Update 124


I was in Prison

On Saturday, January 3, 2004, Norbert Link will be presenting the sermon, titled, “I Was in Prison…”

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

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What Do You Want?

by Dave Harris

Have you ever wanted something? Not just something that is a passing fancy, but something that is the entire focus of your being.

We read of just such an example in the account of Amnon and Tamar. 2 Samuel 13 relates the account. In verse 2, it states that Amnon was so “distressed” in his love for Tamar that he became sick. However, Amnon, in his obsession, actually ended up concocting a plan that culminated in his raping her. Verse 15 then continues the story: “Then Amnon hated her exceedingly, so that the hatred with which he hated her was greater than the love with which he had loved her.”

Later on, Amnon was murdered for this disgraceful act by Absalom, Tamar’s brother. This event came on the heels of another despicable act of unrestrained lust on the part of king David. He had seen the beauty of Bathsheba, and with no consideration for the consequences, had defiled the wife of one of his most faithful servants, and, in order to cover up his adulterous conduct and to marry Bathsheba, he proceeded with killing Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah.

Through the prophet Nathan, God spoke this judgment to David: ” ‘Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me, and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife’ ” (2 Samuel 12:10).

Wanting something so intensely and, in a sense, so mindlessly as in the examples of Amnon and David led to tremendous frustration, suffering and even death!

That was true, likewise, for Adam and Eve. Note how Genesis 3:6 reports on their evil desire: “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.”

Once again, the results were catastrophic for both Adam and Eve and the rest of humanity that has followed along the same path of wanton lust for what is forbidden by God.

We find other, more positive examples in the Word of God that teach us what we should want. God explains it in a very straight forward way in Deuteronomy 30:19: ” ‘I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live.’ “

Have you chosen life? Is eternal life the entire focus of your being?

If we say, “yes!” to these questions, then let us check ourselves out with this reminder from Jesus: ” ‘So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple’ ” (Luke 14:33). Simply put, we must want what God wants for us–and completely on His terms!

Indeed, God does set before us a choice. We get to choose life, or we can choose death!

What do YOU want?

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As WorldNetDaily reported on December 27, 2003, “Terrorists planned to observe the celebrated birth of Jesus Christ on Christmas Day with a 9-11-style attack on the Vatican, according to Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi. “‘A hijacked plane into the Vatican. … An attack from the sky, is that clear?’ Berlusconi is quoted as saying in the Milan newspaper Libero. ‘The threat of terrorism is very high in this instant. I passed Christmas Eve in Rome to deal with the situation. Now I feel calm. It will pass.’

According to the paper, the premier said news of the attack on Rome was ‘precise and verified.’ He offered no details about where the information came from… Reuters reports Berlusconi later denied making the statements attributed to him by the daily, and accused its reporter of making up the quotes.”

Other papers said that Berlusconi made the denials after he came under attack from colleagues who charged Berlusconi with breaching confidentiality. The Vatican did not comment.


WorldNetDaily reported on December 27, 2003: “International offers of aid poured in to Iran as rescue teams from all over the world joined a massive search for survivors in the wake of the 6.3-magnitude earthquake that flattened the historic city of Bam, killing as many as 40,000 people… While rescue workers have pulled hundreds out of the rubble — including an infant — thousands of others are feared still trapped alive…

“But as the death toll soars from the world’s most serious earthquake since 25,000 were killed in the western Indian state of Gujarat in 2001, Tehran continued its longstanding hostility toward Israel, declaring it would not accept its assistance.

“‘The Islamic Republic of Iran accepts all kinds of humanitarian aid from all countries and international organizations with the exception of the Zionist regime,’ Jahanbakhsh Khanjani, a spokesman for Iran’s Interior Ministry, said following word that unofficial Israeli sources were considering sending aid to Iran.”


As NEWS-Networld reported, Austria’s Chancellor Schuessel is opposed to the concept of a “core Europe.” This concept had been proposed by Germany and France after the failed attempt in December to create a European Constitution for all European member states. Schuessel said, “This is not the kind of Europe that I want. We want to use all our strength to create a European Constitution for all 25 member states.” Nevertheless, he added: “If we should not be able to create a European Constitution…, and there should be a core Europe, then we will do everything that we will be a part of it.”


As Der Spiegel Online and Reuters reported on December 31, 2003 and January 1,2004, “The euro broke above a $1.25 barrier FOR THE FIRST TIME on Monday.” While the euro “climbs and climbs,” traders “expect a further decline of the value of the U.S. dollar.” Amazingly, the Bush Administration sees no cause for concern, having, as one commentator put it, “an evident policy of benign neglect, if not outright approval of a cheaper dollar.” Reuters stated: “In just under a year since taking office last January, Treasury Secretary John Snow has toned down the former hard-line U.S. commitment to a ‘strong dollar,’ effectively endorsing the fall by saying that its value ‘reflects the fundamentals of the demand and supply for currencies.'”


