Update 235


God's Kingdom and His Righteousness

On March 18, 2006, Edwin Pope will give the sermon, titled, “God’s Kingdom and His Righteousness.”

The services can be heard at www.cognetservices.org at 12:30 pm Pacific Time (which is 2:30 pm Central Time). Just click on Connect to Live Stream.

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Profitable Work!


At my last job, my employer had all the employees account for every
15 minute block of the day. While this is a common practice in fields
such as law and accounting, I had never come across it in my line of
business: computer networking. Learning this system was a pain in the
beginning…and in the end and all points in between. I would much
rather have been working on some technical issue beyond my
understanding or with a problematic customer. But nonetheless there was
no getting around it.

During the course of this exercise I was
forced to look critically at what I did during the day at all times.
Naturally it should go without saying that the boss was interested in a
term that I became intimately familiar with–“billable hours.” This was
time that the company was able to charge the customer for work that I
did. With this realization, I quickly came to some conclusions about
the typical work environment.

First was that when someone says
that they are “busy” that does not necessarily mean that they are
“working.” When someone says that they are “working” it does not
necessarily mean that they are being “profitable.” When I was being
micro-managed, I suddenly became accountable for everything that I was
doing for the company and it really made me consider my every action.

we come into the Passover season we need to be asking ourselves this
same thing–even more seriously than we have been doing throughout the
past year. If we say that we are busy, are we busy laboring and
striving, not in vain, but according to the good work that God has begun
in us (Philippians 1:6; 2:6 )? If we say that we are working, are we
doing a work which is good and profitable (Titus 3:8)? Only each one of
us individually can answer these questions and we must do so carefully
and prayerfully as we will soon have to give an account (1 Peter 4:5).

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The Bird Flu IS Coming to the USA

ABC News reported on March 13:

“In a remarkable speech over the weekend, Secretary of Health and Human Services Michael Leavitt recommended that Americans start storing canned tuna and powdered milk under their beds as the prospect of a deadly bird flu outbreak approaches the United States. Ready or not, here it comes. It is being spread much faster than first predicted from one wild flock of birds to another, an airborne delivery system that no government can stop. ‘There’s no way you can protect the United States by building a big cage around it and preventing wild birds from flying in and out,’ U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Michael Johanns said. U.S. spy satellites are tracking the infected flocks, which started in Asia and are now heading north to Siberia and Alaska, where they will soon mingle with flocks from the North American flyways…

“ABC News has obtained a mathematical projection prepared by federal scientists based on an initial outbreak on an East Coast chicken farm. Within three months, with no vaccine, almost half of the country would have the flu. That, of course, is a worst-case scenario — but one that cannot be completely discounted. The current bird flu strain has been around for at least 10 years and has taken surprising twists and turns — not the least of which is that it’s now showing up in cats in Europe, where officials are advising owners to bring their cats inside. It’s advice that might soon have to be considered here.”

ABC News reported on March 14:

“Robert G. Webster is one of the few bird flu experts confident enough to answer the key question: Will the avian flu switch from posing a terrible hazard to birds to becoming a real threat to humans? There are ‘about even odds at this time for the virus to learn how to transmit human to human,’ he told ABC’s ‘World News Tonight.’… viruses mutate, and the big fear among the world’s scientists is that the bird flu virus will join the human flu virus, change its genetic code and emerge as a new and deadly flu that can spread through the air from human to human. If the virus does mutate, it does not necessarily mean it will be as deadly to people as it is to birds. But experts such as Webster say they must prepare for the worst. ‘I personally believe it will happen and make personal preparations,’ said Webster, who has stored a three-month supply of food and water at his home in case of an outbreak. ‘Society just can’t accept the idea that 50 percent of the population could die. And I think we have to face that possibility,’ Webster said. ‘I’m sorry if I’m making people a little frightened, but I feel it’s my role.'”

The outbreak of the bird flu in the USA is a real danger and could very well be in fulfillment of Biblical prophecy, which predicts famines and pestilence IN THE USA–as well as around the world. For more information, please read our free booklet, “The Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord.”

