Update 350


Marriage–Physical and Spiritual

On Saturday, June 28, 2008, Norbert Link will give the sermon, titled, “Marriage–Physical and Spiritual.”

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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"I Wanna Be Like You"

by Rene Messier (Canada)

These were the words of a primate in a Walt Disney cartoon movie which was released in the 70’s. The lyrics went something like this: “I wanna walk like you, I wanna talk like you, I wanna be human too.”

In that movie, a primate is portrayed as wanting to be human. In reality, man should have the desire to become like God. God lives forever, and it is somewhat ironic that the Creator God has built into us a desire to go on; that is, to live forever. No one in his right mind really wants to die–that is, under normal circumstances and conditions. There are situations when one is suffering so much that he may want to die, but normally, one wants to live and live on forever.

We are made today in the physical shape of God, but subject to death. God is not. However, He offers man the opportunity to live forever as well, if man becomes more and more like He is.

It is not impossible for man to become more and more like God–if man avails himself of God’s help.

God is love (1 John 4:8). He has demonstrated that love by sacrificing His Son for us (John 3:16). He has created in man as well the capacity to love and be loved by others.

God is merciful, and we can show mercy. God can get jealous in the right way (Exodus 20:5), and we also are sometimes justified in becoming jealous. God even gets angry at times (2 Kings 17:18). His anger is always controlled and for the correct reason. Scripture tells us to be angry and sin not (Ephesians 4:26). Even when our anger is righteous–which is seldom the case–we still have to control our anger.

With God’s Spirit in us, we are able to build a close and intimate relationship with God, so that we can feel confident in bringing our problems to Him. We can look to Him for healing–both physically and emotionally, if we suffer from trauma or from psychological scars because we were abused by others in the past. God is our comforter (Psalm 86:17).  He also fights our physical and spiritual battles for us (1 Samuel 17: 46-47). In relying on God, we can become more and more like Him–including the ability to comfort others who are in need.

It is the desire within each and every converted child of God to be like their Father and their elder brother Jesus Christ, whose footsteps and example they are admonished to follow (1 Peter 2:21). We want to be like God–in character as well as, ultimately, in regard to His very essence.

Our physical bodies wear down and eventually fail. God is Spirit and never wears down. He never gets tired or runs out of energy. We aspire to be like that; especially, as we get older and when our minds say, “Do,”  and our bodies say, “That’s enough.

Paul told Felix that he stood before him for the hope of the resurrection (Acts 24:21). Our desire to be totally like our Father and Jesus Christ will not be achieved until our resurrection to eternal life or the change of our bodies from physical to spirit, from mortal to immortal. We will then have all the energy we need to carry out every task that God has in mind for us, without ever running out of steam. That day will just be marvelous. In the meantime, we can say in our  minds: “I wanna be like You,” knowing that this is the will of God and that it will be reality for us in the near future.

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Everything Is Spinning Out of Control

In an eye-opening and thought-provoking article, The Associated Press wrote on June 21 that conditions in the USA and around the world have run out of control in unparalleled ways–raising the all-important questions: Why is it happening, and can solutions be found?

The article stated:

“Is everything spinning out of control? Midwestern levees are bursting. Polar bears are adrift. Gas prices are skyrocketing. Home values are abysmal. Air fares, college tuition and health care border on unaffordable. Wars without end rage in Iraq, Afghanistan and against terrorism… The can-do, bootstrap approach embedded in the American psyche is under assault. Eroding it is a dour powerlessness that is chipping away at the country’s sturdy conviction that destiny can be commanded with sheer courage and perseverance.

“The sense of helplessness is even reflected in this year’s presidential election… An Associated Press-Ipsos poll says a barrel-scraping 17 percent of people surveyed believe the country is moving in the right direction. That is the lowest reading since the survey began in 2003…

“Recent natural disasters around the world dwarf anything afflicting the U.S. Consider that more than 69,000 people died in the China earthquake, and that 78,000 were killed and 56,000 missing from the Myanmar cyclone…

“Food is becoming scarcer and more expensive on a worldwide scale, due to increased consumption in growing countries such as China and India and rising fuel costs. That can-do solution to energy needs — turning corn into fuel — is sapping fields of plenty once devoted to crops that people need to eat. Shortages have sparked riots. In the U.S., rice prices tripled and some stores rationed the staple. Residents of the nation’s capital and its suburbs repeatedly lose power for extended periods as mere thunderstorms rumble through. In California, leaders warn people to use less water in the unrelenting drought. Want to get away from it all? The weak U.S. dollar makes travel abroad forbiddingly expensive. To add insult to injury, some airlines now charge to check luggage…

“American University historian Allan J. Lichtman notes that the U.S. has endured comparable periods and worse, including the economic stagflation (stagnant growth combined with inflation) and Iran hostage crisis of 1980; the dawn of the Cold War, the Korean War and the hysterical hunts for domestic Communists in the late 1940s and early 1950s; and the Depression of the 1930s. ‘All those periods were followed by much more optimistic periods in which the American people had their confidence restored,’ he said. ‘Of course, that doesn’t mean it will happen again.’…

“Records were shattered by voters showing up at polling places, yearning for a voice in who will next guide the country as it confronts the uncontrollable. Never mind that their views of their current leaders are near rock bottom, reflecting a frustration with Washington’s inability to solve anything. President Bush barely gets the approval of three in 10 people, and it’s even worse for the Democratic-led Congress.

