Update 298


Our Change

On June 16, 2007, Dave Harris will give the sermon, titled, “Our Change.”

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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Shelf Life

by Brian Gale (United Kingdom)

A few weeks ago in the UK we had council elections where all the candidates were putting themselves forward for political office.   A week later, the Prime Minister announced that he would be leaving office on June 27th.   He was elected almost 10 years ago with high expectations, as usually happens with any change of leader, but now his place will be taken by another who will last only so long.   The same is true for all those councilors elected in the May local elections.   They have a short shelf life in their political office.  

Likewise, football managers rarely last more than a few short years and managers in industry move around.   Wherever you look, the shelf life in these highly paid jobs is but for a moment.   And yet, so many strive for them.   The perceived glamour of celebrity and position allied to wealth is a heady mix for so many who never give their Creator a passing thought.   It’s all for now, and the future will take care of itself.

In the book of Ecclesiastes, much is written that we should take note of.   “… Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.   What profit has a man from his labor In which he toils under the sun?   One generation passes away, and another generation comes; But the earth abides forever” (Ecclesiastes 1:2-4).  

We have been called to have a full time career in Christianity that will last until our dying breath.  There must be no shelf life for true Christians in this mortal life as we grow and overcome and press towards the Kingdom of God. As Christians called by God, our shelf life is to be eternity, not just a fleeting few years.

Ecclesiastes has this admonition right at the end of the book, in chapter 12:13: “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is the whole duty of man.”

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Chaos in the Middle East — Will the UN or the EU Intervene?

Der Spiegel Online reported on June 14:

“As the violence in the Gaza Strip escalates, with Hamas tightening its grip on the territory, President Mahmoud Abbas has called on the United Nations for help… The Israeli Prime Minster Ehud Olmert said for the first time on Tuesday that an international force along the Gaza-Egypt border should be seriously considered to help counter the growing strength of Hamas. Israel in the past has resisted Palestinian calls for peacekeepers in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, saying any UN deployment would interfere with Israeli security operations. But there is speculation that Olmert’s calls for international engagement is merely laying the groundwork for Israeli action against Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip, from which Israeli troops withdrew in 2005… The European Union has also said it would consider participation in an international force in the Gaza Strip. ‘If we are asked, of course we will consider the possibility,’ EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana told reporters.”

AFP added on June 14:

“Hamas was poised to seize full control of the Gaza Strip on Thursday, overrunning key security strongholds of the rival Fatah movement after days of ferocious gunbattles in the chaotic territory. The Palestine Liberation Organisation called on president Mahmud Abbas to sack the teetering coalition government and declare a state of emergency after the deaths of almost 100 people in less than a week. Hamas gunmen stormed the compound of the preventive security forces in Gaza City and hoisted the green flag of the Islamist movement on the roof after an hours-long battle that left at least 14 dead and 70 wounded, witnesses said.

“Dozens of Fatah fighters loyal to Abbas, some of them stripped to their underwear, were dragged out of the building with their hands in the air as black-clad masked Hamas gunmen stood watch, they said. Some Islamist fighters prayed on the sidewalk while on the rooftop others fired automatic weapons into the air to celebrate their latest victory in what one Hamas leader described as ‘a battle between Islam and heresy.’ It is [the] largest stronghold of pro-Fatah security services to fall to Hamas — considered a terror outfit by the EU, Israel and the United States — whose disciplined fighters had already overran positions in the south and the north.

“Hamas, the Islamic Resistance Movement, demanded the surrender of the overall Fatah-controlled Palestinian security headquarters as its militiamen besieged the complex in Gaza City. Hamas’s armed wing also declared it had grabbed a security compound in the southern city of Rafah on the border with Egypt and the Fatah intelligence headquarters for the entire Gaza in the northern town of Beit Lahiya.”

The Financial Times reported on Thursday evening, June 14:

“Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority president, dismissed his Hamas-led government on Thursday night and declared a state of emergency, although with little prospect of imposing it in the Gaza Strip after Hamas routed his Fatah loyalists there in the space of a week. His decrees marked the end of a unity government that the two parties formed in March after agreeing in Mecca on a programme to end their factional strife. In the latest round of violence, Hamas gunmen seized almost all the main Gaza bases of security forces that answer to Mr Abbas.”

A Drought For the Ages

USA Today reported on June 10:

“Drought, a fixture in much of the West for nearly a decade, now covers more than one-third of the continental USA. And it’s spreading. As summer starts, half the nation is either abnormally dry or in outright drought from prolonged lack of rain that could lead to water shortages… Welcome rainfall last weekend from Tropical Storm Barry brought short-term relief to parts of the fire-scorched Southeast. But up to 50 inches of rain is needed to end the drought there, and this is the driest spring in the Southeast since record-keeping began in 1895… In central California, ranchers are selling cattle or trucking them out of state as grazing grass dries up. In Southern California’s Antelope Valley, rainfall at just 15% of normal erased the spring bloom of California poppies…

“Dry episodes have become so persistent in the West that some scientists and water managers say drought is the ‘new normal’ there. Reinforcing that notion are global-warming projections warning of more and deeper dry spells in the Southwest, although a report in last week’s Science magazine challenges the climate models and suggests there will be more rainfall worldwide later this century… This drought has been particularly harsh in three regions: the Southwest, the Southeast and northern Minnesota.

