Milk and Honey; Understanding the Work of God

On April 29, 2017, Michael Link will present the sermonette, titled, “Milk and Honey,” and Norbert Link will present the sermon, titled, “Understanding the Work of God.”

The live services are available, over video and audio, at (12:30 pm Pacific Time; 1:30 pm Mountain Time; 2:30 pm Central Time; 3:30 pm Eastern Time; 8:30 pm Greenwich Mean Time; 9:30 pm Central European Time). Just click on Connect to Live Stream.

Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

Norbert and Johanna Link, along with Michael Link, have safely returned this week following observing Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread with members in Germany. Also, Brian and Jill Gale returned last week to England following their visit to Southern California.

We are very pleased to announce the baptism of four people in Germany during the Spring Holy Days.

“When You Think You Stand,” the sermonette presented last Sabbath by Eric Rank, is now posted. Here is a summary:

It is human nature to believe we are performing well at a job even if we’re not doing so well. What can we do to overcome self-deception about how well we are doing as Christians?

The Genesis of Christianity,” the sermon presented last Sabbath by Robb Harris, is now posted. Here is a summary:

The first book of the Bible sets the pillars for all understanding of God’s Plan. This statement might seem obvious but many that practice Christianity regard hard to explain parts of this book as stories or myths. Some even go so far as to ignore the basic precepts of Genesis in an attempt to make religion comfortable for modern interpretations. We must be extremely careful to not take this foundational book as anything other than the inspired true Word of God.

We are saddened to announce the death of Francine Tibbs on Friday, April 14, 2017. While in the hospital in Denver, Colorado, Francine suffered a massive and fatal heart attack. Throughout all of her struggles, her faith remained strong and she was very thankful to God for the many ways that He continued to help her.

How Long Were the Days in Genesis 1 and 2?

Genesis 1:2-2:3 describe the re-creation of the surface of the earth, after a catastrophe caused the earth to become void and empty. God brought order into the chaos in six days, followed by the creation of the seventh day—the Sabbath. During the six days, God created those kinds of animals which are still in existence today; and He created man.  (For a full explanation of these events, please read our free booklets, The Theory of Evolution–a Fairy Tale for Adults? and Heavens and Earth… Before and After the First Man.”)

Some have proposed that the days mentioned in the above-quoted Scriptures were indefinite time periods of perhaps millions or billions of years. The underlying rationale might be that this would explain the existence of planet earth for a much longer time than just 6,000 years. However, this interpretation would be unnecessary, as the earth was created in the beginning (Genesis 1:1)… and the Bible does not tell us when that beginning was. It is only the re-recreation of the surface of the earth which occurred approximately 6,000 years ago.

The concept of the seven days in Genesis describing billions of years is commonly known as the “Day-Age-Theory.” It was not mentioned until the 1800’s, when the idea of evolution became popular.  But as the evolution theory is wrong, so is the Day-Age Theory.

The Hebrew word for “day” is “yom”. It is true that this word is used in a variety of ways. It is used in the prophetic term, “day of the Lord,” which describes a time span of approximately one year; and it is also used in Genesis 2:4 when the entire creation or better restoration of the heavens and the earth is referred to as “in the day.” (Compare, Heavens and Earth…Before and after the First Man!,” page 26).

But in the vast majority of passages, the word “yom” describes a twenty-four hour day. Researchers tell us that the word is used about 2000 times, and in 95% of all Old Testament Scriptures, it refers to a twenty-four hour day with a daylight portion of approximately 12 hours, followed by the dark portion of 12 hours (compare John 11:9-10). In addition, when the word “day” (“yom”) is combined with a number (first day, second day, seventh day), it always describes a twenty-four hour time period. Again, researchers tell us that this is the case in about 200 Old Testament Scriptures.

We should also note that when the words “evening” and “morning” are used together, they describe portions of a twenty-four hour day (compare Exodus 16:8). We read in Genesis 1:5: “So the evening and the morning were the first day.” (Compare also Genesis 1:8, 13, 19, 23, 31). According to the Hebrew calendar, days begin and end with sunset (evening). That is why we read here that “evening and morning were the first day”; and not, that “morning and evening” were the first day. Literally, the passage should be translated as, “And evening was, and morning was, day one.” Of course, the Bible uses the term, “from morning to evening,” again clearly identifying the time period as not exceeding 24 hours (compare Exodus 18:13-14).

We also read in Genesis 1:4-5 that God divided the light from the darkness, calling the light “Day” and the darkness “Night,” and that evening and morning became the first day. We see that the expressions darkness, night and evening are used interchangeably, as are the terms light, day and morning. They all describe portions of a normal twenty-four hour day.

