Update 368


Stubbornness–A Sure Way to Destruction

On Saturday, November 15, 2008, Norbert Link will give the sermon from Oregon, titled, “Stubbornness–A Sure Way to Destruction.”

The services can be heard at www.cognetservices.org (12:30 pm Pacific Time; 1:30 pm Mountain Time; 2:30 pm Central Time; 3:30 pm Eastern Time). Just click on Connect to Live Stream.

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He Cares For You

by Rene Messier (Canada)

The fact that God cares for us and is involved in our lives to the smallest and infinite details was “driven home” to me on the way back from the Feast of Tabernacles. Like many of you, my wife Delia and I had to “drive home” after a most inspiring and fulfilling Feast. We had a safe and uneventful trip except for two incidents:

We stopped for a break about twenty miles north of Yakima, Washington. I parked our van on the edge of the paved parking area, and we went into the gas station store. When we got back in the van, it would not start. I lifted the hood to see if I could find anything wrong, tapped on the battery, and tried again to start the van, but to no avail. We then both prayed to God for His assistance in this matter. I went back inside the store and asked a driver of a Pepsi delivery truck, if he had jumper cables, so I could start the van. He said he had none, so I bought a small wrench, took the cables off the battery, cleaned them off and tried again. The van did not start. I went back into the store. The driver was still there. He suggested to go across the street to another gas station to see if I could find someone who had jumper cables.

I followed his advice and approached two men in a pickup truck to see if they had jumper cables. They said they did not have any. At this time I looked over my shoulder and noticed a man at the pumps, trying to start his small truck. I went over and commented that it looked like he was having some problems. He said the battery was weak and wouldn’t start his truck.

I went back to talk to the two men in the pickup truck and then I noticed the man who could not start his truck speaking on a cell phone, so I went back to talk to him. He said a friend from a company not far away was coming to jump-start his car. I asked if he could send him over to our van across the street after he was done, since I also needed a jump-start. I walked back to our van and Delia asked me what was happening. I told her the story and no sooner had I finished when a man came over with a power pack and started my van. I thanked him, and we were again on our way.

When we got to Wenatchee, we stopped for a bite to eat and sure enough, when I tried to start the van, it would not work. I was feeling a little more confident this time and got out just when a truck pulled in with two men in it. I walked over and found out from the driver that he had jumper cables. I asked if he could get my van going, and he did. On our way home, we marveled how God had worked things out for us to bring us back safely. The next day I jump-started my van and took it to a repair shop. After testing the battery, I was told that it was no good. I bought a new one, and our van has been working fine ever since.

Christ said in Hebrews 13:5: “… I will NEVER leave you nor forsake you.” This promise was “driven home” to me when we “drove home” from the Feast. No matter what the trial; no matter what the test; no matter how severe or minute–we can have confidence that He is there; that He cares for us; and that He intervenes for us when we ask Him.

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USA–Is the “Last Best Hope on Earth” Gone?

The British paper, The Daily Mail, wrote on November 8:

“The swooning frenzy over the choice of Barack Obama as President of the United States must be one of the most absurd waves of self-deception and swirling fantasy ever to sweep through an advanced civilisation… This is a cult like the one which grew up around Princess Diana, bereft of reason and hostile to facts…

“Proper books, recording his sordid associates, his cowardly voting record, his astonishingly militant commitment to unrestricted abortion and his blundering trip to Africa, are little-read and hard to find… one of his alarmingly close associates, a state-subsidised slum landlord called Tony Rezko, has been convicted on fraud and corruption charges.

“… the US is just as segregated as it was before Martin Luther King – in schools, streets, neighbourhoods, holidays… Mr Obama, thanks mainly to the now-departed grandmother he alternately praised as a saint and denounced as a racial bigot, has the huge advantages of an expensive private education. He did not have to grow up in the badlands of useless schools, shattered families and gangs which are the lot of so many young black men of his generation.

“If the nonsensical claims made for this election were true, then every positive discrimination programme aimed at helping black people into jobs they otherwise wouldn’t get should be abandoned forthwith. Nothing of the kind will happen. On the contrary, there will probably be more of them. And if those who voted for Obama were all proving their anti-racist nobility, that presumably means that those many millions who didn’t vote for him were proving themselves to be hopeless bigots. This is obviously untrue…

“The United States, having for the most part a deeply conservative people, had until now just about stood out against many of the mistakes which have ruined so much of the rest of the world. Suspicious of welfare addiction, feeble justice and high taxes, totally committed to preserving its own national sovereignty, unabashedly Christian in a world part secular and part Muslim, suspicious of the Great Global Warming panic, it was unique.