“Severe dryness across California and Arizona has spread into 11 other Western states. On the Colorado River, the water supply for 30 million people in seven states and Mexico, the Lake Powell and Lake Mead reservoirs are only half full and unlikely to recover for years. In Los Angeles County, on track for a record dry year with 21% of normal rain downtown since last summer, fire officials are threatening to cancel Fourth of July fireworks if conditions worsen… In Minnesota, which is in its worst drought since 1976, the situation is improving slowly…

“The Southeast, unaccustomed to prolonged dry spells, may be suffering the most. In eight states from Mississippi to the Carolinas and down through Florida, lakes are shrinking, crops are withering, well levels are falling and there are new limits on water use. ‘We need 40-50 inches of rainfall to get out of the drought,’ says Carol Ann Wehle of the South Florida Water Management District… Texas and Oklahoma, charred by wildfires in the dry winter of 2005-06, are drought-free. Even in California… shortages are unlikely this year. But another dry winter would tax supplies.”

Possibility of Nuclear Chain Reaction in Russia?

The Associated Press reported on June 4:

“The Russian government claimed on Monday that a nuclear waste dump in the Russian Arctic is safe, responding to a Norwegian environmental group’s warning that the site may be in danger of exploding because of corrosion from salt water… [The study group] cited a report from Rosatom, the Russian nuclear authority, in its warning. ‘Ongoing degradation is causing fuel to split into small granules. Calculations show that the creation of a homogenous mixture of these particles with water can cause an uncontrolled chain reaction,’ its translation of the report said.”

No Climate Change Breakthrough at G-8 Summit

The EUObserver wrote on June 7:

“World leaders yesterday (7 June) managed to stave off accusations of calamity at their G8 summit in Heiligendamm, but their climate change ‘breakthrough’ has been condemned as insufficient. At the summit, six of the eight countries agreed to ‘at least halve global carbon dioxide emissions by 2050’ and to achieve the goal together ‘as part of a United Nations process.’  Russia and the US did not sign up to the non-binding pledge by Germany, France, Italy, the UK, Canada and Japan. As a compromise, however, all eight nations agreed to make substantial – but undefined – emissions cuts. The eight countries also agreed to launch negotiations on climate change under the United Nations umbrella starting in December 2007 to be wrapped up by 2009… Acknowledging that the statement is not legally-binding, German chancellor and current G8 host Angela Merkel said she was sure that ‘no one can escape this declaration.'”

Der Spiegel Online reported on June 8 about the “success” of the G-8 summit on gashouse emissions:

“Nevertheless, the compromise still leaves plenty of room for criticism. Before the summit, Merkel had promised not to accept any ‘lazy compromises.’ Her words are now coming back to haunt her, as organizations like Greenpeace, Oxfam and other environmentalist groups take her to task for not living up to them. If there is one thing the final document does not contain, it is mandatory reduction targets for the United States and Russia. This is where Bush has prevailed.”

No Improvement in British-Russian Relationship

The Times wrote on June 9:

“Tony Blair told Vladimir Putin yesterday that the world was becoming more and more afraid of Russia’s behaviour at home and abroad. And as he left his last G8 summit in Germany Mr Blair predicted a lengthy period of deep freeze in relations between Russia and the West. The two men… had a tense, hour-long encounter… Mr Blair raised the murder of the former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko, Mr Putin’s threats to train missiles on Europe and the treatment of international companies in Russia, particularly BP… [Blair said:] ‘It matters that we start trying to resolve some of these outstanding matters but in the end this is a question of actions rather than words.’ Mr Blair said that Mr Putin had put his case that Russia was not being treated properly by the West, particularly America… Mr Blair added: ‘It was a very frank discussion but what will come out of it is another matter.’

“Mr Blair… has grown increasingly sceptical about [Mr Putin] and believes that Russia’s democratic reforms have gone into reverse. Relations with Russia will be one of Gordon Brown’s main foreign policy headaches. Mr Blair told Mr Putin that Russia’s behaviour would decide how much political and commercial business it would be able to do with the rest of the world.”

Growing Tensions Between Russia and the West

The Financial Times wrote on June 8:

“Growing tensions between Russia and the west overshadowed the close of the Group of Eight summit of industrialised nations in Germany on Friday, as Vladimir Putin hardened his stance on the future of Kosovo and offered further controversial proposals to challenge US plans for Europe-based missile defences… Having already surprised the US with an offer to use a Russian radar base in Azerbaijan for its missile defence shield, Mr Putin on Friday suggested that, instead of Poland, the Pentagon place its missile interceptors in Turkey, Iraq or on ships.

“He also toughened his stance on the future of Kosovo, rejecting French proposals to resolve the future of the troubled territory, under which Kosovo and Serbia would be given six months to negotiate an alternative status for the region or see it become independent.

“The tensions eclipsed the proclaimed achievements of the summit, which was marked by progress [which, according to other articles quotes herein, was not really progress at all] on climate change but disappointment for African countries as G8 countries refused to act on promises to boost aid to their continent significantly.”

