Update 278


How To Be Truly Successful

On January 27, 2007, Norbert Link will give the sermon, titled, “How To Be Truly Successful.”

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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Spiritual 007

by Rene Messier (Canada)

In the Ian Fleming novels and later in the movies, the character of James Bond had the designation “007.” This was a license to kill in the branch of the secret service Bond was serving, which was a department of the British Government.

In this day and age we can observe what I have coined “spiritual 007.” It is not a license to kill physically, but rather to commit licentiousness under the guise of grace. After all, so goes the rationale, “God is merciful, and He loves us unconditionally.” “Spiritual 007” is a “license” to commit spiritual suicide and to murder others in a spiritual way through our bad example which they might adopt and follow.

Those who argue that they are free to sin–that they have spiritual license to sin–never seem to ask where our love for God is and how do we prove that love for God. “Spiritual 007” is a departure from what the spirit of the law embraces in regard to keeping the law of God and demonstrating that love for God through obedience. The Bible rejects the thinking: “I can sin all I want because I have God’s Spirit and am now under grace.” The concept and biblical truth of repentance and putting sin out of our life seems to escape this kind of mentality–as if the Holy Spirit somehow falls out of the sky on an individual without that person meeting first the biblical criteria of repentance, baptism and laying on of hands, as outlined in Acts 2:38 and Acts 8:18. The laying on of hands cannot be done by just anyone, but it has to be done by a true minister of God, and without true repentance, baptism is nothing more than a bath. It will produce no spiritual fruit, as outlined in Galatians 5, and which we are commanded by many parables of Christ to bring forth. We are also to grow in grace and knowledge all of our lives, not just during the time frame shortly before or after our repentance and baptism.

“Spiritual 007” is a sad commentary on the conditions of this world and the individuals who parade grace around as some kind of license to sin–by turning from the holy commands of God to follow the traditions and worship practices of men which we are commanded to reject. Paul admonished us: “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1, Authorized Version). Christ obeyed His Father, and He told us not to disobey God’s commandments by keeping man’s traditions instead.

We must reject the spiritual  misconception that when we are under grace we have license to do whatever we want. Rather, we should seek God’s ways, especially as we are coming up to the Passover season, which is a time to examine ourselves and recommit and rededicate ourselves in a our sincere desire to obey God and put sin out of our lives.

“Spiritual 007” is a “license” we must avoid at all costs. The only license we should have is the one to obey God, which leads to eternal life–rather than a “license” to sin, which only leads to suffering and eternal death, if not repented of. We are to look to and follow the example of our elder brother, high priest and soon-coming ruler of this earth, Jesus Christ, by not adding or taking away from what we are told in His Word, the Bible.

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No More Legal Spanking in California?

In an attempt to totally defy Biblical teaching, a California Assemblywoman wants to introduce a bill outlawing spanking of children up to 3 years in any manner, shape or form.

On January 18, 2007, the Mercury News reported the following:

“The state Legislature is about to weigh in on a question that stirs impassioned debate among moms and dads: Should parents spank their children? Assemblywoman Sally Lieber, D-Mountain View, wants to outlaw spanking children up to 3 years old. If she succeeds, California would become the first state in the nation to explicitly ban parents from smacking their kids. Making a swat on the behind a misdemeanor might seem a bit much for some — and the chances of the idea becoming law appear slim, at best… The bill, which is still being drafted, will be written broadly, [Lieber] added, prohibiting ‘any striking of a child, any corporal punishment, smacking, hitting, punching, any of that.’ Lieber said it would be a misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail or a fine up to $1,000, although a legal expert advising her on the proposal said first-time offenders would probably only have to attend parenting classes.

