MYSTERY OF THE AGES



Did you ever ask yourself:

"Who am I? What am I? Why am I?" You are a mystery. The world about you is a mystery.

Now you can understand!



HERBERT W. ARMSTRONG

I want to extend my gratitude to Aaron Dean, who collaborated in the writing and preparation of this book. Without him, since my near loss of eyesight, this book could not have been produced.

 


I would like to dedicate this book to the memory of 50 happy years, Loma Armstrong.


 

Author's Statement

WHY DID I WRITE THIS BOOK? I have lived a long, active, interest-packed life covering the last eight and a half years of the 19th century and all of the twentieth to the present.

I have lived through the horse and buggy age, the automobile and industrial age, the air age, the nuclear age and now into the space age. I have seen America live through the agrarian age when farmers walked behind their horse-drawn ploughs singing happily, and into the urban age when Midwest American farmers are groaning and fighting for more government subsidies to prevent the extinction of farm life.

I have seen this twentieth century develop into a state of awesome advancement and achievement industrially and technologically.. Paradoxically, I have seen alarming escalation of appalling evils, crime and violence and the crucible of nuclear war develop to threaten the very extinction of the human race within the present living generation. These conditions and facts are indeed mysteries that have remained unsolved and now need to be explained.

I have traveled over the four quarters of this globe we call earth. I have rubbed shoulders with the rich and the very poor and those in between. I have visited with captains of industry, emperors, kings, presidents and prime ministers. I have rubbed shoulders with and come to know the totally illiterate and poverty- stricken poor. I have seen this world firsthand at close range as have only the very few.

And through this long and pulsating eventful life I have asked myself many questions that were deep mysteries to me, and remain unanswered and unexplained mysteries to the world as a whole.

When I was five, my father said I was going to be a Philadelphia lawyer when I grew up, because I was always asking so many questions about so many things. I wanted to UNDERSTAND. I craved UNDERSTANDING. King Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, desired wisdom, and God gave him wisdom above all others. After so many years I realize now that the same God had given me the UNDERSTANDING of life's deepest mysteries that remain an enigma in most minds.

How did all this happen? I was reared in a Protestant church until the age of 18, but I never heard these plaguing questions explained in church. If the Bible reveals the answers, why so many denominations of Christianity and so much disagreement as to what the Bible says?

But who can understand the Bible? I certainly never had understood it. And even if one does, can one believe the Bible? Does it speak with any authority? That question puzzled me and is the mystery to be cleared up in this volume. How I came to understand began at age 34, in the year of 1926. But it only began there. The final crystal-clear reason that impelled me to write this book did not fully reveal itself to my mind until December of 1984. It was a mind-boggling realization--a pivotal truth--that will be made clear in this book.

The beginning of opening my mind to the truth covered in this book began in the summer of 1926.

I asked myself: "Who am I? WHAT am I? WHY am I?" I tried to reason out the answer, but I couldn't. It was a mystery. Then, that very autumn I was confronted with a mind-disturbing challenge on a biblical question and the theory of evolution. This resulted in opening my mind to amazing vistas and depths of knowledge and understanding.

It all started with the question of the theory of evolution and the religious question of Sunday observance.

I knew that the Bible was the world's number one selling book. Yet to me it had been an enigma. I could never understand it. I said, "The Bible says, `Thou shalt observe Sunday.'" I was asked how did I know? Had I read that in the Bible?

I answered that I knew because all the churches observe Sunday and I supposed the source of their teaching was the Bible.

But my marriage was at stake on the question. I was forced into an in-depth study and research into the Bible and also into the theory of evolution, which was at that time rapidly gaining acceptance in the field of higher education.

My in-depth study into the works of Darwin, Huxley, Haeckel, et al led me to question the authority of the Bible and even the existence of God.

