March 23, 2018
The Passover and Christ’s Sacrifice
On March 24, 2018, Norbert Link will take the sermonette and announcement time to speak on current events in the light of biblical prophecy. Mr. Link will also present the sermon, titled, “The Passover and Christ’s Sacrifice.”
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.
PLEASE NOTE: Passover will be observed on Thursday evening, after sunset, on March 29, 2018. The Days of Unleavened Bread will be observed beginning March 30th through April 6th.
The Update will NOT be published for the weeks of March 30th or April 6th. We will resume publication on the week of April 13th.
No Need to Fear!
by Michael Link
Are we living in a state of fear? With all the news of death and destruction we hear about on a daily basis, do we sometimes worry if this could happen to us? Could we be a victim of a shooting or bomb tragedy, or even be involved in a serious car accident or plane crash, just as an example? Do we have God’s protection at all times?
Do we fear the future of what is to come, when things are going to get worse, much worse than what we hear about now? When it comes to the spiritual side of things, do we fear that we aren’t qualified enough for God to protect and save us from the impending disasters? If we feel that way, it’s about time we change that way of thinking and be ready, prepare ourselves spiritually and we better make sure that we are counted worthy so we can have that protection and more importantly, be a part of the Kingdom of God.
God has created us with the ability to be led by His Holy Spirit within us, which can only be obtained through proper baptism, and through this power, we can obtain wisdom and understanding to discern between real and perceived dangers, also knowing what is right and what is wrong. We have free will and we do make choices and hopefully we make correct choices as we continue to grow in the knowledge of Christ and use more and more of the Spirit given to us by God. He has given us the choice to live with worldly fears, apprehension and suffering, or to embrace a Godly fear which leads to wisdom, courage and everlasting joy (2 Timothy 1:7).
God hasn’t given us a “spirit of fear” in the worldly sense, but, for our benefit, He has put the emotion of fear in our minds as a consequence of sin. We will be faced with fears, whether physical or spiritual, when terror strikes the earth in various ways. We will be in the middle of it, we will be tested, and we will have to fight our fears over Satan’s clever tactics; and we know that we can defeat him because God says we can, as God gives us the tools to arm ourselves (Ephesians 6:11-12).
It is God’s Word which gives us His perspective about fear as stated in 1 John 4:18: “Perfect love casts out fear.” If God doesn’t give us a Spirit of fear and we know that He loves us perfectly, why are we still afraid? We must learn to fight fear with “fear”—and it’s this other kind of fear that is the cure for our uncontrolled fears: The fear of the Lord. If we obey God and put our trust, faith and confidence in Him, then there shouldn’t be any reason to be afraid, to fear what the future will bring because He will protect us, as He has promised He would. Christ has given us peace and the whole world does not understand this peace that Christ is referring to, but in due time, they will (compare John 14:27).
We don’t need to fear the world because we understand what it means to fear, respect and revere God. When we have the fear of the Lord, it means we look upon God with high esteem, an attitude accompanied by obedience, knowing, as it says in Proverbs 9:10, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.”
by Norbert Link
We begin with articles pertaining to Russia and Vladimir Putin’s “election victory” (please view in this regard our new StandingWatch program, “Russia’s and China’s Dangerous Dictatorships,”); address cyber-attacks and their potentially devastating effects; and quote an article speaking on Britain’s lost senses (while we recognize that this is also true for many other countries, including European nations and the USA). We also address German and European reactions to contemplated American tariffs on trade, which have been postponed for now, while China is being hit hard; speak on the new “rotten” US budget deal; and report on America’s new National Security Advisor.
We focus on China’s warning to the world; report on Israel’s admission of having destroyed a nuclear reactor in Syria; and point out the growing worldwide interest in a Third Temple in Jerusalem and the planned reenactment of the sacrifice of a Passover lamb.
We conclude with articles on some of Pope Francis’ wrong and unbiblical beliefs, as well as the growing opposition of Catholic priests.
Throughout this section, we have underlined pertinent statements in the quoted articles, for the convenience and quick overview of the reader.
