Update 658


“The Helmet of Salvation”

On September 27, 2014, Norbert Link will give the sermon, titled, “The Helmet of Salvation.”

The live services are available, over video and audio, at www.cognetservices.org (12:30 pm Pacific Time; 1:30 pm Mountain Time; 2:30 pm Central Time; 3:30 pm Eastern Time; 8:30 pm Greenwich Mean Time; 9:30 pm Central European Time). Just click on Connect to Live Stream.

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Always With Us!

by Norbert Link

Jesus shocked His audience when He told them about the potential of man. At the same time, He confirmed who He was. “I am the Son of God,” He said, “and that should not surprise you, because your own law says that you are gods.” The Jews viewed this as blasphemy, and they were willing to seize and stone Him for saying this.

It is no different today. Just tell someone that it is our destiny to become “gods”—born-again members in the Kingdom of God and immortal God beings in the very Family of God—and be prepared for the reaction of disbelief, outrage or open hostility and persecution. But the biblical teaching is so very clear and convincing—if one has eyes to see.  Not only the New Testament teaches this; so does the Old Testament, and the Jews in Jesus’ time should have known this.

In Psalm 82:6, God (“elohim” in Hebrew) tells human beings that they are (to become) “gods” (“elohim” in Hebrew). Jesus quoted this very Scripture in John 10:34, where the Greek word for “gods” is “theos”—the same word which is also used for Almighty God and Jesus Christ. God the Father and Jesus Christ, the Son of God, are God of gods and LORD of lords (Deuteronomy 10:17; Psalm 136:2-3; Revelation 19:16). And so, we are (to become) “gods” and “lords” under the Father and the Son. We will be praising God “before the [other] gods” (Psalm 138:1). And God stands in the congregation of the mighty (literally, God) and judges among the gods (Psalm 82:1).

Of course, there are hundreds of additional biblical passages, proving what our human potential is. But how often do we remind ourselves of our awesome destiny—especially in times of trials? The archbishop of Canterbury said recently that there are moments when he questions God’s very existence. Maybe none of us has ever reached that point—and then, some might have, especially before their conversion—but how many times do we ask ourselves whether God is really with us? And even if we do not express these doubts in words, do we show them through our conduct?

These moments of uncertainty are not uncommon to man—including the spiritual giants of the Bible. Abram did not think that God would be with him in every circumstance—so he and his wife Sarai agreed to lie continuously about their true relationship (Genesis 12:11-13; 20:2, 9-13). They also doubted that God would be with them THAT MUCH that they could bring forth a child—given their age (Genesis 16:1-2). Moses did not believe at first that God would be really with him in Egypt to deliver Israel from slavery, and when the first attempts seemingly “failed,” his original doubts were confirmed in his mind (Exodus 5:22-23). And even though God had promised Jacob that He would be with him wherever he went (Genesis 28:15), Jacob had his doubts (verse 20).

God had assured Jeremiah that He would deliver him from his troubles (Jeremiah 1:8, 19), but when things got tough, Jeremiah began to question how “reliable” God really was (Jeremiah 15:18-19). Are we so much different today? Do we not also have moments when we question whether God is really with us—whether He really knows what we are going through? Of course, we do! When we do not see HOW God could possibly work out the seemingly impossible (Psalm 78:19), then we might feel somewhat forsaken and alone.  But God HAS promised us to be with us always—never to leave us nor forsake us (John 14:18; Matthew 28:20; Hebrews 13:5). He promised us to deliver us from all evil (Isaiah 43:2; Psalm 91:15). We are always on His mind—there is no place where we could go; no thought which we could think; no word which we could say; which God does not see or know or hear (Psalm 139; Matthew 6:8; Ephesians 3:20). And God acts for us in ways which are far beyond our ability to imagine (Psalm 77:19).

Still, moments of doubts might come—questions such as: Why did God let it happen? Why didn’t He intervene? Why didn’t He make the impossible possible? We might not get a full answer to all these questions in this life. But we have THE overriding answer, and that is the most important truth we can ever embrace in those moments: God is our Father. We are His children. Jesus Christ is our Elder Brother. The Father and the Son want to enlarge the God Family. They want us to be IN Their Kingdom. It is our potential to become gods—God Beings in the very Family of God. God will see to it that we will make it—whatever it takes. As long as we do not forsake Him, He will NEVER forsake us. Even if we do not fully understand now—God is there to carry our burdens and give us strength, and He will always be with us. With THAT assurance, ALL doubts should fade away.

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We are reporting on developments in and pertaining to Scotland and the UK; speak of the ongoing collaboration between Russia, China, Iran and other nations; point out that Putin is placing a somewhat indifferent world on notice as to what Russia’s intentions are; address the non-existent chance that the number of European nuclear weapons will be reduced; report on America’s new-found war in Iraq and Syria which might have devastating consequences for the very survival of the USA; speak on Pope Francis’ visit in Albania; and conclude with a challenging report regarding man-made climate change; India’s successful space mission; and an eye-opening article about the cruelty of chimpanzees.

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Scotland Stays—“But It’s All Over Anyhow”

Fox News wrote on September 19:

“Scotland’s decision to remain part of the United Kingdom in an historic referendum Friday gave British markets a brief lift, as fears of an independent Scotland causing economic havoc waned. After an unprecedented voter turnout of just under 85 percent, 55.3 percent were against independence to 44.7 percent in favor. The decision prevented a rupture of a 307-year union with England, Wales and Northern Ireland.”

The EUObserver added on September 19:

“In the end nothing changed and everything changed. Scottish people voted with a decisive majority against independence on Thursday (18 September) but the conversation in the UK has only just begun. David Cameron, seemingly invigorated by almost becoming the PM who oversaw the break-up of the UK, has promised devolution for everyone. In Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England…”

Breitbart wrote on September 19:

“First the good news. Thanks to last night’s “No” vote in the Scottish referendum Britain has been spared the following: a run on the pound; the hasty exodus of Scotland’s finance industry;… a collapse in the markets;… the entirely unnecessary and utterly ill-considered rupture of the greatest Union between nations the world has ever known; waking up this morning to find ourselves no longer in bed with cherished (if fractious) friends, allies, partners and comrades alongside whom we’ve fought, loved and prospered for over 300 years.

“Now the bad: it’s all over anyway.