A compelling reason why the days in Genesis 1 could not possibly describe time periods longer than 24 hours can be seen in the phenomenon of symbiosis, which can be defined as “a close connection between different types of organisms in which they live together and benefit from each other.” This interdependency can be seen in the relationship between plants, birds and insects. Fruit-bearing plants were created on the third day but insects (like bees) to pollinate such plants (so that the plants could reproduce) were apparently created on the fifth or the sixth day (when “birds” and “creeping things” were created.) Plants could not have survived if the days were to be understood as epochs of millions or billions of years.

We read that the yucca plant is totally dependent on the yucca moth for pollination and reproduction. An interesting example was reported about the Calvaria tree on the Mauritius islands. It was dependent on the dodo bird for survival. The dodo bird ingested the tree’s seed, scarified its hard coating, and excreted the seed before germination. The dodo bird became extinct in 1681. No reproduction of the tree has occurred since then.

The idea that the days in Genesis 1 and the first three verses in Genesis 2 could refer to time periods lasting for millions or billions of years is contradicted by the fact that the seventh day (Genesis 2:1-3) is the weekly Sabbath day. God rested on that day, to give us an example to do likewise. But the Sabbath day is clearly a time period of 24 hours. Leviticus 23:32 speaks of the annual Sabbath of the Day of Atonement as the time lasting from evening to evening. It is not an epoch, lasting billions of years. God rested only on that very first Sabbath, which He created for man. He has not been resting for billions of years since that time (John 5:17).

One objection has been raised in connection with Genesis 2:19-20 where we read that Adam named the animals which were brought to him. It has been claimed that Adam could not possibly have named the animals in just one day. But reading the passage carefully, we find that God brought to him only the cattle, the birds and the beasts of the field, to show him that they would not qualify as “helpers compatible to him.” This could have been easily accomplished in one day.

In conclusion, the evidence is overwhelming that the days in Genesis 1:2-31 and in Genesis 2:1-3 were literal twenty-four hour days, and not indefinite epochs of millions or billions of years.

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

Under Fire Again!

The headline in an article in the magazine “The Week” on April 14th 2017, caught my eye.   It said: “Pence: When Does Christian Virtue Become Sexism?”

What was the problem?  Mr Pence is the Vice-President of the USA and is devout to his Christian beliefs.   He refuses to eat alone with a woman who is not his wife, or work late with a female aide, or attend any party where alcohol is being served unless Karen Pence, his wife of 31 years, is at his side.

Other newspapers and outlets took up the story.   One commentator wrote: “How sexist! screamed half of the internet. This is akin to Salafism, argued others.  Conservative Christians who attempted to stand up for Pence were quickly shouted down.”

Hmmm….some of these writers have never taken the time to look at biblical principles.   Perhaps they are not interested – or just plain ignorant? – or probably both!

It was written that “the vice president’s rule is a variation of what is known in evangelical circles as the ‘Billy Graham Rule.’ Billy Graham famously refused to meet, travel, or dine with a woman alone. The presumed reasoning behind this rule was that Graham did not want to create the conditions that might lead to any extramarital dalliances or, given Graham’s ministry, the mere appearance of any impropriety that would harm his ability to win souls to Christ. Many, many evangelical pastors and laymen still follow some version of this rule.

“Those outside the Church should know the Billy Graham Rule has come under a lot of criticism within the Church. It’s increasingly recognized that the Billy Graham Rule is sexist in practice if not in theory.”

To quote from all of the many articles written on this subject would cover many pages of this Editorial, but I would like to just quote a few to show exactly what Christians are up against.   We are under fire again!

The opined that “President Trump and his straight laced VP have something in common.   They share a stated inability to resist women.”   The Washington Post wrote that “we’ve learned that Pence, too, is evidently helpless in the face of female temptation.”   The lack of understanding by the writer is breathtaking and their logic seriously flawed.   They add up two and two and come up with five but so many will just believe what they read!

The stated that Pence’s view of women as sirens and his fear of his own sinful nature put the women who work beneath and around him at a huge, albeit very familiar, disadvantage. took the view that “treating people in workplaces differently based on their gender inevitably hurts women’s careers.”

