Update 242


The Watchers

On May 6, 2006, Dave Harris will give the sermon, titled, “The Watchers.”

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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Flawed Governance

by Brian Gale (United Kingdom)

The local government elections have been taking place in the UK this week with the national government in some disarray. The Health Secretary was barracked to an alarming extent at the national nurses’ conference last week after making a statement that the National Health Service had just had its best ever year; the nurses felt otherwise and registered their disgust. The Home Secretary’s department had let out around 1,000 criminals who had been recommended for deportation after servicing their sentences, and yet the system had allowed them back into the community, some being murderers and rapists. The Deputy Prime Minister had been found having a two year affair with his diary secretary, with lurid details being printed in many newspapers. And this from a government that had promised to do much better than the previous administration, which itself had many difficulties with sleaze!

Of course, the UK is not the only nation to have such problems; it is a fact of life in all nations around the world. Democracy is much trumpeted as the way forward, and it was to bring peace and stability in Iraq. We are all too well aware what has happened in that nation. But in spite of the Bible clearly showing that being involved in the world is ungodly, a leading figure in the Anglican Church urged people to vote. As it is stated in our Update #76, of 17th Jan 2003: “Participating in voting for governmental elections shows a lack of appreciation for the Will of God. It also shows a misunderstanding of the fact that Satan rules this world, and that Christians are ambassadors of Christ, called to come out of this world to be separate.” Such understanding is lost on the world’s religions, including most of Christianity.

In November 1947, Sir Winston Churchill observed that “Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”

Democracy–in fact, man’s rule in general– is not the answer to the world’s problems. The only sure answer is the return of Jesus Christ to rule as the beneficent King of Kings and Lord of Lords. His return must surely be a part of our daily prayers. Do we regularly pray “Thy Kingdom Come”? If we do, then this surely shows where our focus is; if not, perhaps we ought to urgently review our prayer content.

When that wonderful time of Christ’s setting up the Kingdom of God on earth arrives, democracy will be a thing of the past; flawed leadership by flawed individuals will no longer be even considered and, with Christ ruling with fairness and equity, the perfect theocracy then in place will be appreciated by all the earth’s inhabitants.

God speed that day!

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America’s Ongoing Battle With Illegal Immigration

AFP reported on May 2:

“The US Senate will make a new attempt this month to agree on immigration reforms, a top Republican said after more than one million people demonstrated for immigrant rights. Senator Bill Frist said the upper chamber could consider the issue again in two weeks, after having failed in April to bridge broad differences over proposals to give 11.5 million illegal immigrants legal status. But Frist, leader of the Republican majority in the chamber, said he wanted the new legislation to concentrate on tightening border security against illegal entrants and not offer an amnesty to them.

“Huge protests in recent weeks by mainly Hispanic groups hit a new peak Monday with a one-day economic boycott and street protests across the United States, to back legislation offering illegal immigrants legal status. At least 600,000 people took part in two major rallies in Los Angeles–organizers claimed there were 1.5 million–and more than 400,000 others in Chicago. Hispanic groups also called a one day strike, for children to be withdrawn from school and a boycott of stores to show the economic weight of the immigrant community. ‘Today we march, tomorrow we vote and if they deport us we will jump over the border fence,’ chanted marchers in Los Angeles waving US and Mexican flags…”

The Associated Press added in its article of May 2 that “The impact on some school systems was significant. In the sprawling Los Angeles Unified School District, which is 73 percent Hispanic, about 72,000 middle and high school students were absent–roughly one in every four.”

AFP continued:

“Last week Bush met with senators seeking to squeeze out a compromise, but he met with strong resistance from members of his own Republican party who are facing elections in November and voters angered by the large number of illegal immigrants and the demonstrations on their behalf. Republican congressman Tom Tancredo told Fox television that the average American does not accept it when they see on the streets ‘people demanding that they have rights, that they should be entitled to things that other people [have] who have done it the right way … even though they snuck into the country.’ Even if the Senate comes to a compromise over the immigration issue, it will still have to square any measure with a hardline draft law already passed by the House of Representatives that would make illegal entry, and helping illegal immigrants, a crime.”

