truth (Mark 4:11-12). But how many more people could have understood if they weren’t so stubborn and rebellious?
Chapter 2 of Mystery of the Ages covers the mystery of angels and evil spirits. The spirit world is more real than the physical! Millions of angels and demons go to war against each other every day. Who really understands this today? Do you believe it?
Lucifer was one of God’s archangels, a covering cherub stationed in the throne room of God (Ezekiel 28:11-15). God sent him to Earth as a light-bringer—the meaning of his name. But Lucifer and the third of all angels working under him rebelled. Lucifer became Satan; those angels became demons. Today, they are confined to Earth, unable to roam the universe any longer (Revelation 12:9). Millions of enraged demons are causing the intense problems that plague the world today! We need God’s protection from the evil spirit world.
Chapter 3 unlocks the mystery of man. What is your purpose? Why are you here on Earth? Many would tell you this physical life is about indulging in as much pleasure as possible before you die. But if that’s true, how are you any different from a dumb animal? Human beings are far more than animals! We are made in the physical likeness and character image of the Creator God! (Genesis 1:26). The animals are made after their own kind, but we are made after the God kind! (verses 25-27). We exist on Earth to develop the very character of the Almighty God!
Even the humans who die totally unaware of their marvelous potential will one day learn all about it. God will resurrect them and give them all a chance to know Him! You can qualify for a greater future reward by unselfishly supporting God’s work before Christ’s return.
Chapter 4 is titled “Mystery of Civilization.” How did we “progress” to this point in human history? Why is our society afflicted by so many deadly problems, despite our ability to make stunning technological and scientific advancements? Humans have proved that we are completely incapable of solving our own problems.
Chapter 5 is “Mystery of Israel.” The Bible, from beginning to end, is a book about Israel. Other nations are mentioned only as they interact with Israel. Why? Where are the descendants of ancient Israel located today? We have to prove the answer to this question, or else we won’t understand prophecy, which makes up one third of the Bible.
Chapter 6 is “Mystery of the Church.” What a powerful mystery this is! Does anyone know the purpose of the Church? Ask anyone in the world this question, and you won’t hear any biblical, sensible answers at all. Guaranteed.
Those of us in God’s Church, the Philadelphia Church of God, are qualifying now to rule under Christ for all eternity! We are not here just to get saved. “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne” (Revelation 3:21). This is all about Earth and universe rule!
But we must overcome as Christ overcame. He conquered Satan in the “titanic battle of the ages” (Matthew 4:1-11), as Mr. Armstrong called it. It is our responsibility to battle and defeat Satan every day, in every way, like Christ did while He walked the Earth.
“And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father” (Revelation 2:26-27). Can you see the obvious connection between overcoming and ruling? God is calling a select few out of the world to be a part of His Church now, to be trained as kings and priests to rule and teach the world with Christ for 1,000 years and beyond. At that time, we will convert the whole world!
Mr. Armstrong called Church members co-saviors with Christ. But he also feared that most in the Worldwide Church of God simply didn’t get it. He was right—95 percent of them turned away. (Request my son’s free book Raising the Ruins to learn the disturbing story of God’s Church gone astray—and what God did to correct the problem.)
Christ came to Earth as the second Adam (1 Corinthians 15:45). He overcame Satan where the first Adam failed (Genesis 3:1-6). In doing so, He qualified to rule the world at His return. We must go through the same process to receive the same reward. In the World Tomorrow, humans won’t have to combat Satan—just their carnal human nature. Our reward for defeating Satan today will be larger than theirs. With Christ, we will bring peace, joy and boundless blessings to the world.
Finally, Chapter 7 is “Mystery of the Kingdom of God.” The glorious future of mankind will stagger your imagination!
Piecing Together the Puzzle
Mr. Armstrong presented Mystery of the Ages for the first time on Sept. 9, 1985, to the sophomore class of Ambassador College in Pasadena, California. Almost overcome with emotion, deeply moved that God had used him to write such a profound, vital work, he said:
When the Bible speaks, that is God speaking, not a man. Now, it’s true Moses wrote the first five books, but it wasn’t really Moses writing it. God was having him write it, and it was God writing it, but that was really inspired. And then, when we come to prophets like Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and then when we come to the New Testament books, God inspired them. They are the infallible words of God. This book is not. I don’t make any such claim for this book, whatsoever. But I think, in a way, God inspired it, but not in the sense that it is the Word of God. It’s as God inspired Herbert Armstrong, and I tried to yield myself to Him, and I hope I was able to yield myself—if not 100 percent, 97 or 98 or 99 percent.
The Bible is like a book that had been sort of cut up into about 2,000 or 3,000 pieces, and you have to get them all put together in the right order, or you can’t understand them. This book puts them together, and yet this book is only a synopsis. You could say it’s the “gist” of the Bible, the synopsis. It doesn’t cover all of it, but it covers the main thread of the Bible, so you can understand the Bible and understand the other details when you read them in the Bible. It’ll open up the Bible so you understand it. That’s what it is for—make the Bible plain and clear and understandable.
And God is such a great God when you come to really know Him, and who and what He is, and how real He is. And I want to say that you need to read every word, and you need to go over it more than once. You aren’t going to get at the full meat of this book in one reading. This is a book that, after you’ve read it, you can read it a second time, and then later a third time. This book is not intended to take the place of the Bible; it’s intended to make it so that you will understand the Bible. You must read the Bible with it. And this is to make the Bible clear and understand[able] to you as you read it, and bring its meaning out as you never saw it before.
And I hope it’ll be a blessing to you. I hope you will enjoy it—it’ll give you great happiness and enjoyment. I hope you’ll enjoy reading it, and I hope more than any other book you’ve ever read, except the Bible. And perhaps, in a sense, this makes even the Bible more clear and plain, and you’ll enjoy the Bible more from now on.
Will you forgive me if I get a little bit of thrill that this has been done, that this is out now? Today is a pretty big day in my life, when I can hand copies of this book out to each of you.
Three days later, Mr. Armstrong wrote: “Since last December, I have been working diligently on the largest and most important book of my life. In real fact, I feel I myself did not write it. Rather, I believe God used me in writing it. I candidly feel it may be the most important book since the Bible” (Sept. 12, 1985, coworker letter).
Mr. Armstrong wrote a powerful book. But don’t follow him or any man; follow God! You will be cursed if you follow a man! (Jeremiah 17:5). Don’t just believe what you were taught growing up; prove the truth for yourself! (2 Thessalonians 5:21).
“Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts” (Isaiah 28:9). God only teaches His truth to the spiritually mature. “For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little” (verse 10). Only by God’s revelation can we piece together the Bible puzzle. Mystery of the Ages is an aid to your study of the Bible. It helps make the Bible more plain, clear and understandable. You need to understand the Bible, and Mystery of the Ages will answer all the most important Bible questions. Don’t wait—request your free copy today!Read More