This Week in the News
“Vladimir Putin’s Great Deceit”
Deutsche Welle wrote on March 18:
“It’s no surprise that Vladimir Putin was re-elected as Russian president. The outcome of this bogus election was preordained…
“The Kremlin controls every aspect of the political process in Russia and it didn’t leave anything to chance during this electoral spectacle… Many Russians undoubtedly voted for him; he is clearly popular with the public. But he is popular because the Kremlin has for years blocked other politicians from developing their own public profiles in the centrally controlled media… The president’s power rests not only on state repression, but also to the media’s portrayal of him as Russia’s only conceivable leader…
“Where will Putin lead Russia in the next few years? Many in the West fear Russia’s unpredictable and aggressive stance on the international stage, as NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg most recently put it. The poisoning of the former Russian agent Sergei Skripal in the UK with a military-grade nerve agent made it clear that Putin is prepared to further escalate confrontation with the West…
“Russia has fallen behind economically and technologically, particularly compared to China, but also compared to the US, Japan and the EU. Russians sense their incomes are falling. But the Kremlin-controlled propaganda machine drowned out the homemade causes for the economic and social stagnation with anti-Western rhetoric and messages of bogus military strength…
“Putin will not change his course during his next term. Real reforms to the Russian economy and state would inevitably undermine the foundations of his power…”
The Week wrote on March 21:
“President Trump defended his decision to congratulate Russian President Vladimir Putin on his re-election earlier this week, tweeting Wednesday ‘in past, Obama called him also,’ ‘getting along with Russia (and others) is a good thing, not a bad thing,’ and ‘PEACE THROUGH STRENGTH!’
“The Washington Post had reported that Trump was warned in all caps by national security advisers not to congratulate Putin, and aides told the president he needed to condemn the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in England earlier this month, widely blamed on Moscow. Trump didn’t bring this up, the Post reports…”
Bild Online commented that some of the few leaders who did NOT congratulate Putin were Theresa May from England and Justin Trudeau from Canada, congratulating them for their backbone and strength of character.
Italian Election… Putin the Real Winner
The Hill wrote on March 8:
“Within Italy, the big winners in the March 4 elections were the two populist parties, who between them pulled in roughly 50 percent of the vote.
“The 5 Star Movement, which emphasizes the ‘drain the swamp’ part of the populist message, was the leading party, with 32 percent of the vote for both chambers of the Italian parliament. The League, more akin to the anti-immigrant policies [of] Marine Le Pen’s National Front in France, pulled about 17 percent, easily topping the center-right Let’s Go Italy (Forza Italia) of Silvio Berlusconi, disappointed in his hopes of returning to the forefront of Italian politics.
“Outside Italy, though, the undisputed winner was Vladimir Putin. But the strong and public Russian connections of Italy’s populist parties could have very concrete impacts on Italian policy going forward.
“The League, for example, has regularly protested European Union sanctions against Russia. In March 2017, League chief Matteo Salvini even signed a cooperation agreement with United Russia, Putin’s political party, which holds the lion’s share of votes in the Duma. Much of the agreement reportedly deals with exchanges of information and meetings between party and parliamentary representatives, but promotion of Italy-Russia trade and economic cooperation evidently also figured… Evidence of the 5 Star Movement’s friendly ties with Russia is also abundant…
“Putin doesn’t need, and presumably does not expect, an overtly pro-Russian shift in Italy. It’s already a help to Russia that one of the largest West European countries, the fourth largest European economy (in the top ten worldwide), an active contributor to NATO, and historically close to the United States, will be effectively paralyzed.”
Sooner than expected by many, Italy will become anti-Russian, as will be all of the countries within the EU. In fact, war will break out between Europe and Far Eastern nations, including Russia and China (note our article on China below). For more information, please read our free booklet, “Biblical Prophecy… From Now until Forever.” Also note the next article on Germany and Russia.
“Is Germany Turning on Russia?”
Handelsblatt Global wrote on March 21:
“Germany’s new foreign minister, Heiko Maas, has indicated a tougher line against the Russian bear since taking up his post a week ago. While former foreign minister and now German president Frank-Walter Steinmeier was busying congratulating President Vladimir Putin on his recent election win, Mr. Maas had far harsher words. ‘There certainly can be no claim to fair political competition in all respects,’ he said.
