September 14, 2018
The Servant Leader; Creating a Name for Ourselves
On September 15, 2018, Frank Bruno will present the sermonette, titled, “The Servant Leader,” and Robb Harris will present the sermon, titled, “Creating a Name for Ourselves.”
The live services are available, over video and audio, at http://eternalgod.org/live-services/ (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.
The Day of Atonement will be observed and services will be broadcast live on Wednesday, September 19, 2018, at 12:30 pm Pacific Time. Eric Rank will present the Offertory, and Dave Harris will present the sermon, titled, “Making Atonement.”
This will be the last Update published until the week of October 12, 2018, due to our observance of the Day of Atonement, the Feast of Tabernacles and the Last Great Day.
How Do We Think?
by Dave Harris
There is a profound truth about how people think, and it is summed up in the proverb which states, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7).
What motivates our thinking? Are the thoughts which occupy our mind good or evil? The Apostle Paul taught about the kind of thoughts we should have:
“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy–meditate on these things” (Philippians 4:8).
This is really, really hard to do! With the constant barrage of shocking atrocities and horrible actions flooding before us, it takes great vigilance to not get caught up in the hatred which so characterizes our generation. It is an individual responsibility to think differently, and we can do so when we look to the example of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 2:21). This is the great challenge set before us:
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).
We must resist thoughts which lead to sin (James 1:14-15). This was what Jesus did, and He is willing and able, as our Savior, to help us (Hebrews 4:15). If we are to be Christians, then we must learn to think as Jesus Christ thinks (Philippians 2:5). And if we are truly Christians, that is, if we have the Holy Spirit of God within us, then we have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 3:16).
To get to the bottom line, our thoughts must be about love (1 Corinthians 16:14)—love for God and love for our neighbor!
by Norbert Link
We begin with several reports showing that there is great concern for the stability of governments in Europe as nationalism continues to rise.
We note that Italy has banned Sunday shopping for large retail outlets; report on the emerging military cooperation between Russia and China; address more problems with Brexit; feature speculation about how long President Trump might remain as President; present more news related to Jews making preparations for sacrifices; and conclude with a worrisome article concerning growing restrictions on the Internet.
Throughout this section, we have underlined pertinent statements in the quoted articles, for the convenience and quick overview of the reader.
This Week in the News
European Leaders Alarmed!
The Los Angeles Times reported on September 12:
“Warning against the danger of intensifying nationalism across Europe, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said in separate appearances Wednesday that the rise of populism and the far-right represents an existential threat to the European Union’s future.
“In their respective speeches at the German Reichstag in Berlin and the European Parliament building in Strasbourg, France, the two powerful leaders raised alarm over burgeoning right wing movements in several member countries amid the arrival of large numbers of refugees and migrants. They also lamented waning cohesion in the EU, which grew out of efforts to unite European nations in the decades following the devastation of World War II…
“Merkel, in her address in Berlin, condemned right-wing mob attacks that erupted two weeks ago against foreigners in the eastern city of Chemnitz. Protests turned violent after two refugees were arrested in connection with the fatal knife attack on a German man, a crime that reignited a national debate on Merkel’s decision to let in more than 1.5 million foreigners since 2015…
“A far-right party, the Alternative for Germany (AfD) has been gaining strength from month to month with strident opposition to Merkel’s pro-refugee policies, which President Trump has also criticized.
“‘The fundamental dispute is also taking place across Europe,’ said Merkel, currently Europe’s longest serving leader, noting that European parliamentary elections next year would be a battleground over the issue of migration…
“In Strasbourg, Juncker took aim at far-right nationalism and growing intolerance that has caused tensions in EU countries, none of which has taken in as many refugees as Germany. In his state-of-the-union address, the former Luxembourg prime minister, who will retire next year, recalled how Europe was caught off guard a little more than a century ago with tensions that led to the outbreak of World War I.
