Update 259


Noah–Life and Times

On September 2, 2006, Bill Grams will give the sermon, titled, “Noah–Life and Times.”

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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Do We Take God’s Festival Commands Seriously?

by Edwin Pope

As we rapidly approach the time of year God has set apart for His
Fall festivals, how excited are we that we have been blessed with such
awesome knowledge; knowledge which reveals many details of God’s great
plan for all of humanity; knowledge of plans He will see completed
according to His faithful Word; events which will change forever the
course of the world and universe?

No doubt, when we first learned
of God’s intent of fulfilling His awesome plans–events which will
astound this world–it was difficult for us to contain this knowledge
within ourselves! We had an urgent need to tell all we had learned to
family, friends, and yes, even everyday acquaintances.

As time
passed and we all grew in the knowledge of God’s Holy Days, we came to
realize even more the significance of these precious days! Leviticus 26
reveals tremendous blessings for all who will walk in God’s Law, His
Statutes (which include God’s Holy Days), and His Judgments; while
revealing in the same set of Scriptures retributions which will surely
come on Israel and on all the nations of the world who fail to follow
these instructions! 

Deuteronomy 16 gives an outline of
all of God’s annual festivals wherein God instructs us to observe these
days and to rejoice therein! We observe these days for the purpose of
honoring our God, showing respect for Him and His instructions, and to
learn even more of Him and His Way–something impossible for anyone who
observes the holidays of this world ever to achieve.

Yet, with
many who once knew and observed these days, this enthusiasm has waned
over time, with the result that many of these no longer observe God’s
wonderful commands relative to His Holy Days! Many of these today are
no longer faithful in following God’s tithing laws (which include funds
to attend the festivals, funds to assist the less fortunate in
attending the festivals and funds to help in providing facilities
needed to observe the festivals, as God instructs in His Word). We
know, of course, that some do not have the financial resources to
attend God’s festivals.

Such lack of obedience to God’s
instructions demonstrates a total lack of enthusiasm in following God’s
Way, and in participating in His very important and significant Holy

How seriously do we take God’s commands relative to His festival season?

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Powerless America!

Der Spiegel Online published this week a thought-provoking article on Europe, the United States, Israel, Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon and Iran. This article is almost prophetic. It addressed the continuing downfall and defeat of the United States of America and Israel, as well as the growing influence of Muslim nations and Europe’s goal to create “peace” in the Middle East.

In referring to Iran, the article was titled, “The Spider’s Web.” It stated:

“More people than ever are dying in Iraq while the United States looks on powerlessly. In the wake of its invasion of Lebanon, Israel is riven with self-doubt, while Europe tries to establish peace. But there is one country that is benefiting from every crisis in the region: Iran… Thousands have died in Iraq in recent weeks, far more than those killed in Israel’s invasion of Lebanon, which has dominated this summer’s headlines. The world seems to have grown weary of the misery, the mounting death toll and the bad news constantly coming out of Baghdad or the Sunni triangle, which has been poisoning the Middle East since the spring of 2003. Amr Mussa, Secretary General of the Arab League, once warned that a war in Iraq would open ‘the door to hell.’ Who would disagree with him today?… Meanwhile, Washington continues to indulge in rosy rhetoric about the ‘new Middle East’ it claims to have created… ‘I’m confident in our capacity to leave behind a better world,’ announced US President George W. Bush, sounding more defiant than triumphant…

“Nothing seems to be going well at the moment for the United States, the superpower with its vastly superior military might. The Taliban is on the rise again in Afghanistan, Iraq is in the throes of civil war and Washington’s reputation in the region has plunged to [an] historic low, its authority as a broker in the region’s conflict frittered away for now — and probably for a long time to come… Israel, the US’s staunchest ally in the region, isn’t faring any better. Far from achieving any of its war objectives, the country has only managed to bomb Lebanon’s remarkable ‘Cedar Revolution’ into distant memory. Israel seems determined to repeat the Americans’ mistakes. It became involved in an asymmetrical war against [the] terrorist organization Hezbollah, and its bombardment of areas filled with civilians has done nothing but strengthen the adversary it tried to destroy. In Lebanon, an international force numbering several thousand, initially under French leadership, will be expected to secure the peace, apparently with a far-reaching mandate, the details of which are being worked out.

