Update 276


Prepare Yourself

On January 13, 2007, Michael Link will give the sermon, titled, “Prepare Yourself.”

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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Against Hope

by Dave Harris

When all human possibilities fail—when we face what may seem to be the “last straw”—what do we do?

and Sarah reached that point in their desire for a child. Sarah was
past the age for childbearing. However, the Bible records that God
intervened to give them Isaac.

Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego
would not serve the gods of Nebuchadnezzar, nor worship his golden
image. Because of this, they were led to what was surely to be their
execution. Again, the Bible reveals God’s miraculous intervention.

died. His sisters and friends gave up all hope. In fact, Mary’s only
response was to say that her brother wouldn’t have died if Jesus had
been there earlier. But even death was overcome on that day!

trials are no less insurmountable—at least in respect to our own
abilities or our own resources. There are times when we simply can’t do
it on our own. Like those men and women of the Bible who both faced and
then overcame the impossible, we will face ultimate trials.

we do, will we give up? Or, will we personalize the examples found in
God’s Word, and become strong through the certain hope of the immutable
promises of God—with whom ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE (compare Matthew

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Angela Merkel in America

The Associated Press reported on January 4:

“President Bush and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, two allies looking to boost their mutual interests, conferred Thursday on issues ranging from war and energy problems to the economy and global warming. In Washington for an Oval Office meeting with Bush, Merkel’s visit came just days after Germany assumed the presidencies of the 27-nation European Union and the G-8 industrialized nations. The U.S. has high expectations that, given its position, Germany will advance American interests, including boosting security in Afghanistan and advancing peace in the Middle East…

“Being seen to have friendly relations with Bush carries some risk for Merkel, given the president’s unpopularity in Europe. But she minimizes them by publicly raising points of difference such as her stance that the prison camp at Guantanamo should be shut down, as she did on her 2005 trip to Washington. German government spokesman Ulrich Wilhelm said in Berlin that Merkel will underline her support for putting the so-called quartet–the United States, the EU, Russia and the United Nations–at the center of a revived Middle East peace effort.

“Bush has stressed that resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a top priority although he has not conducted the kind of personal diplomacy engaged in by Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is expected to travel to the Middle East soon.”

The German tabloid Bild reported on January 5 that Rice will “report” to Merkel after her trip to the Middle East.

With the stepping down of Britain’s Tony Blair this year, many view Merkel as emerging as the top ally of the United States. Such a development would undoubtedly tremendously increase Germany’s influence in the world. However, such “friendly” relationship will not last, as the Bible clearly reveals, but, in the meantime, it might foster Germany’s prophesied leading role in the world. The German tabloid, Bild Online, wrote on January 9, in light of Germany’s presidency of the European Union: “We are EU!”

The World Condemns US Actions in Somalia

Reuters reported on January 10:

“U.S. forces hunting al Qaeda suspects launched a new air strike on southern Somalia on Wednesday, a Somali government source said, as international criticism mounted over Washington’s military intervention… The U.S. actions were defended by Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf, but criticised by others including new U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon, the European Union, and former colonial power Italy… Italian Foreign Minister Massimo D’Alema said Rome opposed ‘unilateral initiatives that could spark new tensions in an area that is already very destabilized.’… Monday’s attack on a southern village by an AC-130 plane firing automatic cannon was believed to have killed one of three al Qaeda suspects wanted for the 1998 embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania, a U.S. intelligence official said.”

Austria’s News Networld added that France condemned the U.S. attacks, stating that they only complicate matters and make the area less secure. It added: “Only Tony Blair defended the U.S. air strikes.”

Chirac Condemns the USA

AFP reported on January 5:

“French President Jacques Chirac has unleashed a torrent of criticism against the US-led war in Iraq, saying the conflict, which he fiercely opposed, had boosted the spread of terrorism. In a wide-ranging New Year’s foreign policy speech Friday, Chirac fired a broadside at what he called Washington’s ‘adventure’ in the Middle Eastern country, torn by sectarian strife almost four years after the invasion. ‘As France had foreseen and feared, the war in Iraq has sparked upheavals that have yet to show their full effects,’ Chirac [said].

