Update 277


Those Who Believe

On January 20, 2007, Dave Harris will give the sermon, titled, “Those Who Believe.”

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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Set The Pace


On May 6, 1954, something happened that had not happened before in recorded history: Roger Bannister ran a mile in under four minutes. Regarding this accomplishment Bannister said there was, “…a belief that it couldn’t be done, but I think it was more of a psychological barrier than a physical barrier.”

While it took all of recorded history for the first sub-four minute mile to be run, just 46 days later another runner, John Landy, beat Bannister’s time. Within three years 16 people had run sub-four minute miles. The psychological barrier was broken. The limits of possibility had been forever expanded.

To many people, keeping God’s commandments seems impossible. The characteristics Jesus described in the sermon on the mount—being poor in spirit, meek, hungry for righteousness, merciful, pure in heart, peacemakers (Matthew 5:3-9)—are viewed as nice ideas that don’t work in the real world. Many times people don’t believe it is possible to implement those characteristics because they’ve never seen anyone live that way. To paraphrase Roger Bannister, many people have a belief it cannot be done.

We’ve been sent into the world to prove them wrong.

In Matthew 5:14 Jesus says we are “the light of the world.” To remind us that we have a responsibility beyond ourselves, Jesus continued, “A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16).

When Roger Bannister ran a mile in less than four minutes he changed the world’s perception of what was possible. When we let our light shine—when we do good to those who hate us (Matthew 5:44), rejoice when suffering for Jesus’ sake (1 Peter 4:12-13), and really love God with all our strength (Mark 12:30)—we create new possibilities for those around us. Benjamin Franklin once said, “the best sermon is a good example.” By setting a godly example—at work, at home, in the world and even in the church—we set a pace for others to follow. Like those who followed Roger Bannister, we expand the limits of what they think is possible.

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German Reactions to Bush Speech

Der Spiegel Online reported on January 12:

“It was US President George W. Bush’s last shot at keeping the US public behind him and turning the tide in an Iraq sliding ever faster toward chaos… Center-left Süddeutsche Zeitung was scathing in its commentary, beginning with the claim: ‘This war was wrong from the very beginning.’… The left-leaning Berliner Zeitung rips Bush on Friday: ‘For the Europeans, it is extremely disconcerting that the president and commander-in-chief of the West’s leading power shows himself to be so confident but at the same time so disconnected to reality and immune to advice… this fight can never be won militarily…’… The conservative Die Welt sees Bush’s strategy as one of escalation: ‘Bush’s strategy is reminiscent of Nixon’s invasion of Cambodia in 1970… No one should be under any illusion about where the situation is beginning to head — towards a massive FINAL STRUGGLE  for the Middle East…'”

Stoiber’s Way Out

Bavaria’s Edmund Stoiber announced on Thursday, January 18, that he will resign in September from all his political offices, including as Prime Minister of Bavaria, and as chairman of his party, the CSU. Reports about Stoiber’s demise and an internal power struggle had been published in the German press for several weeks. But until now, there were still speculations that Stoiber might avoid his resignation and “retirement.” With his public statements to the contrary, it appears that Stoiber’s political career is over.

Prior to Stoiber’s announcement of his resignation, Der Spiegel Online had reported, on January 15:

“He’s a former candidate for German chancellor and has ruled Bavaria for almost 14 years. But that’s not enough for Edmund Stoiber to enjoy job security. His support is disappearing fast — and early retirement looms… Stoiber himself, who inherited the party soon after his larger-than-life mentor Franz Josef Strauss died in 1988, has done little to dampen the flames of dissent. Considered indispensable for so long, it seems he is having difficulty believing that his flock is turning on him.

