Update 460


Keep the Feast in Person!

by Rene Messier (Canada)

This will be the last Update and Editorial prior to the Feast of Tabernacles, which begins on Wednesday evening, the 22nd of September. You will receive it just prior to the Day of Atonement, which pictures the putting away of Satan as the current god of this world. With the devil’s banishment, man will be given the opportunity to be at-one with God; to draw closer to Him; and to develop a one-on-one relationship with Him. Following the Day of Atonement, we will be celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles, which pictures the rule of Christ and His saints on and over this earth for a thousand years.

We are sure that most of you are looking forward to the Feast as a time for renewed fellowship. This is especially important  for those of us who are scattered and do not have a group to meet with, but only the internet and the use of the chat line to communicate with one another prior to or after the broadcast of Sabbath services. While these live broadcasts are extremely helpful for those of us who cannot attend in person, they must never be viewed as an alternative when we could attend in person. However, all of us who are scattered should attend the Feast of Tabernacles in person, barring serious health or other legitimate reasons which would prevent us from doing so.

The Feast of Tabernacles is a time of rejoicing, both in the physical and spiritual sense. As we see that the world conditions around us are getting worse and worse, it appears that the time of the great tribulation is not that many years away. We cannot and do not set dates; yet, we are admonished to watch and to keep an eye on trends and the ongoing prophetic fulfillment of prophecy.  The good news is that Christ will return to cut short the great tribulation and to usher in and establish the Kingdom of God here on earth.

It would be wise to utilize this coming festival to re-charge our spiritual tanks, since there is a considerable length of time, up to six months, until the Spring Holy Day season. We should also take time and make every effort to strengthen our spiritual ties which each other, since some of us only see each other once a year at the Feast.

We are told that in the Millennium, the nations will keep this Festival. They will eventually learn the benefit for so doing. We, on the other hand, have the opportunity to keep it now and to enjoy the great blessings that come with obedience.

So if there is anything we could admonish you to do, it would be to attend the Feast; travel safely; pray for the safety of the ministry and the brethren as they travel; have a tremendously inspiring Feast; rejoice before our God and Lord Jesus Christ; and to look forward to the time when the real meaning of the Feast of Tabernacles will be fulfilled and when we can teach the world to follow the example that we are already living at the present time.

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The papal visit to Great Britain now overshadows events that are also playing out in Europe and the Middle East. Unsettling comments are flying back and forth between France and its allies over the treatment of alien migrants, as we report. While much talk is taking place surrounding attempts of resolving settlements in the West Bank, the net effect remains an ongoing stalemate.

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Why is the Pope Visiting Britain?

Overshadowing the papal visit to Britain, the first for Pope Benedict XVI, are questions as to why he would confront the obvious public outcry against his trip. CNN.com reported on September 16:

“As the United Kingdom braces to receive one of the best-known and most controversial figures on the planet, Pope Benedict XVI, a question hangs over the state visit: Why is he coming?”

The article continues:

“And the United Kingdom is not a Catholic country. On the contrary, Britain’s break from Rome in the 16th century echoes, if faintly, to the present day, with laws on the books forbidding the heir to the British throne from marrying a Catholic.

“In fact, the country is one of the less religious ones in Europe, home to vociferous critics of religion, like Richard Dawkins, and those who find belief in a higher power simply unnecessary, like Stephen Hawking.

“Public opinion on the eve of his visit ranges from indifference to downright hostility. There will be protests from critics who consider him a protector of pedophiles and from liberal Catholics who resent his staunch defense of orthodox doctrine.

“And all this will play out in in front of the British media — one of the world’s most aggressive.

“So why, aged 83 and happier at home, is the professorial vicar of Christ on earth stepping into the lion’s den? It may be the very factors that seem to argue against his coming that impelled him to come, according to two experts.

“This pope relishes a challenge, said John Allen, CNN’s senior Vatican analyst. His ‘No. 1 priority is to combat secularism, and in some ways the United Kingdom is the dictionary definition of a post-religious society,” Allen said. “He just created a whole new department in the Vatican to reawaken the faith in the West, and this trip is a chance to elaborate a strategy.’

However, ABC NEWS/International (online 9/16/10) further reports on the swirling resentment that is following the pope’s visit:

“But this four-day, $20 million visit is already mired in controversy. The cloud of the sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church is hanging over events.

“Belgian investigators just published a report detailing sexual abuse by priests in nearly every diocese in that country.

“Some of the victims were reportedly as young as two years old.

“British victims of abuse are demanding more than just an apology from the Pope. They want money for counseling and they want the Vatican to throw open its files on abuse.

