Update 220


"Sin – A Powerful Enemy!"

On December 3, 2005, Edwin Pope will give the sermon, discussing the serious concept of sin.

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 Jubilee Year

by Rene Messier (Canada)

The Canadian minority government was defeated on Monday, November
28, in a non-confidence vote by the opposition parties, which will
force an election in January of 2006. This motion was brought on in
part by a financial scandal of the current party which had wasted some
300 plus million Canadian dollars of taxpayers’ money. This situation
just serves as an example of broader application: Political leaders may
have good intentions when first elected but they are soon at the trough
wondering what perks can be taken advantage of. Another incident of
lavish spending of tax money by politicians occurred last week: Three
men from back East dined in a restaurant in the West. Their meal cost
Canadians $1000.00. This is only one of many examples of people wasting
taxpayers’ money.

In addition, even the idea that a taxpayer
owns his home and property is just an illusion. They pay property taxes
on it annually. If you lived for 1,000 years and would pay taxes
throughout that time, eventually you would pay more taxes than the
actual purchase price or value of the property. To say you own it is
not the reality of the situation. If you fail to pay the taxes, the
government can seize your property, sell it, recover the taxes owed and
give you the cash balance, if any–so, in effect, you have lost your
property. If they want to build a railway through your property, it is
expropriated by the government. They may pay you the market
value–mostly an amount far below the actual price you could have
received if it had not been for the expropriation–and you lose the

In ancient Israel land was allocated to the twelve
tribes (except for the tribe of Levi), and the tribe members were given
property within the boundaries of the appropriated land. They did not
pay taxes on the land–it was theirs free and clear. They could however
“sell” by choice or if they fell into poverty, but not “for good.” The
land was God’s and was not to be sold permanently (Leviticus 25:23). If
you sold the land you could redeem it; that is, buy it back and pay the
“lease” or “rental” value of the property for the time it had not been
in your possession. The return of the property to its permanent owner
took place on the Jubilee year, which occurred every 50 years
(Leviticus 25:9-10), and which always started on the Feast of
Atonement. That way, no one would be destitute of land forever, since
the land went back to the original owners.

By contrast, the
governments of this world try to give us the illusion that we actually
own the land and “our” property, yet in reality it is nothing but a
temporary lease for us and our descendents.

We also notice that
countries like Canada or the United States are indebted to foreigners.
A rich Texan friend of the U.S. President purchased the company where I
work for some 6 billion dollars. So now our company–a major utility
and distribution facility of natural gas and oil–is owned by
Americans. In today’s Canadian papers, the lead articles in the
financial sections were: ” WHITE KNIGHT COMES TO THE RESCUE.” It
reported about a German company (“Krupps”) buying a huge steel company
in Canada, which has been around since 1912 and which employs some
11,000 workers. Foreign ownership in Canada–and the USA, for that
matter–is on the increase. Ultimately, foreign owners will “foreclose”
on Canadian and US land and property. God foretold this in the Bible,
as punishment for our national disobedience to His laws.

the good news is that foreign ownership of our companies and land will
end in the future. As the Day of Atonement pictures, the current god of
this earth–Satan the devil– will be replaced by Christ when He
returns to this earth to RULE this world JUSTLY and to usher in the

Sometime in the future, that which is pictured by the
Day of Atonement and the Jubilee year will have become reality: We, as
saints ruling with and under Christ, will allocate land to the
inhabitants of the earth which shall not be taken away for taxes,
expropriation or foreign ownership. That day will be a tremendous time
of happiness for all to rejoice in.

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Angela Merkel in Action

The British newspaper, “Telegraph,” published the following article on November 24, 2005, about the EU Constitution:

“Angela Merkel, the new German chancellor, set the stage for a tense meeting with Tony Blair in Downing Street today when she called for European leaders to revive the EU constitution… She said the rejection of the constitutional treaty by the French and Dutch in referendums in the summer was not the end of the matter… The comments suggest that Mrs Merkel, whose Christian Democrats are tied into a grand coalition with the Social Democrats, may not shift German policy on the EU as much as British ministers and diplomats had hoped.”

