Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

Our new booklet on “born again” has entered the first review cycle.

A member letter has been written and will be sent out next week.

A new Standing Watch program will be recorded and posted soon.

Several new German articles have been posted on the German web page of CEG and Global in the UK.

Our first booklet, “God is A Family,” has been translated into French and will be posted soon on the French Webpages of CEG and CGCF Canada

What is the sign of Christ’s return?

In Matthew 24:3, the disciples asked Christ three questions: “‘Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the SIGN of Your coming, and of the end of the age?'”

Christ had just spoken about the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem (vv. 1-2). The disciples wanted to know more about the destruction of the temple, erroneously believing that that event would coincide with Christ’s return. As it turned out, the temple was destroyed in 70A.D., but Christ would not return for many years. Christ explained to them that there would have to occur first numerous significant events, before He would return.

In Mark 13:4, the disciples are quoted as asking, “‘Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the SIGN when all these things will be fulfilled?'”

Both in the accounts of Matthew and of Mark, Christ pointed out that the preaching of the gospel in all the world and to all nations must proceed His coming and the end of the age. He said in Matthew 24:14, “And this gospel of the kingdom WILL BE preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.” He is quoted as saying in Mark 13:10, “And the gospel must first be preached to all the nations.”

That the preaching of the gospel of the Kingdom of God in all the world was given as a SIGN for Christ’s return, shows that this gospel had NOT been preached to the world for a long time. Of course, “a” gospel was preached – the gospel “about” Christ – but not the gospel OF Christ about the Kingdom of God!

As stated above, the disciples had asked Christ for the “SIGN” of His coming. The Greek word for “SIGN” is “semeion.” It conveys the meaning of “signal” (Young’s Analytical Concordance to the Bible) or “indication” (W.E. Vine, Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words). It can also convey the meaning of “miracle” or “wonder” (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible).

For instance, the unbelieving Jews at Christ’s time – called by Christ “a wicked and adulterous generation” (Matthew 16:4 )- were only given the “SIGN of Jonah” that Christ was the Messiah. As Jonah became a SIGN to the Ninevites (Luke 11:30), being three days and three nights in the belly of the whale, so Christ would become a SIGN to the Jews of His time, being three days and three nights (72 hours) in the grave (Matthew 12:39-40). Tragically, orthodox Christianity has rejected the ONLY sign that Christ gave to the Jews, proving His Messiahship. Many professing Christians falsely claim that Christ was only in the grave from Friday evening to Sunday morning – much less than 72 hours. They have thereby rejected Jesus Christ – the only name through which man can be saved (Acts 4:12). For a thorough discussion of the “Sign of Jonah,” please read our Q&A in Update #99.

In addition, an angel gave the shepherds in the field a SIGN that Christ had been born – they would see “a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger” (Luke 2:12).

These SIGNS were to prove to the people at the time of Christ that the Messiah was born – that Christ was the long-awaited Messiah. In the same way, the fact that the true gospel of the KINGDOM OF GOD is being preached in all the world as a witness or testimony -for instance through the tool of the printing press and the Internet – is a SIGN today, to those with understanding (Daniel 12:10), that Christ’s return is imminent. It is an undeniable fact that the true gospel of the Kingdom of God was being preached to the world during the lifetime of Herbert W. Armstrong. It is likewise an undeniable fact that Mr. Armstrong died in 1986, and that Christ has not yet returned. This means, then, that God’s Church has the continued obligation to preach the gospel in all the world as a witness. Christ made it very clear that the gospel would still be preached at the time of His return. He told His disciples in Matthew 28:19-20 that He would be with them “always, even to the END of the age,” while they were “making disciples of all the nations” (a logical consequence of the Church’s preaching the gospel in all the world, compare Romans 10:14-15). Christ also said that those who would be doing God’s Work of preaching His gospel would not have finished it, even in the cities of Israel, when He returns (Matthew 10:23).

Christ told His servants that they must not be unprofitable, but that they must be found DOING the Work of God, when Christ returns (Matthew 24:46; James 1:25). If they were to refuse to preach the gospel, although possessing the means to do so, and if they were falsely believing and proclaiming the Work to be over, they would be held accountable by Christ. Some think today that they need to save their money to be able to buy plane tickets to fly to the place of safety. With that egoistic and self-centered attitude, they WILL NOT BE counted worthy to be brought to the place of safety (Luke 21:36)!

In addition to the SIGN of seeing the true gospel being preached in all the world, Christ spoke about “great SIGNS from heaven” (Luke 21:11). This is a reference to the “heavenly signs,” mentioned in Revelation 6:12-17, following the Great Tribulation and immediately preceding the Day of the Lord (which will begin 1 year before Christ’s return). The Great Tribulation, spoken of in many Biblical passages, describes national captivity of the modern houses of Israel and Judah (the Commonwealth nations and the USA, as well as the modern Jews) and a martyrdom of many of the saints (Revelation 6:9-11).

