Update 176


Life of David

On Saturday, January 15, 2005, Norbert Link will give the sermon, concluding his series on the Life of David.

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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The Accuser

by Dave Harris

You and I, in one way or another, have a relationship with everyone. It may lie at the farthest possible reaches, and it might be classified along the lines of simply, “our fellow human beings.”

It is remarkable that in times of great disaster, our differences don’t seem so important. Our focus moves beyond issues of politics, of religion, of skin color or of the many other barriers our civilization has erected.

Consider, as well, the Biblical truth that the ruler of this world is identified as Satan (compare John 12:31; 16:11). Satan is also “the god of this age” (2 Corinthians 4:4). As “ruler” and as “god” of the earth, Satan has established a relationship with mankind that is based on lies, and his record is one of being a murderer (compare John 8:44).

Satan–even as his name implies–is an adversary to God and Jesus Christ along with all who obey God: “Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, ‘Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the ACCUSER of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down'” (Revelation 12:10).

We know that Satan has not yet been removed, and we understand that each one of us has been accused by Satan before God’s throne. We fall short; we make mistakes; and, we do commit sin–even after our baptism! (compare 1 John 1:5-10; 2:1-2).

In the passages cited from the first letter of John, we also find this remarkable assurance that if we “walk in the light” and “confess our sins,” we can be forgiven and cleansed from sin. Note what 1 John 2:1 states: “…And if anyone sins, we have an ADVOCATE with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”

Other Scriptures confirm the help we can receive when we are accused: “Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25). This additional statement is found in the letter of Hebrews: “For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God FOR US” (Hebrews 9:24).

Again, we find this assurance of help when Satan does bring his accusations against us: “Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also MAKES INTERCESSION FOR US” (Romans 8:33-34).

Knowing the truth of these things, we, ourselves, must be the more careful to not follow Satan. It is far too easy to fall prey to an attitude of accusation. If we look, we can find fault with each other. We can write-off the world as condemned; we can dismiss family members as unconverted; and we can easily disrupt our relationships within the body of Christ–His Church–through finding fault in another’s weaknesses.

Rather than standing in the role of accuser, we have the opportunity and the strict responsibility to be intercessors through prayer. We, too, can come before the throne of God through Jesus Christ to ask for God’s help and not for His condemnation.

Think about our relationships and consider our role as messengers of the LORD of hosts (Malachi 2:7) and ambassadors of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20), and be reminded of how we can help one another: “…The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16).

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Bad Weather in California

The Associated Press reported on Sunday, January 9, and Tuesday, January 11, 2005, about unprecedented bad weather conditions in California. The articles pointed out:

“Areas of the Sierra Nevada, famous for paralyzing amounts of snowfall, have been hit with a dumping like they haven’t seen in generations, with steep drifts stranding an Amtrak train, knocking out the Reno airport and shutting down major highways across the mountains… Storms also have caused flooding in Southern California and Arizona, deadly avalanches in Utah and ice damage and flooding in the Ohio Valley… Rain lashed water-logged Southern California again Tuesday, hampering efforts to find survivors buried by a mud slide in a coastal community and prompting hundreds to flee a mountain town before a rain-swollen lake spills over a dam. The succession of storms that have brought heavy snow to the mountains of Northern California and astonishing amounts of rain to the south was blamed for the deaths of at least 12 people. The National Weather Service said Tuesday that downtown Los Angeles had recorded its wettest 15 consecutive days on record, with a total of 17 inches of rain falling in the period ending Monday… In La Conchita, a small community on a spit of land between the hills south of Santa Barbara and the Pacific Ocean, a massive mudslide Monday killed three people [later upgraded to ten], injured eight and left 21 unaccounted for.”

Bad Weather in Europe

As ABCNews reported on January 9, 2005, “Eight people have been killed, more than 1,000 homes flooded and almost 200,000 others left without power as violent storms swept through northern Europe, bringing hurricane force winds and violent rain. Denmark, southern Sweden and the British Isles bore the brunt of the conditions, with 100 people forced to spend the night on a ferry after it ran aground in south-west Scotland.”

The Scotsman reported on Wednesday, January 12, 2005: “Two people were dead and 60,000 homes without power last night as hurricane-force winds caused chaos throughout large parts of Scotland, bringing destruction across the country. Wind speeds of 124mph were recorded in the Western Isles as the most damaging storms for more than a decade swept in from the Atlantic.”

