The World Tomorrow -- Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong -- June 08, 1979 -- Pagan Traditions and Christ's Parables
THE WORLD TOMORROW
Herbert W. Armstrong brings you the Plain Truth about today's world news and the prophecies of The World Tomorrow
Pagan Traditions and Christ's Parables
...and all of that. People still believe that just like Adam did. They wouldn't believe God.
But we are mortal and we are dust and while we have a mind that far exceeds and excels anything that we find in the brain, for instance, of any other animal life on the face of the earth, such as dogs or monkeys or cats or elephants or snakes or fish or birds or anything that you can see, nevertheless, our minds are limited. And oh, what a good thing it is that our minds and our mind power and our other powers are limited.
Now, God has given us of some of His own powers, the power of mind -- the power to think, to plan, to design, to carry out our designs. No other being that you know can do it except God. And if we had more power how would we use it? How have we used the power God gave us? Well, I just say to you, look at the powers of destruction that we have invented. Look at what we are devoting our students and their time in the technological institutions to doing. Well, it's a good thing that God didn't give us greater powers because we're developing the greatest engines of destruction possible with what powers we have and do you know if man had had greater powers he would have wiped human life off the face of this earth long ago if God had allowed it. That's exactly what we would have done.
Now, we're in this unhappy state because men rejected God because men didn't recognize and realize that we're just poor mortals and that the mind of God is so much greater than ours and that we can have a contact with God and that from God we can receive wisdom and knowledge and that we can learn the way that God set in mind and know the things that we ought to know and that we need to know so badly that we don't know in order to be happy.
So the first mistake man made was cutting himself off from God and from all access of that knowledge, that wisdom, that guidance, that direction and the supplying of our need that can come only from God and God, who created man, created man deficient and in need of those things and without all of those things. He gave us a certain amount of mind power but not enough. We need to draw on the power of mind of God for wisdom, for knowledge, for direction that we lack. And the wise man is the man who realizes that and who knows his limitations as well as his powers and his abilities and who will call on God for that which he needs and does not have which he lacks and where his mind stops short. Oh, that's only the point of wisdom and common sense. But no, men are so vain, so proud in their own little tiny turkey-brain minds that they wouldn't call on God. Why they think they are more important than God, they're bigger than God right now. What ignorance. What stupidity. And yet, that's the kind of men we have that are at the helm in this world.
Now, another thing, God set a law in motion to regulate our relationship with our human neighbors right here on the earth and man has always rejected it. And that law says, "It is more blessed to give than to receive." That you will be more prosperous and you will be happier if you love your neighbor as yourself and if you are honest with your neighbor and try to give him a little best of the bargain if possible instead of taking it yourself. Instead of vanity, selfishness and greed if you have the spirit of humility of reliance on God and of seeking God's wisdom and knowledge, God's guidance, God's powers, God's help.
You see the carnal mind is blinded to spiritual values and the great values are the spiritual values and the carnal mind can't see them because it can't see spiritual things. The ear can't hear spiritual things. The nose can't smell them and the mouth can't taste them and the fingers can't feel them and a man cannot know normally and naturally spiritual truths.
Now, God would reveal them. God stands ready to reveal them. He did to Adam. There was the Tree of Life which was merely the symbol of the Holy Spirit available to Adam. He could have come into the knowledge of those great things, those great forces and powers -- the spiritual knowledge that is the greatest source of all knowledge which he lacked.
Now, God did not make man, did not design and create man equipped to understand those things. He made us with five senses and they're all material. And the only knowledge that can come into our mind is material knowledge. But God made man so he could acquire the additional knowledge that he lacks -- spiritual knowledge.
But too many people are like a young lady that said to me one time, "Well, you know God just doesn't seem real to me." So, she wants to turn away from Him, doesn't want anything to do with God because to her little silly mind, God doesn't seem real. He could seem real. But I noticed that when this young woman, when I explained to her how God could become real, she wasn't a bit interested in that. She doesn't want God to become real because she wants her own foolish ways and then wonders why she isn't happier and wonders why her ways are not leading to happiness.
Now, God set laws in motion to bring us happiness.
One of those laws, the first one of all of them is that we need a contact with God so that He can reveal the knowledge and the wisdom that we lack and can give us the guidance that we need and which our minds are not equipped to give us. I tell you, my friends, if someone would offer to sell you that for so much money and if it took you ten thousand dollars to buy it, you'd work your heart out and you'd go without everything else and try to slave and save to earn that ten thousand dollars to go out and buy it if you could buy it with money. God offers that precious gift -- direction, knowledge from Him, a revelation of knowledge through the Power of His Holy Spirit without money and without price and we treat it cheaply, we don't seem to want it.