“The only person surprised by Stoiber’s rapid descent may be Stoiber himself. He lost a lot of steam with his unexpected, last-minute federal-election loss to Schröder in 2002 and his image was further tarnished during the long power struggle with Angela Merkel which followed. Finally, just after Merkel’s victory in the 2005 election, Stoiber unexpectedly declined the position of economy minister and chose to stay in Munich — after having told the country he was moving up to Berlin. After that, the Bavarian’s eventual demise seemed just a matter of time… Even as Stoiber looks around for friends to support him, those who have been at his side the longest are beginning to position themselves for the coming power struggle…”

EU Outstrips US Dollar

The Financial Times wrote on January 14:

“The euro has displaced the US dollar as the world’s pre-eminent currency in international bond markets, having outstripped the dollar-denominated market for the second year in a row… That represents a startling turnabout from the pattern seen in recent decades, when the US bond market dwarfed its European rival: as recently as 2002, outstanding euro-denominated issuance represented just 27 per cent of the global pie, compared with 51 per cent for the dollar… the trend among some Asian and Middle Eastern countries to diversify their assets away from the dollar has further boosted this trend… The euro has also risen to trade around $1.30 against the dollar, from around parity three years ago.”

Germany’s Democracy Threatened by EU

 The EUObserver reported on January 15:

“Germany’s state of parliamentary democracy is under threat from the European Union which is slowly taking away all the national parliament’s powers, the country’s ex-president has said. In an article for newspaper Welt am Sonntag, Roman Herzog pointed out that between 1999 and 2004, 84 percent of the legal acts in Germany stemmed from Brussels. ‘EU policies suffer to an alarming degree from a lack of democracy and a de facto suspension of the separation of powers. By far the biggest part of the current laws in Germany are agreed by the council of ministers [member states representation in Brussels] and not the German parliament,’ Mr Herzog wrote in a paper with Lüder Gerken, director of the Freiburg-based Centre for European Policy. ‘And each regulation that the German government adopts in the council of ministers, has to be transplanted by the Bundestag [parliament] into German law.'”

“The article continues by noting that Germany’s own constitution foresees the parliament as the ‘central actor in the shaping of the political community. Therefore the question has to be raised of whether Germany can still unreservedly be called a parliamentary democracy.’ The authors also complain that the EU constitution, over which there are currently renewed talks about its revival, will not solve this problem, nor that of the democratic deficit within the EU itself.”

The article in the EUObserver continued:

“… the comment from the former constitutional judge and president of the bloc’s biggest member state between 1994 and 1999 is not an isolated event. German parliamentarians themselves have also started to complain about not being consulted enough on what their government agrees in Brussels. In addition, the final technical step for Germany’s ratification of the EU constitution is being held up due to a similar complaint. Although both houses of parliament have overwhelmingly approved the document, Germany’s president Horst Köhler has refused to sign it off until the country’s constitutional court rules on whether the charter is taking too much power from the national parliament, after a centre-right MP filed a legal complaint in 2005.”

German Hans-Gert Pöttering New European President

The EUObserver reported on January 16:

“German Christian democrat Hans-Gert [Pöttering], elected as the new European Parliament president today, has pledged to stand up to pressure by big member states… MEPs picked their new president on Tuesday (16 January), with Mr [Pöttering] winning the plenary vote in the first round by an absolute majority of 450 votes… As a Christian democrat ally of German chancellor Angela Merkel, the current EU president, he hopes to boost influence of the European Parliament by working through his contacts in Berlin… Politically speaking, there are two key issues – both expected during the German presidency in the first half of the year – in which Mr [Pöttering] hopes the parliament can be actively involved in.

“The first is the more formal – the EU’s 50th birthday declaration… while the second initiative concerns the forthcoming talks on how to revive the EU constitution – put on ice after it was rejected by French and Dutch voters in 2005. ‘We need reforms but also values and I’ll fight for both,’ Mr [Pöttering] pointed out, adding that the core of the EU constitution – including the chapter on its values – should survive the editing process of the treaty.”

The German Axis

The EUObserver pointed out on January 15:

“MEPs’ resolve will be tested during the coming weeks as they fight to get more of a say on the EU constitution and a planned European declaration in March. Current EU presidency Germany has so far indicated it will sideline the European Parliament focussing instead only on canvassing government opinion on the two key issues over the coming months. As part of the streamlined approach, chancellor Angela Merkel has sent a letter to member states asking that only heads of state and government and certain nominated officials should handle the thorny constitutional question, which sees 18 member states having largely ratified the document, two having rejected it and several likely tricky ratifications to come… The close knit approach is also set to be applied to the EU’s 50 year anniversary declaration in March, a statement that Germany believes is closely bound to talks on the EU constitution…”

The article continued:

“With the [new] president of the parliament… the German Hans-Gert Pöttering, and head of the socialists also a German – Martin Schultz – there may be some room for political leverage on the two issues… ‘If anybody is going to make sure we have an influence on this [anniversary] declaration, it’s Pöttering, or a combination of Pöttering and Schulz’ lobbying,’ said Liberal leader Graham Watson last week. The MEPs’ struggle on this issue is especially interesting because it comes as the Brussels assembly finds itself with less and less to do.”