Der Spiegel Online quoted on November 24 from several German newspapers, reporting about Merkel’s trip to France and England:

“The center-left Süddeutsche Zeitung thinks popular will for this change [in the relationship between the USA and Germany] is lacking, since Germans still don’t trust Washington. ‘Germany’s relationship to the United States has indeed suffered, but one reason for this climate change has been the presidency of George W. Bush … Merkel needs to build a good working relationship, but everything else will be ruled out by a simple grasp of domestic politics: A close relationship with Bush is poisonous.’… a retreat from Paris will help Berlin re-orient the shambling European Union, according to the financial daily Handelsblatt. ‘Europe is hoping for clear leadership from Berlin,’ writes its commentator. ‘Hopes are high not least because the other “big countries”–France, Britain and Italy–are being led by weakened governments … The left-wing Berliner Zeitung agrees, arguing Germany and France need to take a leading role in Europe. ‘But if they neglect or boss around the smaller nations, they won’t do well, and neither will Europe. Merkel knows this,’ writes the paper.”

On November 23, The Russian Pravda published the following comments about Angela Merkel’s upbringing in Communist Eastern Germany (GDR):

“The girl realized the importance of staying at the background, of being inconspicuous, and being better than the others in terms of studies. Angela also learned to separate her personal life from the public property as opposed to the Marxist theory. Merkel has never broken the rule since she became a well-known politician. She always kept her private life in a locker… she made a career both as an academic and a local leader of the Free German Youth, a Communist youth organization akin to the Soviet Komsomol. Although Merkel seems reluctant to speak about it these days, she was in charge of agitation and propaganda for the young Communists at the Academy. It was quite an achievement for the pastor’s daughter… Later Merkel has repeatedly said that the membership in the Communist youth organization was a must for those who wanted to study at the university in the GDR. Even if her ‘agitation and propaganda’ stint was a political maneuver, it shows Merkel’s ability to adjust to the circumstances. Perhaps her membership in the Communist youth organization was just a career requirement though she never did anything to challenge the regime of the GDR.”

The article continued:

“Merkel’s ideological convictions are hardly fit for accepting the ‘Rheinish capitalism’ traditional in West Germany, with its gentle demands on the citizens and social teachings of Catholicism… Merkel’s younger years in the GDR have undoubtedly formed in her a deep-rooted positive image of America, ‘the land of the free.’ She is a fundamentally pro-American not only with respect to historic discourse (she is confident that the unification of Germany would have never happened if the United States had not provided full support to the plan) but also regarding her political positions on the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. However, contrary to the allegations printed by some newspapers, she never demanded the deployment of a German military contingent in Iraq.”

On November 30, 2005, Reuters reported about Angela Merkel’s first major speech to the German parliament on Wednesday since replacing Gerhard Schroeder as German leader. The article stated:

“Chancellor Angela Merkel vowed on Wednesday that her new government would not be blackmailed by kidnappers holding a German woman in Iraq and called terrorism a threat to the country’s core values of freedom and tolerance… The kidnapping, the first of a German citizen in Iraq, has presented Merkel with her first major test… Merkel also said she expected the U.S. government to respond quickly to allegations the CIA has been operating secret prisons in Europe and has used airports in Germany and other European countries in secretly transporting detainees. Still, Merkel’s tough stance toward the kidnappers in Iraq and the tone of her speech, in which she mentioned the word ‘freedom’ seven times, contrasted sharply with the rhetoric of her predecessor and could be welcomed in Washington.”

However, Der Spiegel Online wrote on November 28, 2005:

“Don’t be fooled by the facade of harmony in Germany’s new grand coalition of conservatives and Social Democrats. Angela Merkel has only been chancellor for one week but she is already heading into a struggle with her foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, for control over foreign policy.”

And that says a lot…

EU vs. UK

On November 11, news.telegraph.co.uk reported: “Blair is all alone in Britain’s EU rebate row.”

