Update 266


Jonah Speaks to Us

On November 4, 2006, Norbert Link will give the sermon, “Jonah Speaks to Us.”

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.

Back to top

Deus ex Machina


In ancient Greek plays when a plot came to an impasse, a god would
be lowered onto the stage by a machine, thus the term deus ex machina
or “god from a machine”. This character would then in turn “save the
day”.  Often this would happen near the end of the story when
humans had seemingly irreconcilable differences or insolvable problems.

modern technology and computer graphics the need to lower anyone via a
wooden crane with heavy ropes and pulleys is mostly a thing of the
past.  Today the term has evolved to mean an unexpected solution
when all hope is lost. In some shows it can be manifested as the good
guys appearing on the hill top at the last minute or winning the
lottery so the hero can continue in his noble cause.

While some
literary purists just call it poor writing, this plot device parallels
reality all too closely.  As events on the world stage continue to
play themselves out, man unwittingly acts out his role with uncanny
accuracy.  Following the script to a tee, the last scene is
unfolding with wars, pestilence, famine and false prophets…no need to
cue the special effects.

Then with the world on the brink of
total and utter annihilation… enter God and what an entrance it will
be.  Though there won’t be any ropes, there will be strings
attached.  You will have to listen to the Director’s commands. In
order to be saved, you will have to exit stage right when you have been
going left.   

Our lines have been written out for us
and we have seen the example of the Lead Man.  As His understudy,
let’s read our part, memorize it, and ACT accordingly.

Back to top

Special Report on Germany

The German Grand Coalition is in deep trouble. As can be observed in the United States with many of the projects of the Bush Administration which seem to backfire and end up in defeat, much of what the German Grand Coalition is doing is also met with disaster. In addition, events outside the German government’s control add to the bleak picture of Germany in the world. When will the German people wake up to do something about these incredible developments? Quite different from Biblical prophecies showing that the United States of America is DOOMED to failure just prior to Christ’s return–regardless of what government or administration might be “ruling” it–the Bible is also very clear that Germany is predestined to achieve TEMPORARY “greatness” in these end times–with disastrous events to follow.

Travesty in Afghanistan

As Der Spiegel Online reported on October 30, 2006:

“The photos of German soldiers posing with skulls in Afghanistan have endangered the mission of an army deployed to win the ‘hearts and minds’ of Afghans… The scandalous photos from Afghanistan… plunged the Bundeswehr into its biggest crisis in years. They fly in the face of a concept under which German soldiers are meant to serve as ambassadors of democracy, and under which they are meant to seek acceptance in crisis regions like Afghanistan and Lebanon… the series of photos shows German soldiers abroad doing precisely the opposite of what they are supposed to do, and it serves as a painful reminder of something the Germans have apparently forgotten over the past few decades: death and the military are all-too-often closely intertwined. Peacekeeping missions are rarely conducted in peaceful regions… Eighteen German soldiers have already been killed in Afghanistan. This is the highest death toll among all German military missions abroad, and it demonstrates just how dead serious life has become for these troops.”

Israel Attacks German Aircraft and Vessels

As if these developments were not bad enough, Israeli attacks on German aircraft and vessels in the Middle East added to the present confusion and the decreasing confidence of the German public in what their government is doing and has gotten Germany into.

Der Spiegel Online reported on October 30, 2006:

“One thing is certain, when Germany’s Defense Minister Franz Josef Jung visits Israel and Lebanon the end of this week, there will be no shortage of things to talk about. He will want a more detailed explanation from Israeli politicians, for example, as to why their fighter jets buzzed a German ship last Tuesday and why a German naval helicopter was approached by Israeli jets on Thursday night. And when Jung visits the Lebanese government, concern within Germany’s parliament about Beirut’s wish to limit the activities of the German-led UN flotilla off the coast will surely be on the agenda… Last Tuesday six Israeli F-16 fighter jets sped at low altitude over the Alster, a part of the German flotilla. At the time the vessel was cruising in international waters some 50 nautical miles off Israel’s coast just south of the border with Lebanon. The Israeli jets allegedly fired two shots from its canon before it released flares normally meant to confuse enemy air-defense missiles [The Israeli government, as well as some within the German government, went on record disputing these allegations, even though the German Defense Department considers them to be accurate]… As it turned out, the Tuesday incident wasn’t the first time tempers had flared… Two weeks previously, a similar event took place.”

