March 20, 2020
Comments on News and Prophecy (March 21, 2020) / God’s Letter to Philadelphia
On March 21, 2020, Norbert Link will present “Comments on News and Prophecy (March 21, 2020),” and the sermon, titled, “God’s Letter to Philadelphia.”
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.
Are We Heeding God’s Warning?
by Norbert Link
Coronavirus! A man-made pandemic which originated in China, apparently due to the ungodly consumption of unclean meat. It is destroying the world—its civilization; its societies and global economy. Panic reaction to the virus has changed our daily lives… including cancellations of social and sport events; closure of schools, restaurants and shops; serious restrictions for our jobs and work abilities; national and international travel bans; prohibitions of assemblies and confinements in mandated isolation and quarantine… as well as cancellations of our religious worship services.
Many countries have already banned church services, and who is to say as to how long these limitations of our religious and individual liberties and freedoms will continue… It is as if we are victims of a worldwide war… and in a sense, we are—each country seems to fight a suicidal war against itself and an all-encompassing “preemptive” war against other nations.
When hearing this mind-boggling news which affects many innocent people and which sounds like the wild imaginations of a science fiction or horror movie, I wonder how much we have taken our freedom from autocratic restrictions and totalitarian governmental intervention for granted with the opportunity to assemble each week for our religious services. Many times, the sad truth is that we begin to really miss something when it is taken away from us. The Bible admonishes us that we should not forsake the assembling of ourselves together (Hebrews 10:25). Many have not heeded God’s warning in this regard, or they might have attended half-heartedly, lacking real zeal and enthusiasm for God and His people.
In Old Testament times, ancient Israel and Judah polluted God’s holy days—either not keeping them at all or keeping them grudgingly with their own added traditions—and God was very angry about this and punished them with many plagues and ultimately, with destruction, death, war and captivity.
We can read about this in Ezekiel 20:12-13:
“Moreover I also gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between them and Me, that they might know that I am the LORD who sanctifies them. Yet the house of Israel rebelled against Me… and they greatly defiled My Sabbaths…” As a consequence, God said that He would rule over them with “a mighty hand, with an outstretched arm, and with fury poured out” (verse 34).
Ezekiel 22:26 adds:
“Her priests have violated My law and profaned My holy things; they have not distinguished between the holy and unholy, nor have they made known the difference between the unclean and the clean; and they have hidden their eyes from My Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them.”
Sadly, man seldom learns from his mistakes, it seems, and today’s “priests” in our modern nations have hidden their eyes from God’s holy Sabbaths as well. As a consequence, God pronounces a curse on us for repeating the sins of our forefathers.
In Hosea 2:11, God tells us how He feels about “days of worship,” which man created for himself, while rejecting God’s Sabbaths:
“I will also cause all her mirth to cease, Her feast days, Her New Moons, Her Sabbaths—All her appointed feasts.”
But we should not overlook the fact that God is also angry with the lackadaisical attitude with which some of His people might be “keeping” His Holy Days, and that He announces the possibility of preventing them from keeping His Sabbaths by assembling for worship services, as they did not really appreciate this great privilege anyway.
Hosea 9:5 gives us this sobering warning in the context of future slavery and captivity for our nations which will also include some—if not many—of God’s people: “What will you do in the appointed day And in the day of the feast of the LORD?” The Neue Luther Bibel 2009 writes: “What will you do then during the annual feasts and the feast days of the LORD?”
Amos 8:10-12 also adds this sad prophecy:
“I will turn your feasts [or feast days] into mourning, And all your songs into lamentation… ‘Behold, the days are coming,’ says the LORD God, ‘That I will send a famine on the land, Not a famine of bread, Nor a thirst for water, But of hearing the words of the LORD. They shall wander from sea to sea, And from north to east; They shall run to and fro, seeking the word of the LORD, But shall not find it.’”
Are we experiencing now a foretaste of what is going to come—a last warning perhaps and a strong admonition from God to get our act together, before it is too late? To get us back on track to worship the true God of the Bible with zeal, dedication, enthusiasm and love? All of us are called upon to examine ourselves and to make sure that God provides us with protection from the worldwide plagues and their consequences, and to appreciate fully the Sabbaths which God gave us as a sign between Him and His people.
by Norbert Link
It seems that not a day [or even an hour] goes by when we don’t read or hear about new horrible developments regarding a variety of measures in the human attempt to combat the coronavirus pandemic. In this issue, we have concentrated on the most alarming and deeply concerning and frighteningly mind-boggling prohibitions and bans. The unthinkable (including the restrictions of our individual and collective liberties and freedoms) has become the norm; and the most bizarre has been embraced.