The article continued: “Tony Blair was left isolated in Europe last night after European Union leaders said that he would endanger plans for further enlargement of the community unless he surrendered billions of pounds from Britain’s annual budget rebate… At a bad-tempered meeting in Brussels, EU foreign ministers told Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, that maintaining the rebate would mean that Britain was not paying its fair share of the costs of expanding the bloc into eastern and central Europe… the French foreign minister, Philippe Douste-Blazy questioned why it [Britain] should get away with paying so little to its pet project… There were ‘ethical, moral, and political’ issues at stake, said Mr Douste-Blazy, adding that Britain would shoulder a ‘grave responsibility’ for the collapse of negotiations and the resulting damage to EU expansion… German and Italian ministers vowed not to pay ‘another cent’ into EU coffers, on top of what they agreed in June.”

European Debate Over Torture

On November 28, 2005, Der Spiegel Online reported about a development in Europe which paints Washington in a terrible light–but this time, it’s not limited to the USA. In any event, it shows the growing alienation between the USA and Europe. The article stated:

“A bitter debate over torture has erupted in Europe. Washington is believed to have used EU countries as transit points for moving terrorism suspects to clandestine locations where they may have been tortured. The Council of Europe and other organizations are now demanding answers — from the US and European countries who looked the other way.”

The article continued:

“In the past, the Europeans turned a blind eye to the Americans’ human rights violations. After all, Islamist terror was considered more dangerous and, more importantly, was being committed by a common enemy. But now European politicians have had enough… The German government will have some explaining to do, especially when it comes to charges that the German authorities turned a blind eye to the Americans having used their military base in Frankfurt am Main, which was just closed in October, Berlin’s Schönefeld Airport and the US military base in Ramstein essentially as European transfer stations for their secret prisoner transports… Berlin has yet to follow the lead of the Danish government, which insisted that the Pentagon discontinue flights in Danish airspace that are ‘incompatible with international conventions.’

“The Council of Europe also wants to know how the German government intends to ensure that such activities on the part of ‘foreign agencies’ are monitored in the future — and ‘to what extent domestic law provides for a suitable response to such violations of the law,’… In short, the Council of Europe wants to know what European governments intend to do about CIA agents being allowed to fly their prisoners across Europe with impunity. The Germans won’t be the only ones with some explaining to… The truth is that hardly any US ally in Europe has sufficiently met its obligation to comply with the requirements of the European Convention on Human Rights, which prohibits any form of torture.”

Polluter China

On November 28, 2005, Der Spiegel Online reported:

“The chemical plant catastrophe on the Songhua River reveals the flipside of China’s economic miracle. Most of the country’s air and waterways are hopelessly polluted and the government has done little to address the problem. Instead, officials prefer to lie.”

The article continued:

“China is no longer merely the world’s factory. It is also the world’s toxic waste dump… Five of the world’s 10 most polluted cities are in China. More than two-thirds of all Chinese rivers and lakes are turning into sewers… and more than 360 million people have no access to clean drinking water. A toxic soup splashes through the country’s waterways, while people living along the banks die from cancer at above-average rates… The People’s Republic, which could soon surpass the United States as the world’s largest producer of greenhouse gases, has lost its ecological balance and is paying a heavy price as a result. About 400,000 people die prematurely each year because of the polluted air they breathe.”

Has Goliath Been Found?

According to an article by Independent Media Review Analysis (IMRA), dated November 10, 2005, “A very small ceramic sherd unearthed by Bar-Ilan University archaeologists digging at Tell es-Safi, the biblical city ‘Gath of the Philistines’, may hold a very large clue into the history of the well-known biblical figure Goliath. The sherd, which contains the earliest known Philistine inscription ever to be discovered, mentions two names that are remarkably similar to the name ‘Goliath’… The archaeological find may also be seen as the first clear extra-biblical evidence that the well-known biblical story of the battle between David and Goliath (and, in particular, the very existence of a figure such as Goliath during the biblical period) may be more than just a legend.”

For true Christians, there is of course no doubt that the Biblical records are accurate, and not mere legends. But perhaps, unbelieving man needs physical proof like this to give more attention and credence to God’s Holy Word.

The EU Accuses Israel

On November 25, 2005, a British paper, The Guardian, reported about a confidential Foreign Office document accusing “Israel of rushing to annex the Arab area of Jerusalem, using illegal Jewish settlement construction and the vast West Bank barrier, in a move to prevent it becoming a Palestinian capital.”

