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The Good News – December 1979

from Herbert W. Armstrong

DID GOD REALLY CUT OFF ALL MANKIND FROM HIM – except only the VERY few specially predestinated to be called? DO YOU REALLY BELIEVE He did? Would that be UNFAIR?

BY FAR THE MOST universal error and misunderstanding in fundamental Christianity of this world is the belief that NOW is the ONLY day of salvation – that God is desperately TRYING to get everybody saved (spiritually) and Satan cunningly trying to keep everybody “lost.”

They look on this as GOD’S WORLD. But they don’t realize SATAN is the god of this world.

Jesus said, “No man CAN come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him” (John 6:44). That says all are SHUT OFF – unable to come to Christ, except those whom the Father has predestinated to be called NOW!

Is God unfair?

Is that UNFAIR on God’s part? Are you sure you UNDERSTAND WHY Jesus said that – WHY God cut ALL HUMANITY off from Him and from access to Him, up to now – except the VERY few God has predestinated to be called NOW? WHY God hides Himself from the world?

It all started with Adam in the Garden of Eden.

Now see if we can understand something perhaps you have never really understood before.

What has been overlooked is that in the CHOICE Adam had to make, God required that he choose which tree to REJECT as well as which to TAKE.

Satan was just around the corner, so to speak, waiting for a chance to tempt Adam into REJECTING God, even as he himself had rejected God, God’s LAW and His WAY – God’s GOVERNMENT – when he was the archangel Lucifer.

If Adam REJECTED God as Creator and Ruler over the GOVERNMENT OF GOD – as he did – what did God do?

Actually the tree of LIFE was symbolic of God’s Holy Spirit, but also of God as LORD over the government of God, as source of religion and as revealer of basic knowledge.

Satan tempted Adam through his wife Eve. Adam took of the forbidden tree.

In so doing, he TOOK TO HIMSELF THE KNOWLEDGE OF WHAT IS GOOD AND WHAT IS EVIL! In so doing he REJECTED God as Revealer of that and all basic knowledge, as well as Lord and Ruler in government.

He rejected God as Giver of ETERNAL LIFE!

In taking of the forbidden tree, he REJECTED the tree symbolic of the HOLY SPIRIT and sovereignty of GOD. He REJECTED GOD, God’s GOVERNMENT, God’s WAY of life.

Man cut off from God

Then what did God do? Genesis 3:22-24, God drove him out of the garden and BARRED ACCESS TO THE TREE OF LIFE lest he take, in sin, and cut Adam, and all offspring from him, off from God and the gift of the Holy Spirit EXCEPT the infinitesimal FEW God predestinated to be specially called in preparation for the future KINGDOM OF GOD.


Supposing God had NOT cut mankind off from access to His Holy Spirit. Consider what would have happened.

Satan was still on earth’s throne, though disqualified as earth-wide ruler. Man would have TAKEN God’s Holy Spirit, the gift of eternal life, without repentance – while being led by Satan – living in sin that would have resulted in an ETERNAL LIFE in total UNHAPPINESS, mental torment, wretchedness, utter hopelessness!


That would have been immortally UNFAIR to humanity.

Can you see how it would have been supremely UNFAIR had God allowed man to bring such a fate on himself?

That is WHY God cut mankind off for 6,000 years – until CHRIST could come, REJECT and OVERCOME Satan, take on Himself the penalty of human sins, qualify to RULE in GOD’S LOVE on that throne of the earth, replacing Satan and putting Satan AWAY from mankind!

God put mankind – all but the few CALLED – in a state cut off from God, but NOT YET JUDGED OR CONDEMNED!

Meanwhile He has called those He chose because they were the ones God felt might, as Christ had, REJECT Satan and His evil ways, ACCEPT the GOVERNMENT OF GOD through faith in Christ, and as Jesus did, overcome Satan, even though specially tempted by him.

Those of us called now, IF we repent, overcome Satan, this world and ourselves, shall inherit the KINGDOM OF GOD and SIT WITH GOD ON HIS THRONE, when we shall then – with Satan gone – undertake to SAVE THE WORLD!

Those from Adam to now who died, not yet being judged, will be resurrected to mortal life in the GREAT WHITE THRONE Judgment, and be then, after the Millennium, called to repentance and the gift of IMMORTAL LIFE – with no Satan to tempt and oppose them!

Above all, the Creator God is creating RIGHTEOUS and HOLY CHARACTER! That comes from REJECTING the evil WAY and turning voluntarily to the way of God’s love.

But how has Satan deceived?

Satan poses as an angel of LIGHT! He deceives the world into accepting HIM as GOD! He deceives into thinking evil is righteousness and God’s law is evil. He deceives the Christian world into believing that they can gain ETERNAL LIFE through Christ WITHOUT repentance of transgressing God’s law!

Satan deceives the traditional Christian world into believing they can have free access to the “tree of life” – eternal life – salvation – while still in their sins.