“‘I am not suggesting that we are on the verge of a similar catastrophe in Europe,’ said Juncker. ‘The EU is a guarantor of peace. Let’s be happy that we live on a continent that enjoys peace thanks to the EU. Let us show more respect to the EU. Let’s not sully its image. Let us defend our life, our way of being. Let’s embrace the kind of patriotism that is not directed against others’ and look for ‘solutions that allow us to coexist better.’”
Leaders like Merkel and Juncker who call for restraint are NOT winning the battle. Already, unrest in the EU nations is surfacing more and more. The Bible reveals that new leadership will soon emerge, and that it will not be at all conservative!
2019 EU Elections—What Direction?
Deutsche Welle wrote on September 11:
“European nations must stand together to fight extremism and avoid sliding back into the past, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras told EU parliamentarians in Strasbourg on Tuesday as he looked to the upcoming EU elections in 2019.
“The politician from the left-wing Syriza party, who had been invited to the EU parliament to speak about the future of Europe, described next year’s vote as ‘more than just one more election.’
“‘It will be a fight of basic principles and values to defeat extreme neo-liberalism and far-right populism,’ the Greek leader said. He called on the bloc’s pro-European and democratic forces to unite and ‘stand side by side on the same side of history.’
“The European Union currently faces a broad range of challenges, including migration management, the UK’s departure from the bloc, and the rise of right-wing populism, which have led to internal disagreement among its 28-member states and could significantly impact its future direction.”
This call for resistance against far-right extremism will not stop the groundswell of activities growing throughout Europe! Note the following articles:
Chemnitz Worse than Assumed
Deutsche Welle reported on September 8:
“German authorities are investigating reports that neo-Nazis attacked a Jewish restaurant in Chemnitz last month as far-right protests erupted in the city, according to Die Welt am Sonntag. The newspaper reported that a group of around a dozen masked individuals stormed the kosher eatery ‘Schalom’ on August 27, shouting ‘Get out of Germany you Jewish pig.’ The assailants allegedly threw stones and bottles at the restaurant, damaging the building’s facade and shattering a window. The owner, Uwe Dziuballa, was also reportedly injured after being hit on the shoulder with a rock…
“The German commissioner for anti-Semitism, Felix Klein, called on police and prosecutors to bring the perpetrators to justice and show that ‘anti-Semitic offenses will be swiftly punished. If the reports are true, then we are dealing with a new level of anti-Semitic crime… It calls to mind the worst memories of the 1930s,’ he added, referring to the rise of the Nazis and their murderous campaign to wipe out millions of Jews across Europe…
“There have been almost-nightly rallies in the eastern city. Sometimes the marches have turned violent, with reports of attacks on police, journalists and people perceived to be migrants. There have also been confrontations in the streets between right-wing protesters and counterdemonstrators… The unrest has triggered a nationwide debate about right-wing extremism and xenophobia in parts of German society. It has also exposed an apparent rift between Chancellor Angela Merkel and security officials.
“Merkel said the images from Chemnitz ‘very clearly’ showed hate and ‘the persecution of innocent people.’ Hans-Georg Maassen, the head of Germany’s VfS domestic intelligence service based in Cologne, sparked controversy on Friday when he voiced skepticism over reports that right-wing extremists had ‘hunted’ down foreigners, suggesting that an internet video depicting such behavior could have been faked. He was contradicted Saturday by Dresden senior public prosecutor Wolfgang Klein, who told the online outlet of the newspaper Die Zeit: ‘We have no indication that the video could be a fake.’”
More Attempts to Downplay Chemnitz Violence
Deutsche Welle reported on September 7:
“The president of Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, Hans-Georg Maassen, has expressed doubts about reports that right-wing extremists were chasing down non-Germans during demonstrations in Chemnitz… Referencing one of the videos posted online showing far-right protesters chasing after people who looked non-German, Maassen said: ‘There is no evidence to suggest that the video of this alleged incident circulating online is authentic.’…
“Maassen has recently come under fire for unexplained meetings with members of the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD) party. A book by a former AfD member has even alleged that during one such meeting, with former AfD chairwoman Frauke Petry, Maassen gave tips for avoiding monitoring by the BfV…
“It was unclear exactly which video Maassen was referring to… as several videos depicting similar assaults surfaced during the protests — and he did not provide further evidence backing up his claim that at least one video was faked…
“Contrary to Maassen’s findings, journalists and social media verification experts have said there is no evidence to suggest that the videos were faked, reported German public broadcaster ARD. Journalist Lars Wienand and others were able to confirm the time, date and location of one the most-shared videos of far-right protesters.
