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The Tabernacle in the Wilderness
On August 4, 2007, Norbert Link will give the sermon, titled, “The Tabernacle in the Wilderness.”
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.
by Norbert Link
“God made me so!”–some homosexuals say. “We are born this way! We can’t help it!” Or, as one German politician recently stated, “I am gay, and this is good!” A prominent U.S. actor agreed, postulating that “there is nothing wrong with it.” Due to this kind of thinking, the homosexual lobby has created an atmosphere that allows the proposal of laws, for instance in Europe, which would make it a CRIME to suggest that a homosexual lifestyle may NOT be acceptable in the eyes of God.
Some are living a promiscuous lifestyle, adopting the example of their unfaithful parents–while blaming them for their own misconduct.
Some are poor, and they are proud of it. They may think that somehow their poverty is a sign of their righteousness. This false concept prevents them from trying to change their condition.
Some get into trouble with the law, and they blame the police, the “unrighteous judge” or the “corrupt legal system” for their difficulties. Some are alcoholics or drug addicts, and they shift responsibility for their condition to their alcoholic father or drug-dependent mother.
Whatever happened to accepting individual responsibility? Rather than realizing our own shortcomings and sins, and trying to change, it seems to be much more comfortable and less painful to just blame everyone else for our own misconduct or “misfortune”–whether it may be husbands or wives; parents or children; neighbors or friends; the government, the nation, the economy; Satan; or–if all else fails–God.
God says that homosexual conduct is an abomination to Him (Leviticus 18:22). Surely, then, He did not create homosexuals–they were NOT born that way. And God expects them to change. Further, as no drunkard or fornicator will inherit the kingdom of God, it is obvious that God did not create them as such (Galatians 5:19-21; Ephesians 5:3-6). Rather, people BECAME fornicators, adulterers, alcoholics and drug addicts, through many different factors and circumstances, but they must take personal responsibility for their condition and CHANGE. They are not helpless victims, incapable of making amends (compare 1 Corinthians 6:9-11).
In addition, God says that those who do not want to work should not even eat (2 Thessalonians 3:10). God expects of us to do everything we can to make a living in this world.
If we violate God’s standards and His directives, we cannot expect help from God. When we convince ourselves that our personal condition is not our responsibility–and that it is hopeless and irreversible–then we have already turned our back on the only Source for meaningful and enduring change.
God expects of us to DEAL with our problems–not to run away from them or try to hide from them, by placing our heads in the sand and just hoping that somehow, miraculously, all our hardships will just disappear and evaporate.
When confronting our situation, depending upon the circumstances, we need to be careful that we don’t act too hastily (Isaiah 52:12). We may have to take time to meditate, pray and fast about a particular situation first, and obtain much appropriate counsel, before implementing a life-changing course of action. Sin, when it comes to our attention, must be eradicated at once, but there are other instances which require careful consideration and analysis.
God will help us, when we do what we can to help ourselves. This may have to involve a painful self-analysis and some really hurtful sacrifices, in order to get our feet back on the ground. But it will be worthwhile in the end.
We must take individual responsibility for our situation! We must stop blaming others–but rather, begin to change ourselves and our condition. And we can–with the help of God. He WILL guide and direct us, when He sees that we seriously BEGIN to obey Him, by changing for the better!
This Week in the News
U.S. Jury Duty System Spinning Out of Control!
Recently, more and more pressure has been placed on jurors to serve on a jury, even though they are opposed to doing so, based on their sincere religious convictions. In some cases which came to our attention, not only the clerks and the legal departments of certain courts, but also certain judges have been acting most unreasonably when it came to dismissing jurors for their religious convictions–even though the U.S. Constitution clearly DEMANDS such dismissals.
However, a recent letter from a court in California simply stated: “California law DOES NOT INCLUDE a disqualification or an excuse/exemption from jury service due to religious convictions.” The letter concluded that therefore, Jury Services cannot excuse a juror for his or her religious conviction. Legal precedence which was quoted to the court was summarily dismissed as inapplicable! This is clearly an erroneous position, which is, unfortunately, shared by other courts outside California. THIS POSITION VIOLATES THE U.S. CONSTITUTION!