“What… [the] Scottish National Party (SNP) insurgency achieved in Scotland last night is [this:] Yes they may have lost the battle. But it was their stepping stone towards ultimately winning the war… [They] are hardly going to view that 45 per cent they gained at the ballot box as a loss. Rather they will draw the conclusion that nearly half of Scotland’s population yearns for independence and that all they have to do now is press on…

“Their unlikely allies in this will be all those people in the rest of Britain driven to apoplexy by the concessions that have been made by the ‘Westminster government’… How can it possibly be fair, they’ll want to know, that… Scottish residents will continue to receive more than £1000 per capita per year of taxpayer-funded handouts than people in the rest of the United Kingdom? And how, with all these extra powers that Scotland’s parliament has been granted, can it be right that the 59 Scottish MPs at Westminster get to vote on matters exclusive to England, Wales and Northern Ireland… when their UK counterparts are denied any say on Scotland?

“The answers to both questions, of course, is that it isn’t. Which is why, in its desperate attempts to engender national unity by shoring up the Union, what the Westminster political class has actually ended up doing is sow the seeds for still further, deeper national division…”

Almost Queen of Scots

BBC News wrote on September 19:

“The Queen faced the prospect of becoming Elizabeth I of Scotland or even Elizabeth, Queen of Scots, had the Scottish people voted in favour of independence…

“As a 27-year-old, she was crowned more than 60 years ago in Westminster Abbey when she took a solemn oath to ‘govern the peoples of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland’.

“The Queen’s Scottish heritage has been an important part of her life. Her mother, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, hailed from an ancient aristocratic Scottish family… The Queen is descended from Mary, Queen of Scots, James I, who was James VI of Scotland, and Robert the Bruce, who secured Scotland’s independence from England.”

Does God Exist?

NBC News wrote on September 18:

“The archbishop of Canterbury – the spiritual leader of the world’s 80 million Anglican Christians – has admitted he sometimes doubts whether God actually exists. Justin Welby made the comments during a relaxed interview in front of an audience at Bristol Cathedral, in England. ‘There are moments, sure, where you think, “Is there a God? Where is God?”’ The archbishop, who is also the leader of the Church of England, added that his admission was ‘probably not what the archbishop of Canterbury should be saying.’”

One in four people in Britain regard themselves as belonging to the Church of England. 1.7 million people take part in a church service every month, according to statistics from the Church of England.

The Guardian wrote on September 18:

“The archbishop of Canterbury… disclosed that, on a recent morning jog with his dog, he questioned why the Almighty had failed to intervene to prevent an injustice… Later in the interview, Welby said he was certain, however, about the existence of Jesus, even talking about his presence beside him…

“Welby, who was appointed to his post in November 2012, has frequently made known his feelings on a wide variety of issues… He has also offered wholehearted support for the consecration of women bishops, describing the rejection in 2012 as a ‘grim day’.”

Doubting the existence of God, but not of Jesus whose presence is being “felt,” seems rather incomprehensible. 

Russia and China—the NEW Warsaw Pact

The Washington Times wrote on September 19:

“The international security meeting in Paris on Monday showcased a world in fear of the growing threat that the Islamic State poses to the global order. A group of 26 countries have now vowed to fight the Sunni extremist group ‘by any means necessary,’ and more will continue to join the effort. However, there are two countries it seems that we, once again, can’t count on: Russia and China. Both nations — in different ways — are refusing to get on board.

“Russia is insisting that airstrikes must be coordinated with Damascus and Tehran. China has yet to acknowledge the proposal to participate in the U.S.-led coalition delivered last week by National Security Adviser Susan E. Rice. In this way, Russia and China are not only facilitating the power and reach of rogue regimes such as Syria and Iran, but are also continuing to solidify their alliance…

“Russian-Chinese collaboration has been growing for years, tracing back to the 2001 forming of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which Vladimir Putin called ‘a reborn version of the Warsaw Pact.’… Indeed, these longtime adversaries now work together along economic, technological, military and political lines.

“Russia and China proceed with strategic and tactical clarity — and often with mutual support. When Russia invaded Crimea in March, China abstained from a vote condemning it in the United Nations. When the European Union proposed new sanctions against Russia recently, Beijing loudly objected and suggested that additional sanctions ‘may lead to new and more complicating factors’ in Ukraine.

“Russia and China are increasing their military budgets across the board, while the United States is drawing down…

“The world is aflame today in no small part because of the influence of rogue regimes such as North Korea, Iran and Syria — and Russia and China have facilitated their activities, even if they often stay in the background… Russia and China are accomplished practitioners of cyberwarfare. The Justice Department indicted five Chinese officers of the People’s Liberation Army for cyber-espionage in May. Russian hackers, almost certainly affiliated with the Kremlin, have wrought havoc on American businesses with cyber-attacks…

“Mr. Putin has aroused memories of 1939 with his aggression in Ukraine, where tens of thousands of Russian troops and hundreds of tanks are currently operating — and he has hinted that he may move on to the Baltics. In a telephone conversation with the outgoing head of the European Commission, Mr. Putin reportedly said, ‘If I want, I’ll take Kiev in two weeks.’ China is more subtle, but no less aggressive…”

Russia, China and other Middle and Far Eastern nations will combine forces in opposition to the West—and especially Europe. See the next article.

China and Iran Conduct Joint Naval Drills

The Times of Israel wrote on September 20:

“For the first time, Chinese warships docked in an Iranian port Saturday as Beijing and Tehran prepared to conduct a series of joint naval drills… The arrival of the Chinese ships came a few days after the Iranian Navy thwarted a pirate attack on a Chinese container ship in the Gulf of Aden…

“Last year, Iranian ships were in the Sea of China ‘to deliver Iran’s message of peace and friendship to the Chinese,’ [the semi-official Iranian news agency] Fars reported.”

Putin Puts the World on Notice… But Who Is Listening?

The EUObserver wrote on September 19:

“Ukraine leader Petro Poroshenko has warned the US that Europe is at risk of a ‘terrible and unimaginable … war’ despite his two-week ceasefire with Russia. But his speech, to US congress members and senators in Washington on Thursday (18 September), failed to convince the White House to send military assistance.

