|The Seal of God; Rumors and Conspiracies
|This Week in the News
|In What Way is Christ the End of the Law?
|Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
The Seal of God; Rumors and Conspiracies
On January 23, 2016, Kalon Mitchell will present the sermonette, titled, “The Seal of God,” and Norbert Link will present the sermon, titled, “Rumors and Conspiracies.”
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.
by Dave Harris
Are you a complainer?
The underlying reason for being labeled a complainer is that a person doesn’t get his or her own way in matters with others. Unfortunately, this approach turns into an attitude that spreads throughout one’s personality and actions.
Israel stands out as a stark example of complaining—against their leaders and even against God! As a nation, the children of Israel allowed their complaining to become infectious, and the consequences were devastating:
“But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness. Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted. And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, ‘The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.’ Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell; nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents; nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer” (1 Corinthians 10:5-10).
It is easy to grumble, to become accusatory and critical, but this approach leads to bitterness. Being a complainer darkens the light which should show in our lives.
Christians have been given this challenge:
“Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life…” (Philippians 2:14-16).
Can we stop the complaining, please?
We are reporting on the ongoing debate regarding the “Natural Born Citizen” clause in the US Constitution and what it means for the eligibility of a Presidential candidate; we continue with the highly doubtful possibility that Hillary Clinton might be criminally charged for alleged “serious legal violations”; and we address the Iran “deal” which has led now to the lifting of sanctions and the forthcoming payment of billions of dollars to Iran, while especially Saudi Arabia is very unhappy about these developments.
Germany’s former President of Bavaria, Edmund Stoiber, is asking for the closure of Germany’s borders to all migrants, while Germany’s “apocalyptic mood” against Angela Merkel is “boiling over.”
The relationship between the EU and Israel is deteriorating in light of the EU’s position “that the lands Israel has occupied since the 1967 Middle East war – including the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights – are not part of the internationally recognized borders of Israel.”
Warnings are uttered that a coming recession will be worse than the one in 2008. We also report on rumors pertaining to President Obama’s alleged future plans; Vice President Biden’s outbursts in Davos; and the left-liberal state of California’s enactment of a law requiring “all California public school students to take sex education [classes] beginning in seventh grade.” These classes will apparently include the unbiblical teaching of “gender identity” and the liberal view on “sexual orientation.” At this point, the state allows concerned parents to “formally opt out by submitting a document to their school or district.”
We conclude with attempts by the Church of England, the Coptic Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church to universally “fix the date of Easter within the next five to 10 years.” We explain why Easter celebrations (regardless as to when they occur) are not in accordance with biblical teaching.
This Week in the News
Ted Cruz Facing Serious Challenge over His Birth in Canada—Donald Trump Surging Ahead
On January 15, 2016, Newsmax reported:
“Sen. Ted Cruz’ ‘birther’ nightmare took a dramatic turn Friday after a Texas lawyer filed the first lawsuit challenging his eligibility to serve as president because he was born in Canada… The lawsuit… was filed in federal court in Texas Thursday and argues the question must be presented to the Supreme Court for a fair shake instead of left up to popular opinion. ‘This 229-year question has never been pled, presented to or finally decided by or resolved by the U.S. Supreme Court. Only the U.S. Supreme Court can finally decide, determine judicially and settle this issue now,’ the lawsuit states…
“Cruz, the son of an American mother and a Cuban father, was born in Canada… Cruz’s campaign insists he is eligible, but the suit argues that a United States president must be a ‘natural-born citizen’ — a term whose definition the Supreme Court hasn’t previously considered.”
Several legal scholars, including Harvard Professor Lawrence Tribe (who taught law to Barak Obama and Ted Cruz) concluded that the issue was far from clear. But it is not expected that the Supreme Court, even IF it was to hear the case, would decide against Cruz.
As one will recall, Barack Obama’s eligibility has been repeatedly questioned, based on the allegation that he was not born in the USA, but in Kenya or Indonesia. Even though short and long form “birth certificates” were produced, purportedly stating that he was born in Hawaii, that issue is far from settled, and despite the narrative of the mainstream media, nagging questions and inconsistencies remain, but they did not make any difference in the political field.
Express wrote on January 15:
“Mr Trump is one step closer to becoming the Republican Presidential candidate. According to a poll by the National Republican Senatorial Committee, 47.6 per cent believed Mr Trump won the debate [on January 14]… The front-runner and his nearest challenger Ted Cruz ended a longstanding truce with a series of bitter exchanges. Just 34.6 per cent of voters believed Mr Cruz won the debate with the remaining five candidates trailing behind.