Whether the recent mass demonstrations by immigrants, “demanding” rights, actually helped or hurt their cause in the eye of the public, will have to be seen. That illegal immigrants play an important factor in America’s economy, cannot be denied. One is reminded of the biblical prophecy that in the end time, the foreigner and “the alien who is among you shall rise higher and higher above you, and you shall become lower and lower” (Deuteronomy 28:43). He will become more and more the “head” of the country (compare verse 44).

Showdown Over Iran?

The Associated Press reported on May 3:

“Britain and France introduced a U.N. Security Council resolution Wednesday that would be legally binding and set the stage for sanctions against Iran if it does not abandon uranium enrichment. Diplomats said they hoped the resolution, backed by the United States but opposed by China and Russia, will be adopted before a meeting of foreign ministers in New York next Monday. The resolution mandates that Iran ‘shall suspend all enrichment related and reprocessing activities’… The resolution also calls on Iran to stop construction of a heavy-water reactor…

“The resolution was written under Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter, which makes any demands mandatory and allows for the use of sanctions–and possibly force–if they are not obeyed. Any sanctions would require another resolution. That could set up a showdown with Russia and China, which are adamantly opposed to such a tough resolution and can veto any resolution because they are permanent members of the council… President Bush has refused to rule out military action in response to the Iranian nuclear standoff. When asked last month whether U.S. options regarding Iran ‘include the possibility of a nuclear strike’ if Tehran refuses to halt uranium enrichment, Bush replied, ‘All options are on the table.’ He stressed, however, the United States will continue to focus on diplomacy. The resolution was drafted by Britain, France and Germany, the three European Union nations that have led negotiations with Iran.”

The AFP reported on May 2 about Iran’s reaction to the anticipated resolution of the U.N. Security Council:

“Iranian Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki said earlier Tuesday there was no question–‘absolutely not’–of Iran suspending its uranium enrichment work, and he predicted China and Russia would block the threat of UN sanctions. ‘There is a very wrong assumption held by some that the West can do anything it wants through the Security Council,’ he told the hardline Tehran daily Kayhan.”

Events and developments like these will force Europe to unite in order to be able to speak with one voice and–when perceived necessary–to use pressure and force on others. for more information, please read our free booklet, “Europe in Prophecy.”

Europe Soon Islamic, Says Gadhafi

WorldNetDaily reported on May 3:

“Islam will take over Europe without violent force within a few decades, said Libyan Leader Moammar Gadhafi in a speech aired on the Arab satellite network Al Jazeera. ‘We have 50 million Muslims in Europe,’ Gadhafi said. ‘There are signs that Allah will grant Islam victory in Europe–without swords, without guns, without conquests. The 50 million Muslims of Europe will turn it into a Muslim continent within a few decades.’ If Turkey is added to the European Union, the Libyan leader said, Europe will have another 50 million Muslims. He pointed out Albania, a Muslim-majority country, and Bosnia, which is half Muslim, already have entered the EU. ‘Europe is in a predicament, and so is America,’ Gadhafi said. ‘They should agree to become Islamic in the course of time, or else declare war on the Muslims.’…

“Gadhafi emphasized Muslims view Muhammad the prophet not only of the Arabs or Muslims but ‘of all people.’ ‘He superseded all previous religions,’ Gadhafi said. ‘If Jesus were alive when Muhammad was sent, he would have followed him. All people must be Muslims.’ He said Christians believe Muhammad is not their prophet because their holy texts ‘are forged and call for hatred… In the Bible there are things that are inappropriate for both Jesus and Moses. If we want to mend the state of humanity, and live in a global village, because of the globalization, we must search for the true Bible, because the Bible that exists today is a forgery. Today’s Bible does not mention Muhammad, whereas our Lord’s Bible mentions Muhammad repeatedly.'”

These telling blasphemous remarks should wake up everybody as to the Islamic understanding pertaining to God’s Holy Word, the Bible. It is that very Word of God–the Holy Scriptures–which predict that Muslims will not take over Europe “with peaceful means.” There are however indications that certain Muslim countries will try to do so with violent means.

It CAN Be Done!

