Update 638


The Book of 2 Thessalonians

On May 10, 2014, Norbert Link will give the sermon, titled, “The Book of 2 Thessalonians.”

The live services are available, over video and audio, at www.cognetservices.org (12:30 pm Pacific Time; 1:30 pm Mountain Time; 2:30 pm Central Time; 3:30 pm Eastern Time; 8:30 pm Greenwich Mean Time; 9:30 pm Central European Time). Just click on Connect to Live Stream.


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When Can We Expect God’s Fury For Modern Israel?

by Terry Grade

God is very clear about a time that is coming when modern day Israel (including the USA, the UK, Australia and New Zealand, as well as the Jews) will be taken captive and be scattered among the nations due to their disobedience to God’s laws.  We find this clearly explained in Leviticus 26 and how this will come about. These events come in four different stages where God will increase His punishment on Israel to bring them to repentance.  Each time He increases the punishment seven times.

In Leviticus 26:14-17 we find the first stage. God states that if they reject His laws and fail to follow His commands, Hewill cause horrific diseases to devastate them!  Their crops will be planted in vain as their enemies will consume them.  Their enemies will defeat them and rule over them.  They will flee when no one is pursuing them.  Leviticus 26:18-20 states if after all this they still will not listen and will not repent of their sins, He will punish them seven times over.  He will break the pride of their power and the land will not produce food due to drought conditions.

In Leviticus 26:21-23 is the second stage.  If they continue to refuse to listen and obey, He will cause wild beasts to attack and destroy their livestock and the people, making them so few in population that their roads will be deserted.

Leviticus 26: 24-26 is the third stage.  God continues to warn thatif they still will not repent and obey, He will punish them yet another seven times for their sins.  He will cause disease and pestilence to decimate them.  They will fall into the hands of their enemies due to their weakness. God will cut off their supply of food so that ten women or families will bake bread in one oven and they will divide it among themselves and yet it will not be enough to keep them from being hungry – a sign of famine.

Leviticus 26: 27-39 is the fourth stage.  God continues to pour out His fury seven times more due to their stubborn unwillingness to repent.  The unthinkable will occur when they will eat the flesh of their own children because they are starving!  The cities are laid waste, the land is desolate and their enemies will be astonished by what they see happen to this rebellious people.  Modern day Israel will be taken captive by their enemies.  They will have become so weakened and terrorized by all they have experienced they will be fearful at the smallest of sounds and unable to stand before their enemy.

Notice each stage is increased by seven times more punishment!  All because they refuse to repent and obey God’s laws.

Leviticus 26:40-45 explains what will become of those who remain alive after all these horrible events take place.  If they will repent, our merciful God will forgive them and restore them once again.  We will be able to assist in this restoration if we continue to be loyal servants of God and yield ourselves to Him as He guides and directs us with His Holy Spirit in His truth, and continue in the work He has given us to do. We are to warn the nations of their impending disaster if they refuse to obey Him! The warnings are clear!       

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We begin with reporting on escalating developments in Ukraine and Russia’s obvious ambitions for world domination, increasing the fear of another World War. While the West stands idly by, is fooling itself, and finds itself in a self-inflicted paralysis due to its own economic interests, Russia and China are moving closer together. At the same time, China is already preparing for the collapse of the North Korean regime.

In other news, we are pointing out Egypt’s new dictatorship and Iraq’s turmoil; and we are stressing the real danger through asteroids and the emergence of worldwide diseases.

We conclude with articles about false signs and wonders—including so-called “near-death” experiences—and the uncomfortable role the Catholic Church finds itself in pertaining to “torture” and sexual abuse of children.    

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The Fear of War

BBC News wrote on May 5:

“Four Ukrainian soldiers have been killed and an army helicopter shot down by pro-Russian militants near the eastern city of Sloviansk, Kiev says… Pro-Russian militants have seized government buildings in a dozen or more Ukrainian cities in the east. Kiev accuses Moscow of supporting and arming the gunmen – a claim denied by the Kremlin…

“On Sunday, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk accused Russia of executing a plan ‘to destroy Ukraine and its statehood’. He was speaking two days after dozens were killed in violence in the southern Ukrainian port city of Odessa. ‘Russia’s aim was to repeat in Odessa what is happening in the east of the country,’ he said, insisting Kiev had not lost control of the region.

