Update 153


Our Father

On Saturday, July 24, 2004, Norbert Link will be giving the sermon, titled, “Our Father.”

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God Can't Bless Us


I just read an article that has my head reeling and a gamut of emotions pulling me in every direction. It was originally published in the NY Times and it explains why America’s days are numbered.

You can find a copy of the editorial here in case the original is archived or removed in the future. If you haven’t read the piece yet, please do so before continuing. The article describes Amy Richards’ maligned thought process which is germane to the opening paragraph as well as the subsequent ones.

I don’t know where to begin except to say that the article is unconscionable on so many levels. Amy openly admits that she killed at least 2 children because she put home location, shopping options, travel restrictions and her freelance career above their LIFE.

Her description of events is cold and without remorse. It is filled with euphemisms such as “selective reduction” instead of murder. She wields the words “potassium chloride” without regard to the fact that it is the drug of preference on death row. This drug is being used on blameworthy criminals and yet Amy Richards is using it to casually take the lives of the most innocent, an unborn child.

The tone of her words are flippant and without conscience. The real problem is that this reflects the blatant, frequent and wide acceptance of the act of abortion. Since abortion was legalized in the US in 1973 there have been over 32 million unborn children killed and around the world the figure hits 46 million EVERY year. Can we really fathom the magnitude of these numbers?

What a stench in the nostrils of God this must be!

As a nation we claim to have achieved the highest levels of societal evolution and yet we condone barbarism. We ask God to “Bless America” while we slap Him in the face and break the most fundamental of His laws.

As a country, we are not allowing God to bless us and as a result He is removing His protection and blessings that we have enjoyed for so long. The end result of the sins that are being committed will be a captivity and enslavement as prophesied in the Bible. That is unless we repent of our ways and our carnality and submit to God’s way.

With the arrogant flaunting of God’s ways, as Amy Richards has done, the time of the end can not be too far away. Now more than ever we must be about our Father’s business.

For more in depth information on these subjects please refer to our booklets: “Europe in Prophecy,” “The Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord,” and “Are You Already Born Again?

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Not Only In the USA

The following article was published in the British The Daily Mirror, dated July 22, 2004, adding to the terrible information presented in our Editorial:

“A GIRL aged 14 who had a miscarriage in hospital was given the foetus in a jar and told to take it home. The teenager and her mother, who were distraught, put the baby’s remains in the kitchen fridge. Only when the girl’s father came home and expressed anger did they ring the hospital to complain. A midwife and undertaker were sent to collect the foetus. Last night health chiefs apologised, saying staff at Bishop Auckland General in Co Durham should have acted ‘in a more appropriate and sensitive manner’. The family want an inquiry and are to write to Tony Blair, who opened the flagship £67 million hospital two years ago. The mother, who also lost a baby recently, had known her daughter was pregnant for about five weeks.

“Last Sunday the girl, who does not want to be named, had slight bleeding and went to the urgent-care GP centre at the hospital. The next day, she started to miscarry in McDonald’s and went to A&E [Accident and Emergency ward]. Her mum said: ‘We saw a nurse and a doctor who told us to take the foetus back for the night, then return it to the gynaecology department. They didn’t explain and we were too upset to argue. They actually told us to put the baby in the fridge.’ The foetus was in a specimen jar in a blue plastic bag inside a padded envelope. The mum added: ‘Mr Blair needs to know what’s happening.'”

July 20, 1944

As AFP reported on Monday, July 19, 2004, “German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder paid tribute to the army officers who mounted the bomb attempt on Hitler’s life on the eve of the 60th anniversary of the unsuccessful attack, describing them as models for all Germans. ‘They showed there was another Germany, a good Germany, a democratic Germany at that time,’ he said of officers who tried to kill the Nazi leader on July 20, 1944. Aided by the aristocratic Claus von Stauffenberg a group of Wehrmacht (regular army) officers planted a bomb in a briefcase at a meeting with Hitler at his war headquarters in what was then East Prussia. Von Stauffenberg placed it on the floor before leaving the room, saying he had to make a phone call. He flew immediately back to Berlin, where he and co-conspirators hoped to stage a coup.

