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 ’80s was nothing short of miraculous.
“I have exciting news!” he wrote from Hong Kong in a November 26, 1973, letter to supporters of the Church. “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.
This is an aspect of Mr. Armstrong’s work that we need to understand more deeply as time goes on because it relates to our time today.
When God called him 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 entire world.
Despite the global reach among the English-speaking peoples, Mr. Armstrong was troubled by something. 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 that 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 other nations!
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 important to realize how much Mr. Armstrong did 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” (emphasis mine throughout).
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! Fifty-eight of some of the most influential people in Japan attended a dinner that they held for Mr. Armstrong. Four speeches were given in Mr. Armstrong’s honor, one of which was delivered by the prince. Mr. Armstrong recalled that they said the “most complimentary things” about Ambassador College and himself! After these speeches, Mr. Armstrong had the opportunity to speak. He delivered a message about the gospel that had not been proclaimed to the world since the first century! Those leaders were given quite an impressive message.
After his visit to Japan, Mr. Armstrong carried on to Saigon, Vietnam. There Mr. Armstrong talked to senators, members of Congress and the president. They asked him to stay for four days and give a public appearance! 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 publicized this way before! God doesn’t do everything in cookie-cutter style. Sometimes He does things differently, because that is required to solve a problem.
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 initiative wasn’t from Mr. Armstrong—it wasn’t from a man. This was about 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!
When you talk to someone about God’s way of life and you express it the right way, they may get excited about it. But usually their mood sours when you begin to talk about the need to change; they don’t like that part of the message. That is part of what made the way these leaders responded to Mr. Armstrong such a miracle.
In New Delhi, India, Mr. Armstrong spoke before 100 of the most distinguished people of that nation. He recounted in the same co-worker letter, “This time I spoke with power and authority, until I wondered if I had spoken with such authority that many would be offended. But all comment afterward was very favorable, and I heard of no one being offended.” He gave them “the ‘strongest medicine’ ever to enter their ears,” as he put it. It was miraculous that they were not offended! Mr. Armstrong was bold and strong; it is almost shocking how blunt he was. He spoke with real authority! You would almost think these people would never invite him back. And while in a few cases they didn’t, a lot of them did.
“I told them bluntly, by authority of the Creator God, Creator of the people of India, that they were responsible for what they had just heard!” wrote Mr. Armstrong. He told these world leaders that it was their responsibility to get God’s message to their people!
God’s Spiritual Law in Motion
Mr. Armstrong would talk to these people 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. “[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 source of these nations’ difficulties. But Mr. Armstrong told national leaders the real cause!
That cause went right back to what happened in the Garden of Eden. I doubt a message like that would be well received in Chicago, New York City or Los Angeles. The people would probably say, “That’s just a children’s story—mere fables!” But Mr. Armstrong boldly talked about the Garden of Eden where mankind rejected the source of peace, prosperity and the abundant life that all men should be living. For 6,000 years, mankind has rejected that way of life and instead chosen another tree—the tree of death. Choosing that 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 a monetary offering; he didn’t ask for anything. He simply came to explain to 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 wrote.
This law is invisible; you can’t see it. But it is in operation right now; it is active and living. Whether or not you keep it has a huge impact. If you transgress it, you will have terror, unhappiness and all kinds of problems in your personal life or nation. But if you keep this law the way God intended, 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 it is worth thinking deeply about: the fact that God has set this law in motion, and it does cause peace! This is what we want: peace, prosperity, joy, as well as happy marriages, families and college life. Don’t we want to be happy? Don’t we want the abundant life? That is the way of life we promote on our Herbert W. Armstrong College campuses today, in Edmond, Oklahoma, and Edstone, England.
If we want peace and abundant well-being, we must get to thecause.The cause, although it is invisible, isreal,and it isin motion!
The world does not recognize that God’s law is a law of love. Man has decided to follow the way of vanity, which is based on Satan’s nature 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.