EU’s Trade Partners

The EUobserver reported on January 10, 2005, that the “EU has leap-frogged the US and Japan to become China’s biggest trade partner, according to Chinese media… In the year up to November, trade volumes between the EU and China reached 159.3 billion dollars — up 34.7 percent on the same period in 2003. The UK, the Netherlands, France, Germany and Italy are the main trading partners…, accounting for 72 percent of Europe’s trade with Beijing.”

AFP reported on January 11, 2005, that “The European Union (EU) is to resume talks with Iran on a trade and cooperation accord this week, following Tehran’s suspension of uranium enrichment activities, the European Commission said.”

EU’s Military

While the EU becomes more and more an economic power bloc, it is still lagging far behind the United States in its military development. That, at least, is the opinion of Nicholas Burns, Washington’s ambassador to the Alliance. According to an article, published by the EUobserver on January 10, 2005, “Mr Burns said that while the US spends 420bn dollars per year on defence, the rest of the NATO members combined (24 European countries plus Canada) spend less than half that amount. The Ambassador said the gap is ‘worrisome’ but reserved praise for some countries such as the UK, France, Norway and Denmark for their defence spending and capabilities and the Czech Republic for specialising in biological and chemical decontamination… Calling it ‘our biggest problem’, Mr Burns also criticised European countries for having large reserves of troops but with such a small percentage that are actually deployable. Only 3-5% of European forces can be ‘deployed beyond European national borders.’ This contrasts with up to 75% on the US side. ‘This is truly a problem of a huge dimension that Europe must grapple with’, said the ambassador.”

These interesting comments show that Europe has not yet reached the point where it can be considered as superior or even equal to American military forces. However, the Bible prophesies that it will reach that point in time. It is perhaps ironic that the United States is pushing Europe to spend more and more money for an effective military, which, once established, will ultimately be used AGAINST the United States, as Biblical prophecy clearly reveals. For more information, please read our free booklets, “Europe in Prophecy,” and “The Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord.”

Islamic Extremists in Europe

The Associated Press reported on Saturday, January 8, 2005, that “Islamic extremists accused of plotting to kill Iraq’s prime minister in Germany are smuggling battle-hardened fighters from Iraq to Europe, raising a potential new terrorist threat on the continent, according to German officials.” The article continued: “About 100 Ansar al-Islam supporters are in Germany alone, officials say. Mullah Krekar, the group’s spiritual head, has lived for years as a refugee in Norway, and investigators believe that the group has also recruited volunteers in Italy and Britain. Estimates of its total membership range between about 500 and 1,000.”

The Associated Press reported on January 12, 2005, that “Police arrested 14 people during raids of apartments and mosques in five German states Wednesday in a crackdown on an Islamic extremist organization suspected of aiding terrorists, authorities said… The suspects are alleged to have raised money through smuggling and producing false papers to ‘pursue their ideological goals,’ the prosecutor’s office said in a statement. They ‘equipped people with false documents, making possible illegal residency in the country and outside, and supported other like-minded groups,’ the statement said. ‘In addition, they are accused of spreading their beliefs in racial hatred and recruiting people for “jihad”,’ the statement said, using an Islamic word often interpreted as meaning ‘holy war.'”

Election of Palestinian Authority President

The Associated Press reported on Monday, January 10, 2005, about world leaders’ reactions to “the election of Mahmoud Abbas as Palestinian Authority president, saying it showed Palestinians want to reform their government and find a negotiated solution with Israel.”

The article stated in particular (emphasis added): “German Chancellor Gerhard SCHROEDER said his country and other European nations would do everything possible to help Abbas create an ‘independent, viable and democratic’ Palestinian state. ‘I trust that the Palestinian people will follow the path you have chosen of renouncing violence and carrying out comprehensive reforms,’ Schroeder wrote in a telegram to Abbas, whom he invited to visit Germany. Russian President Vladimir PUTIN also sent a message to the Palestinian leader, looking forward to cooperation on achieving ‘a just Palestinian-Israeli settlement on the basis of the “road map” (peace plan) and resolutions of the UN Security Council’… President BUSH said he would welcome Abbas to the White House, extending an invitation he refused to offer to the late Yasser Arafat… Abbas, who has spoken out against violence, is widely seen as a pragmatist committed to resuming peace talks with Israel, although he faces the TOUGH TASK of reining in POWERFUL ARMED groups.

