Update 487


The Promise

On April 16, 2011, Dave Harris will give the sermon, titled, “The Promise.”

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 Sunday evening, after sunset, April 17, 2011, is Passover, followed by the Night to Be Much Observed on Monday evening, April 18, 2011, after sunset.

For those of our scattered baptized brethren who need to partake of the Passover at home, we refer to pertinent information, which was published in Update #387 (dated March 26, 2009), under Feasts, and Update #238 for the week ending April 7, 2006.

On Tuesday, April 19,  2011, is the First Day of Unleavened Bread. Rene Messier will be giving the sermon in the morning from Oregon, titled, “The Footsteps of Christ.”

The services can be heard at www.cognetservices.org at 10:00 am and 2:00 pm Pacific Time, respectively (which is 11:00 am Mountain Time; 12:00 pm Central Time; 1:00 pm Eastern Time for the morning service; and 3:00 pm Mountain Time; 4:00 pm Central Time; 5:00 pm Eastern Time for the afternoon service). Just click on Connect to Live Stream.

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by Norbert Link

In less than three days, baptized members of the Church of God will observe the annual Passover, by humbly participating in the foot-washing ceremony and by soberly partaking of unleavened bread and red wine, symbolizing the broken body and the shed blood of Jesus Christ. They will deeply appreciate the solemn occasion of this unique festival, reflecting on the death of their Savior and High Priest, who was willing to die for them so that they could live.

They will have examined themselves to make sure that they will not eat of the bread and drink of the wine in an unworthy manner—that they will not be guilty of refusing to discern the Lord’s body. They will have tested themselves to see convincing evidence that Jesus Christ is indeed living within them. They will have reflected on the incredible love which both God the Father and Jesus Christ bestowed on them; and when they participate in the Passover service, they will again be reminded of the great Sacrifice that the God Family was willing to make for them.

In His great love which far exceeds the love of any man, the Father gave His only begotten Son so that everyone who believes in Him should not perish, but could inherit everlasting life.  Jesus Christ was filled with the same godly love. He did not consider it robbery to be equal with God the Father, but He was willing to give up His glory and divinity to become a man; to live and die in the flesh; to struggle against and overcome sin; and to cope with and endure the trials of life.

He knew His fate from the beginning. He KNEW that Judas would betray Him. He KNEW that all—even His closest disciples and friends—would deny and forsake Him and leave Him alone, showing no empathy for His suffering and pain. He KNEW that His own mother and His brothers and sisters would, at first, not believe in Him, thinking that He had become insane. He KNEW that He would be betrayed and delivered into the hands of Gentile sinners and the Jewish leadership. He KNEW that He would be illegally arrested at night, under the “cover” of darkness; illegally “tried”; blasphemed; spit at and hit; beaten under Pilate several times, with more than just 39 stripes at a time.

He KNEW that He would be mocked and tortured and finally crucified to experience a most excruciating death. He KNEW that this trial would be extremely difficult to bear, and He confided in His disciples how distressed He was until His “baptism” was accomplished; and He even prayed that if it was possible, that “cup” would be taken away from Him.

It is terrible enough when a guilty person has to suffer such a cruel and inhumane “penalty,” which only the sick, Satan-inspired human mind could have concocted; but Jesus was completely innocent, even by the legal standards of man. His arrest, “trial,” torturous “punishment”  and execution by crucifixion were illegal and in violation of the Jewish law—a blatant miscarriage of “justice” and an abomination in the eyes of God.

And Christ KNEW it, ahead of time! He KNEW that evil selfish power-hungry hypocritical men would kill Him under the disguise of false accusations. He KNEW that He would be “taken from prison and judgment,” and illegally murdered instead. He was willing to accept this fate as a humble, quiet “lamb”—and He did it for you and for me. He was willing to die for our sins, paying our deserved penalty on our behalf. Even though technically, Romans and Jews killed Christ, in reality, we all killed Him. We all brutally participated in and consented to the illegal arrest, “trial,” torture and murder of a completely innocent man—a “righteous man”—GOD in the flesh. We all killed the One who created us—the One who gave us our very life! THAT IS WHY converted members of the Church of God deeply and soberly reflect, before and during the Passover service, on what they did to Christ, and what Christ did and does for them.

