Update 243


Inherit the Promises Through Faith and Patience

On May 13, 2006, Edwin Pope will give the sermon, titled, “Inherit the Promises Through Faith and Patience.”

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

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God Offers Us Protection–But How?

by Norbert Link

“American Hiroshima”… “Nuclear Nightmare for America”… “Nuclear
Attack against Iran”… “Preparations for Nuclear Holocaust within the
USA.” These are frightening news reports, which should wake us up to
the dangerous and terrible times in which we are living. Man’s
civilization, as we know it, is drawing closer to its end. Devastating
and disastrous events– unparalleled in the history of man– are fast

Is there no hope for any of us? Is there no protection even for those who are obedient to God and who are pleasing Him?

have felt the need to explain God’s mercy and justice by developing the
concept of the “secret rapture.” The assumption is that Jesus will
first come secretly for His disciples or saints by “rapturing” them to
heaven where they will be protected during the time of the “Great
Tribulation” which will ravage the earth. According to that theory,
Christ will return with His disciples or saints from heaven to this
earth after that terrible time of devastation has past. Books and
movies have popularized this idea in recent years–known as the “Left
Behind” series.

However, as “The Plain Truth” magazine explains
in an article, which was published in February of 1963, “The idea of a
secret rapture of the saints was unknown to any Christian body before
the sixteenth century. Joseph Ribera, Cardinal Bellarmine and Alcasar,
Jesuit Priests of the sixteenth century, were the first Christian
authorities to promulgate this idea. Even in their day the idea was
unclear, but the basic roots of the doctrine began at this time
(Sources omitted). Later, around 1825, Samuel R. Maitland, Librarian to
the Archbishop of Canterbury, embraced the belief, although its basic
tenets were still unclear in his day. It wasn’t until 1830 that this
belief began to take its modern definition. ‘The Catholic Apostolic
Church had its beginning in 1830. It was founded in Britain… by men
who claimed divine inspiration. They said the Holy Spirit revealed to
them that the last days had come, that the Lord was about to return,
that first He would “rapture” the believers who were ready, at a secret
coming… after which [the great tribulation] Christ would come in
manifest power’ (Sources omitted).”

The Bible does not teach a
secret rapture. Rather, God’s Word reveals that Christ will return
ONCE, NOT TWICE (Hebrews 9:28). He will come openly, not in secret
(Matthew 24:21-31; Revelation 1:7; Acts 1:10-11), and He will END the
Great Tribulation at the time of His Coming by establishing the Kingdom
of God here on earth (Revelation 11:15-18). Mark 13:24-27 specifically
states: “But in those days, AFTER that tribulation, the sun will be
darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars of heaven
will fall, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. THEN they will
SEE the Son of Man COMING in the clouds with great power and glory. And
THEN [not before then] He will send His angels, and gather together His

Christ will come at the time of the LAST TRUMPET when
His elect will be resurrected from the dead or changed to immortality
(1 Thessalonians 4:15-17; 1 Corinthians 15:50-52). There can only be
ONE last trumpet, which means, there can only be ONE return of Christ.

the Bible reveals that there can be protection from the terrible times
to come–but that protection will not be provided in heaven, but on
earth. As we explain in our free booklet, “The Great Tribulation and
the Day of the Lord
,” beginning on page 58, Christ promises His people,
who are worthy, a way to “escape all these things that will come to
pass” (Luke 21:34-36; compare Revelation 3:10; Zephaniah 2:3; Psalm
31:19-20). That “place of refuge” (Proverbs 14:26) will be on this
earth–not in heaven (Revelation 12:14; Isaiah 33:16; Isaiah 26:20-21).
Yes, God will have prepared “a place for us” to protect us from the
Great Tribulation. Even though God CAN protect us anywhere He wants, He
has decreed that His people will be protected at a certain place here
on earth–the place of safety and “shelter” (Joel 3:14-16). Christ
compares the time preceding His coming with the time of Noah (Matthew
24:37-39), and as God protected Noah and his family in the ark, here on
earth, so He will protect His people on this earth in the way that HE
has chosen. And He will NOT protect them by “rapturing” them to heaven!

idea of a rapture to heaven–secret or otherwise–is nowhere taught in
Scripture. It is an invention by man which can give us no real hope, as
it is not based on God’s Word. But God does offer us His protection, if
we prove ourselves worthy to receive it.

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Android Or Human?

The Korea Times reported on May 5:

“Standing 1.6 meters tall and weighing about 50 kilograms, she can understand others, speak, blink with her eyes and makes several facial expressions. But she is not human, rather an android developed by a team of South Korean scientists. It is only the second time in the world that an android has been developed–Japan made the first one… [The android, named EveR-1] looks just like a Korean female in her early 20s including her shape that is benchmarked against the nation’s model. The human-sized robot can understand 400 words and make eye contact while talking via her lips that are synchronized with the pronunciation of words. Fifteen tiny motors embedded into her silicon face enable her to make a total of four expressions in tune with as many sentiments–joy, anger, sorrow and happiness. From a distance, the android could be confused with a real, flesh and blood human being, according to [inventor] Baeg [Moonhong]. ‘EveR-1 amply demonstrates our robotic technologies are at the forefront in the world. We will continue to make efforts to advance,” Baeg said.