Israel vs. Iran

On March 10, 2006, The Jerusalem Post reported the following:

“The United States has until now not done enough to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, a senior Defense Ministry official has told The Jerusalem Post… ‘America needs to get its act together,’ the official said. ‘Until now the US administration has just been talking tough but the time has come for the Americans to begin to take tough action.’ The only real way to stop Teheran’s race to obtain the bomb apart from military action was through tough economic sanctions that caused the Iranian people to suffer… Iran, the official said, was doing all it could to stall for time, including holding ‘pointless’ talks with Russia concerning the enrichment of its uranium… While it was complicated to overthrow the current regime in Teheran, ‘it is not impossible,’ the official said. If the world stopped refining Iranian oil, the official said as an example, the country would not have gas for its cars… if the diplomatic course failed, Israel and the US needed to be prepared, the official said, to take military action against Teheran.”

The article continued:

“Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz told reporters in Germany on Wednesday that Israel had all it needed to defend itself against Iran… Israel, Mofaz told senior German officials, would not stand by idly while its very existence was at risk. ‘We do not plan to turn a blind eye to these threats and we will do everything possible to make sure they do not materialize.'”

The Jerusalem Post wrote on March 13:

“The Pentagon is looking into the possibility of Israel launching a strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities… The discussions, which were described as intelligence-oriented and not policy-oriented, examined the likelihood of an Israeli pre-emptive attack against Iran and the method in which such an attack could be carried out. One of the main questions presented in these discussions was whether Israel would inform the US in advance in case such an attack is to take place and when would such an advance notice be given… The sources pointed out that it is clear that Israel would have to coordinate with the US forces air control any attempt to fly over Iraq on the way to Iran, if Israel chooses to attack using the shortest route.”

The Bible clearly predicts that in these end times, which will lead to the return of Jesus Christ to this earth, we would be hearing of wars and rumors of wars (Matthew 24: 6). Christ said that these, as well as “famines, pestilences and earthquakes in various places,” would be “the beginning of sorrows” (verses 7-8). Although we have always had wars, famines, pestilences and earthquakes, there can be no doubt that they have dramatically increased in recent years, especially in their magnitude and with their potential consequences.

Iran Prepares for War

The Telegraph reported on March 11:

“Iran’s leaders have built a secret underground emergency command centre in Teheran as they prepare for a confrontation with the West over their illicit nuclear progamme… The underground strategy is partly designed to hide activities from satellite view and international inspections but also reflects a growing belief in Teheran that its showdown with the international community could end in air strikes by America or Israel… The regime is also reviewing its contingency plans to attack tankers and American naval forces in the Persian Gulf and to mine the Strait of Hormuz, through which about 15 million barrels of oil (about 20 per cent of world production) passes each day. Any action in the Gulf would send oil prices soaring – a weapon that Iran has often threatened to wield… US intelligence believes that if Iranian nuclear facilities were attacked by either America or Israel, then Teheran would respond by trying to close the Strait of Hormuz with naval forces, mines and anti-ship cruise missiles… ‘The price to the West for standing up to Iran is clear,’ Gen Moshe Ya’alon, the former Israeli defence chief said last month in Washington. ‘It includes terror attacks, economic hardship… and consequences resulting from fluctuations in Iranian oil production. Indeed, the regime believes that the West – including Israel – is afraid to deal with it.'”

Iran and Venezuela

The Miami Herald reported on March 12 about the new-found friendship between Iran and Venezuela:

“Iran is not the first or last openly anti-Western Middle Eastern government that has warm relations with Caracas. As an OPEC member, Chávez courted Libya leader Moammar Gadhafi and Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, and last month endorsed the Palestinian government of Hamas, which Washington and Europe regard as a terrorist organization. But few countries are as embroiled in as serious an international controversy as Iran, accused of seeking nuclear weapons. Venezuela joined Cuba and Syria as the only countries to vote in the International Atomic Energy Agency last month against reporting Iran to the U.N. Security Council… The Caracas-Tehran ties have been causing concern in Washington.”