Even though this occasion is a memorial of His death, it is also pointing to the joyful time of His return. On every Passover evening, we proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes. Even before Christ entered into the final hours of His human life—a life which was rejected by all—He focused on the time of joy which would follow. It was for the joy that was set before Him, that He was willing to endure the cross and despise the shame; and He told His disciples, before going together to the garden of Gethsemane to face His merciless accusers and enemies, that His joy would be in His people.

When we participate in the Passover service within a few days, let us deeply and humbly reflect on its fundamental and momentous meaning: God became man to suffer and die for us—the Righteous and Just for the unrighteous and unjust—so that we, who were the enemies of God, could become His friends, experience healing and ultimately everlasting life with Him in His very Family. That is LOVE—the love of GOD.

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We report on events on Europe’s new appetite for military action in certain parts of the world, including Libya and Ivory Coast; show how European maneuvering offered the post of EU President to Herman Van Rompuy; quote Donald Trump’s doubts on the legitimacy of President Obama as US President; show how ill prepared the USA would be for a nuclear attack; report on the last minute “deal” averting the shutdown of the US government; and conclude with articles pointing out the ongoing unrest in the Middle East, including Israel, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Bahrain, and Egypt–along with charges of “torture,” and a powerful challenge by the Bric Countries against the US dollar.

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“Ivory Coast: UN Air Strikes Show West’s New Appetite for Military Action”

The Telegraph wrote on April 9:

“Barack Obama swept to power in 2008 on a wave of anti-war sentiment, while David Cameron entered Downing Street last year insisting that the West ‘can’t drop democracy from 40,000ft’. Yet the past three weeks have found the council – this time with a less noisy Anglo-American wing – willing to pass stunningly powerful resolutions allowing missile strikes against murderous leaders. Both resolution 1973 on Libya and resolution 1975 on Ivory Coast give external forces the authority to take “all necessary” measures to protect civilians from violence – practically a carte blanche…

“A Western diplomat at the UN last night said the resolutions showed members were… promising ‘timely and decisive action’ against atrocities… While Mr Obama has stayed almost invisible, the domestically embattled Nicolas Sarkozy has taken personal ‘ownership’ of both interventions…”

The Bible foretells that Europe will engage in similar military action in the not-too-distant future, as it relates to the Middle East, and especially the Holy Land.

How Herman Van Rompuy Became EU President…

The EUObserver reported on April 8:

“How did the post of European president get to be created? And how did someone completely unknown to most Europeans end up in it? This is the story revealed in a new TV documentary, ‘The President’, a film by Danish director Christoffer Guldbrandsen… The hour-long film presents the struggle by Europe’s top politicians to get a president elected… It reveals for the first time how German and French leaders, Schroeder and Chirac, agreed at a breakfast not to give Berlusconi the honour of striking a deal on the European Constitution during the Italian EU presidency. Schroeder and Chirac got their way… Another political drama explored in the film was the legendary Franco-German deal on farm subsidies in 2006. Struck between Chirac and Schroeder in Brussels’ fashionable Hotel Conrad ahead of a full EU leaders’ summit, it took everybody by surprise, particularly the Brits…

“For his part, Herman Van Rompuy, the man who eventually became EU president, notes how he turned down the post three times. But in the end, faced with 26 other leaders urging him to take the job, he gave in… Tony Blair, previously Britain’s prime minister, was for a long time seen as a serious contender… Blair had the backing of Nicolas Sarkozy… Ultimately however, Blair’s own party allies in the Social Democrat group in the European Parliament blocked the road… former commission president Romano Prodi… reveals how surprised he was to learn that personal relations often mean more than national interests among political leaders.”

According to the Bible, ten nations or groups of nations will transfer their power and authority to the beast—a political charismatic end-time leader.  Based on what is revealed in the article above, we might get a clearer picture as to how this process might occur.

Barak Obama Not Allowed to Be President?

