|Moving On; Stripes at the Great White Throne Judgment
|A Full Tank
|This Week in the News
|Unconditional Promise for Healing in this Life?
|Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
Moving On; Stripes at the Great White Throne Judgment
On October 17, 2015, Michael Link will present the sermonette, titled, “Moving On,” and Norbert Link will present the sermon, titled, “Stripes at the Great White Throne Judgment.”
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.
A Full Tank
by Rene Messier (Canada)
When we travel to the ministerial conference and the Feast of Tabernacles in the United States, I fill up my van with gas and I know that it will get me to Goldendale in Washington, which is about 557 kilometers from our home. We stop there, take a break and re-fill the gas tank.
As God’s people, we have had the opportunity at the Feast to fill up our spiritual tanks by drinking in the messages which had been prepared for us. Our spiritual tanks have to take us through the long winter months up to the next Holy Days in the Spring.
In order to do that, we had to take full advantage of the blessings that God provides for us at the Feast. One manner to maximize the effectiveness of the spiritual benefits was to ensure we remained in good health in order to attend all the services so we were able to benefit from the messages which we received. This ensured our spiritual tanks were topped up in order to carry us to the Spring Feasts.
Another benefit was the fellowship we were able to enjoy with one another. Since some of us who are more remote and isolated only see each other once a year at the Fall Festival, this was a time to renew and refresh the friendships we have with one another. We had opportunities to eat in fine restaurants with one another and sharpen one another through good conversations while rejoicing of being together on this occasion.
So the Feast provided both spiritual and physical benefits. We drew closer to God and reached a better understanding of His plan and laws through the messages and we drew closer to each other via the fellowship we enjoyed with one another.
God knew through His plan of salvation, which incorporates all seven of His Holy Days, that there would be a long duration of time between the Fall and Spring Holy Days, and He expects of us to take full advantage of the Fall Festival to ensure that we will have enough spiritual fuel to take us to the Spring Festivals.
The question is, did we take full advantage of the blessings which God offered us? Or did we neglect to attend the Feast even though we could have done so? Did we neglect to listen carefully to the messages and to fellowship joyfully with brethren of like mind? If we did not do this, then we will have a much more difficult time to cope with the long winter months until the Spring Feast Days. In that case, perhaps heart-rending repentance and prayer to God for extra strength would be very important.
Those who will be able to look much more confidently in the future are those who faithfully obeyed God’s command to observe the Feast in the right way and with the right attitude; who will dwell and meditate on the messages that they have heard; and who will be diligent to practice what they were taught. We pray that you belong to that category.
Much has happened in the world since our last Update. This edition focuses on the volatile situation in Syria and the resulting migrant crisis; the ongoing violence in Turkey and Israel; and the precise location of the two historical Temples in Jerusalem.
It continues with reports on Ben Carson, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders; as well as strong words from Franklin Graham regarding “hypocritical” American Senators and the pope’s plea for forgiveness in light of new sex scandals in the Catholic Church.
We conclude with disturbing news regarding America’s economy and attempts to enact a new controversial copyright law.
This Week in the News
Putin vs. Obama in the Syrian Crisis
Newsmax reported on October 13:
“President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday slammed Washington for refusing to share intelligence with Russia on Syria, and accusing it of muddled thinking… Late last month Moscow launched a bombing campaign in Syria, saying it needed to target Islamic State jihadists before they cross into Russia, which has a large Muslim population. But Washington and its allies slammed Russia’s intervention in the conflict, saying Moscow was also targeting Western-backed moderate rebels and sought to prop up the regime of Bashar al-Assad…
“Putin’s colorful phrase… comes amid deep tensions over the Russian bombing campaign and cruise-missile strikes that began Sept. 30. The EU demanded on Monday that Russia stop targeting moderate groups opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter warned that Russia’s actions ‘will have consequences’ and the bombing ‘will only inflame’ Syria’s four-year civil war…
“U.S. air drops of weapons and ammunition intended for the Syrian Free Army, which is fighting Assad’s regime, could end up in the hands of Islamic State instead, Putin said…”
Obama’s Training Program in Syria Failed
Breitbart reported on September 29:
“The Obama administration has thrown in the towel on a plan to spend $500 million on training ‘moderate’ Syrian rebels to fight ISIS, al-Qaeda, and the regime of Bashar Assad. CBS News reports the program has been quietly ‘suspended’… The program was beginning to draw bitter opposition from Democrats, including Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut… Hillary Clinton has been criticizing President Obama’s Syria strategy as well, claiming that he ignored her advice to build a far more powerful ‘moderate’ rebel force much earlier….
