Update 405


"Partiality" and "Are You Convinced?"

On August 1, 2009, Robb Harris and Eric Rank will give split sermons, titled, respectively, “Partiality” and “Are You Convinced?”

The services can be heard at www.cognetservices.org (12:30 pm Pacific Time; 1:30 pm Mountain Time; 2:30 pm Central Time; 3:30 pm Eastern Time). Just click on Connect to Live Stream.

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Just Follow the Instructions


The Bible claims to be the instruction manual for life. True to this claim, it is overflowing with instructions on almost every aspect of life.

It tells us how to do basic things:

  • What to eat, and what not to eat (Leviticus 11).
  • What to wear and put on (1 Timothy 2:9; 1 Peter 3:3-4; Romans 13:14; Colossians 3:12-14), and what not to wear (Deuteronomy 22:5).
  • When to work (Exodus 20:9), and when to stop working (Exodus 20:10), and why (Exodus 20:11, Exodus 31:13-17).
  • It even tells us what to do (Leviticus 23:3), and what not do (Isaiah 58:13), on days we stop working.
  • It tells us how to treat people:
  • How to treat our spouse (Ephesians 5:22-28, 33) and other people’s spouses (Deuteronomy 5:21; Matthew 5:27-28).
  • How to treat our children (Proverbs 29:17; Colossians 3:21; Titus 2:4); our parents (Ephesians 6:1-3); and grandparents (1 Timothy 5:4).
  • How to treat older people (Leviticus 19:32; 1 Timothy 5:1-2).
  • How to treat our neighbors (Luke 10:25-37; Matthew 22:36-40); strangers (Exodus 23:9; Deuteronomy 10:17-19; Matthew 25:38, 40); our friends (Proverbs 27:6,10); and our enemies (Luke 6:27-36).
  • How to treat people who have offended us (Matthew 18:15; Luke 17:3-4); or whom we have offended (Matthew 5:23-24).
  • How to treat government officials (Ecclesiastes 10:20; Romans 13:1-5; Titus 3:1-2) and even tax collectors (Romans 13:6-7; Matthew 22:17-21).
  • How to treat rich people (Leviticus 19:15) and poor people (James 2:1-7; Deuteronomy 15:7-11; Proverbs 19:17; 28:27; 31:9; Isaiah 58:6-7).
  • How to treat bosses (Ephesians 6:5-7; Titus 2:9-10; Colossians 3:22) and employees (Ephesians 6:9; Colossians 4:1). 
  • How to treat ministers (1 Timothy 5:17; Hebrews 13:7, 17) and brethren (2 Corinthians 1:24; 1 Peter 5:1-3).
  • It even tells us how to treat ourselves (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

The Bible contains instructions on subjects as diverse as building codes (Deuteronomy 22:8); weights and measures (Leviticus 19:35-36); animal husbandry (Leviticus 19:19); animal care (Proverbs 12:10); plant genetics (Leviticus 19:19); crop management (Leviticus 19:23-25); waste disposal (Deuteronomy 23:12-14); disease prevention and hygiene (Leviticus 11:24-25, 31-35); disease containment (Leviticus 13); personal finances (Proverbs 22:7, 9; Malachi 3:8-10); national finances (Leviticus 25:8-17; Deuteronomy 15:1-6; 28:10-14); going to court (1 Corinthians 6:1-11); going to war (Matthew 26:52); and even lost and found (Exodus 23:4-5).

And that is just a small sample.

We need to take the time to study these verses. Imagine if the world lived by them, then we would see a world without abortion, pornography, profanity, lying, stealing, murder, over-burdensome governments or lazy citizens, abandoned widows, abandoned children or abandoned marriages. Perhaps hundreds of millions of deaths could have been prevented over the centuries by following the Bible’s health laws alone. What other national and personal tragedies could be prevented if people followed all of these laws?

The Bible is the most amazing, comprehensive, and compelling instruction manual ever written. The question is, are we willing to follow the instructions?

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The mysteries surrounding President Obama’s original birth certificate continue, and some statements by different players in this drama sound as though they had been lifted from a fictitious suspense novel. At times questionable actions by the left-liberal mass media and the White House seem to try to suppress the issue, rather than to clarify and solve it.

According to some observers, the new Health Care Plan is unfairly attacking especially small businesses, and the dollar continues its fall. While the Obama Administration tries to assure Israel that they are not naive about Iran, John Bolton, former U.S. Ambassador to the UN, questions America’s and Europe’s policy in regard to Iran.

Turning our attention to Europe, German politicians are upset about a European-US bank data deal; Tony Blair’s appointment as the first EU President is in doubt; and the German Financial Times feels that the “beast of capitalism” will ultimately resurface and prevail.

While The Telegraph describes the “insanity” of the Afghan war, German soldiers are drawn more and more into combat in that area, and especially young people from East Germany are joining the army because of the recession. Finally, Germany’s leading philosopher pleads for a European army and a core Europe. Our free booklet, “Europe in Prophecy,” describes in detail the future role of the German military in world affairs.

