|Live Services||What We Don’t Know|
|Editorial||Getting Ready for Passover|
|Current Events||This Week in the News|
|Q&A||Why don’t we hear about God raising anyone from the dead, today?|
|The Work||Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock|
What We Don’t Know
On March 15, 2014, Dave Harris will give the sermon, titled, “What We Don’t Know.”
The live services are available at www.cognetservices.org (12:30 pm Pacific Time; 1:30 pm Mountain Time; 2:30 pm Central Time; 3:30 pm Eastern Time; 8:30 pm Greenwich Mean Time; 9:30 pm Central European Time). Just click on Connect to Live Stream.
Getting Ready for Passover
by Norbert Link
When this Editorial is published on Thursday evening, March 13, it will be one month until Passover evening on Sunday, April 13. During this remaining time, true Christians ought to make an extra and diligent effort to examine themselves to determine whether and how Jesus is living in them (2 Corinthians 13:5), so that they do not partake of the Passover symbols in an unworthy manner (1 Corinthians 11:27-29).
This self-examination should show us how we lived throughout the year—and if we are honest enough, we WILL find fault with ourselves. This realization must prompt us to repent, change, and make amends PRIOR to Passover eve.
If we suffer from self-delusion, thinking that we are doing pretty well and have already reached perfection, we are making one of the most grievous mistakes. We must realize that we are still sinning today, from time to time, and that we need God’s forgiveness of our sins on a continuous basis (1 John 1:8-10).
Paul warns us not to look at sin casually. We need to partake of the Passover in a worthy manner, because we understand the meaning of what Christ did for us and what we did to Him; that we murdered Christ through our sins—our transgressions of God’s spiritual Law; and that He died willingly for us when we were still His enemies, to free us from the penalty of sin—eternal death in the lake of fire.
At the same time, our self-examination should reveal that overall, we have been conducting ourselves throughout the year in a worthy manner, and if we have not, it is high time for a change in our lives. There are many passages in the Bible which address the need to be counted worthy in God’s eyes and to live worthy of our calling. Just note the following few examples:
Ephesians 4:1-3 tells us that we are “to walk worthy of the calling,” by showing lowliness, gentleness and longsuffering; bearing with one another in love; and pursuing peace and unity amongst ourselves. Holding grudges and the unwillingness to forgive others would show that one is NOT walking worthy of our calling.
Philippians 1:27-28 tells us that we are to conduct ourselves “worthy of the gospel,” by standing fast in one spirit and in one mind; by striving together for the faith of the gospel; and by not becoming terrified by our adversaries, KNOWING that GOD will take care of our situation.
Colossians 1:9-12 tells us to “walk worthy of the Lord,” by fully pleasing Him; showing godly patience and rejoicing in trials, thanking the Father and increasing in the knowledge and spiritual understanding of God and His Will, and by being fruitful in every good work.
Revelation 3:4-5 tells us that some in the church in Sardis were “worthy” to walk with Christ and be clothed with white linen, symbolizing God’s righteousness. They were given the assurance that their names would not be blotted out from the Book of Life, because they OVERCAME or conquered Satan, this evil society and self—their carnal human nature.
Romans 16:1-2 tells us that we live “worthy of the saints,” if we assist and HELP them in times of need.
Matthew 10:37-39 tells us that we are “not worthy” of Christ when we compromise with God’s Word because we don’t love Him enough. If we love ourselves, our relatives and our friends more than Him, we will not be given eternal life in God’s Kingdom.
The Bible includes many more passages which address the requirement of becoming worthy in God’s eyes and of conducting ourselves in a worthy manner, but the examples given in this Editorial should suffice. They should convince us that we must examine ourselves continuously as to whether we are living worthy of our calling—knowing that we are to be “holy in all [our] conduct” (1 Peter 1:15). If we are still behaving like the world behaves, and living and thinking like it does, then we show God that we don’t really care that much about Him and His righteousness (1 Peter 4:1-3).