“These strengths had been fading for some time, mainly due to poorly controlled mass immigration and to the march of political correctness. They had also been weakened by the failure of America’s conservative party – the Republicans – to fight on the cultural and moral fronts. They preferred to posture on the world stage. Scared of confronting Left-wing teachers and sexual revolutionaries at home, they could order soldiers to be brave on their behalf in far-off deserts. And now the US, like Britain before it, has begun the long slow descent into the Third World. How sad. Where now is our last best hope on Earth?”

“Will the Real Barack Obama Now Finally Stand Up?”

The British paper, The Independent, wrote on November 10:

“What is a strong way of saying ‘ecstatic enthusiasm’? No President has ever had such a hyperbolic welcome. The Second Coming would have been greeted in more measured terms. Then again, much of the reportage assumed that this was a secular Second Coming: a rebirth of America. Thus far, it has been impossible to fault Mr Obama. He has certainly displayed magnanimity in victory.

“… [at] some stage, the hard work will have to begin, the hard decisions will force their way on to the agenda. The Russians have already made it plain that they do not share in the global euphoria. While everyone else expresses hope, they exploit weakness. Nor is it likely that Iran, North Korea, al-Qa’ida and the Taliban will be asking for tickets to the inauguration. Then there is the little matter of the economy. No president since Abraham Lincoln has taken office in such troubled circumstances – and even Lincoln only had one enormous problem…

“His victory has at least two fascinating aspects. First, he will be much the least experienced occupier of the White House in the era of the imperial presidency. Second, no one knows what he believes. In every previous presidential campaign, there were moments of political nakedness, when the voters were able to see the candidate as he really was. Mr Obama kept his clothes on.

“We know that he had one of the most left-wing voting records in the Senate… His speeches are absolutely no guide. Mr Obama is an orator, but thus far, he has used that gift to create a cloud of exaltation. There are hardly any arguments…

“The most alarming aspect of the current economic crisis is that none of the experts seem to understand it. So how can anyone tell when it is going to end?…

“Mr Obama was right to insist that Wall Street cannot prosper if Main Street is suffering. But a healthy financial sector is vital… Many Congressional Democrats are economic ignoramuses with all the wrong instincts. If they had their way, there would be a forest of new regulations… But the world needs a strong Wall St. It is to be hoped that President Obama understands this. A president who tells blacks that the Civil Rights era belongs to history while reassuring American bankers: that is not how most of Mr Obama’s followers expect him to behave. But greatness is not to be found by pandering to followers’ illusions…

“Thus far – the cliché is inescapable – the Obama story has been stranger than fiction. Yet the real drama has still to begin.”

Will Guantanamo Bay Prison Be Shut… and Then What?

The Independent wrote on November 10:

“Mr Obama has a long-standing commitment to shut down Guantanamo, which has become a symbol of injustice for human rights campaigners, and a lightning rod for anti-US criticism since it opened eight years ago. Closing the prison, which is on a part of Cuba leased to the US, will bring to an end one of the most poisonous legacies of the Bush administration while sending a signal that the ‘war on terror’ is under more enlightened management.

“During his election campaign, Mr Obama described Guantanamo and the CIA’s secret prisons around the world as a ‘sad chapter in American history’. Other aspects of Mr Bush’s ‘war on terror’ will also demand Mr Obama’s urgent attention such as yesterday’s revelation by the New York Times that the US military has, during the past four years, conducted up to a dozen secret raids in Pakistan and other countries not at war with the US. Mr Obama has previously said he would approve such raids against enemies such as Osama bin Laden if… no other option was available.

“Mr Obama’s plans for Guantanamo inmates should see most detainees, against whom there is little or no evidence, being released to their home countries after years in legal limbo. Others will face prosecution in US criminal courts. One problem… those courts will face is deciding whether evidence from anonymous intelligence sources or obtained without any legal process can be taken into account. Some Guantanamo inmates suffered torture or other abusive treatment at the hands of CIA interrogators either at the prison or after they were picked up in security sweeps in Afghanistan or Pakistan. A few have been through the controversial military commissions process, from which even prosecutors have resigned. The US Supreme Court has several times rebuked the Bush administration for its handling of the detainees…

“Republicans will strongly oppose bringing terrorism suspects to the US. Many Democrats oppose the creation of a new court system on US soil that will have fewer rights for suspects than at present.