“… he was working on a joint statement with his EU colleagues condemning Russia for its alleged involvement in the poisoning of former double agent Sergei Skripal in Britain. For the Europeans, who view Russia as a threat since its invasion of Ukraine in 2014, there is only one plausible explanation: an assassination attempt ordered by the state.
“‘The first statements suggest that Maas is counting on clear opposition to Russia’s aggressive course, which violates international law,’ Norbert Röttgen, head of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the German parliament, the Bundestag, told Handelsblatt. He is calling for a continuation of the ‘firm, consistent policy of non-acceptance of Russian aggression’ that Chancellor Angela Merkel has pursued alongside other European and NATO partners…
“Other members of the Bundestag take a different view, with a cross-party alliance of friends of Russia taking shape. Most recently, Bundestag Vice President Wolfgang Kubicki, from the pro-business FDP party, spoke out in favor of ending sanctions imposed against Russia following its annexation of Crimea ‘step by step.’ The policy largely reflects business interests. There are 5,000 German companies with operations in Russia, and they believe business will pick up significantly if the sanctions are lifted.
“Ms. Merkel is unlikely to shift her line. Those who set the tone in her government do not trust Mr. Putin and see his expansive foreign policy as a threat to the European security architecture…
“Beyond economic cooperation, the overlap of common interests is shrinking. Russia intervenes in neighboring countries, launching cyberattacks in Europe and the US. And in Syria it is waging a merciless bombing war against the opponents of dictator Bashar al-Assad…”
Russian Cyber Operatives Attacking the USA
The website of thenextweb wrote on March 16:
“Russian cyber operatives are attacking critical American infrastructure such as energy grids, nuclear facilities, aviation systems, and water processing plants, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
“The report details numerous attempts, since at least March of 2016, where Russian cyber operatives targeted government entities and multiple US critical infrastructure sectors.”
Russia stands also accused of having meddled through cyber-attacks in European nations.
The Threat of Cyber Attacks and Solar Storms
The Telegraph wrote on March 17:
“British cities would be uninhabitable within days and the country is only a few meals from anarchy if the National Grid was taken down in a cyber attack or solar storm, disaster and security experts have warned. Modern life is so reliant on electricity that a prolonged blackout would quickly lead to a loss of water, fuel, banking, transport and communications that would leave the country ‘in the Stone Age’.
“The warning comes weeks after the Defence Secretary, Gavin Williamson, said Russia had been spying on the UK’s energy infrastructure and could cause ‘thousands and thousands and thousands’ of deaths if it crippled the power supply…
“As well as a cyber attack, other black sky risks include extreme weather, an electromagnetic pulse caused by a nuclear detonation in the atmosphere and terrorist attacks on key substations or transformers. One of the most destructive risks would be a powerful solar storm. A previous storm in 1859, now known as the Carrington Event, caused so much geomagnetic disruption that telegraph operators reported sparks bursting out of their machines. Such a storm today could cause havoc to electrical systems.
“One of the biggest problems would be that water supplies and sewage services rely on electrical pumps… Fuel would also quickly run out because it requires electrical pumps, meaning transport and deliveries to shops, hospitals and institutions would quickly cease. As communications like the internet and phones failed, the Government would struggle to tell people what was going on…”
These predictions are by no means far-fetched, but they are of real concerns.
“Britain Has Taken Leave of its Senses”
The Daily Mail wrote on March 19:
“Not a day goes by without lunacy hitting the headlines… Take the story over the weekend about the two women who gatecrashed a men-only swimming session in South London, after telling staff they ‘self-identified’ as male… The women were feminists, making a legitimate protest against new gender equality laws that would allow people to pick their own sex, regardless of biology…
“The real problem arises when men who identify as women demand the right to use exclusively female facilities… Yet the Government is considering letting people self-certify their gender without any medical diagnosis…
“Hospitals have stopped calling mothers ‘mothers’ because it might upset the trans-fascists. A couple of weeks ago, retailers were knocking out gender-free Mother’s Day cards…
“This is the crazy world we live in, one in which a private girls’ school is thinking of installing ‘gender-neutral’ toilets, even though it has no transgender pupils… is this a serious country, or a joke …
“For instance, would any serious country give houseroom to an alleged ‘asylum-seeker’, who claims to have trained with Izal in Syria, boasts about hating the West and, after being lavished with money and kindness, attempts to blow up hundreds of people on the London Underground? No serious country would run down its Armed Forces, as successive governments in Britain have done, at a time of heightened tensions in the world… Nor would a serious country commission two expensive aircraft carriers, without bothering to provide the aircraft to use them. A serious country wouldn’t shut three-quarters of its police stations, withdraw foot patrols and expect victims to report crimes over the internet.