AFP reported on January 1, 2004: “Buoyed by a strong euro and mindful of EU expansion, Europe’s leaders used their New Year’s messages to urge their peoples to work hard to meet the challenge of ensuring economic renewal and stability, in an uncertain and increasingly interconnected world.” Quoting Germany’s Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, the paper wrote: “‘Germany, which has Europe’s biggest economy, ‘will not be the only country to benefit by us acting decisively to modernize. THE WHOLE OF EUROPE IS LOOKING AT OUR EFFORTS IN HOPE,’ the chancellor said.” Quoting British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the paper continued: “‘Boom and bust, economic uncertainty… used to be the British disease. We have cured that disease,’ Blair said.”

Whatever the British “disease,” the Bible makes it clear that it has not been cured. At the same time, the Bible predicts that Germany will be Europe’s leading power in the last days. Note this remarkable prophecy for our days, in Hosea 5:13: “When Ephraim [Great Britain and other Anglo-Saxon English-speaking nations] saw his sickness…, Then Ephraim went to Assyria [modern Germany and other German-speaking nations] And sent to King Jareb [the final leader of a United Europe, apparently a German or an Austrian]; Yet he cannot cure you… For I [God] will be like a lion to Ephraim…”

Also, note this prophecy for our time in Hosea 7:11: “Ephraim also is like a silly dove, without sense… They go to Assyria. Wherever they go, I will spread My net on them; I will bring them down like birds of the air; I will chastise them According to what their congregation has heard. Woe to them, for they have fled from Me! Destruction to them, Because they have transgressed against Me.”

To learn more about the future of continental
Europe and Great Britain, please read our free booklets, “Europe
in Prophecy
” and “The
Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord


This was the headline of an article, published by UPI on December 26, 2003. The author, Martin Walker, continued:

“While the Bush administration focused relentlessly on the war in Iraq and its confused and bloody aftermath, the rest of the world has been busy reshaping the geopolitical map that has prevailed since the end of the Cold War. In Europe, Russia, China, India, the Middle East and South America, regional powers have been adjusting to the new realities of American military and strategic dominance, and to potential American weaknesses in the longer term.

“Some of those vulnerabilities, like the endemic U.S. trade deficit and the return of massive federal budget deficits, or the threat from militant Islam and the rise of China, are obvious. Others, like Europe’s slow withdrawal from its traditionally subordinate status, or Russia’s attempt to reassert control over the newly independent states who were once part of the Soviet Union, are less clear…

“With India, China and Pakistan all nuclear powers, Asia is now assuming the geopolitical importance and hair-trigger danger that Europe suffered in the Cold War. And the European Union itself remains a major player, even though its two nuclear powers, Britain and France, were on opposite sides of the argument over the Iraq war. Indeed, the growing cohesion of the EU, both as an economic actor through the euro currency, and as a strategic actor through its Common Foreign and Security Policy, is one of the striking features of the emerging new world order.

“Bickering over its budget and its draft new constitution, the EU is a quarrelsome work in progress, but the overall trend towards integration is clear. Even in the year when U.S. defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld spoke of a division between “Old” and “New” Europe over Iraq, the loyal British signed up with the French and Germans for a new EU defense structure, subtly independent from the U.S.-led NATO and able to mount military operations separately from the United States…

“But as the EU enlarges, with Cyprus joining on May 1, 2004 and Turkey now formally accepted as a candidate member, the EU is moving closer and closer to the Middle East. This is a region where European and American interests have traditionally been at odds, from the Suez crisis of 1956, the refusal of landing rights to U.S. aircraft resupplying Israel in the 1973 Yom Kippur war, to this year’s Iraq war.

“The EU and U.S. are the world’s two economic giants, each accounting for almost a quarter of global GDP, and their joint failure in 2003 to secure progress at the World Trade Organization summit at Cancun, Mexico, was an important warning sign…

“Brazil’s radical new President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva symbolizes the way that Latin America is increasingly determined to go its own way, despite the powerful tradition of U.S. influence. The EU now invests more in Latin America than the United States, and China is now Argentina’s largest market — signs of erosion in Washington’s role…

“The British, French and German foreign ministers crafted a deal this year to bring Iran’s nuclear ambitions back within the non-proliferation rules of the International Atomic Energy Authority, and China has become a key player in the North Korean negotiations… this is no longer the lonely American superpower running the show…

[Russian Vladimir] Putin’s… clampdown on the Russian media and the arrest of the oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, and the renewed centralization of authoritarian power in the Kremlin along with the ruthless repression in Chechnya, make Russia look more like the old Tsarist system. Putin’s recent bullying of former Soviet republics like Georgia and Moldova suggests that the old Russian imperial pretensions are far from dead…

“The question is whether the main players in the Middle East, whether Israel defying American advice against building more settlements on Palestinian land, or Saudis terrified that relaxing their hold will make an al-Qaida coup more feasible, see it quite Washington’s way.