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The Mystery Surrounding President Obama’s Birth

Bill O’Reilly of Fox News and lawyers for John McCain’s presidential campaign claim that they investigated the issue of Barack Obama’s original birth certificate and are convinced that he is a natural-born U.S. citizen and therefore eligible to serve as American President. But WHAT, exactly, did O’Reilly and McCain lawyers investigate? WHAT did they examine?

WHY is the White House failing to convincingly put the issue to rest? Why are there so many misrepresentations and outright lies in regard to the matter? Why is CNN’s Lou Dobbs ordered to drop the matter, and why do some even call for his termination for simply addressing it? Those who ridicule the ever-growing number of Americans DEMANDING that President Obama release his original long-form birth certificate sound less and less convincing–and they appear to give more and more the impression, perhaps inadvertently, that something needs to be kept secret and hidden.

What IF Barack Obama was not a natural-born U.S. citizen, but born in Kenya, as some claim? The consequences would be unthinkable. Every piece of legislation which he signed would be invalid, and so would every appointment that he made. This would include his appointment of Joe Biden as Vice President. This would mean, until we have new elections, Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House, would be acting President.

The discussion was picked up by the European mainstream press. Der Spiegel Online published a German article on July 29, addressing the issue in its typically sarcastic way by making fun of conspiracy believers who question Mr. Obama’s claim that he was born in Hawaii. Nevertheless, until Mr. Obama releases his original long-form birth certificate, the debate is bound to continue.

Robert Gibbs’ Claims on President’s U.S. Citizenship

Politico 44 wrote on July 27:

“White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs once again dismissed conspiracy theories about the president’s citizenship in his daily briefing Monday, noting that proof of President Obama’s birthplace had been posted online and Obama’s citizenship had been demonstrated ‘ad nauseam.’ But Gibbs, sounding alternately bemused and exasperated, told White House reporters that conspiracy theories about the president’s birthplace would never go away…

“Attempting to put the issue to rest, once more, Gibbs assured reporters: ‘The president was born in Honolulu, in the 50th state of the greatest country on the face of the earth…There are 10,000 more important issues for people in this country to discuss, than whether or not the president is a citizen when it’s been proven ad nauseam.'”

But some contend that Gibbs’ comments are simply untrue.

WND wrote on July 27:

“President Obama has still not provided simple, incontrovertible proof of his exact birthplace. That information would be included on his long-form, hospital-generated birth certificate which Obama has steadfastly refused to release amid a flurry of conflicting reports. He has only proffered a ‘Certification of Live Birth’ to assert he was born in Hawaii, but many people remain unaware a child does not even have to be born in Hawaii to receive a COLB…

“WND has reported that at least two reports have cited Obama’s birth in Kenya. Wikipedia also was found to have been reporting on Obama’s birth in Kenya, before a series of scrubs placed his birth in Honolulu.

“That came on the heels of several online information sites changing the president’s supposed birthplace from one hospital in Hawaii to another… WND has yet to be able to identify any physician or medical attendant present at Kapi’olani in 1961 who can recall Ann Dunham, Obama’s mother, giving birth to Barack Obama at the hospital or who can identify the name of the attending physician…

“Some of the lawsuits question whether he was actually born in Hawaii, as he insists. If he was born out of the country, Obama’s American mother, the suits contend, was too young at the time of his birth to confer American citizenship to her son under the law at the time.

“Other challenges have focused on Obama’s citizenship through his father, a Kenyan subject to the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom at the time of his birth, thus making him a dual citizen. The cases contend the framers of the Constitution excluded dual citizens from qualifying as natural born.”

Obama Born in Kenya?

Infowars.com wrote on July 14:

“Contained in an otherwise relatively mundane account of Obama’s recent visit to Ghana in the Daily Graphic news outlet is a sentence sure to raise eyebrows amongst people like journalist Jerome Corsi, who has been at the forefront of the Obama birth certificate scandal since well before the election. The full paragraph reads, ‘For Ghana, Obama’s visit will be a celebration of another milestone in African history as it hosts the first-ever African-American President on this presidential visit to the continent of his birth.’…

“In April a transcript from an interview with Obama’s step-grandmother was released in which she discussed being present at Obama’s birth in Mombasa, Kenya. ‘WND is in possession of an affidavit submitted by Rev. Kweli Shuhubia, an Anabaptist minister in Kenya, who is the official Swahili translator for the annual Anabaptist Conference in Kenya, and a second affidavit signed by Bishop Ron McRae, the presiding elder of the Anabaptists’ Continental Presbytery of Africa,’ reported Corsi. In his affidavit, Shuhubia asserts ‘it is common knowledge throughout the Christian and Muslim communities in Kenya that Barack Hussein Obama, Jr., was born in Mombasa, Kenya.’”

Proofs for Obama’s Birth in Hawaii?