“The idea is encountering skepticism even before it’s been formally introduced. Beyond the debate among child psychologists — many of whom believe limited spanking can be effective — the bill is sure to face questions over how practical it is to enforce and opposition from some legislators who generally oppose what they consider ‘nanny government.’… Lieber conceived the idea while chatting with a family friend and legal expert in children’s issues worldwide. The friend, Thomas Nazario, said that while banning spanking might seem like a radical step for the United States, more than 10 European countries already do so. Sweden was the first, in 1979…

“Doctors, social workers and others who believe a child has been abused are required by law to report it to authorities… Experts in child psychology disagree over whether spanking is a legitimate or effective way for parents to discipline their children. Professor Robert Larzelere, who has studied child discipline for 30 years, said his research shows spanking is fine, as long as it’s used sparingly and doesn’t escalate to abuse. ‘If it’s used in a limited way,’ the Oklahoma State University professor said, ‘it can be more effective than almost any other type of punishment.’ He added that children 18 months old or younger shouldn’t be spanked at all, because they can’t understand why it’s happening. As for Lieber’s proposal, the professor said: ‘I think this proposal is not just a step too far, it’s a leap too far. At least from a scientific perspective there really isn’t any research to support the idea that this would make things better for children.”

WorldNetDaily added the following well-considered comments, on January 23:

“‘It’s really awfully arrogant to try to protect my child from me,’ Karen England, of the Capitol Resource Institute, told WND. ‘If they want to protect children, protect them from predators.’…  Randy Thomasson, president of the Campaign for Children and Families, called it the wackiest bill of the year. ‘This punish-you-if-you-spank-your-children bill is intrusive, unenforceable, and the most blatant violation of parental rights I’ve ever seen,’ he said. ‘What’s next, jail time for parents who raise their voices at their children? We already have enough legitimate laws prohibiting physical abuse of children, and this proposal is certainly not one of them. Government regulation of parents’ discipline wipes out the right of parents to raise their own children. This is wrong. God gave children to parents, not to the state,’ Thomasson said. England agreed. ‘There already are safeguards in place,’ she said.

“‘Appropriate spanking is not “beating” or “abusing” a child, which is a ridiculous and offensive comparison,’ said Thomasson. ‘When appropriate spanking is lovingly administered, it can help a disobedient youngster to become a well-adjusted adult who respects authority.’… appropriate spanking of rebellious children from 2-10 ‘is the shortest and most effective route to an attitude adjustment.’…

“Brad Dacus, of the Pacific Justice Institute, called it yet another effort to expand the reach of government. ‘Even without this proposed new law, California gives such wide latitude to Child Protective Services that decent parents often get falsely charged with child abuse,’ Dacus said. ‘How much more if the state tries to outlaw all corporal punishment on young children?’ He said the U.S. Supreme Court has affirmed the fundamental rights of parents to direct and control the upbringing of their children.”

For more information on the BIBLICAL teaching on child discipline, please read our free booklet, “The Keys to Happy Marriages and Families.”

New US Passport Rules

The Associated Press reported on January 23:

“Americans flying to Mexico, Canada and the Caribbean made sure to bring their passports Monday because of a new rule going into effect Tuesday that requires them to show one to get back into the country. Only about a quarter of U.S. citizens hold valid passports, and most Americans are accustomed to traveling to neighboring countries with just a driver’s license or birth certificate, which have long been sufficient to get through airport customs on the trip home. The new regulations requiring passports were adopted by Congress in 2004 to secure the borders against terrorists…

“Starting Tuesday, Canadian, Mexican and Bermudan air travelers, as well as U.S. citizens flying home from those countries or the Caribbean, must display their passports to enter the United States. The only valid substitutes for a passport will be a NEXUS Air card, used by some American and Canadian frequent fliers; identification as a U.S. Coast Guard merchant mariner; and the green card carried by legal permanent residents. Active members of the U.S. military are exempt.

“For now, the rules affect only air travelers. Land and sea travelers will not have to show passports until at least January 2008. Air travelers who cannot produce a passport will be interviewed by customs agents, who will decide whether to let them into the country… The State Department issued a record 12.1 million passports in 2006 and expects to issue 16 million more this year to meet the increased demand.”

