Update 100


Don't Forsake The Truth

Norbert Link will give the sermon this Sabbath, July 5, 2003. The title of the sermon is, “Don’t Forsake the Truth!”

The services can be heard at www.cognetservices.org at the appropriate time, just click on “Connect to Live Stream.”

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A Tremendous Calling

by Edwin Pope

Paul had a tremendous calling which he describes in the book to the Ephesians, chapter 3, wherein he stated, beginning in verse 8: “To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make all people see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places…” (Ephesians 3:8-10).

In 1 Corinthians 2:11 we see the question being asked, “For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him?” And the reply is given in the same verse, “Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.”

Today, mankind does not know God’s Way. Our world today is filled with violence, yet man continually talks of peace. We are told in God’s Word that man does not know the way to peace! (Romans 3:17). Without God’s Spirit, peace is a dream which is impossible for mankind to achieve. However, brethren, we, with the understanding we have received in this Way, can go the way of peace and can look to a time when peace will exist throughout the earth.

We have just completed the observance of God’s spring festivals which reveal what is required of mankind and of God for world peace to be achieved. Yet we know that such a state is not possible in today’s world. The reason for this can be understood in one of God’s fall festivals which we will be observing in just over 13 weeks from now – “The Day of Atonement.” That day reflects a time in the future when mankind will be “at-one” with God. Today, this world is “at-one” with Satan, and as long as that condition exists, peace is impossible for mankind to achieve.

At that time, “He shall judge between the nations, And shall rebuke many people; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, And their spears into pruning hooks; Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, Neither shall they learn war anymore” (Isa 2:4). That is the time we look forward to, brethren! “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, The leopard shall lie down with the young goat, The calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little child shall lead them” (Isa 11:6). This is part of the message, part of the “unsearchable riches of Christ” that we must proclaim as we continue in this work to which we have been called.

May God bless us as a body and each of us individually as we submit to Him and His Way and continue in this tremendous calling which we have been so blessed to receive.

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We recently received an interesting article over the Internet, titled, “Our Founding Fathers,” pertaining to the U.S. Independence Day of July 4th. We would like to share the following excerpts from this article with you:
“Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence?

“Five signers were captured by the British as traitors, and tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army; another had two sons captured. Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary War.

“They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.

“What kind of men were they?

“Twenty-four were lawyers… Eleven were merchants, nine were farmers and large plantation owners; men of means, well educated, but they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured.”


The WorldNetDaily published on Monday, June 30, 2003, a frightening article, titled, “Reigning death on U.S. Cities?” Author Jon Dougherty discussed the threats of nuclear attacks from other nations, and what the United States could do about them.

One possible scenario “involves destruction of American cities and perhaps tens of thousands of American lives lost. To prevent such devastation, the Bush administration has embarked on an ambitious plan to deploy a multifaceted, multi-layered missile-defense system that is intended to shield the continental United States, its armed forces and its overseas possessions from ballistic-missile attacks.”

The article pointed out that “more nations worldwide are opting to buy or develop intercontinental ballistic missiles and tip them with nuclear weapons, say intelligence experts, which has fueled calls in the U.S. for developing and deploying a shield against ICBM threats. Included in that list are ‘axis of evil’ members Iran and North Korea, the latter already reportedly possessing a limited number of nuclear warheads, U.S. intelligence officials warned Japan in March. Pyongyang [North Korea] is also developing intercontinental ballistic-missile technology – most likely with Chinese help – to deliver them. Iran, meanwhile, is also working hard to develop nuclear and ICBM capability, say U.S. intelligence officials.”

The article continued that “Bob Smith, a space and communications division spokesman for Boeing, told WorldNetDaily in 1999 that ‘at least 30 nations are known to have more than 10,000 theater ballistic missiles in their arsenals, and the threat is growing daily.’ Several of these countries are also known to be pursuing development or to have developed nuclear, chemical and biological capabilities for their missiles, he said… While most of the world’s great powers – Europe, Russia, India and China, along with Pakistan and Israel, both of which are also nuclear-armed – are allies of the U.S. and not hostile, these nations also produce their own modern short-, medium-, and long-range ballistic missiles. Ominously, many sell these weapons to other potentially threatening nations like Iran and North Korea.”