New Extreme-Right Party Becomes Member of European Parliament

AFP reported on January 15:

“A new extreme-right group, including veteran French firebrand Jean-Marie Le Pen and Mussolini’s granddaughter, was formally created in the European parliament… The ‘Identity, Tradition, Sovereignty,’ group… has fulfilled the conditions for its formal recognition… Those rules notably include the requirement that at least 20 MEPs from five EU member states to sign up for the new political group. The formal setting up of the bloc allows it various rights including receiving official funding of around one million euros (770,000 dollars) and certain speaking rights…

“[The] founding principles include recognising ‘national interests, sovereignties, identities and differences’, and opposing a ‘unitary, bureaucratic, European superstate’. Its platform also includes commitments to Christian and traditional family values… Its formation was made possible by the accession of Romania and Bulgaria to the EU on January 1 this month, as five Romanian MEPs have signed up as well as a Bulgarian.”

Europe and the USA Completely Disagree…Again!

On January 15, 2007, Der Spiegel Online wrote:

“Condoleezza Rice is on a tour of the Middle East in an attempt to win over Arab leaders to President Bush’s new Iraq strategy. But she is finding it difficult to avoid awkward questions about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the failure of the US to get the Roadmap for Peace off the ground…

“The business daily Handelsblatt comments on the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians in the context of an editorial on Bush’s new Iraq strategy and its implications for the region… ‘The Europeans and the US government have completely different interpretations of reasons for the conflicts in the Middle East. For the Europeans the ongoing struggle between Israel and the Palestinians is central. This can quickly lead to war like the Lebanon conflict in summer 2006, and offers dictatorial politicians an emotionally charged platform from which to present themselves as champions of Arabs and Muslim. Bush sees things completely differently: For him the decisive ideological struggle of our time is being fought in the Middle East. The forces of freedom stand on one side and the extremists stand on the other. There is little room for political solutions and compromises.'”

Iraq Wants American Weapons–Not Troops

The Times On Line reported on January 18:

“America’s refusal to give Baghdad’s security forces sufficient guns and equipment has cost a great number of lives, the Iraqi Prime Minister said yesterday. Nouri al-Maliki said the insurgency had been bloodier and prolonged because Washington had refused to part with equipment. If it released the necessary arms, US forces could ‘dramatically’ cut their numbers in three to six months, he told The Times. In a sign of the tense relations with Washington, he chided the US for suggesting his Government was living on ‘borrowed time’. Such criticism boosted Iraq’s extremists, he said, and was more a reflection of ‘some kind of crisis situation’ in Washington after the Republicans’ midterm election losses… “Asked how long Iraq would require US troops, Mr al-Maliki said: ‘If we succeed in implementing the agreement between us to speed up the equipping and providing weapons to our military forces, I think that within three to six months our need for American troops will dramatically go down. That is on condition that there are real, strong efforts to support our military forces and equipping and arming them.’

“The US Government is wary of handing over large amounts of military hardware to the Iraqis because it has sometimes ended up in the hands of militias and insurgents.”

Iran’s Coalition Against the USA

The following comments were published by ynet-news.com, on January 14:

“Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said they were ready to spend billions of dollars (euros) financing projects in other countries to help thwart US domination… Iran… is allegedly bankrolling militant groups in the Middle East like Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, as well as insurgents in Iraq, in a bid to extend its influence… After Venezuela, Ahmadinejad will visit newly elected leftist governments in Nicaragua [to meet on Sunday with Ortega, a former Marxist guerrilla] and Ecuador [for the inauguration of President-elect Rafael Correa] that are also seeking to reduce Washington’s influence in the region. Bolivian President Evo Morales, another critic of US policy, said he plans to meet with Ahmadinejad while both are in Ecuador Monday…”

