Update 458


"To the Ephesians, Part 9," and Trumpets Sermons

On September 4, 2010, Norbert Link will give the sermon, titled, “To the Ephesians, Part 9.” This sermon will conclude his series on Paul’s letter to the Ephesian church.

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.

On September 9, 2010, is the Feast of Trumpets.

Dave Harris will give the sermon in the morning from Colorado, and Norbert Link will give the sermon in the afternoon from California.

The morning services can be heard at www.cognetservices.org (9:30 am Pacific Time; 10:30 am Mountain Time; 11:30 am Central Time; 12:30 pm Eastern time). Just click on Connect to Live Stream.

The afternoon services can be heard at www.cognetservices.org (1:30 pm Pacific Time; 2:30 pm Mountain Time; 3:30 pm Central Time; 4:30 pm Eastern time). Just click on Connect to Live Stream.

The Feast of Tabernacles is fast approaching. For our Feast sites and other information, please look at our Website (www.eternalgod.org), under “Feasts.”

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This Mind

by Dave Harris

“I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members” (Romans 7:21-23).

These are the words written by Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, and these are truly the thoughts of every Christian who struggles to overcome sin. They are mine, and I just imagine yours, as well!

In the next chapter, Paul continues: “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit” (Romans 8:5).

Paul speaks of living a way of life that is either consumed by the ways of this world or by one that reflects walking in the Spirit of God. He addresses the classic challenge man has always faced—to choose right over wrong, obedience instead of disobedience and life rather than death!

Being called into Christianity means that we must learn to think differently. We are cautioned with this teaching from Proverbs 23:7: “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he…”

Our victory over sin begins through a change in the way we think. It is summed up in the new spiritual way of living we have embarked on: “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5).

Paul recognized his battle to overcome sin and how he would achieve it—something for each of us to do as well:

“O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from the body of death? I thank God–THROUGH JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin” (Romans 7:24-25).

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We are beginning with reports about fears of a future destructive solar storm in 2012 or 2013, as well as current devastating catastrophes. While President Obama’s approval rate is slipping and the outlook for the U.S. economy is grim, fears of an attack on Iran and a civil war in “abandoned” Iraq are mounting.

Focusing on Germany, a leading member of Germany’s central bank is coming under fire for controversial remarks and a new best-selling book against Jews and Muslims; Germany’s Bundeswehr might soon become more powerful; and Germany’s constitutional court strengthened the EU and its institutions.

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Destructive Solar Storm in 2012?

On August 26, Yahoo India News published an article by Australasian Science (ANI), stating the following:

“Astronomers are predicting that a massive solar storm, much bigger in potential than the one that caused spectacular light shows on Earth earlier this month, is to strike our planet in 2012 with a force of 100 million hydrogen bombs… Similar storms back in 1859 and 1921 caused worldwide chaos, wiping out telegraph wires on a massive scale. The 2012 storm has the potential to be even more disruptive.

“‘The general consensus among general astronomers (and certainly solar astronomers) is that this coming Solar maximum (2012 but possibly later into 2013) will be the most violent in 100 years,’ News.com.au quoted astronomy lecturer and columnist Dave Reneke as saying…

“No one really knows what effect the 2012-2013 Solar Max will have on today’s digital-reliant society. Dr Richard Fisher, director of NASA’s Heliophysics division, told Reneke the super storm would hit like ‘a bolt of lightning’, causing catastrophic consequences for the world’s health, emergency services and national security unless precautions are taken.

“NASA said that a recent report by the National Academy of Sciences found that if a similar storm occurred today, it could cause ‘1 to 2 trillion dollars in damages to society’s high-tech infrastructure and require four to 10 years for complete recovery.'”

Volcano Erupts after 400 Years

The Associated Press reported on August 30:

“An Indonesian volcano dormant for four centuries erupted for the second straight day Monday, shooting clouds of hot ash more than a mile into the air and forcing 30,000 people to flee. Some domestic airplanes had to be diverted because of poor visibility. Many villagers living along the slopes of Mount Sinabung in North Sumatra province wore masks as they packed their belongings and headed to emergency shelters, mosques and churches… Their abandoned homes and crops were blanketed in gray soot and the air was thick with the smell of sulfur…

“Sinabung last erupted in 1600… Indonesia is spread across 17,500 islands and is prone to volcanic eruptions and earthquakes because of its location within the so-called ‘Ring of Fire’ — a series of fault lines stretching from the Western Hemisphere through Japan and Southeast Asia.