“The first wave of ‘New Syrian Force’ fighters was ambushed by al-Qaeda and wiped out, with many of them killed, kidnapped, or MIA. No one at the Pentagon seems to know what happened to the second wave after they handed American vehicles and ammunition over to al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front in exchange for safe passage. The Russians seem to have a pretty good idea what happened to that second wave, though. ‘First, they are armed and trained, and then they defect,’ President Vladimir Putin said at the United Nations…
“Putin threw some even tougher punches at the mess Obama has made of the Middle East in his U.N. address. Here is the relevant section in its entirety: ‘It is now obvious that the power vacuum created in some countries of the Middle East and North Africa led to the emergence of anarchy areas. Those immediately started to be filled with extremists and terrorists. Tens of thousands of militants are fighting under the banners of the so-called ‘Islamic State.’ Its ranks include former Iraqi servicemen who were thrown out into the street after the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Many recruits also come from Libya, a country whose statehood was destroyed as a gross violation of the U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973…’
“The New Syrian Force fiasco is a major Obama blunder, part and parcel of the disastrous foreign policy he tried to spin as a success at the United Nations… It turned into the biggest disaster since Jimmy Carter sent helicopters into the Iranian desert. Russia and others looking to redefine the Middle East will use this debacle not just to embarrass the United States, but to persuade anyone considering an alliance with America instead of Russia and Iran to reconsider.”
Syria is developing into a battle field of the big powers, and it is again America turning out to be the big loser.
Germany’s Foolish Attempts to Deal with the Migrant Crisis
The Daily Mail wrote on October 1:
“A German woman is being booted out of her home of 23 years to make room for migrants. Gabrielle Keller is the second such case to emerge in the country as it struggles to cope with an expected influx of some 800,000 refugees… The local municipality has given Mrs Keller until the end of the year to leave her flat in the southern town of Eschbach. Mario Schlafke, the town’s mayor, says the authorities had no choice… ‘’The alternative would have been to set up beds in the gym.’ … Her case comes days after it emerged that a nurse was being evicted from her home of 16 years for the same reasons.
“Yesterday, it was announced that Germany had translated the first 20 articles of the country’s constitution outlining basic rights like freedom of speech into Arabic for refugees to help them integrate.
“Germany’s open-door policy to migrants has sparked clashes with some eastern EU member states, in particular Hungary. It has also fuelled tensions domestically, with riots erupting between left and right-wing hardline groups and fights breaking out among migrant groups.
“With up to 10,000 arrivals each day fuelling voters’ worries, President Joachim Gauck, who has a non-political role, hit a nerve with a speech on Sunday, saying there is a limit to how many refugees Germany can absorb. Aside from the cost and practicalities of looking after so many people – almost one per cent of Germany’s population – many voters are worried about how they will integrate into society…
“Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, also chairman of the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD), told Bild daily that refugees were welcome but that they have to make an effort to fit in… ‘No one is forced, when he comes to Germany, to change his religion, to alter his private life. But what is important for our culture is that the principles of our democratic society apply to everyone,’ Gabriel added. Refugees had to [learn German and] accept principles such as the division of church and state, equal rights for men and women, the right to be homosexual and freedom of expression, he said. He also pointed out that anti-Semitism is not tolerated in Germany.”
Germany’s failing migrant open-door policy will ultimately contribute to the downfall of Angela Merkel and, in time, the rise of a powerful figure to “deal” with the situation.
The EUObserver wrote on October 10 that “Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande have called on the European Union to show unity and respect the values on which it was built, but stopped short of ideas on how to tackle Europe’s problems.”
