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The Plain Truth – September 1985
The Plain Truth – September 1985
Mystery Of The Ages

How the Seven Mysteries Were Revealed

by Herbert W. Armstrong

We continue, with this second installment, the serial publication of Herbert W. Armstrong’s latest book Mystery of the Ages.

THE world’s number one concern today is the question of human survival! Science and technology have produced the weapons of mass destruction that could blast all human life off this earth!

So many nations now possess nuclear weapons that one madman could ignite the nuclear World War III that could erase all human life from this planet.

Yet the truth of God, if known and acted on, could have saved humanity from this threat and all its evils!

Stop a moment.

THINK on this.

You live in a world seemingly far advanced in science, technology, higher education and diffusion of knowledge. People think it’s a world of GREAT PROGRESS. We send men to cavort about on the moon and return them safely back to earth. Unmanned spacecraft land on Mars and send back to earth close-up photographs of the Martian surface. Other unmanned spacecraft fly close to Jupiter and send back astonishing pictures of Jupiter and the rings of Saturn. Surgeons transplant human hearts and other organs.

It’s a magic, entrancing pushbutton world where work is done largely by machines. It’s the glamour dreamworld of the three “Ls” – leisure, luxury and license.

But paradoxically, it’s also a world of IGNORANCE! Even the educated know not how to solve their problems and the world’s evils. They know not the way of PEACE or the TRUE VALUES of life.

About one half of the world’s population is still illiterate, in the grip of abject poverty, living in filth and squalor. The grim reapers of starvation and disease take human lives by the millions.

It’s an unhappy, restless world in frustration, staring a hopeless future in the face. It’s a world ridden with escalating crime and violence, immorality, injustice (even in its courts of law), dishonesty, corruption in government and business, and continual wars, pointing now to the final nuclear World War III.

WHY this paradox of “PROGRESS” amid DEGENERATION?

God’s Truth Would Have Solved!

True religion – God’s truth empowered with the love of God imparted by the Holy Spirit – would have pointed the way, and led to happiness, abundance and eternal salvation.

When you see what’s wrong with the world’s religions, you’ll have pinpointed the cause of all world evils!

What is religion? It is defined as the worship of, and service to, God or the supernatural. It is man’s relation to his Creator. Some religions have perverted that definition. They worship not the God who created them, but gods that they have created. Religion involves one’s conduct, one’s principles, one’s way of life and one’s concept of the hereafter.

The real CAUSES of all this world’s religious confusion – and all its evils – are revealed in SEVEN BASIC MYSTERIES that decry this babylon of religious confusion and the resulting world chaos!

But now God’s time has come! He now sends a voice to cry out with amplified world-covering power to reveal the way out of this senseless madness, into the world of PEACE and righteousness that soon shall grip the earth!

In the book of Isaiah is a “NOW” prophecy: “The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord … lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say … Behold, the Lord God will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him” (Isa. 40:3, 9-10).

That voice now cries out!

The prophet Malachi confirmed this: “Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts” (Mal. 3:1).

The Elijah to Come

Both of these prophecies have a dual application. First, they refer to John the Baptist, who prepared the way before Jesus’ human ministry more than 1,900 years ago. BUT, as a prototype, or forerunner, they foretell one to prepare the way before Christ’s Second Coming as the King of kings and Lord of lords to RULE over ALL NATIONS!

Malachi’s prophecy, like Isaiah’s, if you will read on past the first verse, refers to a human messenger preparing the way before Christ’s now imminent Second Coming, this time in supreme POWER AND GLORY as Ruler over all nations!

Understand the duality principle here. These prophecies refer to a type and its fulfillment.

John the Baptist was a voice crying out in the physical wilderness of the Jordan River area, preparing for the human physical Jesus’ First Coming to a material temple at Jerusalem, to a physical Judah. But that was a prototype, or forerunner of a voice “lifted up” (greatly amplified by modern printing, radio and TV), crying out in the midst of today’s spiritual wilderness of religious confusion, announcing the imminency of Christ’s Second Coming as the spiritually GLORIFIED Christ, to his spiritual temple (the Church resurrected to spirit immortality) (Eph. 2:21-22).

Jesus came, more than 1,900 years ago, to announce the FUTURE kingdom of God. He’s coming this time to ESTABLISH that kingdom. That end-time last warning message is now going out worldwide in amplified power.

It’s going before kings, emperors, presidents, prime ministers of nations – and to their peoples, on all continents and all nations of the earth!