“Why the vulnerability? After all, this is the 21st century, not a more primitive past when little in life was assured. Surely people know how to fix problems now. Maybe. And maybe this is what the 21st century will be about — a great unraveling of some things long taken for granted.”

Unprecedented Lightning Storm Causes Hundreds of California Wild Fires

On June 24, The Associated Press reported the following:

“Fire crews joined aircraft from neighboring states Tuesday to battle hundreds of lightning-caused wildfires across Northern California… Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said he was told late Sunday evening that the state had 520 fires, and he found it ‘quite shocking’ that by Monday morning the number had risen above 700. Moments later, a top state fire official standing at Schwarzenegger’s side offered a grim update. The figure was actually 842 fires, said Del Walters, assistant regional chief of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. All but a couple were in the northern part of the state. ‘This is an unprecedented lightning storm in California, that it lasted as long as it did, 5,000 to 6,000 lightning strikes,’ Walters said. ‘We are finding fires all the time.'”

“The End Is Near”

UPI.com reported on June 23:

“Thousands of people in the Netherlands say they expect the world to end in 2012, and many say they are taking precautions to prepare for the apocalypse. The Dutch-language de Volkskrant newspaper said it spoke to thousands of believers in the impending end of civilization, and while theories on the supposed catastrophe varied, most tied the 2012 date to the end of the Mayan calendar, Radio Netherlands reported Monday. De Volkskrant said many of those interviewed are stocking up on emergency supplies, including life rafts and other equipment. Some who spoke to the newspaper were optimistic about the end of civilization. ‘You know, maybe it’s really not that bad that the Netherlands will be destroyed,’ Petra Faile said. ‘I don’t like it here anymore… The country will sink even lower, which will make the flooding worse.'”

In response to the timing of those doomsday predictions, please read our Q&A in this Update.

Inevitable–A “Two-Speed” Europe and a Core Europe

Bloomberg wrote on June 19:

“German Chancellor Angela Merkel rejected proposals that the European Union move on without Ireland after Irish voters vetoed the EU’s new governing treaty, saying there ‘is no other way’ than proceeding together. ‘A two-speed Europe is not the way forward,” Merkel told lawmakers in the lower house of parliament, the Bundestag, in Berlin today.  ‘We must ensure that treaties in the EU are promoted unanimously.’…

“Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn said he expects the Irish to vote again and Czech President Vaclav Klaus declared the treaty dead. Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi contradicted Merkel’s stance, saying that Ireland will be left to find its own way out. ‘We will indicate that the 26 remaining countries will approve the European Union treaty, excluding Ireland,’ Berlusconi said today in a speech in Rome to Italian retailers. ‘The 27th country, Ireland, will have to come up with its own solution.’

“Europe can afford individual member states staying out of specific policy areas such as the single currency or the passport-free ‘Schengen’ zone, Merkel said, citing Denmark which hasn’t joined the EU’s common security and defense policy…

“Merkel’s comments on a two-speed Europe also contrast with those of her foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who raised the possibility June 14 in Beijing that ‘Ireland will make space for some time for an integration of the remaining 26 member states…’ Steinmeier, a Social Democrat, is a possible candidate to challenge Merkel, a Christian Democrat, for the chancellorship at elections next year.”

The Austrian news network (news.at) discussed on June 18 the concept of a core Europe, as follows:

“The former prime minister of Belgium, Guy Verhofstadt, recommended earlier in his book, ‘The United States of Europe,’ the initiative of [creating] a core Europe… The Green European representative, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, advocated in the magazine ‘Der Spiegel’ [the creation of] a core consisting of Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Poland ‘and of all those who want to belong.’… The chief of Luxembourg, Jean-Claude Juncker, said in ‘Deutschlandfunk’ that ‘there may be no other solution than to form the club of the few.'”

On June 19, The EUObserver published a commentary on the inevitability of a two-speed Europe and a core Europe. The comments were made by Christoph Leitl, President of SME Union (Small and Medium Entrepreneurs Union), the business organization of the European People’s Party and Honorary President of Eurochambres–The Association of European Chambers of Commerce and Industry. Leitl wrote:

“The shock waves of the Irish No are still being felt across Europe. But however bitter the rejection of the Lisbon Treaty is, Europe has to look ahead. The challenges Europe is facing are too big to be blocked by one single Member State… The defeat of the Reform Treaty marks a turning point…

“In the near future, it will certainly not be possible to reach consensus on either option – an integrated political European Union or a loose free trade zone – with 27 Member States… At the same time, a strong and united Europe is vital. One needs only to look at the Balkans to understand that an enhanced role of the European Union in the field of foreign and security policy is desperately needed… I am deeply convinced that the time has come for a courageous step by those who want to go for a more integrated European Union…

“One of Europe’s fundamental values is individuality. Individuality could also be the way out of this dead end. Just like there are two groups of countries within the EU Schengen agreement or like there are Members and Non Members of the Euro area, it should be possible that certain countries form a group that works closer together. Nobody should be obliged to participate in this core group. At the same time nobody should be able to object to this process either. Each and every Member State would have to decide whether it wishes to be in or out, whether it wants to be part of a pure economic community or also a joint political entity…

“A core Europe has always been inevitable. The only question was how it would come about… We need a coalition of the willing to get Europe back on track.”