Newsmax reported on April 7:

“Donald Trump says he has ‘real doubts’ about President Barack Obama’s birthplace and has sent investigators to Hawaii to find out whether Obama was in fact born there, as he claims. During an interview with NBC’s ‘Today’ show on Thursday, the real estate billionaire said his investigators might uncover ‘one of the greatest cons in the history of politics and beyond.’ The host of ‘The Apprentice,’ who is considering a run for president in 2012, suggested that Obama is engaged in a cover-up regarding his birthplace.

“‘He spent $2 million in legal fees trying to get away from this issue, and if it weren’t an issue, why wouldn’t he just solve it? I wish he would, because if he doesn’t it’s one of the greatest scams in the history of politics and in history, period. You are not allowed to be a president if you’re not born in this country. Right now, I have real doubts.’…

“’The grandmother in Kenya is on record saying he was born in Kenya,’ Trump said. ‘The hospital has, not only no birth certificate — or if they have it they should produce it, maybe there is something on it, who knows — but they have no records that he was there. The family is fighting over which hospital in Hawaii he was born in. There is not one record, in any hospital in Hawaii, that Barack Hussein Obama was born there,’ he added.”

USA Ill Prepared for Nuclear Attack

The Washington Post wrote on April 7, 2011:

“U.S. officials say the nation’s health system is ill-prepared to cope with a catastrophic release of radiation, despite years of focus on the possibility of a terrorist “dirty bomb” or an improvised nuclear device attack…

“After a nuclear blast, hospitals probably would fill with trauma patients. Later, others would arrive with acute radiation syndrome, which can take days to manifest and affects multiple organ systems. Without supportive care, about 50 percent of people exposed to 3.5 Gray, a measure of radiation dose, would die. Proper care would almost double the exposure level at which 50 percent would survive, but only a small fraction of American medical professionals have training and expertise in treating radiation injury. Given that not enough beds would be available, hospitals and first responders would have to choose which patients to save…

“Many experts predict that without more education, people probably would flee as many are doing in Tokyo and as many Americans did after the Three Mile Island nuclear accident in 1979… Such an exodus would extend panic and devastation far beyond the locus of the event, draining food, water, medicines, gasoline and other resources from surrounding communities and potentially causing gridlock that would severely compromise many elements of the official disaster response…”

The Bible predicts that the USA will be attacked with nuclear weapons, with devastating consequences.

US Government Shutdown Averted

Politico wrote on April 8:

“The bottom line to Friday night’s spending deal is a record $40 billion cut in domestic and foreign aid appropriations – and a hard lesson in the tough and almost permanent disorder of Washington’s budget politics… House Speaker John Boehner… and President Barack Obama only reached agreement hours before what would have been an unprecedented wartime shutdown of the government that threatened both men… Both men later cast the agreement as the best available, but the grueling, often distrustful process testified to how tough this legislative year will be and the immense pressure on Boehner from the right.

“The administration largely succeeded in blocking the most controversial policy riders impacting the environment and abortion-rights. But the spending cut is one of the single largest in history, and a preview of what lies ahead when Republicans move their 2012 budget plan next week and fight with Obama over raising the debt ceiling in May and June…

“With a deal in hand and no time to spare, the Senate quickly adopted a one week stopgap bill to keep the government operating and buy time for processing the final package. Just minutes after midnight, the House followed suit…”

Turkey Condemns Israel

Haaretz reported on April 10:

“Turkey expressed displeasure on Sunday at Israel’s attacks on the Gaza Strip over the weekend, calling the strikes ‘excessive and disproportionate’, Agence France-Presse reported. ‘We strongly condemn the excessive and disproportionate reprisals of Israel that have injured and killed civilians in Gaza,’ read a Turkish Foreign Ministry statement. ‘The region cannot be allowed to enter into a new spiral of violence,’ it added.

“Nineteen Palestinian militants and civilians in Hamas Islamist ruled Gaza have been killed since Israel launched a series of air raids on Thursday after the critical wounding of a teenager by an anti-tank rocket that was fired at a school bus. Palestinian militants responded by firing more than 120 rockets and mortars at Israeli communities near the Gaza Strip over the course of the weekend, with tens of thousands of people spending the past few nights in reinforced rooms.

“Relations between Israel and Turkey, once close allies, have sharply deteriorated in recent years amid Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoðan’s frequent outbursts against Israeli policies towards the Palestinians and Israel’s raid on the Gaza flotilla in May, in which IDF commandos killed 9 Turkish citizens aboard.”

