Update 344


Envy–A Deadly Poison

On Saturday, May 17, 2008, Norbert Link will give the sermon, titled, “Envy–A Deadly Poison.”
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.
This is to remind everyone that the 2nd Passover falls on Sunday evening, May 18, 2008. As Numbers 9:1-14 explains, it is for those baptized members of the Church who were prevented, due to extraordinary unforeseen circumstances, from participating in the first Passover which was held one month (30 days) earlier (on Friday evening, April 18, 2008).

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How Does That Work?

by Rene Messier (Canada)

Especially children seem to possess an inner curiosity as to how things work or function. I think God built into all of us a desire to want to know. For example, we might wonder, how does the relationship between God the Father and Jesus Christ work, and why does it run so smoothly?  What makes that relationship work is the fact that Christ willingly, not grudgingly or by coercion, submits to the authority of the Father. Even as a human being, He submitted His will to the will of the Father (Matthew 26:42).
There has never been a conflict between the Father and the Son because Christ knows that the dictates from the Father are based on love for the good of others. Christ’s conviction gives Him total peace of mind  and confidence. We must have that same kind of conviction, even if we sometimes do not fully understand some of the trials and tests we go through.
There are currently scatterings amongst the churches of God, which are not caused by God–yet they are allowed by God. The Church is not a corporate entity but a spiritual organism. When God’s Spirit dwells in begotten members of the God Family, they are true converted Christians–and we believe that there are true Christians within the various corporate organizations. Some groups erroneously and quite foolishly claim that only they comprise the Body of Christ. This arrogant and divisive position is totally contradicted in Scripture.
In spite of all this, there are some, claiming to be Spirit-begotten members of the God Family, who will not come under the authority of Church government which God placed in His Church (compare Ephesians 4:11).  Their mindset is like this: “I will submit to no man.” They think they are spiritually mature and no longer in need of the ministry to tell them anything. Yet God works through His faithful ministers for the benefit of the members (Ephesians 4:13).
Postulating their belief in “individual Christianity,” they don’t realize that by separating themselves from the trunk of the tree and becoming independent, they drift away and are tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine. They suffer from self-aggrandizement and have become prey for their adversary, the devil, who loves to divide and conquer.
God tells us that iron sharpens iron, yet they believe they are spiritually strong enough to sharpen themselves. This is a dangerous condition to drift into. Those who do firmly stick to the trunk of the tree and do not neglect assembling on the Sabbath with members of the Church, continue to grow in grace and knowledge and spiritual understanding of Jesus Christ, the HEAD of the Church.
The truth of the matter is that if we want things to work out for us spiritually, we have to willingly submit now at this time to the authority of the faithful ministry in the Church of God.  If we fail to do so now, how can we be entrusted to be submissive to Christ and the Father in the Millennium and then on throughout eternity?
God does things in steps. We are physical now, but it is our potential to become spirit beings in the near future. If we submit now in the flesh, we will submit in the future in the spirit. Some self-willed individuals may disagree with this concept, but that’s how it works; how it has always worked; and how it will work for all eternity.

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Israel Celebrates 60 Years

With much fanfare, the state of Israel has this week marked its 60th year of existence as a nation. However, the enemies of Israel continue to threaten this small nation. The Associated Press stated in an article on May 13 the following:

“Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Wednesday that Israel is dying and that its 60th anniversary celebrations are an attempt to prevent its ‘annihilation.’

“He spoke hours after President Bush arrived in Israel for the anniversary celebrations.

“‘The Zionist (Israeli) regime is dying,’ said Ahmadinejad during a speech in northern Iran. ‘The criminals assume that by holding celebrations … they can save the sinister Zionist regime from death and annihilation.'”

Coinciding with the arrival of US president, George Bush, Palestinians remained defiant. Reuters, May 15, 2008, ran this headline: “Palestinians mark Israel’s 60th angry and split.” The article commented about the angry mood of Israel’s waring neighbors:

“Protests highlighted the plight of Palestinian refugees and their descendants, 4.5 million of whom now live in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, or further afield, many in grim camps.

“In Ramallah, school children walked the flag-lined streets in black t-shirts that read ‘1948’ on the back and ‘Not for Sale’ on the front. Some held old, rusty metal keys of homes their families were expelled from or fled.

“Thousands of black balloons, denoting each day since Israel was established on May 15, 1948, were released above the West Bank. Organisers hope they will darken the sky over Jerusalem for Bush, who will mark the Jewish state’s founding with a congratulatory speech to parliament.”