“In a serious country, the Old Bill wouldn’t fritter away millions pursuing ‘historic’ sex crimes allegations against former prime ministers and other public figures who are dead. A serious country wouldn’t turn a blind eye to the systematic rape of thousands of young girls by men of mostly Pakistani and Bangladeshi origin because coppers and so-called child protection officers were scared of being called ‘racist’…
“In a serious, mature democracy, MPs wouldn’t grant the people a binding referendum on national sovereignty and then move heaven and earth trying to undermine and overturn the result.
“…forgive me if I ignore the confected fury over Facebook data being used to target potential Donald Trump voters. The Guardian, in particular, is getting terribly excited. If Hillary Clinton had won, we’d never have heard any more about it. In fact, when Obama was elected in 2008, he was hailed as a genius for the way in which his campaign used social media.
“And in 2012, one publication carried this glowing report: ‘Barack Obama’s re-election team are building a vast digital data operation that for the first time combines a unified database on millions of Americans with the power of Facebook to target individual voters to a degree never achieved before. ‘Facebook is also being seen as a source of invaluable data on voters . . . thus allowing the campaign to access their personal data and add it to the central data store — the largest, most detailed and potentially most powerful in the history of political campaigns.’ That publication?… The Guardian.”
So it seems indeed that Britain has taken leave of its senses… but so have most countries around the world, especially in Western Europe and the USA.
Germany: “US Will Fail if It Tries to Split Europe”
AFP wrote on March 18:
“US President Donald Trump ‘will not succeed’ in dividing European nations against one another over trade, German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier warned… In the European Union ‘we are a customs union and act collectively…’
“The US leader says the shock measures are in response to ‘unfair’ trade practices, but the EU has vowed to retaliate…”
The relationship between the USA and Europe (and Germany in particular) is bound to deteriorate drastically. For more information, please read our free booklets, The Fall and Rise of Britain and America and Europe in Prophecy.
EU Needs to Take the Lead in Maintaining Global Trade System
Euractiv wrote on March 20:
“As America retreats after Trump’s plans to impose tariffs on steel and aluminium imports, the world is moving on. Now is the time for the EU to take the lead in maintaining the global trade system…
“The EU is right to prepare for a fight… The EU and national European governments must continue to press Washington on the folly of the tariffs…
“Across the world, countries are taking trade initiatives which sidestep the US… The EU-Japan free trade agreement is almost done… The US may not want to play ball but many other countries are ready to do so.”
In the not-too-distant future, the EU will take a leading role in economic AND military matters, while the USA will become more and more irrelevant.
EU Exempted from US Tariffs; China Being Hit Hard
CNN wrote on March 22, 2018:
“President Trump is granting more exemptions to his steel and aluminum tariffs — and dodging a trade war with key US allies. The European Union, Argentina, Brazil, South Korea and Australia will not be subject to the trade penalties when they take effect Friday… Exemptions for Canada and Mexico were previously announced…”
Newsmax wrote on March 22, 2018:
“The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell more than 700 points on trade fears, tumbling back into correction territory as U.S. stocks plunged the most in six weeks amid the threat of an escalating trade war with China that has the potential to disrupt global growth… President Donald Trump ordered tariffs on about $50 billion in Chinese goods.”
Deutsche Welle wrote on March 22:
“US companies from Walmart to Amazon have warned that sweeping sanctions against China could raise consumer prices and hit the stock market… IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde warn[ed] of a global trade conflict that could undermine the broadest world recovery in years… According to a Bloomberg Economics estimate, a global trade conflagration could wipe $470 billion off the world economy by 2020.”
Terrible and Rotten US Budget Deal
Newsmax reported on March 22:
“Sen. Rand Paul has denounced the $1.3 trillion federal budget bill as ‘rotten, terrible’… lawmakers put together the massive spending bill [Wednesday night], which passed in the House Thursday. The Senate now needs to approve it and send it to the White House for President Donald Trump to sign [which he grudgingly declared he would do]. If it’s not approved by midnight Friday night, a government shutdown will occur.
