Update 101


Will You Be Counted Worthy?

Edwin Pope will give the sermon this Sabbath, July 12, 2003. The title of the sermon is, “Will You Be Counted Worthy?”

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

Back to top

Active In Peace


Afghanistan, Vietnam, Iraq…The only thing that most people know about these places is war. Stop for a moment and think of how many wars that you know of at the present. As we look around the world there are approximately 50 wars going on at any given time…which is 50 too many.

If a region is not at war or involved in any conflict… is it then at peace?

Before 9/11 the US couldn’t even claim peace. It was being besieged from within by gang fights, riots, racism, school shootings, church shootings and etc. Drive-bys have been so common place in some areas that they have not made the front page in the local newspaper. Even with the ABSENCE OF WAR there was no peace even before the terrorist attacks.

Peace has a very active component. Peace doesn’t just happen, we must “make” peace. Matthew 5:9 states, “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” We have a greater responsibility than just sitting back and being quiet – especially when problems exist that involve us directly. If we are to be children of God then we must be peacemakers

All through history, nations and their governments have been striving for world peace! Their striving has led only to war because “The way of peace they know not” (Isaiah 59:8; Romans 3:17). The lack of peace is evident everywhere.

We must Think Globally and Act Locally!

Some things that we can do are:

Pray – we are exhorted in 1 Timothy 2:1 to pray for all men and for leaders and “for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” We should also pray that God’s Holy Spirit leads us.

Follow Christ’s example – “Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps….Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously” (1 Peter 2:21, 23).

Study – We must ask ourselves what it takes to have quiet, tranquillity, and contentment and all the attributes that we look forward to in the world of tomorrow. What does it take to have this between me and another… AND THEN SEEK IT, PURSUE IT AND KEEP IT (Ps 34:14).

We need to make peace dynamic, real, and working by implementing it ourselves.

The peacemaker talked about in Matthew 5:9 isn’t likely to be a third person, but rather someone involved in a conflict. We are more likely to be involved in a dispute rather than be asked to arbitrate. This is the time to let our light shine.

We have been setting a real life example of peace and must continue to do so. YOU could be making the greatest contribution toward world peace in our time!

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. (Romans 14:19) As we look forward to the upcoming fall festival season, to the coming of Jesus Christ and to the Millennium – “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men” (Romans 12:18).

Back to top


The Associated Press reported on July 6, 2003, that the tomb of Zachariah, father of John the Baptist, might have been found. On the tomb, an inscription of 47 Greek letters was found. “This is the tomb of Zachariah, martyr, very pious priest, father of John,” the inscription reads.
Some scholars say the words were probably written several hundred years after Zachariah’s death – and after the tomb’s construction – by Byzantine Christians.

The article points out that “The inscription is carved into the facade of what is known as Absalom’s Tomb, one of three large funerary monuments in the Kidron Valley, between Jerusalem’s Old City and the Mount of Olives. The monuments were apparently built for Jerusalem’s aristocracy around the time of Jesus. It’s unlikely Absalom, son of King David, lies buried in the tomb, which was built hundreds of years after his death. Medieval Jewish tradition, however, held that the monument was his tomb, and – based on that tradition – Jews, Christians and Muslims stoned the monument for centuries to curse Absalom for his deeds: murdering his half brother Amnon for raping their sister Tamar, and later inciting a rebellion against his father.”

The article continues: “The Gospel of Luke describes [Zachariah] as an elderly man from the priestly caste of Abijah who, while burning incense in the Temple one day, was told by an angel that his wife Elizabeth, also advanced in years, would bear a son, who was later to become John the Baptist. Jewish historian Josephus writes that a priest named Zachariah was slain by Zealots in the Temple and thrown into the Kidron Valley below – which would explain the “martyr” reference in the Greek text.”

It concludes, “The inscription suggests that local Christians believed Zachariah was buried at the site of the tomb.”


