Update 158


With All Boldness

On Saturday, August 28, 2004, J. Edwin Pope will be giving the sermon, titled, “With All Boldness.”

The services can be heard at www.cognetservices.org at 12:30 pm Pacific Time (which is 2:30 pm Central Time). Just click on Connect to Live Stream.

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God's Will or Human Tradition — Which?

by Norbert Link

Jesus Christ had performed an awesome miracle — He had opened the eyes of a beggar who was born blind (John 9:1-11). The healed person testified to the doubting and envious Pharisees about the extraordinary power of God, when he said: “Since the world began it has been unheard of that anyone opened the eyes of one who was born blind. If this Man were not from God, He could no nothing” (John 9:32-33). The Pharisees did not agree. They resisted Christ, partially because He did not live and act according to their customs, traditions and religious concepts and interpretations. After all, Christ healed the blind man on the Sabbath! (verse 14). That was forbidden by human tradition! On one occasion, Christ healed a woman from her infirmity, and He did so, again, on the Sabbath. The ruler of the synagogue, held captive by his human interpretation of God’s Law, remarked, quite hypocritically, “There are six days on which men ought to work; therefore come and be healed on them, and not on the Sabbath day” (Luke 13:14).

Christ deliberately broke with such human tradition, as it was in contradiction with God’s Will and purpose. He told His accuser: “Hypocrite! Does not each one of you on the Sabbath loose his ox or donkey from the stall, and lead it away to water it? So ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound — think of it — for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath?” (Luke 13:15-16).

Christ was never afraid to break with human traditions, in order to uphold the Will of God. He chided the Pharisees for accusing His disciples of eating bread with ritually or ceremonially unwashed hands (Mark 7:2-6). Christ did not teach His disciples to follow those ceremonies, derived from human traditions, as they did not constitute TRUE worship of God. On another occasion, He spoke publicly with a woman, although this was not accepted by human tradition (compare John 4:27). Christ also defended His disciples for not fasting while He was with them (Matthew 9:14-15), although religious Jews fasted twice a week (compare Luke 18:12). He lived a healthy life in accordance with God’s Law, eating and drinking, while many thought that He should live like an ascetic (Matthew 11:19). He did not reject or refuse to accept, as worshippers, prostitutes who approached Him (Luke 7:36-50), and He ate with tax collectors and “sinners” (Matthew 9:10-13). He thereby clearly and purposefully violated human traditions and customs, which were AGAINST God’s perfect Will. He defended His disciples who plucked grain on the Sabbath (Mark 2:23-28; Luke 6:1-5). And, of course, Christ made it a point to heal people on the Sabbath, showing thereby that the Sabbath is to be kept as a day of rest and freedom from suffering and pain.

Returning to the healing of the man who was born blind, the Pharisees tried to discredit Christ. Some implied that He was not of God, but of Satan, since He did not keep the Sabbath in accordance with human tradition, while others suggested that the man had never been blind, to begin with. So they questioned the parents about the beggar. They confirmed their son’s blindness from birth, but were afraid to associate any further with Christ, “because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had agreed already that if anyone confessed that He was Christ, he would be put out of the synagogue” (John 9:22). There were others who also refused to openly confess Christ, for fear that they might be put out of the synagogue (John 12:42), “for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God” (John 12:43).

How are we doing? Are we sometimes afraid to stand up for Christ, so that we can keep our own traditions and customs — the traditions of the society in which we live — so that we don’t have to “offend” people? Is it more important to us to be accepted by people, rather than by God? Do WE sometimes love the praise of men more than the praise of God? Paul testified: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ” (Romans 1:16). He encouraged Timothy not to “be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord” (2 Timothy 1:8). Did not Christ warn all of us that He will be ashamed of us, if we are ashamed of Him and His words (Mark 8:38)?

Granted, we are to render “customs to whom customs” are due (Romans 13:7), but only, if this does not contradict the letter AND the Spirit of God’s Law. We must obey God rather than man (Acts 5:29), and we must do everything “to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).

In many cases, it may be obvious what to do, and what not to do. But it may not be always that clear, at first sight. It is important, however, that we learn to make right decisions in every circumstance (compare Hebrews 5:14). Christ told us that we worship Him in vain, if we keep as doctrines the commandments of men — human traditions — while doing away with the commandments of God (compare Matthew 15:3, 6, 9; Mark 7:6-13).