“On Friday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert told reporters in Berlin that Maassen hadn’t spoken with the government about possible misinformation concerning the Chemnitz protests. The Interior Ministry also said that it hadn’t received any reports from the BfV concerning the protests…
“Reactions to Maassen’s comments were split on Friday, with the center-left Social Democrats (SPD), Greens, the business-friendly Free Democrats (FDP) and the Left harshly criticizing the intelligence chief’s remarks. ‘I don’t expect any trustworthy assessments from Mr. Maassen any more,’ said Katrin Göring-Eckardt, the parliamentary party leader for the Greens. ‘The fact that he only commented on a video, but not on the acts of violence and the public displays of anti-constitutional symbols in Chemnitz, shows me that Mr. Maassen is not up to the job.’
“Members of Merkel’s center-right Christian Democrats (CDU) as well as the German Federation of Journalists (DJV) called for Maassen to provide evidence for his claims. ‘The term “deliberate misinformation” is a very serious accusation that places the media under suspicion of manipulation,’ DJV head Kajo Döhring said in a statement, adding that whoever makes such claims must be able to back them up.
“Maassen did receive support from other conservative lawmakers, particularly from the Christian Social Union, the Bavarian sister-party to Merkel’s CDU. ‘It’s his job to inform the public about where his facts stand on this,’ CSU parliamentary party leader Alexander Dobrindt said, defending Maassen’s decision to speak to the press before informing the German government.”
The EUObserver wrote on September 6:
“German chancellor Angela Merkel contradicted Thursday her interior minister Horst Seehofer [of the Bavarian Christian Social Union], who said on Wednesday that migration was ‘the mother of all problems.’ ‘I say it differently,’ she replied in an interview on RTL television. ‘Migration presents us with challenges and here we have problems, here we also have successes,’ she said.”
Sweden –Far Right Makes Gains
Deutsche Welle wrote on September 10:
“Sweden faces weeks of a stalemate after its traditional center-left and center-right blocs tied, with neither holding a majority. The far-right made gains on a hard-line anti-immigration platform…
“The parliamentary election was one of Sweden’s most important because the far-right, anti-immigration Sweden Democrats — who rose from the white supremacist and neo-Nazi fringe — were expected to gain significant strength and change the landscape of Swedish politics.
“… An initial allocation of parliamentary seats gave the center left 144 seats, compared with 143 for the center-right Alliance bloc. The far-right Sweden Democrats gained 13 seats to hold third place, with 62. 175 seats are required to form a majority in the 349-seat Riksdag…
“Meanwhile far-right leaders in Austria, Italy and France hailed the Sweden Democrats’ results. “Sweden, birthplace of multiculturalism and model for the left, has finally decided to change after years of wild, uncontrolled immigration,” Italy’s far-right interior minister, Matteo Salvini, said on Twitter.
“…Analysts said that it will be difficult to form a stable government without some kind of support from the Sweden Democrats unless the blocs break away from their traditional alliances. Parliament opens on September 25. If the prime minister is ousted after a mandatory vote on whether to replace him, the speaker is permitted to give a maximum of four PM candidates the opportunity to form a government. If they all fail, fresh elections will be called.”
Italy Bans Sunday Shopping
DailyMail.com wrote on September 12:
“The new Italian government will introduce a ban on Sunday shopping in large commercial centres before the end of the year.
“The right-leaning government will move to tighten trading rules in an effort to defend family traditions, deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio said on Sunday…
“’This liberalisation is in fact destroying Italian families,’ said Di Maio, who is head of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement.