The relationship between Turkey and the state of Israel—the Jews or the house of Judah–will continue to deteriorate. In ancient times, Edom or Esau and Jacob or Israel were brothers. Future Turkey—biblical Edom—is condemned in the book of Obadiah for their conduct and attitude towards the Jews:

“But you should not have gazed on the day of your brother In the day of his captivity; Nor should you have rejoiced over the children of Judah In the day of their destruction; Nor should you have spoken proudly In the day of distress. You should not have entered in the gate of My people In the day of their calamity. Indeed, you should not have gazed on their affliction In the day of their calamity, Nor lay hands on their substance In the day of their calamity. You should not have stood at the crossroads To cut off those among them who escaped; Nor should you have delivered up those among them who remained In the day of distress. For the day of the LORD upon all nations is near; As you have done, it shall be done to you… the house of Esau shall be stubble… And no survivor shall remain of the house of Esau…” (Obadiah 12-18).

Further Unrest in the Middle East

The Telegraph reported on April 9:

“Supporters of Syria’s president Bashir al-Asad opened fire during fresh protests on Friday killing at least 22 people… There were protests in cities across Syria sparking violent responses from the authorities…

“The violence is further evidence that after the Egyptian and Tunisian revolutions, where the army pulled back as deaths mounted, other Arab regimes facing popular revolts are less prepared to hold off from the use of force.

“Yemen, where more than 120 people have died in three months of protest, was last night also nearer a state of open conflict after President Ali Abdullah Saleh rejected a peace deal presented by his Gulf neighbours, led by his closest ally, Saudi Arabia… Earlier this week, Washington lost patience with Mr Saleh, its ally, who has ruled Yemen for 32 years… But Mr Saleh, who had earlier given indications he welcomed efforts by the Gulf Co-operation Council to mediate with the opposition, was defiant yesterday, telling supporters he rejected outside offers…

“The United States singled out Syria, Libya and another ally Bahrain for criticism in its annual report on human rights abuses, published yesterday. It said that movements to replace dictatorships with sustainable democracies would improve ‘the Middle East region, and with it the whole world’.”

This conclusion would be highly doubtful.

Violence in Egypt

BBC News reported on April 9:

“Egypt’s army has cracked down on protests in Cairo’s symbolic Tahrir Square, leaving at least one person dead and dozens injured… The violence came after a huge protest in the square on Friday. Hundreds of thousands demanded the prosecution of Mr Mubarak for corruption…”

In its accompanying “analysis,” BBC News wrote:

“This is the latest worrying sign of tensions between the ruling military and supporters of the 25 January revolution who are becoming increasingly impatient with the pace of change. There is growing anger that remnants of the former government, including the ousted President Hosni Mubarak and his family, have not been charged with corruption. Some blame the former Defence Minister, Field Marshal Tantawi, who is head of the Supreme Military Council. He was very close to Mr Mubarak. Reports that the army has arrested and tortured demonstrators that have circulated in recent weeks and the fact that military trials continue add to the mistrust. The armed forces insist they were simply enforcing a curfew when they moved into Tahrir Square overnight and that they are meeting their promises of reforms and justice.”

This development was so predictable. Despite the glowing and frantic reports of the Western press and governmental officials about Egypt’s democratic reforms, the cold reality is that the current political and military leaders are very unlikely to give up their powers.

“Torture” Outrage

The guardian.co.uk reported on April 10:

“Obama professor among 250 experts who have signed letter condemning humiliation of alleged WikiLeaks source:

“More than 250 of America’s most eminent legal scholars have signed a letter protesting against the treatment in military prison of the alleged WikiLeaks source Bradley Manning, contesting that his ‘degrading and inhumane conditions’ are illegal, unconstitutional and could even amount to torture.

“The list of signatories includes Laurence Tribe, a Harvard professor who is considered to be America’s foremost liberal authority on constitutional law. He taught constitutional law to Barack Obama and was a key backer of his 2008 presidential campaign.

“Tribe joined the Obama administration last year as a legal adviser in the justice department, a post he held until three months ago.