“‘You have to know what’s in it. Really, should we be looking at 1,000-page bills with 24 hours to decide what’s in them? It’s really not a good way to run your government,’ Paul [said]. Government spending, Paul said, is out of control… ‘I’m upset that we’re spending like every Democrat that we criticized,’ Paul said… The national debt eclipsed the $21 trillion dollar mark last week.”
New National Security Adviser for Trump
The Daily Mail wrote on March 22:
“President Donald Trump will replace National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster with John Bolton on April 9, the White House announced late Thursday. Bolton, a former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, is a hawkish conservativewith a pugnacious streak – and a frequent guest on the Fox News Channel. He is also a fierce opponent of the Obama-era Iran nuclear deal… Bolton will be the third person to be Trump’s chief national security aide in his 14-month presidency.
“Trump has clashed with McMaster repeatedly in recent months, telling confidants that he considers the general a long-winded bore. His departure comes barely a week after the president dramatically ousted former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in a tweet…
“[Bolton] remains a firm believer in the wisdom of President George W. Bush’s Iraq war, which Trump has routinely cast as a colossal mistake and a waste of money that could have been spent domestically…
“McMaster was originally hired as a quick-fix replacement for Gen. Michael Flynn, who was fired after mere weeks as National Security Advisor because he hid from Vice President Mike Pence and other officials the nature and extent of his contacts with Russia’s U.S. ambassador.”
Bolton has also repeatedly advocated nuclear war with North Korea.
China’s Dangerous Dictatorship
CNN wrote on March 20:
“China is ready to fight the ‘bloody battle’ against its enemies in its determination to take its place in the world, declared President Xi Jinping in a nationalist speech Tuesday that underlined his strongman rule over the world’s most populous country… His words were a rallying cry for his second term as President, a role he looks set to hold for life after China changed its constitution to remove presidential term limits. That move ensures Xi’s place as the country’s unquestioned political supremo in a world where China’s reach is extending further than ever before and rival superpower the United States is taking a back seat.
“At many points in his televised speech he harkened back to the country’s imperial past which critics have accused him of seeking to emulate as an emperor-like figure. Xi listed China’s historic achievements — such as the invention of paper, Confucianism, and building the Great Wall — and the country’s experience of invasion from outside and ‘defending the national independence and freedom.’ He had strong language for supporters of formal independence for Taiwan or Hong Kong, saying that ‘not a single inch of our land’ could be ceded from China… Beijing regards the island as a breakaway province to be retaken by force if necessary…
“Xi has been accused of pursuing a cult of personality similar to Mao’s… Xi’s power is even more concentrated than Mao’s… Xi has now assumed absolute control of the party, army and state… In his speech, Xi stressed the importance of reforming China’s military and the absolute power of the Communist Party over the country…
“Xi’s installation as China’s absolute leader comes as his ally Vladimir Putin scored a record third term as Russian President with a landslide win in an election in which no real opposition was permitted to run. While Putin is more constrained by needing to keep to at least the appearance of representative democracy, he and Xi are the most prominent of a host of world leaders rolling back voting rights and shoring up their own authority. Putin is cleared to rule Russia for six more years, and some analysts predicted he may follow Xi’s lead and remove term limits in order to serve indefinitely, pointing to the lack of a likely successor to the presidency.”
Israel Did Destroy Nuclear Reactor in Syria!
The Times of Israel wrote on March 21:
“After more than a decade of stubborn silence, Israel has finally acknowledged that its Air Force destroyed the Syrian nuclear reactor, on the night between September 5 and 6, 2007. Built by North Korea, the reactor was designed to produce plutonium as fissile material for nuclear bombs… When Israel struck, the Syrians were only weeks away from beginning to produce highly radioactive materials…
“Plainly, the decision by [Ehud] Olmert [Prime Minister at that time] to blow up the complex — after he had unsuccessfully asked then-president George W. Bush to do so — prevented Assad from attaining nuclear weapons. Potentially, it also prevented the world’s most bloodthirsty terrorists from acquiring the world’s most lethal weapons.”
