The Way of Peace Restored Momentarily
Chapter 1: World Peace Center and Sinai—the Mountain of God
Look at the list of world leaders Herbert W. Armstrong came into contact with, and who responded warmly to him. They called him an ambassador for world peace. That is a miraculous understanding, when you realize that he had that kind of an impact on the leaders of this evil world. It is something I think we need to pay more attention to.
Mr. Armstrong did restore the way of peace the people of God. He also, momentarily, restored that to the whole world as well, I believe. He was part of a project that, if fully understood, showed the world how to have peace!
A World Peace Center
One of the most dramatic examples of Mr. Armstrong’s efforts to promote peace in this world revolved around the construction of a world peace center. What truly made this extraordinary was the fact that it was promoted by perhaps some of the most unlikely individuals—and at probably the most significant, profound location it could possibly inhabit on Earth.
Mr. Armstrong wrote about this peace effort in Quest/81. This magazine was full of articles about getting the best out of the human spirit.
“For too long,” Mr. Armstrong wrote, “leaders have dealt with effects, ignoring the causes of our problems. It is imperative that they come to a knowledge of the way that will produce peace. President Anwar L. Sadat of Egypt may be pointing to that way” (May 1981).
In this article, Mr. Armstrong listed several significant events that converged in this historic peace initiative. Among them was Sadat’s visit to Jerusalem, which Mr. Armstrong called the most incredible peace overture of modern times. “After four bitter wars against Israel in 30 years, President Anwar el-Sadat did an unheard-of thing! On November 20, 1977, he declared peace, not war! At extreme personal danger and unprecedented political risk the Egyptian president braved a personal visit to Jerusalem to speak in peace to the Israeli Knesset.
“It was the most sensational overture toward international peace made by any head of state in our time!” Mr. Armstrong wrote. He then detailed the furious opposition Mr. Sadat faced for making that move. It does require sacrifice if we are going to have peace.
These nations were at each other’s throats. Then suddenly, this courageous man had a change of heart.
Sadat extended an offer to the Israeli prime minister, Menachem Begin, who accepted. They had both learned some lessons. Sadat came before the Knesset and said, “You would like to live with us in this region of the world, and I tell you in all honesty that we welcome you among us.”
Mr. Armstrong called that a “genuine peace offer”! That was what launched the peace process. But nothing we have seen since has even come close to the sincerity and praiseworthiness of that initial effort.
In the past, I have criticized Israel for accepting that offer from Sadat. But after studying into it more—and particularly after looking at how Mr. Armstrong responded to it—I am convinced that this really was a valiant and laudable peace effort, and I even believe that, to some degree, God’s hand was in it.
Sadat went to Jerusalem to declare peace. And it worked for a short span of time! It worked quite well, right up to very recently, as far as Egypt and the Jews are concerned.
In this Quest/81 article, Mr. Armstrong wrote about a specific idea that Sadat had: “He plans to build at the base of Mount Sinai a world peace center, emblematic of peace among all nations and religions” (emphasis added throughout). I would say that idea is pointing in the right direction, wouldn’t you?
“The concept is unique! A total departure from any previous peace undertaking,” Mr. Armstrong wrote. This effort showed these two nations’ “extreme willingness to give extraordinary sacrifice in the start toward peace in their region.”
I believe this event helped fulfill a major prophecy in a dramatic way (Malachi 4:4-6). I’ll explain what I mean in the next chapter.
The whole world saw and was shocked by the Sadat-Begin peace initiative. But few understood what it meant.
To understand the true significance of this peace initiative, it’s important to fix in our minds the stunning history of the location at which this peace center was meant to be constructed: Sinai, the mountain of God!
Where God Himself Visited
When God freed the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, He brought them through the Red Sea and then led them to this mountain through a series of awesome miracles. But of all the miracles He worked, perhaps the most spectacular and earthshaking was when God Himself came down to Mount Sinai.
What a day! God came down and personally established the nation of Israel! No nation ever had such a spectacular beginning. This must have been extremely important!
Today, the nations of Israel have shamefully forgotten their God. (If you don’t know who these nations are, request our free book The United States and Britain in Prophecy.) Many people in the Jewish nation that is called Israel scoff and ridicule and have terrible things to say about the God who came down to Mount Sinai.
In Exodus 19, you read about the Israelites camping right there at that mountain, all 2 to 3 million of them, in a giant tent city. I have filmed two television programs there. You can see that there is ample room at that mountain for such a massive body of people. God had something extremely special in store for them.
Moses, their leader, went up the mountain and talked to God! (verse 3). Imagine this unique event! You can’t compare this with anything that has happened at the beginning of any other nation on Earth!
God gave Moses an agreement to present before the people. This would make these people a special nation—God’s nation on Earth. God would be the King, the Ruler, the Lawmaker. He would be the “parliament” and the “congress.”
This is spectacular history you would think no nation would ever give up! Why would anybody let go of something so massively impressive and unique? Yet the modern nations of Israel have done just that—especially the birthright nations of Britain and America, and the Jewish scepter nation. No wonder God is so wrathful toward them.
Here is what God instructed Moses to tell the Israelites: “Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself. Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation” (verses 4-6).
They were to teach and show the world how to have real peace.
The fact that the Israelites had witnessed so many miracles already should have moved them to obey God! And God told them that they were to become a kingdom of priests, a holy nation! God’s nation! What a covenant this was. God said, I’m going to give you everything! You’ll be above everybody! You’ll be the most powerful people on Earth! What nation could possibly compare with God and His nation?
