Update 333


Don't Worry


You name it – I am sure that someone out there is fretting about it. We live in a world plagued with phobias.  We may look at some of these issues that others are overly concerned about, and these are not issues that trouble us.

We may look at issues that vexed us when we were young, and they no longer present a problem to us now, and we think how silly it was to have made a mountain out of a mole hill.

This begs the question, “Why do we worry about what we do now, and should we really be worrying about it?”

In Philippians 4:6 it states, “Be anxious for nothing….” Matthew 6:25 says, “…do not worry about your life…”  That pretty much covers EVERYTHING.  We are not to worry about anything because God has said that He would look after us. 

This, of course, does not preclude us from doing what we are supposed to do, as God has commanded throughout the Scriptures.  But, we do what we can and place the rest of the burden upon the shoulders of God.

Knowing what we know, worrying demonstrates a LACK OF FAITH.  That’s right… to worry is to not trust God.  It is not believing that He will do what He says that He will do.  When God says that He will not let time and chance happen to us and that He will provide for our needs — we can rest assured that God CAN and WILL do this.

If we trust in God, we will find a relief from the stresses that once weighed heavily upon us. To not do this, is to remove our focus from the Kingdom of God and succumb to a device of Satan.

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Robots for Warfare

AFP wrote on February 27:

“Increasingly autonomous, gun-totting robots developed for warfare could easily fall into the hands of terrorists and may one day unleash a robot arms race, a top expert on artificial intelligence told AFP. ‘They pose a threat to humanity,’ said University of Sheffield professor Noel Sharkey…

“Intelligent machines deployed on battlefields around the world — from mobile grenade launchers to rocket-firing drones — can already identify and lock onto targets without human help. There are more than 4,000 US military robots on the ground in Iraq, as well as unmanned aircraft that have clocked hundreds of thousands of flight hours. The first three armed combat robots fitted with large-caliber machine guns deployed to Iraq last summer, manufactured by US arms maker Foster-Miller, proved so successful that 80 more are on order, said Sharkey.
“But up to now, a human hand has always been required to push the button or pull the trigger. [If] we are not careful, he said, that could change. Military leaders ‘are quite clear that they want autonomous robots as soon as possible, because they are more cost-effective and give a risk-free war,’ he said…

“Washington plans to spend four billion dollars by 2010 on unmanned technology systems, with total spending expected [to] rise to 24 billion… James Canton, an expert on technology innovation and CEO of the Institute for Global Futures, predicts that deployment within a decade of detachments… will include 150 soldiers and 2,000 robots.

“The use of such devices by terrorists should be a serious concern, said Sharkey… worrisome, he continued, is the subtle progression from the semi-autonomous military robots deployed today to fully independent killing machines. ‘I have worked in artificial intelligence for decades, and the idea of a robot making decisions about human termination terrifies me,’ Sharkey said… the prospect of armies increasingly dependent on remotely-controlled or autonomous robots raises a host of ethical issues that have barely been addressed… For Sharkey, the best solution may be an outright ban on autonomous weapons systems. ‘We have to say where we want to draw the line and what we want to do — and then get an international agreement,’ he said.”

For more information on this topic as well as related issues, such as cloning and the creation of human-animal hybrids, please listen to or view Norbert Link’s recent video-taped sermon, titled, “Nothing Will Be Impossible for Them.” It is posted on Google Video, and can also be listened to on our Website.

Earthquake in Great Britain

The Times reported on February 27:

“Britain was shaken by a huge earth tremor at 12.56 am this morning which was felt by people from Yorkshire to the South Coast. Thousands of people reported their homes being shaken violently and furniture moving and hundreds more took to the streets for safety and to check for damage.

“The epicentre of the tremor, which measured 5.3 on the Richter scale according to the British Geological Survey, was [centered] on the village of Holton cum Beckering, about 15 miles northeast of Lincoln. According to the US Geological Survey, the epicentre was 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) from the Earth’s surface.

“The tremor is the biggest in Britain since 1984 when north Wales was hit by a quake which registered at 5.4 on the Richter scale… The largest earthquake recorded in Britain had a magnitude of 6.1 and struck offshore in the North Sea on June 7, 1931, about 75 miles northeast of Great Yarmouth. The country experiences a magnitude 5 earthquake on average every ten years. A magnitude 4 earthquake occurs on average every two to three years…”

The Derby Evening Telegraph added the following on February 27:

“An earthquake… rocked Derbyshire in the early hours of today… it was felt in Derbyshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Leicestershire, Manchester, Berkshire and the West Midlands.”

