|Live Services||Books of the Bible|
|Editorial||The Trial of Your Faith|
|Q&A||Q: Would you please explain who the "watchers" are that are mentioned in Daniel 4?|
Books of the Bible
Norbert Link will continue this Sabbath his series on the “Books of the Bible.”
The new Schedule for our NetServices has been posted on the Web.
The services can be heard at www.cognetservices.org at the appropriate time, just click on “Connect to Live Stream.”
The Trial of Your Faith
by Edwin Pope
Do you ever get the feeling that you’ve had just about all you can take – that you have come to your wits’ end? Perhaps certain problems have continued to go from bad to worse as time goes on. You wonder why God doesn’t hear your prayers and intervene to correct the situation you find yourself in, and give you relief. How much is too much?
Paul makes an interesting remark in Romans 8:18, where he says, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Do we ever think of our problems in the light of this statement relative to our future opportunities, realizing it is God Who has called each of us according to His holy purpose?
Just as God worked with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – with Joseph, Moses, Lot and David – we understand that He will direct our lives if we continue to be faithful to our calling. Paul continues to instruct us in Hebrews 13:5, “Let your conduct be without covetousness, and be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.'”
To be content with what we have can become quite difficult, if we are not letting God’s Spirit direct our minds and our thoughts. Yet, in I Timothy 6:6, Paul notes that “…godliness with contentment is great gain.” He tells us to withdraw ourselves from “…disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain” (verses 4-5).
Paul continues in Philippians 4:11, that he had “…learned in whatever state …” he found himself in, “…to be content.” Have we been able to come to that state of mind, brethren?
Peter tells us in I Peter 4:12-13 – “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.”
And in I Peter 1:6-9 – “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith – the salvation of your souls.”
This Week in the News
EUROPEAN UNION MILITARY
Those following the emerging influence and significant world status of the European Union can mark one more milestone on the road to its full blown unified power. A recent contract awarded to Lockheed Martin gives us a glimpse of one of the building blocks. “Lockheed Martin’s F-16 came out the winner Friday in a dogfight among U.S. and European manufacturers battling to sell Poland fighter jets in a deal worth $3.5 billion.” (www.sfgate.com — 12/28/2002).
This sale of 48 F-16 fighter jets is part of a multination agreement for new members of Nato to modernize their air forces and thus to be able to defend their own airspace. Not only is Poland responding to its Nato obligations, but its coming entry into the E.U. will require it to spend around 2% of its yearly budget on developing its military. This is true for all current members and future aspirants of the European Union.
Another reference will show the intricate way this military puzzle is fitting together. This from www.analisidifesa.it –12/28/02: “Poland has officially offered a brigade completely independent and equipped with supports, plus ships and airplanes as a contribution to the Quick Reaction Corps that EU [is] try[ing] to make operative within 2003.” Note how this fits neatly into the overall master plan for Europe–“…the units for the cooperation with the Union are the same ones assigned to the NATO.”
In effect, the E.U. is able to buy American military technology to equip itself–thus bypassing the time-consuming and costly research and development otherwise necessary. In a very few years modern Europe will be a very powerful and a very self-sustaining, independent world military power–perhaps fully rivaling, if not in some ways surpassing, the United States. How quickly this might happen will be strongly driven by world events that could necessitate that Europe move rapidly to protect itself or its interests. That mindset is already well entrenched among many European leaders, and, as we are now witnessing in the looming U.S. conflict with Iraq, world opinion is not very favorable. This is especially true in Germany and other key nations on continental Europe.
EUROPE AND GREAT BRITAIN
As many of you know, God’s Church has proclaimed for decades, based on Biblical prophecy, that Great Britain will eventually not be part of a powerful European power bloc. It is interesting, perhaps, that on January 2, 2003, Britain’s Financial Times published an interview with Denis MacShane, Britain’s Europe minister,”accusing Germany of wanting to appoint an all-powerful ‘kaiser’ at the top of the European Commission.” He also “warned [Germany’s]Gerhard Schroeder that the English decapitated such a figure [Britain’s king Charles I] 350 years ago [on January 30, 1649].” In particular, MacShane “attacked the German proposals for a stronger head of the [European] Commission, arguing that they would sideline national governments and their leadership.” German magazines and newspapers, such as Der Spiegel and Bild, commented on the interview that it was aimed at Joschka Fischer, who reportedly wants to become “the first really powerful President of the European Commission.” (Der Spiegel). “The British are obviously afraid that their influence within Europe decreases — and that a French-German alliance will direct in the future the cause within the EU, ” according to Bild, as “France’s leader, Jacques Chirac, supports the German engagement to strengthen the European top.”