“But an officer moved the briefcase behind a leg of the solid oak table at which Hitler was studying maps, saving Hitler’s life. The explosion killed five of the 24 people in the room but the Nazi leader was only slightly injured. Von Stauffenberg and three other plotters were executed by firing squad on the same night. Dozens more were sent to often agonizingly slow deaths. ‘I have a profound respect, admiration, for the women and men who belonged to this resistance and who gave their lives for a Germany in which we now have the joy of living,’ Schroeder told a television station. ‘I think that if there are models in Germany, human models, these men and women belong to them.’ The fact that the assassination attempt failed is regarded as one of the great tragedies of the 20th century. Between July 20, 1944 and the end of the war in Europe in May 1945 killings in concentration camps continued, four million Germans, a million and half Soviet soldiers and more than 100,000 Allied servicemen lost their lives.”

The Bible predicted the rise of Hitler as part of the ninth resurrection of the Roman Empire. It says that the dragon (Satan), with God’s permission, gave his power to the “beast” (compare Revelation 13:4) — and Adolph Hitler, together with Benito Mussolini, constituted the ninth resurrection of the “beast” power. It is predicted that a last and final resurrection of the Roman Empire will still occur, before Jesus Christ returns. In a recent sermon, we addressed why the assassination attempt on Hitler on July 20, 1944, as well as prior assassination attempts, had to fail. The sermon — titled, “Who is in Control?” — is posted on the Audio page of our Website (www.eternalgod.org).

Sharon Angers France

Associated Press reported on July 19, 2004, that “an appeal by Israel’s leader [Ariel Sharon] for French Jews to flee for their safety [from France] prompted an outcry in France on Monday, with lawmakers and Jewish groups urging Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to mind his own business. The president of France’s National Assembly, the lower house of parliament, said Sharon ‘missed a good opportunity to keep quiet.’ ‘These words are inadmissible, unacceptable and, furthermore, irresponsible,’ Jean-Louis Debre told Europe-1 radio, adding to a chorus of complaints in Paris from the government and opposition groups. Sharon on Sunday urged France’s Jews to move to Israel to escape a tide of anti-Semitism at home. ‘If I have to advocate to our brothers in France, I will tell them one thing,’ Sharon told American Jewish leaders in Jerusalem. ‘Move to Israel, as early as possible.’ Israel’s government spokesman sought Monday to tone down the remarks, saying Sharon only meant to let French Jews know they were welcome in Israel.”

The article explained the typical political propaganda associated with an attempt to soften Sharon’s outrageous remarks, as follows: “‘Sharon was misunderstood,’ spokesman Avi Pazner told Europe-1 radio, adding the prime minister said ‘he considered that French Jews, like all Jews in the world, belong in Israel — and he invited French Jews to come.'”

AP continued: “Anti-Semitic acts against Jewish schools, synagogues and cemeteries have risen in France in recent years, coinciding with tensions in the Middle East. Many attacks have been blamed on young Muslims. The latest French Interior Ministry figures show 510 anti-Jewish acts or threats in the first six months of 2004 — compared with 593 for all of last year. ‘I would simply remind that France is today certainly the country with the strictest legislation on all problems of racism,’ Defense Minister Michele Alliot-Marie told RTL radio Monday. She added that France shows the ‘strongest disapproval, its condemnation and sanctions racist and anti-Semitic acts.’ France’s opposition Socialists also condemned Sharon’s remarks as ‘unjustifiable,’ saying such comments would only add to the racial confusion in France, said party spokeswoman Annick Lepetit. The French Foreign Ministry issued a swift reply Sunday to Sharon’s remarks, saying it had immediately contacted Israeli authorities for an explanation to ‘these unacceptable statements.’ French Jewish leaders interviewed on France-2 television said Sharon’s remarks were unhelpful. ‘These comments do not bring calm, peace and serenity that we all need,’ said Patrick Gaubert, president of the International League Against Racism and Anti-Semitism, known by the acronym LICRA. ‘I think Mr. Sharon would have done better tonight to have kept quiet.'”