What are we, any how?
Don't you think we poor humans need to stop and examine our own little feeble minds and see what's wrong with us? We have imagined that we were so important, you know, in our own minds and we're not. When can we wake up and see the truth?
God has set laws in motion that would make us happy, laws that would bring us peace, laws that would give us prosperity, laws that would make our lives full and interesting and abundant and through which by having contact with God we could come to receive His gift through Jesus Christ of eternal life and immortality. But mankind has spurned it.
Now, that's why we do not have peace. That's why we have war. That's why we have strife. That's why we have even physical sickness and disease. We have even thrown away God's laws of health and we're not concerned about them. We've thrown all of it away.
It was in such a world strayed far from God and the knowledge of God, the wisdom of God, the health, the advantages that man could receive from God if he had the good sense to go and get it. It was in such a world that God sent His only begotten Son with a message...with a message to point out to mankind the way of happiness and peace.
God has set aside a six thousand year period during which He will not interfere with mankind. God has made man a free moral agent. He revealed to the first man His way of life. He revealed to the first man His Laws. He revealed to Adam the man's need of God and the accessibility of God and the terms and conditions under which he could come to God and have all the wealth of the knowledge, the guidance, the help that everything that can only come from God. Adam turned it down. Men became so evil that finally God had to send a flood and destroy all but eight souls.
You would have thought they learned their lesson but soon a man rose up in the third generation after Noah who built cities, made himself a human despot, set for his purpose that of emancipating men from the rule and the Government of God who began to try to picture God as a tyrant and as a harsh stern God -- that horrible terrible judge -- that is trying to get happiness for himself out of the misery, the pain and suffering and the unhappiness of man. Now, that's a mythical God. The true God is a God of love.
But Nimrod developed cities and empires and started this system of human government, this pattern of modern society. They knew the essence of the true Gospel and that Jesus Christ was to come born of a virgin. They counterfeited all of that hundreds and hundreds of years before Christ. And there was a so called virgin who wasn't actually a virgin but was the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth but made herself a Madonna. The mother and child story started hundreds of years before Christ because they had a certain knowledge and they tried to counterfeit and imitate all that was coming and to get the jump on God. And, my friends, this whole world is steeped in that pagan theory and idea today which is a counterfeit that has replaced the real and the genuine and the people are so drugged by the counterfeit and by the false teachings and the false doctrines that they don't even know what they believe.
Well, then God raised up a nation. And to that nation, through their prophets, Israel, He revealed His truth, His Government, His way.
Well, they got in a quarrel among themselves, they divided into two nations. And first the nation Israel and later the nation Judah rejected God and God's Laws, God's ways -- they were driven out into slavery and the government turned over to the Gentiles that never knew God and never acknowledged Him in the first place rather than those who had know Him and spurned Him and rejected when they had the knowledge of the Truth. And so, we had this kind of a material world, this pagan civilization that has been built up.
In nineteen hundred years ago a little more than that, Jesus Christ came into the world, the only begotten Son of God. And God sent Him with the Message of the Truth. He came with the Gospel. And His Gospel men rejected. They not only rejected Christ, my friends, they rejected His Gospel.
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HERBERT W. ARMSTRONG:
You know there was a great persecution against Christians in first one, two, three hundred years after Christ. But they began to find, the pagans began to learn that the more they persecuted and the more they martyred and killed the Saints, the real Christians, the more people were converted and the more Christians they still had left. For everyone they would kill, two or three more became converted and they just couldn't stamp them out.
So, then they decided, "Well, look here we've got a clever counterfeit anyhow. Let's us worm our way in. Let's join and pretend we're Christians and let's get our pagan doctrines in and put Christian sounding names on them and let's be clever, let's deceive the people. Let's profess Christ. Let's get in and accept Christ but turn people away from His Message. And the way we'll deceive them is we'll uphold Christ, we'll profess Christ, we'll make a great deity of Christ. We'll acknowledge that part of it because it is written where Jesus said, 'In vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men...and making [the Law of God] the Word of God of no effect by your tradition...'"