Please note the following article in the BaltimoreSun.com, dated July 28, clearly confirming the law that jurors who are opposed to jury duty based on their religious convictions, MUST be excused. It is hoped that courts and justices will look more closely into this issue, to avoid unnecessary embarrassment, a mistrial and a hung jury, as described in the following article:
“The jurors in the Baltimore murder case were deadlocked, and when they came into the courtroom to be dismissed, their body language showed the prosecutor that something was amiss with juror No. 10. So Assistant State’s Attorney Theresa Shaffer talked to the woman, as attorneys sometimes do after trials. She asked her why she hadn’t wanted to convict, what the problem was.
“The 23-year-old woman answered that ‘there wasn’t enough evidence.’ Then she added, ‘When my brother pled guilty to first-degree murder … ‘
“Every so often, a person who SHOULDN’T BE A JUROR – such as someone whose relative is a convicted felon or someone whose religious beliefs prevent him or her from passing judgment on others – slips onto the panel… several jurors have listened to entire trials, only to say during deliberations that their religion prevents them from sitting in judgment of others… Another jury deadlocked in a June 2005 murder case when a woman began quoting Scripture to other jurors. They sent a note to the bench: ‘Judge, we are still unable to reach an agreeable verdict as one of the jurors states she cannot judge the defendant because of her religious beliefs.'”
It is becoming obvious that the U.S. Jury Duty System is spinning out of control. It is to be feared that in the future, some unreasonable judge WILL hold jurors in contempt, for refusing to serve on a jury because of their constitutionally protected religious beliefs. IT IS HIGH TIME THAT AMERICA WAKES UP TO WHAT IS GOING ON!
Please take note of the following article, as published by The Associated Press on July 28:
“Madeline Byrne was making a quick trip to the grocery store to buy some cheese when a sheriff approached her car in the parking lot and slipped something through her open window. Byrne didn’t get the cheese, but she did get a jury summons.
“The 64-year-old woman was ordered to report for jury duty a little more than an hour later at the Lee County courthouse in Sanford, N.C. When Byrne protested, the sheriff told her: ‘Be there or you’ll be in contempt.’…
“Some people struggle mightily to get out of jury duty. Earlier this month, a Cape Cod, Mass., judge reprimanded a potential juror and reported him to prosecutors after he tried to get out of jury service by saying he was ‘not a fan of homosexuals and most blacks’ and was ‘frequently found to be a liar, too.'”
Bush Meets Brown–But How DID It Go?
The following serves as an interesting example of how we must be careful when reading published news articles. Both The New York Times and The Independent reported about the recent meeting between President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Gordon Brown–but they differed substantially about the nature of the meeting.
The New York Times wrote on July 30:
“On his first official trip to the United States as Britain’s prime minister, Gordon Brown on Monday displayed what can best be described as a resounding — if dispassionate — show of like-minded camaraderie with President Bush. “The two leaders showed none of the warmth and coziness that Mr. Bush had shared with Mr. Brown’s predecessor, Tony Blair, a closeness that contributed to Mr. Blair’s political tumble at home. But Mr. Brown offered bullish comments on Britain’s relationship with the United States. On Iraq, Mr. Brown said any future British decision to reduce troops and cede control of a sector to the Iraqis ‘will be made on the military advice of our commanders on the ground.’
“Though it was taken by some in the British news media as a signal of Mr. Brown’s independence, it is also a common formulation that President Bush uses in arguing that he will not be driven to withdraw by domestic politics. United States officials have been watching the British presence in Iraq as a gauge of the reliability of the new British leader…
“On relations between their countries, Mr. Brown said, ‘It’s a partnership founded and driven forward by our shared values…’ Mr. Brown stuck closely to a script that included what the Americans took as words of assurance that he had no plans for radical changes in the partnership, dodging several attempts by reporters here to get him to enunciate how his approach to the United States would differ from that of Mr. Blair…
“British analysts said Monday that Mr. Brown’s comments reflected the fact that the two countries share so much at stake in Afghanistan and Iraq, on global trade and with intelligence efforts to combat terrorism that he needs a close relationship with his American counterpart, like most of the recent British prime ministers before him.”
This rather optimistic viewpoint and interpretation by The New York Times was by no means shared by British newspapers, such as The Independent. It wrote on July 30:
“Gordon Brown has paved the way for the withdrawal of British troops from Iraq by telling George Bush he would not delay their exit in order to show unity with the United States.