California’s current jury instructions may serve as an example as to how much our legal system needs drastic revision and improvement. As the “California Bar Journal” for July 2003 reported, eight hundred brand new jury instructions for use by California lawyers and judges in civil trials are reviewed by the Judicial Council. However, even if approved, the “new instructions” are not “the final word; the Judicial Council likely will appoint an advisory committee to monitor and maintain them in the future,” according to the California Bar Journal. It is anticipated that the instructions will be constantly changed.

Jury instructions are meant to be understood by a tenth grade audience. Current jury instructions, however, can be understood, perhaps, if at all, and at the most, by people in legal business. They were written in the language of appellate opinions. No wonder, then, that we have been faced with so many ridiculous and blatantly false jury decisions.

Just to give a few examples:

A current jury instruction reads, “Failure of recollection is common. Innocent misrecollection is not common.” The proposed new instruction says, instead, “People often forget things or make mistakes in what they remember.”

Another current jury instruction reads, “‘Preponderance of the evidence’ means evidence that has more convincing force than that opposed to it. If the evidence is so evenly balanced that you are unable to say that the evidence on either side of an issue preponderates, your finding on that issue must be against the party who had the burden of proving it.” The proposed new jury instruction reads, instead, “When I tell you that a party must prove something, I mean that the party must persuade you, by the evidence presented in court, that what he or she is trying to prove is more likely to be true than not true. This is sometimes referred to as ‘burden of proof.'”

To quote one more example, a current jury instruction reads, “Circumstantial evidence is evidence that, if found to be true, proves a fact from which an inference of the existence of another fact may be drawn. A factual inference is a deduction that may logically and reasonably be drawn from one or more facts established by the evidence.”

How this convoluted instruction could have survived so long in our legal system is beyond comprehension. The proposed new instruction, although still not as clear as one would wish, reads as follows, “Some evidence proves a fact directly, such as testimony of a witness who saw a jet plane flying across the sky. Some evidence proves a fact indirectly, such as testimony of a witness who saw only the white trail that jet planes often leave. This indirect evidence is sometimes referred to as ‘circumstantial evidence.’ In either instance, the witness’ testimony is evidence that a jet plane flew across the sky.”

Of course, in a trial involving “circumstantial evidence” based on fiber, DNA, blood, and convoluted and contradictory expert testimony regarding the same, this simple “explanation” of “circumstantial evidence” will not be of too much help to a tenth grader, who is supposed to understand and apply those instructions.

The proposed changes of the current jury instructions are a step in the right direction. One must wonder, however, why it took so long to make such necessary changes. At the same time, serious problems remain with the current jury system in California and elsewhere, for those who want to follow Biblical injunctions. For an in-depth discussion, please read the Q&A in our Update #66.


At this time in human history, God is NOT intervening in this society held under the governance of Satan except for the very few who are called to be Christians, and when it is necessary to bring about prophesied events. The good news is that God has promised a time in which He will send His Son back to the earth to set up the Kingdom of God. At that time, the world will experience peace, and people will have access to God to find healing as well as fulfillment of the ultimate purpose of human life–a purpose that can only be fulfilled through obedience to the true God.

Yet, God does know what is happening on this earth. In a time setting that is yet future, this promise is made: ” ‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away’ ” (Revelation 21:4).

God is working out a great master plan for His children. Along the way, mankind has made choices that have cut themselves off from God, but even then, God has so loved the world, that He sent His Son as its Savior. As we consider the horrible plight of millions in today’s world, let’s stay focused on the truth of God’s Word with hope even in the face of the temporary suffering of this age.


Was It the Truth – and Nothing But the Truth?