“But everything seems to be going well at the moment for America’s greatest foe, the government of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. It has crafted a finely woven web of relationships stretching from Ankara in Turkey to the Gulf and on to Russia, India and China. And what the regime hasn’t developed itself seems to be falling into its lap. The United States has done Iran a favor by eliminating its two worst enemies, the Taliban in Afghanistan and Saddam in Iraq. The US ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, jokes that he’ll send Tehran the bill one day. Iran has also emerged as a winner in the Iraq war, without having fired a single shot. Whether in Baghdad, Beirut or Kabul, everything is going according to the Iranians’ wishes — badly, that is…

“Iran, like a spider in a web, [is] steadily collecting its prey, and has become astoundingly weighty in the process. Despite a general lack of clarity over its domestic situation, the regime deals with the rest of the world with the gravitas of a major power… The Islamic Republic has established itself as a regional power, even without nuclear weapons. According to a recent report by Chatham House, a British think tank, Iran has more influence in Iraq than the United States does. Although the Americans have 135,000 troops stationed there, Iran controls the Shiite militias, whose membership numbers in the hundreds of thousands. ‘The debate is over,’ says Kenneth Pollack, a Middle East expert who once supported the war. ‘By any definition, Iraq is in a state of civil war.’ … One hundred thousand Arabs have fled from the Kurds in northern Iraq, 200,000 Sunnis from war-torn regions in the west, and between 50,000 and 100,000 Shiites from mixed districts in central Iraq… Now more than ever, Iran, 17 years after the death of Ayatollah Khomeini, is the opinion leader in the anti-American and anti-Israeli discourse raging in the Islamic world…

“It appears that President Bush is now ready to listen. Iranian-born Vali Nasr, who teaches political science at the Naval Postgraduate Academy in Monterrey, California, recently explained the situation to Bush… According to Nasr, America, by marching into Iraq, destroyed the Sunni wall that had kept the mullahs in check. ‘This genie won’t go back into the bottle,’ he told the US president, adding that the old allies of the US have lost control of the region. How can America regain control?”

America’s military and political influence is shrinking–in spite of a German press release that Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld allegedly said on August 29 that America would be capable, militarily, to deal with Iran. America’s declining role in the world is just the beginning of prophetic developments which will surely come to pass. 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.”

U.S. Plains Withering in Drought

UPI reported on August 29:

“Five U.S. Plains states are experiencing a drought that has been setting records, decimating crops and careers for ranchers, The New York Times reports. The drought affecting North and South Dakota, Montana, Nebraska and Wyoming is the result of several years of dry conditions and a winter with little snow, climatologists with the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln told the newspaper. South Dakota Gov. Michael Rounds has requested 51 of the state’s 66 counties be designated a federal agricultural disaster area, as sunflower, corn and pasture grasses have withered and died.”

Iran Won’t Concede!

On August 26, The Associated Press reported:

“An Iranian plant that produces heavy water officially went into operation on Saturday, despite U.N. demands that Tehran stop the activity because it can be used to develop a nuclear bomb… Mohammed Saeedi, the deputy head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, said the heavy water plant is ‘one of the biggest nuclear projects’ in the country… He said the plant will be used in the pharmaceutical field and in diagnosing cancer…”

On August 29, Der Spiegel Online reported about Iran’s most recent defiance, showing that Iran will not concede. Will the world respond to Iran’s relentless search for power? And if so, how? The magazine stated:

“At a wide-ranging press conference only two days ahead of a United Nations deadline calling for Iran to suspend uranium enrichment for its controversial nuclear program, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made clear that Tehran would not ‘bow to threats and ultimatums’ made by the international community… Prior to Ahmadinejad’s press conference, Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani said on Monday that Iran’s efforts to master the nuclear fuel cycle were ‘irreversible’ — similar to previous comments made by the country’s supreme religious leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Washington is pushing for quick action at the Security Council if Iran fails to comply with the UN deadline. However, it remains to be seen if the world body can stick to a unified line, since both China and Russia are seen as being reluctant to harm their considerable economic interests in Iran by slapping harsh sanctions on Tehran.”

