Update 252


Satan's Continual Attack on the Family of Man

On July 15, 2006, Edwin Pope will give the sermon, titled, “Satan’s Continual Attack on the Family of Man.”

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 Family of Man vs. The Family of God

by Edwin Pope

Before sitting at my computer to write this editorial, I decided to
catch the mid-day national and international news on television. There
was a breaking story in Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay), India. Eight
(8) bombs had been set off on trains in Mumbai with the result that
hundreds of people were either killed or injured!

It seems no
matter where one looks today, turmoil is erupting somewhere in the
world. The United States and Britain, as well as other nations, are at
war in Iraq; and within the country of Iraq, factions have erupted into
civil war. The Gaza Strip has become a powder keg as emotions between
Israel and Palestine are about to burst. Iran continues to cause
concern for all peace-loving nations. And there seems to be no peace
anywhere within the Middle East. In fact, we are presently witnessing an outright war in that region.

And now, Korea has begun flexing
its muscles, causing anxiety throughout that part of the world, with
Japan, China, and South Korea all being put on alert by the actions of
the North Koreans.

What is happening within the family of man? Why does there seem to be no peace on the earth? Where did this all begin?

God created mankind some 6,000 years ago, He explained to the original
human parents of all mankind the Way that would lead to peace in the
world. But Adam and Eve chose at that time to reject God’s instruction,
choosing, rather, to walk in the way of “good and evil.” Thus, having
rejected the Way of peace, mankind has reaped the fruit of their
choice! The history of mankind reflects the result that was derived
from their choice!

As prophesied, mankind finds himself on the
brink of total annihilation. Many see no hope for the future of
mankind. Yet, the Eternal God has a totally different idea for the
future – a specific and glorious purpose for man’s destiny!

is in the process of building and enlarging His own Family through
which the creation will be preserved into the future. God the Father
will build His own Family on the foundation already laid by the first
of the firstfruits of God’s Family, Jesus Christ. Jesus became the
chief cornerstone of a foundation of strength, based upon the
principles God has established whereby all must live. It is the same
foundation which was rejected in the beginning by Adam and Eve!

have been called to become firstfruits within God’s Family. We must be
walking in the Way Christ walked while on the earth – He being the
First of the firstfruits! We are to learn of that Way as we prepare to
become future sons and daughters in that Family of God.

Will we
be diligent in following that Way? It is possible through the power of
God’s Holy Spirit of which we received an earnest payment following our
baptism and the laying on of hands of God’s ministry! We must never
reject that Spirit and, as David did, we should be praying that God
will not take His Holy Spirit from us! In fact, we should be asking Him
for more of His Spirit, which He says He will give us if we ask in
faith! It is through that power working within us that we will enter
the Kingdom as born-again members of the Family of God!

We must
not fail in this calling as we grow from being members of the family of
man to become members of the Family of God! If we are faithful, we will
be changed to become as Christ is – at the seventh trump!

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More Turmoil in the Middle East

AFP reported on July 12, 2006:

“Israel has invaded southern Lebanon in a ground and air assault to retrieve two soldiers snatched by Hezbollah, the first such assault into the country since a 2000 pullout. The capture, in an attack on an army outpost on the volatile Lebanese border, opened a new front in the Middle East after the capture of another Israeli soldier by Palestinians two weeks ago plunged the region into chaos. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said the abduction amounted to an act of war, held the government in Beirut fully responsible, and vowed no negotiations, as aircraft and artillery pounded Hezbollah targets in southern Lebanon.

“Hezbollah, whose Shiite militia was instrumental in forcing Israeli troops out of Lebanon six years ago and which is sponsored by Israel’s arch-foes Syria and Iran, demanded the release of Arab prisoners in exchange for the soldiers. The morning raid and abduction came amid intense cross-border exchanges in which at least four civilians were wounded in northern Israel and another four in south Lebanon, including a correspondent of Hezbollah television. Two Lebanese civilians were later killed and five others wounded as the Israelis mounted their incursion, Lebanese police said.”

The article continued:

“Defence Minister Amir Peretz confirmed the soldiers were captured in an operation along Israel’s northern border… As soon as news of the capture was announced, celebratory gunfire erupted across Beirut’s southern suburbs — a Hezbollah stronghold. Some residents were also seen distributing sweets to passing motorists… The return of Israeli troops to the Gaza Strip last week has already evoked painful memories of the army’s disastrous 1982 invasion of Lebanon where soldiers became bogged down in a deadly quagmire before finally leaving… In an interview, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said his mediation efforts for Shalit’s release had been sabotaged by an unnamed party. In the remarks published Wednesday, Mubarak said he had reached a deal with Israel for ‘a large number of prisoners’ to be released but added that Hamas came under fresh pressure and the mediation was scuppered… Israel has so far refused to negotiate and launched a large-scale operation against the Gaza Strip, killing more than 60 Palestinians in the past 10 days and pounding the territory’s infrastructure.”