Bush’s Middle East Prophecy?

President Bush may have inadvertently made statements in line with Bible prophecy on his most recent trip to Israel to celebrate the 6oth anniversary of the state.

Bloomberg (5/15/08) stated, “President George W. Bush said the Palestinians ‘will have the homeland they have long dreamed of’ — without saying when — in a speech to Israel’s parliament prophesying a peaceful Middle East 60 years from now.

“Bush gave no timeframe for the establishment of such a state, which earlier in his presidency he pledged would be born before he leaves office next January.

“Focused on the distant future rather than the current state of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, Bush predicted in the next 60 years, a new Middle East will take shape that will be ‘characterized by a new period of tolerance and integration.'”

We are definitely looking forward to the time when peace will come to the Middle East…hopefully it will be much sooner than 60 years and it will come in a manner other than outlined by man.  For more information on the developments soon to happen, have a look at our booklet entitled, “The Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord” which addresses this and other related subjects.

Coming–A European Army

The EUObserver reported on May 8:
“Germany’s foreign minister [and possibly the Social Democratic Party’s candidate for the next German Chancellor] Frank-Walter Steinmeier, has indicated he would like to see a European army established… German daily Tagespiegel reported Mr Steinmeier as referring to the fact that the EU’s new treaty, currently undergoing ratification across the European Union, allows for the possibility of a group of member states to ‘move ahead’ in defence policy. He noted that from Berlin’s point of view, France is the key partner for this. Mr Steinmeier said he had already spoken with his French counterpart, Bernard Kouchner, on concrete steps to improve common areas in the military field… The end result of a consolidation of military capacities must be a European army, said Mr Steinmeier…

“At the same conference, other leading politicians from the Social Democratic party – which currently forms part of the governing coalition with the Christian Democrats in Germany – also spoke out in favour of the idea. Former defence minister and head of the SPD group Peter Struck said: ‘There will still be opposition to the idea of a European army as there once was against the single currency, the euro…’

“The German politicians’ comments appear to be in line with the views of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who has in the past made several statements on the need for common European defence. The French president has more recently not been so vocal on the issue. This is being seen as a deliberate ploy not to upset the EU treaty ratification process, particularly in neutral Ireland – the only country to have a referendum on the charter and where military issues are highly sensitive with the electorate… But Mr Sarkozy is expected to return to the issue in the second half of this year, during his stint at the EU helm.

“The EU treaty, which has to be ratified by all 27 countries to come into force, allows for a group of member states who are politically willing to go forward to structured cooperation in defence.”

Deutsche Welle added on May 8:
“In today’s world, many believe, an EU military force can tackle problems national armies cannot… The SPD laid out its arguments for a common armed force and its suggestions toward moving its military in the same direction that Europe did with its currency. Money is one principle reason for the move, proponents of a joint fighting force say, adding that running 27 different militaries with 27 different sets of equipment represents an enormous waste of resources… the 27 members of the European Union spent 201 billion euros ($308 billion) on defense in 2007, second only to the 491 billion euros spent by the United States. However, the cumulative effect of these expenditures is lessened because of the duplication of capacities in individual national militaries… The European army has a good deal of support among German and European leaders.”
Many may not think that a European Army could be a problem. And from a human standpoint, a concerted unified fight against terrorism may sound feasible. However, the future of the world looks grim, once Europe is fully united. For more information, please read our free booklet, “Europe in Prophecy.”

Successful Ecumenical Dialogue Continues

VIS reported on May 9:
“This morning the Pope received… Karekin II Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians. He then met with the bishops in the patriarch’s delegation who were from many diverse countries. At noon in the Clementine Hall, the [pope] presided over the celebration of the Middle Hour (hora media), which was attended by Karekin II,  the Armenian bishops, and a group of faithful apostolic Armenians from a number of countries in the East and West… Benedict XVI emphasized that in ecumenical dialogue ‘important progress has been made in clarifying the doctrinal controversies that have traditionally divided us, particularly over questions of Christology. During the last five years, much has been achieved by the Joint Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches, of which the Catholicosate of All Armenians is a full member’… [The pope] added that ‘we pray that its activity will bring us closer to full and visible communion, and that the day will come when our unity in faith makes possible a common celebration of the Eucharist…'”
Why does this cause concern–or does it? Isn’t ecumenical dialogue and religious unification something to be desired? Humanly speaking, perhaps–but God does not see like man sees. For more information, please read our free booklet, “The Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord.”

