Pastors Report - 9 Feb 2018

To the Moon and Beyond?

On Monday, December 11 last year President Trump signed a White House space policy that directed the nation to: "not only plant our flag and leave our footprints -- [but to] establish a foundation for an eventual mission to Mars, and perhaps someday, to many worlds beyond" . An exciting goal, certainly ... but what does God say?

Apollo 11:

I would imagine that most of us over the age of 55 can still vividly remember where we were on 20th July 1969 when those astounding words, "That's one small step for man — one giant leap for mankind" were broadcast by Neil Armstrong as he began his short walk further from home than any man had ever been before. I happened to be staying in Brighton at the time, having just completed my second year of Ambassador College and can well remember looking up at the moon each night during the entire Apollo program, in awe of the fact that there were actually men up there — 240,000 miles away — on another world.

The Big Picture:

But Neil Armstrong — important though his job was — was but one individual of a much larger team. That team itself was the result of a series of speeches given by President Kennedy, including one at Rice University on 12 Sept 1962 in which he said ....

... We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win .... But if I were to say, my fellow citizens, that we shall send to the moon, 240,000 miles away from the control station in Houston, a giant rocket more than 300 feet tall, the length of this football field, made of new metal alloys, some of which have not yet been invented, capable of standing heat and stresses several times more than have ever been experienced, fitted together with a precision better than the finest watch, carrying all the equipment needed for propulsion, guidance, control, communications, food and survival, on an untried mission, to an unknown celestial body, and then return it safely to earth, re-entering the atmosphere at speeds of over 25,000 miles per hour, causing heat about half that of the temperature of the sun ... and do all this, and do it right, and do it first before this decade is out — then we must be bold....

From that far-reaching vision came the organisation and precision engineering he talked about from across the USA. From it came the entire NASA moon programme with specialists from communications to medical fitness to navigation — all coordinated by the NASA Flight Directors, including Gene Kranz who orchestrated the landing itself and who later became world-famous during his role in rescuing the crew of the ill-fated Apollo 13 - a rescue which immortalised the phrase "Failure is not an option!"

Conflicting Ideas:

But what drove President Kennedy at the time was not just the fact that the moon was there to be 'conquered' and the country needed a project on which to focus, but that was the time of the Cold War — an inter-continental ballistic arms race raging full flow between the USA and USSR. The moon landing should therefore be seen as very much part of this race for supremacy between the only two super-powers at the time. The moon landing was to counter the fact that the Soviet Union were the first ones to put a satellite into orbit with Sputnik in 1957 and the first to put a man into space on 12 April 1961, when they launched Yuri Gagarin into orbit around the Earth on Vostok 1. Although it was just 3 weeks later, on 5 May 1961, that Alan Shepard became the first US astronaut in space, the flight did not complete a full orbit. The West had to wait almost a year before John Glenn became the first American to actually orbit the Earth, on 20 February 1962.

The entire thrust of the moon programme was therefore an effort to show that the Western capitalist system was superior to that of communism. It was neither science nor the pioneering spirit that guided the process. It was the competition of two divergent ways of life, pure and simple. To get one step ahead of the enemy as part of the Cold War.

Another Armstrong:

Yet while this was going on a far greater sequence of events was taking place; events that heralded a system — a Way of Life — infinitely superior to either capitalism or communism. Another Armstrong was commenting on what he was witnessing in this area of the space race. Three years before Neil Armstrong walked on the moon Mr Herbert Armstrong wrote the booklet Who Will Rule Space? In it he clearly identified the real military reason behind what he saw:...

... what should not be lost after all the publicity given to the moon and satellite probes (which are basically civilian-run) is the military role in Space. Although the U.S. budget for military Space projects has been running under $2 billion a year, compared with around $5 billion for civilian programs, the military has put over twice as many spacecraft into orbit. In fact, two of every three U.S. satellites are military in nature – chiefly “spy-in-the-sky’ satellites. These are sent up secretly and without publicity and send back detailed pictures of Russian and Red Chinese installations. ( Who Will Rule Space?)

In identifying the real reason for the frantic activity and the huge expense involved, Mr Armstrong was also able to fulfil an even greater role; a role that was given to him specifically for that key point in history. For this was the time when "all things" were to be restored (Matthew 17:11), as there was to be another 'Elijah' ( Malachi 4:5-6) and also that a specific key prophecy of Jesus Christ could then be fulfilled: "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come." (Matthew 24:14)

The Bigger Picture:

Within this space race and all the military implications of what he saw taking place around him, Mr Armstrong was able to bring home to his audiences something even greater — the meaning of life itself and the purpose of mankind's existence within the cosmos! This fabulous good news was the very gospel of the kingdom destined to be preached in all the world as a witness. This transcendent purpose of life — not the mere human wrangling — is the real thrust behind his booklet Who Will Rule Space?....

.... Human beings were CREATED to rule the universe – God reveals that goal as our ultimate destiny – but we are NOT YET READY! Human nature drives us to attempt to achieve this goal without being qualified for it.

Man is striving vainly to change or protect the human body to withstand the environment of Space. God’s Plan involves changing men’s MINDS – qualifying them to rule – then creating for them SPIRIT BODIES thoroughly equipped for Earth or Space.

While it is in God’s intent and purpose to eventually put ALL under the feet of man, allowing him even to rule over other planets in the entirety of the UNIVERSE – God has decreed that it is not “yet” time for such all-encompassing powers to be given into the hands of man ...