The Daily Mail wrote on February 27:

“England has been rocked by the biggest earthquake to hit the country in 25 years – and the cost of damage to homes and properties is expected to be a staggering £10million.”

Christ announced that ONE sign for His Second Coming would be increasingly powerful earthquakes in various places (compare Matthew 24:7). According to statistics, occurrences of earthquakes with a magnitude of 4 and higher on the Richter scale have been more frequent in 2007 than in any of the prior years in recent history.

Euro Scores All-Time High Against U.S. Dollar

The Associated Press reported on February 27:

“The euro climbed to a record high of $1.5057 in early European trading on Wednesday… Along with the rise in the British pound, which is nearing $2 again, the surging euro will not be kind to Americans visiting Europe… On the other hand, the stronger euro makes shopping trips to the U.S. more appealing to Europeans. A higher euro also makes goods from the euro-zone more expensive for customers abroad, or cuts into manufacturers’ profits…”

Does the Economic World Move Away from the U.S. Dollar?

Pravda reported on February 26:

“The dollar’s depreciation against major currencies, then against all world currencies, imposes a burden on the world economy… Expectations by the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, major central banks, and other economic analysts indicate that the American currency will continue to depreciate, at least until the end of the current year.

“So far, it still remains unclear whether the weakness of the greenback is attributed to the US subprime mortgage crisis along with the ensuing consequences and repercussions for the international financial markets… Regardless of the causes, it is impossible to overlook the cost of the US war in Iraq which has so far drained over three trillion dollars in financial resources spent on unproductive activities…

“The Central Bank of China has already started to cut its dollar reserves by turning to more stable currencies such as the Euro. Asian companies such as the South Korean Hyundai no longer accept contracts in dollars. The French company Arriva signed its contracts with China in Euro, and many Indian companies do not accept the American currency… Oil-exporting countries have become more inclined to end their dealings in dollars. Until now, however, they continue to price in dollars with the exception of Iran and Venezuela. Some of these states continue to maintain the peg to the dollar, suffering heavy losses in the value of their income and their citizens’ although part of these losses is compensated for by the rising oil price… “

The Bible predicts that the influence of the US dollar will gradually decrease, while the influence of the Euro will gradually increase. For more information, please read our free booklets, “The Fall and Rise of Britain and America” and “Europe in Prophecy.”

Highest German Judge Questions Democratic Innovations to EU Treaty

The EUObserver reported on February 27:

“Germany’s most senior judge has suggested that while democracy has been strengthened in the EU’s new treaty, a key innovation involving national parliaments does not go far enough and member states have no guarantee that EU powers will not continue to grow…

“Under the treaty rules, MPs are sent legislative proposals by the commission for examination. If they think the EU should not be acting in this area they have eight weeks to notify the commission, which is not bound to act. If one third of national parliaments get together to complain about an EU law, it must be reviewed and the commission must give reasons if it intends to keep the law. The European Court of Justice may also be called on by member states to look into whether the subsidiarity principle is being upheld.

“Professor Papier points out that the sheer number of laws coming from Brussels – there were 18,167 regulations and 750 directives between 1998 and 2004 – means that the MPs’ early warning system is ‘somewhat [impracticable].’ He also notes that the eight week deadline for delivering an opinion on an EU law… is likely to prove too short in practice, while the numerous parliament opinions needed to get a law reviewed would require ‘considerable international coordination’ in the two month timeframe…”

EU Fines Microsoft

The Wall Street Journal reported on February 27:

“The European Union fined Microsoft Corp. €899 million ($1.35 billion) for failing to comply with a 2004 antitrust order, tying up a remaining loose end in the EU’s landmark case. It won’t be the end of Microsoft’s saga in Europe. The EU regulator opened two new cases last month, and antitrust chief Neelie Kroes on Wednesday vowed to press ahead with those. The fine, which had been expected, is the largest the EU has ever imposed against a single company in an antitrust case. It is the third against Microsoft… The commission said that, until Oct. 22, 2007, Microsoft had charged ‘unreasonable prices for access to interface documentation for work group servers.'”