“’We need to start limiting opening and closing times again,’ he said.
“Earlier this year, Poland restricted Sunday shopping as the conservative government in Warsaw pushed ahead with what it said was a return to Roman Catholic values.
“The Italian and Polish initiatives run against a slow liberalisation of Sunday shopping hours throughout Europe, where retailers face pressure from a boom in online shopping.
“Small shopkeepers in Italy have long sought to overturn Monti’s reform, saying their businesses face unfair competition from the big malls.”
Russia and China—A Show of Force
The Guardian reported on September 11:
“Russia has launched what it has called its largest ever military drills, with hundreds of thousands of troops joining Chinese soldiers in a show of force condemned by Nato as a rehearsal for large-scale conflict.
“Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, is expected to attend the exercises after hosting an economic forum in Vladivostok where his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, is a guest.
“The week-long exercise, known as Vostok-2018 (East-2018) ‘have kicked off’ in far-eastern Russia, the defence ministry said on Tuesday.
“Taking part in the drills are around 300,000 Russian soldiers, 36,000 military vehicles, 80 ships and 1,000 aircraft, helicopters and drones, as well as 3,500 Chinese troops.”
Further Problems for Brits with Brexit
Handelsblatt Global wrote on September 7:
“Brexit will affect thousands of Germany-based firms that adopted British forms of incorporation. Shareholders risk being made personally liable for the companies unless they convert to German corporate forms… The German government wants to help the estimated 8,000 to 10,000 companies that are incorporated under British law but are based in Germany. ‘Many small companies and people who set up their own business, have in the past, opted for the British Limited (a form of incorporation) which is simple to set up,’ Justice Minister Katarina Barley told Handelsblatt. Such companies are active in Germany but can use European laws to suit their business needs. ‘Brexit poses a serious challenge for them. We want to help them.’ Brexit could deprive firms organized as a ‘private company limited by shares’ or a ‘public limited company’ of their legal status. That could have serious consequences for shareholders, according to a justice ministry spokesman. It could mean that shareholders become personally liable with their private assets, also for the company’s old debt.
“Ms. Barley, who has a British father, wants the new law to enable firms to convert to German forms of incorporation. One option is for companies to become a limited partnership (Kommanditgesellschaft), in which a German limited liability company, which is known here as a GmbH; or an entrepreneurial company with limited liability (Unternehmergesellschaft) could take a stake as a personally-liable shareholder. That would spare companies having to come up with the €25,000 ($29,060) needed as minimum capital to set up a GmbH in the six months left before Brexit, the justice ministry said.
“The transformation will remain optional but the ministry made clear it won’t provide guarantees for firms that fall victim to the corporate legal implications of Brexit. To do so would place other firms at a disadvantage, it said. That means people who don’t bother changing the legal status of their firms risk automatically finding themselves saddled with major new liabilities. Companies that take up the offer will be able to do so before Britain leaves the EU or before the end of any transition period that Britain and the EU agree to.”
“President For Life? Why Donald Trump May Never Leave the White House.”
The Week wrote on September 11:
“The degree to which Trump has saturated American media is unprecedented… No public figure in the history of this or any country has ever figured so prominently in the lives of its citizens, not even in the great authoritarian regimes of the 20th century, as President Trump… [W]ill the institution of the presidency, with its undreamed powers and numberless prerogatives, and the man in whom it is vested achieve a kind of total monopoly over law-making, first by fiat, then by custom, and eventually as a matter of settled law? I think the answer is yes…
“America is now a kind of elective monarchy in which Congress clings, like the Roman Senate, to its antique ceremony as its formal powers… become increasingly irrelevant. Meanwhile the Supreme Court is headed in the direction of an almost limitless deference toward administrative autonomy.
“I don’t think it’s reasonable to dismiss the possibility of a third term for this president as idle speculation. The 22nd Amendment can be repealed like any other, and both geography and math favor Republican attempts at amendment… I do not know a single supporter of the president who opposes the idea, at least in theory, of Trump serving more than eight years. The man himself has entertained it openly, praising Xi Jinping for getting rid of term limits in China…”
Now No Paraguayan Embassy in Jerusalem?