Then God gave Israel an unparalleled gift: He spelled out His eternal spiritual law for them. This was a detailed, codified form of law that had existed from the beginning, just like the laws of physics and chemistry. This, though, is a spiritual law. If we obey it, it brings dazzling blessings—and if we disobey, it exacts a toll on our lives. This law distinguished Israel from every other nation on Earth.
This world views God’s law as being harsh and oppressive, and people have done away with it. Look at the suffering in this world because people won’t listen to God! That law gives people security and protection; it helps us avoid sorrow, misery, suffering, violence and death; it makes us happy and joyful! All good things and blessings come from God. Look how God blesses His faithful people today because we keep this wonderful law!
God’s law distinguishes His people from everyone else on Earth!
Conservatives in the United States often talk about getting back to our forefathers and the Constitution. That Constitution had many godly principles built into it, and certainly a restoration of respect for it would be a move in the right direction. But that document wouldn’t really solve America’s problems. In reality, this country needs to get back to this beginning: Israel’s founding as a nation at Mount Sinai—when God Himself came down and spoke to the people! That would take the nation back to where its problems could really be solved! But sadly, our nation has reached the point of no return, physically. However, it’s not too late for individuals to respond to God’s message.
Imagine having the leader of your nation personally talk to God! Imagine God’s voice booming out—revealing the beautiful, living, inexorable law of God!
Meeting With God
Moses came down from the mountain and gathered the elders of Israel together and explained all that God had told him. “And all the people answered together, and said, All that the Lord hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the Lord” (Exodus 19:8). Moses was happy to return and report to God that the people were fervently eager to obey. I’m sure Moses was more optimistic than God was at this point.
God then told Moses that He would come down and speak so all the people could hear Him. “And the Lord said unto Moses, Go unto the people, and sanctify them to day and to morrow, and let them wash their clothes, And be ready against the third day: for the third day the Lord will come down in the sight of all the people upon mount Sinai” (verses 10-11).
The Israelites had to prepare themselves to receive the law of God. That alone indicates how important this is.
The Israelites had already seen many miracles, but it had to instill a certain anxiety within them when Moses told them, In three days God Himself is coming to explain all of these commandments to you. What would you think if somebody were to tell you that God, Himself, would be coming next week? Surely you would have a different kind of week! I suspect you would be thinking about that, restlessly anticipating it, all week long—not sleeping very well, perhaps.
“And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled. And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount” (verses 16-17). How awesome! How stunning! It is hard to even imagine! Lightning and thunder—a quaking mountain—and a dark cloud that enshrouded God, Himself, apparently to keep them from seeing too much of God and being killed! This is the way it was in God’s presence!
This was an awfully important day. What a setting to receive the law of God! What a spectacular introduction to that law. How important is it to God?
“Can you picture it? I think I can—at least partially,” Mr. Armstrong wrote later in life. “Years ago—in early winter, 1934—I was driving around the Mt. Hood Loop in Oregon. Reaching the east of Mt. Hood, there was a spur road leading to the very base, and partway up the mountain. As I reached this spot, a frightening storm developed around the snow-capped peak just above me. A dark, foreboding cloud—the darkest I had ever seen—hovered over the top of the mountain. Lightning flashed, so bright I had to hide my eyes. Thunderclaps resounded louder, sharper, than any I had ever heard in Iowa or Nebraska. I drove back down, away from that storm, as fast as safety would allow. It was the most frightening, terrifying sight I had ever witnessed. It seemed to display the magnitude of the very fury of Almighty God!” Maybe God wanted Mr. Armstrong to have that experience so he could write about it.
Here was God thundering down from Mount Sinai! “Imagine that vast sea of people—millions of them—stretching as far as eye could see!” Mr. Armstrong continued. “Then terrifying flashes of blinding lightning, and crashes of thunder that would almost break eardrums! And the GREAT God, Himself, in the midst of this eye-blinding, ear-splitting display, preparing to thunder His great law in the hearing of that vast assemblage!
“No wonder the people were frightened and asked Moses to stand between them and God!”
With this spectacle, God gave His law that produces peace—the very law He wanted all mankind to live by—on that day of Pentecost.
God wants us to remember this history at Mount Sinai! All that Pentecost history is part of the same picture, going right back to God giving His law. If we don’t recognize this, we are going to miss a lot.
After God gave the law and the conditions of the Old Covenant, He called Moses back up to the mountain to give him the stone tablets, “that thou mayest teach them” (Exodus 24:12). Teaching the law is a crucial job for God’s people. Certainly we teach God’s law of true love and peace with words—but even more importantly, we teach by our example: by being doers of the Word! We are committed to showing the world how to keep God’s law of peace. We give away millions of dollars’ worth of literature. We show people how to bring peace and joy into their marriages and families, and how to make their spiritual lives successful. We give through our cultural foundation. We invite this world into Armstrong Auditorium and strive to give them the most positive, uplifting and royal experiences we possibly can. And these efforts do have an impact!
Verse 13 says that Moses went up into “the mount of God.” The Revised Standard Version and the Moffatt give a better translation: They call it “the mountain of God.”
“And the sight of the glory of the Lord was like devouring fire on the top of the [mountain] in the eyes of the children of Israel. And Moses went into the midst of the cloud, and gat him up into the [mountain]: and Moses was in the [mountain] forty days and forty nights” (verses 17-18).
Again—what a stunning, spectacular event! What a phenomenal beginning to a nation!
Moses, the man who led Israel to Sinai, asked God to show him His glory (Exodus 33:18). This man was different from the rest of the Israelites. He wanted to know God and see His glory. He couldn’t get enough. So he went right up to God and asked!
