Update 699


Where to Begin?; Set Your Hope in God

On August 1, 2015, Eric Rank will present the sermonette, titled, “Where to Begin?,” and Dave Harris will present the sermon, titled, “Set Your Hope in God.”

The live services are available, over video and audio, at http://eternalgod.org/live-services/ (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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Before It’s Too Late!

by Dave Harris

There are times in the march of biblical history when the actions of individuals, nations and even the world itself have brought about the direct intervention of God. Rather than receiving His blessings, people have suffered God’s punishment for their unrestrained and shameless rebellion against Him.

One such fateful instance culminated in the fall of the House of Judah and national captivity by the Chaldeans:

“And the Lord God of their fathers sent warnings to them by His messengers, rising up early and sending them, because He had compassion on His people and on His dwelling place. But they mocked the messengers of God, despised His words, and scoffed at His prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against His people, till there was no remedy” (2 Chronicles 36:15-16).

They went too far to escape their punishment!

Now, the modern descendants of the House of Israel—especially, the United Kingdom (Ephraim), the United States of America (Manasseh) and the State of Israel (Judah)—parade their defiance against the righteous laws of God, refuse to be governed by His precepts found in His written Word, the Bible, and day-by-day embrace every unspeakable evil!

Recently, in America, videos surfaced detailing the practices of abortion as sponsored by an organization called, “Planned Parenthood.” The vileness of what was revealed is shocking, but the cavalier statements about the murder and treatment of human fetuses represent an evil from the depths of darkness and depravity!

Violence brought about God’s punishment in the Flood; sexual depravity caused God to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah; rebellion led to God’s rejection of the ten tribes of Israel and, subsequently, of Jerusalem and Judah; again, just a few decades following the appearance of Jesus Christ, Rome destroyed the nation of Judah and the City of Jerusalem!

Look around you—these sins are rampant, today! In fact, they are growing by leaps and bounds! There seems to be no turning away from evil, and the might and authority of God are not even considered as possible solutions!

America has been occupying the world stage as a world power—a leader among nations. Before, the United Kingdom held that position. In both cases, these nations bore responsibility to God for reflecting a biblical morality, but even though their conduct always fell “short of the glory of God,” it has reached an abominable level today. Our nations don’t even know the true God of the Bible!

It seems to be far too late for the nation of America to escape punishment from God! Indeed, the spiritual sun has set on the British Empire, and the State of Israel is repeating the sins that led to its destruction in times past!

Weighing the national sins of our people against those found in the biblical record, can we recognize the urgency we face? It is time for anyone who understands to repent, to turn to God and to seek His mercy and protection—before it is too late!

“‘I will punish the world for its evil, And the wicked for their iniquity; I will halt the arrogance of the proud, And will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible’” (Isaiah 13:11).

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We begin with reports dealing with the fallout over recently revealed abortion atrocities by Planned Parenthood; cover more news about the unsettling “Iranian Deal”; present articles highlighting events in Turkey, Greece and the UK, and President Obama’s meddling comments during his African trip.

 Additional articles deal with the Boy Scouts of America’s decision to allow gay leadership; ominous weather warning for Britain; and more speculation about Pope Francis.

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House Chickens Out on Planned Parenthood Scandal

 Breitbart wrote on July 29:

“The House is leaving for its summer recess until September 8 without voting on legislation to defund Planned Parenthood in the wake of the recent gruesome videos released of the abortion giant’s practice of harvesting the body parts of aborted babies for sale to biomedical companies… Thousands of Americans participated in rallies across the nation Tuesday to urge their state and federal lawmakers to investigate and defund Planned Parenthood in the wake of the revelations in the videos.

“Rep. Diane Black… condemned the chamber for its failure to pass the Defund Planned Parenthood Act of 2015, a measure she introduced and for which there are 150 cosponsors, only one of which is a Democrat, Rep. Dan Lipinski…

“Black said on the House floor: ‘I stand here profoundly disappointed that the House will leave town today without taking a vote on my legislation to defund Planned Parenthood. Over the past two weeks, we’ve all seen the gruesome videos showing the heartless depravity of this organization. We issued statements, we made passionate floor speeches, and we pledged action. Now, our constituents would like to know when we’re going to follow through on that promise. Today, I’m reminded of the words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer: “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act,”’ she added.