“But because man rebelled, and has lived the selfish way of vanity, lust and greed, envy, jealousy, competition and strife, mankind has caused all the world’s evils,” Mr. Armstrong continued. “Now God calls on all to repent of this self-centered way, and turn to our Creator and His way of life. I spoke 40 minutes up to this point.” For 40 minutes, Mr. Armstrong spoke to world leaders about God’s spiritual law and the causes of this world’s trouble!
If you understand the truth about God’s law, you really are unique and privileged! It is powerful knowledge! We should strive to understand this invisible law more all the time. It really is a beautiful thing.
American universities today are in steep decline, but the application of God’s law could solve all of that. The trouble is, this world doesn’t want it. It is available, but man is not interested. The world chooses not to see that there is a law in motion that could solve all its problems. People don’t want to hear that they need to repent and change, so they keep going the same way and causing the same problems. But now, these problems are intensifying so much that human life is about to be wiped off of this planet! There is a cause for this crisis, and that is what Mr. Armstrong told world leaders. He also told them that Christ would intervene just before all mankind would be annihilated.
Leaders Are Responsible
A new godly civilization is coming extremely soon. The Bible’s prophecies show that in the near future, the entire world will be living God’s way of life.
God’s Church today sponsors two happy, joyful colleges that give people an example of the World Tomorrow in action today! We prove to the world that God’s way of life really works. Of course, we are sinners like everybody else. But when true Christians sin, we repent, God forgives and we correct our problems.
This is a beautiful way of life! But this world has to suffer even more before it learns this precious lesson. Then most people will choose life—not death (Deuteronomy 30:19). They will choose blessings, not curses. Then this world will be filled with true joy and happiness.
Mr. Armstrong talked to world leaders about this law, and they found it interesting! He told them that they were responsible for the people in their nations. After all, a leader is supposed to take care of his people.
These opportunities came from God, not a man. Mr. Armstrong earnestly prayed that God would open a door for the gospel message to reach these nations. God answered that prayer in a powerful way. God was speaking directly to these people. He wanted to reach out to these leaders the way He led Mr. Armstrong to do it.
Leaders today don’t think about the responsibility they have toward their people. But this is what leadership is about. God’s people have to take this law of love, as leaders, and give it to the world. God is training us to be leaders right now so we can fulfill this responsibility. We have to take this message to the world, even though it is only a witness for most people today.
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.
Mr. Armstrong talked to leaders about five different waysman had developed to erase human life from the planet! “[S]cience cannot solve our terrible problems—government cannot—education has not given the answer, nor have religions,” he explained. “Scientists say man’s only hope for human survival now is a super world government ruling all nations. Yet they say such a world government is impossible” (ibid).
Mr. Armstrong would then talk about man rejecting God’s invisible law, and how God allocated 6,000 years for man to go his own way. He wrote: “Then I stated with all the power God gave me that I was the representative of the great God, and that I was there to warn them that the 6,000 years are just about up, and that God would very soon supernaturally intervene, and send the Messiah, Christ, in supreme power and glory to set up that world-ruling government, to rule with God’s government—and His laws that will cause peace, happiness and universal well-being for the next thousand years on Earth.”
He talked to them boldly, saying he was the representative of God! How often would these leaders hear a message like that? Those were strong words. We all need to realize how strong they were and how much hope Mr. Armstrong gave those people!
Here was a man who had wisdom and love. He wasn’t trying to get something from them. He just wanted to give them God’s message about His soon-coming Kingdom! He spoke about a time when the horrendous problems that plagued these leaders’ nations would be resolved and vanish! These leaders learned that God is going to force rebellious humanity to have peace and happiness. God is not going to force them into His Family, but He will force them to see and understand the cause of peace!
It’s amazing how Mr. Armstrong—as the representative of the great God—would lay out these problems and tell people exactly how to solve them! God showed him the cause of peace, prosperity and happiness, and the way to eliminate violence and warfare.
At that time, no one visited as many top leaders as Mr. Armstrong did. No one outlined all their problems and gave them the real solution. This man took God’s message of hope, the gospel, to the leaders of the people—something that had never happened before.
