Update 337


Hierarchical Government

On March 29, 2008, Rene Messier will give the sermon, titled, “Hierarchical Government.”

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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Pray For the Conference-How?

by Norbert Link

On Friday, March 28, we will begin our week-long annual conference. We have been asking you to pray for its success. But how should you pray, exactly? Which petitions, in particular, should you include in your daily prayers?

Jesus Christ asked us to pray for the soon-coming Kingdom, and that God’s Will be done on earth (Matthew 6:10). He also reminded us to ask the Father for our daily bread (Matthew 6:11); that is, for our daily physical and spiritual needs. We understand that God’s Kingdom will NOT come, unless it is proclaimed first in all the world as a witness (Matthew 24:14), and unless the Bride of Christ–His Church–has made herself ready (Revelation 19:7; 2 Peter 3:9). If we want to be useful tools in God’s Work, we MUST strive to overcome our weaknesses and sins. Since God has assigned to us the task of participating in His great and awesome endeavor–His two-fold commission for the Church–here are some areas to include in your daily prayer for a successful conference:

— Pray for God’s guidance and revelation of His Will regarding current and new projects of the Church–to provide open doors for us to preach the gospel (1 Corinthians 16:9; 2 Corinthians 2:12). For instance, we are going to discuss ways to produce German video and French audio programs, as well as placing our English video programs with additional Internet providers. We will also discuss new advertisement projects, and how to become more known and effective, in general, by and for our present and future readership and audience. All of this will require God’s direction to make right decisions in this regard, as well as much time and additional laborers.

— Pray for God’s guidance in deciding which new booklets and other literature should be produced in 2008, to help our fellow-man to understand and grow in the Truth of God.

— Pray that God shows us how to spend wisely His money, which He has entrusted to us. What new equipment needs to be bought in furtherance of the preaching of the gospel and feeding the flock? What other expenses will be necessary or expedient to fulfill God’s commission? As we said at the outset of establishing the Church of the Eternal God, we will not go into debt. We will not commit to or “spend” money which God has not yet given us. We trust that God will give us our daily bread–including our needs for doing the Work and feeding the flock in accordance with His Will (compare Matthew 10:7-10; 1 Timothy 5:17-18; 1 Corinthians 9:14).

— Pray for the financial blessing of the Work and that God will send laborers into His harvest (Matthew 9:37-38), so that we can carry out endeavored projects, according to God’s Will. This would include praying for physical blessings for our members and co-workers; for the securing and maintaining of good jobs; and for their healing or protection from sickness, which could prevent some of becoming or staying gainfully employed. At the same time, pray to God to provide His Work with more co-workers, and to impress on His people the need to be faithful in regular tithes and offerings (Malachi 3:8-10; Leviticus 27:30). Pray to God to bless the annual Holy Day offerings, which are to be given seven times a year, commencing with two Holy Days during the Days of Unleavened Bread, which will be observed shortly after the conference (Please review our booklet, “The Meaning of God’s Fall Holy Days,” on pages 58-60).

–Pray that our discussions and implementation of Feast site preparations for the Feast of Tabernacles 2008 in the USA will be successful, and that God will clearly show and provide us with the location where HE wants HIS name to be placed for us (Deuteronomy 12:5).

— Pray for God’s Wisdom as to how to deal with other Church organizations within the Body of Christ, as well as how to deal administratively with problems which might arise within our own fellowships.

— And finally, please pray that God will give all of us, whom He has called in this day and age, the unwavering zeal and enthusiasm for His Work (compare John 2:17; Revelation 3:19)–the most important task ANYONE could be engaged in–to announce the soon-coming end of this present terrible and EVIL world, and a so much better world to come. God has promised us that He will provide us with what we NEED (Philippians 4:19)–individually and collectively–when we SEEK Him and HIS righteousness FIRST (Matthew 6:31-34). We can absolutely trust in His promise–because God CANNOT lie (Titus 1:2)–as long as WE do our part.

So please, stay involved! Pray daily for a successful conference. There is so much to pray about. You might think of additional areas, which are not mentioned in this Editorial. Just make your requests known to God on high (Philippians 4:6)–and God, in accordance with His Will, has promised to grant us the desires of our hearts, if we fully believe Him, without doubting (1 John 5:14-15; James 1:6-7).

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The Pope Angers Jews–But the Real Issue Is Overlooked

Deutsche Welle reported on March 23:

“German Jews accused the pope Thursday of allowing anti-Semitic sentiment to fester in the Catholic Church by refusing to abolish the disputed ‘Prayer for the Jews’ in the Latin mass for Good Friday… Berlin rabbi Walter Homolka said Jews found its message deeply offensive… Homolka has joined some 1,600 other rabbis around the world in formally protesting against the prayer. But he said their calls have fallen on deaf ears at the Vatican…

“The old prayer calls on God to ‘remove the veil from [the] hearts’ of the Jews and to end ‘the blindness of that people that acknowledging the light of thy truth, which is Christ, they may be delivered from their darkness.’ A new version published last month removes any reference to the veil or the allusion to blindness but does retain the call for conversion, asking God to ‘illuminate their hearts, that (they) acknowledge Jesus Christ is the savior of all men.’… The vice president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Salomon Korn, told the daily Frankfurter Rundschau that Jews expected more sensitivity from a German pope due to the country’s Nazi past.”

