By Norman Midgette
For those who believe the Bible, Herbert Armstrong’s version of the world tomorrow reads like science fiction. With its combination of visible and invisible beings in a Utopian society ruling and being ruled with force and splendor, it would rival some of our recent space odysseys.
It Must Happen Soon
It must happen very soon – in fact within the next seventeen years by the end of the twentieth century Armstrong says.
And yet – absolute UTOPIA is soon to grip this earth! In OUR TIME, we shall see WORLD PEACE! We shall see sickness banished; vigorous health restored; ignorance replaced with universal right education; poverty replaced with universal prosperity; weeping and wailing turned into happiness and JOY! (The Wonderful World Tomorrow, p. 34, hereafter referred to as WWT).
To more specifically identify “our time” he says, “. . . approximately 90 percent of all prophecy pertains to our time, now, in this latter half of the twentieth century” (The United States and British Commonwealth in Prophecy, p. 17).
How It Begins
To begin this wonderful world there must first be the return of Christ with two outstanding events taking place. First, all the righteous dead will be raised and all the righteous living changed into immortal spirits. They will have no bodies for, “. . . at the time of the resurrection we shall be instantaneously changed from mortal to immortal – we shall then be born of God – we shall then be God” (Why Were You Born? pp. 21, 22). He explains this process more fully in the booklet What Is The True Gospel? (p. 9).
The second great event will be the final battle of the ages. It will take place at Jerusalem between the Common Market nations of Europe which Armstrong believes is the resurrected Roman Empire and Christ with all His holy angels. Christ will win and the throne of David which is now occupied by the Queen of England will be moved to Jerusalem where His kingdom will be established and where He will reign for a Millennium.
Now by divine force He will suppress all crime and rebellion and by divine education He will save and govern the world by forcing peace and prosperity upon it. Reigning with Him will be all the dead and living righteous who have been changed into divine Spirit Beings. All the wicked dead are still in their graves and all mortals now living on earth at the beginning of the Millennium are unsaved.
Armstrong allows a period of “restitution” at the beginning to clean up all of the mess mankind has created over the centuries. But when this is all made right, we will view a world here on earth where (1) government, (2) landscape, (3) education, (4) medical needs, and (5) economic standards are all new and entirely changed. You would find it hard to believe it is the same world we live on today. Now take a trip with me into this Paradise of Herbert Armstrong which he calls The Wonderful World Tomorrow.
Jerusalem will be the world capital with all things relating to church and state being dictated from there. Every person in government will be spirit in nature. (Armstrong does not say if they will be visible to mortals.) While on earth they were prepared for the work they are now to do.
Christ will be the Supreme Head of government and just as specifically as Armstrong names “Christ,” he names the other officers in this world government.
He says, “It all began with Abraham” (WWT, p. 50). “What is plainly revealed indicates, then, that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob will function as a topflight TEAM, with Abraham as `Chairman’ of the TEAM, next under Christ in the coming world Government of God” (WWT, p. 52).
At this point the operation of the Kingdom divides into Church and State. Since Moses and Elijah were with Christ in. the transfiguration which was, “the Kingdom of GOD IN A VISION,’ Moses will be Director of State and Elijah, who restored the true worship (1 Kings 18:19-21), will be the Director of the Church (WWT, p. 53).
As we walk down the corridor of this Government Office Building, let us see who Moses has helping him. Humanity is divided into Gentile Nations and Israelite Nations. Over the Gentile Nations will be Daniel. However, “the indication… seems to be that Paul will be given position over ALL Gentiles, but under Daniel” (WWT, p. 57). Then there will be rulers over individual nations perhaps Barnabas, Silas or Timothy but Armstrong is not sure about their identity.
On the other side of the corridor, where the Israelite nations are ruled, the name of King David stands out in bold letters. And says Armstrong, “Each of the original twelve Apostles will be king under David, over one of these then super-prosperous nations” (Matt. 19:28). Under the Apostles will be lesser rulers.
Before we conclude our tour of the Government operation there are three other officers to which you need to be introduced. Problems they deal with are solved on an international level with International Directors.
Armstrong believes the amalgamation of the races is “contrary to GOD’S LAWS” (WWT, p. 57). So to Armstrong, “it seems evident that the resurrected NOAH will head a vast project of the RELOCATION OF THE RACES and NATIONS, within the boundaries GOD had set, for their own best good, happiness and richest blessings”(WWT, p. 58).
Another tremendous project will be to see that Isaiah 61:4 is fulfilled. It reads in part, “And they shall… repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations.” Armstrong’s fertile imaginations has just the man for the job. He is the builder of the Great Pyramid of Egypt, known in secular history as Pharoah Khufu, says Armstrong, and in the Bible as Job. “Indication is strong,” says the Armstrong Cult, “that JOB will be Director of worldwide URBAN RENEWAL” (WWT, p. 59). His top assistant will be none other than, Zerubbabel, rebuilder of the walls of Jerusalem.