EU Angry with Czech Republic Over Unilateral Deal with USA

Reuters reported on February 27:

“The European Commission said on Wednesday it reserved the right to take legal action over the Czech Republic’s move to break ranks with EU partners and sign a bilateral air security and visa pact with the United States… The deal has split the bloc, as it touches on the EU’s competence over visa and border policies. The EU executive had urged governments not to sign individual pacts, so that talks with Washington would continue to take place at EU level…

“The EU executive and a number of old EU member states including the Netherlands, Spain, France and Portugal accuse Washington of trying to bypass the EU, and Prague of breaking ranks, diplomats said… But ambassadors from the Czech Republic, Hungary and Estonia said in a meeting on Wednesday that the bloc had not done enough to help them get into the U.S. visa waiver program… Most EU states are already part of the visa waiver program. But eight mostly ex-communist countries that joined the European Union in 2004, along with older member Greece, are pressing Washington to include them too.”

Better EU-US Relationship Under Next American President?

Deutsche Welle reported on February 24:

“Europeans think the next US president will be better. They hope a Democrat in the White House will reinvigorate trans-Atlantic ties. But the candidates aren’t necessarily much more in tune with Europe.

“Europeans’ interest in the US primaries and caucuses is immense… Many Europeans connect the election of a new US president with the hope for a new beginning in trans-Atlantic relations, which suffered setbacks due to numerous controversies, from George W. Bush’s uncompromising approach to climate change to his foray into the Iraqi desert. To many Europeans, everything will get better once there’s a new president. And if he or she is a Democrat, they believe, it’s guaranteed.

“Regardless of how passionately Europeans follow the duel between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, Europe plays a negligible role in the top Democratic contenders’ campaigns. Aside from a few sentences in speeches and essays, the two have hardly said a word about Europe. And according to some, European hopes will likely be dashed…

“On points of contention between the US and Europe, such as climate change or human rights, the Europeans could expect significantly more cooperation than in the past [according to some observers]… But whether under a President Obama or a President Clinton, the US would demand the leadership role in fighting climate change. It would also refuse to let the Europeans dictate what should be done… And it’s inconceivable that a new president would ratify the statutes of the International Criminal Court (ICC), an issue that looms large for Europeans…”

Angry Judge Intimidates Jurors

“The Wichita Eagle” reported on February 23:

“Sedgwick County District Judge Rebecca Pilshaw could face public censure for yelling at potential jurors during a murder trial four years ago. That’s the unanimous recommendation the state’s Commission of Judicial Qualifications gave the Kansas Supreme Court on Friday. It’s the first disciplinary action against a Kansas judge sent to the Supreme Court since 2005… Pilshaw lost her temper during the first day of jury selection for [a criminal] trial, after two women said they couldn’t serve. One said she couldn’t believe police officers’ testimony; the other cited religious reasons.

“Pilshaw ordered the first woman to observe the trial in lieu of jury service. The judge released the second woman and then turned to the remaining people on the panel. ‘I feel sorry for the next person that ends up going, because I’m going to hit the roof, I think,’ Pilshaw said in court transcripts… Pilshaw, who had apologized to the remaining jurors at the end of the first day… didn’t make the first woman sit through the trial.”

Sunday vs. Sabbath

The Associated Press reported on February 27:

“State senators have taken up the cause of a Jewish boys basketball team whose playoff run may be halted because its players can’t play on the Jewish Sabbath. The Herzl/Rocky Mountain Hebrew Academy team could be headed for a regional championship on Saturday, March 8, if it wins one more game. But the Denver team’s religious beliefs prohibit students from playing on the Jewish Sabbath between sundown Friday and sundown Saturday. If Herzl/RMHA makes it to the regional championship and refuses to play a Saturday game, another school would be chosen to take its place… Earlier this month, the Colorado High School Activities Association, which governs sports and other high school activities, rejected the team’s request for a schedule change.

“Senate President Peter Groff, D-Denver, said the CHSAA’s decision was ironic because it has a rule barring games from being played on Sunday for religious reasons. Sen. Tom Wiens, R-Sedalia, said there must be a way for the CHSAA to accommodate the team. ‘It just seems like the bureaucracy has run amok here,’ Wiens said.”