“He told the Guardian he signed the letter because Manning appeared to have been treated in a way that ‘is not only shameful but unconstitutional’ as he awaits court martial in Quantico marine base in Virginia.

“The US soldier has been held in the military brig since last July, charged with multiple counts relating to the leaking of thousands of embassy cables and other secret documents to the WikiLeaks website.”

This reaction is called a “stinging rebuke of Obama,” but is just a further indictment of the United States in general and with the worldview of American policies eroding on every front!

“Bric Countries” Challenge Dollar!

Reporting on April 14, 2011, the BBC stated:

“The Bric countries are some of the world’s fastest-growing economies – China, India, Brazil and Russia.”

Continuing, this article highlights the momentous challenge that the U.S. dollar is now facing:

“As well as the WTO call, the group has asked for certain changes to the global financial system.

“These include a call for the International Monetary Fund to expand its use of Special Drawing Rights (SDRs), which are used as a quasi currency to transfer funds between member governments.

“The Brics called for a broad-based international reserve currency system “providing stability and certainty”.

“A joint communique, termed the Sanya Declaration, said the current system was no longer representative.

“‘The governing structure of the international financial institutions should reflect the changes in the world economy, increasing the voice and representation of emerging economies and developing countries,’ it said.

“At the summit on the southern island of Hainan, the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa said the recent financial crisis had exposed the inadequacies and deficiencies of the current monetary order, which has the dollar as the world’s most-used currency…

“These countries are worried about the long-term direction of the dollar because of the US’s large trade and budget deficits.

“China has been diversifying into euros to reduce its dependency on the value of the dollar.

“In a move designed to signal another type of move away from dollar-dependency, the development banks of the five nations agreed in principle to establish mutual credit lines denominated in their local currencies.”

These Bric nations have 40% of the population of the world, and represent a potent new power-bloc that is accelerating the demise of the now embattled U.S. currency! This staggering assault on America’s position of power and leadership is happening because the people who are descendants of the ancient House of Israel have blantantly turned away from the God of the Bible–the One who has so richly blessed our nations. For more details, please read our booklets, “The Fall and Rise of Britain and America,” and “Europe in Prophecy–The Unfolding of End-Time Events.”

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Would you please explain 1 John 5:6-8?

1 John 5:4-8 reads, in context:

“(Verse 4) For whatever is born [better here: begotten] of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. (Verse 5) Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? (Verse 6) This is He who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not only by water, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who [better: which] bears witness, because the Spirit is truth. (Verse 7) For there are three that bear witness (in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one. (Verse 8) And there are three that bear witness on earth): the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree as one.”

First of all, please note that the words in verses 7 and 8, which are placed in parenthesis, are not in the inspired original text, but they are a very late addition by a copyist who wanted to “prove” that the Trinity was biblical. Today, it has been universally accepted that these words were a fraudulent falsification and must be omitted from the text. Many modern translations do not even contain these words any more, and those which do, normally point out in the margin or in a footnote that they are a very late addition, which are not found in the oldest manuscripts.

We are explaining the following in our free booklet, “Is God a Trinity?”

“1 John 5:7-8 is probably the most frequently quoted text to ‘prove’ that God is a Trinity… most scholars agree that the words in verse 7, ‘in heaven: the Father, the Word and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one,’ were later added by the Catholic Church to ‘prove’ the Trinity, and that these words were not in the original writings. Many Bible translations and commentaries state that this particular phrase, referred to as the ‘Comma Joanneum,’ is ‘not contained in the best authorities and constitutes a late addition in the Latin Text.’ [Pattloch Bible, Appendix, page 85].

“The Zürcher Bible comments in a footnote that ‘this passage was added in the fourth century in the Latin Text, and only in the 15th century in some Greek Texts.’ The NIV [New International Version] adds in a footnote that this particular phrase is only contained ‘in the late manuscripts of the Latin Bible and that it is not found in any Greek manuscripts before the 16th century.’ Other commentaries point out that these words are clearly a falsification and that they have therefore been correctly omitted, even as a footnote, in many modern translations.”