“Laurence Tribe, a Harvard law professor who is acting as a legal adviser to the Obama team, said at the weekend that ‘theoretical’ plans for Guantanamo would now become more focused because closing the prison is a top priority. But he also predicted that transferring suspected terrorists to US soil will be a cause of controversy. ‘I think the answer is going to be, they can be as securely guarded on US soil as anywhere else,’ Mr Tribe said. ‘We can’t put people in a dungeon forever without processing whether they deserve to be there.’…

“Lawyers representing clients at Guantanamo Bay such as Marc Falkoff point out that only a dozen or so detainees are known to be avowed terrorists… ‘Most of the detainees are goat herders, or Arabs who volunteered to help the Taliban, but they are not hardcore terrorists. The real problem is getting their home countries to accept them back.'”

How American Muslims View Barack Obama

USA Today reported on November 7:

“After months of balancing their support for the presidential candidate with concerns that their allegiance could do more harm than good, millions of relieved American Muslims cheered the election of the son of a Muslim immigrant whose middle name is Hussein.

“Record numbers of U.S. Muslims had cast their votes, boosted by registration drives held by the Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation, which targeted swing-state residents. MAS Freedom estimates that about 70,000 Muslims voted in Virginia, a state that had not backed a Democratic president in more than 40 years, and which Barack Obama won by fewer than 160,000 votes…

“The Muslim community has mobilized greatly since 2000, when most of its voters — with the exception of African American Muslims — had supported George W. Bush. Ultimately dismayed by the president’s post-9/11 policies, they began swinging Democratic in 2004… Early estimates indicate that between 70 and 90% of Muslim voters supported Obama this year…

“Throughout the party primaries and the general election, Muslims had to temper their political activism against a smear campaign calling Obama a ‘secret Muslim,’ based on his father’s Kenyan roots. These efforts ultimately backfired; Jen’nan Read, a Duke University sociology professor, said the rumors helped galvanize Muslims and other offended Americans to fight back.

“But some Muslims were more frustrated that Obama’s campaign, which responded to the accusations by highlighting the candidate’s Christian faith, did not also state that there is nothing wrong with being a Muslim American — an anti-Islamophobia point finally made in Gen. Colin Powell’s mid-October endorsement. They also complained when Obama volunteers moved two headscarf-wearing Muslim women out of a background shot at a Detroit rally last summer, prompting the campaign to apologize.

“‘They were disappointed,’ Read said. ‘But they were also disappointed by the past eight years of George Bush, and more disappointed in that than in (Obama’s) campaign strategy.’ Rumors of Obama’s Muslim ties, and the possible implications for U.S.-Israel relations, also fueled an unusually tough battle for the Jewish vote. But ultimately, about 78% of Jews supported Obama — slightly higher than their 2004 votes for John Kerry, although the Republican Jewish Coalition noted that this did not reach their support for either Bill Clinton or Al Gore…

“In terms of immediate goals for the next White House resident, the Muslim community now wants to see Obama fulfill his promise to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq, and to take a more balanced approach when dealing with turmoil in Pakistan and the Middle East…”

Gov. Schwarzenegger’s Position on Same-Sex Marriage “Evolving”

The Los Angeles Times reported on November 10:

“Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Sunday expressed hope that the California Supreme Court would overturn Proposition 8, the ballot initiative that outlawed same-sex marriage. He also predicted that the 18,000 gay and lesbian couples who have already wed would not see their marriages nullified by the initiative. ‘It’s unfortunate, obviously, but it’s not the end,’ Schwarzenegger said…

“With his favorable comments toward gay marriage, the governor’s thinking appears to have evolved on the issue. In past statements, he has said he believes that marriage should be between a man and a woman and has rejected legislation authorizing same-sex marriage. Yet he has also said he would not care if same-sex marriages were legal, saying he believed that such an important societal issue should be determined by the voters or the courts. Schwarzenegger publicly opposed Proposition 8, which amends the state Constitution to declare that ‘only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.’

“On Sunday, he urged backers of gay marriage to follow the lesson he learned as a bodybuilder trying to lift weights that were too heavy for him at first. ‘I learned that you should never ever give up. . . . They should never give up. They should be on it and on it until they get it done’…

“Schwarzenegger’s comments came as protesters took to the streets for a fifth day in a row, sometimes marching to [and protesting against] Catholic and Mormon churches that supported passage of the ballot measure…

“Some churches… assailed Proposition 8 as discriminatory. ‘We will continue to bless same-sex unions here until we can legally celebrate same-sex unions again,’… [Pastor] Ed Bacon told 1,000 congregants during Sunday services at All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, which has blessed same-sex unions for 16 years… [He said:] “In the eyes of God, these people are married.”