Cause of Power Outage in Florida Still a Mystery

The Associated Press reported on February 27:

“Power executives were still in the dark Wednesday about how a glitch at a substation triggered a blackout that cut power to millions across south Florida. The outage darkened traffic signals, forced hospitals to scramble for generators and cut off air conditioners in the afternoon heat…

“At about 1 p.m. an equipment malfunction happened at a facility that transmits power in Miami, starting a sequence of events that caused power to go off in areas around the state. A switch failed, like a short circuit, and a fire broke out at the facility, which in turn caused larger problems — disabling two power distribution lines between Miami and Daytona Beach, according to the power company. Systems monitoring the power grid saw took action, automatically shutting down two nuclear plants at the Turkey Point facility south of Miami…”

“More Should Publish Mohammed Cartoons”

Deutsche Welle reported on February 27:

“More European newspapers should publish the hotly disputed Mohammed cartoons, said German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble… The minister added that he ‘respected’ the decision of 17 Danish newspapers earlier this month to reprint a cartoon depicting the Prophet Mohammed with a turban that resembled a bomb with a lit fuse. The re-publication came a day after Danish authorities uncovered and foiled a plot to murder the cartoonist whose drawing first appeared in 2005…

“Schaeuble’s statement coincided with protests in Sudan over the reprinting. In a demonstration organized by numerous Islamist movements, some 10,000 people marched through Khartoum on Wednesday… The protestors demanded that diplomatic ties with Denmark be severed and expressed support for a boycott on Danish products declared by the Sudanese government on Monday… Since the cartoon was reprinted two weeks ago, similar protests have been held in Iran and Egypt.”

Germany’s Fight Against Scientology

Der Spiegel Online reported on February 26:

“Authorities have shut down a child-care facility in Munich, saying it was trying to indoctrinate young minds with Scientology. The war between the California ‘church’ and the German government continues.

“The name on the door in the Sendling district of Munich sounded innocent enough: ‘Kinderhäusl’ (Little House for Kids). Child-drawn art hung in the windows. On a normal day, the sounds of children playing would have come from inside. But the little house, which had been open as a day-care center since the summer of 2007, was shut down Monday by Munich officials, who say its teaching methods are illegal. An estimated 20 children will now have to find new day-care.

“‘The well-being of the children in the establishment was under threat,’ the Munich Education Department declared, ‘because the education process was based on the principles of Scientology.’ The organization’s principles threaten a child’s right to free growth and development, the statement continued.

“The German government has been locked for years in legal battles with the Church of Scientology, which it considers a cult and a threat to its democratic system. The idea of a day-care center run by Scientologists would have raised official hackles, and in fact the Kinderhäusl’s troubles started early. ‘A few weeks after the center opened we received a letter from the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution,’ Eva-Maria Volland from Munich’s Education Department told SPIEGEL ONLINE. All members of the Kinderhäusl’s board were Scientologists, according to the letter, and the children were being raised according to the cult’s ideology.

“Germany’s Office for the Protection of the Constitution was set up after World War II to pursue any group which the government deemed a specific threat to its democratic system. Neo-Nazis as well as radical Muslim groups have been watched and shut down by the office. A regional court in Germany recently ruled that Scientologists had enough ‘ambitions against the free, democratic basic order’ for the agency to go on watching them. ‘There are concrete indications that Scientology’s activities are to implement Scientology’s program in Germany,’ the court in North Rhine-Westphalia ruled on Feb. 12, ‘and to expand more and more Scientology’s principles in government, economy and society.’ Scientologists have consistently claimed that they do nothing against German law and say the government persecutes them.”

Putin and Medvedev

Der Spiegel Online wrote on February 28:

“Dmitry Medvedev is expected to become Russia’s new president on Sunday. A protege of current President Vladimir Putin, Medvedev is suddenly calling for a stronger emphasis on the rule of law, the market economy and freedom of the press. But many in Moscow have their doubts that the new president will become the country’s real leader…

“Two things remain unclear in Russia’s future power structure. One is the question of who will be leaning back in his chair at the small wooden table in the office of the president, and who will be sitting up straight to deliver his reports on television. The second is the question of what to do about the presidential portrait. Will Putin, as prime minister, keep a photograph of the new Kremlin boss hanging in his office, as is customary? Popular wisdom has it that he will, but under one condition: ‘The picture will have to show Medvedev standing in front of a portrait of Putin on the wall.”