“Only Japan was faster than Baeg’s team in making an android as the country developed a life-size female robot in 2003, dubbed ACTROID. It cannot move because it is glued to the floor. Neither does EveR-1. The Korean robot can move the upper half of her body such as arms and hands but she cannot travel because her lower half is immobile. Baeg, who spent just 3 billion won in creating EveR-1 in a year, is looking to exceed his Japanese rivals by making the model move four limbs by late this year. ‘For now, EveR-1 can be employed as a guide robot at museums and department stores or as an educational model to read books to children,” Baeg said. ‘But we are looking further ahead–we are working on upgrading the android with the aim of making it move its legs by the end of this year. It will be able to sit down and stand up by then,’ he expects.”

In a somewhat related article, AFP wrote on May 9:

“It may sound like science fiction, but the prospect that suicide bombers and hijackers could be made redundant by flying robots is a real one, according to experts. The technology for remote-controlled light aircraft is now highly advanced, widely available — and, experts say, virtually unstoppable… Japanese company Yamaha has produced [a] 95-kilogram (209-pound) robot helicopter that is 3.6 metres (11.8 feet) long and has a 256 cc engine. It flies close to the ground at about 20 kilometres per hour (12 miles per hour), nothing but an incredible stroke of luck could stop it if it suddenly appeared in the sky above the White House — and it is already on the market. Bruce Simpson, an engineer from New Zealand, managed to produce an even more dangerous contraption in his own garage: a mini-cruise missile. He made it out of readily available materials at a cost of less than 5,000 dollars (4,000 euros). According to Simpson’s website… the New Zealand authorities forced him to shut down the project… under pressure from the United States.”

Is the next World War going to be fought with the help of androids and robots? The Bible might indicate that much. Although clearly using figurative language, the book of Revelation describes modern warfare in these interesting terms: “Then out of the smoke locusts came upon the earth. And to them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power… Their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it strikes a man… The shape of the locusts was like horses prepared for battle. On their heads were crowns of something like gold, and their faces were like the faces of men. They had hair like women’s hair, and their teeth were like lions’ teeth. And they had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the sound of their wings was like the sound of chariots with many horses running to battle. They had tails like scorpions, and there were stings in their tails. Their power was to hurt men five months” (Revelation 9:3-10).

The Vatican Clashes With China

On May 4, 2006, The Associated Press reported the following:

“The Vatican lashed out Thursday at Beijing, announcing the excommunication of two bishops who were ordained by China’s state-controlled church without Pope Benedict XVI’s consent. Benedict’s first major political clash since his election as pontiff a year ago dimmed hopes for any re-establishment soon of official ties between the Holy See and Beijing that ended after communists took control of China in 1949. Also automatically excommunicated for defying the pope were the bishops who performed the ordinations in separate ceremonies since Sunday, according to a provision of church law cited by Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls. Benedict learned about the defiant ordinations ‘with great sadness,’ said Navarro-Valls. ‘It is a great wound to the unity of the church.’ The Vatican said that according to its information, ‘bishops and priests have been subjected–by institutions outside the church–to strong pressures and threats, in order for them to take part in the ordinations that, because they were not approved by the Vatican, are illegitimate and go against their conscience… We are therefore faced with a grave violation of religious freedom,’… adding that the Vatican ‘had thought and had hoped that such deplorable episodes belonged to the past.'”

The Associated Press added the following in an article, dated May 7:

“China’s official Roman Catholic church named a new bishop Sunday — reportedly with papal approval — as Beijing rejected Vatican criticism of the unauthorized ordination of two other bishops… China’s Catholics were forced to cut ties to the Vatican after the 1949 communist revolution. But the Holy See and China’s church communicate informally… Chinese church leaders recognize the pope as their spiritual leader and have sent priests to Rome to learn new religious doctrine. But Beijing says it will not allow official contact until the Vatican breaks diplomatic ties with Taiwan, the self-ruled island that China claims as its own territory… The Vatican rejects most government involvement in the selection of church figures. But in Vietnam, another Asian communist nation, bishops are appointed after consultation with the government… A State Department report last week ranked China among eight ‘countries of particular concern’ that deny religious openness. Beijing on Saturday criticized the report as irresponsible and said it could harm U.S.-Chinese ties.”

USA vs. Russia

The Financial Times reported on May 4:

“Dick Cheney, the US vice-president, delivered a stinging criticism of Russian president Vladimir Putin’s rule, warning the Kremlin against using gas and oil supplies as ‘tools of intimidation and blackmail’ and accusing the Russian authorities of ‘unfairly’ restricting the rights of their citizens. It was the strongest public rebuke made by a senior American official of Russia’s growing authoritarianism and its increasing willingness to employ energy policy for political ends.”

According to an article by Reuters of May 4, “The Kremlin on Thursday rejected as ‘completely incomprehensible’ remarks by Vice President Dick Cheney that Russia was backsliding on democracy and using its vast energy supplies to bully its neighbors.”

The Associated Press filed this report:

“[Cheney’s criticism] was a hard slap at Vladimir Putin as the United States seeks Russia’s cooperation in punishing Iran… [It] came just two months before President Bush joins Putin in St. Petersburg for a summit of major industrial powers. Cheney warned that Russia’s backsliding could harm Moscow’s relations with the United States and Europe…  Russian officials reacted angrily. ‘Cheney’s speech looks like a provocation and interference in Russia’s internal affairs in terms of its content, form and place,’ former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency.”

The Associated Press reported on May 5:

“A Russian newspaper said Friday that Vice President Dick Cheney’s harsh criticism of Moscow’s human rights record signaled the start of a new Cold War. The Kommersant business daily compared Cheney’s speech Thursday in neighboring Lithuania to Winston Churchill’s famous ‘Iron Curtain’ speech in Fulton, Mo., saying in that it ‘marked the beginning of a second Cold War.’ Churchill coined the ‘Iron Curtain’ expression in his 1946 speech that warned of Soviet expansion.”