Politicalwire.com reported on July 24:

“David Weigel talked with Trevor Potter and other lawyers for Sen. John McCain’s presidential campaign who said that they did look into the Obama citizenship rumors and found them without merit. Said Potter: ‘To the extent that we could, we looked into the substantive side of these allegations. We never saw any evidence that then-Senator Obama had been born outside of the United States. We saw rumors, but nothing that could be sourced to evidence.

“‘There were no statements and no documents that suggested he was born somewhere else. On the other side, there was proof that he was born in Hawaii. There was a certificate issued by the state’s Department of Health, and the responsible official in the state saying that he had personally seen the original certificate. There was a birth announcement in the Honolulu Advertiser, which would be very difficult to invent or plant 47 years in advance.'”

Was Original Long-Form Birth Certificate Destroyed…?

USA Today wrote on July 29:

“In an attempt to quash persistent rumors that President Obama was not born in Honolulu on Aug. 4, 1961, Hawaii’s health director reiterated Monday afternoon that she has personally seen Obama’s birth certificate in the Health Department’s archives:

“‘I, Dr. Chiyome Fukino, director of the Hawaii State Department of Health, have seen the original vital records maintained on file by the Hawaii State Department of Health verifying Barack Hussein Obama was born in Hawaii and is a natural-born American citizen. I have nothing further to add to this statement or my original statement issued in October 2008 over eight months ago’…

“Despite Fukino’s statements, the issue has continued to resonate from Capitol Hill to the national airwaves. Last week, CNN’s Lou Dobbs demanded Obama’s original birth certificate. CNN/U.S. President Jon Klein told staffers of Lou Dobbs Tonight that the issue is a ‘dead’ story…

“In an e-mail, the Times reported, Klein wrote that CNN researchers determined that Obama’s 1961 birth certificate no longer exists because Hawaiian officials had discarded paper documents in 2001 — a claim denied Monday by Hawaiian health officials. In 2001, Hawaii’s paper documents were reproduced in electronic format, but ‘any paper data prior to that still exists,’ Health Department spokeswoman Janice Okubo said. Okubo would not say where Obama’s original birth certificate is but said, ‘We have backups for all of our backups.’

“A congressional resolution introduced by Rep. Neil Abercrombie, D-Hawaii, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of island statehood was delayed Monday. The resolution includes a clause noting Obama’s Hawaiian birthplace. The line ‘Whereas the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama, was born in Hawaii on August 4, 1961’ appeared to be construed by birthers as a thinly veiled attempt to get Congress to affirm Obama’s U.S. citizenship, said Dave Helfert, an Abercrombie spokesman. As the issue came to a vote Monday, Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., rose to object, saying there was not a quorum present. The House later voted 378-0 to approve the resolution. Bachmann voted in favor of the resolution.”

Lou Dobbs Ordered to Stop…

WorldNetDaily reported on July 27:

“Directly contradicting CNN chief Jon Klein – who ordered host Lou Dobbs to quit discussing President Obama’s birth certificate – the Hawaii Department of Health affirmed that no paper birth certificates were destroyed when the department moved to electronic record-keeping…

“Klein wrote in an email that CNN researchers found Hawaiian records were discarded in 2001 when the state’s records system went electronic. Therefore, Klein said, Obama’s original long-form birth certificate no longer exists.

“A computer-generated-abbreviated version that has been promoted on the Internet is the official record, he said. ‘It seems to definitively answer the question,’ Klein wrote. ‘Since the show’s mission is for Lou to be the explainer and enlightener, he should be sure to cite this during your segment tonite. And then it seems this story is dead – because anyone who still is not convinced doesn’t really have a legitimate beef.'”

Obama Approval Rates in Decline

The Rasmussen Reports wrote on July 30:

“The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Thursday shows that 28% of the nation’s voters now Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President. Forty percent (40%) Strongly Disapprove giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -12. That’s the lowest rating yet recorded for President Obama…

“Forty-nine percent (49%) now say that America’s best days have come and gone. Just 38% believe they are still to come. Thirty-four percent (34%) say the country is heading in the right direction. Seventy-five percent (75%) want the Federal Reserve to be audited.”

New Health Care Plan — Small Business Under Attack

USA Today wrote on July 27:

“Now, what about this so-called mandate requiring small business owners to provide health insurance or face a government fine?… Under the House measure, employers with payrolls of more than $400,000 a year will be required to provide health insurance or pay an 8% penalty. Businesses whose payroll falls between $250,000 and $400,000 a year would pay a lesser penalty. Businesses with fewer than $250,000 in payroll would be exempt. A Senate version would exempt employers with fewer than 25 employees, and the fine for bigger companies not complying would be $750 fine per employee per year.

“Those are some scary numbers, especially in a recession. The administration says that insuring more people and providing a public option will bring the costs of insuring employees way down, thus making the mandate far more doable than it might otherwise look. Would it work? It better, because insuring people at today’s costs verges on impossible and penalties are the last thing we need.”