Der Spiegel Online added the following on July 13:

“After the kidnapping of two of its soldiers, Israel is cutting Lebanon off from the outside world with an air, land and sea blockade, Israeli army radio announced Thursday. Bombing raids continue after both Beirut airport and a suburb of the Lebanese capital were targeted causing at least 27 civilian casualties. Conflict in the Middle East intensified Thursday as Israel announced it would completely blockade Lebanon and continue bombing raids until two kidnapped Israeli soldiers are released. At least 27 civilians died in a night of bombing, with scores more injured as Israel flew more than 40 bombing raids over Lebanon… The Israeli Navy has entered Lebanese waters while flights have been halted into and out of Beirut’s only international airport. It is the biggest show of Israeli force in Lebanon since the 1982 invasion…

“During the night and early morning Israel carried out an aerial bombardment of southern Lebanon. According to police, ten members of a family were killed when their house was hit by a bomb: the dead included eight children. According to AFP at least 27 civilians died during a night of attacks. The Israeli army confirmed it had flown around 40 raids. The army is targeting hidden caches of Hezbollah weapons and munitions and targeted Beirut airport because, according to the army, it ‘is a central hub for the transfer of weapons and supplies to the Hezbollah terrorist organization.’… Meanwhile, the Israeli army has also stepped up its operation in the Gaza Strip. The office of the Palestinian foreign minister there was bombed Wednesday night and ten children were injured, doctors at the El-Schifa hospital said. According to eyewitnesses the children lived in houses near to the office. Nearby apartments were badly damaged by the blast.”

CNN.com added on Thursday, July 13, that “Israeli forces struck Beirut’s international airport for the second time Thursday, hitting fuel tanks that exploded into fireballs. The attack came soon after two rockets struck the northern Israeli port of Haifa on a day of spiraling violence and deepening crisis. Israel Defense Forces said the Haifa rockets came from Lebanon and blamed the strike on Hezbollah, whose guerrillas triggered the violence when they attacked inside Israel on Wednesday, killing eight Israeli soldiers and capturing two more.”

The EU Flexes Its Muscles

AFP reported on July 12:

“The European Commission has slapped Microsoft with a new fine of 280.5 million euros for failing to fully respect a 2004 antitrust ruling, but the software giant vowed to appeal. Raising the pressure on the US software giant, the European Union competition watchdog also threatened additional fines of three million euros (3.82 million dollars) a day from the end of the month if the company continued to defy the ruling. EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said that more than two years since the decision was handed down she now had ‘no alternative’ than to impose new fines, on top of a nearly half-billion-euro penalty in the original ruling… ‘No company is above the law, each and every company, large or small, operating in the European Union must obey EU law, including competition law for the benefit of all companies and consumers.’… After a five-year investigation, Kroes’ predecessor Mario Monti took the commission’s biggest competition decision ever in ruling that Microsoft had broken EU law by using a quasi-monopoly in personal computer operating systems to thwart rivals… In addition to fining Microsoft, the EU ordered the company to sell a version of its Windows operating system without Media Player software and to divulge information on Windows needed by makers of rival products.”

In a somewhat related matter, The Associated Press reported on July 12:

“The EU head office on Wednesday proposed to legislate price controls on the cost of using a mobile phone abroad, saying network operators make “excessive” profits on roaming calls and have systematically ignored appeals to moderate their prices… EU Information Society Commissioner Viviane Reding said the roaming rates bill she has drafted tackles ‘one of the last borders within Europe’s internal market… For years, mobile roaming charges have remained at unjustifiably high levels, in spite of repeated warnings to the industry,’ she said. ‘I am convinced reducing roaming charges will not only be beneficial for citizens traveling within the EU, but will also enhance the competitiveness of Europe’s industry…. [A] local call in Poland costs euro 0.19, but on a non-Polish cellphone it costs from euro 0.34 to euro 2.56 per minute. While a local call in Italy costs an Italian customer euro 0.10, that same call will cost a French customer euro 0.50 to euro 1.18 per minute.”

Bush Administration in More Trouble?

AFP reported on July 10, 2006:

“The Bush administration concealed at least one ‘major’ intelligence operation from Congress in possible violation of the law and briefed lawmakers only after they had learned about it from independent sources, a ranking congressman said. The charge by Republican Representative Peter Hoekstra, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, calls into question repeated assurances by President George W. Bush and his top aides that they strictly comply with disclosure requirements. They also follow allegations the administration may have acted illegally by authorizing wiretaps on American citizens in the wake of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks without requisite court warrants… US law requires that the intelligence panels of both the Senate and the House of Representatives be informed of the government’s intelligence activities.”

Bush Defends Putin

Der Spiegel Online reported on July 7:

“Ahead of his trip to the G8 summit in St. Petersburg later this month, US President George Bush has warned against publicly criticizing his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on contentious issues.”