“It is also home to some of the largest eruptions in recorded history. The 1815 explosion of Mount Tambora buried the inhabitants of Sumbawa Island under searing ash, gas and rock, killing an estimated 88,000 people. The 1883 eruption of Krakatoa could be heard 2,000 miles away and blackened skies region-wide for months. At least 36,000 people were killed in the blast and the tsunami that followed.”

For more information on volcanic eruptions, as well as past space impacts, as discussed in the next article, please read our free booklet, “The Theory of Evolution… A Fairy Tale for Adults.”

The Destruction of the Dinosaurs

BBC reported on August 27:

“The dinosaurs were wiped out 65 million years ago by at least two space impacts, rather than a single strike, a new study suggests. Previously, scientists had identified a huge impact crater in the Gulf of Mexico as the event that spelled doom for the dinosaurs. Now evidence for a second impact in Ukraine has been uncovered. This raises the possibility that the Earth may have been bombarded by a whole shower of space rocks…

“What might have caused this bombardment is highly uncertain.”

However, the Bible explains what caused the devastation in the past.

Devastation in Pakistan Continues…

The New York Times wrote on August 27:

“Hundreds of thousands more Pakistanis fled their homes as high floodwaters reached the southernmost region of the country and inundated several more districts… Almost one million people have been displaced since midweek in Sindh Province, adding to the estimated six million already made homeless countrywide over the last three weeks in Pakistan’s worst floods in living memory…

“Health workers setting up clinics in the major centers of displacement reported a sharp increase in cases of acute diarrhea. The numbers represent an increase of 30 percent compared with the same period last year… A high incidence of malaria is also being reported in the southern provinces…”

America’s Grim Economic Future

The Daily Mail wrote on August 27:

“America was heading for a second recession last night as gloomy figures showed its economy grinding to a halt. Slowing growth and rising unemployment across the Atlantic cast a long shadow over a small improvement in the UK economy –which grew at its fastest rate for nine years this spring…

“Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke described the financial outlook yesterday as ‘inherently uncertain’ and said the economy ‘remains vulnerable to unexpected developments’… Any worldwide slowdown led by an American slump would hurt Chancellor George Osborne’s hopes of leading the UK to a recovery led by exports.”

President Obama Dismissive

Politico wrote on August 29:

“President Barack Obama dismissed a recent poll showing that a third of Americans don’t know he’s a Christian — and blamed an online campaign of misinformation by his conservative enemies for perpetuating the myth that he’s a Muslim.

“Obama, speaking with NBC ‘Nightly News’ anchor Brian Williams on Sunday afternoon, was equally dismissive of conservative talk show host Glenn Beck — saying he didn’t watch the Fox host’s Saturday rally in Washington but wasn’t surprised that Beck was able to ‘stir up’ people during uncertain economic times…

“‘I can’t spend all of my time with my birth certificate plastered on my forehead,’ quipped Obama, who took a deep breath to gather his thoughts when asked if the poll reflected his inability to communicate with voters. ‘The facts are the facts. We went through some of this during the campaign — there is a mechanism, a network of misinformation that in a new media era can get churned out there constantly,’ said a visibly annoyed Obama, referring to ‘birthers,’ who have waged a guerrilla campaign questioning either the existence or the validity of his Hawaiian birth certificate…

” A stunning 18 percent of Americans identify Obama as Muslim… Only a third identify Obama, who speaks passionately about his faith in his autobiography, as Christian…”

“Six Days to War” With Iran

Newsmax reported on August 27:

“Iran expert Kenneth R. Timmerman… lays out the scenario likely to unfold if the United States and Iran go to war. In Timmerman’s report, you’ll find out why ‘Six Days to War’ could happen sooner than you think — as many American assets are already ‘in position’ for an attack…

“Timmerman’s report on the looming war with Iran is based on sources including top Israeli intelligence officers, military, and political leaders interviewed in Israel and Washington, D.C., and a key planning document… developed by the Iranian navy.”

In a SPIEGEL interview, which was published on August 30, Iranian Foreign Minister Mottaki discussed the “risk” of a military strike against Iran. We are bringing you the following excerpts:

“SPIEGEL: There are growing calls in Israel for a military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities — with or without Washington’s approval.

“Mottaki: Israel has been talking about this for years. The Zionist regime knows exactly what fate awaits it here. The regime would be putting its own existence at stake with an attack.

“SPIEGEL: You would attack Israel?

“Mottaki: I have just told you what would happen.