While visiting India in 1971, Mr. Armstrong met with the prime minister. There was something behind the scenes—something Mr. Armstrong himself wasn’t even aware of—that we need to deeply understand.
In that co-worker letter from Hong Kong, Mr. Armstrong wrote: “In early 1971, when I was visiting New Delhi, India, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi took some 20 minutes of our meeting to tell me of the many thousands of East Pakistanis daily fleeing as refugees across the border into India—no earthly possessions except what they carried on their backs—no food, no money, no employment. India, already impoverished with millions of poor—needing to provide an additional 150 million jobs—had no way to take care of these refugees. Many were half-starved and starving; many diseased, their clothes in tatters.”
East Pakistan became Bangladesh in 1971. Mr. Armstrong visited the new nation in 1973, when it had the eighth-largest population in the world. He said it was “the most impoverished country” he had ever seen.
In these nations you can see the result of disobeying God’s invisible law. There is always a cost: Break the invisible law, and there is a penalty. There is a cause for every effect.
In that 1971 meeting with Indira Gandhi, she, a head of state, was asking Mr. Armstrong for advice! She needed to know what to do. Her people desperately needed help! Refugees were pouring across the border, barely surviving from day to day due to hunger. The leaders almost had to blot them out of their minds because they didn’t have a solution! This monstrous problem seemed unsolvable.
Leaders like her who were grappling with terrible problems were more receptive to what Mr. Armstrong had to say because they recognized that he was a man of hope! Mr. Armstrong had a solution. That is what this Work is all about.
How do you deal with all those starving people? Does God really care for those people? Mankind has brought these issues upon itself. But God loves His creation. You can see God’s love for those people by the fact that He sent Mr. Armstrong to them with the gospel message, giving them hope! God’s Kingdom is imminent, regardless of what those leaders do today.
Thy Kingdom Come
After his 1972 release from West Pakistan, where he had been a political prisoner, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman returned to Bangladesh and became its prime minister. He lamented to Mr. Armstrong that 3 million of his people had been killed, 6 million homes had been destroyed, and over 1.5 million farm families were left without tools or animals to work their farms! The roads and bridges of the nation had been destroyed. The nation’s educated had been mostly killed.
After talking with the prime minister, Mr. Armstrong then had a private meeting with President Abu Sayeed Chowdhury. “The president asked me frankly for my appraisal of what I had seen of his country,” wrote Mr. Armstrong. “When I hesitated, he smiled, and said he wanted my frank and honest appraisal. I told him that it appeared to me to be the most impoverished country I had seen. I added that I had involuntarily uttered the prayer, on seeing it, ‘Thy Kingdom come’ …” (ibid). What else could solve the problem? The only real solution is a civilization ruled by Jesus Christ and God the Father.
God would love to reach out and end all suffering right now, but such an approach would not build His Family. Mankind must continue to suffer until they understand and really want to keep God’s invisible law of love.
After Mr. Armstrong gave his appraisal of Bangladesh, President Chowdhury said he knew a bit about the global work and Ambassador College. “Mr. Armstrong,” he said, “I want to appeal to you for your candid counsel and advice. I know of your contacts with so many leaders of government and their problems, your wide experience, your age and wisdom. You can see the colossal problems we have here, struggling with the reconstruction of this nation of 75 million impoverished people.” A world leader wanted Mr. Armstrong’s counsel and advice! He reached out for his help. How would you respond if you were asked a question like that?
Mr. Armstrong had contacts that he thought could help the Bangladeshi economy, but he knew that would only be a physical help. He also offered another solution: “If the president, the prime minister and present government will allow, I think it might help the spirits and morale of the people greatly if I took to the air over their government radio, admonishing them, as in James 5:1-11. The great hope of all the world, now, is the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, to bring the world not only peace, but universal prosperity. Perhaps this president may see that the gospel will give his people more hope and encouragement than anything.”