Voices asking for Merkel’s resignation become louder.
The Local reported on October 13 that “Germany’s anti-Islam party Pegida stepped up its attacks on Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday, slamming her as ‘the most dangerous woman in Europe’ and demanding she resign.” It added on October 9 that “The Bavarian government is threatening to take Chancellor Angela Merkel to the country’s highest court to make her change her refugee policy… Bavarian Minister President Horst Seehofer, of the Christian Social Union (CSU)… and his cabinet demanded that refugees be sent back before they cross the Austrian-German border.”
The Local reported on October 14 that only 33 percent of Germans now agree with the chancellor’s migrant policy—“a decrease of 11 percent since approximately six weeks ago. Around 64 percent of Germans polled were found to disagree. The opinion was widely shared across all of Germany’s main political groups… The results also showed that 56 percent of people surveyed think there were already too many refugees in Germany. This [figure] has risen by 10 percent in just one month. Only… 20 percent… were found to believe that the country could still accommodate more asylum seekers.”
In addition, the current situation has manifested a quite hostile anti-Americanism within the German population, blaming the “Amis” [German short-form for Americans] for the Syrian disaster. The main culprit is former President George W. Bush, while President Obama is still somewhat exonerated for just having “inherited” the bad situation in Iraq and Syria.
Violence in Turkey
Deutsche Welle reported on October 13:
“President Erdogan of Turkey has acknowledged there were lapses in security leading up to the twin bomb blasts in Ankara this week… His remarks came as investigators in Turkey told reporters they suspected a link between the bombings and the southeastern town of Adiyaman, a known recruiting base for the ‘Islamic State’ militia (IS), which has a strong presence in Syria.”
Violence in Israel—a Third Intifada?
JTA wrote on October 13:
“Israelis have become accustomed to dismal news in the past few weeks – mornings and evenings punctuated by stabbings, car attacks and rock throwing. The cycle of random violence has left dozens of Israelis and Palestinians dead, and many fearing the worst: The start of a third intifada, or armed Palestinian uprising, that could claim hundreds more lives…
“Palestinian society as a whole appears to support violence against Israelis. A poll by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey research last week found that 57 percent of Palestinians support a return to an armed intifada, an increase of 8 percent from earlier this year. Half believe the P.A. has a mandate to stop security coordination with Israel, and two-thirds want Abbas to resign…”
The current violence in Israel will continue. News of Israel reported on October 14 that “Israel deploys hundreds of soldiers in Jerusalem,” describing “Army units to bolster security amid wave of terror attacks” and continuing that “police begin setting up checkpoints in city’s eastern neighborhoods.”
As the next article shows, the violence will culminate in an unparalleled upheaval.
Precise Location of the Two Temples
JTA wrote on October 11, 2015
“The New York Times walked back an article that questioned whether two Jewish temples ever existed on the site of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The article, written by Rick Gladstone, a Times foreign editor, originally published on Oct. 8, read: ‘The question, which many books and scholarly treatises have never definitively answered, is whether the 37-acre site, home to Islam’s sacred Dome of the Rock shrine and Al Aqsa Mosque, was also the precise location of two ancient Jewish temples, one built on the remains of the other, and both long since gone.’
“The article was amended the following day and a correction published in the newspaper. The correction stated: ‘An earlier version of this article misstated the question that many books and scholarly treatises have never definitively answered concerning the two ancient Jewish temples. The question is where precisely on the 37-acre Temple Mount site the temples had once stood, not whether the temples had ever existed there.’…
“The article goes on to cite substantial evidence, including the historian Flavius Josephus and historical records of the Romans documenting the destruction, that the Second Temple stood on the site, likely in the immediate vicinity of the Dome of the Rock, the third holiest site for Muslims. ‘The most direct physical evidence of the temple’s existence on the site is the Western Wall, an outer wall spared by Roman destruction,’ the article said. ‘The wall has become a holy site in itself, drawing millions of Jews for prayer.’”