The German daily, Die Welt, wrote this week: “Washington will have a difficult time taking unilateral action if the Council shies away from imposing sanctions. The only thing that remains to be negotiated — that has become clear after the verbal muscle-flexing and theatrical self-portrayal — is whether and how the international community will accompany Iran’s genesis as a nuclear power while exerting some control. The alternative is war.”

Will America Have to Go Alone Against Iran?

The LA Times reported on August 26:

“With increasing signs that several fellow Security Council members may stall a United States push to penalize Iran for its nuclear enrichment program, Bush administration officials have indicated that they are prepared to form an independent coalition to freeze Iranian assets and restrict trade. The strategy, analysts say, reflects not only long-standing U.S. frustration with the Security Council’s inaction on Iran, but also the current weakness of Washington’s position because of its controversial role in a series of conflicts in the Middle East, most recently in Lebanon.

“Despite assurances from Russia and China in July that they would support initial sanctions against Iran if it failed to suspend aspects of its nuclear program, Russia seemed to backtrack… Under U.S. terrorism laws, Washington could ramp up its own sanctions, including financial constraints on Tehran and interception of missile and nuclear materials en route to Iran, [U.S. Ambassador John] Bolton said, and the U.S. is encouraging other countries to follow suit… He said Washington was focusing on European and Japanese banks to restrict business with Iran, because most of Tehran’s transactions are done in U.S. dollars, euros, British pounds and yen.”

America’s Options for Iran — “All of Them Bad!”

On August 24, David Horovitz wrote the following in “the Jerusalem Post”:

“Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, if he ever became the supreme decision maker in his country, would ‘sacrifice half of Iran for the sake of eliminating Israel,’ Giora Eiland, Israel’s former national security adviser [said]. At present, Eiland stressed, the ultimate decision maker in Iran was Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, 67, whom he said was ‘more reasonable.’ But, Eiland went on, ‘if Ahmadinejad were to succeed him–and he has a reasonable chance of doing so–then we’d be in a highly dangerous situation.’ The 49-year-old Iranian president, he said, ‘has a religious conviction that Israel’s demise is essential to the restoration of Muslim glory, that the Zionist thorn in the heart of the Islamic nations must be removed. And he will pay almost any price to right the perceived historic wrong. If he becomes the supreme leader and has a nuclear capability, that’s a real threat.’

“In facing up to Iran’s nuclear ambitions, Eiland said the United States had three possible courses of action, ‘all of them bad,’ and that a decision could not be postponed for too long, ‘since delay, too, is a decision of sorts.’ The first option was ‘to give up’–to accept that Iran was going nuclear and try to make the best of it… Washington’s second option was to launch a last-ditch effort at diplomatic action, he said… The third option, said Eiland, was a military operation… this would be action that would have to be taken within months…”

German Troops in Southern Afghanistan?

Der Spiegel Online reported on August 29 about the German reaction to pressures from its allies to send German troops into southern Afghanistan:

“With growing unrest and fighting in southern Afghanistan, a major debate is shaping up in Germany over whether Bundeswehr army soldiers should be dispatched to the region… The conservative Die Welt writes that current developments are ‘forcing Germans to face a reality about the Bundeswehr’s foreign deployments that they didn’t take seriously before.’ And that’s that deployments aren’t just simple peacekeeping operations — they could put soldiers in harm’s way at any time. ‘If German soldiers are deployed to southern Afghanistan, they could face Taliban fighters,” the paper writes. “The perils facing German troops in Congo, where they are providing election security, was demonstrated a few days ago by a shootout in Khinshasa.’…

“The left-leaning Berliner Zeitung uses the debate over a southern Afghanistan deployment as the jumping off point for a bigger issue: the lack of a vision for the Bundeswehr. Since 1992, a total of 150,000 German soldiers have participated in missions abroad — sometimes for humanitarian reasons, at times for combat. But it is still unclear under what criteria Germany sends troops abroad. ‘There is no recognizable strategy whatsoever,’ the paper complains. ‘What German interests are represented in Afghanistan, in Congo and, in the future, in the Middle East?’ The paper says its almost laughable that a country with Germany’s economic might has already reached its military limit with less than 10,000 of its 260,000 troops being deployed abroad. ‘If Germany is going to have an army that gets its orders from parliament,’ the paper argues, ‘then parliament is going to have to take its job seriously. It has to provide a definition of the Bundeswehr’s actual role: It’s obviously no more than an army of self-defense at the moment. But should it become an army of intervention?’ The paper then calls on the government to develop a clear German policy that can determine whether a deployment of troops makes sense or not.”