Mr. Armstrong knew only Christ’s return could actually solve the problems of this highly impoverished nation. But the good news of that coming Kingdom is a great hope—even today!
Rebellion Back Home
Mr. Armstrong, sadly, was never able to go on radio in Bangladesh. The main reason was that he faced a colossal rebellion back home in his own church! While Mr. Armstrong was visiting these desperate nations, expressing the love of God, back in Pasadena, California, ministers were undermining what he was doing!
Five months after visiting Bangladesh, Mr. Armstrong went to the Philippines. “Here I am, in Manila, all set and signed for the first of these really big public campaigns in foreign Gentile nations all over the world,” wrote Mr. Armstrong on February 22, 1974. These campaigns were endorsed by top government officials, but Satan the devil did not want to see them take place!
As Mr. Armstrong stepped off the plane in Manila, a brass band welcomed him. The minister of education wanted his attention, and tv cameras and newspaper photographers captured his movements. In the airport, reporters interviewed him. Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos was endorsing his message. But Mr. Armstrong suddenly had to postpone the Philippine campaign!
There is a devil who rules this world, and Mr. Armstrong’s travels were an affront to him in every way. For this reason, Satan began to work on the people in the “synagogue of Satan” inside God’s own Church (Revelation 3:9) in order to put a stop to these vital campaigns. “This defection of ministers, seeking to draw a following for themselves to rule and for selfish gain,” wrote Mr. Armstrong, “has made it necessary for me to leave to return to Pasadena as soon as I finish this letter. What injury to God’s great Work! This was the most important event in the Work for 40 years! I am assured by local leaders we were to have had audiences up in the many thousands.”
God’s man was doing everything he could to bring hope to the world and to be a witness to mankind. This message must go out as a witness: We are facing the annihilation of all human life, and the great God of love wants to warn them! That is what He was doing through Mr. Armstrong’s visits to world leaders. But God’s own people were so rebellious that they undermined all of that!
Satan was really attacking the Church! And the problem was much wider than Mr. Armstrong and others had realized.
Thirty-five ministers left in the 1974 rebellion; 2,000 to 3,000 people went with them. Those ministers could not see what God was doing in Bangladesh and other nations! They were selfish and thought Mr. Armstrong’s efforts were futile. They failed to recognize the value in what God was doing! If they had, they would have passionately endorsed everything Mr. Armstrong did! They would have loved the world more than themselves. But instead, they forced Mr. Armstrong to have to race back to Pasadena on an all-night flight.
A Fascinating Scripture
When Mr. Armstrong wrote about getting on radio in Bangladesh, he referenced James 5:1-11. It startled me that he chose this passage. There is something prescient about Mr. Armstrong quoting this particular chapter.
God gave us new revelation about James 5 in 2007.
I explain this is my booklet The Epistle of James (request a free copy). This chapter has a mind-reeling message. It specifically talks about Herbert W. Armstrong in three different verses, something he did not fully realize at that time.
In verse 3, “for the last days” should read “in the last days”—talking about our time now. We are now in a time when the coming of the Lord draws near! (verse 8). At whom is the message in James 5 directed? Even Lange’s Commentary recognizes that it is about an apostasy of God’s people. But the rebels in God’s Church in 1974 didn’t recognize that they were part of the “synagogue of Satan”! (Revelation 3:9). They were in God’s own Church—and following the devil! Isn’t it dumbfounding that God’s people, who had so much potential, could be led away like that? We must guard against that evil influence.
“Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you” (James 5:1). These “rich men” are the Laodiceans who became “rich, and increased with goods” by selling the house of God to the devil! (Revelation 3:17). What can God do with people who forsake Him like that? He has no choice but to punish. There is going to be a lot of weeping and howling prior to Christ’s return. We must be willing to repent before God and keep that invisible law of love, or we will be weeping and howling too.
“Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten” (James 5:2). When the state of California tried to take over the Worldwide Church of God, it had the same motivation as many of those ministers: money. God is offering the Laodiceans rule over the universe, but they want money instead! What kind of madness is that? They are so blind they cannot see what God is offering them.
“Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days” (verse 3). Gold and silver do not rust, but God is talking about spiritual gold and silver. Those ministers who worked against God in the 1970s have allowed their spiritual gold and silver to rust and become corroded.
“Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth” (verse 4). These laborers are those who faithfully contributed tithes to build God’s Work and support His Church.
This verse paints a dramatic picture! God is saying that His own people began committing fraud! Christ takes this personally because He sees His people give to the Work, and then men come along and steal it! That is what happened in the Worldwide Church of God (wcg). Those leaders received millions upon millions of dollars but didn’t deserve even a penny. God says, This enters my ears, and you are going to weep and howl because of what you have done! When someone steals from God and God’s people, God is deeply offended!
“The Lord of sabaoth” means “the Lord of hosts,” or the Lord of the armies of Israel! God is the leader of great armies, and He is about to go to war against those people!
“Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter” (verse 5). The “day of slaughter” refers to the Great Tribulation and Christ’s return. That will be a bloody day; bodies will be strewn all over the Earth. The living will be so overwhelmed that they won’t even bury the dead! The Earth will be one giant cemetery. Yet even after all the destruction, men still will not listen!
‘The Righteous Man’
James 5 continues, “You have condemned, you have killed the righteous man; he does not resist you” (James 5:6; Revised Standard Version). The Anchor Bible says, “You have murdered the righteous one.” Who is this righteous man?
To hate someone is to commit murder (1 John 3:15). Toward the end of his life, Mr. Armstrong said that there were men in the Church who were like vultures waiting for him to die. They desired the Church’s wealth. They hated Mr. Armstrong and hated what he was doing in nations like Bangladesh. They assumed his efforts were pointless. Mr. Armstrong was out there working, giving everything he had, proclaiming God’s truth to the nations as a witness. But many back at headquarters were against him! Wouldn’t that wear you down? You can’t do what Mr. Armstrong was doing without support.
Thayer’s Lexicon says “condemned” in James 5:6 means to judge or pronounce a sentence or judgment against someone; to condemn someone for a crime. The Anchor Bible says the word evokes a courtroom. The ministry condemned Mr. Armstrong’s plans for Bangladesh. The Laodiceans condemned Mr. Armstrong—post mortem—during our six-year court battle over the copyrights to his writings. They tried to make him look like a fool and a sham! They hated the truth Mr. Armstrong restored. They said some of the most terrible things against Mr. Armstrong; even those who praised him were hypocrites. God gave us the victory in the court battle against those evil men! James 5:6, I believe, specifically refers to our court case. These people were antichrists, trying to destroy God’s Work!
“Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain” (verse 7). “Early and latter rain” refers to Mr. Armstrong’s Church era and our Work today in the last era of God’s Church.
Do you have “long patience”? That doesn’t come naturally. We develop patience through trials and tests (James 1:3). But the Laodiceans didn’t have long patience. They didn’t wait to see what God was doing by sending the gospel message to Gentile nations through Mr. Armstrong. They just gave up!
We have to “be patient … unto the coming of the Lord.” “Coming” means “presence.” We want Jesus Christ’s presence here, ruling from David’s throne! God’s people have the noblest honor described in the Bible: to be the Bride of Christ. We want Christ’s presence here because we understand that is the only thing that will end the terrible suffering! That is why Mr. Armstrong prayed, “Thy Kingdom come!”
“Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh” (James 5:8). We must get established spiritually because Christ’s return is so near! Four times in seven verses of James 5 it mentions Christ’s imminent return! Jesus Christ is right at the door! (verse 9).
Who was inspiring Mr. Armstrong to go to Bangladesh and India? Who would want to take the time to go to those two countries? In this case, it was somebody who wants to change India, and then help India change Bangladesh! It was someone who wants to make these countries some of the most beautiful places on Earth, filled with happy, loving people.
The Apostle James was warning of the Laodicean rebellion. Chapter 5 shows us how we can avoid making the same mistakes as the Laodiceans. (This is fully explained in our book Malachi’s Message. Request your free copy.)
