|Live Services||How to Develop Character|
|Current Events||This Week in the News|
|Q&A||Does the Bible say anything about man's character development?|
|The Work||Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock|
How to Develop Character
On July 25, 2009, Norbert Link will give the sermon, titled, “How to Develop Character.”
The services can be heard at www.cognetservices.org (12:30 pm Pacific Time; 1:30 pm Mountain Time; 2:30 pm Central Time; 3:30 pm Eastern Time). Just click on Connect to Live Stream.
by Dave Harris
There is a reason for the prophecies of the Bible that tell of the end times!
God has inspired very specific details that will coincide with and begin to usher in the final days of human government under the stifling dominance of Satan. These prophetic warnings are something we must not ignore; furthermore, we need to understand our times and the events that lie just ahead.
Only the very few are destined to comprehend the truth God is revealing, and, sadly, even fewer yet will actively take it all to heart.
In a prophecy found in the Book of Daniel that directly speaks of the End Time, a contrast between the wicked and the wise is drawn: “‘…and none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand'” (Daniel 12:10). This kind of understanding is coupled with action.
Jesus Christ compared the last generation alive before the Flood to the future generation who will experience the time of “great tribulation.” In Matthew 24:39, Jesus pointed to the fact that complacency will blind people of our time–just as it did those people of the ancient world.
Our particular challenge goes beyond just knowing the truth of prophecy. That, by itself, isn’t nearly enough!
If we are to follow the example of how Jesus Christ lived His life, then we must honestly admit that He put His knowledge to work! He preached the Gospel of the Kingdom of God; He willingly sacrificed His own desires–even to the point of yielding to His own death; He established the Church of God; and, He continues now as our living High Priest–intervening on our behalf before God the Father!
There is no statement nor is there any hint in God’s Word that Jesus was self-satisfied and unconcerned about what He understood. In fact, just the opposite is true!
Like Jesus Christ did, so must we, and that is to answer our calling. Let’s take it just as SERIOUSLY as He did, and that means, we must be doing it NOW!
A most serious rift is developing between the United States and Israel over Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem. Not only the USA, but also the international community, including Germany, France and the entire EU, seem united in their condemnation of Israel, and alarming signs of anti-Semitism are surfacing in Great Britain. At the same time, Muslims in Jerusalem have made it very clear that they will not allow the Jews to build a new Temple.
Another threat to peace, which many governmental leaders don’t seem to perceive as very real, is Iran’s desire to acquire nuclear weapons–a development with which Israel is bound to interfere. At the same time, many Iranians believe that the recent presidential elections were nothing but a thinly-veiled military coup by the Revolutionary Guard which answers to the Supreme Leader, the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
And while America’s influence in the world is waning, even Iraq has begun to stand up to the USA.
Turning to many of America’s domestic problems, voices are getting louder demanding that Barack Obama prove his eligibility as President by producing his birth certificate. It is interesting how long the liberal mass media has ignored this challenging and potentially highly explosive and consequential issue–as it is still ignoring comments by a U.S. Supreme Court Judge, seemingly comparing abortion with eugenics. And while more U.S. banks fail and the insurance fund has reached its lowest level since 1993, Democrats advocate to provide free healthcare to 12 million illegal aliens.
Some concerned voices speak of the possibility of a nuclear attack against the USA; The Wall Street Journal laments that America is leaving itself behind in international business deals; and the potential for a huge Pacific Ocean tsunami on the West Coast of America, which would bring devastation and destruction to the area, may be greater than previously thought.
We conclude with articles about leaders such as the French President and the Dalai Lama advocating global authority in numerous areas of life, and with a post of the Telegraph reporting about scientific “consensus” and “counter-consensus” regarding the politically motivated hot debate as to how to interpret the world’s climate.
This Week in the News
Most Serious Rift Between Israel and USA
Reuters reported on July 19:
“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying he would not take orders over Israeli settlement in East Jerusalem, rejected on Sunday a U.S. demand to halt plans to build more homes for Jews in the disputed area. New friction with Washington over the project to build 20 apartments in a part of Jerusalem captured by Israel in a 1967 war could deepen the most serious rift in relations between the two allies in a decade…
“‘We cannot accept the idea that Jews will not have the right to live and buy (homes) anywhere in Jerusalem,’ Netanyahu said, calling the city Israel’s united capital, a claim that is not recognized internationally. ‘I can only imagine what would happen if someone would suggest Jews could not live in certain neighborhoods of New York, London, Paris or Rome. There would certainly be a great international outcry,’ he told reporters at the weekly cabinet meeting. ‘We cannot accept this edict in Jerusalem.’
“Netanyahu and President Barack Obama are already at loggerheads over the U.S. leader’s call for Israel to freeze Jewish settlement on occupied land Palestinians want for a state…”
The Associated Press wrote on July 19:
“Israel on Sunday rejected a U.S. demand to suspend a planned housing project in east Jerusalem, threatening to further complicate an unusually tense standoff with its strongest ally over settlement construction… On Sunday, Netanyahu told his Cabinet there would be no limits on Jewish construction anywhere in ‘unified Jerusalem.'”