The article also stated, “Both China and Russia have sold missiles and missile technology to client states Pakistan, Iran and other nations in the Middle East, U.S. intelligence reports. And these client states are using the technology to advance their own domestic offensive ballistic missile capability… Brazil, meanwhile, is rapidly becoming one of the world’s largest exporters of weapons. It has a mature space-launch vehicle program begun in the 1960s.”

One can only imagine what might happen when some of the nations, which are presently allies of the United States, turn against the U.S. Although many observers cannot or refuse to imagine that the United States could ever be defeated by its enemies, they make the terrible mistake of only looking at the “here and now” — the “status quo.” They DENY the clear word of Biblical prophecy, and in doing so, they DECEIVE their unsuspecting listeners and followers, preaching to them a FALSE SECURITY, as well as peace and lasting prosperity, while the doomsday clock is ticking. You might want to read, in this context, prophetic warnings about false preaching in our time, as well as the terrible consequences for those who accept such preaching, as recorded in Jeremiah 8:11, 15. At the same time, you may also want to note the reaction by misled people, as prophesied in Jeremiah 6:17, when they hear the true warning message.


In a related article, published by the WorldNetDaily on June 22, the question was asked what nuclear goals Saudi Arabia is pursuing. It was pointed out that “Saudi Arabia is already thinking nuclear… The Saudi royal family is alarmed by the prospect of its next-door neighbor having a nuclear bomb, U.S. intelligence analysts say. The Saudis were spooked enough by Iraq’s nuclear program. But Iran is a Shiite state and has long fomented the large Shia minority in the eastern part of the Saudi kingdom. In addition, most of Saudi Arabia’s oil and natural gas reserves are in its Shiite-populated Eastern Province. Saudi Arabia has been secretly obtaining help from Pakistan for its missile and nuclear program, the analysts report. Riyadh helped finance Pakistan’s nuclear program precisely to ensure that the royal family will have a bomb in case of an emergency.”


On June 28, the German tabloid, Bild Online, ran an in-depth article on the current situation in the United States, analyzing the chances for President Bush to be re-elected in November of 2004. Bild Online is a conservative, pro-American paper. We bring you experts from the paper’s analysis:

“Re-election of President Bush (56) is largely dependent on the question whether he will be able to solve the economic problems in his country. If not, the same fate could await the victor of the gulf war in 2003, as happened to his father (79) who won the gulf war in 1991, and who lost a year later to democratic outsider Bill Clinton. Presently, 62 percent of the Americans are still pleased with the work of their president, according to a poll in CNN and USA Today…

“Questions in the U.S. are getting louder: Where are the weapons of mass destruction, which were the cause for the invasion [in Iraq]? 1400 U.S. inspectors have so far not found any such weapons. Why don’t we find Saddam? Where is Bin Laden? Why is it that our secret services, with their budget of 30 billion dollars, cannot find the two? Why do our soldiers still die in Iraq, although the war is over? More than 50 died since May 1…

“Critical, though, is the economy. The current results of the Bush Administration are not rosy. The unemployment rate climbed from 4.2 to 6.1 percent, which is not much for German standards, but which is much for American standards.

“Since Mr. Bush has ruled as the 43rd American President, the Dow Jones index has fallen by 1,100 points. This has had serious consequences for many retirees who invested in stocks and bonds.