“Black, who has been a nurse for over 40 years and is a member of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus, concluded by saying, ‘[W]e have a moral obligation to defund Planned Parenthood, and we must do it now – not when the politicians and pundits think it is most politically expedient.’

“Though House Republican leaders have lambasted the videos, The Hill reports they have indicated legislation to defund Planned Parenthood would not likely come up for a vote in the near future. The Senate, nevertheless, is expected to vote next week on a legislation effort led by Sen. Rand Paul… that would defund Planned Parenthood. Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell… confirmed Tuesday that the Senate will vote next week to eliminate the $540 million in taxpayer funding the nation’s largest abortion provider receives.

“At least one Republican senator, Sen. Susan Collins… said Wednesday… that until she knows more, she will oppose ending federal support to Planned Parenthood.”

There is really NO true leadership in the USA, and an appalling lack of morality and moral values in ALL political parties…

 The Fight Against Planned Parenthood

 Breitbart wrote on July 24:

“[Sen. Rand] Paul tried to get the floor to stand up and offer an amendment to defund Planned Parenthood and another one to arm servicemen and women on military bases. He intended to offer these measures as amendments to the highway bill that is currently on the Senate floor. Whoever was presiding over the floor refused to recognize Paul to offer his amendments…

“Paul isn’t taking this lying down. He is… currently circulating a petition to go around the Senate leaders and force a vote on defunding Planned Parenthood anyway. Paul is calling pro-life leaders to join him in this crusade, and some pro-life leaders are already whispering that this may be the perfect time to strike at Planned Parenthood. If he succeeds, it would of course be a massive rebuke of McConnell’s leadership of the GOP majority in the Senate…

“Planned Parenthood gets over $500 million a year in taxpayer funding. Senate sources also say that in addition to Paul’s effort to go around McConnell for a vote to defund Planned Parenthood, more damning videos—like the ones showing the organization’s executives sought to sell baby body parts for cash or for a Lamborghini sports car—may be coming, though it’s unclear when the videos will come out…

“If Paul can get the necessary support from his colleagues for these measures, a vote could come this week on this bill to defund Planned Parenthood either as an amendment to the highway bill or as a stand-alone piece of legislation.”

 Clinton Supports Planned Parenthood

 ABC News reported on July 29

“Hillary Clinton has staunchly defended Planned Parenthood in the wake of recently released videos that an anti-abortion group claims to show employees with the organization discussing the sale of aborted fetal tissue.  But, in a new interview, she calls the graphic videos ‘disturbing’ and says there should be a national investigation into that practice… Clinton, however, did not waiver in her overall support of the organization…

“Clinton made the remark on the same day the Center for Medical Progress released a third video which it says shows the harvesting of fetal tissue, as well as current and former Planned Parenthood employees discussing the procedures and pricing.

“Several Republicans — including many GOP presidential candidates — have cited these videos as a reason why Planned Parenthood should lose federal funding. And Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul has called for Clinton to return the group’s donations to her campaign. In response to the claims of illegal behavior in the video, Planned Parenthood has asserted that all of its actions are legal as well as ethical…

“Clinton, who is pro-choice, has vowed to defend Planned Parenthood over the weekend, even adding in a new line to her campaign stump speech. ‘I will defend a woman’s right to choose,’ Clinton said in Iowa and New Hampshire this week, ‘and I will defend Planned Parenthood.’”

Why can’t we all see that God HATES what is going on in this country, and that the murder of MILLIONS of innocent babies will NOT go unpunished?

 March the Jews to the Door of the Oven?

