About Our Cover ...
Pictured on our cover is one of the 1946 series of awesome experimental nuclear blasts conducted on Bikini atoll in the South Pacific. What does it mean? Great world leaders confess they fear the quest for world rule by power-mad dictators will end in COSMOCIDE -- atomic SUICIDE of the whole human race -- unless some HIGHER power intervenes and man's character is changed! Learn in this first lesson of the Ambassador College Bible Correspondence Course WHY you need to be concerned with today's chaotic world conditions -- WHY you need to STUDY the Bible! Learn what the Bible, the most MODERN textbook ever written, says about today's world crisis -- and HOW you can ESCAPE the impending nuclear holocaust!
An open letter from THE EDITOR
GREETINGS and WELCOME to our growing family of Ambassador College Bible Correspondence Course students!
This is a totally NEW, DIFFERENT KIND of Bible study course, designed to LEAD you, by the STUDY of your own Bible, to UNDERSTANDING of the meaning of today's world-chaos, of the PURPOSE being worked out here below, of prophecy, of salvation, of this entire Treasure-House of knowledge, which is God's Word -- the TRUTH!
What do present terrifying world conditions MEAN? WHERE are we headed? HOW will mankind be SAVED from extinction by hydrogen and cobalt bombs and other frightful weapons? WHY did God put man here on earth? Were YOU, as an individual, put here for a PURPOSE -- and WHAT is that purpose? WHAT IS MAN -- WHY is man? What is the WAY to world peace the WAY to freedom from fear and worry, poverty, sickness, unhappiness? What is the REWARD -- the future of the saved? Does God actually EXIST -- can it be PROVED? What is God -- what is God like? Is God a person, what does He look like -- how big is He -- and HOW do we know? Can we PROVE whether the Bible really IS the INSPIRED WORD OF GOD?
What about such DOCTRINAL QUESTIONS as heaven, hell, salvation, law and grace, the great tribulation, the rapture the virgin birth, the resurrection, the second coming, the millennium? WHERE are the dead -- and are they now conscious? What about the IMMORTALITY of the soul -- what is MEANT by "body, soul, and spirit"?
All these, and MANY MORE questions -- the most vital, MOST IMPORTANT questions of your life -- are thoroughly gone into, and you are DIRECTED to the clear, plain, SIMPLE ANSWERS, IN YOUR BIBLE! You will learn HOW TO STUDY the Bible -- WHY so few understand it.
This Course is NOT DENOMINATIONAL! It is offered FREE, WITHOUT TUITION COST to those who earnestly desire to understand the Bible and will devote at least a HALF HOUR every day, to its STUDY. The only equipment you will need is your own Bible, a good dictionary, paper and pen -- although, if you are able and wish to provide one or more translations, a good concordance or other Bible "helps," you may -- but this is NOT NECESSARY. You do NOT SEND us the ANSWERS to each lesson, but after each fourth lesson we will send you a TEST to see if you have kept up with your monthly lessons and are still interested in continuing the course.
No diploma or degree is offered -- the VALUE TO YOU is not a diploma, or a piece of paper, but the KNOWLEDGE and UNDERSTANDING you will receive in your mind and heart! The Course is not limited to any certain number of lessons. The Bible is a very big Book, when you undertake to really know it, and THOROUGHLY UNDERSTAND it, and if you pursue this study earnestly and thoroughly, you will not have completely mastered it all, and come to complete knowledge in any short period! The LENGTH of this Course is not as yet determined. We desire to make it comprehensive and thorough, but the length it runs will depend on the interest and perseverance of its enrolled students.
Many THOUSANDS are already enrolled -- ADDITIONAL THOUSANDS are starting the Course every month! The study of the Bible is, and ought to be, a LIFELONG STUDY -- not a six-months, one-year, or four-year limited course. If ENOUGH of our enrolled students show an interest and desire to continue, the Course probably will continue INDEFINITELY! As long as God's people continue to HUNGER for the spiritual food, we, God's servants, will CONTINUE TO FEED THEM!
This is a stirring, vitally interesting Course. It is NOT DRY OR DULL. It SPARKLES WITH INTEREST! But, to benefit by it, you will have to really PUT YOUR HEART INTO IT, and not less than THIRTY MINUTES A DAY of your time. It will have to become the principal and NUMBER ONE INTEREST in your mind, continuously, day by day! There has never been any course like this, and if you will SET YOURSELF to be really devoted to it, you will be richly REWARDED by constantly coming into surprising, thrilling, joyful NEW TRUTHS in each monthly lesson.
As I mentioned before, there is NO TUITION COST, and you will not be asked for contributions, unless, of your own accord and WITHOUT any obligation or solicitation, you should desire to have a PART with our thousands of VOLUNTARY Co-Workers, whose tithes and freewill offerings make this entire work possible. We are not controlled or subsidized, sponsored or endowed or financed by any denomination or organization of any kind -- there are NO SELFISH ENDS TO GAIN -- only a desire to SERVE and SHARE God's precious truths, in a self-sacrificing MINISTRY OF LOVE.
Many of our Co-Workers belong to no denomination. Many, I suppose, belong to various denominations. But ALL, without having any voice to dictate what is preached or taught -- which is dictated by CHRIST ALONE -- do sacrifice to share in Christ's GREAT COMMISSION. This is merely a frank and straightforward explanation of HOW this work is FINANCED -- GOD'S WAY -- and is NOT a request or solicitation!