As Biblical prophecy reveals, Germany will soon have a powerful army, and it will be used as an “army of intervention”–not only as an “army of self-defense.” For more information, please read our free booklet, “Europe in Prophecy.”

“More France Means Less Europe”

On August 25, Germany’s conservative daily, Die Welt, published a guest commentary by Dominique Moisi, one of the founders of the French Institute for International Relations (IFRI). According to Der Spiegel Online, summarizing the editorial, “Moisi argues that the conflict in Lebanon has ‘widened the emotional gap between Europe and the United States that began to open up with the beginning of the war in Iraq.’ The United States ‘may not be convinced of the tactical choices made by Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and his administration,’ Moisi writes, ‘but the Americans still believe that there was no choice but to conduct this war — just as with the 1982 war in Lebanon.’ On the other hand, the ‘majority of Europeans’ view the war ‘as an operation that was useless from Israel’s point of view, and which could trigger a clash of civilizations between Islam and the West.’…

“[According to Moisi] ‘Spain and Italy have become more critical of Israel, and they’ve also moved closer to France.’ That this last country should be playing an increasingly central role in the debate over the UN peacekeeping mandate in Lebanon is not a good thing, in Moisi’s view: France’s decisions are dictated less by a clear strategy than by the country’s need to retain political ‘credibility’ and its ‘reputation for being a country that doesn’t shy from military intervention.’ Moisi also suggests that ‘more France’ means ‘less Europe,’ or that France’s tendency to take over the reins when it comes to intervention in the Middle East reflects the absence of a consistent EU policy.”

Europe Asked to Act More Decisively!

The EUObserver reported on August 28:

“The Middle East crisis has exposed weaknesses in EU foreign policy with the 25-member bloc reacting too slowly to stop the destruction of Lebanon, president Jacques Chirac said at an annual gathering of top French diplomats in Paris on Monday… ‘The future of the European project is today predicated on Europe’s ability to be a leading political player,’ the president added… The EU’s so-called high representative on foreign affairs, Javier Solana, flew to Lebanon at the height of the conflict in July but the Finnish EU presidency all-but-ignored Mr Chirac’s 20 July plea to give the unofficial EU foreign minister special powers in this case. Speaking at the time, EU diplomats said the UK was unwilling to let Mr Solana negotiate for the whole bloc because there was no unanimity on how to handle the crisis, while other EU states were afraid of losing control in foreign policy areas… ‘In a few short days we saw Lebanon laid to waste, its people battered, 15 years of [diplomatic] effort laid to waste,’ Mr Chirac said.”

European Policy Needs Cohesiveness!

Der Spiegel Online wrote on August 28 about the German perception that Europe’s and Germany’s foreign policy flip-flops. The magazine pointed out:

“The EU has long indicated it wants to play a larger role in world events. But this episode [pertaining to Lebanon] shows Europe still lacks the cohesion and decisiveness in foreign policy, German commentators [said] on Monday.

“Business daily Financial Times Deutschland… singled out France for its waffling on the number of troops it was going to send… In short, the paper writes: ‘The EU has taken on a big responsibility with its participation. Now it must show that it can live up to it.’ Left-leaning Berliner Zeitung says Germany is making itself part of the problem in the Middle East conflict by first rejecting any deployment that could bring its troops into confrontation with Israeli soldiers and then stressing that its navy will use force to stop arms shipments to Hezbolla.'”

