April 19, 2019
Be Careful With Your Words!; Are You a Temple of God?; / Leavened or Unleavened?
On April 20, 2019, The Feast of Unleavened Bread begins. Services will be broadcast live on Saturday, April 20, 2019. Morning services will begin at 10:00 am Pacific Time, and afternoon services will begin at 3:00 pm Pacific Time. Morning: Sermonette, “Be Careful With Your Words!” and sermon, “Are You a Temple of God?” will be presented by Kalon Mitchell; Afternoon: Offertory will be presented by Robb Harris and the sermon will be presented by Dave Harris, titled, “Leavened or Unleavened?”
The live services are available, over video and audio, at http://eternalgod.org/live-services/
No Other Name
by Dave Harris
As this Update (#872) is being published and sent out, many of those faithful to the Word of God will have already observed the Passover, the first of God’s annual Feasts. This will be followed by the Feast of Unleavened bread, which contains the first two of God’s commanded annual Holy Days.
These, and those Holy Days and Feasts which follow throughout the year, portray the plan of mankind’s salvation. The ultimate focus is on the role God gave to Jesus Christ in making this plan possible. This is why God the Father sent His Son into the world, and Jesus confirmed this:
“‘I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was'” (John 17:4-5; also, verses 24-25).
The “work” which Jesus “finished” represented two major accomplishments. First He qualified as the Messiah. The Apostle John wrote of the mission given to Jesus: “And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world” (1 John 4:14). Jesus said of Himself: “‘…I did not come to [condemn] the world but to save the world'” (John 12:47). Jesus also established the Church of God (Matthew 16:18)–into which those destined for salvation would be called.
Concerning the “glory” which Jesus previously had with the Father, consider the remarkable opening verses in the Book of John:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made… And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:1-3, 14).
Likewise, Paul wrote:
“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence (Colossians 1:15-18).
Following the Feast of Pentecost, Peter and John were arrested for preaching in the name of Jesus Christ and questioned for healing a lame man. Peter boldly stated that it was “‘…by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth'” that the man was made whole (Acts 4:10). Then Peter made this powerful declaration:
“‘Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved'” (Acts 4:12).
The Feasts of the LORD are holy convocations (Leviticus 23:2). God has commanded that they be observed in order for us to understand His great plan for mankind’s salvation and the vital role Jesus Christ has in giving us eternal life in the Kingdom of God.
We begin with articles on out-of-control science; reports on the fading international influence of the United States and the United Kingdom and conclude with a report on Finland’s far-right reaction to immigrants.
This Week in the News
Chinese Experiment –an Abominable Nightmare!
vox wrote on April 12:
“Scientists in China have created a new kind of monkey. It’s got a human brain gene. And that just might make its intelligence a little bit more like ours.
“That, in turn, makes its fate — and its very existence — very ethically fraught.
“In a study published last month in Beijing’s National Science Review journal, researchers took human copies of the MCPH1 gene, which is believed to play an important role in our brain development, and introduced it into monkey embryos by means of a virus that carried the gene.
“Of the 11 transgenic macaque monkeys they generated, six died. The five survivors went through a series of tests, including MRI brain scans and memory tests. It turned out they didn’t have bigger brains than a control group of macaques, but they did perform better on short-term memory tasks. Their brains also developed over a longer period of time, which is typical of human brains.
“Although the sample size was very small, the scientists excitedly described the study as ‘the first attempt to experimentally interrogate the genetic basis of human brain origin using a transgenic monkey model.’ In other words, part of the point of the study was to help tackle a question about evolution: How did we humans develop our unique brand of intelligence, which has allowed us to innovate in ways other primates can’t?…
“It’s hard to imagine a study like Su’s ever getting the green light in the US, where primate research has come under increasing scrutiny, thanks in part to the work of animal rights advocates. But China is much more open to this kind of research. The country has vast breeding facilities for monkeys, tens of thousands of which it exports each year.”
This research only reflects a little bit of what actually is taking place in the name of science.
Do Pigs Die?
Reuters.com wrote on April 17:
“Yale University scientists have succeeded in restoring basic cellular activity in pigs’ brains hours after their deaths in a finding that may one day lead to advances in treating human stroke and brain injuries, researchers reported on Wednesday.
“The scientists emphasized that their work did not even come close to reawakening consciousness in the disembodied pig brains. In fact the experiment was specifically designed to avoid such an outcome, however improbable.
“Still, the study raises a host of bioethical issues, including questions about the very definition of brain death and potential consequences for protocols related to organ donation.