Warning for Iran
JTA added on March 21:
“It is the second time that Israel has acknowledged destroying the nuclear reactor of an enemy country. In 1981 the IDF bombed the Osirak nuclear reactor in Iraq, for which it immediately claimed credit. ‘The message of the attack on the reactor in 2007 is that Israel will not accept the construction of a capability that threatens the existence of the State of Israel. That was the message in ’81. That was the message in 2007. And that is the message to our enemies for the future,’ IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot said…
“Yisrael Katz, the intelligence minister, was more explicit in saying that the acknowledgment was a signal to Iran. ‘The courageous decision of the Israeli government almost 11 years ago to destroy the nuclear reactor in Syria and the successful operation following it sends a clear message: Israel will never allow nuclear weapons to countries like Iran who threaten its existence,’ he said.”
Third Temple a Growing Worldwide Phenomenon
Breaking Israel News wrote on March 5:
“A newly minted coin featuring President Trump, King Cyrus, and the Third Temple has been featured in media around the world, graphically illustrating that support for the Jewish Temple on the Temple Mount is now a global phenomenon that is transcending political and religious boundaries.
“Three weeks ago, the nascent Sanhedrin and the Mikdash (Temple) Educational Center, a non-profit organization for education about the Temple, partnered in a risky venture to mint a commemorative medallion with an image of President Donald Trump and the Persian King Cyrus. The flip side features a stylized image of the Third Temple. Both signed a contract to mint 1,000 coins in the hope that the message on the coin that calls out to the US president to support the Jewish claim to the Temple Mount, would resonate with enough people to cover the total expense of the coins. They offered the coins to the public for a minimum donation of $50, and the response has exceeded all their expectations…
“Rabbi Hillel Weiss, the spokesman for the Sanhedrin, was surprised by the overwhelming response, but the message was clear to him: Support for the Third Temple is growing…
“The source for the concept behind the coin is the Biblical silver half-shekel that was collected in Temple Times from every Jewish man. The Trump medallion does not adhere to the requirements of this Biblically mandated coin but proceeds from sales of the coin will go towards projects educating the public about the Jewish Temple…
“The next project that the two organizations will cooperate on is a reenactment of the Paschal Sacrifice on March 26. At that time, Kohanim (Jewish men of priestly descent) will recreate the Temple service in a manner resembling the Temple service as much as possible. They will be dressed in the priestly garments and using silver vessels intended for use in the Third Temple. A lamb will be sacrificed and roasted in a Biblically authentic manner.”
The Bible predicts that a third temple will be built. For more information, please read our free booklet, “The Fall and Rise of the Jewish People.”
Pope Francis: Don’t Wear Crosses as Ornaments
Fox News wrote on March 20:
“The Pope hit out at the ‘abuse’ of the crucifix by people who wear them as fashion accessories… Pope Francis said that the crucifix is a religious sign to be ‘contemplated and understood’, rather than merchandised [and] not to be ‘abused’ by being treated as an ornament or clothing accessory.”
This won’t make many Catholics happy. In addition, the t-cross is a pagan symbol and not to be placed in Christian churches or homes. Further, it is not to be worn, worshipped or idolized by Christians at all. Note our Q&A on the cross. Also read our two Q&As on the sign of the cross. http://www.eternalgod.org/what-is-the-origin-of-the-sign-of-the-cross-should-christians-make-the-sign-of-the-cross-part-1/ and http://www.eternalgod.org/what-is-the-origin-of-the-sign-of-the-cross-should-christians-make-the-sign-of-the-cross-part-2/
Pope: “Nothing Wrong With Tattoos”
Breitbart wrote on March 20:
“There is nothing wrong with tattoos, Pope Francis told a group of young people Monday, urging them to be open to cultural expressions of ‘belonging’… the pope said that the problem is that some people exaggerate by covering their body with tattoos, but ‘the problem is the exaggeration, not the tattoos.’ …
“‘Don’t be afraid of tattoos,’ the pope [said], noting that for many years Eritrean Christians and others have gotten tattoos of the cross on their foreheads…”
The pope is dead wrong on this issue as well. Please read our Q&A on tattoos.