To Pray Or Not To Pray…

The Associated Press reported on May 4:

“President Bush said Thursday that America’s history is inexorably tied to prayer. ‘America is a nation of prayer. It’s impossible to tell the story of our nation without telling the story of people who pray,’ Bush said during a White House celebration of the National Day of Prayer. ‘At decisive moments in our history and in quiet times around family tables, we are a people humbled and strengthened and blessed by prayer.’ Bowing his head many times as Christian and Jewish leaders offered prayers, the president thanked those who pray for him, calling it the greatest gift a citizen can offer him…

“Bush was careful to also honor those who choose not to pray, or join any religion. ‘We are a people united by our love for freedom, even when we differ in our personal beliefs,’ the president said. ‘In America, we are free to profess any faith we choose, or no faith at all.'”

Merkel A Key Player

Der Spiegel Online reported the following on May 4 regarding Angela Merkel’s second visit in Washington this week, since becoming German Chancellor:

“Both US President George W. Bush and German Chancellor Angela Merkel emphasized their growing friendship on Wednesday. Merkel even invited Bush to visit her constituency. But Iran dominated their talks.  Merkel’s stay in Washington was overshadowed by tough decisions approaching on Iran… Speaking to the White House press corps, Merkel said: ‘We are in total agreement saying that under no circumstances can Iran be allowed to come into possession of nuclear weapons.’

“While Germany is not a permanent member of the Security Council, Merkel has evolved into a key player in trying to keep the council members on the same page and working toward the same goal. She has often taken on the role of slowing down Bush’s headlong rush to penalize Iran. On Wednesday, while agreeing that something had to be done, she once again went to her trusted playbook, saying: ‘It is crucial, if one wants to see this conclude with a diplomatic success, to actually do this on a step-by-step basis. Quite often, attempts have been made to rush matters.’… In the evening, she will address the 100[th] anniversary celebration of the American Jewish Committee — and she will become the first German chancellor ever to address the group.”

Father’s Day–So Innocent?

 Der Spiegel Online filed this interesting report on May 4 about upcoming Father’s Day celebrations:

“It sounds so innocent: Father’s Day. But in Germany, it can often turn into drunken mayhem… On a certain Thursday towards the end of May, don’t be surprised to walk outside your door and find grown men slumped against lampposts, or lolling dazed and confused in wooden carts, clutching barrels of beer. This is Father’s Day, German style. While in many countries the Father’s Day ritual involves little more than writing a card and giving the gift of a new pair of socks — with breakfast in bed thrown in if the pater familias is especially lucky — the Germans have turned it into a true holiday for the country’s men. They are granted carte blanche to get riotously rip-roaring drunk. The day always coincides with Ascension Thursday, a public holiday in Germany which falls 40 days after Easter… The Father’s Day tradition, which is also called Herrentag, originated in the 18th century, and since then has always fallen on Ascension Thursday — the original idea being to celebrate Jesus returning to the holy Father. Traditionally men would be placed in a cart or carriage and brought to the town or village square, and the proud father who had sired the most children received a prize from the mayor, often a big piece of ham. By the 19th century, colorful parades became common, featuring horse-drawn carriages and traditional walks by men and women commemorating the walking of the apostles. By the late 19th century, as religion lost its hold on many, particularly in urban areas, the day evolved into men going on little walking trips, and bringing picnics of ham and beer in handkerchiefs tied to their walking sticks. By the 20th century it had reached its current incarnation: The Day of Drink…

“The bad name that the day now has for ‘boozing and beating’ has led some left-wing and feminist groups calling for it to be banned. Another unpleasant aspect is that neo-Nazi groups have been known to take advantage of the occasion to go looking for trouble… The best advice for Father’s Day in Germany might be to approach with caution, or better yet, to stay indoors. Why not sit back on your balcony, sipping a beer safe from harm? From there, you can observe the beast in his natural habitat: merrily staggering down the street in search of the next drink or slumped unconscious in a wooden cart.”

Tony Blair In Deep Trouble

Der Spiegel Online published an article on May 3, 2006, with the headline: “Nightmare on Downing Street.” It listed the following scandals which plague the current government:

“A parliamentary committee has launched an inquiry after it emerged that some people who had been nominated for peerages by Blair had given Labour large loans before the 2005 election. The affair has been widened to include loans to the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats… Home Secretary Charles Clarke has faced calls to quit after he acknowledged 1,023 foreign prisoners had been released when they should have been considered for deportation after they served their term. Unfortunately for Clarke, several of the released prisoners re-offended. Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, a bullish man who once punched a heckler for throwing eggs in the 2001 election campaign, has been humiliated by revelations of a two-year affair with his diary secretary Tracey Temple, 43. She has alleged that sexual encounters took place in Prescott’s office with the door ajar while a team of civil servants worked outside. Government departments are now to conduct an enquiry into whether Prescott abused his position… A newspaper reported that the Labour Party spent $13,700 on hair-styling bills for Blair’s wife Cherie during last year’s month-long general election campaign… Culture Minister Tessa Jowell overcame weeks of negative press coverage in March over prosecutors’ claims that former Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi paid her husband David Mills for helpful testimony in two court cases. Mills denies wrong-doing. Taken together, the headlines have created the impression of a government in crisis. Infighting over education reform hasn’t helped, nor has continuing criticism of the performance of the National Health Service, one of the key areas of Labour policy. The situation has reached the point where MPs and cabinet ministers have been embarrassed to face voters and local councillors campaigning ahead of Thursday’s local election…”