“… a quarter of Republicans think White House hopeful Mr Cruz is disqualified to serve as US president because he was born in Canada to an American mother and Cuban father… The birthright issue has dogged American politics before, in 2008 Republican nominee John McCain survived questions about his birth in Panama because he was born on a U.S. military installation there and it was judged to be U.S. soil. In 1967, Republican candidate George Romney faced questions about his birth in Mexico, but his candidacy never advanced far and the issue was abandoned.
“Mr Trump also defended his controversial call to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. He first called [for] a temporary ban on Muslims entering the country in the wake of the deadly attack in San Bernardino, California, which saw a Muslim couple shoot 14 people dead.” [All other candidates on stage disagreed with Donald Trump on this issue.]
Criminal Charges Against Hillary Clinton?
Newsmax reported on January 15:
“Two former U.S. Attorneys predict that [the] FBI has developed a strong case in its investigation of Hillary Clinton’s email server that will result in criminal charges… ‘I expect the FBI to conclude the investigation within 60 to 90 days and make a recommendation to the Justice Department, and I believe they will recommend a series of charges involving the classified information,’ Joseph diGenova, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia during Ronald Reagan’s presidency, tells the Free Beacon.
“Matthew Whitaker, the former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa in the George W. Bush administration agreed that the public evidence so far indicates ‘serious legal violations’ have been uncovered by the FBI’s look at whether classified information was mishandled by Clinton’s use of private email while she was Secretary of State, the Free Beacon reports.
“‘There’s got to be more that we don’t know,’ added Whitaker, who runs a watchdog group that has criticized Clinton. ‘I think that could be really incriminating evidence, if it’s like anything we’ve already seen.’”
Newsmax wrote on January 19:
“Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush told Newsmax TV Tuesday that he doubted whether Hillary Clinton would be indicted in the email scandal because ‘it’s the most politicized attorney general and Department of Justice in a long while.’ ‘I have doubts that they will do the right thing,’ Bush, who governed Florida from 1999 to 2007 [said]. ‘I think the process should go forward, but at a minimum she is not telling the truth.’”
It is highly doubtful that the FBI and the democratically-run Justice Department would bring criminal charges against Hillary Clinton. In the Democratic Debate on January 17, she had a heated exchange with Socialist Bernie Sanders who is surging in the polls and who is becoming a serious contender to Hillary Clinton, although few observers believe that he will win the Democratic nomination.
Iran is Sanctioned by USA and Receives Billions of Dollars
Breitbart wrote on January 18:
“Iran will ignore recently-passed U.S. sanctions against its ballistic missile program, the regime’s defense minister pledged on Monday, promising to unveil new homemade weapons systems in the near future… On Sunday, the U.S. Treasury Department announced it would impose sanctions against a number of individuals and organizations over Iran’s ballistic missile program…
“The new sanctions come as Iran is expected to receive tens of billions of dollars in frozen assets in accordance with the Iran nuclear deal… agreed upon by the regime in Tehran and the P5+1 world powers.
“On Sunday, Secretary of State John Kerry announced the U.S. had granted Iran $1.7 billion dollars, repaying the Ayatollah’s theocracy a $400 million dollar debt plus $1.3 billion in interest. Kerry called the payment a ‘fair settlement.’ President Obama agreed, claiming ‘the settlement could save us billions of dollars that could have been pursued by Iran.’”
Saudi Arabia Unhappy about Iran Deal and Lifting of Sanctions
The Guardian wrote on January 18:
“Saudi Arabia has never formally objected to the international deal restricting Iran’s nuclear programme and ending [international] sanctions [against Iran]. But it watched with anxiety and irritation as Barack Obama pursued the historic agreement… Billions of dollars were wiped off Saudi and other Gulf stocks the moment the Islamic republic returned to world oil markets – at time when low prices are taking a heavy toll on the Saudis and forcing them to undertake unprecedented economic reforms.
“Their larger fear is that Iran, flush with new revenues, will be emboldened to intensify its activities across an already violent and unstable Middle East. ‘Every country in the world is worried about this,’ Adel al-Jubeir, the Saudi foreign minister, said last week as sanctions were set to lift. ‘Iran’s record has been one of war and destruction, terrorism, destabilisation, interference in the affairs of other countries…’
“For similar reasons to Israel, Saudi Arabia has good reason to fear a resurgent post-sanctions Iran pursuing its policies unhindered across the region… The question is whether they risk, by maintaining their own hardline positions, turning that into a self-fulfilling prophecy.”