Health Care Vote Delayed…

AFP reported on July 29:

“President Barack Obama said Wednesday there will be no vote on his proposed reforms of the US healthcare system before autumn, a setback that is costing him more political capital with each passing day. ‘This bill, even in the best-case scenario, will not be signed — we won’t even vote on it probably until the end of September or the middle of October,’ he said…

“Lawmakers are going through bills in both houses of Congress with fine tooth combs amid fierce opposition from Republicans and divisions within the Democratic majority and between the Senate and the House of Representatives. Obama has pressed lawmakers to vote on the initial bills before departing on their summer recess August 7, but acknowledged that is unlikely to happen. He was not clear whether he expected a final vote or only a first vote on the bill by the end of September or mid-October.”

Fall of the Dollar

Bloomberg wrote on July 28:

“The dollar fell to the lowest level this year against the currencies of six major U.S. trading partners… The Australian dollar advanced to the highest level since September against the U.S. currency… The euro climbed to a seven-week high against the dollar after Deutsche Bank AG said second-quarter profit rose 68 percent, beating analysts’ estimates… The U.S. currency fell 0.5 percent to 94.73 yen, extending its drop this month to 1.7 percent…

“Adding to pressure on the dollar, China’s Assistant Finance Minister… [said] that his government remains ‘concerned’ about the value of its U.S. assets. [His] remarks come after repeated public assurances by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner that the U.S. is committed to reining in a record budget deficit once an economic recovery is secured. China is the biggest foreign investor in U.S. government debt…”

Obama Administration “Not Naive” About Iran?

The Associated Press reported on July 27:

“Israel hardened its insistence Monday that it would do anything it felt necessary to stop Iran from getting a nuclear bomb, just the ultimatum the United States hoped not to hear as it tried to nudge Iran to the bargaining table.

“U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates reassured Israel that the new Obama administration was not naive about Iran’s intentions, and that Washington would press for new, tougher sanctions against the Iranians if they balk. He didn’t say what those might include.

“Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak used a brief news conference with Gates to insist three times that Israel would not rule out any response—an implied warning that it would consider a pre-emptive strike to thwart Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons…

“The question of how to deal with Iran’s rapid nuclear advancement has become a notable public difference between the new administrations in Jerusalem and Washington… Israel considers itself the prime target of any eventual Iranian bomb.”

“Crunch Time for Israel”

On July 28, John Bolton wrote in the Wall Street Journal:

“Defense Secretary Robert Gates[‘]… central objective was to dissuade Israel from carrying out military strikes against Iran’s nuclear weapons facilities. Under the guise of counseling ‘patience,’ Mr. Gates again conveyed President Barack Obama’s emphatic thumbs down on military force…

“Iran’s progress with nuclear weapons and air defenses means Israel’s military option is declining over time. It will have to make a decision soon, and it will be no surprise if Israel strikes by year’s end. Israel’s choice could determine whether Iran obtains nuclear weapons in the foreseeable future.

“Mr. Obama’s approach to Tehran has been his ‘open hand,’ yet his gesture has not only been ignored by Iran but deemed irrelevant as the country looks inward to resolve the aftermath of its fraudulent election. The hardliner ‘winner’ of that election, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was recently forced to fire a deputy who once said something vaguely soothing about Israel. Clearly, negotiations with the White House are not exactly topping the Iranian agenda.

“Beyond that, Mr. Obama’s negotiation strategy faces insuperable time pressure. French President Nicolas Sarkozy proclaimed that Iran must re-start negotiations with the West by September’s G-20 summit. But this means little when, with each passing day, Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile laboratories, production facilities and military bases are all churning. Israel is focused on these facts, not the illusion of ‘tough’ diplomacy…

“Worse, Mr. Obama has no new strategic thinking on Iran. He vaguely promises to offer the country the carrot of diplomacy—followed by an empty threat of sanctions down the road if Iran does not comply with the U.S.’s requests. This is precisely the European Union’s approach, which has failed for over six years…

“Relations between the U.S. and Israel are more strained now than at any time since the 1956 Suez Canal crisis. Mr. Gates’s message for Israel not to act on Iran, and the U.S. pressure he brought to bear, highlight the weight of Israel’s lonely burden.

“Striking Iran’s nuclear program will not be precipitous or poorly thought out. Israel’s attack, if it happens, will have followed enormously difficult deliberation over terrible imponderables, and years of patiently waiting on innumerable failed diplomatic efforts. Absent Israeli action, prepare for a nuclear Iran.”

“Politicians Criticise EU-US Bank Data Talks”

The Local reported on July 27:

“Plans to share confidential banking data between the European Union and the US for anti-terrorism purposes have united disparate parts of the German political spectrum in opposition.

“EU foreign ministers today gave the go-ahead to European Commission president José Manuel Barroso to negotiate a deal with the US to allow their intelligence agencies access to the Swift system, which helps clear international banking transactions. German politicians have cried foul over the move.