WorldNetDaily added on July 19:
“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was taken by ‘surprise’ by a U.S. demand over the weekend to immediately halt a Jewish construction project in eastern Jerusalem. ‘I was surprised by the U.S. move,’ Netanyahu was quoted by his advisers as saying yesterday. ‘In my conversation with [U.S. President Barack] Obama in Washington, I told him that I could not accept any limitations on our sovereignty in Jerusalem. I told him Jerusalem is not a settlement, and it has nothing to do with discussions on a freeze.’…
“The Obama administration has called for a halt to Jewish construction in eastern Jerusalem and the strategic West Bank in line with Palestinian claims on eastern Jerusalem as a future capital, even though the city was never a part of any Palestinian entity. The construction project at the center of attention, financed by Miami Beach philanthropist Irving Moskowitz, is located just meters from Israel’s national police headquarters and other government ministries and is a few blocks from the country’s prestigious Hebrew University, underscoring the centrality of the Jewish real estate being condemned by the U.S…
“Netanyahu explained an open city does not discriminate against Jewish housing and that Israel would not accept a stance that counters that civil right. ‘Israeli Arabs are not forbidden from buying houses in west Jerusalem, and Jews must be granted the same right in the eastern part of the city,’ he added.
“WND has confirmed that over the weekend the State Department summoned Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren to urge him to reject a permit granted to Moskowitz’s housing project. Moskowitz purchased an eastern Jerusalem hotel. He plans to tear it down and build housing units in its place. The Jerusalem municipality earlier this month granted approval to the project, allowing for the construction of 20 apartments plus a three-level underground parking lot.”
“Americans Should Honor Their Agreements With Israel”
The Associated Press reported on July 21:
“Israel’s deputy prime minister said Tuesday the Obama administration’s call to freeze West Bank settlement construction undermines past agreements between the U.S. and Israel and damages American credibility. The comments by Dan Meridor underscored the growing rift between Israel and the U.S. over construction in the settlements. Meridor, a respected veteran of Israeli politics, is considered a moderate voice in the new Israeli government…
“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said he would not build any new settlements, but that construction must be permitted inside existing settlements to accommodate what he calls ‘natural growth’ in their populations. Nearly 500,000 Israelis now live in the West Bank and east Jerusalem — areas captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war and claimed by the Palestinians as part of a future independent state.
“Israeli officials and former White House official Eliot Abrams have cited a series of written and oral understandings reached with the Bush administration that appear to permit limited settlement construction… ‘We never had an agreement with the previous administration. We had an agreement with America,’ [Dan Meridor] added. ‘The agreement we had with the Americans is binding on us and them … They should keep to the agreement.'”
The World Against Israel
Deutsche Welle reported on July 21:
“The presidency of the European Union – currently held by Sweden – released a statement on Tuesday urging Israel to refrain from ‘provocative actions in East Jerusalem,’ saying that ‘such actions are illegal under international law.’ The Middle East quartet – the EU, US, UN and Russia – called on Israel to halt West Bank settlements at a meeting in the Italian city of Trieste last month.
“The latest EU statement comes amid mounting international pressure on Israel over plans to build 20 apartments in East Jerusalem. The German government had on Monday already called on Israel to stop the project. ‘We see the continued settlement activities with great concern,’ said Jens Ploetner, foreign ministry spokesman in Berlin. He warned that the building of new settlements would hamper the peace process in the Middle East… France has summoned the Israeli ambassador in Paris to demand a halt to settlement building in East Jerusalem… Russia has also called on Israel to stop settlement activity…”
Anti-Semitism in Britain–“The Darkness Is Closing In”
The Jerusalem Post wrote on July 20:
“It has been a terrible month for Israel’s reputation in Great Britain. The government has announced a partial arms embargo in protest of Operation Cast Lead… The Guardian has featured commentaries promoting the apartheid analogy as well as accusing Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu of using Nazi language to defend settlement policy. The BBC and other media outlets have given massive coverage to the recent Breaking the Silence report slamming the IDF for committing ‘war crimes.’ Barely a day goes by without a new front being opened against the Jewish state… I for one have never seen a period like it. On Friday, the Guardian ran two anti-Israel opinion pieces on one and the same day…
“The Israel-haters smell blood, and they’re going in for the kill. It could be that we are on the threshold of a new era. But why now? The simplest explanation is that the relentless, unremitting stream of anti-Israeli invective that has been pumped into the public mind in Britain over the last decade or so was always going to reach critical mass at some point…
“The obvious question now is where next. With the partial arms embargo in mind, we should obviously be watching for an extension of formal sanctions. Outside the governmental sphere, it is a racing certainty that unions will renew efforts for trade and academic boycotts. Media hysteria will grow as each new assault on Israel’s integrity helps legitimize and validate the next. For the Jews of Britain, the prospect of increasing anti-Semitism against this backdrop is all too real. The darkness is closing in.”