“SPIEGEL: Your first reactor, in Bushehr, is scheduled to go online on Sept. 26 after more than 30 years of construction. Do you really want to see the Israelis reduce it to rubble?

“Mottaki: Do you have evidence that Bushehr will be attacked? How probable do you think such an attack is?

“SPIEGEL: The likelihood is considered high.

“Mottaki: We don’t see this likelihood.

“SPIEGEL: Do you want to ignore reality? Don’t you recognize the military threat? Don’t you see the worldwide protest against the impending stoning of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani [accused of adultery and sentenced to death]?

“Mottaki: What is the point of these questions? You would be better advised to listen to us. It was our interpretations of the situation in this region that have proved to be right. We predicted that the United States would capitulate in Iraq, and that’s what has happened. Instead, you are playing the human rights game. You ask me about the possible killing of a human being. But you show no sensitivity for the many, many people that are being killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. How long does the West intend to live with this contradiction?”

Iraq’s Dire Situation–Waste of U.S. Taxpayer Money

The Associated Press reported on August 29:

“A $40 million prison sits in the desert north of Baghdad, empty. A $165 million children’s hospital goes unused in the south. A $100 million waste water treatment system in Fallujah has cost three times more than projected, yet sewage still runs through the streets

“As the U.S. draws down in Iraq, it is leaving behind hundreds of abandoned or incomplete projects. More than $5 billion in American taxpayer funds has been wasted — more than 10 percent of the some $50 billion the U.S. has spent on reconstruction in Iraq, according to audits from a U.S. watchdog agency.

“That amount is likely an underestimate, based on an analysis of more than 300 reports by auditors with the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction. And it does not take into account security costs, which have run almost 17 percent for some projects…

“Even completed projects for the most part fell far short of original goals… And the verdict is still out on whether the program reached its goal of generating Iraqi good will toward the United States instead of the insurgents…

“The reconstruction program in Iraq has been troubled since its birth shortly after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. The U.S. was forced to scale back many projects even as they spiked in cost, sometimes to more than double or triple initial projections…”

Iraq’s Dire Situation–Fears of Civil War

Der Spiegel Online wrote on August 30:

“US combat troops are withdrawing from Iraq, where terrorist attacks are once again part of everyday life. The Iraqi population is suddenly mourning the departure of the once-hated occupiers, as fears of a civil war grow…

“Only 50,000 US troops will remain in the country, out of a total of over 170,000 soldiers that were in Iraq at the high point of the American deployment. They are staying mainly to support the Iraqi security forces as advisers and trainers, and are also due to return to their homeland at the end of 2011.

“The withdrawal of US combat troops from Iraq’s urban centers just over a year ago was welcomed euphorically… Visitors to Baghdad can sense the fear [now] that many people have of a new civil war. That fear is underscored by the daily news reports on television. Last week, at least 56 Iraqis died at the hands of suicide bombers and snipers in around two dozen terrorist attacks. In August, an average of five policemen or soldiers died every day…

“Given the violence that is flaring up again, many Iraqis want their occupiers to stay longer… The uncertainty about what will happen now is so far-reaching that it has even affected the former arch-enemies of the US Army. Abu Mujahid lost a leg in 2004 when he fought against the invaders in the battle of Fallujah. Shrapnel fragments are lodged in his head, the legacy of a US missile strike. ‘Yes, we fought them to the death,’ Mujahid, who is a Sunni Muslim, told the news agency Reuters. ‘We dreamed of the day when they would leave Iraq. But their withdrawal at this time is not in Iraq’s interests’…

“The US forces, for their part, are observing the sudden regret over their departure with interest. ‘We are seeing that very clearly,’ says Brigadier General Mark Corson, speaking in the US military base in Balad about 70 miles (110 kilometers) north of Baghdad… The decision to leave the country has not been called into question for one moment, despite the Iraqis’ new-found affection for their occupiers, Corson says. ‘You can’t please the Iraqis. If you’re here, you are the evil occupier. If you leave, you are letting them down. Then it’s better to just leave at some point.'”

Iraq’s Dire Situation–President Obama’s Oval Office Speech

The Associated Press reported on September 1:

“Despite President Barack Obama’s declaration Tuesday of an end to the combat mission in Iraq, combat almost certainly lies ahead. And in asserting the U.S. has met its responsibilities in Iraq, the president opened the door wide to a debate about the meaning of success in the muddle that most – but not all – American troops are leaving behind.

“A look at some of the statements Obama made in his Oval Office speech and how they compare with the facts:

“OBAMA: ‘Tonight, I am announcing that the American combat mission in Iraq has ended.’