“’It is unreasonable and excessive that banking data can be inspected without any criminal suspicion,’ environmentalist Green Party deputy parliamentary floorleader Jürgen Trittin said… ‘The federal government should not agree under any circumstances to allow this attack on principle of personal data privacy…’

“On the opposite end of the political spectrum, the head of the conservative Christian Social Union, sister party to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), also denounced the measure. ‘That such a wide-reaching intervention into the personal privacy rights of citizens by the bureaucracy is possible, without the involvement of the European or German parliaments, is a scandal,’ said CSU head Horst Seehofer at a speech in Munich on Monday.

“An agreement between the US and EU could be in place by autumn. In addition to being able to monitor financial transactions that cross borders, the US government could also have access to data about purely domestic transactions, warned the German government’s commissioner for data privacy, Peter Schaar.”

“Blair Faces Resistance as Candidate for EU President”

Der Spiegel Online wrote on July 27:

“Tony Blair is facing louder criticism than anticipated in his bid to become the EU’s first president. Support for the former British prime minister appears to be waning in Berlin and Paris as resistance builds elsewhere in Europe. Is Blair losing his chance to become the man to call in Brussels?

“London’s bid to promote Tony Blair as a candidate to become the first ever President of the European Union is being met with unexpectedly vocal opposition in a number of European capital cities. The person serving as EU president will effectively be the international face of the 27 member countries and would lead regular summits of state and government leaders. The creation of the post is contingent on the ratification of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty…

“The office of the EU president will replace the current tradition of the rotating presidency, which sees a different member state taking over summit organizing responsibilities every six months…

“Left-leaning leaders in some European countries dislike Blair for the allegiance he showed to the US during the Iraq war. And pro-European conservatives and business-friendly parties oppose the idea of having a top EU [representative] from a country that refuses to introduce the euro or join the Schengen agreement on border-free travel within Europe.

“Leaders of the EU’s most powerful players — France’s Nicolas Sarkozy and Germany’s Angela Merkel — once promised Blair the job because he managed to prevent a difficult British referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. But insiders in Paris and Berlin warn that enthusiasm for Blair as president has since waned.”

“The Beast of Capitalism”

In reporting about the worldwide financial crisis, The Financial Times wrote on July 27: “Animal spirits rarely stay down for long.”

The paper continued:

“The fall in output in the current recession has been sharp. In the US, for example, gross domestic product fell at an annual rate of just above 6 per cent in the two most recent quarters. In Japan, GDP is down by nearly 9 per cent on its 2008 first-quarter peak. The latest UK data suggest output is nearly 6 per cent lower than a year ago, the sharpest fall since 1931.

“The conventional wisdom is that the steepness of the fall means the recession will be long, and that the recovery when it happens will be anaemic. In the UK, for example, the National Institute of Economic and Social Research argued last week that GDP per head would take five years to get back to pre-recession levels… In the US, the consensus among forecasters is that growth at or near trend will not resume until the second half of 2010 and that the 2008 second-quarter peak level will not be regained until the first half of 2011.

“As late as the autumn of 2008, economic forecasters in general were far too optimistic about 2009. Are these same forecasters now too pessimistic about recovery?… the current circumstances are unusual. But so was the Great Depression. There is some evidence to suggest that, after recession has reached a certain size or duration, recovery is then harder and more sluggish. Keynes’ animal spirits become depressed. But it takes an awful lot to depress them for more than a couple of years. Capitalism seems a pretty resilient beast.”

The Insanity of the Afghan War

The Telegraph wrote on July 27:

“Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister, has signalled the end of Operation Panther’s Claw, the bloody offensive by British troops to drive back the Taliban in Afghanistan… Twenty British personnel have been killed this month alone in Afghanistan – with 189 having died since the start of operations eight years ago…

“Foreign Secretary David… Miliband said ‘moderate’ members of the Taliban insurgency killing British forces in Afghanistan could be given seats in the Afghan government. He said that some members of the broad coalition of Islamic militants, tribal groups and hired fighters could be drawn into the Afghan political process.”

Germany’s Secret War in Afghanistan

The Local wrote on July 27:

“Rules of engagement for German forces in Afghanistan are being eased to allow soldiers to use their weapons more often. They will also be allowed to shoot at fleeing attackers, the Defence Ministry announced Monday…

“Until now, German soldiers were not permitted to shoot if their attackers had turned around and were fleeing. The ministry did not clarify if the change in policy had to do with a recently-launched offensive around Kundus in northern Afghanistan that includes over 300 German troops, the first offensive forces have taken part in since World War II.

