by Mr Armstrong
Called to be Teachers
given 16 Jun 1984 - Played UK 23 May 2015
|Begins: "We came here from parts of Europe and from the United States. You know you can come to a place like this or any part of the world where we see a congregation of God's people and you'll find the same spirit. You'll find unity and harmony. The world and the nations of the world have been trying to find unity..." Mr Armstrong - speaking in Austria on the Sabbath following Pentecost - then stresses how the Firstfruits must be ready to teach in the Kingdom of God. (16.9 Mb)|
Pope speaks to the EU Parliament… criticizes old Europe… condemns the armament industry… supports Marxist ideas… supports Liberation Theology… and believes that he now has the power to mobilize religious leaders all over the planet…
In the last few months, the Pope has been thrust into the limelight, promoted as a peace maker and the world’s only moral authority. He has even been credited with helping to broker the historic diplomatic breakthrough between Cuba and the United States. The following articles give some idea of the magnitude of the changes…
Back in November last year, while addressing the European Parliament, he called for a new spirit in “ageing” Europe.
“Addressing the European Parliament for the first time, Pope Francis has alluded to a general impression of ‘ageing and weariness’ in Europe and said a new spirit should be built, where humans are treated not as programmable objects.
‘In many quarters, we encounter a general impression of weariness and aging, of a Europe which is now a “grandmother”, no longer fertile and vibrant. As a result, the great ideas which once inspired Europe seem to have lost their attraction, only to be replaced by the bureaucratic technicalities of its institutions,’ the Pope said.” (rt.com)
His attention then focused on the armaments industry, where he branded them as being an “industry of death!”
“VATICAN - Pope Francis said today: ‘Many powerful people don’t want peace because they live off war. Some powerful people make their living with the production of arms. It’s the industry of death.’
He’s right … Top economists say that war is destroying our economy. And 90% of all deaths in war are civilians. But war is great for the bankers and the defense contractors.” (washingtonsblog.com)
While he has strongly criticized capitalism, he leans strongly in the direction of Marxism! “Liberation theology”, once condemned by the Catholic Church, is now back in favour with Pope Francis. Those who believe in Liberation theology support armed struggle against “oppressors”.
“VATICAN - For decades, Gustavo Gutiérrez, a Peruvian theologian and Dominican priest, was treated with suspicion and even contempt by the Vatican’s hierarchy, which saw him as a dangerous Marxist firebrand who used faith as an instrument of revolution.
Gutiérrez was the founder of a progressive movement within the Catholic church known as liberation theology, and while he was never censured in the manner that some of his philosophical compatriots were, there were often rumblings that Gutiérrez was being investigated by Pope John Paul II’s doctrinal czar, a German cardinal named Joseph Ratzinger who would later become Pope Benedict.
But when the 86-year-old Peruvian arrives in Rome this week as a key speaker at a Vatican event, he will be welcomed as a guest, in a striking show of how Pope Francis – the first Latin American pontiff – has brought tenets of this sometimes controversial movement to the fore of his church, particularly in his pronouncements against the blight of poverty and the dangers of capitalism.
In its height in the late 1960s and 1970s, liberation theology – a distinctly Latin American movement – preached that it was not enough for the church to simply empathise and care for the poor. Instead, believers said, the church needed to be a vehicle to push for fundamental political and structural changes that would eradicate poverty, even – some believed – if it meant supporting armed struggle against oppressors.” (theguardian.com)
The Pope then gets very involved in the ongoing situation in Israel. He is backing the Palestinians in their quest for their own State, with Jerusalem as their capital city. The Pope has already recognised the “State of Palestine” – even though it does not yet exist! The Pope allegedly even called Abbas an ‘angel of peace’ during his recent visit to the Vatican.
“Pope Francis praised Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas as an ‘angel of peace’ during a meeting at the Vatican. Francis made the compliment Saturday during the traditional exchange of gifts at the end of an official audience in the Apostolic Palace. He presented Abbas with a medallion and explained that it represented the angel of peace ‘destroying the bad spirit of war.’
Francis said he thought the gift was appropriate since ‘you are an angel of peace.’ Abbas is in town for the canonization Sunday of two new saints from what was then Ottoman-ruled Palestine. It also comes days after the Vatican finalized a bilateral treaty with the ‘state of Palestine,’ making explicit its recognition of Palestinian statehood. Abbas, for his part, offered Francis relics of the two new saints.” (timesofisrael.com)
The following day the news agency gave a corrected translation of the Pope’s statement, saying that two words had been left out. What the Pope told Abbas was: “you are a bit an angel of peace,” not “you are an angel of peace.” Needless to say, the Israelis were not much impressed!