Milosevic Dies

AFP reported on March 11:

“Serbs were stunned by the news of the sudden death of former Yugoslav strongman Slobodan Milosevic, blaming his recent health problems on his detention at the UN war crimes tribunal… Even opponents of Milosevic said they believed the former Yugoslav president’s death would have a negative effect in Serbia… Many questioned the cause of Milosevic’s death.”

On March 13, AFP reported:

“Sunday’s autopsy pinpointed ‘myocardial infarction’ — heart attack — as the immediate cause of death, although a court spokeswoman admitted it was too early to rule out poisoning, as claimed by his entourage and Milosevic in a letter revealed after his death… a medical report given to Milosevic by court officials had revealed the presence in his blood of an antibiotic also described as one used to fight leprosy and tuberculosis. In the letter, written a day before his death, Milosevic pleaded with the Russian foreign ministry for protection, charging: ‘They would like to poison me.'”

The Queen of Australia

The Associated Press reported on March 12:

“Queen Elizabeth II arrived in Australia on Sunday for a five-day state visit that has reignited the simmering debate over whether she should remain the country’s head of state… Australia became an independent state in 1901, but, like many former outposts of the British Empire such as Canada, it still recognizes the queen as head of state. The nation overwhelmingly voted against changing the country’s constitutional monarchy into a republic in 1999.”

For more information on the increasing lack of influence of Great Britain in world affairs, please read our free booklet, “The Fall and Rise of Britain and America.”

Trade War Between EU and US

The Associated Press reported on March 14:

“The European Union advised the World Trade Organization on Tuesday that it would reintroduce trade sanctions against the United States in two months unless Washington complies with a WTO ruling condemning tax breaks for U.S. companies operating overseas… Last month’s decision ‘made it absolutely clear that the U.S. has yet to come into full compliance with earlier rulings and recommendations,’ the EU told the WTO’s dispute settlement body. The panel’s ruling was officially adopted by the global commerce body at Tuesday’s meeting. EU legislation means the retaliatory measures, suspended in January will automatically go back into force in 60 days…The EU estimates the tax advantages from the jobs creation act will benefit airplane maker Boeing alone by at least $615 million over the next decade.”

Worst Fires in Texas’ History

Star Telegram reported on March 14:

“Panhandle firefighters spent a second day Monday battling hot spots in the worst series of wildfires in Texas history. Since Sunday, wildfires have claimed at least 11 lives, injured more than a half-dozen people and scorched at least 697,000 acres, officials said.”

Gaza Strip Under Attack

On March 14, AFP reported:

“Three foreign hostages — two French and a Korean — were being held by Palestinian gunmen in the Gaza Strip after the Israeli raid on the Jericho jail, which succeeded in its aim of netting a militant leader but sparked a violent reaction in the territories, much of it aimed at British and US interests… The president of the European Parliament roundly condemned Israel’s massive raid on the prison and the wave of kidnappings of foreigners that followed it. ‘We strongly condemn the attack on the prison in Jericho by Israeli forces as well as the resulting kidnappings and acts of violence in the Palestinian territories today,’ Borrell, head of the European Union’s directly elected assembly, said in a statement…

“Israeli troops had pounded the prison compound with tank and missile fire throughout the day in a bid to force the militants’ surrender. Two Palestinian security guards were killed and 26 others wounded, five of them critically. The operation came minutes after the three British monitors, part of a team that normally also includes Americans, were withdrawn from the prison, prompting furious charges of collusion from the Palestinians. British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw denied the charges, saying the monitors were pulled out for their safety. Hundreds of armed Palestinians reacted to the Israeli action by storming the British cultural centre in the Gaza Strip and set fire to it while gunmen barged into [an] American office used to teach English in Gaza City. In the West Bank town of Ramallah, the British cultural centre and a branch of HSBC bank were also attacked… Israeli Public Security Minister Gideon Ezra said the prison raid was undertaken to prevent the militants going free after Abbas repeatedly voiced readiness to release them in recent weeks. Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erakat condemned what he described as a ‘kidnapping operation’ and held Britain and the United States responsible for the safety of the PFLP leader, whose predecessor Abu Ali Mustafa was assassinated by Israel in 2001.”