The UK Guardian newspaper had an article which said: “And while Pence trended on Twitter for his old-school sexism, what went largely unremarked on was that the vice-president cast the tie-breaking vote to push forward legislation that allows states to discriminate against Planned Parenthood and other healthcare providers that provide abortion when giving out federal Title X funds.  Pence is a misogynist. We know it from his voting record, we know it from the things that he’s said about women’s rights and now we know it because of his odd personal rule not to dine with women alone. But let’s not let one man’s sexism distract us from his whole party’s sexist agenda.”

It is easy to see how a person’s character can be blackened just because his beliefs and actions don’t conform to the liberal agenda which has been foisted on a gullible public for some years now.   They would have you believe that Mr Pence is helpless in the face of temptation, his actions hurt women’s careers and put them at a disadvantage and that he is a misogynist and sexist because he voted against the murder of the unborn (abortion).    What twisting of correct behaviour of an individual by those who seem to have a death wish for all reasonable and sensible conduct!

The Church of God for decades has taken a very similar stance to that of Mr Pence when addressing the issue of private meetings between an unmarried couple. We have to remember that Satan is more cunning and powerful than any human being, and he will do everything in his power to throw a true Christian off the path to eternal life.   Temptations can come in many forms and we read in 1 Corinthians 6:18: “Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.”   Also in 2 Timothy 2:22: “Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”

If we don’t put ourselves in potentially compromising situations, we will avoid the pitfalls that have plagued so many by the temptations that may confront them.   We have our own tendencies to sin but this can be reduced considerably by staying close to God.   Ephesians 5:11 is instructive in this regard: “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them,” as the apostle Paul instructs us to walk in the light.

In addition, we read in 1 Thessalonians 5:22: “Abstain from all appearance of evil” (Authorized Version) and in Romans 13:14: “… put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.”

These are simple enough admonitions that can have the liberals apoplectic with rage but such biblical instructions simply have pre-eminence over any and all of the utterings of man.

Current Events

In this issue, we report on the election result in France; Russia’s outrageous prohibition of the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the dire consequences for all Christian minorities; as well as Turkey’s descent into a dictatorship under President Erdogan. We also publish an article about MOAB–the “Mother of all Bombs.”

This Week in the News

French Election and Europe

Deutsche Welle reported on April 25:

“The runoff election in France [on May 7] pits diametrical visions for Europe against each other: Liberal-socialist Macron and populist-conservative Le Pen. For Brussels, the outcome can mean any number of things… A President Emmanuel Macron will carry European integration forward. Under Marine Le Pen, France would likely distance itself from its neighbors, double down on borders and get rid of the euro. Such a political earthquake could rattle the EU far more than Brexit…

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and his colleagues were celebrating Sunday night [April 23]. Macron winning the most votes was a sigh of relief for European leaders. ‘The much-anticipated domino effect following the Brexit vote and Donald Trump’s election has not, so far, materialized. And the European project has won,’ Britain’s Guardian newspaper wrote the day after the vote…”

We do not expect that Marine Le Pen will win, nor have we ever felt that way. Prophecy strongly suggests that the end-time “European project” will be run by Germany and France.

Russia Prohibits Jehovah’s Witnesses…. Persecution of Religious Minorities Ongoing

Christianity Today reported on April 20:

“It’s official. Jehovah’s Witnesses can no longer practice their faith freely in Russia, where the Supreme Court on Thursday declared the pacifist religious organization an ‘extremist group’ and banned all of its activity. The judge ordered all 395 local chapters and its Russian headquarters to close and authorized the government to seize all property. Under the ruling, distributing copies of the Watchtower, discussing their beliefs in public, or even worshipping at a meeting hall has become a crime…

“To human rights and religious freedom advocates around the world, the move comes as a major blow. While ties between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Kremlin have put ongoing scrutiny on all non-Orthodox faiths, this case represents the first time the country has banned a registered religious group…The Jehovah’s Witnesses Administrative Center has 30 days to appeal to a three-person panel at the Supreme Court, but Jehovah’s Witnesses say they anticipate serious problems, regardless of any pending appeal. Jehovah’s Witnesses added that, if necessary, they will take their case to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

“‘If Jehovah’s Witnesses are persecuted, then that means later “on the block” will come other religious movements—for example, Protestant churches,’ law professor Anatoly Pchelintcev told Portal-Credo, an Orthodox news site. ‘For the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Armageddon has arrived, and the faithful of other religions await the apocalypse.’

“The crackdown on Jehovah’s Witnesses follows rising nationalist furor in Russia and a skepticism toward groups associated with the West. ‘The treatment of the Jehovah’s Witnesses reflects the Russian government’s tendency to view all independent religious activity as a threat to its control and the country’s political stability,’ according to the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), which condemned Russia’s ongoing campaign against the group. ‘This approach dates back to the Soviet period and impacts other religious groups, including peaceful Christians and Muslims.’”