Iran vs. USA

The China View reported on January 17:

“Iranian troops have shot down a U.S. pilotless spy plane recently, an Iranian lawmaker announced on Tuesday as the Islamic Republic was facing increasing military pressure from its arch rival — the United States. The aircraft was brought down when it was trying to cross the borders ‘during the last few days,’ … a member of the [Iranian] parliament… was quoted by the local Fars News Agency as saying. The lawmaker gave no exact date of the shooting-down or any other details about the incident, but he said that ‘the United States sent such spy drones to the region every now and then.’… The United States accuses Iran of using its influence to meddle in the region, especially in Lebanon and Shiite-majority Iraq, besides seeking a nuclear weapon, which has been rejected by Iran…  In a show of defiance, an Iranian government spokesman said on Monday that the country was pushing ahead with its plan to install at least 3,000 centrifuges for nuclear fuel production.”

USA vs. Iran

The Associated Press reported on January 17:

“Provocative words by President Bush and a fresh American military buildup in the Persian Gulf seem to mark a new focus on Iran that could signal another Cold War or even a deadly confrontation… Sending a second carrier to the Gulf for the first time since 2003 and positioning a Patriot missile battalion in the region, mark a broader U.S. stand in the Middle East at a time when diplomatic efforts with countries such as Iran and Syria have stalled. It also puts U.S. policy at odds with the bipartisan Iraq Study Group’s recommendation that the administration should reach out to Iran and Syria to bring more regional support to Iraq.

“Trita Parsi, an Iranian-born author and Middle East scholar, said the strategy will lead to an endless balance-of-power game that will drain American resources and undermine the U.S. position in the region… Members of Congress have also expressed concern and pressed the administration to say whether the U.S. military has plans to move into Iran or Syria, and if that could be done without congressional authorization… The escalation against Iran comes as polls show Americans are overwhelmingly unhappy with Bush’s Iraq policy. Seventy percent oppose sending more troops to Iraq, as he intends to do, according to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll last week.”

Iran Buys Missiles from Russia and the USA

Reuters reported on January 16:

“Russia has delivered new anti-aircraft missile systems to Iran and will consider further requests by Tehran for defensive weapons, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said on Tuesday… Moscow says the sanctions [previously imposed on Iran] do not apply to the missiles. The Russian military insists that the missile systems will protect Iran from air attacks, but do not pose a threat to neighboring countries.”

The Associated Press added on January 16:

“The U.S. military has sold forbidden equipment at least a half-dozen times to middlemen for countries–including Iran and China–who exploited security flaws in the Defense Department’s surplus auctions. The sales include fighter jet parts and missile components.”

U.S. Trial of the Year

Der Spiegel Online reported on January 15:

“It’s the trial of the year in the United States. Former Bush administration official I. Lewis Libby is… facing charges of perjury and obstruction of justice in the case of CIA agent Valerie Plame. The spotlight is on Bush’s pre-Iraq War propaganda… The United States of America v. I. Lewis Libby begins at 9:30 a.m. sharp on Tuesday morning. Libby, former chief of staff for Vice President Dick Cheney, is accused of having lied in order to cover up ‘concerted action’ by the White House to ‘discredit’ an enemy of US President George W. Bush… The Yale graduate is facing up to 30 years in prison. Libby is on trial for just one tiny segment of the propaganda battle the White House used to justify the invasion of Iraq…

“Before Christmas, rumors were still circulating in Washington that Bush would simply pardon Libby. But the risk associated with such a move must have seemed too great even to the most daring lawyers in the White House. Now the only hope left for the Bush administration is that the case has become so complicated that Americans are no longer able to make neither heads nor tails of it. Which is a distinct possibility. Even the quick and dirty version of the Valerie Plame affair is complicated enough. Joseph Wilson, a former US diplomat, travelled to Niger before the war in Iraq in order to verify secret service reports claiming that Saddam Hussein was buying uranium there for his presumed nuclear weapons program. He found out the story was a complete fiction — but Bush and Cheney continued to use the claim to beat the war drum. Wilson then humiliated the White House by going public with his findings. The mud slinging that followed was led by Libby … In the end, even the name of Wilson’s wife — Valerie Plame, an undercover CIA agent — was made public…