This development is remarkable, as Biblical prophecy reveals that the relationship between Europe and Israel will gradually deteriorate. The article of the Guardian continued:

“In an unusually frank insight into British assessments of Israeli intentions, the document says that Ariel Sharon’s government is jeopardising the prospect of a peace agreement by trying to put the future of Arab East Jerusalem beyond negotiation and risks driving Palestinians living in the city into radical groups. The document, obtained by the Guardian, was presented to an EU council of ministers meeting chaired by the foreign secretary, Jack Straw, on Monday with recommendations to counter the Israeli policy, including recognition of Palestinian political activities in East Jerusalem. But the council put the issue on hold until next month under pressure from Italy, according to sources, which Israel considers its most reliable EU ally.”

The Financial Times added on November 24, 2005:

“The European Union has severely criticised Israeli policies in east Jerusalem, saying they demonstrate a clear intention to consolidate Israel’s annexation of the Arab half of the city. The criticisms are in a report presented to EU foreign ministers this week but not yet publicly released… EU foreign ministers are set to discuss the report on December 12. It was prepared by British and EU representatives in Jerusalem and Ramallah. Britain currently holds the EU presidency.” The New Zealand Herald reported on November 25:

“European governments should consider direct intervention in an attempt to curb the systematic measures being undertaken by Israel to increase its control and population in the historically–and legally–Arab eastern sector of Jerusalem, a highly sensitive EU report concludes…The report provides the most detailed and remorselessly critical account yet produced by a Western international body of Israel’s policy in East Jerusalem, which has been occupied since its seizure in the 1967 Six Day War.”

UFOs a Real Threat?

PRWEB reported on November 24, 2005: “Paul Hellyer, Canada’s Defence Minister from 1963-67 under Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Prime Minister Lester Pearson, publicly stated: ‘UFOs are as real as the airplanes that fly over your head.’ … Mr. Hellyer went on to say, ‘I’m so concerned about what the consequences might be of starting an intergalactic war, that I just think I had to say something.’… Hellyer warned, ‘The United States military are preparing weapons which could be used against the aliens, and they could get us into an intergalactic war without us ever having any warning.’ He stated, ‘The Bush administration has finally agreed to let the military build a forward base on the moon, which will put them in a better position to keep track of the goings and comings of the visitors from space, and to shoot at them, if they so decide.'”

Whether or not weapons are being developed and employed to fight aliens, it is amazing that such beliefs are actually seriously held by some high-ranking governmental officials. The Bible reveals that there are NO aliens on other planets–but there ARE evil spirit beings masquerading as aliens. More importantly, the Bible foretells that Christ and His angels will return to this earth and that they will be engaged, at that time, in an outright war by powerful political and religious figures. Could it be that those deceived worldly powers will be motivated, in part, by their erroneous belief that they have to fight Christ and His angels, thinking they are hostile aliens?

The Terrible Curse of Abortion

On November 27, The Sunday Times in Britain published this alarming and sickening article on the terrible curse of abortion–and what happens if an abortion fails to “succeed”:

“A government agency is launching an inquiry into doctors’ reports that up to 50 babies a year are born alive after botched National Health Service abortions… babies aborted after more than 21 weeks and six days of gestation should have their hearts stopped by an injection of potassium chloride before being delivered. In practice, few doctors are willing or able to perform the delicate procedure. For the abortion of younger foetuses, labour is induced by drugs in the expectation that the infant will not survive the birth process. Guidelines say that doctors should ensure that the drugs they use prevent such babies being alive at birth… The number of terminations carried out in the 18th week of pregnancy or later has risen from 5,166 in 1994 to 7,432 last year. Prenatal diagnosis for conditions such as Down’s syndrome is increasing and foetuses with the condition are routinely aborted, even though many might be capable of leading fulfilling lives… Abortion on demand is allowed in Britain up to 24 weeks–more than halfway through a normal pregnancy and the highest legal limit for such terminations in Europe. France and Germany permit ‘social’ abortions only up to the 10th and 12th weeks respectively. Doctors are increasingly uneasy about aborting babies who could be born alive.”