In other news, we speak of interesting events in and pertaining to Israel; the forgotten horrible Syrian war; the devastating locust plague approaching the Middle East; the hotchpotch of interpretations by biblical “scholars” regarding end-time prophecy; and the strange phenomenon of mind control in our “free” societies.
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
Worldwide Lack of True Leadership
Politico wrote on March 16:
“Welcome to politics’ darkest hour. If the coronavirus outbreak has taught us anything beyond the necessity of careful hygiene, it’s that the first victim of a pandemic is leadership. At no time in the past 75 years… have global leaders so utterly failed to deliver.
“… Few may have expected inspired leadership from U.S. President Donald Trump… Even so, his fumbling of a national address on the emergency, followed by his trademark blame-shifting… will be remembered as a low point in American political leadership…
“Boris Johnson… has sounded more like the Grim Reaper. ‘Many more families are going to lose loved ones before their time,’ he said in a televised address on Friday, insisting that his government has ‘a clear plan.’ Trouble is, the strategy underlying that plan… appears to have unnerved more people than it has reassured, fueling fears that Johnson has no plan at all…
“The German chancellor [Angela Merkel]… left management of the pandemic to her youthful health minister, Jens Spahn… The government’s response to the crisis has been marked by crossed wires and confusion…”
The leaders of this world have been failing miserably.. .and not only in regard to the coronavirus. Very soon, a strong charismatic political military dictator will arise in Europe… and the world will blindly follow and even “worship” him.
Worldwide Economic Destruction
Newsmax wrote on March 17:
“Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley economists… declare[d] that the coronavirus has triggered a global recession, with the debate now focusing on its likely length and depth… The outlook could darken even further if the virus lasts longer than anticipated, or wields greater economic pain — given factories, schools, restaurants and shops are closing around the world…”
Reuters wrote on March 17:
“As governments in the United States and Europe start shutting restaurants and schools, as well as asking people to stay home, several investors are concerned the current crisis could snowball into something bigger than a recession, including a credit crisis, or even a depression.”
We have warned of the possibility of a coming global depression for quite some time.
Destruction of U.S. Economy
Politico wrote on March 16:
“The early signals from the coronavirus crisis point to a scale of damage unseen in the modern U.S. economy: the potential for millions of jobs lost in a single month, a historic and sudden plunge in economic activity across the nation and a pace of sharp market swings not seen since the Great Depression…”
The Drudge Report wrote on March 18 that the Dow Jones closed at 19,804 on the day when Trump was sworn into office, and that the index crashed below that on March 18, meaning all the gains since the Trump inauguration were wiped out.
Restrictions of Free Movement of Americans
CNN wrote on March 16:
“The White House advised all Americans to avoid groups of more than 10 and urged older people to stay at home altogether in a set of new guidelines… ‘We’ll see what happens, but they think August, could be July, could be longer than that,’ Trump said of the time when life might return to normal in the United States… The guidelines… will remain in place for 15 days, officials said.
“Included in the new guidance was a recommendation for all Americans to stay away from bars, restaurants and food courts and to avoid discretionary travel. The guidelines also suggest closing schools and canceling all social visits in homes. Some officials have warned that further attempts to limit Americans from traveling domestically could have a dire effect on the economy. Those arguments have been countered by health officials… Still, the guidelines issued on Monday were only recommendations and not mandates…”
Politicians follow the guidance of “health experts,” who have been admitting time and again that they really don’t know anything specific about the virus either. When the blind follow the blind…
Martial Law in the USA
Newsmax wrote on March 18:
“President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that he will invoke a federal provision not used since the Korean War that allows the government to marshal the private sector in response to the coronavirus pandemic…
“Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau jointly announced that the U.S.-Canada border would be closed, except for essential personnel and for trade…
“Trump likened the effort to the measures taken during World War II and said it would require national ‘sacrifice.’”