“But Libby, according to [special prosecutor] Fitzgerald, has lied repeatedly to the FBI and under oath to the grand jury. During his interrogation, Libby repeatedly stressed he had never known the name of Wilson’s wife and that he had learned it from journalists. But in fact Libby learned that name from his boss, Cheney. And Libby leaked it to the press… Libby… is… opting for a so-called ‘faulty memory defense,’ a method that is part of a notorious tradition in Washington. Richard Nixon is considered the tradition’s founder: He advised his co-conspirators in the Watergate affair to tell the jury they couldn’t remember the acts they were accused of. Large parts of the Reagan administration likewise suffered from collective faulty memory during the Iran-Contra affair. And now Libby also wants to swap out perjury for amnesia…

“Libby’s perjury look[s] like a third-rate crime, but the lies used to justify the war in Iraq weigh down the Bush administration to this day. Special prosecutor Fitzgerald will have to prove how important it was to the White House to maintain the illusion that the reasons for going to war were sound — and how vengefully Wilson was pursued because of this. That will be the only way to convince the jury that Libby couldn’t possibly just have forgotten the details of the campaign against Wilson.”

Severe Weather Conditions Destroy California Fruits

The Associated Press reported on January 16:

“Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger asked the federal government Tuesday for disaster aid because of an ongoing cold snap that has destroyed nearly $1 billion worth of California citrus, and industry officials said shoppers will feel the sting through higher prices for oranges, lemons and other produce… Nearly every winter crop is affected by the freeze, from avocados to strawberries to fresh-cut flowers, but it’s the state’s citrus crop that stands to take the biggest economic hit… California is the nation’s No. 1 producer of fresh citrus, growing about 86 percent of lemons and 21 percent of oranges sold in the U.S… Florida produces more oranges, but those are mostly processed for orange juice. “More than 70 percent of this season’s oranges, lemons and tangerines… were still on the trees as nighttime temperatures in California’s Central Valley dipped into the low 20s and tens on four straight nights beginning Friday. The freeze ruined as much as three-quarters of the California citrus crop, growers say; the fruit is threatened whenever the mercury falls below 28 degrees… Damages from the current freeze will likely surpass those from a three-day cold snap in December 1998 that destroyed 85 percent of California’s citrus crop, a loss valued at $700 million… The state also suffered a deep freeze in 1990 – one that completely wiped out the $1 billion crop. It took growers two years to recover…

“Adverse weather has also taken a toll on the Florida-dominated orange juice industry in recent years. After two nasty hurricane seasons compounded by drought and crop disease, PepsiCo Inc… which sells juice under the Tropicana and Dole labels, and Coca-Cola Co… which owns Minute Maid, each raised orange juice prices over the past several weeks…

“Strawberries growing along the coastal regions of Southern California were mostly ruined… The freeze also destroyed flowers that would produce the next berry crop on each plant… Growers in the Imperial Valley also were worried about tender vegetables such as lettuce that may not have held up to five days of temperatures in the mid-20s… Throughout the cold snap, growers have tried to save their crops by pumping fields with heated irrigation water and running wind machines to circulate warmer air and keep it from rising off the trees. David Pruitt of Ball Tagawa Growers in Arroyo Grande has struggled to keep 200,000 square feet of greenhouses between 60 and 74 degrees. The company produces a variety of seedlings, including pansies and marigolds. The greenhouses are heated with hot water fired by gas boilers. The cold ‘multiplies our gas use enormously,’ Pruitt said. The boilers ‘are just cranking full blast.'”