On March 21, Der Spiegel Online published an interview with rabbi Homolka, who stated the following:

“It is insulting to Jews that the Catholic Church, in the context of Good Friday of all things, is once again praying for the illumination of the Jews, so that we can acknowledge Jesus as the savior… Given the weight of responsibility that the Catholic Church has acquired in its history with Judaism, most recently during the Third Reich, this is completely inappropriate and must be rejected to the utmost degree… He [the pope] indicates that he believes that the path to salvation, even for Jews, can only go through Jesus, the savior. This opens the floodgates for the conversion of Jews… The Catholic Church does not have its anti-Semitic tendencies under control… [This is] a theological statement that Jews cannot help but perceive as aggressive and crass.

“… any approach to the possibility of a mission by the Church to convert Jews is essentially a hostile act — a continuation, on a different level, of Hitler’s crimes against the Jews. These are strong but honest words… the controversial Good Friday Prayer completely ignores the unique status of the Jews as God’s chosen people. God called us Jews to be a ‘light for the nations,’ so we certainly do not require illumination by the Catholic Church. The younger sister has clearly struck the wrong chord here… Jesus put forward his arguments within the context of an internal Jewish dialogue. What the Church turned this into was something completely different. It made Jesus the rabbi into a deity. On top of that, it claims that the crucifixion of this rabbi is relevant to my personal salvation. Such teachings would have been news to Jesus.

“… a collective expectation of Judaism to acknowledge Jesus as savior is a heavy imposition… Good Friday this year will be a black day in relations between Jews and Catholics… Relations between the Catholic Church and the Jewish community suddenly face a crucial test of the sort that hasn’t been seen in decades.”

These comments are quite interesting for several reasons:

It cannot be denied that the Catholic Church has pursued in the past a course of violent persecution of all those who refused to convert to their belief system–refusing to turn to the “Virgin Mary” or any other of the Catholic doctrines, including the belief in a Trinity, an immortal soul, purgatory or an ever-burning hell fire, or the belief that the righteous go to heaven when they die.  None of these concepts are taught in Scripture, and a refusal to accept those was and is clearly justified. Martin Luther did not fare much better, when he wrote polemic anti-Semitic tirades, which he directed against Jews and all those who keep the Sabbath. It is therefore understandable that the Jewish community looks with great suspicion at a Catholic prayer which brings back to mind the terrible times of persecution–not just during the Nazi era, but also, for example, the Spanish Inquisition.

On the other hand, it must not be overlooked that the Bible teaches that there is NO OTHER WAY to salvation than through Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12). Jesus Himself declared that He was the ONLY way to God the Father (John 14:6; 10:7-9, 26-28). The Bible does not justify those who reject Jesus as their personal Savior, warning instead that we cannot inherit salvation through any other “god” or human savior (compare Matthew 24:24). Certainly, the way to God does not require membership within the Catholic Church–but it does not allow for rejection of the true Jesus of the Bible, either. For Scriptural references, please note Romans 11:7-10, 25; 1 Corinthians 1:22-23; Luke 2:34; Luke 19:12-14; John 1:11.

For more information on the crucial role of Jesus Christ for man’s salvation, please read our free booklet, “Jesus Christ–A Great Mystery.”

German Jews Sue Google and YouTube

Der Spiegel Online wrote on March 21:

“The Central Council of Jews in Germany on Thursday requested that a Hamburg court issue a cease-and-desist order against Google for disseminating what it claims are anti-Semitic videos that incite ‘racial hatred and discrimination’ on its YouTube Web site… ‘The radical right-wing scene is using YouTube, massively, as a platform,’ said Stephan Kramer, the general secretary of the Central Council of Jews, the umbrella organization of Germany’s Jewish communities. ‘We are accusing Google, with its YouTube video platform subsidiary of being an accomplice to inciting racial hatred and discrimination.’

“YouTube’s main line of defense against extremists videos is self-policing by its online community. If users spot an inappropriate video that has been uploaded by one of the service’s millions of users, they can report it with the click of a mouse. ‘These complaints are then handled by (YouTube) employees who have been trained to deal with them,’ said [Google Germany spokesman Kay] Oberbeck. Once a video has been banned, YouTube has technology that can identify it and prevent it from being uploaded again in the future.”

If THAT is YouTube’s main line of defense, then that defense will fail, as their technology does not prevent the upload of previously deleted videos. On the other hand, Google and YouTube are very careful not to allow anti-Semitic propaganda to be posted on their sites, and the claim that they are an “accomplice to inciting racial hatred and discrimination” appears overblown and legally flawed.

