Update 483


Paul’s Letter to the Philippians, Part 4

On March 12, 2011, Norbert Link will give the sermon, titled, “Paul’s Letter to the Philippians, Part 4.”

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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In God We Trust

by Michael Link

This world places too much trust in people and physical things. Many times people don’t end up getting what they ask for and what they want. The reason becomes obvious when we consider how they ask, what they ask for and whom they ask. Many forget or don’t even know about the bigger picture and who it is that supplies all desires and who is the source of trust.

Where do so many people put their trust?  They trust in riches, in their jobs, in their boss and co-workers, in physical things, or in certain individuals like a doctor or a lawyer; they trust in their religion, friends and family and their mate; or they trust in their political leadership or the opposition.

So where do WE put our trust?  Do we put our trust in the same things that the world does?  Do we put our trust in what we hear on TV or what we read in the paper, as distinguished from our weekly updates?  Do we trust in man like a political leader; for instance, the president?  Do we trust in our country?  Do we trust in a false god and false religion or a false teaching?

Micah 7:5-7 tells us that we should not even put our ultimate trust in a friend or any human being, including ourselves, and Proverbs 20:19 states that we must be careful with certain people. The Bible also warns those who put their trust in money: “He who trusts in his riches will fall” (Proverbs 11:28).

We should know whom we ought to trust. But do we? Do we really trust God the Father; Jesus Christ; God’s Word, the Bible; and God’s Church—the “pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15)?

We must never leave God out of the picture.  It is through God and because of God that we can have certain trust in selected individuals, but we must be aware that trials will come to test our trust. We also have to be careful that we don’t trust in ourselves, without God in the picture, as it says in Proverbs 28:25-26: “He who is of a proud heart stirs up strife, But he who trusts in the LORD will be prospered. He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, But whoever walks wisely will be delivered.”

Tough times are ahead of us, and as the Church’s annual conference approaches in just a few days, tough decisions may have to be made.  We have been admonished by the ministry to pray and even fast for the success of the conference, and that everything will be done and decided with total trust in God. This principle applies to every facet in our individual lives as well.

Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us: “Trust in the LORD  with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” When we trust in Him, He will give us the desires of the heart, as it says in Psalm 37:3-4.

We read about several individuals in the Bible who put their trust in God, like David who went to God many times in prayer to ask for deliverance from his persecutors (compare 2 Samuel 22:3; Psalm 7:1).  Job went through some very serious trials and had to trust God that there were reasons for his suffering. Abraham trusted in God when he was to offer his son as a sacrifice. Moses had to trust God when he was commanded to free Israel from Egypt. Even Jesus Christ, when He was on this earth, had to trust in His Father to get through many trials, and also, when He was being tempted by Satan. Christ could have sinned because He was in fact human, but through trust, faith, and the power of His Father’s Holy Spirit in Him was He able to overcome and remain sinless. He did it for us, for our benefit, so we could inherit eternal life.  

Trust and faith do go together.  We can’t have faith if we don’t have trust, and we must pray with good intentions, as it says in Hebrews 13:18-19: “Pray for us; for we are confident that we have a good conscience, in all things desiring to live honorably. But I especially urge you to do this, that I may be restored to you the sooner.”

The Bible prophesies that times will get more and more tough. We have to stay strong and trust in God and what God promises us.  The world is blind and in darkness. They don’t realize what is to come in the near future. If we are ever in doubt about somebody or something, we should always remind ourselves who it is that we can count on at all times, and where we should put our trust. Remember: In God We Trust!!

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We begin with reporting on America’s dire economic and unemployment situation, with little hope for improvement in sight. An alarming article on the fear of US farmers reminds us of frightening prophecies in the book of Leviticus, and while the dollar continues to slide, the euro is registering a sharp rise.

Europe’s “fight” with Islam is bound to continue, leading to the inevitable manifestation of politicians who will try to capitalize on the people’s feelings.

We continue reporting on Libya, Saudi Arabia and Egypt; addressing the present and future role of the USA and Europe in that part of the world; and mention biblical passages which shed light on the future of the Middle East; and we quote the result of a poll regarding this world’s most popular and least popular countries.

We conclude with articles on biblical “interpretation” in the light of a new Catholic translation, the concepts of “Ash Wednesday,” and an illusionary piece from the Huffington Post, discussing the question whether Muslims and Christians worship the same God. Even though the answer should be obvious, we also raise the real question which should have been addressed, but wasn’t.

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U.S. Underemployment at Almost 20%

On March 3, gallup.com reported the following:

“Unemployment, as measured by Gallup without seasonal adjustment, hit 10.3% in February — up from 9.8% at the end of January… The percentage of part-time workers who want full-time work worsened considerably in February, increasing to 9.6% of the workforce from 9.1% at the end of January… Underemployment, a measure that combines part-time workers wanting full-time work with those who are unemployed, surged in February to 19.9%…

“This suggests that the real U.S. jobs situation worsened in February. That is, jobs are relatively less available now than in January…. In turn, this suggests job market conditions in terms of underemployment also worsened during February. This deterioration in the jobs situation combined with surging gas prices, budget battles at the federal and state level, and declines on Wall Street tend to explain the recent plunge Gallup recorded in consumer confidence.”

America’s economic situation is dire, and, as also the next article shows, the crisis in the Middle East, resulting in higher oil prices which will affect many facets of the American economy, will only increase and accelerate the problems.

US Gasoline Prices Sharply Increase

CNN reported on March 7:

“U.S. gasoline prices increased nearly 33 cents in two weeks, the second-biggest two-week jump in the history of the gasoline market… The jump was the biggest since a 38-cent hike between August and September 2005. At the time, the price increase was driven by damage caused by Hurricane Katrina… As the fighting between opposition forces and Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s troops begins to look more like a civil war, expect prices to continue to rise… Prices have risen nearly 82 cents since September 2010…

“While Libya is not among the top suppliers of U.S. oil, and only 3% of Libyan oil exports head to the United States, global economics link the events there to the pumps at home. Libya produces a light, high-gravity crude oil that is most in demand by less complex refineries around the world… As this oil becomes unavailable, it forces buyers of crude to substitute crude with similar properties from other oil producers, thereby increasing demand and starting a chain reaction that raises prices of crude and gasoline in the United States.