The Associated Press reported on May 2:

“With gasoline prices at historic highs in the United States and some other Western countries, Saudi King Abdullah issued a decree Sunday lowering domestic gasoline prices by about 25 percent immediately. According to a government statement, the decrease was to reach 30 percent by year’s end. The drop in prices means Saudis now will be paying 60 halalahs per liter of regular gasoline, or about 60 U.S. cents a gallon. The price of super drops to about 76 U.S. cents a gallon… The statement said the king issued the decree to ease the ‘cost of living burden on Saudi citizens.’ The big reduction in gasoline prices in the world’s largest oil producing nation was announced as prices in oil importing nations reached record levels and oil company profits soared to all-time highs. The price of a gallon of regular gasoline in the United States now is above U.S. $3 in some regions.”

Many Americans and Europeans wonder how their governments are going to deal–if at all–with the ever-growing crisis of high gas prices. “Wouldn’t it be nice” if they could just order the gas companies and gas stations to lower them? But this is perhaps wishful thinking in competitive and profit-driven societies and free markets such as ours. However, if a charismatic leader in Europe were to arise to promise and enforce solutions like Saudi King Abdullah has done, wouldn’t people follow him? The Bible says that such a man will arise, and that the people will support him. Sadly, the end of the matter will be worse than its beginning.

Germany and Russia–Friendship or Association By Necessity?

Der Spiegel Online reported on April 27:

“Are Germany and Russia still friends? After the Thursday meeting between Merkel and Putin, some aren’t so sure. And Russia continues to pine for superpower status.”

The magazine pointed out: 

“On Thursday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Siberian town of Tomsk for what she has described as ‘open and intensive’ discussions — a diplomatic way of saying that the warm and fuzzy relationship the two countries enjoyed under ex-German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder [has] become slightly cooler and more prickly. Moscow has departed from the policies of Germany and other EU nations by speaking out in defense of Hamas — which it has recognized as the legitimate Palestinian government at a moment when the USA and the EU are deeply concerned over its anti-Israel policies — and by avoiding a firm stance on Iran’s nuclear development program. Most importantly for Germany, however, concern is growing over recent developments in natural gas trade, with Russian energy giant Gazprom stating that it wants to diversify its markets by trading with China and Canada. Gazprom has also mentioned it would like natural gas prices to rise for Germany and other EU nations, who are strongly dependent on Russian energy resources.”

In a related article of April 27, the magazine wrote:

“Germany’s buddy-buddy days with Russia are over. During her visit this week to Russia, long suppressed differences of opinion between Berlin and Moscow have been placed on the front burner.”

The magazine continued:

“With Merkel in office, German-Russian ties have become decidedly business-like, even cool. They have, however, remained reliable. This can be chalked up to reality. Annual trade worth €32 billion dampens the inclination to publicly read Moscow the riot act. And the question of whether E.On obtains a 50 percent share in a project to develop the massive Yuzhno-Russkoye gas field — which would have been unimaginable 15 years ago — is a more important question for Germany these days than whether or not one should appear publicly with Hamas ministers… Russia seems to be keen to avoid needless irritations as well. On Wednesday, Putin promised ‘dependable delivery’ of energy supplies to Germany and other countries. At the same time, he said Russian companies had an interest in taking part in further production of energy in other nations. And the chancellor made a point of noting that Russia had reliably exported oil and gas to Germany for the past 40 years. ‘I assume that will continue to be the case,’ she said.”

The Bible predicts that at the very end, Europe and Russia will become enemies, as they were in times past. But, in the meantime, a temporary truce between the two power blocs will most likely be maintained.

Even Iraq’s Oil Revenues A Disaster

Der Spiegel wrote on May 1:

“The British and the Americans are guarding Iraq’s Persian Gulf oil platforms — the troubled country’s only real sources of revenue — like crown jewels. But Iraqi oil is flowing sluggishly at best, while hoped-for investments haven’t materialized and the Iraqi oil industry is on the verge of collapse — both technical and political.”