The article continued:

“Bush still considers Putin a friend despite ongoing US-Russian tensions, the US leader said in a recent television [interview] with news channel CNN. At the same time, he said admonishing the Russian president in public on matters of concern such as democracy and human rights would be counterproductive… Bush will meet with Putin on July 15-16 for a Group of Eight (G8) gathering of the world’s leading industrial nations in the Russian leader’s hometown St. Petersburg, Russia. The summit comes at a time of harsh exchanges between US and Russian officials, including US Vice President Dick Cheney’s comments in May that Putin was bullying Russia’s neighbors with energy sources and hurting the domestic development of democracy.

“More recently, Russia has opposed a UN Security Council resolution backed by the United States that would impose sanctions on North Korea for its missile tests. But Bush said he has a good relationship with Putin despite all of the disagreements. ‘I don’t understand some of the decisions he’s made, but my relationship is such that I’m able to express that concern and listen carefully as to why he does what he does,’ he said in the CNN interview… Bush likely has some sympathy for Putin, since the US president has been subjected to public criticism in recent years like few other leaders ever have.”

President Bush in Germany–His Lonely Arrival

On July 13, Der Spiegel Online wrote the following about President Bush’s short visit in Germany: “The airport of the Baltic Sea port town Rostock has probably never received as prominent a visitor as US President George W. Bush, who arrived in Germany Wednesday night. But amid heavy security hardly anyone was there to see Bush and his wife Laura land.”

The article continued:

“The airport had been closed off. The president’s audience consisted only of Secret Service agents and the journalists on the specially set up press podium… Meanwhile the town of Trinwillershagen is preparing for its great night in a relatively relaxed manner. True, there are vehicle controls at the entrance to the town — which has 770 inhabitants — but beyond the checkpoint everything is fully accessible, including the inn where Merkel and Bush will have their barbecue along with 50 hand-picked guests on Thursday evening.”

Has World War III Begun?

The New York Daily News reported on July 9:

“Last week’s headlines prove the point: North Korea fires missiles, Iran talks of nukes again, Iraq carnage continues, Israel invades Gaza, England observes one-year anniversary of subway bombing. And, oh, yes, the feds stop a plot to blow up tunnels under the Hudson River. World War III has begun. It’s not perfectly clear when it started. Perhaps it was after the Berlin Wall fell and the Cold War ended. Perhaps it was the first bombing of the World Trade Center, in 1993. What is clear is that this war has a long fuse and, while we are not in the full-scale combat phase that marked World Wars I and II, we seem to be heading there. The expanding hostilities mean it’s time to give this conflict a name, one that focuses the mind and clarifies the big picture. The war on terror, or the war of terror, has tentacles that reach much of the globe. It is a world war…

“I sound pessimistic because I am. Even worse than the problems is the fact that our political system is failing us. Democratic Party leaders want to pretend we can declare peace and everything will be fine, while President Bush is out of ideas. Witness Bush now counseling patience and diplomacy on North Korea. This from a man who scorned both for five years. But what choice does he have now that the pillars of his post-9/11 foreign policy are crumbling?… I believed Iraq was the key, that if we prevailed there, momentum would shift in our favor. Now I’m not sure. We still must prevail there, but Iraq could mean nothing if Iran or Bin Laden get the bomb or North Korea uses one.”

President Bush Defends Israel

The Associated Press reported on July 13:

“President Bush said Thursday that Israel has the right to defend itself as it launched fresh attacks on Lebanon after the capture of Israeli soldiers. Bush, visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel en route later in the week to a summit of world leaders in Russia, laid the blame for the escalation of violence along the border on Hezbollah, whose guerrillas mounted a cross-border raid earlier in the week and captured the two soldiers. He also said that Syria ‘needs to be held to account’ for supporting and harboring Hezbollah… Merkel appealed for restraint from both sides. But she suggested they do not share equal blame, repeatedly noting that the violence began with the soldiers’ capture… Bush was pressed on whether Israel’s military assaults, which have killed nearly three dozen civilians, could trigger a wider war. He tempered his strong support for Israel by saying his ‘biggest concern’ was that the attacks could weaken the Lebanese government led by Prime Minister Fuad Saniora and make it harder for the fledgling democracy movement there to continue to grow.”

The Jerusalem Post reported on July 13 that “Greece on Thursday expressed ‘serious concern’ over Israeli attacks in Lebanon, and urged neighboring countries to show restraint… Greece has traditionally close ties with Arab countries but has also recently improved relations with Israel.”

The article in The Associated Press continued:

“On Iran, both Bush and Merkel declined to take a hard line against Tehran, which has defied appeals from the United States, Germany and other nations to provide an answer by Wednesday on whether it would accept a package of incentives to halt uranium enrichment. The United States and other permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, along with Germany and the European Union, have agreed to raise Iran’s behavior at the Security Council for possible punishment.”

