Update 63


True and Righteous Judgment

Norbert Link will be speaking this Sabbath, October 19, on true and righteous judgment.

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

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Halloween — Holy Times???

by Edwin Pope

We have just completed the observance of God’s fall festivals and in so doing have now for another year kept God’s Annual Holy Days in accordance with His instructions (Lev. 23, Numbers 28 & 29, Deut. 16).

Upon returning home we now must immediately face the holidays of this world’s religions, which have been established by men in the keeping of their religious ideas. These days have been set aside by men for the intended purpose of honoring God. Yet, He admonishes us not to do such things! (Deut 12: 29-32).

Just today, I read an article in The Californian, an edition of The North County Times, in which author Caryl Krueger, in an effort to “focus on fun” in the observance of Halloween, suggests that youngsters be educated in the tradition of Halloween.

Quoting from this article, Ms. Krueger writes, ” What can we do to reinvent this celebration, formerly beloved by families?

“Well, Halloween can be saved. First, let’s consider how the word is pronounced since that has something to do with how it is celebrated. It is not hollow-een, as many say. Hollow means empty or worthless. It is Hallow-een. To hallow means to make holy or blessed. Halloween means holy evening, the night before All Saints’ Day.

“Share with your youngsters the way some Halloween traditions started. The Irish contributed jack-o’-lanterns. These commemorated a miserly person named Jack who was unable to enter heaven because of his sins, nor could he go to hell since he had played pranks on the devil. So he was doomed to walk the earth with his lantern.”

She goes on to write of, “… the ancient Druids, who thought that witches, ghosts, fairies, and spirits roamed about trying to harm people. They also thought that cats were sacred and they were formerly human beings being punished for evil deeds.

“These same Druids held a festival each autumn called Samhain (pronounced SOW-en, with the first syllable rhyming with plow) to honor the end of summer. Other Europeans had a similar harvest celebration.

“Then in the year 700 when the Roman Catholic Church established November 1st as All Saints Day, all the old pagan customs and the Christian feast day were combined into one grand festival for October 31, the night before All Saints Day.”

What has God continually told His people concerning such pagan practices and the combining of His truth with the teachings of this world, which we know as syncretism?

“You shall not worship the Lord your God that way; for every abomination to the Lord which He hates they have done to their gods; for they burn even their sons and their daughters in the fire to their gods” (Deut. 12:31).

God tells us in Amos 5:21 – “I hate, I despise your feast days, And I do not savor your sacred assemblies.”

Yes, God hates the traditions that have been established by men in the worship of their gods and he forbids us to have a part in such doings, especially in our worship of Him. They are anathema to God and to His Way and we must not have anything to do with those ways.

Let’s be aware now, more than ever before, as the evils of this world and their leader, Satan the devil, try to beguile God’s chosen people away from the One True God and His Truth – For we must be diligent to worship Him in Spirit and in Truth.

“But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those that worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4: 23-24).

Anything contrary to His teachings is unacceptable to God!

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Nothing in recent experience has so emblazoned the precariousness of our “modern” world as the outbreak of terror attacks.

On Sunday of this week, a deadly bomb killed at least 181 people on the island of Bali in Indonesia. Just as fear has stifled air travel in the U.S. following 9-11, now the world is on notice that Muslim extremists are prepared to disrupt any nation for their cause–and the world is reeling as terror finds new footholds in which to emerge.

Based on the French tanker explosion off Yemen a week ago and the shooting of two U.S. Marines on an island off Kuwait, a report in “The Straits Times Interactive” (a Pacific area newspaper) quotes the following: “American officials say they fear that attacks attributed to al-Qaeda in the past week and taped messages from the group’s leaders signal the beginning of a NEW WAVE OF TERRORIST ACTIVITY and possibly a large-scale attack.”

Events such as these highlight how inter-dependent the world has grown in this first decade of the twenty-first century. The actions of a few well-trained and determined individuals can completely disrupt the economy and safety of whole nations. Likewise, the recent West Coast dock strike in the U.S. pinpointed how a small group could stagnate an economy that is now totally dependent on “just-in-time” production arrangements. President Bush was forced to implement an executive order through the courts in order to send the dock workers back to their jobs.

