Update 60


Need For Hearing

This Sabbath, Norbert Link will be presenting the sermon, “The Need for Hearing.”

On Monday, September 16, is the Day of Atonement. Edwin Pope will be covering important aspects of the meaning of that annual Holy Day in his sermon “A World At One With God.”

This will be the last Update prior to the Feast of Tabernacles, which will begin Friday evening, September 20. Our next Update is scheduled to appear on October 4th.

We wish all our members, supporters, and readers a rewarding and uplifting Day of Atonement and Feast of Tabernacles.

The services can be heard at www.cognetservices.org at the appropriate time, just click on “Connect to Live Stream”.

A special note: All of the Feast services will be broadcast on the Internet, beginning with opening night. For dates and times please go to www.COGNetServices.org

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"We Are Closer Than We Think"

by Norbert Link

Paul gives strong admonitions to those “upon whom the ends of the ages have come” (1 Corinthians 10:11). He warns them not to “lust after evil things,” not “to become idolaters,” not “to commit sexual immorality,” not “to tempt Christ,” “nor to complain.” (vv. 6-10). We need to understand that Paul is primarily talking to us today. It is we “upon whom the ends of the ages have come.”
The prophet Daniel received revelations from God, which he wrote down, without understanding them. His writings were to be sealed “until the time of the end.” (Daniel 12:4, 8-10). The “end,” referred to in those passages, is the time of Christ’s return and of the first resurrection (Daniel 12:13).
Likewise, the information which John received, was also related to the very end of our age — it pertained to events leading up to and occurring at a time, called the “day of the Lord.” Christ had received this information from God the Father, and He passed it on to John through an angel. We read in Revelation 1:1-3, that the message pertains to events which will “shortly come to pass,” and that those who hear the message should not forget it, “as the time is near.”
But, how can we be sure that these scriptures are really primarily directed at us today? The answer is — a passage in Revelation 17:10 gives us a time perspective. This passage talks about the seven last resurrections of the “Holy Roman Empire.” It reads, “There are also seven kings [or kingdoms]. Five have fallen, one is, and the other has not yet come. And when he comes, he must continue a short time.” This “short time” is described in verse 12 as “one hour,” and in Daniel 7:25 as “3 1/2 years.”
God revealed the meaning of this passage in Revelation 17:10 to Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong precisely at the time — in the late 30’s and early 40’s of the 20th century — when the first five of the seven last resurrections of the “Holy Roman Empire” had come and gone, and when the sixth resurrection was in power. It was the resurrection brought about by Hitler and Mussolini. At that time, the last and final resurrection had not occurred yet — but when it would occur, it would only continue for a short time. We see right now before our very eyes that last and final resurrection forming in Europe. That is one of the reasons why we KNOW that the time is short.
When John wrote the book of Revelation, the end-time events, described therein, would not happen for more than 1900 years. But they are happening now. The message contained in the book of Revelation is primarily for us today.
Notice Christ’s warning to the remnant church in Philadelphia, “‘Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown'” (Rev. 3:11). He states in Rev. 22:7, 12, and 20: “‘Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book… And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work…’ He who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming quickly.'”
Again, we see whom Christ is primarily talking to — it is His church at the very last days, prior to His return. Notice, too, Paul’s comment in Philippians 4:5:
“Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand!”
And James adds, “Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord… You also be patient, Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand… Behold, the Judge is standing at the door!” (James 5:7-9).
Although judgment had begun at the house of God, the Church  (1 Peter 4:17) — technically, the Judge was not standing at the door, when James wrote down these words. But notice, what Christ tells the very last era of God’s church — the era in which we live today:
“‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.'” (Rev. 3:20).
Now, Christ DOES stand at the door. His return IS at hand! Christ IS coming quickly. Let’s make sure that we are getting ready for His return — and that we are not keeping our individual doors locked. If we were to prevent Jesus Christ from entering our lives today, we might find ourselves in the situation that He may not open to us His door to the Kingdom, when He returns.
Do you remember what will happen to the five foolish virgins, when the bridegroom returns and finds them unprepared? When the return of the bridegroom was delayed, all the virgins fell asleep, but the wise ones were able to “make themselves ready” (compare Rev. 19:7) when the cry was heard at midnight that the bridegroom was coming (Matthew 25:5-6). The foolish virgins, however, were unable to get ready “on such short notice.” We read in Matthew 25:10-12, “And while they [the foolish virgins] went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready [the wise virgins] went in with him to the wedding, and the door was shut. Afterward the other [foolish] virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.'”
They had not opened the doors of their hearts to Christ — they had not allowed Christ to enter their lives and to direct and lead them. Let us take good note of Christ’s warning to all of us today, in Matthew 24:13, “‘Watch therefore [that is, get ready, because the time is short], for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.'”

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The pressure on Iraq increases. While President Bush gave a strong speech on Thursday to the United Nations, Germany’s position has been unrelenting against any military action.
Der Stern reported on September 5 that “the fight between Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and U.S. President George W. Bush involving Iraq has escalated to reach a serious crisis between the two countries.” While Chancellor candidate Edmund Stoiber, according to Der Spiegel, dated September 12, had tried to “wiggle himself out of the Iraq debate,” highly-respected former President Richard von Weizsaecker approved the position of Gerhard Schroeder’s government, according to Der Spiegel of September 10. On September 12, Bild reported, that Edmund Stoiber reversed his prior position, stating that he could not support an American military attack against Iraq. He also pointed out that Germany could not be involved, militarily, in any action against Iraq.