Turkey Angers USA, Iraq and Europe

The Associated Press reported on February 27:

“Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Wednesday that Turkey should remove its troops from northern Iraq in the next few days, sending a strong message to Ankara that U.S. patience is running out on the operation targeting Kurdish insurgents… It was the first time that the Pentagon chief put any time limit on the Turkish incursion launched into Iraq last Thursday…

“A Turkish official insisted that the aim of a military incursion into northern Iraq ‘is clear and limited’ against Kurdish rebels and said no timetable will be set ‘until the terrorist bases are eliminated.’… The Iraqi government demanded for the first time that Turkey immediately withdraw from northern Iraq…”

“…And the Rivers Became Blood…” (Revelation 16:4)

The Associated Press reported on February 27:

“Pollution has turned part of a major river system in central China red and bubbly, forcing authorities to cut water supplies to 200,000 people and close schools… Tests showed the polluted waters contained elevated levels of ammonia, nitrogen, and permanganate, a chemical used in metal cleaning, tanning and bleaching… The source of the pollution had not been determined, and an investigation was ongoing.”

India Tests Submarine-Launched Missile

Reuters reported on February 27:

“India’s successful test-firing of a nuclear-capable, submarine-launched missile will trigger a new arms race in the region, Pakistan’s navy chief said on Wednesday… India, already capable of launches from land and air, tested the new missile on Tuesday from a surfaced submarine — a step closer to firing from under the sea and matching countries such as the United States, Russia, France and China.”

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Would you please explain the concept of the "New Jerusalem," as described in Revelation 21 and 22?

We are told in Revelation 21 that John sees in a vision that God will create a new heaven and a new earth (Revelation 21: 1; compare 2 Peter 3:13; Isaiah 65:17-18; 66:22; Psalm 102:25-26)—apparently after this earth and the heavens have been burned up (compare 2 Peter 3:7, 10). There will be no more sea on the new earth (Revelation 21:1)

In addition, John sees the “holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God” (Revelation 21:2). This is a literal city–albeit not physical, but spiritual (For more information on the spiritual nature of the new Jerusalem, please read our free booklet, “Angels, Demons and the Spirit World.”). That this city is literal and not just a symbolic reference to the church, for example, can be seen from the very detailed and specific description in Revelation 21:10-22; 22:1-5. We are told in Revelation 21:2, in conjunction with other Scriptures, that God is presently “preparing” this city in heaven (compare Revelation 3:12; Hebrews 11:9-10; 12:10, 22; 13:14; Galatians 4:26). We also read that Jesus Christ is presently “preparing” for us a place in the “Father’s house”–the new Jerusalem (John 14:1-3).

When the heavenly Jerusalem descends to the new earth, Jesus Christ and the saints will have ruled on earth for 1,000 years and an additional 100 years during the Great White Throne Judgment. Then, God the Father Himself will also come down to live with Jesus Christ–the Lamb of God–and the saints (Revelation 21:3). At that time, there will be no more death (Revelation 21:4; 1 Corinthians 15:26), and nobody will be able to enter the city who does not keep all of God’s commandments (Revelation 22:14).

The new Jerusalem is described as the “tabernacle of God… with men” (Revelation 21:3). Lehmann Strauss, The Book of Revelation, states on page 350: “The ancient tabernacle in the wilderness represented God’s presence and glory in the midst of Israel… The word translated ‘tabernacle’ is ‘skene,’ which literally means, ‘the place where God dwells.’ This means that God will make His tabernacle with His saints forever and ever; He will give His presence to them forever and ever. ‘Behold the tabernacle [‘skene’] of God is with men, and He will tabernacle [‘skenosei] with them’ [compare Revelation 21:3].”