How in this age of religious confusion could one come to know these seven basic mysteries of the ages that decry this world-gripping conglomeration of beliefs?

Why, in general, are people in Thailand Buddhist; Italy, France and Spain Catholic; those in the Arab world Islamic? Primarily, of course, because they and those around them grew up being taught, and automatically accepting, those faiths. To expect one of them to discover the TRUTH (hidden from them and also contrary to the teachings of childhood and adulthood that engulfed them) would seem to be expecting the impossible.

Why do most people believe the things they believe? Few, indeed, ever stop to ask themselves in retrospect how they came to accept the beliefs that have found lodgment in their minds.

The Source of TRUTH

You probably have seen pictures of the statue “The Thinker.” A man sitting alone, leaning forward, elbows on his knees, his hand supporting his head. There, supposedly, he sits in deep thought, hour after hour, day after day – just thinking!

Supposedly that statue depicts the manner in which some of the religions of the world came into being.

But “The Thinker” had nothing to think from! No foundation for his thinking. No facts on which to base his conjectures.

The human mind is not equipped to manufacture truth with no basis for that truth!

However, few, it seems, really think!

Most people accept carelessly what they are taught from childhood. And, coming into maturity, they accept that which they have repeatedly heard, read or been taught. They continue to go along, usually without question, with their peers. Most people do not realize it, but they have carelessly assumed what they believe without question or proof. Yet they will defend vigorously and emotionally their convictions. It has become human nature for people to flow with the stream – to go along with the crowd – to believe and perform like their peers around them.

Further, most people stubbornly refuse to believe what they are unwilling to believe. There’s an old saying, “He who is convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.”

I was no different. Of myself, and of my own volition. I would never have discovered these GREAT TRUTHS.

But then, the prophet Moses never would have discovered the truths he wrote – the first five books of the Bible. It required a miraculous act of GOD, in the incident of the burning bush, to open his mind and to reveal to him the things of GOD. Moses did not seek God. God called and drafted Moses. Even on being confronted by the very voice of God, Moses protested. But God’s command was irresistible and Moses yielded.

The apostle Paul, centuries later never would have come to know or reveal for us God’s TRUTHS of his own will. He was “breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord” (Acts 9:1). But the living Jesus struck him down blind, brought him to his senses and instructed him both in knowledge and in what Christ determined he should do. Christ in Person revealed to him many of the TRUTHS you will read here.

How, then, did I come to understand the precious knowledge of the TRUTH? Certainly not on my own, or because I sought it or because of any virtues of my own. But Jesus Christ struck me down in a manner quite different from the apostle Paul’s experience, yet nonetheless painfully and effectively.

Such basic TRUTHS are revealed, not thought out in any human mind. They come from God, not man! And in all biblically recorded cases the initiative was God’s!

Jeremiah protested that he was too young. But God said: “Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’; for to all to whom I send you you shall go, and whatever I command you you shall speak” (Jer. 1:7, Revised Standard Version). Isaiah protested that he was a man of unclean lips, but God caused him to accept the appointed mission. Jonah tried to run away on a ship but God compelled him to deliver his commanded message. Peter and Andrew wanted to be fishermen but Jesus called on them to forsake all and to follow him.

Similarly, I wanted to be an advertising man, but God brought me by circumstances not to my choosing to the mission he had in store for me.

I repeat, at this point, this is the crux of the whole matter: the initiative is God’s. His purpose shall stand. The world is full of religions that originated in the imagination, reasoning and speculating of certain humans. But they had no true basis to reason from. The TRUTH is REVEALED from GOD!

But, does not everybody have access to biblical truth? Yes, people suppose the churches teach what is revealed in the Bible.

So I give you, now, a brief synopsis of the experience by which Jesus Christ struck me down, so to speak, and revealed ASTOUNDING TRUTHS! Biblical truths not believed or taught by the churches!

The Awakening – Spark of Ambition Ignited

I was born of ordinary but stable and upright parents, with an ancestry in the Quaker faith. I have my genealogy all the way back to Edward the First of England and a line extending back to King David of ancient Israel. I have been astonished to discover this genealogy and the fact that I am actually of “the house of David.” My forebears emigrated from England to Pennsylvania with William Penn, a hundred years before the United States became a nation.

I had been reared from earliest childhood in the Quaker faith, but religious interest in those formative years was passive.