Of course, it is not much different in the United States. According to an article in the LA Times, dated November 29, 2005, a prominent doctor who performs abortions admits that he “destroys lives.” The article continued:

“… abortion remains one of the most common surgical procedures for women. A quarter of all pregnancies end in abortion. A third of all American women will have had an abortion by the age of 45…”

The article then listed the age of those who have abortions: “Under 15: 1%; 15-19: 19%; 20-24: 33%; 25-29: 23%; 30-34: 13%; 35-39: 8%; 40-44: 3%.”

What these articles show is that aborted babies were viable human beings–and the attempted or real termination of their lives constitutes a transgression of God’s Law–the Ten Commandments. It is immaterial what man’s laws might allow–in God’s eyes, those who abort or participate in the procedure are guilty of an egregious SIN. For more information, please read our free booklet: “Are You Already Born Again?”

Ongoing Human Rights Abuses in Iraq?

On November 29, 2005, ABC News Online wrote about comments by former prime minister Iyad Allawi, “saying human rights abuses in Iraq were as bad now as they were under Saddam Hussein… Dr Allawi was Iraq’s first prime minister of the post-Saddam era but failed to win January’s election… Dr Allawi, who is a secular Shiite and has a seat in parliament, is critical of some Shiites in power viewing them as overly Islamic and too close to Iran. He told Sunday’s Observer that a lot of Iraqis were being killed in the course of interrogations. ‘People are doing the same as (in) Saddam Hussein’s time and worse,’ he said. ‘These are the precise reasons why we fought Saddam Hussein and now we are seeing the same things. We are hearing about secret police, secret bunkers where people are being interrogated,’ Dr Allawi said…”

Canada’s Political Scandals

The Christian Science Monitor wrote on November 30:

“Canadians are bracing for a bitter winter election after a coalition of Conservatives, Quebec separatists, and far-left progressives toppled the scandal-plagued Liberal government with a no-confidence vote on Monday night. Opposition leaders pushed for the Jan. 23 election, hoping to capitalize on a corruption scandal that has shaken public confidence in the Liberal Party that has ruled since 1993. Prime Minister Paul Martin and the Liberals, meanwhile, will try to persuade voters that Conservatives and their leader Stephen Harper are too right-wing for Canada… The Liberals’ woes stem from what’s known in Canada as the sponsorship scandal–revelations that tens of millions of dollars intended for national unity programs in Quebec during the 1990s were mis-spent as political graft and kickbacks.”

The US Dollar and The Euro

The Russian newspaper, Pravda, reported on November 28: “The rate of the US currency may hit the all-time minimum in 2006: the dollar may drop to 1.38 dollars per one euro, Citigroup analysts said. According to this forecast, the US dollar is likely to lose 20 percent of its value during the forthcoming year.. .The majority of Russian specialists share the opinion of Citigroup experts. They say that the ongoing reduction of the euro value on the international market is not connected with the US economic progress, but has something to do with political problems in the European Union. Indeed, the euro rate decreased during the German elections and the French riots. Brushing those reasons aside, one may say that there are no significant reasons for the euro to slide in the future.”

Hurricane Season Ended?

The Associated Press wrote on November 30: “The record-breaking 2005 Atlantic hurricane season officially ends on Wednesday but don’t tell that to residents of Bermuda, where a last-minute tropical storm, Epsilon, could still cause dangerous surf conditions, forecasters said. Epsilon, the 26th named storm of the busiest hurricane season on record, formed Tuesday in the central Atlantic.”

The article continued:

“The Atlantic hurricane season lasts for six months… The hurricane season has been a record-breaker in several ways. It has seen the most storms on record, beating the previous record of 21 named storms set in 1933. It has scored the most hurricanes at 13, beating the previous record of 12 set in 1969. It has also seen the most Category 5 hurricanes, the top-ranked storms on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale of hurricane activity. Of the 3 Category 5 storms this year, Katrina devastated New Orleans and killed over 1,200 in Louisiana and Mississippi, Rita pounded the Texas-Louisiana border and Wilma briefly became the most powerful Atlantic hurricane on record before ravaging the Mexican resort area around Cancun.”