ABC7 wrote on March 16:
“Gov. Gavin Newsom is calling for all California bars to close amid the coronavirus emergency and asking all Californians age 65 and older and those with chronic conditions to isolate themselves at home… Newsom’s call for the shutdowns was described as ‘guidance‘ rather than a legal order by the government…”
What an incredible “guidance” or, as other papers termed it, “encouragement” by a governor.
But it may get much worse. Fox News reported on March 18 that California is preparing for the worst case scenario, considering imposing martial law which “would take the extraordinary step of replacing the usual laws with military authority, with the possible suspension of civil liberties like freedom of association and movement.”
Our world is becoming—quite literally—a global prison camp. Spiritually, we have been imprisoned or held captive by Satan from the time of Adam and Eve’s sin.
Schools to Stay Closed
Politico wrote on March 17:
“California’s schools will likely stay closed for the rest of the academic year over coronavirus concerns, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Tuesday in a jaw-dropping prediction for families barely settling into new weekday routines with children at home… If it holds true, more than 6 million California public school students would remain home for an unprecedented length of time unless the state finds alternatives.
“Nearly 99 percent of the state’s schools have closed, though Newsom has not issued a state mandate requiring them to do so, citing concerns about the impact on low-income families… Earlier Tuesday, Kansas became the first U.S. state to officially close schools for the remainder of the academic year.”
It can be expected that the rest of the country will follow these panic-stricken examples. What a nightmarish scenario.
Daily Mail wrote on March 18:
“The Surgeon General [Jerome Adam] warned on Wednesday that it could take longer than 15 days to slow the spread of coronavirus but that Americans must ‘pitch in’ and do their part now to stay home and self-isolate if they want the deadly disease to die… Some… are calling for harsher action, like a two-week national shutdown to force people indoors.
“There has not been a clear cut answer on how long Americans will have to continue living in this current state of crisis. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has said the current state of crisis could last nine months, whereas experts overseas say it could even longer…”
This is just one example to show the hopeless ignorance when it comes to the virus, and the futile attempts to deal with it.
Americans Prepare for Social Unrest and Civil War
The Guardian wrote on March 16:
“Sales of guns and ammunition are soaring across the US as fears of possible social unrest amid the coronavirus crisis are prompting some Americans to turn to firearms as a form of self-protection…
“Larry Hyatt, owner of one of the country’s largest gun shops… the Guardian that the scenes of mass buying at his store were virtually unprecedented. ‘This is only the second time in my 61 years of business that we’ve seen anything like this,’ he said, adding that the first occasion was the aftermath of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school in Connecticut in 2012.
“Hyatt said that the type of guns being bought was reflective of the fear prevalent among customers. There was almost no interest in hunting rifles. Instead, people were opting for target guns and there was big demand for AR-15 semi-automatic assault-style rifles. Asked why he thought the spike was happening, Hyatt replied: ‘Financial meltdown, pandemic, crime, politics … you throw it all into the pot, and you have one hell of a mess.’…
“Firearms are already the second most prevalent killer of children in the US after car crashes. In the 14- to 17-year-old bracket, gun injuries are the highest single cause of death…”
It seems like, people are getting mad in an attempt of self-destruction.
Restriction of Free Movements of Brits
Express wrote on March 15:
The Sun reported on June 17 that Boris Johnson, in employing “war-time” measures, asked that “OVER a million people should stay inside their homes for 12 weeks and everyone else must avoid going out… The over 70s, those who are pregnant, and anyone with underlying health conditions (around 20million Brits) should try not to leave their homes if they can, and avoid crowded spaces immediately.”
The website of ageuk.org reported:
“People aged over 70, pregnant people, and people with underlying health conditions are being asked to stay at home and avoid unnecessary, close contact with other people for up to 12 weeks by 21-22 March.”
Europe Closes External Borders
Deutsche Welle wrote on March 18:
“All 27 EU member states on Tuesday evening committed to implementing travel restriction measures… EU member states have said they will temporarily restrict non-essential journeys to travelers from [other] countries to the bloc… The purpose of the new restrictions is to keep individual EU states from closing their national borders…
“Several EU member states have already closed their national borders. The commission hopes the new restrictions will encourage them to lift internal border control measures.”
This is such a juvenile approach, and it is also, in part, in obvious retaliation of Trump’s European travel ban directed towards the European Schengen zone as well as the UK and Ireland. In response, on March 19, the US State Department issued the highest (level four) international travel warning and urged Americans not to travel abroad under any circumstances and to return home if they are already abroad.