“He said the conflict, which the United States still describes as part of the ‘war on terror’ it launched in 2001 following the September 11 attacks, had ‘offered terrorism a new field for expansion.’ Chirac said it had ‘exacerbated the divisions between communities and threatened the very integrity of Iraq’. ‘It undermined the stability of the entire region, where every country now fears for its security and its independence.’… The French leader attacked the ‘pitfalls of unilateralism’ in foreign affairs — a scarcely veiled reference to Washington’s decision to launch the Iraq war without United Nations backing.”

U.S. Debacle In Iraq Continues

AFP reported on January 10:

“US President George W. Bush took the blame for strategic blunders in Iraq, ordered 21,500 more US troops into battle, and warned Baghdad’s leaders to do more to shore up ebbing US support. ‘If the Iraqi government does not follow through on its promises’ to fight sectarian violence, he cautioned, ‘it will lose the support of the American people, and it will lose the support of the Iraqi people.’ Bush, in a prime-time televised speech from the White House, said his new push aimed to crush terrorists, insurgents and rogue militias and help Iraq’s security forces take control of the entire country by November. ‘The situation in Iraq is unacceptable to the American people, and it is unacceptable to me,’ he told a war-weary US public nearly four years into the conflict. ‘Where mistakes have been made, the responsibility rests with me.’… ‘We must expect more Iraqi and American casualties,’ said the president, whose poll numbers have plummeted as the US toll has climbed to more than 3,000 dead and many thousands wounded… The new plan will cost 5.6 billion dollars for the new US troops and about 1.2 billion in new spending aimed at shoring up Iraq’s battered economy, civil society, infrastructure and judicial system, the White House said.”

Der Spiegel Online reported on January 11:

“130,000 US soldiers haven’t been able to bring peace to Iraq. Now George W. Bush has admitted his error — and is sending in a further 21,000 troops. The US President is thus almost completely ignoring the recommendations of the Baker Commission… More blood, more money — that was Bush’s message. An extra 21,000 soldiers are to be sent to bring the situation in Baghdad and in Anbar province, a Sunni stronghold, under control. Bush named his strategy ‘The New Way Forward’ — but it seems suspiciously similar to all the previous failed attempts to stabilize Iraq.” In a related article, AFP wrote on January 10:

“Democrats wasted no time in slamming President George W. Bush’s latest strategy for Iraq, although rifts emerged among them about how best to respond to his plan to send fresh US troops to the war-torn country. Minutes after Bush in a nationally-televised speech outlined a last-ditch effort to salvage Iraq, Senate’s number two Dick Durbin repudiated the plan, and said it was time to pull US troops and let Iraq save itself. ‘It is time for the Iraqis to stand and defend their own nation. The government of Iraq must now prove that it will make the hard political decisions, which will bring an end to this bloody civil war,’ Durbin said. ‘Tonight President Bush acknowledged what most Americans know: We are not winning in Iraq, despite the courage and immense sacrifice of our military. Indeed the situation is grave and deteriorating,’ Durbin said, delivering the Democrats’ official response to the Bush speech. ‘Escalation of this war is not the change the American people called for in the last election,’ he said.”

However, will the Democrats actually DO something to prevent President Bush’s plans from being carried out? This appears very unlikely. As Der Spiegel Online remarks correctly, “The Democrats are just as divided over how to proceed over Iraq as Bush’s own party. Only one interest unites them: Until the presidential elections in 2008, it has to remain Bush’s war.” The German tabloid, Bild Online, predicted on January 11 that the Democrats will not show enough backbone to vote against providing the monetary support which Bush requests.