The article went on to explain:

“Epsilon followed closely on the heels of Tropical Storm Delta, which left hundreds of thousands without power in Spain’s Canary Islands on Tuesday and killed seven in and around the popular tourist destination before dissipating over Morocco. The last five named cyclones of the season have been named after letters in the Greek alphabet because the official list of storm names for 2005 was exhausted.”

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Would you please explain 2 Kings 5:17-19? Did Elisha permit the Syrian officer Naaman to worship idols in the pagan temple of Rimmon?

Some have used this passage to justify Christian participation in
pagan worship services. This is, however, not the meaning of 2 Kings
5:17-19, and the Bible, as a whole, clearly condemns such practices.
Before analyzing the passage in question, let us review what happened

Beginning in verse 1 of 2 Kings 5, we find that Naaman
was the commander of the army of the king of Syria, a great and
honorable man, but a leper. With the king’s permission, Naaman went to
Israel to be healed by the prophet Elisha from his leprosy. Elisha did
not meet with Naaman, but told him through a messenger to wash in the
Jordan River seven times, to become clean. Naaman had expected to see
Elisha personally and reacted with anger regarding Elisha’s injunction,
belittling the Jordan River in comparison with the mighty rivers of
Syria. His servants persuaded him to obey Elisha, and when he did, he
was healed from his leprosy. Naaman went to Elisha and offered him a
gift, which Elisha refused to accept. Naaman also said: “Indeed, now I
know that there is no other God in all the earth, except in Israel”
(verse 15). Requesting “two mule-loads of earth,” he explained: “…
your servant will no longer offer either burnt offering or sacrifice to
other gods, but to the LORD” (verse 17).

He then continued to
say: “Yet in this thing may the LORD pardon your servant: when my
master goes into the temple of Rimmon to worship there, and he leans on
my hand, and I bow down in the temple of Rimmon–when I bow down in the
temple of Rimmon, may the LORD please pardon your servant in this
thing” (verse 18). The record goes on to say, in verse 19: “Then he
[Elisha] said to him, ‘Go in peace.’ So he departed from him…”

Henry’s Commentary points out, correctly, that both requests of Naaman
are dubious, to say the least: “1. In one instance he over-did it, that
he would not only worship the God of Israel, but he would have clods of
earth out of the prophet’s garden… He that a while ago had spoken
very slightingly of the waters of Israel (v. 12) now is in another
extreme, and over-values the earth of Israel, supposing that an altar
of that earth would be most acceptable to him. 2. In another instance
he under-did it, that he reserved to himself the liberty to bow in the
house of Rimmon, in complaisance to the king his master, and according
to the duty of his place at court (v. 18)… If, in covenanting with
God, we make a reservation for any known sin, which we will continue to
indulge ourselves in, that reservation is a defeasance of his covenant.
We must cast away all our transgressions and not except any house of
Rimmon. If we ask for a dispensation to go on in any sin for the
future, we mock God, and deceive ourselves.”

The Broadman Bible
Commentary points out that Naaman’s “desire for dirt from Israel [was] closely linked to the common belief that gods were identified with the
land itself–an attitude that continued even in Israel for an
embarrassingly long period of time… Naaman’s second request dealt
with the necessity of accompanying his master when he worshipped
Rimmon… the god of storm and rain… Elisha apparently grants both

The Ryrie Study Bible concurs, stating that “Elisha
assured him that God would understand…” But did he? Did Elisha permit
Naaman to worship idols in the temple of Rimmon? If he did, why did he
do it? And, why did Elisha not clearly prohibit Naaman from doing so?

The New Bible Commentary: Revised points out the difficulty with this passage, by stating:

answer is non-committal, but it has given scholars all sorts of
problems in former generations, and even led to establishing an
artificial difference between true worship of the false god and joining
in the ritual act without any faith in the act.”