Southern California Wildfire

The Associated Press reported on July 13 about a huge wildfire which was caused by lightning and finds fuel in many dead trees killed by beetle infestation:

“A huge wildfire was edging toward San Bernardino National Forest Thursday, worrying fire officials that it could grow rapidly and get close to the resort community of Big Bear Lake and add to the nearly 100 structures it had already devoured. The blistering heat and strong winds that have made firefighting efforts difficult were not letting up, as forecasters expected 100 degree plus temperatures Thursday. Temperatures hit 108 degrees Wednesday as 2,500 firefighters attacked flames burning greasewood, Joshua trees, pinon pines and brush in hills and canyons… A severe bark beetle infestation has killed many trees in the National Forest in recent years, and could provide the Sawtooth Complex fire with substantial fuel… The fire, ignited during the weekend by lightning, had destroyed 42 houses, 55 other buildings and 91 vehicles in and around this high desert community 100 miles east of Los Angeles, authorities said. As of late Wednesday, it had burned 37,000 acres (according to news reports on Thursday, more than 40,000 acres have been burned).”

Mass Murder in India

AFP reported on July 12:

“Indian police said the bombs which ripped through trains in the financial hub Mumbai [formerly known as Bombay], killing more than 200 people and wounding hundreds more, bore the hallmark of Islamic militants. Investigators picked through the debris of Tuesday’s rush-hour strikes seeking clues to the country’s worst attack in more than a decade… Seven blasts [according to subsequent reports, eight blasts] went off in the space of 15 minutes along the western railway line, tearing open first-class train carriages that were packed with people travelling home from work. The toll was 200 dead with more than 700 injured… Analysts said the bombers hoped to stoke Hindu-Muslim tensions and may have targeted first-class carriages to minimise casualties among Muslims, a minority in Mumbai and generally poorer than their Hindu counterparts.”

India Launches Its Missiles

The Jerusalem Post reported on July 9:

“India test-fired its nuclear-capable Agni III missile Sunday for the first time, the Defense Ministry said… India’s longest-range missile [was] able to fly 3,000 kilometers… The Agni III further boosts India’s homegrown missile arsenal, which includes… [a] short-range… ballistic missile, [a] medium-range [missile] and [a] supersonic… missile, developed jointly with Russia.”

Japan Considering Pre-Emptive Strike on North Korea

The Associated Press reported on July 10:

“Japan said Monday it was considering whether a pre-emptive strike on… [North Korea’s] missile bases would violate its constitution… Japan was badly rattled by North Korea’s missile tests last week and several government officials openly discussed whether the country ought to take steps to better defend itself, including setting up the legal framework to allow Tokyo to launch a pre-emptive strike…

“Japan’s constitution currently bars the use of military force in settling international disputes and prohibits Japan from maintaining a military for warfare. Tokyo has interpreted that to mean it can have armed troops to protect itself, allowing the existence of its 240,000-strong Self-Defense Forces. A Defense Agency spokeswoman, however, said Japan has no attacking weapons such as ballistic missiles that could reach North Korea. Its forces only have ground-to-air missiles and ground-to-vessel missiles…”

A Europe-Wide Missile “Defense”-System?

The EUObserver reported on July 7:

“NATO headquarters has been warming up to the idea of a Europe-wide missile defence system… The issue has come under a new spotlight following this week’s missile tests by North Korea… Hungarian press quoted the US lieutenant commander Joe Carpenter as saying that a deal on the location is far from ended. ‘The decision hasn’t even been made whether or not we will build in Europe. The first question is whether or not the system is viable,’ he added…

“Mrs Alliot-Marie also confirmed that French leaders discussed… a kind of Europeanised nuclear force or ‘eurobomb’ with the British prime minister Tony Blair during their summit in Paris on 9 June. Her confirmation sparked criticism by Geoffrey Van Orden, defence spokesman for the UK conservatives in the European Parliament. He argued ‘Given the importance of the independent nuclear deterrent to the national security of the United Kingdom, I am very surprised that the prime minister did not mention that such a vital issue is currently being discussed.’

“Mr Van Orden said that while the UK and France have been on different sides of the argument on several key foreign policy issues, ‘It would be the most extraordinary act of folly if we were to become in any way reliant on France for the ultimate strategic defence capability of our nation.'”

Germany’s Transformation

On July 5, 2006, Der Spiegel Online wrote:

“Germany’s World Cup dream might be over, but that doesn’t mean the tournament won’t have a lasting effect on the country. The soccer spectacle has already altered the way the world sees the Germans and even how the Germans see themselves… The soccer tournament has unleashed a torrent of feel-good vibes from Hamburg to Munich that has stunned the locals probably even more than all the foreign visitors from around the globe. Germans — long shy about expressing positive attitudes toward their country in light of their difficult history — have experienced three weeks of unabashed fun and pride decked out in the national colors black, red and gold.