Russia’s Modern Persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses

The Independent wrote on April 20:

“Jehovah’s Witnesses first registered as a religious group in Russia in 1991 and registered again in 1999, but have been targeted repeatedly by authorities in a wide-ranging crackdown on religious freedom.

“Russia changed its legal definition of extremism in 2006, removing requirements for violence or hatred but stating the ‘incitement of….religious discord’ as criteria, leaving the Jehovah’s Witnesses with the same legal status as Isis or Nazis. The group’s international website was blocked in Russia two years ago over alleged extremism, with the group’s Bibles banned the following year, while a local chairman was jailed for two years on charges of possessing ‘extremist literature’ in 2010.”

Russia’s Persecution of Jehovah’s’ Witnesses because of their Stance on Voting, Violence and the Military

The Washington Post added on April 20:

“After years, even decades, of persecution against the religious group, the Kremlin moved to get rid of the denomination for good. In February, Jehovah’s Witnesses were labeled ‘extremists’ and locked out of their offices. Then Kremlin officials launched a legal effort to ban the faith. That case quickly wound its way to the Supreme Court, where Justice Ministry attorney Svetlana Borisova said the Christian group posed a ‘threat’ to ‘public order and public security.’… After six days of hearings, the Supreme Court sided with the government on Thursday. They ruled that the group’s St. Petersburg headquarters and 395 churches could be seized and liquidated. All church activities, including worship and door-to-door evangelizing, were banned. Those who defy the ruling face a fine of several thousand dollars and six to 10 years in prison…

“In the Soviet era, religion… was officially banned…

“Experts like Alexander Verkhovsky, who monitors extremism in Russia, say there is no evidence that Jehovah’s Witnesses are a public threat… ‘But they are seen as a good target. They are pacifists, so they cannot be radicalized, no matter what you do to them.’… The church’s 170,000 Russian members don’t vote, won’t serve in the military and refuse to attend national celebrations that glorify violence. That means they often avoid state-sponsored rallies celebrating, say, the annexation of Crimea. That’s a problem for Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is naturally suspicious of groups with pro-Western sympathies (the sect is based in the United States). It’s also a way for him to show support to the Russian Orthodox Church…”

Russia’s Orthodox Church Major Player in Suppression of Jehovah’s Witnesses

The New York Times added on April 20:

“The ruling, which confirmed an order last month by the Justice Ministry that the denomination be ‘liquidated’… had been widely expected. Russian courts rarely challenge government decisions, no matter what the evidence…

“Hard-line followers of Russia’s dominant faith, the Orthodox Church, have lobbied for years to have Jehovah’s Witnesses outlawed or at least curbed as a heretical sect, but the main impetus for the current campaign to crush a Christian group active in Russia for more than a century seems to have come from the country’s increasingly assertive security apparatus. Founded in the United States in the 19th century, Jehovah’s Witnesses has its worldwide headquarters in the United States and, along with all foreign-led groups outside the control of the state, is viewed with deep suspicion by Russia’s post-Soviet version of the KGB: the Federal Security Service, or F.S.B.

“Jehovah’s Witnesses shuns political activity and has no record of even peaceful — never mind violent — hostility to the Russian authorities. But it has faced growing hostility from the state since President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia began his third term in 2012 and put the Orthodox Church at the center of his push to assert Russia as a great military and moral power.

“The denomination suffered relentless persecution by the KGB during the Soviet era, and after more than a decade of relative peace following the collapse of Communism in 1991, it again became a target for official harassment under a 2002 anti-extremism law. That law makes it illegal for any group, other than the Orthodox Church and other traditional religious institutions, to proclaim itself as offering a true path to religious or political salvation.”

Russia’s blatantly illegal actions towards the Jehovah’s Witnesses are a preview of much more religious persecution to come.

Turkey’s Erdogan “Wins” Referendum

The Sun wrote on April 18:

“RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, the President of Turkey, once said that democracy was like a bus. He would ride it to the destination he wanted. Once there he would get off. On Sunday Erdogan got off the bus. Taking his country with him. This is a tragedy for Turkey. But it is a deep problem for Britain and Europe too. Erdogan’s direction of travel has been clear ever since the start of his dramatic political ascent more than two decades ago, when he was Mayor of Istanbul. In public as well as private it was clear he had an Islamist view of the world. For decades he remorselessly rolled back the secular advances his country made almost a century ago. As he became Prime Minister, journalists and other critics were thrown in prison. The role of religion in politics grew.