Deadly Hand-Foot-Mouth Disease in China

CNN reported on May 9:
“The death toll from China’s outbreak of hand-foot-mouth disease has risen to 32 — all of them children… Authorities reported 24,934 cases of the disease on Thursday — a 25 percent increase from a day earlier. The official count of infections has increased dramatically in recent days, since an order issued late last week by the Ministry of Health mandating that all cases be reported… The deaths are blamed on enterovirus 71, or EV-71, one of the most common causes of HFMD… HFMD is not related to foot-and-mouth disease, which affects farm animals. HFMD can be caused by a number of intestinal viruses, of which EV-71 and Coxsackie A16 are among the most common.

“In mild cases, EV-71 causes cold-like symptoms, diarrhea, and sores on the hands, feet and mouth. Severe cases can cause fluid to accumulate on the brain, resulting in polio-like paralysis and death. There is NO TREATMENT for severe EV-71 infections NOR DOES A VACCINE EXIST. Adults with well-developed immune systems can usually fend off the virus, but children are particularly vulnerable to it, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Public health officials expect the number of cases to peak this summer, since the disease thrives in warm weather. The virus is a concern for Chinese officials as the nation prepares to host the Summer Olympic Games starting August 8. A large outbreak of HFMD occurred in Taiwan in 1998 with 78 deaths, and smaller outbreaks recurred there in 2000 and 2001, according to the CDC.”

Man-Made Disaster in Burma

The Sun reported on May 9:
“The death toll in cyclone-ravaged Burma could hit 500,000 – more than TWICE the total killed by the Boxing Day Tsunami… Sources said 200,000 people were already dead or dying. But the figure could rise to HALF A MILLION through disease and hunger if the nation’s hardline army rulers continue to block aid for the devastated lowlands of the Irrawaddy Delta. That would dwarf the 230,000 deaths across South East Asia in the 2004 catastrophe.

“Nyo Ohn Myint, of exiled opposition party The National League for Democracy, told The Sun at a border crisis centre: ‘Much of this will be a man-made disaster, caused by the military regime. The bodies need to be collected and burnt as soon as possible or disease will claim many more lives. But the government has organised nothing and its 400,000 soldiers are doing nothing while undistributed aid piles up. ‘They are hoping bodies will be washed out to sea so the final count is smaller – but it could kill half a million people within a matter of weeks. The world must know what is going on.’”

EU Condemns Violence in Beirut

Deutsche Welle reported on May 10:
“The European Union strongly condemned the fierce outbreak of violence in Beirut and voiced support for the Lebanese government, the EU’s foreign policy chief Javier Solana said on Friday night… Radical Shiite group Hezbollah and allies took control of broad parts of Beirut on Friday, laid siege to areas that included government buildings and clashed with security forces…
“German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier phoned Lebanese Premier Fouad Seniora on Friday to express his concern at what he termed ‘the escalation of violence. I urgently call on all parties to withdraw their armed factions, lay down their weapons and recognise the Lebanese state’s exclusive right to use force,’ Steinmeier said in a statement. ‘The developments of the last few days have shown that a resolution to the political conflict in Lebanon cannot wait any longer.’… With the escalation of violence this week, Lebanon has seen the the worst sectarian bloodshed since the 1975-1990 civil war.”

“Russia Is Not Threatening Anyone”?

The New York Times wrote on May 10:
“Nuclear missile launchers and columns of tanks rolled through Red Square on Friday in a display of martial hardware not seen since the Soviet Union’s waning days. The parade… marked the 63rd anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany, which is observed in Russia as Victory Day, a solemn state holiday… The Kremlin’s decision to parade its military hardware has been a subject of competing interpretations, viewed variously as symbolic confirmation of Russia’s pride, or aggressiveness, as a marketing show of Russian arms, and as a nationalistic festival ordered by Mr. Putin, for Mr. Putin.

“Mr. Putin insisted earlier in the week that the parade should not be viewed as ‘saber rattling.’ ‘It is not a warlike gesture,’ he said. ‘Russia is not threatening anyone.’ But it followed a year during which the Kremlin asserted its case against what it regarded as reckless American foreign policies. Mr. Putin has strongly protested an American-led plan to install a missile-defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic. As tensions rose, Russia’s aging strategic bombers conducted international patrols, entered British airspace and approached American carrier groups on the high seas.