Muslims Determined to Prevent Jews from Building a Temple
The “Daily Israel Report” wrote on July 20:
“The deputy chief of the Islamist movement in Israel Kimal Al-Khatib told thousands of children in a Saturday Islamist protest on the Temple Mount that the Jewish Temple will never be rebuilt. His speech was published in the Jerusalem-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper Monday morning. ‘If the Jews think that their mourning will end and they will rejoice by destroying the Al-Aqsa mosque and building their Temple, we say to them that their dream will not be fulfilled and they will continue to mourn. Al-Aqsa is for Muslims only,’ he said.
“Al-Khatib was referring to the traditional period of mourning Jews commemorate every summer for the destruction of the Holy Temples on Tisha B’Av (The ninth of the Hebrew month of Av). The Second Temple was destroyed in 70 CE by the Romans, while the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa mosque were erected in 691 and 705 CE.”
Will Israel Attack Iran?
Bild On Line wrote on July 21:
“The ‘Stern’ recently reported German intelligence sources as saying: ‘If they [Iran] wanted to they could test a nuclear bomb within half a year.’
“What is Iranian dictator Mahumd Ahmadinejad planning? He often brags about the threat of the bomb… And he has also stated that Iran wants to form ‘a new world order’…
“George Bush’s former American ambassador to the UN John Bolton wrote in the ‘Washington Post’: ‘Israel’s decision of whether to use military force against Tehran’s nuclear weapons program is more urgent than ever. Those who oppose Iran acquiring nuclear weapons are left in the near term with only the option of targeted military force against its weapons facilities.’
“But how will Israel react…? Israeli pilots have been training in the last few months for attacks on bunkers and are on high alert. Israel has bought 1000 bunker-busting bombs from America, each weighing 113 kilograms… In the Pacific Ocean, the Americans are training the Israeli army how to use Arrow 2 missiles which shoot down incoming rockets. Two Israeli warships have recently left for the Persian Gulf… US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton said… that the opportunity for negotiating with Iran ‘will not remain open indefinitely’ – words which do not sound like the nuclear crisis will end very peacefully.”
Elections in Iran Just a Thinly-Veiled Military Coup?
BBC News reported on July 21:
“Iranian riot police are reported to have arrested a number of pro-reform protesters in Tehran after demonstrations turned violent. Police clashed with hundreds of people marching despite a ban on public gatherings since the disputed election in June, Reuters news agency said… The renewed street protests come shortly after Mr Mousavi issued one of his strongest critiques of Iran’s ruling elite since the election result was declared…
“Since the announcement that Mr Ahmadinejad had won June’s presidential election, Mr Mousavi – a reformist former prime minister of Iran – has received backing from several senior figures within the Iranian establishment. Among them are two former presidents, Hashemi Rafsanjani and Mohammad Khatami.
“On Monday Mr Khatami called for a referendum on the legitimacy of the government. Only the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, can organise a referendum, and he has already declared the election result valid…
“Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard, which answers to the Supreme Leader, has described the election as a turning point. The head of the Guards’ political bureau said the election allowed the Guards to take power into their own hands. Our correspondent says many Iranians will see the Revolutionary Guards’ confidence as confirming their own fears that the outcome of the election was just a thinly-veiled military coup.”
The Washington Post wrote on July 18:
“The Iraqi government has moved to sharply restrict the movement and activities of U.S. forces in a new reading of a six-month-old U.S.-Iraqi security agreement that has startled American commanders and raised concerns about the safety of their troops. In a curt missive issued by the Baghdad Operations Command on July 2 — the day after Iraqis celebrated the withdrawal of U.S. troops to bases outside city centers — Iraq’s top commanders told their U.S. counterparts to ‘stop all joint patrols’ in Baghdad. It said U.S. resupply convoys could travel only at night and ordered the Americans to ‘notify us immediately of any violations of the agreement.’
“The strict application of the agreement coincides with what U.S. military officials in Washington say has been an escalation of attacks against their forces by Iranian-backed Shiite extremist groups, to which they have been unable to fully respond… The new guidelines are a reflection of rising tensions between the two governments. Iraqi leaders increasingly see the agreement as an opportunity to show their citizens that they are now unequivocally in charge and that their dependence on the U.S. military is minimal and waning…”
Continuing Challenges to Barack Obama’s Eligibility as President
WorldNetDaily wrote on July 16:
“Radio talk shows television programming, newspapers – even a liberal talk show host in New York and talk format icon Lou Dobbs – have begun taking note of the story long reported by WorldNetDaily over the doubts about and challenges to President Obama’s eligibility to occupy the Oval office. Lynn Samuels, longtime New York radio talker, even accused Obama of lying about his birth certificate.
“WND has been reporting – many times in solo fashion – on the issues that have been raised by multiple lawsuits contending that Obama does not qualify under the U.S. Constitution’s requirement that the president be a ‘natural born’ citizen. But now word is spreading, prompted by the case brought this week by an Army major scheduled for deployment to Afghanistan.