“Then Erdogan moved from Prime Minister to President. And Turkey — which had once seemed a beacon of potential progress in the Islamic world — began to roll backwards. Last summer a coup was staged. And ‘staged’ may be the right word. Within hours, lists were produced of thousands of judges and others allegedly involved. It was the perfect pretext for Erdogan to tighten his grip on the army, the judiciary and every other wing of state that had avoided his grasp.

“Sunday’s referendum on increasing the President’s powers may have been a ‘vote’ only in the way last year’s events were a ‘coup’. But in any case, the public were said to have voted for what Erdogan wanted, effectively making him sovereign over Parliament and every other part of the state. His progress from democrat to sultan is complete.

“Among those who should feel shame for this are all those who spent the years of Erdogan’s rise arguing for his country’s entry into the EU. On a visit to Turkey in 2010 our then Prime Minister, David Cameron, told Erdogan: ‘Turkey deserves its place at the top table of European ­politics — and that is what I will fight for.’ As late as last year Cameron restated that it was UK government policy to lobby for Turkey to join the EU. The present Government’s crazy policy is that although Britain is leaving the EU we will continue to argue for Turkey to join…

“Other governments across Europe have argued for Turkish membership. Only in recent months have they taken anything like a realistic stance on what Erdogan has actually been doing. This was partly because of Turkey’s role in improving — or worsening — the migration crisis…”

Erdogan Defies Europe

Newsmax added on April 18:

“A defiant Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan denounced the West’s ‘crusader mentality’ on Monday after European monitors criticised a referendum in which he won sweeping new powers… Opponents accuse him of leading a drive towards one-man rule in Turkey, a NATO member that borders Iran, Iraq and Syria and whose stability is of vital importance to the United States and European Union… [Erdogan] said it was not important if the EU suspended Turkish accession talks. Germany, home to several million Turks, said it was up to Erdogan himself to heal the rifts that the vote had exposed.”

President Trump Congratulates Erdogan on His Win as a Dictator

The Telegraph wrote on April 18:

“US president Donald Trump called his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday to congratulate him on winning the referendum boosting his powers, the White House said on Monday… The reaction from Mr Trump contrasts with EU leaders… ‘President Trump thanked President Erdogan for supporting this action by the United States, and the leaders agreed on the importance of holding Syrian President Bashar al-Assad accountable,’ the statement continued.”

The outcome of the referendum will increase the brutal and inhumane persecution of everyone in Turkey who is not a strong supporter of dictator Erdogan, while the West will sit idly by… especially in light of Turkey’s “help” with the migrant crisis and Turkey’s membership in NATO. Daniel 11 prophecies that Europe will not overpower modern Turkey at first, but other Scriptures show that subsequently, Europe will fight against Turkey. For more information, please read our free booklet, “Middle Eastern and African Nations in Bible Prophecy.”

The USA Uses the “Mother of all Bombs”

The Daily Mail wrote on April 14:

“The  US dropped its largest non-nuclear weapon on ISIS in Afghanistan… The GBU-43, otherwise known as the Mother of All Bombs, or MOAB unleashes a devastating fireball that incinerates and vaporizes anything within 30 feet when it first detonates. In the milliseconds following the initial blast in Afghanistan, all the oxygen would have been forced out of the tunnels and for hundreds of feet around, literally sucking the life out of ISIS terrorists, suffocating them as their lungs imploded. Then, in a flash the fiery shockwave would have radiated outwards at the speed of sound for up to a mile, causing huge blunt force trauma injuries to anyone caught in its path, leveling buildings and trees. Ears would have been left bleeding… and internal organs battered by the sheer force of the shockwave. The blast would also have caused many within two miles of the blast to lose their hearing.

“Anyone caught inside the tunnels would have been crushed as the force of 19,000 pounds of highly complex explosives caused them to collapse on top of the ISIS terrorists. Anyone left alive would have been shocked and left in awe by the sight of a terrifying mushroom cloud – the psychological scars staying with them forever.

“The Pentagon estimates that 800 ISIS terrorists were in the area. Its frightening  power was unleashed by the United States for the first time on Thursday when it was dropped on an ISIS camp in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar Province, in order to obliterate underground tunnels used by the terrorists. A crater left by the blast is believed to be more than 300 feet wide after it exploded just six feet above the ground…”

We publish this article to show the terrible weapons which man has at his disposal.

©2024 Church of the Eternal God