“British Foreign Secretary Jack STRAW congratulated Abbas after the landslide victory in the vote to replace Arafat… ‘The challenge now is for the new president to use his mandate to lay the foundations for a new Palestinian state,’ [he said]… European Commission President Jose Manuel BARROSO said the election of the pragmatic Palestinian ‘adds to the credibility of the peace process.’… Austria’s foreign minister, Ursula PLASSNIK, called Abbas’ election ‘an encouraging step toward peace’ in the Middle East.’ … ‘Japan will work actively to support the Palestinian Authority’s efforts at peace,’ Prime Minister Junichiro KOIZUMI said… Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong QUAN said Monday that… ‘China is happy about the smooth election. We accept the choice made by the Palestinian people and sincerely hope that the newly elected leader will lead the Palestinian people to the early achievement of their goal of establishing their own state,’ he said.”

World leaders express their hope for peace in the Middle East, coupled with the idea of a Palestinian state. One hotly debated issue is whether the city of Jerusalem will have to belong to that new Palestinian state — a Palestinian demand which is totally unacceptable to Israel. The Bible prophesies that there will be no permanent peace in that part of the world, until Jesus Christ returns.

As if to confirm the foregoing observation, Reuters reported on January 12, 2005: “Palestinian militants killed a Jewish settler and wounded three soldiers in a Gaza ambush on Wednesday, challenging new Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas’s quest for a cease-fire to help him talk peace with Israel… Wednesday’s killings threatened a relapse into what has been an intractable cycle of violence that, unless quickly checked, could stall fresh internationally backed momentum toward Middle East peace negotiations, frozen since 2000.” The AFP added: “Four Palestinian militants and an Israeli settler were killed in a rash of violence in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, puncturing the optimism that has greeted the election of a new Palestinian leader.”

Japan’s Missile Defense

Yahoo.com reported on January 9, 2005, that “Japan has decided to use its missile defense system solely to intercept ballistic missiles targeting Japan, not missiles that pass over Japan and target other countries including the United States… The government has decided to limit the scope of interception by the missile defense system, to be deployed in fiscal 2007, because intercepting missiles that are targeted at other countries would be construed as collective self-defense [which would be prohibited by the Japanese Constitution]… Political analysts say, however, that Japan will likely be hard-pressed by the United States, which is expected to show discontent over the decision.”

The United States and Germany

The Houston Chronicle reported on its Webpage on January 8, 2005, that “The United States and Germany view the world in vastly different ways, but a February meeting between President Bush and Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder is expected to bolster a trans-Atlantic relationship strained by the Iraq war.”

The article continued:

“The get-together is not expected to resolve divisions over Iraq, environmental protection and the U.S. refusal to join the International Criminal Court, which prosecutes war crimes. But diplomats and analysts say the meeting is a signal that Washington and Berlin remain partners in a world of terrorism and changing strategic alliances… Berlin’s strong opposition to the war and its insistence not to commit troops to Iraq have agitated a Bush administration desperate to strengthen coalition forces in a show of international solidarity… European analysts say Bush needs to re-engage the continent at a time when the European Union is expanding and Moscow is feeling isolated. But German media are wondering what Schroeder can expect from talks with a U.S. president who largely ignores Europe and acts unilaterally…

“Bush and Schroeder are not political soul mates; their relationship is one of forced congeniality. Officials in their administrations haven’t helped much. A Schroeder official once compared Bush to Adolf Hitler, and U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld referred to Germany as old Europe… Despite differences with Washington, Germany remains wary of aspirations by Paris to counterbalance the United States with a stronger European partnership. Yet Schroeder has broadened his international endeavors and in recent months simultaneously courted Washington and Moscow. The German media reported that the chancellor, perhaps in a gamble that could hurt him with the United States, was strengthening ties with Putin.

“Schroeder’s re-election in 2002 was mainly attributed to his opposition to the Iraq war. Many Germans now want reconciliation over Iraq and improved relations with America… Bush faces his own domestic pressures. Some conservative supporters of the president want to continue punishing Germany over Iraq. This comes as the United States is closing military bases in Germany and moving them east — an indication that Western Europe is less strategically important for fighting the global threats that arose after the Cold War. Germans also are concerned that U.S. foreign policy may veer more isolationist once Condoleezza Rice replaces Colin L. Powell as secretary of state.”

