Update 463


It’s About Time

On October 23, 2010, Dave Harris will give the sermon, titled, respectively, “It’s About Time.”

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.

Back to top

Preaching the TRUE Gospel!

by Norbert Link

In the first century, a controversy arose in the early New Testament Church about whether the gospel message was supposed to be the good news OF Christ or ABOUT Christ. The answer to this question had great consequences. The majority believed that the gospel was strictly a message about Christ–about His person, His Sacrifice, His birth, His life and death as a human being; and so this is the message which millions upon millions of people have been hearing for centuries. But it is NOT the gospel message!

It seems that only God’s true Church preserved the knowledge of what the gospel is! It is not only a message ABOUT the Messenger, Jesus Christ, but it is the message OF the Messenger. It is the message that Jesus preached. It is the same good news or glad tidings which the Church is commissioned to preach today.

There is only ONE gospel (Galatians 1:6-9)–and it is mostly called the gospel of the Kingdom of God (Matthew 4:23; 24:14; Mark 1:14-15; Luke 8:1; 9:2). It is also referred to as the gospel OF Christ (Mark 1:1; Romans 1:9, 16; compare 2 Thessalonians 1:6-8)–not just ABOUT Christ. It is also identified as the gospel OF God the Father (Romans 1:1).

God the Father is the Originator and Owner of the Gospel. He entrusted it to Christ to preach it here on earth. It is God’s and Christ’s gospel which the Church is to proclaim today. Notice, it is not called the gospel ABOUT Christ or not even ABOUT God the Father; nor is it called the gospel ABOUT the Kingdom of God. Rather, it is described as the gospel OF God; OF Christ; and OF the Kingdom of God.

The differences are wide-ranging. The gospel message is a message FROM God TO man–it is FOR man. It includes the truth about God, about Christ, and about the Kingdom of God, but it is more encompassing than that. It shows man how he can ENTER the Kingdom of God.

What IS the Kingdom of God? Most people have no idea. I would even dare to say that many in the churches of God today do not fully comprehend the tremendous meaning of the KINGDOM of God. The Kingdom of God is the Family of God. God IS a RULING Family!

The God Family–the God Kingdom–consists today, as it always did, of God the Father and Jesus Christ the Son. Both the Father and the Son are GOD. They ARE the Kingdom or Family of God. Converted Christians are NOT YET in the Kingdom or Family of God. They are Spirit-begotten children of God, to be BORN into the Kingdom of God at the time of Christ’s return to this earth. Then, they too will be IN the Kingdom of God–the Family of GOD. Then, they will BE God.

In order to be IN the Kingdom of God, one must BE God. Man is NOT yet in the Kingdom–he is not yet God, because flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. But it is man’s destiny to enter into eternal life–into the Kingdom of God; to become a member of the Kingdom or RULING Family of God.

When we preach the gospel OF the Kingdom of God, we preach the message which belongs to and originates with the KINGDOM of God–the Family of God. The everlasting or eternal gospel is the message OF God the Father and Jesus Christ the Son. It is the message OF the Kingdom of God.

I wonder how many have ever fully understood this important truth. I just gave a video-recorded sermon last Sabbath, titled, “What Is the True Gospel?”. It explains this awesome knowledge in much detail. Please watch it–and if you have already done so, please do so again.

God’s true Church is commissioned to preach the gospel OF (not just about) the Kingdom or Family of God–the gospel OF God. In order to do this, we must know what it is. Do you?

Back to top

We begin with reports on Germany’s ongoing controversy with Islam. While President Christian Wulff exclaims that Islam belongs in Germany and Chancellor Angela Merkel postulates that Germany’s attempt to build a multicultural society has utterly failed, CSU-Leader Horst Seehofer demands a stop to all new immigration. Germany’s “rising star,” Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, has so far apparently refrained from speaking on the issue. Germans are becoming increasingly concerned about Islam and the Muslims among them–so much so that “The Local” already speaks of Germany’s and Europe’s “NEW ANTI-SEMITISM.”

The Dutch government needs to rely on anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party, and many observers believe that charges against Wilders for hate speech will soon be dropped. Anti-Muslim sentiments can also be observed in Russia.

France is engulfed in strikes, but the EU has concluded that it does not need to penalize France for their deportation of Roma or Gypsies.

Der Spiegel reports about President Obama’s disappearing “magic,” and it points out HOW MUCH Europe and America are apart.

We also report about the ongoing “hopeless” Afghan war; talk about Israel’s position that “no one will dictate Israel’s borders”; ask how the U.S. midterm elections might affect the Middle East; show how the Lebanese Shiites love the Iranian President; and conclude with Britain’s shock over huge and unprecedented spending cuts.