Christ lived a perfect life, and we are to follow His example (1 Peter 2:21; 1 John 2:6). When we are confronted with situations, as to whether or not to follow human traditions and customs, let us ask the question, “What would Christ have done?” If we let Christ live His life in us today, and if we follow His lead, we won’t go wrong.

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Reports on Iraqi Prisoner Abuse

Associated Press reported on August 25, 2004, that, according to an independent report, “Inattention to prisoner issues by senior U.S. military leaders in Iraq and at the Pentagon was a key factor in the abuse scandal at Abu Ghraib prison, but there is no evidence they ordered any mistreatment.” The article continued to point out:

“The independent panel’s report directly blamed the events at Abu Ghraib on the soldiers there and their immediate commanders. It also said senior commanders and top-level Pentagon officials, including Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, can be faulted for failed leadership and oversight…. The report contradicts the Bush administration’s assertion that the problem was limited to a few soldiers acting on their own. So far, seven military police soldiers have faced criminal charges; two dozen or more military intelligence soldiers may also be charged, but it appears increasingly unlikely that top-level commanders will be disciplined.”

On August 26, the New York Times published an article about a second report that was released on Wednesday. It stated: “A high-level Army investigation has found that military intelligence soldiers played a major role in directing and carrying out the abuses of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison. The report undercut earlier contentions by military officials and the Bush administration that a handful of renegade military police guards were largely to blame… The report blamed the abuses on a combination of factors, including a small group of ‘morally corrupt’ soldiers and civilian contractors, poor leadership by commanding officers and a failure by military headquarters in Baghdad to recognize the looming disaster. Coupled with the findings released on Tuesday by a four-member independent panel headed by James R. Schlesinger, a former defense secretary, the Army report reaffirms the suspicion of many critics that culpability extended far beyond a handful of low-level military police personnel, to include military intelligence soldiers in Iraq and up the chain of command in the Persian Gulf to the highest levels in Washington.”

France and Germany Europe’s New Leaders

The Associated Press reported on August 25, that 60 years after France’s liberation from Nazi occupation, “the people who suffered most are among the staunchest supporters of a new Europe in which France and Germany are, essentially, just two members of a 25-nation super-state. ‘”The article continued: ”’A united Europe is a lesson for the rest of the world,’ according to an observer.”

U.S. Troop Withdrawal from Germany

The Washington Times reported on August 25, 2004, that “U.S. troop plans alarm Germany.” The article pointed out: “The planned worldwide redeployment of U.S. troops has created an acute problem for Germany, which has benefited for decades from the largest concentration of American bases in Europe. At stake are about 80,000 jobs in a country unable to halt the tide of unemployment, now at 10 percent of the labor force, and the loss of considerable revenue to regional administrations. Mayors of towns near U.S. bases have appealed to Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder to persuade Washington to change its mind. The German Ministry of Foreign Affairs told the protesting mayors and regional chiefs that it was in contact with Washington and that ‘no definitive action has been taken,’ according to German sources. Diplomats point out that the German demands have nothing to do with defense and everything to do with local economic considerations.”

The article continued to explain: “The Pentagon has announced a major reduction in U.S. military presence abroad, affecting an estimated 60,000 to 70,000 troops stationed mainly in Europe and Asia. The gradual withdrawal is to begin in 2006 and will last four years as part of the changing strategy in the post-cold War era. The collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the subsequent disintegration of the Soviet bloc has already resulted in the reduction of U.S. military strength in Germany from 250,000 to 73,000 personnel. The new cuts are expected to reduce that number by half… “

This new development could not have come at a worst time for Germany’s Chancellor, Gerhard Schroeder. The article explained:

“This and other such protests have added to the problems besetting Mr. Schroeder as Germany struggles to emerge from recession. For the past few weeks, hundreds of thousands have demonstrated in about 150 towns across the former communist east German region in protest against the government’s latest reform plans. The demonstrations were mainly triggered by the law that cuts jobless benefits to those who decline job offers, even if the offers don’t correspond to the applicant’s qualifications and his previous salary. Unemployment in former East Germany has reached 20 percent in some areas. So far, Mr. Schroeder has refused to change his mind. ‘I see no other alternative for Germany,’ he said, despite a considerable loss of popularity by his ruling Social Democratic Party.”