But what is meant with the phrase in verses 7 and 8, that “there are three which bear witness: the Spirit, the water and the blood; and these three agree as one”? Notice that in context, the reference is to Jesus Christ who came by water and blood (verse 6), and the Spirit of truth bears witness to that fact (same verse). Also, John points out that those who have been begotten by the Spirit and believe that Jesus is the Son of God, overcome the world (verses 4 and 5).

In his letter, John emphasizes that Jesus came in the flesh—that He became fully Man. He had changed from a Spirit being into a mortal human being (compare John 1:1-3, 14). The spirit of antichrist denied and denies that fact (1 John 4:1-3). It denied and denies that Jesus had REALLY become a Man. But John makes clear that Christ had to become a Man—fully flesh and blood—in order to be able to die. And so, His blood testifies to the fact that Jesus was and is our Savior (compare also Hebrews 12:24). He DIED, and His death paid the penalty for our sins. That is why John emphasizes twice that Jesus came by water and blood—not just by water, but by water and blood (1 John 5:6).

Before His death, Jesus gave the apostles wine to drink, symbolizing His blood which was to be shed for the forgiveness of their sins (Matthew 26:27-28; Luke 22:20). Christ shed His very blood—“He poured out His soul” or life “unto death” (Isaiah 53:12). In the context of his first letter, John is telling us that we must believe that Jesus was fully Man and that He died, by shedding His precious blood for us (compare 1 Peter 1:18-19; Acts 20:28; compare, too, Leviticus 17:11).

But John is telling us more. He is also emphasizing the fact that Jesus came “by water.”

This reference to water has been the subject of widespread discussion. The Nelson Study Bible states:

“Water and blood have been interpreted in at least four ways: (1) as Jesus’ baptism and death; (2) as His incarnation; (3) as the water and blood that flowed from His side on the Cross; and (4) as the baptism of the believer and the Lord’s Supper…”

The Ryrie Study Bible adds:

“The water refers to the inauguration of Christ’s earthly ministry at His baptism by John (Mark 1:9-11); the blood refers to the close of His earthly life at His crucifixion. Jesus proved Himself to be the Christ (Messiah) at His baptism and by pouring out His soul to death.”

In addition, we might think of Scriptures telling us that at the time of Moses and Israel in the wilderness, water came out of the rock (Numbers 20:10-11). We might perhaps draw an analogy to the spiritual water of the Holy Spirit, flowing from the spiritual Rock—Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 10:1-4). Further, we are told that we are being cleansed with the washing of water by God’s Word (Ephesians 5:26 ); and that the Holy Spirit will flow out of our hearts like rivers of living water (John 7:37-38).

We see, then, that the reference to the blood, the water and the Spirit includes multiple applications.

The fact that Christ came “by water” can be viewed as containing additional proof that Jesus was fully Man. When hanging on the cross or stake, “one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out” (John 19:34). [As an aside, the soldier pierced Christ’s side, when He was still alive, not after He had died. He caused Christ’s death by piercing His side. For a thorough explanation of this little-understood fact, please read our free booklet, “Jesus Christ—A Great Mystery.”].

A Spirit being has no blood, bones or water. The fact that Jesus did, shows that He was a Man—that He came in the flesh. His Incarnation was a change from spirit to flesh—Christ BECAME flesh.

As pointed out in some of the commentaries, as quoted above, John’s reference to water can also be associated with Christ’s water baptism, which He asked John the Baptist to perform. John’s baptism was one of repentance, but Jesus had never sinned, so He had nothing to repent of. That is why John hesitated to baptize Jesus, but Jesus insisted that it had to be done, in order to fulfill all righteousness. He wanted to set an example for us, who did sin, to be baptized, after repentance and faith in our Savior Jesus Christ and His Sacrifice which makes possible the forgiveness of our sins. Christ made it very clear that without water baptism, we cannot enter the Kingdom of God (John 3:5).

Finally, John also stresses in his first letter that Jesus, although fully flesh, had the Spirit of God the Father within Him, and that without measure (compare John 3:34, Authorized Version). It was through the power of the Holy Spirit that God the Father impregnated Mary to bring forth and give birth to Jesus; it was through the fullness of the Holy Spirit in Christ that He could do the mighty works which He did. God, through His Holy Spirit of truth, testifies to us that Jesus came in the flesh—that He had blood and water—and that He “gave up His spirit” and died (John 19:30).