Back to top

Germany’s Fight with Islam

Daily News reported on October 14:

“A recent survey showing high levels of anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant sentiment in Germany alarms the country’s Turkish community, which fears such beliefs could flare into violence. The study released this week indicates that xenophobic feelings are spreading from extremists at the margins of society to the middle-class heart of the European country…

“‘What is most dangerous is that racism in Germany is going from a Nazi appearance to a ‘black-tie racism,’ Kenan Kolat, a leader of the Turkish community in Germany, told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review on Thursday. ‘The existing racism is heading toward the center of society, to cultural, white-collar racism.’…

“The survey, which was broadcast by Deutsche Welle, shows 32 percent of Germans approve of the statement, ‘When there’s a shortage of jobs, foreigners should be sent back home’; 34 percent agree or strongly agree with the statement that ‘Foreigners only come here to exploit Germany’s social welfare system’; and 35 percent think that ‘Germany has a dangerous level of foreign influence as a result of the many foreigners in the country.’…

“Germany has a sizeable Turkish community of around 2.5 million and a total Muslim population of some 4 million. German central bank board member Thilo Sarrazin recently caused outrage among Muslim immigrants when he accused Turks and Arabs of exploiting the welfare state, refusing to integrate and lowering the country’s average intelligence. ‘A policy of humiliation and exclusion is supported by part of German society,’ Kolat said…

“The survey showed the strongest negative opinions when it comes to Islam, with 55 percent of respondents saying they could understand that people find Arabs unpleasant, and 58 percent saying the practicing of the Muslim religion should be ‘considerably restricted’…”

For more information on this intriguing subject, please continue to read the following articles, and view our latest StandingWatch program, titled, “How Germans Really Feel.”

Germany’s “Multicultural Society Has Utterly Failed”

Reuters reported on October 17:

“Germany’s attempt to create a multicultural society has ‘utterly failed,’ Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Saturday, adding fuel to a debate over immigration and Islam polarising her conservative camp… Merkel said allowing people of different cultural backgrounds to live side by side without integrating had not worked… Merkel faces pressure from within her CDU to take a tougher line on immigrants who don’t show a willingness to adapt to German society and her comments appeared intended to pacify her critics…

“Merkel has tried to accommodate both sides of the debate, talking tough on integration but also telling Germans that they must accept that mosques have become part of their landscape…’Horst Seehofer, chairman of the Christian Social Union (CSU), the CDU’s sister party, has rejected any relaxation of immigration laws and said last week there was no room in Germany for more people from ‘alien cultures.'”

Der Spiegel Online added on October 18:

“German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s declaration that multiculturalism in Germany has ‘utterly failed’ has raised the temperature of an already burning immigration debate. German commentators on Monday clashed on whether she was voicing a home truth or scoring cheap political points…

“The right-wing Die Welt writes:

“‘No one has anything against the immigrants who live and work among us. But many people have something against the immigrants who want to bring their own system of justice along with them. Immigration means accepting the traditions of the chosen country — and also respecting those traditions. Whoever lives here has to accept that honor killings are murder. Whoever doesn’t want to do so, should stay out of the country. For this reason Angela Merkel and Horst Seehofer are right when they say that immigration needs clear-cut principles’…

“The Financial Times Deutschland writes:

“‘CSU leader Seehofer and CDU leader Merkel think that they can win back support by using slogans from the 1980s… Seehofer has positioned himself against uncontrolled immigration. But in reality, immigration has long been limited: Far more Turkish people are leaving Germany than arriving…'”

President Wulff Speaks to Turkish Parliament

Deutsche Welle reported on October 19:

“German President Christian Wulff has called on Turkish immigrants to Germany to integrate in to Germany society, saying Turks and Germans ‘are closely connected.’ ‘Our fellow citizens of Turkish origin … are welcome in our country, and belong to our country,’ he said in a speech to the Turkish parliament in Ankara. ‘As your president, I urge every immigrant to actively integrate in our German society.’

“His comments come amid a controversial debate at home on whether Berlin has failed in efforts to integrate Muslim immigrants. The four-day trip is the first visit of a German president to Turkey in a decade, while Wulff’s speech marked the first time a German head of state has addressed the Turkish parliament…

“In his speech, Wulff stressed immigrants need not give up their cultural identity or background. But those living in Germany should respect and protect the values of the German constitution, including freedom of speech, equality and the right to a religiously and ideologically neutral state… Wulff also touched on the subject of religion, calling on Turkey and other Islamic countries to be more open to Christianity…

“‘Without a doubt, Christianity belongs to Turkey,’ he said… In his speech, the German president also commented on Turkey’s struggling bid to join the European Union… Both Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy are against full membership for Turkey, instead suggesting that the country should settle for a ‘privileged partnership,’ an option Ankara has firmly rejected.”