“Protests are also planned by those who oppose the Pope’s views on condom use, homosexuality and the ordination of women.

“When asked about the sex scandals, he said ‘the revelations were a shock to him’ and ’caused great sadness.'”

UK is Like “Third World Country!”

The guardian.co.uk, on September 15, 2010, reported the reactions to very controversial remarks made by a leading papal advisor:

“The pope’s visit to the UK is mired in controversy after one of Benedict XVI’s senior advisers dropped out after comparing an arrival in multicultural Britain to landing ‘in a third-world country’.

“Cardinal Walter Kasper – the Vatican’s leading expert on relations with the Church of England – also accused the UK of discriminating against Christians.

“The cardinal’s remarks, made hours before the papal party was due to land in Edinburgh this morning, came in an interview with the German news magazine Focus, in which he noted that Britain was a ‘secular, pluralistic’ country.

“Asked by the magazine whether Christians were discriminated against in the UK, Kasper replied: ‘Yes. Above all, an aggressive new atheism has spread through Britain. If, for example, you wear a cross on British Airways, you are discriminated against.'”

Strife Builds Over French Actions

Controversy continues over France’s crackdown on illegal migrants, and BBC reported on September 16:

“President Nicolas Sarkozy was furious after European Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding appeared to compare France’s removal of Roma with Gypsy deportations during World War II…

“Although France has deported thousands of Romanian and Bulgarian Roma over the past few years, it began accelerating the process last month, as part of a high-profile crackdown on illegal camps in the country.

“On Tuesday, Ms Reding seemed to compare France’s actions to the persecution of Jews and Gypsies in Nazi-occupied France, when she said: ‘This is a situation I had thought Europe would not have to witness again after the Second World War.’

“She also urged the European Commission to take legal action against France over the deportations.”

Also, from the BBC on September 16, 2010:

“France and Germany are embroiled in a diplomatic row after German Chancellor Angela Merkel flatly contradicted President Nicolas Sarkozy on the issue of Roma camps.

“The issue of Roma (Gypsy) deportations from France has dominated an EU summit.

“Mr Sarkozy told a news conference that Chancellor Merkel had said to him that she intended to follow France’s example in dismantling Roma camps.

“Mrs Merkel’s spokesman denied she had discussed the issue with Mr Sarkozy.

“Fresh from a blazing row with the president of the European Commission, President Sarkozy has managed to fall out with his closest ally in Europe, says the BBC’s Oana Lungescu, who was at the summit in Brussels.”

The focus on human rights is pre-occupying the planned summit of EU leaders in Brussels, while the intended focus was a co-ordinated approach towards China and India–new emerging power-houses on the world stage.

We are witnessing a steady emergence of issues that will soon call for a new kind of leadership in Europe, and Bible prophecies reveal that the stage is set for a startling shift in who is the true super-power! Please read our free booklet: Europe In Prophecy-The Unfolding of End-Time Events.

No Middle-Ground in the Middle East!

Following more “peace talks,” the stalemate remains deeply entrenched in the volatile West Bank.

On September 16, CNN World reported:

“Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has proposed a three-month extension of Israel’s construction moratorium on the West Bank, a diplomatic source told CNN Thursday.

“The proposal, which was made this week during Middle East peace talks being held in the region, was accepted by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, but essentially rejected by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“The two sides appear to be at a stalemate, the source said.

“Netanyahu’s official position remains that he will not support any extension of the moratorium, which has been in place for 10 months and is set to expire September 26.

“The U.S. special envoy to the region, former Sen. George Mitchell, is attempting to negotiate a “quid pro quo” from the Palestinians in exchange for an extension, the source added.

“‘There are all kinds of ideas in the air’ over different ways to break the logjam, the source noted.’

“‘Nobody is going to let the talks break down over this issue,’ the source said. ‘Nobody is walking out of these talks.'”

Along with the momentous changes occurring now in Europe, the Middle East remains one of the most troublesome challenges in today’s diplomatic efforts. Like Europe, this region, and especially the State of Israel and Jerusalem, are destined to fulfill prophecies from the Word of God that only few now understand.

Our free booklet, “The Book of Zechariah-Prophecies for Today!,” will help you understand, as well. 

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In Luke 2:49 we read Jesus' reply to His parents when they had found Him in the temple. Wasn’t this a little disrespectful?