“The clashes on Friday left more than 40 dead, mostly pro-Russian separatists killed in a building fire.”

The Local added on May 6:

“‘There is a threat of a point of no return, a moment when the escalation can no longer be stopped and we will literally stand on the threshold of war in Eastern Europe,’ [German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter] Steinmeier said in a letter published by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on Tuesday.”

Bild Online asked on May 6:

“How close is war?” The tabloid concluded: “We don’t know the answer, but the fear of war escalates day by day.”

Christ warned: You will hear of wars and rumors of wars; and that this is part of the beginning of sorrows.    

Putin a Fascist, Not a Communist?

Der Spiegel Online wrote on May 2:

“Some like to idealize Vladimir Putin as the ideological successor to the left-wing Soviet leaders, but that’s sheer nonsense. His speeches offer clear evidence that his points of reference originate in fascism…

“There remains a tendency to view the Kremlin’s foreign policy primarily from a geopolitical perspective — namely that the country is seeking to recover some of the territory it lost when the Soviet Union dissolved. But when Putin speaks of the enemy of the Russian people, he is speaking about something deeper and more basic. The forces against which he has declared war are not only seeking to expand their influence further and further into the East — they are also going after the Russian soul. That’s what he means when he says that Russia must put up a fight against the West…

“Even today, many are having trouble recognizing the true nature of a man who is currently in the process of turning the European peace order on its head. Perhaps we don’t have the courage to make the right comparisons because they remind us of an era that we thought we had put behind us. Within Germany’s Left Party and parts of the center-left Social Democrats, Putin is still viewed as a man molded in the tradition of the Soviet party leader, who stood for an idealized version of Socialism. The old knee-jerk sense of solidarity is still there. It is based on a misunderstanding, though, because Putin isn’t post-communist. He’s post-fascist.

“A search for the right historical analogy should focus on the events of Rome in 1919 rather than Sarajevo in 1914. It won’t take long… to identify traits that were also present at the birth of fascism. There’s Putin’s cult of the body, the lofty rhetoric of self-assertion, the denigration of his opponents as degenerates, his contempt for democracy and Western parliamentarianism, his exaggerated nationalism.

“Enemies of freedom on the far right in Europe sensed the changing political climate early on. They immediately understood that, in Putin, someone is speaking who shares their obsessions and aversions. Putin reciprocates by acknowledging these like-minded individuals…

“When they were first introduced one year ago, people also failed to recognize the true meaning of Russia’s new anti-gay laws. But today it is clear that it marked the emergence of the new Russia. What began with an anti-gay law is now continuing at another level: The logical progression of the belief that certain groups are inferior is the belief in the superiority of one’s own people.

“And when Putin evokes the myth of Moscow as a ‘Third Rome,’ it is clear he is assigning the Russian people with an historic mission. Responsibility is falling to Russia not only to stop Western decadence at its borders, but also to provide a last bastion for those who had already given up hope in this struggle. But he is also saying that Russia can never yield. ‘Death is horrible, isn’t it?’ Putin asked viewers at the end of his television appearance. ‘But no, it appears it may be beautiful if it serves the people: Death for one’s friends, one’s people or for the homeland, to use the modern word.’ That’s as fascist as it gets.”

Based on our own observations, Putin’s popularity is growing among the German people. They are viewing and admiring him as a strong man and can hardly hide their wish for the rise of someone like him in Germany. 

No Cursing in Russian Movies

CNN reported on May 7:

“Thinking about making a film? Better leave out the foul language if you want it to be seen in Russia. The same goes for plays. Even rock stars will need to leave their potty mouths at home. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed off on a new law Monday that bans swearing at arts, cultural and entertainment events in the country. Any new film containing obscene language won’t be granted a distribution certificate, so there’s no chance of seeing it at the movie theater.”

This is of course good at first sight, as is his strong stance against homosexual conduct, but even these developments show striking parallels with the Hitler regime which enforced “good things” for their ulterior plans.

