Update 272


Flee Idolatry!

On December 16, 2006, Norbert Link will give the sermon, titled, “Flee Idolatry!”

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 Certainty of Death

by Norbert Link

Let’s make no mistake–death IS our greatest enemy. When we
experience the death of a loved one, we are sobered and reminded of the
certainty of death. We know that we will die. Ecclesiastes 7:1-2
challenges us to take to heart and to meditate about the fact that
death is real.

We mourn in the face of death. It is alright to
mourn. Jesus cried over the death of Lazarus. The ancients of the
Bible, including Abraham and Moses, mourned over the death of their
loved ones. We are in mourning right now over the death of our beloved
Senior Pastor, Edwin Pope.

But even though we mourn, we do not despair. Even though we reflect, we do not lose hope.

Because there IS hope beyond the grave.

the Christ abolished death and brought life and immortality to light
through the gospel (2 Timothy 1:10). Even though we will die, we will
live again. Jesus tells us: “I am the resurrection and the [eternal] life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live” (John

Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil. We can find
comfort in these assuring words: “He Himself likewise shared in the
same [becoming a flesh-and-blood human being], that through death He
might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and
release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject
to bondage” (Hebrews 2:14-15).

Death is man’s enemy. But Jesus
Christ conquered death. He was raised from the dead. He became
victorious over death (1 Corinthians 15:54; Isaiah 25:8). And He is
giving us that victory (1 Corinthians 15:57). When we believe and obey
Him, we will not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:15).

are tremendous promises–awesome words which prove God’s comforting
love for us. And while we wait for the resurrection of the just at the
time of Christ’s return, we consider these statements of truth:

righteous perishes… merciful men are taken away… the righteous is
taken away from evil. He shall enter into peace; they shall rest…”
(Isaiah 57:1-2). We also reflect on this reality: “Blessed are the dead
who die in the Lord from now on… that they may rest from their
labors, and their works follow them” (Revelation 14:13).

in the face of death, we meditate about our own lives–being reminded
that we should “number our days” (Psalm 90:12); knowing that we too
will die and have to give an account. But we are also assured that even
“if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all
things” (1 John 3:20). We may slip and fall, but as long as we remain
“in Christ,” and as long as His love remains in us, we will succeed and
conquer death. Paul exclaims with joy: “Who shall bring a charge
against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns?
It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at
the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us” (Romans

We will not die forever. Victory will triumph over our
death. Paul was convinced that in all things, even in death, “we are
more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:37). We will
be awakened from the temporary sleep of death by the voice of Jesus
Christ–we will be raised to everlasting life. When we have become
immortal, eternal, incorruptible Spirit beings in our Father’s Kingdom,
then, truly, “Death is swallowed up in victory” (1 Corinthians 15:54).

was persuaded that nothing, including death, “shall be able to separate
us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans

Because it is the certainty of Life–not death–which is our ultimate destiny.

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No Talks with Syria and Iran?

The Telegraph reported on December 8:

“Differences have emerged between Tony Blair and George Bush on strategy in the Middle East, even as the two leaders agreed that a major change of course was necessary in Iraq in the wake of the devastating critique delivered this week by a high-level bipartisan panel in Washington… at a joint press conference after a White House meeting yesterday, the President ruled out early talks with Iran and Syria… on which Britain seems much keener… But the direct talks with Tehran seen by some experts as an essential part of a new US strategy remain out of the question, Mr Bush stressed, until the regime verifiably suspended uranium enrichment. British officials later refused to make such a connection, pointing to the full diplomatic relations that exist between London and Tehran. In the case of Syria–recently visited by Mr Blair’s top foreign policy adviser–Mr Bush was equally uncompromising. Any serious discussions between Washington and Damascus depended on Syria not fomenting terrorism against Iraq and ceasing its meddling in Lebanon, he said…

“Yesterday’s meeting was a sombre occasion, the first at which the two architects of the war had to confront, head on and in public together, the recent slide towards anarchy in Iraq. A tired-looking Mr Bush acknowledged that the situation was ‘bad’ and ‘very tough,’ and that the task ahead was ‘daunting.’ But, he warned, the stakes could not be higher. A terrorist-dominated Middle East, he said, represented ‘an unprecedented threat to civilisation’. As unwilling as ever to admit error, he described America’s involvement in Iraq as ‘a noble mission’. Unlike the Prime Minister, he spoke explicitly of ‘victory’; insisting that it was ‘important for the entire world’ that the US and Britain prevailed.