International Governmental Help for Asia

Bloomberg News Special Report published on January 6, 2005, “a list of aid pledged by governments as of 6 p.m. Hong Kong time today to countries affected by the Dec. 26 Asian earthquake and tsunami, which left more than 155,000 people dead or missing. The information is drawn primarily from foreign ministry Web sites and official news agencies. Israel, Luxembourg and Pakistan didn’t announce the value of aid they’re providing in the form of supplies and human resources. Donations by companies and individuals aren’t included.”

The published list is set forth below. When studying the same, it is amazing that Germany and Japan have pledged the highest amounts — exceeding, as of January 6, the U.S. pledge by $338 million and $150 million, respectively. It is also noteworthy that the governments of rich Arab nations have pledged, in comparison, little or nothing, although many of the people who died in Asia were Muslim.

Country/Entity Pledged Amount

Germany $688 million
Japan $500 million
U.S. $350 million
Norway $164 million
U.K. $94 million
Italy $93 million
Canada $93 million**
Sweden $75 million
Denmark $75 million
Spain $66 million
France $65 million
China $60 million
South Korea $50 million
Taiwan $50 million
Australia $46 million***
EU $41 million
Netherlands $36 million
Saudi Arabia $30 million
Switzerland $23 million
U.A.E $20 million
Belgium $16 million
Singapore $15 million
Ireland $13 million
Portugal $11 million
Kuwait $10 million
Czech Republic $9.4 million
Luxembourg $6.6 million
New Zealand $7 million
Finland $6 million
Greece $4 million
Hong Kong $4 million
Turkey $1.3 million
Hungary $1.2 million
Vietnam $450,000
Poland $323,000
Latvia $190,150
North Korea $150,000
Lithuania $134,080
Estonia $42,325

**Includes donations from the provinces of British Columbia and Ontario.

***Australia will provide Indonesia with a further A$1 billion ($765 million) in grants and loans over five years, Prime Minister John Howard said today.

Spectacular Crime Unsettles Northern Ireland

On January 7, 2005, The Daily Telegraph reported that “The Provisional IRA is ‘responsible’ for the £26.5 million Ulster bank raid.” That crime was committed at the Northern Bank in Belfast last month. It has been described as a “violent and brutal crime which has national and international implications… with victims suffering from trauma. Families of staff were kidnapped and abandoned in the run-up to the raid.” The amount taken during the raid was £26.5 million.

The newspaper reported that “the Northern Bank intends to replace its entire current series of notes in a bid to thwart the gang in the ‘largest theft ever of waste paper’. Don Price, chief executive, ordered the unprecedented move which it is understood will involve the withdrawal of up to £300 million in paper currency after talks with police chiefs. All existing £10, £20, £50 and £100 notes will be replaced with new ones, a process which will cost £5 million. It will take eight weeks before the new notes are in circulation. A statement confirmed: ‘All new notes will be of the same design as the old ones, but will be printed in a different colour, feature a new Northern Bank logo and bear new prefixes to their serial numbers.’ More than half of the missing millions included brand-new notes which could be detected immediately, but the drastic decision to carry out a total re-issue is aimed at preventing used notes filtering into the Northern Ireland economy.”

These drastic actions might ensure that, in this case, the particular crime will not pay — but at what price will this be accomplished! Only when the Kingdom of God is established here on this earth, can we truly say that there won’t be a successful future for criminals and their crimes.

China’s Population Explosion

The Associated Press reported on January 7 about China’s dilemma with its population explosion. The article introduced this dilemma, as follows:

“Greeted by national television coverage of his first bath, a boy born Thursday was declared China’s 1.3 billionth citizen in a blaze of publicity to promote the government’s controversial ‘one child’ birth limits.” The article continued:

“The government says that without the policy, China would have at least 200 million more mouths to feed, straining farm, water and other resources. But critics say the plan has led to forced abortions and other abuses. Foreign experts say China’s true population could be hundreds of millions above 1.3 billion because many rural families have unreported children. The one-child limit is also frequently ignored by urban couples who can afford the fines or are desperate for a son to carry on the family name and care for them in old age. Couples who have unsanctioned children can face heavy fines, the loss of jobs and forced sterilization. But government spokesmen deny that women are coerced into having abortions, saying forced abortions aren’t sanctioned and officials who carry them out can be punished.”