The West Is Helpless

Deutsche Welle wrote on May 2:

“With Russia uninterested in a negotiated deal and the West unable to sway events on the ground, the situation in eastern Ukraine could inadvertently spiral out of control, an Oxford University Russia expert [Neil MacFarlane] tells DW:

“‘The Ukrainian interim government is seeking to legitimize itself through elections later this month. It is not, I gather, in Russia’s interest to see that government legitimized, therefore, you mess up the elections. If the elections can’t be properly held in the east then the elections are partial and you can claim that they are not fully free and fair…

“The larger point, leaving eastern Ukraine aside, is that Russia claims a right to protect its interests and its citizens. But what does this mean not just in Ukraine, but also in Georgia or for that matter in Kazakhstan or… in the Baltics…[?]  As to what the West can do, the question should be phrased: What is the West willing to do and is there a West as an identity? It’s pretty clear that the Americans have a more forthright or robust approach on sanctions. It’s also clear that there is resistance to more robust sanctions in Europe, not least because of our economic ties with Russia and the business interests that would be potentially damaged…

“‘NATO has said that it is willing to slightly reinforce its NATO allies in the region, but in very small numbers, but nobody has said anything at all about substantial military support for Ukraine itself. Basically we have an asymmetry here: the Russians are perfectly willing to give logistical and military support to people in Ukraine who are unhappy and we are not willing to do that. There is really very little we can do. We can increase sanctions, but sanctions have an effect in the longer term – not immediately. I think we are pretty stuck here. I don’t think we have enough consensus on what to do, and I don’t think we have as much will as we would need to stand up to the Russians in eastern Ukraine.”    

When the Blind Lead the Blind…

The EUObserver wrote on May 5:

“Nato has changed its assessment of the Ukraine crisis, saying Russia is more likely to foment rebellion than to invade. The alliance’s military commander, US general Philip Breedlove, told a conference in Ottawa on Monday (5 May): ‘Today I would tell you I don’t think that’s [invasion] the most likely course of action … I think now that [Russian leader Vladimir] Putin may be able to accomplish his objectives in eastern Ukraine and never go across the border with his forces.’… He noted that Russian special forces are probably operating in east and south Ukraine, however. ‘Remember that Putin denied their presence and now he has admitted to their presence in Crimea. The same thing will come out of Ukraine as time rolls out.’

“With the US and the EU saying they will not impose economic sanctions on Russia unless there is a full-scale invasion, Breedlove added: ‘In that case, I think it’s the most troublesome for Nato because if the forces do not come across the border, my guess is that many will want to try to quickly go back to business as usual.’ He also told press in a separate meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper that ‘Russia’s aggression in Ukraine has caused a paradigm shift’… Harper, for his part, described events in Ukraine as ‘a slow-motion invasion on the part of the Putin regime’…

“The Russian foreign ministry… published a file describing the February revolution in Ukraine as a ‘coercive rebellion’ carried out ‘under the influence of extremists from ultranationalistic and neo-Nazi forces, and with the active multidimensional support of the USA and the European Union and its members’…”

NATO’s and the West’s willful blindness and ignorance are shocking…

Germany Angry with US Republicans

The Local wrote on May 2:

“German lawmakers fumed on Friday over ‘vicious’ criticism by senior US senators of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s stance on Ukraine… John McCain, a former Republican candidate for the White House, on Thursday accused Merkel of standing in the way of firmer measures against Russia over its actions in Ukraine due to Berlin’s lucrative business ties with Moscow… Republican Senator Jeff Sessions echoed the rebuke, saying there needed to be ‘a clearer, more focused, more unified position, and Germany is right there in the middle of it.’

“The remarks sparked outrage in Berlin, with top-selling newspaper Bild saying McCain had ‘attacked’ Merkel with ‘crass’ comments. A leading MP from Merkel’s conservative Christian Democratic Union, Karl-Georg Wellmann, told news website Spiegel Online that McCain’s accusation that industry called the shots for the German government was ‘vicious nonsense’… In a parting shot, he added: ‘McCain would do better to ensure that the closest allies are no longer spied on,’ referring to revelations that the US National Security Agency snooped on foreign leaders including Merkel.