“Germany’s involvement in foreign military operations, especially in Afghanistan, is extremely controversial with the German public. After the death of three soldiers last month, Jung, who belongs to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), refused to describe the fighting in Afghanistan as a war…

“’It’s incomprehensible why German soldiers in Afghanistan have, up until now, had less authority than a policeman in Germany,’ said Rainer Stinner with the pro-business Free Democratic Party. But he described Monday’s announcement as a change in policy that the government was not being completely open about…”

Germans Join Army Because of Recession

The Local wrote on July 27:

“Is economic adversity forcing eastern Germans to become ‘cannon fodder’ for the military?… Of the 6,391 soldiers on foreign missions, 3,143 are of eastern German background – about half, even though east Germans make up just one fifth of the population. Among the lower ranks, it is even worse: 62.5 percent are from the east. Yet easterners make up just 16.6 percent of officers. And none of the four generals on foreign deployments are from the east. The figures were made public shortly after three young German soldiers were killed in Afghanistan. The three soldiers came, respectively, from the eastern states of Brandenburg, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia.

“Rüdiger Göbel, a journalist with the leftist newspaper Junge Welt who recently earned a swift rebuke from the government for describing Ossis in the Bundeswehr as ‘cannon fodder,’ says the overrepresentation of eastern Germans in the military crystallises two pressing political issues in Germany: the unpopularity of Germany’s involvement in the war in Afghanistan and economic stagnation in the east. ‘We got a huge response after we wrote about this issue,’ he told The Local. ‘The fact is, the majority of people in Germany are against the war in Afghanistan but the majority in the Bundestag support it’…

“It is hardly surprising that people from economically depressed areas will be overrepresented in the armed forces. It’s a phenomenon seen around the world. Saxon Greens MP Peter Hettlich, who obtained the Bundeswehr figures via parliamentary inquiry, compared the situation with the high proportion of African-Americans and Hispanics in the US military. In the Mitteldeutsche Zeitung, he went so far as to say eastern Germans were being ‘exploited’ because of their economic situation.”

Habermas on European Army and Core Europe

The Irish Times wrote on July 29:

“There is something refreshingly honest about Jürgen Habermas’s take on the European Union. A critical supporter of the Lisbon Treaty, Germany’s leading philosopher, political scientist and public intellectual believes that Europe can and must do better. His new collection of essays, Europe, The Faltering Project, brings together a series of previously published papers and speeches on a wide range of philosophical, political, economic and cultural themes.

“At first glance there may seem to be little connection between Habermas’s reflections on the relationship between contemporary philosophy, religion and politics on the one hand, and the fate of national media in the era of corporate globalisation on the other. However, whether explicitly or implicitly, what binds these disparate essays together is the author’s desire to find better ways to regulate the market in what he argues is a post-national era…

“Habermas outlines his concerns with the current state of the European project and offers his tentative proposals for its future. He identifies three challenges. Corporate-led globalisation has undermined the ability of the nation state to regulate the market in the best interests of society. The rise of the US as the world’s sole superpower has produced a ‘reckless, hegemonic power politics’. In turn a ‘split within the West’ has emerged on defence policy, between the EU and the US and within the US itself, exemplified by the Iraq war.

“The response to each of these three challenges, argues Habermas, is to be found in deeper European integration. Effective regulation of capital can only take place at the supra-national level, requiring EU harmonisation of social, economic and fiscal policy. An alternative to the Washington Consensus demands a single European foreign policy promoting reform of global economic and political institutions such as the IMF and the UN. Ending US military unilateralism requires an EU army that can earn respect for European principles.

“… he argues for an end to the ‘convoy model’ of EU integration, ‘in which the slowest vehicle determines the speed’ allowing instead for core Europe to press ahead. Addressing the democratic deficit will require an end to the idea that ‘it is the privilege of the governments to decide the future destiny of Europe behind closed doors’. And it is here that the compelling logic of Habermas’s argument exposes its Achilles heel, as his desire for supra-national social democratic reform clashes with the undemocratic and neo-liberal reality that is the European Union today.”

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Does the Bible teach character development in angels?

In our last Q&A, we discussed the fact that God is creating His holy and righteous character in man, as it is His purpose to reproduce Himself in man–to enlarge His God Family through man. The same cannot be said about angels.

There is no indication in Scripture that it is–or has ever been–God’s purpose to enlarge the Family of God–presently consisting of God the Father and God the Son, Jesus Christ–through angels. Rather, angels are created beings; they are all “ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation” (Hebrews 1:14).

God tells us that He “has not put the world to come, of which we speak, in subjection to angels” (Hebrews 2:5); rather, this potential is given to man (verses 6-9). And so, we read that Christ did not take on the nature of angels, but He took on the nature of man (Hebrews 2:16; compare Authorized Version and margin of New King James Bible), to be made like His brethren in everything (verse 17), so that His brethren could be made like Him in everything. As we point out in our booklet, “The Gospel of the Kingdom of God,” Jesus Christ–who was God since all eternity–became man, to make it possible for man to become God.