China’s Growing Navy

The International Harald Tribune published an article on December 31, 2004, stating that “China’s Growing Navy Worries [the] U.S.” The article pointed out:

“Ever since the U.S. Marine Corps defeated Japanese forces here 60 years ago, the Marianas have been widely considered an American lake. Now, the United States may have to get used to sharing the western Pacific with China, the world’s rising naval power. According to military analysts, China is rapidly expanding its [navy]. ‘China is embarking on a $10 billion submarine acquisition and upgrade program and is buying destroyers and frigates and equipping them with modern antiship cruise missiles.’… The rise of China’s navy is watched with apprehension in the Pacific, where, down through the centuries, the islands have long been playthings for the world’s maritime powers: Spanish, American, British, French, German and Japanese.”

The article concluded: “‘The Chinese influence in the Pacific islands will be very, very big, bigger than Japan’s today,’ Hiroshi Nakajima, executive director of the Pacific Society, an academic group, predicted in a recent interview here. Eventually, Nakajima said, ‘Chinese interests and the American interest will clash.'”

Mexico Advises How to Illegally Enter the USA

The following incredible report was published by www.wnd.com and reprinted by WorldNetDaily on January 2, 2005:

“The government of Mexico is raising eyebrows with a new comic book offering advice on how to cross the border into the U.S. illegally. Called ‘The Guide for the Mexican Migrant,’ the 32-page book published by Mexico’s Foreign Ministry uses simple language to offer information on safety, legal rights and living unobtrusively in America…. Illustrations depict illegal wading into a river, trying to evade U.S. Border Patrol and crouching near a hole in a border fence. Immigrants are also shown hiking through the desert with rock formations similar to those in Arizona and being caught by an American agent…. The Mexican consul general of Phoenix, Carlos Flores Vizcarra, said the reality is many migrants will try to cross the border illegally, and the book appears to be a means of protection.”


As AFP reported on January 12, 2005, “Public support [in Great Britain] for the war in Iraq has fallen to a record low, with only 29 percent of Britons believing that it was the right thing to do… For the first time, more supporters of the governing Labour Party think that the war was the wrong thing to do, by 44 percent to 37 percent… The survey also found that women are more hostile to the war than men while men are more concerned than women that elections should go ahead.”

In a related article, AFP stated on January 12, 2005, that “Iraqi leaders acknowledged that parts of the country remain too dangerous to conduct the election, while the US military has reportedly ended a long and fruitless hunt for weapons of mass destruction… As the clock ticked down to polling day on January 30, fears of internal Iraqi political strife mounted, as a top Shiite party vowed to cleanse the security forces of ex-Baathists and Allawi’s Iraqi National Accord party cried foul over the alleged use of religion by Shiite political candidates.”

Prince Harry’s Bad Taste

The Associated Press reported on January 13, 2005, that “Jewish groups and lawmakers criticized Prince Harry on Thursday for wearing a Nazi uniform to a costume party, with one group urging him to visit the Auschwitz death camp, despite an apology from the grandson of Queen Elizabeth II. The 20-year-old prince apologized Wednesday in a statement after a British newspaper printed a picture of him wearing the uniform with a swastika armband while clutching a cigarette and a drink at a party on Saturday… The Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles expressed outrage and urged Prince Harry to travel to Poland later this month to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp… The queen will commemorate the Holocaust and 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz by inviting survivors of the Nazi death camps and British World War II veterans who liberated them to a reception at St. James’ Palace… A former Buckingham Palace spokesman said he believed Prince Charles was too easy on his sons. ‘I’m sorry, the Prince of Wales, he’s a humanitarian and he does some terrific work, but I don’t think he has … the right discipline over his children, particularly Prince Harry,’ Dickie Arbiter told Sky News TV.”

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Is it possible that God may delay or accelerate end-time prophecies?

This possibility exists. In fact, several Scriptures suggest this to be the case.

For instance, we read in 2 Peter 3:12 that we are to be “looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God” — the return of Christ. The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (“Strong’s”) defines the Greek word, “speudo,” (under #4692), translated as “hastening,” as “to ‘speed’…, urge on…; by impl. to await eagerly; (make, with) haste unto.”

Young’s Analytical Concordance to the Bible (“Young’s”) defines the word as, “to hasten,” or, “urge on.” The same Greek word is used, for instance, in Luke 19:5-6 and Acts 22:18 (translated as, “make haste”). In Acts 20:16, it is translated as “(he) hasted” and in Luke 2:16, it is translated as, “(they came) with haste.” Of course, to await or to anticipate eagerly Christ’s return has been the role of every Christian in all ages. Jesus instructed all Christians concerning prayer to ask: “‘Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven'” (Matthew 6:10). Paul stated about the return of Christ that we should be even more diligent concerning our fellowship as a Church, “…and so much the more as you see the day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25). These statements affect all Christians in the Church leading up to Christ’s return.