“Referring to Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its invasion of east Ukraine, he accused the Kremlin of having an ‘imperialistic mindset’ which threatens not just Ukraine, Georgia, or Moldova, but also EU and Nato countries such as the Baltic states, Poland, Romania, and Bulgaria…

“His speech comes after a leaked EU paper brought to light a fresh threat by Russian leader Vladimir Putin. ‘If I wanted to, in two days Russian troops could be not only in Kiev, but in Riga, Vilnius, Tallinn, Warsaw or Bucharest,’ Putin is said to have recently told Poroshenko, according to the minutes of the Ukrainian leader’s conversation with European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso in Kiev last week obtained by German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung…

“But the White House said only it plans to give him another $53 million in non-lethal aid – $7 million for humanitarian assistance, and the rest for equipment such as counter-mortar detection units, body armor, binoculars, and small boats. With Russia’s annual military spending dwarfing Ukraine’s by a factor of 20 to one… American weapons would make no difference if worst comes to worst…

“For their part, the EU and Ukraine recently made a big concession to Russia by agreeing to freeze their free trade pact until 2016. But Russia on Thursday said it wants more.

“Its foreign ministry noted in a statement that the trade pact should be ‘modified’ in substance… It added that if Russia does not get its way, ‘we reserve the right to respond swiftly’ with trade penalties against Ukraine.

“… the Polish foreign affairs thinktank, Pism… said there is a 50 percent chance that Russia will, in October, launch a new offensive in south east Ukraine designed to create a land-bridge to Crimea. It said there is a 30 percent chance that by the end of the year Russian leader Vladimir Putin will try to cut off Ukraine from the Black Sea by conquering all of south Ukraine. It said the worst case is a full-scale invasion, including of Kiev.”

Ukraine announced that they have lost over 60% of their weaponry in their ongoing conflict with Russia. Der Spiegel Online reported that very soon, they might have no weapons left. And there are more troubles ahead for Ukraine. The Local reported that “Relatives of German victims of downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 plan to sue Ukraine and its president for criminal negligence for not closing the country’s airspace.”

Russia’s Further Provocations

The Washington Free Beacon wrote on September 19:

“Russian strategic nuclear bombers carried out air defense zone incursions near Alaska and across Northern Europe this week in the latest nuclear saber rattling by Moscow… The new aggressive military posture appears to be an element of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s policy of seeking to return Russia to its Soviet empire status.”

The Local added on September 19:

“The Swedish Armed Forces confirmed on Friday afternoon that two Russian SU24 fighter-bombers had been detected flying over the country… The Foreign Ministry said the Russian Ambassador had been summoned so that Sweden could make a formal protest… The planes left Swedish airspace after a Swedish Gripen plane was scrambled to warn them off.”

We can expect an escalation between Russia and Europe… with the USA only playing a marginal future role or no role at all in that coming conflict.

No Likely Reductions of Nuclear Weapons in Europe

The Los Angeles Times wrote on September 19:

“Last summer in Berlin, President Obama called for ‘bold reductions’ in U.S. and Russian tactical nuclear weapons to ease the risk of annihilation in Europe… But since last summer, that hopeful outlook has evaporated. Russia’s incursions into Ukraine and nuclear threats made by Russian President Vladimir Putin have killed any chance that the U.S. would withdraw its tactical nuclear weapons any time soon…

“Newer members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, including Poland and the Czech Republic, have openly advocated for continued deployment of U.S. nuclear weapons in Europe…

“The weapons spread over the continent are exposed to potential theft or accidents…The U.S. began sending battlefield nuclear weapons to Europe in the 1950s, when it was feared the Soviet Union’s conventional military superiority would allow it to overrun Western Europe… Over the last 15 years, this U.S. nuclear umbrella has extended over an additional dozen Eastern European nations that gained entry into NATO…

“Pressure has built in Washington for the Obama administration to do more than increase the economic sanctions on Russia that seem to have had little effect…”

And so, we are moving closer and closer to the threat of total annihilation of the human race—which would in fact occur if Christ was not to intervene at the last moment to save us from ourselves (Matthew 24:22).

USA in War With “Enemies of Islam”?

Breitbart reported on September 19:

“On Thursday, in a session with the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Secretary of State John Kerry was asked by Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) whether America was at war in Iraq and Syria. Kerry responded: ‘If you’re more comfortable calling it a war against this enemy of Islam then please do so. We’re happy to call it that.’

“So it’s official: America is at war with the enemy of Islam. However, strange bedfellows arise if the Obama administration so chooses to uphold Kerry’s claim that we are at war with the enemy(s) of Islam.

“The following displays that Secretary of State John Kerry is far from the only person who claims to be at war with Islam’s enemies:

“Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, ‘Caliph’ of the Islamic State: ‘Support the religion of Allah through jihad in the path of Allah… Terrify the enemies of Allah and seek death in the places where you expect to find it…’

“Osama Bin Laden, former leader of Al Qaeda: ‘I am not afraid of the American threats against me… As long as I am alive there will be no rest for the enemies of Islam…’

“Ayman al-Zawahiri, current leader of Al Qaeda: ‘I invite you to gather around the true scholars of Islam, support them and protect them. I invite you to back them and support them and guard them. And I invite you to launch a massive public uprising in defense of Islam against the enemies of Islam.’

“Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Supreme Leader of Iran: ‘The enemies of Islam are afraid… and try to confront Islam in the name of Islam and under the cover of Islam… The American Islam, despite having Islamic appearance and name, complies with despotism and Zionism… and totally serves the goals of despotism and the US.’” 

Not All Senators Agree that America Must Arm Syrian Rebels

Deutsche Welle reported on September 18:

“The US had long supported forces opposing President Bashar al-Assad in Syria’s civil war, but had not provided direct military assistance. Now, however, the measure [to arm Syrian rebels, including some very radical groups] has been portrayed as a part of the package of measures designed to combat the self-proclaimed ‘Islamic State’ (IS) terror group, which has taken control of parts of Syria as well as Iraq…

“Outspoken Senator Rand Paul was among the politicians to vehemently question the military assistance for Syrian opposition fighters. ‘Intervention that destabilizes the Middle East is a mistake. And yet, here we are again, wading into a civil war,’ Paul, the son of perennial Republican presidential hopeful Ron Paul, said. Like his libertarian father in several races before him, Paul is considered a certainty to run in the Republican primaries as a possible presidential candidate. However, he is considered a highly unlikely final Republican choice for the 2016 presidential race.”

Breitbart wrote on September 20:

“Paul told Breitbart News that while he does, in fact, support going after ISIS, he does ‘not think arming the Syrian rebels is the appropriate way to do it.’