Der Spiegel Online reported on March 14:

“In a potentially dangerous escalation of Middle East violence, Palestinian gunmen have kidnapped a number of foreigners in response to the storming of a West Bank jail by Israeli forces. Arabs are accusing the United States and Britain of coordinating the raid… The new outbreak of violence in the Palestinian territories underscored the wider collapse of relations between Israel and the Palestinians since the militant Islamist group Hamas won Jan. 25 Palestinian elections.”

The Middle East will become more and more the focus of Biblical prophecies. And it will be Europe–not the United States of America or Great Britain–which will play a most important role in the developments within that region of the world. For more information, please read our free booklet, “Europe in Prophecy.”

Iraq’s New Parliament

AFP reported on March 16:

“Iraq’s new parliament opened three months after elections but continuing deadlock on forming a government and choosing a speaker forced the chamber to adjourn after only a brief session. The session, held deep inside Baghdad’s fortified ‘Green Zone’ protected by walls, razor wire and troops, lasted just 40 minutes and was adjourned after the 275 members of the national assembly were collectively sworn in. The summoning of parliament was meant to provide new momentum to talks between rival Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish factions on forming a coalition at a time of worsening sectarian violence which threatens to trigger civil war. The latest sign of such blood-letting came when authorities announced the discovery of 25 corpses — men who had been shot to death and dumped in different parts of the capital. At least 80 more were found earlier in the week. Communal violence has left hundreds dead since a Shiite shrine was blown up on February 22.”

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Does it matter what a political leader does in private as long as he does his "public" job effectively?

In recent years, we have seen a spate of allegations and revelations
about the behavior of certain leading political figures and other high
profile leaders, both in the UK and the USA, as well as in Western
Europe. While this is not a new phenomenon, public attitudes seem to
have changed to a more liberal and tolerant, if not accepting approach.
This is because of moral and ethical barriers being lowered as society
adopts a much more permissive attitude.

We may recall that in the
US presidential election in the late 1990’s, the public re-elected
their President in spite of his behavior. As long as the President gave
the American people a good standard of living it didn’t matter, as one
commentator put it, “what happened after dark.”

America’s first
President, George Washington, wrote a letter in 1790 to his nephew. He
said that “ a good moral character was essential in a man.”
But today’s prevailing attitude in the Western world is that “we have
moved on”–which means that “anything goes.”

The Dutch theologian
and historian philosopher Hugo Grotius (1583-1645) said that “A man
cannot govern a nation if he cannot govern a city; he cannot govern a
city if he cannot govern a family; he cannot govern a family unless he
can govern himself; and he cannot govern himself unless his passions
are subject to reason.”

Those in the public eye and in political
leadership positions should have certain standards. We ought to
be able to expect that politicians bring certain qualities to the jobs
that they undertake, including honesty, integrity, uprightness and a
moral code. In other words, we ought to be able to expect “character.”

is the ability to discern right from wrong and to always choose the
right, irrespective of circumstances or popular demand.

is a vital ingredient and involves the whole person. In his book “The
Death of Outrage,” William J. Bennett makes the following comments:
“Are character and integrity abstract side issues, outweighed by
current economic well-being?… The leader must be whole; he cannot
have his public character be honest and his private character be

There are those in this world who know the importance
of integrity. Years ago, a company in the pharmaceutical business in
the US, named Squibb, released the following story on a poster board to
be displayed in drugstores:

“In the city of Baghdad lived Hakem.
Many went to him for counsel which he gave freely, asking nothing in
return. Then came a young man who had spent much time and got little.
‘Tell me, wise one,’ he said, ‘What can I do to receive the most for
that which I spend?’ Hakem answered, ‘A thing that is bought or sold
has no value unless it contains that which cannot be bought or sold.
Look for the priceless ingredient.’ ‘But what is the priceless
ingredient?’ asked the young man. Spoke thus the wise one, ‘My son, the
priceless ingredient of every product in the market place is the honor
and integrity of him who makes it. Consider his name before you buy.”