At age 18 I virtually dropped all interest in religion, and ceased attending church. I had, at 18, put myself through an intensive self-analysis, coupled with a survey of the occupations and professions to determine where I belonged – to avoid being the proverbial square peg in the round hole.

Even at that age I had observed that most people were simply victims of circumstance. Few had ever planned intelligently their future lives. Many or most had stumbled into whatever job they found open. They did not choose where, in what part of the country or the world, they should live. They had been buffeted about by circumstance. Those who went to college chose whatever course or profession that appealed to them at the time.

But when I was yet only 16, a summer-vacation employer had, by praise for work well done and general encouragement, aroused the burning fire of ambition within me. Ambition is not only the desire for accomplishment, it includes the will and the drive to pay the price!

This self-analysis at age 18 led me into the advertising profession and a business life. I studied diligently, “burning the midnight oil,” instead of seeking youthful pleasures.

I became unusually successful. I worked hard, had a reputation as a “hustler.” I studied diligently, worked toward self-improvement. All this, of course, developed great self-confidence, which was later to be replaced by a different kind of confidence – FAITH in Christ.

I selected the jobs where I would learn, and “sold myself to my employers.” choosing fields that threw me into contact with successful men.

In 1915 I established my own business as a publishers’ representative in Chicago, Illinois. I managed to represent the nine leading bank journals of the United States – journals read by chief officers of banks. I did business with the presidents of many of the nation’s largest industrial corporations in the Middle West. I attended state and national bankers’ conventions, got to know many of the leading bankers of South LaSalle Street, Chicago, and Wall Street, New York. I was making an income, by age 28, equivalent to approximately $375,000 per year measured by today’s dollar value.

It was at this height of my early business success that God began dealing with me. I had been recently married.

The Unrecognized Call

In a matter of days after our marriage, while living in Chicago, my wife had a dream so vivid and impressive it overwhelmed and shook her tremendously. It was so realistic it seemed more like a vision. For two or three days afterward everything else seemed unreal – as if in a daze – and only this extraordinary dream seemed real.

In her dream she and I were crossing the wide intersection, only a block or two from our apartment, where Broadway diagonally crosses Sheridan Road. Suddenly there appeared an awesome sight in the sky above. It was a dazzling spectacle – the sky filled with a gigantic solid mass of brilliant stars, shaped like a huge banner. The stars began to quiver and separate, finally vanishing. In her dream, she called my attention to the vanishing stars, when another huge grouping of flashing stars appeared, then quivering, separating and vanishing like the first.

As she and I, in her dream, looked upward at the vanishing stars, three large white birds suddenly appeared in the sky between us and the vanishing stars. These great white birds flew directly toward us. As they descended nearer, she perceived that they were angels.

“Then,” my wife wrote a day or two after the dream, in a letter to my mother that I have just run across among old family pictures, “it dawned on me that Christ was coming, and I was so happy I was just crying for joy. Then suddenly I thought of Herbert and was rather worried.”

She knew I had evidenced very little religious interest, although we had attended a corner church two or three times.

Then it seemed that “Christ descended from among them and stood directly in front of us. At first I was a little doubtful and afraid of how he would receive us, because I remembered we had neglected our Bible study and had our minds too much on things apart from his interests. But as we went up to him, he put his arms around both of us, and we were so happy! I thought people all over the world had seen him come. As far as we could see, people were just swarming into the streets at this broad intersection. Some were glad and some were afraid.

“Then it seemed, he had changed into an angel. I was terribly disappointed at first, until he told me Christ was really coming in a very short time.”

At that time, we had been going quite regularly to motion picture theaters. She asked the angel if this were wrong. He replied Christ had important work for us to do, preparing for his coming – there would be no time for “movies.” (Those were the days of the “silent” pictures.) Then the angel and the whole spectacle seemed to vanish, and she awakened, shaken and wondering!

In the morning, she told me of her dream. I was embarrassed. I didn’t want to think about it, yet I was afraid to totally dismiss it. I thought of a logical way to evade it myself, and still solve it.

“Why don’t you tell it to the minister of the church up on the corner,” I suggested, “and ask him whether it means anything.”

With that, I managed to put it out of my mind.

Let me say here that in about 99,999 times out of 100,000, when people think GOD is speaking to them in a dream or vision in this day and age, it is pure imagination, or some form of self-hypnotism or self-deception. But if this was a vision from God, like Jonah, I tried to run away. But subsequent to this, in God’s due time, God dealt with me in no uncertain terms, even as he had dealt with Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Jonah, Andrew, Peter and the apostle Paul.