 On July 26, CNN wrote the following:

“President Barack Obama is marching Israelis to ‘the door of the oven’ by agreeing to the Iran nuclear deal, Mike Huckabee said Sunday… ‘This president’s foreign policy is the most feckless in American history. It is so naive that he would trust the Iranians. By doing so, he will take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven,’ Huckabee said. He continued: ‘This is the most idiotic thing, this Iran deal. It should be rejected by both Democrats and Republicans in Congress and by the American people. I read the whole deal. We gave away the whole store. It’s got to be stopped.’…

“Huckabee and other GOP presidential candidates have pledged to undo the deal, which the United States and five other world powers struck with Iran this month after weeks of negotiations in Vienna…”

 Kerry on the Defensive

 The New York Post wrote on July 24:

 “Secretary of State John Kerry had an ‘intense exchange’ when he tried to sell the Iran nuclear deal to skeptical Jewish leaders in New York on Friday. A day after GOP senators blasted him for getting ‘fleeced’ by Iran, Kerry faced another tough crowd in a closed-door meeting with about 120 Jewish leaders at the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations…

“Kerry spoke from a podium and fielded pointed questions from a crowd of Israel supporters concerned that the deal could allow Iran to get relief from sanctions while still maintaining some nuclear infrastructure that could threaten Israel… One critic was former Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman, Kerry’s former Senate colleague, who ‘made some impassioned comments’…

“Earlier, at the Council of Foreign Relations, Kerry said Israel would get the blame if Congress votes down the nuclear deal… That line of argument didn’t go over well with the Jewish leaders….

“In his speech at the Foreign Relations group, Kerry also went after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying he hasn’t offered a real alternative to a deal he has been denouncing for months… Kerry also warned Israel would be making a huge mistake if it took unilateral military action against Iran.”

 Kerry Won’t Reveal Iran Side Deals to American People

 The Weekly Standard wrote on July 29:

“Secretary of State John Kerry testified on Capitol Hill today the U.S. government will not be revealing the contents of secret side deals with Iran to the American people. Senator Tom Cotton wanted to know why it can’t be made public.  ‘I’d like to stick with you, Secretary Kerry,’ Cotton said. ‘Why can’t we confirm or deny the content of these agreements in public? Why is this classified? It’s not a sensitive U.S. government document.’

“’Because we respect the process of the IAEA and we don’t have their authorization to reveal what is a confidential agreement between them and another country,’ said Kerry. Cotton said, ‘So the ayatollahs will know what they agreed to but not the American people?’ Kerry said that members of Congress would be able to learn about it in a classified briefing.”

 There is evidently something to hide, and it is not what the American people would like!

“Iran: Obama Administration Lying About Nuclear Deal”

freebeacon.com reported on July 30:

“Senior Iranian officials are accusing the Obama administration of lying about the details of the recent nuclear accord in order to soothe fears among U.S. lawmakers and Americans about the implications of the deal, which will release billions of dollars to the Islamic Republic while temporarily freezing its nuclear program, according to reports from Iran’s state-controlled media.

“As Secretary of State John Kerry and other senior Obama administration figures launch a full-court press to convince Congress to approve the  deal, Iranian leaders are dismissing the rhetoric as ‘aimed at domestic consumption.’…

“When addressing claims this week by the administration that the deal shuts down Tehran’s nuclear infrastructure, Iranian officials scoffed and said that the Obama administration is misleading the public in order to sell the deal…”

The Times of Israel added on July 30:

“Iran will not allow American or Canadian inspectors working for the U.N. nuclear watchdog to visit its nuclear facilities, an official said in remarks broadcast by state TV on Thursday.

“Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said Iran will only allow inspectors from countries that have diplomatic relations with it.”


 Turkey Strikes Against ISIS and PKK

Deutsche Welle reported on July 27:

“Turkey says its warplanes have struck ‘Islamic State’ sites in Syria for a second straight night. Turkish jets also struck Kurdish PKK camps in Iraq. The twin strikes will complicate the US-led air campaign against IS.

 “On Saturday, Turkey risked double-fronted warfare against ‘Islamic State’ (IS) and Kurdish forces in Syria and Iraq, respectively. IS and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) are themselves bitter foes. Ankara’s change of tack follows a suicide bombing last Monday that shook Turkish society.”