Doomsday Five Minutes Away

The Associated Press reported on January 17:

“The world is nudging closer to nuclear or environmental apocalypse, a group of prominent scientists warned Wednesday as it pushed the hand of its symbolic Doomsday Clock closer to midnight. The clock, which was set two minutes forward to 11:55, represents the likelihood of a global cataclysm. Its ticks have given the clock’s keepers a chance to speak out on the dangers they see threatening Earth. It was the fourth time since the Soviet collapse in 1991 that the clock ticked forward amid fears over what the scientists describe as ‘a second nuclear age’ prompted largely by standoffs with Iran and North Korea. But urgent warnings of climate change also played a role…”Stephen W. Hawking, the renowned cosmologist and mathematician, told The Associated Press that global warming has eclipsed other threats to the planet, such as terrorism. ‘Terror only kills hundreds or thousands of people,’ Hawking said. ‘Global warming could kill millions…’

“Since it was set to seven minutes to midnight in 1947, the Doomsday Clock has been moved 18 times, including Wednesday’s adjustment. It came closest to midnight — just two minutes away — in 1953 after the successful test of a hydrogen bomb by the United States. It has been as far away as 17 minutes, set there in 1991 following the demise of the Soviet Union.

“The decision to move the clock is made by the bulletin’s board, composed of scientists and policy experts, in coordination with the group’s sponsors, who include Hawking and science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke. Despite the organization’s new focus on global warming, the prospect of nuclear war remained its primary concern, the bulletin’s editor, Mark Strauss, told The AP. ‘It’s important to emphasize 50 of today’s nuclear weapons could kill 200 million people,’ he said.”

Petra–One of Seven New Wonders?

The Associated Press reported on January 16:

“Jordan’s ancient city Petra was officially declared a candidate Tuesday in the contest to name the new seven wonders of the world at a ceremony amid its rose-colored stone buildings. Contest founder Bernard Weber presented Jordan’s Queen Rania with Petra’s official candidacy at the event that included a presentation on the way the city’s first inhabitants lived. The New 7 Wonders of the World contest was launched in 2001 by Weber’s Geneva-based NewOpenWorld Foundation, which aims to promote cultural diversity by supporting, preserving and restoring monuments. It relies on private donations and revenue from selling broadcasting rights. Twenty-one sites around the globe are vying to be declared wonders of the world.

“Petra, located 162 miles south of the Jordanian capital Amman, is built on a terrace around the Wadi Musa or Valley of Moses. It was the capital of the Arab kingdom of the Nabateans, a center of caravan trade, and continued to flourish under Roman rule after the Nabateans’ defeat in A.D. 106. It is famous for water tunnels and stone structures carved in the rock, including Ad-Dayr, ‘the Monastery,’ an uncompleted tomb facade that served as a church during Byzantine times. Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burchhardt in 1812 discovered the city that is hidden behind an almost impenetrable barrier of rugged mountains… Egypt’s pyramids of Giza is the only other site in the Arab world that has reached the contest’s short-list. The New 7 Wonders of the World will be announced at a ceremony in Lisbon, Portugal on Saturday, July 7, 2007.”

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You teach that in the Old Testament, the Hebrew word, "Elohim," which is translated as "God" in most English Bibles, is a plural word, referring to more than one God Being in the God Family. But Jeremiah 31:1 seems to contradict this assertion. Please explain.

It is important that we understand correctly the meaning and usage of the Hebrew word “Elohim,” as many teach that the word “Elohim” either ALWAYS conveys a singular meaning, or that it ALWAYS conveys a plural meaning. However, both of these teachings are WRONG!

It is correct that the Bible teaches that God is a Family, presently consisting of TWO immortal God Beings, called in Scripture God the Father and the Son of God, Jesus Christ. It is also correct that the Hebrew word, “Elohim,” translated as “God,” describes the God Family. However, the Bible does NOT teach that the Hebrew word, “Elohim,” ALWAYS refers to more than one God Being in the God Family. A thorough study of the Old Testament reveals that the word “Elohim” CAN refer to the entire God Family, but, depending on the context, it can ALSO refer to EITHER ONE of the God Beings within the God Family.

Jeremiah 31:1 is an example where one of the two God Beings, the LORD, speaks about Himself, calling Himself “God,” or “Elohim.” As many other Scriptures reveal, the word “LORD” refers mostly, but not necessarily always, to the Son, Jesus Christ. However, there are a few incidents where the Old Testament refers to God the Father as “LORD” as well (For proof, please read our free booklet, “God Is A Family.“)

In Jeremiah 31:1, we read:

“‘At the same time,’ says the LORD, ‘I will be the God [“Elohim”] of all the families of Israel, and they shall be My people.'”

