Update 54


Serving God Boldly

Serving God Boldly is the title of this week’s sermon by Dave Harris.

The services can be heard at www.cognetservices.org at the appropriate time, just click on “Connect to Live Stream”.

This past Sabbath, from about 2-5pm, Qwest (Telecom) was experiencing outages on the line to the CEG / NetServices server. Due to these circumstances and the late nature of the crisis, we were unable to broadcast live over the Internet. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused and hope that you were able to make adequate plans on such short notice.

Since then, we have posted the sermon from this past Sabbath on the web site as well as others. You may use the links below or go to the audio index for 2002 at http://www.eternalgod.org/audio/index.html.

Called To Teach 27 JULY 2002
You Shall Be Holy 20 JULY 2002
Humility: True or False? 13 JULY 2002

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"Endure To The End"

by Dave Harris

This week we all had something to be thankful for. A seemingly hopeless mining disaster in the State of Pennsylvania turned out really well — first for the nine miners, their families and friends; and then for the rescuers and those of us who watched this heroic rescue.

The nine men trapped in darkness some 240 feet underground prepared themselves to die. Yet, they, too, (as did all of us) hoped for the best — even with the looming reality of the possibility that this could be the end of their lives.

Notable examples in the Bible relate similar stories: Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego along with Daniel faced the end of their lives. The reason they did is because they obeyed God. Against all odds and even human ability, they were delivered alive. Important to note in their experiences is the fact that they were reconciled to undergo this fate regardless of whether they were delivered at that time.

Peter, Paul and many of the original Apostles ultimately came to the end of their lives because of their obedience to God — they died at the hands of those who despised and hated the truth they proclaimed. Jesus Christ, Who died for our sins, declares that at the end of this age, Christians will be killed for their belief in and obedience to God.

Undoubtedly, there will be miraculous deliverance for some — just as those remarkable nine miners experienced. Yet, Matthew 24:9 plainly reveals that some will be tortured and killed. As we consider the truth of this warning, let us also remember that our deliverance is also certain.

Matthew 24:13 explains what we must do in order to be saved — whether we live or whether we die! Regardless of what we ultimately face, we are told that we must endure. Exactly how long we endure until our rescue occurs is much like that of the miners. We won’t know exactly, but this we do know — we must be prepared to endure just as Jesus Christ admonished us — to the end!

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Following the devastating fires in Colorado and Arizona, this week has seen the beginning of what might turn out to be the worst fire ever in an area near Julian, California, which is situated 25 miles east of Ramona (where the San Diego church meets for Sabbath services). As of noon, Thursday, the fire, which is also referred to as the “Pines Fire,” is only 25% contained. It has already burned 17,500 acres, including at least five houses. The damage so far is estimated as $1,9 million. 500 people were evacuated from their houses. The loss of wild life can’t even be estimated. Almost 2,000 firefighters are battling the blaze, including personnel from as far as Sacramento and Arizona. The cause of the fire has not been officially determined yet, but there is a great likelihood that a forest helicopter caused the fire, when disconnecting a power line.

The bible predicts that we will be observing more and more of these kinds of fires in the years ahead. God is trying to warn and shake up this nation.


We have recently seen an unprecedented rise in the abductions, kidnappings and murders of young children and teenagers. Especially shocking is the brutality and “in-your-face” attitude, with which the perpetrators have conducted their crimes, including the breaking and entering into homes to kidnap a child or teen. The most recent case in these bizarre series of appalling events happened early Thursday morning in Lancaster, California (which is 60 miles northeast of Los Angeles). A man kidnapped two teenage girls (16 and 17) at gunpoint from lovers’ lane in a remote area. The girls were sitting in separate cars with male friends, when the gunman approached them and tied up the male friends, before leaving with the girls in a car which belonged to one of the males.

Fortunately, only hours after the abduction, the two teenage girls were found alive and the man suspected of kidnapping them was shot and killed by police.

This most recent event shows the kind of world in which we are all living. The bible warns all of us to show great caution in how we are to conduct ourselves, and to stay away from dangerous situations or locations. God-fearing parents need to take extra efforts to supervise their children and teens.


In an interesting article of BILD Online, August 1, it is suggested “the New York Skyline becomes German.” More and more high-rise buildings are in the hands of Germans, according to the newspaper, including the Chrysler Building and the Seagram Building. One is somewhat reminded of God’s prediction in Deuteronomy 28:43-44, “The alien who is among you shall rise higher and higher above you, and you shall come down lower and lower. He shall lend to you, but you shall not lend to him; he shall be the head, and you shall be the tail.”


A bomb exploded this week in a cafeteria of the Hebrew University, killing four students, including Americans, and injuring more than 80. The terrorist group Hamas claimed responsibility and stated that the attack was “intended to avenge the July 22 killing of its leader, Salah Shehada.”

President Bush, meeting on Thursday with Jordan’s King Abdullah, stated that he was furious over the attack, but he expressed at the same time his belief that peace is still possible. Observers are expecting, however, a serious act of retaliation from Israel, which would make any peace prospects in the region more and more illusory.


Zenit News Agency reported on July 26, that a church-state treaty was signed between the Czech Republic and the Vatican. The treaty must still be ratified by the Parliament. 39.2% of the Czechs are Catholics, while 39.8% are atheists. The article pointed out that all the other Eastern European countries have already signed similar agreements with the Vatican. The treaty recognizes the civil effects of a marriage conducted by the Catholic Church, and it treats Catholic schools like public schools. It also permits and regulates the teaching of Catholic religion in public schools. The article continued that the “thorny questions relating to Church property expropriated by the communist regime” would still have to be resolved.

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Rapture question

Editor’s Note: We are receiving interesting questions from new people in response to our advertisement campaigns. We recently answered one of the many questions, regarding the biblical teaching on a secret rapture. We are sharing parts of our response with you:

The bible nowhere teaches two comings of Christ – or a secret rapture to heaven. The passage alluded to by some, that He will come as a thief in the night (1 Thess. 5:1-4), describes the timing of His coming – the world will not expect His return at that time. It does not talk about the manner of His coming (visibly or secretly). Compare also Matthew 24:36-44.

The bible is very consistent in describing Christ’s Second Coming as one and the same event. When He visibly returns, He will gather His elect – not before then (Matthew 24:27-31).

Please note, too, 1 Thess. 4:16, and 2 Thess. 1:3-10. The events described will happen at the time of the last trumpet, when Christ visibly returns. At that time, the dead in Christ will be resurrected, and those alive will be changed – this does not happen before His visible return (1 Cor. 15:51-52). There can only be ONE last trumpet, and it is then – not prior to then – when Christ will gather His elect.

We read in 1 Thess. 4:17 that we will meet the returning Christ, at His coming, in the air. This is not referring to the third heaven, but to the atmosphere of our earth, which has air and clouds. We read that we will be with Christ from that time on. We read that Christ will descend on that same day to the Mount of Olives (Zech. 14:4), and we will be with Him (Zech. 14:5). The angels had told the apostles that Christ would come back in the same manner as He had left them. They were on the Mount of Olives, and He left them visibly on a cloud (Acts 1:9-11).

2 Thess. 2:1 also talks about the coming of Christ and our gathering with Him. At that time, when He comes, He will take care of the “lawless one.” (verse 8). Again, this is one and the same event – here are no two comings described.

This is not to say, however, that God will not protect His elect, on this earth, during the terrible times to come very soon. A new booklet is being prepared which will address that question more fully.

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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

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