Update 562


How the Nations Will Learn!

On November 3rd, 2012, Norbert Link will give the sermon, titled, “How the Nations Will Learn!”

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.

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Fully Charged

by Rene Messier (Canada)

We have just returned from the Feast of Tabernacles and the Last Great Day. During those eight days, all of us received a spiritual diet to carry us through the coming winter months.

Our batteries were topped up through inspiring messages; the rejoicing in fellowship with friends and family (some of whom we have not seen for a year); restaurant meals we were able to enjoy with friends; and our participation in the social activities and planned and prepared meals.

All these blessings, and many more, had a positive effect on us, as we were charged up spiritually, before entering a long period of almost six months until the arrival of the next commanded annual Holy Days in the spring.

It’s important to stay fully charged. Even a high-powered automobile, with an alternator not working to keep the battery charged up, will eventually come to a complete stop.  A transmission in neutral will not move a car forward; it must be engaged, and so must we in order for our spiritual battery to remain fully charged. We ensure and demonstrate this during the winter months by the manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit in our lives, as outlined in the letter to the Galatians.

Galatians 5:22-23 tells us:  “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”

Notice, against these there is no law; that is, if we are walking in the Spirit and live righteously, without sinning, the penalty of the law has no negative effect on our lives.

We must be zealous in our involvement of being engaged in the Work that God has given us to do, just like Christ was, even at an early age, as outlined in Luke 2:49: “And [Christ] said to [His mother Mary and Joseph], ‘Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?’”

Christ was not distracted or out of focus as to what His role was, even at this young age of twelve (compare verse 42).

His example should inspire us to have zeal to be engaged in and focused on the job we have in regard to our Father’s business; and that is, to complete the Work and the responsibilities given to us by Christ, the living Head of the Church. That Work includes, amongst other things, to proclaim the gospel of the Kingdom of God as a witness to this sick world, prior to Christ’s return to establish the previously announced government of God here on earth–because this is where the problems are. And the immortal saints will rule here as well, with Christ and under Him.

Nothing is presently more important for God, and it should be equally important for us. God in His wisdom and mercy has given us the Feast of Tabernacles and the Last Great Day to ensure that our spiritual batteries are fully charged, so that we can and will be focused on the completion of our God-given responsibilities.

We must not neglect our spiritual responsibilities and tools that we have been given, to keep our batteries topped up. Only then are we true followers of Christ to be engaged in our Father’s business.

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We begin with reports on the undoubtedly demonic nature of Halloween and its foolish and dangerous celebrations; continue with a startling revelation in the Roe v. Wade case legalizing abortion; address a ridiculous court decision in Italy; speak of the illegal involvement of churches in political election campaigns; report on the fraudulent practices of many restaurants and stores mislabeling the fish which they are selling; speak of Hurricane or Cyclone Sandy and a major earthquake off the Canadian coast; address future relationships between the USA and Europe; and revisit the ongoing question whether Great Britain will soon leave the EU, and how many more EU member states will have to give up their national sovereignty.

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Halloween Undoubtedly Demonic

The New York Times wrote on October 27, 2012:

“In an article from Oct. 30, 1892, ‘Customs From Halloween; An Observance That has Come From Pagan Times,’ The New York Times described ‘All Hallow Even or Halloween’ as ‘undoubtedly a relic of pagan times.’ The article continues: ‘Druids were accustomed to kindling sacred fires on the eve of Nov. 1, possibly to ward off evil spirits, as in the popular imagination this has always been considered the high carnival season for witches, fairies and the immaterial principle in humanity to wander abroad. Supernatural influences prevail and divination by means of mystic ceremonies is at its highest power then.”

ABC News wrote on October 26, 2012:

“While many in the U.S. bemoan what they see as a war on Christmas, in Russia a very different holiday is under attack: Halloween. Here some don’t see it as the holiday of tricks and treats, but as a sinister celebration that endangers children. The latest salvo came from a group of Russian Orthodox Church leaders and a group of Cossacks, who are spearheading an effort to cancel Halloween celebrations in the region of Stavropol Krai, in southern Russia. A nearby region, Krasnodar Krai, recently prohibited celebrating the holiday in schools…

“Like Valentine’s Day, which has also been criticized as it has grown in popularity here in recent years, Halloween is a western holiday that was imported after the fall of the Soviet Union. While some Russians have embraced them, others fear them as foreign to the country’s culture. In 2003, Moscow’s Education Department banned Halloween celebrations from the city’s schools, citing concerns about ‘rituals of Satanically oriented religious sects’ and saying it promotes ‘the cult of death.’”

The Washington Times wrote on October 28:

“Prepare yourself this Halloween for a procession of pint-sized trick-or-treaters like none you’ve encountered before. If the companies that gamble on offering the right mix of costumes are correct, visitors to your doorstep will include a grisly array of waist-high killer clowns brandishing blood-soaked machetes, deranged convicts and zombie ninjas armed with knives.

“Add to that the full roster of fictional killers who gave people nightmares during the ‘80s and ‘90s — Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees from ‘Friday the 13th,  and Chucky, the murderous doll from ‘Child’s Play’ — now available in sizes that can fit a 5-year-old…

“Cynthia Edwards, professor of child psychology at Meredith College in Raleigh, N.C. [says:] ‘Part of the thrill of Halloween for little kids is that you put on a costume and you become the thing. If you dress up as a fairy princess or a pilot, you are a fairy princess or a pilot for a couple of hours. But that’s when you get to the question, If you dress up as a really horrible thing, what is the kids’ perception of that?’…

“What can be especially confusing for kids, according to Fangoria’s Mr. Alexander, is that ‘parents, by and large, will say “no” to horror and say “no” to gore for kids all year long. But once a year they have no qualms about taking them to stores with body parts everywhere and animatronic dead things coming at them’ to buy disturbing costumes…”

It certainly is a horrible celebration of Satan and his demonic forces. A true Christian must have NOTHING to do with such ungodly conduct. We wrote the following in our free booklet, “Is That in the Bible? Man’s Holidays or God’s Holy Days?” :

“The Bible, in fact, commands us to have nothing to do with the devil or his evil forces of darkness (compare 1 Thessalonians 5:21–22; Ephesians 5:10–12). Paul warns us that we must not attempt to partake of the cup of the Lord and of the cup of demons (1 Corinthians 10:21). We are also warned not to try to communicate with the dead (Deuteronomy 18:9–14). Witchcraft, in all of its different forms and variations, is abominable and sinful (1 Samuel 15:23; Galatians 5:20)!”