As we have begun to witness, single events can sweep across international boundaries and literally cause such upheavals and disruptions that the whole world is seriously undermined. Yet, we know from Matthew 24 and other prophetic warnings, there is MORE turmoil ahead. As we watch and consider these things, we are further encouraged by Jesus Christ with these words:
“But he who ENDURES TO THE END shall be saved.” (Matthew 24:13).


On Thursday, ominous news has broken as North Korea admits to having a well entrenched nuclear production program. This flies in the face of several signed agreements with Western nations in which Korea expressly agreed to limit such activity in exchange for Western aid. Now, it appears that the West will be held hostage with this threatening capability. All of this goes on while the North Korean people are literally starving. The underlying fear is that some of the terrorist groups will be able to purchase a complete nuclear weapon from North Korea in the near future.

Vatican rejection of key elements of the American Bishops’ new policy for dealing with sexual predators within the priesthood has many people voicing shock and outrage. Although the full response of Catholic hierarchy is due to be announced on Friday, it is said that the partial rejection will essentially strip this agreement of any practical usefulness.

As this week draws to a conclusion, the search for the East Coast sniper does not. Military surveillance aircraft have been brought into the investigation to aid law enforcement–although the military of the U.S. cannot, by statute, actively engage in this hunt beyond aid to civilian authorities. Also, there is a growing banter calling for an isolation of potential terrorists. This, in specific terms, would mean a kind of concentration camp mentality. This kind of groundswell attitude is merely talk at this point. In this same context, CIA director George Tennet, in testimony before the House and Senate Intelligence committees, summarized that America was just as vulnerable to terrorism now as it was before 9/11, because the terrorists are still out there, still determined to strike. This week’s events forewarn of ominous measures in the near future–both from the terrorists and from governments that will be forced to take stronger and stronger methods to defend against terrorism.

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Could you please explain the passages in Matthew 24:34 and Matthew 16:28? Are they referring to the same event?

Matthew 24:34 is not dealing with the same set of events as in chapter 16:28. Note the context of Matthew 24 and 25. In verse 3 of the 24th chapter, the disciples of Christ asked him the following: ” ‘Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age.’ ” Christ then goes on to answer them by pointing out events that literally span the entire church age, but He deals primarily with those events that signal His imminent return to the earth.

In verse 34, Christ says, ” ‘Assuredly I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place.’ ” From the broader context, we understand that in this verse Christ is speaking about that generation that is alive when the dramatic intervention of God in human affairs actually occurs.

In Matthew 16:28, Christ is here quoted as follows: “Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the son of Man coming in His kingdom.” Does this verse imply that some of the disciples would live over two thousand years? No, not at all. The explanation can be found quite clearly by reading on into chapter 17 of Matthew.

In verses 1 through 13, we find the account of Peter, James and John being with Christ when He was transfigured before them. In this vision both Moses and Elijah appear as if glorified with Christ–verse 9 shows that Christ identified what had happened as a vision. You can get even more details of this event in the parallel accounts found in Mark 9:1-13 and Luke 9:27-36.

To show how easily some of these things are misunderstood, look at the statement that Christ made about John in the book of John, chapter 21 and verse 22: “Jesus said to him (Peter), ‘If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow me.’ ” Verse 23 shows that some of the brethren later believed that John would not die, but it is further explained that Christ was merely using figurative speech to make His point with Peter. In fact, John did die–being, by historical tradition, the last of the original Apostles to do so.

The account in Matthew 24 deals with prophetic events and the generation of mankind alive when Christ returns to establish the Kingdom of God. Matthew 16 is dealing with the promise by Jesus Christ that some among His disciples would–in vision–see the Kingdom of God. To read more about the generation of the time of Christ’s return, please refer to CEG’s update number 60 (dated September 13, 2002) and note the Editorial entitled, “We Are Closer Than We May Think!” Also, please consult pages 14 and 15 of our booklet, “The Gospel of the Kingdom of God,” for further details on the vision described in Matthew 16.

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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

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