“The two countries were facing ‘a difficult moment’ in Iraq. But Mr Bush noted that yesterday was the 65th anniversary of Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbour, the event that propelled the US into the Second World War, in which Britain and the US had fought side by side. They had faced difficult moments then but had prevailed, just as they would in this conflict. But differences in emphasis were evident. Mr Bush seemed only half-heartedly to accept the link between the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the crises in Lebanon and Iraq, all of which involve a clash between moderation and extremism, as the Prime Minister believes.”

For more information, please view our StandingWatch program: “How to Solve Iraq’s Problems…”

Kirk Douglas: “The World Is in a Mess”

On December 9, PRNewswire published an interesting press release from famous actor Kirk Douglas. We are reproducing the following excerpts:

“My name is Kirk Douglas… I was a movie star and I’m Michael Douglas’ dad, Catherine Zeta-Jones’ father-in-law, and the grandparent of their two children. Today I celebrate my 90th birthday. I have a message to convey to America’s young people. A 90th birthday is special. In my case, this birthday is not only special but miraculous. I survived World War II, a helicopter crash, a stroke, and two new knees… Instead of making a silent wish for myself, I want to make a LOUD wish for THE WORLD.

“Let’s face it: THE WORLD IS IN A MESS and you are inheriting it… You are the group facing many problems: abject poverty, global warming, genocide, AIDS, and suicide bombers to name a few. These problems exist, and the world is silent. We have done very little to solve these problems. Now, we leave it to you. You have to fix it because the situation is intolerable.

“You need to… care about people and the world you live in. We live in the best country in the world. I know. My parents were Russian immigrants. America is a country where EVERYONE, regardless of race, creed, or age has a chance. I had that chance. You are the generation that is most impacted and the generation that can make a difference.

“I love this country because I came from a life of poverty. I was able to work my way through college and go into acting, the field that I love. There is no guarantee in this country that you will be successful. But you always have a chance. Nothing should interfere with it. You have to make sure that nothing stands in the way.”

Arab World on the Brink of Exploding

AFP reported on December 9:

“Saudi King Abdullah opened the annual summit of Gulf leaders with a warning that the Arab world was on the brink of exploding because of conflicts in the Palestinian territories, Iraq and Lebanon. ‘Our Arab region is besieged by a number of dangers, as if it was a powder keg waiting for a spark to explode,’ he [said]… The Palestinians were reeling from ‘a hostile and ugly occupation’ by Israel while the international community watched their ‘bloody tragedy like a spectator,’ Abdullah said. But ‘most dangerous for the (Palestinian) cause is the conflict among brethren,’ he said in a reference to the differences between Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas’s Fatah faction and the Islamist Hamas movement that have blocked the formation of a unity government. In Iraq ‘a brother is still killing his brother,’ Abdullah said of the tit-for-tat killings between the Sunni Arab former elite and the ruling Shiite majority. Abdullah also warned that Lebanon, which was rocked by civil war in 1975-1990, risked sliding into renewed civil strife as a result of the current standoff between pro- and anti-Syrian camps.”

Iraq’s Grim Death Toll

The Associated Press reported on December 9:

“As of Saturday, Dec. 9, 2006, at least 2,930 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003… The figure includes seven military civilians. At least 2,356 died as a result of hostile action, according to the military’s numbers… The British military has reported 126 deaths; Italy, 33; Ukraine, 18; Poland, 18; Bulgaria, 13; Spain, 11; Denmark, six; El Salvador, five; Slovakia, four; Estonia, Netherlands, Thailand, two each; and Australia, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Romania, one death each.”

This is almost the same number as the reported deaths on September 11th.

Rumsfeld Sued in U.S. Civil Court for Violation of Constitution and Civil Rights

MSNBC reported on December 8 that former alien detainees have filed a civil lawsuit against Don Rumsfeld. They argue that Rumsfeld is guilty of “‘derelictions of duty and command’ and promoting the practice of inflicting ‘physical and psychological injuries’ on civilians held by the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan… The former detainees accuse Rumsfeld and others of being personally responsible for approving torture techniques and violating the U.S. Constitution. Rumsfeld argues that they are all immune from liability… [and that] ‘alien military detainees held outside the United States are not generally entitled to constitutional protections.’…

“The former detainees who filed the lawsuit say they were all eventually released from detention and never charged with any crime or wrongdoing. The detainees–five were held at Abu Ghraib and four at Bagram–accuse Rumsfeld and the others of subjecting them to ‘torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, including severe and repeated beatings, cutting with knives, sexual humiliation and assault, confinement in a wooden box, forcible sleep and sensory deprivation, mock executions, death threats, and restraint in contorted and excruciating positions,’ according to court documents.