“THE FACTS: Peril remains for the tens of thousands of U.S. troops still in Iraq, who are likely if not certain to engage violent foes. Counterterrorism is chief among their continuing missions, pitting them against a lethal enemy. Several thousand special operations forces, including Army Green Berets and Navy SEALs, will continue to hunt and attempt to kill al-Qaida and other terrorist fighters – working closely with Iraqi forces. Obama said, ‘Of course, violence will not end with our combat mission,’ while stopping short of a full accounting of the hazards ahead for U.S. troops.

“OBAMA: ‘We have met our responsibility.’

“THE FACTS: That depends entirely on how the U.S. responsibility is defined. Sectarian division – the danger that Obama said as a presidential candidate had to be addressed before Iraq could succeed – continues to deprive the country of a fully functioning government. U.S. goals for reconstruction are unmet. And although the U.S. says Iraqi forces can handle the insurgency largely on their own, Iraq is expected to need U.S. air power and other military support for years to control its own air space and to deter a possible attack by a neighboring state.

“It was the U.S. that invaded Iraq, overthrew its government, disbanded its security forces and failed in the early phases of the conflict to understand the depth of Iraq’s sectarian and ethnic divisions and its political paralysis… today Iraq has no permanent government and its security forces arguably are not fully prepared to defend the country’s skies and borders…

“OBAMA: ‘Within Afghanistan, I have ordered the deployment of additional troops who – under the command of Gen. David Petraeus – are fighting to break the Taliban’s momentum. As with the surge in Iraq, these forces will be in place for a limited time to provide space for the Afghans to build their capacity and secure their own future.’

“THE FACTS: Obama is reciting almost the exact language of the Bush administration’s rationale for the Iraq surge: to buy time and space for the Iraqis to reach political accommodations and to strengthen their own security forces. That’s quite a change from Obama’s stand as a presidential candidate, when he criticized it. Obama seems to be embracing the troop surge logic now, even though it’s clear that the Iraqis have yet to achieve the necessary level of reconciliation to form an enduring government.”

Leader of Germany’s Central Bank under Fire over “Attacking” Jews and Muslims

The Daily Mail reported on August 30:

“A leading member of Germany’s central bank has caused outrage by claiming that Jews are identified by a particular gene. Thilo Sarrazin, who is on the board of the Bundesbank in Frankfurt, said in a newspaper interview: ‘All Jews share a certain gene. Basques (Spanish separatists) have particular genes, that distinguishes them from others.’

“Germany’s Jewish community today reacted with horror and accused him of anti-Semitism and attempted racial profiling. Germany’s deputy Chancellor Guido Westerwelle accused the banker of stoking up hatred… Another member of the German cabinet, defence minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, said Sarrazin had ‘overstepped the borders of provocation’. German Chancellor Angela Merkel tonight condemned Sarrazin for making ‘stupid and pointless’ statements…

“Sarrazin gave an interview to the respected Welt am Sonntag Sunday newspaper to promote his book entitled ‘Deutschland schafft sich ab’, which can be translated as ‘Germany does away with itself.’ In the book he claims the country is on the road to ruin because of the influx of immigrants from the Middle East which would overwhelm the indigenous population and create a nation of ‘dunces’. In particular he singles out Muslims for failing to integrate and having low IQs… He asserts the result has been a ‘dramatic fall’ in literacy and numeracy. ‘Germany is becoming more stupid,’ he said.

“‘Muslim immigrants don’t integrate as well as other immigrant groups across Europe. The reasons for this are apparently not based on their ethnicity, but are rooted in their culture of Islam,’ he told Welt am Sonntag. Germany has strict laws which ban inciting racial hatred. These include denying the Holocaust, using the Heil Hitler salute and displaying a Swastika. Making anti-Semitic remarks is also an offence but Sarrazin’s comments – while distasteful – are unlikely to lead to a prosecution.”

Der Spiegel Online wrote on August 30:

“Sarrazin, a member of the center-left Social Democrats [and] a former minister of finance for the city-state of Berlin, has repeatedly caused controversy by criticising Turks and Arabs in Germany… In his book, Sarrazin argues that Muslims undermine German society and that young Muslim men are aggressive due to sexual frustration…

“Left-wing Die Tageszeitung writes: ‘He is without doubt a racist. Unlike other opponents of Islam, Sarrazin doesn’t just believe in a “clash of cultures” and voice shrill warnings about “over-alienation” by Muslims. He goes further by attributing cultural and social differences mainly to genetic dispositions… What should be done if 65 years after the banning of “Mein Kampf” another treatise of racial theory turns into a bestseller in Germany?’