Sincerely, in Jesus' name,
HERBERT W. ARMSTRONG
WHY SHOULD we want to study the Bible? What IS the Bible? How shall we study it, in order to understand it?
At the very beginning of this course we need to ask, and answer, these questions.
We know God has commanded, "STUDY to SHOW THYSELF APPROVED UNTO GOD." But WHY should we seek to be "approved unto God"?
And is this study to be a tiresome, uninteresting DUTY we force ourselves to undertake because of the stern command of a harsh God -- or is this study to become the most INTERESTING, the most THRILLING, the most ENJOYABLE and PROFITABLE pursuit of our lives?
WHY is the study of the Bible a dull, uninteresting, irksome task to most people -- done, if at all, only as a duty out of fear of a harsh God? Simply because people have not KNOWN God, or what He is like -- and because they have never started to really UNDERSTAND the Bible!
In this study we shall come to really see that God is LOVE -- not a harsh, stern God; that God wants every one of us to be happy, and to ENJOY life to the very full, and to make life INTERESTING -- every second of it! And we shall, once we begin to UNDERSTAND the Bible, come to find it the most fascinating, the most INTERESTING, as well as the most profitable and enjoyable INTEREST that ever came into our lives! Once you get really into it, you'll enjoy this study so much you will hardly be able to wait until the next lesson. You'll find that NO FUN, no PLEASURES, no sports, entertainments or worldly interests were ever so TRULY ENJOYABLE, so delightful, so interesting, so SATISFYING!
Because God is LOVE (I John 4:8,16), He, your Creator who loves YOU, and wants you to be happy and healthy and prosperous, gives you the Bible. It is HIS WORD by which He reveals to you THE WAY out of boredom, fear and worry, sickness and disease, poverty and want, emptiness and discontent. It reveals the WAY to the happy, healthy, prosperous ABUNDANT life which He wants you to enjoy NOW -- and for all eternity!
Theoretically, there are four proper places to BEGIN this course of Bible study.
One is to show you first WHAT the Bible really is, HOW it was written and preserved, HOW to study it, and to show you why it is that so FEW really understand the Bible.
Another natural and proper starting place would be at the very BEGINNING -- with God as CREATOR -- at the very first chapter of Genesis, and compare the Bible account of creation with the modern "scientific" theory of evolution; to study the creation of man, the origin of Satan, the first sin, and to continue on from there through the Old Testament.
The third natural starting point is with the beginning of the New Testament. While the very first words of the entire Bible are "In the beginning GOD created the heaven and the earth" (Genesis 1:1), yet the real beginning of the New Testament, in actual time-sequence of events, is John 1:1: "In the beginning was the WORD." So the account of the pre-existence, the birth, and work of our Saviour -- Jesus Christ, who is called "the Word" or Spokesman of God -- also begins with the words, "IN THE BEGINNING."
And still there is a FOURTH natural STARTING POINT -- and this is the one we have adopted.
That is to begin with this very PRESENT, in which we live -- this time of upset world conditions, when the whole world seems suddenly to have erupted in chaos and physical violence -- this time when scientific discoveries and technological developments have produced destructive forces that threaten the extinction of all life on this planet -- this "TIME OF THE END," just before the END OF THIS AGE, and Christ's Second Coming.
We feel the BIBLE will mean more to you if you fully UNDERSTAND its vital relation to YOUR LIFE today -- its direct connection with WORLD EVENTS you read every day in your newspaper -- hear every day in newscasts and see on television.
If you were to try to understand a map of the world, it would not mean much to you, unless and until you could first put your finger on the precise spot on the map where you, yourself, were at the moment. Only then could you see and comprehend the rest of the world, in relation to your own location on the map. We feel you will understand the Bible better, and find it more interesting, if you view it all -- its history and prophecy -- its teachings and divine revelations -- from the vantage point of YOUR LIFE, NOW -- how this world has led up to the very time, and the conditions, in which you live -- and where it is destined to go from here.
You will find this the most thrilling -- the most interesting, and IMPORTANT experience of your whole life -- IF you apply yourself, and really STUDY!
REMEMBER: this a Bible STUDY course. It is not just something for you to read quickly. What we have written is only the OUTLINE to help you to STUDY your BIBLE. The one textbook of this course is YOUR BIBLE! Always have your Bible open before you when you sit down to STUDY with this course.
EVERYONE is fearful today! We all recognize there is something radically wrong with this world.
The world rule of ATHEISM seems to loom just ahead. Communism has swept over vast areas of the earth. AND MASS DESTRUCTION OF THE EARTH'S INHABITANTS BY HYDROGEN WARFARE LOOMS IMMINENT! HOW can the free nations arrest this evil trend? HOW may they bring world peace?
No one seems to know! The Soviet Union desires no genuine peace. Rumblings are heard of another power, NOW SHAPING UP IN EUROPE, further advanced scientifically than the U.S.S.R. It, too, is seeking world rule.