“The USA is heavily in debt… In spite of recent tax cuts, only 10 percent of the U.S. citizens believe, according to a poll of the Washington Post, that they are doing better financially than under Bill Clinton; 48 percent believe that they are doing worse…

“Whoever will compete with President Bush needs to be hopeful that history repeats itself. Bill Clinton won the fight for the White House against Bush Senior with the slogan, ‘It’s the economy…'”


As MSNBC News reported on July 2, “Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi sparked fury in the European Parliament on Wednesday when he appeared to compare a German lawmaker with a Nazi concentration camp commander. The incident caused uproar in the house and completely overshadowed Berlusconi’s presentation of Italy’s priorities for its six-month presidency of the European Union, which began on Tuesday. Berlusconi lost his cool in response to criticism of an alleged conflict of interest between his political office and his extensive Italian media interests by German Socialist MEP Martin Schulz. ‘Mr. Schulz, I know there is in Italy a man producing a film on the Nazi concentration camps. I would like to suggest you for the role of leader. You’d be perfect,’ Berlusconi exclaimed to jeers in the chamber. He refused to withdraw the remark when given the opportunity by European Parliament President Pat Cox, who expressed regret at the offense caused to Schulz…

“EU lawmakers were stunned by the vehemence of Berlusconi’s response to a debate in which numerous left-wing and Green members of parliament raised concerns about Berlusconi’s suitability to head the 15-nation bloc. The Italian leader, who had been on trial for allegedly bribing judges over a 1980’s business deal, has just rushed a law through parliament granting himself and other top state officials immunity from prosecution while in office.”

In spite of European attempts to bring about European unity, outbursts like the one described herein show the fragile nature of the relationships between certain European allies. The Bible predicts that the final unified ten core nations will still constitute a “divided kingdom” (Daniel 2:41), but that “the strength of the iron will be in it” (same verse). The final United Europe will be “partly strong and partly fragile” (Daniel 2:42). Still, in times of need and necessity, the ten leading nations of Europe will be “of one mind” to give their power and authority to a charismatic political leader (compare Revelation 17:12-13).

Much has been speculated as to who this final leader will be. Given the times we are living in, it is highly likely that this leader already exists on the political scene. We also find it remarkable that the draft of a European constitution provides for the more permanent office of a European President and of a Foreign Minister. According to Spiegel Online of June 29, 2003, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has already determined who should become the next German foreign minister, after Joschka Fischer has gone to Brussels. Romano Prodi, President of the European Commission, was quoted as saying, “‘I admire very much Joschka Fischer’s European involvement and his political qualities, but I believe it is too early to speculate at this time about candidates for the position [of European Foreign Minister].'” He continued, “‘A European Foreign Minister is an important achievement. We need an effective voice in order to represent a European foreign policy to the world.'”

Of course, there is still Austria’s Joerg Haider. He has mentioned in the past that he would not mind going to Brussels. At the moment, he is busy trying to become the next elected Austrian Chancellor. Then, there are other possible candidates for both positions of European President and European Foreign Minister. Only time will tell as to who will fill those positions. The Bible is very explicit, however, that the final European leader will be of German descent, that is, he could be a German or an Austrian. At this time, we are called upon to carefully watch the developments in Europe.

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Q: Should a Christian Observe Mother's Day?

A: The Bible is very explicit that we are to honor our parents at all times. For example, Exodus 20:12 and Ephesians 6:1-3 make this Christian duty very clear. In one of our recent Updates (Update #95), we explained that Jesus Christ honored His mother on a continuous basis.

To “honor” or “remember” our mother just on one particular day in the year, while forgetting to do so in day-to-day living, would, of course, be wrong. The world tries to make up for the forgetfulness to always honor one’s parents by dedicating a day to mothers. As Christians, we are to honor our parents at all times! This fact alone, would not preclude a Christian from participating in Mother’s Day celebrations.

However, the Bible makes it very clear that we are not to learn the religious ways or customs of the Gentiles, by embracing those customs in our own Christian lives. (Deuteronomy 12:29-32; Matthew 15:709, 2 Corinthians 6:14-17). The Church has long taught that we are not to keep holidays such as Christmas, Easter, New Year’s or Valentine’s Day because of their pagan origin and the embracing of those days by the Catholic Church in their religious worship.