They knew that if they could just turn the people away from the Law of God and from obedience to God and the way of God that they could profess Christ and accept Him and receive Him and worship Him and all in vain and still they'd be lost and the people would be deceived. And they said, "Look. We will get our pagan theories, we'll get our religion in there but we'll put a new label on the outside of the package and instead of calling it paganism we will call it Christianity."
Why, my friends, do you know what happened? They took that old day in which they had celebrated the birthday of their God the Sun -- Sol the sun god and of a son that was supposed to be born of him of a virgin who was really Semiramis who was the mother of all harlots and her illegitimate son they took as a real savior born of a virgin. She was the one hundreds and hundreds of years before Christ that started the mother and child theory -- the Madonna idea. So they said, we'll take this in there and on the day that we have always observed as his birthday, we will call that now the birthday of Christ.
Now, actually Christ wasn't born anywhere near December the twenty-fifth at all. Jesus never told us to celebrate His birthday. God never said through any prophet, it is not in any place in the Bible that you should celebrate Christ's birthday. But they said, "We'll put that in and people won't know the difference and we'll call it Christian and we'll call it a 'Mass of Christ' instead of the birthday and the mass of this old Sol the sun god."
And so they deceived the people and they pulled the wool over their eyes and they brought in that pagan thing to turn them away from God. And people can't see any harm with it. They say, "Well, what if it is pagan, what's the harm with it. You know, it's so nice for the children."
Yes, isn't it wonderful to teach your children lies? Isn't it wonderful to deceive your children and to get them steeped in the ways of pagans and of heathens and to turn them away from the true God? Isn't that wonderful you people that have been doing that abominable thing -- an abomination to God Almighty I'm telling you in the name of Jesus Christ. And it's time that someone had the courage to tell you.
You look in the Bible in the tenth chapter of Jeremiah, you'll find the Christmas tree described, because in Jeremiah's day six hundred years before Christ, they had their Christmas trees. They cut them out with the axe in the forest. They fastened with nails in the house. They put gold and silver and trinkets on them and decorated them all up and decked them out and they laid their presents under them. God Almighty tells you in the tenth chapter of Jeremiah that that's the way of the heathen and He gives you a command, "Learn not the way of the heathen." But you say, "Well, everybody does it. We don't see any harm in it."
You know the way of paganism has always been the way that seems right to a man. God Almighty says, "There is a way that seemth right unto a man, the ends thereof are the ways of death." That's why we're unhappy. That's why we have wars. That's why, my friends, we have sickness and disease. That's why your lives are empty and not full and abundant. That's why you have heartaches and headaches and emptiness and fears and worries and why your lives are not happy because you won't turn to God and to His way to find it. And when He shows you His way in the Bible, you say, "Well, yeah I know, but here's the way I look at it." And you use your own reason. And it's man's reason that has been leading him to every bit of this heartache and every bit of the sickness and the suffering till our hospitals are full to overflowing our insane asylums are filled with people. They need not be.
And we have wars that we need not have and World War III is coming but it need not come if only we would turn to God. But we won't. Why won't you my friends? Are you offended at me because I tell you the Truth and I'm telling you the way to peace and to happiness? I'm telling you the way of all of you would listen and this voice is being heard all over the North American continent. You could hear and you could respond if you would and prevent World War III. There are enough of you listening to me right now that if every one of you would be honest at heart and turn to God with all your heart and with fasting and with weeping and surrender your lives to Him and pray your heart out to Him for the peace of the world and begin to obey Him. And when you see something like it says in the tenth chapter of Jeremiah "learn not the way of the heathen" if you would respond and do it, there are enough of you listening right now that could prevent World War III coming, that is coming as certainly as the sun rises and sets on this earth, but you could prevent it.
Let me tell you something, you could do it. And every one of you the responsibility is yours, you've heard. If you don't when it comes remember God is going to hold you accountable. Just how guilty are you going to be? You could prevent it. Will you do it or won't you?
Why do we have wars? Because God has let man do as man wants to do. And if God intervened and made you do the thing that is right and said, "Look it is wrong. You don't see why, but this thing of the Christmas tree, for instance, is wrong."
That's only one little thing. I'm not meaning to make that a big issue. It's only one of many of thousands of things that you do that God says are an abomination to Him.
The churches uphold these things. Why? They say, "We follow the Word of God. We teach people to live by every Word of God." Do they? Do they teach you what I'm telling you now? Oh, my friends, you know they don't.