However, some, if not many, professing Christians see it differently. For a typical example, note these statements from carm.org (Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry):

“As Christians, there is a lot of debate on whether or not we should participate in Halloween. Is it alright to go trick-or-treating? Can we dress our kids up in costumes on that day? If we do any of this, are we celebrating an evil holiday?… it appears that the origins of Halloween are a mixture of old Celtic pagan rituals superstition and early Catholic traditions… What does the Bible say about Halloween? Nothing. But it does speak concerning witches, the occult, and paganism… The Bible definitely speaks negatively about occultic practices, spirits, and witches and condemns not only the practice but also the people who are involved in it. As Christians, we are to have nothing to do with the occult. Tarot Cards, contacting the dead, séances, lucky charms, etc., are all unbiblical and can harm a Christian’s fellowship with God and open the Christian to demonic oppression. Most Christians know this and avoid these activities.

“But, the question still remains. Since there are ancient pagan connections and present occultic connections, what is the Christian to do? Can the Christian celebrate Halloween? The answer is simple: Yes and No. Let’s look at the negative first.

“The Christian is not to be involved with or support the occult, witchcraft, demonism, or any other thing that uplifts the occult. To do so is to contradict God’s word, dabble in the demonic, and invite judgment from God. If a Halloween celebration is centered on demons, devils, spirits, etc., I would say don’t have anything to do with it.

“On the other hand, it isn’t wrong to dress up in a costume and go door-to-door saying ‘Trick or Treat.’ Provided that the costume isn’t demonic, I can’t see anything wrong with this. It’s just fun for the kids. Take a look at the Christmas tree. It was originally an ancient fertility symbol. Yet, it has become a representation of Christmas and the place where gifts are placed. Are the Christians then paying homage to an ancient pagan fertility god? Not at all. They do not consider it pagan and are simply joining in a cultural event and giving no honor to anything unscriptural… Even though Halloween has pagan origins, because of your freedom in Christ, you and/or your kids can dress up in costumes and go door-to-door and just have fun…”

Similarly, the Billy Graham Organization (billygraham.org), which states:

“For some people this holiday is a time for dress-up and candy; it is an opportunity for fun. Others express concern for their child’s safety or for the emphasis that is often made on violence or horror at this time of year. Those who are interested in the right or wrong of the celebration may look at the holiday’s origin in the occult and believe it should not be celebrated at all; they are aware that some groups celebrate Halloween as a tribute to Satan. On the other hand, others recognize that Halloween, the eve of “All Saints’ Day” (November 1), is also associated with Martin Luther and the Reformation. They celebrate the religious freedoms won at that time in history. Since each of these perspectives contain truth, it is difficult to know how to respond…”

Such an evasive answer helps no one. It is not difficult to respond at all, unless one does not see the faulty trap of syncretism (combining right aspects of godly worship with wrong practices). But such is the logic of this world’s philosophy. It is detrimentally opposite to what God tells us. The Israelites were not even to inquire as to how the pagans worshipped their gods, so as to not use those pagan worship practices and apply them to the true God (such as the Christmas tree).  Whom do you want to believe—human reasoning or God?

Please view our new StandingWatch program, titled, “Should Christians Observe Halloween?” 

Halloween and the Jews

The Jewish Press wrote on November 1:

“Halloween is also called All Hallows’ Eve, because, for the gentiles, it is a hallowed evening, the eve of All Saints’ Day, a day which honors all Christian saints.

“The Encyclopedia Britannica explains that in ancient Britain and Ireland, the Festival of Halloween was also [a] celebration of the end of the fertile period of the Celtic goddess, Eiseria. It is said that when Eiseria reaches the end of her fertile cycle, the worlds of the dead and the living intertwine. This supposedly happens on October 31. Masks are worn to show respect for the Goddess Eiseria, who, like most Celtic gods, does not wish to be seen by human eyes. This is one of the reason[s] behind Halloween costumes and for the holiday’s omens, spirits, demons, and witches.

“This date was also New Year’s Eve in both Celtic and Anglo-Saxon times, and was the occasion for one of the ancient fire festivals when huge bonfires were set on hilltops to frighten away evil spirits. The souls of the dead were supposed to revisit their homes on this day, and the festival acquired sinister significance, with ghosts, witches, hobgoblins, black cats, fairies, and demons said to be roaming about.

“It was the time to placate the supernatural powers controlling the processes of nature. In addition, Halloween was thought to be the most favorable time for divination concerning marriage, luck, health, and death. It was the only day on which the help of the devil was invoked for such purposes. These pagan observances also influenced the Christian festival of All Hallows’ Eve, celebrated on the same date…

“When it comes to the question whether Jews can take part in gentile holidays, the halachic discussion differs between clearly religious holidays like Xmas, which are forbidden, and purely secular holidays like Labor Day, which are permissible. Halloween’s religious origins and pagan history place it in the category of gentile holidays that are forbidden to celebrate… there is good reason for telling the kids that ‘Trick or Treating’ is a no-no for Jewish children.”