It is doubtful that Turkey will ever become a part of core Europe. For more information, please read our free booklet, “Europe in Prophecy.”

Guttenberg–Germany’s Rising Star?

The Local reported on October 20:

“Nearly a quarter of voters believe the conservative rising star Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg would make a better chancellor than the embattled Angela Merkel, a poll published Wednesday found… The poll comes amid growing speculation that Defence Minister Guttenberg, a member of the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU), is likely to become leader of his party and has a strong chance to become the nation’s chancellor…

“Guttenberg, 38, is easily the country’s most popular politician at the moment – a title long held by Merkel. In a recent poll, his approval rating of 70 percent positively dwarfed her 40 percent. Guttenberg himself has described suggestions that he might oust Merkel if the conservatives perform badly in state elections next year as ‘bizarre’…

“Forsa pollster Manfred Güllner said Guttenberg was winning the respect of voters for his independence and the fact he did not appear to be part of the ‘Berlin political circus.’… However Güllner stressed the recent speculation about Guttenberg’s leadership potential had been premature. ‘Guttenberg is seen as a nice type but as to his fitness for the Chancellery, there are many question marks. So far he has not been seriously put to the test.’”

Europe’s New Anti-Semitism

The Local wrote on October 15:

“In recent weeks, it’s become rather apparent that bigotry towards Muslims is Europe’s new anti-Semitism.

“Last weekend, Horst Seehofer, the conservative state premier of Bavaria, sparked outrage by calling for an end to immigration from Islamic countries… Seehofer’s remarks followed several of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives expressing unease over German President Christian Wulff’s recent statement that Islam was as much a part of German society as Christianity and Judaism. One Bavarian politician even said there could be no religious equality for Islam in Germany…

“Tragically it took something as horrific as the Holocaust to ensure Jews equal treatment in Western democracies like Britain and the United States, where anti-Jewish attitudes were rife prior to World War II. No-one should forget that it was only the incomparable crimes of Nazi Germany committed against Europe’s Jewry that made it no longer socially acceptable to express anti-Semitic sentiments openly…

“Many German conservatives have recently mentioned the country’s ‘Christian-Judeo’ traditions – something that would normally be expressed in English as being Judeo-Christian… But it doesn’t take a huge stretch of the imagination to apply the ugly rhetoric currently being directed towards Muslims to Germany’s Jewish population before the war.

“‘…just as it was once acceptable to badmouth Jews and scapegoat them for society’s ills – in Germany as well as Western democracies like America and Britain – millions of law-abiding, well-integrated Muslims are now being targeted unfairly…”

New Dutch Government

Bloomberg reported on October 14:

“The Netherlands, the second-largest exporter in the euro zone, got a new government today backed by Geert Wilders’s anti-Islam party that plans to cut immigration and reduce spending on development aid and the European Union… About 1.5 million Dutch voters cast ballots for Wilders’s Freedom Party, which wants to stop the building of mosques and withdraw from the EU…

“The Netherlands, which has been known for accepting foreigners since Portuguese Jews sought refuge there, has played an outsized role in the world economy since the founding of the Dutch East India Company in 1602. The merchant empire, which focused on trading instead of cultural colonization, once stretched from the Caribbean to Indonesia…

“The Netherlands has about 850,000 Muslims, according to Dutch statistics bureau 2006 data. Most are of Turkish or Moroccan origin.”

Wilders Soon Acquitted?

BBC reported on October 15:

“Dutch prosecutors have recommended acquitting leading anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders on all five charges of hate speech. They said his comments had targeted Islam, not Muslims, and he had the right to comment on social issues. The trial will continue next week and judges may still disagree with the prosecution and convict Mr Wilders. Prosecutors were obliged to look at the case again after an appeals court decision last year.

“The trial of Mr Wilders, who compared the Koran to Hitler’s Mein Kampf, has gripped the Netherlands… Prosecutors had initially declined to press charges against Mr Wilders in June 2008. But they were ordered to do so in January 2009 by the appeals court, which ruled that there was significant evidence that the politician had sought to ‘sow hatred’.”

Russians Against Muslims

Der Spiegel Online reported on October 19:

“The leaders of Moscow’s 1.5 million strong Muslim community say they desperately need more places of worship. But a plan to build a new mosque has run into local opposition which is being fuelled by nationalists calling for a ‘clean Moscow’ without Muslims and foreigners…

“The country’s largest online newspaper, gazeta.ru, drew parallels with other European controversies surrounding Islam: The burqa ban in France and the immigration debate now raging in Germany. Europeans are frightened of Islam because the religion’s values are utterly foreign to them, the article said. ‘Now we are experiencing something similar in Moscow and St. Petersburg.’