The World Condemns American Foreign Policy

Britain’s The Daily Mail wrote the following on January 23:

“The vast majority of Britons see America’s influence on the world as negative and 81 per cent disapprove of its actions in Iraq, a poll has shown. The damning verdict of the British public on the Bush administration’s handling of some of the world’s most crucial issues is backed by the majority of people around the globe, the survey for the BBC reveals… Three out of four people questioned in 25 countries disapproved of the way the U.S. is dealing with Iraq, where more than 100 died yesterday in one of Iraq’s bloodiest days this year. The poll, coming hours before President Bush’s annual State of the Union address Tuesday night, found that half of those questioned in all 25 countries believe the U.S. is playing a mainly negative role in the world. Some 68 per cent of those questioned around the world believe the U.S. military presence in the Middle East provokes more conflict than it prevents and only 17 per cent feel America’s presence there is a stabilising force.

“In addition to the overwhelming disapproval of U.S. actions in Iraq, 76 per cent of Britons condemned the treatment of detainees in Guantanamo Bay and other prisons, 70 per cent were critical of the U.S. response to the Israel-Hezbollah war in the Lebanon, and 64 per cent disagreed with America’s response to Iran’s nuclear programme. Only 33 per cent of Britons saw U.S. influence in the world as mainly positive, 79 per cent disapproved of its approach to global warming and 55 per cent were against the way it handled North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme. More than seven out of ten Britons – 72 per cent – saw the U.S. military presence in the Middle East as ‘provoking more conflict than it prevents’… Two-thirds of Americans, 66 per cent, think the U.S. is on the wrong track.”

The State of the Union Address

AFP reported on January 24:

“US President George W. Bush has pleaded with a war-weary US public to give his unpopular Iraq strategy a chance, warning that a US defeat could ignite an ‘epic battle’ engulfing the entire Middle East. ‘For America, this is a nightmare scenario. For the enemy, this is the objective,’ Bush said in his annual State of the Union speech late Tuesday, striking a more defiant than downbeat tone despite his mounting political woes. Two weeks after unveiling a new strategy centered on sending 21,500 more soldiers into battle, the embattled president gave no ground to his critics and urged lawmakers and the US public: ‘Give it a chance to work.’

“Bush, fighting to save his presidency and derail pending congressional action against his Iraq plan, also laid out a handful of domestic policies to cut US gasoline use and pollution, expand health care, and reform immigration. But the chief goal of the 49-minute televised speech was to win a reprieve on Iraq from a skeptical US public and an increasingly hostile US Congress, led by opposition Democrats for the first time in a dozen years…

“The president also acknowledged a dramatic upsurge in sectarian violence, telling Americans leery of seeing US troops caught in the crossfire: ‘This is not the fight we entered in Iraq, but it is the fight we are in.’ That appeared to be a reversal from Bush’s promise, made at an October 25, 2006 press conference, that ‘Americans have no intention of taking sides in a sectarian struggle or standing in the crossfire between rival factions.’ In fact, while Bush tied events in Iraq to the war on terrorism — which he declared in response to the September 11, 2001 attacks — he focused on the threat of future sectarian strife…

“The official Democratic response to the speech, delivered by Senator Jim Webb — a Vietnam veteran whose son is a Marine in Iraq — was tough and blunt. ‘The president took us into this war recklessly,’ said Webb. ‘The majority of the nation no longer supports the way this war is being fought, nor does the majority of our military, nor does Congress. We need a new direction.’

“The New York Times editorial said that Bush ‘gave no hint’ of fresh policies, offering instead ‘a tepid menu of ideas that would change little.’ The main Washington Post story described Bush as ‘politically wounded but rhetorically unbowed,’ while the Los Angeles Times said his domestic plans were ‘too modest’ to ‘rescue the last quarter of his presidency from irrelevance and patch his tattered legacy.'”