Germany’s Former President of Bavaria: “Close Borders to All Migrants”
Breitbart wrote on January 18:
“Germany should completely close its borders to refugees if it is to solve [the] migrant crisis, a former President of Bavaria has said. Edmund Stoiber (74) — an elder statesmen in the Christian Social Union (CSU), Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Bavarian sister party — said Germany had to change direction fast, and gave the Chancellor just two months to solve the problem. ‘Angela Merkel must now change her position, otherwise there will be disastrous consequences for Germany and Europe,’ Mr Stoiber said in an interview with Süddeutsche Zeitung. In what appeared to be an ultimatum, he added that if Mrs Merkel does [not] change her policy, there will be a ‘confrontation’ after local elections in March [when three German states will go to the polls]…
“The only solution that will likely make a difference, Mr Stoiber added, was for Germany to completely close its border to refugees for an unspecified period… If it does not take radical action, the rest of Europe will see the migrant crisis as a specifically German problem and will never reach an agreement to tackle it.
“Mr Stoiber is well-known for his outspoken conservatism as was regarded as a thorn in Angela Merkel’s side while he served as Bavarian President, despite being formally in electoral alliance with her. In 2002, he outmanoeuvred her to become the main centre-right candidate for Chancellor, but narrowly lost the subsequent election. He had already been calling for limited immigration long before the current migrant crisis began and staunchly opposed Turkey joining the European Union (EU), saying its Muslim culture was not compatible with European values.
“In 2004, Mr Stoiber even went as far as to call Turkey a threat to the EU’s very survival…”
A Press Release of the European Commission announced that on December 18, 2014, “the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, appointed Dr Edmund Stoiber as Special Adviser on Better Regulation. In his new role, Dr Stoiber will in particular advise on how to cut red tape and reduce administrative burdens for small and medium sized enterprises to boost jobs, growth and investments in the EU.”
Gauck and Merkel vs. Stoiber
The Local wrote on January 20:
“Germany’s president [Joachim Gauck] said Wednesday it is ‘morally and politically necessary’ to limit Europe’s refugee influx, warning that failing to do so meant ceding ground to populists and extremists… Gauck stressed however that for Germany, the drastic action of slamming the door shut to refugees – as sought by populists and the far-right – was not an option. An isolation strategy is different from setting limits, he said…
“Like Gauck, Chancellor Angela Merkel has rebuffed calls to close the German borders…”
However, the EUobserver reported on January 19:
“Germany must… be ready to close its borders, German transport minister Alexander Dobrindt has said, in a direct challenge to chancellor Angela Merkel’s policy… Dobrindt is from the CSU, the Bavarian sister party of Merkel’s Christian democrat CDU, which has been critical of the chancellor’s policy from the start…
“On Sunday, Bild, Germany’s most popular daily, asked on its first page whether Merkel is ‘still the right one’… It concluded: ‘Merkel’s refugee policy [is] at the point of failure.’
“Coming from a newspaper known for its populist tendencies, but which has, overall, supported Merkel’s ‘Willkommenspolitik’ [the policy that everybody is welcome] the story could signal a change of fortune for the chancellor…
“Austria’s interior minister, Johanna Mikl-Leitner, has said that from the end of this week, she will let through only migrants who intend to seek asylum in Germany…”
Bild also wrote on January 21 that CSU-chief and President of Bavaria, Horst Seehofer, threatened with a lawsuit to establish that only a certain number of migrants would be allowed to come to Germany. According to a recent poll, most Germans agree with Seehofer and propose 200,000 migrants.
Der Spiegel and Der Stern claim that it is the goal of the CSU to “overthrow” Merkel.
Everyone Against Merkel, While Germany Is Boiling
Deutsche Welle wrote on January 18:
“There is growing criticism of Angela Merkel in Germany. There are increasing indications that her own party is distancing itself from her. What is odd is the apocalyptic mood in the media…
“Germany is boiling. Much of the German media is boiling. More than a million refugees in the country and more and more problems, some predictable, some surprising and disturbing. The country is expressing opinions with a new dimension of harshness. And a sense of schadenfreude accompanies both the disastrous situation and the apocalyptic scenarios…
“Merkel, whose ‘humanitarian imperative’ opened up the (German) borders to refugees, is at the heart of the criticism – the degree of which is surprising, despite the drama… It’s everyone against the chancellor.”