Scientists frankly say that unless we have WORLD GOVERNMENT the H-bomb and other super weapons will annihilate humanity from the earth. BUT nations HAVE FAILED UTTERLY TO AGREE TO WORLD GOVERNMENT! The Hague Conference, the Pact of Paris, the meetings of Berchtesgaden, Munich, Teheran, Yalta, and Potsdam did NOT bring peace. Neither has the United Nations.
A relatively INEXPENSIVE way has been found to manufacture the A-bomb. Now ALL nations can have this destructive weapon. The OUTLOOK DAILY GROWS MORE SERIOUS. First the A-bomb. Now the H-bomb -- 1000 times more powerful and destructive than the A-bomb dropped on Japan. And when "rigged," a target need not be sought! Dropped in mid-Pacific, with the wind in the right direction, its deadly radioactive cloud would destroy millions of Americans. Neither man, animal, fish nor bird would be spared. There are no limitations as to how powerful it can be made. Yes, THIS world's civilization has come to a CRISIS!
Will the terrible destructiveness of such weapons prevent their use by some power-mad group? History proves it has never prevented the use of new weapons WHEN THE OPPORTUNITY WAS RIGHT!
IT IS TIME TO BE CONCERNED! Man is showing that he is utterly INCAPABLE of governing himself. Formerly, the power-seeking madness of a nation usually ended with the death of its leader -- but now other equally power-mad candidates are trained far in advance to take the place of the leader at his demise, and the race to destruction goes on unabated!
What is the INEVITABLE RESULT? MAN WILL DESTROY HIMSELF FROM THE FACE OF THE EARTH IF LEFT TO HIS OWN DEVICES! "For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And EXCEPT THOSE DAYS SHOULD BE SHORTENED, THERE SHOULD NO FLESH BE SAVED [ALIVE]!" (Matthew 24:21-22 and see Moffatt rendering.)
PHOTO: Children are innocent victims of senseless warfare. Will your loved ones escape the impending nuclear holocaust?
PHOTO: Power-mad dictator Hitler ruled warlike Germans -- brought on World War II. What mad man will soon be responsible for pressing the nuclear trigger of World War III?
Total annihilation of the human race by warfare was NEVER POSSIBLE -- AT ANY TIME IN WORLD HISTORY -- UNTIL 1955! The Encyclopedia Britannica solemnly reports: "... in August 1955 ... there was a general conviction among the governments that both sides in the cold war had sufficient retaliatory power to make hydrogen bomb war SUICIDAL!
No longer do politicians speak in terms of the mass murder of whole cities, or even whole continents. Now they speak of OVERKILL! Already enough nuclear weapons are stockpiled to wipe ALL LIFE from this planet TEN TIMES OVER! Just ONCE would be enough!
Since we cannot save ourselves, WHO CAN SAVE US? THE ANSWER to this question comes from One whose Word has been tested hundreds of times by events foretold by His prophets -- events which have ALWAYS come true. Who was this? What did He say? What He said deeply concerns YOU and ME -- EVERYONE -- for the time is short!
So put all your effort into the study of these lessons. HOW you study them may well have an effect on your future here on this earth and on your future in the life to come also.
God's DIRECT INTERVENTION in world affairs is man's only hope for survival. He is going to send Jesus Christ again -- this time to SAVE US from total annihilation!
Yet COUNTLESS intelligent, well-educated men and women scoff at the idea that Jesus Christ will soon return. They can see NO SENSE WHATEVER IN SUCH AN IDEA!
You've known such people, haven't you? They are the typical product of an age that has lost sight of the reality of God. This age prides itself on being the most intellectual, the most cosmopolitan and "worldly wise" that has ever existed -- yet it has completely lost sight of the very BASIS of all knowledge: WHAT we are, WHY we are, what is the PURPOSE of HUMAN EXISTENCE!
If men knew the answers to these questions, they would understand the completely LOGICAL REASON -- and in fact the ABSOLUTE NECESSITY -- for the soon-return of Jesus Christ to rule this earth.
In spite of earnest attempts to bring about a lasting peace -- TOTAL WAR looms just ahead. With the emergence of the hydrogen bomb -- the possibility of GLOBAL DESTRUCTION IS now a REALITY!
Although we are warned that the ONLY SOLUTION is WORLD GOVERNMENT -- all attempts at achieving this objective have failed miserably.
Our great statesmen and scientists are realizing what this means. They are beginning to FEAR!
The cold, hard FACT IS that HUMAN BEINGS HAVE ABOUT REACHED THE END OF THEIR ROPE. Men have reached the place where they are NO LONGER CAPABLE of protecting themselves against horrifying weapons of their own devising.
When Jesus was here on earth nineteen hundred years ago, He knew what the IDEAS OF MEN would lead to in years to come. Jesus knew that in this END time men would be groping in the dark for the WAY to peace, but would actually be on the verge of HUMAN ANNIHILATION.
"EXCEPT THOSE DAYS SHOULD BE SHORTENED" there should NO FLESH BE SAVED [ALIVE]," He warned (Mat. 24:22). See the Moffatt translation.
The intervention of a higher power IS the only real solution for this world's ills!
In this same momentous prophecy, Jesus gives us a KEY to WHY our present world is in such a terrible state. He warned: "But AS THE DAYS OF NOAH WERE, SO SHALL ALSO the coming of the Son of man be" (Mat. 24:37).