“Syrian rebels have explicitly mapped out their priority as a toppling of the Assad Regime. However, beyond that, their interests do not lie with principles of western democracy, particularly as it relates to Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East: 

“‘If the [Syrian] rebels are to win, even the moderate rebels, how many of them do you think will recognize Israel? None. How many of them do you think might turn their arms against Israel? Maybe quite a few. In fact, some of them have said that their goal is to take back the Golan Heights if they can defeat Assad. I think that the one truism of the Middle Eastern morass is that, when we have toppled secular dictators, chaos has ensued and the rise of radical Islam has occurred. Whether this was Hussein being toppled, Mubarak being toppled, Gadaffi  being toppled, or potentially Assad being toppled, what comes in their wake is worse than what we had.’”

This is so VERY true.

Disinterested Congress Far Too Quick to Vote for War?

The Washington Post wrote on September 19:

“Before the U.S. military attacked Saddam Hussein’s forces in 1991, Congress spent months considering its approval of the war. Twelve years later, another attack on Iraq came after three weeks of debate and intensive negotiations.

“But this week, the House and Senate each took only a few hours to sign off on President Obama’s plan to once again deploy the military in the Middle East, approving it as part of a broader budget bill before bounding out of town for a two-month recess and hitting the midterm campaign trail.

“Some on Capitol Hill were stunned by the seeming congressional disinterest on a matter of such importance. Now, lawmakers in both parties are asking an uncomfortable question: Has Congress forfeited its rightful role in the most solemn of all national decisions?…

“The sentiment was expressed Friday in a stern letter from a dozen lawmakers — six Democrats and six Republicans — who wrote to House leaders in both parties…

“Both chambers approved the measure with wide bipartisan majorities, but there were visible signs of discord. Eighty-five House Democrats — more than 40 percent of the caucus — bucked the president, demonstrating the anti-war left has a new rallying point. In the Senate, several rising stars who are considered potential presidential candidates — including Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) — rejected the proposal…

“Some lawmakers fear this week’s action will be akin to the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which was approved in 1964 after President Lyndon B. Johnson said North Vietnamese forces had launched two unprovoked attacks on U.S. ships off Vietnam. The resolution stated that the United States was ready to do all it could militarily in the region but stopped short of openly approving military action. Presidents in both parties went on to cite that resolution — approved unanimously in the House — for an escalating war in Vietnam.

“Critics from both parties note that Obama’s legal and military advisers have cited the 2001 authorization regarding the Sept. 11 attacks to justify his authority to target Islamic State forces in Iraq and Syria. ‘It’s no longer applicable in any way. If you read it, it says “those responsible for the attacks of Sept. 11”, so it’s clearly outmoded and needs to be updated,’ McCain said… There was no update this week, however…”

Americans Support Air Strikes Against ISIS Even Though “They Won’t Do Any Good”

The Huffington Post wrote on September 20:

“Americans remain big supporters of airstrikes against the Islamic State militants, even though few think they’ll do any good… 66 percent of Americans now support the decision to conduct airstrikes against the Islamic State… even though only 32 percent of Americans think taking such action against the Islamic State will improve the situation in Iraq and Syria. Twenty-five percent said military action won’t make any difference, and 17 percent said it will make things worse. Twenty-six percent said they weren’t sure…

“Moreover, few Americans think that just airstrikes — the form of military action currently being taken by the U.S. — will make much difference. Only 30 percent said it’s possible that airstrikes alone can be an effective way to fight the militants, while 40 percent say it’s not possible.

“That doesn’t mean they want to go any further, however… Just 38 percent of Americans said they support sending ground troops, while 44 percent were opposed. President Barack Obama has declared that ground combat troops will not be used, but administration officials, including Vice President Joe Biden, have continued to float the idea.

“Similarly, only 32 percent of Americans said they support arming more moderate Syrian rebels, while 47 percent were opposed.”

It has already been determined by God Almighty that due to America’s abhorrent sins, America will not win this war or any other future war. As we have pronounced for years, America won its last war in 1945—and they did not win that war because of any righteousness of the USA, but simply because of God’s unconditional promise to Abraham to bless his descendants for a while. But God also warned that if they would not obey Him, He would take away His blessings. And so, there has not been any American victory since World War II, nor will there be one in this day and age. 

Forever War and Broken Promises?

The Associated Press reported on September 20:

“President Barack Obama’s military campaign against the Islamic State group already has extended beyond the limits he first outlined. But military experts inside and outside the administration argue that an even greater expansion may be needed for the mission to succeed, including positioning U.S. ground troops with front-line Iraqi security forces. Doing that could put Obama close to violating his pledge to keep Americans out of combat…

“For Obama, re-engaging in combat in Iraq would mean going back on promises about the current mission and undercutting a pillar of his presidency — ending long wars and avoid new ones…”

Subsequently, the Obama administration answered affirmatively the questions in this challenging article. Note the next article.

Now America Is Clearly At War

The New York Times wrote on September 22:

“The United States and [Arab] allies launched airstrikes against Sunni militants in Syria early Tuesday, unleashing a torrent of cruise missiles and precision-guided bombs from the air and sea on the militants’ de facto capital of Raqqa and along the porous Iraq border.

“American fighter jets and armed Predator and Reaper drones, flying alongside warplanes from several Arab allies, struck a broad array of targets in territory controlled by the militants, known as the Islamic State. American defense officials said the targets included weapons supplies, depots, barracks and buildings the militants use for command and control. Tomahawk cruise missiles were fired from United States Navy ships in the region.

“The strikes are a major turning point in President Obama’s war against the Islamic State and open up a risky new stage of the American military campaign. Until now, the administration had bombed Islamic State targets only in Iraq, and had suggested it would be weeks if not months before the start of a bombing campaign against Islamic State targets in Syria.

“Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates took part in the strikes…

“The strikes in Syria occurred without the approval of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, whose government, unlike Iraq, did not ask the United States for help against the Sunni militant group… But administration officials acknowledge that American efforts to roll back the Sunni militant group in Syria cannot help but aid Mr. Assad, whose government is also a target of the Islamic State…”

The Washington Post added on September 23:

“… in ordering the attacks, Obama also thrust the U.S. military directly into Syria’s devastating civil war, something that he had steadfastly tried to avoid since the country began breaking apart in 2011… The Islamic State also represents a mortal threat to Assad and has beaten back his forces on several fronts. The Obama administration has said repeatedly that it would not cooperate with Assad in any way, even though the two sides now share an enemy. As a result, it was unclear how Assad’s armed forces would respond to unauthorized intrusions into Syrian airspace by U.S. warplanes….