The Pope Angers Muslims

Reuters reported on March 24:

“The Easter baptism of an Italian Muslim [Egyptian-born journalist Magdi Allam] by Pope Benedict was a provocative act that raises questions about the Vatican’s approach to Islam, a leading participant in Christian-Muslim dialogue [Aref Ali Nayed] said on Monday… Commentators in Algeria and Morocco echoed Nayed’s view, saying Allam’s conversion was a personal affair but his attacks on Islam and his headline-grabbing baptism by the pope strained relations between Muslims and the Catholic Church…

“Mohamed Yatim, commentator for the Moroccan daily Attajdid, called the high-profile baptism ‘a new provocation for the Islamic world and part of a trend that has intensified in recent years with the caricatures of the Prophet’… The Saudi daily al-Watan reported the baptism on its front page and described Allam as someone who ‘worked tirelessly to attack Islam’ and was close to pro-Israel groups… Christophe Roucou, the French Catholic Church’s top official for relations with Islam, also questioned the publicity surrounding Allam’s conversion. ‘I don’t understand why he wasn’t baptized in his hometown by his local bishop,’ he said.”

Hybrid Human-Animal Embryos

Reuters reported on March 21:

“Research using hybrid human-animal embryos for experiments is ‘monstrous’ and should be banned, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland said on Friday… In an interview with BBC radio on Friday, he added: ‘This is Frankenstein science and it must be stopped.'”

The Daily Mail added on March 23:

“Gordon Brown is facing an unprecedented challenge to his authority over plans for embryo research. As many as 12 ministers could quit if ordered to back a Bill allowing the creation of part-human, part-animal embryos for medical research. The Prime Minister is determined to pass the legislation – which will also abolish the need for IVF clinics to consider a child’s need for a father and allow the creation of ‘saviour siblings’ to cure sick brothers and sisters…

“The Association of Medical Research Charities and the Genetic Interest Group, which between them represent more than 200 patient charities, said the research ‘could greatly increase our understanding of serious medical conditions affecting millions’. They said hybrid embryos – created using the ‘shell’ of an animal embryo with adult human DNA added – could help address a shortage of donated human embryos for research.”

The discussion continues and seems to escalate. As the Daily Mail reported on March 24:

“Fertility expert and television scientist Lord Robert Winston has accused senior members of the Catholic church of lying… [He] has told the Daily Telegraph: ‘[Scottish Cardinal Keith O’Brien’s] statements are lying. They are misleading and I’m afraid that when the Church, for good motives, tells untruths, it brings discredit upon itself.’…

“Today a leading Church of England bishop added his voice to those who describe the proposals as immoral. The Bishop of Lichfield…, Jonathan Gledhill, said: ‘It’s a very important part of our society and a very important part of the Christian faith that you should have respect for human embryos. If you stop obeying God you start to limit the rights of human beings and this is a case in point… A society has to be judged by the way that it treats its poorest and most vulnerable and weakest. And what can be weaker than an unborn child?… On all sides of this debate we abhor the treatment of patients, for instance, by the Nazis and we have decided not to permit cloning humans…'”

Britain’s Jaguar and Land Rover to Be Sold to New Indian Owners

The Daily Mail reported on March 26:

“Two of Britain’s most famous motoring marques – Jaguar and Land Rover – are set to be sold today to new Indian owners in a £1billion deal. The luxury British car-makers are being hived off by current American owners Ford to Indian industrial conglomerate TATA. The Indian giant… already owns Britain’s Tetley Tea and Corus steel-to-hotels conglomerate that already employs nearly 300,000 people in 85 counties… The ultimate automotive Indian take away also marks yet another sell-off of Britain’s automotive ‘crown jewels’. It follows MG and Rover being [sold] to the Chinese, Aston Martin to the Kuwaitis, Bentley to Germany’s Volkswagen and Rolls-Royce and the Mini to BMW.”

“The End of Britain as We Know It “

Christian Science Monitor reported on March 24:

“You might want to take that vacation in England just as soon as you can – before its 1,000-year run as a sovereign nation comes to an end. This winter, 27 nations of the European Union (EU) signed the Treaty of Lisbon… for England (Britain, actually) the Treaty of Lisbon isn’t that appetizing. That’s because, if ratified, it will become the decisive act in this creation of a federal European superstate with its capital in Brussels. Britain would become a province… And that’s no small humiliation for a country that gave the world English and saved Western civilization in the Battle of Britain in 1940.

“The Eurocrat elite in Brussels might not admit it, but the Treaty of Lisbon is essentially a constitution for a ‘country’ called Europe… But British resistance is stirring. In a recent series of minireferendums, almost 90 percent of voters gave the Lisbon Treaty an emphatic thumbs down and demanded a nationwide referendum.