“After four hours of one-to-one talks with the US President at his Camp David retreat, Mr Brown told a joint press conference he would make a Commons statement in October on the future of the 5,500 British troops in the Basra region.
“The Bush administration, under mounting domestic pressure to produce an exit strategy from Iraq, has been nervous that a full British withdrawal would add to the criticism. But Mr Brown made clear – and President Bush accepted – that Britain would go its own way, even if that gave the impression the two countries were diverging.
“Mr Brown’s willingness to pursue an independent British policy in Iraq will be seen as an important break with Tony Blair. Mr Brown said the two leaders had had ‘full and frank discussions – diplomatic code for some disagreements.”
German Newspapers Upset With Planned U.S. Arms Sales…
Der Spiegel Online wrote on July 31:
“On Monday, the Bush administration officially announced its plan to provide advanced weapons worth billions to friendly states in the Persian Gulf in order to curb growing Iranian influence in the region. Washington plans to sell $20 billion worth of satellite-guided bombs, and fighter and naval upgrades to Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates over the next 10 years. A further $13 billion is pledged to Egypt, and Israel will remain, with $30 billion in arms aid, the greatest recipient in the Middle East of American largesse.
“On Tuesday, German editorial writers criticize the decision, pointing to Saudi links to the insurgency in Iraq and international terrorism.
“The conservative Die Welt [which is usually pro-Bush] writes:
“‘With its plans for weapons shipments worth billions to the Gulf states, Washington has now made it official: The democratization of the Middle East is no longer the focus of American foreign policy. In the name of limiting Iran’s influence and restoring stability in the region, the US is returning to a Cold War strategy: The enemy of my enemy is my friend.’
“‘But doubts about whether this strategy is prudent in the case of Saudi Arabia can be heard beyond Israel and Europe. Many within the US administration are also convinced that international Islamic terrorism is something akin to the Saudis’ exported civil war. Why else would half the foreign fighters traveling to Iraq be Saudis? And of the 19 men responsible for the 9/11 terror attacks, 15 were from Saudi Arabia. From Cologne to Karachi, Saudi embassies very openly operate Wahhabite Koran schools — the most rigid, backward and dangerous form of Islam.’
“‘The strategy’s effectiveness is very doubtful. In the 1980s, people placed their bets on Osama bin Ladin, the Taliban and Saddam Hussein when it came to dealing with the Soviets and Iran. Today we are struggling with the bloody consequences of those strategies. Courting Saudi Arabia is unwise and dangerous.’
“The left-wing Die Tageszeitung writes:
“‘The only thing the Bush administration has left to offer after six and a half years in power is a mixture of fear, helplessness and panic. Out of acute desperation, the US government now wants to provide help and weapons deals over the next 10 years to the countries that are best able to launch a new arms race in the region. No one can seriously believe that the already weapons-satiated Mideast can be satisfied or held in check by yet more weapons.
“‘If Congress approves the plan, the Bush government’s already appalling foreign policy record will only get worse. The only clearly identifiable victor would be the US defense industry — which, incidentally, has considerable influence in Washington.’
“Center-left Süddeutsche Zeitung uses the weapons deal to look at a broader worsening of relations between the US and Riyadh:
“‘No other country in the Middle East is further from the democratic ideals preached by the US than Saudi Arabia. Mildly put, the human rights situation doesn’t meet Western standards. And beyond political realism, the (current) king is far less pro-American than his brother, who ruled before him … The cooling of relations was most obvious when Abdallah described the US presence in Iraq at the last Arab Summit in Riyadh as an ‘illegal foreign occupation.’ Last fall, the king warned he would attack in Iraq if a civil war were to ensue after a withdrawal of US troops. But that’s not the only point of irritation. Washington is also displeased about the Saudis’ desire to create a nuclear partnership with Pakistan even if, as the Saudi’s claim, it would be limited to the exchange of information.'”
… And So Is The German Government…
AFP reported on July 31:
“German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats are worried that reported US plans to send a major arms package to Gulf states could inflame a volatile region, a party leader was quoted as saying Monday.