For those who might not be entirely familiar with the German word “schadenfreude,” as quoted in the article above, its meaning is “a feeling of enjoyment that comes from seeing or hearing about the troubles of other people.”
Der Stern Online commented on January 20 that for the first time, Merkel pursues politics against the will of the people, reminding us of former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder who tried the same on a different topic and failed in 2005. At that time, he asked the parliament for a vote of confidence and lost, and as a consequence, premature new elections were held, which resulted in Merkel’s victory against Schroeder. Germany is not due for national elections until 2017, but if Merkel were to ask for a vote of confidence and were to lose, things would be different, according to the magazine.
Time to “Reset” EU-Israeli Relationship?
JTA wrote on January 15:
“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for a ‘reset’ in relations with the European Union, accusing it, and Sweden in particular, of unfairly singling out Israel. In addition to attacking Brussels for its decision to label West Bank settlement goods, Netanyahu on Thursday for the first time publicly accused the E.U. of building ‘illegal constructions’ in the West Bank in an alleged bid to create ‘political realities’ there…
“He added that he had recently discussed the tense bilateral ties with the E.U.’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini…”
Deutsche Welle reported on January 18:
“EU Ministers have reiterated the bloc’s position that the lands Israel has occupied since the 1967 Middle East war – including the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights – are not part of the internationally recognized borders of Israel. Therefore, goods coming from those locations cannot be labeled ‘Made in Israel.’… The EU statement was positively received by Palestine, with chief negotiator Saeb Erekat calling it ‘a step forward towards accountability.’ He called on the EU to ‘take immediate steps, such as banning settlement products’.
“But Israel responded that the statement was discriminatory… ‘Out of about 200 border conflicts in the world, the European Union is choosing to discriminate only against Israel. This stance prevents the (European) Union from being a fair player in resolving the conflict,’ the Israeli Foreign Ministry said in a statement. Following the EU’s publication of the labeling guidelines, Israel suspended contact with EU bodies working on peace efforts with Palestine – bringing the Middle East peace process to a halt.”
The relationship between Europe and Israel is prophesied to deteriorate drastically.
“A Recession Worse than 2008 Is Coming”
CNBC wrote on January 15:
“… a recession has occurred in the U.S. about every five years, on average, since the end of WWII; and it has been seven years since the last one — we are overdue… this one will be worse. A major contributor for this imminent recession is the fallout from a faltering Chinese economy… But the debt debacle in China is not the primary catalyst for the next recession in the United States. It is the fact that equity prices and real estate values can no longer be supported by incomes and GDP.
“… the startling truth is that businesses, the federal government and the Federal Reserve have taken on a humongous amount of additional debt since 2007. Even household debt has increased back to its 2007 record of $14.1 trillion. Specifically, business debt during that time frame has grown from $10.1 trillion, to $12.6 trillion; the total national debt boomed from $9.2 trillion, to $18.9 trillion; and the Fed’s balance sheet has exploded from $880 billion to $4.5 trillion… the federal government’s debt has now soared to nearly 600 percent of total revenue…
“Therefore, this… by all accounts brutal upcoming recession [is inevitable]… the ability of government to save the markets and the economy this time around will be extremely difficult, if not impossible. Look for chaos in currency, bond and equity markets on an international scale throughout 2016. Indeed, it already has begun.”
The Telegraph wrote on January 19:
“The global financial system has become dangerously unstable and faces an avalanche of bankruptcies that will test social and political stability, a leading monetary theorist has warned. ‘The situation is worse than it was in 2007…’ said William White, the Swiss-based chairman of the OECD’s review committee and former chief economist of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS). ‘Debts have continued to build up over the last eight years and they have reached such levels in every part of the world that they have become a potent cause for mischief,’ he said…
“European banks have already admitted to $1 trillion of non-performing loans: they are heavily exposed to emerging markets and are almost certainly rolling over further bad debts that have never been disclosed. The European banking system may have to be recapitalized on a scale yet unimagined, and new ‘bail-in’ rules mean that any deposit holder above the guarantee of €100,000 will have to help pay for it.
“The warnings have special resonance since Mr White was one of the very few voices in the central banking fraternity who stated loudly and clearly between 2005 and 2008 that Western finance was riding for a fall, and that the global economy was susceptible to a violent crisis…
“Mr White said the Fed is now in a horrible quandary… ‘It is a debt trap. Things are so bad that there is no right answer. If they raise rates it’ll be nasty. If they don’t raise rates, it just makes matters worse,’ he said…”
The Washington Post wrote on January 20:
“Queasy investors sent global markets plunging again Wednesday, stomping out recent meager gains and spotlighting fresh worries over cratering oil prices and signs of slowing international growth.”
