In spite of conditions deteriorating around the world, all of us here in Maryville,
Tennessee, give a very warm and special greeting to all of you. Our prayers and thoughts are
with you continually as we hold fast to the revealed Truth in these troubled times. In this month
of July, what is our declaration of independence before God in this troubled world?
Of all the holidays in this world that we can celebrate, the Fourth of July celebration is
about the only manmade holiday native to America. Most all others were born out of pagan
beliefs of the past. But who today even remembers what our Declaration of Independence says?
A survey taken in the 1970s in New York revealed that only eleven out of fifty people could
answer correctly the meaning of the Fourth of July, and no one could recite the first line, which
is seventy-one words long.
This is what it says: “When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one
people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume
among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and
of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they
should declare the causes which impel them to separation.”
This, believe it or not, was done according to God’s will. As Herbert Armstrong said in
his booklet, The United States & Britain in Prophecy, when Jacob adopted Joseph’s sons,
Ephraim and Manasseh, as his own, he said Ephraim would become a leader of a company or
commonwealth of nations, and Manasseh, the firstborn, would become a leader of one great
nation, the USA. For this to happen, the USA had to separate itself from the British
Commonwealth, which was accomplished on June 11, 1776, about two hundred forty-three
years ago, when the Declaration of Independence was drawn up.
You may not be able to quote one line from our Declaration of Independence at this
moment, but notice one particular phrase; it is in the last paragraph which says: “. . . we
mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”
Now you probably recall these impressive words, but you do not really understand them
until you know the fate of the fifty-six men who signed our nation’s Declaration of
In this Monthly Letter, we will see what happened to the fifty-six men who pledged their
lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor, according to Paul Harvey’s book, The Rest of the
Story. As we read what happened to them, recognize that the same might happen to us as we
strive to preserve and live by God’s revealed Truth today.
On June 11, 1776, our forefathers sat down to draw up a Declaration of Independence.
In it we were going to tell our British fatherland that we wanted no more rule by the Redcoats.
We wanted our independence; we wanted freedom. So, to secure those rights, a famous
document was composed and drawn up by:
1) Thomas Jefferson—Virginia
2) John Adams—Massachusetts
3) Roger Sherman—Connecticut
4) Philip Robert Livingston—New York
5) Benjamin Franklin—Pennsylvania
This pact, as Senator Burke later put it, was a partnership between the living and the
dead, and the yet unborn. Jefferson finished a draft of the document in seventeen days, and
Congress adopted it unanimously on July 4, 1776 (two hundred forty-three years ago).
Now King George III of England had this reaction: He denounced all rebels in the
colonies as traitors. Punishment for treason was hanging. So those fifty-six names that
appeared on the Declaration of Independence were kept secret for six months because each
signer knew the full meaning of that magnificent last paragraph in which his signature pledged
his life, his fortune and his sacred honor.
Fifty-six men placed their names beneath that pledge; fifty-six men knew when they
signed it that they were risking everything. They knew that if they won the fight, the best they
could expect was years of hardship and a struggling nation; and if they lost, they would face a
hangman’s rope or worse. But they signed the pledge, and they did indeed pay the price as you
1) The first to sign, Carter Braxton of Virginia, was a wealthy planter and trader who saw
his ships swept from the seas. To pay his debts he lost his home and all of his properties
and died in rags.
2) Thomas Lynch, Jr. was a third-generation rice grower and a large plantation owner.
After he signed, his health failed, so he and his wife set sail for France to regain his
health, but their ship never made it and he was never heard from again.
3) Thomas McKean of Delaware was so harassed by the enemy that he was forced to move
his family fives times in five months. With his family in poverty and in hiding, he served
in Congress without pay.
4) Vandals looted the properties of William Ellery (Rhode Island), George Clymer
(Pennsylvania), Lyman Hall (Georgia), Button Gwinett (Georgia), George Walton
(Georgia), Thomas Heyward (South Carolina), Edward Rutledge (South Carolina), and
Arthur Middleton (South Carolina).
5) Thomas Nelson, Jr. of Virginia, raised two million dollars on his own signature to
provision our allies and the French Fleet; and after the war he personally paid back the
loans, wiped out his entire estate and no, he was never reimbursed by his government.
But in the final battle for Yorktown, Nelson urged General Washington to fire on his
own home which was occupied by the enemy. He died bankrupt. Thomas Nelson, Jr.
had pledged his life, his fortune and his sacred honor.
6) The Hessians seized the home of Francis Hopkinson of New Jersey. Francis Lewis of
New York, had his home and everything destroyed. His wife was imprisoned and died
within a few months.