“The suit seeks compensatory damages and a judicial declaration that the legal rights of the prisoners were violated under the Constitution, the Geneva accords and other international law. Although allegations in the suit are the equivalent of war crimes, it is a civil case, not a criminal one. Only the U.S. government is empowered to prosecute war crimes in criminal court or before a military court.”

Will Germany Get Involved?

Der Spiegel Online reported on December 7:

“The Iraq Study Group on Wednesday released its long awaited report on the increasingly chaotic situation in Iraq. And one of its central recommendations was, as expected, to talk directly with two of President George W. Bush’s most hated countries: Syria and Iran. Should he agree, Germany may be just the country to help him proceed. Indeed, Karsten Voigt, Berlin’s coordinator for German-American relations, wants Germany to play a central role in bringing Washington to the table with Damascus and Tehran. The Germans have long pushed for the dialogue, which they see as critical to regional stability.’Germans and Europeans can help here and mediate, but they can never replace direct talks between the US and Syria or Iran,’ Voigt told the Berliner Zeitung…

“Germany finds itself right in the middle of the diplomatic triangle. Last week, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier paid a visit to Damascus. He delivered a stern message to President Assad that Syria will only get his help in emerging from international isolation if it stops contributing to Lebanon’s instability. On Wednesday, Steinmeier’s travels will take him to Washington for consultations with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Syria is sure to be on the agenda. Germany’s nice-making with Syria has been as controversial within Europe as in the US.

“When it comes to speaking with Iran, Europe is more united. President Bush has said he would join Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China in talks with Tehran if Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad first suspends uranium enrichment. But the Iraq Study Group is urging Bush to hold talks ‘without preconditions.’ If the situation in Iraq deteriorates, says the report, Iran might ‘send in troops to restore stability in southern Iraq and perhaps gain control of oil fields.’ Voigt sees this as Germany’s moment to shine diplomatically. ‘Europe and the US can only be successful in the region if they are both strong and attractive and cooperate well,’ he said.”

Is Israel Going to Give Control of Parts of Mount Zion to the Vatican?

Israel National News published the following report on December 10:

“[Prime Minister] Olmert [of Israel] will meet in the Vatican this week with Pope Benedict–two weeks after Israeli diplomats confirmed the reopening of talks over the status of church property on Mt. Zion and elsewhere… A year ago… a Foreign Ministry official admitted that a blueprint of an agreement with the Vatican giving it control of parts of Mt. Zion in Jerusalem–also known as King David’s burial site–had been received. The proposed contract read as follows:

“‘The State of Israel hands over to the Holy See the use of the Cenacle [the room of the event known as the Last Supper, above King David’s tomb – ed.], of the access path to it, and of the spaces adjacent to it… It is the Holy See’s intention to inform the Bishops – and through them the world’s Priests – that the Catholic Church has been given the use of the Cenacle, inviting them to visit the Holy Place together with their faithful…’

“At the time, President Moshe Katzav was about to embark on a visit to the Vatican. In the face of increasing public pressure, he was forced to deny any plans to sign away the King David’s complex in Jerusalem. It now appears, however, that this option has once again surfaced.”

Israel Worries About President Bush

AFP reported on December 8:

“Israel’s foreign minister has arrived in the United States amid worries that the Jewish state’s main ally could shift course after a report [by the Iraq Study Group or ISG] urged Washington to redouble Mideast peacemaking efforts… ‘The fact that [Bush] has decided to support Blair’s visit to the region and to present this trip as a joint mission of Britain and the United States shows that Bush intends to at least try to change his policy,’ Israel’s Yediot Aharonot daily wrote Friday. The newspaper went on to slam the Iraq report, accusing its chief authors James Baker and Lee Hamilton of ignoring Israel while preparing the report.

“‘If the truth be told, they barely paid any attention to us,’ the newspaper lamented. ‘For 14 years, Israel enjoyed warm and pampering attention, under Clinton and Bush. Now, in light of the catastrophe in Iraq, Baker and Hamilton wish to restore us to our proper proportions.’ Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has also expressed dissatisfaction with the report’s recommendations. Speaking to reporters on Thursday, he said US problems in Iraq ‘are entirely independent of the controversy between us and the Palestinians.'”

