Update 202


Faith in Luke's Writings

On Saturday, July 16, 2005, Norbert Link will be giving the sermon from Colorado. The title of the sermon is, “Faith in Luke’s Writings.”

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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Who Am I?

by Rene Messier (Canada)

Christ asked His apostles the question, “Who Am I?”, in a slightly different format. Matthew 16:13 records Christ’s saying: “‘Who DO MEN SAY that I, the Son of Man, am ?'” Their answer was, as preserved in verse 14: “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” Then pressing them a little further, He asked them point blank, in verse 15: “‘But who do you say that I am?'” Peter answered that He was the Christ, the Son of the living God. Christ not only concurred with Peter’s statement, but He told him this was revealed to him by God (compare verses 16-17).

If someone was to ask you who you are, what would your answer be? Would it be that you are the son or daughter of your father, Mr.___, who came from a certain part of Canada or the US or Europe or another part of the world? That you are a mechanic or a computer programmer, a builder, or of another occupation and trade? These answers may be accurate, but they would be incomplete.

Ask yourself, “Who am I?”

What does God, through the Bible, say we are? 1 Peter 2:9 calls you a chosen son or daughter of the living God, a priest, a holy individual, and a special person. If you continue to the end, you will be fulfilling and carrying out kingly and priestly functions. 1 John 3:1-2 calls you a child of God.

There is a saying: A person will rise to his expectation. If you are constantly told you are inferior or not too bright, you will in all likelihood be or become that way. On the other hand, God has already determined what we are and will be in the future–if we do our part. So it is our responsibility to rise to HIS expectation and conduct ourselves as priests, holy individuals, special in God’s eyes (which we are), and as children of God, to rule with Christ in the Kingdom.

There is another saying: The cream rises to the top. God looks at us as “the cream.” We don’t say this to be puffed up. Rather, we need to consider that regardless of our position in this life, “God has chosen the weak… of the world” for His purpose (1 Corinthians 1:27). However, we are destined for greatness. 1 Corinthians 3:23 tells us that we are Christ’s. We are destined for glory and rulership. We should never take our eyes off our future goal.

The answer to our original question, “Who am I?”, is this: “I am a special person in God’s eyes, a potential king and priest and much more than that. I am a begotten child, a son or daughter of God, to be born as an immortal God being, when Christ returns.” We must never forget that!

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G8 Failed?

The EUobserver reported on July 8, 2005: “Though world leaders tried to portray it as a win, in reality US president George W. Bush kept leaders from the world’s eight largest economies from agreeing on ways to slow the effects of global climate change. At the top of the agenda for the two-day summit in Gleneagles, Scotland, heads of state and government (referred to as “G8″) from France, Germany, Italy, Canada, Russia and Japan, led by UK prime minister Tony Blair, worked to get Mr. Bush to agree on climate change policies. But they failed.”

It will have to be seen how long all the influential nations will be tolerant to US politics in such important matters, such as global warming.

The article pointed out that they did agree “to help end extreme poverty in Africa by doubling aid donations to Euro 41.9 bn ($50 bn) per year by 2010, but charities felt it didn’t go far enough.” They also “pledged Euro 2.5 bn ($3 bn) over the next few years to help support the Palestinian government in its independence from Israel.”

Italy Next?

Reuters published an article on July 8, 2005, following the terrorist attacks in London, asking the pertinent question as to what country will be next. According to the article, it appears that it will be Italy, and especially Rome. The article stated:

“Italy is a repeated target of Islamic militant threats… Two different groups claiming affiliation to al Qaeda have warned of attacks on Italy within the past 24 hours alone. One group calling itself the Organization of al Qaeda – Jihad in the Arabian Peninsula described Rome as ‘the capital of infidels’ in a menacing message on Friday… [F]or many Rome residents, an attack seems inevitable… After the United States and Britain, Italy is the third largest Western member of coalition forces in Iraq, and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi acknowledged that Italy’s role in Iraq left it ‘exposed’ to attack.”

The German press reported that an attack on the Vatican is anticipated. Allegedly, such an attack with airplanes had been planned for Christmas 2005, but had not been carried out, for unknown reasons.

Perhaps not as “coincidental” as described by Berlusconi, Italy announced that they will be withdrawing their troops from Iraq.

Hurricane Dennis

As The Associated Press reported on July 9, 2005, “More than 1 million people from the Florida Panhandle to Louisiana were under evacuation orders. Landfall was expected Sunday afternoon anywhere from the Florida Panhandle to southeast Louisiana… The storm [was] the earliest to reach Category 4 strength in the Caribbean on record… “

On July 11, 2005, The Associated Press added that “The total insured damage from Hurricane Dennis, which hit parts of the U.S. Gulf Coast over the weekend, will amount to between $3 billion and $5 billion.”