The article also stated: “Karsten Voigt, coordinator for U.S.-German cooperation, claims that Germany will remain the main area of U.S. military deployment in Europe. According to some reports, the United States has put out feelers about moving several bases eastward, to Poland, Hungary and Romania. Bavaria’s governor, Edmund Stoiber, said he would spare no effort to make sure that a maximum of U.S. troops remain in Germany. Some conservative politicians have accused Mr. Schroeder of causing the withdrawals by his opposition to the U.S.- led war in Iraq. But according to the authoritative German daily Suddeutsche Zeitung, the plan to further reduce U.S. forces in Germany existed long before the invasion of Iraq.”

Europe’s Need for Additional Defense?

www.eubusiness.com published an article, dated August 17, 2004, titled, “US pullout puts pressure on Europe’s defense plans.” It continued:

“The US decision to withdraw tens of thousands of troops from Europe and Asia will add pressure on European governments to boost long-flagging military cooperation plans, analysts said Tuesday. Monday’s announcement by US President George W. Bush is also not good news for NATO, the transatlantic alliance still battling to heal deep divisions triggered by last year’s Iraq war, they said. European Union heavyweight Germany will bear the brunt of the biggest US reorganisation in 50 years, with about 30,000 troops due to go home by the end of the decade, while Britain and Italy are also likely to be affected… ‘If there were any future Kosovos in and around Europe, the Europeans would have to look after themselves,’ said Daniel Keohane of the Centre for European Reform. ‘Certainly the Europeans will have to think in more autonomous terms about looking after their own security.’… The German government sought to play down the significance of the US move. But an opposition spokesman said Washington was ‘withdrawing from part of its responsibilities in NATO,’ and thereby ‘endangering security in Europe.'”

A Needed Miracle for Europe?

An article was published by news.telegraph.co.uk, dated August 19, 2004, about an apparently failed attempt to beatify Robert Schuman, founder of the European Union, due to the Vatican’s inability to confirm that Schuman had visions or miraculously healed others. The article pointed out:

“Schuman supporters lobbied hard for a favourable interpretation of the rules, arguing that Franco-German reconciliation in the bitter aftermath of the Second World War was itself miraculous. So far, the Pope has responded coolly.While embracing Schuman as an ‘authentic Catholic’ and an ‘eternal example’ who highlights the value of piety in public life, he sternly instructed the bishop of Metz ‘to proceed with the greatest rigour in demanding a miracle in the case of political figures.’ Jean Moes, a former professor of German history and the leader of the inquiry, said the Vatican was unlikely to be swayed by his team’s findings. ‘We need a miracle and we haven’t been able to find one,’ he said. ‘All we have is the construction of Europe after the war and Rome does not accept that as a real miracle.'”

The article concluded: “The Schuman Plan, the basis of the European Coal and Steel Community, was the precursor to the European Community seven years later. It was intended to lead to full economic union and ultimately a European federation. Fifty years later, the EU appears to have turned its back on the deeply Catholic inspiration of its founding statesmen, dropping all reference to God in the draft constitution.”

However, as Biblical prophecy clearly reveals, Europe will remember soon its “deeply Catholic inspiration” and return to its “Christian roots.” For more information, please read our free booklet, “Europe in Prophecy.”

Radio-Carbon Dating Results Questioned

On August 22, 2004, an article was published on www.topix.net, claiming that “Neanderthal Man ‘never walked in northern Europe.'” This dramatic and spectacular article continued: “Historians of the Stone Age fear that they will have to rip up their theories about Neanderthal Man after doubt has been cast on the carbon dating of skeletons by a leading German anthropologist. Work by the flamboyant Professor Reiner Protsch von Zieten showed that Neanderthal Man existed in northern Europe. Calculations on skeletal remains found at Hahnofersand, near Hamburg, stated they were 36,000 years old. Yet recent research at Oxford University’s carbon-dating laboratory has suggested that they date back a mere 7,500 years. By that time [according to the postulates of “established science,”], Homo sapiens was already well-established and the Neanderthals were extinct. Chris Stringer, a Stone Age specialist and head of human origins at London’s Natural History Museum, said: ‘What was considered a major piece of evidence showing that the Neanderthals once lived in northern Europe has fallen by the wayside. We are having to rewrite prehistory.’