These intellectual thinkers had become aware of the increasing knowledge about the universe. They could not square this expanding knowledge with the religious teaching of their time. My researches into the thinking of the founders of the evolutionary theory recalled to mind what I then read in the eighth chapter of Psalms-- how King David, a monarch of an ancient nation, looked at the stars in the sky, noted the expansion of the vast universe and began to think. He wondered in his mind, what was he? What was man--in the vast expansion of the endless universe? I found that this ancient king had never received the full answer to the questions that plagued his mind. But I was later to discover, in my same research, how the final answer was revealed to the apostle Paul and explained in the second chapter of the book of Hebrews. I was determined to find absolute proof of the existence of God and of the authority of the Bible, or to reject both. Most people, I realized, accept or reject a belief on careless assumption due to whatever they have heard, been taught, or assumed without proof. I wanted to understand. And I wanted to be sure on positive proof, not on careless assumption or wishful thinking.

After many months of virtually night-and-day intensive study, the answers were revealed to me with proof that was positive and absolute.

No longer was the existence of God taken carelessly for granted because I had always heard it or been taught it. I found absolute and positive proof of the existence of the Supreme Creator God and also of the absolute authority of the Holy Bible as the Word of God--the revealed message and knowledge of God for mankind.

I found the Bible to be a coded book, with answers to the paramount mysteries confronting all humanity.

The revelation of these mysteries was lost, even to the Church of God, although the revelation of them has been preserved in the writings of the Bible. Why, then, has the world not clearly understood? Because the Bible was a coded book, not intended to be understood until our day in this latter half of the twentieth century. I learned, in this night-and-day study, why it is the most misunderstood book, even though it is the world's best-seller. The full explanation or truth of any one subject is seldom made complete and clear in any one passage. Other portions, factors, or phases of the subject are usually contained in one or several other passages in other parts of the Bible either in the Old or New Testament. A true and full understanding of this subject is profitable only when these perhaps several other passages, scattered throughout the Bible, are put together.

Vistas of knowledge and understanding that have remained the chief mysteries of life to most people were opened to my astonished eyes and mind. But it is recorded in that book that in these very days in which our generation lives, the great mystery would be cleared. And indeed it was to my astonished mind.

I learned that the Bible is like a jigsaw puzzle--thousands of pieces that need putting together--and the pieces will fit together in only one way. Then the picture becomes crystal clear to the one willing to believe what God our Creator says.

This present book merely puts the many pieces of the great puzzle together so they can be clearly understood. As you read and reread this book, compare constantly with your own Bible. See these truths with your own eyes in your own Bible. And open your mind to God's leading you into his TRUTH as you do. It will make a lot of sense as nothing ever did before.

Time may prove this to be the most important book written in almost 1,900 years. Not because of literary excellence or flowery language of scholarship that it has purposely avoided, but because of its plainness of speech in clarifying the most important knowledge ever revealed from the supreme source of understanding of that which has mystified all humans since man first appeared on earth.

This world's humanity has been blinded to who, what and why man is--how man appeared on earth. Man has been mystified by his inability to solve his problems, or find answers to the perplexing questions of mankind and the world he inhabits.

All these mysteries were long ago revealed by the one supreme authority of all knowledge, but in a coded message not allowed to be revealed and decoded until our time.

The Church was infiltrated during the first century with another gospel. Many false teachings and false churches under the name of "traditional Christianity" arose. As God reveals in Revelation 12:9, the whole world has been deceived. These basic truths have been kept a mystery. Even sincere and well-meaning men among the clergy have received their teaching from other men as handed down traditionally in these churches. They have assumed these false teachings to be the true teachings of the Bible. Instead of putting the various pieces of the jigsaw puzzle properly and sensibly together, it has become the practice and custom to read an already-believed false teaching into each particular scripture, taken out of its context. In other words to interpret the scriptures to say what they have already been taught and come to believe. The Bible needs no interpretation because it interprets itself. This becomes clear when one sees the various scriptures of each subject properly put together, and the Bible itself says, "here a little, and there a little" (Isa. 28:10). Even the world of a professed traditional Christianity has been deceived.

I have often said it is much more difficult to unlearn an erroneous supposed truth than it is to learn a new truth. Even in these past 58 years I had not fully and clearly realized the significance of the fact revealed in Genesis 3:22-24--that, in fact, God had closed the Holy Spirit and eternal life to mankind in general until the removal of Satan at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Traditional Christian teaching had always assumed there is a contest between God and Satan--that God has been trying desperately to "get the world saved," but in this great controversy Satan has been winning. In other words, God had sent Jesus Christ at his First Coming to try to win this ongoing war against Satan. Traditional Christianity has taught that "whosoever will may come" and be "saved" through Jesus.

