Update 64


"And God Blessed The Seventh Day"

by Norbert Link

The Feast of Tabernacles 2002 has come and gone, and the next annual Holy Days, the Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread, are almost six months away. However, God has not left us without feast days in the meantime. In fact, God’s Church keeps a feast day every week – the Sabbath. But how are we to observe this weekly festival?

The Statement of Beliefs of the Church of the Eternal God explains:

“We believe that we are to observe certain weekly and annual Holy Days, during which time we are to attend Church services and to refrain from secular labor, including school, college or university attendance, and which time we are to dedicate and devote to worship, spiritual study, prayer, fellowship with Church members, and physical rest.”

To properly celebrate the Sabbath, we need to understand that it is a feast day, which is holy to God. When the sun sets on Friday, we are entering God’s holy time.

Since the Sabbath is a holy convocation (Leviticus 23:3), we should attend Church services as often as possible (compare Hebrews 10:24-25). We have always understood and taught, of course, that it is more difficult, if not impossible, for our scattered brethren to do so. Many of those who cannot physically attend our assemblies, participate in our live Internet Sabbath services, or, if even that is not possible, listen on the Sabbath to our audio sermon tapes.

We need to keep firmly in mind that whatever we do and think on the Sabbath should be in realization of the fact that we are spending time that God has set aside for a holy purpose (Isaiah 58:13-14).

In an interesting article of the Corvallis Gazette-Times, of February 10, 1998, titled, “A Matter of Faith,” the conflict of athletes, who refused to play on the Sabbath, was addressed. A Jewish Rabbi was quoted in the article, saying, “‘It’s part of a greater conflict – how to live a religious life in secular America. Some parents will just forget it and take their kids to the soccer games.'” But if we really want to be obedient to God’s will, we must not do so.

At the same time, the Sabbath is a Feast day (compare Leviticus 23:1-3). We must be careful not to repeat the mistakes of the Pharisees who made a burden out of the Sabbath, by adding to God’s law humanly devised restrictions (Matthew 23:4). The Jewish historian, Moses Hodas, explained, “The rabbis were men of faith, and their object was the service of religion, but their method of securing discipline was, like Plato’s, to provide authority for men’s smallest actions.”

Let’s review some of the laws devised by the Pharisees, as they relate to Sabbath observance. While doing so, let’s ask ourselves whether we have devised in our minds similar laws for others and ourselves?

The Pharisees decreed that a person was guilty of breaking the Sabbath if he carried a sheet of paper, or any food which weighed as much as a dried fig, or if he carried more than one swallow of milk, or enough oil to anoint a small part of the body.

If a fire broke out in a person’s home, he could carry out only the necessary food for the Sabbath. This meant, that if the fire broke out Sabbath evening, the person could take out enough food for three meals; if the fire broke out on the afternoon of the Sabbath, he could only take out enough food for one meal. The rest could not be carried out and had to be left to burn with the building. Further, only necessary clothes could be taken out of a burning house.

One might wonder whether their former Babylonian environment subconsciously influenced the Pharisees, when they devised these Sabbath laws. The Babylonians had set apart the seventh day of the Babylonian week, called “Shabattum,” as “ill omens” or “evil days.” It was forbidden on those days to eat flesh cooked upon coals, to change garments, or to call for a physician. This reminds us how the Pharisees accused Jesus consistently of Sabbath breaking, when He healed sick persons on that day.

One might laugh today about those restrictions, but we must realize that they were no laughing matter at the time of Jesus Christ. He collided with the Pharisees on numerous occasions, when He refused to abide by their man-made Sabbath regulations.

Let’s ask ourselves again: Have we created for others and ourselves similar rules as how to keep and not to keep the Sabbath – although these rules cannot be found in the Bible? We must be very careful not to do so, lest we fall into the same trap of self-imposed religion that the Pharisees had fallen into. God did not accept their worship – and neither will He accept ours, if we follow their lead.

Back to top


“To the relief of Europe’s leaders, Irish voters dropped their objection to European Union expansion and gave a resounding ‘yes’ to a plan for NEARLY DOUBLING EU MEMBERSHIP and extending the Union to the borders of Russia, official results showed Sunday.” (As reported by the “The Associated Press” in the “Online Edition of the Post” of Ohio University for October 21, 2002).

This expansion is scheduled to take place in 2004 if all negotiations are wrapped up. The ten states who will join are supposed to be Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia.

“Reuters” reported that the Dutch parliament has backed government plans to support this enlargement just hours before the European Union was to meet in Brussels to pave the way for the 10 countries to join.

The Bible clearly states in Revelation 17:12-13 that in the very last days, “10 kings” will give their power to the “beast.” This term (“the beast”) is a reference to the final political and military leader of the “Holy Roman Empire,” and to the entire end-time European system. We have always understood that the “10 kings” can refer to the leaders of 10 nations or groups of nations, and they can also refer to the nations or kingdoms themselves (In the Bible, the terms “kings” and “kingdoms” are used interchangeably). These 10 kingdoms or nations do not have to be identical with the humanly-devised states which we are familiar with today. For example, the “states” of Germany and Austria might very well be just “one” nation or kingdom in Biblical terminology.

