Update 150


Who Is In Control

On Saturday, July 3, 2004, Norbert Link will be giving the sermon titled: “Who Is In Control?”

The services can be heard at www.cognetservices.org at 12:30 pm Pacific Time (which is 2:30 pm Central Time). Just click on Connect to Live Stream.

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National Identity

by Brian Gale (United Kingdom)

In the last few weeks, the flag of St George, the patron saint of England, has been seen flying from houses and cars across England. The reason is that England has been playing in the European Cup along with 15 other finalists in the football (soccer) competition that has gripped the whole of Europe. This competition, held in Portugal and which occurs every four years, has been top of the news agenda across the UK and the continent.

But there are those in England who believe that this football competition has come at a time when an excuse or a reason has been found to show the nation that they are English and proud of it. The problem has been that through the innate fair play of the average “Brit,” the political correctness of the liberals and the establishment have taken advantage of the locals and that fair play appears to be shown to everyone except those members of the indigenous population. The British culture has been subjugated to accommodate every other culture which then seems to be given preference over that which the “locals” have enjoyed for many a long century. As one commentator remarked recently, “It is only since the sixties that the reformers have sought to change the country to suit the supposed wishes of migrants, rather than requiring migrants to conform to local customs.”

Some companies have told their employees not to fly these English flags from their cars, because it might offend others forgetting that it is indeed England where they live. So many of the “Brits” in general – and the English in this particular case – have become so fed up with being told that they can’t do this, that, or the other in their own country because foreigners in their midst could be offended, that a mini-backlash seems to have occurred. It is not certain that many even realize it, but a football competition has been the catalyst for so many to proudly display their national identity. While in this context I am writing about the English, it may well have been a chance for others in the UK – the Scots, Irish or Welsh – to do the same had such an opportunity arisen.

Some of this may well be a backlash to the prophecy in Deuteronomy 28:43 – which are the curses for disobedience – and which states that “the alien (stranger) who is among you shall rise higher and higher above you, and you shall come down lower and lower. Also Hosea 7:9 paints a similar picture – “Aliens have devoured his strength, But he does not know it…”

The way of God is not understood, prophecy is dismissed and the nation goes from bad to worse. Only the return of Christ will sort out the mess that envelops the UK and the rest of the world. Then, the people of the world will have identity – not the national identity displayed by flags on houses and cars, but identity as the people of God in a society where all people will be treated fairly irrespective of nationality.

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Porn Law Falls!

“The Supreme Court [of the United States] ruled Tuesday that a law meant to punish pornographers who peddle dirty pictures to Web-surfing kids is probably an unconstitutional muzzle on free speech” (www.comcast.net, 6/29/04).

The First Amendmendment rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution served as a basis for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) winning this descision. Quoting an ACLU spokesperson from the above article, ” ‘The Status quo is still with us and the court made it safe for artist, sex educators and Web publishers to communicate with adults without risking jail time.’ “

A spokesman for the Justice Department denounced the ruling citing the continuing opposition of the High Court in the serious matter of protecting children from obscenity. Summarizing, the above article noted that “Material that is indecent but not obscene is protected by the First amendment. Adults may see or purchase it, but children may not.”

Moral decadence has been an ongoing issue in most Western societies–especially is the skyrocketing influence of vulgar entertainment propigated by the mass media such as movies, television and music videos. Now, with the advent of computers and the ubiquitious internet, filthy and depraved images are arriving as unwanted spam–an issue beyond those who specifically seek to personally experience such vile imagery!

It is simply BECAUSE OF THESE KINDS OF PRACTICES which are in such blatant defiance of God’s way that our nations along with all the nations will be brought into account by God! Speaking through Isaiah, God gives us this warning: ” ‘…Those who lead you cause you to err, And destroy the way of your paths’ ” (Isaiah 3:12).

Isaiah also records this powerfull rebuke from God: “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter” (Isaiah 5:20).

Is it any wonder that there is such great resistance to the idea of “Democracy” among the Moslem world? Freedom of speech–in fact any kind of so-called freedom–is destined to engulf its practioners in vain leaderless futility unless it is derived from the true way revealed in the unbreakable word of God!

Pity Sudan!

Caught up in the midst of unspeakable cruelty, the nation of Sudan has this week received some world attention through the visit of Secretary of State Colin Powell. As reported in FT.com (6/30/2004): “Diplomatic pressure on Sudan to stop violence and facilitate relief work in its western Darfur region intensified yesterday as both Colin Powell, US secretary of state, and Kofi Annan, United Nations secretary-general, visited the country.”

The article continues: “About 1m [million] people have been displaced and at least 10,000 are thought to have died in a wave of repression following the emergence of local insurgent movements early last year.” This tragedy comes on the heels of several decades of dismal violence: “The ongoing conflict has left 2 million people dead and forced an estimated 4 million to flee their homes, leaving Sudan with the highest internally displaced population in the world” (www.careusa.org 6/30/2004).

The immediate future is absolutely bleak for Sudan. From www.worldnetdaily.com (6/22/2004): “Amnesty International has predicted 350,000 are ‘most likely to die’ during the upcoming rainy season. The French group Doctors Without Borders has declared ‘the whole population [of Darfur] is teetering on the verge of mass starvation.'” Continuing from this report: “‘We estimate right now if we get relief in, we’ll lose a third of a million people, and if we don’t the death rates could be dramatically higher, approaching a million people,’ said USAID chief Andrew Natsios after a high-level U.N. meeting in Geneva this month.”