For some years I had come to partially realize the error of this assumption, but the full truth on this point had not come crystal clear to me until very recently. This truth is indeed mind- boggling. It clears what had been clouded in mystery.

It is hoped that this book, written since God's time for it has come, will open many eyes to the truth of these long-hidden mysteries.

And now, in my 93rd year, I have been led to write this book before this event-packed life ends, to share with as many as care to know, the answers that the great supreme mind of God reveals in his Word--if one is only willing to understand that Word.

 

Table of Contents



AUTHOR'S STATEMENT............................................................2

PREFACE.....................................................................................6

INTRODUCTION: How the Seven Mysteries Were Revealed.......8

CHAPTER I: Who and What is God?.......................................16

CHAPTER II: Mystery of Angels and Evil Spirits...........................26

CHAPTER III: The Mystery of Man..............................................40

CHAPTER IV: Mystery of Civilization...........................................55

CHAPTER V: Mystery of Israel....................................................63

CHAPTER VI: Mystery of the Church...........................................78

CHAPTER VII: Mystery of the Kingdom of God.........................112

 



Preface

DID you ever ask yourself: "Who am I? What am I? Why am I? The world about you is a mystery. You yourself are a mystery. You have never seen your brain, the seat of your intellect and all that you are.

Your life is engulfed in mysteries. On reflection, your very existence is a mystery. Did you simply happen by unintelligent resident earthly forces without meaning or purpose, or were you intelligently designed and created by an all-powerful God of supreme mind for a purpose that also has been hidden in mystery? In fact, the persistent tradition throughout human history about the Creator God has been such a mystery that higher education in the Western world has sought to erase the mystery by giving its virtually unanimous acceptance to the theory of evolution.

Diffusion of education did not begin among the human race until after the invention of printing in the 15th century. As education became more widespread--as intellectualism developed--as knowledge of astronomy expanded knowledge of the universe about us- -thinking minds began to ask questions. What of the whole vast universe? How did it all originate? Rational, scientifically oriented minds found themselves unable to explain the developing knowledge of an expanded universe with the teaching of religion as they knew it through the Roman Catholic Church and Protestantism, which had dominated the thinking of the Western world. The teaching of a long-haired, semi-effeminate picture of Jesus and the concept of a God composed of invisible spirit was not intellectually satisfying to them. It was all a colossal mystery. In the vanity of their self-professed scholarly minds they tried to evade the mystery entirely on the basis of materialism. They appeased their curiosity by attempting to work out a solution to the mystery of origins, existence, and life by reasoning out a self-satisfying, materialistic explanation.

Gradually the theory of evolution evolved in thinking, yet ignorant, minds filled with intellectual vanity. This thinking evolved into the theory of "use and disuse" by de Lamarck. On the heels of de Lamarck's theory came Charles Darwin with his theory of the "survival of the fittest." Actually Darwin died unsure of his own theory. However, two colleagues, Haeckel and Huxley, fought vigorously to promote the Darwinian theory into public acceptance.

But were created human minds of intellectual vanity, who created a theory, more all-knowing than the supreme mind that created them? The evolutionary theory has been invented by human minds in an effort to explain the presence of a creation without the preexistence of a divine Creator.

And if the all-powerful God was your Maker, and exists as the divine Creator of all that is, then the mystery about God emerges, in order of time sequence, as the first and paramount mystery of all.

Who and what is God? That is a mystery not understood by any religion, not explained by science, untaught by higher education. The intellectually vain originators of the evolutionary theory found the existence of God, as presented by religion, a mystery they could neither understand nor accept. But the religionists whom they rejected did not themselves understand the mystery of God. Yet God does reveal himself through his Word the Holy Bible, if these religionists would only believe God's own revelation. God reveals himself in his Word the Holy Bible, yet almost none has understood it. The Bible, as author Bruce Barton said, is "the book that nobody knows." The Bible itself is the basic mystery that reveals all other mysteries.