At the same time, it cannot be denied that passages such as 2 Peter 3:12 or Hebrews 10:25 gain an additional strong meaning for the end-time generation of the Church. In fact, Paul says that all has been written for us, as an example, “upon whom the ends of the ages have come” (compare 1 Corinthians 10:11).

2 Peter 3:12 talks especially to end-time Christians. The literal Greek translation of 2 Peter 3:12 reads, according to The Englishman’s Greek New Testament…, An Interlinear Literal Translation: “…expecting and hastening the coming of the day of God by reason of which [the] heavens, being on fire, shall be dissolved, and [the] elements burning with heat shall melt…” The term “hastening” (as used in the New King James Bible) is therefore a correct rendition. The New English Bible says: “look eagerly for the coming of the day of God and work to hasten it on.” The New Testament in Modern Speech, by Richard Francis Weymouth (“Weymouth”), says: “expecting and helping to hasten the coming of…”

The German Elberfelder Bible says, “beschleunigen.” This German word can mean, “hastening,” and it can also mean, “accelerate.” In this context, we might consider Isaiah 62:7, which says, in the Authorized Version: “And give him no rest, till he establish, and till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth.”

How we could possibly hasten (or delay) Christ’s return — to an extent — can be seen in 2 Peter 3:9: “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” Although the time frame here encompasses the entire plan of God, it is apparent from the context that the end-time generation is especially addressed here. The context is Christ’s coming, as verses 3-4 make very clear: “…scoffers will come IN THE LAST DAYS… and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming?’…”

According to 2 Peter 3:9, God may delay Christ’s coming, if Church members, whom God wants to be in His Kingdom, are not ready, due to a lack of serious repentance, . The Ryrie Study Bible points out: “To believers, Peter now says that the seeming delay of Christ’s return is for the purpose of allowing more people to repent.”

Some feel that the precise moment of Christ’s return has been fixed for thousands of years — as the Father “knows” the exact moment of Christ’s Second Coming. They say that according to Christ’s words, the Father knew at least 2,000 years ago, when exactly He would send back His Son: “But of that day and hour no one KNOWS, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only (Matthew 24:36).” (Mark 13:32 adds that not even the Son of God — Jesus Christ — knows that exact time.)

However, in light of the fact that Christ’s return can be delayed or accelerated, it is very doubtful that God the Father “knew” the exact day and hour of Christ’s return for thousands of years. As we will explain, what Christ is actually saying in Matthew 24:36 and Mark 13:32 is that it is within the Father’s authority to decide when the moment of Christ’s return has come, but that moment is indeed conditioned upon certain events.

We need to read Matthew 24:36 and Mark 13:32 together with Acts 1:6-7, which says: “Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, ‘Lord, will You at this time [return to] restore the kingdom to Israel?’ And He said to them, ‘It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.”

Matthew 24:36 and Mark 13:32 do not say, in connection with Acts 1:7, that the exact time of Christ’s return and the restoration of the Kingdom of God was already fixed more than 2,000 years ago. Rather, it is within God the Father’s authority to decide when to send Christ. Has He already made that decision? Had He decided already 2,000 years ago, when Christ spoke those words, when exactly He would send Christ back to this earth? One might say, God knows everything, but there are certain things that God does not want to know. For instance, God does not want to know whether we will sin tomorrow — He did not want to know, when He called us into His truth, whether we will make it into His Kingdom, or whether we will commit the unpardonable sin. In the same way, it is doubtful, that God had already decided 2,000 or 6,000 years ago, when exactly (up to the second!!!) He would send Christ back, as His decision when to do so depends on some factors.

Both Matthew 24:36 and Mark 13:32 only SEEM to say, at first sight, that the Father “knows,” but that no one else, including Christ Himself, “knows.” However, the Greek word for “knows” is, according to Strong’s, No. 1492, a primary verb, used only in certain past tenses; it is a proposition for “see” (lit. or fig.), and it can mean, by implication, but only when used in the perfect, to “know.” It can also mean, “be aware, behold, CONSIDER, BE SURE, TELL, UNDERSTAND, WISH.”