Halloween in Germany

The Local wrote on November 1:

“In Bonn, two drunken 17-year-olds who covered more than 30 cars with shaving foam, egg and tomato ketchup are likely to face hefty bills from the vehicles’ owners. A bus driver in nearby Remscheid was forced to pull over after being pelted with eggs.

“Up in the north east of the country, police were called to the scene of a robbery. A gang of opportunist thieves in Rostock forced an 8-year-old boy and a 13-year-old girl to hand over their haul from treat-or-treating. They threatened the girl with what appeared to be a gun. A separate group took a bag filled with treats from a pair of 12-year-olds in neighbouring Schwerin.

“In fact, children wanting to go trick-or-treating Rostock should exercise a little caution – one elderly lady appeared to be so freaked out by the tiny monsters at her door that she hit two young girls in the face after [they] rang her doorbell. In the southern city of Trier, one of the scarier sights on Wednesday night was a 16-year-old boy being dragged through the streets by police, who said that he was very drunk and had been throwing things at the building of a security firm.

“The prize for the most police calls goes to the Rhein-Erft area near Cologne, where officers fielded 81 different cries for help – mostly complaints of loud music from parties. In Mannheim police received 50 phone calls and in the Swabia area of Bavaria there were 40. Officers in Esslingen near Stuttgart did not have an easy night either. They confiscated hundreds of eggs, 200 firecrackers and even homemade smoke-bombs…”

Roe v. Wade Based on Lies?

The Gatewaypundit.com wrote on October 24, 2012:

“Nearly 40 years ago, as a young, pregnant woman, Norma McCorvey played an instrumental part in the Supreme Court decision that brought legal abortion to America. McCorvey, the ‘Roe’ in the Roe v. Wade case… became a Christian in 1995 and has since repudiated her role in Roe v. Wade, campaigning for its reversal… McCorvey says the Roe v. Wade decision was based upon a lie… ‘I was persuaded by feminist attorneys to lie; to say that I was raped, and needed an abortion. It was all a lie. Since then, over 50 million babies have been murdered. I will take this burden to my grave. Please, don’t follow in my mistakes…’”

If true, that would really be scandalous, and these feminist attorneys will have to give account for such horrible conduct in the Day of Judgment.

Italian Court Decision Has Scientists Up In Arms

Reuters reported on October 25:

“Scientists reacted with alarm to the manslaughter conviction of six earthquake experts in Italy for failing to give adequate warning of the 2009 earthquake in the city of L’Aquila that killed 308 people. Scientists warned that researchers in areas involving unpredictable natural threats, like volcanology and even meteorology, will now be more reluctant to offer advice and insight to the public. ‘If it stands, this verdict will have a chilling effect on earthquake science in Italy and throughout Europe,’ said Sandy Steacy, professor of earthquake physics at the University of Ulster. ‘Who would now be willing to serve on an earthquake hazard evaluation panel when getting it wrong could mean a conviction for manslaughter?’…

“In the United States, Michael Halpern at the Union of Concerned Scientists lobby group said in a blog: ‘This is an absurd and dangerous decision that U.S. officials should rebuke, and Italian President Giorgio Napolitano should overturn.’ Scientists warned the ruling could have repercussions beyond Italian borders and across other disciplines. ‘This bizarre verdict will chill anyone who gives scientific advice, and I hope they are freed on appeal,’ said David Spiegelhalter, a professor for the public understanding of risk at Cambridge University.”

The New York Times wrote on October 26:

“I learned with disbelief on Monday about the decision of an Italian judge to convict seven scientific experts of manslaughter and to sentence them to six years in prison for failing to give warning before the April 2009 earthquake that killed 309 people, injured an additional 1,500 or so and left more than 65,000 people homeless in and around the city of L’Aquila in central Italy.

“By this distorted logic, surgeons who warn a patient that there’s a small chance of dying during surgery should be put in prison if the patient does, in fact, die. Imagine the consequences for the health system. The effect on other fields would be just as devastating. In response to the verdict, some Italian scientists have already resigned from key public safety positions. Unless this shortsighted verdict is overturned by wiser minds, it will be very harmful in the long run.”

First, the ridiculous German court decision prohibiting circumcision; now this ridiculous Italian decision. What will be next? Where are the “no-nonsense” judges?

The US Government and the Sabbath

On October 25, 2012, the Jewish paper Haaretz, which is headquartered in Jerusalem, published the following on October 25, 2012, re-publishing an article, which was originally published by “The Jewish Daily Forward” paper on the same day: 

“Jack Lew, who is an Orthodox Jew, on how he keeps Shabbat while serving as the chief of staff for the U.S. president.
“When Jack Lew was appointed chief of staff to President Obama in January, many in the Jewish community wondered how he could observe Shabbat in such a demanding position. ‘I saw the president on many occasions on Friday afternoons look at his watch, and ask: “Isn’t it time for you to get going?”’ Lew said, ‘or, “Why are you still here?”…

“Lew, who is Orthodox, revealed the details about his keeping Shabbat in an extraordinary interview with the Forward that touched on his need to observe the Jewish holy day… The chief of staff noted it was Obama who brought up the issue of Shabbat when first offering Lew the job. ‘He raised it with me saying: “I know that things are going to come up where there’s an emergency on Saturday or that you need to be here. I know you well enough to know that this is not an issue. I want you to know that I’m never going to ask you to work on Saturday if it’s not really necessary. It’s important for me that you know that.”’… On Fridays, Lew leaves the White House before Shabbat begins and he is off on Saturdays. In the cases where his presence was needed on Shabbat, the chief of staff usually walked to the White House and back.