Terrorists in Turkey

Der Spiegel Online reported on August 29 about the most recent horrible terror attacks in Turkey by Kurdish extremists, suggesting that more terrible attacks will follow. The magazine stated:

“Several bombs rocked Turkey’s Mediterranean coast and Istanbul late Sunday and Monday, causing at least three deaths and injuring many more. But the toll could have been even higher: Police have reportedly foiled another attack in the western port city Izmir after arresting a member of the banned Kurdish Workers Party (PKK)… The Kurdistan Liberation Hawks (TAK), believed to be tied to the PKK, claimed responsibility for the bombings… The TAK made clear that it was targeting Turkey’s tourist industry to further its separatist cause for the country’s sizable Kurdish minority. ‘We have warned the public of Turkey and the international public before, Turkey is not a safe country, tourists shouldn’t come,’ the group said in a statement on its Web site… The TAK tactic of trying to damage Turkey’s tourist industry, an important part of the country’s economy, could have serious repercussions for the number of foreign visitors… Turkey’s tourist industry, which brings in $18 billion each year, has already been hit this year by other militant attacks and a bird flu outbreak.”

Catholic Church Questions Theory of Evolution

The Guardian Unlimited reported on August 28 about a remarkable development within the Catholic Church, which is apparently willing to review its stance regarding creation and evolution. For decades, the Catholic Church followed the influence of intellectual science to postulate that the concept of evolution was more than a hypothesis. But this erroneous position might perhaps be revised. The article stated:

“Philosophers, scientists and other intellectuals close to Pope Benedict will gather at his summer palace outside Rome this week for intensive discussions that could herald a fundamental shift in the Vatican’s view of evolution. There have been growing signs the Pope is considering aligning his church more closely with the theory of ‘intelligent design’ taught in some US states. Advocates of the theory argue that some features of the universe and nature are so complex that they must have been designed by a higher intelligence. Critics say it is a disguise for creationism.

“A prominent anti-evolutionist and Roman Catholic scientist, Dominique Tassot, told the US National Catholic Reporter that this week’s meeting was ‘to give a broader extension to the debate. Even if [the Pope] knows where he wants to go, and I believe he does, it will take time. Most Catholic intellectuals today are convinced that evolution is obviously true because most scientists say so.’… The Pope also raised the issue in the inaugural sermon of his pontificate, saying: ‘We are not the accidental product, without meaning, of evolution.'”

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

Europe Needs Christians!

On August 27, the Catholic news agency, Zenit, published an interview with Hans Maier, retired professor of Munich’s Ludwig-Maximilians University. Maier was minister of Education and Culture in Bavaria from 1970 to 1986, and president of the Central Committee of German Catholics from 1976 to 1988. He has written some 30 books, including “Democracy in the Church?” (1970), in which he collaborated with Joseph Ratzinger, now Benedict XVI.

In the interview, Maier advocated the concept that Europe needs united and active Christians, and that Europe does not need the import of Arab Muslims. He stated:

“… there are common foundations and principles, manifested in the cultural specificities of each nation. And these unifying principles are Roman law, which led Europe to develop an efficient juridical culture; the Judeo-Christian belief in one God, which has imprinted itself on institutions and thought… We cannot say that Europe is only Christian, but the Judeo-Christian heritage profoundly influenced its cultural and political soul. To import in Europe the same Islam that has been structured in Arab countries would mean the suppression of present-day Europe to create another, radically different continent. This does not mean that we cannot have a Euro-Islam, an Islam adapted to Europe. But it presupposes on the part of Muslims respect for religious freedom, pluralism of thought and the distinction between religion and politics. It requires that the mullahs accept to live their faith along with the Jewish synagogues and Christian cathedrals. It is a process of transformation and maturation to which we must call Muslims, if they wish to be part of this Europe of ours…

“Freedom is something typically European, and I would also say, typically Christian. The contribution made by Christianity to the development of freedom as well as of democracy, is very strong. As for the rest, the totalitarianisms of the 20th century, Communism, and Fascism especially in their National-Socialist expression, are the substitute introduced when there was an attempt to suppress [the Judeo-Christian] religion in Europe… the roots of modern democracy [are] not by accident… Christian roots… Christians are called to unite, to seek ties with others. It must never be forgotten that one of the factors that led to the affirmation of Nazism in Germany was the division between Catholics and Protestants, who were unable to form a common front.”