“The Germans are positive. The Germans are friendly. The Germans have hosted an unforgettable World Cup. How can this be? For years, commentators both at home and abroad have derided the Germans for their pessimism and often glum or crabby manner. A sudden transformation brought on by the sunny, California-style optimism of German national soccer team coach Jürgen Klinsmann?… much of what has seemed so surprising over the last three weeks is less some dramatic transformation than simply a new perspective on things. Germany was always full of friendly and optimistic people like Klinsmann — it’s just that they were often drowned out by all the complainers and pessimists. The World Cup hasn’t changed the foundations of the country, but it has changed the balance within it…

“Just as Germany was never as bad a place as many foreigners thought, it was certainly much nicer than many Germans were willing to admit. Yes, there are problems, serious ones. The economy might be doing okay at the moment, but far too many people remain jobless. And Chancellor Angela Merkel’s so-called grand coalition appears more willing to simply milk taxpayers than undertake real reforms that would overhaul the country’s bloated welfare system or creaky healthcare.

“Still, Germany remains a very comfortable place to live… Many Turks and Arabs flew the German colors at their shops or on their cars. A small gesture perhaps, but an important one to both those Germans concerned about integration and those immigrants acknowledging that this is their home too. This outpouring of good-natured patriotism is only logical: if the Germans are more willing to express their affection for the good aspects of their own country, then so too will others. Of course, there will be challenges both private and public that will make it difficult for some Germans to stick to their newfound positive ethos. But the naysayers no longer have the upper hand here. Many optimists will not cede the country back to the moaners so easily. And that, in many respects, is a greater gift from Klinsmann and his team than winning the World Cup ever could be.”

Germany’s Leadership Crisis

Der Spiegel Online reported on July 6 about the crisis in leadership of Germany’s Chancellor, Angela Merkel. With strong words, the magazine pointed out:

“The German government’s protracted health reform talks were worth the effort in at least one respect: a clearer picture of Angela Merkel has emerged. The chancellor who took office with a mission to modernize the country isn’t delivering… Angela Merkel is no German Maggie Thatcher. That’s not something one has to complain about, but it’s important to know. Surprisingly, Angela Merkel has so far not even reached the standing of a female version of Gerhard Schröder… Her small steps won’t modernize the country. Quite the contrary. They are even leading away from Angela Merkel. She is betraying herself by trying to swap conviction for popularity…

“The fact that the Social Democrat party without Schröder is following her willingly, and even encouraging her at times, doesn’t lessen Merkel’s responsibility for what’s happening, it increases it. It’s Merkel’s task to continue the reforms, to speed them up and deepen them. Konrad Adenauer, the first chancellor of postwar West Germany, embedded the country into the west, Willy Brandt, the first Social Democrat chancellor, opened Germany to the east. It’s Merkel’s historic mission to reform the welfare state and cut mass unemployment. There’s no point trying to evade the enormity of this task by negating it. In the end, Merkel will be chancellor of reform or she won’t be chancellor at all. Her ‘breakthrough in health policy’ announced at the weekend is a breakthrough in the wrong direction… It’s the job of the media to describe reality. The chancellor’s job is to effect change, improve opportunities for prosperity and minimize future risks. And to lead the country, sometimes into areas where no one has ventured before. Angela Merkel isn’t delivering this kind of leadership at the moment.”

On July 7, the magazine published a follow-up article about the current political situation in Germany, under Angela Merkel’s leadership:

“The shine has come off Germany’s so-called grand coalition. Recently proposed healthcare reforms have sparked a bitter row between Angela Merkel’s conservatives and their Social Democratic partners… Rather than working together to find a solution, the coalition currently seems to prefer criticizing each other… After a golden honeymoon in which Merkel seemed to be able to do no wrong, suddenly her popularity, and that of the coalition government, appears to be in freefall. A survey by public broadcaster ARD for July recorded just 24 percent of the German population is happy with the work of the grand coalition — the worst poll rating since the government was formed last year. Two-thirds of respondents said they felt the grand coalition was no better at solving Germany’s problems than the previous center-left government under Gerhard Schröder…

“[The] conservative newspaper Die Welt [writes:]… ‘The German drama is that both partners are too weak on their own to risk a new beginning. So they’ll stay together, and muddle through in small steps.’… ‘the grand coalition faces a summer of discontent,’ writes Financial Times Deutschland. ‘The combination of deadlock, chaos and anger is reminiscent of the crisis of Gerhard Schröder’s second administration… The grand coalition today suffers from a quite different predicament: the fundamental incompatibility of two political directions and mentalities.’…

“[The] Sueddeutsche Zeitung [writes:] ‘Nothing significant is to be expected from this government… Only a few months after it took office, the coalition is acting like it’s preparing for a separation and to apportion blame.’ The honeymoon is over for Angela Merkel too. In the cold light of day, ‘nobody knows what this woman really wants and for what policies she stands…'”

Germany is facing a leadership crisis of potentially dangerous proportions. Please make sure to listen to our new StandingWatch program, “Germany’s New Patriotism.”