“The Syrian government has some of the most formidable air defenses in the Middle East. Obama had publicly warned Syria in advance not to interfere with any U.S. operations against the Islamic State, saying the Pentagon would respond forcefully. In the end, U.S. military planners said they expected Assad would stand down and allow them to attack Islamic State targets freely…

“The Pentagon also has a large number of aircraft stationed at Incirlik Air Base in Turkey, a NATO installation. But with the exception of unarmed U.S. surveillance drones based there, Turkish authorities have said they won’t allow the U.S. military to conduct airstrikes against the Islamic State from their territory…

“Although France has agreed to join in airstrikes in Iraq, and last week conducted a bombing raid there, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Monday that his government did not believe it had the legal basis to join the Syria operations…”

Germany has ruled out joining air strikes or any ground offensive in the fight against Isis jihadists. However, the beheading of French citizen HerveGourdel by an Islamic State (IS) affiliated Algerian group known asJund al-Khilafah has changed popular thinking in France.

BBC News added on September 23:

“US forces also attacked a network of al-Qaeda veterans named Khorasan who had established a safe haven west of Aleppo (Syria) and were [allegedly] plotting imminent attacks against the West.”

Russia, Iran and Lebanon condemned the air strikes as being in violation of international law.

Bombing Syria Bad Decision

The New York Times wrote on September 23:

“President Obama has put America at the center of a widening war by expanding into Syria airstrikes against the Islamic State, the Sunni extremist group known as ISIS and ISIL. He has done this without allowing the public debate that needs to take place before this nation enters another costly and potentially lengthy conflict in the Middle East… In the absence of public understanding or discussion and a coherent plan, the strikes in Syria were a bad decision.

“Mr. Obama has failed to ask for or receive congressional authorization for such military action… Meanwhile, Congress has utterly failed in its constitutional responsibilities. It has left Washington and gone into campaign fund-raising mode, shamelessly ducking a vote on this critical issue…

“With so much at stake and so much unknown, before he gets any further into this operation, Mr. Obama needs to… prove that he has fully accounted for the consequences of this foray into Syria.”

Obama Ignores Iran

JTA wrote on September 24:

“President Obama devoted the bulk of his U.N. speech to the fight against violent Islamic extremism and hardly mentioned Iran’s nuclear program.

“In his address last year to the General Assembly, Obama spent a great deal of time talking about Tehran’s nuclear pursuit, describing it as one of two major focus areas for American diplomatic efforts (the other was the Israeli-Palestinian conflict). On Wednesday, he devoted just four lines to Iran… The thin coverage of Iran drew immediate notice from Jewish groups… Near the speech’s conclusion, Obama also spoke a bit about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict…

“Most of the president’s speech focused on the need for the international community to counter what he described as the ‘cancer of violent extremism.’ At the top of the list was ISIS, the Islamic group in Iraq and Syria also known by the acronym ISIL…

“The first nation Obama focused on was Russia, which he lumped in with ISIS and the Ebola virus as reasons for ‘a pervasive unease in our world – a sense that the very forces that have brought us together have created new dangers.’”

President Obama and Vice-President Biden—How Quickly “Convictions” Change

National Review wrote on September 23:

“Joe Biden mocked Mitt Romney’s foreign policy during the 2012 presidential campaign — but Obama-approved air strikes in Syria, which commenced Monday evening, suggest that the administration is coming around to the position of the former GOP nominee. ‘He [Romney] said it was a mistake to end the war in Iraq and bring all of our warriors home,’ Biden told an audience in York, Penn., on September 2, 2012.

“‘He said it was a mistake to set an end date for our warriors in Afghanistan and bring them home. He implies by the speech that he’s ready to go to war in Syria and Iran.’ Biden also scoffed at Romney for his tough talk about Russia: ‘He wants to move from cooperation to confrontation with Putin’s Russia. And these guys say the president’s out of touch?’”

According to Breitbart, September 22, President Barack Obama dismissed F-22 fighter jets as ‘outdated and unnecessary’ in a speech on July 21, 2009. But according to the Wall Street Journal of September 22, the US used F-22 fighter jets in their airstrikes against ISIS and Khorasan targets in Syria. Der Spiegel Online reported on September 22 that the F-22 fighter jets are the most sophisticated and important fighter jets of the American air force. In addition, there are more challenges for the Obama administration: Eric Holder who was heavily criticized, among other problems, for the “Fast and Furious” debacle, announced that he will step down as Attorney General.

More than 100,000 Syrians Seek Shelter in Turkey

The Washington Post wrote on September 21:

“The number of refugees seeking shelter in Turkey from the Islamic State’s advance across northern Syria has hit 100,000 in less than a week… the figure represents Syrians escaping the area near the Syrian border town of Kobane, where fighting has raged between Islamic State and Kurdish fighters since Thursday.

“The U.N. refugee agency said earlier Sunday that about 70,000 Syrians had crossed into Turkey in the past 24 hours, and that it was preparing for the arrival of hundreds of thousands more. Those are significant numbers, even in the context of the 1.5 million refugees who have fled to Turkey in the past 3 ½  years… The refugees, most of them ethnic Kurds, have been desperate to reach Turkey and escape the advance of religious extremists barreling across Syria.”

Philippine Terrorists Linked to ISIS Threaten to Kill German Hostage

The Local wrote on September 24:

“Islamist militants in the Philippines have reportedly threatened to kill one of their two German hostages over German support for the US-led campaign against jihadists in Iraq and Syria… [The] two German hostages… were captured from a sailing yacht in April… US-based SITE, which monitors extremists’ activities worldwide, released a picture attributed to the Abu Sayyaf group a masked militant with a machete beside a grey-haired white man, reportedly a German doctor. A younger white woman, said to be the doctor’s girlfriend, with close-cropped hair was also shown, while other masked men stood behind them, armed with assault rifles and machine guns…

“Abu Sayyaf, considered a ‘foreign terrorist organisation’ by the United States, is a loose band of several hundred Islamic militants originally organized with Al-Qaeda funding in the 1990s. It operates on remote and largely lawless southern Philippine islands that are mostly populated by the nation’s Muslim minority. Abu Sayyaf has been blamed for the Philippines’ worst terrorist attacks, including kidnappings, abductions and beheadings of foreign and local hostages. It was also blamed for the bombing of a ferry on Manila Bay that killed more than 100 people in 2004…

“In recent months Abu Sayyaf has uploaded videos on the Internet proclaiming its allegiance to the Islamic State group, which has taken control of large parts of Iraq and Syria. The US military has had a rotating force of a few hundred soldiers based in the southern Philippines since 2002 to train local troops in how to combat the group.”