The Bible strongly indicates that a Third Temple will be built, prior to Christ’s return, on the precise location where the First and the Second Temples stood; that is, “in the immediate vicinity of the Dome of the Rock.” This will cause tremendous upheaval, and Europe will be “forced” to invade the region to “establish” peace.
Carson: Heading Towards “End of Days” – Clarifies “No Muslim for President” Statement
Newsmax reported on October 12:
“GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson… a Seventh-day Adventist, was asked by host Sharyl Attkisson about his views on the biblical prophesies of the end times compared with current world events. ‘Do you think we’re at the End of Days?’ she asked. ‘You could guess that we are getting closer to that,’ Carson responded.
“But he contrasted his own end-time views with those of some Islamic extremists in the Middle East who believe they must take actions to set up a caliphate in order to usher in the prophesies of the Quran… ‘I think we have a chance to certainly do everything that we can to ameliorate the situation.’ Carson said. ‘I would always be shooting for peace. You know, I wouldn’t just take a fatalistic view of things.’
“Carson came under fire for saying… September 20 that he doesn’t think a Muslim should be president. He has since said he meant that any Muslim president would have to put the Constitution over Muslim teachings, as would any Christian president.”
Ben Carson is apologizing and “clarifying” too much. He did so regarding homosexuals and now regarding a Muslim President. What he originally said was clear. Newsmax reported on September 20:
“Ben Carson is unfit to be president for his statement Sunday that Islam is inconsistent with the U.S. Constitution, said his fellow GOP candidate Lindsey Graham… Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations told the Washington Examiner called on Carson to withdraw from the presidential race… Carson expressed opposition to a Muslim being elected president, though he said he had no problem with Muslims being elected to Congress…
“Pamela Geller, the activist who has created controversy with anti-Islamic advertising on mass transit and her Draw Mohammad cartoon contest, praised Carson’s words, saying on her website, ‘Ben Carson is right. Electing a Muslim president would be dangerous.’ Pointing to President Barack Obama, Geller said, ‘He claims he is a Christian, but his father and his stepfather were Muslims and he was raised in a Muslim country. He went to an Islamic school and excelled in Qur’an classes while growing up in Jakarta. Because of his upbringing he is islamophiliac, and his foreign and domestic policies reflect this,’ she said.”
Carson should not have apologized. He was right to say that a Muslim would be unqualified to be President. However, he should have continued that a Jew and a Christian are also unqualified; that, in fact, nobody is qualified to preside over this nation—or any nation, for that matter. It will require the return of Jesus Christ to change this, and ONLY Jesus Christ and those whom HE appoints will be qualified in the eyes of God.
Donald Trump Next US President?
Newsmax reported on October 12:
“Veteran newsman Dan Rather says Donald Trump could be headed to the White House. ‘I don’t think it’s outside the realm of possibility he gets elected,’ Rather, former ‘60 Minutes’ correspondent and ‘CBS Evening News’ anchor [said]…
“But Rather believes Trump must provide many more details on his ambitious policies… ‘So I think the key question is give me the names of specific people that you will call upon for foreign policy.’ As well, Rather said, he needs to expand on his idea of ridding the United States of all illegal immigrants. ‘He wants to send all of them back to Mexico and other places … but how specifically does he intend to do that? With 10, 12 million people, how’s he going to find them?’
“Rather said one part of Trump’s popularity is his financial independence…”
Obama said on 60 Minutes that Trump will NOT succeed him in office. We will see who is right… Rather or Obama.
In addition, largely due to the unfavorable reporting in the German press, Trump is completely rejected by Germans, and IF he were to become President, the relationship between Germany and the USA would deteriorate even more rapidly. Trump is being portrayed and viewed as a great danger to German and European interests. On the other hand, note Trump’s comments to high school students, as reported on September 20 by The Associated Press:
“Donald Trump’s advice for high school students in suburban Des Moines, Iowa, is uncharacteristically wholesome: Avoid alcohol and drugs as well as cigarettes. The billionaire businessman and Republican presidential candidate is also encouraging the teens to follow their hearts and do something they love, even if it means making less money.”