The storm of World War iii is on the horizon. It is going to be a tempest the magnitude of which this world has never seen! God is warning the entire world through this Work!
We have to love this Work. If we understand James 5:1-11, we will be galvanized to throw our support behind it. In these verses, God exposes what was happening behind the scenes as Mr. Armstrong was doing the Work and accomplishing something monumentally significant on this Earth. Mr. Armstrong ventured forth where no other minister had the boldness to go! And he asked for nothing in return.
“Elias [Elijah] was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months” (James 5:17). The original Elijah prophesied of rain and drought; he didn’t pray for it (1 Kings 17). But this is talking about the end-time Elijah, Herbert W. Armstrong, praying that spiritual rain would stop.
This shows the power of earnest prayer! During Mr. Armstrong’s final days, he saw what was happening behind the scenes. He didn’t want God to bless the rebellious church with new revelation. But he prayed that after 3½ years, God would begin sending spiritual rain again. (This is all explained in my free booklet The Epistles of James.)
The very first Sabbath after Mr. Armstrong’s death in January 1986, the ministry changed the Church’s commission from Matthew 24:14 to Matthew 28:19-20. They wanted to get people into the Church. They didn’t care about people in Bangladesh or other Gentile nations. They were focused on getting! Of course we want people to come into the Church—but in accordance with God’s way! When you think about the Earth becoming a cemetery, shouldn’t we want to warn the world about that? We need to be a witness and warn them through God’s love!
God never again spoke new revelation through the wcg; He cut the Laodiceans off!
“And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit” (James 5:18). Three and a half years after Mr. Armstrong died, God resumed giving new revelation. He began revealing the truth contained in Malachi’s Message to me in March 1989.
I gave my son the first manuscript on July 15, 1989. He began reading it on July 16—exactly 3½ years after Mr. Armstrong’s death. My son was a freshman in college at the time. The spiritual rain began again in God’s Church with an unbaptized young person! God is bringing all of us into His Family. Ever since that time, we have been happy to prophesy again as a witness—just the way God’s end-time Elijah did! (Revelation 10:11). Our labors have to reach out to the unbaptized, the baptized and the “Bangladeshi”—ultimately to every person on Earth! We need to show people the love of God!
I believe Mr. Armstrong understood a lot about James 5:1-11, when you understand what he prayed in verses 17 and 18. I don’t believe he fully understood, but I believe, at least when he was on his deathbed, he knew what was happening behind the scenes and how the people around him were working against him. We have to see that Mr. Armstrong understood quite a lot before he died. I think that is why God inspired him to use James 5:1-11 in his November 26, 1973, co-worker letter.
Verses 6, 17 and 18 refer directly to Mr. Armstrong. Those in the Philadelphia Church of God are the only ones who understand James 5 today. God has commissioned us to carry on the Elijah work! We have a thunderous message from the God of Elijah. God wants to reach anyone He possibly can as He builds His Family of love.
You can see this in Mr. Armstrong’s example. Studying his meetings with world leaders is fascinating. This had never been done before in the history of man! Those meetings had everything to do with the Creator expressing His love for His creation.
There is great depth in the teaching God gave to Mr. Armstrong. There was a reason for going to Bangladesh! It revolves around the love of God.
Mr. Armstrong’s co-worker letters in the 1970s were some of the most powerful he ever wrote. There are wonderful lessons to be gleaned from them. Yet the ministry in the Church at the time didn’t follow the example he was setting. They didn’t understand—and refused to understand—what he was doing. We have to make sure we understand and obey!
Mr. Armstrong received favor in the eyes of world leaders. God did a miraculous work through him, as explained in his letters. We must follow Mr. Armstrong’s example and get the message out to this world. We need to do all we can to finish the Elijah work and fulfill God’s desire to relieve this world of its suffering! We must warn about what is coming, and supply the hope that awaits the whole world at the soon-coming return of Jesus Christ!