“The Social Democrats, junior partners in Merkel’s grand coalition government, also took umbrage at McCain’s comments. ‘It’s poor form,’ parliamentary deputy Rolf Muetzenich told Spiegel. ‘McCain feels insecure because his Russia policy of containment and military build-up is very controversial, even in the US.’… Germany, Europe’s top economic power, gets about one-third of its oil and gas from Russia and has strong trade ties with Moscow.”

Yes, the truth hurts and its rejection may make one angry. The fact that Merkel did accomplish absolutely nothing during her visit in the USA regarding the NSA spying scandal does not make the Germans happy, either.    

Bulgaria Caught in the Middle

Deutsche Welle wrote on April 27:

“Tensions between Russia and Ukraine have highlighted a split in Bulgarian society, with its historical ties both east and west. Responses range from sympathy for the Russians, to fear of Putin’s power games. Bulgarians remain bound to Russia by alphabet, religion, and history. Although the southeastern European country with its 7.3 million inhabitants doesn’t share a common border with Russia, it continues a long and complicated relationship with its ‘big brother.’…In the official Bulgarian version of history, Russia was the ‘ liberator from the Turkish yoke,’ since Bulgarian statehood was reestablished after the Russo-Turkish War in 1877-88.

“But historian Plamen Tzvetkov sees this as a propaganda cliché uncritically repeated in history books and by the media. ‘Most Bulgarians don’t even know that the peace treaty of 1878 had nothing to do with their “liberation,'” Tzvetkov told DW. ‘Rather, it sealed the Russian army’s long-term occupation of Bulgaria, and served to push through Russian power interests in the Bosphorus…’

“Bulgaria came under the Soviet sphere of influence after World War II, taking its place among other Eastern Bloc nations as a USSR-aligned communist regime until the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989. Public opinion in Bulgaria is deeply split on whether Russia was a liberator or an occupier…

“Although Bulgaria is a member of the European Union and officially supports the EU position on Ukraine, it is also dependent on Russian gas, and is being governed by a cabinet dominated by traditionally Russia-friendly socialists. But quiet – or loud – support for Putin goes beyond history and energy supplies. Many citizens of the EU’s poorest member state have been disappointed by EU membership, and are almost gratified by the new hostilities between the Kremlin and Brussels…

“Thousands of Russian citizens own property in Bulgaria, Russian lobbyists are very active in Bulgaria’s economy and media, and it’s feared that the old Eastern Bloc networks could experience a revival…

“Now Bulgaria stands between West and East once again, being yanked back and forth between Moscow and Brussels. Where once Bulgarians pinned hope on EU membership, today many are disappointed. At the same time, observers doubt that the nation could fall back into Moscow’s direct sphere of influence. And yet there is clearly an anti-European mood in the country…”

China Plans for North Korean Regime Collapse

The Telegraph wrote on May 5:

“China has drawn up detailed contingency plans for the collapse of the North Korean government, suggesting that Beijing has little faith in the longevity of Kim Jong-un’s regime… the Chinese report says key North Korean leaders should be detained in special camps where they can be monitored, but also prevented from directing further military operations or taking part in actions that could be damaging to China’s national interest.

“The report suggests ‘foreign forces’ could be involved in an incident that leads to the collapse of internal controls in North Korea, resulting to millions of refugees attempting to flee. The only route to safety the vast majority would have would be over the border into China. The Chinese authorities intend to question new arrivals, determine their identities and turn away any who are considered dangerous or undesirable…

“The release of the study comes just days after Beijing issued a thinly veiled warning to Pyongyang, ahead of a fourth anticipated nuclear test, that China would ‘by no means allow war or chaos to occur on our doorstep.’ China, which is North Korea’s sole remaining significant supporter, also refused to export any crude oil over its border to the North in the first three months of the year.”

Reuters added on April 30:

“China said on Wednesday it would conduct joint naval drills with Russia in the East China Sea off Shanghai in late May, in what it called a bid to deepen military cooperation… The Beijing government… is swiftly ramping up military spending… China and Russia have close diplomatic, security and economic ties, and regularly carry out military exercises together.”