The article continued:

“To this day, many Iraqis see the West’s interest in Iraqi oil as the real reason behind the 2003 US-led invasion. However, a look at the actual state of the oil sector three years after coalition forces marched into the country calls this view into question. It isn’t as though the occupying powers haven’t tried to secure control over Iraqi oil. Heavy new security nets hang down into the sea from the rusty frame of the Basra platform, which dates from the 1970s. Heavy gun emplacements have been set up, and about 100 American and Iraqi soldiers are permanently stationed on the platform… A US destroyer and several coast guard vessels patrol a two-kilometer perimeter around each of the terminals, while ships operated by the fledgling Iraqi navy are stationed farther out. Their mission is to escort the incoming supertankers operated by international shipping companies to their berths where, depending on their size, they spend up to two or three days being tanked. It’s a dangerous amount of time, but the platform crews take as many precautions as possible — the result of previous attacks.”

Under the headline, “A Disaster Waiting to Happen,” the article continued:

“Before the Iraq war, Mohammed Said, then manager of the Subeir pumping station 250 kilometers (155 miles) inland, warned against an environmental catastrophe in the Persian Gulf. He claimed that the pipelines, installed in the 1960s and 1970s, were full of holes and had defective valves, and that a reserve basin for emergencies was nonexistent. ‘Whenever a tanker docks at the offshore terminal and I start up the pump, I pray to God that nothing happens,’ he says… But to this day, three years after the invasion and the lifting of UN sanctions against Iraq, there has been no significant improvement in the condition of these facilities. The Southern Oil Company’s (SOC) ailing equipment continues to operate on the verge of collapse…

“Even today, there would hardly be any reserve tanks available in the event of a leak in the underwater pipelines or an accident on the platform. After the war, the US government awarded repair contracts worth more than $10 billion to companies like oil multinational Halliburton — and yet the central Subeir pumping station is still marked by deep craters once occupied by tanks with holding capacities of up to 33,000 cubic meters (about 1.2 million cubic feet). The Hamden Junction south of Basra, formerly the point of control for the flow of oil to the two terminals, is out of order… Experts describe the condition of the oil wells themselves in even more dramatic terms…

“The failure of the Southern Oil Company is politically explosive material in Iraq’s ethnically and religiously heated climate. In February, the company’s 15,000 workers and engineers sent an urgent letter to Baghdad, in which they accused the government of ‘deliberately’ neglecting their company. ‘Our company,’ the letter read, ‘has the world’s largest oil reserves — but we have yet to find someone who will listen to us.’ The regime in Baghdad, the oil company employees wrote, even spent months blocking the decision to lease a pair of new, more powerful tugboats so that large oil tankers could be safely guided into the terminals in rough weather.”

American Hiroshima Inevitable?

On April 28, WorldNetDaily filed the following report:

“Al-Qaida has already obtained nuclear suitcase weapons from the Russian black market, weapons tested in Afghanistan in 2000, and they may have already been forward-deployed inside the U.S., according to the only journalist to interview Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri in the wake of Sept. 11. Last week, Hamid Mir’s credibility skyrocketed when he accurately predicted… the imminent release of a new recorded communiqué from bin Laden through al-Jazeera, the Arabic TV network. Two days later, bin Laden’s tape was the focus of international news coverage. ‘If you think that my information and analysis about bin Laden’s location is correct,’ said Hamid Mir, ‘then please don’t underestimate my analysis about his nuclear threat also.’ Mir said that he met with an Egyptian engineer last week who lost an eye after one of bin Laden’s nuclear tests in the Kunar province of Pakistan. The Pakistani journalist said the encounter with the engineer greatly disturbed and depressed him since it provided further assurance that a nuclear nightmare for America is about to dawn. Mir believes that an ‘American Hiroshima’ will occur as soon as the U.S. launches an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities. ‘Al-Qaida and Iran,’ he says, ‘have a long, secret relationship.’ ‘American Hiroshima’ is the name al-Qaida leaders chose for their long-planned nuclear attack on the U.S.”

The article continued:

“Mir’s position that al-Qaida’s nuclear weapons may have already been forward-deployed to the United States confirms the report of Sharif al-Masri, a key al-Qaida operative who was arrested in Pakistan in November 2000. Al Masri… said that al-Qaida had made arrangements to smuggle nuclear weapons and supplies to Mexico. From Mexico, he said, the weapons were to be transported across the border and into the United States with the help of a Latino street gang. Mir also maintains that numerous sleeper agents are in place in major cities throughout the United States to prepare for the nuclear holocaust. Many of these agents, he says, are Algerians and Chechens who obtained European passports and are posing as Christian and Jews. He further says that many of these agents have been in the United States since bin Laden’s issuance of his ‘Declaration of War on Americans Occupying the Country of the Two Holy Places.’ That fatwa was issued Aug. 23, 1996.”