“Israel didn’t comment on Francis’ ‘angel of peace’ compliment but complained that Abbas was using the trip to score political points. ‘It is regrettable that Mahmoud Abbas uses international forums to attack Israel and refrains from returning to negotiations which is the right way to implement a political vision and a solution of peace,’ said Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon.” (news.yahoo.com)
The Pope will be giving the opening address at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit in September, thus offering the support of over one billion Catholics worldwide. As the Catholic ecumenical movement is in full swing, many other “Christian” leaders will follow and also offer support.
“The UN plans to launch a brand new plan for managing the entire globe at the Sustainable Development Summit that it will be hosting from September 25th to September 27th. Some of the biggest names on the planet, including Pope Francis, will be speaking at this summit. This new sustainable agenda focuses on climate change of course, but it also specifically addresses topics such as economics, agriculture, education and gender equality.
For those wishing to expand the scope of ‘global governance’, sustainable development is the perfect umbrella because just about all human activity affects the environment in some way. The phrase ‘for the good of the planet’ can be used as an excuse to micromanage virtually every aspect of our lives.
So for those that are concerned about the growing power of the United Nations, this summit in September is something to keep an eye on. Never before have I seen such an effort to promote a UN summit on the environment, and this new sustainable development agenda is literally a framework for managing the entire globe.
Another thing that makes this new sustainable development agenda different is the unprecedented support that it is getting from the Vatican and from Pope Francis himself.
In fact, Pope Francis is actually going to travel to the UN and give an address to kick off the Sustainable Development Summit on September 25th…
This Pope has been very open about his belief that climate change is one of the greatest dangers currently facing our world. Just a couple of weeks ago, he actually brought UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to the Vatican to speak about climate change and sustainable development.
In addition, Pope Francis is scheduled to release a major encyclical this summer which will be primarily focused on the environment and climate change. The following comes from the New York Times…
The much-anticipated environmental encyclical that Pope Francis plans to issue this summer is already being translated into the world’s major languages from the Latin final draft, so there’s no more tweaking to be done, several people close to the process have told me in recent weeks.
I think that we can get a good idea of the kind of language that we will see in this encyclical from another Vatican document which was recently released. It is entitled ‘Climate Change and The Common Good’, and it was produced by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences. The following is a brief excerpt…
‘Climate change is a global problem whose solution will depend on our stepping beyond national affiliations and coming together for the common good. Such transformational changes in attitudes would help foster the necessary institutional reforms and technological innovations for providing the energy sources that have negligible effect on global climate, atmospheric pollution and eco-systems, thus protecting generations yet to be born.
Religious institutions can and should take the lead in bringing about that change in attitude towards Creation.
The Catholic Church, working with the leadership of other religions, can now take a decisive role by mobilizing public opinion and public funds to meet the energy needs of the poorest 3 billion people, thus allowing them to prepare for the challenges of unavoidable climate and eco-system changes.
Such a bold and humanitarian action by the world’s religions acting in unison is certain to catalyze a public debate over how we can integrate societal choices, as prioritized under UN’s sustainable development goals, into sustainable economic development pathways for the 21st century, with projected population of 10 billion or more.’
Under this Pope, the Vatican has become much more political than it was before, and sustainable development has become the Vatican’s number one political issue. And did you notice the language about ‘the world’s religions acting in unison’? Clearly, the Vatican believes that it has the power to mobilize religious leaders all over the planet and have them work together to achieve the ‘UN’s sustainable development goals’.
I can never remember a time when the United Nations and the largest religious institution on the planet, the Catholic Church, have worked together so closely. Should we be concerned about this new sustainable development agenda?” (theeconomiccollapseblog.com)
In September last year, former Israeli President Shimon Peres met with the Pope at the Vatican with the view to establishing one world religion, with the Pope as leader!
“USA - Can you imagine any way to bring a tumultuous world under a one world religion? This is a good head start. A few months back, former president Shimon Peres met with the Pope at the Vatican and proposed that the Pope head up a UN for religions.
Via The Jerusalem Post: But the main topic of conversation was Peres’s idea to create a UN-like organization he called ‘the United Religions.’ Peres said the Argentina-born pontiff was the only world figure respected enough to bring an end to the wars raging in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world. ‘In the past, most of the wars in the world were motivated by the idea of nationhood,’ Peres said. ‘But today, wars are incited using religion as an excuse.’