The tragic truth is that, as the Bible prophesies, state-endorsed and state-organized anti-Semitism WILL occur in Europe in the future. However, not unlike current events in Germany, Sharon’s comments at this point represent a wrong evaluation of the present affairs and will, in the long-run, hurt, rather than help. Angry reactions to comments like the ones from Sharon might very well bring into motion events which no one wants to see, and which many will be shocked about, when they finally occur.

Israel Ready to Strike

WorldNetDaily reported on July 19, 2004: “Israel has conducted military exercises for a pre-emptive strike against several of Iran’s nuclear power facilities and is ready to attack if Russia supplies Iran with rods for enriching uranium, Israeli officials told reporters. An Israeli defense source in Tel Aviv told the London Sunday Times, which first published the story, that ‘Israel will on no account permit Iranian reactors — especially the one being built in Bushehr with Russian help — to go critical.’ The source was also quoted as saying that any strike on Iran’s reactors would probably be carried out by long-range F-15I jets, flying over Turkey, with simultaneous operations by commandos on the ground. Russia is expected to deliver the enriching rods, currently being stored at a Russian port, late next year after a dispute over financial terms is resolved. ‘If the worst comes to the worst and international efforts fail,’ the source said, ‘we are very confident we’ll be able to demolish the ayatollah’s nuclear aspirations in one go.'”

The article continued to point out: “The Sunday Times reports Israeli sources fear a pre-emptive strike against Iranian nuclear facilities could provoke ‘a ferocious response,’ which could involve Lebanese-based rocket attacks on northern Israel or terrorist attacks against Jewish and Israeli targets abroad.”

We know from Biblical prophecy that an all-encompassing war will be fought in the future in the Middle East, and that “all nations” will battle against the state of Israel, and especially the city of Jerusalem (Zechariah 14:2). It will be interesting to observe how these prophecies will reach their ultimate fulfillment. For more information, please read our free booklets, “Europe in Prophecy” and “The Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord.”

Canada Forbids Distribution of Bibles

On July 13, 2004, LifeSiteNews.com reported the following: “The Canadian Bible Society is disappointed and strongly questioning the rationale behind a recent decision by Senior Citizenship Judge Michel Simard, removing the Society’s ability to present bibles on request to new Canadians. For more than 50 years the Society has welcomed immigrants in citizenship courts, offering them copies of the Scriptures. The right of the Society to do that was formalized in an agreement signed in 1998 with the government. At all times, it was made clear that acceptance of the bibles was purely voluntary on the part of the recipients… In a letter to the Society, Judge Simard merely noted that Canada is a multicultural nation where freedom of religion is guaranteed under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. His letter indicated that notwithstanding the agreement ‘allowing holy books to be made available at citizenship ceremonies detracts from this message.'”

Apart from the questionable rationale of the Judge’s decision, God looks with disfavor at individuals, institutions and governments who break their promises and agreements. The history of the mistreatment of American Indians is only one of the sad records of making and breaking promises. God holds us accountable for what we say and what we do. If we give our word, we must keep it — otherwise, God might withdraw His protecting hands from us — individually and nationwide.