Pope Francis in Albania

The Associated Press wrote on September 21:

“Pope Francis denounced how extremists around the world are ‘perverting’ religion to justify violence as he arrived Sunday in Albania, a Balkan nation where Christians and Muslims endured brutal religious oppression under communism but today live and work together peacefully. Security was unusually tight for Francis’ visit to the majority Muslim country amid reports that militants who trained in Iraq and Syria had returned and might pose a threat…

“It was Francis’ first visit to a majority Muslim nation since the Islamic State crackdown on Christians in Iraq, where members of religious minorities are being killed, persecuted or forced to flee their homes. The Vatican has voiced mounting concern about the exodus of faithful from lands where Christian communities have existed for 2,000 years…

“Albania is seeking European Union membership and his visit comes just a few weeks before he delivers a major speech to the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France. Albania’s president, Nishani, thanked Francis for making the country his first European destination, saying it was a historic event for all Albanians…

“The capital’s main Boulevard Martyrs of the Nation was decorated with Albanian and Vatican flags, as well as giant portraits of 40 Catholic priests who were persecuted or executed under Stalinist dictator Enver Hoxha, who declared Albania the world’s first atheist state in 1967. Hundreds of priests and imams were jailed, scores executed before the regime fell in 1990…

“Francis has a busy schedule in Tirana: In addition to the address to Albanian authorities, he celebrated a Mass before tens of thousands of people in a rain-soaked square named for Albania’s most famous Catholic — Mother Teresa. Later in the day, he was meeting with leaders of different faiths…”

Muslims make up about 59 percent of tiny Albania’s population, with Catholics amounting to 10 percent and Orthodox Christians just under that.

Man-Made Climate Change or Not?

The Los Angeles Times wrote on September 22:

“Naturally occurring changes in winds, not human-caused climate change, are responsible for most of the warming on land and in the sea along the West Coast of North America over the last century, a study has found.

“The analysis challenges assumptions that the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has been a significant driver of the increase in temperatures observed over many decades in the ocean and along the coastline from Alaska to California.

“Changes in ocean circulation as a result of weaker winds were the main cause of about 1 degree Fahrenheit of warming in the northeast Pacific Ocean and nearby coastal land between 1900 and 2012, according to the analysis of ocean and air temperatures over that time.”

India First Single Nation to Reach Mars “At Its First Go”

Deutsche Welle wrote on September 24:

“India has made history by becoming the first nation to reach Mars and enter the planet’s orbit in its maiden mission, a move that catapults the country into the scientific world stage…

“India’s low-cost Mangalyaan spacecraft entered orbit around the Red Planet on Wednesday, September 24, after a 10-month-long journey. The success of the mission represents a milestone in the country’s space program…

“With this achievement, India joins a club of deep space explorers such as the United States, Russia and Europe, all of which have reached Mars. The success is also a reason for national pride as India became the first single nation to reach the Red Planet and enter orbit at its first go. More than half of all missions to the planet have failed, including China’s in 2011 and Japan’s in 2003. Moreover, at a cost of 74 million USD, the mission cost is less than the estimated 100 million USD budget of the Hollywood blockbuster ‘Gravity’ and represents just a fraction of NASA’s MAVEN spacecraft, which began to successfully orbit the planet just a few days ago…”

Violent Chimps

AFP wrote on September 17:

“Chimpanzees can be lethally violent to each other… Chimps kill to wipe out rivals, thus gaining territory, mates, water or food… The evidence comes from an examination of five decades of research into 18 closely-studied chimpanzee communities in African forests. The researchers pored over 152 killings by chimps, most of which were carried out by males acting together.

“The groups would often band together to carry out murderous raids on another community, typically killing rival males and infants who were not genetically related. They sometimes snatched babies from nursing mothers to slaughter them but spared the females.

“The investigators had to determine whether these acts were driven by hunger, human disturbance or deforestation and whether the protected area the chimps inhabited was large or small. Most of the killings occurred in east African communities that were least affected by human interference of any kind.”

Neither evolution (survival of the fittest) nor God are responsible for this kind of conduct, either. There remains only one possibility, as discussed in our recent Q&A series on dinosaurs prior to man.

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Do you teach that modern man is only about 6,000 years old? Do you believe in a 6,000-year plan of God?

The short answer is that modern humans (Adam and Eve) were indeed created about 6,000 years ago, and that God has a 6,000- or 7,000-year plan for man.

In our Q&A on Hebrews 4:9, we stated the following:

“Paul draws an… analogy between the weekly Sabbath and the Millennial rest at the end of man’s rule, comparing the coming Millennial rest with a Millennial ‘Sabbath’ of 1000 years. Several Scriptures indicate a 7000-year plan of God — comprising a ‘week’ of seven 1000-years ‘days.’ God gave man 6000 years (or 6 ‘days’ of 1000-years each) to prove that man, under Satan’s influence, cannot rule himself. These first six ‘days’ of 1000-years each will be followed by the seventh ‘day’ of 1000 years, called the Millennium, during which Christ and His elect will rule this earth (compare Revelation 20:4-6; 2 Peter 3:8; Psalm 90:4)…

“We also have a rest on a weekly basis, when we keep the weekly Sabbath. Paul states that as God rested from His work on the seventh day (Hebrews 4:4), so man is to rest from his work during the weekly Sabbath, and during the Millennial Sabbath at the end of man’s worldly rule — when the first 6000 years of God’s plan for creation have expired. As the weekly seventh day of God’s re-creation ended God’s work, so the weekly Sabbath lets us rest from our work, and the Millennial Sabbath of 1000 years will end the rule of man, under Satan’s influence, to be replaced by God’s rule.”