“…the rising gas prices could dampen the nation’s economic recovery… Of the cities surveyed, the highest average price in the continental United States was in San Diego at $3.87 per gallon. The lowest price was in Billings, Montana, at $3.15.”

US Farmers Fear the Return of the Dust Bowl

The Telegraph wrote on March 7:

“For years the Ogallala Aquifer, the world’s largest underground body of fresh water, has irrigated thousands of square miles of American farmland. Now it is running dry… the Ogallala Aquifer… stretches all the way down the eastern slope of the Rockies from the badlands of South Dakota to the Texas Panhandle. It does not replenish…

“But it was only in the 1940s, after the Dust Bowl (the result of a severe drought and excessive farming in the early 1930s), that the US Geological Survey… were about to repeat the dreams of man from the days of Ancient Egypt and Judea to turn the desert green, only without the Nile or Jordan. With new technology the wells could reach the deepest water, and from the early 1950s the boom was on… Billions upon billions of gallons… have been pumped… in a brief half-century… the Ogallala level [was drawn] down from an average of 240ft to about 80…

“The irrigated Plains grow 20 per cent of American grain and corn… and America’s ‘industrial’ agriculture dominates international markets. A collapse of those markets would lead to starvation in Africa and anywhere else where a meal depends on cheap American exports… The Ogallala supply is going to run out and the Plains will become uneconomical to farm…

“Water – not oil – has always been the most valuable resource in the West. Wars have been fought over it, feuds maintained, and fortunes won or lost. Apart from the Ogallala, the main source remains the Colorado River, flowing west from the Rockies, its annual bounty of snow melt providing the drinking water for Las Vegas, irrigation for California’s Central Valley, and the swimming-pools of Los Angeles. No one is surprised that the mighty Colorado now runs dry before it reaches the Pacific…”

God prophesies about the future of the United States of America (the modern descendants of the ancient House of Israel) in no uncertain terms, when addressing our sins and stating in Leviticus 26:19-20: “I will break the pride of your power; I will make your heavens like iron and your earth like bronze. And your strength shall be spent in vain; for your land shall not yield its produce, nor shall the trees of the land yield their fruit.”

Dollar in Decline, Euro on the Rise

The Financial Times wrote on March 6:

“Hedge funds and forex dealers are betting record amounts against the dollar, reflecting a growing belief that the US currency has lost its haven appeal and that eurozone interest rates will soon rise. As the crisis in the Middle East has worsened, the latest exchange data show that traders are selling ‘short’ the currency. The big US fiscal deficit and concerns about the effect of rising oil prices have been blamed by some for the dollar’s slide…

“Given the continued losses for the dollar this month, [David Watt, analyst at RBC Capital Markets] said it was likely that investors had since added to their bets against the US currency, short of an ‘absolutely stunning’ reversal in sentiment… The data confirm the sharp turnround in sentiment towards the single currency [the euro]  from speculative investors, who as recently as January were betting on losses for the single currency on worries over the eurozone sovereign debt crisis.”

The US dollar will continue to fall, while the euro will continue to rise. What America needs in these dire times is true leadership. But can it be found? The next article suggests the opposite.

Newt Gingrich’s “Explanation” of His Past Marital Infidelity

The Associated Press reported on March 9:

“Newt Gingrich says his passionate hard work for his country contributed to his marital infidelity. In an interview posted Wednesday by The Christian Broadcasting Network, Gingrich – who recently converted to Catholicism – said he had sought God’s forgiveness for mistakes in his past… The twice-divorced former U.S. House speaker has said he had an affair with Callista, a former congressional aide, while married to his second wife. It happened at the same time he was attacking President Bill Clinton for his relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

“The interview with the Christian broadcaster comes as Gingrich gears up for a likely presidential run. He has been courting religious and social conservatives who would be critical in a GOP primary.”

So, marital infidelity can be blamed on hard work for the country? Is it also a reason for accusing someone else of it, when one is guilty of it himself?

Germany’s New Interior Minister’s Controversial Comments

Der Spiegel Online wrote on March 7:

“Germany’s new interior minister touched off controversy within hours of taking office when he said that Islam did not historically ‘belong’ to Germany, causing Muslim groups to react furiously… ‘To say that Islam belongs in Germany is not a fact supported by history,’ the politician, who belongs to the conservative Bavarian party the Christian Social Union, said in his first press conference as minister.

“The comment was a repeat of earlier criticism he had made of an October 2010 statement by German President Christian Wulff, who famously said that ‘Islam also belongs to Germany.’ Representatives of Germany Muslim population were outraged. Lamya Kaddor, chairwoman of the Liberal-Islamic Union in Germany, called Friedrich’s remarks a ‘slap in the face of Muslims’…”

The Far Right on the Rise in France

Deutsche Welle wrote on February 18:

“The wave of Tunisian immigrants that arrived in France last week shouldn’t plan on getting too cozy. The new leader of the National Front is poised to capitalize on what she says is an immigration crisis. French police say they have arrested some 100 Tunisians who landed on the Italian island of Lampedusa last week as they tried to enter France. The arrested immigrants, each carrying a document provided by the Italian authorities, are being held in detention centers across southeastern France.

“Should these immigrants request political asylum, their demands would more than likely be turned down, and France would be under no obligation to allow them to stay… The government is taking a hard line on these immigrants – but that is not preventing Marine Le Pen, the new leader of the far right National Front party, from making political capital out of what she says is the beginning of a new immigration crisis. In an interview with French public radio on Friday, Le Pen said the ‘great wave of migrants‘ was one of the consequences of the revolutions taking place in the Arab world.”

Deutsche Welle wrote on March 6:

“An opinion poll in France has found that right-wing politician Marine Le Pen could defeat President Nicholas Sarkozy in upcoming elections… The poll results… showed the 42-year-old leader of the National Front party would receive 23 percent of the vote in the first of the two rounds of presidential elections due to occur in France [in May of 2012]. Center-right Sarkozy would only receive 21 percent of the vote, according to the poll… Part of Le Pen’s platform so far has included comparing Muslims in France to an occupying force.”

Europe’s dealings with Islam, including its “immigration crisis” and the arrival of refugees from the Middle East, will lead to the rise of more and more politicians who will try to capitalize on the situation, and many will accept and follow their agendas.

Libya Sliding into Civil War?