The First Democratic Debate… And the Winner Is: Donald Trump
Breitbart wrote on October 14:
“While Tuesday night’s CNN political debate was intended as an opportunity for one of the Democrat Party presidential hopefuls to separate him or herself from the rest of the pack, the best line of the night came from a man who was not even in the room with the debaters nor in the same party. In effect, Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump stole the show with a perfectly-timed tweet explaining that Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Martin O’Malley, Jim Webb and Lincoln Chafee spent their night talking about all the free stuff they were going to give away–including ObamaCare benefits and tuition breaks for illegal immigrants–without once mentioning what they would do to make conditions better for U.S. military veterans.
“Amid the Obama administration’s Veterans Affairs (VA) scandal, the punishment for secret waiting lists–which have left veterans dying while the government they served denied them medical care–has been scant, and the agency has seen no substantial reforms. Trump has made veterans’ care a major talking point in his stump speeches… So Trump tweeted: ‘Notice that illegal immigrants will be given ObamaCare and free college tuition but nothing has been mentioned about our VETERANS #DemDebate.’ It was the best line of the night by far.
“The billionaire also overshadowed Democrats in social media engagement. Time declared that Trump ‘won Twitter’ during the debate, based on data saying he picked up 60,000 new followers–about 4 times as many as Clinton. Trump’s tweet at the time of this writing has nearly 11,000 retweets and 17,000 favorites, while Clinton’s biggest tweet of the night only reached 3,300 retweets and 4,800 favorites.”
According to the Washington Post, another note-worthy tweet came from former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee who wrote: “They believe climate change is a greater threat than Islamic extremism, that a sunburn is worse than a beheading. It’s nonsense.”
While “political experts” are divided as to the Democrat who won the Debate (most feel that it was Clinton), according to a poll published by Time.com and quoted by Bild Online, 62% favored Sanders, a self-declared independent Democratic socialist, while only 12% felt that Clinton had won. According to other polls, Sanders was leading by up to 70%. Deutsche Welle wrote that “Sanders has succeeded in pushing the debate to the left.”
Franklin Graham—The Senate Is Full of Hypocrites
Newsmax reported on September 26:
“‘The hypocrisy of our Senate never ceases to amaze me,’ the evangelist [Franklin Graham] said… ‘They welcomed Pope Francis into their chambers with a standing ovation and then within hours they voted down the bill to defund Planned Parenthood, an organization that not only murders innocent children in their mothers’ wombs but is also guilty of selling body parts from these babies.’…
“Americans must call abortion ‘what it is — murder; and we need lawmakers and leaders who are brave enough to stand and fight for human life,’ he wrote…
“On Thursday, Senate Democrats, joined by some Republicans, blocked efforts to deny federal funds for the women’s healthcare group, making a move to help avoid a government shutdown over the issue on Oct. 1. Most Senate Republicans had supported the plan to attach the Planned Parenthood defunding to a bill keeping government operating with the start of the new fiscal year on Oct. 1, but 42 Democrats, two independents and eight Republicans banded together to stop the anti-abortion effort. That marked 11 more votes than the 41 needed to block the legislation.”
In Tuesday’s Democratic Debate, Clinton again strongly supported Planned Parenthood.
Pope Apologizes for Recent Sex Scandals
Reuters reported on October 4:
“Pope Francis asked for forgiveness on Wednesday for scandals at the Vatican and in Rome, an apparent reference to two cases of priests and gay sex revealed this month during a major meeting of bishops. ‘Today … in the name of the Church, I ask you for forgiveness for the scandals that have occurred recently either in Rome or in the Vatican,’ Francis said in unprepared remarks during his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square.
“… there have been two scandals involving the Vatican and the Church in Rome in the past two weeks. On Oct. 3, a Polish monsignor working in the Vatican’s doctrinal office since 2003 held a packed news conference in which he disclosed that he was gay and had been living with another man for years. The Vatican dismissed Monsignor Krzysztof Charamsa, a theologian, from his job there as well as from teaching assignments in pontifical universities in Rome.