The Algemeiner wrote on September 7:
“US Vice President Mike Pence urged Paraguay’s new president to stick to his predecessor’s decision to move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, Pence’s office said on Thursday after Asuncion announced plans to shift the diplomatic mission back to Tel Aviv… Most countries do not recognize Israeli sovereignty over the entire city.
“Pence, who played a main role in President Donald Trump’s decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, spoke on Wednesday to Paraguayan President Mario Abdo, who was elected on Aug. 15. Pence ‘strongly encouraged’ Abdo to follow through with Paraguay’s commitment to move the embassy to Jerusalem ‘as a sign of the historic relationship the country has maintained with both Israel and the United States,’ Pence’s office said in a statement. Former Paraguay President Horacio Cartes opened the new embassy in Jerusalem on May 21, just days after the United States and Guatemala did. Hours after Paraguay announced its change on Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded by ordering the closure of Israel’s embassy in Paraguay… Abdo on Wednesday defended his decision as part of an effort to support ‘broad, lasting and just peace’ among Israelis and Palestinians.”
Red Heifer Heralds Construction of the Third Temple?
The Daily Star wrote on September 8:
“The Temple Institute announced the birth of an entirely red female calf that ‘brings the promise of reinstating Biblical purity to the world’. The cow’s birth and sacrifice is said to proceed the construction of the Third Temple in Jerusalem. And the Third Temple’s construction – following the destruction of the previous two – heralds the arrival of the Jewish Messiah…
“Rabbi Chain Richman, director of the Temple Institute, hailed the red heifer’s birth as suggestions the time could be right for the Third Temple…
“The cow went under ‘extensive examination by rabbinical experts’ who confirmed she is a ‘viable candidate for the Biblical red heifer.’ They admitted however the cow could be disqualified through natural causes… It is claimed there have only been nine true red heifers – and the 10th will herald the construction of the Third Temple. The Temple Institute believes a red heifer will be needed to be scarified to complete the ritual of purification for the temple – heralding the coming of the Jewish Messiah.
“Red heifers have previously been found by the organisation – who have then disqualified them for not meeting prophetic standards. One was found in 1999, but was disqualified for being male – and a second was born in 2002, which was found to have a patch of white hair…
“Evangelical Christians believe the construction of the Third Temple all herald their own end times prophecy…”
The Bible does not necessitate the appearance of a red heifer, but many Jews and some Christians believe it is necessary as a prerequisite for bringing animal sacrifices and building a third temple. For more information, please read our Q&A, “Can you shed some light on the significance of a ‘red heifer’ to be born prior to the coming of the Messiah?” Please also read our free booklet, “The Fall and Rise of the Jewish People.”
A Catastrophe Coming for the Internet?
The Verge reported on September 12:
“The European Parliament has voted in favor of the Copyright Directive, a controversial piece of legislation intended to update online copyright laws for the internet age…
“The fallout from this decision will be far-reaching, and take a long time to settle. The directive itself still faces a final vote in January 2019 (although experts say it’s unlikely it will be rejected). After that it will need to be implemented by individual EU member states, who could very well vary significantly in how they choose to interpret the directive’s text…
“Despite these disagreements, what’s clear is that if the Copyright Directive receives final approval by the European Parliament in January, it will have a huge, disruptive impact on the internet, both in the European Union and around the world. Exactly how the legislation will be interpreted will be up to individual nations, but the shift in the balance of power is clear: the web’s biggest tech companies are losing their grip on the internet.”
Acknowledgement and Disclaimer
These Current Events are compiled and commented on by Norbert Link. We gratefully acknowledge the many contributions of news articles from our readership. The publication of articles in this section is not to be viewed as an endorsement or approval as to contents or accuracy of the selected articles, but they are published for the purpose of pointing at worldwide developments in the light of biblical end-time prophecy and godly instruction. Our own comments are provided in italics.