So far, Russia and China have also stated that they will not support a military attack on Iraq. Tony Blair of Great Britain, however, has announced that he will support President Bush. The positions of France, Denmark and Italy are less clear.
In the meantime, the German government clarified, according to Der Spiegel of September 10, that they will not support a military attack in Iraq, even if the United Nations were to agree to it, and that this would include even financial aid. The international constitutional legal expert, Professor Peter Schlotter, explained that an attack on Iraq would violate international law, as it does not allow a preventive military strike on other nations.
Previously, on September 4, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon had pointed out, during the traditional televised Jewish New Year’s message on September 4, that Libya was close to becoming the first Arab and African country to join the nuclear club. He stated that Libya would have its atomic bomb by 2004, adding that the Libyan program was being carried out by Iraqi and North Korean nuclear scientists with Saudi funding.
Prior to President Bush’s speech on September 12, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan opposed any pre-emptive action without Security Council backing. But he also accused Iraq of continuing to defy mandatory Council resolutions, which allows the use of military force, according to Washington Post of September 12. Mr. Annan put Iraq “second on a list of four current threats to world peace… First on the list is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and after Iraq comes Afghanistan and the India-Pakistan conflict over Kashmir,” according to the newspaper.
Yahoo! News summarized President Bush’s subsequent speech in this way, “President Bush told the U.N. General Assembly on Thursday that ‘action will be unavoidable’ against Iraq, unless the United Nations enforced resolutions requiring Baghdad to disarm.” Der Spiegel commented, “U.S. President George W. Bush has clarified to the United Nations, that a military attack on Iraq is unavoidable, if the United Nations does not force Saddam Hussein to disarm.”
Iraq’s U.N. ambassador criticized President Bush, saying, “We don’t care about the position of the United States. If they are threatening, if they would attack, certainly we will be there for defending ourselves.”

In Germany, according to Der Spiegel, Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer described President Bush’s speech as “very harsh, very clear, and unambiguous.” Finance Minister Hans Eichel warned that a military campaign on Baghdad was the only thing that could wreck Germany’s economic recovery, according to USA Today.

The newspaper also mentioned that the United Kingdom welcomed the speech, as did Norway and Romania.

The entire written text of Mr. Bush’s speech can be found on www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2002-09-12-bush-speech_x.htm
We are bringing the following excerpts from his speech:
“Twelve years ago, Iraq invaded Kuwait without provocation… Last year, the U.N. Commission on Human rights found that Iraq continues to commit ‘extremely grave violations’ of human rights and that the regime’s repression is ‘all pervasive.’ Tens of thousands of political opponents and ordinary citizens have been subjected to arbitrary arrest and imprisonment, summary execution, and torture by beating, burning, electric shock, starvation, mutilation, and rape. Wives are tortured in front of their husbands; children in the presence of their parents — all of these horrors concealed from the world by the apparatus of a totalitarian state…
“In 1993, Iraq attempted to assassinate the emir of Kuwait and a former American President. Iraq’s government openly praised the attacks of September 11th. And al-Qaeda terrorists escaped from Afghanistan are known to be in Iraq… [T]he regime admitted to producing tens of thousands of liters of anthrax and other deadly biological agents for use with Saudi warheads, aerial bombs, and aircraft spray tanks… Iraq has made several attempts to buy high-strength aluminum tubes used to enrich uranium for a nuclear weapon… Iraq is building more long-range missiles that could inflict mass death throughout the region…
“Saddam Hussein attacked Iran in 1989, and Kuwait in 1990. He has fired ballistic missiles at Iran, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Israel. His regime once ordered the killing of every person between the ages of 15 and 70 in certain Kurdish villages in Northern Iraq. He has gassed many Iranians and 40 Iraqi villages. My nation will work with the U.N. Security Council on a new resolution to meet our common challenge. If Iraq’s regime defies us again, the world must move deliberately and decisively to hold Iraq to account. The purposes of the United States should not be doubted. The Security Council resolutions will be enforced — the just demands of peace and security will be met — or action will be unavoidable. And a regime that has lost its legitimacy will also lose its power… We cannot stand by and do nothing while dangers gather. We must stand up for our security, and for the permanent rights and hopes of mankind. By heritage and by choice, the United States of America will make that stand. Delagates to the United Nations, you have the power to make that stand as well.”


As the Washington Post reported on September 9, Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel broke up his coalition with Joerg Haider’s Freedom Party, calling for new elections in November, after Haider had led a revolt within his party, forcing the resignation of party chief and Vice Chancellor Susanne Riess-Passer and Finance Minister Karl-Heinz Grasser. The paper continued that these events “mark Haider’s return to the center stage of Austrian politics” and that “Haider was likely to lead the Freedom Party on a more radical course, including opposing EU expansion.” Der Spiegel and Der Stern reported on September 11 and September 12 that Haider, after certain unspecified concessions had been made to him, was recommended to become the party’s new leader, and that a close friend of his, minister Herbert Haupt, will be nominated as Chancellor candidate. Haider explained that he did not want to run for Chancellor in November, as he had promised to remain governor in the province of Carinthia until 2004, and that he “is used to keep his promises.”

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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

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