“Rabbis he consulted with assured Lew that when there is a real necessity, Jewish tradition approves of working on the Sabbath. The number of times Lew actually had to work in Saturday has been ‘limited,’ he said. Lew had dealt with the potential conflicts between observing Shabbat and working in top level positions under President Bill Clinton, when he served as the White House budget director. Clinton made sure not to have his top budget adviser busy from sundown Friday to the end of Saturday, and Lew made himself available when emergencies occurred. ‘I have found that if you are true to your own beliefs, people respect it,’ Lew said. ‘I’ve found that President Obama considers it a sign of strength and value that there is something in my life that reflects principles that I adhere to.’”

This article poses numerous interesting questions. Following the Bible, one is only justified to do work on the Sabbath if it is a true emergency of an “ox-in-the-ditch” nature. It is never permitted to engage in work, KNOWING that “emergencies” will arise. Therefore, the advice by the Jewish Rabbis is not biblically correct. But it also gives another reason why the Bible does not approve of God’s people holding such political governmental offices in this day and age.

The reaction of the readers to the articles was mixed and highly charged. We are giving you a few representative excerpts:

“Regardless of your political viewpoint, could we not all agree that people supporting each other’s observance of Shabbat is a ‘good’ thing.”

“Obama thinks he can mistreat Jews for 4 years and then plant a ridiculous story like this to win us back. Obama really thinks the Jews are fools.”

“This is a scenerio [sic] I’m quite familiar with – having my non-Jewish coworkers remind me that it’s time to leave on Friday afternoon. As a Shabbos observer, the worst employment experience I ever had was when I was working for a major secular Jewish organization. My subsequent experience has always been that I’d much rather work for a non-Jew then a secular Jew. The latter will look up what time sunset is and then start arguing with me that ‘I don’t need to leave that early’, while a goy will respect my observance.”

Political Activities by Churches Break the Law

The Washington Times wrote on October 25, 2012:

“Pastor Ron Walker knew he was breaking the law when he took his place behind the pulpit of The Little White Church in Hill City, S.D., to preach a sermon critical of President Obama. ‘I think it’s a risk well worth taking,’ said the pastor of the nondenominational church of about 150 members. ‘We would be delighted to be sued and have the opportunity to defend ourselves — in front of the Supreme Court, if necessary.’

“Mr. Walker was one of more than 1,600 pastors — up from 33 five years ago — who risked their tax-exempt status to preach politics on ‘Pulpit Freedom Sunday’ this month, challenging the 1954 tax law that prohibits nonprofits from politicking. For many of the protesting pastors, the law violates their Constitutional rights, and challenging the rule is a fight they welcome. Many of the participating pastors mailed recordings of their sermons to the Internal Revenue Service…

“The IRS, however, is declining to take the bait… The IRS declined repeated requests to comment on the protest, except to refer The Washington Times to the segment of the federal tax code that states tax-exempt organizations are ‘absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office.’

“The tax code also warns that violations could get a nonprofit’s tax status revoked and make it vulnerable to excise taxes… One sign that the federal government may not be eager to tackle the church protests — especially in an election year — was the announcement this week that the IRS will not conduct any church audits until the Treasury Department clarifies which officials have jurisdiction over the churches. The tax agency was forced to rethink its jurisdictional rules after a federal district court tossed out a case against a Minnesota church accused of promoting Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann from the pulpit in 2009.

“Three years later, no work has begun on the jurisdictional rules. That delay may be the real roadblock stopping the IRS from cracking down on the Alliance Defending Freedom and churches, said John Pomeranz, a lawyer who specializes in lobbying and election-related activities by tax-exempt organizations.

“We have wondered whether or not the IRS is hamstrung at the moment,” said Mr. Pomeranz, who works at the Washington firm Harmon, Curran, Spielberg & Eisenberg LLP. “I think there is a fundamental question about the ability of the IRS to audit churches, and they need to address that before they can get to the question of whether they’re going to audit these Pulpit Freedom Sunday churches…”

Catholic Clergy Involved in Presidential Election

The Chicago Tribune wrote on October 31:

“Joining the chorus of Roman Catholic clergy in Illinois criticizing President Barack Obama before next week’s election, Peoria Bishop Daniel Jenky ordered priests to read a letter to parishioners on Sunday before the presidential election, explaining that politicians who support abortion rights also reject Jesus. ‘By virtue of your vow of obedience to me as your Bishop, I require that this letter be personally read by each celebrating priest at each Weekend Mass,’ Jenky wrote in a letter circulated to clergy in the Catholic Diocese of Peoria.

“In the letter, Jenky cautions parishioners that Obama and a majority of U.S. senators will not reconsider the mandate that would require employers, including religious groups, to provide free birth control coverage in their health care plans…”

Churches and their pastors should NOT be getting involved in making political statements to promote voting for or against one particular political candidate. True Christians should have nothing to do with time-wasting political campaigns, and they should NOT vote in governmental elections. For more information, please listen to our video-recorded sermon, “What Would Be Jesus’ Vote?”

Fish Labeling Fraud

The Huffington Post wrote on October 28:

“It’s easy to identify the bright orange flesh of raw salmon, or tuna’s muted red tones. But when it comes to other types of fish, consumers are pretty much at the mercy of supermarket and restaurant labels, and fraud is rampant. That’s what NBC LA’s Get Garcia hidden camera investigation found when it DNA-tested samples of fish that were purchased from local stores and sushi restaurants.

“Of the 27 fish samples purchased at Ralphs, Sprouts, Pavilions, Gelsons, Whole Foods, San Pedro Fish Market and Sushi Yuzu, five were not correctly labeled… The substitutions, like the Ocean Perch fish that had been labeled ‘Red Snapper’ at Gelsons, Ralphs and Pavilions end up ripping off consumers. Ocean Perch costs $6.99 per pound, but Red Snapper retails for $14.99 a pound…

“In addition to the ripoff, mislabeling could also cause problems for people trying to avoid certain kinds of fish for health reasons.