“Russian state-controlled television stations have featured extensive coverage of small-scale exercises of Russia’s navy, and of supposedly new weapons systems. Mr. Putin, who firmly opposed the American-led invasion of Iraq five years ago, also endorsed a doctrine of pre-emptive strikes against threats to Russian soil… The United States expressed no alarm over the parade.”

Der Spiegel Online wrote on May 9:
“For the first time since the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union, Moscow has put on an arms parade to celebrate the defeat of Nazi Germany. Russians are impressed with the military show of strength, but in Eastern Europe the parade has reawakened old fears… it seemed as if Russia was searching for its future in the past. European diplomats spoke privately of ‘the wrong signal.’…
“It will take a while to judge if Russia did itself any favors in terms of foreign policy. Its biggest problem is not the West, but its relationship with the countries of the former Warsaw Pact in Eastern Europe and the states that emerged after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Poland and tiny Lithuania are now blocking the start of negotiations between Russia and the European Union on a new partnership agreement, while Georgia has been delaying Russia’s long overdue accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO).

“And it is in these countries that parades that ape the style of the former Communist power are viewed with horror… In countries such as Georgia, the show of strength in Moscow will probably increase rather than decrease the determination to seek protection by joining the Western defence alliance NATO. But most Russians approved of the demonstration of military strength…

“According to aviation expert Ruslan Puchow, ‘Many of the weapon systems which were on display [during the parade] are more often sold abroad than given to our army.’ That is why the respected business newspaper Vedomosti ran a story on the parade with the derisive headline ‘Parade for Export.’ Comments from Washington were particularly sneering, if not entirely inaccurate.”

It may perhaps come as a surprise to some, but it is the future United States of Europe–and not so much the United States of America–which will look at Russia as a threat. And it will be Europe which will act and respond forcefully to that perceived threat. We read in Daniel 11:44: “But news from the east and the north [an area north-east of Jerusalem, referring to nations such as Russia, China, India, and Japan] shall trouble him [the soon-coming military leader of a United Europe]; therefore he shall go out [or try to invade those countries] with great fury to destroy and annihilate many.”

Vatican: It’s OK to Believe in Aliens

After persecuting Galileo nearly 400 years ago in a clash between religion and science, the pendulum has now swung too far in the opposite direction.  According to the AP on May 13th, 2008:

“Believing that the universe may contain alien life does not contradict a faith in God, the Vatican’s chief astronomer said in an interview published Tuesday.

“The Rev. Jose Gabriel Funes, the Jesuit director of the Vatican Observatory, was quoted as saying the vastness of the universe means it is possible there could be other forms of life outside Earth, even intelligent ones.

“In the interview by the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, Funes said that such a notion ‘doesn’t contradict our faith’ because aliens would still be God’s creatures. Ruling out the existence of aliens would be like ‘putting limits’ on God’s creative freedom, he said.

“The Vatican Observatory has been at the forefront of efforts to bridge the gap between religion and science. Its scientist-clerics have generated top-notch research and its meteorite collection is considered one of the world’s best.”

The Bible is clear that there are no extraterrestrial beings or aliens, but rather there are demons posing as such.  These “fallen” beings, once a part of the angelic realm, are no doubt taking advantage of this fact.  For more information on this please see our free booklet, “Angels, Demons and the Spirit World.”

7.9 Earthquake Slams China

On May 15, 2008, Reuters reports, “The death toll from China’s massive earthquake could reach more than 50,000, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Thursday, quoting rescue headquarters.

“Already some 20,000 are confirmed dead as a result of Monday’s 7.9 magnitude quake, but tens of thousands more remain buried in rubble in areas of the worst-hit province of Sichuan that rescuers are only just beginning to reach.”

While the Chinese look for possible survivors, another Reuters article dated the same day speaks to other impending danger:

“Thousands of Chinese troops have rushed to plug cracks in a massive dam, amid fears that the city of Dujiangyan and much of the Chengdu Plain would be swamped by floods.

“The Zipingpu dam, above Dujiangyan, which has a population of 600,000, was at one stage on Wednesday in an ‘extremely dangerous state’ with cracks more than 10 centimetres long. The Water Resources Ministry later said it was stable for the time being.

“Some 391 reservoirs, two of them major bodies, were in ‘dangerous situations’ across five provinces, including Sichuan which was the worst hit, officials of the National Development and Reform Commission were quoted as saying. Tulong dam, north of Dujiangyan on the Min River, was said to be near collapse. Its destruction would have a knock-on effect on a series of dams and power stations downstream, officials said.