In another Q&A on God’s master plan, we explained that God did not create man at the time when He created the universe and the earth. We also addressed the fact that God created man about 6,000 years ago. We said the following:

“Is there really any evidence for a 6,000-year plan? Here is an important Scripture for us to consider in this regard: ‘But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day’ (2 Peter 3:8). This verse provides a basis for believing that God is working out certain parts of His plan in the context of 6,000 years…

“Consider this additional fact concerning the length of time that has transpired leading up to the time of Jesus Christ’s birth: ‘So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations, from David until the captivity in Babylon are fourteen generations, and from the captivity in Babylon until the Christ are fourteen generations’ (Matthew 1:17). Before Abraham and before the Flood, the Bible records life spans of certain individuals, and from these, a general idea of the number of years of that period can be derived. However, even with this information, experts vary when it comes to exact numbers…

“For those who accept the Biblical record, it is apparent that we are now living in what can generally be understood as the period of time that is now about 6,000 years since God first created Adam and Eve. The most poignant conclusion for us is that we are now living in the generation that will witness the establishment of God’s Kingdom on the earth.

“Some have pointed to 2 Peter 3:8, claiming that God allotted man exactly 6,000 years to rule this earth, and that after exactly 6,000 years, Christ will return. However, that is not what 2 Peter 3:8 conveys. The Scripture reads: ‘… with the Lord one day is AS a thousand years, and a thousand years AS one day.’

“This Scripture does not provide us with a fixed date. The Greek word for ‘as’ is ‘hos,’ and it can also be translated as ‘about.’ (Compare Young’s Analytical Concordance to the Bible, under ‘about.’) In fact, the Authorized Version translates this word 14 times as ‘about.’ For instance, the word ‘hos’ is correctly translated as ‘about’ in passages such as Mark 8:9; Luke 2:37; 8:42; and John 1:39… From this we can know that 2 Peter 3:8 conveys the principle that in the eyes of God one day is ABOUT 1,000 years—not necessarily exactly so…”

The concept of a biblical 7,000-year plan and the creation of man about 6,000 years ago has been believed by Jews and Christians alike over the millennia. The historian Edward Gibbon wrote in “The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire” that this concept was taught by Rabbi Elias around 200 B.C., who expressed the common belief that it had been taught by the prophet Elijah. The Encyclopedia Judaica explains that this tradition can even be traced back to Moses.

The apocalyptical epistle of Barnabas, which was written around 130 A.D., addresses the 7,000-year plan as well, and Irenaeus, a disciple of Polycarp, who in turn was a disciple of the Apostle John, wrote in “Against Heresies” in 150 A.D. about the 7,000-year plan of God. Bishop Latimer wrote in 1552 A.D. that the world would exist for 6,000 years, and some modern Jewish and Christian authors uphold the biblical teaching of a 7,000-year plan as well (compare Edward Chumney, “The Seven Festivals of the Messiah,” copyright 1998).

Others who taught a 7,000-year plan include Commodianus and Methodius in the third century, and Lactantius (tutor to the son of Roman Emperor Constantine) in the fourth century.

The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge pointed out that the “early fathers most commonly looked for the second advent at the end of 6000 years of the world’s history.” The Encyclopedia Britannica (11th edition) wrote about the Talmud: “The view most frequently expressed there . . . is that the Messianic kingdom will last for one thousand years… ‘Hence the world will last for six thousand years of toil and labor; then will come one thousand years of Sabbath rest for the people of God in the kingdom of the Messiah.’  This idea must have already been very common in the first century before Christ.”

This view is also confirmed in the Jewish New Testament Commentary, by Dr. David H. Stern, on 2 Peter 3.

In “Mystery of the Ages,“ Herbert W. Armstrong wrote the following in 1985, in the chapter, “The Mystery of Man,” pages 120-121:

“When God ‘drove out the man’ from the Garden of Eden, and barred reentrance—lest he go back and receive eternal life in sin (Gen. 3:22-24)—God PRONOUNCED SENTENCE!

“God [in the Person of Jesus Christ] said, in effect: ‘You have made the decision for yourself and the world that shall spring from you. You have rejected me as the basic source of knowledge–you have rejected power from me through my Spirit to live the righteous way—you have rebelled against my command and my government—you have chosen the ‘GETTING,’ ‘TAKING’ way of Satan. Therefore I sentence you and the world you shall beget to 6,000 years of being cut off from access to me and my Spirit—except for the exceedingly FEW I shall specially call. And that FEW shall be called for special service preparatory for the kingdom of God. They shall be required to do what you have failed to do—reject, resist and overcome Satan and his WAYS, and follow the ways of my spiritual LAW.

“‘Go, therefore, Adam, and all your progeny that shall form the world, produce your own fund of knowledge. Decide for yourself what is good and what is evil. Produce your own educational systems and means of disseminating knowledge, as your god Satan shall mislead you. Form [your] own concepts of what is [good], your own religions, your own governments, your own life-styles and forms of society and civilization. In all this Satan will deceive your world with his attitude of SELF-centeredness—with vanity, lust and greed, jealousy and envy, competition and strife and violence and wars, rebellion against me and my law of LOVE.

“‘After the world of your descendants has written the lesson in 6,000 years of human suffering, anguish, frustration, defeat and death—after the world that shall spring from you shall have been brought to confess the utter hopelessness of the way of life you have chosen—I will supernaturally intervene. By supernatural divine power I shall then take over the government of the whole world. With reeducation, I will produce a happy world of PEACE. And on repentance, I shall then offer eternal salvation to all. After a thousand years of that happy world to come, I will resurrect from death to mortal life all who have died uncalled during this present 6,000 years. Their judgment shall then come. And on repentance and faith, eternal life shall be offered them.

“‘During this 6,000 years, when I myself shall cut them off from me, they shall not be eternally judged. Only, as they sow during their lifetimes, they shall reap. But when I open eternal salvation to them, there shall be no Satan to hinder or deceive them—no Satan for them to overcome. Those few called during this first 6,000 years shall have to reject and resist Satan’s pulls and overcome. But those who overcome shall sit with me in my throne, and have power under me to rule all nations under my Supreme Rule.’”

In a letter by the Letter Answering Department of the Worldwide Church of God, which was published in 1987, the following was stated:

“Charts which list biblical events in time order… are accurate enough to show that human life was created about 4000 years before the birth of Christ. History makes it clear that almost another 2000 years have elapsed since then—making a total of nearly 6000 years of human civilization to date. In short, man’s ‘week’ is nearly over, and God’s great millennial rest will soon be here.”

Two possible objections need to be addressed. First, why do scientists tell us that modern man is much older than 6,000 years, and why do Jews believe that we are living in about 5775—apparently with at least another 225 years to continue before the expiration of 6,000 years of human existence?