“According to estimates… up to 20 million Muslims live in Russia today. Muslims have dominated some parts of the country for centuries. While the predominantly Muslim Republic of Tatarstan in the Volga region is regarded as moderate, guerrillas are fighting to set up an Islamic state in the northern Caucasus. Islamic extremists were behind the suicide bomb attacks that shook the Russian capital this March and killed 40 people.”

Strikes Paralyze France

Deutsche Welle reported on October 20:

“The first fuel depots where cleared of blockades by the police overnight after one-third of France’s petrol stations had run dry due to a strike of oil refinery workers and barricades set up at several depots…

“The clashes between police and protesters continued on Wednesday. Many of the country’s motorways and airports remained blockaded as protests against the government’s pension reforms continued for the seventh day in a row.

“Demonstrators blocked access to airports in Toulouse, Bordeaux, Nantes and Clermont-Ferrand, while truck drivers obstructed traffic on more than a dozen motorways throughout the country. 

“President Nicolas Sarkozy on Wednesday warned that the strikes could have serious consequences for the country’s economy… Sarkozy added that despite the protests the government would persist in pushing for unpopular pension reforms…

“Opinion polls suggest the strikers still have the support of the majority of the French. French daily Les Echos published a poll on Wednesday that said that 59 percent of the country wanted the unions to continue with the protests.

“The pension reforms are aimed at raising the standard retirement age from 60 to 62 and full pension benefits from 65 to 67. The French senate is to vote on the unpopular bill later this week.”

France Off the Hook?

Predictably, the EU dropped their charges against France for the deporatation of Roma.

The EUObserver wrote on October 19:

“The European Commission on Tuesday… put an end to its stand-off with France over Roma expulsions, deciding not to start infringement procedures after Paris submitted plans to bring its legislation in line with EU law on freedom of movement… Over a thousand Roma of Romanian and Bulgarian citizenship were repatriated in August and September… With the Tuesday decision, that case is now closed…

“‘This is proof of the good functioning of the European Union as a Community governed by the rule of law,’ the commissioner added… The news came as a ‘disappointment’ to MEPs following the Brussels-Paris row over Roma.”

“Obama’s Lost Magic” –USA and EU Far Apart

This article and the next one show the vast differences between Europe and America. Once this fact is realized, it is perhaps not any longer so difficult to believe the Bible which prophesies that the relationship between these two power blocs will steadily deteriorate and culminate in an outright war.

On October 19, Der Spiegel Online published a somewhat polemic and largely inaccurate article. Nevertheless, the following excerpts are worth quoting:

“US President Barack Obama is trying to recover his lost magic as defeat for the Democrats looms in the midterm elections. But… his window of opportunity has passed…

“When Obama came to office, the country craved perfection. His government is far from perfect, however. It’s not even close. But what is more appalling still, what is more shocking on so many levels, is the state of the nation — the political stupidity of entire federal states and systems that seem hell-bent on self-destruction. Europe and the United States are much farther apart than many Europeans think. The US is different, completely and utterly different…

“Decades of prosperity have made the US a lethargic country. And in contrast to Europeans, whose lives and countries have been shaped by war, Americans are accustomed to feeling unique and invulnerable.”

“The American and European Systems Are Largely Different”

On October 19, Der Spiegel published an interview with Karl Rove who was one of President George W. Bush’s closest advisers. We are bringing you the following excerpts from Karl Rove’s comments:

“In Europe and the United States, you’ve got different systems to select candidates, and no system is perfect. In Germany you have a parliamentary system in which political parties weed out people. And the fact of the matter is that in Germany, on both sides of the aisle, particularly on the Social Democratic side, you have seen lousy leadership of the political parties that have allowed subpar candidates to emerge through the parliamentary system…

“You have had candidates that the country rejected in a pretty profound way. Our primary system prevents this from happening as often… the advantage of our system is that it is able to react to changes in public opinion better than the European system generally is able to. And, we tend to have broadly representative parties rather than sort of multiple parties that represent more narrow slices of the electorate and lead to coalition politics.

“America does not have a history of social democracy. We have been a country in which even the Democrats have been to the right of the left in Europe, and that’s one of our strengths. A lot of people call [President Obama] a socialist. I don’t. He is a social democrat, though…”

Osama Bin Laden and the Hopeless Afghan War

CNN reported on October 18:

“Osama bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri are believed to be hiding close to each other in houses in northwest Pakistan, but are not together, a senior NATO official said. ‘Nobody in al Qaeda is living in a cave,’ said the official… Rather, al Qaeda’s top leadership is believed to be living in relative comfort, protected by locals and some members of the Pakistani intelligence services, the official said. Pakistan has repeatedly denied protecting members of the al Qaeda leadership…

“The NATO official, who has day-to-day senior responsibilities for the war, offered a potentially grimmer view than what has been publicly offered by others. ‘Every year the insurgency can generate more and more manpower,’ despite military attacks, he said… he pointed to an internal assessment that there are 500,000 to 1 million ‘disaffected’ men between the ages of 15 and 25 along the Afghan-Pakistan border region… Most are Afghan Pashtuns and make up some of the 95 percent of the insurgency who carry out attacks just to earn money, rather than fight for a hard-core Taliban ideology.