When reviewing the history of Mother’s Day, we must note the many countries, including the United States, Canada, Germany and Australia, which celebrate Mother’s Day on the second Sunday in May (on May 11 in 2003); while on the other hand, England celebrates their Mother’s Day on the fourth Sunday in Lent (on March 30 in 2003).

Pagans kept a “Mother’s Day” in ancient times for the purpose of honoring their goddesses. However, the mere fact that pagans did so would not preclude Christians from keeping Mother’s Day today, unless a clear connection can be shown between those pagan customs and our modern practices.

Perhaps unbeknownst to many, the Worldwide Church of God, under Herbert W. Armstrong, had for years cautioned against keeping “Mother’s Day” in Great Britain, as it was felt that such a clear connection between pagan worship and our “modern” customs had been established. We summarize for our readers the little-known history of the Church’s decision in this regard:

The Church had become aware of the history of the English “Mother’s Day,” when studying relevant sources. For instance, the Encyclopedia Britannica, edition 1959, points out:

“Mother’s Day, a festival derived from the custom of mother worship in ancient Greece. Formal mother worship, with ceremonies to Cybele, or Rhea, the great Mother of the Gods [sic], was performed in the Ides of March throughout Asia Minor. With the coming of Christianity this developed into worship of the ‘Mother church,’ the celebration occurring on mid-Lent Sunday, when children returned home with gifts for parents, especially the mother.”

Cheri Sicard writes in “The History of Mother’s Day”:

“The earliest Mother’s Day celebrations can be traced back to the spring celebrations of ancient Greece, honoring Rhea, the Mother of the Gods [Rhea is the mother of Zeus. She is also the sister of Cronus, who has been identified as the Baal of the Bible]. The Romans called their version of the event the Hilaria, and celebrated on the Ides of March by making offerings in the temple of Cybele, the mother of the gods. Early Christians celebrated the festival on the fourth… Sunday of Lent in honor of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of Christ. In more recent times, relatively speaking – England in the 1600s – the celebration was expanded to include all mothers with ‘Mothering Sunday’ being celebrated on the 4th Sunday of Lent (the 40 day period leading up to Easter). Besides attending church services in honor of the Virgin Mary, children returned home from the cities with gifts, flowers, and special Mothering Day cakes that were important parts of the celebration.”

When “Mothering Sunday” was originally kept in England, people brought gifts to the church where they were baptized. They would then also bring gifts, such as cakes, to their mothers. The “Mothering Day” cakes were normally so-called “Simnel Cakes,” which, in early times, were marked with a figure of Christ or Mary, to show their religious significance (Book of Days, Vol. 1, p. 337).

Many sources point out that the pagan worship of mother goddesses in Greece and Rome was later adopted by Christianity, foremost in England, to incorporate such paganism and to give it a “Christian” mantle. Especially the worship of the Roman Mother goddess Cybele is interesting in this context. The Encyclopedia Britannica points out, under “Great Mother of the Gods”:

“Though her cult sometimes existed by itself, in its fully developed state the worship of the Great Mother was accompanied by that of Attis. The cult of Attis never existed independently… The main public event in the worship of the great Mother was the annual festival, which took place originally April 4.” The article continues to explain that a special day was set aside, “March 24, dies sanguinis, a day of mourning, fasting and abstinence, especially sexual, commemorating the sorrow of the mother for Attis [who had been killed].” Our booklet, “Don’t Keep Christmas,” explains the Attis cult in more detail. The above-mentioned article continues that the “importance” of the Cybele cult “in the history of religion is very great, for her cult, like the other mystic worships, at once formed a rival to Christianity and acted as a steppingstone to it.”

As already mentioned, the day became known in England as “Mothering Day” or as “Mid-Lent Sunday.” It was first applied to the worship of “Mother Mary,” and then also to the “Mother Church,” “the spiritual power that gave life and protected them from harm,” as one source puts it. Custom began to dictate that a person visit the church of his/her baptism on “Mothering Day.” People attended the “mother church” of their parish, laden with offerings. Gradually, the custom was applied to honoring our real mothers as well. However, the religious concept of the day was emphasized throughout.