“NBC LA’s findings echo a study released by conservation group Oceana back in April. Oceana’s investigation found that over half of the seafood sold in Los Angeles and Orange counties were fraudulently labeled, a violation of federal law. Some key findings, via the press release:

“Fraud was detected in 11 out of 18 different types of fish purchased. Every single fish sold with the word ‘snapper’ in the label (34 out of 34) was mislabeled, according to federal guidelines. Nearly nine out of every ten sushi samples was mislabeled. Eight out of nine sushi samples labeled as ‘white tuna’ were actually escolar, a species that carries a health warning for it purgative effects. The group has also found similar instances of mislabeling in Boston and South Florida… while the FDA has the authority to inspect seafood for fraud, they rarely elect to do so.”

This is a crying shame and abominable conduct, while the government watches, knows … and does nothing.

Hurricane or Cyclone Sandy Causes Once-in-a-Generation Flooding

The New York Times wrote October 29:

“Hurricane Sandy battered the mid-Atlantic region on Monday, its powerful gusts and storm surges causing once-in-a-generation flooding in coastal communities, knocking down trees and power lines and leaving hundreds of thousands of people — including a large swath of Manhattan — in the rain-soaked dark.

“The mammoth and merciless storm made landfall near Atlantic City around 8 p.m., with maximum sustained winds of about 80 miles per hour, the National Hurricane Center said. That was shortly after the center had reclassified the storm as a post-tropical cyclone, a scientific renaming that had no bearing on the powerful winds, driving rains and life-threatening storm surge expected to accompany its push onto land.

“The storm had unexpectedly picked up speed as it roared over the Atlantic Ocean on a slate-gray day and went on to paralyze life for millions of people in more than a half-dozen states, with extensive evacuations that turned shorefront neighborhoods into ghost towns…

“Hurricane-force winds extended up to 175 miles from the center of the storm; tropical-storm-force winds spread out 485 miles from the center. Forecasters said tropical-storm-force winds could stretch all the way north to Canada and all the way west to the Great Lakes. Snow was expected in some states. Businesses and schools were closed; roads, bridges and tunnels were closed; and more than 13,000 airline flights were canceled…

“Forecasters attributed the power of the storm to a convergence of weather systems. As the hurricane swirled north in the Atlantic and then pivoted toward land, a wintry storm was heading toward it from the west, and cold air was blowing south from the Arctic. The hurricane left more than 60 people dead in the Caribbean before it began crawling toward the Northeast…”

The Los Angeles Times wrote on October 29:

“Cyclone Sandy roared ashore Monday night with 80 mph winds in southern New Jersey, battering the most populous region of the United States, paralyzing epicenters of power and commerce, and plunging smaller coastal communities into crisis.

“After days of dire warnings and bustling preparations, the storm crashed ashore a little after 8 p.m. EDT, leaving more than 3 million people without power and at least two people dead. Although its winds reached low hurricane strength, officials called it a post-tropical cyclone. Cyclones, unlike hurricanes, are not defined by wind speed but how they find their energy, officials said…

“Sandy is a freak event — a late-season hurricane hemmed in by weather bands, gobbling up the energy of the Gulf Stream as it raked the coast while growing into a ragged, 1,000-mile-wide storm. As it grew, so did its power to push a wall of seawater onto shore — with such force that some rivers were expected to run backward… Sandy cast tropical-storm-strength winds from the Carolinas to Maine. Hurricane-force winds stretched from Virginia to Massachusetts.

“Because of its size, Sandy is more than a coastal event. Officials predicted a blizzard in the West Virginia mountains, 33-foot waves in Lake Michigan and high wind in Indiana. There were formal government warnings of one variety or another in 23 states, and 60 million people — nearly 1 in 5 Americans — might feel the storm before the end of the week…

“The storm derailed the presidential campaign just a week before the election, postponing early voting in some areas and causing President Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney to cancel campaign events…”

The Terrible Aftermath of Sandy

CNBC wrote on November 1:

“Power outages at hundreds of gas stations and a distribution bottleneck due to flooding damage and power loss has caused a gasoline shortage in the New York metropolitan area that may not be cleared up for at least a week… What was a problem for drivers when Super Storm Sandy ended two days ago has become a nightmare for frazzled motorists who find themselves in gas lines that can stretch on for hours. Some lines were hundreds of cars long in sections of New Jersey and New York Thursday… An estimated 75 percent or more of the gas stations in New Jersey were closed either because they had no gasoline, no power or both…”

Der Spiegel Online wrote on October 31:

“Hurricane Sandy revealed just how vulnerable America is to the forces of nature. Clean-up is likely to take weeks or even months in the hardest hit sections of New Jersey. Hurricane Sandy’s true power is only now becoming apparent, hours after the storm slammed into America’s East Coast. But now it is clear that entire regions of New Jersey have been destroyed. Some 8 million Americans will be without power for days. And the number of deaths has climbed to at least 45. Half of Manhattan seems like a ghost town on Tuesday…

“Sandy, like all natural disasters, didn’t differentiate between rich and poor, city or countryside. The super-storm’s swath of destruction reached from rural Virginia across New York and into the rich suburbs of Connecticut…

“The chaos in New York, unprecedented in a metropolis that has no shortage of catastrophes in its history, made the most headlines. But the worst of the damage can be found in the state of New Jersey, where the coastal city of Atlantic City was badly flooded and battered by an unprecedented storm surge. A tired-looking New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said on Tuesday that the damage ‘is beyond anything I thought I’d ever see. Terrible.’