The Associated Press added on November 10:

“Speaking on CNN’s ‘Late Edition’ Sunday, Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger expressed disappointment at Proposition 8’s passage. ‘It is unfortunate,’ Schwarzenegger said. ‘But it is not the end because I think this will go back into the courts. … It’s the same as in the 1948 case when blacks and whites were not allowed to marry. This falls into the same category.'”

Circuit City Files for Bankruptcy

The Associated Press reported on November 10:

“Circuit City Stores Inc. filed for bankruptcy protection on Monday heading into the busy holiday season as analysts question whether the nation’s second-biggest electronics retailer will be able to survive… The company also said it cut 700 more jobs at its headquarters, after announcing a week ago that it would close 20 percent of its stores and lay off thousands of workers.

“Circuit City filed for Chapter 11 protection, which will allow it to hold off creditors and continue operations while it develops a reorganization plan. Its Canadian operations also filed for similar protection.”

AIG’s Bailout Keeps Climbing…

Bloomberg reported on November 10:

“American International Group Inc. got a $150 billion government rescue package, almost doubling the initial bailout of less than two months ago… The move extends the government’s reach into the financial system amid the worst economic crisis in 75 years…”

Troubled Banks Continue to Lobby

USA Today wrote on November 7:

“Nineteen banks taking taxpayer money from the Treasury Department have spent $32.4 million lobbying the federal government during the first nine months of this year, their lobbying disclosure reports show. Combined, the Treasury is investing in the banks $159 billion from the $700 billion financial rescue package approved by Congress last month. None of the banks has indicated it plans to stop lobbying.”

In an accompanying article, the newspaper listed some of the larger banks in question, including Merrill Lynch, Bank of America, Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Capital One.

70 Years Ago–Germany’s Kristallnacht

AFP reported on November 9:

“Germany marked Sunday [November 9] the 70th anniversary of the Kristallnacht [“the Night of Broken Glass”] pogrom, a prelude to the Holocaust, with solemn ceremonies throughout the country and celebrations of the rebirth of Jewish life here. Chancellor Angela Merkel and Jewish leaders gathered at Germany’s biggest synagogue to pay tribute to the victims of Kristallnacht on November 9-10, 1938, and to the revival of a Jewish community against all odds…

“The pogrom… saw Nazi thugs plunder Jewish businesses throughout Germany, torch some 300 synagogues and round up some 30,000 Jewish men for deportation to concentration camps. Some 90 Jews were killed in the orgy of violence, whose pretext was the murder of German diplomat Ernst vom Rath in Paris by a student, Herschel Grynspan, who sought revenge for the expulsion of his family from Germany with about 15,000 other Polish Jews…

“Historians say the Nazis tested the German public’s reaction to the spasm of anti-Semitic violence and the lack of public outcry led them to press on, culminating in the extermination campaign launched three years later…

“After national unification in 1990, Germany began accepting Jewish immigrants from the former Soviet states and the country now has one of the fastest growing Jewish communities in the world with some 110,000 members… Because it shares the same date [November 9], the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 was also marked Sunday at low-key events ahead of the 20th anniversary next year.”

Welt-On-Line added on November 9:

“German-born Pope Benedict voiced on Sunday his lingering pain over the night 70 years ago when the Nazis whipped up anti-Jewish riots in a pogrom known as the ‘Kristallnacht’, a harbinger of the Holocaust… ‘Still today I feel pain over what happened in those tragic events, whose memory must serve to ensure such horrors are never repeated and that we strive, on every level, against all forms of anti-Semitism and discrimination … ,’ said the pope. ‘I invite people to pray for the victims of that night and to join me in expressing profound solidarity with the Jewish world,’ the pontiff told crowds at the Vatican…

“Pope Benedict, born Joseph Ratzinger in Bavaria in 1927, was forced to join the Hitler Youth as a teenager, though both his parents opposed the Nazis. Earlier this year the pontiff spoke in New York about his teenage years being ‘marred by a sinister regime’…”

Holocaust Survivors Ask Vatican to Freeze Sainthood Procedure for Pope Pius XII

Reuters wrote on November 10:

“One of the most influential groups of Holocaust survivors accused Nazi-era Pope Pius XII on Monday of keeping ‘silent in the face of absolute evil’ and asked the Vatican to freeze his sainthood process…

“Elan Steinberg, the group’s vice president [and director emeritus of the World Jewish Congress], said in a statement: ‘There were many individuals and representatives of the Church whose shining heroism during the terrible years of the Holocaust should be recognized, but Pope Pius was not among them… ‘

“Some Jews have accused Pius, who reigned from 1939 to 1958, of turning a blind eye to the Holocaust. The Vatican says he worked silently behind the scenes and helped save many Jews… Pius was guilty of ‘public silence in the face of absolute evil,’ Steinberg said.