“If all 27 nations ratify the treaty this year, it will begin to come into effect on Jan. 1, 2009. The British will then be expected to transfer loyalty and affection to the EU… With its flag, anthem, currency, institutions, regulations, and directives, the EU has long been indistinguishable from a nation-state-in-waiting. Now the Lisbon Treaty gives it those requisites of nationhood it’s always lacked: a president, a foreign minister (and diplomatic corps), a powerful new interior department, a public prosecutor and full treaty-making powers. Add to those its common system of criminal justice, an embryonic federal police force, and the faintly sinister-sounding European Gendarmerie Force, and what this union becomes is a monolithic state with great power pretensions. Most alarmingly, though, is that the Lisbon Treaty can be extended indefinitely without recourse to further treaties or referendums…

“… in 1961 the Anti-Common Market League had warned that signing the Treaty of Rome (which created the Common Market) ‘would mean a permanent, irrevocable loss of sovereignty and independence’ and that Britain’s affairs ‘would increasingly be administered by supranational bodies … instead of by our own elected representatives’… Perhaps only Queen Elizabeth II can rescue her realm from the baleful Treaty of Lisbon. She could veto it when it comes to her for royal assent and – sensationally – declare that she’s not prepared to see her proud, independent, liberty-loving country swallowed up by an arrogant, authoritarian, and unloved European superstate… This is about national survival.”

Update on American Presidential Elections

AFP reported on March 25:

“Democrat Hillary Clinton on Tuesday revived the row over the fiery racial rhetoric of Barack Obama’s former pastor, saying she, unlike her White House rival, would have left his church. Clinton’s decision to reignite the controversy came as she battled to shrug off her own embarrassment, after admitting that her claims that she dodged sniper fire during a trip to Bosnia in 1996 as first lady were untrue… The furor [surrounding Obama’s former pastor Jeremiah Wright] prompted Obama to give a landmark speech on racial reconciliation last week which appeared to quiet the storm. But Republican commentators denounced him for refusing to disown Wright, and the drama, which some analysts say could hurt Obama with working-class white voters, looks set to be a general election issue if he wins the nomination.”

AFP reported the following on March 26:

“Republican White House pick John McCain Wednesday broke with President George W. Bush on glaring disputes that soured relations with US allies, but said America had a moral duty to stay in Iraq. The Arizona senator grabbed the spotlight as the Democratic race between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama took another negative lurch, while the former first lady vowed to fight on all the way to the party’s August convention.

“‘Our great power does not mean we can do whatever we want, whenever we want, nor should we assume we have all the wisdom and knowledge necessary to succeed,’ McCain said in a major foreign policy address here… ‘I detest war. It might be the worst thing to befall human beings, but it is wretched beyond all description,’ the former Vietnam prisoner of war said. ‘Whatever gains are secured, it is loss the veteran remembers. Only a fool or a fraud sentimentalizes the merciless reality of war,’ he told the Los Angeles World Affairs Council… ‘We have incurred a moral responsibility in Iraq. It would be an unconscionable act of betrayal, a stain on our character as a great nation, if we were to walk away from the Iraqi people,’ he said. Such a ‘premature’ and ‘irresponsible’ US exit would consign Iraqis to horrendous violence, ethnic cleansing and possibly genocide, McCain said…

“McCain, who endured torture in Vietnam, said he would close the Guantanamo Bay prison camp in Cuba, which has sparked outrage in Europe, and would outlaw torture and treat suspected terrorists humanely… ‘The bonds we share with Europe in terms of history, values and interests are unique. Americans should welcome the rise of a strong, confident European Union as we continue to support a strong NATO.’ Again with an eye on major European powers, McCain called for a successor to the Kyoto accord on climate change, and a cap-and-trade system to cut greenhouse gas emissions. McCain had harsh words for Moscow’s ‘nuclear blackmail or cyber attacks’ and he renewed his call for Russia to be ejected from the Group of Eight industrialized nations.”

Unfortunately, the “rise of a strong, confident European Union” is NOT good news for the USA and Britain. For more information, please read our free booklets, “The Fall and Rise of Britain and America,” “Europe in Prophecy,” and “The Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord.”

Breach of Passport Files of All Three Presidential Candidates

ABC News reported on March 21:

“An embarrassed State Department admitted today that the passport files of all three presidential candidates — Sens. John McCain, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton — have been breached by its employees… In a rapid series of escalating admissions, State Department Secretary Condoleezza Rice called Obama to apologize. She then had to call Clinton to apologize as well. And by noon, the department held a news conference to concede that McCain’s personal file had also been improperly accessed… All three employees worked for private companies hired by the State Department… The passport files would provide basic information like birth dates and background on where candidates have traveled. But the files would also include sensitive information like Social Security numbers, which could be used to track down credit reports and other personal information…

“Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton issued a statement Thursday evening referring to the Obama revelation, saying, ‘This is an outrageous breach of security and privacy, even from an administration that has shown little regard for either over the last eight years. Our government’s duty is to protect the private information of the American people, not use it for political purposes.’…

“According to one official, such breaches have happened several times before with nonpolitical celebrities. On at least two other occasions during the last eight months, contractors were fired for accessing records of Hollywood celebrities, the official said.”