Scriptures such as Ezekiel 40:2; 47:1-12; and Isaiah 60:3-22 reveal to us that a physical forerunner of the heavenly Jerusalem will exist in the Millennium–prior to the events described in Revelation 21. However, in comparing the descriptions of the future “earthly” Jerusalem and the new “heavenly” Jerusalem, we find remarkable differences. For instance, while the earthly Jerusalem will have a temple (Ezekiel 47:1), there will be no temple in the new Jerusalem (Revelation 21:22). Rather, “in God’s Holy City, the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the image of the invisible God, is the Temple… [This wording could be misunderstood. In accordance with Revelation 21, 22, “… the Lord God Almighty (God the Father) and the Lamb (Jesus Christ) ARE the temple.”] Ezekiel saw healing waters proceed from the altar in the temple, the place of sacrifice (Ezekiel 47:1), but in the new order it issues forth from the throne, the place of sovereignty, for in that day there will be no need for a sacrifice” (Strauss, pages 354, 359).

The commentary of Jamieson, Fausset and Brown states:

“The descent of the new Jerusalem out of heaven is plainly distinct from the earthly Jerusalem in which Israel in the flesh shall dwell during the millennium, and follows… the creation of the new heaven and earth. John in his Gospel always writes [Greek] Hierosoluma of the old city; in the Apocalypse always Hierousaleem of the heavenly city… Hierousaleem is a Hebrew name, the original and holy appellation. Hierosoluma is the common Greek term, used in a political sense.”

The Life Application Bible adds: “The new Jerusalem is where God lives among his people. Instead of going up to meet him, he comes down to be with us, just as God became man in Jesus Christ and lived among us (John 1:14).”

The new Jerusalem is described in much detail. Even its dimensions are clearly revealed.The Broadman Bible Commentary explains that the heavenly Jerusalem “is cubical… Its length, breadth, and height are equal; each dimension was measured at… 1500 miles… The walls were… about 216 feet…” Unger’s Bible Handbook adds: “This could mean 2,250,000 square miles on each tier of the cube extending 1500 miles upward, like a huge skyscraper with innumerable floors.” Halley’s Bible Handbook writes: “A Cube, of which the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle, a cube 15 feet each way, and the Holy of Holies in Solomon’s Temple, a cube 30 feet each way, were types.”

Some commentators suggest that the new Jerusalem is in the form of a pyramid. The Wikipedia Encyclopedia explains:

“It is unclear whether the city is in the form of a cube or a pyramid… Many hold that the cubic form is more likely… However, the pyramid interpretation still has several adherents. A pyramid would allow a slope for the river of the water of life to flow down from the throne of God, and for the street of the city to ascend…”

The Wikipedia Encyclopedia continues to explain the volume of the new Jerusalem, as follows: “If in the form of a cube, it would have a volume of 11 thousand million cubic kilometers, which is about half the volume of the moon… If in the form of a pyramid, the New Jerusalem would have a volume of 3.7 thousand million cubic kilometers…”

In one of our Q&A’s, titled, “Who Is the Bride?,” we explain that even though the heavenly Jerusalem is–and will continue to be–a literal city, it has also symbolic significance and relevance. We pointed out:

“We have seen that the Church of God is called a ‘bride.’ Also, God’s Word reveals that He [Jesus Christ] addresses Himself as a Husband to Israel and that He will marry her forever in the future, after Israel’s conversion! Furthermore, the Bible also speaks of a ‘bride’ in an even greater context: ‘Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying, “Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife.” And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God’ (Revelation 21:9-10).

“Earlier, in Revelation 21, verse 2, we find this overview: ‘Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.’

“Please note that the holy city, spoken of as the ‘bride,’ will descend to this [new] earth after the first resurrection, the Millennium and the Great White Throne Judgment. At that time, the heavenly Jerusalem, placed on earth, is compared with the bride; that is, it will be comprised of ALL of God’s saints. Most commentaries understand this analogy. For example, Jamieson, Fausset and Brown say that the bride in Revelation 21:2 is ‘made up of the blessed citizens of the “holy city,”‘ and the Ryrie Study Bible states that ‘the heavenly city [when here on earth] will be the abode of all the saints, the bride of Christ…'”

In addition, let us note the following further symbolic significance of the heavenly Jerusalem:

The heavenly Jerusalem has twelve gates on which are written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel (Revelation 21:12). It has also twelve foundations on which are written the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, Jesus Christ (Revelation 21:14).