“‘During World War II, despite pleas and reports from other Church leaders and the Allies, Pope Pius failed to even once publicly and explicitly denounce the Nazi crimes against the Jews,’ he said. Differences over Pius’s role haunted Catholic-Jewish relations. Some Catholics recently pushed for the Pope to speed up his sainthood process and some Jews want it put on hold until Vatican archives are opened in about seven years…

“Steinberg said the Vatican should instead look to Pope John XXIII (1958-1963), who helped save Jews and who reported to the Vatican on Nazi plans to exterminate the Jews when he was a bishop and the Vatican’s wartime representative in Turkey.”

Billy Graham No Longer Pastor to President

USA Today and The Associated Press reported on November 7:

“Billy Graham’s work as a pastor to presidents is coming to an end, but he is praying for Barack Obama as the next U.S. leader begins his work, Graham’s son said Friday on the ailing evangelist’s 90th birthday… Graham’s views of the world are still respected in White House circles. Republican presidential candidate John McCain visited Graham at his mountainside home during the campaign, and Obama tried to meet Graham but wasn’t able to do so because of the preacher’s poor health.

“Though never partisan in his preaching, Billy Graham is a registered Democrat. His son expressed concern about Obama’s views on abortion and gay marriage — an issue Franklin Graham raised in a meeting with the Illinois senator — saying that he and his father are conservatives who believe the Bible speaks clearly on those issues.

“‘President-elect Obama heard our position,’ Franklin Graham said. ‘And I told him that this was very difficult for us and hard for us. It’s a moral issue that we just can’t back down on. But he’s our president-elect, and those positions that he holds that are contrary to Biblical teaching, I hope that God will change his heart…’ Obama favors abortion rights, and does not support a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage…

“His days at 90 are a stark contrast to Graham’s days as a globe-trotting evangelist — a ministry that put him behind the pulpit to speak with 215 million people in more than 185 countries and placed him in the confidence of some of the world’s most powerful people.”

Robert Schuller Ousts His Son–Does Not Want to Preach What Is Sin

The Los Angeles Times reported on October 27:

“The schism between… Robert H. Schuller and his son at Orange County’s Crystal Cathedral arose over a disagreement about broadening the church’s long-running television show, ‘Hour of Power,’ beyond a single personality — a move opposed by the younger Schuller, pastors involved in the matter said Sunday. The elder Schuller announced Saturday that he was removing his son… Robert A. Schuller, as the show’s only preacher three years after turning the program over to him. The show will now be hosted by different pastors, and even businessmen, from around the country and Latin America…

“Schuller built his worldwide ministry over a half century on the psychology of positive thinking and appealing to people turned off by the formality of traditional faiths. In contrast, his son’s sermons have been full of direct references to the Bible. ‘I was called to start a mission, not a church,’ Schuller told his audience Sunday. ‘There is a difference. . . . You don’t try to preach . . . what is sin and what isn’t sin. A mission is a place where you ask nonbelievers to come and find faith and hope and feel love. We’re a mission first, a church second.’… ‘I love my son and am proud of my son,’ he said, adding that the younger Schuller will continue to work as a Crystal Cathedral senior pastor.”

Pope Condemns Trade in Human Organs

Reuters reported on November 7:

“Pope Benedict condemned the trade in human organs as an abomination Friday and urged caution in removing organs for transplant from dying donors who might not actually yet be dead… Buying and selling of human organs is a lucrative business for suppliers and countries that allow foreign ‘transplant tourists’ to have operations they cannot get at home. Organs are often bought from poor peasants and sometimes harvested from condemned prisoners…

“A recent article in the Vatican daily L’Osservatore Romano challenged the medical consensus that brain death marks the death of a person. Since the brain can die before other organs, this allows doctors to harvest organs for transplant… The Vatican has long accepted the brain death criterion. Rejecting it now could force Catholic hospitals to revert to the cardiac death rule, leaving many fewer organs for transplant.”