“The chairman of the German parliament’s foreign affairs committee, Ruprecht Polenz, told the daily Frankfurter Rundschau that the Middle East was already a ‘powder keg’ and that an influx of weapons could set [it] off. ‘If you add more explosives to a powder keg, you increase the risk and do not make the region more secure,’ he said. Polenz said the warning that the United States hoped to send to Iran with the weapons deal could backfire, leading Tehran to step up its own arms drive.”
Another Man-Made Disaster?
First it sounded like a terrorist attack. Upon further investigation, it appears that we did it to ourselves. Several reports claimed that the collapse of a huge bridge in Minneapolis during the peak of rush hour occurred due to governmental negligence, carelessness and incompetence.
On August 1, Der Spiegel Online published an article with the headline, “A Catastrophe of Historic Proportions.” It reported:
“At least nine are dead and 60 injured following the collapse on Wednesday evening of a major freeway bridge in the US city of Minneapolis. Officials say a structural failure likely caused the 40-year-old bridge to give way…
“Between 50 and 60 vehicles were on the bridge and dozens either plunged 18 meters (60 feet) into the Mississippi River or got crushed in a snare of concrete and metal… A number of eyewitnesses described the experience as being ‘like an earthquake.’
“CNN showed dramatic images of cars that had plunged from the bridge and autos in various states of wreckage. They included a school bus carrying 60 children returning from a day camp swimming trip that fell with the bridge but landed safely, missing the water. The children were rescued… The US Department of Homeland Security issued a statement Wednesday saying no signs had been found to indicate a terrorist attack had been involved.”
In a related article, Der Spiegel Online claimed that the catastrophe might have been prevented, if the government had acted upon evidence, showing that the bridge was “structurally instable.” The magazine quoted an article of the “Star Tribune,” showing that the government was aware of this concern, but allegedly did little or nothing to repair or replace the bridge.
Russia Is At It Again
On August 1, Reuters reported the following:
“Russian explorers dived deep below the North Pole in a submersible on Thursday and planted a national flag on the seabed to stake a symbolic claim to the energy riches of the Arctic… Russia wants to extend right up to the North Pole the territory it controls in the Arctic, believed to hold vast reserves of untapped oil and natural gas.
“But Canada mocked Russia’s ambitions and said the expedition was nothing more than a show. ‘This isn’t the 15th century. You can’t go around the world and just plant flags and say “We’re claiming this territory”,’Canadian Foreign Minister Peter MacKay told CTV television.
“Under international law, the five states with territory inside the Arctic Circle — Canada, Norway, Russia, the United States and Denmark via its control of Greenland — have a 320 km (200 mile) economic zone around the north of their coastline. Russia is claiming a larger slice extending as far as the pole because, Moscow says, the Arctic seabed and Siberia are linked by one continental shelf.”
The article also pointed out:
“A second Russian submersible, manned by Swedish businessman Frederik Paulsen and Australian adventurer Mike McDowell, reached the seabed 27 minutes later. It reached a depth of 4,302 meters. Soviet and U.S. nuclear submarines have often traveled under the polar icecap, but no one had reached the seabed under the Pole, where depths exceed 4,000 meters (13,100 feet).”
Mikhail Gorbachev Criticizes President Bush
Reuters reported on July 27:
“Former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev criticized the United States, and President Bush in particular, on Friday for sowing disorder across the world by seeking to build an empire.
“Gorbachev, who presided over the break-up of the Soviet Union, said Washington had sought to build an empire after the Cold War ended but had failed to understand the changing world… ‘What has followed are unilateral actions, what has followed are wars, what has followed is ignoring the U.N. Security Council, ignoring international law and ignoring the will of the people, even the American people,’ he said…
“Gorbachev, 76, who left politics after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, is deeply unpopular in Russia… he is blamed in Russia for sinking the Soviet empire and plunging millions into poverty…”
Nuclear Cooperation Treaty Between the USA and India?
CNN.com reported on July 27:
“The United States and India announced Friday a landmark deal on nuclear cooperation for civil purposes that they said will benefit both countries and strengthen international non-proliferation efforts.
“But the deal is drawing criticism as being too conciliatory to India and opening the way to the spread of nuclear weapons.
“For the first time in 30 years, India will have access to U.S. nuclear fuel and technology, even though New Delhi, which has tested nuclear weapons, refuses to join international non-proliferation agreements… Non-proliferation experts have said the United States’ willingness to allow India to reprocess nuclear fuel it provides to New Delhi is inconsistent with its drive in the international community to stop Iran from doing so.”