Tame Animals Becoming Wild

On July 15, 2004, news.com.au published a remarkable article about a change in the nature of presumably tame animals:

“Just days after a large kangaroo drowned a pet dog in Canberra come reports that farmers in New South Wales’s southeast believe it is only a matter of time before packs of wild dogs in the area attack a human. The wolf-sized dogs, which have reached plague proportions in the Snowy Mountains and South Coast regions, are becoming increasingly bold and have reportedly begun stalking farmers. The combined effects of the drought and last year’s bushfires, which killed off large numbers of native wildlife in NSW national parks, have seen an increase in the number of big dogs roaming through grazing land, attacking and killing stock. Bombala grazier Kurt Pougratz and neighbour Peter Shoeman last month shot and killed two dogs that were attacking his breeding deer. The dogs, believed to be crosses between great danes and rhodesian ridgebacks, weighed 60kg and 70kg and were nearly 180cm long. Bega farmer Ellen Green and her husband Bill were forced to abandon grazing sheep at their property after attacks and now run less profitable cattle, whose calves are constantly being killed.”

This report brings to mind, as a small foretaste, frightening Biblical prophecies for the descendants of the ancient house of Israel, including the United States of America, Great Britain and Australia, describing the not-too-distant future: “I will also send wild beasts among you, which shall rob you of your children, destroy your livestock, and make you few in number; and your highways shall be desolate” (Leviticus 26:22).

Missile Defense Site in Europe?

The Guardian reported on July 13 that plans are underway to build a missile defense site in central Europe:

“The US administration is negotiating with Poland and the Czech Republic over its controversial missile defence programme, with a view to positioning the biggest missile defence site outside the US in central Europe. Polish government officials confirmed to the Guardian that talks have been going on with Washington for eight months and made clear that Poland was keen to take part in the project, which is supposed to shield the US and its allies from long-range ballistic missile attacks. Senior officials in Prague also confirmed that talks were under way over the establishment of American advanced radar stations in the Czech Republic as part of the missile shield project… Under Bush administration plans, two missile interceptor sites are being built in the US – one in California, the other in Alaska. Such a site in Poland would be the first outside America and the only one in Europe.”

Saturday or Sunday?

WorldNetDaily ran a surprisingly candid article about the Biblically-commanded Sabbath and the man-made establishment of Sunday in an exclusive, titled, “Testing the Faith — Sunday, holy Sunday?” It continued: “Pastor resurrects Sabbath debate with 1 million dollar reward.” The article pointed out:

“One of the longest running disputes in the history of Christianity — Saturday vs. Sunday — is having new life breathed into it with a cash reward of up to $1 million toward a resolution. A. Jan Marcussen, a Seventh-day Adventist pastor in Illinois, is starting with $50,000 of his own money if someone can produce ‘a verse from the Holy Bible showing that God commands us to keep holy the first day of the week’ — Sunday — ‘instead of the seventh day’ — Saturday — ‘as is commanded in the Bible… Millions of people believe and have confidence in their clergy that what they’re being taught is true,’ says Marcussen. ‘They’ll find out that the clergy is not teaching from the Bible.'”

The article continued to say: “Experts on biblical scripture tell WorldNetDaily that Marcussen has little need to worry about paying out the money. ‘I am afraid that you are not going to find an exact Bible verse to counter the good pastor’s challenge and collect,’ says James Efird, professor of biblical interpretation at Duke University Divinity School in North Carolina. ‘As far as I know, there is no verse which specifies that Sunday is the day for Christians to observe the Sabbath.’

“Indeed, neither the words Saturday nor Sunday appear anywhere in most translations of the Bible. Days of the week are referred to by number, starting in the first chapter of Genesis in the account of creation. It was after the work of creating that God made special note of one day of the week: ‘And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made’ (Genesis 2:3). In the Ten Commandments, the seventh day was made the focus of the fourth mandate: ‘Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy … thou shalt not do any work … For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it’ (Exodus 20:8-11). The word sabbath comes from the Hebrew root word ‘shabbat,’ meaning to rest, cease or desist. Scholars say the word in Bible scripture not only refers to the weekly day of rest, but also the ANNUAL festivals of God such as Passover and Day of Atonement (emphasis added)…

“In the lexicon of modern society, the debate over which day is holy — that is, set apart to God — goes unresolved by the editors of Webster’s New World College Dictionary. While the first definition of sabbath calls it ‘the seventh day of the week (Saturday), set aside for rest and worship and observed as such by Jews (from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset) and some Christian denominations,’ its second meaning defines it as ‘Sunday as the usual Christian day of rest and worship.’ ‘There’s a fear factor among preachers,’ says Marcussen, on why churches don’t have their members look into this issue. ‘They’re afraid their sheep will start reading the Bible, and they know they’ll lose their sheep.’