Do you believe in the Prosperity Gospel? (Part 2)
Please notice the biblical principle of giving liberally in Proverbs 11:24-25: “There is one who scatters, yet increases more; And there is one who withholds more than is right, But it leads to poverty. The generous soul will be made rich, And he who waters will also be watered himself.” Compare Proverbs 21:26.
The principle of giving liberally is also strongly emphasized in God’s commandment to tithe to Him. The Bible leaves no doubt that the lack of tithing leads to curses, while diligently tithing to God leads to His blessing.
We read in Proverbs 3:9-10: “Honor the LORD with your possessions, And with the firstfruits of all your increase; So your barns will be filled with plenty, And your vats will overflow with new wine.”
Malachi 3:8-11 adds:
“‘Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, “In what way have we robbed You?” In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, For you have robbed Me, Even this whole nation. Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this,’ Says the LORD of hosts, ‘If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, So that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, Nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,’ Says the LORD of hosts…”
However, the act of tithing, all by itself, may not be enough to find God’s approval and lead to financial blessing. It is true, of course, that God promises us physical blessings if we pay His tithe to His Church. We cannot expect being physically blessed by God, if we refuse to obey His commandment to tithe (verse 9). In other words, one is under a curse who refuses to pay God’s tithe to God’s Church. But even if a person tithes diligently–like the Pharisees did in Christ’s time–he still can’t expect that God will bless him financially, if he violates other laws of God. These could be laws regulating sound financial principles, as well as spiritual laws. God’s law is a package, and can’t be looked upon in an isolated fashion. James tells us that when we violate one of God’s commandments, even though we keep the rest, we have still violated God’s entire law (James 2:8-13). When we do that, we cannot expect God’s financial blessing.
So far, we have quoted exclusively from the Old Testament in regards to God’s physical blessings. Some say that God’s promises of wealth, riches and prosperity only apply to the ancient nation of Israel, but that they have no relevance or application for God’s disciples in New Testament times or today. Apart from the fact that God had also blessed individuals, such as Abraham, Isaac or Job, let us note that Jesus Christ came “that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). And John adds in 3 John 2: “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.”
Some claim that Jesus was poor. They use 2 Corinthians 8:9 to prove this assertion, which states: “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.”
In our Q&A on the life of Jesus Christ, we state the following:
“[In 2 Corinthians 8:9] Paul is using a comparison between the richness of the immortal God who owns everything, and, in contrast, the poverty of man whose insignificant riches might be here today and gone tomorrow…
“There are numerous passages indicating that Jesus owned His own house—or perhaps even more than one… We read that Jesus said that foxes have holes and birds have nests but that the Son of Man had no place to lay His head. Some commentaries claim that this proves that Jesus could not have owned a house—and that He was pretty much homeless.
“However, we must look at the context. While Matthew 8:20 is not as specific as to the timing, the parallel passage in Luke 9:58 is given in the context of when He was on a journey with His disciples, and the Samaritans refused to grant them shelter (compare Luke 9:51-56; note verse 57: ‘NOW it happened as they journeyed on the road…’). There were times when Christ and His disciples did not encounter hospitality, while they were on their missionary journeys, and it was that fact which Jesus stressed when He spoke about the sacrifices one must be willing to make when he or she wants to follow Christ (compare verses 57-58)…
“We should also recognize that the soldiers did not want to cut Jesus’ garments and clothing, when He was hanging on the cross (or better, stake), but they cast lots to determine who should receive them (Matthew 27:35). Even though their conduct was in fulfillment of a prophecy, it is also worthwhile to mention that His garments and clothing were apparently not ‘cheap,’ but of such a quality and value that the soldiers were willing to cast lots for them…
“Jesus was not a homeless vagabond or a hippie. He was a living example of God’s Way of Life, and the Bible tells us that God wants us to prosper in all things (3 John 2). Scriptures also tell us that when we obey God (and Christ always obeyed Him, not sinning once), God would bless us financially (compare Malachi 3:8-10). David even said that he was young and grew old, and he never saw the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread (Psalm 37:25)…
“We know that terrible and ‘expensive’ times are ahead of us, but we also know that when we seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, God will give us all the physical things that we need, including food, clothing and shelter. God the Father did most certainly do this for Christ—the prime example of someone who did seek first in His life God’s Kingdom and His righteousness…”
Some claim that wealth, prosperity and riches would disqualify us from entering the Kingdom of God. Such a claim is not correct even though there are most certainly dangers involved, of which we must be aware.