In this passage, Jesus Christ, the “LORD,” states that HE will be called “Elohim” in the future by all the families of Israel, and that they will be HIS people. In this passage, the word “Elohim” clearly refers to just ONE Member of the God Family–Jesus Christ–serving as a REPRESENTATIVE of the God Family.

Please note the following excerpts from our booklet, “God Is A Family,” explaining in more detail how the Hebrew word “Elohim” can apply to the entirety of the God Family, as well as to EITHER ONE of the two Members of the God Family. For the purpose of this article, we have highlighted certain phrases in the following quote, to show our teaching of the meaning of the word “Elohim.” Our booklet includes many more examples in this regard, but the following excerpts should suffice:

“The very Hebrew word translated ‘God’ in Genesis 1:26 reveals that God consists of more than one person. That Hebrew word is ‘Elohim,’ which CAN be used as a plural word. It CAN be singular in grammar, but plural in meaning… Grammatically, it can be a singular word, but it CAN have a plural meaning… George Knight writes in his book… that the word ‘Elohim’ is clearly a plural word. He explains that the same is true for the word ‘Adam.’ Normally, ‘Adam’ is translated as ‘man.’ The word ‘Adam’ CAN refer to the individual; it CAN refer to both man and woman; and it CAN even refer to ‘man-kind.’…

“George Knight goes on to explain that there are several words in the Hebrew, all ending with ‘-im,’ which are derived from a grammatically singular word that conveys plural meaning… The concept of water, in particular, is very interesting, as it CAN refer to a single drop of water or to a vast ocean. We understand though that it is the same kind of water in either case, and it is always referred to as ‘water.’ In that sense, water is BOTH SINGULAR AND PLURAL. Knight goes on to point out that the SAME IS TRUE for the word ‘Elohim.’ When we read that ‘Elohim,’ or ‘God,’ said: ‘Let US make man in Our image,’ we should realize that the word for man, ‘Adam,’ as well as the word for God, ‘Elohim,’ CAN BE SINGULAR OR PLURAL in meaning, depending on the context…

“We also need to remember that the word ‘Elohim,’ or ‘God,’ CAN refer to EITHER ONE of the two beings in the Godhead. EACH ONE IS CALLED, AND REFERRED TO AS ‘Elohim,’ or ‘God.’ In Genesis 1:26, God, or ‘Elohim,’ says, ‘Let US make man in OUR image.’ One God being speaks to the other God being, referring to both of them as ‘Us.’ When we read in Genesis 1:27 that GOD, or ‘Elohim,’ created man in HIS image, we understand that it was the one God being who actually did the creating, and we already know from the New Testament that God the Father created everything through Jesus Christ… “

Please note, in addition, that the Hebrew word “Elohim,” when applied to the true God, CAN refer to the unity of the God Family, consisting of the Father and the Son. This is proven by the fact that the word “Elohim” CAN be followed by a plural verb, even though in most cases, it is followed by a singular verb. But the latter is strictly a question of grammar. Even in English, we cannot say,”the club agree,” but we need to say, “the club agrees,” even though it is understood that the word “club” consists of more than just one member.

However, notice the following examples, as quoted from our booklet, “God Is A Family,” proving that the word “Elohim” MUST include MORE than just ONE God being:

“In Genesis 20:13, Abraham states, ‘And it came to pass, when God caused me to wander from my father’s house, that I said to her [Abraham’s wife, Sarah], This is your kindness that you should do for me: in every place, wherever we go, say of me, He is my brother.’ The Hebrew word for ‘God’ here is ‘Elohim.’ The word for ’caused’ is in the plural in the original Hebrew, not in the singular.

“In Genesis 35:6–7, we read, ‘So Jacob came to Luz (that is, Bethel), which is in the land of Canaan, he and all the people who were with him. And he built an altar there and called the place El Bethel, because there God appeared to him when he fled from the face of his brother.’ The Hebrew word for ‘God’ is ‘Elohim.’ The word for ‘appeared’ is in the plural in the original Hebrew, not in the singular.

“In 2 Samuel 7:23, we read this prayer of David: ‘And who is like Your people, like Israel, the one nation on the earth whom God went to redeem for Himself as a people, to make for Himself a name…’ The Hebrew word for ‘God,’ ‘Elohim,’ is followed by a plural Hebrew verb, translated as ‘went’ in the English.