“A spokesman said at the time that Charamsa’s high-profile coming out on the eve of a meeting of world bishops at the Vatican was ‘grave and irresponsible’. It accused him of trying to exert ‘undue media pressure’ on the bishops’ debate on family issues, including the Church’s position on gays…
“The pope also appeared to be referring to a scandal exposed in the Italian media last week about an order of priests who run a parish in a well-to-do neighborhood in Rome. Parishioners in the Santa Teresa d’Avila parish wrote to local Church officials alleging that a clergyman there had had encounters with ‘vulnerable adults’. Newspapers said these took place in an adjacent park often frequented by male prostitutes.
“According to the letter published in the media, parishioners said they had assembled evidence about the clergyman’s illicit activities and were furious to discover he had been transferred to another part of Italy instead of being disciplined.
“Since his election in 2013, the pope has asked forgiveness for sexual abuse of the children by the clergy and for the Church’s treatment of Protestants and indigenous people in the course of its history.”
Apart from “apologies,” what is the Catholic Church doing about the issue?
American Economy Heading for Disaster
Newsmax wrote on October 14:
“GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump warned that the current stock-market bubble will eventually pop and plunge the nation into another recession. Trump accused Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen of keeping interest rates low in order to shield President Obama from having to leave office during a recession… But don’t be fooled, Trump warns. The nation is on a path to financial disaster…
“Other prominent economic experts agree with Trump and say the government is to blame for placing the U.S. economy in the fast lane to disaster. Newsmax Finance Insider Stephen Moore says that Washington doesn’t understand what went wrong in 2007 and 2008, so the Fed, the White House and Congress are recreating the very same conditions for another financial bubble…”
Proposed Amended US Copyright Law Would Destroy News Sites
Daily Caller wrote on October 13:
“Congress may update digital copyright law affecting aggregator sites, like the Drudge Report and Real Clear Politics, along with news sites in the near future… Drudge Report site owner Matt Drudge told Alex Jones of InfoWars last week that copyright laws could very well end his popular site. ‘I had a Supreme Court Justice tell me it’s over for me,’ said Drudge. ‘They’ve got the votes now to enforce copyright law, you’re out of there. They’re going to make it so you can’t even use headlines.’
“He explained, ‘To have a Supreme Court Justice say to me it’s over, they’ve got the votes, which means time is limited,’ he added, noting that a day was coming when simply operating an independent website could be outlawed. That will end [it] for me…’ said Drudge, adding that web users were being pushed into the cyber ‘ghettos’ of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.”
Such a new law would not be surprising, giving the continuing governmental effort to restrict and violate personal liberties and freedoms.
Unconditional Promise for Healing in this Life?
In previous Q&A’s, we have set forth some of the biblical requirements for physical healing.
We pointed out that because of Christ’s supreme Sacrifice, God has promised to heal our physical illnesses, if we are fulfilling certain conditions. We showed that God expects a sick person to ask the ministers of His Church to anoint the sick with oil or send an anointed cloth to the sick person. We also showed that the sick person must have faith to be healed, and that he or she must do the things “which are pleasing in God’s sight.” In addition, keeping God’s commandments is an absolute necessity.
At the same time, we must not conclude that we are guilty of neglecting or violating these requirements if we do not enjoy healing right away. We must of course prove, test and examine ourselves in this regard, but that is not to say that we are to run around with a guilty conscience, assuming we are not healed because we are the most terrible sinner in the world, lacking faith, while we are unable to determine in what regard we have supposedly failed. To develop a guilt complex and fall into depression as a consequence is most certainly not the right approach.
We must understand that God might have an overriding purpose for not healing us right away, KNOWING at the same time that God cannot lie, and that HE WILL heal us in His due time. It is important to develop a close relationship with God so that “delayed” healing or other “delayed” answers to our prayers will NEVER result in us doubting God and His Word.
In our free booklet, “Sickness and Healing–What the Bible Tells Us,” we state the following:
“Paul seems to have had another sickness that was not healed by God during his lifetime. We read in 2 Corinthians 12:7–10: ‘And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations [Paul had just described how God let him see, in a vision, the third heaven, or paradise, where God dwells], a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet [beat] me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times [he asked God three times in a very formal way that he be healed from that sickness] that it might depart from me. And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities [or weaknesses or sicknesses], that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.’