“The full extent of what happened only became apparent as the East Coast woke up on Tuesday morning. Sandy was the largest storm ever recorded in the region, with its effects being felt from Georgia in the south to Maine in the north. There were deaths in six different states and material damage is likely to exceed $20 billion. Even through Tuesday, Sandy continued to pummel states further inland, producing heavy snowfall, torrential rains and winds gusts of over 60 miles per hour (100 kilometers per hour). Its effects were felt as far west as the Great Lakes…

“Sandy also revealed just how fragile America’s infrastructure is. Streets and rail lines were destroyed, the power grid failed and communication networks collapsed, with both telephone and internet connections spotty up and down the East Coast. Telecommunications company Verizon was hit the worst, with technically vital facilities suffering floods in Manhattan, Queens and Long Island. The most densely populated and technologically advanced region in the US turned out to be defenseless against the elements…

“At least 18 people were killed in New York City alone, according to the Associated Press, with damage likely to exceed €7 billion. Two million people were without electricity on Tuesday afternoon, 660,000 of them in Manhattan, with the southern half of the island almost completely dark. ‘This will be the largest storm-related outage in our history,’ said John Miksad, vice president of the electricity utility Con Edison… Wall Street, busy even on Christmas, was completely dark and abandoned…

“New York’s subway system — the world’s largest with 1,355 kilometers (842 miles) of track and five million passengers per day — has suffered the worst damage in its 108-year history… A total of some 15,500 flights have now been cancelled as a result of Sandy… Numerous towns were almost entirely under water on Tuesday…”

Der Spiegel Online wrote on November 1:

“Hurricane Sandy has destroyed an entire neighborhood in the Queens borough of New York. First, the flood waters ravaged Breezy Point, and then a fire finished the job. Local residents have lost everything. Breezy Point has been decimated. Street after street, one house after the next — burned out, smashed to pieces or swept away…

“It is only now, three days after Sandy struck, that the sheer scale of the disaster has finally become apparent. Entire coastal stretches have been destroyed, 5 million people are still without power, and the death toll is rising daily. According to the latest data, 24 people have died in New York City alone — more than in any other previous natural disaster to have occurred here…”

Major Earthquake Hits Off West Coast of Canada

On October 28, the Washington Times wrote the following:

“A magnitude-7.7 earthquake struck off the west coast of Canada, but there were no reports of major damage. Residents in parts of British Columbia were evacuated, but the province appeared to escape the biggest quake in Canada since 1949 largely unscathed.

“The U.S. Geological Survey said the powerful temblor hit the Queen Charlotte Islands just after 8 p.m. local time (11 p.m. EDT) Saturday at a depth of about 3 miles and was centered 96 miles south of Masset, British Columbia. It was felt across a wide area in British Columbia, both on its Pacific islands and on the mainland… The National Weather Service issued a tsunami warning for coastal areas of British Columbia, southern Alaska and Hawaii, but later canceled it… The weather service also canceled a tsunami advisory for Oregon [and] Northern California…

“Canada’s largest earthquake since 1700 was an 8.1-magnitude quake on August 22, 1949, off the coast of British Columbia… In 1970, a 7.4-magnitude quake struck south of the Haida Gwaii…”

“President Romney” and American-European Relations

Der Spiegel Online wrote on November 1:

“Germans have long since made up their minds about Mitt Romney. Only 5 percent would give him their vote if they had one, they say… When America votes, the German heart traditionally beats for the Democratic candidate. To many, the Republicans are suspect: cocky, Christian-conservative, narrow-minded and often hawkish — at least according to the widespread cliché… But what would a President Romney mean for Berlin? Frankly, politicians in the German capital aren’t sure. The Republican candidate, said Harald Leibrechts, Germany’s coordinator for German-American relations, is a ‘blank page, which makes him difficult to gauge.’ He is unlikely to be alone in this assessment.

“Romney has portrayed himself as both a tough guy and a diplomat, but his waffling has confused people both at home and abroad… In Berlin, the Republican nominee is seen as somewhat of an enigma. Defense Minister Thomas de Maizière, for one, is puzzled…

“Rolf Mützenich, the foreign policy spokesman of the opposition Social Democrats in parliament, believes… that a Romney administration would most likely not see eye to eye with Germany and its fellow European Union nations when it comes to the global regulation of the financial markets.

“Braml, the DGAP expert and author of the book ‘Der amerikanische Patient’ (‘The American Patient’), champions the thesis that American’s poor socio-economic condition and growing isolationist sentiments will lead it to try to shift the burdens of military actions onto its allies. This view is shared by many in Berlin. Leibrecht, Chancellor Merkel’s coordinator for German-American relations, has said that one of the possible consequences of a Romney victory would be calls for augmenting defense budgets. ‘That is not particularly popular with us,’ he said…

“In any case, whether Obama or Romney wins, CDU politician Missfelder says that Germans will have to get used to one thing: ‘When it comes to global military actions in crisis zones, the Americans will definitely be coming to us and demanding more in the years to come.’”

Britain On Their Way Out Of the EU?

The New York Times wrote on October 27:

“Is Britain moving inexorably toward the European Union’s exit door?

“When the European Union unexpectedly won the Nobel Peace Prize this month, the leaders of Germany, France and Italy spoke of their pride. But the British prime minister, David Cameron, maintained an awkward silence. Before that, the British government said it wanted to exercise an opt out of an estimated 133 areas of European Union police and judicial cooperation to which it had once agreed.

“And Mr. Cameron supported a plan for a new budget for countries that use the euro (which Britain does not), something that would place his nation firmly in Europe’s outer tier. The prime minister has been hinting that he could hold a referendum on Britain’s relations with the union, and one newspaper reported recently that a senior cabinet minister wants Britain to threaten openly to leave the 27-nation bloc. There was no official denial of the report…

“Britain has always been ambivalent about the European project. Unlike the founding six nations, all of them defeated or occupied in World War II, Britain was a victor. In national mythology, the war was neither a moment of disgrace nor a humiliation. On the contrary, it was widely considered the country’s finest hour, when it stood alone against fascism.