“As a Catholic, I am Ashamed of the Pope…”
The Eastern Star News Agency published the following editorial, on July 26:
“The Vatican claims that only the Catholic Church possesses the truth of the Christian faith. As a Catholic I am ashamed over having a spiritual leader that makes such statements. This shows that the Pope and people in his surroundings haven’t learnt anything from history.
“Conflicts within the church have during nearly 2000 years caused war, misery, fanaticism and the spreading of Islam…
“The Pope’s earlier statement about Islam, were he quoted medieval scripts, where Islam was described as a religion of violence, was followed by his repeated denial and apologies to the Muslim world, and his servile actions in the following visit to Turkey in November 2006. The Pope’s statement, claiming… Catholicism is the only right faith, is an attack and insult against a great part of Christianity, like Orthodox Christianity and Protestantism…
“I am myself a Catholic and pay church tax to the Catholic Church. I get very doubtful in my relation to the Catholic Church when the Vatican acts this way. I condemn this action. I demand from the Vatican and the Pope to apologize to the Orthodox, the Protestants and to… other Christian communities for this statement.”
The Power Of Soccer in Iraq
The Associated Press reported on July 29:
“Iraq won the Asian Cup for the first time Sunday, a beacon of hope for a nation divided by war.
“Iraq’s 1-0 victory over Saudi Arabia on a 71st-minute header by captain Younis Mahmoud was an inspirational triumph for a team whose players straddle bitter and violent ethnic divides. After the game, Mahmoud called for the United States to withdraw its troops from his nation. ‘I want America to go out,’ he said. ‘Today, tomorrow, or the day after tomorrow, but out. I wish the American people didn’t invade Iraq and, hopefully, it will be over soon.’
“Mahmoud also said he will not return to Iraq to celebrate. ‘I don’t want the Iraqi people to be angry with me,’ he said. ‘If I go back with the team, anybody could kill me or try to hurt me.’…
“Elation was juxtaposed against the tragedy in the players’ homeland. Coach Jorvan Vieira and Mahmoud wore black armbands during the postgame news conference to commemorate the dozens of fans killed back home during celebrations following Wednesday’s semifinal victory over South Korea… Vieira, who is Brazilian, resigned after the game…
“Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s office announced that each Iraqi player will receive $10,000.
“About 3,000 Iraqi refugees celebrated in Damascus, Syria. In Dearborn, Mich., Iraqi-Americans gathered in the streets, honking horns, sitting on car roofs and waving flags… Celebratory gunfire resounded across [Iraq] and revelers poured into the streets in defiance of orders from authorities while mosques broadcast calls for the shooting to stop. Security forces enforced a vehicle ban in an effort to prevent a repeat of car bombings that killed dozens celebrating Iraq’s progress to the final.
“‘The players have made us proud, not the greedy politicians,’ said Sabah Shaiyal, a 43-year-old police officer in Baghdad. ‘Once again, our national team has shown that there is only one, united Iraq.'”
Iraq In Turmoil–and Iraq’s Parliament Takes a Summer Break!
MSNBC wrote on July 30:
“Iraq’s parliament on Monday shrugged off U.S. criticism and adjourned for a month, as key lawmakers declared there was no point waiting any longer for the prime minister to deliver Washington-demanded benchmark legislation for their vote… Critics have questioned how Iraqi legislators could take a summer break while U.S. forces are fighting and dying to create conditions under which important laws could be passed in the service of ending sectarian political divisions and bloodshed… In Washington, the State Department was unusually silent on the matter, declining to criticize the lawmakers for the break…
“Meanwhile, [Iraqi’s prime minister] al-Maliki faces a revolt within his party by factions that want him out as Iraqi leader… Ibrahim al-Jaafari, al-Maliki’s predecessor, leads the challenge and already has approached leaders of the country’s two main Kurdish parties… The former prime minister also has approached Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Iraq’s top Shiite cleric, proposing a ‘national salvation’ government to replace the al-Maliki coalition. The Iranian-born al-Sistani refused to endorse the proposal, the officials said…
“Other officials… said al-Jaafari had only an outside chance of replacing or ousting al-Maliki. But they said the challenge could undermine al-Maliki and further entangle efforts at meeting important legislative benchmarks sought by Washington.”