The Bible is VERY clear that a core Europe WILL soon become reality. For more information, please read our free booklet, “Europe in Prophecy.” Please also make sure to watch our new StandingWatch program, “Ireland Says No–What Now?” StandingWatch, Google Video and YouTube. If you speak German, you might also want to watch the program in its German version, titled, “Irland Sagt Nein–Was Nun?” .

USA Blamed for Ireland’s Rejection of Lisbon Treaty

The EUObserver wrote on June 24:

“France’s Europe minister, Jean-Pierre Jouyet, has said that Europe has enemies in Washington, suggesting that neo-conservatives played a significant role in the Irish rejection of the Lisbon treaty earlier this month. French daily Le Monde reports Mr Jouyet as saying that ‘Europe has powerful enemies on the other side of the Atlantic, gifted with considerable financial means. The role of American neo-conservatives was very important in the victory of the No.’…

“Allegations that some funding for the No side came from across the Atlantic also came up during the Irish debate preceding the referendum. Libertas, an anti-treaty organisation campaigning on a platform of cutting Brussels red-tape, was on the receiving end of such accusations earlier this month…

“The Yes camp alleged it was being bankrolled by a US company, Rivada, which has links to the US military. Some key member of the Libertas campaign had been on Rivada’s payroll. Libertas chief Declan Ganley is also chief executive of Rivada, a telecommunications company.”

Not Easy to Be an American Abroad

In a telling article, Deutsche Welle reported on June 24:

“It’s not easy to be an American abroad these days. Not only is your government unpopular — the US embassy is also worried you’ll be hurt by rowdy enthusiasts of a strange, no-hands-allowed sport [referring to the Euro 2008 soccer tournament in Austria and Switzerland]…

“In the face of… manifold soccer perils, all American tourists can do is follow their embassy’s advice and ‘exercise caution…and be aware of their surroundings at all times.’ And those planning vacations for the future might well consider staying home.”

Will Israel Attack Iran After November 4, 2008 and Before January 20, 2009?

On June 24, The Telegraph reported:

“John Bolton, the former American ambassador to the United Nations, has predicted that Israel could attack Iran after the November presidential election but before George W Bush’s successor is sworn in. The Arab world would be ‘pleased’ by Israeli strikes against Iranian nuclear facilities, he said in an interview with The Daily Telegraph… Mr Bolton, an unflinching hawk who proposes military action to stop Iran developing nuclear weapons, bemoaned what he sees as a lack of will by the Bush administration to itself contemplate military strikes… Israel, however, still had a determination to prevent a nuclear Iran, he argued. The ‘optimal window’ for strikes would be between the November 4 election and the inauguration on January 20, 2009.

“‘The Israelis have one eye on the calendar because of the pace at which the Iranians are proceeding both to develop their nuclear weapons capability and to do things like increase their defences by buying new Russian anti-aircraft systems and further harden the nuclear installations. They’re also obviously looking at the American election calendar. My judgement is they would not want to do anything before our election because there’s no telling what impact it could have on the election.’ But waiting for either Barack Obama, the Democratic candidate, or his Republican opponent John McCain to be installed in the White House could preclude military action happening for the next four years or at least delay it…”

“Market Speculations and High Government Taxes Prime Cause for High Oil Prices”

The Washington Post wrote on June 22:

“Leaders from oil-producing and oil-consuming nations will meet here Sunday to try to pinpoint the reasons behind the rise in oil prices, which have doubled over the past year, and to find ways to bring them down.

“The summit, hastily convened by Saudi Arabia after oil prices nearly reached $140 a barrel this month, is meant to encourage key consumers and producers to join forces to combat high prices, officials said. Though officials from the more than 30 countries gathering here agree that the price must come down, they disagree sharply on the cause of the steep climb.

“U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman, representing the world’s top oil consumer, said Saturday that insufficient oil production is driving the soaring crude prices… But Saudi officials have argued that the market is sufficiently supplied and that market speculation — billions of dollars in financial investments in oil by investors hedging against a weakening U.S. dollar — is the primary force driving up prices… The Saudis have also said high government taxes on fuel and other geopolitical forces, such as instability in oil-producing countries including Iraq, Nigeria and Iran, were putting pressure on prices.”

High Oil Prices to Stay

The Associated Press wrote on June 23:

“Oil prices rose Monday as traders shrugged off a pledge by Saudi Arabia to increase its production and focused on disruptions to Nigerian supply and heightened Middle East tensions. Saudi Arabia said Sunday it would produce more crude oil this year if the market needs it. The kingdom announced a 300,000 barrel per day production increase in May and said before the start of the meeting in Jeddah that it would add another 200,000 barrels per day in July, raising total daily output to 9.7 million barrels…

“Saudi Arabia’s pledge fell far short of U.S. hopes for a specific increase… With expectations fading that the Saudi moves would drive the market downward, analysts suggested present high levels were here to stay, at least for the short term…

“Royal Dutch Shell PLC said Friday that it cannot meet contractual obligations to export oil from a Nigerian oil field following a militant attack Thursday… Also supporting oil prices were worries about heightened tensions between Israel and Iran, after Pentagon officials said Friday a large-scale Israeli military exercise in the eastern Mediterranean early this month could have been a demonstration of Jerusalem’s ability to attack Iranian nuclear facilities.”