Fox News wrote on March 7:

“Libyan warplanes launched fresh airstrikes on rebel positions around a key oil port Monday, trying to block the opposition fighters from advancing toward Moammar Gadhafi’s stronghold in the capital, Tripoli. Rebels in the area said they can take on Gadhafi’s elite ground forces, but are outgunned if he uses his air power. ‘We don’t want a foreign military intervention, but we do want a no-fly zone’, said rebel fighter Ali Suleiman. He added that the rebels can take on ‘the rockets and the tanks, but not Gadhafi’s air force.’

“Libya appears to be sliding toward a civil war that could drag out for weeks, or even months…”

Europe May Need to Intervene Militarily in Libya

On March 7, Der Spiegel Online published an interview with Martin Schulz, a foreign policy expert with Germany’s center-left Social Democrats. He has been a member of the European Parliament since 1994 and the chairman of the Socialist group in the European Parliament since 2004. We are bringing you the following excerpts:

“All of the measures [against Gadhafi] that can be taken within the context of the Charter of the United Nations must be considered. I am deliberately emphasizing the word ‘all’ there — in other words, including the military option… It’s clear that whatever measures are taken will have to be coordinated with the Arab League and the African Union… A no-fly zone is one way to rein in Gadhafi. It certainly makes sense, if it can be implemented. But it isn’t entirely uncomplicated. I agree with the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s view that this would be a highly risky proposition…

“People are always chiding ‘the EU,’ but the institutions in Brussels are taking action… The member states are the problem. They are pursuing interests that are sometimes widely divergent. I’m sick of these constant attacks on ‘the EU.’ The real scandal is the never-ending maneuvering of the member states. France has historic interests, and so does Britain. But Germany’s game isn’t any better. The German foreign minister sings the praises of the revolution, while the chancellor says: No refugees, please. None of this is credible… We all tolerated Gadhafi, both the EU and the United States. One could criticize this as amoral, but it was also realpolitik…

“I don’t know how strong Gadhafi is at this point. He’s a dictator who is surrounded by militias that are apparently well-trained and well-equipped. Parts of his army have abandoned him, but that doesn’t seem to be enough to bring him down quickly. I think that the outcome of this power struggle is still completely open…”

The Bible prophesies that a coming United States of Europe will intervene militarily in the Middle East, with the justification of wanting to bring peace to that part of the world.

Calls for No-Fly Zone in Libya

ABC News reported on March 7:

“As forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi battle the opposition for control of key cities, the Obama administration is under growing pressure to do something to stop the violence. Although rebels celebrated after pushing Gadhafi’s forces out of Misrata, this increasingly appears to be a fight no one is winning.

“…there have been more calls for the United States to step in with a big move: enforcing a no-fly zone. ‘This would send a signal to Gadhafi that the president is serious when he says we need for Gadhafi to go,’ Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said…

“But it could also require U.S. bombing inside Libya to take out air-defense systems. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has tried to shut the idea down and was joined Sunday by President Obama’s chief of staff, Bill Daley.

“’Lots of people throw around phrases of “no-fly zone,” and they talk about it as though it’s just a game on a video game or something,’ Daley said on ‘Meet the Press.’ One fear is a public relations victory for Gadhafi if he managed to shoot down a U.S. jet…

“’We can’t just go in and put airplanes over Libya. It’s going to take a campaign to take out these surface-to-air-missile systems, to bomb where the aircraft are being parked. It’s not just go in and establish a no-fly zone with no cost. We will have to blow things up on the ground in Libya if we want to establish a no-fly zone. It’s a two step process and it will take time and a significant military package to accomplish,’ [former deputy assistant secretary of state Steve] Ganyard said…

“While Obama acknowledged the danger of a stalemate that ‘could be bloody’ if rebels do not push out Gadhafi, Obama also indicated a willingness to avoid any sort of military action in Libya. ‘We did not see anti-American sentiment arising out of that movement in Egypt precisely because they felt that we hadn’t tried to engineer or impose a particular outcome, but rather they owned it,’ he said of the revolution in Egypt.”

However, the next article suggests that the USA IS involved in engineering a particular outcome in Libya.

USA Asks Saudi Arabia for Help

The Independent wrote on March 7:

“Desperate to avoid US military involvement in Libya in the event of a prolonged struggle between the Gaddafi regime and its opponents, the Americans have asked Saudi Arabia if it can supply weapons to the rebels in Benghazi. The Saudi Kingdom… has so far failed to respond to Washington’s highly classified request, although King Abdullah personally loathes the Libyan leader, who tried to assassinate him just over a year ago.

“Washington’s request is in line with other US military co-operation with the Saudis… Their assistance would allow Washington to disclaim any military involvement in the supply chain – even though the arms would be American and paid for by the Saudis. The Saudis have been told that opponents of Gaddafi need anti-tank rockets and mortars as a first priority to hold off attacks by Gaddafi’s armour, and ground-to-air missiles to shoot down his fighter-bombers…

“Saudi Arabia is already facing dangers from a co-ordinated day of protest by its own Shia Muslim citizens who, emboldened by the Shia uprising in the neighbouring island of Bahrain, have called for street protests against the ruling family of al-Saud on Friday. After pouring troops and security police into the province of Qatif last week, the Saudis announced a nationwide ban on all public demonstrations…

“If the Saudi government accedes to America’s request to send guns and missiles to Libyan rebels… it would be almost impossible for President Barack Obama to condemn the kingdom for any violence against the Shias of the north-east provinces. Thus has the Arab awakening, the demand for democracy in North Africa, the Shia revolt and the rising against Gaddafi become entangled in the space of just a few hours with US military priorities in the region.”

Politics and the attempt to “buy allies” will be a cause for the ultimate downfall of the USA. However, as the next articles show, America is afraid to lead.

Hillary Clinton: “US Must Not Lead…”

Fox News reported on March 9:

“Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told Sky News Wednesday that a no-fly zone over Libya cannot be a U.S.-led effort, and would need the backing of the international community… ‘because this comes from the people of Libya themselves,’ she told Sky News…

“In testimony on Capitol Hill last week, Gates argued that there has been a lot of ‘loose talk’ when it comes to setting up no fly zones, warning senators and congressmen that such a decision would require military strikes on Qaddafi’s air defense capabilities. But Retired General Wesley Clarke, who was actively involved in setting up a NATO no-fly zone in Bosnia, says that was not the case there where they simply warned Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic that if his air defense systems were turned on, they would be bombed, which served as a deterrent for the most part and allowed allies to enforce the no-fly zone without bombing local air defense facilities.