Radioactive Polonium Surfaces in Germany

Der Spiegel Online reported on December 11:

“The cloud of intrigue around the death of former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko continues to thicken… In true Cold War thriller fashion, a German connection has now been uncovered, with traces of the radioactive isotope polonium-210 which poisoned Litvinenko being found in Hamburg… Russia’s ambassador to Berlin, Vladimir Kotenev, on Sunday rejected criticism from the German government that the Russians were not doing enough to investigate the case… The discovery prompted German Chancellor Angela Merkel to warn the Russian government that cases such as Litvinenko’s death and the murder of journalist Anna Politkovskaya risked damaging Russia’s image abroad…

“Litvinenko died on November 23 after receiving a lethal dose of polonium-210. In a statement he issued shortly before his death, he accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of being responsible for his poisoning. The Kremlin has denied involvement in the case, which has revived memories of Cold War espionage, strained relations between Russia and Britain, and sparked a number of conspiracy theories.”

German Federal Government’s Latest “Disgrace”

On December 11, the German press, including Bild Online, reported about another incredible case of perceived incompetence of the German federal government, calling it the latest “giant disgrace.” According to Bild, the federal government deliberated for over six months how to ban smoking in trains, public buildings and discotheques, before announcing on Sunday that they are not even competent, for lack of jurisdiction, to make such decisions. Germany’s 16 states have extensive rights that cannot be overridden by Berlin. Bild asked: “Are our Politicians totally covered with smoke?”

Chile’s Pinochet Dies

AFP reported on December 11:

“Riot police clashed with thousands of demonstrators late Sunday celebrating the death of Chile’s former dictator Augusto Pinochet, as his body lay in a humble military school chapel. The former strongman died on Sunday aged 91, having evaded years of efforts to bring him to trial for thousands of cases of murder and torture arising from his 1973-1990 regime… The death of Pinochet, who came to power in a US-backed military coup in 1973 that toppled the Socialist government of Salvador Allende, struck a deep nerve in a country where many suffered under his regime and others defend it as salvation from the road to communism.

“The United States, which supported Pinochet’s 1973 coup against Allende, expressed sympathy for the victims of Pinochet’s regime… Former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher was ‘greatly saddened’ by Pinochet’s death, her spokesman said on Sunday… Thatcher, who was prime minister from 1979 to 1990, would send her ‘deepest condolences’ to his widow and family. Left and right-wing political parties in Spain regretted that Pinochet had died before being brought to justice for atrocities committed under his regime… Some 3,000 people, by official count, were killed or disappeared under Pinochet’s regime.”

Freedom of the Internet?

Ireland-on-Line reported on December 8:

“Nearly one third of journalists now serving time in prisons around the world published their work on the internet, the second-largest category behind print journalists, the US committee to protect journalists said today. The bulk of internet journalists in jail–49 in total–shows that ‘authoritarian states are becoming more determined to control the internet,’ said Joel Simon, the New York-based group’s executive director…

“When Iranian journalist Mojtaba Saminejad was sentenced to two years in prison for insulting his country’s leader, it was not for an article that appeared in a newspaper. His offending story was posted on his personal weblog. Other noteworthy imprisoned internet journalists include US video blogger Joshua Wolf, who refused to give a grand jury his footage of a 2005 protest against a G-8 economic summit, and China’s Shi Tao, who is serving a 10-year sentence for posting online instructions by the government on how to cover the anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown.

“For the second year in a row, CPJ’s annual survey found the total number of journalists in jail worldwide has increased. There were 134 reporters, editors and photographers incarcerated as of December 1, nine more than a year ago… In addition to the internet writers, the total includes 67 print journalists, eight TV reporters, eight radio reporters and two documentary filmmakers.

“Among the 24 nations that have imprisoned reporters, China topped the list for the eighth consecutive year with 31 journalists behind bars–19 of them internet journalists. Cuba was second with 24 reporters in prison…

“The US government and military has detained three journalists, including Associated Press photographer Bilal Hussein, who was taken into custody in Iraq nine months ago and has yet to be charged with a crime…

“Cuban journalist Manuel Vasquez-Portal said he posted his articles on a Miami-based website because: ‘It was the only way to get the truth out of Cuba.’ Mr Vasquez-Portal, who was jailed for 15 months in 2003, said he had to call his stories in to the operator of the website, though, because Cubans are not allowed access to the internet.”

Christmas PAGAN-Inspired

On December 11, USA Today published a thought-provoking article by Mary Zeiss Stange, professor of women’s studies and religion at Skidmore College. She wrote:

“Happy holidays!