Strikes against the Kurds will complicate the situation regarding USA, which considers the Kurds as their allies in the fight with ISIS.

Greece Not Ready to Leave the Euro

The Huffington Post wrote on July 20:

“Like many people following the negotiations between Greece and its creditors, I was inclined to see Wolfgang Schauble, Germany’s finance minister, as the villain of the story. After all, Mr. Schauble insisted on severely punitive measures for Greece as a condition for continuing support from the European Central Bank (ECB). He appeared to be the bad cop relative to others in the negotiations, such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who was willing to make at least some concessions to keep Greece in the euro. But a more careful analysis arguably leads to the opposite conclusion.

“Schauble did not argue for throwing Greece out of the euro simply as a punitive measure, although he quite obviously disapproved of the way Greece had run its budget and its economy. He argued, quite possibly sincerely, that at least a temporary departure from the euro zone would be the best path forward for Greece… This divorce process was clearly not the first best solution. That would have involved restructuring Greek debt while keeping Greece in the euro, but none of the major actors among the creditors seriously considered such proposals…

“The Greek government had not prepared itself for the process of leaving the euro. Perhaps the world will be surprised and the deal it reached with its creditors will provide a basis for renewed growth. But if not, it may want to get back in touch with Mr. Schauble.”

 UK Government Accused of Trying to Buy Influence with US Power Family

Daily Mail wrote on July 25:

“Tens of millions of pounds of UK aid money has been siphoned through charities linked to Hillary Clinton, it emerged last night. British politicians – including Gordon Brown – stand accused of diverting huge amounts of cash through the organisations after falling under the spell of the US presidential candidate and her husband Bill. At least £50 million of taxpayer-funded foreign aid money has gone to Clinton charities, which are at the centre of allegations in the US that foreign governments used donations to buy influence.

“The UK is one of the biggest donors, handing over more than £20 million last year alone to the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), an organisation chaired by former President Bill, 68, and whose board includes the couple’s daughter Chelsea, 35. Since 2011, a total of £48.9 million has gone into the coffers of this charity alone.”

The Bible prophesies that in these end times, especially the UK and the USA will try to “buy” friends and allies, but this plan will backfire.

Obama Urges UK to Stay in the EU 

Deutsche Welle reported on July 23:

 “US President Barack Obama said Britain must remain in the European Union to maintain its global influence. In previous interviews Obama has avoided taking a stance on such issues. ‘Having the UK in the EU gives us much greater confidence about the strength of the transatlantic union, and is part of the cornerstone of the institutions built after (the second world war) that has made the world safer and more prosperous,’ Obama said.

“‘We want to make sure that the United Kingdom continues to have that influence,’ he added… Obama said that Britain was the US’ ‘best partner’ because of its willingness to project power beyond its ‘immediate self-interests to make this a more orderly, safer world.’”

With these derogatory comments about continental Europe, President Obama stepped again into a wasp’s nest.

 German Influence in Africa

German Foreign Policy wrote on July 22:

“Parallel to the escalating crises in Greece and Ukraine and the participation or involvement in various wars in the Arab world, the German government is intensifying its efforts to enhance its political and military influence on the African continent. German companies are seeking lucrative business opportunities in booming Angola at the ‘Angola/Germany Economic Forum’ ending today in the country’s capital Luanda. Despite its persistent efforts, so far, German trade relations with Angola have not achieved a real breakthrough, whereas Berlin has already made progress in its military cooperation with Luanda. In late 2014, both countries signed an agreement on a ‘partnership’ in military policy followed by a joint military exercise in March 2015. Angola is considered useful as an ally for implementing Germany’s geo-strategic interests in Sub-Saharan Africa. It has been massively upgrading its military apparatus and thereby become a challenge to South Africa’s claim to continental hegemony…

“More than twenty German companies are currently present in the country, including the Frankfurt-based Commerzbank AG and the Swabian technology company Bosch. The Gauff Engineering Company, in Nuremberg, is participating in important infrastructure projects…