“During a speech to West Point cadets late last month, Gates questioned the wisdom of military intervention in such a volatile region of the world. ‘In my opinion, any future defense secretary who advises the president to again send a big American land army into Asia or into the Middle East or Africa should have his head examined, as Gen. MacArthur so delicately put it,’ he said… ‘I don’t think anybody has any intention of putting any ground forces in Libya,’ he said. ‘Nobody has ever even talked about that.’”

Is the USA Missing Out?

USA Today wrote on March 9:

“Libyans battling Col. Moammar Gadhafi are increasingly desperate for a no-fly zone and say the United States is missing a chance to topple an anti-American dictator and win the gratitude of a new democracy in the Middle East. ‘This is a window of opportunity for the United States,’ said Zahi Mogherbi, a political science professor and unofficial adviser to the provisional government. ‘They are not taking it or they are taking their time.’

“People in eastern Libya, where rebels are in control of a swath of the country, are urging the West to impose a no-fly zone against Gadhafi’s air force. The calls have become more urgent as forces loyal to Gadhafi have blunted a rebel offensive as it moved toward Tripoli. ‘People are losing faith in the international community,’ said Essam Gheriani, a spokesman for the rebel movement. ‘What are they waiting for?’

“The White House said Wednesday that it continues to consult with allies over Libya and that military pressure is an option. President Obama has said Gadhafi should step down but has not backed a no-fly zone or any military means. Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman, an independent, said the U.S. should be arming the rebels.

“People here have an ambivalent view toward the U.S., Mogherbi said. President Reagan was the first world leader to highlight Gadhafi as an international pariah and sponsor of terrorism. That earned him credit, Mogherbi said. ‘People thought of that as some kind of support to the Libyan people,’ he said. Mogherbi said, however, that Libyans believe the U.S. became critical of Gadhafi only when he threatened U.S. interests, such as with terrorist attacks against U.S. targets. ‘But nobody talked about what he was doing to the Libyan people,’ said Mogherbi…

“Many Libyans said they approved of Reagan’s targeting Gadhafi in 1986, but mostly they recall that he missed. ‘We would be happy if Gadhafi was killed, but no one liked Reagan when he bombed Libya,’ said Khalid Ali, 28, owner of a clothing store. ‘The United States has a lot it can do to support the Libyans,’ Ali said. ‘I wonder why they are taking it slow?’

“John Pike, director of the Globalsecurity.org, said the U.S. may regret not helping the rebels overthrow Gadhafi… ‘It would be reasonable to assume he might go back to his old troublemaking ways,’ Pike said, referring to Gadhafi’s sponsorship of terrorism. ‘Certainly we would lose the opportunity we thought we had to turn Libya into a normal country,’ at peace with its neighbors.”

France Jumps Ahead… and Angers Europe

The EUObserver reported on March 9:

“French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s surprise decision to formally recognise Libyan rebels in Benghazi as the legitimate government of Libya caused dismay at a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels on Thursday (10 March).

“German foreign minister Guido Westerwelle in an unusually candid press briefing said he was sitting next to French foreign minister Alain Juppe in the EU capital when the news broke, complaining that he had not been pre-notified and that Mr Sarkozy appears to have acted ‘on a whim’. He added that the French position is ‘not the German position or the European position.’

“Berlin believes the Sarkozy move is a public relations stunt following recent revelations that his prime minister and former foreign minister took gifts from dictators in Egypt and Tunisia shortly before the revolutions. It also believes the move is linked to the 2012 presidential elections in France, with the latest polls indicating that Mr Sarkozy will not make the second round. Italy as well distanced itself from the French position.”

As mentioned in an earlier article, France may be moving to the right. Whether Mr. Sarkozy’s recent political maneuvering will have the outcome desired by him, or whether it will continue to backfire, will have to be seen.

The Middle East—a Perspective

The following article might shed some light on why we face so many problems in the Middle East.

Der Spiegel wrote on March 8:

“The Middle East has dominated global politics for decades, to a degree disproportionate to its geographic size and population. Reports of war, violence and terror between North Africa and the Persian Gulf have become background noise in the lives of an entire generation. The region has experienced well over a dozen international wars, numerous civil wars and military coups, and thousands of terrorist attacks and political assassinations since 1945 alone… the conflicts of the Middle East occur in a region that sits on top of close to 60 percent of the world’s oil and more than 40 percent of its natural gas reserves…

“For more than 400 years, the Ottomans had controlled North Africa, Syria and Palestine, Mesopotamia all the way to the Persian Gulf, the Red Sea to Aden, and the Nile to the Sudanese border. But the French captured Algeria and Tunisia, and in 1882 Egypt fell to the British. Now [in 1911] the Italians had landed in Libya. Like the British and the French, they too sought to establish colonies in Africa… [What would follow was] a century in which the entire Middle East would turn into a battlefield among political, ideological and religious forces, a hothouse of global politics.

“… the demons of the Middle East suddenly surfaced around the world. Al-Qaida came onto the global stage, a terrorist organization that came from the heart of the Arab world and yet was capable of operating with unprecedented global reach. On Sept. 11, 2001, it finally became clear that the Middle East had given birth to a monster… Ten years after the attacks on New York and Washington, an uprising has gripped the Arab world that no one saw coming. It began in Tunisia and spread to Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen and Jordan… from Morocco to the seemingly peaceful Sultanate of Oman, from wealthy Saudi Arabia to Iraq, which the United States supposedly liberated eight years ago… the West, instead of celebrating what it has demanded for years, is standing on the sidelines with its mouth agape, fascinated, and yet speechless and fearful…

“In early 1915, when it was becoming clear that the Ottoman Empire would not survive World War I, politicians in London and Paris hit upon the idea of dividing up what was left of the empire. The British and French plan targeted the Arab provinces of the Ottoman Empire…The Sykes-Picot Agreement and the Balfour Declaration, signed in 1916 and 1917 respectively, are the two founding documents of the modern Middle East. They served as the basis for five states — Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan and Israel — and the eternal non-state of Palestine. The existence of those has remained a source of division and unrest to this day.