Paul tells us in 1 Timothy 6:9-11:
“But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But you, O man of God, flee these things…”
This passage does not condemn riches and wealth per se, but it includes a warning for those who “desire” to be rich because of their “love of money” and “greediness.”
In our Q&A, “Is It Impossible for a Rich Man to Enter the Kingdom of God?” we state the following:
“In Matthew 19:16-26, Mark 10:17-27 and Luke 18:18-27, we are introduced to a young rich ruler who came to Christ and asked Him what he must do to inherit eternal life. Christ told him that he had to keep the commandments and He added the need for him to sell what he had, and to follow Him. However, the rich man was unwilling to depart from his riches…
“Christ did not say that it was impossible for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God, but that it would be very difficult. We know that Abraham was very rich, and so was David, and both will be in God’s Kingdom. But it is true that riches CAN prevent us from fully turning to God…
“Christ warned us that we cannot serve two masters—God and mammon. He explained that we must not lay up for ourselves treasures on earth (living a way of life which is manifested by our love of money, riches and physical possessions), but that we are to lay up spiritual treasures in heaven. He continued: ‘For where your treasure is, there your HEART will be also. No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon’ (Matthew 6:19-21, 24).
“Christ makes the same point that Paul is making [in 1 Timothy 6:10]: Either we love God and His way of life with all our heart, including our desire to be spiritually rich before God, or we love foremost mammon or material possessions, including our desire to be physically rich in this world. Christ continued to explain the incongruity between both ways in Matthew 6:25-34, when He compared the physical worries in this life with what must be our main priority: ‘But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness’ (verse 33).
“As Paul said in 1 Timothy 6:11, we must ‘flee’ the physical desires to be rich, which are so important in this world, and rather ‘pursue righteousness.’ John explained that the love of God is not in us when we love the world or the things in the world (1 John 2:15-17)…
“There are reasons why Christ warned us that it would be very difficult for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God (Matthew 19:23-24). The main problem is that a rich person may love his riches too much, and he may be unwilling to give them up, if necessary, in order to follow Christ without reservation…
“Again and again, the Bible tells us not to give in to the love of ‘money’ or materialism, and not to work for, as our main focus, the physical riches or possessions in this life… In the parable of the rich fool, Christ warned all of us: ‘Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses’ (Luke 12:15). After telling the rich fool who had heaped up treasures for himself that he would die that very night, He concluded, ‘So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God’ (verse 21).
“And so, Paul admonishes us today—and especially those who are rich in this world—to get our priorities straight: ‘Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor TRUST in UNCERTAIN riches but in the living GOD, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do GOOD, that they be rich in good works, READY TO GIVE, WILLING TO SHARE, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life’ (1 Timothy 6:17-19).”
“It is with this background that we must understand Christ’s warning that ‘it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God’ (Matthew 19:24; compare Mark 10:25 and Luke 18:25). Christ was pointing out here that it is HUMANLY impossible that a camel would go through the eye of a needle…
“To emphasize the point even more, Christ said that it was EASIER for such an impossibility to occur (a camel going through the eye of a needle) than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God. He introduced His parable by saying: ‘It is HARD for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven’ (Matthew 19:23; compare Mark 10:23 and Luke 18:24). But Mark 10:24 adds an important point, quoting Christ as elaborating: ‘Children, how hard it is for those WHO TRUST IN RICHES to enter the kingdom of God.’