The Nelson Study Bible states:

“The description of the great and high wall that contains twelve gates named after the twelve tribes… of Israel echoes Ezek. 48:30-35. [Some] Commentators… interpret these twelve gates as representing all of God’s people, including both Israel and the church [our comment: it would clearly appear to include the church, the “Israel of God,” compare Galatians 6:16] … The twelve foundations, the huge stones upon which the wall of the New Jerusalem rests, contain the names of the twelve apostles of Christ (see Luke 6:13-16), calling to mind Paul’s imagery of the apostles as the foundation of the house of God in Eph. 2:20 (see Jesus’ promise to His apostles that they would occupy a prominent place in His kingdom in Matt. 19:28).”

Halley’s Bible Handbook points out:

“The Bible begins with a Garden, and ends with a City. The Holy City, New Jerusalem, Bride of Christ, Wife of the Lamb… ‘Holy City’ is the antithesis of ‘Babylon.’ Babylon, the Adulterous Church [described in Revelation 17, 18 and 19]. Holy City, the true Church, Bride of Christ. The Adulteress has disappeared. The True Wife, Glorified… Ancient Babylon, which had been given its name to the Adulterous church, was known as a ‘City of Gold’ (Isaiah 14:4), wonder city of the ancient world… Now the Real City of Gold appears in its Infinite Splendor and Magnificence.”

The New Student Bible, New International Version, contains the following annotation–comments in brackets were added by us:

“The last two chapters of Revelation contain numerous parallels to the description of the Garden of Eden in the first three chapters of Genesis. Revelation describes a new creation that excludes all the things that spoiled Eden. There will be no more night and death [Revelation 21:4, 25]. Satan will disappear forever [Revelation 20:10], and nothing impure will enter the new city [Revelation 21:27]. People [who have by that time become immortal Spirit beings] will walk with God again [Revelation 21:24-26], just as they [Adam and Eve] did in Eden. There will be no crying or pain [Revelation 21:4; and there will be no more curse, compare Revelation 22:3]. Once again humankind [by then made immortal] will rule over creation [Revelation 22:5], this time with open access to the tree of life [Revelation 22:2, 14]. Everything put wrong by human rebellion in Eden will be set right. In Eden, Adam and Eve were driven from the garden; in the new earth, they will see God’s face [Revelation 22:4].”

Jesus says in Revelation 2:7 that the tree of life is presently in the midst of the “Paradise of God.” “Paradise” describes a beautiful Garden, also called “Eden.” But it is a spiritual garden, which is presently in heaven (compare 2 Corinthians 12:1-4), but which will descend to this earth, together with the [spiritual] tree of life and the heavenly Jerusalem. A reference to the spiritual garden of Eden or Paradise can also be found in Ezekiel 28:13, where Lucifer’s fall from heaven is described.

We are told, in Revelation 22:2, that the leaves of the tree of life will be “for the healing of the nations.” This is not to be understood that physical sicknesses will exist at that time, which will have to be healed.

Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible points out: “We are not to suppose that there will be sickness, and a healing process…, for that idea is expressly excluded in [Revelation] 21:4; but the meaning is, that the life and health of that blessed world will have been imparted by partaking of that tree; and the writer says that, in fact, it was owing to it that they who dwell there had been healed of their spiritual maladies, and had been made to live forever.”

Revelation 22:5 tells us that the saints will rule in God’s Kingdom forever and ever, compare Daniel 7:18. They will “inherit all things” (Revelation 21:7). However, as God’s children (compare again Revelation 21:7), they will always be obedient and submissive to God the Father (Revelation 22:3). As immortal members of the God Family, they will have access to the new Jerusalem–they will not and cannot sin anymore (1 John 3:9). We read in Revelation 22:14: “Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city.” God tells us that those who practice sorcery, murder, idolatry and lies, as well as other violations of God’s commandments, will not be allowed to enter the new Jerusalem (compare Revelation 22:15; compare Revelation 21:26-27). By that time, those practicing such things will have been burnt up in the lake of fire (compare Revelation 20:14-15; 21:8).