“Defying U.S., EU Scraps Cuba Sanctions”

Reuters reported on June 19:

“European Union states agreed on Thursday to scrap sanctions against Cuba… The decision, taken despite U.S. calls for the world to remain tough on Havana, will be reviewed after one year, EU sources said… Unlike the 1962 U.S. embargo, the EU sanctions do not prevent trade and investment. Lifting the sanctions will put the EU at odds with Washington, which wants to maintain a hard line against Cuba.

“‘We certainly don’t see any kind of fundamental break with the Castro dictatorship that would give us reason to believe that now would be the time to lift sanctions,’ U.S. State Department spokesman Tom Casey said on Thursday. ‘We would not be supportive of the EU or anyone else easing those restrictions at this time.'”

A Russian-European Pact?

Reuters reported on June 25:

“Russia seeks a ‘serious’ pact with the European Union reaffirming it as part of Europe, President Dmitry Medvedev told Reuters ahead of a Russia-EU summit in Siberia. The summit starting on Thursday in Khanty-Mansiysk is expected to launch long-delayed talks on a partnership agreement governing relations between Russia and the EU.”

Europe–Don’t Expect Too Much From Obama

On June 18, Der Spiegel Online wrote:

“So far, the details of a European policy have been a non-existent issue in Barack Obama’s presidential campaign… What Obama pointedly did not do… was to attempt to focus the attention of the US electorate on such difficult questions as how, in the wake of the disastrous Bush presidency, a new American administration can go beyond mere rhetorical good will and get down to the hard work of repairing relations with key European allies… So far, at least, Europe has been almost completely off the Obama campaign’s radar…

“Obama has made one major foreign-policy speech since gaining the delegates he needs to score the nomination. Speaking before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in Washington, Obama said, ‘Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided.’ Palestinian groups reacted to the nod to Israel with a fury pronounced enough to potentially complicate any Middle East peace negotiations in an Obama administration. To some, it was an indication that the outsized Obama-mania that is so widespread in European capitals may be tempered by a wave of at least mild skepticism… At this stage in the campaign, no one really expects Obama to articulate exactly how he will deal with European leaders.”

As the Bible shows, the relationship between the USA and Europe, which reached an unprecedented low under George Bush, will gradually turn worse, not better, REGARDLESS of who the next American president will be. This is one of MANY reasons why members of the Church of the Eternal God and its corporate international affiliates NEITHER endorse any political candidate NOR vote in governmental or presidential elections. For more information, please read our free booklets, “Should You Fight in War?”,The Fall and Rise of Britain and America,” and “The Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord.”

Religious Confusion–Obama vs. Dobson

On June 23, 2008, The Associated Press reported about an ensuing biblical controversy between Barack Obama and James Dobson. As can be seen in the article, both are ignorant regarding some of God’s teachings, and their wrong understanding might only serve to confuse even more an unsuspecting and ignorant society.

The article pointed out:

“As Barack Obama broadens his outreach to evangelical voters, one of the movement’s biggest names, James Dobson, accuses the likely Democratic presidential nominee of distorting the Bible and pushing a ‘fruitcake interpretation’ of the Constitution… The conservative Christian group provided The Associated Press with an advance copy of the pre-taped radio segment, which runs 18 minutes and highlights excerpts of a speech Obama gave in June 2006 to the liberal Christian group Call to Renewal. Obama mentions Dobson in the speech.

“‘Even if we did have only Christians in our midst, if we expelled every non-Christian from the United States of America, whose Christianity would we teach in the schools?’ Obama said. ‘Would we go with James Dobson’s or Al Sharpton’s?’ referring to the civil rights leader.

“Dobson took aim at examples Obama cited in asking which Biblical passages should guide public policy – chapters like Leviticus, which Obama said suggests slavery is OK and eating shellfish is an abomination, or Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, ‘a passage that is so radical that it’s doubtful that our own Defense Department would survive its application.’ ‘Folks haven’t been reading their Bibles,’ Obama said.

“Dobson and Minnery accused Obama of wrongly equating Old Testament texts and dietary codes that no longer apply to Jesus’ teachings in the New Testament. ‘I think he’s deliberately distorting the traditional understanding of the Bible to fit his own worldview, his own confused theology,’ Dobson said. ‘… He is dragging biblical understanding through the gutter.'”

As mentioned, both Obama and Dobson, as well as many other religious “leaders,” are confused regarding important doctrinal issues. If you want to learn more about what the BIBLE teaches on those matters, please read our free booklet, “And Lawlessness Will Abound.”

Jury Duty for Priests?

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review wrote on June 25:

“Diocese of Pittsburgh Bishop David A. Zubik was selected Tuesday to serve on a jury for a home invasion case in Allegheny County court… Defense attorney James Sheets said the attorneys asked Zubik the same general questions they ask all jurors. A juror questionnaire asks, for example, if any religious, moral or ethical beliefs would prevent the prospective juror from sitting on a criminal case and reaching a fair verdict. ‘The bishop answered no to that question,’ Sheets said… Mike Manko, spokesman for District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr., said that prosecutors aren’t opposed to priests serving on juries and that Zubik’s jury service ‘is a great example to the community.’ Several priests from the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh have served on juries, but Zubik is the first bishop in recent memory to be seated…

“Cardinal John Joseph O’Connor, who headed the Archdiocese of New York from 1984 to 2000, used to forbid priests from serving on juries, said… Thomas Reese, a senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University. ‘His argument was that being on a jury was participating in an act of government and the clergy were not supposed to be involved in government,’ said Reese. O’Connor would send a letter to the courts and the priest would be excused from serving. Zubik asked for no such dispensation, said Ray Billotte, county court administrator.”