And so, the U.S. debacle in Iraq will continue…

Europe Unhappy With Russia

The pipeline “fiasco,” caused by Russia, affecting large parts of Europe, has been temporarily solved. But serious doubts about Russia’s arrogance and Putin’s intentions remain. Here is what transpired this week:

Der Spiegel Online reported on January 8, 2007:

“The conflict between Moscow and Minsk [Poland] over energy prices worsened on Monday, with potentially serious consequences for Western Europe. Russian pipeline operator Transneft shut down its… pipeline, which is the source of 20 percent of Germany’s oil imports…”

Great Britain’s The Times wrote on January 9: “The move raised further questions over whether Western Europe can trust Mr Putin for its energy supply. Experts said that Russia had a deeply entrenched habit of manipulating oil and gas supplies as a substitute for diplomatic policy…

“Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, told The Times last night that Germany will use its six-month EU presidency to improve energy security on the Continent. In her first interview with a British newspaper she signalled that she would take a harsher line towards Russia than her predecessor, Gerhard Schröder.”

Der Spiegel Online added on January 9:

“German Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso have criticized Russia for shutting down a pipeline pumping oil to Europe. Russia’s move has dented its image as a reliable energy supplier, said Merkel… The latest energy spat between Russia and [Poland]… highlights how ruthless and arrogant Russia has become with its energy policy…

“Financial Times Deutschland writes… ‘the Russian move again shows how uncompromisingly hard the Kremlin is in enforcing its economic interests. Riding the wave of high world market prices for oil and gas, the Russian leadership has developed frightening arrogance. For the EU, which still regards Russia as a strategic partner, the warning signs are unmistakeable.’… Business daily Handelsblatt writes: ‘The case of Belarus harbors a lesson for western Europe: Russia is once again showing how irresponsibly it is handling its increased global role.’…

“The conservative Die Welt writes: ‘The Europeans must act together — not just because that makes them stronger. Also because Europe increasingly has to counter energy-hungry competitors such as China…'”

Der Spiegel Online reported on January 11:

“The… oil pipeline, connecting Russia with Germany and Central Europe, is open once again. Following a three-day suspension of supplies, the Russian operator of the pipeline said that oil began flowing again at about 8:30 a.m. on Thursday. The resumption of crude oil to Europe via Belarus comes a day after Moscow and Minsk reached an agreement in the tiff which had led to the pipeline’s closure…

“European concerns about the reliability of Russia as an energy supplier were heightened by the pipeline closure. One year ago, a dispute with Ukraine over natural gas prices led to an interruption of supplies to a number of European countries… European worry about Russia’s reliability as an energy supplier had already been high. Moscow has raised gas prices to a number of former Soviet states in recent years leaving the impression that it was using fuel prices as a foreign policy tool. In December, Russia more than doubled the price Belarus has to pay for natural gas to $100 per 1,000 cubic meters not long after Belarus began distancing itself from a proposal to reunite with Russia.”

Even though the problem seems to be solved temporarily, justified doubts about Russia’s reliability as an energy supplier remain.

These developments might be very interesting “forerunners” of a Biblical prophecy, stating that the end-time German or Austrian leader of a united Europe will respond with great fury to “news from the east and the north”–i.e., Russia, China and other Far Eastern countries (Daniel 11:44).

Mubarak Speaks Out on Saddam’s “Barbaric” and “Illegal” Execution

ABC News reported on January 5, 2007:

“Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has said pictures of the execution of Saddam Hussein were ‘revolting and barbaric’ and that experts considered his trial under occupation illegal. In his first comments on the execution, which took place on the first day of Eid al-Adha, the Muslim Feast of the Sacrifice, last Saturday, Mubarak told the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth the timing was ‘unreasonable.’

“In the interview, he said he had written to President Bush asking him to postpone the execution, arguing that it would not be helpful at that time. He did not say how Bush responded. ‘Then the pictures of the execution were revolting and barbaric, and I am not discussing here whether he deserved it or not.

“As for the trial, all experts in international law said it was an illegal trial because it was under occupation. ‘Also, there was a conspiracy to carry out the execution before the end of the year,’ he added. Mubarak and Saddam were friendly in the 1980s but fell out over the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990. Mubarak had advised the United States not to invade Iraq to overthrow Saddam, saying that it would lead to chaos.”

Will Israel Attack Iran With Nuclear Weapons?