Bloomberg added on January 20:
“US Stocks Sink With Markets Around the World as Rout Deepens… Turmoil returned to global markets as oil plunged and the Dow Jones Industrial Average sank more than 400 points, fueling a rush into haven assets.”
A New Job for President Obama?
The Washington Times wrote on January 12:
“… rumors are floating back from the Middle East that he is sounding out Democrats, Republicans and friends of the United Nations in the United States to help him get the job of secretary-general of the U.N. [Ban Ki-Moon term expires this year] and Mr. Obama is said to think he’s just the man to succeed him…
“The Kuwaiti daily Al-Jarida reports that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has heard the rumor and is recruiting the Persian Gulf states, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, new allies in fear of Iran, to cut the president off at the pass…
“The Jerusalem Post reports that its sources close to Mr. Netanyahu do not deny the speculation that the prime minister aims to ‘torpedo the Obama project.’ These friends say Mr. Netanyahu thinks Mr. Obama’s presidency has been characterized by moving closer to the Muslim Brotherhood, toppling the regime of Hosni Mubarak, and by attempts to ally himself with political Islam.
“Mr. Obama is said to think he can resolve the warfare between Shiites and Sunnis, between Persians and Arabs, Turks and Kurds, Copts and Salafists, and get the states of the United Nations to acclaim him as the messiah once envisioned for himself in Washington. Hope and change didn’t work there, but maybe it would at the U.N., where standards and expectations are lower. The secretary-general is appointed by the General Assembly on the recommendation of the Security Council, subject to the veto of any of the five permanent members of the Security Council. The general assembly, dominated by left-wing regimes that despise America and the democratic traditions it stands for, might happily support the ex-president who set out to cut America down to size.
“But China and Russia, both as permanent members of the U.N. Security Council have a veto over the secretary-general’s appointment, might not agree, leftist or not… The story might be just another imaginative fairy tale of the Arabian night. The Arab media is addicted to such tales. But Mr. Obama was once described by Bill Clinton as a fairy tale, too, and here he is, completing his second term, and Mr. Obama does not suffer excessive modesty…”
Biden Had It With Culture
The Huffington Post wrote on January 20:
“Vice President Joe Biden got visibly heated while discussing the importance of LGBT rights on Wednesday. Speaking at an LGBT rights roundtable at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, [he] lamented that openly gay and transgender people are still treated like second class citizens around the world. ‘LGBT people face violence, harassment, unequal treatment, mistreatment by cops, denial of health care, isolation — always in the name of culture. I’ve had it up to [here] with culture. I really mean it,’ he said, striking the table with his palms. ‘Culture never justifies rank, raw, discrimination or violation of human rights. There is no cultural justification. None. None. None.’
“Biden said that he has confronted at least four heads of state from countries where people face persecution over their sexuality. He didn’t say which leaders he spoke to, but at least 75 countries represented in Davos outlaw homosexuality.
“The vice president has been a vocal champion for gay rights during his time in the White House. In 2012, he publicly announced his support for same sex marriage — a move many suspected prompted a similar announcement three days later from President Barack Obama. Most recently, he helped the administration push comprehensive new legislation to protect LGBT people from discrimination…”
Vice President Biden, a practicing Catholic, does not seem to care about Judeo-Christian culture AND what the Bible has to say about the topic.
Sex Education Classes Required for California Public School Children
On January 13, KQED reported the following:
“A new state law in effect this year requires all California public school students to take sex education beginning in seventh grade. Parents who don’t want their kids to learn about issues like body image, contraception and HIV awareness and prevention will have to formally opt out by submitting a document to their school or district. For years, sex education has been optional. If parents wanted their children to take a sexual health class, they had to sign up for the instruction.
“The law, called the California Healthy Youth Act, attempts to standardize and update sex education in the state, which also now must include gender identity. San Francisco Unified has one of the most comprehensive sex education curriculums in the state, covering everything from sexual orientation to abusive relationships…
“The big question is how the state will monitor school districts, and whether there will be an uptick in families opting out. Camille Giglio, with the group California Right To Life, says this curriculum goes too far. ‘This comes into a whole new category of being forced to listen for six years to one version of so-called sexual health,’ Giglio said.”
This is another attempt by a left-liberal God-defying agenda to teach against the clear doctrines of the Bible.