“In that case, which was dismissed today by a judge in Georgia, a reserve officer explained he had a right to question his deployment orders and know that the commander-in-chief is legitimate, or he would be exposing himself and any soldiers under him to extreme danger in overseas combat situations. Maj. Stefan Cook’s case was dismissed by the judge who noted the Pentagon had revoked the officer’s deployment orders, apparently resolving the dispute. The officer’s civilian employer also reported being pressured by the government to fire the officer.
“The story was reported on Sean Hannity’s program on Fox News. Hannity said the challenge to the deployment orders came after Obama ordered a surge in troops to Afghanistan. A report on the same challenge also appeared in the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
“And Orly Taitz, the attorney for Maj. Stefan Cook, was on the Lou Dobbs radio program, along with former U.S. Ambassador Alan Keyes, who was a presidential candidate on the ballot in 2008. Dobbs said he and his staff have ‘been working hard to figure out what’s going on.’ He said he’s found the Federal Election Commission does ‘nothing to validate … a candidate.’ Nor do the states, he said. Keyes said it rests upon judges and members of Congress, who have sworn an oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution, to do their duty and investigate questions or discrepancies.
“Dobbs suggested that many Americans believe simply being born to a mother who is a U.S. citizen automatically makes the newborn a citizen, but both Taitz and Keyes explained that under the immigration law in effect in the 1960s when Obama was born, an American woman married to a foreign national man had to have lived in the U.S. 10 years, at least five of which were after the age of 14, to pass along U.S. citizenship. Taitz pointed out Obama’s mother was too young to do that…
“WND has reported on dozens of legal challenges to Obama’s status as a ‘natural born citizen.’ The Constitution, Article 2, Section 1, states, ‘No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President.'”
“Chris Matthews Wrong on Obama Birth Certificate”
Newsmax wrote on July 22:
“MSNBC’s Chris Matthews got into a heated exchange with a congressman on his show Tuesday as he revisited the question of President Barack Obama’s birth certificate — or lack of one… Matthews seemingly undermined claims by some that Obama never has released his birth certificate, producing what Matthews said was a true copy of it. But Matthews made a false claim…
“The indisputable fact is that Obama has not released his birth certificate, which the state of Hawaii issues for all citizens born there. Instead, his campaign has released only his certification of live birth from the state of Hawaii, which is a document that offers a summarized version of the birth certificate.
“During the 2008 presidential campaign, GOP nominee Sen. John McCain quickly released his birth certificate when liberal bloggers raised questions about his eligibility to be president. McCain was born at a military hospital in Panama. Obama likewise could put the matter to rest by releasing his actual birth certificate, which would show, among other things, the place of his birth and the doctor who performed the birth procedure. This information is not provided on the certificate of live birth.
“As it stands, Obama is the only president in history whose birthplace is unknown to the public – a fact that would be stated on the actual birth certificate. Interestingly, his family has mentioned two different hospitals in Hawaii as the place of birth…”
More Banks Fail… Insurance Fund at Lowest Level Since 1993
The Associated Press reported on July 18:
“Regulators on Friday shut two banks in California and two smaller banks in Georgia and South Dakota, boosting to 57 the number of federally insured banks to fail this year… As the economy has soured — with unemployment rising, home prices tumbling and loan defaults soaring — bank failures have cascaded and sapped billions out of the deposit insurance fund. It now stands at its lowest level since 1993, $13 billion as of the first quarter…
“The number of banks on the FDIC’s list of problem institutions leaped to 305 in the first quarter — the highest number since 1994 during the savings and loan crisis — from 252 in the fourth quarter. The FDIC expects U.S. bank failures to cost the insurance fund around $70 billion through 2013.”
Free Healthcare for Illegal Aliens?
Newsmax wrote on July 19:
“On Friday, Democrats moved one step closer to giving free health insurance to the nation’s estimated 12 million illegal aliens when they successfully defeated a Republican-backed amendment, offered by Rep. Dean Heller, R-Nev., that would have prevented illegal aliens from receiving government-subsidized health care under the proposed plan backed by House Democrats and President Barack Obama…
“Republicans… point out that the Democrats, by refusing to accept the Heller amendment, would deny health agencies from conducting simple database checks to verify citizenship. Many states give illegals driver licenses, which will be sufficient to get free health care under the plan. Critics also contend that millions of illegals… already have counterfeit Social Security cards or other fraudulent documents. There is no enforcement mechanism in the legislation, experts say, to prevent illegals who use fake IDs to obtain jobs from also obtaining taxpayer-subsidized health insurance…”
Abortion and Eugenics–and the Mainstream Media Keeps Silent…
The Telegraph in the UK wrote on July 13:
“The mainstream media have been incredibly slow to pick up on a creepy comment by Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in a New York Times interview published today but flagged last week. In it, Ginsburg talks about Roe v Wade, the 1973 ruling that legalised abortion: ‘Frankly I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of. So that Roe was going to be then set up for Medicaid funding for abortion.’