None of this can be said about angels. They are not to become God–in fact, we read that man–made immortal–will judge or rule over angels. A mighty and powerful angel had to tell John twice not to worship him, stating: “See that you do not do that. For I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren the prophets, and of those who keep the word of the book. Worship God” (Revelation 22:9; compare Revelation 19:10). But we also read that true Christians, made immortal, will be worshipped–and that with Christ’s approval–so they will be GOD at that time (Revelation 3:9).

And still, the Bible indicates character development in angels. Again, NOT for the purpose of becoming members of the God Family in a literal sense. But, we need to realize that God created angels with free moral agency–as men are free moral agents–and that every free moral agent has the power of choice. He has to DECIDE whether or not to accept and live by the truth. And the Bible tells us that about one-third of the angels whom God had created, DECIDED to SIN–while the remaining two-thirds of the angels DECIDED NOT to SIN (compare Revelation 12:4).

We discussed in a previous Q&A that the great archangel and cherub Lucifer sinned–and that his name was changed to Satan, which means, “adversary.” We also pointed out that the angels under his control likewise sinned and are known today as “demons.” We showed that Lucifer and his demons attempted a coup to throw God off His throne in heaven; but that they were defeated by God’s righteous angels and thrown back to this earth.

Herbert W. Armstrong, the late Pastor General of the Worldwide Church of God, wrote the following in, “The Incredible Human Potential,” copyright 1978:

“Lucifer was a super being of awesome, majestic beauty, dazzling brightness, supreme knowledge, wisdom and power — perfect as God created him! But God of necessity created in him the power of choice and decision, or he could not have been a being of individuality and character…

“This superb spirit being filled up the sum total of wisdom, perfection and beauty. He was the supreme pinnacle, the masterpiece, of God’s creation, as an individually created being, the greatest one in the almighty power of God to create! The tragic thing is that he rebelled against his Maker!…

“He had complete knowledge, understanding and wisdom. But he also was given full powers of reasoning, thinking, making decisions, making his choice. And, with all this foreknowledge — even of results and consequences — this superb being, the highest that even God could create by fiat, turned to rebellion against his Maker — against the way that produces every good.”

We read that Lucifer was perfect when he was created–until iniquity, lawlessness or sin was found in him. God did not create him with iniquity–but because Lucifer was a free moral agent, he DECIDED to ALLOW sin to enter his life. Ezekiel 28:14-17 says about Lucifer: “You were the anointed cherub who covers… You were PERFECT in your ways from the day you were created, TILL iniquity was found IN YOU… You BECAME filled with violence within, And you SINNED… Your HEART WAS LIFTED UP because of your beauty; You CORRUPTED your wisdom for the sake of your splendor…”

As mentioned, the angels under Lucifer’s control followed his bad example and participated in his coup. 2 Peter 2:4 states: “For God did not spare the angels WHO SINNED, but cast them down to hell [tartaros in Greek; a state or condition of darkness, rather than a place] and delivered them into [spiritual] chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment…” Compare, too, Jude 6.

The question might be asked whether the “character development” in all created spirit beings is complete–and whether it was completed at the time when one-third of the angels decided to sin, and two-thirds decided to stay loyal to God. In other words, is it possible that some of the angels could still sin and some of the demons could still repent?

Please note the following excerpts from our booklet, Angels, Demons and the Spirit World:

“When reading about angelic warfare with demons, we might ask ourselves the question: ‘Why does God let these spiritual battles go on?’… We have already discussed the fact that a full one-third of God’s angels sinned in times past, thus becoming demons. God did not prevent them from sinning. He created them as free moral agents and He knew that they could sin…

“Angels were created as free moral agents. God wants them to make a final decision as to whether to sin or to live in righteousness. We know that the angels sinned when they followed Satan. What we don’t know is whether all of them committed the unpardonable sin; in other words, whether or not some of them can still repent. We also don’t know whether all of the angels who did not follow Satan thereby made the irrevocable decision to always stay loyal to God…

“We are told in 1 Peter 3:19–20: ‘… by which [the Spirit] also he [Christ] went and preached unto the spirits in prison; Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water’ (Authorized Version).

“The correct understanding of this passage is that Jesus Christ preached to the spirits in prison—the demons—at the time of Noah, when God was about to protect Noah from destruction. Christ used this example to show that the demons who had sinned ‘sometime’—before the creation of man—were still awaiting their judgment.

“Why did Christ preach to the demons? Was the only purpose to announce to them what they already knew, that they would be punished in the future? Or, was it done in order to bring some of them to repentance so that they could be spared from punishment?

“Proverbs 16:2 tells us that ‘the LORD weighs the spirits.’ If the fate of all spirit beings—good and bad—is sealed, why would God still weigh the spirits?