US Does Not Abandon Missile Defense Shields in Eastern Europe

The Associated Press reported on June 8:

“President Bush signaled Friday the United States will press ahead with a missile defense shield in Eastern Europe despite Russia’s heated objections… The administration made clear it was not abandoning plans for a missile-defense program in Poland and the Czech Republic despite a surprise counterproposal Thursday by Russian President Vladimir Putin to instead use a Soviet-era radar tracking station in Azerbaijan [or, as Bild Online reported on June 8, in Turkey, or even Iraq. He said: “What else did they fight the war in Iraq for?”].”

Is G-8 Announcement to Fight Aids a Misleading Betrayal?

The Telegraph wrote on June 9:

“The G8 summit ended yesterday with world leaders pledging to spend £30 billion on fighting Aids, malaria and tuberculosis and stressing their determination to help Africa. But anti-poverty campaigners denounced this as a ‘betrayal’ and said the headline figure was ‘misleading’. Earlier announcements from President George W Bush account for half of the £30 billion and there is no sign that any new money arose from the summit in Germany. The G8 has also ‘watered down’ a pledge brokered by Tony Blair at the Gleneagles summit in 2005 to fund ‘universal access’ to anti-Aids drugs, critics said.

“As the G8 leaders left the Baltic town of Heiligendamm, Bob Geldof, the anti-poverty campaigner and rock star,…  denounced their work as a ‘total farce’. ‘The richest countries in the world, trillions of dollars swirling around that table, smiling in that stupid tent chair with the candy stripes. Do me a favour: get serious. This wasn’t serious, this was a farce, a total farce,’ he said. Bono, Geldof’s fellow rock star and campaigner, accused the leaders of deliberate ‘obfuscation’ and said the summit’s final declaration masked their failure to reach a consensus on helping Africa. The pair singled out the Canadian and Italian prime ministers, Stephen Harper and Romano Prodi, for blocking pledges for more aid.”

Chancellor Merkel–“Miss World”

In an article, dated June 8, Bild Online summarized the results of the G-8 Summit as follows: “Germany hosts the world… we are one world… Merkel can do it!… Problems remain.”

Der Spiegel Online wrote on June 8:

“Angela Merkel is basking in widespread praise for steering the G-8 summit to a compromise on combating climate change. The deal may not be the ‘huge success’ she’s calling it, say German commentators, but it’s a start — and that’s all that could realistically be expected…

“Mass circulation Bild newspaper crowned Merkel ‘Miss World’ in a banner headline…’The controversial summit meeting behind the high fence on the Baltic sea was a success for Angela Merkel!… Step-by-step, she pulled the US President over to her side for a new UN treaty to reduce greenhouse gases… And she even built a bridge of reconciliation between Bush and Vladimir Putin in the missile row.’…  [But, as other articles in this Update show, Angela Merkel was NOT really successful.]

“Business daily Financial Times Deutschland writes: ‘Measured in terms of the high-flying expectations she herself whipped up in recent weeks, Angela Merkel failed on climate change at the G-8 summit. Measured in terms of what was realistically possible, she achieved a success at the meeting of leaders in Heiligendamm. Not the ‘huge success’ she is calling it, but a good start… US President George W. Bush for his part doesn’t need to feel committed to any concrete measures on the basis of this communiqué. The other governments too can be as rigorous or relaxed about climate protection as they see fit… The success of the German presidency is that it has set a process in motion, or rather back in motion — the attempt to regard the fight against climate change as an international and common problem which all relevant polluters have to tackle.'”

Chancellor Merkel emerges as the new World Leader–in spite of little accomplishments at the G-8 Summit. Why? Our new StandingWatch program, “The Unsuccessful G-8 summit,” provides the answers.

Poland vs. EU ? — Not Really

On June 13, Der Spiegel Online reported:

“Next week European leaders will gather in Brussels for the final event of Angela Merkel’s EU presidency. According to German commentators, though, the summit is shaping up to be a showdown between Merkel and her neighbors east of the Oder River: Poland’s Kaczynski twins…

“German Chancellor Angela Merkel faces what is arguably the most important summit of a season that has seen her serve simultaneously as the rotating president of the European Union and the G-8. European leaders will meet in Brussels next week for final negotiations on Merkel’s plan to resurrect the failed EU constitution… Among EU leaders, Poland is isolated. No one but these twins is demanding a new weighting of votes in the EU council. With the exception of the Kaczynskis, everyone seems to be aware that revisiting the wishes and demands (for the constitution) of each member state is like opening a can of worms.”

But Poland KNOWS that it NEEDS the EU and that it CANNOT SURVIVE without it. And so, it should come as no surprise that Poland IS RELENTING.

Der Spiegel Online reported on June 14:

“Warsaw indicated on Thursday that it may be willing to compromise. Perhaps the European Union will be able to agree on a new treaty after all. With time growing short before leaders from the EU member-states gather in Brussels next week to agree on a blue-print for future decision-making, Poland on Thursday signalled its hope that a compromise can be reached in its continued opposition to some elements of the draft treaty.

“With newly crowned French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Warsaw to convince Poland not to veto the draft treaty, President Lech Kaczynski indicated that he is not interested in standing in the way of a solution. ‘We don’t want to be isolated. We want to achieve a solution,’ Kaczynski said on Thursday. ‘We want a compromise under which all countries will be happy.’