“Experts said these dams, around the Longmen Shan fault, may have damage that could cause them to fail even weeks in the future.”
This powerful earthquake follows on the heels of the punishing Cyclone Nargis which has caused the death of tens of thousands in Myanmar. The aftermath of both of these terrible disasters pose only added problems with disease and starvation looming in Myanmar and grueling living conditions in the heavily destroyed counties of China. Jesus Christ warned that at the end of the age there would be shocking and catastrophic occurrences.

As prophesied in Matthew 24:7-9, earthquakes like this will precede the Great Tribulation and is one of several telltale signs that we are in the end-time.  Listen to Norbert Link speak on another prophesied event of Matthew 24 in our most recent StandingWatch programs, “Famine in the USA” and “Food Shortage in the USA.”

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Would you please explain Matthew 8:21-22. Isn't it rather inconsiderate of Jesus to prohibit His disciple from burying his father?

Let us read Christ’s sayings in Matthew 8:21-22 in context, beginning with verse 19:

“Then a certain scribe came and said to Him, ‘Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.’… Then another of His disciples said to Him, ‘Lord, let me first go and bury my father.’ But Jesus said to him, ‘Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead.'”

The parallel passage in Luke 9:59-60 reveals that Christ was calling this man into the ministry, challenging Him to “Follow Me… [and to] go and preach the kingdom of God.”

Christ was not prohibiting this disciple from attending his father’s funeral. The passage does not say that his father had died and needed to be buried. We read in Luke 7:11-15 how Christ Himself showed kindness to a mother during a funeral procession of her only son.

What Christ was addressing here was the desire of His disciple to stay with his elderly father UNTIL he had died, rather than following Christ’s invitation to become a minister and preach the gospel of the Kingdom of God wherever he would be sent. This man tried to make excuses for not following the call to the ministry at that moment in time. He wanted to wait for a more “appropriate” time. As the early apostles forsook everything they had in order to follow Christ, so this disciple was challenged to do the same. But he refused.

The Commentary of Jamieson, Fausset and Brown points out:

“Was his father actually dead – lying a corpse – having only to be buried? Impossible. As it was the practice… to bury on the day of death, it is not very likely that this disciple would have been here at all if his father had just breathed his last; nor would the Lord, if He was there, have hindered him discharging the last duties of a son to a father. No doubt it was the common case of a son having a frail or aged father, not [supposed] to live long…”

Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible agrees, stating (in regard to Luke 9:60):

“The excuse he made: ‘Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. I have an aged father at home, who cannot live long, and will need me while he does live; let me go and attend on him until he is dead, and I have performed my last office of love to him, and then I will do any thing.’… It is a plausible excuse indeed: ‘Let me go and bury my father, – let me take care of my family, and provide for my children, and then I will think of serving Christ;’ whereas the kingdom of God and the righteousness thereof must be sought and minded in the first place… Not that Christ would have his followers or his ministers to be unnatural; our religion teaches us to be kind and good in every relation, to show piety at home, and to requite our parents. But we must not make these offices an excuse from our duty to God… This disciple was called to be a minister, and therefore must not entangle himself with the affairs of this world [2 Timothy 2:4].”

The Nelson Study Bible explains Matthew 8:21-22 as follows:

“This passage most likely describes a follower whose father was still alive, because by Levitical law the man would not be out in public if his father had just died. His father was aged. So the man wanted to go to his home, wait for his father to die, and then follow Christ. Jesus’ answer means that we must never make excuses for refusing to follow Him. There is no better time than the present.”

The same commentary makes the following comments to the parallel account in Luke 9:59-60:

“This aspiring disciple placed family responsibilities ahead of following Jesus. The concerns of home were this man’s stumbling block… Jesus emphasized that a disciple must have clear priorities. The call of God should receive priority over everything else.”

Christ is teaching us that we are not to allow physical concerns to prevent us from serving Him. In His parable of the Sower, He addresses a category of people who receive the word but become unfruitful due to the “cares of this world” (Matthew 13:22).

The Life Application Bible adds this thought regarding Matthew 8:22: “As God’s Son, Jesus did not hesitate to demand complete loyalty. Even family loyalty was not to take priority over the demands of obedience.”