“We are also told, in 1 Corinthians 6:3, that we will judge angels. This judgment might include demons who are called ‘angels’ in Revelation 12:7. ‘Judgment’ can mean ‘condemnation.’ ‘Judgment’ can also refer to a process of judging, leading, guiding and directing, which requires time, until at the end of the process, the verdict is pronounced. Is the Bible telling us that we are to judge demons, not only in the sense of condemning them for what they did, but also for the purpose of trying to lead some of them to repentance?…

“The Bible sometimes refers to the angels who followed God as being ‘holy.’ This does not necessarily mean that they cannot sin. We who are called by God today are considered ‘holy’ (1 Peter 2:9). Still, we do sin from time to time. ONLY God CANNOT sin. The Bible does not say that the angels who did not follow Satan, could not sin anymore. Since God cannot sin, we have to become God, higher than the angels, to guarantee that we, too, will not sin anymore as born-again members of the God Family. This is why God is in the process of reproducing Himself, through man, not through angels…

“Paul makes this alarming comment in Galatians 1:8: ‘But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.’ Apparently, Paul felt it might be possible that an ‘angel from heaven’ could sin, by preaching a wrong gospel message…

“Does God allow spiritual battles between angels and demons to go on in order to allow character-building, either good or bad? Actions prove where one’s heart is. An angel who consistently and tenaciously fights for God, and against demons, will not be easily persuaded to deny God and to sin, while a demon who consistently and tenaciously fights against God will not easily repent and accept God and His way of life… Perhaps God is still testing His angels and the demons to see which of the angels might not yet have made a final commitment never to sin, and which of the demons might not yet have made a final commitment to never repent…

“God may not be done yet in determining the ultimate fate of all of His created spirit beings. As free moral agents, they too need to come to the point where their character has been formed and will not change. This has undoubtedly already occurred in many cases, but there might be other cases where God is still testing the spirits to see exactly where they stand.”

In conclusion, as free moral agents, both angels and men must choose to obey God. This requires time. While most created spirit beings have undoubtedly irrevocably decided never to sin or never to repent–so that they have acquired either good or bad character–there could still be those whose character development is not yet complete.

It is clear from Scripture that Satan and most demons are not interested in developing righteous character–they are not able to do so. It is also apparent that most holy angels are not interested in turning from God–in fact, they, too, might not be able to do so. Once spirit beings make an irrevocable decision never to sin or never to repent, they cannot change, as they are unwilling to change. Then, their character development–either for the good or the bad–will have been completed. For instance, as we pointed out in our last Q&A, God, who has always been perfect and righteous character, CANNOT sin, as His perfect WILL and His very nature are opposed to sinning. There was never a time when God’s character needed development–it was always perfect, righteous and good. But as we said, it is possible that some angels or demons may still have to reach the point of making their final irrevocable decision–their character development may still be ongoing towards a final resolution.

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

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Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

Since May 15, 2009, we sent out the following booklets in the USA in response to our Internet campaign: 155 copies of “The Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord,” and 140 copies of “Angels, Demons and the Spirit World.”

Norbert Link’s sermonette, “Feast 2009 Update,” was posted on the Internet

Norbert Link’s new sermon, “How To Develop Character,” was posted on the Internet

A new German sermon was posted this week on the Internet. It discusses additional aspects of attributes of the Holy Spirit, such as love, faith and wisdom, and is titled, “Merkmale des Heiligen Geistes.”

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Doing It Myself

by Shelly Bruno

As my son is fully enmeshed in a somewhat stubborn toddler phase, he’s started telling me he wants to “do it myself.” This could be in regard to climbing into the car, cutting with scissors, walking in a parking lot, or crossing the street. Some of these tasks (it is easy to see) would be much better carried out with the help of an authority figure, whether because of safety, experience, timeliness, or just plain common sense.

There is a saying: “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” Well, you only have to look to my son’s mother to see a fine example of wanting to do it myself. Tasks (it is easy to see) that would be much better carried out with the help of an authority figure.

I certainly like to be self-sufficient and do things for myself. Sometimes that has a positive result and other times, a negative outcome. Recently, after years of struggling with a problem, I finally handed the problem over to God. Not because I had great faith, or trust, or just knew that God would take care of it, but simply because I had run out of my own options: I just didn’t know what else I could do.

A strange thing happened–within a few hours of asking God for help, I saw a positive result. I was dumbfounded. A problem I had been trying to fix on my own, and had been so unsuccessful with for years, was immediately being addressed by God. After the sheer exhilaration of seeing results, I then became frustrated. Why had I struggled so long, not taking advantage of the ultimate power and authority of the universe? Was my problem so tremendous that God couldn’t handle it? Quite the contrary. The only thing that was tremendous was my stubbornness in not asking for help.

Since this experience I have been asking God for help with many different issues—even things I had previously thought too mundane or trivial for His attention. It’s very encouraging to see how God can and does assist in so many aspects of my life.

As I continue to work with my son during this toddler phase, I will teach him to ask for and accept help. It is reassuring to know that the phase will eventually pass. More importantly though, I hope my phase will pass, and I will learn to do what I should have all along—ask God for help.

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How This Work is Financed

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

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

Technical Team: Eric Rank, Shana Rank

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

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

Donations should be sent to the following addresses:

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

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

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

©2024 Church of the Eternal God