As Associated Press reported on July 7, “a parliamentary committee on Monday sharply criticized the [British] government’s handling of intelligence on Iraqi weapons but narrowly cleared Prime Minister Tony Blair’s communications chief of ‘improper influence’ on drafting a controversial intelligence dossier. The House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee said the dossier, published in September, gave undue prominence to a claim that Iraq could deploy chemical or biological weapons within 45 minutes of Saddam Hussein’s giving the order… The cross-party committee also said Blair misrepresented to lawmakers the status of the second dossier, published in January, which included material copied from a graduate thesis posted on the Internet… By telling lawmakers that the document represented ‘further intelligence,’ Blair ‘misrepresented its status.'”


USA Today reported on July 9 that only 23% of Americans feel that the military effort in Iraq is going well. In mid-April, 61% felt that way. On the other hand, two-thirds said that the United States made the right decision to use military force against Iraq, in spite of the fact that no weapons of mass destruction have been found so far, and that some statements made about Saddam by the US and British governments were incorrect. In addition, 72% feel that a strong enough effort is not being made to deal with the health care problems. At the same time, only 38% feel that the Democrats could do a better job than the Republicans.


As Der Stern Online reported on Wednesday, most of the U.S. states are facing the most serious financial crisis since World War II. California (the largest state with 35.3 million people) is on top of the list, with a deficit of 38 billion dollars. Combined with other U.S. states, the entire deficit is estimated at 53.5 billion dollars. As a consequence, Massachusetts has canceled health benefits for 50,000 poor people. Kentucky has released prematurely 1,000 prisoners. Oregon has prematurely closed schools to save on cleaning costs. The Community Colleges in Los Angeles have only enough money until August. The chancellor of the district said that after that, students might have to be told to just go home.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, the highest paid actor in history, told Stern that it is a nightmare to see how California is going down the drain. There have been quite a few speculations whether or not he will run for governor of California. “Now leadership is asked for, and I know the ABC,” he said. He continued, “I can lead and I will bring order.”

Many states ask for federal aid, but, as the article points out, “with a record federal deficit of 400 billion dollars this year and the massive expenses in Iraq and other placed worldwide set aside to fight terrorism, nothing can be expected from Washington.”


As Washingtonpost. com reported on July 9, “the House approved a $369.1 billion Pentagon spending bill for 2004” for defense. At the same time, Congress was asked for “1.9 billion dollars to help fight forest fires, provide emergency relief to areas hit by tropical storms, and investigate the space shuttle Columbia’s disintegration,” according to the article.

What a world we will have after Christ has returned. We read that people will not learn war anymore (Isaiah. 2:4). We will no longer hear about astronomical figures set aside for “national defense.” We will no longer hear that governments are willing to spend money that they don’t have. Governmental debts, inevitably leading to the suffering of the poor, as in Massachusetts (see, “US States Deficit Highest Since World War II”) will be a thing of the past. May God grant that this time will come soon.

Back to top

Q: In your Update (Update #99, in the Q&A section), you explain that Christ was in the grave for three days and three nights . Doesn't Christ also say that He was dead for three days? Since He died before He was placed into the grave, was He raised back to life and stayed alive in the grave for a while, before He walked out of the tomb?

A: In Matthew 12:40 Christ makes the statement, “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Authorized Version throughout). In John 2:19 He said, “Destroy this Temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” In John 2:21 it is noted: “But He spake of the Temple of His body.”
We will address in this section the following questions in relation to these verses:

1) Was Christ dead for exactly 72 hours?
2) Was Christ in the tomb for exactly 72 hours?
3) How can we reconcile these two Scriptures since they appear to be contradictory?
4) Was Christ not dead the whole time He was in the tomb?