The local elections last Thursday resulted in a stunning defeat for Tony Blair’s Labour party. Der Spiegel Online reported on May 5:

“English voters gave British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s Labour Party a drubbing in this week’s local elections, prompting Blair to reshuffle his cabinet on Friday… Like rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic, was how Labour politician and former minister Frank Dobson described Thursday’s cabinet reshuffle… [Tony Blair’s] party suffered its worse defeat to the Conservative Party since 1992… On Thursday, all eyes were on Downing Street to see who emerged looking downfallen. Unsurprisingly Home Secretary Charles Clarke was sacked in the wake of a scandal involving over 1,000 foreign serious criminals including murderers and sex offenders, who were released from prison but not deported as government policy dictates… More surprisingly was Jack Straw’s apparent demotion from foreign secretary to leader of the House of Commons. This move, however, according to the British daily The Guardian, was at the request of Straw himself. He will be replaced by Margaret Beckett, a faithful Blairite and Britain’s first female foreign secretary… After the Prescott sex scandal, the foreign offender row and threatened health service strikes, not to mention continued dissatisfaction with Blair’s position on Iraq, it would be hard to imagine how things could get worse for the Labour government.”

Euro At All-Time High

The Associated Press reported on May 6, 2006:

“Gold prices rose Friday, drawing support from a U.S. jobs report that sent the euro soaring to a one-year high. June gold rose to $686.50 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange moments after the monthly report on U.S. non-farm payrolls, stopping just shy of the fresh 25-year high of $687 hit in overnight trading… Worries about how Iran will react if the United Nations sanctions the country for continuing its nuclear program have been boosting commodities as a whole.

“The euro surged from $1.2691 about two minutes prior to the jobs report to a high for the day of $1.2763 that is its strongest level since last May… ‘The dollar fell out of bed,’ said John Person, president of National Futures Advisory Service. ‘We’re back to that scenario where when we see a stronger euro, we see gold prices accelerate as well.'”

Jerusalem To Be “Divided” Or “Shared”?

WorldNetDaily reported on May 5, 2006:

“Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s Kadima Party is drafting a plan to divide Jerusalem by unilaterally withdrawing from some of the city’s neighborhoods and making special arrangements for key holy sites, a top party official announced in an interview yesterday. ‘We will not divide Jerusalem, we will share it,’ Kadima lawmaker Otniel Schneller told the Associated Press. Most Jerusalem neighborhoods with large Arab populations would be given to the Palestinians, he said… Jerusalem’s Old City, its holy sites and adjacent neighborhoods would become a ‘special region with special understandings’ but remain under Israeli sovereignty. He did not specify whether that meant placing key holy sites under third-party custodianship.”

The article continued:

“Jerusalem first was divided into eastern and western sections when Jordan invaded and occupied Jerusalem and the Old City in 1947, expelling all Jewish inhabitants. Israel built its capital in the western part of the city, while the eastern quarters remained under Jordanian control until Israel captured it, along with the Old City, in 1967 after Jordan’s King Hussein ignored Israeli pleas for his country to stay out of the Six Day War. During the 19 years of Arab sovereignty, the ancient Jewish Quarter of the Old City was ravaged, 58 synagogues – some centuries old – were destroyed and slum dwellings were built abutting the Western Wall. Jews were not allowed to visit their holy places and Israeli Christians were subjected to many restrictions, with only limited numbers allowed to visit the Old City and Bethlehem at Christmas and Easter.”

Schwarzenegger Speaks Out On Immigration Issues

 The Los Angeles Times reported on May 6:

“In some of the harshest terms he has used to date, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Friday said the federal government has left the nation’s borders dangerously vulnerable while failing to come up with a sensible approach to immigration. Schwarzenegger, taking questions at a news conference on a multibillion-dollar public works package passed by the Legislature early Friday, blamed the Bush administration and Congress for the massive street protests and widespread public unhappiness over federal immigration policy. Marches in Los Angeles, Chicago and other cities, he said, ‘are an expression of frustration. People want to send a message to Washington that they’re not happy with certain bills… I think that all of this comes down to one thing: The federal government has failed the people of America in a terrible way, in a disastrous way, when it comes to this immigration situation.’… He chided federal policy-makers for letting the border problem ‘hang out there for 20 years and not do anything about it, when they knew this is a problem.’… He scolded Congress for leaving Washington last month for spring recess, after a proposed deal to revamp the nation’s immigration laws collapsed. ‘For them to go home for spring break and not really take care of it when they know this was boiling here in this country is also irresponsible,’ he said.”

America’s Other Prisoners

On May 5, 2006, Der Spiegel Online reprinted an article from the International Herald Tribune, titled, “America’s Other Prisoners.” We are publishing excerpts from the article to show that America is being viewed by some–rightly or wrongly–as a democratic nation which is fighting terrorism in ways that compromise human rights and even America’s own cherished freedoms.