“Conservative Die Welt writes: ‘He is right on many counts… One has to be appalled at a growing, passive-aggressive underclass, about miserable educational achievements and also about Turkish and Arab immigrants who refuse to integrate and to get an education. Even if many people claim that all this has long been known, nothing has been done. We still lack the political will to tackle this unpleasant conflict… One has to be tough and honest, but one mustn’t argue in static technocratic terms like Sarrazin…’

“Left-wing Frankfurter Rundschau writes: ‘The hobby author Sarrazin is responsible for risk control in the most important central bank of the euro zone. Such an office cannot seriously be carried out by someone who no one takes seriously anymore in the financial sector.'”

Germans Sympathetic Towards Sarrazin

Deutsche Welle wrote on August 30:

“Germany’s Social Democratic Party (SPD) on Monday said it would begin proceedings for the expulsion of longstanding member Thilo Sarrazin over comments in his new book. Sarrazin… officially launched his book ‘Deutschland schafft sich ab’ (‘Germany does away with itself’) at a press conference in Berlin on Monday…

“At the launch, Sarrazin reiterated his beliefs about the threat of Muslim culture to European societies. He told reporters that Germans were in danger of becoming ‘strangers in their own country’ and demanded stronger checks on immigrants…

“Advance orders have sent the book to the top of German sales charts.”

Der Spiegel added on August 31:

“Thilo Sarrazin’s comments about Muslims have triggered outrage in Germany and abroad, but have met with willing listeners among the general public. His rhetoric is slowly bringing about change in Germany, transforming it from a tolerant society into one dominated by fear and Islamophobia…

“Of course, these fears are not completely unfounded. Conditions in areas like Berlin’s Kreuzberg neighborhood give rise to very real, justified concerns. There are schoolrooms where three-quarters of the students are from immigrant families, students whose German is barely good enough to get by. There are Arab and Albanian family clans that control crime syndicates and receive welfare benefits. There are phenomena like forced marriages and honor killings. In some mosques, imams are encouraging the faithful to engage in Islamist terror. All of this exists, and yet it has nothing to do with ordinary Islam and the day-to-day lives of well over 90 percent of Germany’s Muslims. And yet these are precisely the kinds of things that fuel cheap attempts to create stereotypes of Muslims as the enemy…

“There is no question that there are Muslims in Germany who sympathize with Islamist ideas… It is also undeniable that suicide bombers worldwide frequently invoke Islam — a deplorable but not an isolated phenomenon. Every monotheistic religion, through its claim to exclusivity, contains the potential for violence.

“But no one condemns Christianity as a whole when Northern Irish breakaway factions commit murder in the name of God. We don’t blame all Catholics when some of them kill abortion doctors while invoking their faith. And we don’t take all of Judaism to task when a Jewish terrorist named Baruch Goldstein slaughters dozens of Muslims during prayers in Hebron while invoking Yahweh. But we do condemn Islam, whose holy book contains about as many passages glorifying violence as the Old Testament (which, unlike the Koran, does mention stoning as a punishment).”

The false claim that the Old Testament glorifies violence is absolutely outrageous and blasphemous. For more information, please read our free booklets, “And Lawlessness Will Abound…” and “Should YOU Fight in War?” .

Changes in German Bundeswehr?

Deutsche Welle wrote on August 28:

“German Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg has announced plans to reduce the size of the German military by about a third of the current 250,000 troops, and to end Germany’s mandatory military service. At the same time, however, he said he also wants to see an increase in the number of troops available for active duty, which is currently 7,000.

“Outlining his plans to make military service more attractive, Guttenberg told the mass market Bild am Sonntag newspaper that despite ending conscription, a trial period for potential volunteer troops could be an option to avoid a shortage of service members… In an interview with ARD television, German Chancellor Angela Merkel supported Guttenberg’s ideas to reform the Bundeswehr, saying she’d like to see a ‘culture of volunteerism’ and that signing up for the Bundeswehr should be made more attractive for young people.

“Guttenberg estimates the German military would need between 7,500 and 15,000 short-term volunteer troops. Additionally, the defense ministry said he is looking into various means of compensation for volunteers who would serve between 12 months and 23 months. This could include a salary, pension or educational opportunities, he said.

“The interview was published while Guttenberg was paying a surprise visit to German troops in the Baghlan province of Afghanistan… He emphasized his support for the troops’ efforts, but wouldn’t comment on a possible date for the withdrawal of German soldiers from Afghanistan.