Polish Catholic Priest Wishes the Pope’s Death
The Associated Press reported on March 17:
“Poland’s leading archbishop deplored on Sunday comments by a senior conservative priest who had wished Pope Francis a quick death if he does not open to ‘wisdom.’ Krakow Archbishop Marek Jedraszewski said he heard about the comments with ‘great pain and regret’ and has discussed them face-to-face with Msgr. Edward Staniek, who made them in a Feb. 25 church speech in Krakow.
“Krakow was the seat of Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, the late Pope St. John Paul II. Poland’s church remains attached to John Paul’s conservative stance, which largely differs from Francis’ inclusive message. A majority of Poland’s bishops see their mission as preserving the traditional Catholic values from the pressure of secularization. In his speech, Staniek, who is a prominent theologian… said that Francis has departed from the teaching of Jesus and was wrongly interpreting mercy as opening up to Muslims and allowing communion for divorced Catholics, who, according to the church, live in mortal sin and are not allowed communion… Staniek suggested Francis was an ‘alien body’ in the Catholic Church.”
Acknowledgement and Disclaimer
These Current Events are compiled and commented on by Norbert Link. We gratefully acknowledge the many contributions of news articles from our readership. The publication of articles in this section is not to be viewed as an endorsement or approval as to contents or accuracy of the selected articles, but they are published for the purpose of pointing at worldwide developments in the light of biblical end-time prophecy and godly instruction. Our own comments are provided in italics.
Did the New Testament Show That the Early Church Kept the First Day of the Week?
One correspondent wrote to us: “If you rest on the seventh day you do well, but New Testament churches very obviously functioned on the first day of the week. Acts makes consistent, repeated, and clear use of ‘the first day of the week’ (check out Acts 20:6,7 & 1 Cor.16:1,2…).”
Let us look at those two scriptures that have been used to think that the first day of the week was kept rather than the Sabbath. We need to keep in mind that the biblical Sabbath is the time span from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset. The Bible calls it the seventh day or the last day of the week. On the other hand, Sunday is the first day of the week, even though some mistakenly refer to it as the “Sabbath.”
Acts 20:6-7 reads: “But we sailed away from Philippi after the Days of Unleavened Bread, and in five days joined them at Troas, where we stayed seven days. Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight.”
In verse 6, it mentions the Days of Unleavened Bread which shows that the annual Holy Days were being kept many years after Christ’s crucifixion. In verse 7, the first day of the week was on Saturday evening after the weekly Sabbath had ended when they were breaking bread which just means that they were having a meal. To use this to say that Sunday had replaced the Sabbath is not something that is upheld by any informed historical source.
For an in-depth explanation of this passage, see our Q&A on Acts 20:7.
In the New Testament, we read a number of instances about the Sabbath in the book of Acts 13:14, 27, 42-44; 15:21; 16:13; 17:2; 18:4 and it is mentioned 58 times in all.
We read about the uproar over circumcision in Acts 15 where the apostles and elders came together (verse 6) to discuss this matter in Jerusalem. Just think of the furore that there would have been had the keeping of the weekly Sabbath been in dispute, but there is no such mention in the Bible. This would have been an even bigger matter had that been the case, but it simply didn’t happen.
1 Corinthians 16:1-2 states: “Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also: On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come.”
This is about a collection for the saints which was done on a Sunday – the first day of the week. There was a famine in Judea and church members (saints) were in need of food. This collection was done on a common workday, not on a holy Sabbath day. Some churches have used this as a means of Sunday church collections but this is a complete misunderstanding of what this was all about. It was the first day of the week, Sunday, and is not the Lord’s day; just the first day of the week. Further, no money was being collected, but food was to be stored (1 Corinthians 16:2; Romans 15:26-28) to be brought to the brethren in Jerusalem who needed food.
From the sabbathtruth website we read the following:
“In order to make the gospel more attractive to non-Christians, pagan customs were incorporated into the church’s ceremonies. The custom of Sunday worship was welcomed by Christians who desired to differentiate themselves from the Jews, whom they hated because of the Jews’ rejection of the Savior. The first day of the week began to be recognized as both a religious and civil holiday. By the end of the second century, Christians considered it sinful to work on Sunday.”
We can see that Sunday was slowly introduced, but the early New Testament Church of God did keep the Sabbath during the first century.