“Easter Date to Be Fixed ‘Within Next Five to 10 Years’”
The Telegraph wrote on January 15:
“The date of Easter could be fixed within the next five to 10 years, the Archbishop of Canterbury has said…
“Anglicans are to join Copts and Catholics in talks to resolve the problem… The Pope has already signaled that he is open to changing the date of Easter so that Christians around the world could celebrate on the same day.
“The date of Easter depends on the phases of the moon. It is determined by the first full moon after the spring equinox and means Easter can fall anywhere between March 22 and April 25. The Easter Act of 1928 means it is already possible for the government to institute a permanent date….
“The leader of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the UK, Bishop Angaelos, said it would be a powerful demonstration of Christian unity if it could be achieved…
“The Coptic Easter falls on May 1 this year and can vary from the main western date by five weeks. Easter Sunday this year falls on 27 March, with Good Friday, 25 March, and Easter Monday, 28 March, both bank holidays. Next year Easter falls later, in the middle of April.”
It appears that “Christianity” is less concerned with what is perceived to be the correct timing of the most important festival of its creed, but more with “unity.” However, as pointed out below, the entire festival of Easter is in no way biblical.
In a related article, titled, “How Easter is calculated,” the Telegraph explained the following:
“Methods for calculating Easter are fiendishly complicated, in a uniquely baffling synthesis of mathematics, astronomy and theology. Because Christians believe that Jesus was crucified during the Jewish Passover festival, Easter is marked around that time. But by the end of the 2nd Century different Christian groups were already marking it on separate dates. The landmark Council of Nicea in 325AD, which set out the core Christian beliefs in a single creed, also attempted to standardise Easter.
“Since then it has generally been accepted as falling on the first Sunday following the first full moon after the spring equinox – which the Church approximated as March 21. But throughout the centuries disputes over the exact timing have been used as proxies for deeper power struggles. It effectively set the course of the history of the British Isles at the Synod of Whitby in 664AD when the preferred date of the Roman, rather than the Celtic church, became the standard. The decision is regarded as having brought Britain more firmly into the European sphere of influence – an issue still dominating the political agenda in the run up to the EU referendum.”
The Bible nowhere commands the observance of Easter, which was originally a pagan holiday in worship of the moon goddess Ishtar or Eastre. The Bible does not teach either that Jesus was crucified on a Friday and resurrected on a Sunday, as He proclaimed that He would be dead and in the grave for three days and three nights—72 hours (Matthew 12:38-40; compare John 11:9-10, defining the daylight portion of a day as including 12 hours, followed by the night portion of including another 12 hours).
The Bible commands the observance of Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread. The seven Days of Unleavened Bread immediately follow the Passover evening when Jesus was betrayed and arrested. For more information, please read our free booklet, “Man’s Holidays and God’s Holy Days.”
In What Way is Christ the End of the Law?
We find the following statement in Romans 10:4: “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.”
Many use this Scripture for the false concept that Christ came to end or abolish the law, and that we are free to break the law (which, they claim, does not exist anymore for us), and that all we need in order to be righteous in the eyes of God is a belief in Christ.
It is true, of course, that with the death of Jesus Christ, the sacrificial system found its completion, so that we are no longer bound to keep Old Testament rituals, including animal sacrifices and physical circumcision. We are no longer under a temporary tutor of rituals which brought us to Christ (Galatians 3:24). Those ritual laws and sacrifices were added because of sin and transgressions until the Seed (Jesus Christ) would come (Galatians 3:19; Romans 5:20). Sin is the transgression of the law (1 John 3:4, Authorized Version). It is obvious then that Galatians speaks about two different sets of laws—the law of temporary rituals and sacrifices which was added and the permanent spiritual law which defines sin (Romans 7:14). While the ritual law has been fulfilled in Christ and is no longer in force and effect for us, the spiritual law (some call it moral law) is still binding and, as we will see, can be obeyed by us when the love of God and the faith of Christ reside in us and when we are following Christ’s lead.
The Bible makes it very clear that theoretical faith “in” Christ is not enough, and that we will not inherit salvation when we refuse to keep God’s spiritual law of the Ten Commandments. When a rich young ruler asked Christ what he needed to do to have eternal life (Matthew 19:16), Christ answered that in order to have eternal life, to enter the kingdom of God and to inherit salvation (compare verses 24, 25), he had to keep the commandments (verse 17), clarifying that He spoke about the Ten Commandments (verses 18-19).