“The idea of ending Germany’s long-standing tradition of mandatory military service has not been without criticism. In a speech to the Marine Officer’s School in Ploen, Peter Harry Carstensen, the state premier of Schleswig-Holstein, said he considered Germany’s mandatory military service an integral part of society. ‘This is not something we can sacrifice easily,’ he said.

“But Guttenberg said only a small percentage of German men were actually called on to perform mandatory service… adding that only 13 to 16 percent of men are drafted into temporary service.”

Germany Strengthens EU

The EUObserver wrote on August 26:

“Germany’s constitutional court has laid down the ground rules for controlling decisions by the EU’s top court… Thursday’s pronouncement backed by seven of the eight judges not only avoids a direct conflict with the EU’s Luxembourg court but also appears to strengthen it. Germany’s court stated that EU decisions may only be checked if European institutions seriously overstep their powers. A headline in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung says: ‘Karlsruhe (the court) restricts its own powers’…”

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What would have happened if Adam and Eve had eaten from the tree of life? What kind of a world would we have today? Would they still have sinned from time to time? If so, what would have been the consequence?

First, let us explain what the two trees in the Garden of Eden symbolized.

We are quoting the following excerpts from chapter 2 of our free booklet, “Human Suffering–Why…And How Much Longer?” :

“When God created the first human being, Adam, and his wife, Eve, He placed them in a garden—the Garden of Eden, also called Paradise. God also created two special trees in this garden—the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. He told man that he was allowed to eat from all the trees in the garden with the exception of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This means that man could eat, and should have eaten, from the tree of life.

“These two trees had special symbolic meaning. They represented two ways of life: Eating from the tree of life would have meant following God in obedience to His Word, thereby reaping the benefits of happiness, joy and peace. Eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil meant disobeying God, and listening to and following Satan instead, thereby reaping the curses of unhappiness, sadness, suffering and war!…

“God said that man could eat FREELY from the tree of life. If man had done that, he would have received the free gift of the Holy Spirit of God, and with it, godly understanding and wisdom as to how to live. He would have received a down payment—a guarantee—of future eternal life, and he would have been changed—in due time—to an immortal Spirit being.

“God WANTED Adam and Eve to partake of the tree of life—the Holy Spirit. Today also, God wants us—those He has specifically called for His salvation—to partake of the Holy Spirit, and to teach others about it. When man partakes of the tree of life—symbolic of the Holy Spirit—then he reaps the benefits and responsibilities already in this life, as well as the gift of future eternal life…

“Adam and Eve did not eat from the tree of life, but they did eat, instead, from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God CREATED that tree, too, but He told man NOT to eat from it. He did not tempt man to sin, but He did test man, and by offering an opportunity to man to eat from the tree of life, He enabled man to obey Him. However, man decided to disobey God and to obey, instead, the serpent—Satan the devil.

“In not eating from the tree of life, and in eating, instead, from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, man made the decision to reject godly wisdom and eternal life, and to accept the wisdom of this world, which leads only to death. Man rejected God (Jeremiah 2:13; 17:13) and became the slave of Satan. God had informed man of the consequences of his decision well in advance. Genesis 2:17 reports that God told them that they would die if they ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Presumably, He had also told them that they would have to live in sorrow and pain (compare Genesis 3:16–19)…

“Suffering, pain, misery, and even death entered this physical world with Adam and Eve’s decision to disobey God and follow Satan instead. And since man has, in general, continued to disregard God’s injunctions, suffering continues to this day.”

In addition, let us quote the following comments from Herbert W. Armstrong’s book, “Mystery of the Ages”:

“What if Adam had taken of the tree of life?… That symbolic tree is offered today to those called and drawn by God to Jesus Christ. There is one difference between the original Adam and the called Christian. Adam had not yet sinned and no repentance was necessary if he had chosen the tree of life. Otherwise the repentant and believing Spirit-begotten Christian is in the same position Adam would have been had he taken of the tree of life.

“Adam would have received the Holy Spirit of the immortal God to join with his human spirit. Of course, since Adam was required to make a choice, he would have rejected the way of Satan by taking the tree of life…

“He would have received the Holy Spirit of God to unite with his human spirit. The man was not mentally or spiritually complete until receiving the Spirit of God. This would have united him, mentally and spiritually, with God. He would have been begotten as a child of God, just as is the converted Spirit-begotten Christian.