“The tone was a far cry from previous statements out of Warsaw… Poland’s apparent softening comes after weeks of growing pressure and pleas from around Europe. Indeed, prior to Sarkozy’s Thursday visit, which commentators had seen as the last, best chance to lobby Poland to give ground on its position, both Austrian Chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer and European Parliament President Hans-Gert Pöttering had blasted Warsaw in the German press for its obstinacy.”

It seems certain that Poland–a thoroughly Catholic country–will be part of the EU’s final configuration. Whatever compromise Merkel and the other EU leaders might agree to on paper next week, the EU IS uniting–and no temporary set-back will stop this Biblically prophesied development. It is also interesting that, according to Der Stern Online of June 14, a poll in Germany found that a majority of 65 percent WANT a EU constitution–a dramatic change to former polls suggesting that most Germans were against a EU treaty. Only 27 percent felt the EU does not need a constitution, while 8 percent did not state an opinion.

For more information, please read our free booklet, “Europe in Prophecy.”

New Financial World Order?

The Financial Times wrote on June 10:

“Russian president Vladimir Putin called on Sunday for a radical overhaul of the world’s financial and trade institutions to reflect the growing economic power of emerging market countries – including Russia. Mr Putin said the world needed to create a new international financial architecture to replace an existing model that had become ‘archaic, undemocratic and unwieldy’. His apparent challenge to western dominance of the world economic order came at a forum in St Petersburg designed to showcase the country’s economic recovery.

“Business deals worth more than $4bn were signed at the conference – including an order by Aeroflot for Boeing jets… His speech on financial institutions suggested that, along with an aggressive recent campaign against US ‘unilateralism’ in foreign policy, he was also seeking to challenge western dominance of the world economic order.”

Worldwide Unlawful Kidnappings of the CIA?

On June 11, Der Spiegel Online reported about alleged inappropriate conduct of the CIA outside the USA–this time in Ethiopia. These reportedly wrong activities are only adding to the increasing mistrust of the world towards American international activities. The article explained:

“The CIA’s system of unlawful kidnappings of terrorist suspects known as ‘extraordinary renditions’ appears to have been extended to the Horn of Africa. New cases have emerged of the transfer of terror suspects to prisons in third countries, where they have been questioned and allegedly mistreated — this time in East Africa. In total more than 100 terror suspects are thought to have been arrested in Somalia and Kenya and transferred to Ethiopia to face interrogation by US officials.

“In the chaos of the Ethiopian operation in Somalia that began in December 2006, a number of men and women were arrested, including at least four Britons, two Swedish citizens and one Canadian… the Sunday Times of London reported on Sunday that… flight records show that 85 other prisoners were transferred to Ethiopia for interrogation, and that these included 11 women and 11 children…

“Meanwhile last Friday, Council of Europe special investigator Dick Marty released his second report, saying he had ‘enough evidence to state’ that the CIA had operated secret prisons in Poland and Romania. The illegal deportation of suspects by CIA kidnapping teams in Europe amounts to a ‘massive and systematic violation of human rights,’ the report says.”

“Extremely Controversial” U.S. Proposal

On June 11, 2007, Der Spiegel Online reported about a U.S. proposal which would require Europeans to register online two days before traveling to America. And, Americans would be required to do the same when traveling to Europe. Of course, it appears unlikely that a prior notice of only two days would really enable the authorities to identify potential terrorists. In addition, not taking into account that some, especially older air travelers don’t even have computers or that they are not connected to the Internet, the “extremely controversial proposal,” as Der Spiegel put it mildly, brings again into focus the increasingly sharp “dispute between US terror investigators and EU privacy regulators.”

In an interview with Michael Chertoff, America’s Secretary of Homeland Security, the magazine asked some tough questions and received some rather astonishing answers, again evidencing the increasingly deteriorating relationship between the USA and Europe. After the magazine questioned the effectiveness of the present U.S. travel and data collection program, which ends July 31, the new “proposal” was discussed, as follows:

“SPIEGEL: The fear in the US administration seems so widespread that you don’t even want to rely solely on the passenger data. In addition you endorse a sort of online registration every European would have to fill out 48 hours before traveling.

“Chertoff: We proposed to Congress a way that would loosen the visa waiver process and make it more flexible in some respects — so that countries in Eastern Europe could participate. But at the same time we want to elevate the security level generally by having what we call an ‘electronic travel authorization.’…

“SPIEGEL: So it will mean that every European citizen has to fill out such a form two days before traveling?

“Chertoff: Right. The registration would have a shelf life of some years. It wouldn’t be something you do every trip, you would do it periodically.

“SPIEGEL: To make this point clear — you would only be allowed to travel with this kind of pre-clearance?

“Chertoff: Yes…

“SPIEGEL: So if you screen ‘every guest in your house’ as you phrased it, will American citizens who travel to Europe undergo similar treatment?

“Chertoff: Absolutely. It ought to be reciprocal…

“SPIEGEL: Are you not concerned that you will be accused of turning the United States into a kind of fortress?