The rest of the Israelites didn’t have that attitude. As Moses later reminded them, they were afraid at the display of God’s power at Mount Sinai (Deuteronomy 5:5). “And it came to pass, when ye heard the voice out of the midst of the darkness, (for the mountain did burn with fire,) that ye came near unto me, even all the heads of your tribes, and your elders; And ye said, Behold, the Lord our God hath shewed us his glory and his greatness …. Now therefore why should we die? for this great fire will consume us: if we hear the voice of the Lord our God any more, then we shall die. For who is there of all flesh, that hath heard the voice of the living God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as we have, and lived?” (Deuteronomy 5:23-26).
The Israelites recognized that God was showing them “his glory and his greatness”! Yet they recoiled from that. God has shown His glory and greatness to His people today in so many ways. We have a strong personal connection with the great God of Mount Sinai! But those Israelites actually heard the voice of the living God speaking out of the fire—and they didn’t like it. They demanded that Moses serve as their intermediary so they wouldn’t have to deal directly with God.
What did God think about that? He lamented, “O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever!” (verse 29). But they rejected God’s law of peace and happiness.
Imagine what would have happened to the Israelites had they heeded—even by the letter of the law—what God said! They didn’t have God’s Spirit, but here was a voice coming out of this mountain that was on fire because of God’s presence! He spoke with them face to face—but they didn’t want that. They wanted Moses to talk to them.
Except Joshua and Caleb, all the adults died in the wilderness because of their rebellion. Today, most of God’s own people are rebelling in the wilderness, and that ancient history is a monumental warning to them that their eternal lives are at stake.
People today are still terribly confused about this truth. Most everybody calls the law that God gave—the Ten Commandments—Moses’s law. What a satanic lie that is! This has nothing to do with a man! God, Himself, spoke on Mount Sinai and gave those commandments! “These words the Lord spake unto all your assembly in the mount out of the midst of the fire, of the cloud, and of the thick darkness, with a great voice: and he added no more. And he wrote them in two tables of stone, and delivered them unto me” (verse 22). God gave a complete law there! He wrote the commandments with His own finger, and He didn’t add anything else. (Ritualistic and ceremonial laws, as well as sacrifices, were later added because of the transgression of this covenant). The law of God is complete! It’s the final word! It came from God! It’s not the law of Moses or any other man. Don’t get confused! This is the law from the great Lawgiver who personally came down to Sinai, the mountain of God!
Today we are writing these laws into our minds and hearts so we can be the people of God (Jeremiah 31:33)! Those laws teach us who our God is, and they enable us to give to the world as God wants us to give. God gives us His Spirit, and He lives in us, so that we can love and give and serve according to His law just as He does!
We teach His law of peace. For further study on this wonderful law, request a free copy of our booklet The Ten Commandments.
Elijah Visits the Mountain of God
Mount Sinai provides the setting for another important episode in history, this one involving the Prophet Elijah.
Elijah had performed many great miracles and destroyed the ministers of Baal. His actions infuriated Jezebel so much that she determined to kill him. When word of her intentions reached Elijah, he became fearful and discouraged. What did God do to turn his attitude around? He sent him on a journey—to Horeb, or Sinai, the mountain of God (1 Kings 19:7-8). God even had him fast for 40 days and nights, just as He had Moses do.
God directed Elijah to stand on that mountain. Then He sent a tremendous stormy wind that actually shook and shattered the rocks. But, the Scripture says, God was not in the wind. Then He sent a mighty earthquake. But God wasn’t in the earthquake either. Then came a fire, but God was not in the fire.
“[A]nd after the fire,” it says, there came “a still small voice” (verses 11-12). That was how God revealed Himself in this instance.
It doesn’t make any difference whether you hear God’s own voice thundering from Mount Sinai—or you hear the still, small voice today through God’s messages and His Word: It is still the same God of Mount Sinai!
God sent Elijah to Mount Sinai to give him some perspective. There He showed him just how ridiculous it was to be afraid of a pitiful woman like Jezebel. There is no comparison between her and the God of Mount Sinai!
What an important lesson for God’s people today to remember. We have nothing to fear! After all, we serve the God who came down to Sinai, the mountain of God! Sometimes we lose perspective; sometimes we forget who we are. Sometimes we fail to remember who our God is! Then we have to go back to Mount Sinai—really study what happened there when God began His physical nation—and realize that we have nothing to worry about. We are God’s spiritual nation today, and we can, and must, understand this reality far better than the Israelites did anciently.
In Malachi 4:4, God thunders to His people today, “Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb [or Sinai] for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments” (Malachi 4:4). This admonition is directed at us! God tells us to remember not only the law—but also the setting, and how the people of Israel received that law on Mount Sinai. Don’t forget that! We must keep God in the picture—the God who gave the law on Mount Sinai—or we will become afraid, and we will run from Jezebel or somebody who has power like that.
We should be able to see the spiritual splendor, the fire and thunder and lightning, the spectacle, of God speaking to His people today—just as surely as the Israelites saw it with their eyes anciently. This is how it is when you’re close to God. He directly guides His people—and He is about to direct this whole world!
Declaring the Father
“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse” (Malachi 4:5-6). What does that “old, harsh” law of God produce? Children and fathers with their hearts turned to each other. Marvelous, loving families! That is what the law is really about: creating the very Family of God! Nothing can compare with the beautiful, peace-making Family of God.