But Prof von Zieten, 65, the descendant of a famous 18th-century Prussian general, rejected the evidence from Oxford University last week. ‘The new data from Oxford is all wrong,’ he told Germany’s Der Spiegel. He said that the university’s scientists had failed to remove shellac preservative from the specimens. As a result, the remains appeared to be much younger. ‘Unfortunately, archaeologists and most anthropologists do not study physics or chemistry and therefore they cannot make judgments on carbon dating,’ he said. ‘Wrong measurements are made in all laboratories.’… Now, however, important remains that Oxford scientists no longer believe are prehistoric include the female ‘Bischof-Speyer’ skeleton, found near the south-west German town of Speyer with unusually good teeth. Their evidence suggests that she is 3,300 years old, not 21,300. Another apparent misdating involved an allegedly prehistoric skull discovered near Paderborn in 1976 and considered the oldest human remain ever found in the region. Prof von Zieten dated the skull at 27,400 years old. The latest research, however, indicates that it belonged to an elderly man who died around 1750… Concern about Prof von Zieten’s carbon-dating estimates arose last year following a routine investigation of German prehistoric remains by the German and British anthropologists Thomas Terberger and Martin Street. ‘We had decided to subject many of these finds to modern techniques to check their authenticity so we sent them to Oxford for testing,’ Mr Street told The Sunday Telegraph. ‘It was a routine examination and in no way an attempt to discredit Prof von Zieten.’ In their report, though, both anthropologists described this as a ‘dating disaster.'”

The article inadvertently points out a serious problem for the entire concept of the Evolution theory. If the radio carbon dating of fossils is not reliable (which it clearly is not), then the whole structural building of the evolutionary concept crumbles. Our free booklet, “Evolution — a Fairy Tale for Adults,” proves from the Bible and scientific admissions that Darwin’s Evolution theory could not — and did not — happen.

Worldwide Water Problems

On August 24, 2004, the Associated Press reported about growing power and water problems in California and worldwide. The article stated: “With state lawmakers again concerned about keeping the lights on three years after California’s energy crisis, two new studies Tuesday warned that the real battle of the future may be over another increasingly scarce resource: water. The studies by an Oakland-based independent research institute focus separately on problems facing California, and on growing worldwide challenges for businesses. California’s electricity and water shortages are related, says the first report by the Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment, and Security, in cooperation with the Natural Resources Defense Council. ‘They’re both particularly scarce resources here in California. A lot of people don’t realize if they save or conserve water, they’re saving electricity,’ said NRDC spokesman Craig Noble. Plus, both are at a premium during the hot summer months. The report comes with Southern California in the midst of a multiyear drought. The state is setting new records for electricity use.”

The article continued: “The second report, called ‘Freshwater Resources: Managing the Risks Facing the Private Sector,’ warns that companies face increasing difficulty finding enough water to run their plants in the United States and around the world, and aren’t doing enough about it. Problems include water cutoffs, scarcity, contamination and rising costs.”

US and Britain Split over Israel

An article was published by www.smh.com.au on August 25, 2004, titled, “Britain Splits with US over West Bank.” It pointed out: “A significant gap has opened up between the British and US governments on Middle East policy, with Downing Street expressing its continued opposition to any expansion of Jewish settlements in the Palestinian West Bank. Fuelling the controversy, the Israeli Government has announced plans to build another 533 homes in settlements in the West Bank, in addition to the 1000 construction tenders approved by the Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, last week. The British Government, in a rare departure from Washington, positioned itself alongside its European Union partners on the settlements. The EU, unlike Washington, is critical of Israeli behaviour in the West Bank and Gaza. Washington signalled at the weekend that it was abandoning its long-term call for a freeze on all settlement activity and would back limited expansion. But a Downing Street spokesman said on Monday: ‘Our position is consistent with the statement put out by the European Union last week, and our view is that the Israelis should freeze all settlements.’ The EU had earlier expressed its dismay over new construction in the occupied territories.”

Abortion and “Morning-After” Pill

Zenit reported on August 18, 2004, about a scientific report, that had been issued by the Peruvian bishops’ conference, dealing with the abortifacient effect of the “morning-after” pill. Zenit pointed out: “The documentation includes 33 scientific works presented in July — together with 190 pages of appended information — to Health Minister Pilar Mazzetti, who has promoted the introduction of the drug in Peru. The report quotes several studies that corroborate the drug’s anti-implantation effect, which has been omitted in texts prepared by the Health Ministry. According to the research, the morning-after pill causes modifications in the endometrium, the inner lining of the uterus, which impedes the implantation or nesting of the human embryo. The information presented has been confirmed by institutions such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration; Princeton University; Gedeon Ritcher, the laboratory that manufactures and commercializes the drug in various countries; and the 2004 edition of the Physicians’ Desk Reference, a book that lists all the drugs in current use.”