Sabbath Keeper Wins in Court

The Adventist News Network reported on June 30, 2006, that “A United States federal district court in Fayetteville, Arkansas, has ruled for a Seventh-day Adventist who sought accommodation for his Sabbath-keeping beliefs. The worker was awarded U.S. $311,166.75 in lost wages and punitive damages. It is believed to be one of the few such cases in which punitive damages–designed to ‘reform or deter the defendant,’ as one definition puts it–have been awarded to a Sabbath-keeper.”

The article continued:

“Todd Sturgill, age 41 and a resident of Springdale, Arkansas, was a 19-year driver for United Parcel Service when he joined the Seventh-day Adventist Church in May of 2004. In July of that year, Sturgill asked his employer for accommodation on Friday evenings during the upcoming holiday delivery season. After three months, Sturgill was told he would receive no accommodation. Though Sturgill was happy to perform his job, his conviction about observing the Biblical Sabbath on the seventh day of the week–which begins at sunset on Friday and ends at sunset on the Sabbath, or Saturday–would not allow him to perform work during that time. Despite these roadblocks, Sturgill was able to make arrangements with his coworkers to adjust his schedule and keep the Sabbath until Friday, Dec. 17, 2004. On that day, despite repeated requests for assistance and accommodation, managers at the firm took no steps to enable Sturgill to complete his work before sundown, and he returned to the UPS center with roughly 35 undelivered parcels, and then went home. He was fired the following Monday for what UPS called ‘job abandonment.'”

The article pointed out:

“The June 30 ruling supports an earlier federal court case in which an auto salesman in Arkansas, who was not a Seventh-day Adventist, won the right to have his Sabbatarian beliefs accommodated. ‘While we are gratified over today’s outcome, one message is clear,’ said Todd McFarland, associate general counsel for the Seventh-day Adventist world church. ‘The United States needs to enact the Workplace Religious Freedom Act to safeguard the rights of working people.'”

For more information about the godly requirements for true Christians to keep the weekly Sabbath, as well as seven annual Holy Days, please read our free booklet, “God’s Commanded Holy Days.”

Russia’s Pravda Acknowledges Weakness of Evolution Theory

The Pravda published an interesting article on July 7, bringing into focus some of the problems with the Evolution Theory. The article pointed out:

“The theory of evolution teaches that matter has an innate tendency to evolve towards greater and greater complexity or order. We are so accustomed to seeing evolution of technology all about us (new cars, boats, ships, inventions, etc.) that we assume that Nature must work the same way also. Of course, we forget that all those new gadgets and technology had a human designer behind them. Nature, however, does not work the same way… For example, a few amino acids have been produced spontaneously, but there is already a natural tendency for molecules to form into amino acids if given the right conditions. There is, however, no natural tendency for amino acids to come together spontaneously into a sequence to form into proteins. They have to be directed to do so by the genetic code in the cells of our bodies. Even the simplest cell is made up of billions of protein molecules. An average protein molecule may comprise of several hundred sequentially arranged amino acids. Many are comprised of thousands of sequential units. If they are not in the precise sequence the protein will not function!

“The sequence of molecules in DNA (the genetic code) determines the sequence of molecules in proteins. Furthermore, without DNA there cannot be RNA, but without RNA there cannot be DNA. Without either DNA or RNA there cannot be proteins, but without proteins there cannot be either DNA or RNA. These complex molecules are all mutually dependent upon one another for existence! If the cell had evolved it would have had to be all at once. A partially evolved cell cannot wait millions of years to become complete because it would be highly unstable and quickly disintegrate in the open environment.

“The great British scientist Sir Frederick Hoyle has said that the mathematical probability of the sequence of molecules in the simplest cell occurring by chance is 10 to the 40,000th power or roughly equivalent to a tornado going through a junk yard and assembling a 747 Jumbo Jet. It is not rational to put faith in such odds for the origin of life. Considering the enormous complexity of life, it is much more logical to believe that the genetic and biological similarities between all species is due to a common Designer rather than common biological ancestry. It is only logical that the great Designer would design similar functions for similar purposes and different functions for different purposes in all of the various forms of life.

“Contrary to popular belief, scientists have never created life in the laboratory. What scientists have done is genetically alter or engineer already existing forms of life, and by doing this scientists have been able to produce new forms of life. However, they did not produce these new life forms from non-living matter… Furthermore, because of the law of entropy the universe does not have the ability to have sustained itself from all eternity since all the useful energy in the universe will some day become irreversibly and totally useless. The universe, therefore, cannot be eternal and requires a beginning. Since energy cannot come into existence from nothing by any natural process, the beginning of the universe must have required a Supernatural origin!

“Science cannot prove we’re here by creation, but neither can science prove we’re here by chance or macro-evolution. No one has observed either. They are both accepted on faith. The issue is which faith, Darwinian macro-evolutionary theory or creation, has better scientific support. Whatever evolution occurs in Nature is limited to within biological kinds (such as the varieties of dogs, cats, horses, cows, etc.) but, unless Nature can perform genetic engineering, evolution will never be possible across biological kinds, especially from simpler kinds to more complex ones (i.e. from fish to human)… What we believe about our origins does influence our philosophy and value of life as well as our view of ourselves and others. This is no small issue!”