Constitutional Gun Rights With Restrictions?

The Christian Science Monitor wrote on March 21:

“During oral arguments March 18 on a historic case, a majority of the Supreme Court indicated it sees gun ownership as a right. Nonetheless, their ruling, due by July 1, will also likely restrain such a right… Just on its own, a ruling that… gives Americans the same inalienable right to gun ownership as to freedom of speech could send shock waves into the campaigns for president and Congress – campaigns that have largely dodged talk of gun limits up to now. In a country that sees an average of 80 gun deaths a day and, recently, mass killings by firearms almost once a year, this ruling probably won’t settle the debate.

“The nation has gnawed on the Second Amendment for two centuries with no clear-cut decision by the high court. Yet a majority of the justices may now claim historical clairvoyance on the framers’ intent regarding militias and gun ownership. And they may overreach for grammatical acuity into the amendment’s ambiguous, oddly punctuated wording. (‘A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.’)

“… Chief Justice John Roberts warned against an ‘all-encompassing’ ruling that would apply to every gun law. One reason for such hesitation may be a key argument from the National Rifle Association that an absolute gun right is necessary to allow citizens to rise up against a future ‘tyranny’ in this democracy. That threat of insurrection could even apply against a Supreme Court that denies a right to bear arms… The court might recall last year’s shootings at a Missouri city council by a man out to avenge the perceived wrongs of government. Five officials died. Recognizing an absolute right to guns could kill other rights and give freedom to deny other freedoms.

“The NRA has paid out nearly $20 million in campaign donations since 1990, and Democrats decided after the 2000 election that it’s better not to speak strongly for restraints on gun ownership… Right or no right, politicians are now more constrained by the political power of the NRA than the courts, but that may soon change…”

The U.S. Economy–HOW BAD Is It Really?

The Associated Press reported on March 23:

“For months, Americans have been subjected to a sort of economic water torture–a maddening drip of bad news about jobs, gas prices, sagging home values, creeping inflation, the slouching dollar and a stock market in bumpy descent. Then came Bear Stearns. One of the five largest U.S. investment banks nearly collapsed in a single day before the government propped it up by backing emergency loans and a rival stepped in to buy it for a paltry $2 per share.

“To the drumbeat of signs that seemed to foretell a traditional recession, this added a nightmarish specter… Americans are nervously wondering about retirement savings, interest rates, jobs that had seemed safe. They are surveying the economic landscape and asking: Just how bad is it? They are peering over the edge and asking: How far down? And the scariest part of all? No one can say for sure…

“By the end of 2007, 36 percent of consumers’ disposable income went to food, energy and medical care, a bigger chunk of income than at any time since records were first kept in 1960, according to Merrill Lynch… People are treating themselves less often. The National Restaurant Association says 54 percent of restaurants reported declining traffic in January, and the government says eating at home increased last year for the first time since 2001… Financial planners say that more than ever, parents are calling for advice on how to deal with grown children who have moved back in with Mom and Dad after losing a job or just to save money…

“On top of an economy that was already groaning under the weight of a downturn, Bear Stearns came down like an anvil. It tied together so much of what’s wrong with today’s economy–the housing crash, the credit crunch and a loss of confidence among investors and consumers alike…

“Nearly 9 million households now have upside-down mortgages, and for the first time ever, aggregate mortgage debt is bigger than the total value of homeowner equity–bigger by $836 billion… Nearly 90 percent of chief financial officers of global public companies don’t see an economic recovery coming until 2009…

“So what’s the way out?… Already, the Fed has slashed interest rates. It has cut the closely watched federal funds rate, the overnight lending rate for banks, six times since September, from 5.25 percent to 2.25 percent–two-thirds of the cut coming in the last two months alone. But the Fed can’t work alone. Upcoming tax rebates for millions of people and tax breaks for businesses may give a little relief, but economists think that something will have to be done soon to slow down the number of foreclosures, a cornerstone of the economy’s woes.”

Epic Financial Crisis Should Be at Center of U.S. Election Debate–But It Isn’t!