James confirms the biblical teaching that we must still keep the Ten Commandments today, showing that even the violation of one of the Ten Commandments convicts us as transgressors of the law which will judge us. He says in James 2:8-12: “If you really fulfill the royal law according to Scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself,’ you do well; but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors. For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. For He who said, ‘Do not commit adultery,’ also said, ‘Do not murder.’ Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty.”
It is absolutely false to say that Christ came to do away with the spiritual law of the Ten Commandments and the spiritual statutes and judgments which define and explain the Ten Commandments even further. For instance, the Fourth Commandment enjoins us to keep the Sabbath day holy (Exodus 20:8-11). But other passages show that God is not just talking about the weekly Sabbath day (the time from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset), but also seven annual Holy Days, which are also called “Sabbath” in Scripture (compare Leviticus 23:27, 32, 39, Authorized Version). Another example is the Seventh Commandment, prohibiting adultery (Exodus 20:14). Other Scriptures show that God does not only prohibit sexual relationships involving at least one married partner, but also fornication (sexual relationships between unmarried partners), as well as sexual sins such as homosexuality. The Ninth Commandment prohibits bearing false witness against our neighbor (Exodus 20:16), but this is not limited to giving false testimony in a court of law, but it also includes lying, slander, libel, false reports and spreading unsubstantiated rumors.
In addition, Christ made clear that not only the literal violation of one of the Ten Commandments (and of the statutes and judgments) constitutes sin, but that even the underlying motives and desires are already enough to convict us as transgressors of the law. For instance, not only is committing murder a violation of the Sixth Commandment and therefore sin, but anger and hatred (which could lead to literal murder) are already forbidden as well (Matthew 5:21-22; 1 John 2:11; 3:15). Not only is committing adultery sinful, but looking “at a woman to lust for her” already constitutes adultery with her in the heart (Matthew 5:27-28).
Christ came to exalt the law and make it more honorable (Isaiah 42:21). He did so by keeping it perfectly, without ever sinning; by emphasizing strongly that we must keep it today and revealing to us how it can be done; and by explaining the intent of the law. God shows us through the law that we must not only refrain from carrying out the literal act of a prohibition, but that we must already control our emotions and desires which, if unchecked, would lead to such literal violations. We read that out of the heart “proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies” (Matthew 15:19; compare also Mark 7:21-23).
Christ stated very forcefully that those who practice lawlessness and the transgression of the law will NOT inherit God’s Kingdom. He said in Matthew 7:21-23: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who DOES the will of the Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'” The Swiss Zuercher Bible says: “…you who practice what is against the law.”
John echoed Christ’s statements with these powerful words: “He who says, ‘I know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in Him” (1 John 2:4). He also said this: “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3).
We will answer below how we can obtain the love of God—which keeps His commandments—and how it is actually possible to keep His commandments.
But first, let us explain what Paul meant in Romans 10:4 when he said that Christ was the “end of the law.” From what we have seen so far, this passage cannot mean that the spiritual law of the Ten Commandments and of the spiritual statutes and judgments has “ended” or has been done away with, so that it would not have any force and effect for us today.
The Greek word for “end” is “telos.” It can mean “end,” “goal,” “aim,” “purpose” and “result.” For instance, we read in 1 Timothy 1:5: “Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned.” It is obvious that this passage does not say that the commandment has been abolished. Just the opposite is expressed here: Its purpose or aim or goal is love out of a pure heart, as well as having a good conscience and unwavering faith.
Peter expressed exactly the same thought in 1 Peter 1:9 when he states that you will be “receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.” Peter did not want to say that our faith would ever end [in fact, it never will end, compare 1 Corinthians 13:13]; rather, he stressed the point that the goal or aim of our faith is the inheritance of our salvation.
Another example can be seen in James 5:11 where we read: “Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord—that the Lord is compassionate and merciful.” Here, the word “end” is very clearly used as a description of God’s goal, aim or purpose: God intended to show Job through his trials that He was compassionate and merciful. God had to reveal to Job his sin of self-righteousness which had to be repented of, but throughout the book of Job, God showed His compassion and mercy with Job even when he began to launch some very harsh criticism against God.
Christ describes Himself as “the beginning and the end” (Revelation 21:6; 22:13). He did not mean to convey that He had a beginning or that He would cease to exist, but He wanted to show that nothing exists or came into existence without Him, and that His goal, purpose, aim and result will be accomplished. Nobody can prevent His Will from being carried out.
And so, the German Pattloch Bible renders the phrase in Romans 10:4 as follows: “Final goal [Endziel] of the law is Christ for righteousness for everyone who believes.”