“Have I just offended you? If you are a member of the American Family Association, the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights or the Committee to Save Merry Christmas, I probably have.

“For the second year in a row, conservative Christian groups have threatened boycotts of big-box and department stores whose advertisements for ‘holiday trees’ and whose hearty if non-specific holiday well-wishes reflect, these groups say, an ‘anti-Christian and anti-Christmas bias.’…

“Yet there is a deep, and seasonal, irony here – one that might come as a shock to the ‘Save Merry Christmas’ crowd. For Christmas is, in its origins and its symbolism, perhaps the most pagan-inspired of all Christian holidays. Its dating derives from the ancient Roman festival of Saturnalia, which was determined by the winter solstice, that astronomical point in the year after which the periods of sunlight on Earth lengthen…

“Most of the popular symbols surrounding Christmas–evergreen trees and other greenery, mistletoe and holly, the Yule log, candles and bonfires and holiday lights, mystical spirits with the ability to fly and to enter and leave a house through its chimney, tricksters who treat or taunt little children, not to mention those elves–all derive from older, pre-Christian Europe. These pagan-derived symbols and customs are precisely the elements of Christmas that Christian activists are pressing to preserve and promote, in venues such as Target and Macy’s.”

For more information on the REAL origins of Christmas, please read our free booklet, “Don’t Keep Christmas!”

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Hebrews 9:27 states that "it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment." But aren’t there several instances in the Bible where some were resurrected to life and died again? They did not enter into judgment after they died the first time–did they?

Indeed there are numerous examples of resurrections, both in the Old
and the New Testament! For instance, 2 Kings 13:21 relates the record
of a dead person who “revived and stood on his feet,” when the bones of
Elisha touched him. There was no magic associated with Elisha’s bones
but it was a demonstration of God’s power and His approval of
Elisha–showing that he died as a servant of God, even though he died
from a sickness (verse 14). Also, John 11:38-44 records the story of
the resurrection of Lazarus who had been dead for several days. We also
read, in Luke 8:49-56, that Christ brought a dead girl back to life. In
the case of the young girl, we read that Christ commanded the parents
“that she be given something to eat” (verse 55) — proving that this
was a resurrection to physical life, as immortal beings have no need to
eat physical food. And after Jesus had died and was resurrected to
immortality, “the graves were opened and many bodies of the saints who
had fallen asleep were raised” (Matthew 27:52; compare verse 53).
However, all of these were resurrections to temporary physical
lives–not to eternal, immortal life. A Question & Answer about
Matthew 27:52 has previously been covered in Update #152, dated July
16, 2004.

In addition, those who are alive at Christ’s return
will not suffer death in the way that we understand it today, but will
be changed instantly from physical existence to Spirit beings (compare
1 Thessalonians 4:15-17).

Why, then, do we read that it is
appointed to all men to die once, and after that the judgment? The
physical resurrections which we have discussed herein were not followed
by judgment; rather, their resurrection to judgment in the resurrection
will still occur.

The King James Commentary has this to say
about Hebrews 9:27: “’As it is appointed unto men once to die.’ The
relation of verse 27 to its context is often dismissed in order to
stress the certainty of man’s future judgment. It is axiomatic that man
dies once. Exceptions do exist (then cited)… But no exceptions
concerning God’s judgment can be cited. There is no reincarnation…
Yet the full significance of verse 27 cannot be seen apart from verse
28. As it is appointed unto men once to die… So Christ was once
offered to bear the sins of many (cf. Isa 53:12). The
author is clearly presenting a comparison. As it is with man, so it was
with Christ. As man can only die once, so the man Christ could only die
once as a sacrifice. His relation to humanity would be marred if he
would have to die more than once. Similarly, a second comparison seems
evident. Beyond death there exists another reality. For man it is the
reality of appearing for judgment; for Christ it is the certainty of
appearing with deliverance from condemnation unto them that look for

Taking into account the above examples of those who were
resurrected back to life, how is Hebrews 9:27 to be rightly understood?
The key words are “but after this the judgment,” showing that judgment
is not something that will be avoided by anyone. Those who were raised
from the dead lived a little longer as physical human beings for
specific purposes such as showing the power of God and the healing
power of the Messiah.

The Broadman Bible Commentary states of Hebrews 9:27:

High Priest, who has entered into the heavenly tabernacle, will come
again for his own. He wants his people to be ready for his coming.
Christ’s people are to live under the awareness that they must one day
give an accounting to God. After death there is the reality of
judgment. For those who are ready, the Judge is also the Saviour. The
early church never forgot that, beyond death, every man has a
rendezvous with God. For the enemies of God, this thought is full of
terror. For the friends of God, it is full of hope for his appearance
will mean salvation.”