“The research grew out of efforts to enhance the study of brain development, disorders and evolution. The main practical application is the prospect of allowing scientists to analyze whole brain specimens of large mammals in three dimensions, rather than through studies confined to small tissue samples, Yale said…
“The limited rejuvenation of circulatory function and cellular metabolism in pig brains, which were harvested from animals slaughtered at a meat-packing plant, was achieved four hours after death by infusing the brains with a special chemical solution designed to preserve the tissue.
“‘The intact brain of a large mammal retains a previously underappreciated capacity for restoration of circulation and certain molecular and cellular activities multiple hours after circulatory arrest,’ lead researcher Nenad Sestan said in a Yale press release issued ahead of the study…
“In the meantime, the research could spark new quandaries surrounding the determination of death itself, widely defined by one measure as the irreversible loss of all brain function. The blurring of that line has implications in turn for deciding when doctors are ethically bound to go from preserving a patient’s life to preserving their organs.”
Israeli Researcher Prints a 3D Heart
Bloomberg reported on April 15:
“Israeli researchers have printed a 3D heart using a patient’s own cells, something they say could be used to patch diseased hearts — and possibly, for full transplants.
“The heart the Tel Aviv University team printed in about three hours is too small for humans — about 2.5 centimeters, or the size of a rabbit’s heart. But it’s the first to be printed with all blood vessels, ventricles and chambers, using an ink made from the patient’s own biological materials.
“‘It’s completely biocompatible and matches the patient,’ reducing the chances of rejection inside the body, said Tal Dvir, the professor who directed the project.
“Researchers took fatty tissue from a patient, then separated it into cellular and non-cellular components. The cells were then “reprogrammed” to become stem cells, which turned into heart cells. The non-cellular materials were turned into a gel that served as the bio-ink for printing, Dvir explained…
“‘Patients will no longer have to wait for transplants or take medications to prevent their rejection,’ the press release said. ‘Instead, the needed organs will be printed, fully personalized for every patient.’”
Note what God said of mankind’s capacity at the tower of Babel: “And the LORD said, ‘Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them’” (Genesis 11:6).
Don’t Bully Us!
Politico reported on April 10:
“Manfred Weber, the European People’s Party’s lead candidate to be Commission president, warned Washington not to ‘play with’ the EU when it comes to trade.
“‘It must be clear that when we sit together, we are working together as partners on an equal, level playing field,’ Weber said at an event hosted by the Bruegel think tank in Brussels.
“‘We cannot be forced to do something. That must be clear. So if there is one action, one concrete [trade] activity against us — steel, Airbus or car industry — then Europe has to answer, no doubt about this. And that must be a decisive and a strong answer. So, don’t play with us.’
“His comments come a day after the U.S. released a list of $11 billion worth of European goods — including wine, cheese and helicopters — that could be hit with punitive tariffs in a long-running dispute over subsidies for airplane manufacturer Airbus.”
Mussolini’s Great Gandson—Now a Possible Far-right Candidate
The Washington Post reported on April 18:
“During the political convention last weekend of the Italian far right party Fratelli D’Italia (FDI), leader Giorgia Meloni described its platform as ‘revolutionary.’ She vowed to ‘change everything in Europe’ and to move ‘Europe’s capital’ to Rome. While FDI’s campaign for the upcoming European Parliament elections abounds in predictions for the future, the party also seems to have an eye fixed on the country’s past — more specifically, its fascist past under Benito Mussolini.
Earlier this month, Meloni announced in a Facebook video that Mussolini’s great grandson, Caio Giulio Cesare Mussolini, will run with the party in the May 26 elections. The video was shot in front of Rome’s Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana, a well-known 1940s example of fascist architecture.
There’s little doubt that Mussolini was nominated because of — not despite — his relationship to Il Duce, who ruled from 1922 to 1943. Both Meloni and Mussolini avoided explicit references to fascist ideology, but Mussolini repeatedly hinted he views his great grandfather as an inspiration.
Russia Challenges U.S. Leadership in the World
Newsweek wrote on April 13:
“Russia’s top diplomat has argued that the world is losing faith in the United States as a global leader and that the international community has sought a more diverse approach to global decision making.
“At an annual address to Moscow’s diplomatic academy, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov hailed on Friday a new geopolitical era marked by ‘multipolarity,’ stating that ‘the emergence of new centers of power to maintain stability in the world requires the search for a balance of interests and compromises.’ He said there is a shift in the center of global economic power to East from West, where a “liberal order” marked by globalization was ‘losing its attractiveness and is no more viewed as a perfect model for all.’…
“Washington and Moscow, rival superpowers during the decades-long Cold War, have somewhat resumed their bout for global influence in the 21st century. Russian President Vladimir Putin has set to restore and revamp his country’s military and political posture, which were deeply damaged in the collapse of the Soviet Union, leaving the U.S. entirely unmatched.