Christ mentioned that at that time, there would be “SIGNS in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken” (Luke 21:25-26). Notice the immediate context of these events: “Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near” (vv. 27-28).

We see, then, that the “heavenly signs” are also an indication for the imminence of Christ’s return, as they signal the beginning of the Day of the Lord – God’s rule over man. Christ elaborated in Matthew 24:29-30:

“Immediately after the [great] tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the SIGN of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.”

If this SIGN is different from the “heavenly signs,” mentioned earlier, what, then, is it? It might perhaps be referred to in Revelation 15:1, which states, “Then I saw another SIGN in heaven, great and marvelous.” This sign points at the pouring out of the seven last plagues, after the Day of the Lord has begun, completing the wrath of God. Some of these plagues will be poured out immediately FOLLOWING Christ’s return. However, the Bible does not say what exactly the “SIGN of the Son of Man” of Matthew 24:30 is. Some have suggested that it may refer to Christ Himself appearing in heaven. The Broadman Bible Commentary states, “The sign of the Son of man is of unknown meaning, although it is more directly related to Jesus than are the astronomical signs. The Greek genitive allows for the idea that the Son of man is himself the sign, i.e., ‘the sign, which is the Son of man.'”

If so, this would prove HOW Christ returns; that is, visibly, not in secret (see discussion below). On the other hand, this SIGN of the Son of Man could not be the one given in answer to the disciples’ question what the SIGN of His return and the end of the age would be. Christ obviously did not say, “The sign of My return is My return.” Rather, He clearly gave as the sign of His immediate return the ongoing preaching of His true gospel in all the world, while additional events would occur (including, for example, the rise of a political/military/economic/religious power bloc in Europe, as the tenth and last resurrection of the ancient Holy Roman Empire; a war in the Middle East; a military attack on the United States of America, Great Britain, and the state of Israel; and cosmic signs or disturbances).

Referring to that very time, Christ warned His disciples not to be deceived by false SIGNS or miracles and wonders. He said that during the time of the Great Tribulation, beginning perhaps just before that time, “false christs and false prophets will rise and show great SIGNS and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect” (Matthew 24:24). Their deception will include the false teaching that Christ has returned, waiting to meet His disciples “in the desert” (v. 26). In other words, they will preach a version of the “secret rapture” theory, claiming that Christ will return twice – first, to take His disciples to Himself, and second, to restore God’s Kingdom on this earth. “False,” Christ said. “Don’t believe those false teachings,” He warned. Rather, “… as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, SO ALSO WILL THE COMING of the Son of Man be” (verse 27).

Christ warned that just prior to His return, “the man of sin” would be revealed (2 Thessalonians 2:3). This person is elsewhere identified as the “false prophet.” He will be alive at Christ’s return, and Christ will “consume [him] with the breath of His mouth” (v. 8). This man of sin, also called the “lawless one,” will be given Satan’s powers, “with all… SIGNS and lying wonders” (v. 9). The book of Revelation tells us that this “false prophet” will deceive people with his signs. We read in Revelation 13:14: “And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those SIGNS which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast.” We are told, too, in Revelation 19:20 that “the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked SIGNS in his presence, by which he deceived…”

We see, then, that the power to work SIGNS or miracles is NOT necessarily a proof that God is with that person. Some want desperately to receive power to work signs and miracles – like Simon Magus, who offered Peter money to receive the power to bestow the Holy Spirit on others through the laying on of his hands (Acts 8:18-19). Peter told him, though, that his “heart” was not “right in the sight of God” (v. 21), and that he needed to repent (v. 22). The historical record shows that he did not repent, but that he continued to perform his sorceries (v. 9), thereby deceiving many people. Christ warned that in the end time, just preceding His coming, “false prophets” or “preachers” (not just THE false prophet) would appear, deceiving “many” with false signs and wonders. If possible, Christ said, they would even deceive the “elect.”

Christ told us not to fall asleep or to give up. He said that only those who endure until the end shall be saved (Matthew 24:13). Rather than concentrating on signs and wonders, we must make sure that we will be READY when Christ returns, for He will come at an hour we do not expect (compare Matthew 24:44).

Current Events


As MSNBC reported on October 31, “city authorities told children Friday not to celebrate Halloween because it was psychologically damaging and not in line with educational aims.” The article continued:

“Moscow’s Education Department sent a letter asking schools to ban the PAGAN festival, which is said to be based on a ‘cult of death.’…’The religious elements of Halloween’ are destructive for the psychological, moral and spiritual well-being of the pupils,'” a spokesman for the education department said. MSNBC also mentioned that “Russia’s Orthodox Church swiftly agreed there was NO LIGHT-HEARTED WAY OF LOOKING AT A CELEBRATION WHERE CHILDREN IN DIFFERENT PARTS OF THE WORLD DRESS UP AS WITCHES AND VAMPIRES AND KNOCK ON FRONT DOORS TO ASK FOR SWEETS. ‘The church knows from its spiritual experience that you cannot associate with evil forces in jest,'” a church spokesman was quoted.