“Chertoff: No. What we are trying to do is avoid a fortress. We are not suggesting to bring back the visa system for Europe, although frankly you will find some people in the US who argue we should do that…”

US Democratic Lawmaker “INSULTS” Germany

The Associated Press reported on June 13:

“A leading Democratic lawmaker lashed out at the former leaders of Germany and France, calling former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder a `political prostitute.’  Germany denounced the remarks by Rep. Tom Lantos, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, as an insult to its people. Lantos’ comments about Schroeder and former French President Jacques Chirac, both opponents of the Iraq war, came in a speech Tuesday at the dedication of a monument to victims of communism. President Bush spoke at the same event, but did not arrive until after Lantos spoke.

“‘I am so glad that the era of Jacques Chirac and Chancellor Schroeder in Germany is now gone,’ Lantos said to applause. He said when the United States asked Schroeder to support its decision to go to war in Iraq ‘he told us where to go. I referred to him as a political prostitute, now that he’s taking big checks from (Russian President Vladimir) Putin. But the sex workers in my district objected, so I will no longer use that phrase,’ Lantos said. After leaving office in 2005 Schroeder became chairman of the North Europe Gas Pipeline, which is 51 percent owned by the Russian state natural gas company Gazprom…

“German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, once Schroeder’s chief of staff, said Lantos’ comments overstepped ‘the limits of political decency.’ He said Lantos’ comment ‘insults not only the former chancellor but also the great majority of German people.'”

Powell: “Guantanamo Bay Should Be Closed Immediately.”

On June 11, 2007, Reuters reported that “former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said on Sunday the U.S. military prison at Guantánamo Bay for foreign terrorism suspects should be immediately closed and its inmates moved to the United States… [He] said the controversial prison in Cuba had become a ‘major problem’ for the United States’ image abroad and done more harm than good… ‘Essentially, we have shaken the belief the world had in America’s justice system by keeping a place like Guantánamo open and creating things like the military commission…’, he said.”

Serbia Outraged Over President Bush’s Remarks

CNN reported on June 11:

“U.S. President George W. Bush was returning home Monday after an eight-day European tour dominated by concerns over American plans for a Europe-based missile defense system and the future status of the Serbian province of Kosovo. Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica said Monday that his country was ‘rightfully embittered’ by Bush’s remarks in support of Kosovan independence made during a brief stopover Sunday in Albania, adding that the United States ‘has no right to give away Serbia’s territory to Albanians,’ according to a government news release.

“‘America must find another way to show its affection and love for the [Kosovan] Albanians, without offering them Serb territories,’ Kostunica told Serbian national television. ‘Serbia is rightfully outraged at the American policies on the issue of Kosovo.’ Kostunica’s comments came after Bush said: ‘At some point in time — sooner rather than later — you’ve got to say “Enough is enough. Kosovo is independent” and that’s the position we’ve taken.'”

Ethiopia Demands Queen Return Prince

On June 11, The Telegraph reported the following:

“He was born a prince with a bloodline stretching back to King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, the son of an Ethiopian emperor and heir to the treasures of one of Africa’s richest royal dynasties. But, taken as a boy to Victorian England by British soldiers who ransacked his father’s mountain-top palace, Prince Alemayehu died alone aged 18 in Leeds, 128 years ago. Now the Ethiopians want his body returned to mark their millennium which, according to the Ethiopian calendar, falls on Sept 12 this year. President Girma Wolde-Giorgis has written to the Queen, requesting that the prince’s remains be exhumed from where they were buried in a crypt beside St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle…

“Britain sent a military force to the palace of Emperor Tewodros II at Maqdala, in the mountains of northern Ethiopia, to bargain for the release of diplomatic hostages. Denied an audience, the troops routed the emperor’s army in a three-day battle over Easter 1868. The emperor committed suicide as his fortress fell to the British. The seven-year-old prince’s mother succumbed to illness days later. In the care of the British, he was first handed to the Raj in India, which administered Abyssinia [now known as Ethiopia], and then sent to Britain. In London he was befriended by Queen Victoria, who enrolled him at Rugby School and later sent him to Sandhurst for officer training. But having grown up in a royal household he never settled into British public school life. After nine unhappy years at Rugby, and less than a term at Sandhurst, he died of pleurisy at the home of his private tutor, in Leeds, in November 1879… His remains have been visited by Ethiopia’s last emperor Haile Selassie and by its current prime minister, Meles Zenawi.

“Officials at Windsor Castle yesterday refused to discuss ‘private correspondence’ received by the Queen, but a spokesman for Ethiopia’s embassy in London said she understood that the request was ‘being considered’. ‘The prince was a prisoner of war,’ said Mulugeta Aserate, Haile Selassie’s second cousin. ‘His return would ease the minds of lots of Ethiopians who believe his rightful resting place should be here with his father.’ There have also been requests for the return of Ethiopian artefacts, including illuminated manuscripts and altar slabs, which are now held at the British Museum and in private collections at Windsor Castle.”