Europe Ready for More Military Operations

The EUObserver reported on January 19:

“Europe says it is ready for more military action under the EU flag in 2007 after its ‘success’ in Congo last year, with the German EU presidency putting Kosovo, Bosnia, Lebanon and Afghanistan at the top of its defence agenda for the next six months… The EU now has two units that can be deployed for ‘crisis-management’ anywhere in the world 10 days after member states take a unanimous vote, in a decision that would ‘as a rule’ follow a UN security council resolution but that could also see the EU go it alone. Each group brings together 1,500 soldiers from two or three member states, which hold joint training exercises and wear both national and EU insignia – a blue disk with 12 gold stars – on the model of EU police missions in Bosnia and Macedonia.

“‘Europe can assume very important peacekeeping and peacemaking functions in this world,’ German defence minister Franz Josef Jung said… ‘Europe is a great peace project and we will continue to make our contribution [to global stability].’… No EU battle group has ever been tested in a real operation, but last year saw two major EU military projects: member states coordinated sending 9,000 European peacekeepers under a UN flag to Lebanon and dispatched 1,400 soldiers under an EU flag to Congo.”

China’s Desire to Use Military Might

Britain’s The Telegraph reported on January 19:

“The prospect of ‘Star Wars’ between China and the West loomed last night after Beijing used a ballistic missile to destroy a satellite in space… It suggests that the Chinese have developed a major new capability that underscores the communist regime’s desire to use its military might as well as burgeoning economic power to expand its influence… The test shows that the Chinese could soon have the capability to destroy the array of commercial satellites operated by the US, Europe, Israel, Russia and Japan.”

The article also pointed out:

“The ability to destroy satellites with such precision could undermine the US National Missile Defence programme, a network of rocket interceptors, computers and satellites intended to protect America and its key allies from nuclear attack. It became known as ‘Son of Star Wars’ after President Ronald Reagan’s so-called ‘Star Wars’ programme proposed in the 1980s.”

Russia Threatens or Being Threatened?

AFP reported on January 21:

“German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin were at odds after talks on energy relations amid EU doubts over Moscow’s reliability as a supplier. Merkel stressed the importance of ‘relations of trust’ and called for improved communication on energy between the European Union and Russia ‘in order to avoid tensions, misunderstandings or disappointments.’ But Putin defended Russian moves to drastically increase energy prices for neighbouring former Soviet countries — a policy that has led to supply disruptions to Europe through Belarus and Ukraine in the past 12 months…

“The European Union depends on Russia for a quarter of its energy needs. Much of the supply, particularly of natural gas, travels through the neighbouring former Soviet republics… A Russian embargo on meat imports from Poland — another issue clouding relations between the European Union and Russia — remained unresolved, despite hopes of a possible breakthrough ahead of the Putin-Merkel meeting… Germany has been Russia’s main ally in the European Union and the two are key trade partners but relations appear cooler than under Merkel’s predecessor, Gerhard Schroeder, who was openly friendly with Putin.”

AFP reported on January 22:

“A top Russian general warned that a missile defense system that the United States wants to deploy in eastern Europe would pose a ‘clear threat’ to his country. The United States confirmed it would soon begin formal talks on deploying the system in the Czech Republic and Poland, aimed at warding off rocket attacks from North Korea or Iran… Czech and Polish leaders rejected Russia’s fears as groundless… The US State Department reiterated its view that the missile system was not directed against Russia… Moscow has warned of ‘negative consequences’ if Prague agrees to host the missile system… Russian Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov said in November that it was a ‘destabilizing’ move to which Russia would respond.”

These Russian threats might not be just mere political propaganda. Many still remember Russia’s ruthless and brutal suppression of Czechian thirst for freedom in the late 60’s, when Russian troops illegally invaded Czechoslovakia, while the free world stood idly by. Only 20 years later did the Czechs gain democratic freedoms with the fall of the Iron Curtain. It is no secret that Russian leaders would love to bring Czechoslovakia and other former Russian “satellite” states back into the “fold ” of Mother Russia.  Will Russia’s thirst for power lead to the repeat of such terrible atrocities, as occured in the late 60’s, and will the Western World again fail to intervene?

Daniel 11:44-45 prophesies that frightening rumors from countries such as Russia and China will alarm the future leader of Europe. However, his resulting actions will be devastating for both power blocs.