“He would have received the Holy Spirit of God to join with his human spirit, begetting him as a son of God, imparting to him the earnest of immortal life, and making him at one with God… the very mind of the Eternal would have been in Adam. But instead the mind and attitude of Satan entered into him and worked in him, even as it has in all his children that have composed this whole world…

“God would have revealed to Adam God’s way of life—which is God’s spiritual law… But, even as a human embryo has been begotten by human parents, and just as the embryo must develop through the process of gestation before being born, so is the Spirit-led Christian, and so would have been Adam.

“But he would have experienced a direct connection and contact with God… So Adam would have had the in-depth spiritual knowledge to live God’s way, and also would have been supplied with the divine love that, only, can fulfill that perfect law of love and put it into action.

“He would also have received by the Spirit of God the very faith of God. He would have received knowledge, guidance and help from God. He would have had reliance on God to intervene in matters beyond his control. In such matters God supernaturally does for us what we are unable to do for ourselves. In other words, God fights our battles for us.”

Also, notice this quote from the Worldwide Church of God’s old publication, “Answers from Genesis”:

“If Adam and Eve would have eaten the fruit of this tree [of life], God would have given them His Holy Spirit and ultimately eternal life. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil, on the other hand, symbolized disobedience. When Adam and Eve ate of the fruit of this tree, their disobedience cut them off from their Creator and they embarked on a course of false education that produced sin and death.”

Based on this understanding, we see that if Adam and Eve had eaten from the tree of life and refused to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, our world–this world’s present societies–would have been quite different.

Again, let us continue with quoting from our booklet, “Human Suffering–Why… and How Much Longer?”:

“This brings up a hypothetical question. What would have happened IF Adam and Eve had eaten from the tree of life, while also refusing to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thus fully obeying God?

“There would have been, presumably, no weapons or war; no killing of Abel through Cain; no hunger, famine, hard labor, misery or pain; no slavery; and no vicious animals. Instead, this earth would have been a happy place—a peaceful, prosperous, free world!

“BUT—due to Adam and Eve’s wrong decision, this world witnessed murder when Cain killed his brother, Abel. It witnessed polygamy (Genesis 4:19); weapons made of bronze and iron (Genesis 4:22); more violence and murder (Genesis 4:23); and finally, grievous worldwide wickedness (Genesis 6:5–6, 11–13).”

God created Adam and Eve with the express purpose of bringing forth offspring. They were commanded to be fruitful and multiply and to fill the earth (Genesis 1:28). If Adam and Eve had shown obedience to God and rejected Satan, then their descendants–mankind–would not have been cut off from God and His Holy Spirit, as is generally the case today. The fact that mankind was cut off from God was God’s punishment for Adam and Eve’s disobedience–a direct consequence of Adam and Eve’s conduct. After they sinned, the tree of life was no longer accessible to them and in general, to mankind as a whole, and mankind was allowed, under the sway and deception of Satan, to create his own societies, which are ALL in opposition to God’s Way of Life.

Today, the entire world is under Satan’s rule. This includes ALL countries, including the United States of America, South America, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Great Britain, continental Europe, the Middle East and the Far East, including India, Russia, China, Japan and Korea. This means, no human government today is righteous in God’s eyes. This is one reason WHY true Christians are to come out of the “Babylon” of this world and its politics; to be separate; and not to touch or associate with or embrace or adopt or feed on the uncleanness of this world’s economic, military, educational or religious systems.

Focusing on Adam and Eve, this does not mean that they would have been changed to immortal beings immediately upon their partaking of the fruit of the tree of life. As explained above, eating from the tree of life symbolized receiving the Holy Spirit, which is a downpayment, an earnest, a guaranty for eternal life. But they still would have had to continue to live a godly way of life (as we all must do today), to PROVE to God that they were willing to live under His rule. They still would have had to develop godly righteous character, by continuously rejecting the wrong and accepting and living the right–as we all must do. Please read our Q&As [http://eternalgod.org/qa/7809 and http://eternalgod.org/qa/7837] on character development.

Beyond this, it is hard to say what else would have been different. The Bible does not dwell too much on this possibility, as the fact of the matter is that Adam and Eve DID eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and became thereby responsible for a world cut off from God.

Would Adam and Eve have stayed sinless? Would they have continued to reject eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil–that is, would they have been always obedient to God, without ever violating any of His commandments? If they had sinned, we would be safe to conclude that Jesus Christ would still have had to come to die for them and all of mankind, to make possible the gift of forgiveness and eternal life for man, as the wages of sin is eternal death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus, our Lord (Romans 6:23).

