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About Herbert W. Armstrong

Herbert W. Armstrong (31 July 1892 – 16 January 1986) founded the Radio Church of God in the late 1930s, as well as Ambassador College in 1946, and was an early pioneer of radio and tele-evangelism, originally taking to the airwaves in the 1930s from Eugene, Oregon.

Mr. Armstrong proclaimed that behind world events (during his lifespan) were various Biblical prophecies, and that he was called by God as an ‘Apostle’ and end-time ‘Elijah’ to proclaim the Gospel of God’s Kingdom to the World before the return of Jesus Christ. He also founded the Ambassador International Cultural Foundation, which promoted the arts, humanities, and humanitarian projects. Through his role with the foundation, Mr. Armstrong and his advisers met with heads of governments in various nations, for which he described himself as an “Ambassador without portfolio for World Peace.”

In 1946 Armstrong moved his headquarters from Eugene to Pasadena and on March 3, 1946, the Radio Church of God was officially incorporated within the state of California. It quickly acquired its own printing plant and was broadcasting internationally in prime-time radio time slots. On October 8, 1947, his new college, Ambassador College opened its doors with just four students!

During the 1950s and 1960s, the church continued to expand and the radio program was broadcast in England, Australia, the Philippines, Latin America, and Africa. In 1953, The World Tomorrow began to air on Radio Luxembourg, making it possible to hear the program throughout much of Europe

The book The United States and Britain in Prophecy was published in 1954. It became the most well known and requested church publication, with over six million copies distributed. In this book, Mr. Armstrong states that the peoples of the United States, the British Commonwealth nations, and the nations of Northwestern Europe are descendants of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel. This belief, called “British Israelism”, formed an important part of the theology of the Radio Church of God.

The volume of literature requests for material written by Armstrong continued to grow during the 1960s and 70s, and the literature was translated into several languages and distributed to a worldwide audience. They were distributed for free “as a public service.” The Plain Truth magazine continued to be published and circulated, eventually reaching a monthly press run of eight million.

On April 15, 1967, Mr. Armstrong’s wife, Loma, died; three and a half months before their 50th anniversary. In his autobiography we learn that Herbert Armstrong’s motivation to study his Bible came when his wife Loma became persuaded that the Bible taught “Sabbath observance” on Saturday, the seventh day. Her assertion of this to her husband was met with dismay and appeared to him to be “religious fanaticism.” She challenged him to find biblical support for Sunday observance. As his business was struggling against larger competitors, Mr. Armstrong had the time to take up this challenge. He began what would become a lifelong habit of intensive, lengthy Bible study sessions. He soon felt God was inspiring this, opening his mind to truths that historical Christian churches had not found or accepted.

On January 5, 1968, the Radio Church of God was renamed the Worldwide Church of God. Shortly before, the church began to broadcast a television version of The World Tomorrow. The program would eventually expand to 382 US television stations, and 36 television outlets internationally. (This was much more than any contemporary Tv evangelist).

In his latter years, Mr. Armstrong stated that he did not know whether or not Christ would return in his lifetime, but did know, based on the sequence of events in the Bible, that the Lord’s return was approaching. In August 1985, Herbert Armstrong’s final work, Mystery of the Ages, was published. He wrote that “time may prove this to be the most important book written in almost 1,900 years” – and called it a “synopsis of the Bible in the most plain and understandable language.” It was more or less a compendium of theological concepts, as articulated by Mr. Armstrong, which included the notion that God deliberately coded the bible “so that it would not be understood until our modern time”

Herbert W Armstrong died shortly before 6:00 a.m. on January 16, 1986, at the age of 93. Approximately 4,000 people attended his funeral, including a number of World political figures. He was buried in Altadena’s Mountain View Cemetery between Loma and his mother, Eva Wright Armstrong.


* Mr. Armstrong was awarded the Order of the Sacred Treasure by the Japanese government.

* Most significant contribution toward world peace. presented by His Majesty Leopold III of Belgium (1970).

* Presidential Merit Medal [presented by President Marcos in the Manila Presidential Palace in 1983].

* Commander of Our Most Noble Order of the Crown of Thailand.