July 1993, the American Air Force Academy formed a center for character
development. Colonel Alexander stated the following in “proposed
character development outcomes,” issued January 21st 1993:

with forthright integrity voluntarily decide the right thing to do and
do it in both their professional and private lives. They do not choose
the right thing because of a calculation of what is most advantageous
to themselves but because of a consistent and spontaneous inclination
to do the right thing. Their inclination to do right is consistently
followed by actually doing what they believe they should do and taking
responsibility for their choices. In other words, persons of integrity
‘walk their talk.'”

What is the Biblical teaching on character
and integrity of political leaders? In the book of Proverbs, this
wisdom is revealed: “The integrity of the upright will guide them, but
the perversity of the unfaithful will destroy them” (Proverbs 11:3). We
are also taught: “When the righteous are in authority, the people
rejoice” (Proverbs 29:2).

In God’s eyes, the moral conduct of
political leaders DOES matter. Proverbs 31:4-5 teaches: “… It is not
for kings to drink [too much] wine, Nor for princes intoxicating drink;
Lest they drink and forget the law, And pervert justice of all the

Let us also note the effect which a morally corrupt
leader may have on others. We read in Proverbs 29:12: “If a ruler pays
attention to lies, All his servants become wicked.” The opposite is
true, as well: “Take away the wicked from before the king, And his
throne will be established in righteousness” (Proverbs 25:5).

last words of David in 2 Samuel 23:3 are revealing: “The God of
Israel said, The Rock of Israel spoke to me: ‘He who rules over men
must be just, Ruling in the fear of God.'”

Biblical injunction is mainly ignored today in an ever increasingly
secular society, but “righteousness exalts a nation” (Proverbs 14:34).
We read in Proverbs 16:12: “It is an abomination for kings to commit
wickedness, For a throne is established by righteousness.” All of God’s
commandments are “righteousness” (Psalm 119:172)–including the “Great
Ten,” as well as other rules and regulations, such as the ones against
homosexuality, adultery, false religious worship and sorcery with its
various forms and customs. In God’s eyes, a king–especially in this
Western world–ought to familiarize himself with His Law–rather than
adopting and living by the standards and morals of humans. We read in
Deuteronomy 17:18-20:

“Also it shall be, when he sits on the
throne of his kingdom, that he shall write for himself a copy of this
law in a book… and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he
may learn to fear the LORD his God and be careful to observe all the
words of this law and these statutes, that his heart may not be lifted
above his brethren, that he may not turn aside from the commandment to
the right hand or to the left, and that he may prolong his days in his
kingdom, he and his children in the midst of Israel.”

comes from studying and applying God’s Word, and it is still of
paramount importance. To put it simply, integrity is the difference
between what you say and what you do. It has also been described as
what you do when no one is looking.

In Matthew 23:1-7, Jesus
spoke about the hypocrisy, self righteousness and great vanity of the
Pharisees who lacked integrity–even though they knew the letter of
God’s law. They taught the law, but they themselves did not obey it
(verse 3). They were leaders at that time but their example was poor.

the Baptist was not afraid to challenge the bad moral conduct of King
Herod. The King, as a leader of the people, was supposed to live beyond
moral approach, but he sinned greatly. We read in Mark 6:17-18: “For
Herod himself had sent and laid hold of John, and bound him in prison
for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife; for he had married
her. Because John had said to Herod, ‘It is not lawful for you to have
your brother’s wife.'”

The behavior of politicians really does
matter. Sadly, in this world which is ruled by Satan, most politicians
do not follow God’s Way of Life. Many citizens copy the bad behavior of
their leaders. It is partially for the reasons set forth in this
Update, that the Church of the Eternal God and its corporate affiliates
do not vote in governmental elections, nor do we endorse any political
candidates. (For more information as to the Biblical reasons for our
position, please read our fee booklet, “Should You Fight in War?“) For
true Christians, our role models–or examples–should not be those
conformed to this world. Our example is Jesus Christ who was

Lead Writer: Brian Gale

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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

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