Frightening Developments in Europe
The Guardian wrote on March 17:
“The EU has endorsed the strictest travel ban in its history as France joined Italy and Spain in full lockdown… some member states, including Austria, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Poland, unilaterally began imposing border checks… Charles Michel, the president of the European council, said: ‘We are confronting… a long and difficult crisis…’
“Emmanuel Macron… said on Monday night the country was ‘at war’, announcing that the army would help move patients to hospitals and 100,000 police would check the new regulations were being observed… Anyone leaving their home must complete a legal document downloaded from the interior ministry’s website, or written out by hand, declaring on their honour that they are out for one of the permitted reasons…
“The struggle against the coronavirus was an ‘economic and financial war’ that will last for some considerable time, [French finance minister Bruno] Le Maire said. ‘It will be lengthy and it will be violent … this war will require us to mobilise all our forces,’ he said.”
Terrible images of dictatorial countries and their inhumane actions from the past and present are coming to mind.
Also, the following was reported by Breitbart on March 18:
“The Prime Minister of France warned that if the United Kingdom doesn’t enact stricter measures to combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus, Britons will be banned from travelling to France.”
Europe’s hostility towards the UK will increase.
Nation of Israel Asks Vatican to Restore Temple Vessels
Breaking Israel News reported on March 15:
“… the Nation of Israel requests that the Vatican immediately return to Jerusalem the Temple vessels that have been stored in Rome for nearly 2000 years… Josephus Flavius, a first-century Roman-Jewish scholar of priestly descent, reported that the Temple artifacts were indeed taken to Rome and placed in Vespasian’s Temple of Peace, completed in 75 CE.
“Since that time, there have been several unverified sightings of the Menorah in the Vatican… In the second half of the 12th century, a Spanish Jew known as Benjamin of Tudela… claims in his journal that the Jews of Rome knew that the Temple vessels were hidden in a cave in the Vatican…
“It should be noted that on Sunday, the Waqf (Muslim authority) ordered the silver-domed al Aqsa Mosque and the gold-domed Dome of the Rock closed until further notice. Jews are still visiting their holiest site, the Temple Mount.”
The relationship between Israel and the Vatican, which was never good, will dramatically deteriorate.
Israel Government Still in Limbo
Times of Israel wrote on March 16:
“Blue and White chairman Benny Gantz vowed on Monday to cobble together a coalition ‘within days’ after President Reuven Rivlin tasked the centrist alliance leader with forming a government…
“The ceremonial tapping of Gantz to form the government came hours after Rivlin hosted the Blue and White leader along with Netanyahu for a three-way summit Sunday evening in an effort to encourage the two men to form an emergency unity government amid the coronavirus outbreak… Rivlin’s proposal this time was based on the previous offer, but reportedly gives Netanyahu a full year as prime minister before handing the baton to Gantz…”
Much could happen within a year. Also, Netanyahu announced on March 19: “The government will approve tonight emergency regulations to limit movement. You are ordered to stay at home… This isn’t a request, this isn’t a recommendation, but a binding requirement that will be enforced.”
This emergency declaration has been strongly condemned in Israel, as have been newly-rolled out regulations that allow the government to track mobile phones of individuals with coronavirus or suspected of being infected..
Syrian War Has Caused Death, Misery and Ruin
Deutsche Welle wrote on March 15:
“… the ongoing war in Syria entered its tenth year to little fanfare on Sunday… the decade-long conflict has displaced 11 million people, killed more than 384,000, including 116,000 civilians, and created an international humanitarian crisis with no end in sight… Last week, the UN wrote on Twitter that ‘a decade of fighting has brought nothing but ruin and misery. There is no military solution…’’
While the world is occupied with the coronavirus, millions of people suffer from displacement, ruin, misery and death in war. The world ignores this serious problem and stands idly by.
The Jerusalem Post wrote on March 17:
“Turkey sends flights to evacuate its own citizens [from the EU] while it denies health care to [140,000] asylum seekers who flee to Greece amid unprecedented EU closures.”