As we pointed out in the Q&A in Update 343, nothing and no one must prevent us from following Christ and obeying His Word. As those called and chosen by God, we are God’s Spirit-begotten children whose first and foremost responsibility is to love GOD with all of our heart, might and soul. Christ said that no one is “fit” for the Kingdom of God, who puts his hand to the plow and looks back (Luke 9:62)–wanting to return to where he came from.

Christ showed the difference to His disciple who wanted to wait until his father had died, before following Christ, by explaining that the spiritual dead can take care of his father, including his brothers and other family members who were apparently not called at that time.

Christ was not saying, of course, that the father should not be buried when he died. He was talking about spiritually dead relatives who would be in a position to take care of the funeral arrangements. We were all, at one time, “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1), but God has made us “alive” in Jesus Christ (same verse), having forgiven us all of our trespasses (Colossians 2:13). For us, who have been made spiritually alive, nothing must be more important than to follow Christ wherever He goes and wants us to go (Revelation 14:4).

John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible gives the following explanation, when discussing the “dead” who can “bury their dead”:

“Our Lord is not to be understood, as speaking against, or disrespectfully of burying the dead; his words suppose it ought to be done: only it was not proper, that this person should be concerned in it at this time, who was called to an higher employment; and therefore should leave this to be done by persons, whom it better became. And however strange and odd such a phrase may sound in the ears of some, of one dead man’s burying another, it was easily understood by a Jew; with whom it is common to say… ‘that a sinner is counted as… dead, and that ungodly persons, even while they are alive’,… are ‘called dead’… And in this sense is the word used, in the former part of this phrase; and Christ’s meaning is, let such who are dead in trespasses and sins… bury those who are dead in a natural or corporal sense… there were enough of them to take care of this service: and therefore, there was no need why he should neglect the ministry of the Gospel to attend that…”

The Ryrie Study Bible elaborates on Christ’s saying, as follows (commenting on Luke 9:59-60):

“The father had not died; the speaker meant that he was obligated to care for him until he died… [Christ replied:] let those who are spiritually dead bury those who die physically. The claims of the kingdom are paramount.”

In conclusion, Christ tells us that the concern for an elderly parent who might or might not die soon must not prevent us from doing the Will of God for us. Even though it may appear that only we can and must deal with certain physical situations, upon deeper analysis, we might find that others, who are not called to God’s Way of Life at this point, might be in a better position to do so, while God wants us–and especially those called into His ministry–to fulfill much more important tasks at this time.

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

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Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

A new StandingWatch program (#168) has been posted on StandingWatch, Google Video and YouTube.
The program is titled, “Famine in the USA.” In the program, Norbert Link is challenging the audience not to believe those who tell us that the food situation in the USA isn’t all that bad. It is much worse than many might imagine. Some astonishing FACTS are presented proving HOW BAD our food supply really is. And HOW terrible devastations–such as the recent cyclone in Burma or Myanmar–will affect ALL of us. But there are solutions, even though they are not that popular today.

The following video-recorded sermon by Norbert Link has been posted on Google Video:
Bible Study: Why Not Heaven?, Part 2 (August 12, 2006)      
The following video-recorded sermon by Edwin Pope has been posted on Google Video:
Bible Study: The Key to Faithfulness (February 18, 2006)

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It's Up To Me!

by Tom Shadoin
I have been wondering over the years why God allowed Job’s children to die–and what this may mean for me. We are told that Job’s children were eating and drinking in their older brother’s house when a wind, perhaps a tornado, made the house cave in and kill all the occupants. This came about when Satan had challenged God to remove the hedge God had put around Job and all he had.
I asked myself, wasn’t it unfair of God to allow the death of Job’s innocent children? But then, I wondered, were they really innocent? We don’t know in detail what their behavior and character was, but we are told that Job would sanctify them and offer burnt offerings for them. He was concerned that they may have sinned and cursed God in their hearts. As a righteous man, he seemed to have reason to believe this.
We have all probably heard the old slang of “preacher’s kids,” and how bad they can be. We might think of Aaron and his sons; Eli and his sons; David and his sons; or Hezekiah and his son Manasseh. There are more examples, to be sure.
What I had to realize from all of this is that righteous Godly character is not hereditary. I had to accept the fact that no one makes it into God’s kingdom by virtue of who his parents were or what his parents did. To qualify, I cannot rely on others. I am told to overcome my shortcomings, without blaming others for them or relying on the righteousness of others. I am challenged to take to heart and personalize Christ’s response to Peter that–no matter whether many or few will enter the Kingdom at His return–I need to strive to enter it.

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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.

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