GERMANS CAN DO IT
In light of growing German pessimism for the future (2/3 of the Germans are viewing the future in a pessimistic way), Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder used his New Years’ address to emphasize self-confidence. As Der Spiegel reported, Schroeder made the following statements, “We in Germany have everything necessary for success. But, we need to want it. Nobody must hinder it… Germany is responsible, because of its history, to emphasize the alternatives to war. We Germans know from our own experience that dictatorships can sometimes only be stopped with violence. We also know, however, what bombs, destruction and loss of homeland mean for the people.That is why it remains the goal of my policy to carry out the U.N. resolution without war. And, I am thankful for the support from the midst of our society, for instance the churches and the unions.” [In an article of December 28, Der Spiegel quoted Joschka Fischer saying that the “United States did not plan an attack against the Iraq without the involvement of the United Nations” because of, among other things, “the German resistance against a war with Iraq.”] Mr. Schroeder also stated, “There is another reason why the world looks at Germany. We were successful, a few weeks ago, together with our other partners, to permanently overcome the division of Europe. When we accepted ten new members…, we have finished once and for all the chapter of war and conflict on our European continent…” At the end of his address, he pointed out, “Nobody knows today how world economy will develop within the next year. But we Germans know how to solve problems and overcome difficulties. We can rely on our strength and knowledge.”
THE EURO CLIMBS WHILE THE U.S. DOLLAR FALLS…
Despite skepticism from some Europeans regarding the Euro (especially in Germany and Italy), the fact remains that the Euro climbs, while the U.S. dollar falls. On December 31, 2002, the value of the Euro reached 1.05 U.S. dollars — an all-time high. Reasons for this powerful climb of the Euro — and the fall of the U.S. dollar — were seen in the strong possibility of an American war against Iraq and the development in North-Korea.
NEW CROPS, NEW FEARS
That is the headline of a brief news clip in “Parade Magazine”, of December 1, 2002 (on page 20). The article points out that “genetically modified plants are a hot topic of biology… But researchers at Ohio State found that genetically modified sunflowers have the potential to spread their genes to related plant species growing nearby. This has raised fears that all genetically altered plants could crossbreed with related plants and wipe out bugs we do want, such as butterflies, along with the pests. Or they could create superweeds we can’t destroy… scientists are sure of one thing: Once man-made genes start spreading through the natural plant population, they can’t be contained or reversed.”
In light of these statements, we should take careful note of God’s prohibitions against cross-breeding (compare our booklet, “And Lawlessness Will Abound…”, pages 54-55), and His warnings that He will destroy those who are destroying the earth — with its lifeforms (compare Revelation 11:18).
Q: Would you please explain who the "watchers" are that are mentioned in Daniel 4?
A: In Daniel 4, king Nebuchadnezzar tells Daniel about a dream. The king had seen “a watcher, a holy one, coming down from heaven.” (verse 13). This “watcher” had proclaimed “a decision” that had been made “by the decree of the watchers, And the sentence by the word of the holy ones, In order that the living may know That the Most High rules in the kingdom of men.'” (verse 17). Daniel interprets the dream to the king, explaining to him that because of his pride, he will have to live for seven years with the animals. He states in verse 23, “… the king saw a watcher, a holy one, coming down from heaven… this is the decree of the Most High, which has come upon my lord the king…”
These watchers are holy angels of God. One of them spoke to the king in his dream, as Daniel recognized and confirmed. We are told about another episode in 1 Kings 22:19-23, where God is talking to His angels as to how to bring about a certain outcome: “Then Micaiah said, ‘Therefore hear the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on His throne, and all the host of heaven standing by, on His right hand and on His left. And the LORD said, “Who will persuade Ahab to go up, that he may fall at Ramoth Gilead?” So one spoke in this manner, and another spoke in that manner. Then a spirit [perhaps a demon] came forward and stood before the LORD, and said, “I will persuade him.” The LORD said to him, “In what way?” So he said, “I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.” And the LORD said, “You shall persuade him, and also prevail. Go out and do so.'” Therefore look! The LORD has put [allowed] a lying spirit in the mouth of all these prophets of yours, and the LORD has declared disaster against you.'”