“For Germany, Angola’s arms buildup offensive is considered an ideal alternative to South Africa, with which Berlin had maintained a relatively intensive military cooperation. Pretoria’s ties to the BRICS alliance (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa), which in the long run is a challenge to the West’s hegemony, has made it increasingly unreliable in German eyes – not least of all in the context of the West’s current conflict with Russia…”

The fact that German-South African relationships are deteriorating is interesting in light of biblical prophecy indicating that continental Europe, under German leadership, will develop a hostile attitude towards the descendants of the ancient house of Israel, including South Africa.

Obama Clashes with Kenyan President over Gay Rights

The Telegraph wrote on July 25:

“Barack Obama… has directly challenged his host Uhuru Kenyatta, the Kenyan president, on the issue of gay rights, suggesting that ‘bad things happen’ when countries don’t accept their citizens’ right to be homosexual.

“Mr Obama said that as an African-American, he was ‘painfully aware’ of what it was like to be treated as a lesser citizen in law in his own country and that such discriminatory policies ended up on the wrong side of history. ‘When you start treating people differently, not because of any harm they’re doing anybody but because they’re doing different, that’s the path whereby freedoms begin to erode, and bad things happen,’ Mr Obama told reporters at State House in Nairobi. ‘And when government gets in the habit of treating people differently, those habits start to spread. I am unequivocal on this. The idea they are going to be treated differently or abused because of who they love is wrong, full stop.’

“But Mr Kenyatta, who was warned by senior members of his party not to comment on the issue in the run-up to Mr Obama’s historic visit, insisted gay rights in conservative Kenya was a ‘non-issue’… The tense exchange came during an unusually frank press conference in which Mr Obama raised concerns about endemic corruption holding back the economic growth of Kenya, where his father was born…

“Mr Obama also explained his failure to visit his ancestral home until now, six years into his presidency, saying he ‘didn’t want to play favourites’ but admitting that International Criminal Court charges facing Mr Kenyatta over post-election violence in 2007 were of concern to the United States. The ICC recently dropped the charges against Mr Kenyatta citing witness intimidation and a lack of evidence. Separate ICC charges still face his deputy, William Ruto. Before Mr Obama’s arrival, there had been questions whether he would meet Mr Ruto, who has waded into the homosexual debate by decrying the ‘dirty’ practice. Mr Obama shook Mr Ruto’s hand during an unguarded moment at State House that was captured by the Kenyan presidency photographer and posted on Twitter.”

It is exactly the attitude expressed by President Obama which will contribute to the downfall of the USA… where bad things happen…

Boy Scouts Under Attack

Thomson/Reuters reported on July 28:

“A decision by the Boy Scouts of America to allow gay leaders was met with indignation by the largest U.S. Protestant group on Tuesday along with criticism from a leading gay rights group that the move did not go far enough.

“About 70 percent of the roughly 100,000 U.S. Boy Scout units are sponsored by religious institutions, and many said the Monday decision runs counter to the moral standards set by the 105-year-old youth organization. ‘We express consummate sadness that this once vibrant organization continues to cave to social pressure, compromising its long-held, constitutionally protected tenets,’ said Roger ‘Sing’ Oldham, a spokesman for the Nashville-based Southern Baptist Convention. Even though the decision permits religious organizations to exclude gay adults in keeping with their beliefs, other major conservative church groups also criticized the change, which took effect with the vote Monday by the National Executive Board.

“The largest sponsor of Boy Scout units, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has said it was ‘deeply troubled’ by the move, adding the Mormons’ ‘century-long association with Scouting will need to be examined.’… The Catholic Church, another leading sponsor of troops, on Tuesday said in a statement it was concerned with the ‘practical implications’ of allowing gay leaders but remains committed to its relationship with the Irving, Texas-based Scouts… The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, called for the Scouts to drop the opt-out religious exemption and become fully non-discriminatory…

“The Boy Scouts’ president, former U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, called for the change in May, saying continuation of the blanket ban on gay Scout leaders was ‘unsustainable’. Gates helped end the military’s ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy that barred openly gay individuals from serving. Earlier, corporate sponsors such as Lockheed Martin and Intel dropped funding for the organization to protest policies considered discriminatory. Membership in the Boy Scouts has been steadily declining over the past decade, but the 2013 decision to allow gay youth contributed to a steeper drop of 7.4 percent from 2013 to 2014, according to organization figures.”