“The Arabs, who would not discover the exact wording of the documents until after World War I, still consider them to be documents of betrayal even today. In the eyes of many Arabs, the borders they created, and the dynasties the British and French installed within these borders, have always lacked legitimacy… They blame the West for having created artificial states, countries like Lebanon and Iraq that are ethnically and religiously divided and which remain virtually ungovernable to this day, and for the fact that the Hashemite dynasty installed by the British failed in Syria and then Iraq, and only survives today in Jordan…”

British Bungled Operation in Libya

Breitbart wrote on March 7:

“The British government was left red-faced Monday after a botched attempt by special forces to make contact with opposition forces in Libya ended in the team being seized by rebels. The team, reportedly made up of six soldiers from the elite SAS and two diplomats, flew into Libya by helicopter and made their way to the opposition-held city of Benghazi. But they were rounded up by lightly armed rebels soon after they arrived, reports said… they succeeded only in angering Libyan opposition leaders who denied they had asked for any help and by late Sunday they had been packed off to Malta on a British naval ship…

“The bungled operation raised eyebrows because Britain prides itself on the competence of the SAS, which is believed to play a major role in the conflict in Afghanistan as well as in past wars in Iraq and the Falklands… The Daily Telegraph, traditionally a pro-armed forces newspaper, said the mission was a ‘blunder’ which had handed a propaganda coup to Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi.

“Britain’s government has made a faltering start to its handling of the Libyan crisis. Prime Minister David Cameron banged the drum for the imposition of a no-fly zone last week, only to backtrack rapidly to say it was no more than ‘contingency planning.’ And in the first days of the revolt, [British Foreign Secretary William] Hague drew fire for suggesting that Kadhafi had fled to Venezuela.”

We read in the Bible that the land of Egypt will not escape the coming king of the North (Daniel 11:42).  But Libya is mentioned as well. The king of the North–the future leader of a united Europe–will “have power over the treasures of gold and silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt; also the Libyans and Ethiopians shall follow at his heel” (Daniel 11:43). At the beginning of the Millennium, Libya and Iran (Persia) will be part of an alliance with Russia and China, which will attempt to invade Israel (Ezekiel 38:5). For more information on Ezekiel 38, please listen to our new StandingWatch program, titled, “When Will Russia Attack Israel?”

Violence Returns to Egypt

The BBC reported on March 6:

“Pro-democracy activists in Egypt have been attacked by men in plain clothes, armed with knives, outside the interior ministry in Cairo, reports say. It is the first such attack since the fall of Hosni Mubarak last month. Protesters have stormed ministry and secret police offices to obtain documents they say show evidence of repression under the former president…

“Dismantling the security apparatus has been one of the key demands of the protest movement, the BBC’s Magdi Abdelhadi in Cairo says. The events of the weekend have been described as the Egyptian storming of the Bastille, he says. The secret police apparatus was the nerve centre of the Mubarak government. Activists who stormed the Cairo headquarters told the BBC they had found evidence of a parallel state structure that monitored all aspects of life in Egypt.

“Mohammed Abdelfattah, a protester who raided the headquarters in Nasr City, said: ‘We found transcribed phone calls between university professors, political activists, opposition figures.’ Evidence of torture was also found, he added.”

Reuters reported on March 6:

“Egyptian soldiers, on the streets since the start of the uprising, fired into the air for several minutes to disperse the protesters. As they ran, the protesters were confronted by men they described as thugs… In the last two days, protesters have broken into 11 offices belonging to the state security apparatus across the country, seizing documents which they feared would be destroyed by officers to cover up abuses perpetrated by the force… The military council which has ruled Egypt since Mubarak stepped down warned against publication of documents taken from state security offices and urged their return.”

More Violence in Egypt

The Wall Street Journal reported on March 9:

“Clashes that broke out when a Muslim mob attacked thousands of Christians protesting against the burning of a Cairo church killed at least 13 people and wounded about 140, security and hospital officials said Wednesday. The Muslims torched the church amid an escalation of tensions between the two religious groups over a love affair between a Muslim and a Christian that set off a violent feud between the couple’s families. The officials said all 13 fatalities died of gunshot wounds.”

The Los Angeles Times wrote on March 9:

“Egypt suffered the deadliest unrest since President Hosni Mubarak’s ouster when clashes Wednesday between Muslims and Coptic Christians left 13 dead and 140 injured. The bloodshed, on the edge of a Cairo slum, renewed concern about the government’s willingness to protect the Christian minority. Army units intervened only after Muslims set fire to homes and businesses… Authorities said the dead were evenly divided between Christians and Muslims, and witnesses said the victims included a 14-year-old boy who was shot in the head… Egypt’s Coptic Christians, about 12% of the population, have long been subject to discrimination. No church can be built or repaired without a presidential decree. Copts have also been targeted in a recent series of attacks…”

It remains to be seen whether Egypt will ever become a democracy. The Bible shows that ultimately, Egypt will form a violent confederacy with Libya and Ethiopia (Ezekiel 30:3-5; Jeremiah 46:9). But we also need to realize that at the time when the Holy Spirit was poured out on early followers of Christ, people from Egypt and Libya were assembled (Acts 2:10), and later, Philip was sent to baptize “a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge of all her treasury” (Acts 8:27). We read that at the beginning of the Millennium, Egypt might not immediately follow God’s commands to, for example, keep the Feast of Tabernacles (Zechariah 14:18), but the Egyptians will finally know the LORD (Isaiah 19:21); they will live in peace and harmony with modern Assyria or Germany, and with all the modern descendants of ancient Israel; and God will bless the Egyptians and recognize them as His people (verses 23-24).

Israel, Iran, North Korea and Pakistan Most Unpopular Countries

Haaretz reported on March 7:

“A poll conducted by the BBC revealed Tuesday that Israel is one of the most negatively viewed countries in the world, ranking at the bottom of the chart along with Iran, North Korea and Pakistan… 22 out of 27 countries leaned toward a negative view of Israel, headed by Egypt, Turkey, and Indonesia. The countries which had the most positive view of Israel were the United States, Russia, Ghana, and China… many more Americans chose to rate Israel negatively in 2011, marking an increase of 10% since 2010. Moreover, negative perceptions of Israel grew stronger in Britain, Canada, Indonesia, Australia, Portugal, Spain, and Kenya.”

That Israel is perceived as one of the most unpopular countries is not surprising, as we are observing the development of the biblically prophesied fact that Israel will end up in total isolation.