Sunday Worship?

On January 9, 2007, the Catholic News Agency, Zenit, published an English translation of Pope Benedict XVI’s letter to Cardinal Francis Arinze, dated November 27, 2006. In the letter, the pope made some startling admissions as to how the Catholic Church CHANGED the observance from Saturday-Sabbath to Sunday, using some “biblical” justifications for that change. However, the Bible nowhere justifies the abolition of the weekly Saturday-Sabbath and the substitution of Sunday.

The pope wrote the following, as quoted by Zenit:

“The Second Vatican Council teaches that ‘the Church celebrates the Paschal Mystery every seventh day, which day is appropriately called the ‘Lord’s Day’ or ‘Sunday’… On the ‘first day after Saturday’, the women and then the Disciples, meeting the Risen One, understood that this was ‘the day which the Lord has made’ (Ps 118[117]:24) , ‘his’ day, the ‘Dies Domini.’… From the very outset, this has been a stable element in the perception of the mystery of Sunday: ‘The Word’, Origen affirms, ‘has moved the feast of the Sabbath to the day on which the light was produced and has given us as an image of true repose, Sunday, the day of salvation, the first day of the light in which the Savior of the world, after completing all his work with men and after conquering death, crossed the threshold of Heaven, surpassing the creation of the six days and receiving the blessed Sabbath and rest in God’. Inspired by knowledge of this, St Ignatius of Antioch asserted: ‘We are no longer keeping the Sabbath, but the Lord’s Day’… How much more necessary it is today to reaffirm the sacredness of the Lord’s Day and the need to take part in Sunday Mass!… The cultural context in which we live… must not let us forget that the People of God, born from ‘Christ’s Passover, Sunday’, should return to it as to an inexhaustible source, in order to understand better and better the features of their own identity and the reasons for their existence.

“The Second Vatican Council, after pointing out the origin of Sunday, continued: ‘On this day Christ’s faithful are bound to come together into one place. They should listen to the Word of God and take part in the Eucharist, thus calling to mind the Passion, Resurrection and Glory of the Lord Jesus and giving thanks to God who ‘has begotten them again, through the Resurrection of Christ from the dead, unto a living hope’… Sunday was not chosen by the Christian community but by the Apostles, and indeed by Christ himself, who on that day, ‘the first day of the week’, rose and appeared to the disciples (cf. Mt 28:1; Mk 16: 9; Lk 24:1; Jn 20:1,19; Acts 20:7; I Cor 16: 2), and appeared to them again ‘eight days later’ (Jn 20:26). Sunday is the day on which the Risen Lord makes himself present among his followers, invites them to his banquet and shares himself with them so that they too, united and configured to him, may worship God properly. Therefore, as I encourage people to give ever greater importance to the ‘Lord’s Day,’ I am eager to highlight the central place of the Eucharist as a fundamental pillar of Sunday and of all ecclesial life.”

Our free booklet, “Europe in Prophecy” explains in detail WHY the abolition of Saturday-Sabbath worship is NOT authorized in Scripture. In addition, our free booklet, “Jesus Christ–A Great Mystery,” explains that Jesus Christ was NOT resurrected on Sunday, either. Our booklet, “The Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord,” shows that the Biblical “Lord’s Day” has absolutely nothing to do with Sunday. And finally, our new booklet, “The Meaning of God’s Spring Holy Days,” shows why the celebration of the weekly “Sunday Mass” or “Paschal Mystery” is not an acceptable substitute for the Biblically-mandated annual Passover service.

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Was Jesus Christ always the Son–even prior to His human birth?

The Bible reveals that Jesus Christ was always the Son of God; that is, the second member of the God Family. However, the Bible also reveals that Christ BECAME the Son of Man when He gave up His divine glory and became a human being.