We should also note that, according to the two passages in Matthew 24:36 and Mark 13:32, man, angels and Christ do not know, but only My Father. There is NO VERB here, following “My Father,” so it must be added.

In Acts 1:7, the word for “know” is a DIFFERENT Greek word, see Strong’s #1097. In any event, that passage in Acts 1:7 does not say that God “knows.” It only says that it is not for Christ’s disciples to “know.” In regard to the Father, it is stated that He has “put this” in His own power or authority. Reading Matthew 24:36 and Mark 13:32 together with Acts 1:7, it is apparent that the words which need to be supplied in Matthew 24:36 and Mark 13:32 would have to be those showing God’s AUTHORITY to set the date.

Therefore, a possible rendering of Matthew 24:36 and Mark 13:32 would be:

“But of that day and hour no one knows [“understands,” “can be sure”], not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father [“is sure,” “understands,” in the sense of: “decides”].”

The Bible does not say that the Father already decided thousands of years ago, when exactly to send back the Son. If He had, HOW COULD Christ NOT have known? Some claim that Christ knows now — while He did not know 2,000 years ago — but Christ’s statements refer to the time of His return. Christ’s whole point was that He does not know or is sure of it (as He does not make the decision); hence, it is useless for man to try to figure it out.

We do not find anywhere in the Bible that the time of Christ’s return has been fixed thousands of years ago. Some have pointed to 2 Peter 3:8, claiming that God allotted man exactly 6,000 years to rule this earth, and that exactly after 6,000 years, Christ will return. However, that is not what 2 Peter 3:8 conveys. The Scripture reads: “… with the Lord one day is AS a thousand years, and a thousand years AS one day.”

This Scripture does not provide us with a fixed date. The Greek word for “as” is “hos,” and it can also be translated as “about.” (Compare Young’s, under “about.”) In fact, the Authorized Version translates this word 14 times as “about.” For instance, the word “hos” is correctly translated as “about” in passages such as Mark 8:9; Luke 2:37; 8:42; and John 1:39.

Strong’s points out, under #5613, that the Greek word “hos” is “… very variously used, as follows: about, … (according) as (it had been, it were)…, even as (like)…”

2 Peter 3:8 seems to convey that in the eyes of God one day is ABOUT 1,000 years — not necessarily exactly so.

We might also notice Revelation 10:6. The Authorized Version says that there should be “time no longer.” The New King James Bible says, “… there should be delay no longer.” The Ryrie Study Bible comments: “Lit. there will be no more delay.” So say the Nelson Study Bible, the American Standard Version, Weymouth, as well as the Elberfelder Bible (“Frist, Aufschub”) and the Menge Bible (“Verzug”).

The Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, by W.E. Vine, states, on page 333, under “season,” that the Greek word for “time” or “delay,” i.e., “chronos,” must be translated in Revelation 10:6 as “delay.” Vine continues to point out that this is “an important rendering for the understanding of the passage (the word being akin to chronizo, to take time, to linger, delay, Matt 24:48; Luke 12:45).”

Under “delay,” Vine states, regarding “chronizo”: “from chronos, time, lit. means to while away time, i.e. by way of lingering, tarrying, delaying; ‘delayeth,’ Matt. 24:48; Luke 12:45; ‘tarried,’ Matt 25:5; ‘tarried so long,’ Luke 1:21; ‘will (not) tarry,’ Heb. 10:37.”

Since Revelation 10:6 says that there will be no more delay, it shows that there HAD BEEN delay before.

Ezekiel 12:25, 28 is another Scripture which supports the concept of a delay prior to Christ’s return. It reads: “For I am the LORD. I speak, and the word which I speak will come to pass; it will NO MORE be postponed… None of My words will be postponed ANY MORE…” This passage seems to say that at one point, God’s words or prophecies were postponed or delayed; but that the time will come, when they won’t be postponed or delayed any longer. This would be similar to the passage in Revelation 10:6, which says that there won’t be any longer “time” or “delay.”

The Church of God has felt, based on this passage and other Scriptures, that God had held back or delayed certain events to take place in the 1970’s and early 80’s. Also, from what we are seeing now in the world, it APPEARS that God is speeding up events to reach their climax soon (compare Matthew 24: 32-35) — BUT NOBODY CAN BE CERTAIN OF THIS, OR KNOW FOR SURE.