Hurricane Dennis is the first of a series of devastating hurricanes to be expected to strike the US this year.

Sheep Suicide?

The Associated Press reported on July 8, 2005: “First one sheep jumped to its death. Then stunned Turkish shepherds, who had left the herd to graze while they had breakfast, watched as nearly 1,500 others followed, each leaping off the same cliff, Turkish media reported. In the end, 450 dead animals lay on top of one another in a billowy white pile, the Aksam newspaper said.”

Scientists debate whether animals can purposefully and conscientiously commit suicide. Many historical records prove that some animals killed themselves. However, the question remains whether they are influenced by demons when they do so. A classic example of demonic possession of many swine, leading to a mass suicide, can be found in Matthew 8:28-34.

Luxembourg and Malta approve EU Constitution

The Associated Press reported on July 10, 2005: “Luxembourg voters approved the European Union’s proposed constitution in a referendum Sunday… Officials said 56.52 percent of the vote was in favor of the constitution, while 43.48 percent voted against it. Luxembourg is the 13th country to ratify the charter, but rejections by the two larger countries [France and The Netherlands] have thrown its future into doubt… European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said Luxembourg’s approval was a ‘strong signal’ that voters still think a constitution can help build ‘a more democratic Europe.’ However, he warned in a statement that its fate remained ‘uncertain.'”

The article continued:

“Luxembourg, a wealthy nation of 450,000 wedged between France, Germany and Belgium, has traditionally been one of the European Union’s most ardent supporters. Many questions remain over the EU’s future, including whether it will give full membership to Turkey and whether it should create the posts of EU president and foreign minister… [Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude] Juncker’s campaign for the charter was bolstered when the tiny country of Malta became the 12th EU nation to ratify the constitution Wednesday by a unanimous parliamentary vote. Luxembourg was the first EU member to go ahead with a referendum following the Dutch and French ‘no’ votes. Britain, Denmark and Portugal have scrapped theirs.”

The EUobersever clarified on July 10, 2005, that “The UK, Denmark, Portugal, Poland [and] Ireland… shelved their referendum plans after the decision of the European summit in June to put the ratification process on ice. The Czech republic, undecided until then, also announced it would not hold a referendum.”

Chinese in Colorado?

The United Press International reported on July 11, 2005, that “Canadian oil giant EnCana is considering bringing in Chinese companies to construct and operate drilling rigs in the Colorado Rockies… EnCana, a major player in the Piceance Basin of western Colorado, said Chinese labor is cheap and the workers are well-educated. The move would be scrutinized in Washington, where politicians are uneasy about allowing Chinese workers to acquire access to U.S.-based oil and gas facilities… Although China’s increased participation in the U.S. oil and gas industry is a prickly issue in Washington, the EnCana spokesman predicted that U.S. policy-makers would concede because Chinese companies would fill a dire need… The cost of drilling in Colorado has nearly doubled since last year, EnCana officials said. Rates increased from $8,500 per day to $14,000 per day in one year.”

This development is in line with a prophecy in the Bible, declaring that because of the sins of the nation, “the alien who is among you shall rise higher and higher above you, and you shall come down lower and lower. He shall lend to you, but you shall not lend to him; he shall be the head, and you shall be the tail… Because you did not serve the LORD your God with joy and gladness of heart, for the abundance of everything, therefore you shall serve your enemies, whom the LORD will send against you…” (Deuteronomy 28:43-44, 47-48).

Barrier Around Jerusalem

Reuters reported on July 11, 2005, that “European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana criticized Israel on Monday for a barrier it is building around Jerusalem, and the Palestinian prime minister said it made a farce of efforts to restart the peace process. Israel faced new pressure over its controversial network of walls and fences a day after giving final approval to a segment it said would eventually separate 55,000 Palestinian residents of Jerusalem from the rest of the holy city… The World Court declared it illegal a year ago, but Israel has ignored the ruling.”

It was also reported that the Bush Administration has stated reservations against the barrier. The article continued:

“[Solana] said the Jerusalem barrier would also have a symbolic effect. The city is holy to Jews, Christians and Muslims. Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurie responded harshly to the Israeli decision, calling it ‘theft in broad daylight’ of land Palestinians seek for the capital of their future state.”

The Associated Press added:

“Israel’s separation barrier in and around Jerusalem is meant to ensure a Jewish majority in the disputed city, a Cabinet minister acknowledged Monday, contradicting government claims that the divider is solely a temporary security measure… Also Monday, Israeli officials said they would seek $2.2 billion in additional U.S. aid for the summer’s withdrawal from Gaza and four West Bank settlements.”