“Despite President Donald Trump’s promises of detente, the U.S. has doubled down on sanctions and other measures designed to push back against the Kremlin since the Republican leader entered the White House. Trump and Putin, once seen as potential political allies, have continued to feud over conflicts in Ukraine and Syria and, at times, have both found themselves largely isolated internationally.
“The Trump administration has repeatedly threatened sanctions against several nations, including allies, for not adhering to its policies targeting stated foes such as Iran, North Korea, Syria and Venezuela.”
Indeed, the United States is having less and less the final say on global issues as other nations step in.
U.K.’s Tarnished Global Image
U.S.News wrote on April 17:
“When it comes to Brexit, the United Kingdom’s now delayed divorce from the European Union, the British public is still deeply divided on whether it’s a good idea. But there’s one thing that a sizable majority of voters agree on: the Conservative government of Prime Minister Theresa May bungled the negotiations with the EU.
“A mere 7 percent of Britons say the talks have gone well, according to recently published data from the National Centre for Social Research. Meanwhile, 80 percent of Leave voters and 85 percent of Remainers say it’s been a mess.
“And much of the rest of the world agrees.
“The shambolic Brexit haggling and Parliament’s subsequent inability to coalesce around any final agreement have badly dented the United Kingdom’s once sterling international standing as a leading parliamentary democracy and a diplomatic powerhouse, experts in international relations say.
“’It’s caused significant damage to the U.K.’s reputation,’ says Jamie Gaskarth, a senior lecturer in politics and foreign relations at the University of Birmingham.
“Britain’s impotence in the negotiations was on display last Wednesday when May met with the 27 other EU leaders in Brussels to plead for a short delay of Brexit. She wanted more time to win parliamentary approval for either the withdrawal agreement she and the EU spent two years hammering out, or a modified version of it. Britain was initially scheduled to exit the bloc on March 29. But days before that deadline, the EU granted it an extension to April 12. May wanted to stretch that out until June 30. Instead, the EU leaders extended the deadline by six months, to Oct. 31.
Brexit will continue to unravel the U.K.—both at home and internationally!
Immigration Issues Rise in Finland
Afp.com reported on April 13:
“In the remote, northern Finnish town of Oulu where he has lived for seven years, Syrian-born Jabo Waleed recently started feeling that some people’s behaviour towards him was becoming less welcoming…
“Waleed’s experiences have been echoed by many other immigrants across Finland, since police in Oulu announced in December the arrest of nine suspects — all of whom had arrived in the EU country as refugees or asylum seekers — for suspected sexual offences against minors. A handful of similar arrests followed in subsequent months.
“The heavily publicised incidents spread outrage through Finland, and helped the far-right, populist Finns Party capitalise on anti-immigration sentiment ahead of Sunday’s legislative elections.
“The Finns Party’s election manifesto, released after the arrests, goes into detail about a perceived security risk posed by immigrants, particularly in the areas of sexual assault and terrorism.
“After three years as the fifth largest party in public opinion polls, pre-election forecasts put Finns Party support at around 16 percent, which could make it the second largest party after Sunday.”
Hard-line anti-immigration positions are fueling far-right political parties across Europe, and that will lead to a dramatic change in national leadership.
How can we count it all joy when we go through various trials?
In the book of James, chapter 1 and verses 2-3, we read: “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.”
In Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Whole Bible we read that to count it all joy is to “regard it as a thing to rejoice in; a matter which should afford you happiness. You are not to consider it as a punishment, a curse, or a calamity, but as a fit subject of felicitation (an expression of such joy or acknowledgment).”
Coffman’s Commentaries on the Bible observes: “Count it all joy … Did not Christ say, ‘Blessed are ye when men shall persecute you … rejoice and be exceeding glad’? (Matthew 5:11,12). This is exactly the thought of James here.”
Calvin’s Commentary on the Bible gives this explanation: “All joy. The first exhortation is, to bear trials with a cheerful mind. And it was especially necessary at that time to comfort the Jews, almost overwhelmed as they were with troubles. For the very name of the nation was so infamous, that they were hated and despised by all people wherever they went; and their condition as Christians rendered them still more miserable, because they held their own nation as their most inveterate enemies. At the same time, this consolation was not so suited to one time, but that it is always useful to believers, whose life is a constant warfare on earth.”
It is, perhaps, one of the most difficult instructions in the Bible for most Christians to deal with. The Bible is replete with examples of hardships and difficulties that God-fearing individuals have encountered and overcome, as well as difficulties encountered by the true Church of God which is made up by spirit-begotten members.