Families who keep God’s law are unique on this Earth—and this is something that people notice. Our children are not like children in the world. They behave themselves, and they obey, and they listen, and they’re happy and full of joy and life! Do you realize how beautiful that is to God? What an honor we have to represent God, and to reflect some of His glory, in this way.
Many people would consider it “male chauvinism” that this scripture speaks of fathers and doesn’t specifically mention mothers. But the fact is, God the Father is at the heart of everything—and He is trying to direct His children’s hearts to Him (Malachi 1:6)! He is the Head of the spiritual Family, and He has commanded that the father be the head of the physical family. That is how a godly family is structured, and that is where our focus should be. Satan wants to tear that structure apart more than anything! But any family that does things God’s way is going to bear beautiful fruit and experience untold blessings.
By contrast, the Prophet Malachi warns of a time when his people don’t honor the Father (Malachi 1:6), and they are shamefully wandering in the wilderness, in danger of dying forever. The “curse” of Malachi 4:6 is talking about eternal death! Malachi 4:1 says they will be ripped out, root and branch.
The Jews thought verse 6 was such a harsh ending to the Old Testament that they traditionally read verse 4 again after that. That mentality—that willingness to simply water down God’s Word, to soften the warning—has put the Jewish people in a position today where they face annihilation! We have to tell them what that God says He is going to do! What they are about to face is going to be a lot harder to accept than the warning of Malachi 4:6!
This, then, was the spectacular setting of the world peace center proposed by the leader of Egypt, and supported by God’s leader, Mr. Armstrong: the mountain of God! It was the very location at which God gave the law that will one day soon lead this whole world to peace!
Chapter 2: The Way of Peace Restored Momentarily
In April of 1994, the plane of the president of Rwanda was shot down. The president’s assassination sparked a violent reaction among the radical Hutus, who went on a horrific killing spree, murdering members of the Tutsi tribe and even the more peaceful Hutus.
Within just a few months, somewhere between half a million and a million people were killed. It was one of the worst tragedies in modern times.
Most of those people were hacked to death with machetes. Dead bodies were strewn all over that small country. Some of the people could hardly believe it was real. They’d been in relative peace, and then suddenly their lives became a horrifying nightmare.
That gives you an idea of how crazy this world is and how quickly it can descend into a cauldron of violence! Imagine your country changing like that so suddenly! One day you are meeting with people, and the next day they are killing you! In Rwanda, it happened overnight! The president was killed, and the next day, thugs started hacking people to death in unfathomable numbers.
Frankly, the Bible prophesies that conditions will get far worse in the nations of Israel than they were in Rwanda!
In the face of such problems—considering the existence of nation-threatening weapons today and the violent hostility bubbling up within whole populations in our world—you would think people would be scrambling to find some kind of a peace plan that would really work! Human civilization faces the very real threat of annihilation! This world desperately needs real peace.
Herbert W. Armstrong actually showed this world a peace plan that does work: the way of God, and God’s law—the way of give versus the way of get. He taught about that way throughout his life, even taking the message of that way personally to kings and other leaders of nations all over the Earth.
On top of that, Mr. Armstrong personally endorsed a human-plane peace pact that was very different from any other plan for peace out there. It was the Camp David Accords and other peace initiatives between Anwar Sadat of Egypt and Menachem Begin of Israel.
What Mr. Armstrong saw in the Sadat-Begin peace pact was unique. An Arab leader, a Muslim, President Sadat, extended a genuine offer of peace to Prime Minister Begin at great personal risk in 1977. These two met at Camp David along with American President Jimmy Carter—who was of yet another religion—and signed an agreement that kept peace for more than 30 years between Egypt and Israel—two nations that had previously been at each other’s throats!
This was a peace plan based on mutual goodwill and sacrifice, and it was endorsed by God’s leader. Mr. Armstrong was involved in an inspiring way. In fact, I believe God engineered a lot of that to teach this world a lesson.
God’s leader was deeply involved in the Sinai peace pact, I’m absolutely convinced, because God was there. That peace plan was different than any other between the Jews and the Arab world.
The Sons of Abraham
Islam, Judaism and Christianity all look upon Moses as a great ancestral prophet. It seems that fact alone should give these three religions some room for agreement and cooperation.
Jews and Christians also believe God actually came down to Mount Sinai and gave the Ten Commandments, which, even if they don’t obey, they still profess to be an important part of their religion. Many people believe God Himself literally came to that mountain and wrote those Ten Commandments on tablets of stone with His very finger!
Anwar Sadat wanted to build a peace monument at the base of that mountain! The architectural plans were presented to the world.
Did you realize that the origin of the Arab-Jew dispute goes back to Abraham? Sarah thought she couldn’t have a child, and she became so impatient that she encouraged Abraham to have a child with her handmaid Hagar. As sin always does, this sin produced hostility and contention within the family. When Hagar became pregnant, Sarah grew intensely envious, and hatred began to build.
Hagar gave birth to Ishmael, and he had 12 sons, who multiplied and flourished to become the modern Arabs. Meanwhile, the promises given to Abraham were handed down to Isaac and then to Jacob, who also had 12 sons, and God bestowed the birthright blessings upon Joseph and his descendants, and the scepter promises to Judah, or the modern Jews. All the enmity and violence between the Arabs and Jews had its genesis there within Abraham’s family!
The three peoples represented at the Camp David talks all descended from Abraham, and the three dominant religions all originated among those descendants. If you look at their history, it’s plain that none of these peoples have been acting like sons of Abraham! That great man taught his children in the way of God, and to keep the law of God (e.g. Genesis 18:19). But these peoples mostly show contempt for God’s law today. That is why they cannot have peace among themselves!