But such
“difference” is in fact only “artificial”–that is, without value or
accuracy. After all, Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 10:16-22: “The cup
of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of
Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body
of Christ? For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all
partake of that one bread. Observe Israel after the flesh: Are not
those who eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar? What am I
saying then? That an idol is anything, or what is offered to idols is
anything? Rather, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they
sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have
fellowship with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the
cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord’s table and of the table
of demons. Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than

As we explain on page 18 of our booklet, “Don’t Keep
,” Paul was referring here to the common religious practice of
many to incorporate pagan rituals in their worship of God. Paul
specifically prohibited true Church members to do that. We also note
that Daniel’s three friends refused to bow down before the image or
idol erected by King Nebuchadnezzar, and that they were willing to die
for their refusal to do so (compare Daniel 3).

We also read
Paul’s clear command in 2 Corinthians 6:16-17: “And what agreement has
the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living
God… Therefore, ‘Come out from among them And be separate, says the
Lord…'” Paul tells us to come out of pagan temples and forsake pagan
religious worship–not, to go into those temples and participate in
false religious ceremonies.

Why, then, did Elisha omit to give a similarly strongly-worded prohibition to Naaman?

the narrative, we should be able to see that Naaman was just at the
very beginning stage of understanding small portions of God’s truth.
Although he sounded sincere, he might have been one “who hears the word
and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself,
but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution
arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles” (Matthew
13:20-21). Even though, Naaman specifically requested of Elisha to
FORGIVE him his conduct of accompanying the king into the temple of
Rimmon and to bow down there with him. This means, Naaman seemed to
have understood that bowing down in front of an idol was wrong–even
though he would do it in compliance with his duties toward the king. A
modern-day example would be if we would accompany our employer into his
church and knelt down in front of the statue of a “saint.” No true
Christian should ever do this.

IF Elisha expressly permitted
Naaman to accompany his master into a pagan temple and to bow down
before a pagan idol, then, based on the clear instructions of the
Biblical record, such permission would have been against God’s perfect
Will. Many commentaries feel, however, that Elisha’s conduct cannot be
viewed as an express permission.

Jamieson, Fausset and Brown
state: “Elisha’s prophetic commission not extending to any but the
conversion of Israel from idolatry, he makes no remark, either
approving or disapproving, on the declared course of action, but simply
gives… the parting benediction.” Soncino concurs with this
understanding and adds that Elisha left the apparent inconsistency in
Naaman’s proposed conduct up to Naaman’s own judgment.

of how to view Elisha’s conduct in Naaman’s case, the Biblical teaching
for us today is very clear: True Christians must not participate in
pagan worship services, nor must they participate in “Christian”
services and activities which are derived from paganism. God
specifically prohibited ancient Israel, and He prohibits us today, to
inquire how the pagans worshipped their gods, and to adopt their
practices in our worship of the true God (compare Deuteronomy
12:29-32). As Paul very clearly explained: We CANNOT partake of the
Lord’s table and of the table of demons, as we would thereby have
fellowship with demons. To apply God’s prohibition to our day and age,
at least three obvious examples come to mind: A true Christian must not
bow down before the statue of an idol–regardless of what “Christian”
name might be given to that statue. He must not participate in the
celebration of religious holidays which are clearly derived from
paganism, such as Sunday, Christmas and Easter. And, he must not
partake of weekly “communion” in “Christian” churches which have
adopted most of their teachings from pagan beliefs and practices.

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

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Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

The German translation of our booklet, “God Is A Family,” (“Gott ist
eine Familie”) was finalized and completed, and will be placed soon on
our Websites. In addition to several German articles, we have posted
three more German booklets on our Websites (http://www.eternalgod.org/german/, www.globalchurchoofgod.co.uk, and http://www.churchofgodacf.ca/german), namely: “Deutschland in der
Prophezeiung” (“Germany in Prophecy”); “Evolution–ein Maerchen fuer
Erwachsene?” (“Evolution–a Fairy Tale for Adults?”) and “Die
Schluessel zur gluecklichen Ehe und Familie” (“The Keys to Happy
Marriages and Families”). We are presently working on the German
translation of our booklet, “Is God a Trinity?”

A new StandingWatch program on Christmas is scheduled to be recorded Friday December 2nd, 2005.

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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

©2024 Church of the Eternal God