New Dictatorship and Totalitarianism in Egypt

APF wrote on April 29:

“An Egyptian court sentenced 682 alleged Islamists and Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie to death on Monday, a lawyer and prosecutor said, after two brief sessions the defense partly boycotted. The same court in the southern province of Minya also reversed 492 of 529 death sentences it passed in March, commuting most of those to life in prison. The court, presided over by judge Said Youssef Sabry, had sparked an international outcry with its initial sentencing last month amid an extensive crackdown on supporters of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi…

“Under Egyptian law, death sentences are referred to the country’s top Islamic scholar for an advisory opinion before being ratified. A court may choose to commute the sentences, which can later be challenged at an appeals court…

“The Brotherhood urged the world to act against ‘gross human rights violations and injustice committed by the military junta in Egypt against its own people’… Amnesty International condemned Monday’s death sentences.”

These political sentences, which were apparently reached after just 10 minutes of “trial,” show the new emerging totalitarianism of a country and a people presently unfit for true democracy. The evil seeds of the Arab Spring are now being harvested.    

Iraq in Turmoil

The Washington Times wrote on April 28:

“Amid increasing violence by a resurgent al Qaeda, Iraqis will vote this week in the first parliamentary elections since the departure of U.S. troops in 2011 as the country edges closer to outright sectarian warfare and the government moves closer to Iran… Although the U.S. provides military support to Iraq, Washington’s influence… is waning as Mr. al-Maliki develops close ties with Iran… Conflict between Shiite and Sunni Muslims has ignited a ferocious cycle of violence. Iraq is experiencing its worst bloodshed since the height of the sectarian conflict that nearly tore the country apart from 2006 to 2008…”

Another failed American “experiment.”    

Asteroid Hurtles Past Earth

The Independent wrote on May 6:

“Unbeknown to most of us here on Earth, a huge asteroid the size of a double-decker bus hurtled past our planet over the weekend… Days after it was spotted by astronomers, the space rock passed within 186,000 miles (300,000 kilometres) of Earth… And although it may sound like a large distance, the asteroid travelled within the Moon’s orbit, which on average takes the satellite 238, 855 miles (384,399 kilometres) away from Earth.

“The asteroid, known [as] HL 129, was about 7.6 metres (25 feet) wide and made its closest approach to Earth at 4.13am EDT (8.13am GMT) on Saturday… Nasa scientists and researchers across the world keep a constant look-out for potentially dangerous asteroids that could crash into Earth – with deadly consequences. Former astronaut Ed Lu said earlier this year that it was only ‘blind luck’ that the planet had not suffered a catastrophic hit from an asteroid.

“He told Wired.co.uk: ‘While most large asteroids with the potential to destroy an entire country or continent have been detected, less than 10,000 of the more than a million dangerous asteroids with the potential to destroy an entire major metropolitan area have been found by all existing space or terrestrially-operated observatories…’ In 2013 over 1,000 people were injured after an asteroid exploded above the Russian city of Chelyabinsk.”

Polio Health Emergency

BBC News wrote on May 5:

“The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the spread of polio is an international public health emergency. Outbreaks in Asia, Africa and Middle East are an ‘extraordinary event’ needing a co-ordinated ‘international response’… It recommends citizens of affected countries travelling abroad carry a vaccination certificate. It says Pakistan, Cameroon, and Syria ‘pose the greatest risk of further wild poliovirus exportations in 2014.’… Polio mainly affects children under five years old. The virus is transmitted through contaminated food and water, and multiplies in the intestine. It can then invade the nervous system, causing paralysis in one in every 200 infections. It is capable of causing death within hours…

“The WHO also lists Afghanistan, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Iraq, Israel, Somalia and Nigeria as ‘posing an ongoing risk for new wild poliovirus exportations in 2014.’ It is only the second time in the WHO’s history it has made such a declaration, the first being during the swine flu pandemic of 2009… Syria, which was polio-free for 14 years, was re-infected with the virus from Pakistan.  Refugees are still pouring out of Syria, to Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, and checking whether all of them have been vaccinated will be impossible…”

MERS in the USA

The Associated Press reported on May 3:

“Health officials on Friday confirmed the first case of an American infected with a mysterious virus that has sickened hundreds in the Middle East. The man fell ill after flying to the U.S. late last week from Saudi Arabia where he was a health care worker… Saudi Arabia has been at the center of a Middle East outbreak of MERS that began two years ago…. Overall, at least 400 people have had the respiratory illness, and more than 100 people have died. All had ties to the Middle East region or to people who traveled there.