You Must Belong to the Catholic Church, Pope Says

The Catholic news agency, VIS, wrote on June 6:

“… Cyprian, ‘the first African bishop to achieve the crown of martyrdom,’ was the subject of Benedict XVI’s catechesis during his general audience, held this morning in St. Peter’s Square in the presence of 40,000 people. Cyprian, said the Pope, ‘was born in Carthage to a rich pagan family’ and ‘converted to Christianity at the age of 35. … He became a priest and later a bishop. In the brief period of his episcopate, he had to face the first two persecutions authorized by imperial edict, that of Decius (250) and that of Valerian (257-258),’… In [Cyprian’s] works, the [Pope] explained, ‘the Church is by far the topic most dear to him. He distinguishes between the visible hierarchical Church and the invisible mystical Church, at the same time forcefully affirming that the Church is one, founded upon Peter. He never tires of repeating that ‘whoever abandons the chair of Peter, upon which the Church is founded, deludes himself if he believes he remains in the Church’…

“Hence, ‘the indispensable characteristic of the Church is unity, as symbolized by the seamless robe of Christ; a unity that finds its foundation in Peter and its perfect realization in the Eucharist,’ said the [Pope]. He then referred to Cyprian’s teaching on prayer ‘which highlights how in the Our Father Christians are shown the correct way to pray.’ That prayer refers to ‘us’ and ‘our’ rather than to ‘me’ and ‘mine,’ said the Pope, ‘so that he who prays does not pray only for himself. Ours is a public and community prayer. … The Christian does not say “my Father,” but “our Father,” even when praying in the privacy of a closed room, because he knows that everywhere and in all circumstances, he is a member of the one Body.'”

Democratic Vote in German Catholic Church

Catholic World News (CWN) reported on June 8:

“Priests in Rottenburg, Germany have voted to reject the Vatican translation of the phrase pro multis in the Eucharistic liturgy… The priests’ council of the Rottenburg-Stuttgart diocese announced that the members had decided by a ‘democratic vote,’ to retain the current German translation of pro multis as ‘for all.’

“The council dismissed a directive from the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship. Cardinal Francis Arinze, the prefect of the Congregation, wrote to the world’s bishops last November, announcing that all translations of the liturgy should render pro multis as ‘for many’– a translation that is more faithful to the Latin text and to the theological reality that while Christ’s redemptive suffering makes salvation available to all, it does not follow that all men are saved.

“The Rottenburg priests argued that the use of ‘for many’ would be confusing to the faithful ‘in this day and age.’ They added that the original Scriptural text read ‘for all,’ citing as their authority a Protestant scholar of the 18th century whose analysis the Catholic Church has rejected.

“‘The promise of salvation is directed to all people,’ the German priests said. ‘This truth of the faith is put most clearly in the “for all.”‘”

Anti-Semitism Worldwide

The Washington Times wrote on June 7:

“Anti-Semitism, one of the world’s oldest hatreds, has resurged with a vengeance. Around the globe, Jews are being assaulted, some even murdered. Synagogues are being attacked. Jewish gravestones are being desecrated by the hundreds. Even the historical fact of the Holocaust is being questioned. The threat today is not existential. There is no room for complacency.  

“The increase in anti-Semitism is all the more disturbing because it is occurring not only in authoritarian societies where governments fan the flames of hatred to distract publics from their governments’ shortcomings. Anti-Semitism also is on the rise in fully democratic countries where governments and civil society have admirable records of promoting tolerance and actively combating anti-Semitism.

“According to the Community Security Trust in London, last year in the United Kingdom anti-Semitic incidents, defined as any malicious act aimed at Jewish people, organizations or property, rose 31 percent from 2005; the total number of incidents for 2006 was more than any other year since 1984, when statistics were first collected. In France, according to the European Jewish Congress, there were over 112 anti-Semitic attacks, a 45 percent increase from 2005. In all these cases, the governments are taking steps to combat the problem, yet more needs to be done. 

“Here in the United States, there was a reported 12 percent decline in anti-Semitic incidents in 2006. Even so, in just the last year there were attacks on synagogues in Chicago, Tarzana, Calif. and in North Miami Beach, Fla. In Seattle, Pamela Waechter was murdered and five others were shot in an attack at the Jewish Federation last July by a gunman incensed at Israel’s war with Hezbollah.

“Another category of concern, however, is the situation in Iran, where anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial are state policy. The Iranian government held a Holocaust-denial conference in December; an Iranian newspaper offered cash prizes for the best cartoon mocking the Holocaust and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has repeatedly threatened to ‘wipe Israel off of the map.’…”

Disagreement Between EU and Turkey Over Troop Engagement

On June 8, Ankara’s “Today’s Zaman,” stated the following:

“Turkish officials on Thursday revealed a disagreement with the European Union regarding modalities of a cooperation process for enhancing defense capacities of the union within the European Security and Defense Policy…
“Yesterday’s Sabah daily reported ‘Turkey’s withdrawal of its troops under the command of the EU after the union did not allow Turkey’s special operation brigades to join in the command and decision making policies of the unit.’ The daily also said that according to the General Staff, Turkey’s Special Operation brigades, supported by warplanes and ships, will not be sent to any of the operations under the EU’s coordination. Nevertheless, both Defense Minister Vecdi Gönül and Foreign Ministry officials made it clear that the withdrawal was on the paper, since commitments made by Turkey have not yet been materialized… As well as EU member states, non-EU member states such as Turkey, Switzerland and Ukraine also contribute to these plans [to be an integral part of EU military operations].

“… The Sabah daily alleged that ‘the General Staff’s recent decision caused a shock in Brussels, leading the NATO secretary-general to come to Turkey to discuss the issue immediately.’”