WHAT were men doing in Noah's time that brought on them such terrible DESTRUCTION?
Turn in your Bible to Genesis 6:12 where we find the answer: "And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted HIS WAY upon the earth" ... "and THE EARTH WAS FILLED WITH VIOLENCE" (verse 11). Carnal men had used their own HUMAN REASON and had already departed from the WAY OF LIFE God had originally given.
This substitution of PERVERTED HUMAN REASON for the WAY OF GOD threatens world destruction. Jesus said the very SAME conditions would prevail just before His second coming.
Look at the world around you. Have men been seeking and practicing GOD'S WAY -- or do they always use human reason in justifying continuance in their OWN WAY? As the apostle Paul wrote of all carnal-minded men: "DESTRUCTION and MISERY are in their WAYS: and the WAY OF PEACE have they not known: there is NO FEAR OF GOD before their eyes" (Romans 3:16-18).
STUDY this whole passage carefully. A vital point in understanding God's plan is revealed here. Note that God speaks of a definite WAY of peace -- and that He links ignorance of it to one thing: A LACK OF THE RIGHT KIND OF FEAR -- A GODLY FEAR.
The basic attitude of irreverence and even CONTEMPT FOR THE WILL AND AUTHORITY OF GOD is a prevalent characteristic among people of every station in life today. In our "enlightened age," men no longer FEAR to do wrong.
Where has this led us? Let that famous American J. Edgar Hoover, director of the F.B.I., answer. He knows crime and violence have MORE THAN DOUBLED in the United States during the PAST DECADE!
The statistics he has gathered on U.S. crime are APPALLING! Listen to this SHOCKING report: "Consulting a mountainous array of F.B.I. and police reports, Mr. Hoover said youthful offenders are responsible for 72 percent of total arrests for serious crimes and their involvement has increased for the 'FIFTEENTH CONSECUTIVE YEAR.' The annual crime tally: 2,250,000 serious crimes, a $27,000,000,000 crime bill, 8,500 murders (one an hour), 903 homicides committed by teen-agers, thousands of beatings, stabbings, assaults and robberies." (Published in "St. Louis Globe-Democrat", Jan. 22, 1965)
Yes, CRIME and VIOLENCE are on the rampage! Men are beginning to realize that something is BASICALLY WRONG with this world's society.
But even more ominous than the GROWING MENACE of individual crime is the realization that in our generation the ENTIRE EARTH IS ENDANGERED by SUPER-CRIMINALS -- power-mad dictators in warmongering nations who now have the means to ERASE HUMANITY FROM THIS PLANET!
These fearful times are prophesied and described in your Bible.
Open your Bible now to II Timothy 3:1 and read through the entire chapter. Paul was inspired to write Timothy about the LAST DAYS -- this twentieth century, when CIVILIZATION itself is threatened with oblivion!
"This know also, that IN THE LAST DAYS PERILOUS TIMES shall come," Paul warned. Notice carefully the degenerate condition of men in OUR day -- "covetous," "proud," "TRUCEBREAKERS."
Yes, whole nations today COVET the wealth of others and are willing to KILL AND DESTROY to get it. Rather than seeking the Eternal God, most nations take great PRIDE in their armies and weapons of DESTRUCTION. They BLASPHEME God constantly in word and deed.
What about TRUCEBREAKERS? How good, for instance, is the Soviet's word in a so-called "peace conference"?
In God's sight, men today are FIERCE. Many have "a FORM of godliness," but they deny His POWER to intervene in world events and His AUTHORITY to RULE their individual and collective lives. Men in EVERY NATION seem determined and "hell-bent" to do things their OWN way. And THAT WAY is leading to DEATH.
God inspired Jeremiah to state that the heart of man is "DECEITFUL ABOVE ALL THINGS AND DESPERATELY WICKED" (Jer. 17:9).
HUMAN NATURE HAS NOT CHANGED! Remember that Christ said the conditions in this world just before His second coming would be "as the days of Noah" (Mat. 24:37). NOW, as at that time, God sees "that the wickedness of man [is] great in the earth, and that EVERY IMAGINATION OF THE THOUGHTS OF HIS HEART [IS] ONLY EVIL CONTINUALLY" (Gen. 6:5). "And the EARTH [is] FILLED WITH VIOLENCE" (Verse 11).
Guided by GREED and LUST, man is once again bent on CONQUEST and DESTRUCTION.
World leaders today speak fearfully of COSMOCIDE -- ATOMIC SUICIDE of the whole human race! They talk in terms of "OVERKILL"!
Enough nuclear weapons are now stockpiled in the U.S. and U.S.S.R. to TOTALLY ANNIHILATE all life from this planet TEN TIMES OVER!
Physicist Ralph E. Lapp, atomic age pioneer of Washington, D.C., said that the United States has "enough nuclear explosives to OVERKILL the Soviet Union AT LEAST 25 TIMES! He quoted the Secretary of State as saying the U. S. stockpile may be DOUBLED by 1966"! (UPI report, Oct. 1962.)
PHOTO: Grotesque wreckage of Hiroshima after atomic attack. Mute witness to the destructive forces at man's disposal.
PHOTO: Power-mad dictators, such as Cuba's Fidel Castro, render the United Nations powerless and world peace impossible.