Considering the hate among these religions and peoples, the efforts Anwar Sadat made to seek reconciliation were truly remarkable.
What a sacrifice this man made! Virtually the entire Arab world harbored intense hatred for the Jews. Yet Sadat traveled right to the heart of the Jewish state and spoke to the Knesset in Jerusalem. Perhaps he didn’t fully realize how much hostility that move would create, but from that point forward he was a marked man. He had an ambulance following everywhere he drove because he knew a lot of people wanted to kill him. His trip to Jerusalem even triggered assassinations of other Egyptian dignitaries.
Is that not a sacrifice for peace? This man was most unusual. Anwar Sadat became one of a few great leaders in this world. He sacrificed his life for true peace. That is the sign of a great leader!
How many such men do you see in this world?
In 1979, the shah of Iran, Reza Pahlavi, was exiled from his own nation; Ayatollah Khomeini ousted him and killed all his generals and other officials. Nobody wanted to allow the exiled shah into their country—but President Sadat stepped up and invited him to come to Egypt. That was where Shah Pahlavi lived out the rest of his days. Sadat brazenly defied the ayatollah and Iran!
If only someone would stand up in the spirit of Sadat and do the same today!
President Sadat told Mike Wallace in a television interview on 60 Minutes that the ayatollah was a maniac. Shortly thereafter, he was assassinated.
Anwar Sadat certainly did sacrifice for peace.
Prime Minister Begin also had to sacrifice a great deal. He gave up the Sinai Peninsula, which meant a lot to the Jews. Not only did it have fundamental religious significance, but it also held some wealth in its oil fields, and it improved Israel’s security. So it, too, was quite a sacrifice.
A Noble Effort for Peace
Mr. Armstrong praised the Camp David Accords and the courage of the men behind them. He also threw his support behind a subsequent plan of President Sadat’s, to build a “World Peace Center” at the base of Mount Sinai.
The plan to erect a monument to peace among all nations and religions was an admirable step in the right direction, in keeping with the spirit of God’s law of peace. Mr. Armstrong wrote about it in the magazine Quest/81. ”The concept is unique! A total departure from any previous peace undertaking,” he wrote. This effort showed these two nations’ “extreme willingness to give extraordinary sacrifice in the start toward peace in their region.”
It takes extreme sacrifice to achieve real peace.
The magazine included an artist’s drawing of the proposed edifice, and it had a church building, a mosque and a synagogue.
When Mr. Armstrong—God’s leader—heard of Sadat’s proposal, he immediately donated a hundred thousand dollars, as down payment on a total pledge of one million dollars. Can you imagine that?
Obviously Mr. Armstrong knew they weren’t going to solve the problems and have peace in the world. He knew the prophecies—that this world will end violently, and true peace can only be achieved once the Prince of Peace comes. Still, he did all he could to represent peace and to promote peace in this world, and he demonstrated his strong desire that all men work toward that end today.
God’s leader saw real vision in this project, and saw what it could do to point people in this world toward real peace.
President Sadat’s thoughts on the peace center are quite inspiring. “It will be a living symbol of the brotherhood of man, a lighthouse that will rekindle the spirit of coexistence and tolerance among nations,” he said when he announced the project. “As we look at the world today, we realize the great need for a reminder of the oneness of human destiny and the continuation of the divine mission, which is in essence, a great act of mercy. This monument must light the path of the generations yet to come.”
What a noble plan in this ignoble world!
I believe this project was special because God’s leader was a part of it. What other peace agreement have you ever heard about that is comparable to this? This was huge! Mr. Armstrong saw that, and he wanted to encourage President Sadat in these efforts. He was called the ambassador for world peace without portfolio. He really was a man of peace! He knew how to have peace! And he knew that Sadat was on to something really big in this world. I believe Mr. Armstrong’s involvement was God’s way of saying, This is an act of peace by a true peacemaker. You need to support him and help him and be a part of this. Leave that at least as an example. And what an example Anwar Sadat was to the world, and Mr. Armstrong as well.
During the world to come, God is going to force the Egyptians to come up to Jerusalem (Zechariah 14:17-19). At that time, they’re going to recognize what Mr. Armstrong saw: that Anwar Sadat was a great man.
What is a great man? Putting your nation above yourself as he did is greatness! You don’t have many examples like that in the world. Sadat changed wars between two nations into peace. Mr. Begin did too, although he had less to sacrifice than Anwar Sadat did, in my estimation. But it was all endorsed by God’s apostle.
Quest’s Trouble With Mr. Armstrong
In its January 12, 1981, issue, Newsweek magazine wrote about Mr. Armstrong’s dealings with Quest—a publication that he himself had established.
“From the first stirrings of Quest magazine four years ago editor Robert Shnayerson has insisted that his bimonthly about ‘the pursuit of excellence’ had full editorial independence of its unlikely sponsor, the Worldwide Church of God, an organization that prophesies the imminent end of the world,” Newsweek wrote. That is a terrible mischaracterization of Mr. Armstrong’s work—as if that is all he ever talked about. In truth, he prophesied of the imminent beginning of the world of God! But Newsweek hardly holds an unbiased view of God’s man.
It continued, “But the church’s founder and elder prophet, Herbert W. Armstrong, is a man who has thrown his own son out of his church ….” Newsweek doesn’t mention, of course, that his son was trying to take over the Church—and would have, had Mr. Armstrong allowed him to stay.