When we repent of our sins and believe in Jesus Christ and His Sacrifice, and are baptized in and under water (with the subsequent laying on of hands), we will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit of truth. Christ compared the Holy Spirit with living water (John 4:10, 14; 7:38-39). And only with God’s Holy Spirit, remaining in us, motivating us to obey the WORD of God, can we enter the Kingdom of God (compare again John 3:5). And so, John is saying that the three—the blood and the water and the Spirit—agree as one—in unified testimony. They testify that Jesus came in the flesh—a human being with blood and water–and that He overcame sin in the flesh by living a sinless life by and through the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in Him.

They also agree that through His death on the cross, salvation was made possible for man. They agree that we—human beings—can receive the Holy Spirit to help us to overcome sin and this sinful world in the flesh, as Christ did. We are to overcome, as Christ overcame (Revelation 3:21). And with the living Christ dwelling in us through the power of the Holy Spirit, we CAN be victorious, as Christ was (Philippians 4:13; Romans 8:37; 1 Corinthians 15:57).

As the Spirit of God testifies that Jesus became a Man and died for us, so it testifies that Jesus lives His life in His disciples today—that is, Jesus Christ is “coming in the flesh” of His disciples (compare 2 John 7). The spirit of antichrist denies this truth as well. But God’s Spirit bears witness that we are children of God (Romans 8:16), as it gave witness to John the Baptist, and later to Peter and other apostles, that Christ was the Son of God (Matthew 3:17; 16:15-17; 17:5). Blood and water bear witness that we—human beings with blood and water—can obtain forgiveness of sin through the shedding of Christ’s blood; and that we can receive God’s Holy Spirit–God’s living waters–after water baptism, as Christ was baptized, to fulfill all righteousness, and to receive special powers to work miracles (compare Acts 10:36-38).

In conclusion, blood, water and the Holy Spirit “witness” and testify in agreement that Christ was a Man; that He died for our sins; that He was resurrected and that He lives His life again in His disciples today; and that we–human beings—are condemned to die because of our sins; but that by our repentance and our belief in Christ’s shed blood, we can obtain forgiveness of our sins. Furthermore, through our “death” in water baptism and our “resurrection” from the dead, when we rise out of our watery grave (Romans 6:1-6), we can receive the gift of God’s Holy Spirit, through which Christ lives His life in us all over again.

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

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Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

A new StandingWatch program was posted on the Web, titled, “How Did Christ Really Die?”

Did Jesus die of a broken heart or exhaustion? Does the Bible explain HOW Christ died on the cross? The Holy Scriptures tell us that He died by shedding His blood, and that He was pierced through for our transgressions. HOW was He pierced through? The answer might surprise you.

A new German AufPostenStehen program was posted on the Web, titled “Wie Starb Christus Wirklich?” (“How Did Christ Really Die?”).

During the coming Spring Festival period, several of the ministers are traveling to meet with brethren: Norbert and Johanna Link (and extended family) are in Germany; Rene and Delia Messier will be in Oregon; and Wray and Jule Zehrung (and family) will be in Ramona, California. Your prayers for their safety and for all of God’s people who will be meeting together to observe these times will be greatly appreciated.

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Please and Thank You!

Shana Rank

Sweet music to a Mother’s ears! These simple words hold a lot of power – “please” and “thank you”. These words convey politeness and often foresight and follow through.

I delight when I hear my kids showing their good manners, but as my own Mother so wisely told me, the process of learning takes time. As long as my boys live in my house, I will need to encourage them to say “please” and “thank you.”

The other day, I sat in the kitchen listening to my two boys, Gideon and Nolan, playing in the living room. Giggles, snorts, sputtering, squealing… “Gideon, can I have your car, I’ll give it back in one minute.” After sharing I hear, “thank you,” and they go about their play.  The times I need to go in and referee the boys are the times I don’t usually hear them using “please” and “thank you.”

I ask myself why these words work. Developing Godly character, which helps me treat others correctly, requires that I put what I’ve learned into action. When I was a child, I said those words because I was taught to do so, and I am passing that training on to my children. Now as an adult–a wife and a mother–communication that is based on true courtesy still serves me as a most valuable and indispensable skill.

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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