In the article, it was pointed out:

“The jury in the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui has determined that he should spend his life in jail rather than be executed for his role in the Sept. 11 terror attacks. This seems like the best possible outcome. For all his bombast, Moussaoui had no direct role in the Sept. 11 attacks. And it is good to know that he will not achieve a fanatic’s martyrdom. The most important thing about the Moussaoui trial, however, was that it happened. The proceedings – including the jury deliberations – were long and difficult, but they were also fair and in accordance with the rules of American justice. That is not the story for hundreds of other people, many far less complicit than Moussaoui, who are languishing in the prison at Guantánamo Bay because the United States rounded them up haphazardly during the Afghan war and plunked them down in Cuba without any clear plan on what to do with them over the long run. So far only 10 of the 490 people still stashed away in Guantánamo have ever been charged with anything. The rest were hauled up before military proceedings that were a joke, if the available transcripts are any indication, to determine whether they should continue to be held without any rights or process under the phony label of ‘unlawful enemy combatant’ that the Bush administration concocted after Sept. 11 for just this purpose. This is not even a half-hearted stab at a day in court, and it leaves hundreds of people under indefinite, illegal detention.

“Among them are about 150 prisoners who the government says it would like to send home because they pose no threat to the United States, but feels it can’t. Some, like the Uighurs – Chinese Muslims – would face possible prison or torture if sent back to countries without basic regard for human rights. The Bush administration has put itself in a bizarre situation when it is forced to worry about the humane treatment of people it whisked off to Guantánamo without any serious attempt to determine who they were, much less what crime they may have committed. They were then held without charges, many under abusive conditions that sometimes amounted to torture, for more than three years.

“The Moussaoui trial was a messy process, marked by embarrassing lapses on the part of the prosecution, court fights about what information the defense could have access to and the weird demeanor of the defendant himself, which threatened at times to make the whole exercise seem ridiculous. It summarized, in the end, almost all the things about playing by the rules that the hard men who surround the president dislike. But it worked. The whole world was able to watch the U.S. judicial system struggling gamely and fairly toward a proper conclusion, upholding the principle that even semideranged outsiders who claim to rejoice in the deaths of more than 2,000 innocent civilians deserve their day in court. Meanwhile, the bitter fruits of the fast, easy, tough route are hidden away on a military base. It seems apparent now that many of them are simply luckless men who were in the most utterly wrong place in the world at the worst possible time. Those who may be something more sinister cannot be tried because their rights have been so compromised during their imprisonment. They are damaged goods, their very presence staining the honor of the country that imprisoned them, willy-nilly, because it seemed the easiest thing to do at the time.”

Legal Action Against Da Vinci Code?

On May 7, Reuters filed the following report:

‘In the latest Vatican broadside against ‘The Da Vinci Code’, a leading cardinal says Christians should respond to the book and film with legal action because both offend Christ and the Church he founded. Cardinal Francis Arinze, a Nigerian who was considered a candidate for pope last year, made his strong comments in a documentary called ‘The Da Vinci Code-A Masterful Deception.’ Arinze’s appeal came some 10 days after another Vatican cardinal called for a boycott of the film. Both cardinals asserted that other religions would never stand for offences against their beliefs and that Christians should get tough. ‘Christians must not just sit back and say it is enough for us to forgive and to forget,’ Arinze said in the documentary… ‘Sometimes it is our duty to do something practical. So it is not I who will tell all Christians what to do but some know legal means which can be taken in order to get the other person to respect the rights of others,’ Arinze said… The book, written by Dan Brown, has sold more than 40 million copies… The central tenet of the book is that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and had children… ‘Those who blaspheme Christ and get away with it are exploiting the Christian readiness to forgive and to love even those who insult us. There are some other religions which if you insult their founder they will not be just talking. They will make it painfully clear to you,’ Arinze said. This appeared to be a reference to protests by Muslims around the world over cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad.”

In his latest StandingWatch video, “American Hiroshima,” Norbert Link raises the question how long the Catholic Church will sit idly by before responding to blasphemous comments and actions by others. The video was taped and released before the above-quoted article was published.

Iran Can Also Be Wiped Off Of The Map

The Jerusalem Post reported on May 8:

“Vice Premier Shimon Peres said Monday in an interview to Reuters that ‘the president of Iran should remember that Iran can also be wiped off the map’… ‘Iran presents a danger to the entire world, not just to us,’ Peres added.”

On May 9, The Jerusalem Post added:

“‘Wiping Israel off the map is just one step in Iran’s attempt to create a new world order,’ said Brig.-Gen Yosef Kuperwasser, head of the IDF Military Intelligence’s research division… ‘Iran is at the forefront of global terrorism, and aids Hizbullah in Lebanon, al Qaida, and Palestinian terror organizations, and is behind attacks on US armed forces in Iraq,’ the general asserted… ‘Nuclear capabilities would ensure that regime returns to its former glory and revives the Islamic revolution there,” he explained.”

Reuters reported on May 9 about the expected failed attempt by the Security Council to agree on measures against Iran:

“More work is needed to unite world powers behind a U.N. resolution to rein in Iran’s nuclear ambitions, Germany said on Tuesday after foreign ministers failed to agree [on] a joint strategy… Russia and China oppose [measures against Iran, as proposed by the United States, Britain and France, as well as Germany]… China, which like Russia has big energy interests in Iran, repeated its call for negotiations to end the dispute… The United States has refused to rule out military action but… reiterated that it wanted a diplomatic resolution… Britain’s new foreign minister, Margaret Beckett, said no one intended to take military action but refused to describe such a prospect as ‘inconceivable.'”

On May 9, The Associated Press reported:

“Political directors from the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France as well as Germany made the decision to present Tehran with the possible carrots and sticks at a meeting after their foreign ministers failed Monday night to reach agreement on the resolution. As a result of Tuesday’s decision, political directors from the three European countries that had been spearheading negotiations with Iran will spend the next few days preparing a package of benefits and sanctions… The package will be presented to European Union foreign ministers on the sidelines of an EU meeting in Brussels, Belgium, on Monday, and when approved will be presented to the Iranian government.”