In England, King Henry III (1216-1239) established officially the first “mothering Sunday,” in March, to remember the Church as the religious mother.

Based on the foregoing, the Worldwide Church of God had cautioned its members in England, not to celebrate “Mothering Day” or “Mother’s Day.”

A similar decision was not made, to our knowledge, in regard to other countries. When studying the history of Mother’s Day in continental Europe, we find that a “mothering day” was also kept there, in Mid-Lent. Later, Mother’s Day was officially celebrated in Germany in 1923 on the second Sunday in May, apparently due to Mother’s Day celebrations in the United States (that had been introduced in continental Europe through the Salvation Army) and the influence of German florists. In 1933, it was made an official holiday in Germany by the Nazi regime, in honor of the “Arian” mother.

In her article, “Between Ideology and Commerce,” Isabella Marboe points out that in Austria, “Mother’s Day” celebrations in May were connected with the tradition of the worship of “Mother Mary.” It was especially the Catholic Church, according to Monroe, that strongly supported the establishment of “Mother’s Day” in Austria. In 1926, Ignaz Seipel stated in his “Mother’s Day speech;” “It looks like something new, to introduce a special day to honor our mother. For the believing Catholic this is nothing new at all, as he has always celebrated days in worship of Mary as days to honor his mother.”

The Worldwide Church of God felt in the past that the same determination, which had been made in regard to Mother’s Day celebrations in England, could not be made in regard to Mother’s Day celebrations in the United States, as it was deemed to be a “secular holiday of comparatively recent origin,” and not “fundamentally religious in character in the United States” (Letter L069, dated May 1987).

The official version of the recent history of the establishment of Mother’s Day in the U.S. is fairly well known to many. It is taught that Miss Anna Jarvis (1864-1948) originated Mother’s Day, to honor her mother who had died on May 9, 1905. She started a campaign, which led to a resolution, passed by Congress on May 10, 1913, to make the second Sunday in May a national holiday, “dedicated to the memory of the best mother in the world — your mother.” In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation, designating the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.

However, there is more to the story. In fact, Anna Jarvis was not the first, nor the only one, who had voiced the idea of establishing a Mother’s Day in the United States.

For instance, Julia Ward Howe had talked about a special “Mother’s Day” as early as 1858. She had kept it in a private special celebration in 1872. Howe is the author of the “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” She grieved for the many young lives that had been killed during the Civil War. She proposed to celebrate a “Mother’s Day of Peace.” In addition, she had made at least two extended trips to Europe between 1843 and 1850. During her last trip, she spent almost one year in Rome. In Julia Ward Howe’s Mother’s Day Declaration, it is stated, “From the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with our own. It says, ‘Disarm, Disarm!’… Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.”

In addition, Ann Marie Reeves Jarvis, wife of a Methodist pastor and mother of Anna Jarvis, had likewise been affected by the Civil War. She proposed a special Mother’s Day celebration, which she called a “Mother’s Friendship Day,” to heal the wounds and the bridges between the “Blue” and the “Gray.”

Anna Jarvis continued to advocate the idea of a special Mother’s Day. On May 10, 1907, she held a special memorial service for her mother (who, as mentioned, had died in 1905). In 1910, West Virginia became the first state to recognize Mother’s Day. At the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Minneapolis, Minn., in 1912, a delegate from a local church introduced a resolution recognizing Anna Jarvis as the founder of Mother’s Day. It was also suggested at that time that the second Sunday in May be observed as Mother’s Day.

The religious connection with and influence of the establishment of the American Mother’s Day cannot be denied. The modern U.S. Mother’s Day started in the Methodist-Episcopal Church, through the effort of Anne Jarvis. It had to be observed on a Sunday. Some had proposed any Sunday (for example, Frank H. Hering of Indiana, who is also called the “Father of Mother’s Day”), while others proposed the second Sunday in May. On the first official church memorial of Jarvis’ mother, on May 10, 1908, the church bells of the church which had been attended by her mother, and who had taught Sunday school there, rang 72 times – since Ann Marie Reeves Jarvis had been 72 years old when she died.