For more information on this vital topic, please read our free booklet, “The Theory of Evolution–a Fairy Tale for Adults.”

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Would you please explain Christ's statement in John 8:51?

In the passage in question, Jesus made the following comment:

“… if anyone keeps My word he shall never see death.”

elaborated on this statement in additional passages, such as John 8:52:
“… If anyone keeps My word he shall never taste death.” In referring
to our participation at the annual Passover service, He stated, in John
6:50, 58: “This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may
eat of it and not die… He who eats this bread will live forever.”

also read, in Hebrews 11:5, that ancient Enoch “was taken away so that
he did not see death.” But this does not mean that Enoch did not die.
We are told, in Hebrews 11:39, that all the spiritual giants of faith,
including Enoch, have not, so far, received the promises–including the
promise of eternal life. Hebrews 11:13 specifically says: “These all
DIED in faith, not having received the promises…” Hebrews 9:27 tells
us that “it is appointed for men to die once.” 1 Corinthians 15:22 adds
that “in Adam ALL die.”

The Bible confirms that all of Christ’s
disciples would die “in Adam.” Some of Christ’s disciples will still be
alive when He returns–they will be changed, instantly, from matter to
spirit. But even they will “die” physically–their physical cells will
cease to exist, and they will be “clothed” from above with a spiritual
“tent” (2 Corinthians 5:1-4; 2 Peter 1:13-14). Christ also said that
many would die the death of a martyr. Christ prophesied that many would
be killed by misguided people (John 16:2). He stated that Peter would
die for God (John 21:18-19). The Two Witnesses will die (Revelation
11:7-10). Of course, even Jesus Christ died and remained dead in the
grave for three days and three nights.

When Christ said that we
will not “see” or “taste” death when we keep His Word, He made
reference, not to this physical death which we all experience, but to
eternal death. The Bible refers to this eternal death as the “second
death.” When we sin, we bring upon ourselves the penalty of eternal
death (Romans 6:23), but upon repentance and belief in Jesus Christ as
our Savior, we receive forgiveness and are freed from the penalty of
eternal death–because Christ died FOR US.

We read in John
3:14-16: “… the Son of Man [must] be lifted up, that whoever believes
in Him [Jesus Christ] should not perish but have eternal life. For God
[the Father] so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that
whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”
Later, Christ confirmed that His disciples, as long as they are His
disciples, will never “perish”–that is, they will not die the “second”
or final death: “And I give them eternal life, and they shall never
perish” (John 10:28).

Note what the Bible tells us about the
“second death.” In Revelation 2:11 we read that “He who overcomes shall
not be hurt by the second death.” Revelation 20:6 says that those in
the “first resurrection”–which is a resurrection to eternal life–are
not affected by the second death. It says that “over such the second
death has no power.” On the other hand, those who refuse to repent and
to accept God’s forgiveness, WILL be destroyed in the gehenna
fire–they will die the second death: “Then Death and Hades were cast
into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found
written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire… But the
cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral,
sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake
which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death”
(Revelation 20:14-15; 21:8).

Jesus Christ died the first death so
that we don’t have to die the second death–He did “taste death for
everyone” (Hebrews 2:9). Christ did not die the second or final death
from which there is no resurrection–as we all know, Christ WAS
resurrected from the dead to ETERNAL life after three days and three
nights in the grave. Hebrews 5:7 tells us that He, “in the days of His
flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement
cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death,… was
heard because of His godly fear…” Christ was not saved from the first
death. But God the Father heard Him and saved Him from the second
death–that is, He gave Christ power not to sin and to stay obedient to

Christ came in the flesh to obey His Father’s command. He
said: “And I know that His command is everlasting life” (John 12:50).
Whatever Christ spoke and did, it was for the ultimate goal that man
could obtain everlasting life. John confirms God’s desire for man: “And
this is the promise that He has promised us–eternal life” (1 John
2:25). Titus 1:2 adds that we live “in hope of eternal life which God,
who cannot lie, promised before time began.”

But we are still
human beings–flesh and blood. We all will die “in Adam.” In order to
obtain God’s promise–eternal and everlasting life–we need to be
resurrected from this physical death, and changed into Spirit
beings–because once we are Spirit, we cannot die. Christ emphasized
this fact in Luke 20:35-37:

“… those who are counted worthy to
attain… the resurrection from the dead … [cannot] die anymore, for
they are equal to the angels and are sons of God, being sons of the
resurrection. But even Moses showed … that the dead are raised…”

And so, we read about Christ’s promise of our future resurrection to eternal life:

the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His
voice and come forth–those who have done good, to the resurrection of
life…” (John 5:28-29). He added in John 6:39-40: “This is the will of
the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose
nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. And this is the will
of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him
may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” He
elaborated in John 6:54: “Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood
[symbolic for the bread and the wine during the annual Passover
service] has eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

why, then, do we read that even though we must be resurrected from the
dead, we already HAVE, RIGHT NOW, eternal life? Because the Bible makes
it very clear that Christ’s true disciples HAVE already ETERNAL life,
while still existing in this physical flesh, BEFORE they are
resurrected in the first resurrection.