A Christian European Constitution

Bild Online reported on August 29 about a formal visit between Pope Benedict XVI and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, daughter of a Protestant minister. During the visit, Merkel promised that she would strongly advocate that Christianity is firmly rooted in the European Constitution, as “Christianity has formed essentially our European history.” The Pope is scheduled to visit Bavaria on September 8.

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Would you please explain John 9:31, which says that God does not hear the prayers of sinners. Aren't we all sinners? If so, does this mean that God hears none of our prayers?

An important tool in understanding a particular passage in Scripture
is to look at the passage in context, as well as in the light of other
Scriptures. In John 9, Christ healed a man on the Sabbath who had been
born blind. The Pharisees and the Jews accused Christ of breaking the
Sabbath and concluded that He was not from God (verse 16) and a
“sinner” (verse 24, in Greek, “hamartolos”). In response, the healed
man said: “Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is
a worshipper of God and does His will, He hears him… If this Man were
not from God, He could no nothing” (verses 31, 33).

As a
consequence, he was put out of the synagogue (verse 34), and Christ
later told some of the Pharisees that they were not blind, but that
their unrepented sin remained (verses 40-41).

The Pharisees had
made terrible accusations against Jesus. They had accused Him of
casting out demons with the help of Beelzebub, the “ruler of the
demons”–another designation for Satan (Matthew 12:24). Some even
claimed that He was possessed by Satan (Mark 3:22). Christ warned them
in that context that they were in danger of committing the unpardonable
sin, which cannot be forgiven, for they were blaspheming God’s Holy
Spirit dwelling in Christ (Matthew 12:31-32; Mark 3:28-30).

the Pharisees, Scribes and other leading Jews accused Christ of being a
“sinner,” they did not just refer to Him as One who might occasionally
sin. They were implying that He was influenced or even possessed by
Satan, and that He did miracles through demonic powers. Paul later
said, in Galatians 2:15, that “we… are Jews by nature, and not
sinners of the Gentiles,” which do not know God. In addition, as we
will see, when Christ was called a “sinner,” He was also accused of
having a depraved character and of deliberately and intentionally
rejecting God.

In the majority of cases, the Greek word for
“sinner” is used to describe those who are practicing, as a way of
life, a depraved and ungodly lifestyle. Christ was “betrayed into the
hands of sinners” (Matthew 26:45). He ate with “publicans and sinners”
(Matthew 9:10-11), because He had come to call “sinners” to repentance
(Mark 2:16-17). He said that God’s angels in heaven would rejoice over
a “sinner” who repents (Luke 15:10). Christ came into the world to
“save sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15). He warned His true disciples not to be
ashamed of Him and His words in this adulterous and sinful generation
(Mark 8:38)–literally, in this “generation of sinners.” Peter
would later ask: “If the righteous one is scarcely saved, Where will
the ungodly and the sinner appear?” (1 Peter 4:18). A woman who
anointed Christ’s feet with fragrant oil was a well-known
“sinner”–apparently a prostitute (Luke 7:37-39).

Paul places
“sinners” in the same category as “the lawless and insubordinate… the
ungodly… the unholy and profane,… the murderers of fathers and
murderers of mothers… manslayers…, fornicators,… sodomites…
kidnappers…, liars… [and] perjurers” (1 Timothy 1:9-10). He also
stated that he was a “chief” sinner (1 Timothy 1:15), as he had
persecuted the Church of God. Peter adds that even converted Israelites
“spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles
[the “sinners”]–when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness,
revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries” (1 Peter 4:3).

implication is that Jesus, when He was called a “sinner,” was accused
of being a “pervert” and a “bastard,” born of fornication (John 8:41),
influenced and possessed by Satan the devil and his demons (John 7:20;
8:48, 52; 10:20).The man who was healed of his blindness responded that
Jesus could not have been guilty of such accusations, because if He was
such a “sinner,” God would not have heard Him and used Him to heal his

The Bible does not teach that God does not hear us when we
slip and fall occasionally, committing a sin because of weakness or
neglect. All of us sin occasionally (1 John 1: 8). We are told that if
we sin, we can repent of and confess our sin to God, and ask God for
forgiveness, and “He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and
cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). This shows that God
WILL HEAR us when we pray to Him, even though we have sinned.