Of all popes in recent history, Pope Francis has also embraced what have thus far been considered pretty ‘radical’ views for the church, including everything from sexual ethics and an open arms policy on gay rights to Darwinism. He even delivered a speech in March 2014 where he referred to Muslims as worshipping the ‘one God.’
If any pope was going to head up a one world religion, this one sure seems to toe every line. Wasn’t there a bit in Revelations about a one world religion as a signal of the end times?” (thedailysheeple.com)
He gains public support when he attacks “ageing Europe”.
He gains public support when he attacks the armament industry.
He gains public support when he attacks capitalism because many people see that the major companies and the banks control their lives. People are tired of listening to politicians who are somewhat economical with the truth. People are angry when banks commit huge crimes, but nobody is called to account. Nobody goes to jail!
He gains public support when he supports the Palestinians in their quest for statehood. This may be a factor in the recent rise of anti-Semitism in Europe.
And now, he gives credence to the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit. What people are not told is that “ …the phrase ‘for the good of the planet’ can be used as an excuse to micromanage virtually every aspect of our lives .”
He will gain even more public support with his push to eradicate war. He appears to be “… the only world figure respected enough to bring an end to the wars raging in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world .”
Review these quotes from the article above…
“Climate change is a global problem whose solution will depend on our stepping beyond national affiliations and coming together for the common good.”
“Religious institutions can and should take the lead in bringing about that change in attitude towards Creation.”
“The Catholic Church, working with the leadership of other religions, can now take a decisive role by mobilizing public opinion and public funds to meet the energy needs of the poorest 3 billion people, thus allowing them to prepare for the challenges of unavoidable climate and eco-system changes.”
“Such a bold and humanitarian action by the world’s religions acting in unison is certain to catalyze a public debate over how we can integrate societal choices, as prioritized under UN’s sustainable development goals”
“Clearly, the Vatican believes that it has the power to mobilize religious leaders all over the planet.”
As Catholics and others see the Pope’s efforts bringing about positive changes, he will get even more support – and yet more power!
All this is leading up to the final crisis at the end of this age. When peoples from all religions see that a key religious figure has answers to some of the world’s major problems, they will follow his lead and support him!
Revelation 17 makes it very clear who rules at the end time!
“…So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy… And the woman which thou saw is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth” (Revelation 17:1, 18).
Now read a scripture which talks about the final battle in Israel at the end of the age.
“And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.
What comes out of the mouths of the Dragon, the Beast and the False prophet also includes words – empowered by certain spirits – that bring together ALL the Kings of the earth.
For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto THE KINGS OF THE EARTH AND OF THE WHOLE WORLD, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty” (Revelation 16:13-14).
The final battle at Jerusalem is between the Eastern hordes and the European army. But could there be more to it than that? The Bible makes it plain that ALL the kings of the earth are gathered… As these two mighty armies get ready to fight, which would result in the total destruction of mankind, Christ appears in the heavens. All the armies unite to fight “the invader from outer space” – and are destroyed by the returning Christ!
Could this be the REAL reason that the Pope is giving his support to this United Nations Sustainable Development Summit – in order to gain yet more influence on the world stage?
Will the United Nations be backing the Holy Roman Empire, keeping in mind that ALL of the kings of the earth are involved?
Could this be the true unseen reason that former Israeli President Shimon Peres has proposed that the Pope head up a “UN for religions”? Mr Peres said the Argentina-born pontiff was the only world figure respected enough to bring an end to the wars raging in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world.
Time will tell. But this Pope is very different from his predecessors. He has dramatically changed the Roman Catholic Church. He wants to be seen as a peace maker. He is out to unite, not just all Christians, but all of mankind. He really believes that the Vatican has that power!
In April, 1945, Mr and Mrs Armstrong attended the historic San Francisco Conference which led to the formation of the United Nations. During their time there, they witnessed a Roman Catholic Mass where the message from Rome was that all governments are God ordained and therefore come under the authority of the Roman Catholic Church. The preacher emphasized that without the involvement and leadership of the Roman Catholic Church, their efforts were doomed to failure.
Mr Armstrong said that the message was a masterpiece.
Are we now witnessing the Catholic Church trying yet again to exert its authority over the nations?
Are we seeing Prophecy being fulfilled right now?
To find out more about the historic San Francisco Conference, read the full article in the ‘Plain Truth’ of December 1948.