“The official said it is now absolutely vital for the Afghan government to address the needs of this group with security, economic development and jobs in order for the war to end, and for Afghanistan to succeed. ‘We are running out of time,’ he said. The entire scenario is made more complex by the fact that ‘there is a huge criminal enterprise in this country,’ dealing in human, drug and mineral trafficking, he said. Those crimes are also tied into the insurgency.

“… the official cautioned, hard core Taliban groups such as the Quetta Shura run by Mullah Omar, the Haqqanis, the HiG (Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin) and the Pakistani Taliban still could potentially muster as many as 30,000 fighters…

“The U.S. military could sustain a war ‘indefinitely,’ the official said. But the goal is to achieve reconciliation and allow the Afghan government to function and provide security and services to the people. Without that, he said, ‘we will be fighting here forever.'”

But the world will soon grow tired of America’s fruitless “indefinite” fighting in Afghanistan–and so will the American people. For all intents and purposes, the Afghan war is lost. America has won its last war a long time ago. In fact, America has won no war since World War II.

“No One Will Dictate Israel’s Borders”

Haaretz reported on October 19:

“Israel’s ambassador to the United States Michael Oren remarked on Tuesday that Israel would not allow anyone to dictate its borders. ‘Like Ben-Gurion, Netanyahu will not allow the United Nations, or any other organization, to dictate our borders. They will be determined through negotiations,’ he said in Washington during an event at the Chamber of commerce celebrating 25 years since the establishment of the Free Trade agreement between the U.S. and Israel.

“In September, Israel entered into U.S.-sponsored direct peace negotiations with the Palestinians, which subsequently broke down in the wake of the expiration of a temporary Israeli moratorium on construction in West Bank settlements. As part of the negotiations, Palestinian negotiators have demanded the establishment of a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders.

“‘Today, too, Israel is blessed with principled and courageous leadership. While facing terrorist groups sworn to destroy every last one of us – women, children, senior citizens – and some 60,000 Hamas and Hezbollah rockets pointed directly at our homes; with so-called human rights organizations and boycott movements and campus coalitions denying our right to defend ourselves and even our right to exist, and with Iranian leaders swearing to wipe us off the map and striving to produce the nuclear means for doing that…. With all of those challenges, the Israeli government under PM Benjamin Netanyahu has not for a nanosecond reduced its commitment to peace,’ Oren said.

“‘But not a peace at any price,’ he added. ‘Not a peace that will impair Israel’s security or impugn its identity as the nation state of the Jewish people. As Netanyahu said last year in his Bar-Ilan speech, he will not allow any future Palestinian state to become another Lebanon or Gaza.'”

Israel will soon find itself in utter political isolation. The world will turn against Israel. We are beginning to see this development occurring in front of our very eyes. For more information, please read our free booklets, “The Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord,” and “The Book of Zechariah–Prophecies for Today!”

How Will U.S. Midterm Elections Impact Mideast Peace?

Haaretz reported on October 20:

“Next month’s U.S. midterm elections might do more than just redefine the political landscape in Washington, they could also have a significant impact on stalled Middle East peace talks. Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, launched with gusto by President Barack Obama in September, have fallen into limbo ahead of the Nov. 2 vote as both sides bide their time and wait to see how the U.S. leader emerges from the campaign.

“Polls predict hefty losses for Obama’s Democrats and Israeli ministers expect this will force him to avoid any bruising showdowns with Israel and its supporters in the coming months for fear of further undermining his shaky electoral position.

“Palestinians hope that after the vote, Obama will refocus on foreign affairs and use the last two years of his presidential mandate to seek a place in history by securing an end to the decades-old conflict, regardless of obvious domestic risks. But Palestinians also fear an enfeebled Obama will be in no position to wring concessions from Israel, starting with their demand that Netanyahu suspends Jewish settlement building in the West Bank – the issue that has stalled the talks…

“In the run-up to the midterm vote, Israeli newspapers have jumped on opinion polls showing that support for Obama among Jewish electors had slumped dramatically. Obama swept the Jewish vote in the 2008 presidential ballot, but a survey by the American Jewish Committee this month said just 49 percent of U.S. Jews backed his handling of Israeli relations, against a 62 percent approval rating for Netanyahu.