Sadly, the Bible is very clear that ultimately a nuclear war will be fought against America and also Great Britain. For more information, please read our free booklets, “The Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord” and “The Fall and Rise of Britain and America.”

The New Pope

On April 27, 2006, CWNews.com stated the following:

“The interaction between the Successor of Peter and the people of his native country will be exciting, German journalist Peter Seewald has predicted… ‘He has far surpassed’ even the most optimistic expectations, Seewald said… Since the papal election Ratzinger’s image has changed radically. He is now ‘the most powerful German of all times. But he does not represent an imperialistic power or a misanthropic ideology; instead he stands exclusively for positive things like love, peace, and solidarity.’

“What sort of effect is the German Pope having on his native land? ‘Ratzinger will surely continue to be controversial,’ Seewald said. ‘But ever since we have had a better view of him, people from every possible school of thought have become interested in what this man has to communicate.’… Meanwhile in Germany one finds ‘not only a heightened interest in religion, but also phenomena such as the fading-away of the old, deeply-engrained “anti-Roman” bias, a decrease in the number of those who leave the Catholic Church [to avoid the church tax levied by the government on members], and an increase in re-registrations’, the journalist noted… ‘Many Protestants, too, are beginning to like the Pope,’ Seewald said.”

The influence of the pope will increase. Even non-Catholic religions will accept him more and more. And this will, in turn, make the Catholic religion the most powerful religion in the world. For more information, please read our free booklet, “Europe in Prophecy.”

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Why do you teach that only members of God's Church, who have been properly baptized, should partake of the symbols of bread and wine during the annual New Testament Passover service?

The Church’s teaching is based on numerous principles and implications, as revealed in Scripture.

The Old Testament demands that no one who is uncircumcised is to participate at the Passover (Exodus 12:48). Even though physical circumcision is no longer a requirement for New Testament Christians, they are to be circumcised spiritually (Colossians 2:11-12; Romans 2:26-29). This can only occur through the indwelling Holy Spirit, which God gives us after proper baptism. And so, we read that Christ’s disciples had been baptized (even though, in the extraordinary case of the eleven apostles, they had not yet received the Holy Spirit–they would receive it, however, on the Day of Pentecost).

We explain this often-overlooked fact that the Twelve Apostles HAD been baptized prior to the Passover, on pages 4 and 5 of our booklet, “Baptism–A Requirement for Salvation“, under the section, “Were the Twelve Apostles Baptized?”: “… it does appear that some, if not most, of the apostles had been disciples of John the Baptist and had already been baptized by John—a baptism of repentance (compare Mark 1:4). As we discussed earlier, repentance is one of the necessary requirements for receiving God’s Holy Spirit, but it is not the only one. As such, the baptism of John—a baptism of repentance—was not sufficient to receive the Holy Spirit. Later, however, Jesus also baptized—through His disciples—as we read in John 3:22: ‘After these things Jesus and His disciples came into the land of Judea, and there He remained with them and baptized.’ John 4:1–3 adds: ‘Therefore, when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John (though Jesus Himself did not baptize, but His disciples), He left Judea and departed again to Galilee.'”

Note that while the explanation cited from John 4 specifically addresses the disciples baptized through the work of Jesus Christ’s ministry, we are not told the details surrounding the baptism of the twelve apostles and other leaders (for instance, the seventy who were sent out by Jesus to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom of God; compare Luke 10:1-24). We do know that John the Baptist testified that, “‘…I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire'” (Luke 3:16). The baptism of John was a different baptism than that of Jesus Christ!

We also see that Jesus Himself was baptized: “Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him” (Matthew 3:13). In this action, Jesus set an example for all who would follow Him–we know that this was done by Jesus as a pattern for those who would believe in Him and that He committed no sin requiring repentance (1 Peter 2:22).