Reuters added on August 1:
“The main Sunni Arab political bloc quit the Iraqi government on Wednesday in a blow to Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s shaky coalition as suicide bombers killed more than 70 people in three attacks across Baghdad. The resignation move pushed the government into a new crisis undermining its efforts to reconcile Iraqis and end sectarian strife… Maliki’s government has already been weakened by the withdrawal of fiery Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr’s political bloc, one of the biggest in parliament, over his refusal to set a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops.”
British Military Withdraws From Ireland–Ending “One of the Darkest Chapters in the Army’s History”
Der Spiegel Online wrote on July 31:
“The longest deployment of troops in the history of the British military ends at midnight, when the army’s operation in Northern Ireland officially comes to an end. But the 38-year-long deployment will be seen as one of the darkest chapters in the army’s history… The British military’s deployment in Northern Ireland was not a success — in fact, the military quickly became part of the problem… Today it is known that the military’s intelligence service employed agents who were involved in murders, weapons smuggling and bombings with the help of their leadership… More than 3,500 people have died… A total of 763 soldiers were killed, most of them by the IRA.”
The article continued:
“Five thousand [British soldiers] will stay in Ireland, but they will no longer be responsible for policing. The watchtowers along the border have been disassembled; the military base in Bessbrook, one of the largest on the British isles, has been closed; and the Royal Irish Regiment of the British military has been dissolved. The official reason is that the situation in Northern Ireland is sufficiently stable for such measures to be taken. The real reason is the lack of recruits. More than 12,000 soldiers are stationed in Afghanistan and Iraq. The British military’s Chief of the General Staff, General Richard Dannatt, said in a secret memorandum that was leaked to the press that the military is overstretched: ‘We now have almost no capacity to react to the unexpected.'”
What is meant with the prophesied "famine of the Word," as alluded to in Amos 8:11-12?
Amos 8:11-12 reads:
“’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.”
Some have concluded that this passage tells us that in the future, God’s Word–the gospel of the kingdom of God–will NOT be preached anymore to the world. However, that conclusion would be inconsistent with Christ’s prophecy in Matthew 24:14, which says: “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.”
In addition, we read that at the time just prior to Christ’s return, the Two Witnesses will preach God’s Word (compare Revelation 11:3-7), and finally, we are told that the third angel has the everlasting gospel to be preached to all nations (compare Revelation 14:6-7). Christ commissioned His Church to preach His Word and to make disciples of all nations, and He promised to be with His Church and its efforts until the end of the age (Matthew 28:18-20).
Therefore, these passages don’t seem to allow for the concept that in the end time, just prior to Christ’s return, the preaching of God’s Word will cease.
How, then, are we to understand the above-quoted passage in Amos 8:11-12?
God says in that passage that they – the people – will suffer from a famine of HEARING the words of the LORD. This does not necessarily say that the words of the LORD are not going to be preached or taught any more, but, rather, that those people will not be able to HEAR or understand them – they will not recognize them as God’s Word, which is binding on them, and which needs to be obeyed. The people will have allowed their minds or hearts to harden so much that none of God’s words will find entrance into their minds. This would most certainly include those who once knew and understood God’s Word, but who decided to turn their back on God and exchange His words of truth for the lie (compare 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12; Romans 1:24-26).
Oh yes, they will still wander from sea to sea to find the Word of God, but, confused as they will be, they won’t recognize it. Remember that Christ taught the people, but many were unable to listen to His words. Their hearts were closed, hardened, incapable of accepting the truth. Many were like sheep, scattered, insecure and uncertain, not knowing where to turn.
God warns us not to look at His Word as a source for a big entertainment–like the people did, when they came to Ezekiel, to listen to him (compare Ezekiel 33:30-33). They did not want to learn from him; they did not want to accept the concept that they had to change their lives for the better. They just wanted to be entertained for a while. They wanted to have a “good time in church,” where they would get cozy and warm feelings. However, God wants us to listen carefully to His Word, with the attitude of wanting to learn, and then we must DO what we are taught.
They heard the words, but they did not do them. They did not think that they had to actually obey what they were told. In other words, they heard with their ears, but their minds, their hearts and their spirit did not accept and retain the words of God. Both in the passage in Amos 8:11-12, and in the passage in Ezekiel 33:30-33, the word for “hear” or “hearing” is “shamea” in the Hebrew.