Breitbart added on October 26 that “France and the United Nations this week warned Israel that it was endangering the multinational peace mission in Lebanon by sending its fighter planes into Lebanese airspace.” According to Der Spiegel Online of October 31, 2006, and other reports, Israel continued to do so on Tuesday with six or eight airplanes, thereby “clearly violating the UN resolution.”

German Government Guilty of Misrepresentations?

But according to the German viewpoint of public opinion, the real problem does not concern Israel, but Germany’s government. The small opposition under FDP leader Guido Westerwelle is accusing the government of negligent or intentional misrepresentations. As the magazine explained, German Chancellor Angela Merkel had “promised during the parliamentary debate on the mission… that Lebanon doesn’t have any right to veto. ‘We are allowed to travel in the whole region,’ was the promise she made before the German government agreed to the decision. The FDP opposition party is now criticizing Merkel for misleading parliament.”

Since the parliamentary opposition is so tiny, not much can be done, politically, to prevent the Grand Coalition from doing whatever they envision and agree on–even if this means, going against the clear wishes of the German people. The vast majority of the Germans was opposed to Germany’s involvement in Lebanon, but Angela Merkel (CDU) and her administration (coalition of CDU/CSU and SPD) decided to proceed anyhow–casting aside all contrary arguments. The FDP complained–and Westerwelle wrote in his weekly column in Bild about the continuing shortcomings of the ruling parties. Bild also published an article on October 30, stating that the German “adventure” of the country’s vessels in Lebanese waters “is becoming the most costly enterprise of the German Bundeswehr–with anticipated costs of 193 million euros by the end of 2007–with less and less prospects for success, due to the limitations imposed by Lebanon on German operations.”

What we see, then, is a German opposition OUTSIDE the German parliament. According to Der Spiegel Online of October 31, some officials within the ruling parties have begun to question publicly the necessity or effectiveness of Angela Merkel’s policy to commit to German military involvement in Lebanon. These kinds of developments with mounting opposition outside the German parliament and disagreements between the ruling parties occurred in the late 60’s, leading to the ultimate downfall of the then German Grand Coalition.

German Government Failing on Domestic Issues

The Merkel administration is in deep trouble in other respects as well. In private discussions with loyal CDU party members and supporters, they will admit that Merkel is not the kind of leader they had hoped to have. Former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder (SPD) was not re-elected because of the German disapproval of Schroeder’s plans to modernize the German welfare system–leading the way to Merkel’s rise. But Merkel’s government has hardly brought about any success in this highly contested area–and German disapproval is mounting. Even in German family-oriented popular public television shows, such as the recent airing of “Spass Muss Sein,” comedians ridicule the key players within the German government–Merkel (CDU), Muentefering (SPD) and Bavaria’s Edmund Stoiber (CSU)–pointing out especially Stoiber’s continued complaining about Merkel’s policies, without being willing or able to show any “viable alternatives.”

President Koehler Puts German Parliament to Shame

One interesting player in this political horror story who has surprised all political parties is German President Horst Koehler (independent). After all major parties agreed to privatize German airlines, Koehler objected and refused to sign legislature to that effect, as, according to Koehler, the proposed law violated the German constitution. The German President has such limited veto powers, but he has rarely used them. That Koehler used them now shows the depth of the crisis pertaining to the German parliament.

Back to top

Would you please explain which animals are clean (and may be eaten) and which are unclean (and must not be eaten)?

The Bible clearly prohibits the consumption of animal meat which it describes as “unclean” in Old and New Testament passages (such as Leviticus 11:1-47; Deuteronomy 14:3-20; and Acts 10:1-21, 28). For more information on this prohibition, please read our free booklet, “And Lawlessness Will Abound.”

According to the Biblical designation, certain animals are considered “clean” and their meat is therefore appropriate for human consumption (compare, for example, Leviticus 11:3: “Among the animals…that you may eat…”). Although some have chosen to abstain from the consumption of animal meat, it should be noted that such a teaching, if adhered to and followed for RELIGIOUS reasons, is described in Scripture as a doctrine of demons, compare 1 Timothy 4:1-3.