Business Disintegrates

Then came the devastating flash depression of 1920. It was not long-lived, but disastrous for the year. My big advertising accounts were in the farm tractor and implement and other manufacturing fields, rather than the metropolitan banks. All my big-commission clients, including such corporations as Goodyear Tire & Rubber, J.I. Case, Moline Plow, John Deere and Company, Emmerson-Brantingham and Dalton Adding Machine, went into receivers’ hands. One nationally known corporation president of my acquaintance committed suicide. Through no fault of my own, my business was swept out from under my feet by forces beyond my control.

Out of Portland, Oregon, where I had moved with my family, I established an advertising service for laundry owners. The laundry industry was 11th in the country in dollar volume of business, yet the most backward. I teamed with an efficiency expert, in my judgment top in the nation in his field. I took on only clients who allowed us to put their businesses on a new efficiency basis – both in the quality of laundering service and in business methods, which I supervised. I had to be able to make promises in the advertising that my clients would fulfill.

But in 1926 a national advertising agency based in the East sold the Laundry Owners’ National Association a bill of goods – to put big-space advertising in the national women’s magazines. The association had power to obligate every member to a commitment for this magazine advertising equal to approximately 85 percent of the justifiable advertising expenditure each local laundry could make. I knew nothing of this until it was a closed deal. I had been doubling and trebling the business volume of each of my clients. My business was growing. Again a highly successful business was swept out from under my feet through causes over which I had no control.

But there was a reason – God was taking away my advertising business.

Disturbing Dual Challenges

Then, in the fall of 1926, at age 34, it seemed that the roof had caved in and I was crushed! I was assailed by very disturbing dual challenges.

My wife, after nine years of happy marriage, began keeping the seventh-day Sabbath instead of Sunday!

I was aghast! I was angry. To me that was religious fanaticism! What would business contacts think? But she claimed to have found this teaching in the Bible.

All the arguments came instantly to mind. They were of no avail.

“But the Bible says,” I protested, “Thou shalt observe SUNDAY!”

“Can you show that to me in the Bible?” she asked.

“Well, no,” I replied. “I don’t know much about the Bible. My interests and studies have been in the area of business. But all these churches can’t be wrong – they take their beliefs from the Bible, and they all observe Sunday.”

“If,” she smiled sincerely – but to me exasperatingly – “you can show me where the Bible commands Sunday observance, I’ll go back to it.”

There was no dodging the challenge. My marriage depended on it!

Coincidentally, a sister-in-law, newly married and fresh out of college, hurled at me a second humiliating challenge.

“Herbert Armstrong,” she accused contemptuously, “you are just plain ignorant! Everybody who has any education knows human life has come by evolution.”

I was proud. I had not neglected study and education. I thought I knew the facts about evolution, and I didn’t believe in it. But now I had to admit I had never pursued a thorough, in-depth research of the particular question.

Following on the heels of my wife’s “fanaticism,” this challenge was humiliating. This double jolt to my pride hit me immediately after the second time my business had been destroyed. The effect was devastating. It was utterly frustrating. Nevertheless I was determined to prove both my wife and sister-in-law wrong.

The dual challenge drove me into a determined almost night-and-day research. That intensive study continued for six months before I found the proved answer. Yet the study has never ceased to this day.

Both challenges focused on a common starting point – the book of Genesis in the Bible and the subject of origins – although that was only the beginning.

These challenges came at a period in life when I had ample time on my hands. I plunged with intense concentration into the study.

Researching the Bible and Darwin

I did not begin the research in Genesis. First I delved thoroughly into the works of Darwin, Lyell, Haeckel, Huxley, Spencer, Vogt, Chamberlin and More, and even into the earlier works of Lamarck and his theory of “use and disuse,” which preceded Darwin’s “survival of the fittest” hypothesis.

Immediately those writings appeared convincing. (They necessarily are, to have won virtual universal acceptance in the world of higher education.) I readily understood how the field of education had been gripped in the clutch of the evolutionary concept.

Evolution is the agnostic’s or atheist’s attempted explanation of the presence of a creation without the preexistence of an intelligent Creator.

This initial stage of my research rudely shook my faith in the existence of God. It brought me to realization that I had assumed the reality of God, because from childhood I had heard, and therefore assumed, it. For a while my head was swimming. Was all I had ever believed mere myth and error, after all? Now I was determined to know the TRUTH! My mind was being cleaned out from ideas and beliefs previously taken for granted.