 Britain Threatened with Terrible Winter Storms?

Express wrote on July 25:

“THE STRONGEST El Nino in recorded history could lead to Britain being battered by SIX MONTHS of violent storms… Climate scientists warned temperatures in the Pacific have increased by THREE degrees Fahrenheit in recent weeks as ocean winds have weakened. The so-called El Nino phenomenon, which has a huge impact on the world’s weather, has only been stronger twice before in recorded history – the last time in 1997, when a series of violent 100MPH Atlantic storms slammed into the UK. And experts claimed this year’s El Nino is STILL strengthening and could soon break all historical records with the extreme weather patterns lasting until next Spring – meaning Britain could face one of the worst winter storm seasons in living memory…

“The current El Nino event is under the watchful eye of meteorologists across the world as it can devastate farming and fish harvests. AccuWeather’s global weather centre said the world could be facing the strongest El Nino in 50 years. It threatens storms in parts of the US including California, heavy rain and floods in western Australia and an unsettled UK winter… Confidence continues to grow that this El Niño will be one of the stronger El Niños over the past 50 years… El Niño typically reaches its peak during the December through February period… The strongest El Niño on record since the beginning of the 20th century occurred during 1997-98.”

 Pope Francis the “Antichrist”?

In July 29, the Drudge Report posted a link to the following article by Charisma Link:

“… why do so many people think-or at least ponder-that the Latin American pontiff is the Antichrist (or at least the end-time False Prophet mentioned in Revelation 19:20)? It could be for some of the same reasons his popularity is declining. His approval rating in the United States has dropped from 76 percent a year ago to 56 percent today, according to Gallup. Indeed, even Roman Catholics are cooling off to Francis, the first-ever Jesuit pope who emerged as a darling among the evangelical community when he took over for the retiring Benedict. Some Pentecostal onlookers suggested he was Spirit-filled. And Kenneth Copeland and James Robison met privately with the pope in Rome and exchanged high-fives…

“Reuters’ Scott Malone points out: ‘The decline comes as Francis has changed the focus of his public remarks from that of his immediate predecessors, concentrating less on the Church’s opposition to abortion and gay marriage and spending more of his time discussing social inequity and poverty.’ Francis has been vocal about the evils of capitalism while backing off conservative views about homosexuals, asking, ‘Who am I to judge?’ He’s even called for a New World Order more than once…

“Francis has warmed up to Islam like no other pope before him. In a historic first, Francis opened the door to Muslim prayers and Quran readings at the Vatican last year. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli President Shimon Peres joined the pontiff in the Vatican gardens for a prayer meeting… Some saw this as a precursor to the one world religion.

“Protestant feathers really got ruffled when the washingtonpost.com.co and others falsely reported that Francis said the Quran and Holy Bible are the same… Although it seems unlikely that the pope actually said that… the fact that so many Christians took it as truth without a second blink is telling. He’s said and done enough other shocking things to make this statement believable in the ears of many believers…

“More than 50 years ago, a Jesuit priest predicted the resignation of Pope Benedict-to the day-and now Tom Horn, who worked with Cris Putnam to unveil a 900-year-old prophecy buried in the library at the Vatican that describes a series of 112 popes, and others are looking at his research.

“‘Was he divinely inspired? Was he demonically inspired?’ Horn asks. ‘Because we know demons know things about times and dispensations, too…’”

Indeed, they are, and since they are lying spirits, one never knows when they tell the truth…

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What Will We Be in the First Resurrection?