In addition to some of the passages which we quoted above to this effect, please note these Scriptures:

John 6:47 says: “… he who believes in Me HAS everlasting life.”

John 5:11-13 adds: “… God HAS GIVEN US eternal life, and this life is
in His Son. He who has the Son HAS life… These things I have written
to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know
that you HAVE eternal life…”

The answer is, actually, quite
simple. Our inheritance of eternal life as immortal Spirit beings is a
future event, following our death and resurrection (Matthew 19:16;
25:46; Mark 10:30). Christ said in John 11:25-26: “I am the
resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, THOUGH HE MAY DIE, he
shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never
die.” That is, even though we may die the first or physical
death, we shall never die the second, eternal or final death–a death
with eternal consequences.

At the same time, we HAVE eternal
life in us by virtue of God’s Holy Spirit that God has given us. Christ
said that the Holy Spirit would abide in us FOREVER (John 14:16). (We
hasten to point out that the Holy Spirit is NOT a Person, but the power
and mind of God, emanating from the Father and the Son. For more
information, please read our free booklet, “Is God a Trinity?”).
We also read that if we refuse to follow God and His commandments, and
if we hate our brethren, His Holy Spirit–that is, His “eternal
life”–will not continue to abide in us (1 John 3:15). But if we keep
His commandments and love our brethren, then His Holy Spirit will
continue to abide in us (1 John 3:24). We HAVE eternal life in us, when
God’s Holy Spirit dwells in us, because the Holy Spirit is an “eternal
Spirit” (Hebrews 9:14). In that sense, we have already passed from
death to life (1 John 3:14), and we will not come into a future
judgment (John 5:24)–that is, we will be resurrected to eternal life,
not to physical life with the possibility of failing (For further
information on the different resurrections, as taught in the Bible,
please read our free booklet, “Do We Have an Immortal Soul?”).

long as we keep God’s Word and do good (John 8:51; John 5:28-29); as
long as we love Christ (John 14:23), as long as we abide in Christ’s
love (John 15:10); as long as we really know God and do what He tells
us (John 17:3; 1 John 5:20); as long as we believe in Christ as our
Savior, Lord and Master whom we must obey (John 3:14; John 15:14); we
HAVE eternal life–through God’s Holy Spirit dwelling in us. And God
will resurrect us through His Spirit, as long as His Holy Spirit dwells
in us at the time of our death (Romans 8:11).

This does not
mean, however, that God’s Holy Spirit remains in our dead bodies, while
we are sleeping the sleep of death. Rather, God’s Holy Spirit will
return to God, together with the spirit in man, when man dies. God has
given every human being a human spirit which separates and
distinguishes man from animals (Zechariah 12:1; 1 Corinthians 2:11-12).
When man dies, the spirit of man leaves the human body and returns to
God (Ecclesiastes 3:21; 12:7). Converted Christians receive a portion
of God’s Holy Spirit (Acts 2:17-18; 1 John 4:13), and both the spirit
in man and God’s Holy Spirit “witness” that we have become God’s
(begotten) children (Romans 8:16). When a converted Christian dies, the
spirit in man, now made perfect through the Holy Spirit, returns to God
(Hebrews 12:23). God, through the power of His Holy Spirit, will
resurrect the Christian to eternal life, by using the spirit in man
which has “recorded” or preserved everything about the Christian (See
Q&A in Update #241, “Do You Teach a Resurrection of the Physical Body?”).

words in John 8:51 must be understood quite literally. As long as we
keep His Word, we will never see or experience death–the final or
second death. Rather, with God’s Holy Spirit dwelling in us, we have
received a “down payment” of eternal life (compare Ephesians 1:14–the
word “guarantee” can also mean “down payment” or “earnest.”). If we
continue to live God’s way of life, by following the lead of the Holy
Spirit in us (Romans 8:9, 14; Galatians 5:25), we “will of the Spirit
reap everlasting life” (Galatians 6:8)–by becoming born-again Spirit
beings in the Family of God.

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

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Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

A new StandingWatch program was posted on the Web. It is titled: “Germany’s New Patriotism.” Set forth below is a summary of the program:

the Worldcup, Germans have re-discovered a love for their country and
its accomplishments. They feel proud again to be German. Most
commentators think that this is a good development. But Germany is
presently run by a weak and controversial government–a Grand
Coalition of the two biggest parties. The German press is outraged
about broken campaign promises, describing the government’s current
attempts to accomplish anything as a “declaration of political
bankruptcy” and “the big chaos.” Will and can Germany’s new-found
patriotism bring about an early change in government which is perceived
by many German citizens as becoming increasingly incompetent to rule
the nation?

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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