Interestingly, many quote Revelation 1:10: “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day”, which is the theme of the book. This is not, in any way, Scriptural authority for Sunday keeping. In the previous verse (Revelation 1:9), we read that John was “on the island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Joel 2:1 reads as follows: “Blow the trumpet in Zion, And sound an alarm in My holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble; For the day of the LORD is coming, For it is at hand.” The day of the Lord is a time which will begin just prior to the return of Jesus Christ, and the book of Revelation (a revealing) is about the future just ahead of us now.
Some cite John 20:19 for the idea that the disciples conducted a Sunday worship service. However, the passage reveals that they had assembled at evening, when the doors were shut for fear of the Jews. They did not meet for a worship service, but they were hiding from the Jews.
There are many admissions by other churches, including the Roman Catholic church which acknowledges the seventh-day Sabbath. Here are just two examples of many:
“It is well to remind the Presbyterians, Baptists, Methodists, and all other Christians, that the Bible does not support them anywhere in their observance of Sunday. Sunday is an institution of the Roman Catholic Church, and those who observe the day observe a commandment of the Catholic Church” (Priest Brady, in an address, reported in the Elizabeth, NJ ‘News’ on March 18, 1903).
Dr. Edward Hiscox, author of The Baptist Manual, wrote the following:
“There was and is a commandment to keep holy the Sabbath day, but that Sabbath day was not on Sunday… It will be said, however, and with some show of triumph, that the Sabbath was transferred from the seventh to the first day of the week… where can the record of such a transaction be found? Not in the New Testament. Of course, I quite well know that Sunday did come into use in early Christian history as a religious day, as we learn from the Christian Fathers and other sources. But what a pity that it comes branded with the mark of paganism, and christened with the name of a sun god, when adopted and sanctioned by the papal apostasy, and bequeathed as a sacred legacy to Protestantism!”
At a later time, “The Roman emperor Constantine, a former sun-worshiper, professed conversion to Christianity, though his subsequent actions suggest the ‘conversion’ was more of a political move than a genuine heart change. Constantine named himself Bishop of the Catholic Church and enacted the first civil law regarding Sunday observance in A.D. 321.”
Coming back to the original question, “Did the New Testament show that the early Church kept the First Day of the Week?” The answer is a categorical no! There are Scriptural references about the first day of the week and not one of them is referenced as being a holy day; it was, quite simply, an ordinary day.
Lead Writer: Brian Gale (United Kingdom)
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
compiled by Dave Harris
A new Member Letter (March 2018) has been written by Dave Harris. In this letter, an overview of the weekly Sabbath and annual Holy Days is presented with a focus on the vital role these observances have in our relationship with God.
“Russia’s and China’s Dangerous Dictatorships,” is the title of a new StandingWatch program, presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:
What can we expect from Vladimir Putin’s and Xi Jinping’s ongoing dictatorial military ambitions and actions? Are they in fact a threat to the Western world, including Europe and the USA? What, if anything, do events in Russia and China have to do with biblical prophecy?
The same program was also published in German, titled, “Russlands und Chinas gefährliche Diktaturen”
“Sie können uns nicht bezahlen!” is the title of this Sabbath’s German sermon, presented by Norbert Link. Title in English: “You Cannot Pay Us!”
“Firewall,” the sermonette presented last Sabbath by Kalon Mitchell, is now posted. Here is a summary:
In IT, networking the need for a firewall is first and foremost. Without a firewall, the entire network would be rendered useless. As Christians, we also need to have firewalls in place. How can we apply this into our lives?
“God or Man? Part 1,” the sermon presented last Sabbath by Michael Link, is now posted. Here is a summary:
When is it justified to obey God rather than man, even when it comes to human laws and Godly laws? Do we still need to keep the 10 Commandments today? What do the laws of man suggest and are there any contradictions to the laws of God? When it comes right down to it, will we obey God rather than man? This first part will cover the first 4 Commandments which describe the love towards God.
The 2018 Ministerial Conference will take place in Fort Collins, Colorado. Participants will arrive on April 18th and depart on April 24th.
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, Robb Harris, Michael Link, Kalon Mitchell, Manuela Mitchell, Dawn Thompson
Technical Team: Eric Rank, Shana Rank
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