7) Richard Stockton of New Jersey, was captured and mistreated, and his health broken to
the extent that he died. His estate was pillaged by the enemy.
8) Thomas Hayward, Jr. of South Carolina, was captured and imprisoned when Charleston
9) And then there was John Hart of New Jersey. John Hart was driven from his wife’s
bedside while she was dying. Their thirteen children fled for their lives in all directions.
His fields and grist mills were laid waste. For more than a year he hid out in the forest
and caves and returned home after the war to find his wife dead, his children gone and
his property destroyed. He died a few weeks later of exhaustion and a broken heart.
10) Lewis Morris of New York, also saw his land destroyed and his family scattered.
11) Philip Livingston of New York, died within a few months because of the hardships of
12) John Hancock, one of the wealthiest men of New England, stood outside Boston one
terrible night of the war and said: “Burn Boston, though it makes John Hancock a
beggar, if the public good requires it.” He had pledged his life, his fortune and sacred
honor, and he too lived up to that pledge.
13) Of the gallant fifty-six men, few were long to survive. Five were captured by the British
and tortured before they died.
14) Twelve others had their homes—from Rhode Island to Charleston—sacked and looted,
occupied by the enemy or burned.
15) Two of them lost sons in the army. One had two sons captured. Nine of the fifty-six
died in the war from its hardships or more merciful bullets.
They paid the price! And freedom was born. This is not to say these men were righteous
in the sight of God, but God was the One who used them to fulfill His will. That new
independence provided the opportunity for God’s true church in the twentieth century to be born
and to spread around the world.
But how do we, the people of these United States, remember the Fourth of July?
Blowing off fireworks or eating and drinking at picnics? Do we really appreciate their
sacrifices so that we can have freedom today? What would these fifty-six men say if they could
see us now? If they could see how we take for granted that precious freedom, and then turn it
into license to commit sin and even to burn the American flag as some have done.
Why? Because people by nature do not want to be governed or to be forced to live by
any moral code of conduct. They want to do what is right in their own eyes and to worship the
god of their own minds. They have even gone so far now as to live perverted lifestyles God
condemns in His Word. But, who in this new generation of young people have read God’s Word
or choose to live by it?
But do you know, that as the people of God, we have been given something much greater
than the freedom to do what is right in our own eyes? The revealed Truth of God. A truth that
really makes us free! A freedom that this nation knows nothing about, freedom from the
captivity of sin. But it cost something. In fact, it cost a great deal for many of God’s prophets
who were mocked, scourged, imprisoned, stoned, sawn asunder, slain with the sword, and
crucified on a stake. Why?
Justice is turned back, And righteousness stands afar off; For truth is fallen in the
street, And equity cannot enter. So truth fails, And he who departs from evil
makes himself a prey. Then the Lord saw it, and it displeased Him That there
was no justice. He saw that there was no man, And wondered that there was no
intercessor; Therefore His own arm brought salvation for Him; And His own
righteousness, it sustained Him (Isaiah 59:14–16, New King James Version).
Mr. Herbert Armstrong sacrificed a lot to get this Truth of the Living God on the
airwaves and out to the world. While preaching this Truth, he lost his wife and both his
sons—one to death and one to Satan. When he died in 1986, the Church of God that he raised
up became the enemy of Jesus Christ because it did not have a love of this Truth. The
Worldwide Church of God became a harlot and has produced many illegitimate sons that have
no love for God’s Truth today.
How much do you love God’s Truth? Are you prepared to give up your lives, your
fortunes, and your sacred honor to preserve it? Do you love it enough to make a sacred pledge
to live by it—to make your Declaration of Independence to live God’s Way of Life no matter
what the cost? Then you truly are converted and will not be offended when the time of testing
Today, freedom has become a transgression against the true God—a time in Israel when
everyone does that which is right in his own eyes (Judges 21:25). So, freedom can and is
becoming a curse, used to rebel against government, especially God’s government. William
Penn had this to say: “Those who cannot be governed by God, will be ruled by tyrants.”
God help us to use freedom to serve the true, Living God. This will take faith, but the
reward is great.
These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them
afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were
strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things declare plainly
that they seek a homeland. And truly if they had called to mind that country from
which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. But now
they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to
be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them (Hebrews 11:13–16,
All of us can become great men, or persons of faith, if we will determine to use our
freedom now to live God’s Way of Life, no matter what men may do to us. As a result, we will
receive the promises God made to those who are faithful to the end.