Der Stern Online published an article, dated October 31, pointing out that today, “witches are cult – as heroes in children’s books, or as prophets for interested customers.” It was stated that “in the 70’s, due to the women’s liberation movement, a positive change toward witches developed… Today, witches are being revered as women with secret knowledge.”

This attitude toward witches and the celebration of Halloween goes hand in hand, and cannot be separated from each other. For more information, please read our Q&A in Update #115 on the origin of Halloween.


Christianity Today published on 10/28/2003 an interesting article, proving from ancient historical records that early Christians were opposed to military service and war. The article stated:

“The ancient church understood that war has been around as long as human beings and [war and] SIN have coexisted. It is a consistent tenet throughout the Christian tradition that WAR IS THE RESULT OF SIN. The responses to war, however, have followed two basic trains of thought: pacifism, and the idea that certain wars can be just.”

The article proceeded to show that the very early Christian Church was preaching and practicing PACIFISM. Later, though, due to pagan influences and Christian involvement in the affairs of the state, the concept of a so-called “just war” developed. To continue with the article:

“Pacifism is characteristic of the EARLY CENTURIES OF CHRISTIANITY like the North African apologist Tertullian (160-220 A.D.), who regularly warned Christians to DISTANCE THEMSELVES FROM PAGAN CULTURE. He wrote: ‘How will he serve in the army even during peacetime without the sword that Jesus Christ has taken away? … We are not allowed to wear any uniform that symbolizes a sinful act’ (On Idolatry 19.3).

“The third-century Roman Presbyter Hippolytus wrote the Apostolic Tradition, Canon 16 (ca. 215 A.D.) which opposed serving in the military as a matter of church discipline: ‘A soldier in lower ranks shall kill no one. If ordered to do so, he shall not obey, and he shall not take an oath. If he does not want to comply with this directive, let him be dismissed [from the church].'”

The article continued that “the Constantinian era brought about a change. Previously marginalized Christians were now involved in THE AFFAIRS OF STATE. Though there were many Christian soldiers before the time of Constantine, IT WASN’T UNTIL previously marginalized Christians BECAME INVOLVED IN THE AFFAIRS OF STATE that the church fathers BEGAN NUANCING THEIR OPPOSITION TO MILITARY ACTION. The issue then became how one could remain a Christian when the demands of the state required use of force to combat evil or prevent injury.” As the article pointed out, this then led to the Catholic teaching of a “just war.”

To find out what the BIBLE has to say about a Christian’s role in war, please listen to our three-part audio series on the topic, by going to the audio section of our Website (, and clicking on the three sermons, posted November 4, November 25, and December 9, 2000, titled “Military Service and War.”


A frightening development has been observed for some time now in Germany – a phenomenon associated with anti-Semitism. However, the phenomenon that we want to address in this article does not really involve the practice of anti-Semitism, but the FEAR of anti-Semitism. For instance, former Vice-Chancellor of Germany, Juergen Moellemann, was sharply criticized and labeled as anti-Semite, when he recently questioned Mr. Ariel Sharon’s actions. Virtually the entire press in Germany, as well as politicians from all parties, jumped on the bandwagon. An unspeakable and unparalleled hate-campaign against Moellemann developed – and in the end, Moellemann died in a tragic parachute accident. Many feel that Moellemann committed suicide, because he could not tolerate the criticism; others even suggest that murder might have been involved.

In the most recent news, Martin Hohmann, a conservative German lawmaker, was labelled as anti-Semitic, following a controversial speech on October 3. The German and international press reported that Hohmann had spoken of “guilt of the Jews” – or of “Jewish perpetrators” – during the Russian revolution. The reaction was fierce. The German Jewish leader, Paul Spiegel, announced that he would press criminal charges against Hohmann. German Defense Minster Peter Struck immediately dismissed a high ranking influential and crucial German army general, Reinhard Guenzel, for praising Hohman’s speech. Guenzel had praised Hohmann’s “courage” in a personal letter, stating the following:

“… An excellent address – if I may say so – as one seldom hears or reads such courage for truth and clarity in our country. You can be sure that your thoughts are shared by the majority of our people, even though our published opinion places all those agreeing with you in the right-wing environment. I hope that you will not be shaken by the accusations from mainly the left, and that you will courageously continue on your course.”