Great Britain’s The Sunday Times reported on January 6, 2007:

“Israel has drawn up secret plans to destroy Iran’s uranium enrichment facilities with tactical nuclear weapons. Two Israeli air force squadrons are training to blow up an Iranian facility using low-yield nuclear ‘bunker-busters’, according to several Israeli military sources. The attack would be the first with nuclear weapons since 1945, when the United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Israeli weapons would each have a force equivalent to one-fifteenth of the Hiroshima bomb. Under the plans, conventional laser-guided bombs would open ‘tunnels’ into the targets. ‘Mini-nukes’ would then immediately be fired into a plant at Natanz, exploding deep underground to reduce the risk of radioactive fallout…

“The plans, disclosed to The Sunday Times last week, have been prompted in part by the Israeli intelligence service Mossad’s assessment that Iran is on the verge of producing enough enriched uranium to make nuclear weapons within two years… The Israeli government has warned repeatedly that it will never allow nuclear weapons to be made in Iran, whose president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has declared that ‘Israel must be wiped off the map’. Robert Gates, the new US defence secretary, has described military action against Iran as a ‘last resort’, leading Israeli officials to conclude that it will be left to them to strike… Scientists have calculated that although contamination from the bunker-busters could be limited, tons of radioactive uranium compounds would be released… Some sources in Washington said they doubted if Israel would have the nerve to attack Iran…”

Israel Denies Report

AFP reported on January 7:

“Israel has drawn up plans to destroy Iranian uranium enrichment facilities with a tactical nuclear strike, a British newspaper said Sunday in a report rejected as ‘absurd’ by the Jewish state. The Sunday Times quoted several Israeli military sources as saying that two of the Jewish state’s air force squadrons are training to use ‘bunker-busting’ bombs for a single strike. ‘This is absurd information coming from a newspaper that has already in the past distinguished itself with sensationalist headlines that in the end amounted to nothing,’ retorted an Israeli official. ‘To think that we will launch an atomic attack against Iran, and on top of that that we would reveal it in advance to a foreign newspaper is doubly ridiculous,’ the official, who asked not to be named, told AFP. The Sunday Times — which in 1986 first revealed Israel’s undeclared nuclear arsenal — said the plans involved sending conventional, laser-guided missiles to open up ‘tunnels’ in the targets before ‘mini-nukes’ with a force the equivalent of one-fifteenth of the Hiroshima bomb are fired in.”

Germany Alarmed Over Israel’s Alleged Intentions

Der Spiegel Online reported on January 8, 2007:

“The British Sunday Times has reported that Israel is preparing for a nuclear strike on Iran’s atomic weapons facilities. Planted or not, the story should serve as a wake-up call for the West… Germany’s papers Monday expressed alarm at the report and called on the West to stand firm on Iran so that Israel would not feel pressured into taking matters into its own hands. “The business daily Handelsblatt writes: ‘It’s not easy to believe Israel’s denials (that it is planning an attack), because top Israeli politicians and military officers regularly threaten Iran with violence. Deputy defense minister Ephraim Sneh said in November he did not want to rule out a military option against Iran as ‘a last resort.’ In October Prime Minister Ehud Olmert sent a similar warning to Tehran… The Israeli public is being systematically prepared for a possible military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities… there is a reckless consensus: that the Iranian regime can not be dissuaded from developing the bomb using diplomatic means alone.”

“The left-of-center daily Berliner Zeitung writes: ‘Israeli politicians have not ruled out a pre-emptive strike against Iran in theory, and the fact that Israel has already bombed a foreign nuclear installation, in Iraq in 1981 — albeit with conventional means — speaks for the validity of the Sunday Times’ report. On the other hand, the obvious question is whether the article was deliberately planted in the media. Officially Israel is following a policy of ambiguity as to the existence of Israeli nuclear weapons. Recently, however, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert included the country in the ranks of the nuclear powers. Before that, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates had classified Israel as a nuclear power. Is the new report a new attempt to threaten Tehran with the bomb, without doing so directly — and also to test the reaction of the West?’