In John 2:19, where Christ says, “Destroy this Temple, and in three days I will raise it up,” He is not speaking specifically of a time of exactly 72 hours counting from the time of His crucifixion. As we will review in this Q&A – by definition – the crucifixion occurred over several hours. It began about 9 am that Wednesday morning. Christ died about 3 pm that afternoon. He was placed into the tomb about 6 pm that evening. As Mr. Armstrong described this event in his booklet, “The Resurrection Was Not On Sunday” – Christ was “To be raised up in three days after being DESTROYED, or crucified AND buried…”

Christ, in making the statement in John 2:19 was addressing the very same issue He is discussing in Matthew 12:40, where He was specifically speaking of the only sign He would give these self-righteous Pharisees that He was the Messiah. In Matthew 12:40, Christ specifically states that He would be in the HEART OF THE EARTH for “three days and three nights” just as Jonah was in the BELLY OF THE BIG FISH, three days and three nights. That was the sign He gave to the Pharisees and the religious leaders – the only sign! (Please note that for His disciples — those who have ears to hear and eyes to see — Christ gave many signs that He was the Messiah, compare John 20:30-31).

In stating this in the manner He does, He is telling these doubters to observe what was about to happen. He would be in the ground, dead and buried, for the exact period of time of 72 hours. If He had not fulfilled that sign, He would have shown to the world He was NOT the Savior. Yet we are told by God’s angel, as recorded in Matthew 28:6, “He is not here; for He is risen AS HE SAID.”
Christ was placed on an upright stake on that Wednesday morning at the third hour (Mark 15:25), which was about 9 am. At about the sixth hour, 12 noon Wednesday, darkness covered the earth (Mark 15:33). At the ninth hour, 3 pm Wednesday, there was the expiring cry (Mark 15:34-37). At that point in time, Christ was dead. He would remain dead until the Father would call Him from the grave, just as Jonah was called from the belly of the great fish. The fish spewed Jonah from his grave of death in the fish’s belly – onto dry ground, i.e., back to life. Jonah was 72 hours in the fish’s belly, after he had been swallowed up. He did not stay in the fish’s belly for a longer period of time, before he was spewed onto dry land.

By analogy, a newly converted Christian, when he accepts Jesus Christ as his Savior, repents of his sins, is baptized into a watery grave, and being lifted straightway out of that grave, pictures this event of death, burial, and resurrection to a new life (Romans 6:5; Colossians 2:12). Compare these Scriptures with those relating to the resurrection of Lazarus (John 12:17), and to the resurrections to come (John 5:28-29, Revelation 20:13).

All these passages show that the dead are raised to life and leave the grave at the same time. They are not raised to life and still remain in the grave for a while, before they leave it.

We read (in Matthew 27:57-60) that Christ was buried in haste before sunset on Wednesday, the preparation day, about 6 pm (thus, before the high day, the first day of Unleavened Bread had begun). According to Jewish law in effect at that time, all dead bodies had to be buried before the beginning of a Sabbath or a high day. Therefore, Christ was laid in the tomb in time to meet that deadline.

Christ remained in the ground, dead, for a period of 72 hours from the time He was placed in the earth; and He arose from the dead on the third day, just prior to sunset. That would have been Saturday evening about 6 pm (Matthew 28:6). He was resurrected on the third day, “as He said,” — not 72 hours from the time He cried out from that stake and gave up the spirit; but 72 hours from the time He was placed in the tomb. He was literally dead 75 hours based on the Scriptural reckoning.

When the ladies came to the tomb “In the end of the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week…” (Matthew 28:1), they found the stone door to the tomb rolled away. Christ was not there! He had already risen and the first day of the week was just about to dawn (Remember that the days — according to the Hebrew calendar — begin and end with sunset.). It is well to note here that the stone was rolled away by God’s angel so that the ladies could see that He was not there. Since He was now Spirit, there was no need to roll the stone away for His benefit. He came forth when the Father called Him, just as Jonah came forth from the belly of the fish and just as, at the time of the first resurrection of the saints, the Lord will shout, and the dead in Christ will rise. No one will need to open their graves for these “firstfruits” to come forth.

Back to top

Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

We have established a permanent feature on our Web page, “StandingWatch.” A new program, titled, “Who Rules This World?” has been recorded and has been placed on our Web page.

Back to top

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

©2024 Church of the Eternal God