American Pastors Challenge IRS

ABC News reported on June 20:

“Few Americans would invite an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service, but that’s exactly what Minnesota pastor Gus Booth wanted when he stood behind his pulpit and told his congregation God wanted them to vote Republican.

“In an election where candidates openly discuss their faith and are regularly seen in churches, and a time when pastors’ sermons lead the politics sections of newspapers, one might be excused for not knowing that it is illegal for a church to endorse or oppose a candidate for president.

“But when Booth addressed the members of his Warroad Community Church one Sunday in May and told them, ‘If you are a Christian, you cannot support a candidate like Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton for president,’ he very much knew he was violating the law. He even wrote a letter to the IRS explaining what he had said and challenging the tax collection agency to do something about it.

“Churches and other non-profit groups like charities and universities do not have to pay taxes. That exemption, however, comes with a price. Churches, and by extension the pastors who serve them in an official capacity, are not allowed to endorse or oppose political candidates.

“Booth, 34, is one of several religious leaders who this year hope to challenge federal law by flouting the regulations about endorsing candidates from the pulpit–a move that could potentially cost them their tax-exempt status, creating financial ruin for many congregations… Booth and other religious leaders who want to challenge the government believe their rights to freedom of speech and religion, enshrined in the First Amendment, permit them to say whatever they want, wherever they want. Those rights, they say, should trump a 54-year-old tax code…”

U.S. Supreme Court “Interprets” Second Amendment and Upholds an Individual Right to Own and Use Handguns

In a somewhat predictable, albeit regrettable move, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 ruling, struck down the District of Columbia’s 32-year-old ban on handguns as incompatible with gun rights under the Second Amendment.

The Associated Press reported on June 26 the following:

“The court had not conclusively interpreted the Second Amendment since its ratification in 1791. The amendment reads: ‘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.’

“The basic issue for the justices was whether the amendment protects an individual’s right to own guns no matter what, or whether that right is somehow tied to service in a state militia. Writing for the majority, Justice Antonin Scalia said that an individual right to bear arms is supported by ‘the historical narrative’ both before and after the Second Amendment was adopted…

“In a dissent he summarized from the bench, Justice John Paul Stevens wrote that the majority ‘would have us believe that over 200 years ago, the Framers made a choice to limit the tools available to elected officials wishing to regulate civilian uses of weapons.’ He said such evidence ‘is nowhere to be found.’ Justice Stephen Breyer wrote a separate dissent in which he said, ‘In my view, there simply is no untouchable constitutional right guaranteed by the Second Amendment to keep loaded handguns in the house in crime-ridden urban areas.'”

Der Spiegel Online commented on the decision, as follows: “According to estimates, there are 250 million guns in the USA. After enactment of a stricter law in 1976 for Washington, at that time known as the murder capitol, the number of capital crimes with guns greatly declined. Administrative officials of the capitol and organizations for the protection of the youth are now afraid that the number will rise again.”

cbs2chicago.com pointed out that “the gun ban in Washington, D.C., that was struck down Thursday, is the same as Chicago’s, forbidding the sale and possession of handguns.” The article continued:

“… the decision is expected to have effects across the country, including in Chicago, where a ban on the sale and registration of handguns has been in place since 1982. Only police officers, aldermen and a handful of others are exempt from the ban… Mayor Richard M. Daley is a staunch supporter of gun control, and says the recent police shootings – all of which allegedly involved offenders who aimed guns at officers – are the direct result of having too many guns on the street. Daley also says gun violence has claimed the lives of schoolchildren, and without the ban, the city would have more serious problems.

“‘It is an epidemic in America. There’s something about a handgun, there’s something about rifles and shotguns and Uzis people want, and drug dealers and gangbangers have them,’ Mayor Daley said. ‘And one thing we know – the more guns in society, the more victims you have in violent crimes.'”

And so, sadly, we will have to wait a little bit longer for the time when all men–including all judges, politicians and citizens of the USA–will understand the utter uselessness of guns–whether for the purpose of “self-defense” or otherwise–and when they finally “beat their swords into plowshares, And their spears into pruning hooks” (Isaiah 2:4).

Nonsense–Putting Oil Firm Chiefs on Criminal Trial for Denying Global Warming?

In a ridiculous move, a prominent scientist wants to put oil firm chiefs who deny global warming on trial for high crimes . Such irresponsible proposals only add to the dangerous trend to muzzle free speech and to label everything as “hate speech” or worse, which does not fit in the political agenda of “politically correct” opinions. You might want to listen to our recent StandingWatch program, discussing this frightening development, titled, “Beware of Hate Crimes.” It is posted on StandingWatch, Google Video and YouTube.

The Guardian reported on June 23:

“James Hansen, one of the world’s leading climate scientists, will today call for the chief executives of large fossil fuel companies to be put on trial for high crimes against humanity and nature, accusing them of actively spreading doubt about global warming in the same way that tobacco companies blurred the links between smoking and cancer.

“Hansen will use the symbolically charged 20th anniversary of his groundbreaking speech to the US Congress–in which he was among the first to sound the alarm over the reality of global warming–to argue that radical steps need to be taken immediately if the ‘perfect storm’ of irreversible climate change is not to become inevitable.”