“So the idea of reconciliation through integration never had the appeal in Britain that it did on the Continent. Unlike many other member countries, Britain always paid more into the union in contributions than it received in subsidies. Now, with the euro zone almost three years in crisis, British public opinion has hardened. The overwhelming majority of Conservative lawmakers are euro skeptics, and many privately favor withdrawal. For some this is a question of conviction…

“Mr. Cameron seeks a new arrangement that abandons any pretense of being at the heart of the European Union. He does not, for instance, want to stop the euro zone integrating without Britain. Indeed, he recognizes that this is necessary to save the euro…But to anchor Britain in Europe, Mr. Cameron needs to emerge from a whole series of negotiations successfully — or at least persuade his own skeptical party that he has done so.

“Most urgently, he faces tough discussions on the European Union’s next seven-year spending cycle. Many officials and other observers expect Mr. Cameron to veto a budget deal at a November summit. That will satisfy euro skeptics only if Mr. Cameron can bring home an improved offer later. Yet, playing to his domestic gallery with an aggressive veto may alienate the very European allies Mr. Cameron would need in later talks in any effort to redefine ties.

“Meanwhile, the emergence of an ever more clear-cut two-tier Europe, with much greater integration among the 17 euro zone nations on issues like banking and financial services, is putting a strain on Europe’s unified economic space, and could ultimately threaten London’s status as Europe’s financial capital.”

EU Member States Have Already Lost National Sovereignty

The EUobserver wrote on October 28:

“The EU should have the power to police and interfere in member states’ national budgets, [central bank chief] Mario Draghi [said…] he ‘completely supported’ the suggestion by German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble to give more autonomy to the EU’s economic and monetary affairs commissioner. ‘I am certain, if we want to restore confidence in the eurozone, countries will have to transfer part of their sovereignty to the European level,’ Draghi [said] demanding a more concerted push for European integration.

“‘Several governments have not yet understood that they lost their national sovereignty long ago. Because they ran up huge debts in the past, they are now dependent on the goodwill of the financial markets,’ Draghi said.”

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Would you please explain Psalm 8:5 and Hebrews 2:7? Did God create man a little lower than the angels or God?

Let us look very closely at both passages.

In Psalm 8:4-5, David wonders about the purpose of the creation of man. We read, in the New King James Bible: “What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels, and you have crowned him with glory and honor.”

David proceeds in the next verses to show that man has received dominion over the animal world (verses 7-8).

In the margin of the New King James Bible, it is stated that in the Hebrew, the word for “angels” is “Elohim,” which means “God.” (Compare the footnote in the Elberfelder Bible and the Schlachter Bible.) While translations such as the New International Version and the Living Bible render it, “angels,” the Revised Standard Version, the English Revised Version and the American Standard Version say, “little lower than God.” So also the revised Luther Bible (“Gott”) and the Menge Bible (“Gottheit”).

The Schlachter Bible also comments that the phrase, “a little lower” can be rendered as, “for a little while lower…”

Commentaries offer different explanations.

Barnes’ Notes on the Bible says:

“Than the angels – So this is rendered by the Aramaic Paraphrase: by the Septuagint; by the Latin Vulgate; by the Syriac and Arabic; and by the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews Heb 2:7, who has literally quoted the fourth, fifth, and sixth verses from the Septuagint. The Hebrew, however, is… ‘than God.’ So Gesenius renders it, ‘Thou hast caused him to want but little of God; that is, thou hast made him but little lower than God.’ So DeWette, ‘nur wenig unter Gott.’ So Tholuck renders it, ‘nur um wenig unter Gott.’ This is the more natural construction, and this would convey an idea conformable to the course of thought in the psalm, though it has been usually supposed that the word used here… ‘Elohiym’ – may be applied to angels, or even men, as in Psalm 82:1; Psalm 97:7; Psalm 138:1; Exodus 21:6; Exodus 22:8-9.

“Gesenius… maintains that the word never has this signification. The authority, however, of the Aramaic, the Septuagint, the Syriac, and the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, would seem sufficient to show that that meaning may be attached to the word here with propriety, and that somehow that idea was naturally suggested in the passage itself. Still, if it were not for these versions, the most natural interpretation would be that which takes the word in its usual sense, as referring to God, and as meaning that, in respect to his dominion over the earth, man had been placed in a condition comparatively but little inferior to God himself; he had made him almost equal to himself.”

We note from the foregoing that the word “Elohim” can refer, on rare occasions, to human judges (whose potential it is to become God), or to pagan gods; but a plural verb is then associated with “Elohim,” whereas, when “Elohim” is used to describe the true God, it is usually associated with a singular verb. However, there are exceptions, and as we explain in our booklet, “God Is A Family,” the word “Elohim” can refer to the God Family, consisting of the Father and the Son, or to either one of the two God beings. What is important to note here, however, is the fact that the word “Elohim” is never used to describe angels.

Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible agrees, stating:

“The original is certainly very emphatic… Thou hast lessened him for a little time from God. Or, Thou hast made him less than God for a little time.”

This comment is also remarkable in that it seems to say that it is the potential of man to become, after a little while, equal with God. And this is exactly correct, as we will explain.

Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible says:

“For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels…. Than Elohim, ‘than God’, as this word usually signifies: and could it be interpreted of man, as made by God, it might be thought to refer to the creation of him in the image and likeness of God… Sometimes the word ‘Elohim’ is used for civil magistrates, as in Psalm 82:6; because they are in God’s stead, and represent him; and, on account of their majesty, authority, and power, bear some resemblance to him…”

Wesley’s Notes state:

“But the words more literally rendered are, Thou madest him a little less than God.”