The third director will be needed over the total economy and so we read, “It seems evident, therefore, that Joseph will be made DIRECTOR OF THE WORLD’S ECONOMY – ITS AGRICULTURE, its INDUSTRY, its TECHNOLOGY, and its COMMERCE – as well as its money and monetary system” (WWT, p. 58). This concludes Herbert Armstrong’s creation of Department of State under Moses, Abraham and Christ.
Armstrong’s Department of Religion is developed in less detail. However, Christ appoints Elijah as the Director of the Church and because John the Baptist came in the “spirit and power of Elijah” he will be appointed to work directly under Elijah. Under them will be many unnamed spirit beings.
The Headquarters Church will be at Jerusalem and its main function will be to fill the world with the full knowledge of God (Isa. 11:9). Jew and Gentile will flow to this kingdom though not everyone will come. In clear contradiction of Hebrews 8:8-13, the Armstrong doctrine says the new covenant does not begin until the Millennium.
To accomplish this re-education process God will “give to all nations a new and PURE LANGUAGE. . . (WWT, p. 60). Everyone will speak and be taught in this language.
This Headquarters Church will direct all local churches throughout the world. Those making up these churches will be saved mortals and, “there will be district superintendents over areas, and Pastors, Elders, Deacons and Deaconnesses in every local church” (WWT, p. 66). These saved ones will not have to overcome Satan because to Armstrong he has been bound, “But they shall have to overcome all evil impulses, habits, or temptations, innate within themselves” (WWT, p. 63).
Part of their worship will include forced observance of the Festivals of God under the Old Testament. Armstrong says there were seven of them. Can anyone picture Christ authorizing festivals like the Day of Atonement or the Passover which He came to abolish 2000 years ago according to Hebrews 9?
What kind of gospel are these preachers of Armstrong’s imagination going to be preaching to convert people while at the same time observing the sin offerings of the day of atonement? Is Christ our sin offering or is He not? The church in Armstrong’s World Tomorrow is denominational to the core with much of it organized like his church in California.
In Armstrong’s fantasy the climate will be perfect and the landscape totally changed. From Isaiah 40:14-20 he teaches that the mountains, including the Alps, the Himalayas and the Rockies will be made level and the land productive for crops. Also he says Isaiah 11:15 teaches that the oceans will shrink in size for more land to be made available. He says, “Sounds incredible – but it’s TRUE” (WWT, p. 75). No hunger will exist and there will always be plenty for all. It will never be too hot or too cold but always comfortable.
In this Utopia there will be universal good health and all hospitals will be empty and for sale. Doctors will only be needed as educators of the principles of good health. In this new world, we will be well because we will avoid the causes of disease and illness which is sin. But, says Armstrong,”. . . when people, in spite of this education, do get sick or catch a disease, it can be healed – GOD’S way! Actually Christ’s healing is forgiveness of SIN” (WWT, p. 79). Therefore, the reason we see no sick people as we tour this new world is because, “The COMBINED FORCE OF RIGHT EDUCATION about TRUE HEALTH, and instant HEALING of all sickness, when it is REPENTED of, will mean PERFECT, UTOPIAN HEALTH!” (WWT, p. 80).
If we stopped to talk to the people about their economy what would we hear? All the gold and silver have been taken to Jerusalem as Isaiah prophesied (Isa. 60:5). The gold standard has been put into effect and the temple has been highly decorated with gold. There will be no world banks or stock markets or mortgage companies or loan agencies or time payments. “In God’s abundant government people will buy only what they need, when they can afford it, when they have the cash to pay for it. No more interest. And no more taxes” (WWT, p. 90). The government will operate on the tithing system of the Old Testament. We are assured by Mr. Armstrong that, “Every necessary industry, educational institution, and business will be in SOUND financial condition” (WWT, p. 93). Man will be at total peace with himself, his environment and his God. And so we have viewed Herbert Armstrong’s Wonderful World Tomorrow.
What you have just read is the result of a mind with no respect for the context of scripture, especially prophecy. Much of this was completely created out of his own mind with no semblance of Scripture to support it as the naming of the government directors. Through his misdirection of prophecy, materializing of prophecies that are clearly figurative and his jumbling of prophecies he has created this fantasy.
What is almost more astonishing than the ability of a man to create this totally non-existent world is the gullibility of the thousands who believe it. But, as it was in the Garden of Eden, there will always be those who create lies and those who will believe them. May we earnestly try to avoid being in either group.
Guardian of Truth XXVII: 10, pp. 325-326
June 2, 1983