In an accompanying article, the Guardian wrote on June 22:

“The majority of the British public is still not convinced that climate change is caused by humans–and many others believe scientists are exaggerating the problem, according to an exclusive poll for The Observer.

“The results have shocked campaigners who hoped that doubts would have been silenced by a report last year by more than 2,500 scientists for the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which found a 90 per cent chance that humans were the main cause of climate change and warned that drastic action was needed to cut greenhouse gas emissions… Some environmentalists blame the public’s doubts on last year’s Channel 4 documentary The Great Global Warming Swindle, and on recent books, including one by Lord Lawson, the former Chancellor, that question the consensus on climate change…

“Professor Bjorn Lomborg, author of The Skeptical Environmentalist, said politicians and campaigners were to blame for over-simplifying the problem by only publicising evidence to support the case… ‘If you’re saying, “We’re not going to tell you the whole truth, but we’re going to ask you to pay up a lot of money,” people are going to be unsure.'”

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Would you please explain the meaning of the different dates and numbers mentioned in the book of Daniel, i.e., 2,300 evenings and mornings, 1,260 days, 1,290 days and 1,335 days?

Before attempting to address those numbers, we need to understand–as we pointed out in detail in previous Q&As–that we do not know the exact day of Christ’s return. Matthew 24:44 reads: “Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” In Mark 13:32-33, we read Christ’s words: “But of that DAY and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is.” Neither Christ, nor God’s angels, nor we “know” [present tense!] the DAY and the HOUR of His coming. Christ seems to be saying that we won’t know the exact time — a phrase broader than just a 24-hour-day. The reason for this conclusion is given in Acts 1:6-7:

“Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, ‘Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?’ [They understood that Christ would establish the Kingdom of God on this earth, when He returns.] And He said to them, ‘It is not for you to know TIMES or SEASONS which the Father has put in His own authority.'”

It is the FATHER’S decision to determine when exactly to send Jesus Christ back to this earth. That is the reason why even Jesus Christ does not know the EXACT time. All attempts to figure out the exact time are also futile in light of Christ’s words in Matthew 24:21-22:

“For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were SHORTENED, no flesh would be saved [alive]: but for the elect’s sake those days will be SHORTENED.”

Some have speculated that Christ will return exactly three-and-a-half years after the beginning of the Great Tribulation (and the Church’s protection at a place of safety). This does not take into account, however, that these last days will be shortened. We also read in Hosea 6:1-2: “Come, and let us return to the LORD; For He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up. After two days He will revive us; On the third day [not: AFTER three-and-a-half prophetic days or years] He will raise us up.”

With this background, we must be careful when reviewing certain numbers in the book of Daniel. Some have used those numbers to try to figure out, exactly, the DAY of Christ’s return, or at least the YEAR.

(1) 2,300 Evenings and Mornings (Daniel 8:1-14)

Daniel 8:1-14 addresses the time when daily sacrifices will be brought, but subsequently abolished. This will happen just before the return of Christ. In this context, a time frame of 2,300 evenings and mornings is mentioned.

Verses 13 and 14 of Daniel 8 are not all that clear in the New King James Version. Notice how other renditions make the meaning clearer:

The Revised English Bible states: “… ‘How long will the period of this vision last? How long will the regular offering be suppressed and impiety cause desolation? How long will the Holy Place and the fairest of all lands be given over to be trodden down?’ The answer came, ‘For two thousand three hundred evenings and mornings, then the Holy Place will be restored.'”

The New Jerusalem Bible writes: “… ‘How long is this vision to be…?’ … ‘Until two thousand three hundred evenings and mornings have gone by; then the sanctuary will have its rights restored.'”

The New International Version reads: “…’How long will it take for the vision to be fulfilled–the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, the rebellion that causes desolation, and the surrender of the sanctuary and of the host that will be trampled underfoot?’ He said to me, ‘It will take 2,300 evenings and mornings; then the sanctuary will be reconsecrated.'”

Notice carefully: 2,300 evenings and mornings were to pass before the sanctuary would be cleansed or restored. During this time span, the daily offerings would be suppressed; the “transgression of desolation” (verse 13) would appear; and the Holy Place or the sanctuary would be trodden down or trampled underfoot.

The “Soncino Commentary” states that the 2,300 evenings and mornings refer to the number of times the offerings, normally brought twice daily, will be omitted, giving a total period of 1,150 DAYS. The Broadman Bible Commentary agrees: “The time is given two thousand three hundred evenings and mornings… These sacrifices would cover 1150 DAYS.”

Now notice the following explanation of the 2,300 evenings and mornings, or 1,150 days, as published in The Plain Truth, August, 1965, The 2300 Days, by Herman L Hoeh:

“At the end of this 1150-day period the sanctuary is to be ‘cleansed’ or ‘justified.’ This prophecy is yet to be fulfilled!… A great European Church-State union will be in control of Palestine and the whole Western World… It will be allowed to tread Jerusalem underfoot and to prohibit ‘the daily sacrifice’ at the sanctuary for 1150 days… The Gentiles will tread down Jerusalem for 1260 days (Rev. 11) — a period which includes the 1150 days. It is the time of the two witnesses who will prophesy in the streets of Jerusalem for 1260 days, then be killed, and — just IMMEDIATELY BEFORE THE RETURN OF CHRIST — be raised from the dead in the sight of the people! God will suddenly intervene in human affairs. He will put an end to this wicked idolatrous system. ‘The sanctuary SHALL BE cleansed.'”