Locust Plague Coincides with Coronavirus
Times of Israel wrote on March 16:
“A plague of locusts the likes of which have been unseen for over 30 years is about to hit Africa and the Middle East. Adding to the perfect biblical storm, the current coronavirus pandemic is affecting travel of international experts and in-country gatherings for training to combat the locust threat…
“The Desert Locust… ‘is the most destructive migratory pest in the world,’ according to the Locust Watch website. As depicted in the Book of Exodus, when the highly mobile swarms of Desert Locust form, ‘they are ravenous eaters who consume their own weight per day, targeting food crops and forage’…
“The current widespread breeding in Kenya, Ethiopia, and Somalia represents ‘an unprecedented threat to food security and livelihoods at the beginning of the upcoming cropping season,’ writes the Locus Watch website… It appears that the hardest hit countries will include Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia, Iran, Pakistan, and Sudan…
“Not all regions of the Middle East will be affected, however. Despite the proximity to the Jewish holiday of Passover… it appears that the swarms will not hit Israel or the country’s crops.”
Pandemics and worldwide famine are prophesied.
What Religious “Scholars” (Don’t) Know
The Washington Post wrote on March 17:
“This is not the end of the world, according to Christians who study the end of the world… Could this be a sign of the apocalypse? It sure might feel apocalyptic. But not if you ask Christian writers and pastors who have spent years focusing their message on the Book of Revelation — the New Testament’s final book.
“… many evangelical leaders interpret it to mean that Jesus will return to Earth, believers will be raptured to heaven and those left behind will suffer seven dreadful years of calamities… Jeff Kinley, a writer of books on biblical prophecy… pointed… to Jesus’ words about the events before the end times in Luke 21:11: ‘There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.’ ‘I think he’s referring to a future time,’ Kinley said. ‘I don’t think this is an actual fulfillment of that.’ The Bible is very specific about what will happen before the End Times, Kinley says, and those events haven’t all unfolded yet. For one major thing, the ancient temple in Jerusalem is supposed to be rebuilt first.
“Gary Ray, a writer for the prophecy website Unsealed, agreed: He and his fellow evangelical End-Times writers are focused on what is happening with holy sites in Israel, not disease… In Ray’s opinion, these portents should send non-Christians rushing toward the Bible, so they can convert while there is still time before the Christians are raptured and everyone else has to endure the wretched seven years…
“One reason for all these relatively rosy assessments from people who might otherwise be doomsday prophesiers? It might be… the president, who is very popular among evangelical Christians…
“James Beverley, a professor at Tyndale Seminary in Toronto, said he found… that charismatic and Pentecostal prophets, who normally think the End Times are near, have been less likely to forecast doom during the Trump administration. ‘Some are saying that Satan is the source of evils like the virus, but the doom and gloom message is missing. There is such a positive view on Trump and such strong wishes for his reelection that there is deep hope that the virus will die out, a strong economy will return and Trump will defeat the Democratic nominee,’ Beverley wrote in an email. ‘It is stunning how optimistic charismatic prophets are since Trump won in 2016.’”
As it is almost always the case, the article reflects the opinions of biblical “scholars” which might include some few parcels of truth with a whole big bag of errors. Try to pick out for yourself where you can find the small pieces of truth and the many huge errors in the article.
Mind Control in Our “Free” Societies
Daily Mail published on March 14 the following article by one of their journalists:
“It was a bright, cold day in Oxford and everywhere I looked, rainbow flags flapped and fluttered in the sharp wind. They flew from the ancient colleges along the High Street. They flew from the Town Hall…
The mere act of suggesting that there is anything oppressive about these banners will ensure that I am convicted of ‘homophobia’… It is startling to recall walking down the same street more than 50 years ago, when nobody had ever thought of rainbow flags and this was still a free country…
“A huge change in sexual morality of all kinds was cleverly presented as mainly being the liberation of homosexuals from persecution… Britain is full of people who have never wholly agreed with the great sexual revolution which has overtaken us in the past 30 years, and is now embraced by the Conservative Party and the churches.
“But even in private they hesitate to say so… For they know a terrible thing. If they are denounced, they could lose their livelihoods… We also have an embryonic Thought Police patrolling Twitter. And we have increasingly ferocious official lying…
“Some sort of national emergency – a major terror attack, an economic collapse, perhaps even a devastating epidemic – will at some point speed up our descent into a semi-totalitarian dusk. The Civil Contingencies Act already gives government astonishing powers to rule by diktat if it can think of a good enough excuse…
“There is no barricade of law which stands between us and the introduction of an unfree society. There is no major party which can be relied [on] to oppose such a change, provided it can be dressed up as being in the interests of ‘security’, of ‘equality and diversity’ or of not offending people…
“How long before students all over Britain will note the appearance of rainbow flags each February, and think that it has always been so, and that there never was another opinion?”