At the beginning of His ministry, we might think that Jesus may have accepted those baptized by John without them also being baptized by Him, but Scripture points to a different conclusion. It is not revealed
that all of the apostles were even baptized by John or his disciples – although some or even most undoubtedly were – because Jesus chose His apostles from different walks of life! Consider, too, that
Paul, when finding some disciples at Ephesus who were baptized through John the Baptist’s work, had them baptized again – that new baptism was specifically “in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 19:5). Following that baptism, these disciples received the Holy Spirit (Acts 19:6) – something that never occurred in John’s ministry with the exception of Jesus Christ – and that was symbolic (Matthew 3:16).
Jesus already had God’s Holy Spirit, because He was brought forth by the Holy Spirit of His Father! (Compare Luke 1:35. See also John 3:34, Authorized Version).

Therefore, continuing to quote from our booklet on baptism: “It is safe to assume, then, before Christ’s
disciples baptized others, Christ had already baptized them. This is not to say that baptized people received the Holy Spirit at that time. The Holy Spirit was only given to Christ’s disciples on the Day of
Pentecost (Acts 1:15; 2:1–4). However, Scripture indicates that those who received the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost had been baptized. This assumption is supported by Christ’s statement to Peter in John 13. During the last Passover meal, prior to His death, Christ began to wash the feet of His disciples, showing them that He loved them and that He was willing to do everything for them, including washing their feet—a menial task that was usually assigned to the lowest servant. When He came to wash Peter’s feet, Peter said to Him: ‘You shall never wash my feet!’ (John 13:8). Christ explained to him that He had to wash Peter’s feet or else he would have no part with Christ. Peter then responded by saying: ‘Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!’ (John 13:8–9). At that moment, Christ replied, ‘He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you’ (John 13:10).

“This conversation is full of meaning and there is much to be gleaned from it. While proper baptism is to be done only once in a person’s life, the foot-washing ceremony at Passover time is to be repeated year by year. Thus we show that we are continuously willing to obtain forgiveness of the sins we commit after
baptism, and we show that we are willing to humble ourselves in our desire to help others go the same way toward perfection that we are going. We are not better than others. We are to serve others in whatever way we can.

“Christ told Peter that he and the other disciples (except Judas) were clean, since they had been bathed. We read in Titus 3:5 that God saves us ‘through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit.’ We are also told that we are ‘cleansed’ or ‘made clean’ from our old sins (2 Peter 1:9). At baptism, our bodies are ‘washed with pure water’ (Hebrews 10:22), figuratively ‘washing away’ our sins (Acts 22:16). Christ’s statement to Peter and the other apostles that they had been bathed and were clean (except Judas who would betray Him) strongly implies that they had already been baptized in anticipation of receiving the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost (John 20:22; Acts 1:8; Luke 24:49).”

As mentioned above, Christ told Peter and the other apostles, when He proceeded to wash their feet during the Passover evening, that they had been “bathed” – that is, they had been baptized (John 13:10). The commentary of Jamieson, Fausset and Brown points out that the term, “who is bathed” [or “washed” in the Authorized Version] means, in “this thorough sense, to express which the word is carefully changed to one meaning to wash ‘as in a bath.'” In regard to Christ’s subsequent statement that the one who is bathed only needs to wash his feet, the same commentary points out that “the former word [for washing, not bathing] is resumed, meaning just to wash hands or feet.”

It has been the long-standing teaching of the Church that Christ waited, until Judas Iscariot had left, before He changed the Old Testament symbol of a Passover lamb to the New Testament symbols of (unleavened) bread and (red) wine. The obvious reason for Judas’ exclusion from participation of the New Testament symbols of bread and wine was that Judas had not been PROPERLY baptized–his entire lifestyle and conduct showed that he did not have GODLY repentance. Judas was not qualified to participate in the new symbols–although he was present for the Passover meal and the footwashing.

The symbols of bread and wine did not apply to Judas:
“‘He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him'” (John 6:56). Note that after Jesus gave Judas the “dipped” piece of bread (which was not the same as the bread representative of Christ, but it was just a part of the Passover meal, compare Psalm 41:9), “Satan entered him” (John 13:27). Judas left following the traditional Passover meal and the footwashing but before the institution of the symbols of the bread and wine.