“Experts said it was just a matter of time before MERS showed up in the U.S., as it has in Europe and Asia… MERS belongs to the coronavirus family that includes the common cold and SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, which caused some 800 deaths globally in 2003. The MERS virus has been found in camels, but officials don’t know how it is spreading to humans. It can spread from person to person, but officials believe that happens only after close contact.

“Not all those exposed to the virus become ill. But it appears to be unusually lethal — by some estimates, it has killed nearly a third of the people it sickened. That’s a far higher percentage than seasonal flu or other routine infections. But it is not as contagious as flu, measles or other diseases. There is no vaccine or cure and there’s [no] specific treatment except to relieve symptoms.”

Antibiotic Resistance with Worldwide Devastating Implications

Reuters wrote on April 30:

“The spread of deadly superbugs that evade even the most powerful antibiotics is no longer a prediction but is happening right now across the world, United Nations officials said on Wednesday. Antibiotic resistance has the potential to affect anyone, of any age, in any country, the U.N.’s World Health Organisation (WHO) said in a report. It is now a major threat to public health, of which ‘the implications will be devastating’. ‘The world is headed for a post-antibiotic era, in which common infections and minor injuries which have been treatable for decades can once again kill,’ said Keiji Fukuda, the WHO’s assistant director-general for health security…

“Drug resistance is driven by the misuse and overuse of antibiotics, which encourages bacteria to develop new ways of overcoming them… One of the best known superbugs, MRSA, is alone estimated to kill around 19,000 people every year in the United States – far more than HIV and AIDS – and a similar number in Europe.”

More False Signs and Wonders

The Telegraph wrote on April 28:

“When doctors told preacher Todd Burpo his four-year-old son was going to die from a burst appendix he railed against God for taking him to heaven too soon. What he did not expect was that little Colton would not only survive his near-death experience on the operating table but would come back full of stories of the angels and rainbows he had seen while unconscious. He told his parents that while visiting heaven he met John the Baptist and the Virgin Mary, and sat at Jesus’ knee. And now his extraordinary claims have been turned into a film, Heaven is for Real, which has become a huge word of mouth hit across America and is due to open in Britain next week.

“It was only when the little boy described in detail watching his father as he shouted in despair at God in a hotel anteroom, something he could not have known about, that Mr Burpo began to believe he was dealing with more than a little boy’s drug-induced hallucinations. Colton went on to recognize a photograph of a great-grandfather he had never met and talked about a sister he said told him she had ‘died in their mother’s tummy’. The family had never discussed the baby his mother Sonja lost to a miscarriage a year before Colton’s birth, or told him about his father’s rant against God as he lay on the operating table. These details helped to convince them that Colton’s claims were true, and Mr Burpo went on to write a book about his experiences.

“Also called Heaven is for Real, it became an unlikely bestseller, spending three years at the top of the charts. Now, 10 years after Colton’s brush with death on a hospital operating table, it has been made into a film starring Greg Kinnear as Todd Burpo. Opening on Easter weekend, the movie was an instant hit, taking $22.5 million (£13.4 million) in its first three days…”

It is clear to us that these events, if indeed real, have nothing to do with any godly revelation. Rather, they would constitute false “signs and wonders” initiated by demons to deceive a naive world in rejecting the truth of the Bible and instead believing a lie. We can expect increasing occurrences of such nature. The false concept of reincarnation or “near-death” experiences (if not just caused by the ongoing working of the brain) is clearly of Satanic origin.