Note how this word “shamea” is used in other passages:
Proverbs 13:1 reads, in the Authorized Version: “A scoffer does not HEAR rebuke.” The New King James Bible says, “… a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.” In the Hebrew, the word for “hear” or “listen” is “shamea.” The scoffer hears rebuke with his ears, but he does not heed the rebuke, so that he might change and do what is right.
Isaiah 65:12 states: “… when I called, you did not answer; When I spoke, you did not hear…” Compare also Isaiah 66:4.
So, God DID speak, but the people did not HEAR [“shamea” in the Hebrew]. For them, there was a famine of HEARING the Word of God. But it was their fault. THEY had allowed their hearts to be hardened, so that they would not hear or listen to the Word of God, and repent, and obey.
Jeremiah 6:10 explains: “To whom shall I speak and give warning, That they may hear [“shamea” in the Hebrew]? Indeed their ear is uncircumcised, And they cannot give heed. Behold, the word of the LORD is a reproach to them; They have no delight in it.”
Again, God spoke His Word, through Jeremiah and His other servants, but the people would not hear, since they had uncircumcised ears. They did not take any delight in God’s Word.
Jeremiah 7:13 adds: “… I spoke to you, rising up early and speaking, but you did not hear [“shamea”], and I called you, but you did not answer.”
God did speak – but the people did not hear. There was not a famine of SPEAKING of the Word of God, but it was a famine of HEARING, or understanding, or abiding by, the Word of God.
In Jeremiah 19:15, God says: “Behold, I will bring on this city and on all her towns all the doom that I have pronounced against it, because they have stiffened their necks that they might not hear [“shamea”] My words.”
God spoke His words — through His servants — but the people stiffened their necks, so that they would not hear or receive them.
Jeremiah 22:21 adds: “I spoke to you in your prosperity, But you said, ‘I will not hear’ [“shamea”]. This has been your manner from your youth, That you did not obey My voice.”
God did SPEAK His words to them – and they heard them with their ears – but not with their minds and hearts. They refused to accept them as God’s words. They refused to obey them.
When calamity came, they did seek the Word of God; they did cry out to God; but He did not answer. Since they had turned their backs on God, God turned His back on them. God had given them His Word, but they refused to receive it. Now, although the Word was still being preached and available–through God’s servants, such as Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and other prophets–the minds of the people had become so much alienated from God, that they did not recognize any of God’s truth anymore. God says that they broke ALL of His commandments. God gave them over to their perverse minds, and He did not reveal to them the meaning of His Word–He did not show them at that time, where His words could be heard, and what they meant (compare Hosea 4:6). Jeremiah was still preaching, and so was Ezekiel, but most people hated Jeremiah and Ezekiel, and they wanted to see them dead.
The same will happen again in the end time–with global implications. The Word of God will still be preached by God’s Church – the gospel will still be proclaimed as a witness in all the world – but the people will not hear. They will not give attention to it. In their distress, they will seek for God’s Word and deliverance, but – deceived as they will be – they will look for God’s Word in all the wrong places. And there will be, as we read in Matthew 24:11, “many false prophets,” and they will “deceive many.” Unfortunately, this will include many in God’s Church.
We must take this dire warning to heart.
We must be careful that we will not be reckoned among those who will seek the words of God, without being able to find them, as they have shown through their disobedient conduct that they really don’t care for the truth.
Lead Writer: Norbert Link
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
A new StandingWatch program (#131) was placed on Google Video and on our StandingWatch website. It is titled: “Chaotic Weather in Europe–Why?”
In the program, Norbert Link addresses the following:
While England and Wales have been suffering from the wettest weather since records began in 1766, Western Europe has been plagued by unprecedented heatwaves. What is wrong with our weather–and will it get much worse in the near future?
A special letter was sent this week to the first 80 people in the USA, requesting our booklet, “Mysteries of the Bible,” as advertised on the Internet. The letter explains briefly some of the projects of the Church.
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
Canada: Church of God, ACF, Box 1480, Summerland, B.C. V0H 1Z0
United Kingdom: Global Church of God, PO Box 44, MABLETHORPE, LN12 9AN, United Kingdom