"For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat." (Hebrews 5:12)
With Pentecost so near – Sunday, 24 May – it is vital that we truly appreciate our calling and the unique purpose of having been called now. That purpose is to become the teachers in the world tomorrow as Mr Armstrong vividly brought out in his final Pentecost message – just months before he died. But do we yet understand what he was saying? Do we yet, "get it" – as he so often asked us:
.... Why are we the firstfruits? I am going to try to make it plain this afternoon, and still I think you won’t get it. So much Protestantism has rubbed off on us we can’t get it out of our heads. They think God is trying to save the whole world; and then we think, “Well, He’s just saving us first.” And that is not the answer at all....
.... God cannot start the Kingdom of God until He first trains teachers. And He has called you and me to become those teachers! THAT’S WHY WE’RE THE FIRSTFRUITS. WE ARE CALLED TO BECOME TEACHERS! And it is, let’s see, I believe it’s the 5th chapter of Hebrews (Isn’t it?), where the apostle Paul says to them, “You ought now to be able to be teachers, and you have to be taught just the kindergarten truth about the Kingdom of God. You haven’t learned. You should have been better students.”
WE are NOT CALLED just for salvation; and, if it were for salvation, we wouldn’t have been called at all. You wouldn’t have been called at all just to get you into the Kingdom. THAT’S NOT WHY YOU WERE CALLED. You were called to become a student. You were called to learn how to save others when God’s Kingdom comes, when Jesus is sitting on the throne on this Earth. Brethren, YOU DON’T GET IT....
.... Has my teaching been in vain, brethren? Sometimes I wonder. I get terribly discouraged. I don’t think you get it. I think so much Protestantism has rubbed off on you that you just don’t understand the truth when I give it to you. And it is really Christ giving it to you through me, because I’m certainly not competent to give it to you. Of myself, I could not do it at all. (Why The Firstfruits – 26 May 1985)
Indeed, our calling revolves around us being trained – trained for a unique teaching position – trained during an utterly unique time in human history – a time totally unlike anything that has been before. Even the writing of these words graphically illustrates this fact: I am using a machine that existed only in the realms of science fiction when I was a boy. During the 1950s computers were barely a step removed from the hush-hush code-breaking world of Bletchley Park and the military secret service. But today, not only can I graphically type and edit these words with an ease that would make the apostle Paul gasp in amazement and drool with envy, but – with the click of a button – it can then be sent simultaneously to hundreds of separate locations across the entire globe in microseconds and then posted to a website where it can be accessed by millions. When Daniel was told to seal his prophecies until the time of the end, the angel described this end-time as a day when, "many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased" (Daniel 12:4). Today's world of mass communication and science is indeed that time.
But there's more. Along with the communications and science there is also a god completely unknown and un-worshipped by any of our forefathers. Evolution and all the myriad of ideas and cultural changes that flow from it is also changing our world dramatically – and it is most certainly not for the better. Today, for the first time in history, much of the world has blindly accepted the absurd concept of a creation without a creator, complex design without a designer. Accepting this philosophy forces animals onto an equal footing with humans, and so we have "animal rights" and simultaneous human degradation of all kinds. We do indeed, "worship and serve the creation more than the Creator" (Romans 1:25), producing a world of spiritual human darkness that is becoming ever darker as the age moves toward its inevitable end.
But within this end-time – within this time of spiritual darkness, and in the midst of this awesome technical progress – and at a time when the true Church has been shattered – there is also prophesied to exist "the elect" (Matthew 24:22). The very teachers required for the world tomorrow being trained within this unprecedented time of human history, who will personally have a pivotal part in bringing Utopia to this earth. Without them, God implies that He would allow mankind to destroy himself. So the real question is: what is God doing with His elect at this time? Where is His focus, and what are His plans for them? The answer has to be that He is looking ahead to the future – placing them very clearly in the context of His coming Kingdom:
If we are indeed to be counted as part of that elect, this is also what we must be doing – viewing our current position in the light of the future, and not bogged down by the cares of the present.
When the Kingdom comes, those who comprise it are to be the teachers – Spirit-born kings and priests – over all mankind. At that time they will need to "discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not." (Malachi 3:18) They will be the ones to say, "This is 'the way', walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left." (Isaiah 30:21). For years within the Church, we understood the Place of Safety would also be a "place of final training". We understood that it would not be a time spent in idle ease, but used by God to complete the preparation of those He wants to use for "pillar" positions in the Kingdom (Revelation 3:12). But what no one foresaw was the time we find ourselves in today. According to Revelation, this too is a time of "final training", though it describes it slightly differently. John was told, "Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein." (Revelation 11:1). This measuring, this testing, this assessment is, quite frankly, a time to spiritually "grow up"!