We have also recently heard that, in order to facilitate the political and military unification of Europe, nations like Germany and France have proposed a “core” of several European nations to lead the rest of Europe (It is possible that this “core” of nations will become a reality, and that some of the ten Eastern European nations, such as Poland or Hungary, that are supposed to join, might end up comprising part of those “core” nations). It would be very likely, then, that it is these leading “core” nations that are referred to as the “10 kings,” giving their power to the end-time “beast.”


Their Majesties King Abdullah and Queen Rania of Jordan have visited Germany this week with a view to rescheduling their debt–which Germany accepted. In further commentary from the Internet version of “The Jordan Times” for Wednesday of this week, emphasis was made about Jordan’s opposition to a US military strike against Iraq.

Quoting: “Meanwhile, Germany has become the most outspoken European OPPONENT of strikes against Iraq, with Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder taking a stridently anti-war line in his successful campaign for reelection last month.”

The deep mutual respect and common world view between Germany and Jordan was highlighted in the following comment from King Abdullah: Germany is ” ‘a symbol of hope to people working for freedom and development around the world.’ ” Continuing, ” ‘We have watched with admiration your active and constructive role in supporting your neighbors as they gain their places within the European Union.’ “

Der Spiegel reported on October 21 and October 23, that Queen Rania warned the West, not to engage in a war with Iraq. She stated that such a war would only lead to more terrorism, as it would ignite the furor of the Arab world. In addition, King Abdullah surmised that it is a 90% certainty that the United States will attack Iraq. He asked Chancellor Schroeder to continue the German peace policy, in order to prevent a war with Iraq that is looming on the horizon.

Both leaders agreed that the war against terrorism must continue, and that ways must be found to bring peace to Palestine.

What is significant is the emerging status of the EU and Germany in particular in terms of Middle East influence. Slowly, the U.S. is effectively being finessed out of its economic pinnacle of dominance in these areas as NEW ALLIANCES are established and strengthened. All of this is part of the on-going preparations as individuals and nations enter the fulfillment of the great prophetic events of the end of this age! Our new booklet on “The Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord” explains in more detail that those new alliances will involve Germany and Jordan.

Back to top

Law of Jealousy

In your new booklet, “And Lawlessness Will Abound…”, you are referring, on page 11, to the “law of jealousy,” as quoted in Numbers 5:29-30, as a “ritualistic procedure” to determine whether a wife had committed adultery or not. What is that “spirit of jealousy”? Is this law still to be applied and practiced today? If not, how are we in the Church to determine whether a wife is guilty of adultery or not?

In Numbers 5:11-31, God gave Old Testament Israel a supernatural means of determining whether a wife had committed adultery or not, although she had not been caught, and no witness was present (Numbers 5:13). When “the spirit of jealousy” came upon the husband, so that he suspected a transgression of his wife, the husband could bring his wife to the priest, and he had to bring at the same time the “grain offering of jealousy.” (Numbers 5:15).

It is possible that the “spirit of jealousy” describes the fact that the husband became jealous in his spirit or mind. It is also possible, that the “spirit of jealousy” was at times actually a spirit being causing the husband to become jealous. We need to note that the “spirit of jealousy” would at times come upon the husband even when his suspicions were false. Since God would not give a husband a spirit of jealousy if his suspicions were baseless, it is possible that in such a case, the husband upon whom the “spirit of jealousy” came, might have actually been influenced by an evil spirit.

The priest gave the woman “holy” or “bitter” water to drink, after she had denied, under oath, any transgression. God then saw to it, that her belly would swell, if she was in deed guilty.

This ritual law and its different “components” are no longer binding for us today, as the application of the law was inseparably connected with the bringing of an oath and of sacrifices. Christians today are not to swear (Matthew 5: 33-37; James 5:12), and sacrifices are no longer required.

Today, God has given His ministers the ability, through the workings of the Holy Spirit within them, to discern sinful conduct and the existence or lack of repentance (John 20:22-23). At times, as is recorded in Acts 5:1-11, God might still supernaturally intervene in spectacular ways to make known circumstances and the truth to the Church. Barring those unusual occurrences, no accusation against anyone, including the accusation of adulterous conduct, is to be received by the ministry, unless at least two witnesses can support the accusation (Deut. 17:6-7; John 8:16-17). Although a guilty person might seemingly get away with sin for a while, we must always remember that, unless sins are repented of and forgiven, we will have to give account of them to God in due time (1 Peter 4:17; Romans 14:10-12; 2 Corinthians 5:10).

In addition, God requires of His ministers to be merciful, as Christ was, when judging a given situation (John 8:10-11). They are to look at the heart, as much as God allows and inspires them to, in order to determine whether the person is repentant and deserving of forgiveness.

Back to top

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