“The fact that the word ‘Elohim,’ when referring to the God of Israel, can be accompanied in the Hebrew by a plural word is important, as it rejects the claim that the God of Israel (‘Elohim’) can only be one personage. The above-cited examples of plural Hebrew words (the Hebrew expressions for ’caused,’ ‘appeared’ and ‘went’) make this very clear. In the Hebrew, the words for ’caused,’ ‘appeared’ and ‘went’ are distinctively plural, and cannot be understood to be singular… The fact that the Hebrew word ‘Elohim’ is at times accompanied by a plural (not a singular) Hebrew verb proves that ‘Elohim’ consists of more than just one being.

“It is true, however, that in most cases, the Hebrew word ‘Elohim,’ when referring to the God of Israel, is accompanied by a singular verb. This fact—that the word ‘Elohim’ can be either singular or plural, and the verb that follows the noun ‘Elohim’ may be in the singular in either case—should not surprise us. For instance, in German, we can observe the same principle when looking at the word for ‘police,’ which is ‘Polizei.’ One can refer to ‘Polizei’ as conveying a singular or a plural meaning, but the verb in German is always in the singular. As an example, a single policeman could say: ‘Hier steht die Polizei,’ meaning, ‘Here are the police.’ Note that in German, the verb is in the singular. Or, the policeman could say, ‘Die Polizei befiehlt.’ (‘The police order you.’) Note again, that in German, the verb is in the singular, although now the single officer who gives the order speaks on behalf of the entire police force. At the same time, a group of police officers could all refer to themselves as ‘the police.’ When they do, the verb associated with ‘Polizei’ is still singular in German.”

In conclusion, the Hebrew word for God, “Elohim,” CAN REFER TO MORE than one God being, or it CAN REFER TO EITHER ONE of the two God Beings. It would be wrong to teach that the Hebrew word “Elohim” is always singular, or that it is always plural. It can be either, depending on the context. In Jeremiah 31:1, the word “Elohim” clearly refers to ONE of the two God Beings–the LORD or the Son of God, Jesus Christ. The fact that the word “Elohim” CAN refer to MORE than just one God Being proves that God IS a Family, consisting of more than just ONE God Being, and that BOTH Members of the God Family ARE–and always have been–GOD! The amazing truth is that Christ’s true disciples CAN also become full members of the God Family. For more information, please read our free booklet, “God Is A Family.”

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

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Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

Annual Conference:

As was announced in Update 275, the dates for the annual conference in San Diego have been finalized. They are:
First Day of Conference: Friday, February 9, 2007

Last Day of Conference: Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Please continue to pray for a successful preparation for these important events.

Time and Location of Memorial Service for Edwin Pope:

As previously announced, the Memorial Service for Edwin Pope will be held on Sunday, February 11, 2007. All family members and friends are invited to attend this special occasion. Please share this announcement with those who might be interested in attending, but who might not receive our weekly Updates.

The Memorial Service will begin at 11:30 am, followed by a potluck. The services will be held at the facilities of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, at 102 4th Avenue, Chula Vista, CA 91910-2520. The facilities are located at the corner of 4th Avenue and D-Avenue.

If you are driving from the Los Angeles area, you might want to use the I-5 toward Santa Ana; take exit #9 onto CA-54 east; take the 4th Avenue exit and turn right. The facilities are on your right.

The editorial review of our new booklet on the Spring Holy Days has been completed, and the material will be sent to the printer shortly.

A new StandingWatch program was placed on Google Video and on our Website. It is titled, “Wars and Rumors of Wars.” In the program, Mr. Link discusses that Europe is upset with Russia for unilaterally shutting down its pipeline which is a major source of European oil imports; that Europe is worried about reports that Israel is preparing to attack Iran with nuclear weapons; and that Europe is appalled about President Bush’s decision to send more troops into Iraq. Mr. Link asks the question: What do all these developments mean?

Norbert Link’s video-recorded sermon, “How To Have a Successful Lasting Marriage,” has been posted on Google video. The audio version (“Successful Lasting Marriages”) has been posted, as usual, on our Website.

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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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