“What?… And the (pro-choice) media haven’t exactly jumped on the story. Bloggers are incredulous. This is what Creative Minority Report had to say yesterday:
“‘Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s comments about using abortion as population control raised a lot of eyebrows in the blogosphere… Huge sites too like Hot Air featured the story prominently. Even Drudge ran with the story yesterday. But as of this morning the mainstream media have completely ignored the story about one of the most powerful people in the country essentially endorsing eugenics on populations ‘we don’t want to have too many of.’
“‘What the heck is going on here? What are we to make of the media’s complete silence on this issue? They don’t see a little eugenics between friends as a big deal? They thought it was taken out of context?…’
“You might think the New York Times might want to trumpet its exclusive. But the mindset of that… publication is so overwhelmingly liberal that it didn’t even realise it had a story on its hands.”
“America Is Leaving Itself Behind…”
The Wall Street Journal wrote on July 20:
“On present trends, most of Europe will soon have lower income tax rates than most of America. And now the European Union is stealing another competitive march on Washington, this time on a free trade deal with the world’s 13th largest economy, fast-growing South Korea. Last week Brussels and Seoul finished the outline of a new trade agreement, and the two sides will now write up the technical language to codify it. As for the pending U.S.-Korea trade agreement, Congress has done . . . nothing…
“Korea’s progress with the EU shows how risky U.S. delays are. The European Commission says the EU-Korea deal will eliminate $2.2 billion in duties Korea currently imposes each year on European goods — and cut duties and eliminate nontariff barriers on imports of European cars. American companies could gain similar benefits if only Congress would approve the U.S.-Korea pact.
“Across the globe, countries are moving ahead with similar bilateral trade deals, often giving their own national companies an edge over U.S. competitors. In a perfect world, all countries would be able to benefit from multilateral trade opening under the Doha Round. But for now bilateral deals are better than nothing, and America is leaving itself behind.”
“USA At the Edge of Catastrophe”
Newsmax reported on July 21:
“Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich says the United States needs a dramatic increase in defense spending or it will risk a national catastrophe — from a nuclear or biological attack — that could kill several million Americans… ‘We are today running very big risks in the name of saving a few billion dollars that may end up killing several million Americans. The time to fix that is before the disaster happens,’ he said… ‘We are living at the edge of a catastrophe, and we need to understand that’s exactly where we are… What we are faced with is not simply a problem, it is potentially catastrophic’…
“The greatest threat to the United States is a nuclear weapon… being detonated in a major city, Gingrich said. The second is a successful electromagnetic pulse attack that could knock out the entire electric grid, including all appliances, telephones, vehicles, and generators. Other dangers Gingrich listed include biological weapons; cyberattacks; unprotected assets in outer space; and dangers unknown, all of which he said have the potential of being weapons of mass destruction or disruption.”
Will Huge Future Tsunami Threaten West Coast of America?
ScienceDaily wrote on July 20:
“The potential for a huge Pacific Ocean tsunami on the West Coast of America may be greater than previously thought… The new research suggests that future tsunamis could reach a scale far beyond that suffered in the tsunami generated by the great 1964 Alaskan earthquake… The 1964 Alaskan earthquake – the second biggest recorded in history with a magnitude of 9.2 – triggered a series of massive waves with run up heights of as much as 12.7 metres in the Alaskan Gulf region and 52 metres in the Shoup Bay submarine slide in Valdez Arm…
“Lead author, Professor Ian Shennan, from Durham University’s Geography Department said… ‘Earthquakes can hit at any time of the day or night, and that’s a big challenge for emergency planners. A tsunami in this region could cause damage and threaten life from Alaska to California and beyond; in 1964 the effects of the tsunami waves were felt as far away as southern California and were recorded on tide gages throughout the Pacific Ocean.'”
Sarkozy for Global Environmental Authority
Deutsche Welle wrote on July 18:
“French President Nicolas Sarkozy made the call for a global environmental organization… Sarkozy didn’t give any indication of how he thought this new global organization should be laid out… The world already has a global environmental organization. It’s called the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), established in June 1972 as a result of the UN Conference on the Human Environment.
“Part of the mandate of the UNEP is ‘to promote international co-operation in the field of the environment and to recommend, as appropriate, policies to this end.’ Almost every international agreement on the environment has come under the auspices of the UNEP, including the Kyoto Protocol. It is unclear how a new global environmental organization would really be different.”
The Dalai Lama for Financial Globalization…
Welt Online wrote on July 16:
“Buddhism, economics and management are all interconnected. The Dalai Lama believes the financial crisis is a moral crisis. He says he is a Marxist monk… [F]or the Tibetans [he is] a divine king and [he has] many followers in the western world who idolize him…”
In an interview with the newspaper, the Dalai Lama stated:
“I am essentially a supporter of globalization… I still believe I am a Marxist monk… In the Marxist theory the focus lies on the just allocation of wealth. From a moral perspective this is a correct claim… The Chinese communists are communists without a communist ideology. But if you mean socialism, like it first existed in the Eastern Block and now in North Korea and Cuba, I believe it goes against human nature; it destroys creativity.”