“…some analysts have questioned whether a catastrophic midterm vote might convince Obama he has nothing to lose and decide to lean heavily on Israel to accept painful compromises – something Arab states say must happen to clinch a deal.”

Lebanese Shiites Love Ahmadinejad

Der Spiegel Online wrote on October 20:

“After the visit of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Lebanon, the radical Islamic group Hezbollah is brimming with confidence… Indeed, funds from Iran have been used to finance the construction of new buildings and streets, support war widows and create jobs in the sections of southern Beirut and southern Lebanon that Israeli fighter jets reduced to smoldering rubble in the summer of 2006…

“There was no mistaking the enthusiasm that gripped the vast majority of Shiites in Lebanon as they played host to the Iranian president. Ahmadinejad’s two-day visit gave an enormous boost to what is the largest segment of Lebanon’s population, which was, however, also the most marginalized group for many years. In particular, Hezbollah, whose name means ‘Party of God,’ is brimming with self-confidence. The organization’s militia has long since recovered from the fighting with Israel four years ago and once again boasts a well-filled arsenal of rockets.

“‘Even if Hezbollah is perhaps nothing more than a plaything of the Iranians, the Lebanese Shiites are enjoying finally being recognized as the strongest voice in the country,’ says Beirut political scientist Hilal Khashan. His colleague Raghid al-Sulh even maintains that Hezbollah is the ‘strongest political party in Lebanon of all time’…

“The Sunni and Christian opponents of the Shiite organization have not forgotten May 2008, when street clashes between Hezbollah fighters and government supporters came close to sparking a new civil war.

“The conflict was triggered by the government’s attempt to bring Hezbollah’s special telephone network under state control — a move that the Party of God saw as an attack on its vital interests. Since then, pro-Western forces in the country have tended to refrain from openly criticizing the Shiite militia.

“Still, there is a threat of renewed unrest. In just a few weeks, the United Nations’ Special Tribunal for Lebanon will announce in The Hague whether members of the militia will be charged with the murder of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. This prompted Prime Minister Saad Hariri, Rafik Hariri’s son and political heir, to try to appease Hezbollah. The younger Hariri vowed that he would never endorse such charges.”

Britain In Shock Over Huge Spending Cuts

Der Spiegel Online wrote on October 20:

“The Queen has already cancelled the Christmas party at Buckingham Palace. Now she will now have to suffer further impertinences. The British austerity measures announced on Wednesday envisage drastic cuts to public spending, including a sharp reduction of the royal budget. Great Britain is facing a ‘sober decade,’ according to Mervyn King, the governor of the Bank of England.

“The British newspapers have dubbed it ‘Axe Wednesday,’ the day that Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne finally announced deep cuts to public finances…

“Ministerial budgets are to be cut by an average of 19 percent… And 490,000 public sector jobs will disappear over the next four years. State expenditures will be slashed by 83 billion pounds (€94 billion, $131 billion), and taxes increased by 29 billion pounds (€32 billion, $45 billion.)… These are enormous figures, and it didn’t take long for the public outcry… However,… most British people have long since accepted their fate…

“The coalition has been preparing the public for this day since it took office last May. They warned to expect the toughest cuts since the World War II…

“It took an hour for Osborne to get through his list. He said that the only alternative to his radical package of measures would be state bankruptcy. Indeed, Great Britain’s deficit is the highest in Europe…

“As it stands, Osborne’s policy is nothing short of a massive political experiment, a high-stakes bet with an uncertain outcome. A senior official in the Treasury told the Financial Times that no one knows quite what will happen next… Numerous economists have warned of a relapse into recession. Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel Prize-winning economist, wrote in the Guardian on Tuesday that ‘austerity is a gamble which Britain can ill afford.’ He says that the measures could slow or stop the country’s economic recovery…

“There are reasons for concern. Early economic indicators are worse than they were just six months ago. Real estate prices are weak and consumption, both private and commercial, is cautious. Just how economically damaging drastic savings measures can be has been seen recently in the case of Britain’s neighbor Ireland…

“All the British government can do now is… hope that their plan succeeds. The hope is that the British economy will follow the model of Canada, which saw solid growth following deep spending cuts in the 1990s. Prime Minister David Cameron… is aided by the fact that he has the backing of some of the country’s most influential newspapers. ‘It’ll hurt,’ wrote Britain’s largest circulation tabloid The Sun. ‘But the prize is worth the pain.'”