Germany, Britain and Canada Most Popular Countries

The Telegraph wrote on March 6:

“Britain has been named as the second most popular nation in the world – being pipped to the top spot only by old rivals Germany… Britain’s positive rating for 2011 was 58 per cent, up from 53 per cent in 2010. Negative views of Britain decreased by two per cent, now standing at 17 per cent.

“Of the 27 countries polled, 24 were positive towards Britain while two, Pakistan and Mexico, have overall negative views. Those with the most positive views of Britain were in the United States, at 80 per cent. They were followed by Australia at 79 per cent and Canada at nearly 70 per cent. Germany was the most positively viewed nation, with 62 per cent of those surveyed rating its influence as positive… Canada was the third most popular of the countries polled, followed by Japan, France and Brazil. The US came seventh ahead of China, South Africa and India.”

Germany is destined to lead the coming United States of Europe, and that developing unity, as well as its leader, will be admired and followed and even worshipped (Revelation 13:3-4).  But it appears very likely that Britain will not be a part of that ultimate unity. In light of this, the next article is very interesting.

Britain to Eurozone: Count Us Out

The New York Times wrote on March 7:

“Do what you like. Just count us out. That, in essence, is the message that Britain is sending its European partners as the 17 countries that share the euro move toward closer economic integration this month. In a departure from half a century of British diplomacy, Prime Minister David Cameron has adopted a strategy of benign disengagement from the core project of the European Union to appease the numerous euroskeptics in his Conservative Party. Rather than seeking, like his predecessors, to shape and restrain European integration, he is watching from the sidelines as an inner circle of euro zone states begins separate annual summit meetings and moves forward with coordinating economic policy.

“Mr. Cameron has said Britain has a vital interest in the success of the euro zone, its biggest trade partner… But he is now effectively pulling up the drawbridge to the Continent by enacting a ‘United Kingdom Parliamentary Sovereignty Bill’ that would make any further transfer of power from London to Brussels subject to a national referendum. Britain chose not to adopt the euro when the Maastricht Treaty on monetary union was negotiated in 1991. But Labour governments from 1997 to 2009 were committed to adopting it — in theory, at least — if the economic conditions were right… Mr. Cameron, however, has pledged that Britain will never join the euro zone as long as the Conservatives are in power…

“Mr. Cameron’s ‘little Britain’ policy is already having consequences for both Britain and Europe. For one thing, it has left longtime British allies in northern and eastern Europe to fend for themselves. Sweden and Denmark — which, like Britain chose not to adopt the common currency — are now scrambling to strengthen links with the euro zone for fear of being left out of economic integration… Poland and other central European states saw Britain as their pro-enlargement, pro-market best friend when they joined the Union in 2004, but they are now racing to build closer ties with Germany and France to avoid being stuck in Europe’s slow lane.

“The Poles are furious because Britain’s drive to shrink the E.U. budget would reduce regional development funds earmarked for Warsaw and the other newcomers. Diplomats and analysts say Britain’s effective withdrawal from the economic and fiscal policy negotiations has even pushed France and Germany into each other’s arms.”

“North Korea Nears Completion of Electromagnetic Pulse Bomb”

ABC News reported on March 9:

“The North [North Korea] is believed to be nearing completion of an electromagnetic pulse bomb that, if exploded 25 miles above ground would cause irreversible damage to electrical and electronic devices such as mobile phones, computers, radio and radar, experts say… On top of disrupting major communication tools used by both civilians and the military, the waves would affect financial transactions and civilian airplanes dependent on radio signals…”

North Korea is a country to be watched. It will play an important role in the future and could be part of the confederacy, described in Ezekiel 38, aligning itself with Russia and other Far Eastern nations against Israel. For further information, please see our StandingWatch program, titled, “A Single Nuclear Bomb Could Destroy America.”

Earthquakes in Japan

The Associated Press reported on March 9:

“A series of powerful aftershocks shook the eastern coast of Japan early Thursday, briefly triggering a tsunami alert, in the wake of a strong earthquake that hit a day earlier… The country’s meteorological agency said Thursday’s temblors were likely aftershocks from a 7.3 magnitude earthquake that hit in the same area Wednesday, shaking buildings hundreds of miles (kilometers) away in Tokyo and triggering a small tsunami. The series of aftershocks included a magnitude 6.8 quake… and a magnitude 6.1 temblor…”

We will hear more and more about earthquakes in diverse places (Matthew 24:7), as well as mass killings of all kinds of animals (Hosea 4:3), as the next article reports.

Millions of Dead Sardines in California

On March 9, dailybreeze.com wrote the following:

“Millions of sardines created a massive stink and an even bigger cleanup effort in Redondo Beach’s King Harbor Marina on Tuesday after they swam inside overnight, became trapped and died. Twelve to 18 inches of dead sardines blanketed the water’s bottom in Basin 1 off Marina Way. Another thick layer of dead fish coated the surface from the breakwall to the inner docks, surrounding boats and walkways.

“Authorities with the California Department of Fish and Game, along with other ocean biologists at the scene, declared the mass death a natural event. The fish, they said, sucked every drop of oxygen from the water and couldn’t breathe… authorities believe the huge school of sardines, perhaps blown in by the night’s 40-mph winds and crashing waves, swam into King Harbor and became disoriented. Those who chose other basins were fine, but the schools that headed into Basin 1 ‘backed themselves into a corner’ and were unable to find their way out… They quickly depleted the oxygen in the water and died.”

For more information, please see our StandingWatch program, “Birds and Fish Will Waste Away.”

Biblical Changes to Reflect Catholic Church’s Interpretations

Reuters reported on March 2:

“A new edition of one the most popular English-language bibles will offer substitutes for words… to better reflect modern understanding, a Catholic group said on Wednesday… Nearly 50 scholars from all faiths and a committee of Roman Catholic bishops have labored since 1994 over the first fresh edition of the New American Bible since 1970, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said.

“The changes go beyond a few words being altered, and include freshly-written notes that should help readers better understand the Catholic church’s interpretation of biblical concepts… In a change in a passage in Isaiah 7:14 that foretells the coming of Jesus and his birth to a virgin mother, the 1970 edition’s reference to ‘the virgin’ will become ‘the young woman,’ to better translate the Hebrew word ‘almah.’”

Note that the biblical wording is changed in order to help the reader better understand the Catholic Church’s INTERPRETATION of biblical concepts. But the Word of God is not a matter of private interpretation (compare 2 Peter 1:20).