We will discuss a problem with this explanation later in this Q&A.

(2) The 1,260 Days, 1,290 Days, and 1,335 Days (Daniel 12:7, 11-12)

In Daniel 12, we are introduced to three additional numbers. In this end-time prophecy (verse 4), we are told, in verses 7, 11-12:

“… it shall be for a time, [two] times, and half a time [or 3 1/2 years or 1,260 days]… all these things shall be finished… And from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days. Blessed is he who waits, and comes to the one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days.”

Please note these statements by Herbert Armstrong, The Time We Are In Now, Pastor General’s Report, November 20, 1979:

“What is this abomination? This refers to Daniel 11:31 and Matthew 24:15. From this time (Daniel 12:11) to Christ’s coming will be 1290 days. Now, verse 12, ‘Blessed is he that waiteth, and comes to the 1335 days.’ Never before have we understood these periods of 1260, 1290 and 1335 days. But it seems evident, now, a blessing is pronounced on us–GOD’S CHURCH–who wait and endure until the 1335 days–approximately 1335 days prior to Christ’s coming. But since no one can know the day or hour of His coming, we probably shall not be able to know the exact day this 1335 days begins. But apparently that is the time when OUR WORK SHALL END. That will be a time when the UNITED Europe shall appear–the revival of the medieval ‘Holy Roman Empire.’ We shall then be warned, and readied to be taken to a place of refuge and safety from the Great Tribulation. Forty-five days later ‘the beast’s armies’ will surround Jerusalem. Thirty days later the Great Tribulation will probably start with a nuclear attack on London and Britain–and possibly the same day or immediately after, on the United States and Canadian cities.”

To summarize at this point, the explanation, as set forth above, under (1) and (2), operates from the assumption that all the days end with the return of Christ. It counts backwards from the time of the return of Christ, reaching the following conclusions:

(a) 1,335 days before Christ’s return: The organized Work ends

(b) 1,290 days before Christ’s return or 45 days after the Work ends: The abomination of desolation is set up

(c) 1,260 days (3 1/2 years) before Christ’s return or 75 days after the Work ends or 30 days after the abomination of desolation is set up: The Great Tribulation begins and Jerusalem is occupied by Gentiles [Compare Daniel 7:25–3 1/2 years or 1,260 days of persecution of the saints.]

(d) 1,150 days before Christ’s return or 90 days after the beginning of the Great Tribulation, or 120 days after the abomination of desolation is set up: The daily sacrifices are taken away (Note again Herman Hoeh’s article, stating that “at the end of the 1150 days, the sanctuary will be cleansed”).

(e) However, we should be able to see that this explanation fails to reconcile an important discrepancy:

According to this explanation, the sacrifices would still be ongoing, even though the Great Tribulation had already begun and the city of Jerusalem had already been occupied (for 110 days), AND the abomination of desolation had already been set up (for 140 days). But Daniel 12:11 says that 1,290 days will expire AFTER the daily sacrifices will be taken away AND the abomination of desolation has been set up.

(3) Other Interpretations of Daniel’s Numbers

What are some other possibilities as to how to understand the numbers in Daniel 8 and 12?

Jamieson, Fausset and Brown, commenting on Daniel 12:11-12, point out that historically, it took 1,290 days from the profanation of the temple by Antiochus Epiphanes (in the month Ijar of the year 145 B.C.) until the restoration of the worship by Judas Maccabeus on the twenty-fifth day of the ninth month [Chisleu] of 148 B.C. Then, FORTY-FIVE DAYS more elapsed before Antiochus’ death in the month Shebat of 148 B.C., “so ending the Jews’ calamities…”

Applying these facts prophetically, the commentary suggests that “Jesus at His coming will deliver the Jews [better: Israel and Judah]. An interval elapses, during which their consciences are awakened to repentance and faith in Him. A second interval elapses in which Israel’s outcasts are gathered, and then the united blessing takes place. These stages are marked by the 1260, 1290, and 1335 days.”

Scofield Reference Notes offer a similar explanation, commenting on Daniel 12:12, as follows:

“Three periods of ‘days’ date from the ‘abomination’ (that is, The blasphemous assumption of deity by the Beast)… Twelve hundred and sixty days [pass until] the destruction of the Beast… This is also the duration of the great tribulation… Dating from the same event is a period of 1290 days, and addition of thirty days… Again forty-five days are added… No account is directly given of that which occupies the interval of seventy-five days between the end of the tribulation and the full blessing of verse 12… It is suggested that the explanation may be found in the prophetic descriptions of the events following… Armageddon… The Beast is destroyed, and Gentile world-dominion ended, by the smiting of the ‘Stone cut out without hands’ at the end of the 1260 days, but the scene is, so to speak, filled with the debris of the image which the ‘wind’ must carry away before full blessing comes in [compare Daniel 2:35].”

John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible makes similar comments to Daniel 12:11:

“… there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days; from the beginning of the reign of antichrist to the end of it are one thousand two hundred and sixty days or years, or forty two months, which is the same… here thirty days… are added, which begin where the other end, and is the time allotted for the conversion of the Jews [better Israel and Judah], and other things, making way for the kingdom of Christ; and which the reign of antichrist was an hindrance of, but should now immediately take place.”