More “Evolutionary” Fairy Tales

The Associated Press reported on June 13:

“The remains of a giant, birdlike dinosaur as tall as the formidable tyrannosaur have been found in China, a surprising discovery that indicates a more complicated evolutionary process for birds than originally thought, scientists said Wednesday.

“Fossilized bones uncovered in the Erlian Basin of northern China’s Inner Mongolia region show that the specimen was about 26 feet long, 16 feet tall and weighed 3,000 pounds, said Xu Xing, a paleontologist at the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology & Paleoanthropology in Beijing.

“The height is comparable to the meat-eating tyrannosaurs. But the dinosaur, called Gigantoraptor elrianensis, also had a beak and slender legs and likely had feathers. It was 35 times larger than its likely close relation, the Caudiperyx, a small, feathered dinosaur species, Xu said.

“That puts the Gigantoraptor’s existence at odds with prevailing theories that dinosaurs became smaller as they evolved into birds and that bigger dinosaurs had less birdlike characteristics, he said.

“‘This is like having a mouse that is the size of a horse or cow,’ said Xu, who co-authored a paper on the finding published Thursday in the journal Nature. ‘It is very important information for us in our efforts to trace the evolution process of dinosaurs to birds. It’s more complicated than we imagined.'”

Of course, it is, if you want to believe those ridiculous notions of a God-defying world which receives its inspiration from none other than God’s “adversary” and “enemy.” The concept of evolution has been rightly rejected BY SCIENTISTS–but more importantly, by God’s Word, the Bible. For more information, please read our free booklet, “The Theory of Evolution–A Fairy Tale for Adults.”

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Can you prove from Scripture that according to God's reckoning, days start and end with sunset?

Even though our Western societies reckon days from midnight to midnight, and some even define a day as the period from morning to night, this is a purely human invention. The Bible is very clear that days are to be counted from sunset to sunset. For instance, the Sabbath, the last day of the week, is to be counted from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset.

Set forth are excerpts from our booklet, “God’s Commanded Holy Days“:

“God has revealed in His Word exactly when the Sabbath starts and when it ends. God reckons each day, including the Sabbath, beginning at sunset and continuing through until the following sunset. Today, we would say that the Seventh-Day Sabbath starts Friday evening, when the sun sets, and lasts until Saturday evening, at sunset.

“We know from the Jewish people when to keep the Sabbath. It is the Jews to whom God committed His revelations or His ‘oracles,’ as Paul clearly explains in Romans 3:1–2. These ‘oracles of God’ included the Old Testament Scriptures, as well as the knowledge of the week and of the Sacred Calendar. The Jews preserved the knowledge of which day the seventh day of the week is. Without an understanding of when a week begins and ends, we would not have been able to tell, from the Bible alone, which day the seventh day of the week actually is. Today, the Jews keep the Sabbath on Saturday, beginning Friday evening, at sunset. Nobody questions today that the Sabbath, as preserved by the Jews, is the seventh or last day of the week. All understand that Sunday is the first day of the week—although there have been some attempts in Europe to actually change the calendar in order to deceitfully pretend as if Sunday, and not Saturday, was the seventh day of the week.

“The Bible reveals that days start and end at sunset, in the evening. Notice Genesis 1:5: ‘God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day.’ [Note the comment by the Ryrie Study Bible to this passage: “… Jewish reckoning began the day with eventide (Lev. 23:32). This may be the reason for the order here…”]

“Many Scriptures associate the meaning of the word ‘evening’ with ‘sunset.’ For instance, a period of one day regarding a ritualistic, temporary law is noted in Leviticus 22:6–7: ‘The person who has touched any such thing shall be unclean until evening… And when the sun goes down he shall be clean.’ (Note the same definition in 2 Samuel 3:35.) Further, we are told in Leviticus 23:32 to keep God’s Sabbath ‘from evening to evening.'”

In regard to the meaning of “evening,” also notice Deuteronomy 16:6: “… at the place where the LORD your God chooses to make His name abide, there you shall sacrifice the Passover, at twilight [lit., between the two evenings], at the going down of the sun…” The first evening–when days start and end–is sunset. The second evening is nightfall, when it is really dark. The Passover had to be sacrificed on the 14th day of the first month, at twilight–between the two evenings–“at the GOING DOWN OF THE SUN.”

Rienecker’s Lexikon zur Bibel [“Rienecker”] correctly explains, under “evening”:

“Until evening (Leviticus 15:5; Judges 20:26) means the entire day, as the new day begins with sunset.”

Rienecker explains, under “day”:

“The day as part of the week and the month… lasted for the Israelites from one sunset to the next sunset (Exodus 12:18; Leviticus 23:32); within this unity the hours of the night preceded the daylight hours (compare ‘evening-mornings’ [in] Daniel 8:14; compare the Greek word ‘nychthaemeron,’ literally ‘Night-Day,’ = the time of 24 hours, 2 Corinthians 11:25).”

The biblical passages of Exodus 12:18 and Leviticus 23:32, as quoted by Rienecker, establish that days start and end at SUNSET:

Exodus 12:18 reads: “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.”