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Do you teach that the Bible discourages or prohibits interracial marriages?

We do. It is important to understand what the Bible has to say about the subject of interracial marriages.

us first of all explain that no ethnic group, race or color is superior
or better than another. The concept, as taught by Hitler and others,
that there exists a master race is simply demonic. This Satanic concept
was derived from the equally demonic concept of the Evolution Theory,
which holds that only the fittest animals survive and that those less
fit die out. Hitler, adopting racial theories taught by quite a few at
his time inside and outside Germany, applied the Evolution Theory to
man (after all, according to that abominable concept, man is just the
highest developed form of an animal). Hitler postulated that the
Germanic race was a superior master race to all other races. As
mentioned, this idea, which caused mass murders of millions of innocent
people, is clearly inspired by Satan and nowhere taught in the Bible.

Word teaches, however, that God created different races or colors for a
purpose. Biblically speaking, and as explained below, God created
basically three different races or colors–the yellow, the white and
the black. God made of one blood all the nations of men (Acts 17:26).
Eve is identified as the mother of all humans (Genesis 3:20). All
humans are children of God through Adam, and God intends for all to
repent in order to attain to the potential of man–the reason for man’s
creation: to become a born-again spiritual member of the God Family
(Galatians 3:28-29; 1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9; Revelation 21:3-7).

a letter from the Personal Correspondence Department of the Worldwide
Church of God, dated January 1988, the long-standing teaching of the
Church was set forth as follows: “God created Eve with the capability
of producing children having the varied characteristics that are now
manifested in the different races… The children and grandchildren of
Adam and Eve would have naturally separated into families of racially
similar people, and as they continued to marry within their own groups,
distinct racial traits would have become established. God tells us that
He separated the families of man and decreed the boundaries of their
dwelling places (Deuteronomy 32:8; Acts 17:26). Natural barriers, such
as mountain ranges and oceans, would have served to keep the racial
families apart and prevent amalgamation. Thus, God intended that there
be different races and He caused them to develop.”

In a related
letter from the Personal Correspondence Department of the Worldwide
Church of God, dated January 1988, these additional statements were

“Anciently, God separated the different races by giving
each its own area of the world to develop (Genesis 10:5, 32…). He
placed them where geographic features… formed great natural barriers
and boundaries between them. He obviously did not want different people
to intermingle. Notice also that Abraham… was deeply concerned that
his son Isaac should find a wife among his own people rather than from
among the Canaanites, who were a different people (Genesis 24). In
turn, Isaac instructed his son Jacob to go back to their ancestral home
to find a wife (Genesis 28:1-2)… It is in keeping with these biblical
principles, then, for a person to marry someone of the same race and
who is compatible in personality, culture, temperament, and outlook on
life. Disregarding these principles is likely to result in problems and
hardships for the couple and for the children.”

Some claim that
Abraham and Isaac only asked their sons not to marry a Canaanite woman
because the Canaanites were pagan idol worshippers. They say that the
request had nothing to do with race–even though Isaac and Jacob were
white, while the Canaanites were black (Canaan was the son of Ham. The
word Ham means “dark.” On the other hand, Genesis 22:11 describes
Sarai, Abram’s wife, as “fair” or of “beautiful countenance.” The word
in Hebrew means, “bright.” A scroll from the Dead Sea states about
Sarai that “her brightness was lovely.”)

The concept that
Abraham’s and Isaac’s son were not to marry a Canaanite woman just
because of her religion cannot be correct. We read in Genesis 11:28
that Abraham (then called Abram) lived in Ur of the Chaldeans. Ur means
“fire”–it was a place of worship of the pagan fire god. Joshua 24:2,
14 tells us that Abram’s relatives were idol worshippers. The Broadman
Bible Commentary states: “Both Ur and Haran [where Abram went, when he
left Ur] were important centers of moon worship, and his living there
indicates that Terah [Abram’s father] probably was involved in that
cult. The fact, however, that Terah practiced idolatry (Josh. 24:2)
does not mean that he was not also acquainted with the true God. Laban
asserts that the God of Nahor and Terah was the God of Abraham

The Bible strongly indicates that Abraham’s
relatives, Laban, Rebekkah and Rachel, were still involved in idolatry
at the time when Abraham’s servant appeared to seek a wife for Isaac,
and when Jacob came to live with that family. We read that upon Jacob’s
departure, his wife Rachel stole the housegod idols of her father Laban
(Genesis 31:34, 30). From this it follows that Abraham’s and Isaac’s
request of their sons not to marry a Canaanite woman (the Canaanites
were idol worshippers) was not ONLY based on religion (as Laban and his
household were still engaged in idol worship, too). It HAD to also be
based on race. The following explanations will make this fact clearer.

introduce the next section, let us just state that the Church of the
Eternal God and its corporate affiliates, the Church of God, a
Christian Fellowship in Canada, and the Global Church of God in the
United Kingdom, reconfirmed our position during our last conference in
March of 2006 that we teach what was taught under Mr. Herbert W.
Armstrong (1892-1986), who was the late human leader of the Church of
God. Unless we can prove from Scripture that doctrines or practices,
which were taught by Mr. Armstrong, were wrong, we will abide by those
doctrines and practices.