Biblical standards are disappearing in our societies… and woe to those who want to uphold them.
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.
Why is it important to de-leaven our homes prior to the Days of Unleavened Bread?
First, we should look at where the command to de-leaven our homes is mentioned in the Bible, beginning with the Old Testament.
We read in Exodus 12:15-20:
“Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses. For whoever eats leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel. On the first day there shall be a holy convocation, and on the seventh day there shall be a holy convocation for you. No manner of work shall be done on them; but that which everyone must eat—that only may be prepared by you. So you shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for on this same day I will have brought your armies out of the land of Egypt. Therefore you shall observe this day throughout your generations as an everlasting ordinance. In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at evening, you shall eat unleavened bread, until the twenty-first day of the month at evening. For seven days no leaven shall be found in your houses, since whoever eats what is leavened, that same person shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he is a stranger or a native of the land. You shall eat nothing leavened; in all your dwellings you shall eat unleavened bread.”
This is the first place where this is mentioned and the penalty for not complying was being “cut off” from the congregation. The Jews understood correctly that the removal of leaven would have to be completed “at the eve of this festival,” prior to the beginning of the First Day of Unleavened Bread.
Adam Clarke’s commentary explains that “leaven was an emblem of sin, because it proceeded from corruption; and the putting away of this implied the turning to God with simplicity and uprightness of heart.” We should note, however, that the biblical passage, quoted above, does not specifically explain this meaning. As we will see, this will be explained later in Old Testament passages, and the full explanation can be found in the New Testament where the spirit of the law is discussed.
Exodus 13:3-10 also addresses de-leavening and abstaining from eating leavened products for seven days, while eating unleavened products:
“And Moses said to the people: ‘Remember this day in which you went out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand the LORD brought you out of this place. No leavened bread shall be eaten. On this day you are going out, in the month Abib. And it shall be, when the LORD brings you into the land of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, which He swore to your fathers to give you, a land flowing with milk and honey, that you shall keep this service in this month. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh day there shall be a feast to the LORD. Unleavened bread shall be eaten seven days. And no leavened bread shall be seen among you, nor shall leaven be seen among you in all your quarters. And you shall tell your son in that day, saying, “This is done because of what the LORD did for me when I came up from Egypt.” It shall be as a sign to you on your hand and as a memorial between your eyes, that the LORD’s law may be in your mouth; for with a strong hand the LORD has brought you out of Egypt. You shall therefore keep this ordinance in its season from year to year.”
Here it is stated that it was a sign and annual memorial when God brought them out of Egypt, which occurred on the First Day of Unleavened Bread, at night.
Another place speaking about eating unleavened products and abstaining from leaven for seven days is mentioned in Deuteronomy 16:3-4:
“You shall eat no leavened bread with it; seven days you shall eat unleavened bread with it, that is, the bread of affliction (for you came out of the land of Egypt in haste), that you may remember the day in which you came out of the land of Egypt all the days of your life. And no leaven shall be seen among you in all your territory for seven days…”
Notice the reference here to coming out of Egypt, where they had been held captive and had been afflicted for many years. The Church of God has understood that Egypt is used here as a type of sin and that the introduction of a little leaven to a clump of dough will eventually leaven the whole lump. This is further explained, for example, in 1 Corinthians 5:6:
“Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?”
This is a clear reference to a little sin which, if not removed, will corrupt a person. It might even corrupt others in the church. If a person is sinning continually in plain sight and is not removed or “cut off” from the congregation, it might affect others. Paul is referring to this principle when he addressed a person having sexual relations with his mother or stepmother, which evil conduct was known, tolerated and even endorsed by some in the church.
Paul was aware of the danger of tolerating sinful behavior. If we do not put sin out of our lives, it could lead to our destruction and the destruction of others. Even a little sin or compromise can be catastrophic if not being dealt with. It is compared to leaven which puffs up both in its physical use and in a person’s life.
Notice the further instruction by Paul in 1 Corinthians 5:7: “Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.”