Why don't we get honest with God? Why don't we turn and rend our hearts and turn to Him? Why don't we come to the place we can have peace? But, listen, if the world won't, if you will turn yourself, you can have peace in your own heart and soul. What about you? Will you do it? Or will you still resist God?
"The carnal mind is enmity against God: it is not subject to ... God, neither indeed can be." What about your mind?
The way you've been living, my friends, has not paid off, those of you who have not turned to God. Those of you who have know that your former way didn't pay off but it certainly is paying you big dividends now and you're happy and you have peace of mind. You still have your troubles but God delivers you out of them all. Those of you who have turned to God you know that. When will this world wake up and turn to God?
Well, Jesus brought a Message. Men have tried to stamp out that Message. For eighteen hundred years it hasn't been preached. They've been preaching Jesus. They've been preaching about Him. They've been making Jesus known. They've preached Christ to the nations. Oh, yes. But they have not preached His method and His message of obedience to God and the Law of God which they try to tear out of the Bible and the Law of God is the way to peace. The Law of God is the way to prosperity and to happiness and everything that we lack. The reason we don't have it is because God is letting man go his own way and man thinks God is wrong. He won't go God's way.
Now, it was in such an age that Jesus came. To His disciples He said, "Blessed are your eyes for they see and your ears for they hear. For verily," He said, "I say unto you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see the things that you see, they saw them not." The time hadn't come for them to be revealed back to Abraham and to Moses and to Isaiah and to Jeremiah and to Daniel and those prophets. But Jesus began to reveal these things then to His disciples.
"And," He said, "to hear the things that you hear, and they heard them not. Hear then ye the parable of the sower."
Now, here was the first parable that we have been coming to in this series in which He had spoken in parables so the people out there that were without, it wasn't given to them to understand. And He spoke in parables so they could not understand. But to His own disciples, now, He explained the parables in plain language.
He said, "Hear ye then the parable of the sower."
"When any one heareth the word of the kingdom..."
He was speaking of the Kingdom of God which is the Government of God -- God's rule over our lives.
And God rules by His Bible. And when you come to something in the Bible and you say, "Well, I know the Bible says it but here's the way I look at it." Or, "this is the way my church looks at it." Or, "here is the way our people are doing and I'm like a dumb sheep, I'm going follow all these heathen people around here." That's where you make the Word of God of none effect.
He was talking about the Kingdom of God.
"And when anyone hears it and understands it not, then cometh the evil one, and snatcheth away that that is sown in his heart [and so on]..."
Now, He continued talking about the Kingdom of God. Then He came to another parable. Here it is in Mark the fourth chapter, the twenty-sixth verse.
"And he said, So is the kingdom of God [so is the kingdom of God], as if a man should cast seed upon the earth and should sleep and rise night and day, and the seed should spring up and grow, he knoweth not how [and so on]..."
Another parable. "So is the kingdom of God..." Even His parables which He did explain to His own disciples had to do with the message He came to preach the Kingdom of God -- that's the Government of God -- it also is the Family of God -- into which you can be born if you'll be begotten now and later can be born into it but flesh and blood cannot inherit it. You have not been born again if you're still flesh and blood because flesh and blood has not been born into the Kingdom of God -- that's being born of the Spirit, not of the flesh.
Now, Matthew thirteen, verse twenty-four, here comes the parable of the tares.
And Jesus said, "Another parable set he before them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto..." And here again was the Kingdom of God and what it was like. All the way through His Gospel, He preached the Kingdom of God, the Government of God.
A young man came to Him and said, "Good master, what good thing shall I do that I may inherit eternal life that I may be saved?"
Why didn't Jesus say like the preachers today? "Why, my good man, there's nothing you should do. There are no works to it, just accept Christ." He didn't say that. He told him what to do and it was keep the Commandments and obey God and do what God says instead of what you think and what the denominations and the churches of men are telling you.
And so it goes. I want to go on through these parables a little more in the next broadcast.
The next one, He said, "Hear the parable of the mustard seed. How then shall we liken the kingdom of God?" The next one the parable of the leaven. Another parable -- "the Kingdom of Heaven is like unto..." And so it goes. He preached the Gospel of the Kingdom of God.
My friends, many of you think you're saved and you're not. Write for our booklet. Put yourself to the test. Don't be afraid to find out. Write for our booklet on living faith -- "What Kind of Faith Is Required for Salvation?" There is no charge. And ask for the "Plain Truth" magazine.
Until tomorrow, goodbye, friends.