Sudan, while posing a ghastly case of genocidal suffering and destruction, is certainly not the only troubled area of Africa. AIDS is devastating whole nations with the inevitable time-bomb of agonizing death. A radio report from the BBC mentions that there are 300,000 young gang members in a part of South Africa all growing in ways patterned after United States gangs. Tribal and religious rivalries are so rampant that they spill across borders and destabilize fragile governments already tested by poverty.

While the world focuses on the Middle East and the U.S. and British led war on terror, the words of Jesus Christ found in Matthew 24 continue to find their fulfillment. Noting verse 7, we find this overview of a world in profoundly desperate straights: “‘For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.’ “

However, the good news is that there is real hope for the future. God has promised to send His Son back to this earth to bring His Kingdom and true peace! A further promise of God is found in Isaiah 2, verse 4. In times of bleakness and discouragement, these words are recorded for our encouragement: “Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, Neither shall they learn war anymore.”

New EU Leader

Following up swiftly on its constitutional agreement, the European Union leaders have chosen Jose Manuel Durao Barroso, prime minister of Portugal, as the next European Commission chief. This appointment is for five years and comes at a pivotal moment in Europe’s emerging alignments.

From www.reuters.co.uk 6/30/2004, Barroso “vowed to make the EU ‘stronger, even more cohesive and just, and MORE INTERVENING ON THE INTERNATIONAL SCENE’ ” (emphasis added). It appears that the test for these strategic appointments is whether or not one will lead as a “European”–with individual national interests less important than the overall goals of the new Europe!

The Seattle Post-intelligencer (6/29/04) reported that, “As prime minister of Portugal, Jose Durao Barroso has gained a reputation as resolute and unbending.” A few weeks after Mr. Barroso takes office, the issue of whether to pursue talks with Turkey as an additional member of the EU will be formally discussed.

Although Mr. Barroso has been openly supportive of the U.S. and even to some extent the war on terror, his views are not held by the most powerful members of the EU. He will inherit a growing divisive relationship with the United States and Europe. Following a two-day NATO summit in Istanbul, Turkey, “U.S. President George W. Bush has repeated a call for the European Union to admit Turkey, despite criticism of France’s President Jacques Chirac that he was meddling in EU affairs” (CNN.com 6/29/2004).

This same CNN report had this ominous quote from the U.S. president: “Bush said Tuesday that Turkey belongs in the EU and that Europe is ‘NOT THE EXCLUSIVE CLUB OF A SINGLE RELIGION…” (emphasis added). However, as the future will show, this is exactly what the United States of Europe will become — and voices are already being heard, in addition to that of Mr.Chirac, telling Mr. Bush, who is extremely unpopular in Europe and especially in France and Germany, to keep “his nose out of European affairs.”

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Can you prove from Scripture that the Sabbath is still in effect and is to be kept, today?

Listed below are seven proofs, when taken together, show that the Sabbath is still in effect and to be observed by Christians today.

1) Mark 2:27-28 — The Sabbath was made specifically for man, and Christ is the Lord of the Sabbath, not some other day.

2) Genesis 2:2-3 — The Sabbath was made by God through Christ at the same time that man was made, and was set apart as holy time for all mankind forever.

3) Exodus 16 — Israel had lost the knowledge of the Sabbath in the Egyptian slavery and God showed them which day it was by means of special miracles – and thereby, re-emphasized the importance of keeping the Sabbath holy.

4) Exodus 20: 8-11) — The Sabbath was one of the Ten Commandments.

5) Luke 4:16 — Jesus kept the Sabbath.

6) Acts 17:2 — Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, also kept the Sabbath.

7) Isaiah 66:23 — The Sabbath will be kept in the future when God’s Kingdom will be ruling on the earth.

From this we see 1) that the Sabbath was made for man, 2) that It was established as holy time, set aside for man forever, 3) that it was given before Israel was given the Ten Commandments, 4) that it is one of the Ten Commandments, 5 that Jesus kept it, 6) that Paul kept it, and 7) that it will be kept in the Millennium when God’s Kingdom will rule.

It is interesting to note in Acts 15 that the apostles and elders had come together because of various disputes which had to be cleared up. If there were any question concerning the Sabbath or the annual holy days, surely they would have been discussed at that meeting.

Thus we, as Christians, ought to be keeping the Sabbath, today. For further proof, please read our free booklet, “God’s Commanded Holy Days.”

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Latest Booklet

Our new booklet, entitled “Sickness and Healing, What the Bible Tells Us,” has arrived from the printers in England and has been sent to those on our mailing list. You may also access this publication by going to the Church’s web site: www.eternalgod.org.

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How This Work is Financed

This Update is an official publication by the ministry of the Church of the Eternal God in the United States of America; the Church of God, a Christian Fellowship in Canada; and the Global Church of God in the United Kingdom.

Editorial Team: Norbert Link, Dave Harris, Rene Messier, Brian Gale, Margaret Adair, Johanna Link, Eric Rank, Michael Link, Anna Link, Kalon Mitchell, Manuela Mitchell, Dawn Thompson

Technical Team: Eric Rank, Shana Rank

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