Human Cloning

On August 22, 2004, Reuters reported: “Pope John Paul on Sunday condemned human cloning as an arrogant attempt to improve on God’s creation… The comments come less than two weeks after British scientists were given permission to clone human embryos for medical research — believed to be the first such license granted in Europe. The pope said medical research should not try to ‘manipulate’ human beings ‘according to a project considered with arrogance better than that of the Creator himself… The way taught by Christ is another: it is that of respect for human beings,’ he said, urging ethically responsible science. The Vatican has repeatedly condemned all attempts at human cloning, comparing it to the experiments carried out by Nazis in World War II.”

Evolution’s Dictatorship

On August 17, 2004, www.crosswalk.com published a telling article about the unscientific “faith” of evolutionists in the so-called “scientific” Evolution theory, and the methods with which some try to quench any opposition to the “holy cow” of Darwinism. The article, titled, “Student Struggles Against Evolution’s Dictatorship,” pointed out:

“Samuel Chen was a high school sophomore who believed in freedom of speech and the unfettered pursuit of knowledge. He thought his public high school did, too, but when it came to the subject of evolution — well, now he’s not so sure. In October 2002, Chen began working to get Dr. Michael Behe, professor of biological sciences at Lehigh University, to give a lecture at Emmaus High School in Emmaus, Pennsylvania. Chen, who was co-chair of a student group that tries to stress the importance of objectivity on controversial issues, knew that Behe would be perfect, since the group was examining evolution as a topic. The author of Darwin’s Black Box, a critique of the foundational underpinnings of evolution, Behe had presented his work and debated the subject in universities in the U.S. and England.”

The article continued: “Behe agreed to come in February 2004 and give an after-school lecture entitled, ‘Evolution: Truth or Myth?’ As the school year drew to a close in 2003, Chen had all the preliminaries nailed down: he had secured Behe’s commitment, received approval from school officials, and reserved the school auditorium. Then he found out just how entrenched Darwinist orthodoxy was in the science department at Emmaus. By the following August, Chen had entered into a six-month battle to preserve the Behe lecture. As the struggle unfolded, it became obvious that those who opposed Behe coming to Emmaus didn’t seem to care about his credentials. In addition to publishing over 35 articles in refereed biochemical journals, Darwin’s Black Box was internationally reviewed in over 100 publications and named by National Review and World magazine as one of the 100 most important books of the 20th century. Instead, it was Behe’s rejection of Darwinism — in favor of what is called ‘intelligent design’ — that drove opposition. According to the Discovery Institute, of which Behe is a fellow, this theory holds ‘that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection.'”

The arrogance with which Emmaus’ science department tried to withhold important information from its students and continue to promote the myth of evolution is, unfortunately, no exception, but, sadly, only too well-known. The article explained:

“The head of the science department, John Hnatow, sent a statement to every faculty member in the school stressing that Emmaus held to the official policy of the National Science Teachers Association. That policy states: ‘There is no longer a debate among scientists about whether evolution has taken place.’ It appeared there would be no debate at Emmaus, either. Some of the science teachers would not even allow Chen to address their classes and explain to students what Behe’s lecture would be about. Chen said various tactics were apparently used to undercut the event, including an attempt to cancel the lecture and fold the student organization without the knowledge of Chen and other members; requiring that the necessary funds for the lecture be raised much faster than for other student events; and moving the lecture from the auditorium to the school cafeteria.”

The article concluded: “That tyranny can be intimidating to students. ‘Some of the students who support me are afraid to speak out, especially because they saw how the science department reacted,’ Chen said. ‘They have a fear of speaking out against it in their classes.’ On the other hand, he added that some students ‘are now questioning evolution, some for the first time.’ That may be the first step in the overthrow of Darwin’s dictatorship.”

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I have heard it said that true Christians may die because of time and chance. Is this your understanding, too?

It is not! Nowhere is this concept taught in Scripture. Those who have this understanding and preach it, do so against the clear teaching of the Bible. Actually, the Biblical proof that true Christians do NOT die because of time and chance is overwhelming. For a thorough discussion of this important question, please listen to our sermon on “Time and Chance,” which is posted on our Webpage.

Briefly, those who claim and teach this erroneous concept quote as proof a passage in Ecclesiastes 9:11, which states: “I returned and saw under the sun that — The race is not to the swift, Nor the battle to the strong, Nor bread to the wise, Nor riches to men of understanding, Nor favor to men of skill; But time and chance happen to them all.”