“One expert who has spent his career researching and explaining the Sabbath debate is Dr. Samuele Bacchiocchi, a retired theology professor at Andrews University in Michigan. He tells WorldNetDaily two factors are responsible for the shift from one day to another: ‘Anti-Judaism caused the abandonment of the Sabbath, and pagan sun worship influenced the adoption of Sunday.’ Bacchiocchi says the Church of Rome, which grew into the Roman Catholic Church, had great influence in promoting Sunday observance. ‘The Church of the capital of the empire, whose authority was already felt far and wide in the second century, appears to be the most likely birth-place of Sunday observance,’ he writes in his book, ‘From Sabbath to Sunday: A historical investigation of the rise of Sunday observance in early Christianity.’

“In May 1998, Pope John Paul II issued an apostolic letter on the subject, entitled Dies Domini (The Lord’s Day). In it, the pontiff refers to the origins of Sunday-keeping. ‘In the weekly reckoning of time, Sunday recalls the day of Christ’s Resurrection,’ writes the pope. ‘It is Easter which returns week by week, celebrating Christ’s victory over sin and death, the fulfillment in him of the first creation and the dawn of “the new creation.”‘ The pontiff goes on to state that though Sunday has become a time for cultural, political and sporting events, it has a significance that shouldn’t be ignored… Though Protestant churches have some significant differences with Catholicism, one thing often agreed on today is Sunday observance. ‘The church always met on Sunday throughout the New Testament,” says Rev. Jerry Falwell, chancellor of Liberty University in Virginia. ‘Saturday is clearly the Sabbath as is recorded many times in the Old Testament. In Christian Church tradition, Sunday became “the Lord’s Day” when Jesus rose from the grave.’

“The actual times of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection are not universally agreed on either. ‘I personally believe he was crucified on Wednesday evening … and rose after 6 p.m. Saturday evening,’ Falwell tells WorldNetDaily.”

We might mention here that Christ did in fact die on a Wednesday and that He rose on Saturday — NOT Sunday! (We are preparing a new booklet on the Mystery of Jesus Christ, which will explain these facts in much more detail.) However, it is absolutely false to claim that the New Testament Church “always met on Sunday throughout the New Testament.” It is hard to believe that Jerry Falwell would make such a clearly erroneous statement — unless he meant to say that the New Testament church always met on Saturday — which it clearly did. For more information on these vital issues, please read our free booklets, “God’s Commanded Holy Days” and “Europe in Prophecy.”

To continue with WorldNetDaily’s article: “Most scholars agree that biblical references to ‘the Sabbath day’ denote the seventh day of the week. But in the years to come after Jesus rose, the first day of the week came into competition with Saturday, and at times both days were being observed side by side. The ostensible church was divided on the issue, choosing different days to regard as holy. ‘It may be that Sunday was originally one of the [pagan] Roman festival days,’ explains Professor Efird at Duke, ‘but so were several others that the church adopted in its evolution, [for example:] Christmas.'”

Again, this last statement is very true. That is the reason why true Christians should not keep Christmas, either. For more information, please read our free booklet, “Don’t Keep Christmas.”