“We see from this passage that Paul’s sickness—some think it was malaria [while others think it might have been an eye problem]—was NOT the result of an individual sin of Paul. We can also see that this particular sickness was caused by Satan, not God, but God did allow it. Further, God chose not to heal Paul from this sickness during his life. The reason God allowed this sickness was so that Paul would NOT sin and so that he could more fully appreciate and recognize what it meant to suffer, just as Christ suffered. Christ said, when he called Saul, that Saul had to experience what it meant to suffer for Christ’s name (Acts 9:16). Paul later commented that he bore in his body ‘the marks of the Lord Jesus’ (Galatians 6:17).”
The fact that God did not heal Paul at that time (Paul WILL be healed in his resurrection to eternal life) had NOTHING to do with sinful conduct or lack of faith. Rather, God chose not to heal Paul at that time because that was the BETTER course of action.
We also stated this in a previous Q&A on Paul’s faith:
“The question of sickness and healing has confused many people. Some don’t believe in godly healing; others claim that given enough faith, God will heal every sickness in this life. Some carry with them feelings of guilt, as they prayed to God for healing and were not healed, concluding that the reason must be their fault and their lack of faith. Some conclude that if we prayed to God for healing ‘in accordance with’ or ‘subject to’ His Will, this would already signify our doubt in God’s intervention. Some say that when Paul asked God for healing (compare 2 Corinthians 12:7-10), Paul did not really have the faith that God would heal him. They make the same argument regarding Elisha (2 Kings 13:14, 20-21), stating that Elisha was not healed because he did not have the faith that he would be healed.
“We should be able to see that these conclusions cannot possibly be correct. To suggest that Paul and Elisha did not have enough faith in God’s healing is absolutely wrong. But those ideas show the confusion some people have regarding this often-misunderstood topic of sickness and healing…
“Some say that if we only have enough faith in God to heal, then we have an unconditional promise for healing in each and every case. But… this is not correct. If it were so, why was the apostle Paul not healed? Why were righteous prophets, like Elisha, not healed? … we must understand that it may NOT be God’s Will to heal us right away, or completely, or at all, in this life. And there are reasons for that. To argue with and deny this, we are really ‘tempting’ God or better ‘testing Him severely,’ trying to force OUR Will on Him. Some have done this, refusing to take medical help–for instance, an insulin-dependent diabetic refuses to take insulin–’believing’ that God would heal the person of diabetes. In some cases, they nearly died, and some did, in fact, die. This is not unconditional faith—it is ‘foolishness’ and unbiblical conduct…
“Christ experienced what it was like to suffer in the flesh, so that He could become our merciful High Priest (Hebrews 2:17; 4:14–16; 5:6–8). All of us need to be compassionate and merciful toward others. In going through trials and suffering, including [a prolonged] sickness, we develop empathy for others who are also afflicted with sickness (compare 2 Corinthians 1:3–7). This may be, at times, one of the reasons why God may decide not to heal us right away.
“… even if we had ‘perfect’ faith and lived a ‘perfect’ life and had brought about perfect reconciliation with our brother and sister, God might STILL NOT heal us in this life from a particular sickness. Why not? Because God might have in mind a superior purpose for us in this life which He deems much more important than our healing from temporary frailties… If we REALLY love God, then we will have developed such a close relationship with Him that we will understand and accept the fact that God may respond to our plea for healing with the words, ‘Not yet, My child.’…
“… if we are sick, we are to pray to God for healing and avail ourselves of the privilege of calling for the elders of His Church to anoint us with oil and to pray for us. MANY were healed who did this – some miraculously in an instant. Others did not experience immediate healing, or healing at all in this life, but lack of faith or ungodly living or lack of reconciliation with others did not HAVE to be the reason. We must of course make sure that we do our part, and we must then have the unshakable confidence and trust that God WILL heal us—in HIS due time—never questioning Him, and never trying to ‘force’ Him to do what WE want Him to do, even though it would not be in our best interest and might even prevent us from entering His Kingdom. We might not fully understand all the reasons why someone is not healed right away or at all… but we MUST have the absolute faith and conviction that God knows everything; that He can do everything; and that He will do everything that we ask… in His due time and subject to His Will.”