Hebrews 1:2 states that God “has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds.” The very next verse (verse 3) then describes Jesus, God’s Son, in this way: “who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high…”

From these two verses in Hebrews 1, we learn that God made the worlds through His Son–John 1 verifies this! In other words, God the FATHER made the worlds through His SON, as Hebrews 1:2 testifies. We also see that Jesus is described as being an exact image of God–a description that is, by itself, an indication of a father and a son. Add to this the fact that Jesus said that “‘…My Father is greater than I'” (Compare John 14:28).

The Father-Son relationship, existing from eternity, is the only way that the Bible accounts for a difference within the Family of God–both from and into all eternity. Otherwise, WHY is the Father greater than the Son? HOW did this come about? Was there a time when both were equal? The Bible does not teach this. It teaches that the Father was always greater than the Son–that is why the FATHER created everything THROUGH the Son. Note that God created through Jesus–He gave His Son a work to accomplish, and Jesus was and remains subordinate to His Father.

The Bible reveals that the Son of God willingly became–also–the Son of Man. He always was the Son of God, but He BECAME the Son of Man when He became a human being, living in the flesh without ever sinning. This is the reason why He–the “Man Christ Jesus”–is now our merciful High Priest and “Mediator between God [the Father] and men” (compare 1 Timothy 2:5). Christ always was and always will be the SUBORDINATE Son of God according to what is written in the Word of God.

We are setting forth below relevant sections from our booklet, “God Is A Family,” proving that Jesus Christ was always the Son of God, and that there was never a time when He was not the Son of God, or when the Father was not the Father:

“Some quote Romans 1:4 as proof of the concept that Jesus Christ—the second being in the Godhead—BECAME the Son of God at the time of His resurrection from the dead.

“In Romans 1:3–4, Paul states that God made a promise before ‘concerning HIS SON Jesus Christ our Lord who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection of the dead.’ Does this Scripture say that Christ became the Son of God through the resurrection of the dead? Without analyzing the rest of the Scriptures, and focusing on this passage alone, another possible way of understanding Paul’s statement could also be that the Son, who had been flesh, became again a powerful being through the resurrection from the dead. In other words, Romans 1:3–4 is not conclusive proof that Jesus Christ BECAME the Son of God at the time of His resurrection from the dead.

“Before we clearly present from the Bible what Romans 1:3–4 is saying, let us note another passage, Hebrews 1:5, which has been used in an attempt to prove that Christ BECAME the Son of God—that He was not the Son of God from all eternity. Hebrews 1:5 states, ‘For to which of the angels did He ever say: “You are My Son, Today I have begotten you”? And again: “I will be to Him a Father, And He shall be to Me a Son”?’ Does this passage mean that Christ became the Son of God when He came into the world (verse 6), and that God became the Father at that time? Another explanation—again, just looking at this passage alone—could be that God the Father begot the Son, Jesus Christ, as a human being at that time, and that God the Father will be, and has been, to Christ a Father in the truest sense of the word, as Christ showed through obedience in His human life that He was an obedient Son, even while in the flesh.

“When we view the passages in Romans 1 and Hebrews 1 in context with the other Biblical testimony, we must conclude that they cannot be used to validate the concept that Christ BECAME the Son of God at the time of His resurrection. If it were true that Christ became the Son of God through the resurrection, why did God the Father say before Christ’s resurrection, ‘This is My beloved SON, in whom I am well pleased.’ (Matthew 3:17)? When this event occurred, John the Baptist exclaimed, ‘And I have seen and testified that this is the SON OF GOD’ (John 1:34). Christ is identified many times in the New Testament as the ‘Son of God,’ prior to His death and resurrection (compare John 1:49; Matthew 4:3, 6; Matthew 8:29; Matthew 14:33)… The Jews KNEW that Christ claimed that He WAS the Son of God (compare Matthew 27:40, 43; Luke 22:70; John 9:35–37; John 10:33–36; John 11:4; John 19:7). When Christ died, the centurion recognized that Christ was ‘the Son of God’ (Matthew 27:54).