... Yes – it is the reborn SONS OF GOD, who are going to RULE the entirety of the universe under God, the great Ruler over all! We shall be no longer mortal, material – but born again – of GOD – spirit beings!

Don’t be caught up in the excitement of man’s feeble physical effort to “conquer” Space. Man’s effort is only another MILITARY and POLITICAL plan to extend his power – without right knowledge.

Learn God’s Truth. Begin to equip yourself God’s way – and you will be “MORE THAN CONQUERORS”! (Rom. 8:37.)

God wants YOU to rule Space! But we must first learn to rule our own human persons – according to the Maker’s Instruction Book! ( Who Will Rule Space?)

Space Today:

President Trump's proclamation notwithstanding, the manned missions to the moon are presently very much on hold. The "one small step for man" became very nearly the only step there was, as just 12 men have ever walked on the lunar surface — all doing so between 1969 and 1972 — and no human has ventured further than 400 miles into space during the 45 years since. Today we have the "Curiosity Mars Rover" still roaming the Martian surface after landing there 6 years ago. And the "International Space Station" orbiting the earth every one and 1/2 hours with its crew of six. But where is the excitement? Where is the fervour? Where — as took place during 1969 — is the looking up at the night sky in wonder ... even if we happen to glimpse the space station overhead on occasion? We have become blasé. It is just so much "ho-hum ..... another probe, another satellite" and we all get on with our own little lives on our own little planet and close the shutters of our own little minds to the vastness of the universe in which we have been placed.

But as I have brought out above, what was really being contrasted during the space race was not just this planet Earth to the vastness of the cosmos, but the conflict of two different views within this world. So it is not merely the lack of excitement over space exploration that has died — it is the lack of excitement today in the values that once built the West to the point of space exploration. Those values did indeed give the USA greatness. And the ho-hum acceptance of multiculturalism of all kinds instead, is a large part of what is destroying that greatness today! Astoundingly, it is even the present acceptance of many of the very atheist socialist dogmas found in the old Soviet Union against which the push for the moon was designed! So who really won? The USA — or the USSR?

Truth Today:

And how similar it is to the current state of God's Church. When comparing our current situation with yesteryear it is all too easy to become fixated - and even depressed - regarding the lack of a big Work as in the past, and merely see the number of magazines and material being sent out as the major lack. But the real problem is our need to fully appreciate two radically different views of the world. Summed up as a Way of Give as opposed to the way of get, this is a Truth so precious, so profound and far reaching, that throughout the centuries men have died for it — and will do so again ( Revelation 6:11). And a Truth so valued that it must be the driving force in our lives ( Luke 14:26, Revelation 3:15,16). Where is such vision today? Where is the excitement? Where do we find the depth that can be seen within the quotes from Mr Armstrong's booklet? Has our appreciation of the true meaning of life become just another "Mars Rover" or space probe? Are our trials and daily struggles keeping our feet - and eyes - firmly stuck to the earth, so we miss the wonder of the galaxy - the place where our future lies, as so clearly brought out in the book of Hebrews?

  • For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak.
  • But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him?
  • Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands:
  • Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. (Hebrews 2: 6-8)

What we must do is to look PAST Mr Armstrong to the True Source of what we had in the 1960s. Just as Neil Armstrong had hundreds of thousands of support personnel including the very President himself behind him — so too was the spiritual support given to Mr Herbert Armstrong if we just think about it:....

  • But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,
  • To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,
  • And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant (Hebrews 12:22-24)
The real Power:

For us today, unlike the moon landings, those spiritual support personnel are still very much in place and functioning just as they always have done.

  • Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. (Deuteronomy 31:6)
  • This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
  • Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. (Joshua 1:8,9)
  • And he [Elisha] answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.
  • And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire [support personnel] round about Elisha.(2 Kings 1:16,17)
  • Are they [angelic beings] not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation? (Hebrews 1:14)
To Plant the Heavens:

God the Father remains on His throne, overseeing the entire universe, with Christ at His right hand. And the Truth is exactly as it always has been — absolutely nothing has changed. (Hebrews 13:8) We know that part of that Plan is that the USA and UK — as modern Israel — eventually will return to what really will make them truly great. Not capitalism as opposed to communism — but as the author and finisher of our Faith declared of His Spiritual Law, "this is your wisdom" (Deuteronomy 4:6) — dynamic Truth from the Maker's very instruction book that was sent with the product.

God's Plan for mankind - to the moon and far, far beyond - is part of the Truth we in God's Church already have! We have been given it restored and focused for us into a Way of Life that is radically different from absolutely anything to be found in this world. And we are expected to be using that spiritual Law right now, in training to teach it — as teachers of a Way of life that is utterly opposed to the present world's way. A Way, placed by God as words in our mouth, internalised, to be taught both now — and into eternity, and throughout the vastness of space.....

  • Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath: for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner: but my salvation shall be for ever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished.
  • Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be ye afraid of their revilings.
  • For the moth shall eat them up like a garment, and the worm shall eat them like wool: but my righteousness shall be for ever, and my salvation from generation to generation.
  • And I have put my words in thy mouth, and I have covered thee in the shadow of mine hand, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion, Thou art my people. (Isaiah 51:6-8,16)

.... Can you now begin to understand? God is offering YOU, not through the promises of science, not by travel in a Spaceship, not by military, political or man-made means, but by the very power of God, through being BORN of Him, as His OWN SON, RULERSHIP OVER SPACE! ( Who Will Rule Space?)

Let's make THIS – our calling, our election ... yes, and our fantastic cosmic destiny – sure!