BBC News added on October 20:

“Chancellor George Osborne has unveiled the biggest UK spending cuts since World War II, with welfare, councils and police budgets all hit… shadow chancellor Alan Johnson, for Labour, called the review a ‘reckless gamble with people’s livelihoods’ which risked ‘stifling the fragile recovery’…

“Labour would also have had to make major cuts if they had won the general election, but the party insists Mr Osborne’s plans were too aggressive and risked tipping the country into a ‘double dip’ recession.

“During raucous Commons exchanges, shadow chancellor Alan Johnson accused Tory backbenchers of cheering ‘the deepest cuts to public spending in living memory.'”

Back to top

Would you please explain Hebrews 13:9? Doesn't Paul teach here that we are free to eat whatever "meat" we want?

Let us read Hebrews 13:9 in context, including verses 10-16:

“(9) Do not be carried about [away] with various and strange doctrines. For it is good that the heart be established by grace, not with foods [or meat] which have not profited those who have been occupied with them. (10) We have an ALTAR from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat. (11) For the bodies of the BEASTS, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned outside the camp. (12) Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate. (13) Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His approach. (14) For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come [the heavenly Jerusalem]. (15) Therefore by Him let us continually offer the SACRIFICE of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. (16) But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such SACRIFICES God is well pleased.”

Most commentaries will tell you that the passage of Hebrews 13:9 was written, at least in part, to abolish the biblical teaching regarding clean and unclean animals, and that it is now permissible for us to eat the meat of such animals which the Bible has designated as unclean and therefore improper for nourishment.

For instance, Vincent’s Word Studies states the following:

“These teachings represent various phases of one radical error – the denial of Jesus’s messiahship and of his messianic economy as superseding Judaism and all other means of salvation. Among them the writer’s mind would naturally turn to the prescriptions concerning clean and unclean meats and sacrificial festivals… These teachings were various as contrasted with the one teaching of the gospel; they were strange as they differed from that teaching.”

However, an abolishment of God’s distinction between clean and unclean animals is clearly NOT what the passage intends to convey. We have produced literature which proves from the Old and the New Testament that the consumption of the flesh of unclean animals is still prohibited. You might want to review the following Q&A’s in this regard:



Some commentaries are more vague in their interpretation as to what Hebrews 13:9 is supposed to state.

John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible (“Gill”) points out:

“‘…not with meats’; referring to the distinction of meats among the Jews; or the sacrifices [eaten] both by the priests and by the people; or the whole ceremonial law which stood in divers meats and drinks…”

As Paul wrote the letter to the Hebrews to explain that Christ’s supreme Sacrifice rendered all animal sacrifices as no longer necessary and therefore obsolete, some commentaries, such as Gill, above, conclude that Hebrews 13:9 may be focusing on the sacrificial system and the concept that it and its animal sacrifices were “unprofitable” (compare again verse 9).

Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible is even more direct in this respect, saying:

“It is well to have the heart, the mind, and conscience, fully satisfied with the truth and efficacy of the Gospel; for so the word [for ‘good’] should be understood here, which is put in opposition to… meats, signifying here the Levitical institutions, and especially its sacrifices, these being emphatically termed meats, because the offerers were permitted to feast upon them after the blood had been poured out before the Lord… ‘Which have not profited them’ – Because they neither took away guilt, cleansed the heart, nor gave power over sin.”

It is true, of course, that the letter or epistle to the Hebrews clearly states that the flesh and the blood of animals cannot forgive sins, and that temporary animal sacrifices were only given to remind the people of their sins (Hebrews 10:1-4, 11, 18; compare, too, Hebrews 9:9-10). For more information on the purpose of the sacrifices, please read our free booklet, “The Sacrificial System and the Tabernacle in the Wilderness.”

Still, it is unlikely that Hebrews 13:9 intends to address the sacrifices and the sacrificial system per se, as Paul refers to the objectionable teachings as “various” and “strange” doctrines.

Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible (“Barnes”) presents an interesting explanation, which is coming closer to at least portions of the intended meaning of Hebrews 13:9:

“‘Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines’ — That is, they should have settled and fixed points of belief, and not yield to every new opinion which was started. The apostle does not exhort them to adhere to an opinion merely because they had before held it, or because it was an old opinion, nor does he forbid their following the leadings of truth though they might be required to abandon what they had before held; but he cautions them against that vacillating spirit, and that easy credulity, which would lead them to yield to any novelty, and to embrace an opinion because it was new or strange. Probably the principal reference here is to the Judaizing teachers, and to their various doctrines about their ceremonial observances and traditions. But the exhortation is applicable to Christians at all times. A religious opinion, once embraced on what was regarded a good evidence, or in which we have been trained, should not be abandoned for slight causes. Truth indeed should always be followed, but it should be only after careful inquiry.

“‘For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace’ – This is the proper foundation of adherence to the truth. The heart should be established with the love of God, with pure religion, and then we shall love the truth, and love it in the right manner… When a man is thrown into trials and temptations, he ought to have some settled principles on which he can rely; some fixed points of belief that will sustain his soul.