Some claim that the day and hour of Christ’s return have been fixed for thousands of years, by referring to Revelation 9:15: “So the four angels, who had been prepared for the HOUR and the DAY and MONTH and YEAR, were released to kill a third of mankind.” However, Revelation 9:15 talks about the time when the angels will be released to kill a third of mankind — it does not talk about the exact time of Christ’s return. This passage does not even say that the exact time of the angels’ actions had been predetermined thousands of years ago — it only says that when the exact time has come for God to intervene, He will command the angels to act.

Some prophecies are conditional — they are conditioned upon whether man repents. Although it is not very likely that the USA or Great Britain will repent, it IS possible. If they do — or if enough people repent — God may hold back the destruction of the USA and Great Britain. It appears that God would not have destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, if He would have found ten righteous, although He said to Abraham earlier that He would destroy it. Something similar COULD BE possible for modern America and Great Britain, as well as other nations. The Scripture in Jeremiah 18:7-11 supports this conclusion. It says that God will relent of the evil which He intended to bring on a nation, if that nation repents. God had Jonah proclaim that in forty days, Nineveh would be destroyed. This SOUNDED like an unconditional prophecy, but it was not, as God did not do it, when Nineveh repented. However, as the book of Nahum shows, Nineveh was destroyed later. The book of Jonah contains a classic case of a DELAYED prophecy. There are also passages in the book of Joel which leave it open as to whether or not God will start the Day of the Lord at a certain time, depending on man’s reaction and repentance (compare Joel 2:12-14). Although unconditional prophecy will not “fail,” time given for certain events to take their full course may. It says that God will CUT SHORT His work (Romans 9:28).

One thing IS certain, however: God’s patience is not limitless, as the parable in Luke 13:6-9 shows. Christ had just warned His audience that they would perish, if they did not repent (verses 1-5). He continued to present a parable about a tree that had not shown fruits for three years. The tree is granted a fourth and last year, to either produce fruit, or to be cut down after that time. This parable implies that God does set a time limit for a Church member to repent and produce fruit. Christ warned in John 15:2, 5: “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away… If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.” God has allotted to His Church — and mankind as a whole — a certain amount of time to repent. But there will come the moment when God WILL decide to send Christ back. God will not wait forever for everyone in the Church — and in the world — to repent. As in the times of Jeremiah, the time will come when God will not hear anymore prayers for the people of the world; when He will not tolerate any further delay; and when He will cut short His work (compare Jeremiah 7:16; 11:14; 14:11). That is the reason why we read in Isaiah 46:13 (Authorized Version): “I bring near my righteousness; it shall not be far off, and my salvation shall not tarry: and I will place salvation in Zion for Israel my glory.”

While the fulfillment of God’s prophecies may tarry for a while, the time will come when there will be no more delay or postponement. We read in Habakkuk 2:2-3: “… Write the vision And make it plain on tablets, That he may run who reads it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time; but at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. THOUGH IT TARRIES [for a while, due to God’s longsuffering and patience toward us in the Church], wait for it; Because it will surely come, IT WILL NOT TARRY [once God has decreed the exact time when to send His Son back and to end man’s rule on earth].”

In conclusion, a word of caution and warning: There is a great danger involved with the concept of trying to figure out, exactly, when Christ returns. The one problem is that if people think that God delays Christ’s coming, believing He is still afar off, they may begin to become slack in their Christian lives (compare Matthew 24:48-50). On the other hand, the belief that Christ’s coming is just around the corner can create a sense of fatalism, especially in younger people, who may say, “Why should I think of getting a career, as everything will be over soon?” As we have said before, we must live as if we still had a whole lifetime ahead of us, with long-term goals. At the same time, we need to always be ready spiritually for Christ’s return, and we must continue to watch world events, leading to the establishment of the Kingdom of God here on earth.

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Preaching the Gospel & Feeding the Flock

A new member letter was sent out this week. In it, Norbert Link discusses our awesome future, which can give us encouragement in the face of trials and suffering. One reader in Great Britain already commented, as follows: “Complimenting you on the latest letter regarding the ever-increasing suffering in the world and the need to KNOW that God is taking care of us–if we endure. It is so important not to lose faith to have the hope and certainty of our future.” You can find the letter on the Web soon.

Two new StandingWatch programs were recorded, titled, “They Shall Live Again,” and “Ghosts of Departed Ones?”

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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.

Donations should be sent to the following addresses:

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