Newsweek then said that Mr. Armstrong’s actions convinced Shnayerson and his top five staffers to quit. Here is why: “The first open sign of the upheaval came when the 88-year-old Armstrong took out a crusading full-page newspaper ad, of the kind he publishes from time to time. This one, in the Wall Street Journal, addressed the Arab-Israeli crisis under a typically high-voltage headline (a voice cries out … peace out of conflict??). But at the end of the ad, he struck a different note. ‘I suggest,’ he wrote, ‘you read my cover story in Quest/81 … on the Middle East controversy, its origin and President Sadat’s planned World Peace Center.’
“For the Quest editors, the Journal ad signaled defeat in a battle that had begun early last month, when the magazine received an unsolicited 3,000-word article in the mail. According to Shnayerson, the article was an idiosyncratic account of the origins of strife in the Middle East, which also lavished praise on Egyptian President Anwar Sadat’s proposed peace center at the base of Mount Sinai. Riddled with exclamation points and written in a hortatory style, it was the kind of piece, Shnayerson says, that he would have rejected routinely—except that its author happened to be Armstrong.”
You know what hortatory means, right? Well, I didn’t; I had to go to the dictionary, and frankly I don’t even think the dictionary really knew. It had just two words to explain it, and one was exhort—but I think it should be stronger than that, looking at the root word.
Nevertheless, too bad for the editors that article was written by Mr. Armstrong. It was about bringing peace to the world! Anwar Sadat had put his life on the line—and these intellectuals said, Well, I don’t care if it is bringing peace to the world. I would never accept an article with that hortatory style! If you’ve read Mr. Armstrong, you know that style.
Incidentally, that editor changed the article and made it like the rest of them. It was monotone—with no exclamation points, no italics, no small caps—in order to please other intellectuals.
This world is about to explode into World War iii, and here was a man, Anwar Sadat, who made a peace effort in a grandiose way, and made himself a target in doing so. At a time when the number one problem was and still is human survival, you would think people would be scurrying to find any peace plan that might avert that greatest of all tragedies, the snuffing out of all human life. But such things mean nothing to the great intellectuals! How do you explain that? Such is the state of intellectualism in this country and in most of the modern nations of Israel.
Soon after, the wcg put Quest magazine up for sale. The New York Times said this about it: “According to Mr. Shnayerson, the decision to sell Quest was probably hastened by the departure of the editors, which came after they were ordered to run Mr. Armstrong’s positive article about the plans of President Anwar el-Sadat of Egypt to build a peace center in the Sinai. The article ran in the May issue” (April 23, 1981). They recognized it was a “positive article”—but the Quest editors thought its style was ridiculous and wanted nothing to do with it!
How can you ever bring peace to such people? Such crazy reasoning would get every person on Earth killed before they would listen to a peace plan endorsed by God! They don’t recognize just how serious the dangers in our world are. God is going to have to come and rule them with a rod of iron! That is the only way to bring peace to this world!
Prelude to World Peace
Mr. Armstrong wrote an article in the Plain Truth magazine that was even stronger than the one in Quest. He titled the February 1981 article “Mount Sinai, Jerusalem Now Foreshadow World Peace.”
The subheading read, “Is it possible? Events of the eighties at Mount Sinai and Jerusalem are an actual prelude to soon-coming world peace!”
In this article Mr. Armstrong wrote about how the Middle East was a boiling cauldron of evil. “Yet out of the present emotional flare-up emerges now a prelude to final global peace for the first time since mankind has inhabited the Earth!” he wrote. He said that the events surrounding these peace efforts were “of major significance to the whole world.”
These are remarkable statements! A prelude is an introductory action or event preceding and preparing for the principle or more important matter. That peace center was a prelude to world peace! This was a witness to all of them! It was a practical plan. Sadat and Begin made a choice and decided to sacrifice almost everything for it. Everyone involved had a good attitude toward Mount Sinai.
Mr. Armstrong continued: “President Sadat showed me architect’s renderings of his historic projected World Peace Center at the base of Mount Sinai. Amazingly, this is an actual prelude to soon-coming world peace! Mr. Sadat invited my participation in this peace project.”
That small slice of history left us a vision of imminent peace in this world. We are about to have peace fill this Earth, which has a bloody history of warfare.
The Sadat-Begin-Armstrong peace project left us a message of soaring hope in a hopeless world!
Why was Mr. Armstrong invited to be a part of this plan? You would think almost anybody but the leader of a small group would be—yet God’s leader was.
This violent reaction to a plan of genuine peace illustrates why this evil world doesn’t have peace. You can also see why people must suffer horrendously before God can ever teach them the way of peace!
After then describing the Camp David talks, Mr. Armstrong wrote about the planned peace center. “Both the center, and its Mount Sinai location are dually symbolic of peace. I’m honored to have a part in it,” he wrote.
This was a dual symbol of world peace! Together, they made it one of the greatest peace plans ever! The planners were going to build this peace center right at the base of Mount Sinai where God came down personally and established peace in Israel and showed the Israelites how to have peace. That was where God made a marriage covenant with Israel! God married a nation, and He showed the world how to have peace, prosperity and everything good you can imagine on a human level. How significant that location was! All three religions that were to be represented there look upon Moses as a prophet, even though they are unwilling to do what he said!
“It is especially significant that this World Peace Center is to be constructed at the base of Mount Sinai, for there it has a meaning it could not have anywhere else on Earth,” Mr. Armstrong continued. “It was atop Mount Sinai that God gave to Israel and the world—written on tablets of stone with the finger of God—the ten broad principles of peace and universal well-being and abundance!” What marvelous history! And Mr. Armstrong spent considerable time in this article explaining how God’s law, given at Mount Sinai—the way of give—leads to peace.