“The disciples recognized the humanly impossible situation, as presented by Christ, and so they asked: ‘Who then can be saved?’ (Matthew 19:25; compare Mark 10:26 and Luke 18:26). Jesus’ answer makes His teaching very clear: ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible’ (Matthew 19:26). Mark 10:27 quotes Jesus in this way: ‘With man it is impossible but not with God; for with God all things are possible.’ And Luke 18:27 states: ‘The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.’ (Compare also Luke 1:37; Mark 14:36; Jeremiah 32:17, 27; Genesis 18:14.)
“Returning to the question… whether it is impossible for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God, the answer is: No, it is not impossible, but it requires a miracle from God. This is true for all of us. It is God who must call us and open our minds to His truth; it is God who must offer us repentance and faith in Him and His Son’s Sacrifice and the Gospel of the Kingdom of God; it is God who must offer us His gift of righteousness and, upon repentance, belief and baptism, the gift of the Holy Spirit—but we need to respond. The rich man was offered an opportunity to qualify for the Kingdom of God at that time, but he did not respond properly, because he did not want to give up his riches. Others may have other excuses with which they may want to justify their refusal to accept God’s calling (compare Luke 14:15-24).
“… Especially rich people will have to come to the realization that they must not trust in their riches, but that they must be willing to give up their riches, if need be, and to share their riches with others. For most rich people, this is VERY hard to do. But God can change man’s heart and mind; so it is NOT impossible for Him to convert even a rich person, IF that person wants to be converted.”
(To Be Continued)
Lead Writer: Norbert Link
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
compiled by Dave Harris
“How’s Your Ego?” the sermonette presented last Sabbath by Kalon Mitchell, is now posted.
“This Generation Will Not Pass Away,” the sermon presented last Sabbath by Norbert Link, is now posted. Here is a summary:
Jesus Christ listed many terrible events which will occur prior to His return, and added that “this generation” would not pass away until all these things take place. What is meant with “this generation”? Did Christ refer to mankind in general; the survival of the people of Israel; the generation at the time of Christ; or the end-time generation? This sermon will cite many biblical passages, which are being used in support of the above-stated concepts in light of the Greek word for “generation.” But which explanation is correct?
“Gideon’s Faith,” the sermonette presented in the morning service of the Feast of Trumpets by Eric Rank, is now posted. Here is a summary:
The story of Gideon gives us an inspiring example of the power of faith. As it was able to strengthen him and a small army to drive away enemies without lifting a weapon, faith provides us with the means to conquer our trials, great and small.
“The Sound of the Trumpet,” the sermon presented in the morning service of the Feast of Trumpets by Dave Harris, is now posted. Here is a summary:
While it might seem that the Bible doesn’t say a lot about this Feast, let’s remember a key word that is given—that is that this day is a MEMORIAL This is about more than the past—this Feast of Trumpets is also to remind us of future events!
“Not For Granted,” the Offertory presented in the afternoon service of the Feast of Trumpets by Michael Link, is now posted. Here is a summary:
Are we thankful for the blessings that God has given us or do we take them for granted? What about the trials that we go through? Is that something we should be thankful for? Are we thankful for the knowledge that God has granted us to understand the Bible and how we are to prepare ourselves for soon coming disaster?
“Freedom from Captivity,” the sermon presented in the afternoon service of the Feast of Trumpets by Norbert Link, is now posted. Here is a summary:
The Feast of Trumpets is known under several Hebrew names and includes the blowing of seven trumpets by God’s angels. The seventh trumpet announces unique events which have never happened before in the history of man. This sermon concentrates mainly on the freedom from slavery of the modern descendants of the ancient houses of Israel and Judah. We will show WHY such a future captivity of war will occur and who will bring it about. We will also address God’s protection for His people during the coming times of trouble.
The 2018 USA Feast Brochure is now posted.
Here are the dates for the remaining 2018 Fall Holy Days:
Day of Atonement—September 19
Feast of Tabernacles—September 24-30
Last Great Day—October 1
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, Noelle Link, Manuela Mitchell, Dawn Thompson
Technical Team: Eric Rank, Shana Rank
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