Robertson’s Harmony of the Gospels, page 193 ff, states, too, that Christ instituted the new symbols AFTER Judas had left. But Robertson indicates on p. 195 that “Luke seems to be departing from the order of Mark (and Matthew) and mentions the institution of the [symbols] earlier in the evening. It
seems best to follow the chronology of Mark, who places it after the departure of Judas.”

However, a careful analysis of the records of Matthew, Mark and Luke shows that there is no inconsistency. We read in Luke 22:21 that Christ said, at the time of the institution of the New Testament symbols of bread and wine, that “the hand of My betrayer is with Me on the table.” This gives the impression that Judas was still present at that time. Note, however, that the word “is” is not in the original. No verb is used here and must be supplied. Therefore, the phrase can also be properly translated, “The hand of My betrayer was with Me on the table,” or, “had been with Me on the table,” allowing for Judas’ departure BEFORE the New Testament symbols of bread and wine were introduced.

When comparing all four Gospel accounts, we find the following chronology of events:

(1) Christ institutes the footwashing, as described in John 13. Even though verse 2 reads, in the New King James Bible, that “supper being ended,” this is not the best translation. According to the commentary of
Jamieson, Fausset and Brown, this must be translated as, “supper being prepared, being served or going on, for that it was not ‘ended’ is plain from verse 26.” Most translations concur, rendering this phrase,
“during supper” or “at supper.”

(2) Judas leaves after the footwashing (John 13:26-29), but before Jesus institutes the symbols of bread and wine (which are not mentioned in the Gospel of John).

(3) Jesus institutes the New Testament symbols of bread and wine, as described in Matthew 26:26-29. Verse 26 should be translated: “After they had eaten…” or, as Ronald Knox conveys the intended meaning in his rendition: “And while they were still at table…” Compare Luke 22:20, pointing out that Christ gave the wine to the disciples “AFTER supper.” John 13:18-30 discusses the events at the beginning of, or during the Passover meal. The events in Matthew 26:26-29 occur later – when the meal is drawing to its close or has already ended. At that time, Judas had already left.

Since no one was allowed, in Old Testament times, to partake of the Passover, unless he was circumcised, and since Christians are to be circumcised spiritually, in the heart, by and through the Holy Spirit dwelling in them after proper baptism, it has been the Church’s teaching that only properly baptized members of the spiritual body of Christ – the Church – are to partake of the annual symbols of unleavened bread and red wine, to reflect on the suffering and death of Jesus Christ. This teaching is supported by the fact that Jesus waited until Judas had left them, before He introduced the New Testament symbols of bread and wine.

Lead Writers: Norbert Link and Dave Harris

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Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

A new StandingWatch program, with a new introduction and ending, has been posted on the Web, titled, “What Concerns Americans Most?”

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All or None!!!

by John Amorelli

New Jersey – the Mecca
for extravaganza wedding parties and entertainment in the wedding arena
scene! I was part of that wedding scene. Playing bass
and singing in a top notch wedding band that played the tri-state
area. The income was good, very good. There were times when
I thought that I could do this as a full time job. “Just think”,
I said to myself, “I could do this full time and not have to do the
routine nine to five day job.” I was even contemplating not
working as a massage therapist any longer. During the week, I
would be taking it easy and on the weekends I would be playing
weddings. Then something happened. Something big happened! I was
introduced to the Truth. I would be playing weddings (now this
included Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights). I started to feel
that something wasn’t right regarding playing on the Sabbath. As
God opened my eyes to the Truth, I started to realize that He was
trying to tell me something. God was revealing to me that
the Sabbath was His Day.

It finally got to the point where I had
to tell my band leader I could not play on Friday nights because of the
Sabbath. I asked him if I could play only on Saturday and Sunday
evenings and have a replacement for me on Friday nights. He
responded with, “ALL OR NONE!” So, there was no deal. I
eventually left the band. I was scared because I would lose a
major part of my income. “How will I pay the rent, bills,
etc…?” My massage income was not enough to survive on.

worked it out!! With fervent prayer, God has rewarded me with
increased income in my massage therapy business. I had sacrificed
playing in a top-notch wedding band every weekend with great income,
and reaped God’s blessings. We must not compromise with
God’s laws. We must give Him our ALL. We must have an attitude of
ALL OR NONE in our spiritual lives, and He will give us ALL His

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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