Man-Made Global Warming–Yes or No?
The Telegraph wrote on July 11:
“Faced with a ‘consensus’ view which looks increasingly implausible, a fast-growing body of reputable scientists from many countries has been coming up with a ‘counter-consensus’, which holds that their fellow scientists have been looking in wholly the wrong direction to explain what is happening to the world’s climate. The two factors which most plausibly explain what temperatures are actually doing are fluctuations in the radiation of the sun and the related shifting of ocean currents.
“Two episodes highlight the establishment’s alarm at the growing influence of this ‘counter consensus’. In March, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which has a key role in President Obama’s plans to curb CO2 emissions, asked one of its senior policy analysts, Alan Carlin, to report on the science used to justify its policy. His 90-page paper recommended that the EPA carry out an independent review of the science, because the CO2 theory was looking indefensible, while the ‘counter consensus’ view – solar radiation and ocean currents – seemed to fit the data much better. Provoking a considerable stir, Carlin’s report was stopped dead, on the grounds that it was too late to raise objections to what was now the EPA’s official policy.
“Meanwhile a remarkable drama has been unfolding in Australia, where the new Labor government has belatedly joined the ‘consensus’ bandwagon by introducing a bill for an emissions-curbing ‘cap and trade’ scheme, which would devastate Australia’s economy, it being 80 per cent dependent on coal. The bill still has to pass the Senate, which is so precisely divided that the decisive vote next month may be cast by an independent Senator, Stephen Fielding. So crucial is his vote that the climate change minister, Penny Wong, agreed to see him with his four advisers, all leading Australian scientists.
“Fielding put to the minister three questions. How, since temperatures have been dropping, can CO2 be blamed for them rising? What, if CO2 was the cause of recent warming, was the cause of temperatures rising higher in the past? Why, since the official computer models have been proved wrong, should we rely on them for future projections?
“The written answers produced by the minister’s own scientific advisers proved so woolly and full of elementary errors that Fielding’s team have now published a 50-page, fully-referenced ‘Due Diligence’ paper tearing them apart. In light of the inadequacy of the Government’s reply, the Senator has announced that he will be voting against the bill. The wider significance of this episode is that it is the first time a Western government has allowed itself to be drawn into debating the science behind the global warming scare with expert scientists representing the ‘counter consensus’ – and the ‘consensus’ lost hands down.”
Does the Bible say anything about man's character development?
Actually, the Bible has quite a bit to say about this topic.
(1) To give a good definition of righteous character, as we want to apply this term in this Q&A, we would like to quote from several of Herbert Armstrong’s writings, the late Pastor General of the Worldwide Church of God.
In “What Science Cannot Discover About the Human Mind,” copyright 1978, he wrote about righteous character as “the ability in a single entity to come to comprehend and distinguish the true values from the false, the right way from the wrong, to choose the right and reject the wrong, and, with power of will, to do the right and resist the evil.”
In “Mystery of the Ages,” copyright 1985, he elaborated, as follows:
“Perfect, holy and righteous character is the ability in such separate entity to come to discern the true and right way from the false, to make voluntarily a full and unconditional surrender to God and his perfect way — to yield to be conquered by God — to determine even against temptation or self- desire, to live and to do the right. And even then such holy character is the gift of God. It comes by yielding to God to instill HIS LAW (God’s right way of life) within the entity who so decides and wills. Actually, this perfect character comes only from God, as instilled within the entity of his creation, upon voluntary acquiescence, even after severe trial and test…”
(2) What we have to keep in mind, then, is that godly character is a gift from God. It must also be noted that this gift must be acquired and developed over time.
In “What Science Cannot Discover About the Human Mind,” Herbert Armstrong wrote:
“God’s purpose in creating man is to reproduce Himself—with such perfect spiritual character as only God possesses—who will not and therefore cannot ever sin! (1 John 3:9). Such perfect spiritual and holy character cannot be created by fiat. It must be developed, and that requires time and experience… But if man is to become God, in the process of God reproducing Himself, then the character that is to be built in him must emanate from God—and the spirit life that is to be his also must emanate from God.”
We might pose the question why God could not create character by fiat. Is there anything that God cannot do? Absolutely. For instance, God cannot sin. The reason is, He has willed never to sin, and His Will is perfect. We are also told that we must reject sin, but due to temptations and weaknesses, we do still sin from time to time, even after we have received God’s Holy Spirit. This is not to say that it would be impossible for us to keep God’s Law. God would never command us to keep the Law if He knew that we could not do it. With the help of God’s Holy Spirit in us, we CAN keep the Law–both in the letter and even in the Spirit. Jesus Christ, when He lived in the flesh, never sinned. He overcame sin in the flesh. He lived a PERFECT life. He did it because He was ALWAYS close to God the Father. His Will never to sin was PERFECT.
The only difference is that God the Father gave Christ His Holy Spirit without measure from His inception. Today, when God’s disciples receive His Spirit, they initially receive only a small portion of it. But we are to grow in God’s Spirit. We are to become perfect. And with God’s help, we can. When we sin, it is because we are not as close to God as we should have been. And, perhaps, because our will never to sin has not yet reached perfection, either.