If the truth about God is mystery number one revealed in the Bible, assuredly the truth about angels and evil spirits is second in order. Is the existence of spirit beings fact or a myth? Is there, after all, a devil? Did God create a devil? If there are holy angels, what is their purpose and function? The Bible clearly states that this world is actually ruled by unseen principalities of evil spirits. Do evil spirits affect and influence humans and even governments today? Do evil spirits affect even your own life? This question seems enveloped in total mystery.

Certainly third in order is the mystery of your own life--of humanity as a whole. What and why is humanity? Is man an immortal soul? Do the dead know what the living are doing? Is man a flesh and blood being with an immortal soul within? Is there meaning and purpose to human life? Did we evolve through unintelligent material forces without meaning or purpose? Why are humans beset with seemingly unsolvable problems?

Fourth in line of the not-understood mysteries is the civilization that has developed in man's world. How did it develop? Why do we find a world of awesome advancement and progress, yet paradoxically with appalling and mounting evils? Why cannot the minds that develop spacecraft, computers and marvels of science, technology and industry solve the problems that demonstrate human helplessness?

Next, in the development of human society on earth, is the mystery of the Jew and the ancient nation of Israel. Are the Jews the ancient nation of Israel? Why did God raise up one special nation? Why are they God's "chosen people"? Are they God's favorites? Does God discriminate against other nations? Is God a respecter of persons? What is Israel's purpose in the divine order of things?

Come now to the mystery of the Church. Why should there be the institution of the Church in the world? Is there some purpose for it, not understood even by the religion of traditional Christianity? Is the Church one Christ-originated Church or does it consist of many differing sects and denomination? Is the Church well organized on a definite pattern originated by Christ? Is there government and authority in the Church? Is it a large universal Church of many millions of members or a small and persecuted Church? How could one recognize the true Church today?

Finally, why the mystery of the kingdom of God? Jesus' gospel message was "the kingdom of God." Is the kingdom of God something within each person? Is it something that may be set up in men's hearts? Is it the institution of the church? Or is it something else altogether? Why this mystery of the very gospel of Jesus Christ?

These are the SEVEN GREAT MYSTERIES that concern the very lives of every human being on earth. The PLAIN TRUTH of all these mysteries is revealed in the Bible, but none of the churches or theologians seem to have comprehended them.

WHY? The Bible is the basic mystery of all.

If one begins reading the Bible continuously from beginning to end, one becomes bewildered. The Bible simply cannot be read like any other book. It is a mystery because it is a coded book. It is like a jigsaw puzzle, with perhaps thousands of various pieces of different forms and shapes that can be fitted together in only one precise pattern. The truths of the Bible are revealed here a little, there a little, scattered from beginning to end, and revealed only through the Holy Spirit within those surrendered and yielded to God, willing to have confessed error and wrongdoing, and yielding to BELIEVE Christ the Word of God. Jesus was the Word in Person. The Bible is the same Word in print.

No one can have the Holy Spirit, which alone can open the human mind to understanding of this Word of God, without a complete repentance and an implicit belief in Christ as well as believing what he says. Repentance can only follow admission of being wrong--of wrongdoing and wrong believing. The most difficult thing for any human seems to be to admit being wrong--to confess error of belief and conviction--to unlearn false knowledge as well as to learn true knowledge.

Is it any wonder, then, that the Bible is the book that nobody knows or understands?--or certainly almost nobody.

God deliberately coded his book so that it would not be understood until our modern time. Why was this purposely done? Even that is a mystery. The pages that follow will explain.

In the 12th chapter of Daniel we read even that devout man of God could not understand that which was given to him to write as part of the Bible. He said he heard, but understood not. The revealing angel said, "Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end" (Authorized Version).

Today we have reached that time. God has opened to understanding his Word to those he has chosen, who have yielded and surrendered to him and to his blessed sacred Word. In the 12th chapter of Daniel, it says at this time of the end the "wise" would understand, but "none of the wicked shall understand." Who, then, are the "wise" who may understand the Bible?

"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom" (Ps. 111:10) and "a good understanding have all they that do his commandments" (same verse). Yet traditional Christianity has generally denied God's commandments--says they are done away, nailed to the cross. The clergy and theologians of organized "Christianity," therefore, cannot and do not understand the Holy Bible.

How, then, can we, in this book, understand and reveal to the reader these boggling mysteries? That question will be answered in the Introduction to follow.