Verse 19 explains that the entire duration lasted for seven days; that is, from the evening (or sunset) of the fourteenth day (when the fifteenth day started) until the evening of the twenty-first day (when that day ended and the twenty-second day started). The seven days of unleavened bread FOLLOW the Passover, which is to observed on the 14th day–from the beginning of the fourteenth day, at sunset, until the end of the fourteenth day, at sunset (compare Exodus 12:6). Notice that the Passover falls on the fourteenth day (from sunset to sunset), but that the Days of Unleavened Bread begin on the fifteenth day–24 hours later (Numbers 28:16-17).

Leviticus 23:32 describes the annual Holy Day of Atonement, which the Jews today call Yom Kippur. It is stated: “It shall be to you a Sabbath of solemn rest; and you shall afflict your souls [i.e., fast]; on the ninth day of the month at evening, FROM EVENING TO EVENING, you shall celebrate your sabbath.” The New International Version renders this verse: “… From the evening of the ninth day of the month until the following evening you are to observe your sabbath.”

But, this entire period, from the evening or sunset of the ninth day, until the evening or sunset of the tenth day, is defined as “the tenth day,” as Leviticus 23:27 clearly shows: “Also the TENTH day of this seventh month shall be the Day of Atonement.” This proves that the Bible reckons days from evening or sunset to evening or sunset.

As further proof, note the following excerpts from our booklet, “Jesus Christ–A Great Mystery,” showing that Bible commentaries and translators clearly understand WHEN days start and end according to the biblical reckoning:

“We read in Matthew 28:1–6 (Authorized Version): ‘In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. And behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it… And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for HE IS RISEN, AS HE SAID.’

“We note from the passage that Christ was already resurrected by the time the women came to the grave. We are told that they appeared ‘in the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week.’ Many commentaries point out that this phrase discusses the END of the SABBATH, that is, Saturday evening or late afternoon, and NOT Sunday morning.

“The Interlinear Literal Translation of the Greek New Testament renders this verse in this way: ‘Now late on Sabbath, as it was getting dusk toward (the) first (day) of (the) week, came Mary the Magdalene…’

“A.T. Robertson’s Harmony of the Gospel comments: “This phrase once gave much trouble, but the usage of the vernacular Koine Greek amply justifies the translation. The visit of the women to inspect the tomb was thus made before the Sabbath was over (before 6 p.m. on Saturday).’

“Cockrell states: ‘When does the Bible say that Jesus rose from the dead? The two Marys came to the tomb “in the end of the sabbath” (Matth. 28:1). The Sabbath always ended at sunset: “From even unto even, shall ye celebrate your Sabbath” (Lev. 23:32). Then they went to the tomb before sunset on Saturday. Jesus had risen from the dead before their arrival (Matth. 28:1–8)…’…

“The Elberfelder Bibel reads: ‘But late at the Sabbath, in the dawn of the first day.’ It comments: ‘Days started at sunset.’

“The Lamsa Bible states: ‘In the evening of the Sabbath, when the first day of the week began to dawn…’…

“The Menge Bible renders this verse as follows: ‘But after the Sabbath, when the first day after the Sabbath was about to begin.’

“Finally, the revised Zürcher Bible of 1942 states: ‘After the Sabbath, when it was shining (lightening up) towards the first day of the week…’ It adds the following comments: ‘For the Jews a day began with sunset. The expression [in] Luke 23:54, “The Sabbath lightened up…” [The King James Bible states: ‘The Sabbath drew on’ or ‘drew near’] does not mean that the morning began, but that lights were kindled for the evening…'”

It is therefore abundantly clear from the Biblical record that according to God, days are counted from sunset to sunset–and not from midnight to midnight, or by any other method.

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

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Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

A new member letter has been posted on the Web and sent out this week. In the letter, Dave Harris encourages all of us to increase our efforts to do the Work of God and to overcome individually.

A new StandingWatch program has been posted on the Web and on Google Video. It is titled, “Unsuccessful G-8 Summit.” In the program, Norbert Link remarks that even though the press and politicians have described the G-8 Summit in Germany as a success, in fact, it was not. No binding agreements were reached–only the expression of a “desire” to perhaps do something together in the future. But German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, has emerged as THE world leader. She is even called now “Miss World.” Why is this remarkable in view of end-time events?

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How This Work is Financed

This Update is an official publication by the ministry of the Church of the Eternal God in the United States of America; the Church of God, a Christian Fellowship in Canada; and the Global Church of God in the United Kingdom.

Editorial Team: Norbert Link, Dave Harris, Rene Messier, Brian Gale, Margaret Adair, Johanna Link, Eric Rank, Michael Link, Anna Link, Kalon Mitchell, Manuela Mitchell, Dawn Thompson

Technical Team: Eric Rank, Shana Rank

Our activities and literature, including booklets, weekly updates, sermons on CD, and video and audio broadcasts, are provided free of charge. They are made possible by the tithes, offerings and contributions of Church members and others who have elected to support this Work.

While we do not solicit the general public for funds, contributions are gratefully welcomed and are tax-deductible in the U.S. and Canada.

Donations should be sent to the following addresses:

United States: Church of the Eternal God, P.O. Box 270519, San Diego, CA 92198

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United Kingdom: Global Church of God, PO Box 44, MABLETHORPE, LN12 9AN, United Kingdom

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