Vatican Guilty of Torture

The Washington Times wrote on May 4:

“The Vatican is a signatory to the anti-torture and child protection treaties, both of which require periodic reports about efforts to implement policies and promote change… The Vatican’s report stated that ‘the Holy See condemns the use of torture as a grave violation of the Commandment “You shall not kill” and works towards its abolition. The Holy See condemns other acts of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, which may not amount to torture but are equally contrary to the inherent dignity of the human person and his or her integrity and identity.’

“Advocates for abuse victims, however, see hypocrisy between the church’s proclamations and its practices… Siding with survivors network, the World Organization Against Torture said that by allowing rape and other sexual abuse, ‘the Holy See has failed its duties to prevent torture and other acts of ill-treatment within its jurisdiction, thereby violating [the Convention Against Torture].’”

Even though serious, the Bible’s description of the Catholic Church’s history of blatant torture—as well as future prophecies yet to be fulfilled—are of so much greater proportions.

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In a previous Q&A, which addressed how Christ became a Man, you mentioned that Jesus Christ was the “only-SO-begotten” Son of God. What do you mean by this term? Doesn’t the Bible talk about the “only begotten” Son of God?

It is absolutely correct that Jesus Christ is referred to, in English translations of the Bible, as the “only begotten” Son of God.

We read in John 1:17-18:

“For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.”

This passage addresses the fact that Jesus Christ came to reveal the Father and the spiritual intent of the law, and that He made forgiveness of sin possible. He is referred to as the “only begotten Son” (some translate, the only begotten God), being in the “bosom” of God the Father, thereby showing the intimate and close relationship between the two members of the God Family.

In John 3:16, a similar statement is made:

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

We can only obtain salvation and eternal life through Jesus Christ—the “only begotten Son”—and as one initial step, we must believe in His Sacrifice. But His death does not save us; we will be saved by His Life which He lives in us through the Holy Spirit.

And so, we read in 1 John 4:9:

“In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.”

On the other hand, converted Christians are also referred to as God’s begotten sons and daughters and His begotten children; and Christ is called the firstborn among many brethren. When we receive God’s Holy Spirit, we are begotten children of God; and when we are changed to immortal Spirit beings at the time of Christ’s return, we become God’s born again children. Likewise, when Jesus Christ was resurrected from the dead, He became the first-BORN Son of God.

We read in John 1:12-13:

“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name; who were born [begotten], not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”

God must call us; it has nothing to do with our will to be called. And when we respond and “receive” the truth, we can become begotten children of God at the time of our baptism, when we receive the Holy Spirit. In the passage above, the term “begotten” should be used. The Greek word is “gennao” and can mean “begotten” or “born,” and it can even describe the process from begettal to birth.

In Galatians 4:4-7, this development is further explained:

“But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, ‘Abba, Father!’ Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.”

Christ never sinned. He became a Man—fully flesh—to overcome sin in the flesh and to die for us, paying the penalty for our sins. We were under the law—its penalty—and so He was placed under the penalty of the law to make our redemption possible. We can receive God’s Holy Spirit and become sons and daughters of God—first begotten children and finally born again children. The term “adoption” is an incorrect rendering—the better translation is “sonship.”

Paul elaborates in Romans 8:14-23:

“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption [better: sonship] by whom [which] we cry out, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit [itself] bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together… For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God… because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God… we who have the firstfruits of the Spirit [are] eagerly waiting for the adoption [sonship], the redemption of our body.”

As converted Christians in whom God’s Spirit dwells, we are begotten sons and daughters of God. We have already obtained sonship—we are already God’s (begotten) sons. But when we are changed into Spirit beings, we will obtain the full sonship of immortal born again God beings in God’s Family, as we are told in 1 John 3:1-2.

There is a fundamental difference between Jesus Christ, the “only” begotten Son of God, and converted Christians, who are also called begotten sons of God. Christ has always existed; there was never a time when He did not exist. Since all eternity, He was the second member of the God Family—the Word or Logos, the Spokesman of God the Father, as John 1:1 explains. He was always the Son, as God was always the Father.