In 2 Corinthians 12:7 the apostle Paul wrote: “And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure.” Whilst he was not healed in this life, he will be when he is resurrected at Christ’s return. James, the half-brother of Christ, showed how we should react in a crisis or crises and we will all have known the joy when such a crisis or crises have passed.
We have to accept that we will have suffering in this life, in one way or another, as all other people do. However, as someone called by God, we may well have more trials because God wants to see how we react when confronted by such difficulties. Will we just give in or will we show the necessary resilience, the ability to recover quickly from illness, change, or other difficulties? To make it into the Kingdom of God, we have to show character and nothing less will do.
Further, it would be unrealistic to expect to live a full life and never have any test, trial or difficulty. If we never had problems, it wouldn’t be real life. Think of the joy when we are healed of a disease; when we overcome what may have seemed at one time an insurmountable obstacle, and when see our family, friends and church members also succeed where it may not have been realistic to expect such an outcome. If there is not a trial in the first place, there is no possibility of joy that such a positive outcome would bring.
We can have trials in many different ways: spiritually, mentally, physically, emotionally, psychologically and financially, and it is how we deal with these that really counts.
There are a number of Scriptures that follow through on this principle (our emphasis by underlining).
“And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.”
James 1:12; the subheading is “Loving God Under Trials”:
“Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”
“My brethren, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example of suffering and patience. Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord—that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.”
1 Peter 1:6:
“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials…”
2 Corinthians 12:10:
“Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Colossians 1:24; the subheading is: “Sacrificial Service for Christ”:
“I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church…”
1 Peter 4:12-19; the subheading is: “Suffering for God’s glory”:
“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 that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter. For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? Now ‘If the righteous one is scarcely saved, Where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?’ Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.”
Let us go back to James 1:2-3 and look at what one online writer wrote:
“In order to understand what James is doing, let’s put three definitions underneath all of this. ‘Joy’ is not glib, naive happiness. The Bible refers to joy as contentment in Christ above all else. ‘Steadfastness’ carries similar connotations. It means to be confidently rooted in Christ; in other words, it means that all of our confidence comes from belonging to him, not depending on our own effort or resources. ‘Faith’ is believing that the promises of God that we cannot yet see or feel as reality will someday come true, because He said so.
“Now, we can rephrase what James is telling us, and ask how it is possible to live out these words. He is saying, ‘Seek to be happy in Christ above anything else, and you will find that, even in trials, He will prove Himself and make His promises real to you again.’ By implication, then, it will be worth it. All of it will be worth it.”
And so, coming back to the question “How Can We Count it All Joy When We Go Through Various Trials?”, we can state the answer in this way: Put simply, because we cannot hurdle these obstacles successfully through our own power, they drive us to seek help from God. There is the joy of trusting God even when things are not going in the direction that we would want and it can also demonstrate that our future life in God’s Family means more to us than our current plight.
Yes, it can be difficult, very difficult at times, but when we see the “big picture” and realise that our current existence is but a training ground for eternity, then we can move on towards our goal with joy and excitement even when we are suffering many trials in this life. Many of us in the Church of God may still struggle with this instruction but although it can be difficult in our current frame, it can be done. In fact, it must be done so that God can see that we trust Him in everything.
Let us consider this matter very seriously and do, as this admonition in James exhorts us to do.
Lead Writer: Brian Gale (United Kingdom)
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
compiled by Dave Harris
Norbert Link and Michael Link have travelled to Germany for observing the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread with the brethren there.
“How Can We Know That Christ’s Return Is Near?” our newest booklet, written by Norbert Link, has entered its second review cycle.
“Quarrelling With God Over Being Gay?” is the title of our newest StandingWatch program, presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:
Breitbart reported that IN Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who is openly gay and married to his husband Chasten, recently stated that his marriage has moved him closer to God and that those who have a problem with his sexual orientation (such as Vice President Mike Pence) are quarrelling with his creator. He also said, according to CNN, that those who don’t share his views are hypocrites and act in a way not consistent with scripture taught in church. What DOES God’s Word say about all of this?
“Being On Guard,” the sermonette presented last Sabbath by Kalon Mitchell, is now posted. Here is a summary:
It is our duty as Christians to stand guard against the many pitfalls this world has to offer. If we are not focused on this at all times we can fall, loose our way and potentially loose everything we have worked so hard for.
“The Nonsense of Atheism,” the sermon presented last Sabbath by Brian Gale, is now posted. Here is a summary:
There is plenty of evidence for God, from people’s personal experience, to the complexity, interdependence, beauty and design of the natural world. This sermon examines a number of irrefutable truths about the necessity for a great Creator God.
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, Robb Harris, Michael Link, Kalon Mitchell, Manuela Mitchell, Dawn Thompson
Technical Team: Eric Rank, Shana Rank
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