Life Begins at Defined Moment of Conception

On November 7, 2008, Zenit published an interview with scientist Maureen Condic who holds that human life begins at a defined moment of conception. Condic is an associate professor of neurobiology and anatomy at the University of Utah School of Medicine. She received her doctorate in neurobiology from the University of California, Berkely. Her teaching focuses primarily on embryonic development, and she directs the University of Utah School of Medicine’s course in human embryology.

In the interview, Condic stated the following:

“… resolving when human life begins has important implications for a number of controversial political topics, including abortion and human embryonic stem cell research… The central question of ‘when does human life begin’ can be stated in a somewhat different way: When do sperm and egg cease to be, and what kind of thing takes their place once they cease to be?…

“[My] conclusion [is] that a new human organism comes into existence at the moment of sperm-egg fusion… a scientific analysis of the best available data does not support the conclusion that fertilization is a ‘process’; it supports the conclusion that fertilization is an event that takes less than a second to complete. The events of the first 24 hours following sperm-egg fusion are clearly unique, but they are also clearly acts of a human organism, not acts of a mere human cell.”

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What does the Bible say about the ultimate fate of Satan and his demons? Will they live forever, or will they cease to exist?

The question of the ultimate destiny of Satan and demons has been hotly debated for centuries and even millennia. However, just based on the revelation of the Bible, we cannot conclude that Satan and his fallen angels will ever cease to exist. If they will, then the Bible has simply not revealed that to us. What is revealed points clearly at a never-ending life of Satan and his demons, cut off from God and existing in the blackness of spiritual darkness forever.

We explain the fate of Satan and his demons in more detail in our free booklet, “Angels, Demons and the Spirit World,” on pages 51 and 52. We are quoting below a few excerpts:

“… The angels who sinned are presently in chains of darkness, to be reserved for future judgment (2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6). They are living today in a state of darkness. They are spiritually imprisoned by their own perversions… Satan’s spiritual torment, and that of his angels, will continue. After a time period called the Great White Throne Judgment, Satan and his demons will be cast into the lake of fire, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever (Revelation 20:10; Matthew 25:41). Their torment will be spiritual, as they will see all of their evil works destroyed by fire (compare 2 Peter 3:10–13), and their influence on others will be gone forever. Their final fate might be revealed in Jude 13, referring to ‘wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.’ Compare, too, 2 Peter 2:17. God knows what is in store for them, and so do they.”

We need to realize that Satan and his demons are fallen ANGELS–and angels CANNOT die (compare Luke 20:36). As invisible spirit beings (Colossians 1:16), both God’s righteous angels and the rebellious angels are “ETERNAL” (2 Corinthians 4:18)–that is, they are created spirit beings, incapable of dying. When God gives us ETERNAL life, we will live forever. There is never a possibility to lose our eternal destiny–because God has promised it to us, and God cannot lie.

Some have speculated that Satan will cease to exist, claiming that God will change him from a spirit being into a mortal being, who is then capable of dying. However, there is no biblical evidence that God will do this; nor, that this could be done. God is faithful to His own word–and He declared through Jesus Christ that angels cannot die. Nowhere does the Bible say that angels or demons CAN die; nowhere is it mentioned that any angel or demon EVER died; and nowhere do we find it expressed that an angel or a demon EVER changed into a physical being. (We find that God’s angels materialized on occasion, appearing in a human form–but they did not CHANGE into a human being. We also find, however, that Satan and his demons were deprived of that ability. This is fully explained in our booklet, “Angels, Demons and the Spirit World,” on pages 42-44.)

Some have pointed out that God cannot die, either, but that Jesus Christ–the God of the Old Testament–became a man so that He could die. This is true–Christ divested Himself of His divinity–He, who had been a God being, chose to BECOME flesh for the purpose of death. But note HOW this was done. Christ was conceived in the womb of a human mother–the virgin Mary. God the Father did not simply change Him from a God being into a man by fiat–Christ became a man by being conceived of God’s Holy Spirit, and He was then nurtured in the womb, until the day of His birth as a little baby. If we allow the Bible to tell us HOW God changed a spirit being into a physical being–the only time this EVER happened, based on the Scriptural record–then here is the answer. However, nowhere does the Bible as much as suggest that God will do with Satan, as He did with Christ. Surely, God will not change Satan into a physical being by having him conceived in the womb of a woman. It is interesting that Hollywood movies portray this kind of diabolical scenario–something which was undoubtedly inspired by Satan himself. He might want to WISH this to happen–but God will NOT allow it.

Some have pointed at a passage in Ezekiel 28 which describes the fall of Lucifer, who became Satan. They say that this passage shows that Satan will be burned up and that he will therefore cease to exist.