On March 24, The New York Times published the following article by Paul Krugman, which was republished by Der Spiegel Online:

“We’re now in the midst of an epic financial crisis, which ought to be at the center of the election debate. But it isn’t…

“Now, I don’t expect presidential campaigns to have all the answers to our current crisis — even financial experts are scrambling to keep up with events. But I do think we’re entitled to more answers, and in particular a clearer commitment to financial reform, than we’re getting so far. In truth, I don’t expect much from John McCain, who has both admitted not knowing much about economics and denied having ever said that. Anyway, lately he’s been busy demonstrating that he doesn’t know much about the Middle East, either. Yet the McCain campaign’s silence on the financial crisis has disappointed even my low expectations…

“On the Democratic side, it’s somewhat disappointing that Barack Obama, whose campaign has understandably made a point of contrasting his early opposition to the Iraq war with Hillary Clinton’s initial support, has tried to score a twofer by suggesting that the war, in addition to all its other costs, is responsible for our economic troubles. The war is indeed a grotesque waste of resources, which will place huge long-run burdens on the American public. But it’s just wrong to blame the war for our current economic mess: in the short run, wartime spending actually stimulates the economy. Remember, the lowest unemployment rate America has experienced over the last half-century came at the height of the Vietnam War.

“Hillary Clinton has not, as far as I can tell, made any comparably problematic economic claims. But she, like Mr. Obama, has been disappointingly quiet about the key issue: the need to reform our out-of-control financial system…

“America came out of the Great Depression with a pretty effective financial safety net, based on a fundamental quid pro quo: the government stood ready to rescue banks if they got in trouble, but only on the condition that those banks accept regulation of the risks they were allowed to take… Now, the shadow banking system is facing the 21st-century equivalent of the wave of bank runs that swept America in the early 1930s. And the government is rushing in to help, with hundreds of billions from the Federal Reserve, and hundreds of billions more from government-sponsored institutions… you don’t have to be an economic radical… to see that what’s happening now is the quid without the quo…

“Now, the securities and investment industry is pouring money into both Mr. Obama’s and Mrs. Clinton’s coffers. And these donors surely believe that they’re buying something in return. Let’s hope they’re wrong.”

Worldwide Financial Crisis

Deutsche Welle reported on March 22:

“One of Germany’s most respected economists… Peter Bofinger called the current financial crisis the worst in decades [and the biggest crisis since 1945]…  Bofinger, a member of Germany’s independent Council of Economic Experts, said Berlin cannot treat the credit crisis lightly, although he differentiated between the situation in Germany and the United States. ‘The (economic) upswing in Germany is not an upswing bought on credit,’ he said. ‘Where there is no credit bubble, there can’t be a credit burst.’… The Green Party has weighed in, calling for state intervention to prevent future crises. It wants to see the establishment of new regulatory guidelines for financial markets that would encourage transparency and put effective controls in place. ”

In a related article, Deutsche Welle wrote on March 18:

“Germany’s finance minister said politicians, central banks and loaning institutions have to work together to overcome the global financial crisis… Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck… said Germany had a better chance of withstanding the crisis than the American economy, calling it more ‘robust.’…  German economists said they expected market turmoil to have negative effects on the country’s economy… Threats to Germany’s economy cannot be attributed to a single cause, according to Juergen Thumann, head of the Federation of German Industries. ‘It is the influence of the weak dollar, rising oil prices, falling US economy and financial crisis that is making the situation difficult for companies,’ he told the daily Berliner Zeitung on Tuesday.”

Chinese Police Crush Tibetan Demonstration–Shooting at Monks and Nuns

TimesOnLine wrote on March 24:

“Hundreds of monks, nuns and local Tibetans who tried to march on a local government office in western China to demand the return of the Dalai Lama have been turned back by paramilitary police who opened fire to disperse the crowd. Local residents of Luhuo said two people – a monk and a farmer – appeared to have been shot dead and about a dozen were wounded in the latest violence to rock Tibetan areas of China… China says it has acted with the utmost restraint in response to the unrest…

“The Dalai Lama’s government-in-exile in India said today that the death toll in the clashes had risen to 130, but they gave no breakdown or details of the casualties. Foreign journalists have been barred from approaching any Tibetan areas where unrest has been reported, and the numbers are extremely difficult to verify.”

Overall Death Toll in Iraq Rises to 4,000 Americans

The Associated Press reported on March 24:

“The overall U.S. death toll in Iraq rose to 4,000 after four soldiers were killed in a roadside bombing in Baghdad, a grim milestone that is likely to fuel calls for the withdrawal of American forces as the war enters its sixth year… The Associated Press count of 4,000 deaths is based on U.S. military reports and includes eight civilians who worked for the Department of Defense… One widely respected tally by Iraq Body Count, which collects figures based mostly on media reports, estimates that 82,349 to 89,867 Iraqi civilians have lost their lives in the conflict.”