“‘Not with meats’ – The meaning is, that it is better to have the heart established with grace, or with the principles of pure religion, than with the most accurate knowledge of the rules of distinguishing the clean from the unclean among the various articles of food. Many such rules were found in the Law of Moses, and many more had been added by the refinements of Jewish rulers and by tradition. To distinguish and remember all these, required no small amount of knowledge, and the Jewish teachers, doubtless, prided themselves much on it. Paul says that it would be much better to have the principles of grace in the heart than all this knowledge; to have the mind settled on the great truths of religion than to be able to make the most accurate and learned distinctions in this matter…”

What we should take away from Barnes’ comments is that certain “rules” had been “added by the refinements of Jewish rulers and by tradition.” In other words, these rules did not originate with God’s law, but with human traditions and ideas.

We need to emphasize that Paul is addressing “various and strange” doctrines. In the final analysis, doctrines pertaining to the distinction of clean and unclean meats or even to the sacrificial system were not “strange” to God or the Hebrews. Rather, the Jews were very familiar with these teachings so that it is doubtful that Paul was addressing any of these Old Testament laws. It is much more likely that Paul was addressing traditional Jewish teaching (outside the pages of the Old Testament) and the concepts of pagan or “Gnostic” teachers who were trying to convince the Hebrews to adopt “new” or “strange” ideas regarding food or meat, or their habit of eating and drinking. (For an in-depth analysis of these “strange” doctrines, please read page 77 of our booklet, “Is That in the Bible? Man’s Holidays and God’s Holy Days,” as well as pages 46 and 47 of our booklet, “God’s Commanded Holy Days.”)

Other commentators also seem to realize that Paul was addressing concepts in Hebrews 13:9, which had not originated with God, but with men. God gave ancient Israel the law regarding clean and unclean meat, as well as the sacrificial system. While the law pertaining to clean and unclean meat is still in effect, the law pertaining to the sacrificial ceremonial system has indeed been superseded by Christ’s supreme Sacrifice. Still, all these laws originated with God, and Paul could not possibly have referred to them as “strange.”

What was “strange” — even in the eyes of God– were doctrines and concepts originating with men.

The Jamieson, Fausset and Brown commentary seems to realize this, although it mixes truth with error. It states: “‘…established with grace; not with meats’ — not with observances of Jewish distinctions between clean and unclean meats, to which ascetic Judaizers added in Christian times the rejection of some meats, and the use of others…”

Notice, this commentary realizes too that men, under demonic influence, had added the concepts of rejecting some meats, which God has created as clean or proper for human consumption (1 Timothy 4:1-3), while allowing the consumption of animal flesh which God has specifically prohibited.

In regard to the meaning of the phrase “various and strange doctrines,” Gill states:

“Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines’… The word ‘divers’ may denote the variety and multitude of other doctrines; referring either to the various rites and ceremonies of the law, or to the traditions of the elders, or to the several doctrines of men, whether Jews or Gentiles… and ‘strange’ doctrines may design such as were never taught by God, nor are agreeable to the voice of Christ, nor to be found in the word of God; and which are new, and unheard of, by the apostles and churches of Christ; and appear in a foreign dress and habit: wherefore the apostle exhorts the believing Hebrews not to be ‘carried about with them’…”

In conclusion, it is very clear from the entirety of Scripture that Hebrews 13:9 does not teach that the distinction between clean and unclean animals has been abolished. It does not even seem to address the sacrificial system, but it is apparently focusing on new and strange doctrines which uninspired people (Jews and Gentiles) were teaching to detract from the supreme Sacrifice of Jesus Christ (compare 2 Peter 2:1-3).

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

Back to top

Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

A new member letter has been posted and sent out. In the letter, the ministry gives reports from our Feast sites and explains again the importance of keeping God’s weekly and annual Holy Days at the proper time and in the correct way.

A new StandingWatch program was posted on the Internet, titled, “How Germans Really Feel.”

A new German AufPostenStehen program was posted on the Internet, titled, “Schoepfung ohne Schoepfer?” [“Creation Without Creator?”]

Norbert Link’s new video-recorded sermon was posted on the Internet, titled, “What Is the True Gospel?”. A new German video-recorded sermon was posted on the Internet, titled, “Was Ist das Wahre Evangelium?” [“What Is the True Gospel?”]

Our current Internet campaign has resulted so far in about 145 requests in Great Britain for our booklet, “And Lawlessness Will Abound,” and almost 140 requests in the USA for our booklet, “Do We Have an Immortal Soul?” Please pray for further requests to be honored by us, within our means.

Back to top

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