Referring to praying to God subject to His Will, we should understand what is meant by this. We stated in a previous Q&A on godly requirements for healing:
“Christ KNEW that He had to go through His ordeal, but as a human being, He WISHED so hard that there could be another way. Deep down inside, He understood, of course, that there was no other way (He Himself had inspired Old Testament writers to prophesy about His torture and crucifixion), but He just expressed His innermost feelings to the Father in prayer. But He always added that the Father’s Will had to be done, not Christ’s human will which did not want to go through these terrible events just ahead of Him. And He submitted to the Father’s Will in everything. This must be our approach as well. We must never argue with God and oppose God’s Will for us, whatever it may be. But submitting to God’s Will has nothing to do with lack of faith.
“When we ask God for healing, we MUST believe that our request will be granted. When we ask God for healing, we must not doubt at the same time by thinking that perhaps it is not God’s Will to heal us. Such a prayer would show doubt (Matthew 21:21-22; Mark 11:23). It would not avail anything, because why would we even ask God for healing in the first place? If in a particular case God does not intervene right away, or for a longer period of time, we must not lose faith and give in to doubt (Matthew 14:31), but rather, our faith must grow ever stronger (Romans 4:20, Living Bible), being totally convinced that God will answer our prayer of faith in His due time. And let us not forget that no sickness—no matter how severe—is beyond God’s power to heal. There is NOTHING too hard or impossible for God (Mark 10:27; Luke 1:37; Genesis 18:14; Jeremiah 32:17).”
It really boils down to the question as to whether we have “unconditional love” for God and His Way of Life–never willing to forsake that way if things don’t work out in the way which we want them to. A good description of unconditional love for God can be found in Luke 16:13, where we read that loving our Master means, holding on to Him (Authorized Version) or being devoted to Him (NIV). The Living Bible states that we will be enthusiastic about Him. Christ had an extremely intimate relationship with the Father. We read that He is in the “bosom of the Father” (John 1:18). The NIV says that He is in “closest relationship with the Father.” The Pulpit Commentary adds that Christ is “in most intimate and loving fellowship with the Father.” We must acquire that same kind of relationship with God. We read in a parable, for example, that Lazarus was “in Abraham’s bosom” (Luke 16:23), describing the same close relationship and unity of mind. Christ NEVER doubted that whatever the Father decided was best for Him and others. James tells us too that God is the Giver of good and perfect gifts (James 1:17). We must never lose this conviction that God knows best, and that whatever He decides is the very best for us. With that understanding, we will gladly accept God’s Will in our lives… whatever it may be.
Lead Writer: Norbert Link
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
A new Member Letter reporting on our Feast sites in the United States and Germany will be sent out next week. We will also include a copy of our newest booklet, “Do You Know the Jesus of the Bible?” Those attending the Feast have already received a copy.
“Germany’s Disastrous Migrant Crisis,” is the title of a new StandingWatch program presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:
Europe and especially Germany are facing an unsolvable migrant crisis of unparalleled proportions in recent history, which has been caused by the situation in Syria. Both Russia and the USA are fighting for preeminence in Syria, but the Obama administration is clearly losing. Angela Merkel’s unquestioned leadership role is now under severe attack, and calls for her resignation from inside and outside her own party are becoming louder. Is a powerful German leader on the rise who might replace her? We are offering two free booklets, dealing with the subject at hand: “Middle Eastern and African Nations in Bible Prophecy” and “The Ten European Revivals of the Ancient Roman Empire.”
“Geistliches Wachstum in Gottes Kirche,” is the title of this Sabbath’s German sermon. It is dealing with growth in individual members and in the church as a collective body. Title in English: “Spiritual Growth in God’s Church.”
We will be posting our Feast messages which were given in the USA and in Germany on our respective websites. Quite a few have already been posted on the American and German YouTube pages; please have a look.
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