But that is what character development is all about. We need to learn the right, choose the right, and live the right. The more we do, the more we develop godly righteous perfect character in our lives.
When we say that God could not create perfect character by fiat, we need to go back to our definition of godly character, which requires that a free moral agent needs to choose the right and reject the wrong, and to actually do the right and refuse to do the wrong. With THAT definition, God could not have created such character by fiat. Of course, He could have created beings who would automatically do the right and refuse to do the wrong–but they would not have been free moral agents with the POWER to choose. That power and ability, leading to right character, if applied correctly, requires time; so, by necessity, it could not have been created ad hoc.
We need to understand that God is reproducing Himself through man. The purpose of man’s creation is to ultimately become God. And in order to become God, man must develop the character of God. He must become perfect, as God is perfect. (For more information on this vital subject, please read our free booklet, “The Gospel of the Kingdom of God.”).
Regarding the need of character development in man, Herbert Armstrong also wrote the following in “Mystery of the Ages”:
“But there was one super-important quality that even God’s creative powers could not create instantly by fiat — the same perfect, holy, righteous CHARACTER inherent in both God and the Word! This kind of character must be DEVELOPED, by the CHOICE and the INTENT of the one in whom it comes to exist… I repeat, such perfect character must be developed. It requires the free choice and decision of the separate entity in whom it is to be created. But, further, even then it must be instilled by and from the Holy God who, only, has such righteous character to endow.”
He went on to say:
“God is more than one single person — God is a family — God is the supreme divine family — he is the Creator of all that is, and he has an ultimate PURPOSE — the creation of perfect, holy, righteous and spiritual CHARACTER, in MAN made immortal, to become part of that God family… WHY did the Creator God put MAN on the earth? For God’s ultimate supreme purpose of reproducing himself — of recreating himself, as it were, by the supreme objective of creating the righteous divine character ultimately in millions unnumbered begotten and born children who shall become God beings, members of the God family…
“WHAT, then, is man? He is a living being made from the dust of the ground. He is CLAY, and GOD is the Master Potter, molding, shaping, forming our CHARACTER — if we respond when he calls and draws us to him. With our willingness he is infusing into us HIS VERY OWN SPIRITUAL HOLY, RIGHTEOUS and PERFECT character!”
Please also note the following comments made in our booklet, “Angels, Demons and the Spirit World“:
“God wants us to build holy, righteous, godly character. We must develop the will to never sin, as well as the ability to carry out that will to never sin. We are to prove to God that we mean business. That requires time, and it requires the help of God’s Holy Spirit in us. We have to learn to resist the downward pull of Satan and his demons. We must overcome temptations to sin, even in the face of satanic persecution. God wants to see that we will not give in to the ‘dark side.'”
(3) Does the Bible support the claim that we must develop godly righteous character in our Christian lives–that God is creating His character in His disciples?
It is true, however, that we will not find the word “character” in the Authorized Version or the New King James Bible. But the concept of character development is clearly conveyed–even in annotations in the New King James Bible, as we will see. In reviewing other modern translations, we discover that they actually use the word “character” in numerous places. Although this might be more an interpretation than a literal rendering of the original, they are nevertheless correct in their understanding of the meaning of those Scriptures.
(a) In general, the need to have a good or noble character in our lives is emphasized in these passages:
“Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true” (Acts 17:11, New International Version).
Boaz said the following about Ruth: “All my fellow townsmen know that you are a woman of noble character” (Ruth 3:11, New International Version).
Beginning with Proverbs 31:10, a “virtuous woman” is described. The New International Version translated the introductory verse as follows: “…a wife of noble character who can find?”
In addition, the New King James Bible has the following headline to Psalm 15, where David answers the question who will be accepted by God: “The Character of Those Who May Dwell with the LORD.”
Regarding Ananias who was sent by God to Paul to baptize him, we read Paul’s testimony about Ananias in Acts 22:12, that he was “a pious man who obeyed the Law and bore a good character with all the Jews of the city” (“The New Testament in Modern Speech,” by Richard Francis Weymouth; the New King James Bible says, “having a good testimony with all the Jews”).
And notice 3 John 1:12: “The character of Demetrius has the approval of all men, and of the truth itself. We also express our approval of it, and you know that we only give our approval to that which is true” (Weymouth; the New King James Bible says, “has a good testimony from all”).
2 Peter 1:5 points out:
“But for this very reason–adding, on your part, all earnestness–along with your faith, manifest also a noble character: along with a noble character, knowledge…” (Weymouth; the New King James Bible says, “virtue.” As we have seen, the “virtuous woman” of Proverbs 31 is a woman of character.).
(b) The Bible also shows that godly righteous character must be DEVELOPED in man:
Luke 1:80 tells us the following about Jesus Christ, according to Weymouth: “And the child grew and became strong in character, and lived in the Desert till the time came for him to appear publicly to Israel.” The New King James Bible says that He became strong in spirit. This would include, becoming strong in character.