Since the Bible tells us that there is no man who does not sin, it is to be assumed that Adam and Eve would have slipped into sin from time to time, as we all do today. Nevertheless, the entire situation for them and their children and descendants–the “world”–would have been quite different. Assuming that mankind would have followed Adam and Eve’s good example, the world would not have ended up in total opposition and rebellion to God, as it is today. When we receive the Holy Spirit, after we have shown to God that we are willing to obey Him, we are basically on the same wavelength with God. We WANT to obey Him ever more perfectly. We do not WANT to sin. We do not WANT to live in abject defiance or total lack of interest in His Word.

Maybe Satan would have been replaced and dethroned at the time of Adam and Eve. Maybe God would have used Adam and Eve to rule this world, as He later used David to rule Israel. The circumstances might have been comparable with those which will be prevalent during the Millennium and the Great White Throne Judgment period. At that time, Satan will be banned so that he cannot deceive the nations anymore. The world’s spiritual and mental condition will be very similar then, as it was at the time of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, before Satan tempted Eve to sin.

Still, as it is the case today for called-out Christians, mankind will have to prove to God during the Millennium and the Great White Throne judgment period that they will be willing to obey Him. Those who will be willing to repent and obey God and accept the Sacrifice of Christ will be given the Holy Spirit, but they will not, at that moment in time, be changed to immortality. Rather (as it is true for converted Christians today), they will have to live with the lead of the Holy Spirit within them for a certain amount of time to show God that they are willing to eat continuously from the tree of life, while rejecting the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Based on the biblical description of what will happen in the future, when Satan is banned, we can deduct, to an extent, what would have happened to Adam and Eve and their children and descendants, IF they had obeyed God and eaten from the tree of life, while rejecting to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

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Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

A new member letter has been written and will be sent out shortly. In the letter, Rene Messier addresses the meaning of the fall festivals and our responsibilities in that regard.

A new StandingWatch program was posted on the Web, titled, “Bible Prophecy and World Events”:  Will there be another war in the Middle East? Will Israel attack Iran? Will the USA get involved? Did the USA win in Iraq? Will the USA win in Afghanistan? Will the USA solve its economic problems? Will Jesus Christ return in our time? Can we know the year of His return? What does the Bible say about these and other questions?

A new German sermon was posted on the Web, discussing character development. It is titled, “Charakterentwicklung.”

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Two Thumbs Down

by Laura Harris

Last weekend I saw the movie “Eat, Pray, Love,” a New York Times best-selling memoir turned into a block buster summer movie. The appeal of Julia Roberts traveling the world to exotic locations lured me in, but I was soon disappointed by a self-indulgent journey of divorce, adultery and misguided spiritual enlightenment. 

I left the theater feeling an overwhelming sense of sadness, knowing the movie has become inspirational for legions of female followers trying to find happiness, meaning and purpose in this world.  I have read that women by the droves are consuming “Eat Pray Love” themed merchandise (such as clothing, tea, perfume, jewelry and home furnishings), enrolling in self-help workshops, and touring the countries sojourned by the movie’s main character. 

The movie reinforced the fact that I cannot find truth and enlightenment in a commercialized manuscript. Once again, I am reminded that I can only find authentic happiness and a true understanding of God’s holy Plan, when I follow God’s laws, as revealed in His book – the Bible.

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How This Work is Financed

This Update is an official publication by the ministry of the Church of the Eternal God in the United States of America; the Church of God, a Christian Fellowship in Canada; and the Global Church of God in the United Kingdom.

Editorial Team: Norbert Link, Dave Harris, Rene Messier, Brian Gale, Margaret Adair, Johanna Link, Eric Rank, Michael Link, Anna Link, Kalon Mitchell, Manuela Mitchell, Dawn Thompson

Technical Team: Eric Rank, Shana Rank

Our activities and literature, including booklets, weekly updates, sermons on CD, and video and audio broadcasts, are provided free of charge. They are made possible by the tithes, offerings and contributions of Church members and others who have elected to support this Work.

While we do not solicit the general public for funds, contributions are gratefully welcomed and are tax-deductible in the U.S. and Canada.

Donations should be sent to the following addresses:

United States: Church of the Eternal God, P.O. Box 270519, San Diego, CA 92198

Canada: Church of God, ACF, Box 1480, Summerland, B.C. V0H 1Z0

United Kingdom: Global Church of God, PO Box 44, MABLETHORPE, LN12 9AN, United Kingdom

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