Thinking back on our years in primary school, and sometimes early on in high-school, we expected to be "spoon-fed" by our teachers. Classes were a case of either remembering facts, or remembering the right approach to solve problems. Whatever was taught was then expected to be regurgitated at exam time. However, University or College life was very different. There we were expected to read around a subject and to a great extent, teach ourself! We were guided by tutors, but in no way spoon-fed. It was supposed to be a preparation for the real world where, as self-starters, we would have to put into practice the things we'd learnt. In just the same way, the time of God's Church today can be loosely compared to upper high-school or A-levels over here in the UK. The curriculum is readily available, but like College, you are expected to "read around" each subject yourself. Half the school day – on the surface – appears "free" – but only those that make good use of that "free" time will find they manage to pass the exam.
Christ mentions to Laodicea that He stands at the door knocking. Those that open then eat with Christ and so grow as they should (Revelation 3:20). In less than 5 years from now, you and I could be having to say those words, "This is the way, walk ye in it," for real! Are we preparing to do so? Are you – am I – opening the door to Christ (the living Word of God) and being taught "That Way" now, "when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up." (Deuteronomy 11:19)?
The Get Back On Track and Church of God in Wales websites are packed with material to help each of us 'get back on track' but are we making use of it? Do we really know what it is we need to "hold fast" to? (Revelation 3:11) Do we search out subject matter, and make it live by applying it personally and prayerfully ourselves? Or are we still expecting to be spoon-fed? Are we merely babes in Christ – in kindergarten? I must admit, at one time the Church did occasionally act like a kindergarten, with ministers making decisions for the membership as if they were mere children. But such days are now over. As I said above, today it is time to "grow up" – for all of us.
Some time ago I came across an article from the Good News of September 1966 on womens' dress. The points brought out are as valid today as they were when they were written during the "swinging 60s", but there are distinct differences. The onus given within the article at that time was very much on the ministry – who were expected to act almost as primary school teachers within the church to enforce the rulings. But in most cases today there is no minister around to correct the Church when outfits are too short, too tight, or otherwise revealing. We have no local minister to point out that the Church is also being brought into reproach when we draw attention to ourselves in the opposite way by appearing "pseudo-religious" – "puritan" – in our dress.
And that same principle applies in virtually every aspect of our lives. It is now time to grow up! We may be alone when logging in for services. Perhaps no one else in the church sees our dress, our TV viewing, our reading material, or witnesses our dysfunctional family relationships, etc. Apart from the festivals and other rare occasions, there is no personal visit from the minister for so many in God's Church. This is indeed a time of "final training" – as a precursor to the place of safety. God expects each of us therefore to grow up and honestly and accurately apply "The Way" of God ourselves. "Laodicea" as we know means "let the people decide", but it also carries the implication that at this time in history, God is also deciding about us.... where, if anywhere, we will fit in His coming Kingdom.
Time is short and we are going to have to be ready to teach God's Way in possibly just a few short years from now! Unless we can do so, accurately, honestly and properly, how can we be used? In such a case we are still babes, still needing to be spoon-fed, unable to "rightly divide the word of truth" (II Timothy 2:15). We all started life as helpless babes in arms, but we grew physically so we could fulfil our human calling, and so must we grow spiritually ... not remaining children – needing to be watched over, corrected and guided 24/7... if we are to fulfill our spiritual calling and be chosen to be part of the ruling Family of God.
Pentecost is to remind us of our position of Firstfruits. Let us be sure we try to look at the present situation correctly – which is "The Way" God looks at it, and realise we have to aim higher than 1st or 2nd grade, if we are to become sons of the Almighty God!
We are now out of kindergarten – no longer spoon-fed by the ministry. We are being prepared, measured, tested, assessed – by Jesus Christ Himself – being made ready so that we can "as living stones, be built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ." (I Peter 2:5).
|Christ's Mission and Message - Continued||WT 79 Series|
|FOT and God's Law||WT 79 Series|
|FOT Continued - Part 1||WT 79 Series|
|FOT Continued - Part 2||WT 79 Series|
|The Majority Don't Know Christ's Message||WT 79 Series|
|John 8||WT 79 Series|
|John 10, Ministers Condemned and Healing||WT 79 Series|
|By other Speakers:|
|Are We Qualifying?||7 Aug 2010 (JB)|