Developments in Pakistan Worry Washington

The Christian Science Monitor wrote on March 24:

“In naming its candidate for prime minister Saturday, the party of Benazir Bhutto has taken a further step toward sidelining Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf… With the public still firmly against Musharraf and his allies now out of power, each success of the new government leaves him more isolated. Musharraf has been an American ally in its war on terrorism, but his weakening position could certainly affect the way the United States battles Al Qaeda and Taliban operatives. The new ruling coalition has stressed the need for dialogue with militants – a position that reflects public opinion but may not be welcome by Washington…

“In the coming days and weeks, the new government promises to begin a process that could spell the end of Musharraf’s era all together. Within 30 days of assuming power, the parliament will reinstate the judges sacked by Musharraf when he declared a state of emergency Nov. 2… The expectation is that if the judges are restored, they will invalidate Musharraf’s presidency… Musharraf has few tools to prevent the ruling coalition. He can disband parliament, but that would likely lead to enormous public upheaval – something the US wants to avoid.”

Reuters added on March 24:

“The National Assembly elected Yousaf Raza Gilani prime minister [on Monday]… In a challenge to the increasingly isolated Musharraf, Gilani ordered the immediate release of judges detained after the president declared emergency rule and he also called for a U.N. investigation into Bhutto’s assassination on December 27… Gilani, a soft-spoken but resolute man, was jailed in 2001 by the Musharraf government on charges of making illegal appointments. He said the charges were aimed at pressuring him to abandon Bhutto, which he refused to do. He was freed in 2006…

“The United States and other Western allies fear more instability in their nuclear-armed ally, which is already facing a campaign of attacks by al Qaeda-inspired militants, if there is confrontation between the president and the new government.”


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Is it correct to refer to the New Testament Passover as the Lord's Supper?

The use of the term “Lord’s Supper” for our observance of the New Testament Passover is not biblical–and it only adds to the confusion surrounding the CORRECT observance of the New Testament Passover.

We pointed out the following in a previous Q&A (Update #88; compare also Update #189, under “Feasts”):

“The Passover was kept once a year — ‘as a memorial.’ On the night when Christ was betrayed, He kept the Passover. The Passover was at that time celebrated as a supper — that is why it is called in Scripture ‘the Lord’s Supper.’ We are today to continue keeping the Passover, but not as a meal — not as ‘the Lord’s Supper.’ We are to only partake of the symbols of bread and wine on the Passover night — we do not eat a full meal during the Passover service. In fact, we are told that we must ‘discern the Lord’s body’ — we must distinguish the symbols of bread and wine from an ordinary meal (1 Corinthians 11:29). 1 Corinthians 11:20, 34 tells us, ‘Therefore when you come together in one place, it is NOT to eat the Lord’s Supper… But if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home.’ (As an aside, nowhere does the Bible speak about ‘communion,’ during which we are to partake of bread and/or wine).”

In Update #336, we explain in detail why the Church of God does not observe today the Passover together with a meal. For that reason alone, it would be inappropriate to call the Passover “the Lord’s SUPPER.”

In addition, some who use the term “Lord’s Supper” for the Passover are confusing two separate events–the Old Testament Passover, when the death angel went through Egypt and PASSED OVER the Israelites, and the Night to Be Much Remembered or Observed, which occurred about 24 hours LATER, when Israel LEFT Egypt. The Church of God remembers this event of Israel’s exodus as well, and it has been keeping IT–but NOT the previous Passover observance–with a meal.

Let us note the distinction between these two events, which are set aside by a period of about 24 hours.

In a previous Update on Exodus 12:14, it was pointed out:

“The evidence that the Passover was and is to be kept at the BEGINNING of Nisan or Abib 14, not at the end, is overwhelming [The first month of the year, in accordance with the Hebrew Calendar, is called Abib or Nisan. Abib, the original name, means ‘sprouting’ or ‘budding.’ The name Nisan was adopted following the Babylonian captivity. The first month is comparable to the Roman calendar period of March-April, and begins, in Biblical terms, with a new moon.]… Christ and His disciples kept the PASSOVER at the BEGINNING of the 14th, and they should have known when to keep it. Further, the death angel went through Egypt on the night of the 14th, not the 15th, and that event is called Passover because the death angel passed over the Israelites, when he saw the blood at the doors of their houses (Exodus 12:27)… Passover [and this has to include the actual event of the death angel’s PASSING OVER the Israelites] was on the 14th — not the 15th (Leviticus 23:5; Numbers 28:16). Also, the Israelites were not to leave their houses until morning (Exodus 12:22), and still we read that they left Egypt by night (Deuteronomy 16:1). Since it could not have been the night of Nisan 14, it had to be the next night — of Nisan 15.”

While the Israelites had to stay in their houses to observe the Passover at the beginning of Nisan 14, they left Egypt the following night, the night of Nisan 15, on the very first Day of Unleavened Bread (Remember that days start and end with sunset according to the Hebrew calendar). It was THAT night–which occurred about 24 hours AFTER the Passover–which was ALSO to be kept as a memorial, in addition to Passover.

Exodus 12:40-42 reads, in the Authorized Version: “… even the selfsame day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt. It is a night to be much observed unto the Lord for bringing them out of the land of Egypt: this is that NIGHT of the Lord to be OBSERVED. . . .” The New King James Bible calls it “night of solemn observance.” The Revised Standard Bible refers to it as a “night of watching.” Others render the phrase, “night of vigil,” or “night to be remembered.” German translations say mainly, “night of watching” (“Nacht des Wachens”).