“That has been the problem in the year 2003. For all America’s wealth and power, the world did not see matters Washington’s way, and began making their own, alternative arrangements. And with the United States about to become even more distracted by the introspection of a presidential election year, the world’s other major powers in Europe and Asia will have even more room to maneuver and craft a world in which America no longer rules the roost. Historians may yet look back [at this era]… when America’s moment of undisputed power began to give way to a new balance among a series of regional powers, each able to challenge American dominance in its own sphere of influence.”

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Is Water Divining an acceptable method for Christians to locate water?

This question was addressed by the Church before. We are quoting, as set forth below, from a letter published by the Worldwide Church of God, which explains the long-standing position of the Church on the matter:

“Water divining, also known as ‘water witching’ and ‘water dowsing,’ is practiced all over the world. It is the craft of seeking underground water by means of a divining rod, commonly a forked stick which is held by the twigs, one in each hand with the stock pointing outward or upward. As the diviner walks over the ground, the stick will suddenly twist in his hands and point downward, supposedly indicating the presence of underground water. At times there is water; at other times there is none.

“Hosea prophesied that divining rods would be used in our time. He wrote, ‘My people ask counsel at their stock and their staff declareth unto them (Hos. 4:12). According to the ‘Critical and Experimental Commentary,’ by Jamieson, Faussett, and Brown, ‘staff’ here refers to a divining rod.

“What is the origin of this practice? How did it come to be used so extensively in our western, so-called Christian nations? In his book titled ‘Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science,’ Martin Gardner admits:

“‘The employment of various shaped rods for divination purposes goes all the way back to the ancient Greeks and Egyptians …. In the Middle Ages, it was associated with the power of Satan, although many churchmen made use of divination rods. The forked twig, for finding minerals, apparently did not appear until the fifteenth century when it was used by German prospectors in the Harz Mining region. When German miners were imported to England in the century following, they brought the practice with them. It was in England that the use of the twig was transferred from minerals to the search for water.’

“God condemns such practices. He says, ‘Thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone … that useth divination’ (Deut. 18:9-10)…”

This quote explains quite convincingly why Christians should not involve themselves with water divining, or with any practice which is associated with the powers of the fallen spirit world that has departed from God. In the Middle Ages, it was clearly understood by many that the “art” of water divining was to be attributed “to the hand of the Devil,” as one source put it. When researching the subject, this conclusion is inescapable. Notice this quote from an article, titled, “Dry Spell Awakens Water Witches from the Graves,” dated November 13, 2003, as published by IslamOnline.net (emphasis added):

“Nanay Selda, the water witch, has done it again. How? It is no secret. Water witching has existed for hundreds of years all over the world. Nanay Selda is no necromancer, as water witches, water diviners or dowsers are ordinary people GIFTED with the art of finding water… Nanay Selda says SHE IS GUIDED BY A ‘FORCE’ WHEN SHE EXTENDS HER ARMS USING THE GUAVA BRANCHES… After she’s used the branches, one can see red welts on her palm, evidence of struggle WITH A FORCE, which shows UNUSUAL STRENGTH in such small frail arms. When I asked how she did it, she snapped like a bitch warning her pups, ‘I don’t know so don’t ask me.’ One water expert… had this to say…’ There is no empirical basis for water divining, yet it works. Water witches have not studied hydrogeology academically, but they know it intuitively.'”

The fact that water divining sometimes “works,” does not justify us to reach the conclusion that Christians can use this method. We read, for example, in Deuteronomy 13:1-4:

“If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams and he gives you a SIGN or a WONDER, and the sign or the wonder COMES TO PASS, of which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods’ — which you have not known — ‘and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the LORD your God is TESTING you to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall walk after the LORD your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice; you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him.”

The world of demons, and their “religion” and practice
of sorcery and witchcraft, including water divining, does sometimes
bring “results.” But these practices are in opposition
to God and His way of life — and must therefore be rejected and
avoided by true Christians. In order to learn more about the reality
of God’s spirit realm and the “dark side,” please read
our free booklet, “Angels,
Demons and the Spirit World

Rather than using practices such as “water divining,” we are told, in Proverbs 3:6: “In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” When we are in need of water and pray to God for revelation of the right location, God will show us, if we believe in His wisdom and might. There is no need to use “water divining” or any other occult practices to discover what God has preserved for His people.

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Standing Watch

A new StandingWatch program has been posted on the Website, titled, “How Good Is Your Word?”

The following short note appeared in the most recent “Journal”:

Wedding supper

SAN DIEGO, Calif. — For an article revealing the location of the marriage supper of Christ and the church, see an Internet based newsletter published by the Church of the Eternal God.

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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

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