“The conservative daily Die Welt writes: ‘The headlines about Israel’s alleged attack plans against Iran can be clearly seen as a weapon of psychological warfare. Israel profits from such news: It makes the Iranians aware of the consequences of their policies and puts the world under pressure to not simply accept Iran’s nuclear program… It is irrelevant if the story is true or not. The only important thing is whether one believes Israel is ready to use force. The Israeli government has been making it clear to the world for months that it will not accept an Iranian nuclear bomb and will stop at nothing to prevent it. It is obvious that a military strike could be a last resort after other efforts have been exhausted. No state will simply look on as a regime which wishes its destruction arms itself. And Iran wants to wipe Israel from the map. Israel will act if the major powers fail to keep Tehran from developing the bomb. However, it is doubtful that the conflict could be solved with a single military strike… A protracted and bloody conflict is much more likely. This in turn can not be in the interests of the Americans and the Europeans. For this reason, they should deter the Israeli government from acting by itself. This however means resolutely confronting Iran and, if necessary, acting against Tehran even without a United Nations mandate. In short: (The West) cannot allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons under any circumstances.'”

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Could you explain the correct original order and number of the books of the Bible?

Virtually all English Bibles, which we have today, do NOT accurately
set forth the order or divisions of the Biblical books, as originally
maintained and inspired by God.


The Hebrew Bible of the Old Testament consisted originally of 24 books. It is to be divided into three sections:

(1) The Law (5 books of Moses)

(2) The Prophets (8 books)

— The former prophets—Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings (4 books)

— The latter prophets—Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, 12 Minor Prophets (4 books)

(3) The Writings (11 books)

— Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Song of Songs (4 books)

— Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther (4 books)

— Daniel, Ezra/Nehemiah, and Chronicles (3 books)

is fairly established today that the Hebrew Bible originally consisted
of 24 books (Compare, The Bible as Literature, The Barnes & Noble
Outline Series, p. 19; The Jerusalem Bible, p. xii: “The Jewish Bible
thus consists of ‘twenty-four books’”; Prof. Felix Just, of Loyola
Marymount University: “Jews count 24″; Encyclopedia Britannica,
copyright 1959, under “Bible”: “The 24 books of the Hebrew Canon have
become 39… in the English Bible, by treating each of the Minor
Prophets as a separate book, by separating Ezra from Nehemiah and
subdividing Samuel, Kings and Chronicles.”)

Some erroneously
claim that the Old Testament consisted originally of only 22 books.
They say that Joshua and Judges were originally only one book, and that
Samuel and Kings were originally only one book.

However, no
evidence has been found confirming that Joshua and Judges were ever
treated as one book. When considering the books of Samuel and Kings,
let us us take note of this quote from the Nelson Study Bible, on page
449: “First and Second Samuel were originally one book, ‘The book of
Samuel’ in the Hebrew Scriptures. When these Scriptures were translated
into Greek, around 150 B.C., Samuel and Kings were brought together
into a complete history of the Hebrew monarchy. This unit of Scripture
was divided into four sections: First, Second, Third, and Fourth
Kingdoms. Samuel and Kings were later separated again, but the
divisions of the Greek translation persisted. The result was a First
and Second Samuel and a First and Second Kings.”

We see then that originally, Samuel and Kings were TWO books, not just one.

Others refer to Josephus for their claim that the Old Testament consisted originally of only 22 books.

his work, “Flavius Josephus against Apion,” Josephus states, under
Section 8 (page 609): “For we have not an innumerable multitude of
books among us, disagreeing from and contradicting one another, but
only twenty-two books, which contain the records of all the past times…
and of them, five belong to Moses…, the prophets, who were after Moses,
wrote down what was done in their times in thirteen books. The
remaining four books contain hymns to God, and precepts for the conduct
of human life.”

We can see from this quote that Josephus’
numbering of 22 books, by speaking of 13 prophetic books [as
distinguished from 8] and 4 writings [as distinguished from 11], is
clearly different from the Hebrew Bible, as maintained by the Jews.