Of all the writings on evolution, Dr. P.E. More alone had culled out many discrepancies in the theory. Yet he, too, went along with the doctrine overall.

But now I had, first of all, to prove or disprove the existence of God. It was no casual or superficial study. I continued in this research as if my life depended upon it – as, in actual fact, it did, as well as my marriage. I also studied books on the other side of the question.

Suffice it to say here that I did find irrefutable PROOF of the existence of God the Creator – and I found proof positive of the fallacy of the evolutionary theory. The overwhelming array of college brainwashed minds to the contrary notwithstanding. I had the satisfaction of winning the admission of one Ph.D. thoroughly steeped in evolutionary thought – who had spent many years in graduate work at the University of Chicago and at Columbia – that I had definitely chopped down the trunk of the evolutionary tree. Like Dr. More, though, she had been so thoroughly brainwashed in evolution she had to continue in what she had acknowledged was PROOF of its falsity.

Also I had the enjoyment of being able to cause my sister-in-law to “eat those words” branding me as “ignorant.” All of which was mere vanity on my part, which I had not yet eradicated.

I had proved the reality of THE GREAT MAJESTIC GOD! But my wife’s challenge was still tormenting my mind. Already, in the evolutionary research, I had studied Genesis.

I knew each of the world’s religions had its own sacred writings. Once God’s reality was proved, I had expected to continue in the pursuit of comparative religions to see if any such sacred writings proved authoritative. Through which of these – if any – did GOD speak to mankind?

Since I had to research the Sabbath question anyway, and already I had delved into Genesis, I decided to continue my study in the Bible.

A Doctrine at a Time

I came across, early, the passage in Romans 6:23: “The wages of sin is death.” I stopped, amazed. “Wages” is what one is paid for what one has done. Here I was staring at a statement diametrically opposite to my Sunday school teaching (prior to age 18).

“Why,” I exclaimed, “how can that be? I was taught in church that the wages of sin is EVERLASTING LIFE in an eternally burning hell.”

Another shock came on reading the last part of the same verse: “but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

“But,” I questioned in disillusionment, “I thought I already had eternal life – I am, or I have – an immortal soul. Why should I need it as a gift?”

I researched the word soul by means of a Bible concordance. Twice I found the expression, “The soul that sinneth, it shall die” (Ezek. 18:4 and 18:20).

Then I remembered I had read in Genesis 2 how God said to the first humans, who were souls, “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

In Genesis 2:7 I read how God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man (dust – matter) “became a living soul.” This stated plainly that a soul is physical – formed from matter. I found that the English word soul is translated from the Hebrew nephesh and that in Genesis 1 fowl, fish and animals – all three – were nephesh, as Moses was inspired to write.

Next, I happened to read where Jesus said, “And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man” (John 3:13). I researched the heaven and hell {1} [teaching further. I saw where the inspired Peter, on the day he received the Holy Spirit, said, “For David is not ascended into the heavens” (Acts 2:34). In this in-depth study of the Bible, I had the use of all the biblical helps – concordances, Greek-English and Hebrew-English lexicons, commentaries, Bible dictionaries and religious encyclopedias. The latter three of these, I found, were the works of scholarly but carnal minds. In historical facts and matters of a material and physical nature, they give help in research, but in God’s revelation of spiritual] knowledge I found them of little help.

I also used, in questionable passages, the Hebrew Old Testament and the Greek New Testament, with the lexicons. And I used every translation or version then published – especially the Moffatt, Ferrar Fenton, Smith-Goodspeed, American Revised and the Williams New Testament.

My Experience Unique

My research was totally different from that of students in a seminary. They absorb what they are taught in the doctrines of their denomination. Education has become a matter of memory training. The child, and the adult student as well, is expected to accept and memorize whatever is taught.

For example, in an elementary grade one of my grandsons was once asked by the teacher, “Who discovered America?”

“The Indians,” promptly answered the grandson. The teacher was astonished.

“No, Larry, don’t you know that Columbus discovered America?”

“No, Ma’am, the Indians were already here to greet Columbus when he finally arrived.”

The lad was given a zero for his answer and severely instructed to always remember that the book says Columbus discovered America!

A pupil, or a student in high school or university, is graded on memorizing and believing what he is taught by the textbook, the teacher, instructor or professor.