“In addition, we find a few Scriptures in the Old Testament that refer to Christ—the second being in the God Family—as the Son (compare Psalm 2:1–2, 7, 11–12; Proverbs 30:4). Generally, however, this terminology is not used in the Old Testament, as God was not clearly revealed as Father and Son in ancient times. Christ, as the Son of God, had to come to reveal the Father. The Jews were under the misimpression that they were worshipping ‘the Father.’ They did not understand that the God being functioning as the Messenger or Spokesperson of the Father and the God Family, who had been dealing directly with the ancients, was actually Jesus Christ. (Compare Christ’s words in John 8:54, ‘It is My Father who honors Me, of whom you say that He is your God.’). Still, there are Old Testament passages that speak about God as ‘the Father.’ References to ‘the Father’ in the Old Testament can be found in Isaiah 63:16; Malachi 1:6; 2:10; 2 Samuel 7:13–14; 1 Chronicles 22:10; and Deuteronomy 32:6. In those passages, Christ—the ‘Word’ or Spokesman for the Father—communicated to the people the words of the Father.

“Since God created everything through Christ, it is also said in Isaiah 9:6 that Christ will be called in the future—after His Second Coming—the ‘Everlasting Father.’ This statement proves, too, that Christ existed for all eternity. He is referred to here as the ‘everlasting Father’ or ‘the everlasting Source’ of everything—the ‘beginning of the creation of God.’ However, when the Bible speaks of the ‘Father,’ it normally refers strictly and exclusively to the highest God being in the God Family. We find, then, that God was identified in Scripture as the Father and the Son prior to the human existence of Jesus Christ. God has been a Family for all eternity…

“Returning to Romans 1:3–4, Paul is addressing the fact that Jesus was resurrected from the dead. This showed WHO Christ was. Notice again what Romans 1:2–4 really says. God the Father made a promise concerning His Son Jesus Christ. We read that the SON was born of the seed of David according to the flesh. We also read that the SON was declared to be the Son of God WITH POWER according to the Spirit by the resurrection from the dead. Christ was already the SON when He was born as a human being—but He became POWERFUL when He became once again a glorified God being. He came back to His disciples after His resurrection to prove who He was, that God the Father had raised Him back to life, and that all authority or ‘POWER’ had been given to Him by the Father (compare Matthew 28:18 in the Authorized Version; see also Hebrews 1:3).

“We also read in Romans 8:3 that God sent ‘His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh.’ Note whom God the Father sent to become a human being. It says, He sent ‘His own Son.’ Notice the same statement in Galatians 4:4: ‘When the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth HIS SON, born of a woman, born under the law.’ Hebrews 5:8 also emphasizes that Christ had to suffer in the flesh, although He was ‘a Son.’ He was already the Son of God PRIOR to His resurrection.

“In light of the foregoing, we understand that Hebrews 1 does not state that Christ was not the Son prior to His human existence. Rather, the Bible teaches consistently that the Son of God came into the world. He became a human being. Thus, He became the Son of Man as well.

“In thinking about Jesus in His preincarnate life, it is hard to describe the Father and Son relationship that existed from eternity in physical analogies. It is plain that although Christ was equal to God in one sense, He still said that God the Father was greater than He was (John 14:28). Also, Christ is and always has been the Spokesman for the Father and the Family of God. John 1:1 states: ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was WITH God, and the Word WAS God.’ What is important to understand from this verse is that Jesus was with God (the Father) at the beginning of creation. Further, Christ will be known again to the nations as the Word of God, when He returns to this earth. Revelation 19:13 describes His Second Coming in this way: ‘He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.’

“God the Father holds a superior position in the God Family in that He represents the final authority. Christ was, always is, and always will be subject to the Father—a structure of relationship that has always existed. The role in the Family of God between Father and Son not only stretches back through eternity, but it is a role that will continue forever into the future. Several decades after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we find a statement that was recorded by John, an apostle of Jesus Christ: ‘The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which GOD GAVE HIM to show His servants—things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John’ (Revelation 1:1). Jesus is not doing this by Himself. Rather, the revelation is received from God the Father, and Christ, as Spokesman for the Family of God, then sends it through His angel to John. We read in 1 Corinthians 15:24, 27–28, ‘Then comes the end, when He [Christ] delivers the kingdom to God the Father… For “He [the Father] has put all things under His [Christ’s] feet.” But when He says “all things are put under Him,” it is evident that He who put all things under Him is excepted. Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.’ The head of Christ is and will be—and always has been—God the Father (1 Corinthians 11:3).