This leads us to the question as to why is Christ the “end”—that is, the aim, goal or purpose—of the law “for righteousness to everyone who believes.”
Righteousness is defined as keeping God’s commandments (Deuteronomy 6:25). But we cannot keep God’s law, based on our own strength. We need Christ to make us righteous. When we sin, we commit unrighteousness (1 John 5:17), but when we repent and believe in Christ’s Sacrifice for the forgiveness of our sins, then we are washed clean and become righteous again. The law shows us what sin is (Romans 3:20; 7:7), but it does not make us righteous. Only God, through the Holy Spirit, can do this.
We read earlier (in 1 John 5:3) that this is the love of God that we keep His commandments. This is the case because His commandments define for us what God’s love is (Romans 13:8-10). When we love our neighbor, we fulfill the law which tells us how to love our neighbor (by not murdering him, stealing from him, committing adultery with his wife, lying to him, etc.). The Bible also shows us how we CAN receive the love of God (“This is what the love of God IS: keeping His commandments,” New Jerusalem Bible). Romans 5:5 tells us that “the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit [which] was given to us.”
The important point to realize is that Christ must make us righteous. It is actually Christ, dwelling in us through the Holy Spirit, who fulfills the law through us—if we allow Him to do so, and if we don’t resist His lead. Romans 8:3-4, 9 states:
“For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh [our flesh was too weak to keep it], God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit… Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ he is not His.”
The German Revised Luther Bible translates Romans 8:4: “…so that the righteousness, demanded by the Law, would be fulfilled in us.”
The Living Bible translates Romans 8:4: “So now we CAN obey God’s laws if we follow after the Holy Spirit and no longer obey the old evil nature within us…”
We can only keep the righteous requirements of the law, IF Christ lives in us through the Holy Spirit, and IF we follow Christ’s lead. When God’s Holy Spirit lives within us, then the love of God and the faith of Christ live within us. And THAT is what will make us righteous.
Romans 3:21–22 (Authorized Version) talks about the “righteousness of God which is by faith OF Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe.”
We need to believe in Jesus; that Jesus is the Son of God; that He died for us; that His Sacrifice forgives our sins and removes our death penalty (because the wages of sin is death, Romans 6:23)—but that belief is just the beginning. The faith necessary for salvation is Christ’s faith—the faith OF Christ—living in us and enabling us to keep the law.
The Bible teaches that the faith of Christ—Christ’s faith in us—makes us righteous. Those who believe in Christ must have the faith OF Christ living IN them.
Philippians 3:9 (Authorized Version) says: “… and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through faith OF Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.”
The faith of Christ in us is a living, obedient faith, which brings forth good works (James 2:20, 26). We are called upon to uphold the OBEDIENCE of the faith (Romans 1:5; 16:26). And remember: This IS the love of God (which is given to us by the Holy Spirit) that we keep His commandments.
All of this is expressed in Paul’s profound statement in Romans 10:4 that Christ is the real purpose of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. The law shows us what sin is, and Christ in us fulfills the law through us, thereby enabling us to obtain God’s righteousness, if we believe that Christ forgives us our sins (doing away with our unrighteousness) and that He, through the Holy Spirit in us, helps us to obey the righteous requirements of the law.
For more information, we recommend the study of our free booklets:
Lead Writer: Norbert Link
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
A ministerial SKYPE meeting was conducted on Sunday morning, January 17, 2016. Editorial procedures, US Feast location and several other topics were discussed.
“Hohn und Spott für Gott und Sein Volk,” is the title of this week’s German sermon. Title in English: “Scorn and Ridicule for God and His People.”
“Beware of Distractions,” the sermonette presented last Sabbath by Mike Link, is now posted. Here is a summary:
There are many different types of distractions that could keep us from the Kingdom of God, if we are not careful. We need to be aware of what is truly important and what we need to keep our focus on if we want to be counted worthy.
“Have You Seen Satan? the sermon presented last Sabbath by Norbert Link, is now posted. Here is a summary:
Does the Bible tell us whether Satan and demons can make themselves visible to the human eye? Can they materialize and appear as humans, without being recognized as spirit beings? Should you try to contact aliens or the ghosts of deceived loved ones? How can you protect yourself against Satan and his fallen angels? What kind of activities are we to avoid at all costs? Should we stay away from demonic movies and video games, séances, Ouija boards, far-eastern meditation practices, haunted houses, chiropractors who use the Reiki method, and medical hypnosis?
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.
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