The article continues: “Marcussen condemns the change in day of observance. ‘It’s the greatest hoax of all time, foisted upon the world for hundreds and hundreds of years,’ he says. His zeal on the matter reflects his belief that citizens of the United States and other countries will be forced to choose sides on the issue in the so-called ‘end time’ mentioned in Scripture. ‘Sunday worship is the mark of the Papacy’s authority,’ Marcussen writes in his book. ‘Sunday worship is the “mark of the beast!”‘”

Indeed, it is — in addition to the celebration of Christmas, Easter and other “Christian” holidays of pagan origin, and the rejection of the weekly Sabbath and the annual Festivals, as set forth in Scripture. Again, we encourage our readers to study our free booklets: “Europe in Prophecy“; “God’s Commanded Holy Days“; and “Don’t Keep Christmas.”

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When we fast, do we go without food and water as on the Day of Atonement, or are we just to abstain from food during ordinary fasting?

We are addressing here strictly the Biblically described spiritual fasting — not fasting for health reasons. The fast during the Day of Atonement — one of God’s annual Holy Days — is the only commanded fast in the Bible (Leviticus 23:27, 29, 32). The fast on the Day of Atonement, referred to by the commandment to “afflict your souls,” has been rightly understood as abstaining from food and drink for 24 hours. (For more information, please read our free booklet, “God’s Commanded Holy Days.”). However, we find that God’s people fasted, or were asked to fast, on other occasions as well (compare, for example, Joel 2:12; Nehemiah 1:4; 2 Chronicles 20:3; Matthew 17:21; Daniel 9:3; Acts 13:2-3; Acts 14:23).

David, a man after God’s own heart, wrote in Psalm 35:13: “I humbled [or: afflicted] my soul with fasting.” Here, David fasted in the same way, as it was required on the Day of Atonement — by afflicting his soul. This would mean that he abstained from food and drink during his fast.

In fact, all Biblical passages, defining or describing the manner of fasting, make clear that it is being done by abstaining from food and drink. We read in Esther 4:16, that the queen told her uncle Mordecai: “Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Sushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise.”

We also find that Ezra, who was accustomed to fast in times of need (compare Ezra 8:21-23), fasted in this way: “[He] ate no bread and drank no water, for he mourned because of the guilt of those from the captivity” (Ezra 10:6).

In addition, when Moses fasted for forty days and forty nights, “he neither ate bread nor drank water” (Exodus 34:28). There is NO Scripture that would tell us that people who engaged in spiritual fasting drank water or other fluids.

We also read that Elijah, after he ate and drank, what the angel had provided him, “went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights as far as Horeb, the mountain of God,” (1 Kings 19:8) indicating that he did not eat or drink during these forty days and nights.

We note, too, that the Ninevites did not eat or drink during their fast (Jonah 3:7); and neither did the Jews who tried to kill Paul (Acts 23:12) — they, of course, fasted for a wrong reason. Still, this shows how the Jews understood the manner of fasting; in fact, Paul fasted by abstaining from food and drink for three days (Acts 9:9).

Some have suggested that Jesus Christ drank water, when He fasted for 40 days and 40 nights in the desert (compare Matthew 4:1-2). However, the Bible does not say that He drank water, and to conclude that He did, means to read something into the Bible which is simply not there.

We might want to add, however, that we do not recommend that anyone should fast today for 40 days and 40 nights or anywhere near that long. As we have reached the end of this degenerate age, to do so today would border on suicide. In addition, the principles discussed in this Q&A only apply in normal cases and circumstances, and not for people who are diabetic or suffer from other serious ailments. The Church of God has recommended a long time ago that a person with a medical condition should check with a medical doctor for advice in order to determine whether it is advisable and safe to fast at all, as described herein. In addition, children should not be required to fast. Children old enough to understand what their parents are doing may want to fast. It might be advisable for some children to start with a half-day fast.

In conclusion, a spiritual fast should be conducted by abstaining from food and drink.

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The Global Church of God in the UK has received so far 569 requests for our advertised booklet, “Europe in Prophecy.”

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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

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

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