PHOTO: Striking evening view of the United Nations headquarters building and midtown Manhattan skyline. A dying world knows the only solution to its chaotic problems is world government. Yet bickering men can't bring it about!
PHOTO: The race for space has been substituted for true national purpose. The Bible reveals man's misguided scientific genius will destroy all life on earth, unless God intervenes!
Incredible as it sounds, the earth is in DIRE PERIL. But read on for even MORE FRIGHTENING and horrifying developments!
From Montreal, Canada, comes the following astounding news: British scientist Sir Robert Watson-Watts, the developer of radar, says he is making the following disclosure because "I AM NOT OPTIMISTIC THE HUMAN RACE WILL SURVIVE FOR ANOTHER 10 YEARS."
He says there are now THREE WAYS in which the WORLD'S POPULATION CAN BE WIPED OUT IN A FEW HOURS.
The FIRST is the HYDROGEN BOMB -- the SECOND is a deadly toxin which can easily be produced by the BOTULINUS organism. "IT WOULD TAKE ONLY A HALF POUND TO KILL THE ANIMAL AND HUMAN POPULATION OF THE WORLD," he somberly warns!! "And it is easily produced, well known, and, with a well-trained group, could EASILY be made lethal. As the THIRD method of destroying mankind he listed NERVE GASES. THREE WAYS for world-wide annihilation! Think of that!!
Sir Robert and Dr. Brock Chisholm, of Victoria, have "teamed up separately to inform the world of knowledge that should no longer be kept secret" ("Daily Sun", Vancouver, B. C., Jan. 21, 1959).
One high Pentagon official, in Washington, D. C., put it bluntly: "We're scared to death even to mention germ [botulinus] warfare."
SOMETHING DRASTIC MUST BE DONE or man will TOTALLY DESTROY himself.
The basic CAUSE of world chaos, and -- IN PRINCIPLE -- the SOLUTION, has been dramatically stated by two great American statesmen.
In his inaugural address, former President Dwight D. EISENHOWER STATED: "In the swift rush of great events, we find ourselves groping to know the full sense and meaning of the times in which we live ... How far have we come in man's long pilgrimage from darkness toward light? Are we nearing the light -- a day of freedom and peace for all mankind? Or are the shadows of another night closing in upon us? ... Science seems ready to confer upon us, as its final gift, THE POWER TO ERASE HUMAN LIFE FROM THIS PLANET."
Mr. Eisenhower realizes that MAN MAY SOON DESTROY HIMSELF! Then, after setting forth the nine principles which were to govern our international relations, he stated a truth which -- IF PROPERLY APPLIED -- would be a big step toward the solution, not only of our problems, but those of the entire world.
He said, "For this truth must be clear before us: Whatever America hopes to bring to pass in the world must FIRST come to pass in the HEART of America."
Whether he realized it or not, President Eisenhower agreed exactly with God's Word in his statement that in America -- AS IN EVERY NATION -- the HEART, the CHARACTER of men must be CHANGED if we are to have world peace.
Let us now refer to a unique and striking statement made by the late General of the Army, Douglas MacArthur, in regard to the chaotic international situation.
When he was relieved of his command in Korea and ordered to return to this country by former President Truman, GENERAL MACARTHUR made a historic ADDRESS before the assembled Congress of the United States. In that dramatic speech, he made some pointed statements which revealed the depth of his understanding.
He said: "I know war as few other men now living know it, and nothing to me -- and nothing to me is more revolting ... Men since the beginning of time have sought peace ... Military alliances, balances of power, Leagues of Nations, all in turn failed, leaving the only path to be by way of the crucible of war. THE UTTER DESTRUCTIVENESS OF WAR NOW BLOCKS THIS ALTERNATIVE. WE HAVE HAD OUR LAST CHANCE. If we will not devise some greater and more equitable system, our ARMAGEDDON WILL BE AT OUR DOOR. THE PROBLEM BASICALLY IS THEOLOGICAL and INVOLVES a spirit of recrudescence and IMPROVEMENT OF HUMAN CHARACTER that will synchronize with our almost matchless advances in science, art, literature and all the material and cultural developments of the past 2000 years.
"IT MUST BE OF THE SPIRIT IF WE ARE TO SAVE THE FLESH." Let us scrutinize these remarkable statements. Although he was one of the greatest and most successful generals of our time, MacArthur believed that -- in war -- WE HAVE HAD OUR LAST CHANCE!
Both of these men know that the ONLY SOLUTION -- the ONLY HOPE of averting HUMAN ANNIHILATION -- is a renewing of man's SPIRIT -- A CHANGING of man's basically evil nature a rebuilding of man's CHARACTER.
Some men may sincerely want to do right, but they do not know the WAY to peace. They are honestly SINCERE, but honestly WRONG. As Solomon was inspired to write: "There is a way that seemeth RIGHT unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of DEATH" (Pro. 16:25).
God reveals that the normal, carnal WAY that human beings wish to go ends up in DEATH. People deceive themselves by thinking there is no SPECIAL danger right now -- that the world has ALWAYS been like this.