We are to de-leaven our homes and abstain from leavened products and thereby remind ourselves that we have to purge out the sin and disassociate ourselves from the sinner who, like a rotten apple, influences others. We are to get rid of sinful conduct, repent of it and be a new lump by becoming spiritually renewed before God. We must not justify sin or make excuses for the sin, but rather, we must eradicate it and replace it with righteous behavior.
Paul restated the same injunction in Galatians 5:9: “A little leaven leavens the whole lump.”
The importance of removing leaven from our homes—a physical act—lies foremost in its spiritual application: It represents removing sin—a type of leaven—which, if not dealt with and repented of, can ultimately lead to the second death in the lake of fire.
There are several examples in the Bible where, if we are obedient in doing the physical things required of us, the spiritual meaning and understanding is revealed later. That is why obedience even in commanded physical matters is so important since it tests us to see if we will obey God in everything, and God can and will add the spiritual understanding in His due time.
Lead Writer: Rene Messier (Canada)
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
compiled by Dave Harris
We are very sad to announce that Mr. Ray Goodrum died on March 14, 2020, in Kelowna, British Columbia. Mr. Goodrum was a long-time member in God’s Church, and he is survived by his wife, Virgie, and son, Frank.
A new Member Letter (March 2020) has been mailed to our subscribers and is now posted. In this letter, Pastor Michael Link points to prophecy being fulfilled as never before, and he asks if we are indeed really ready for what comes next. This letter has also been translated into German and posted on our website. In addition, this week’s Editorial has also been translated into German and posted on our German website.
Due to flight restrictions and for other considerations, we have cancelled our Church Conference scheduled for the last part of March. However, we plan to use SKYPE to take care of necessary business and for further discussions. Sadly, all international and national flights for the Passover season were also cancelled.
The text and cover design for our new booklet, “The Ten Commandments,” has been submitted by graphic artist Shelly Bruno in preparation for final edits before printing.
The latest 3-part Q&A series on “Should We Be Afraid of the Future?” has been translated and posted on our Spanish page. Title in Spanish: ¿Deberíamos tener miedo al futuro?
“Coronavirus and Worldwide Wars… an Incredible Paradox!” is the title of the new StandingWatch program, presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:
While we are living in a world with awesome progress, we are unsuccessfully trying to fight appalling evil. Why is this so? While mankind is combating the coronavirus to save lives, it is engaged in preparations for a global all-encompassing nuclear war which could eradicate the human race. How can we explain this paradox?
“Trump’s ‘Irresponsible’ and ‘Incompetent’ European Travel Ban,” is the title of last week’s StandingWatch program, presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:
Indeed, “incompetent” and “irresponsible” are words which were used to describe President Trump’s European travel ban to “protect” against the “foreign” coronavirus, and much more drastic words have been uttered. The condemnation of his latest action without notice, which contradicted everything which he had said earlier, is worldwide, for different reasons. Panic and fear are engulfing this entire Satan-ruled world, and wide-ranging decisions with huge devastating consequences are being made which will also destroy our entire economy. Where will all of this lead, and what can YOU do about it?
“Coronavirus und Gottes Botschaft an seine Kirche in Philadelphia,” is the title of this Sabbath’s new German sermon, presented by Norbert Link. Title in English: “Coronavirus and God’s Message to His Church in Philadelphia.”
“Die einzig wahre Gesinnung,” is the title of last Sabbath’s German sermonette, presented by Robert Kintzi. Title in English: “The Only True Attitude.”
“God’s Design Plan,” the sermonette presented last Sabbath by Frank Bruno, is now posted. Here is a summary:
We are clear that none of us have seen the face of God the Father in this earthly existence. While only a very few were blessed to have walked with Jesus Christ during His time on earth, He was clear in His messages to mankind that those who believe, without having seen, are truly blessed. The Bible is rich with the information that we can rely on to grow in our faith and understanding. In addition, all that God has created—each one of us, and the world around us also has God’s signature design. In this Sermonette we will explore the Scriptures that bring this to light, and help us to see just how God created mankind to reflect His and His Son’s image, and His never-ending promise to those who believe and obey His commands.
“A Reason For The Hope That Is In You,” the sermon presented last Sabbath by Eric Rank, is now posted. Here is a summary:
The Bible instructs us to always be ready to have an answer for the hope that is within us when people ask us about our beliefs. What are your reasons for continuing to hope for the future that God promises?
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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