Ash Wednesday’s Customs

The Times-Picayune wrote on March 9:

“Ash Wednesday [following Carnival or Marty Grass celebrations] marks the beginning of the season of Lent. It is a season of penance, reflection and fasting which prepares Christians for Jesus Christ’s resurrection on Easter, through which Christians believe they attain redemption. Ashes, marked in a cross on the forehead, are a symbol of penance made sacramental by the blessing of the church.

“Following the example of the Ninevites, who did penance in sackcloth and ashes, Christians’ foreheads are marked with ashes to humble their hearts and remind them that life passes away on Earth. The ashes are made from the palms blessed in the Palm Sunday celebration of the previous year. The ashes are christened with holy water.

“Lent is mostly observed by the Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian and Anglican denominations, and also by Roman Catholics.”

The Bible says nothing about Christians having to keep “Lent,” or “Ash Wednesday,” or “Easter.” It does not remotely suggest to bless ashes with “holy water,” and to “mark” the “forehead” with the sign of the cross. But notice what the Bible says about marking one’s forehead. Revelation 13:16, speaking about a religious power, states: “He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads…” God warns His people not to accept that mark (compare Revelation 14:9; 20:4). As we explain in our free booklet, “Europe in Prophecy,” this mark has much to do with the rejection of God’s commandments and the acceptance of pagan customs and practices, falsely called “Christian.”

“Do Christians and Muslims Worship the Same God?”

The Huffington Post wrote on March 3:

“At the height of the Iraq War in 2004, influential TV evangelist and former U.S. presidential candidate Pat Robertson said: ‘The entire world is being convulsed by a religious struggle. The fight is not about money or territory; it is not about poverty versus wealth; it is not about ancient customs versus modernity. No. The struggle is whether Hubal, the Moon God of Mecca, known as Allah, is supreme, or whether the Judeo-Christian Jehovah God of the Bible is supreme’…

“The fact of the matter is this: fearful people bent on domination have created the contest for supremacy between Yahweh, the God of the Bible, and Allah, the God of the Quran. The two are one God, albeit differently understood. Arab Christians have for centuries worshiped God under the name ‘Allah.’ Most Christians through the centuries, saints and teachers of undisputed orthodoxy, have believed that Muslims worship the same God as they do…

“After the fall of Constantinople (1453), the city named after the first Christian emperor and a seat of Christendom for more than 1,000 years, Cardinal Nicholas of Cusa, a towering intellect and an experienced church diplomat, affirmed unambiguously that Muslims and Christians worship the same God, albeit partly differently understood…

“Whether Muslims and Christians worship the same God is also the driving question for the relation between these two religions globally. Does the one God of Islam stand in contrast to the three-personal God of Christianity? Does the Muslim God issue fierce, unbending laws and demand submission, whereas the Christian God stands for love, equal dignity and the right of every individual to be different? Answer these questions the one way, and you have a justification for cultural and military wars. Answer them the other way, and you have a foundation for a shared future marked by peace rather than violence.”

However, the real question is not whether Muslims and orthodox Christians worship the same God, but whether either of them worship the true God of the Bible. The sad answer is, none of them do. Among many problems, Muslims deny the divinity of Jesus Christ and, in effect, the only One through whom we can obtain salvation (Acts 4:12), and orthodox Christians deny, in effect, that Jesus Christ became a man and died and was dead in the grave for three days and three nights (Matthew 12:39-40), and they falsely worship the Holy Spirit as God, the third person of a “Trinity.” For more information on what the Bible teaches, please read our free booklets, “Is God a Trinity?”, “God is a Family” , and “Jesus Christ—a Great Mystery.”

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Would you please explain 1 John 3:9?

The passage in 1 John 3:9 reads, according to the New King James Bible:

“Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.”

As we pointed out in our recent Editorial, ”Begotten and Born Children,” which was published in Update #481, the Greek word which in 1 John 3:9 is translated twice as “born,” is “gennao.” This term can mean “begotten” or “born”; and it can also describe the process from our spiritual begettal to our spiritual birth. We showed that “when addressing the spiritual begettal and birth process, the Bible clearly says that a born-again person IS spirit and invisible (John 3:6, 8); and nobody, who is still human, is therefore born again.

“Christ also said that we must be born again to be able to see the Kingdom of God (John 3:3). This is true as the Kingdom of God is the Family of GOD, composed of Spirit, and human eyes cannot see God or the Kingdom of God (1 Timothy 6:16). We even read that flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 15:50). In order to be able to enter God’s Kingdom, we must be spirit, as God is Spirit (John 4:24), and we must be God, as God is God (1 Corinthians 15:49; Hebrews 1:1-3).”

We also addressed the fact that “when we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit at the time of our baptism (after repentance and faith in the Sacrifice of Christ and belief in the gospel of the Kingdom of God), we are begotten by the Spirit, and we have thereby already become children of God; or, we might say, we have become part of the Kingdom of God ‘in embryo.’ As begotten children, we must grow in the knowledge and understanding of the truth (2 Peter 3:18). We are desirous of the pure milk of the word (1 Peter 2:2), being nurtured by our ‘mother’ (Galatians 4:26)– the church of God — as a new-born human child is being fed and cared for by his or her human mother (compare Ephesians 4:11-16, telling us that we are to be edified by the ministry to be able to grow up in all things into Christ)… As Spirit-begotten children of God, we ought to have the desire to become perfect, as the Father in heaven is perfect (Matthew 5:48); to become pure as Jesus Christ is pure (1 John 3:3); to overcome [the world’s societies], Satan and self, as Christ overcame (Revelation 3:21; John 16:33; Matthew 4:1-11; Romans 8:3).”

With this background, let us now focus on 1 John 3:9. As mentioned, since the word ”gennao” can mean “begotten” or “born,” depending on the context, we need to determine the intended meaning.

We pointed out the following in our free booklet, “Are You Already Born Again?”

“Additional Scriptural proof that we are not yet born again is found in 1 John 3:9, where we read: ‘Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed [the Holy Spirit] remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.’ Notice, too, 1 John 5:18, ‘We know that whoever is born of God does not sin.’

“According to these passages, one who is born again CANNOT and DOES NOT sin. The only being that CANNOT sin is God. Even Jesus Christ, when He was here on earth as a human being, COULD HAVE sinned. He was in all points tempted as we are, though He did not sin (Hebrews 4:15). The fact that He was tempted shows that it was possible for Him to sin. It also shows that He was fully man, as God cannot be tempted to sin (James 1:13). When it comes to Christians, however, they DO sin from time to time, even after receiving the Holy Spirit.