Jesus warned first, that “Many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive MANY” (Matt. 24:5). He said through Paul of these deceived ministers: “For such are FALSE APOSTLES, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles [those sent with the Gospel]of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of LIGHT. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed [misrepresent themselves] as the ministers of righteousness” (II Cor. 11:13-15).

Actually the false gospel of the professing Christian world represents that God did NOT bar entrance to the “tree of life” – or eternal salvation. But that humanity may freely go right back in to that “tree of LIFE” and gain eternal salvation WHILE CONTINUING IN THEIR SINS – while rejecting and transgressing God’s LAW – rejecting GOD’S GOVERNMENT, which is based on His law (His way of life).

They do not preach that sin IS “the transgression of the law” (I John 3:4) – God’s SPIRITUAL LAW as summed up in the TEN COMMANDMENTS. Rather they teach falsely that the law is done away.

A typical incident

About 38 years ago, while the Church was still headquartered in Eugene, Ore., an evangelistic team from Southern California was conducting a tent crusade in the neighboring town of Springfield. There was the principal evangelist and eight or 10 young men of college age. These young men cruised about the town daytimes, each carrying a Bible, accosting people on the street, inviting them to the big tent meetings.

Two of them accosted me.

“Does your preacher teach salvation from SIN?” I asked.

“Oh yes, of course,” they answered.

“Well does he tell them what sin IS? What they need to quit doing?”

“Christ died for our sins,” they answered.

“Yes, I know, but what IS sin? What have we done that is sin? Can you show me in your Bible there, a plain Bible definition, saying “Sin IS – ” and then giving the Bible definition of what sin is?”

“Christ died for our sins,” they replied, now becoming more defensive.

“But if I come to your meetings, I want to know if your preacher can show me what the BIBLE defines as sin – what IS sin. Would one of you run and bring your preacher, so I may ask him direct?”

By this time quite a little group of curiosity seekers had gathered around us. They urged, “Yes, go bring your preacher – let’s see if he can answer,” some said.

The “great” evangelist came. I asked him the same question.

“Jesus died for our sins,” he replied, just as he had instructed his young men.

He refused to answer or open his Bible and show us the biblical definition of sin. He and his young men slunk away.

The crowd, which had gathered, laughed. “When someone knows how to ask the right questions, they can’t answer from the Bible,” one said.

“He could have, but he didn’t dare, because he knew if he read the true Bible definition of sin, it would destroy his whole teaching,” I said. “Would YOU people like to see that Bible definition?”

They would. I was carrying a briefcase from which I took out my Bible. Turning to I John 3:4, I read, “Sin is the transgression of the law.” Then from Romans 7:14, 7, I showed them WHAT law it is sin to transgress: “For we know that the law is spiritual” – that is, a SPIRITUAL law, and “Is the law sin?” (Satan represents that God’s spiritual law – His way of life – is evil, but that its transgression is RIGHT.) “God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin [what sin is], but by the law:” – WHAT law? – “for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.” What law said, “Thou shalt not covet?” THE TEN COMMANDMENTS!

“Christianity’s” error

This incident illustrates what I mean. A world-famous evangelist tells his vast audiences that death is uncertain – it may strike you when least expected. Someone somewhere may unexpectedly drop dead before tomorrow morning. What would happen to you if that someone should be YOU? If you don’t come forward and accept Christ tonight, you have no insurance for tomorrow – tomorrow may be too late. So, to the mournful tones of the choir singing, “Just as I am” – in my sins – “I come, I come” the hundreds and even thousands begin the trek down to the altar.

The whole teaching of traditional Christianity is that we do not have to REJECT Satan’s way of sin – the self-centered way of this world – that we may crash right back through that impassable BARRIER God put to guard the “tree of life” – that we may TAKE immortal life IN OUR SINS!

Jesus came to save us FROM our sins, not IN them. Repentance is toward GOD, and faith is toward our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We come to God through Christ, but Jesus said plainly, “No man CAN COME to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him” (John 6:44). You or I cannot take the initiative – God must first call and draw us to Him. We must first REPENT – square ourselves with GOD the FATHER! There is one Lawgiver – GOD THE FATHER. We must first repent – and repentance is GRANTED by GOD and TOWARD GOD (Acts 11:18; 20:21).

On the day of Pentecost, at the very founding of the Church, the inspired Peter said, “REPENT, and be baptized [into Christ]… and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). Jesus said, “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3, 5).

Called for a purpose

We who were, predestined – to be called by God the Father NOW, were called for our PART – if only by our heartrending prayers for the Work, our tithes, our encouragement and whatever is delegated to us to do – were called to this DEFINITE GREAT COMMISSION behind Christ’s apostle, whom He uses as His instrument.

But WE have to overcome SATAN, even as Jesus did – as well as Satan’s world and the human nature Satan has instilled within us. Those called in the Millennium or in the Great White Throne Judgment will not have Satan to overcome. On the other hand, WE, if we overcome, shall sit with Christ in His throne at Jerusalem and be given power to RULE THE NATIONS!

God unfair? NEVER! God is the God of justice to ALL – but to each in HIS TIME and in HIS WAY!