However, we need to understand that Ezekiel 28 speaks about a human being, as well as Satan. In Ezekiel 28:1-10, God addresses the “PRINCE of Tyre” (verse 2), a mighty human leader. Beginning with verse 11 and until verse 17, God then addresses the real power behind that human leader–Satan the devil, who is identified in verse 12 as the “KING of Tyre.” But beginning in verse 18, God returns to the description of the prince of Tyre–the human leader–and it is the human leader who will be “devoured” and “turned… to ashes,” and he “will be no more forever” (verse 19).

We see a similar way of describing a human leader, and the spiritual power behind the leader, in Isaiah 14. Beginning in verse 3, God addresses the human king of Babylon (see verse 4). But beginning in verse 12, God speaks of the fall of Lucifer or Satan–the one giving his power and authority to the king of Babylon. But commencing in verse 16, God returns to the description and fate of the human king, addressing him in verse 16 as “the MAN who made the earth tremble…” He is a human being with children (verse 21), and he will not be buried, but he will be cast out of his GRAVE, as he disgraced the land (verses 19, 20). Clearly, God is here no longer talking about a spirit being, but He returns to the description of the physical king of Babylon, whom He had originally addressed in that chapter.

Returning to Ezekiel 28, we find that God said in verse 16 to Lucifer: “And you sinned; Therefore I cast you as a profane thing Out of the mountain of God; And I DESTROYED you, O covering cherub, From the midst of the fiery stones.” Some claim that this passage proves that Satan will be “destroyed” in the sense of “annihilated.”

However, that is not the meaning of “destroyed” in that context. Please note that God speaks about the fall of Lucifer which occurred BEFORE the creation of man. It was already at THAT time that God “destroyed” him “from the midst of the fiery stones.” But Satan did not cease to exist at that time. He is still around today–and he will be around at the end of the Millennium, to deceive the nations (Revelation 20:7-10). All Ezekiel 28:16 is telling us is that God did not allow Lucifer any longer to dwell with Him on the mountain of God–in heaven. He was no longer allowed to fulfill any holy administrative functions in the service of God. Rather, he FELL down from heaven to this earth like lightning (Luke 10:18).

Even though the Hebrew word for “destroy,” “abad,” can have the meaning, by implication, of “perish,” it can also mean “wander away” or “to lose oneself.” Judging from the context and in light of the remainder of the Bible, it is clear that the meaning here is not, “cease to exist.” The New International Version translates, “… I EXPELLED you, O guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones.” Other translations say here, “drove out.”

Some have pointed at a question by demons at the time of Jesus, when they asked Him: “Did you come to destroy us?” (compare Mark 1:24; Luke 4:34). They have concluded that this shows that demons know that they will be annihilated. This is, however, not what the passages indicate–apart from the fact that the Greek word for “destroy,” apollu,” can ALSO mean, “to lose off or away.”

John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible comments that the context of the passages does not mean, “… to annihilate them, but either to turn them out of the bodies of men, which to them was a sort of a destruction of them, and was really a destroying that power, which they had for some time exercised over men; or to shut them up in… prison…, and inflict that full punishment on them, which is in reserve for them…”

Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible adds: “We may suppose this spirit to have felt and spoken thus: ‘Is this the time of which it hath been predicted, that in it the Messiah should destroy all that power which we have usurped and exercised over the bodies and souls of men?'”

The Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary adds that the feared “destruction” refers to the power or the works of the demons, and does not imply that they themselves will be annihilated: “Conscious, too, that their power was but permitted and temporary, and perceiving in Him, perhaps, the woman’s Seed that was to bruise the head and destroy the works of the devil, they regard His approach to them on this occasion as a signal to let go their grasp of this miserable victim.”

The demons KNEW that their fate was not one of annihilation. Rather, we read that they asked Christ whether He had come to “torment” them “before the time” (Matthew 8:29).

To quote again from page 51 of our afore-mentioned booklet, “Angels, Demons and the Spirit World”:

“Luke 8:31 adds that they begged Christ not to command them ‘to go out into the abyss.’ At this point in time, they are not yet in that ‘abyss.’ Satan is not in it either; rather, he will be placed in it at the beginning of the Millennium (Revelation 20:1-3, 7—the word ‘abyss’ is translated there as ‘bottomless pit’). What is the ‘abyss?’ The word is used in Romans 10:7, where we read, ‘Who will descend into the abyss? (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).’