One year prior to this, her daughter had preached a sermon in the local church to honor her mother. She finished the sermon that the preacher had begun. “Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church” in Grafton, West Virginia, is therefore now recognized as the “mother church” of Mother’s Day in the United States.

In Calgary, Canada, George Kerby of the Central Methodist Church delivered a touching sermon on the very first Mother’s Day in that territory.

Sources also point out that the early way of keeping Mother’s Day in the United States was similar to the way with which it was kept during “Mothering Day” in England – including attending on that day the church of one’s baptism – and only gradually, “other sentiments were added.”

It might be worthwhile noting that Anna Jarvis spent the rest of her life trying to undo what she had done. Enraged by the commercialization, Jarvis filed a lawsuit in 1923 to stop a Mother’s Day festival. She was later arrested for disturbing the peace when she learned that a War Mother’s Day Convention was selling white carnations – Jarvis’ symbol for mothers – to raise money. She spent most of her fortune that she had inherited from her mother to fight a holiday she had helped establish to honor her mother. She told a reporter that she regretted ever having started Mother’s Day.

In this lengthy section, we have tried to state the facts, as they have become available to us. We feel that the knowledge of these facts is necessary to make an individual, conscientious and personal decision, whether or not to observe – or to continue celebrating – Mother’s Day. In light of the facts presented herein, as well as additional facts that may come to our, or your, attention, you will have to decide whether the evidence is sufficient or not to establish a direct and immediate connection between pagan origins, Catholic Church influence, and our modern custom of celebrating Mother’s Day – especially in the United States, Canada and continental Europe. We must emphasize that, in any event, the personal decisions which each Christian must make in his or her life, must be made based on personal faith and conviction, knowing that whatever is not from faith is sin (Romans 14:23).

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Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock


We are advertising this Friday and Saturday the booklet, “The Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord,” in the Vancouver Sun. The paper has a circulation of 1.2 million readers. Please pray for the success of this ad campaign, because the world needs the knowledge of what lies ahead.


Our current member letter, which you can find at: http://www.eternalgod.org/lit/letters/brethren-20030630.pdf, was sent out this week, together with a hard copy of our booklet, “God Is A Family.”

Our new booklet on Baptism has completed the first review cycle and will enter the second review cycle early next week.


A new program, titled, “What is the Beast?” has been recorded and has been placed on our web site at www.eternalgod.org/standingwatch.


If you speak German, just visit our German web page by going to www.eternalgod.org/german. Several German articles have recently been added to the page. We are trying to add at least one article each week.

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How This Work is Financed

This Update is an official publication by the ministry of the Church of the Eternal God in the United States of America; the Church of God, a Christian Fellowship in Canada; and the Global Church of God in the United Kingdom.

Editorial Team: Norbert Link, Dave Harris, Rene Messier, Brian Gale, Margaret Adair, Johanna Link, Eric Rank, Michael Link, Anna Link, Kalon Mitchell, Manuela Mitchell, Dawn Thompson

Technical Team: Eric Rank, Shana Rank

Our activities and literature, including booklets, weekly updates, sermons on CD, and video and audio broadcasts, are provided free of charge. They are made possible by the tithes, offerings and contributions of Church members and others who have elected to support this Work.

While we do not solicit the general public for funds, contributions are gratefully welcomed and are tax-deductible in the U.S. and Canada.

Donations should be sent to the following addresses:

United States: Church of the Eternal God, P.O. Box 270519, San Diego, CA 92198

Canada: Church of God, ACF, Box 1480, Summerland, B.C. V0H 1Z0

United Kingdom: Global Church of God, PO Box 44, MABLETHORPE, LN12 9AN, United Kingdom

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