“We read in 1 John 1:7–10: ‘But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son CLEANSES us from all sin. If we say that WE HAVE NO SIN, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.’

“Notice that John says two things here. He emphasizes that we DID sin in the past, and also, that we still DO sin now. He uses the past and the present tense. He is talking to Christians—those who have received the Holy Spirit. Yes, Christians DO sin from time to time! They CAN sin, which means that they CANNOT already be born again, because those who are born again CANNOT sin. God will bring many sons and daughters into His Family through a resurrection or change to immortality. THEN, they will be BORN AGAIN God beings, and as such, they will be UNABLE to sin.

“Some who want to uphold their teaching that we are already born again translate 1 John 3:9 as, ‘cannot abide in the state of sin.’ However, this is not what the Scripture says. Rather, the correct translation, word for word from the Greek, reads, ‘… he is not able to sin.’ The Biblical truth is very plain: One who is born again is UNABLE to sin.”

Most translations of 1 John 3:9 prefer the rendering “born” in both instances, as quoted at the beginning of this Q&A from the New King James Bible, but they falsely assume that we are already born again now. However, when concluding that 1 John 3:9 refers to the here and now, a few translations choose the rendering, “begotten.” For instance, the New American Bible says:

“No one who is begotten by God commits sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot sin because he is begotten by God.” The Swiss Zuercher Bible also uses twice the word “begotten,” while the German Menge Bible and the Elberfelder Bible give both alternatives (in parenthesis in the text, or in a footnote).

Other translations, realizing the potential difficulties with making a particular choice (especially, when they teach that we are already born again now), state more ambiguously:

“No child of God commits sin, because the divine seed remains in him; indeed because he is God’s child he cannot sin” (Revised English Bible; similar the New Jerusalem Bible).

Some who feel that the passage does refer to us here and now, but realizing that John could not have said that it is impossible for Christians to sin (see the discussion above), claim that the phrase, “he cannot sin,” should be rendered as, “he cannot continue practicing sin,” or, “he cannot habitually sin.” The International Version says, “he cannot go on sinning,” and the Living Bible states, “… [he] does not make a practice of sinning, because now God’s life is in him; so he can’t keep on sinning…”

Notice, too, how the Amplified Bible renders this verse, obviously unwilling to make a definite choice—the words in parenthesis and in brackets are in the original:

“No one born (begotten) of God [deliberately and knowingly] habitually practices sin, for God’s nature abides in him—His principle of life, the divine sperm, remains permanently within him—and cannot practice sinning because he is born (begotten) of God.”

We have established so far that if one is truly BORN of God, he CANNOT sin, because then he is God, and God cannot sin. If one wants to say that the passage of 1 John 3:9 refers to the here and now (that is, to begotten Christians today), then one has to add quite a few words to the original text, in an attempt to make it consistent with other passages in John’s writings. Rather than saying that the one who is begotten of God CANNOT sin, one has to say that he cannot CONTINUE PRACTICING sin, or that he CANNOT HABITUALLY PRACTICE sin, or something to that effect. The problem, of course, is that the Greek text does not contain these words—they must be added in order to convey what is perceived to be the intended meaning.

However, another problem arises with these additions when we consider Paul’s own words, which he wrote down YEARS after his conversion and the receipt of the Holy Spirit. This is what he himself said, in Romans 7:14-16, 19, 25:

“… I am carnal, sold under sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice, but what I hate, that I do… the EVIL I will not to do, that I PRACTICE… So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.”

This is not to say that Paul was ever indifferent or careless about his sins. He knew that those who PRACTICE evil things will not inherit the Kingdom of God (Galatians 5:21; Revelation 22:15). He agreed with John who said that those who do not PRACTICE righteousness and who do not love their brothers and sisters in Christ are not of God (1 John 3:10). Paul did not want to sin; he did not want to practice evil, but he realized that at times, he would slip, and that he needed God’s forgiveness and mercy and power and strength to overcome and conquer sin (Romans 7:24-25; 8:37).

Old habits die slowly and only with difficulty and under severe trials and tests. It is possible for a Christian to repeat the same sin repeatedly, out of habit. But upon continued and ongoing repentance and belief in Christ’s Sacrifice and with the genuine desire to forsake those sins (Proverbs 28:13), they will be forgiven him, and God’s seed—the Holy Spirit–will remain in such a person. It is only that when we refuse to repent and change, we are in danger of losing God’s Spirit (Hebrews 6:4-6). God is most certainly not less merciful than what He requires of us. He is most certainly not limiting Himself to just forgiving us the same sins only once or twice, when we truly repent, while Christ told Peter that he needed to forgive his repentant brother seventy times seven, upon his repentance (Matthew 18:21-22; compare Luke 17:3-4).

Therefore, we conclude that 1 John 3:9 does not address begotten Christians today, in this day and age, but rather, that it makes the profound statement that once we are truly born again, we will not sin anymore. It will be impossible for us to sin—to even commit one single sin, let alone practicing sin—because it is impossible for God to sin, and we will be God, with God’s Holy Spirit remaining in us and flowing out from us forever (John 7:37-39).

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

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Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

REMINDER: Our annual conference will be held this year in California, beginning on March 18. Please pray for God’s inspiration and guidance for the successful preparation of the conference.

A new StandingWatch program was posted on the Web, titled, “When Will Russia Attack Israel?” Pat Robertson stated in an interview with Newsmax that, according to Ezekiel 38, a coalition of nations such as Russia and Iran will rise up against Israel in a final battle. But what DOES Ezekiel 38 prophesy? Who are those nations listed there which will try to war against “Israel”? When will this attack take place, and who, precisely, is “Israel”? Don’t be too sure that you know the answers!

A new German sermon was posted on the Web discussing the fact that Adam and Eve were not ashamed when they were created naked; addressing the question where the idea that marriage is inferior to celibacy comes from; and explaining the tree of life, being symbolic for the Holy Spirit and living water. The title is, “Im Anfang… Teil 4” (“In the Beginning…,  Part 4.”).

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How This Work is Financed

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

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

Technical Team: Eric Rank, Shana Rank

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

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

Donations should be sent to the following addresses:

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

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

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

©2024 Church of the Eternal God