The Ryrie Study Bible states:

“Hebr. Elohim, usually translated, as it should be here, ‘God.’ The psalmist views man, created in God’s image, as little lower than God.”

The Nelson Study Bible states:

“The Hebrew text is, ‘You have made him to lack little of God.’”

It is true that God made man, in his present state, a little lower and for a little while lower than the angels, but God shows us too that it is man’s destiny to enter the Kingdom of God as immortal God beings, far above angels, and with the destiny to rule over angels (compare Hebrews 1:14; 1 Corinthians 6:3). God does not give aid to angels, but to the seed of Abraham (Hebrews 2:16). We are specifically told, in Hebrews 2:5, that the world to come is not going to be in subjection to angels, but to man, made immortal.

On the other hand, it is also very true, and seems to be the primary meaning in Psalm 8:5, that man was made for a little while lower than God. God created man in His own image, according to His likeness. He did not create him as a spirit being, but from the dust of the ground. Man has to qualify to be changed into a spirit being and to enter the Kingdom or Family of God. So, for a while—during this life time—man is made lower than God, but in the resurrection, he will be like God (1 John 3:2). In fact, he will BE God and in that sense EQUAL with God—a member of the God Family, a child of God the Father and a brother or sister of Jesus Christ, who is in the image of the Father (Hebrews 1:1-3) and who is God Himself (John 1:1). Man will share the divine nature of God—He will be equal with God, fully God, even though he will always be UNDER the authority of God the Father and Jesus Christ.

In light of this understanding, let us now focus on Hebrew 2:7. Paul is quoting, or better paraphrasing the passage in Psalm 8:5 (a careful comparison between Hebrews 2:6-8 and Psalm 8:4-6 shows that  the wording is not identical). Paul is trying to convey an important  truth which is included in the book of Psalms, even though the emphasis there was slightly different.

In the New King James Bible, Hebrews 2:7 reads:

“You have made him a little lower than the angels…”

Here, the Greek word “aggelos” means literally, “messenger” or “agent,” and it is commonly referring to angels.

Paul proceeds to explain that the dominion that God had intended for man is not limited to rule over animals (as David had limited it in Psalm 8), but that man is destined to rule over everything, emphasizing: “For in that He put ALL in subjection under him, He left nothing that is not put under him” (Hebrews 2:8). But Paul continues to explain that even though God has put all things in subjection under his feet, we do not yet see all things put under him (verse 8). However, Paul says, we see Jesus, “who was made a little lower than the angels… crowned with glory and honor” (verse 9).

While Christ has been given all authority in heaven and on earth, and while He was changed into an immortal Spirit being—the same God being that He was before He became a Man—this transformation has not yet occurred for man. Man is still awaiting his future resurrection or change to immortality.

In the context, it is clear that Paul could not have said that Jesus, who was God and the Immanuel (“God with us”), was made for a little while lower than God. Even though Christ gave up His divinity and became a human being (Philippians 2:5-7; John 1:14), He was still the very Being that He had always been—He was still God, but in the flesh, so that He could be tempted by Satan to sin, and so that He could die. It only made sense to say that Jesus became a little lower—or for a little while lower— than the angels—in authority and even in respect to His appearance. Angels are higher than mortal men—they are spirit beings and cannot die. Christ became a little lower, or for a little while lower than the angels, because He became a mortal being and could and did die.

The context of the entire passage shows that Paul wanted to make the point that Christ did not assume or take on the nature of angels, but of men (Hebrews 2:16, compare the Authorized Version and the margin of the New King James Bible), and that, in the resurrection, He did not assume the nature of angels, but of God, “having become so much better than the angels” (Hebrews 1:4), and all the angels have become subject to Him (1 Peter 3:22).

The Ryrie Study Bible explains:

“‘a little lower’. This may mean (1) for a short time, or (2) more likely, a little lower in rank. In the order of creation, man is lower than angels, and in the incarnation Christ took this lower place.”

There is no contradiction or even discrepancy between Psalm 8:5 and Hebrews 2:7, because when referring to man, both statements are correct (compare the Nelson Study Bible, comments to Psalm 8:5-8). Man was made (for a little while) a little lower than both angels and God, with the potential of becoming God and ruling over angels. However, in regard to Christ, the Son of God the Father and God Himself, it only made sense to say that Christ, when He came in the flesh and became flesh, was made a little lower or for a little while lower “than the ANGELS,” to be crowned in His resurrection with honor and glory in the Kingdom of God.

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

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Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

“Gottes Heiliger Sabbat”–is the title of our newest German booklet, and the text has been forwarded for finalization and posting on our website. This is a translation of the first part of our English booklet, “God’s Commanded Holy Days,” and it presents specific information on God’s commanded Sabbath observance.

“NEU! Krieg Waehrend Christi Herrschaft? (“War During Christ’s Rule?”),” is the title of this week’s German sermon, which is the first part of the attack by Gog and Magog, as described in Ezekiel 38 and 39. This part covers Ezekiel 38.

“Should Christians Observe Halloween?,” has been posted on our website and YouTube. In this StandingWatch program, Evangelist Norbert Link challenges viewers regarding why Christians would be observing this pagan practice–here is a summary: Halloween is dedicated to Satan the devil. Satanists celebrate it as one of Satan’s holidays. It is associated with the occult, with witches and paganism, and it is known as the festival of the dead. Trick-or-treat, masks and jack-o’-lantern are all ancient practices or symbols in connection with feared encounters with spirits of the dead, demons and damned souls. But some professing Christians argue that it is not wrong for them and their children to observe Halloween and participate in at least some of its practices. Does God agree?

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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

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

©2024 Church of the Eternal God