In the first dummy copy of the magazine The Plain Truth, which I put together in 1927 – seven years before the magazine was actually published – I had an artist draw a picture of a schoolroom, with children sitting at the desks, each with a funnel stuck into his or her head. The teacher was pouring out of a pitcher ready-made propaganda into each child’s head.

A student enrolled at a Methodist seminary receives Methodist doctrine and teaching into his head. A Catholic student studying in a Catholic seminary is taught Roman Catholic teachings. A student in a Presbyterian seminary is given Presbyterian doctrines. A student in Germany studying history is instructed in one version of World Wars I and II, but a history student in the United States is taught a somewhat different version.

But I had been called specially by the living GOD. I was trying to prove the very opposite of what I found clearly and unmistakably to be what the Bible SAYS! I was taught by Christ what I did not want to believe but what he showed me was TRUE!

Jesus Christ is the personal Word of God. He, in person, taught the original 12 apostles and the apostle Paul. The Bible is the SAME Word of God IN PRINT today. Thus it was the same Jesus Christ who taught both the original apostles, beginning A.D. 27, and 1,900 years later, beginning 1927, myself.

And let me add here that my study of God’s revelation of truth has never ceased. Later Christ used me in founding three liberal arts colleges – including one in England. Through constant study, teaching and collaboration with spirit-minded faculty members in theological courses, my mind has remained OPEN. And knowledge of God’s revealed truth has increased.

But in my initial six-months intensive in-depth study I was undergoing a process of UNlearning – discovering that church teachings had been the diametric opposite of Bible TRUTH!

“Eating Crow”

This is not the place for a lengthy, detailed account of my intensive search in the Bible, and of my conversion. I had been bent on proving to my satisfaction that “all these churches can’t be wrong, for their teachings came from the Bible!” The essential point here is the simple fact that I did find irrefutable PROOF of the divine inspiration and supreme AUTHORITY of the Holy Bible (as originally written) as the revealed Word of God. Even all the so-called contradictions evaporated upon unbiased study.

The most difficult thing for any human mind is to admit being wrong. It was not more easy for me than for others. But God had brought me, through circumstances, to the point where he had made me willing.

To my utter dismay and chagrin, I was forced to “eat crow” in regard to my wife’s supposed “fanaticism.” It was not what I wanted to believe then! But by that time I had taken a severe beating. I had to accept PROVED truth, contrary to what I had wanted to believe!

It was humiliating to have to admit my wife had been right and I had been wrong in the most serious argument that ever came between us.


But to my utter disappointed astonishment, I found that many of the popular church teachings and practices were not based on the Bible. They had originated, as research in history had revealed, in paganism. Numerous Bible prophecies foretold it. The amazing, unbelievable TRUTH is that the SOURCE of these popular beliefs and practices of professing Christianity was, quite largely, paganism and human reasoning and custom, NOT the Bible!

I had first doubted, then searched for evidence, and found PROOF that God exists – that the Holy Bible is, literally, his divinely inspired revelation and instruction to mankind. I had learned that one’s God is what a person OBEYS. The word Lord means MASTER – one you OBEY! Most people, I had discovered, are obeying false gods, rebelling against the one true CREATOR who is the supreme RULER of the universe.

The argument was over a point of OBEDIENCE to GOD.

The opening of my eyes to the TRUTH brought me to the crossroads of my life. To accept it meant to throw in my lot with a class of humble and unpretentious people I had come to look upon as inferior. It meant being cut off from the high and the mighty and the wealthy of this world, to which I had aspired. It meant the final crushing of VANITY. It meant a total change of life!

Life-and-death Struggle

It meant real REPENTANCE, for now I saw that I had been breaking God’s law. I had been rebelling against God in many more ways than just breaking the Sabbath command. It meant turning around and going THE WAY OF GOD – the WAY of his BIBLE – living according to every word in the Bible, instead of according to the ways of society or the desires of the flesh and of vanity.

It was a matter of which WAY I would travel for the remainder of my life. I had certainly reached the CROSSROADS!

But I had been beaten down. God had brought that about – though I didn’t realize it then. Repeated business reverses, failure after failure, had destroyed self-confidence. I was broken in spirit. The SELF in me didn’t want to die. It wanted to try to get up from ignominious defeat and try once again to tread the broad and popular WAY of vanity and of this world.