When analyzing the reports in the press and comparing them with Hohman’s address, one must conclude that, in many cases, the sensational press “releases” are neither fair nor balanced. The irony is, Hohmann did NOT say that the Jews are a “people of perpetrators,” or that there is “Jewish guilt.” Rather, he was drawing a parallel with the “guilt” of the German people. On October 31, 2003, Der Spiegel Online published excerpts from Hohmann’s speech. From those excerpts, it is clear what he said – and what he did not say:

“The German people have addressed, in a unique and relentless way, the crime of the Hitler era, asking for forgiveness and – as much as they could – paying billions of deutsch marks for reparation, especially to the Jews… Based on this background, I am asking the provocative question: Is there a dark side in the recent history amongst the Jewish people, while we always look at them solely as victims?… We have seen how strong and effective Jews impressed on the revolutionary movement in Russia and middle-European states. That is why American President Woodrow Wilson said in 1919 that the Bolschevic movement was ‘led by Jews.’ With a certain justification, one could ask, looking at the millions of dead people during this first phase of the revolution, whether there was any ‘guilt’ of Jews [or, in a different translation, whether Jews were ‘perpetrators’]… This may sound terrible. It follows the same logic, however, as the one talking about Germans as ‘a people of perpetrators’… We must analyze this more closely. The Jews, who supported Bolschevism and the revolution, had first separated themselves from their religious ties. They were Jews from origin and education, but they had become fierce haters of any religion. Something similar happened to Nazi-Socialists. Most of them had Christian parents. They had abolished their religion, however, and had become enemies of the Christian and Jewish faiths. A combining element between Bolschevism and National Socialism was a hatred of religion and godlessness. Therefore, neither ‘the Germans’ nor ‘the Jews’ are a people of perpetrators. One is justified to say: The godless people with their godless ideologies were the perpetrators of the last, bloody century… “

In the furor ensuing from this speech, many of its key elements were overlooked or ignored. Der Stern Online revealed on November 11, 2003, that Hohmann’s statements about the role of Jews during the Russian Revolution were apparently taken, to an extent verbatim, from a recent book, published by Alexander Solzhenitsyn, well-known Russian author and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.

All of this shows that the fear of anti-Semitism is alive and so big that it can become unrealistic. Politicians and the press must be careful that their “reporting” does not lead to the kind of anti-Semitism that every decent citizen fears and abhors. If unbalanced viewpoints continue to be highly propagated, however, it could become again a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Impressions from Europe

In lieu of this week’s Editorial, we are publishing a short summary from Mr. Rene Messier, pertaining to his and his wife’s European trip for the Feast of Tabernacles.

Impressions from Europe

This year, my wife Delia and I had the opportunity to attend the Feast in England. The Feast site was at Leamington Spa, about a two-hour drive north of London. It was the first time that my wife and I had traveled off the North American continent, so this was quite an experience for us. I want to share a few observations and feelings about our trip. First of all, the messages at the Feast were superb, and the weather was good for the duration of the Feast – especially for England. We also really enjoyed being with God’s people in England, and we will not forget this special opportunity and privilege.

It was a real thrill to drive on the opposite side of the road and going on the round-abouts. For the first few days, I kept hitting the curb on the left side of the road. I almost caused several accidents in the round-abouts because I kept looking to my left rather than to my right. Thankfully, we survived the ten days in England without incident.

England is a place of great heritage. We were able to visit Stratford-upon-Avon, the town where Shakespeare was born, and Warwick Castle, both historical sites.

After the Feast, we took the train to Paris, France. We met a young woman on the train who was working in London. She was from Germany and told us that she could work in any country on the continent that uses the Euro, without restriction. We found this interesting in light of Biblical prophecy, foretelling a united Europe with one currency and being a world economic power. On the other hand, England still uses the pound. This reminded us of our understanding relative to England, not being a part of the future European superpower.

Our trip to France was also very meaningful to us, since Delia and I are both French. The city of Paris contains a lot of heritage and history. We were able to visit the Louvre where the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo can be seen. We heard an interesting story while on one of the tours. It involved the German General in charge of Paris near the end of the Second World War. He had received orders to bomb, burn and destroy the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the Opera House and the Notre Dame cathedral. He refused to follow these orders. The French are still very grateful for his decision. Although this will not prevent the city and most of the cities of the earth from being destroyed during the prophesied Day of the Lord, it did preserve, for the time being, invaluable artifacts and stately buildings in Paris.

All in all, we had a wonderful Feast and a short holiday in Europe. We were glad to arrive safely home, pondering what it will be like in the future – when war and pollution won’t exist anymore, and when cities will be built to be inhabited peacefully and joyfully. Then, we won’t hear of someone giving orders to bomb and burn buildings and monuments. The Feast has pictured this soon-coming time of peace. It is good to be reminded of it, knowing that it will soon be reality for all mankind.

Where to Now?

On Saturday, November 8, 2003, Edwin Pope will be presenting the sermon, “Where to Now?”

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