Mr. Armstrong wrote, “The world has been deceived! But now in God’s nations, Britain and the United States, we see moves toward peace. In Israel and Egypt, through their courageous two leaders, there is a turning toward the way of peace!
“So what is the significance of the peace center at the base of Mount Sinai?
Those Ten Commandments were for all mankind. This law has been in effect since man was created! This is a law made for man and for how he should live, and if you violate that law, whether today or at any time throughout history, that sin will take its toll, just as surely as the law of gravity.
Mr. Armstrong understood more deeply the true significance of Mount Sinai, the mountain of God. How remarkable that Sadat planned to build the center right there at the base of that mountain!
“Now, at its base, as a result of Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Israel ‘giving’ back this area to Egypt, and the courageous initiative of President Anwar el-Sadat of Egypt, this peace center at Mount Sinai’s base will stand as a prelude to soon-coming world peace!” Mr. Armstrong concluded. “This peace center will not, of itself, bring that peace. The Messiah will! But this peace center is emblematic of it, and as a result of moving in the direction of peace instead of war by these two Middle East leaders, it foreshadows or becomes a prelude to the world peace that is as sure as the rising of tomorrow’s sun!”
In this end time, when mankind faces human annihilation—Rwanda multiplied 10,000 times over!—God gave the world a practical example through Mr. Armstrong of how to have peace!
Whether the world accepted it or not, it was still a sign of what is coming and what God is about to bring to this Earth.
You and I must expand our minds to think more like Mr. Armstrong! He saw this for what it really was. He really did restore the way of peace to God’s people and—momentarily—led Sadat and Begin in getting that message to the whole world. God was involved in that effort because His human leader was a part of it. Nobody else understood the depth of what it meant as he did!
Of course, Satan remembered Sinai, too. He hasn’t forgotten; he knows all about Sinai, and he hated what Anwar Sadat was doing! That peace plan really stirred his hatred. Satan loves the way of war and hates the way of peace. He didn’t want something like that to take hold, and he destroyed it very quickly.
On October 6, 1981, Egypt was having its annual victory parade to celebrate Egypt’s crossing of the Suez Canal in the 1973 Yom Kippur War. President Sadat was there. He was offered military escort, but he refused; he said, No—I don’t need it, and I don’t want it. These are my sons. His enemies—including members of the Muslim Brotherhood, the very organization getting control of Egypt today—knew this, and they had it all carefully planned. Some Egyptian Air Force Mirage jets flew down very low, and they were so loud it was difficult to hear anything. At that moment a group of men led by one of Sadat’s own lieutenants jumped out of one of the military trucks. The lieutenant, rather than saluting his president, threw three grenades at him, and the other men fired assault rifles.
Within hours, the wounded Sadat was pronounced dead.
It was all professionally planned and precisely timed. Mr. Sadat should have known better, but apparently he didn’t have such loyal sons as he thought.
The same was also true of Herbert W. Armstrong.
God allowed Sadat to be killed and that peace center to die. If nothing else, this gave the world a condemning example of how it hates the way of peace even on a letter-of-the-law level. What a witness against it!
It is not easy to implement God’s way of peace. And it is the only way for man to ever have peace.
This World Needs Peace!
When you look at examples like Rwanda, the people who experience such nightmares have scarred minds. It was so horrifying they can’t even explain it! To this day, many of them can’t talk about it without crying their eyes out! And even today, those two tribes are finding it difficult to reconcile with each other because they simply can’t erase the nightmares from their memories. Those people need the Spirit of God to heal their minds—and soon God is going to give it to them.
As that tragedy unfolded, the United Nations and the world sat back and did nothing. What a terrible world it is that would sit back and just let such atrocities happen! That tells you a lot about this world. Mr. Armstrong was present when the charter of the UN was developed in 1945. That organization was called the world’s last hope for peace. It was urgent—this was the world’s “last hope”! Mr. Armstrong watched it all happen, and interviewed some of the participants—and he was stunned at how selfishly competitive that process was behind the scenes. He said he’d never seen such savage infighting, such effort by individuals to get and take all they could out of it, in any organization in his life!
Considering how the UN began, is it any wonder it is such a broken institution today? Many people should be able to prophesy the end of this wretched beginning!
This world is filled with such terrible examples. You had the prime minister of Britain negotiating with Adolf Hitler to dismember Czechoslovakia—and then waving a little piece of paper and announcing to the frenzied British crowds, This is peace in our time! And war began almost immediately! The same type of thinking plagues the nations of Israel today.
Truly, as the Prophet Isaiah said, “The way of peace they know not”! (Isaiah 59:8).
After Sadat was assassinated, Mr. Armstrong looked to Hosni Mubarak to carry on with the planned peace center, and said he would maintain his support for it. But somehow the project broke down. Mr. Mubarak didn’t follow up as he should have and as God’s leader had hoped. Mr. Armstrong believed Mubarak simply may not have been strong enough to carry on as Sadat did.
It really does take a commitment to sacrifice and giving to bring peace, whether it be between nations, or family. Anybody can let a marriage or a family fall apart. It takes strength and power to cling to the way of peace! It takes the very strength and power of God to sustain that way!
God really showed Mr. Armstrong deeply how to have world peace. But we must understand that if we’re going to have world peace, it must begin in our lives individually. God’s people are about to teach the world that way—which means that we ourselves must be at peace. We must have peaceful marriages, peaceful families—by applying the Ten Commandments that were given on Mount Sinai by the great God. We have to set an example for this world to see the way of peace.