With this background, let us focus on
Mr. Armstrong’s book “Mystery of the Ages.” In that book, Mr. Armstrong
had much to say about the origin of the races and the concept of
interracial marriage. When discussing the reasons for the worldwide
flood at the time of Noah, Mr. Armstrong pointed out the following, on
page 147 (hard copy):

“Noah was ‘perfect’ in his generations
[Genesis 6:9 reads: “Noah was a just man, perfect in his
generations.”]. That is, his heredity, ancestry (Genesis 6:9). Proof of
this lies in the meaning of the Hebrew word translated ‘perfect.’ It
may refer either to spiritual character (Genesis 17:1) or to physical
characteristics (Leviticus 22:21). Therefore Genesis 6:9 allows the
translation that Noah was either ‘blameless’ or ‘unblemished.’ The
context (Genesis 6:2) clearly indicates the latter is the intended
meaning of ‘perfect.’ So a good rendering of Genesis 6:9 is that Noah
was the only ‘just’ man (in spiritual character), and also
‘unblemished’ (in his genetic heritage) among his contemporaries.”

26 of The Companion Bible seems to confirm this understanding. Note its
comments about this Hebrew word, translated “perfect” or “unblemished”
in verse 9 of Genesis 6:

“The Heb. word tamiym means without
blemish, and is the technical word for bodily and physical perfection,
and, not moral. Hence it is used of animals of sacrificial
purity. It is rendered without blemish in Ex. 12.5; 29.1;
Lev. 1.3, 10; 3.1, 6; 4.3, 23, 28, 32; 5.12, 18; 6.6; 9.2, 3; 14.10;
22.19; 23.12, 18; Num. 6.14; 28.19, 31; 29.2, 8, 13, 20, 23, 29, 32,
36; Ezek. 43.22, 23, 25; 45.18, 23; 46.4, 6, 13. Without spot: Num.
19.2; 28.3, 9, 11; 29.17, 26.”

Mr. Armstrong, when describing the worldwide conditions at the time of Noah, continued on pages 148-149:

men ‘took them wives of all which THEY chose [Genesis 6:2].’ There was
rampant and universal interracial marriage–so exceedingly universal
that Noah, only, was unblemished or perfect in his generations–his
ancestry. He was of the original white strain. It is amply evident that
by the time of Noah there were at least the three primary or major
racial strains on earth, the white, yellow and black, although
interracial marriage produced many racial mixtures. God does not reveal
in the Bible the precise origin of the different races. It is evident
that Adam and Eve were created white. God’s chosen nation Israel was
white. Jesus was white. But it is a fair conjecture that in mother Eve
were created ovaries containing the yellow and black genes, as well as
white, so that some of the children of Adam and Eve gave rise to black,
yellow, as well as white. The one man God chose to PRESERVE the human
race alive after the Flood was perfect in his generations–all his
ancestry back to Adam was of the one strain, and undoubtedly that
happened to be white–NOT that white is in any sense superior…
[Noah’s] wife and three sons were of that same white strain. But
Japheth evidently had married an Oriental woman, and Ham a

Another way of explaining the existence of
different races would be that the three sons of Noah–Shem, Ham and
Japheth–were white, black and yellow. As mentioned before, the meaning
of the word “Ham” is black. This would mean that God created Eve with
the capacity of producing black, white and yellow offspring.

the Flood, Noah’s descendants tried to build a great tower at Babel, so
that they would not be “scattered abroad.” Mr. Armstrong comments on
these events on pages 151 and 152 of his book:

“These people were
not only of one language, they were of three races or families–white,
yellow and black. Just as God created varieties in many species of
flowers and of animals–for example, many varieties and colors of
roses–for greater beauty, so God created the three races and colors of
human skin. God intended to prevent racial intermarriages. But man has
always wanted to violate God’s laws, intentions and ways. They wanted
to become one race or family through intermarriage of races… God had
set the bounds of the races, providing for geographical segregation, in
peace and harmony but without discrimination. But the people wanted to
be of one amalgamated people. One purpose of the tower of Babel was to
unite them, and to prevent them from being scattered…”

But we read that God confounded their languages and scattered them abroad upon the face of all the earth.

claim that Judah, one of Jacob’s sons, married Shua, purportedly a
woman from a different race. This would not prove, however, that God
favored interracial marriages. The Bible contains many examples when
Judah did not live up to God’s standards. He even violated his own
daughter-in-law, and he was instrumental in selling his own brother
Joseph into slavery.

Some say that interracial marriage is
perfectly acceptable to God, as Joseph married an Egyptian and Moses an
Ethiopian. We discuss these episodes in the Q&A’s of Updates #138
and #136. IF Joseph married a pagan idol worshipper from a different
race, he would have been wrong (In any event, this argument does not
assist those who advocate interracial marriages, as they still have to
admit that Joseph would have acted wrongly by marrying an idol
worshipper.). But Joseph might not have done any of this. And Moses’
conduct might have occurred long before his conversion–before he
actually knew God and His laws, which would explain why God was angry
with Miriam and Aaron to bring up something which might have occurred
more than 40 years earlier. In any event, both episodes cannot be used
to prove that interracial marriages are in accordance with God’s will,
as both Updates explain in detail.