According to an opinion poll conducted by CNN on Tuesday, July 12, 90% of participants voted AGAINST such an additional U.S. aid.

Euro Rises Slightly

As AFP reported on July 11, 2005, “The dollar came under pressure after a mixed report on US jobs and Luxembourg’s approval of the European Union constitution… The euro rose Monday to 1.2018 dollars in early European trading, from 1.1970 late on Friday in New York… The US unit ‘has weakened across the foreign exchange market after Friday’s employment report for June failed to meet market expectations’, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi economist Derek Halpenny said. A government report showed the US unemployment rate had fallen to a four-year low point of 5.0 percent last month.”

Germany’s Uncertain Future?

The Associated Press reported on July 10, 2005, that “Germany’s opposition aims to oust Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder with a program to boost Europe’s largest economy and ‘reinvigorate’ relations with the United States… The program, to be formally endorsed Monday by the Christian Democratic Union [CDU] and its Bavarian sister party [CSU], includes an increase in sales tax and looser rules for companies to hire and fire staff. It also rules out Turkish membership in the European Union. The parties are also trying to win back voters by invoking Germany’s strained relations with Washington. Schroeder ran for re-election in 2002 on a platform opposing the U.S.-led war in Iraq, and Bush pointedly refused to offer the traditional congratulations to him on his victory. Germany’s conservatives have been careful not to back the war–sending troops to Iraq would be deeply unpopular–but insist only a change of government can heal the rift with Washington.”

However, new elections in September are not yet a certainty. Germany’s President Koehler sent Chancellor Schroeder a catalogue of questions pertaining to the recent “no-confidence vote” in Parliament, in order to be able to decide whether or not he will allow new elections, by dissolving the German Parliament. Also, the CDU and CSU are facing opposition from their potential coalition partner, the Free Democrats [FDP], over their highly unpopular proposal to increase sales taxes. The FDP has announced that they will NOT support such a tax increase.

The Catholic Church and The Philippines

The Associated Press reported on July 10, 2005, about interesting events in The Philippines, and the POLITICAL role of the Roman Catholic Church in the process. The article stated:

“The Philippines’ Roman Catholic bishops, who have played a major role in toppling two presidents, gave lukewarm support Sunday to President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo as she faced calls to resign over an election scandal. The long-awaited statement by the nation’s Catholic Bishops Conference may ease the pressure on Arroyo, who looked increasingly isolated after 10 Cabinet members quit Friday and urged her to step down… The bishops in the predominantly Roman Catholic country played a key role in the 1986 ‘people power’ revolution that ousted dictator Ferdinand Marcos and the 2001 repeat which forced out Arroyo’s predecessor, Joseph Estrada… As the influential Catholic leaders debated what position to take, Arroyo went on a new charm offensive, praying in church, strolling along a Manila Bay promenade, holding babies and chatting with fishermen during a rare public appearance.”

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Would you please explain Jesus' statement in John 2:19, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up…"? Is this statement, as a direct quote of Christ, to be believed as presented to us in the English language?

Let us read the Scripture in context, by quoting John 2:18-22:

“(18) So the Jews answered and said to Him, ‘What sign do You show to us, since you do these things?’ (19) Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’ (20) Then the Jews said, ‘It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?’ (21) But He was speaking of the temple of His body. (22) Therefore, when He had risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this to them; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said.”

There is no reason to believe that the above-cited translation is incorrect. However, we must understand, in light of the other Biblical evidence, what this passage does and does not say. Some use this passage to teach that Christ rose Himself up FROM THE DEAD. They claim that Christ, the Son of God, never died, but that only His “human mantle” did. They teach that the Son of God was the second member of an immortal and unalterable Trinity, and that He therefore could not have died. They postulate that Christ–the Son of God–raised up the human mortal Jesus. This ABOMINABLE HERESY is nowhere taught in the Bible! The Bible makes very clear that God is NOT a TRINITY; that Jesus Christ was the Son of God; and that HE DIED (For more information, please read our free booklet, “Is God a Trinity?”). It was God the Father who raised the DEAD Christ FROM THE DEAD.

For instance, Galatians 1:1 states: “Paul, an apostle (not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God THE FATHER, who raised HIM from the dead)…”

When Christ died and was brought back to life shortly thereafter as an immortal spirit being, God the Father CHANGED Christ’s physical body (which had not yet decayed) into a spirit body. That is why Christ, after His resurrection, could go through closed doors (John 20:19), and it is also why He could disappear after He had materialized Himself in a bodily, albeit different form (Mark 16:12; Luke 24:13-16, 31). In fact, when Christ returns, His disciples will be resurrected to immortal SPIRIT beings, and those who will still be alive at that time will be CHANGED to immortal SPIRIT beings (compare 1 Thessalonians 4:17; 1 Corinthians 15:51-52).