This account in Luke 2:41-51 is about the time when Joseph and Mary went to Jerusalem for the “Feast of the Passover” (verse 41). At that time, Jesus was just twelve years old (verse 42). Jesus then lingered on and after three days, His parents realised that He was not in the company (verses 43-44). They returned to Jerusalem to look for Him (verse 45). They found Him sitting in the temple, both listening and asking the teachers questions (verse 46). In verse 48 we read that Mary said to Jesus: “Son, why have you done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously.” Jesus answered in verse 49: “Why is it that you sought Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?”

It is interesting that in verse 50 we read: “But they did not understand the statement which He spoke to them.” And in the following verse it states that “He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject (obedient) to them, but His mother kept all these things in her heart.”

In Luke 1:30-33 we read the announcement to Mary of the birth of Jesus: “Then the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.’”

In Matthew 1:18-21 we read that an angel appeared to Joseph about the birth of Jesus: “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.’”

Based on what had been told to Mary and Joseph, they should probably have known that since He was the Messiah, the most logical place for Him to be was in the temple and that He would be about His Father’s business. He was no ordinary child. Surely He was doing what God wanted Him to do, and would be under God’s protection. In John 4:34 we read that Jesus said: “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.”

At the age of 12, He obviously knew about His situation, His future and who His real Father was. He was so engrossed in learning more about the Scriptures that this became all consuming for Him for those three days. And maybe He would have expected His parents to look for Him before they left Jerusalem.

It would also appear that Jesus was surprised by the question (verse 49), rather than being upset by Mary’s question. His question, in effect, asking them why they did not know that He had to be in His Father’s house, is quite remarkable. Mary speaks about “your father and I” in verse 48, but in verse 49 Jesus takes the word “father” and applies it to God the Father.

Jesus explained His reasoning, but to no avail. They did not understand what He was saying to them (compare verse 50)–and that in spite of an angel appearing to both Mary and Joseph before His birth and telling them that He would be the Son of the Highest and that He would save His people from their sins.

Jesus was well aware of the fifth Commandment to “honor” His parents (Exodus 20:12). He was never disrespectful to them in any way. He was sinless throughout His life. We read in 1 Peter 2:22 that He “committed no sin…” 1 John 3:5 adds: “And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin.” It should be noted that Jesus went back with His parents and was subject to them (Luke 2:51). It shows that Jesus had no intention of dishonouring His parents in any way, nor did He do this.

One Commentary observes as follows: “Pilgrims to the feast in Jerusalem usually travelled in a large party or caravan (Greek sunodia), since a person travelling by himself was in danger from bandits who could swoop down on lone travellers. The caravan was made up of many of Mary and Joseph’s friends and relatives from Galilee, and they naturally supposed that Jesus was somewhere in the crowd. No doubt when they camped for the night and Jesus was nowhere to be seen, they became alarmed. By this time they were probably 20 to 25 miles north of Jerusalem.”

We also have to remember that it was a different society in those days, and we often base our thoughts and ideas on our experience today. His parents thought that He was in the company (verse 43) which indicates a good number of people would be travelling together. They would have known immediately that He had been missing if they had been a family on their own.

It is was perfectly reasonable for Jesus to be listening to the teachers and asking them questions (Luke 2:46). The strange thing is perhaps, just judging from our point of view today, that Mary and Joseph did not keep a closer eye on Him. But in any event, it worked out for good and for a lesson to be gently given to His parents about His position and the Work that He was destined to do.

Based on all the evidence, we can conclude satisfactorily that Jesus was not disrespectful to His parents, nor did He dishonour them in any way.

Lead Writer: Brian Gale (Great Britain)

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Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

Due to the Feast of Tabernacles and Last Great Day observances, the Update will not be published again until October 8th, 2010.  Also, our Festival Brochure for meetings being conducted at Pismo Beach, CA, is available at our website.

A new German sermon has been posted on the web titled “Prepare for Christ’s Return.”

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They Bring Out the Good

by Manuela Mitchell

Before I had my son, I participated in events that involved dogs and their owners.  I enjoyed socializing with those that had similar interests to mine. When I had my son, I participated in classes such as breastfeeding and general baby care, and I realized that the support and friendships I received with my baby, was phenomenally different than that with dogs. 
People treated me as if my baby was the only baby in the world, and everyone wanted to help and talk to us. Brethren and people outside the church shared a common interest of lending a helping hand and voice, and it didn’t matter if they believed different things, because when it came to loving babies, everyone was the same.

This experience has made me think about how it will be in the kingdom, when everyone will be kind and helpful to every person they meet, just as they are to babies. I realized how babies can change people, and I saw how my little Sam–like other babies–make people laugh, they make people happy, they bring back sweet memories to people, they make people harmless and innocent. Yes, I began to see that babies can definitely bring out the good in people.

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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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