We can safely say that the following animal meat constitutes food that may be eaten. We will not attempt to list ALL clean and unclean animals, but will list the more common ones. As a general rule, if in doubt whether or not the flesh of a particular animal may be eaten, we should refrain from doing so, as “he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin” (Romans 14:23).


Among insects, only certain types of locusts may be eaten. However, the Biblical designations of those types might not be entirely identifiable today (Leviticus 11:20-23). Soncino states that “the word [for grasshopper] denotes a kind of locust, but we are unable to identify it.” Some claim that today’s “grasshoppers,” as designated by modern Science, and some types of crickets might be fit for human consumption. All other insects and “creeping things,” including Frogs, Lizards, Salamanders, Slugs, Snails (including the so-called “edible snail”), Snakes, Toads and Worms, clearly, must not be eaten.


Regarding fish, the following animals are counted among those that may be eaten, as they have both fins and scales, compare Leviticus 12:9-11:

Anchovy, Bass, Carp, Cod, Flounder, Haddock, Halibut, Hardtail, Herring, Mackerel, Mahi-mahi, Pike, Pollack, Red Snapper, Salmon, Sardine, Sea Bass, Snapper, Sole, Trout, Tuna, Whitefish.

Regarding fish, other sea creatures and animals living partly in the water and partly on land, which must not be eaten, the following are worth mentioning:

Alligator, Catfish, Crocodile, Dolphin, Eel, Jellyfish, Octopus, Otter, Porpoise, Seal, Shark, Shellfish (including clam, crab, lobster, mussel, oyster, scallop and shrimp), Squid, Sturgeon (including most kinds of caviar), Turtle, Whale (including whale oil).

Caution is mandated regarding some Jewish publications, listing the swordfish as a clean fish, appropriate for human consumption. The reason for this conclusion is that the swordfish, when young, has scales, but it loses them when growing older. According to the Soncino commentary, “fish that possessed fins and scales while in the water, shedding them when caught and brought on dry land, are permitted to be eaten.” Most, including the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations in America, feel that the swordfish is an unclean animal and should not be eaten.


The following birds are considered to be among those that are clean and may be eaten:

Chicken, Dove, Duck, Goose, Grouse, Partridge, Pheasant, Pigeon, Prairie Chicken, Ptarmigan, Quail, Turkey.

The Bible specifically lists many of the unclean birds which are not to be eaten (including their eggs). Many of those are birds of prey and include:

Albatross, Bat [the Bible considers the bat to be a bird, even though modern scientists invented their own classification], Buzzard, Condor, Cormorant, Crane, Crow, Cuckoo, Eagle, Falcon, Flamingo, Hawk, Ostrich [many Muslims don’t consider the ostrich as unclean, even though the Bible specifically says so], Owl, Parrot, Pelican, Penguin, Raven, Roadrunner, Seagull, Stork, Swallow, Vulture, Woodpecker.

Disagreement exists regarding the swan. Although the Authorized Version lists the swan as unclean in Leviticus 11:18, the Jewish Publication Society renders the Hebrew word for “swan” as “horned owl,” while the Jewish Tanakh translation states, “white owl.”


Regarding mammals, the following are among those that may be eaten, as they divide the hoof, having cloven hooves and chewing the cud, compare Leviticus 11:3:

Antelope, Beef, Buffalo, Caribou, Deer, Elk, Gazelle, Giraffe, Goat, Hart, Lamb, Moose, Ox, Reindeer, Sheep, Veal

The following mammals and other land animals must not be eaten:

Ape (including Gorilla), Armadillo, Badger, Bear [in addition to not having the criteria for clean mammals, bears, as well as cats, have paws, Leviticus 11:27], Beaver, Camel [even though Hollywood has erroneously portrayed the camel in Biblical movies as clean, which could be eaten] Cat (including all wild cat species, such as lion, tiger), Civet Cat, Coyote, Dog, Donkey, Elephant, Fox, Hare, Horse, Hyena, Jackal, Kangaroo, Llama, Monkey, Mouse, Mule, Opossum, Rabbit, Raccoon, Rat, Swine (including the boar, peccary and the pig, as well as pig products, such as sausage, pepperoni, hog, bacon, ham, lard and pork), Squirrel, Weasel, Wolf, Zebra.

At one time in recent history, some Jews considered the tapir as a clean animal, until it was discovered that it belongs to the pig family. Again, caution is mandated with some listings of uncommon or “exotic” animals.