Isaiah 59:2-3 tells us that God does not hear us when we live in
iniquity and when we are unwilling to repent of it: “But your
iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden
His face from you, So that He will not hear. For your hands are defiled
with blood, And your fingers with iniquity; Your lips have spoken lies,
Your tongue has muttered perversity.” God says in Isaiah 1:15: “Even
though you make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of

God clearly states in Micah 3:4: “Then they will cry to
the LORD, But He will not hear them; He will even hide His face from
them at that time, Because they have been evil in their deeds.” Verse 2
explains that they “hate good and love evil” and that they steal and
rob mercilessly from the people.

David understood that if he “had
cherished iniquity in [his] heart, the Lord would not have listened” to
his prayers (Psalm 66:18, Revised Standard Version).

God told
Jeremiah that He would not hear those who rebelled against God and who
continued to live in rebellion: “Do not pray for this people, for their
good. When they fast, I will not hear their cry… But I will consume
them by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence” (Jeremiah
14:11-12). In fact, the prayers of those who REFUSE to listen to God
and to obey His law are called an abomination (Proverbs 28:9). God will
NOT LISTEN to prayers of people who REFUSE to hear His law (Zechariah

The way to be heard on high is to “Seek the LORD…
[and to] Call upon Him… [and to] Let the wicked forsake his way, And
the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the LORD, And He
will have mercy on Him” (Isaiah 55:6-7).

God may hear the
prayers of people whom He did not call to salvation at this time, when
He sees genuine remorse on their part. He listened to the prayer of the
Ninivites and spared their city (Jonah 3:5-10). Jesus confirmed later
that their “repentance” was sufficient for God to relent from the
disaster that He had intended to bring upon them (Matthew 12:41).

listened to the prayer of a Gentile woman and healed her young
daughter, by casting out a demon, when He saw her faith (Mark 7:25-30).
In that case, we don’t even know whether she was conscious of, and
whether she had repented of her sins, but God honored her faith in Him.
God says that until He calls someone to repentance, He overlooks the
time of ignorance (Acts 17:30), but even then, He desires that people
“seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him,
though He is not far from each one of us” (Acts 17:27).

who is looking to God and who is trying to do what is right, as much as
he or she understands it, might very well be heard by God. Christ
healed many people who had faith in Him, even though they did not
understand many things about God and His Way of Life. But once God
calls us to salvation, He expects of us to respond to His call, repent,
get to know Him and His Way better, and to obey Him. We have to forsake
the ways of this world and choose to live God’s Way of Life. 1 John
3:22 says: “And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep
His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.”
And 1 John 5:14 adds: “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him,
that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.”

if we continue to openly rebel against God; refuse to listen to Him and
His Word; refuse to repent of our sins; refuse to keep His law and to
be obedient to Him; then God will not listen to our prayers. If we want
to remain “sinners,” even though we have been taught the truth–if we
choose to continue to follow the dictates and devices of our own evil
heart–then we cannot expect to be heard on high.

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

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Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

In our effort to participate in fulfilling the Church’s commission,
as much as God gives us the means to do so, to preach the gospel in all
the world as a witness and to warn of pending disaster, we have
launched a German website in Germany, under http://aufpostenstehen.de.
Several additional new German entries, which are in preparation, will
be posted soon on the Website.

A new StandingWatch program was recorded and has been posted on the Web. It is titled: “Terrorism in Germany.”

Set forth below is a summary of the program:

is not immune from terrorist attacks. Fanatical terrorists might strike
anywhere–any time. If they had been successful in their foiled attempt
in late July to blow up several trains in Germany, hundreds of innocent
passengers would have been killed. In the meantime, several
suspects–Lebanese students living in Germany–were apprehended, but
the German government is convinced that they acted with the help of a
terrorist group in Germany, with connections to terrorist organizations
overseas. Germans are on edge and wondering, what is going to happen
next. And more importantly, will their government be able to protect
them from terrorists?

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How This Work is Financed

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

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

Technical Team: Eric Rank, Shana Rank

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

Donations should be sent to the following addresses:

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

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