“It may be difficult for us to comprehend that Christ WAS always the Son, and that the Father WAS always the Father. We may not be able to explain how that could have been the case, thinking, in using a human analogy, that God the Father must of necessity have existed prior to the Son’s ‘birth.’ This is not true, however, since the Bible tells us that the Son—Jesus Christ, the Word— did not have a beginning. The Bible teaches us that God the Father was always the Father and that Christ was always the Son. We cannot explain this revelation with our limited human understanding. Neither can we explain how God could have lived from all eternity, or that there were even two God beings from all eternity. However, we know this to be true. The Bible teaches it, and we must accept it ‘by faith’ (Hebrews 11:6), although the human mind might not be able to fully comprehend it (compare Romans 11:33; 1 Corinthians 13:12).

“We have also learned from the Bible that God the Father is the highest in the Godhead. The Bible nowhere says that He was NOT the highest from all eternity. In fact, we read that God the Father created everything THROUGH Jesus Christ—so the highest God being created everything, including the spiritual world, through a God being ‘lower’ than He. If we were to speculate, we could imagine, perhaps, that BEFORE anything was created, the two totally ‘equal’ God beings decided between themselves that one should become the highest. However, the Biblical record does not leave room for such speculation. We are clearly taught that the Father always was the highest. We can’t explain or comprehend how that could be. Likewise, we might not understand how Christ could have always been the Son, or how the Father could have always been the Father. Still, the Biblical record is clear in this regard.

“Therefore, we must conclude that God HAS ALWAYS BEEN a Family—and that God IS a Family today, presently consisting of the Father and the Son.”

Lead Writers: Norbert Link and Dave Harris

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Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

Our new booklet, “The Meaning of God’s Spring Holy Days,” has been sent to the printer in England. It has also been placed on the Web.

A new StandingWatch program was placed on Google Video and on our Website. It is titled, “Why This Terrible Weather?”

In the program, Norbert Link asked why we hear of severe weather conditions in Southern California, as well as in Germany and many areas around the world. Are there unknown causes and conditions for these terrible situations which have been largely overlooked? And what can we expect to occur in the future?

Annual Conference

The dates for the annual conference in San Diego 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:

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.

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The Ambassadors

by Eric Rank

The Bible reminds us that we need not fear what others think about us. We have only God to fear. Yet, the Bible also instructs us against becoming stumbling blocks to others by our behavior.

When we tell others that we are Christians, how do they respond? Do they nod as if to finally understand the things we do? Or do they become confused because our behavior doesn’t match the true virtues of Christianity? As Christians, we are called to hold ourselves to a higher standard — God’s standard of life. Certainly, some people we come in contact with fall short of understanding the full richness of this way of life, but they probably have the ability to discern some aspects of Christian virtue. The virtues of love and kindness towards others might be the most dominant and pervasive of those known to most people. Do people we come in contact with see these virtues in us, or are they caused to stumble — perhaps discarding Christianity as a whole because of the hypocrisy they might see?

Even though it is important to remember that other people’s judgment is nothing compared to God’s judgment, we must realize that we are here in this life, answering God’s call, as ambassadors of God. The most difficult part about being a Christian is making our actions match our beliefs. We are setting an example to the world around us of God’s way of life. If people see contradictions between what we do and what we believe, it not only reflects poorly upon our character, but more importantly, we let down God. Since we sit as lamps on a lamp-stand to the world around us, the gaps between belief and action are much more visible.

The most difficult thing I have done, and will ever do, is to continuously commit my life to God. By answering this calling, not only do I have a new standard to live up to, but I have a job to do in representing God’s way of life. Certainly, this is a challenge, but the God promises that the reward is great.

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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

©2024 Church of the Eternal God