God’s angels watch on the good and the bad, and they report their findings to God. In Revelation 5:6, we read about the Lamb Jesus Christ, “having… seven eyes, which are the seven [s]pirits of God sent out into all the earth.” These “seven spirits” are seven angelic beings. They are also mentioned in Zechariah 3:9; 4:10: “Upon the stone are seven eyes… They are the eyes of the LORD, Which scan to and fro throughout the whole earth.”
Some of these seven angelic beings are described in Zechariah 6:1-7: “Then I turned and raised my eyes and looked, and behold, four chariots were coming from between two mountains, and the mountains were mountains of bronze. With the first chariot were red horses, with the second chariot black horses, with the third chariot white horses, and with the fourth chariot dappled horses–strong steeds. Then I answered and said to the angel who talked with me, ‘What are these, my lord?’ And the angel answered and said to me, ‘These are four spirits of heaven, who go out from their station before the LORD of all the earth. The one with the black horses is going to the north country, the white are going after them, and the dappled are going toward the south country.’ Then the strong steeds went out, eager to go, that they might walk to and fro throughout the earth. And He said, “Go, walk to and fro throughout the earth.’ So they walked to and fro throughout the earth.”
An additional account can be found in Zechariah 1:8-11: “I saw by night, and behold, a man riding on a red horse, and it stood among the myrtle trees in the hollow; and behind him were horses: red, sorrel, and white. Then I said, ‘My lord, what are these?’ So the angel who talked with me said to me, ‘I will show you what they are.’ And the man who stood among the myrtle trees answered and said, ‘These are the ones whom the LORD has sent to walk to and fro throughout the earth.’ So they answered the [a]ngel of the LORD, who stood among the myrtle trees, and said, ‘We have walked to and fro throughout the earth, and behold, all the earth is resting quiet.”‘
Some of God’s angels are referred to as “eyes of the LORD” or as “watchers” — keeping watch on man. Proverbs 15:3 reads, “The eyes of the LORD are in every place, keeping WATCH on the evil and the good.”
Notice, too, an interesting comment by Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, in 1 Corinthians 4:9, “For I think that God has displayed us, the apostles, last, as men condemned to death; for we have been made a spectacle [Lit., a theater] to the world, both to angels and to men.” The Amplified Bible renders this passage in this way, “God has made an exhibit of us… a show in the world’s amphitheater — with both men and angels as spectators.”
God’s angels are watching and observing us. They are giving reports and expressing their feelings to God — participating thereby in God’s decisions and decrees. Angels rejoice when a sinner repents (Luke 15:10). Angels have been assigned to Christians, to watch over them and to protect them. Christ warns us in Matthew 18:10, “Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven THEIR angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven.” The early Christians believed that it was possible that “Peter’s angel” could appear to them (Acts 12:15).
Many commentaries agree that the term “watchers” in Daniel 4 refers to God’s holy angels. Jamieson, Fausset and Brown make these insightful comments to Daniel 4:13, “watcher and an holy one — rather, ‘even an holy one.’ Only one angel is intended, and he is not one of the bad, but of the holy angels. Called a ‘watcher,’ because ever on the watch to execute God’s will.”
The Bible includes, of course, many encounters with angels. Sometimes, angels may appear to humans who don’t even recognize them as angels (compare Hebrews 13:2). For a thorough study on the world of angels, you may want to listen to our four-part sermon series on the topic, titled, “Angels–an Unknown World.” The sermons can be found in the Audio section of our Webpage.
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
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