Exodus 13:9 calls Israel’s exodus from Egypt–including the entire seven Days of Unleavened Bread and the “Night to Be Much Observed” at the beginning of the first Day of Unleavened Bread–a “memorial and a sign” (compare verse 3). As mentioned, the Days of Unleavened Bread begin 24 hours AFTER the Passover.

The origin of the Night to Be Much Remembered or Observed is also explained as follows in our booklet, “The Meaning of God’s Spring Holy Days“:

“… the Bible makes a definite distinction between the Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread. Both are annual Feast days, to be kept once a year. The Passover is to be observed at the beginning of the 14th day of the first month (which month is called Abib or Nisan), according to the Hebrew calendar (Leviticus 23:5; Numbers 28:16)…

“The First Day of Unleavened Bread is to be observed once a year at the beginning of the 15th day of the first month, according to the Hebrew calendar (Leviticus 23:6; Numbers 28:17)…

“It was during the Passover night—the night of the 14th day of the month—that the death angel passed over the Israelites who were in their houses (hence the name ‘Passover’), while killing the firstborn of the Egyptian households (Exodus 12:6–13). But it was on the 15th day, ‘on the day AFTER the Passover’ or one entire day LATER, that the Israelites went out of Egypt, and it is on THAT day (at the beginning of the 15th day of the first month) that Church members celebrate the Night To Be Much Observed—’a night of solemn observance to the LORD’—when they gather together for an evening meal. On that occasion, they reflect on the events of the exodus of ancient Israel when they came out of physical slavery in Egypt, and the spiritual exodus by Church members from their slavery of sin (Exodus 12:42; Numbers 33:3)…

“The name, The Night to Be Much Observed, has been used by Church of God members in modern times. This title is taken from the Authorized Version as translated in Exodus 12:42: ‘It is a night to be much observed (‘Shim-moor,’ meaning night watch, watching, vigil) unto the LORD for bringing them out from the land of Egypt: this is that night of the LORD to be observed of all the children of Israel in their generations.’

“The Church of God continues to keep this beginning part of the first Day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread—after sundown, which marks the start of the time God has established for His people to keep. Exodus 13, verses 3 through 10, explicitly casts God’s instructions as an ongoing regulation for those who seek to obey Him—note, in particular, verse 10: ‘You shall therefore keep this ordinance in its season from year to year.’”

Church members continue to have a meal during the Night to Be Much Observed. However, even though this occasion marks the beginning of an annual Sabbath–the First Day of Unleavened Bread on Nisan 15–it itself is not conducted as a Church service. Rather, members gather together for a meal in smaller groups in the privacy of their homes or at other private and appropriate locations. The Church of God conducts Church services during the subsequent daylight portion of the first Day of Unleavened Bread (Exodus 12:16; Leviticus 23:7).

The Church of God keeps the New Testament Passover exactly at the same time when Jesus kept it–at the BEGINNING of Nisan 14. Since Christ changed the Passover observance from that of eating a meal to that of partaking in a footwashing ceremony and partaking of the symbols of unleavened bread and red wine (not grape juice), His Church is following such directives. Paul told the Church at Corinth not to eat a meal in Church at Passover, but to eat at home. Instead, God’s Church partakes of a meal the following night, memorializing Israel’s exodus from Egypt which symbolizes spiritual Israel’s exodus from sin (For more information on this astonishing parallelism and symbolism, please read the pertinent sections in our afore-mentioned booklet on God’s Spring Holy Days).

It is therefore misleading to call the New Testament Passover the Lord’s Supper–as this might imply that a “supper” or “evening meal” should be eaten at Passover. This is not the case–Christ, our Passover Lamb, replaced the Old Testament Passover ceremonies with New Testament observances, as described. Members of the Church of God partake of an evening meal the following night, which is known today as the Night to Be Much Remembered or Observed.

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

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Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

Our new booklet, “Is That in the Bible?–Man’s Holidays and God’s Holy Days,” has been posted on the Web.

Norbert Link’s video-taped sermon, “Bible Study–The Life of Samson” (June 3, 2006), was posted this week on Google Video.

A new StandingWatch program (#162) has been posted on StandingWatch, Google Video and YouTube. It is titled, “Is Homeschooling For You?” In the program, Norbert Link discusses the fact that in California, a legal battle has begun, due to a decision by the Court of Appeals, holding that parents who are not credentialed to teach, do not have a constitutional right to homeschool their children. The Governor and others have declared that they will fight this decision or change the laws. But what about homeschooling? What are some of the potential pitfalls to be aware of? On the other hand, what is your responsibility as parents when you send your children to private or public schools? You need to know the answers to these all-important questions.

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

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