I had been part of this world. I did not realize, then, that this was not God’s world but Satan’s. I came to realize that accepting God’s truth meant being called out of this world – forsaking this world and its ways, and even to a great extent my friends and associates in this world. Giving up this world, its ways, interests, pleasures, was like dying. And I didn’t want to die. I think one of the greatest tests that everyone whom God has called faces, is giving up this world and being part of it. But now I knew that this world’s way was WRONG! I knew its ultimate penalty was DEATH. But I didn’t want to die now!

It was truly a battle for LIFE – a life-and-death struggle. In the end, I lost that battle, as I had been losing all worldly battles in recent years.

In final desperation, I threw myself on his mercy. If he could use my life, I would give it to him – not in a physical suicide, but as a living sacrifice, to use as he willed. It was worth nothing to me any longer. I considered that I was only a worthless piece of human junk not worthy to be cast on the junk pile.

Jesus Christ had bought and paid for my life by his death. It really belonged to him, and now I told him he could have it!

From then on, this defeated no-good life of mine was GOD’S. I didn’t see how it could be worth anything to him. But it was his to use as his instrument, if he thought he could use it.

JOY in Defeat

This surrender to God – this REPENTANCE – this GIVING UP of the world, of friends and associates, and of everything – was the most bitter pill I ever swallowed. Yet it was the only medicine in all my life that ever brought a healing!

For I actually began to realize that I was finding joy beyond words to describe in this total defeat. I had actually found JOY in the study of the Bible – in the discovery of new TRUTHS, heretofore hidden from my consciousness. And in surrendering to GOD in complete repentance, I found unspeakable JOY in accepting JESUS CHRIST as personal Savior and my present High Priest.

I began to see everything in a new and different light. Why should it have been a difficult and painful experience to surrender to my Maker and my God? Why was it painful to surrender to obey God’s right ways? WHY? Now, I came to a new outlook on life.

Somehow I began to realize a NEW fellowship and friendship had come into my life. I began to be conscious of a contact and fellowship with Christ, and with God the Father.

When I read and studied the Bible, God was talking to me, and now I loved to listen! I began to pray, and knew that in prayer I was talking with God. I was not yet very well acquainted with God. But one gets to be better acquainted with another by constant contact and continuous conversation.

So I continued the study of the Bible. I began to write, in article form, the things I was learning. I did not then suppose these articles would ever be published. I wrote them for my own satisfaction. It was one way to learn more by the study.

And I can say now, with the apostle Paul, “that the gospel which [is] preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man. neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ… But when it pleased God … to reveal his Son in me … immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: neither went I [to a theological seminary, but I was taught by Jesus Christ, the Word of God (in writing)]” (Gal. 1:11-12, 15-17).

That is why I have said the experience I was painfully subjected to in this original intensive study was unique in human life and conduct in our time. I know of no world religious leader who arrived at his teachings in such a manner. This world’s religious teachings did not come from GOD! Only God is infallibly correct!

I was brought, by the spring of 1927, to a complete MIND-SWEEPING! My mind was being swept clean of previous assumptions and beliefs – I had been brought through a painful experience.

Twice profitable businesses had collapsed, leaving me frustrated.

Then I was brought to acknowledge that whatever religious beliefs I had held were contrary to the truth of God. Not only what I had believed, but also the churches!

I had taken a beating! I had been brought to realize my own nothingness and inadequacy. I had been CONQUERED by the great majestic GOD – brought to a real repentance – and also brought to a NEW ROCK-BASED SOLID FAITH in Jesus Christ and in God’s Word. I had been brought to a complete surrender to God and to HIS WORD.

I was baptized, and the infilling of God’s Holy Spirit opened my mind to the JOY UNSPEAKABLE of knowing God and Jesus Christ – of knowing TRUTH – and the warmth of God’s divine LOVE!

What I once hated I now loved. I found the greatest and most absorbing joy of my life in continuing to dig out those gold nuggets of TRUTH from God’s Word. Now came a new enthusiasm in Bible study.

And I was led through the years from conversion to understand God’s revelation of these seven biblical mysteries that have baffled the minds of humanity and to find that one and only true Church of God, founded by Jesus Christ on the day of Pentecost, A.D. 31.

I now reveal, to the reader, SEVEN MAJOR MYSTERIES that have bewildered all humanity. I begin, next month, with “Who and What Is God?”

Editors Notes
  • {1} - This section was not in the original Plain Truth Magazine. We assume it to have been left out in error and have inserted it, as in the book Mystery of the Ages.