We must all die once, or at least, undergo
a change equivalent to death (at Christ’s second coming) and then the
judgment. Those who were raised back to life, albeit temporarily, had
not been (finally) judged when they initially died, and they lived on
for a number of years before dying again. And having died they, like
everyone else, will face the judgment in due course. Notice that
Hebrews 9:27 does not say that man dies once, and that he will then
immediately be judged afterwards. Rather, the Scripture allows for much
time to pass before the judgment. It also allows for a temporary
resurrection back to physical life, which is just–so to speak–a
continuation of their physical life span. But ultimately, they will
die, and then there will be the judgment waiting for them, in due time.
It is also true, of course, that the judgment has already begun today
for the house of God–that is, for converted Christians (1 Peter 4:17).
But even they will still have to appear before the judgment seat of
Christ at the time of their resurrection or change to immortal life to
give account (Romans 14:10-12; 2 Corinthians 5:10). This aspect of
God’s plan is more fully discussed in our free booklet, “The Gospel of
the Kingdom of God.”

After we die, we will be raised back to
life. Those in the first resurrection will be immortal Spirit
beings–they will not have to face the possibility of death, but they
have “passed from death into life” (compare John 5:24). But they still
will appear before the judgment seat of Christ (compare, too, 1 John
4:17). Those in the second resurrection will be physical human
beings–they will be going through a judgment period before they are
ultimately judged worthy to receive eternal life or eternal death
(compare Revelation 20:5-6, 11-12). And those in the third resurrection
will be physical beings who have their judgment of eternal death
pronounced to them at that time–they will be thrown into the lake of
fire to be destroyed and burnt up (Revelation 20:13-15). So we see that
in each case, men will “die once, but after this the judgment,” as
Hebrews 9:27 says.

Lead Writers: Brian Gale and Norbert Link

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Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

A new StandingWatch program
was recorded last Friday and placed on our Websites, as well as on
Google Video. The program is titled “How To Solve Iraq’s Problems.” Set
forth below is a brief summary of the program:

This week, the
long-awaited Baker-Hamilton report was released, giving recommendations
as to how to solve the disaster in Iraq. Tony Blair and George Bush
gave a joint press conference on the 65th anniversary of Pearl Harbor.
During the conference, both world leaders took different approaches in
the matter of Iraq. While Tony Blair supported the report’s suggestion
to involve Iran and Syria unconditionally in peace talks, President
Bush insisted that certain conditions had to be met first by both
countries. In addition, Germany has shown a strong interest in playing
a central role in bringing Washington to the table with Damascus and
Tehran, while Israel is becoming increasingly nervous about a perceived
shift in America’s foreign policy. What do all these developments mean?

new member letter was written by the ministry and will be distributed
shortly. The letter reflects on Mr. Pope’s death and the Work which is
ahead of us, discussing new opportunities and projects in the making.

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American Idle

by Laura Harris

According to a recent report published by
Nielsen Media Research, the average American home has more television
sets than people.  Furthermore, the average person watches 4
hours, 35 minutes of television per day.  So what are people
watching?  Several of the top rated television shows for the past
month include:

— Grey’s Anatomy

— Desperate Housewives

— CSI (Crime Scene Investigation)

— Criminal Minds

many television shows, these programs glamorize murder, adultery,
fornication, greed, lying and deception. I am guilty of eagerly
watching several of these shows (or similar programs) on a regular
basis.  But I’ve recently begun to ask myself: How are these shows
shaping my thoughts? Does God want me to spend my time on an activity
that contradicts the Christian values I’m trying to live by?

husband and I recently got rid of our cable box in anticipation of
changing to a new cable service. Because of our busy schedules, a day
of not calling a new service provider turned into a week, and a week
turned into a month. We have been without cable service for more than
two months, which has significantly decreased our television intake.
Although unintentional, this newfound freedom has allowed me time for
more productive and rewarding activities such as spending more time
with family, reading and studying. It has made me realize how much of
my valuable time has been wasted on TV

activities, including TV watching, are fine in moderation; however, we
should choose activities that will enhance our overall life. As
ambassadors for Christ, our actions should reflect our beliefs–not
embrace or condone sinful behavior. As they say on “Who Wants to be a
Millionaire?”: “And that’s my final answer!”

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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

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