This is true -- IN PART. Human nature HAS always been like this. Carnal man has ALWAYS brought DEATH and DESTRUCTION into the world. However, remember that Paul said, "Evil men and seducers shall wax WORSE and WORSE" (II Tim. 3:13). This, coupled with the stark reality that NEVER BEFORE HAS HUMAN ANNIHILATION BEEN POSSIBLE, OUGHT TO WAKE US UP!
Man has long had guns and powerful shells. Later, tanks and planes came into use. But NOW men have guided missiles which can deliver HYDROGEN BOMBS to destroy ENTIRE CITIES WITHIN A FEW MINUTES!
Now -- for the FIRST time -- human annihilation is not only a POSSIBILITY, but a terrifying REALITY!
And now NOTHING can save man from self-destruction except a divinely wrought CHANGE in human nature -- in man's CHARACTER. In SPITE of all the professing "Christian" churches -- in SPITE of the feeble efforts of the United Nations -- in SPITE of everything man is doing to bring peace and happiness, that change is not humanly possible!
WHAT IS THE ANSWER? ONLY GOD CAN CHANGE MAN'S CHARACTER, and force men to learn the WAY of PEACE. That is WHY Christ is returning to take over the "kingdoms of this world" (Rev. 11:15). That is WHY "He shall RULE them with a rod of iron" (Rev. 19:15).
That is the ONLY way to preserve human life on this planet. Jesus Christ KNEW the terrible state of affairs men would bring on themselves in this end time, when He said: "Except those days should be shortened, there should NO FLESH be saved [alive]" (Mat. 24:22).
May God help you to grasp the SIGNIFICANCE and REALITY of these things as you read these passages. They show that God FORESAW the invention of our present weapons of destruction long before man ever dreamed of them. And they reveal that God had ALREADY planned the ONLY real and logical solution. God's ENTIRE plan is just as LOGICAL and REAL.
The PATTERN for GOD'S little-understood PLAN is given in the first two chapters of Genesis. It is the WEEK of seven days. As God originally set time in motion, He gave man a week of six work days followed by a day of rest. In Hebrews 4:4,11, the seventh day is also a type of the peaceful REST -- a 1000-year rest -- that will follow this PRESENT AGE OF HUMAN LABOR and futile struggle to master the earth.
Observe that after Christ's intervention the time of peaceful rest under His rule is specifically termed "a thousand years" (Rev. 20:4). Since the last "day" of God's 7000-year plan is 1000 years, then the preceding SIX DAYS WHICH HE HAS ALLOTTED FOR MANKIND to WORK out his own ideas would amount to 6000 years. And this is exactly what world events today are proving. Look about you! This world is CRASHING TO ITS DOOM!
Notice your Bible. Many Bibles are complete enough to contain chronological charts showing that human life began on this earth around 4000 years B.C. -- FOUR MILLENNIUMS BEFORE CHRIST. And almost another 2000 years have elapsed since -- making nearly 6000 years of human civilization to date. In other words, the TREND OF WORLD EVENTS is now PROVING we are VERY NEAR THE TIME the scriptures reveal CHRIST will RETURN -- when the probability of world destruction would become a reality. Six thousand years of human history are almost complete. Here, then, is proof -- DOUBLE PROOF -- THAT CHRIST IS COMING in our generation!
The common assumption that man has lived on earth countless tens of thousands of years is an idle dream. Reason disproves it. History and archeology disprove it! SCIENCE disproves it! Strange as it may seem, the theory of man's evolution is not only unproved, but irrefutably DISPROVED when we understand the FACTS. A soon coming lesson will give you these FACTS so you may study them in your home!
The apostles did not fully understand this PLAN OF GOD when Christ was yet on earth. They thought the Kingdom would be established in their day -- after only about 4000 years of God's plan had been completed. But before they died, the APOSTLES KNEW GODžS PLAN. Peter said: "The Lord is not slack concerning the promise [of Christ's coming] ... but is longsuffering" (II Peter 3:9). God is patient. He has refrained from intervening in world affairs for nearly 6000 years. Why?
Because He will not intervene until humanity is forced to cry out to God in utter fear of COSMOCIDE!
Notice that this DAY of Christ's intervention and rule is compared to "a thousand years" (Rev. 20:4). Peter also says the same thing -- that a day in God's PLAN is as "a thousand years," and "a thousand years" of human civilization is as ONE day in His planned week of seven 1000-year days (II Peter 3:8).
Peter knew that CHRIST WOULD COME AFTER SIX ONE-THOUSAND YEARS of human struggle and slavery -- that God would send Jesus Christ to set up His government in the seventh one-thousand years, which will usher in a time of rest and peace.
How AWE-INSPIRING that in our day -- at the very time the world is threatened with extinction of life 6000 years have ALMOST ELAPSED! How MARVELOUS that Jesus Himself said that when we see this taking place HE WOULD COME AGAIN!
Now we are ready for the actual lesson. BUT WAIT! Is your Bible in front of you? If not, go and GET YOUR BIBLE. Also several sheets of paper, and a pencil or pen, so you can MAKE NOTES to help you remember what you learn. This course is based on the King James Version because we find it the most accurate.
Got them? That's fine! Now we are ready to begin this lesson. REMEMBER -- you must OPEN your Bible TO EVERY PASSAGE we give you in this lesson. You must READ AND REREAD, actually STUDY every passage IN YOUR BIBLE. This is a Bible STUDY course -- a study of the BIBLE, not just a study of these words we have sent you. Our words are intended to show you WHERE to look in your Bible -- to HELP you to know HOW to study the BIBLE.