Eerdmans’ Handbook to the Bible, p. 71, points out:

is a strong Jewish tradition that it was Ezra the scribe who arranged
the canon, although collections of the Pentateuch and some of the
prophets existed long before his time. The books of the Hebrew canon
were arranged in three groups – the Law, the Prophets and the Writings
(which included the wisdom literature, some historical works such as
Ezra, Nehemiah and Chronicles, and one prophetic work, Daniel). The
prologue to the apocryphal Book of Sirach or Ecclesiasticus (about
130BC) contains evidence of this threefold grouping, but no indication
of the contents of each section… Josephus, the first-century AD
historian, acknowledged 22 books; the Apocalypse of Ezra (about AD 100)
acknowledged 24. If Josephus included Ruth with Judges and Lamentations
with Jeremiah the two agree.”

This suggests that Josephus was also referring to a different order of the books, not just a different number.

Bible Handbook confirms this conclusion, when stating: “The Hebrew Old
Testament contains exactly the same books as our English Old Testament,
but in different arrangement… these 24 books are the same as our 39.
Josephus further reduces the number to 22, to make it correspond to the
Hebrew alphabet by combining Ruth with Judges, and Lamentations with

Conclusion as to the Hebrew writings of the Old Testament:

as the numbering of 22 books corresponds with a change of the
established order of the Hebrew Scriptures, its evidentiary value
must be rejected. The available evidence strongly supports the
conclusion that the Hebrew Bible was arranged by Ezra and delivered to
us in the order as listed in the beginning of this Q&A, consisting
of 24 books.


The Greek
New Testament consisted originally of 27 books. They are to be divided
into five sections, i.e. the four gospel accounts, the book of Acts,
the general [a/k/a Catholic] epistles (James; 1 and 2 Peter; 1, 2 and 3
John; Jude), the epistles of Paul, and the book of Revelation.

Note how the oldest manuscripts of the New Testament have maintained the order of the books.

The Codex Sinaiticus was copied about 330 AD. It is one of the oldest
copies of the New Testament. It was written in Greek and is now being
maintained in the British museum. It contains, in this order, the four
gospels, the Catholic [or general] epistles, the Pauline epistles (with
Hebrews following 2 Thessalonians and preceding 1 Timothy), Acts, and
Revelation. (It also includes the uninspired works of the epistle of
Barnabas and the shepherd of Hermas).

(2) The Codex Vaticanus
was copied in the middle of the fourth century. It is now being
maintained in Rome. It contains, in this order, the four gospels, Acts,
the Catholic [or general] epistles, and most of the Pauline epistles.
The last book is Hebrews, following 2 Thessalonians.

(3) The
Codex Alexandrinus was copied around 400 AD. It was written in
Byzantine and Alexandrian. It contains, in this order, the four
gospels, Acts, the Catholic [or general] epistles, the Pauline epistles
(Hebrews following 2 Thessalonians) and Revelation (It also includes
the uninspired works of 1 and 2 Clement).

(4) The Codex Ephraemi
was copied in the 400’s AD. It contains, in this order, the four
gospels, Acts, the Catholic [or general] epistles, the Pauline epistles
(Hebrews following 2 Thessalonians) and Revelation.

(5) The
Council of Laodicea (about AD 363) lists, in Canon 60, all of the New
Testament books (with the exception of the book of Revelation), in this

The four Gospels, according to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and
John; the Acts of the Apostles; seven catholic epistles, namely, 1 of
James, 2 of Peter, 3 of John, 1 of Jude; and the fourteen epistles of
Paul, namely 1 to the Romans, 2 to the Corinthians, 1 to the Galatians,
1 to the Ephesians, 1 to the Philippians, 1 to the Colossians, 2 to the
Thessalonians, 1 to the Hebrews, 2 to Timothy, 1 to Titus, and 1 to

(6) E.W. Bullinger writes in “The Church Epistles,” under “Importance of their Order”:

all the hundreds of Greek manuscripts of the New Testament, the order
of these seven epistles addressed to churches is exactly the same
[i.e., Romans, Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians,
Colossians, and Thessalonians. We might add here that these are
actually nine epistles, not seven, but Bullinger counts 1 and 2
Corinthians as one epistle, as he does 1 and 2 Thessalonians, in order
to reach the number “seven.”]. We have examined the five most ancient
in existence, viz., the Codex Vaticanus (Cent. IV.), the Codex
Sinaiticus (Cent. IV.), the Codex Alexandrinus (Cent. V.), the Codex
Ephraemi (Cent. V.) and the Codex Bezae (Cent. V. or VI.) [We want to
note here that the Codex Bezae contains only a portion of the New
Testament Scriptures, i.e., the four gospels, the ending of 3 John, and
Acts]. The general order of the books of the New Testament takes the
form of groups, viz., (1) the Four Gospels, (2) the Acts, (3) the
General Epistles, (4) the Pauline Epistles, and (5) the Apocalypse…