As Christ grew in godly character, so must we. Of course, Christ never sinned. But He had to continue throughout His human life to choose the right and reject the wrong, and to live the right and refuse to live the wrong (compare the prophecy about Jesus in Isaiah 7:14-16).
Describing Jesus Christ as He is now, Hebrews 1:3 refers to Him as “…being the brightness of His [God the Father’s] glory and the express image of His person…” The word “image” is translated from the Greek word “charakter,” which means “engraved,” “stamped” or “carved.” Young’s Analytical Concordance to the Bible renders the Greek expression as, “impressed character.” Moffat translates Hebrews 1:3 as, “He, reflecting God’s bright glory and stamped with God’s own character, sustains the universe with his word of power…”
Christ is the image, character, imprint, stamp or exact representation of the Father’s “person,” “nature,” “being,” “substance” or “essence.” And so, Christ’s disciples are to engrave the nature of who and what God is–His righteous and holy character–into themselves through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Weymouth translates Hebrews 12:10, as follows:
“It is true that they disciplined us for a few years according as they thought fit; but He does it for our certain good, in order that we may become sharers in His own holy character.” The New King James Bible says here, “that we may be partakers of His holiness.” When we do, then we are partakers of His holy character. This is a remarkable rendering, as it shows the correct understanding that God wants to create His holy character in us.
A general description of one aspect of God’s righteous character (which we are to acquire), can be found in Hebrews 6:17: “So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he interposed with an oath, so that through two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible that God should prove false, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to seize the hope set before us” (Revised Standard Version).
Weymouth translates 2 Corinthians 13:11 as follows, showing that we need to grow in perfection regarding our righteous character:
“Finally, brethren, be joyful, secure perfection of character (the New King James Bible says here, “be complete”), take courage, be of one mind, live in peace. And then God who gives love and peace will be with you.”
Compare, too, Romans 5:3-4: “… we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character; and character, hope” (New International Version).
The Living Bible renders this phrase, as follows: “And patience develops strength of character in us…” The Revised Standard Version says: “… endurance produces character, and character produces hope…” The New American Bible states: “… affliction produces endurance, and endurance, proven character, and proven character, hope…” Lastly, the New Jerusalem Bible renders it in this way: “… perseverance DEVELOPS a tested character…”
Weymouth renders Romans 14:19 as follows: “Therefore let us aim at whatever makes for peace and mutual upbuilding of character.”
Similar Weymouth’s rendering of 1 Corinthians 14:26: “What then, brethren? Whenever you assemble, there is not one of you who is not ready either with a song of praise, a sermon, a revelation, a ‘tongue,’ or an interpretation. Let everything be done with a view to the building up of faith and character.”
Note, too, Colossians 4:12: “Epaphras, who is one of yourselves, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, sends greetings to you, always wrestling on your behalf in his prayers, that you may stand firm–Christians of ripe character and of clear conviction as to everything which is God’s will” (Weymouth).
Take also note of James 3:2: “For we often stumble and fall, all of us. If there is any one who never stumbles in speech, that man has reached maturity of character and is able to curb his whole nature” (Weymouth).
Notice also the following requirement for a minister of God:
“He [a minister, overseer, elder] must have a good report of them which are without. Have an established character which speaks well for the church among the unconverted” (1 Timothy 3:7, People’s New Testament).
1 Corinthians 15:33 warns us not to allow the hindrance of the development of our good character, by associating ourselves with those whose standards and life style are ungodly and detrimental to our spiritual growth: “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character'” (New International Version).
And 1 Corinthians 3:13 adds: “… the true character of each individual’s work will become manifest. For the day of Christ will disclose it, because that day is soon to come upon us clothed in fire, and as for the quality of every one’s work– the fire is the thing which will test it” (Weymouth).
As mentioned, even though the word “character” is not used by the Authorized Version or the New King James Bible in the above-quoted Scriptures, they do describe the different aspects of godly character in those passages.
In conclusion, the Bible teaches the concept that we must develop godly and righteous character in our lives–and that it is God who creates His character in His disciples–over time–and with their ascent and cooperation.
Lead Writer: Norbert Link
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
A new StandingWatch program was posted on StandingWatch and YouTube. It is titled, “The Bible — a Waste of Time?” In the program, Norbert Link points out that recently, a viewer wrote us about the Bible: “That Jew book has caused enough trouble in the world… You live in a… delusion, get… religion out of a secular world.” But is it fair to hold the Bible responsible for the pain and suffering brought about by people who claimed to believe in the Bible, but did not follow its injunctions? Rightly understood, you need the Bible to know why you exist, why there is evil in the world, how to live in peace and happiness, and what your future holds. Evolution can’t tell you. Only God does.
The German version of this StandingWatch program, titled, “Die Bibel–reine Zeitverschwendung?,” was also posted on YouTube and on our German website.
A new German sermon was posted this week on the Internet. It discusses the power of God’s Holy Spirit and is titled, “Das Wirken des Heiligen Geistes.”
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