When God chose the nation of
Israel to offer them physical blessings, He never called them for
salvation. God fulfilled an unconditional promise that He had made to
Abraham, because of his unquestioned obedience and loyalty to God. On
pages 166-173, Mr. Armstrong explains the reason for the nation’s call
to PHYSICAL greatness:

“WHY did God raise up this special Hebrew
nation as the ‘chosen people’? WHY, when God never made accessible to
them his Holy Spirit? One point to notice here. The probability is that
these people were all–or nearly all– of the white racial strain,
unchanged since creation. After Jacob and his sons and families had
come into Egypt at Joseph’s behest, they were kept in the locale of
Goshen–geographically separated from the Egyptians, marrying among
themselves. In this connection, go back momentarily to Abraham. He
prevented his son Isaac from intermarrying among the dark Canaanites
then in the land… Jacob had six sons by Leah, two from Rachel–all of
the same original racial stock, and two each from the maids of Rachel
and Leah… Even the maids of Leah and Rachel undoubtedly were of pure
Hebrew stock… [Israel] became God’s chosen nation. BUT WHY?…

one reason was to preserve the original physical racial strain… Here
was a people of almost clear racial strain, and the God believing
heredity of Abraham, Isaac and Israel… They, despite their favorable
heredity, FAILED UTTERLY TO QUALIFY… The Promised Land was then
called Canaan. Canaanites, racially dark, had settled in the land. But
God had given this land to the racial descendants of Abraham BY
PROMISE! It did not belong to the Canaanites or other races settled
there… GOD INTENDED TO KEEP THEM [the nation of Israel] PHYSICALLY
SEPARATE from other nations–both nationally (racially) and
religiously. For them to intermarry with other races would result in
two things: It would interbreed them into other races, and mix them
into other idolatrous religions!… Much later, after the captivities
of both Israel and Judah, God sent a colony of Jews… to Jerusalem…
Against God’s command, the people of the colony began to intermarry
with Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Jebusites and other races, ‘so
that the holy seed [racially pure, for they had not the Holy Spirit] had mingled themselves with the people of those lands…’ (Ezra 9:2).”

Mr. Armstrong goes on to explain, God proved, by choosing a physical
nation with everything going for them, that they were still unable to
obey Him without His Holy Spirit within them. Their heredity and
environment, and even the fact that God Himself was among them, did NOT
prevent them from sinning and rebelling against Him. What a lesson of
history–and what a warning for us today, not to neglect the gift of
God’s Holy Spirit within us.

Some have claimed that Paul teaches
in Galatians 3:28 that interracial marriages are now in accordance with
God’s will. This is not true. Galatians 3:28 addresses the spiritual
potential of all men, from all races, ethnic groups or cultures. It
says: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free,
there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ
Jesus.” This Scripture cannot be used to justify interracial
marriages; because with the same argument, we might as well justify
homosexual or lesbian relationships (as it says, “there is neither male
nor female.”). As stated, this Scripture strictly addresses the
equality of our calling. “But in every nation whoever fears Him and
works righteousness is accepted by Him” (Acts 10:35).

From all
the Biblical evidence at our disposal, and considering the
long-standing teaching of the Church on this subject, we must conclude
that it is not in accordance with God’s will to marry interracially.
However, couples who are married interracially are not to despair–and
they are most certainly not to separate for that reason. The Church has
NEVER asked interracially married couples to separate. This article is
written to caution those who might be thinking of marrying
interracially. Administratively, ministers of the Church of the Eternal
God and its corporate affiliates have carefully considered this issue
and concluded, barring extraordinary circumstances, that they could
not, in good conscience, officiate over a marriage, which is clearly,
obviously and visibly interracial. However, this would not include
marriage candidates who are of “mixed” blood. The Church has always
taught, for instance, that a child of a black and a white parent is
free to marry a black or a white person. We are only addressing clear
cases, in concern for the well-being and happiness of the persons

God designed all ethnic groups and races from one human
ancestor and all members of every ethnic group and race are made in the
image and likeness of God. All Spirit-begotten members in
the Church are spiritual brethren, irrespective of any other
consideration. It is God’s purpose and command that we preach the true
gospel to every ethnic group and race in the world, without fear or
favor. The Bible forbids a marriage between a believer and an
unbeliever, and the Scriptural evidence shows us that marrying someone
of another color, as explained in this Q&A, is also not in
accordance with God’s Will.

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

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Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

A new member letter has been written by Dave Harris and will be sent out shortly. In the letter, Mr. Harris discusses the importance of our calling and election. The mailing of the letter will include a hard copy of our newest booklet, “Mysteries of the Bible,” as well as a new Holy Day calendar.

A new StandingWatch program, with a new introduction and ending, was posted on the Web, titled, “American Hiroshima.” In the program, Norbert Link discusses the fear of nuclear war, the rise of Islam and the increase of attacks on Christian values.

The most successful StandingWatch programs within the last seven days prior to May 8, which were posted on Google Video, were as follows:

Is Nuclear War Coming?
Germany in Prophecy
Da Vinci, Judas and a Fish
Afghanistan’s Radical Islam
Ghosts of Departed Ones
What Concerns Americans the Most?

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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

Our activities and literature, including booklets, weekly updates, sermons on CD, and video and audio broadcasts, are provided free of charge. They are made possible by the tithes, offerings and contributions of Church members and others who have elected to support this Work.

While we do not solicit the general public for funds, contributions are gratefully welcomed and are tax-deductible in the U.S. and Canada.

Donations should be sent to the following addresses:

United States: Church of the Eternal God, P.O. Box 270519, San Diego, CA 92198

Canada: Church of God, ACF, Box 1480, Summerland, B.C. V0H 1Z0

United Kingdom: Global Church of God, PO Box 44, MABLETHORPE, LN12 9AN, United Kingdom

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