God considers the consumption of unclean animals as a SERIOUS violation of His timeless health law [In applying the spirit of God’s health laws to modern times, smoking cigarettes, cigars or pipe, chewing tobacco or consuming illegal drugs would fall in the same category of prohibited activities]. “Human thinking” of what is right and wrong notwithstanding, God thunders at us through His prophet Isaiah HIS “viewpoint” in a telling prophetic warning for our time:

“I have stretched out My hands all day long to a rebellious people, Who walk in a way that is not good, According to their own thoughts; A people who provoke Me to anger continually to My face… Who eat swine’s flesh And the broth of abominable things [Margin: “unclean meats”; Tanakh: “unclean things”] is in their vessels… I will not keep silence, but will repay… Your iniquities… ‘Those who [are]… Eating swine’s flesh and the abomination [Tanakh: “the reptile”] and the mouse, Shall be consumed together,’ says the LORD” (Isaiah 65:2-7; 66:17).

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

Back to top

Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

We are saddened to report that Donald W. Hobbs, a long-time member
of the Church of God, died peacefully on Sunday, October 1. Mr. Hobbs
was 89 years old. He resided in Texas with his daughter and his
son-in-law. His daughter wrote us that Mr. Hobbs was hospitalized for 2
weeks, but he had no pain. He was just weak. His daughter added: “He
loved all of you very much… You were his last church home.”

Lois Nelson wrote:

all, I wanted to send a note to tell everyone thank you for the
beautiful cards sent during our recent months of grief and illness.
Also, thank you all for the card and photo of the beautiful little
flock in San Diego that was sent during the Feast of Tabernacles. From
the Update it sounds that this was the best Feast ever!  My ribs
are finally well, but I have to be careful what I pick up. I didn’t get
a chance to say thank you for the delicious treats that we received
prior to the Feast, but I’m saying thank you now. That was a thoughtful
gesture and oh so delicious and cute!”

We received a beautiful card from our member in Kenya, Cege Muinamia. Cege wrote on his behalf and on behalf of his family:

my brothers and sisters in the land of Manasseh: Brethren, by the time
you receive this card you’ll have joyfully kept the 2006 F.O.T., so
congratulations for accomplishing that.”

We received the following note from Raymond and Eve McNair:

Brothers and Sisters in Christ: Your card of Feast greetings was very
encouraging to us. Our time at home during this Feast was enjoyable as
we shared it with visitors and enjoyed the many thoughtful gifts of
love sent to us. We look forward to the time when none of us will be
alone and we will be with Christ serving Him and teaching those what
God has taught us. During this time we must stay focused and stay the
course. May God continue to be with you all. In Christian love.”

member letter for November is being prepared by Norbert Link and should
be mailed out next week. We will enclose a copy of our new booklet, “Teach Us To Pray,”
for those who did not receive it at the Feast sites in the USA and
England. The English subscribers already received their copy.

Our new booklet on suffering will enter its last review cycle shortly.

A new StandingWatch program is scheduled to be recorded on Friday.

The German translation of our booklet on “Mysteries of the Bible” will be posted shortly on our different Websites in the USA, Canada, Great Britain and Germany.

Back to top

Each Day!

by Aaron Hooper (21)

Sometimes I stop and think: “Wow. I’m
actually alive. I… exist.” Pretty powerful when I think about it. All
the people that have come before us did what they did, died, and their
chance in this life is over. But I still have my chance.

A chance
to do what? To “make my mark on the world?” To be someone noteworthy?
Or an entertainer or writer worth recording? To live, reproduce, and
nothing more?


Other times I think: “Wow. Right
now, where I am, the opportunities that I have… I only get today
once.” Truly I have to imagine that 40 years from now I would give
anything to have it all over again.


So what am I trying to offer? I have no new philosophies. I have no special formulas on how to get the most from each day.

it has recently occurred to me that each day is a precious thing. And
each day we can choose what we do. Do we serve ourselves and our own
selfish desires, or do we serve and honor our Creator God? Do we live
for our own glory, or do we put God and others before ourselves?

These are questions that we cannot afford to stop asking.

when it’s all said and done, I think we’d all rather be someone worth
recording. But not in books or on CDs, but in God’s Book of Life.

Back to top

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

©2023 Church of the Eternal God