After three days and three nights in the grave, God the Father brought the DEAD Christ back to life. Christ got up, and at THAT moment, He fulfilled the prophecy that He had given to the Jews in John 2:19: He raised up His BODY. In other words, He was lying on the ground in the tomb (John 19:40-42), but when He received immortal life from God the Father, He got up from the ground. The word for “raise up” (in Greek, “egeiro”), as used in John 2:19, is used many times to describe someone who simply STANDS UP. It is used in Mark 1:31; 9:27, and in Acts 3:7, as well as in James 5:15. In all of those cases, sick people stood up from their sick bed. God “raises or lifts” them up by giving them the power or strength to stand or to get up.

John 2:18-22 does not teach that Christ raised Himself up FROM THE DEAD. Rather, it teaches that after God the Father resurrected Him from the dead, Christ raised up the temple of His BODY, by getting up.

For more information on Christ’s death and resurrection, and the fact that He was indeed three days and three nights in the tomb, as He said He would be, please read our free book, “Jesus Christ–A Great Mystery.”

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Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

A new member letter has been written by Dave Harris. It was sent out on Wednesday. The letter discusses the incredible purpose of our calling.

A new StandingWatch program was recorded and placed on the Web. Its title is: Noisy Neighbors.

An article was submitted to the Journal, as follows:

The Church of the Eternal God (CEG) recently concluded its first Public Bible Lecture in Arcadia, California. Mr. Norbert Link spoke to 32 people on the subject, “Europe is Uniting — What Does This Mean To You?”

It was very exciting to be dealing with people directly after having put most of CEG’s efforts into other mediums, noted one attendee.

More lectures are being planned around the U.S. as finances permit. Until then, CEG is making CDs available of the initial address. Also made available on a CD are current StandingWatch programs, addressing diverse topics, such as, life after death, the resurrection, peacemaking, attitude, hope, Christ’s return, the Church, and accountability. In addition, CEG’s new booklet, “Should You Fight in War?” is ready for distribution. As usual, all of these are free for the asking. Simply send an email to info@eternalgod.org, or write to:

Church of the Eternal God
PO Box 270519
San Diego, CA 92198

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Shine Bright!

Shine Bright!

by Shana Rank (31)

I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be a light in this dark world. The analogy of letting our light shine bright in relation to God’s perfect outpouring character is exciting, and the only type of character I wish to imitate. Since I must strive to be an excellent example to those around me, what kind of light should I be?

Possible scenarios:

Candlelight: This type of light is sufficient in limited situations. Often times candle light is easily extinguished by wind or other outside forces. Candlelight could also be described as timid and shy when compared to the brightness of other light. Do I want to be a weak light?

Fluorescent light: This type of light has endurance; unfortunately, the quality of light is poor in comparison to natural light. Fluorescent bulbs also exhibit symptoms like flickering and buzzing which can be very unpleasant. Do I want to be an inconsistent light?

Flash bulb: This type of light is especially effective at nighttime or for poorly lit areas. The effect a bright flash has on the pupil can be likened to the first impression we have on those with whom we come in contact. Is my light short and intense, or will my light have a lasting impression?

Sunlight: This type of light is the brightest light known to man. So bright that it can cause blindness for those that gaze too long. Sunlight is able to penetrate the darkest places imaginable; this is also how I think about the perfect Spirit of God the Father and Jesus Christ. God is also described in the Bible as being light–with no darkness in Him. Can I be the brightest light possible? With God’s help, yes!

I know I would like to shine bright like the sun. Which type of light would you like to be?

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How This Work is Financed

This Update is an official publication by the ministry of the Church of the Eternal God in the United States of America; the Church of God, a Christian Fellowship in Canada; and the Global Church of God in the United Kingdom.

Editorial Team: Norbert Link, Dave Harris, Rene Messier, Brian Gale, Margaret Adair, Johanna Link, Eric Rank, Michael Link, Anna Link, Kalon Mitchell, Manuela Mitchell, Dawn Thompson

Technical Team: Eric Rank, Shana Rank

Our activities and literature, including booklets, weekly updates, sermons on CD, and video and audio broadcasts, are provided free of charge. They are made possible by the tithes, offerings and contributions of Church members and others who have elected to support this Work.

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

Donations should be sent to the following addresses:

United States: Church of the Eternal God, P.O. Box 270519, San Diego, CA 92198

Canada: Church of God, ACF, Box 1480, Summerland, B.C. V0H 1Z0

United Kingdom: Global Church of God, PO Box 44, MABLETHORPE, LN12 9AN, United Kingdom

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