The Bible teaches that those who die and have qualified as “first fruits” will be raised in the first resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:20-26; Revelation 20:4-6). Many false concepts exist as to the nature of the first resurrection. The Bible teaches that the first resurrection is a resurrection to eternal, immortal life—to an existence in the spirit realm, when converted men and women become born-again members in the Kingdom and Family of God. We are told that flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 15:50), and that in the first resurrection, we will have incorruptible spiritual bodies, when we are “raised in glory” (verses 42-44).

Jesus Christ was the very first who was raised in the first resurrection (Acts 26:23)—being the firstborn among many brethren (Romans 8:29). His followers will be resurrected in the same way as He was, at the time of His return (1 Thessalonians 4:14-17).

The Christian world is filled with horrible misconceptions about the first resurrection. In a Christian book pertaining  to the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the following description of the RESURRECTED Christ was given:

“[Mary Magdalene] backed out of the tomb… and found her way partially barred by a terribly disfigured man whom she supposed had to be the keeper of the garden…  There was something about that one eye—the other seemed to be almost closed with terrible bruises and livid wounds, the lips torn and blue, and the skin pallid. It was Jesus!”

These descriptions totally negate the fact that Jesus Christ was resurrected as a glorified Spirit being who did not and does not have a physical body. The Bible does not support the concept that He was resurrected as a physical being who was glorified later when He ascended to heaven. Rather, we read in 1 Corinthians 15:42-44:

“So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power.  It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.”

When Christ was resurrected, after having been dead and buried in the grave for three days and three nights, He was raised AS a glorified Spirit being. He was not resurrected as a physical human being and then subsequently glorified. Rather, at the exact time and the very moment of His resurrection, His physical body, which had not seen decay or corruption, was changed into a spiritual body. Christ was resurrected in glory. He ascended to heaven in glory. We read in 1 Timothy 3:16, that Christ was received up in glory, with a glorified spiritual body. As a Spirit being, He does not have a disfigured body.

We understand, of course, that the glorified Jesus MANIFESTED Himself as a human being after His resurrection, but NOT in the way as described in the above-quoted book. He did not manifest Himself to Mary in a disfigured state. It is true that He later appeared to the apostles and “doubting Thomas” with wounds in His hands and at His side to convince them that it was He (John 20:24-29; Luke 24:39-40), but there is not the slightest hint that He did so on other occasions. And it is of course absurd to think that He, as a Spirit being, still carries with Him in His spiritual body the physical wounds inflicted upon Him when He was a human being.

The confusion regarding the nature of the first resurrection is even magnified by statements in other commentaries, such as the “Compact Bible Commentary” of the “Nelson’s Compact Series,” which states the following regarding 1 Thessalonians 4:16:

“Clearly the [first] Resurrection will be a PHYSICAL resurrection in which BODILY existence will be restored… The resurrected bodies of Christians will be like that of Christ… incorruptible and immortal, and yet they will be bodies of FLESH and BONE…”

This statement is terribly wrong and quite frankly, blasphemous, but many Christians believe in it, as they do not understand the clear teaching of the Bible.

As mentioned, the first resurrection is NOT a physical resurrection, and the resurrected bodies of Christians will NOT be bodies of FLESH and BONE. This very concept is preposterous.

We stated the following in a recent Q&A, titled, “Do you teach a resurrection of the physical body?”

“Regarding the resurrection of those who died ‘in Christ,’ that is, in whom God’s Holy Spirit dwelled when they died, we read that they are resurrected with an immortal SPIRITUAL body. God will raise them up to spiritual, immortal and eternal life. God will not first resurrect their dead ‘physical bodies’ and then ‘change’ them into spiritual bodies. Rather, God will resurrect or raise the Christians with spiritual bodies, as the Bible clearly indicates…