But when Christ became a human being as the “only begotten” of the Father (John 1:14), He became a BEGOTTEN Son of God IN THE FLESH. While we—flesh and blood human beings—become begotten children of God through the gift of the Holy Spirit in us, Christ—the immortal God being—became FLESH and the begotten Son of God through the miracle of transformation from Spirit to flesh. He was the ONLY Personage who was EVER begotten in this way, and in that sense, He was the only SO begotten Son of God. We also read that since His conception as a human being in Mary’s womb, He had God the Father’s Holy Spirit within Him without measure.

Notice how Christ’s miraculous transformation and begettal took place.

We read in Matthew 1:18-25:

“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit… an angel of the Lord appeared to [Joseph] in a dream, saying, ‘…that which is conceived [literally: begotten] in [Mary] is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS [Savior], for He will SAVE His people from their sins.’ So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, ‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,’ which is translated, ‘God with us.’”

A parallel account of the announcement of the virgin birth can be found in Luke 1:26-38. Notice especially the angel’s saying in verses 31-32, 35: “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest… The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.”

No other human being was conceived and begotten in this way, and therefore, Christ IS the only begotten Son of God in that sense. But Christ is also the firstborn among many brethren, and converted Christians are also begotten sons of God. To emphasize the distinction between Christ’s “begettal” and our “begettal,” we referred to Christ as the only SO begotten Son of God, indicating that while others will also be called begotten sons of God, their “begettal” does not occur in the same way and does not describe the same process as Christ’s begettal did.

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

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Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

Norbert and Johanna Link have returned from their almost month-long visit in Germany. Many important decisions were made in firmly establishing our European activities by the Church. Mr. Link will be giving further announcements in our live broadcast this coming Sabbath.

“Do the Dead Work Miracles?,” is the title of a new StandingWatch program presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:

Pope John Paul II became a saint after two miracles were attributed to him after his death. A four-year-old child had a near-death experience during which he allegedly communicated with his dead sister. True or false? Is something like this possible? Are the dead still alive? Can they work miracles or communicate with us? Or are we dealing here with terrible deceptions of demonic origin? What does your Bible say? Order our free booklet, “Do We Have an Immortal Soul?”

“Neu! Wie Gott Mensch Wurde,” is the title of this week’s German sermon. Mr. Link discusses how Jesus became a human being, and addresses the issue that He was the “only-begotten” Son of God. Title in English: “How God Became Man.”

All six German sermons, which Mr. Link gave while in Germany, have been posted on the Web. They include five messages on the entire letter to the Galatians and Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians. You can view the sermons at www.aufpostenstehen.de

“Retten Sie Ihre Ehe!,” is the tile of a new AufPostenStehen program, which advertises our free new German booklet on Happy Marriages and Families. Title in English: Save Your Marriage!

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Walking the Extra Mile…

by Phyllis Bourque

In my earlier years in the church, a friend confided in me that she was having a problem with someone else in the church, and she wanted some advice on how to handle the situation. While I felt sympathetic toward her and did not want her to be treated unkindly, I did not fully understand her struggle. In effect, I had not “walked the extra mile” with her.

Now– many years and many trials later– I understand better that God tailors our trials for our benefit in order to help us incorporate His character into our lives. I most certainly still have much to learn, but I do believe that the greater benefit of what I learn through trials now will be extended to those whom I may have the privilege of guiding in the Millennium. This is encouraging to me! Of course, by then I will have been given perfect wisdom, but I think that what I learn through my present human experiences will also be a contributing factor to being a successful teacher/counselor/intercessor at that time.

I acknowledge that Jesus Christ has already “walked the extra mile” in laying down His life for me, and I know that He draws on His human experiences when interceding to the Father on my behalf. I want to be able to do the same for those who will be under my care in the future, effectively extending God’s tender mercies to them as He is now doing for me.

With this in mind, I can approach any trials or problems as challenges to my necessary spiritual growth, all in preparation for my future position as a Spirit Being in the Family of God. Therefore, I should be encouraged and hopeful in all circumstances, as God wants me to be, rather than becoming frustrated or discouraged, as Satan wants me to be. I am committed to learning now, so that I can teach in the future.

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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