We are assured that the things written in the book of Revelation will shortly come to pass (Revelation 22:6). Christ will come very soon (Revelation 22:7, 10, 20), to reward each “according to his work” (Revelation 22:12). We are therefore admonished to be mindful of the prophecy of the book of Revelation (Revelation 22:7) and to continue to be righteous and holy (Revelation 22:11), as only those who endure to the very end shall be saved (Matthew 10:22; 24:13). God has opened our minds to His Way of Life, and He gives us the choice to respond accordingly (Revelation 22:17). We are specifically warned not to add to or delete anything from the things which are written in the book of Revelation:

“For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book [better: Tree] of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”

God’s true servants are admonished to persevere and to live by faith, not by sight (Revelation 13:10; 2 Corinthians 5:7). And with the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ (Revelation 22:21), we can and will succeed.

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

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Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

New Sermon on Google Video

Norbert Link’s video-recorded sermon, “Nothing will Be Impossible For Them,” has been posted on Google Video. The audio is posted on our Website. The sermon addresses the dilemma that the accomplishments of modern science have brought into focus nightmare scenarios that were unthinkable in earlier times. The Bible prophesied that in these last days, technological knowledge would increase–but not necessarily for the good of mankind. The question whether God approves or disapproves of certain scientific “progress” rarely enters the mind of man.

New StandingWatch program

A new StandingWatch program (#158) has been posted on StandingWatch, Google Video and You Tube.  It is titled, “Is Christ Man’s Only Savior?” In the program, Norbert Link addresses the fact that recently, the archbishop of Canterbury claimed that Muslims can go to heaven when they die. Jewish organizations became upset with the Catholic Church when it included in a prayer a plea to God to bring Jews to Jesus Christ. Many nominal confessing Christians don’t believe everything that the Bible says about Jesus Christ of Nazareth, and they are unsure as to how man can be saved. But if it is true that there is no salvation in any other, and that no one can come to God the Father except through Christ, as Christ Himself claimed, what is going to happen to those who died without having accepted Christ in their lives? Are they condemned and lost?

StandingWatch Statistics

Set forth below are the numbers of all time views of our ten most successful StandingWatch programs, as posted on Google Video. Those figures do not include viewings on our StandingWatch website, or on YouTube.

America’s Illegal Aliens — 6678 views

666, the Beast and Antichrist — 4441 views

Is Nuclear War Coming? — 3544 views

American Hiroshima — 2455 views

Ghosts of Departed Ones — 1646 views

Iran’s Frightening Intentions — 1629 views

USA–The Fading Superpower — 1618 views

Are Ghosts for Real? — 1451 views

War in the Middle East — 1390 views

Afghanistan’s Radical Islam — 1383 views

Internet Ad Campaign:

In the USA and Canada, we have posted new Internet ads for our booklet, “And Lawlessness Will Abound…”  The ads provide the option to also request the booklets, “Angels, Demons and the Spirit World,” “The Gospel of the Kingdom of God,” and “Jesus Christ–A Great Mystery.”

In the UK, we have posted an Internet ad for the booklet, “Mysteries of the Bible.” The ad provides the additional option to request the booklets, “Angels, Demons and the Spirit World,” “The Gospel of the Kingdom of God,” and “Jesus Christ–a Great Mystery.”

In addition, all ads give the option to sign up for our weekly Updates.

New Booklet:

Our new booklet, “The Sacrificial System and the Tabernacle in the Wilderness,” has been printed in England and is being shipped to the USA and Canada via Federal Express. We intend to mail it out together with the new member letter for March, which will be written by Rene Messier.

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In Debt We Trust

by Laura Harris

According to a recent study by Demos, a public policy research firm, consumers spent more than $2.2 trillion dollars last year on purchases and cash advances using credit cards. Over half of Americans have credit card debt averaging $10,000. People seem to have difficulty living within their financial means, and I am no exception to this problem.

After completing graduate school, I was unable to secure a full-time job and began using my credit cards to pay my bills. I also used my credit cards for frequent indulgences, like dining out and new clothing. My credit card debt quickly got out of control, and I was unable to keep up with the payments.  Fortunately, I got a job and was able to pay off my credit card balance within a few years. As I’ve gotten older, I have become more frugal in my spending habits and more appreciative of the things I have. However, I occasionally splurge on superfluous items (like stationery, handbags and fancy coffee drinks).  It’s not easy to reject the materialistic culture we live in, but I am trying to change.

The Bible clearly tells me that I should be content with the things that I have. I should have faith that God will provide for me and meet all my physical needs, as long as I use the things wisely which God gives me. I know that I can take THAT to the bank.

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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