“When God the Father resurrected Jesus Christ, He changed His physical body (which was still in the grave) into a spiritual body. That is why Christ could later walk through closed doors, and why He could make Himself visible and invisible, as He pleased. We should also note that Christ, when He again became a Spirit being, which is invisible to the human eye, could manifest Himself as a human being, even so much so that He appeared to have flesh and bones (Luke 24:39-40). Of course, as a Spirit being, He did not really have flesh and bone, but He was able to manifest Himself in such a way. Jesus did speak of ‘a spirit’ not having flesh and bones as He did (verse 39). However, He was speaking of demonic spirits not being able to manifest themselves in the flesh. (Compare our free booklet, ‘Angels, Demons and the Spirit World,’ pages 42-43). We have the example of Christ and two angels appearing as men and eating a meal in the time of Abraham (Genesis 18:1-8). This example shows that God (Christ in the Old Testament account) and faithful angels could manifest themselves in the physical domain as men.”

When Christ was resurrected, He was resurrected with a body composed of SPIRIT, not matter. He was NOT resurrected with a physical body. That would have been quite impossible as with a physical body, He could not have gone through closed doors, nor could He have made Himself invisible. He just manifested Himself occasionally as a physical being, but even then, we must realize that He did so at times “in another form” (Mark 16:12).

We can find a description of the resurrected Christ in His glorified state in numerous passages of the Bible, and none of them implies that He has a physical body. For instance, we read in Revelation 1:14-16: “His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice the sound of many waters… and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength…” (Compare also Revelation 2:18). A similar description of Christ, as He appeared in glory prior to His temporary existence as a human being, can be found in Ezekiel 1:26-28. This describes also His glorified state today, as the Father glorified Christ in His resurrection with the glory which He had with the Father before the world was (John 17:5).

And it is that same glory which will be bestowed on us in the first resurrection (1 John 3:1-2; Romans 8:18; 1 Corinthians 15:49).

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

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Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

Norbert and Johanna Link and Margaret Adair have returned home following travelling over five-thousand miles to be with brethren in California, Oregon, British Columbia and Colorado. They will be observing the Fall Holy Days in Germany, so this trip was an especially important opportunity to encourage and strengthen members in these visits.

“Lehnen Juden Jesaja 53 ab?” is the title of this week’s German sermon. Title in English: “Do Jews Reject Isaiah 53?”

“By The Book,” the sermonette given last Sabbath by Dave Harris, is now posted. Here is a summary:

Recent events in the Church of God have given rise to people who all claim that they are following God’s lead—that they are going by the book, the Bible. Really?

“The Sufferings of the Apostle Paul,” the sermon given last Sabbath by Norbert Link, is now posted. Here is a summary:

Paul had to endure much hardship, but he never gave up. This sermon discusses many of his trials, including his unjust arrests and illegal imprisonments; several attempts to murder him; numerous false accusations against him by Jews and Greeks; and many conspiracies by unbelieving Jews with the declared goal of assassinating him. But Paul knew that his trials served a godly purpose. And we will see how he received strength to endure victoriously, becoming worthy for the Kingdom of God.

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Dying and Going to Heaven?

by Delia Messier

Have you ever heard a song or a piece of music so beautiful that you felt you had died and “went to heaven”?

Years ago I had been so sick that I had to be hospitalized for 6 weeks. Two specialists said that I was the sickest person they had seen in 9 years. I was in so much pain and then I flat-lined! My heart and lungs stopped functioning!

What I remember was a voice calling me from far away, and it slowly got louder and louder. I felt no pain then, but frustration for being disturbed! The voice calling me kept persisting and I wanted it to stop. I then recognized that it was my husband calling me, and thought “why does he not leave me alone?” I tried and tried so hard to answer and could not do so, until I finally yelled “What?”— so I thought, but in reality, it was a soft “what” —according to my husband — and the pain was back.

When I had flat-lined, which I think means that I had “died,” I saw no lights. There was no light at the end of a tunnel! There was nothing!  I can describe it as, or, like a dreamless sleep. It took me several long months to be well again.

Today I can say from this experience, that I truly know and believe that the dead know nothing, but that death is a dreamless sleep. But when Christ returns and I am resurrected or changed to immortality, then I will see the lights and hear the most beautiful music and songs unimaginable—not in heaven, but here on earth.

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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