Now, with your Bible, a good DICTIONARY, and your note paper and pencil or pen on a desk or table before you, here is the method of study: Write down, neatly, on your note paper, the caption "Lesson 1," and underscore it. Then write the lesson title: "Why Study the Bible?"; and under that the first question section heading, "What Is the End of the World?" Underneath, number each question, and WRITE DOWN THE ANSWER, in your own handwriting. As EXAMPLES for the questions, this is what you will write on your note paper:
1. Mat. 24:3 -- "And as Jesus sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto Him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of Thy coming, and of the end of the world?" Also write in any other thoughts or comments you want to remember.
When you have finished this question, and have studied it and are sure you understand it, then read question 2. Write down your own answer to the question, after reading the comment, and any Bible passages that may be quoted in the question. After question 3, write down your answer, and also write down every word of the Bible verse, Mat. 24:22.
You would do well to purchase, at a book store or stationery store, a supply of looseleaf note paper with the three large holes punched in the side, just like these lessons. Also buy a binder, and keep these lessons and your own notes and answers fastened in the binder. DO NOT SEND US YOUR WRITTEN ANSWERS TO THESE LESSONS. Keep them for REFERENCE.
Some may ask, "Is this WRITING REALLY NECESSARY?" YES! Here is why!
Writing down all the words of every Bible passage that answers a question will help you to REMEMBER what you have learned. Also, you can QUICKLY REVIEW your lessons if you have them in this form. And it will aid you greatly in explaining the Bible to others.
We are giving you the BRIEF, COMPREHENSIVE, TRUE OUTLINE OF THE BIBLE. We know of no other place where you can obtain it! You will often want to refer to these lessons AND YOUR OWN NOTES in future years as you apply them to clear up related points in the Bible.
Remember, you are to spend at least a half hour every day studying YOUR BIBLE with this Correspondence Course. TESTS WILL BE SENT AFTER EACH GROUP OF FOUR LESSONS. Now we are ready ...
1. Was Jesus ever questioned about the now threatening doom of civilization -- THE END OF THIS AGE and the signs of His return? Matthew 24:3.
2. Does this verse refer to the end of the PHYSICAL EARTH? -- or does it refer to the end of this PRESENT AGE of human misrule? How do modern translations of the Bible properly render Mat. 24:3?
COMMENT: There are THREE basic Greek words inspired in the New Testament which are rendered by the ONE English word "WORLD" in the King James Version. The original Greek word used in Mat. 24:3 is "aion", meaning AGE! -- not the physical earth on which we live.
JESUS, then, was questioned about the END OF THIS "AGE" -- the end of this present civilization -- rather than the destruction of the terrestrial globe.
3. WHAT did Jesus declare would HAPPEN IF HE WERE NOT TO RETURN? Mat. 24:22.
COMMENT: This verse is NOT referring to salvation -- but to being saved from physical destruction -- from death! Moffatt translates the verse clearly as "NOT A SOUL WOULD BE SAVED ALIVE."
4. Does Jesus prophesy that ONLY the Jews, or ONLY the Christians, would be threatened with total destruction? Or does he prophesy that "NO FLESH" would be saved from the threat of annihilation? Doesn't this prove that God MUST intervene to prevent the annihilation of ALL HUMANITY?
5. When the nations will be destroying one another in SUICIDAL ATTEMPTS to gain world control, will God's intervention CUT SHORT the number of days of world-engulfing war? Compare Mat. 24:22 with Mark 13:20.
COMMENT: These verses do not mean that God will alter His broad timetable of world events, but that, JUST AS HE PLANNED ORIGINALLY, He will intervene at the very time humanity would otherwise destroy itself. By His scheduled intervention He will cut short the DAYS OF MAN'S RULE over man, which otherwise would lead to the annihilation of all human life.
1. Has there EVER been a TIME OF TROUBLE such as will occur at the close of this age? Matthew 24:21. What does Mark 13:19 say about it?
2. Did any of the prophets foresee this same time of world-wide peril? Jeremiah 30:7, Daniel 12:1. As each of these verses explains that there NEVER HAS BEEN before, and never will be afterward, another similar period of trouble, could they be referring to four different events, or ONLY to ONE CLIMACTIC PERIOD at the close of this age?
3. Do the prophets picture the horrible events at the close of this age AS THE RESULT of ravaging destruction in MODERN SCIENTIFIC WAR FARE? Joel 2:1-3. Read also Isaiah 33:11-12. Will there ever again be a time like this? Why would this prophecy of Joel be referring to the same time as Jesus' prophecy? Could widespread destruction, such as Joel describes, have occurred as a result of older and outmoded methods of warfare?
4. Or could it happen for the FIRST and ONLY time in OUR day, with the invention of atom and HYDROGEN BOMBS, guided missiles and horrifying GASES which can exterminate civilization? Rev. 9:5-10 and 16-19. Do the symbols here in Revelation indicate the TORMENT of poison gas and MASS MURDER by the latest scientific weapons?