while the Pauline Epistles themselves vary in their order (e.g.,
Hebrews in some cases following Thessalonians [Let us also note that in
one ancient manuscript, Hebrews follows Galatians. In another
manuscript from 200 AD, P 46, Hebrews follows Romans, preceding 1 and 2
Corinthians, but omitting Galatians]), yet the order of these seven
[correctly, nine; see our comment above] addressed to the churches
never varies…”

Conclusion as to the Greek writings of the New Testament:

It appears that the most likely order of the New Testament Scriptures, as originally inspired, is as follows:

(1) The four gospel accounts, according to Matthew, Mark, Luke, John

(2) Book of Acts

(3) General or Catholic Epistles:

James; 1 and 2 Peter; 1, 2 and 3 John; Jude

(4) Pauline Epistles:

Romans; 1 and 2 Corinthians; Galatians; Ephesians;
Philippians; Colossians; 1 and 2 Thessalonians; Hebrews; 1 and
2 Timothy; Titus; Philemon

(5) Book of Revelation

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

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Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

Kalon Mitchell and Manuela Link were united in marriage on Sunday,
January 7, 2007. The marriage ceremony was performed by Evangelist
Norbert Link in the beautiful Rancho Bernardo Courtyard, where the
Church’s former offices were located. Michael Link was best man, and
Johanna Link was matron-of-honor. The weather was gorgeous, and about
80 guests enjoyed the occasion. Kalon and Manuela would like to thank
all for their tremendous help, as well as the many cards, wishes and
presents received from family members and friends around the world. The
couple resides in Escondido, California.

A new StandingWatch
program was posted on Google Video, as well as on our Website (standingwatch.org). It is titled, “True
Christianity–Don’t Be Deceived! In the program, Norbert Link discusses
the fact that recently, a popular television broadcast asked the
questions, Who is a Christian?, and, What is true Christianity? The
opinions of those interviewed were astonishing. In addition, a TV
evangelist announced that God spoke to him, telling him that a major
attack on the USA will happen shortly after September 2007. Mr. Link is
posing the question whether such a claim can be believed.

The text for our new booklet on the meaning of the Spring Holy Days has entered its final review cycle.

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Pass the Test!

by Michael Link (26)

For the past several months, I’ve been in
more and more situations where I had to make the right decision. I can
certainly say that I have had my fair share of trials–some that I
could overcome easier, as well as those that were a bit tougher.

have been put on the spot several times, especially because of the
recent holidays and my refusal to celebrate them. Even though this
happens every single year, I have to explain to people why I don’t
observe Christmas. Since I’ve had to do this so many times, I know
better and better what I have to say, making the situation easier each
time. Sometimes, when it came to work or friends, I had to make a
decision whether I was going to compromise with the Sabbath, the
celebration of pagan holidays, or eating unclean foods. I can
undoubtedly say that I was being tested.

Just recently I had a
seemingly great job opportunity–one that would require a lot of time
and effort for it to become successful. My immediate response to the
job was required. It had its advantages and disadvantages. At the
beginning, all I could focus on was its advantages. I did not really
consider the negative aspects. There were many things to evaluate, but
the biggest challenge was the Sabbath, since a lot of the business
would be generated on the Sabbath.  Even though I would not work
on the Sabbath, I began to realize that due to the nature of the
business, the Sabbath could still be an issue for me in the future. If
called upon to choose, would I be able to pass the test?  I
counseled and prayed about the whole job situation. God knew that the
answer would be “no” for the time being.  For now, this job
opportunity is on hold, and I have God to thank since He knows best. As
long as I remain faithful and obedient on any challenge that is thrown
at me, I know that something even better will be the result.

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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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