According to the Jewish Tanakh Bible, the last phrase is an euphemism, simply pointing out that all will die. But the question still remains, HOW will they die?

Please note that Solomon said: “Time and chance happen to THEM all.” He did NOT say — “to all men,” or “to all of us.” In the book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon was mainly addressing and writing about people in this world — people who only live and work for material possessions (Eccl. 5:13-17); or who don’t understand God’s plan (Eccl.8:17). When he addressed true Christians, however, he referred to them as “you” (compare Eccl. 9:10: “Whatever YOUR hand finds to do, do it with YOUR might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where YOU are going.”).

The Hebrew word for “chance,” in Ecclesiastes 9:11, is “pega.” It is only used one additional time in the entire Old Testament, namely in 1 Kings 5:4. There, Solomon (the author of the book of Ecclesiastes!) said: “But now the LORD my God has given me rest on every side; there is neither adversary nor evil occurrence (in Hebrew, “pega”).

Again, we see that Solomon is making a distinction between the people living in this world, being cut off from God, and those whom God has called to His way of life, including himself. Solomon said that “evil occurrence” or “chance” did not govern his own life, because God was controlling his life and had given him rest. Christ made the same distinction, in Luke 13:1-5:

“There were present at that season some who told Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, no; but UNLESS YOU repent, YOU will ALL LIKEWISE perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower of Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, no; but UNLESS YOU repent, YOU will all LIKEWISE perish.'”

Christ’s teaching is unmistakable: If we don’t repent, we might very well die as those did, on whom the tower of Siloam fell; that is, through an accident, apart from, or being cut off from God — by time and chance. If we repent, however, according to Christ, we will NOT likewise perish or die in that way. Rather, even if we were to die in an “accident,” God would have specifically DECIDED not to intervene and to LET US die. God is always in control over our lives — nothing happens to us which God is not aware of (compare Job 1:21-22; 2:10).

True Christians are NOT in the “hand” of time and chance. Rather, Solomon tells US: “… the righteous and the wise and their works are in the hand of God” (Eccl. 9:1). David understood, too, that he was in God’s hands. He wrote, in Psalm 31:15: “My times are in Your hand.” He knew that he, as well as all true Christians, are always, constantly and completely, under God’s observation, His protection and in His loving care (compare, Psalm 4:7-8; 9:9-10; 17:8; 23:1-6; 33:18-19; 34: 7, 15, 19-20, etc. etc.). God promises that nothing too difficult for us to bear, will happen to us (compare 1 Corinthians 10:13). This means, then, that God must be watching us every second to guarantee the fulfillment of His promise.

The concept that we might be “overtaken” by a trial, because God was not aware of it, or because it happened “too quickly,” so that He could not have prevented it, is ludicrous. Isaiah 40:27-31 and Isaiah 43:2 prove the opposite. Psalm 56:8; 139:1-6 and Matthew 6:8 show, too, how MUCH God is aware of everything pertaining to us. Romans 8:28 tells us that all things work together for good to those who love God. The only way that EVERYTHING can work for our good is that GOD will work it out for our good — and not “time and chance.”

The very idea that a true Christian could die because of time and chance limits God and weakens our faith. It is a diabolical and patently unbiblical concept. When a Christian dies, it is because GOD has DECIDED that it was time for His son or daughter to die. Notice God’s involvement, when it comes to the death of a true Christian, as clearly revealed in Scripture. There is simply NO ROOM for “time and chance”:

Isaiah 57:1-2 states: “The righteous perishes, And no man takes it to heart; Merciful men are taken away, While no one considers That the righteous is taken away from evil. He shall enter into peace; They shall rest in their beds, Each one walking in his uprightness.”

Psalm 116:15 teaches: “Precious in the SIGHT OF the LORD Is the death of His saints.” (Compare, too, Psalm 72:14).

Revelation 14:13 points out: “Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, ‘Write: “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.”‘ ‘Yes,’ says the Spirit, ‘that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.'”

Let us hear, then, the conclusion of the matter, as expressed by Paul in Romans 14:8. Did Paul teach that we are hopeless and helpless victims of time and chance? Quite the opposite is true: “For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, WE ARE THE LORD’S.”

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Our new book, “Jesus Christ — A Great Mystery” is almost completed. We hope to be able to send it to the printer early next week.

Our new booklet on Tithing has entered the second review cycle.

A new StandingWatch program, titled, “What is the Church?” has been posted on the Web.

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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.

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