The Ryrie Study Bible comments on Daniel 12:11-12:

“… Antichrist will abolish the Jewish sacrifices… From that time to the end will be 1,290 days. Normally 3 1/2 years (of 360 days per year) would include only 1,260 days. The extra 30 days mentioned here allow for the judgments which take place after the second coming of Christ… Since the one who lives 75 days after the second advent … is called Blessed, this must mark the beginning of the actual functioning of Christ’s millennial kingdom.”

Finally, let us also note these statements by the Broadman Bible Commentary, on Daniel 12:11-12:

“The taking away of the continual burnt offering and the erection of the abomination that makes desolate… from that time there will be 1290 days… Revelation 11:3; 12:6 have a figure of 1260 (3 1/2 years). Since the first half of v. 11 [of Daniel 12] refers to the perversion of the Temple and the abolishment of sacrifice, it would be logical that the 1290 days would refer to the time that the worship would be reestablished and the Temple rededicated to Yahweh… Another dating is introduced in v. 12 [of Daniel 12], 1335 days, which adds 45 days to the last figure… Some… suggest that the first date [refers] to the deliverance from persecution and the second date to the time that the reign of righteousness would be set up.”

According to the opinion of the above-quoted commentaries, a possible future scenario could unfold, as follows:

(a) After 1,260 days of the beginning of the Great Tribulation, Christ returns, ending the Great Tribulation and fighting on the same day of His return at Jerusalem with the armies of the kings of the world, including the beast and the false prophet.

(b) 30 days later (1,290 days), Christ will have judged and banished Satan and awakened the surviving Israelites and Jews to repentance and brought them back to the Promised Land; and the worship in the cleansed Temple will resume.

(c) 45 days later (1,335 days), the peaceful rule of Christ will begin, after the hordes from the east will have been destroyed [compare Ezekiel 38]. As Antiochus died 1,335 days after he had profaned the first temple, so the hordes from the east (who collaborated with the beast at the very end, compare Revelation 16:12) will be destroyed 1,335 days after the third temple has been profaned.

(d) But what about the 1,150 days, since the sanctuary will be cleansed 1150 days after the sacrifices have been taken away?

The Bible says that the sacrifices will be taken away, and that 1,150 days later, the sanctuary will be cleansed. It does not say, when exactly it will be cleansed, or that sacrifices will resume right away after the cleansing. It does not say either, that at the end of the 1,150 days, Christ will return. Rather, it says that sacrifices will be given prior to Christ’s return, and then they will be taken away–around the same time, when the beast and the false prophet set up the abomination of desolation in the Holy Place (a rebuilt Temple). It is true that Christ will ultimately cleanse the sanctuary or Temple, but this could happen some time after He has returned.

(e) Nevertheless, the above-stated opinions also face a big problem–the fact that they all presuppose that we can start counting from a particular given date (be it 1,260 days or 1,290 dates), and that at the end of one of these particular dates, Christ will return. However, as we have seen, nobody knows or can know the exact DAY of Christ’s return, and the time of the Great Tribulation (normally referred to as lasting for 3 1/2 years) might be shortened.

(4) Conclusion of the Matter

We must emphasize that we do not know the exact meaning of the 1,150 days–or of the 1,260 days, 1,290 days or 1,335 days–but there is certainly importance attached to them. But the importance is not that Christ will return exactly 1,150 days after the abolishment of the sacrifices. Remember, too, that the 1,150 days refer not only to the time of the abolishment of the sacrifices, but also to the time when the abomination of desolation is set up and the Holy Place is being trodden under foot (note again Daniel 8:13-14)–and as we have seen in Daniel 12:11, these events seem to last longer than just 1,150 days.

In conclusion, we believe that to our knowledge, NOBODY understands at this time the full meaning of these numbers in the book of Daniel, even though some erroneously claim that they do. However, we should not try to read certain human interpretations into them. God will reveal the meaning to His true servants in His due time (Daniel 12:4, 9-10). Let us wait patiently for God, and let us not try to step ahead of Him–only to become embarrassed later when our human interpretations do not come true.

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

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Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

Noelle Jacobs and Michael Link will be getting married in Ramona, California, on Sunday, June 29, 2008. The marriage will be officiated by Norbert Link. We are wishing the new couple God’s richest blessings for this new chapter in their lives.

A new member letter was written for the month of July. It will be sent out early next week. In the letter, Brian Gale discusses the connection between the Day of Pentecost and the Feast of Trumpets, and the need for God’s disciples to prepare for the return of Jesus Christ.

A new StandingWatch program has been posted on StandingWatch, Google Video and YouTube. It is titled, “Spinning Out of Control,” and raises the following issues:

Midwestern floods; tornadoes and hurricanes; powerful earthquakes; skyrocketing gas prices; abysmal home values; increased air fares; unaffordable health care; endless wars in Afghanistan and Iraq; food shortages; depression on the horizon; voter frustration with Washington–is everything spinning out of control? Are we too proud and unwilling to follow Abraham Lincoln’s admonition to “humble ourselves before the offended Power”? Are politicians and religious leaders deceiving us when they proclaim that we don’t have to obey all of God’s laws? Will we perish soon in natural and man-made disasters, as the civilization at the time of Noah perished in the waves of a worldwide flood?

Our recent StandingWatch program, “Coming–The Great Depression” has been viewed approximately 4,200 times on YouTube. Our recent program, “Food Shortage in the USA” has been viewed approximately 3,000 times on YouTube.

A new member letter is also posted online.

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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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