“In Romans 10, the ‘abyss’ is used as an analogy in association with the dead who are buried. It is also used as an analogy in Luke 8 and in Revelation 20. When Satan and his demons will be placed in the ‘abyss’ at the beginning of the Millennium, they will be as good as dead—unable to influence and deceive the nations any longer during that time period (compare Revelation 20:3). The fact that they won’t be able to destroy others will give them spiritual torment—that is why they asked Christ whether He had come to torment them before ‘the time.'”

Viewing all of the Scriptures in context, and based on what IS revealed in the Bible, we conclude that the fate of Satan and his demons is NOT one of annihilation or extinction; rather, it appears that they will become “wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever” (Jude 13).

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

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Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

New Sermons posted on Google Video:

Norbert Link, “Bible Study–The Biblical World of Animals, Part 1,” October 25, 2008

Norbert Link, “Bible Study–The Biblical World of Animals, Part 2,” November 1, 2008

A new StandingWatch program was posted on StandingWatch, Google Video and YouTube. It is titled, “Can Mr. Obama Deliver and Save Us?”  In the program, Norbert Link points out that the world reacted with great euphoria and optimism to Barack Obama’s “historic election” as the 44th President of the USA. International governmental leaders and reporters expressed hope for “change” and the “dawn of a new era.” But can Mr. Obama fulfill his promises in light of unparalleled “seismic challenges”? Guantanamo Bay, Iraq, terrorism, climate change, Afghanistan, Iran, healthcare, unemployment, financial recession and depression are just some of the issues to be addressed. Is our hope and trust in a human leader totally misplaced?

A new StandingWatch program in the German language was posted on AufPostenStehen and YouTube. In the program, Norbert Link discusses the question whether abortion is EVER justified, and when the life of a human being begins.

Recent Comments from our StandingWatch viewers:

Mr Obama is faced with very challenging problems for the nation of USA. Like you say, his success and that of the country depends on obedience and TRUST in God. For example, think of how much money could be reallocated from the defense budget if the nation had faith and trusted in God for deliverance. Imagine what the healthcare industry would look like if all trusted God for healing. Unfortunately, these concepts are so foreign to most and seem ridiculous.

I think everyone will sober up when he starts appointing his cabinet. Things are going to start getting very strange after that. We will see how far left this country can go. Check Mr Obama’s voting record. Left always, more than anyone else in the senate ever.

It looks like the American way of life — including greed, which you rightly point out — is no longer serving us well. It’s comforting to know there’s a better future ahead.

wow these are the events of before and to world war 2 all over again 🙁

It is true that things are not going to get better, no matter who the president is and no matter what type of “solution” is going to be tossed out there. You are right when you say how the Bible prophesies what is going to happen, what is happening right now in the world. All hope is not lost however, thanks to these informative programs on what we all NEED to be doing! Well Done!!

As you have recommended watching the [StandingWatch program] “Comfort in terminal sickness”, I did and I believe it is true and it is also biblical that the fervent prayer of the believers in Christ will help heal a sick person… I am no longer interested in physical healing. I am more interested in my own spiritual healing and my family’s salvation. Pray for our salvation. Salvation is to me more important than physical healing. Physical healing will come second, after spiritual healing and salvation. That is what I am looking for. I know that my time will end soon. The degeneration has already reached my neck. I know that it will just be a matter of time before it reaches my brain and I will lose my mobility at first… We know now that becoming a true Christian is not that easy. It takes time and effort to become one with God. I am more concerned about my family than myself.

Continue enjoying your “punchy” deliveries on StandingWatch.

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Staying Focused

by Simon Akl

The Feast of Tabernacles has come and gone, and I am now back to my everyday life of school and work. The amount of school work that was awaiting me seemed to be insurmountable. With all the usual school distractions it is very easy to become overwhelmed and stressed out. However, the Feast was a reminder of the need to prioritize what should be important in my life.

It allowed me to take a step back and realize how many of the tasks that I view as large mountains are really a small drop in the ocean compared to God’s plan. Focusing on more important reasons behind my purpose and existence helps me put everything in perspective and reduces some of the daily obstacles that I am confronted with. I find that some of the toughest times of trials and tribulations tend to come right after the Feast. They tend to divert me and force me to forget about all the great lessons that I have just finished learning during the Feast. They tend to depress me when thinking about the tough time that I am about to face.

It is important for me to always keep the right mindset and focus to keep reminding myself of what truly is important. Satan does whatever he can to knock me off the righteous path and deceive me. That is why I constantly have to try and refresh my thoughts with lessons that I have learned while at the Feast, as well as trying to apply them in my everyday life.

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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:

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