Our German booklet, “EVOLUTION – ein MÄRCHEN für Erwachsene?”, discussed the estimated age of modern man (“homo sapiens”), which, according to “scientific” calculations, allegedly far exceeds 6,000 years. We disputed this and pointed out why the scientific methods of determining the age of some fossils is very faulty. We explained that especially the commonly-used Radio-Carbon method is unreliable, as some scientists admit.

For instance, a convincing rebuttal of the accuracy of the Radio-Carbon method to determine the age of “human” fossils can be found in the book, “In Search of Noah’s Ark” by Dave Balsiger and Charles E. Sellier (copyright 1976, 1979). Other scientists who went on record to question the accuracy of the scientifically determined age of “human” fossils include David Hatcher Childress (in a television interview with Charlton Heston) and Robert Gentry (compare Dennis Crews, “Mystery of the Rocks,” copyright 1990).

When discussing the age of man, we must understand that modern man (Adam and Eve) was created with a human spirit (the spirit in man or of man) which distinguishes man from animals. We do not question the possibility that fossils might have been found which would have pre-dated Adam and Eve, which might have had similar “appearances” as modern man. However, they would not have been human beings, but ape-like creatures. (Of course, the possible existence of such pre-Adamic ape-like creatures proves in no way the accuracy of the evolution theory. Modern man did not evolve from these creatures.)

Let us now address the second question: Why do the Jews count the years differently than we do? For instance, the year 2014 is Elul 5774-5775 according to the Jewish reckoning. The Jewish calendar puts creation at 3760 B.C.E., but this date is quite impossible. It has been suggested that the Jewish calendar actually begins with the time or birth of Enosh — grandson of Adam and Eve — who was born 235 years after the creation of Adam (Genesis 5:3-6).  However, no plausible explanation has been given for that conclusion.

A letter from the Letter Answering Department of the Worldwide Church of God explained this puzzle in this way (compare also The Good News, November-December 1987 edition):

“… the Jews count their years from 3761/3760 B.C.E. (Before Common Era). That is the year of the commencement of the lunisolar calendar. In the century following the fall of Jerusalem (A.D. 70) certain Jewish scholars took the date 3761/3760 B.C.E. and assigned to it the time described in Genesis 1 and 2. Thus, the Jews preserved the correct date for calendar calculation but mistakenly associated it with the creation week.

“Actually, Creation occurred over two centuries prior to the beginning of the lunisolar calendar. The basic fact on which the lunisolar calendar is based, the average length of the lunar month, would have taken more than two centuries of measurement and observation to determine.

“The Jews celebrate their new year in the autumn. The Bible refers to two different years, the civil and the sacred. In ancient Israel, the civil year began in the autumn, on the first day of the seventh month. It is comparable to the fiscal year in the United States. It was more or less the legal year, which was used to reckon the reign of kings and other chronological events. The true sacred year of the Bible begins with the month of Nisan (also called Abib), in the spring (Ex. 12:2). The sacred year portrays God’s great plan.”

From all the biblical and historical evidence, facts and records available to us, we have to conclude that the Jewish reckoning for the time of man’s creation is wrong, and that the 6,000 years of human rule, which were allotted to man, are almost over. This means that the return of Jesus Christ is near to restore the Kingdom and Government of God here on earth. However, we are not to set dates, even though we are to watch to determine the signs of the time (Matthew 24:32-35). But Christ warned us very specifically:

“Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming… Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect” (Matthew 24:42, 44).

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

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Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

“America at War,” is the title of a new StandingWatch program presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:

It was predictable. First air strikes in Iraq; then arming Syrian rebels; now air strikes in Syria. We have entered another war, which will be disastrous for America. Those who warn against this development, such as Senator Rand Paul, are ridiculed or ignored. Promises by the Obama Administration are being broken, “convictions” are changing, an indifferent and vacationing Congress does not seem to care; and most Americans support the actions of the government, even though they feel they won’t do any good. The Bible warns us that the end of our nation is in sight, and there are reasons for this. We offer our free booklet, “The Fall and Rise of Britain and America.”

Elder Eric Rank’s sermon from last Sabbath, “The Danger of Rejecting God,” has been posted on the Web.

“Der Helm des Heils,” is the title for the Sabbath sermon in German. Title in English: “The Helmet of Salvation.”

The German sermon for the Feast of Trumpets 2014 has been posted on the Web. 

Pastor Rene Messier (Canada) has prepared two new StandingWatch Talking Points presentations with one based on our booklet, “Mans Holy Days and God’s Holy Days” and another program titled, “Marriages.”

The remaining 2014 Fall Holy Days will be observed on the following dates: Day of Atonement–October 4; Feast of Tabernacles–October 9-15; Last Great Day–October 16. The speaking schedule for the rest of September and most of October has been posted, including the speaking assignments for the Day of Atonement, the Feast of Tabernacles and the Last Great Day. Just click here.

Observance of the Feast of Tabernacles and Last Great Day will be conducted in Pismo Beach, California, for those in the US. For Europe, the location will be in Templin, Germany. Just click here.

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The Contract

by Connie Grade

Over the past few weeks my work has required my signatures on various contracts and agreements for advertising, contractors for repair work on the property, insurance for the business, etc.  Each contract has various stipulations and requirements that each party has agreed to regarding payment, type of repairs being done or art work.

Often times there is the “small print” that needs to be carefully reviewed to ensure these agreements and contracts are feasible to the job at hand and meet the desired end result.

Once these papers are signed, I am basically giving my word that the company will fulfill its obligations in return for the work being done, and usually there is a deadline by which these obligations must be met by both parties.

As I was reflecting upon these various agreements and contracts, it occurred to me that this is exactly what I had done spiritually when I was baptized!  When God called me, I had the responsibility to research and study to prove that this truly was the path in which I would continually “walk” throughout all eternity.  Once I made this commitment to devote the rest of my life to God, I entered into or “signed” a spiritual contract with my Creator God at my baptism.

On reflection, I ask myself, “Am I still abiding by the contract I signed with my Creator?”  I agreed at baptism He would be first in my life above all else.  This means, He is to be before any other relationship, regardless if it is my husband, my children, other family members, friends, my place of employment or any special interests and passions I may have.  I agreed to put Him first above all else.  Am I fulfilling my commitment I made to Him or have I allowed other things to creep in to distract me or perhaps wavered and become slack?  I have no doubt God will fulfill His part of the agreement He made with me.  I also know with His help I can fulfill my part of the agreement, regardless of how difficult life might get at times – it can be done and will be done if I allow Him to help me along the way.  

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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