COMMENT: For the time sequence of Revelation, write Mr. Armstrong for the FREE booklets, "Key to the Book of Revelation" and "The Book of Revelation Unveiled at Last"!
JOHN WAS DESCRIBING WAR WEAPONS OF OUR DAY, which he saw in vision, BY THE CHARACTERISTIC SYMBOLS OF HIS DAY. EARLY CHRISTIANS KNEW THEY WERE SYMBOLS BECAUSE SUCH THINGS NEVER EXISTED THEN. YET JOHN COULD NOT USE MODERN WORDS SUCH AS "TANK" OR "ROCKET" BECAUSE NO ONE -- AND NO TRANSLATOR -- COULD HAVE UNDERSTOOD THE MEANING.
5. Let us momentarily consider a time, over 4300 YEARS AGO, when GOD INTERVENED in human affairs TO POSTPONE what we see threatening the world today. Did human beings want to make a great name for themselves and keep the world UNITED under human authority? Genesis 11:4.
6. WHY did God intervene BY SCATTERING the races and confusing the language at Babel? Verse 6.
7. Doesn't this indicate that GOD HAS had A PLAN in POSTPONING and RESTRAINING the inventive genius of man? Doesn't Genesis 11:6 also prove that when human beings attempt to create one world, learn to speak one another's languages, and finally POOL their combined wealth and scientific KNOWLEDGE, that NOTHING would be RESTRAINED from them? -- that they would ultimately destroy themselves by their own inventions?
God promises to intervene to prevent the annihilation of humanity. He will also have to prevent future wars by removing the CAUSE of war!
1. What is the BASIC CAUSE OF WAR? James 4:1-2. 2. Are the desires and passions of HUMAN NATURE FUNDAMENTALLY good or evil? Compare Luke 11:13 with Romans 3: 10-19.
3. Do the actions and decisions that seem right to great leaders and to the people in general often end in terrible results? Proverbs 14:12. Is this proverb so vital that God thought it worthy of extra emphasis through repetition? Proverbs 16:25.
4. Does MANKIND REALLY KNOW THE WAY TO PEACE? Romans 3:17. What Old Testament prophet recognized man's real understanding of peace? Isaiah 59:8.
5. In their ignorance, hatred and cowardice, did the rulers of the world kill Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace? I Corinthians 2:8.
6. WHAT DECEIVES MAN into believing that actions which end in death will bring peace? Jeremiah 17:9. (Remember that in Scripture, the HEART is spoken of proverbially as the center or seat of human nature.) Then can rulers be deceived by their OWN LUSTS into believing that their evil deeds are right and good for the world?
7. Did PAUL FORESEE that men at the close of this age would be traitors, trucebreakers, greedy, coveting the wealth and territories of one another? II Timothy 3:1-5.
8. Does KNOWLEDGE tend to increase pride? I Cor. 8:1. Does undue AUTHORITY lead to vanity? I Tim. 3:6. Since we live in an age of INCREASING SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE, which makes it possible for a few men to amass stupendous industrial and scientific power, will human nature make MEN become better and better or WORSE AND WORSE? II Timothy 3:13.
9. Is it now possible, through the inventions of science, for the greedy to covet, seize and destroy more than ever before?
1. Will there be SCOFFERS in the last days denying that civilization is threatened with extermination by mad dictators? II Pet. 3:3,4.
2. Has human nature basically changed? Mat. 24:37-39 and Luke 17:26. Though human nature has not basically altered since Noah's day, have the scientific means of destruction remained the same? Do the nations create greater and GREATER POWERS for peace? -- or for MASS MURDER?
3. Are the people today REALLY CONCERNED about the mortal danger of suicidal war for world dominion? Mat. 24:39. Are people AWAKE enough to world events even to expect it? Does the WORLD go on in its day-to-day routine WITHOUT HEEDING WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN?
4. Will human efforts to re-educate the world and plans for peace prevent annihilation? Isa. 33:7-8. When ambassadors of peace weep bitterly -- when cities are leveled -- will God intervene to save humanity? Verse 10.
5. Throughout the Bible, WAR is pictured as a PENALTY OF SIN -- imposed as the result of lust or covetousness (James 4:1-2). Can ambassadors of the nations forgive sin? Can they therefore PERMANENTLY stop WAR, which is its penalty?
COMMENT: Worldwide peace cannot come unless the PENALTY of sin is forgiven by an equal payment. Obviously ONLY CHRIST CAN STOP ALL WAR because He alone paid the full penalty -- DEATH. Christ DIED so that we need not all die in the coming horrifying holocaust. God will suspend the penalty upon the human family by soon intervening in human affairs. His Son already voluntarily transferred the penalty to Himself, in our stead.
6. After intervening, WILL CHRIST SET ABOUT TO RE-EDUCATE THE WORLD AND REMOVE THE BASIC CAUSE of war? Isa. 2:3-4 and Micah 4:1-4. Instead of being taught -- as in today's educational institutions -- how to create instruments of annihilation to destroy fellow humans, will the people then BE TAUGHT to exercise CONTROL and be given DISCIPLINE OVER HUMAN NATURE -- to guide inventive genius wholly into peaceful channels?
7. Will NATIONS have to BE REBUKED with authority? Isa. 34:2. Will they be taught the right way to live -- the way to peace? Isa. 30:21.