Recently one man told me, “I just can’t see how you can do this incredible work without even asking for money.” Well, if you analyze that, it ought to tell you where the God of peace is! Why ask people for money if you have the God of Mount Sinai supporting you? That’s all you need!
Of course, God says His people must tithe and give offerings. Why? Because giving is the way of peace! We give to the world! We give to the community! And we work hard to do that because of God’s peace plan and those Ten Commandments that bring us all together.
That is our responsibility. What happens if God’s people aren’t living that way of peace first?
During the 1970s, the WCG began to have some serious problems, and thousands of people left. At one point, Mr. Armstrong was in the Philippines, about to deliver the gospel message to large groups of people, and he abruptly had to cancel his plans in order to rush back to the headquarters in Pasadena to deal with a frightful insurrection among the ministry! Just as he was preaching peace to the world, he had to stop that in order to restore peace to God’s people! The people of God were at war—to their own shame! They were warring against what God’s leader was teaching them right out of the Bible!
Let’s look at Malachi 4 again, which points to a strong connection between Mr. Armstrong and Mount Sinai. Verse 4 reads, “Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb [or Mount Sinai] for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments.”
God tells us to remember the law given at Mount Sinai. The law is spiritual and Mount Sinai is physical.
So there is duality here.
How does God cause us to remember? He reveals the spiritual law to a man and has him proclaim it to the world.
Mount Sinai is physical and God gave us a vivid picture of it through the Sadat-Begin peace pact. As we proclaim God’s law and teach about the mountain of God, it helps all of us remember the law and its Source. Mr. Armstrong’s message about the Sinai peace pact helps mightily in fulfilling Malachi 4:4! Our message today continues to fulfill that prophecy.
God is giving the world every opportunity to remember. What a brilliant picture we were given through all the events surrounding Sadat’s sacrifice and assassination, tied to the Sinai peace pact.
What a witness it was to the world!
We are in a period of time just before “the great and dreadful day of the Lord.” God is about to give us peace forever, but it is preceded by the worst suffering ever on this planet. God wants us to remember and escape the time of Jacob’s trouble and the Day of the Lord. However, most people just scorn God’s warning message.
There is another duality in Malachi 4:4. The law was given to the people of ancient Israel. They did not have God’s Holy Spirit, so it was all on a letter-of-the-law level. The whole nation rebelled except for a few leaders.
Verse 4 is a prophecy for end-time, spiritual Israel. Those with the Holy Spirit keep the spirit of the law. Most of spiritual Israel also rebelled. That is what the book of Malachi is about. However, there is a little remnant that did remember. They deliver God’s message, including the message of the Mount Sinai peace pact.
“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse” (verses 5-6).
Here God speaks of an Elijah type in the context of Moses at Mount Sinai. Mr. Armstrong was, in fact, a type of Moses! He established the law that was given at Mount Sinai! He helped God create beautiful, peace-loving families and marriages, and a work that was unparalleled perhaps ever on Earth! He lived like Moses, and he believed in and taught the law that God gave Moses.
God tells us here to remember that law—the way of peace. We do that by keeping it. Obeying that law of peace turns parents and children toward each other. That is truly a beautiful thing to witness within a family—and you only see it where people are keeping that law. Just look at the fruits it produces! It is a family-building law, whether in the physical family or God’s Family! That law turns you and your children to God the Father.
Notice: This prophecy talks about a man who would show the world this way of peace—and puts it in the context of Mount Sinai and “the great and dreadful day of the Lord”! That’s a warning about what is coming because of man’s lawlessness!
Only Herbert W. Armstrong taught God’s law to this world! He was also the man who taught us the meaning of the Mount Sinai peace pact. Who else was qualified to do so?
Mr. Armstrong was also a type of Elijah. Only he taught us who and what God is, as Elijah did.
He has come and gone. That shows us how near we are to the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord!
When you tie all this together, it is obvious why he was the most significant part of the Mount Sinai peace pact.
He taught us how to bring unity and peace into the family. We know that families are the backbone of strong nations. His instruction about the Sadat-Begin peace pact was “a prelude to global peace” or peace in the family of man.
He was “the voice crying out in the wilderness” of religious and political confusion (Isaiah 40).
Momentarily he spearheaded an example of genuine peace to this world. Only he could explain what it all meant. And he did so to people around the world.
‘Them That Make Peace’
Don’t the nations today need peace? Can you even imagine living through a nightmare like the people of Rwanda endured? Soon, all those who don’t go to a place of safety will be able to imagine it—because they are going to live through something far worse!
I truly believe that, for a moment, Mr. Armstrong really did restore the way of peace to this Earth! He knew the way of peace, and he knew and taught about the God of Mount Sinai. If you bring this God into your life, you will have peace! If you have all parties looking to this God, how could you not have unity and joy?
Mr. Armstrong taught the world the way of peace, and it was and still is a prelude to world peace! Not just peace for one church or one state or one nation—God is about to bring world peace! What a beautiful thing that is!
If we are going to reap the fruit of righteousness, we must sow in peace. That is exactly what Mr. Armstrong did, and what he showed us and the whole world how to do. The more I look at this example, the more impressed I am.
Mr. Armstrong showed us, and showed the world, the way of peace. Just look at the fruits! He brought peace to the God’s people, and momentarily, he brought it to this world. What an example.
It won’t be long before he and Mr. Sadat will be together again. This time they will be teaching and practicing the way of peace, and saying, “Oh, how I love God’s law!” What a wonderful time we have to look forward to—and it’s almost here. Be aware of just how soon that peace will fill this Earth!