Paul tells us to examine ourselves, as to how we are doing, and to TAKE the Passover. But before partaking of the Passover symbols, we must repent of wrong conduct and wrong thinking, and we must understand and appreciate what the Sacrifice of Christ really means for us. Christ died for us to free us from sin. He did not die for us to give us license to sin. We must be willing to live our lives worthy of God and our holy calling, and obey God in everything.
We begin with quoting a striking comment from one of America’s well-known pastors; report on the ongoing volatile situation involving Russia, Ukraine, the USA and Europe under German leadership; speak on rarely-reported frightening developments in Ukraine; remind the reader of the devastating consequences of the “Arab Spring” and America’s military invasion of Iraq; report on the ongoing hostility between Israel and the Arab League; mention the belief of German Catholics in many “saints” and the consequences of such superstition; address worldwide religious persecution and renewed earthquake activity in California; and conclude with thought-provoking remarks by an influential and respected American neurosurgeon about alleged benefits of medical marijuana, while questioning the apparent hypocrisy in America’s health-care system.
This Week in the News
“Repent or Receive God’s Fiery Judgment”
The Hill wrote on March 7:
“Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) didn’t disguise his presidential ambitions on Thursday… ‘These are the things that I know. I know there is a God, and I know this nation would not exist had he not been the midwife of its birth. And I know that this nation exists by the providence of his hand, and if this nation forgets our God, then God will have every right to forget us,’ Huckabee said. ‘I hope that we repent before we ever have to receive his fiery judgment.’…
“The speech from the Baptist pastor was predictably heavy on social issues. Huckabee warned that ‘a society that sacrifices its own children is no better than the ancient Philistines… I know that the IRS is a criminal enterprise,’ he said. ‘The best way to get the IRS off our backs and out of our lives is to enact a fair tax which will eliminate the IRS once and for all.’”
Sadly, the realistic view point is that based on the Bible, only very few Americans will repent—the overwhelming majority will continue to practice their ungodly ways, until God’s judgment will be poured out upon them. God was in fact bringing about the birth of this nation, but not for reasons usually assumed. For more information, please read our free booklet, “The Fall and Rise of Britain and America.”
Germany vs. Russia
Der Spiegel wrote on March 10:
“Russia’s occupation of Crimea has violated international law and created a new crisis among world leaders. Now the EU and the US are fighting over the best means to address Russia’s reawakened expansionary ambitions…
“The United States and the EU approved initial sanctions against Moscow late last week, Washington sent military reinforcements to Poland and the Baltic countries and the German federal police promptly suspended half a dozen cooperative programs with Russia. On Sunday, the Polish Defense Minister announced that the US was sending 12 fighter jets to Poland.
“But aside from these measures, the situation has thus far been characterized by a horrifying sense of helplessness… the Kremlin leader has succeeded in one respect: He has divided the West…
“Political scientist Ian Bremmer, president of the renowned New York-based Eurasia Group… fears that the events in Ukraine could reflect a ‘broader geopolitical shift.’ Russia, Bremmer writes, will use the crisis as an opportunity to strengthen its ties with China. ‘We are in a world with a distinct and dangerous lack of global, coordinated leadership.’ Meanwhile, the Republicans are critical of the [US] president for engaging in a foreign policy in which ‘nobody believes in America’s strength anymore,’ as Senator John McCain bitterly notes…
“Germany is playing a key role in the Ukraine crisis. The chancellor has spoken with the Russian president by phone three times in the last few days, and the German foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, has met three times with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, in addition to almost daily telephone conversations. Last Monday, Steinmeier even made a trip to Geneva to speak with Lavrov in person and to keep the conversation going.
“This is in keeping with the new, more active German foreign policy Steinmeier announced in January. At the same time, the German government is also clearly feeling the limits of this policy…
“Merkel spoke with Putin by phone on the Friday before last, after pro-Russian militias had taken over government buildings in Crimea… In their telephone conversations, the chancellor and Putin have been unable to agree on any of the central issues, from events in Crimea to the legitimacy of the Ukrainian government… Even cabinet ministers are saying ‘Crimea is gone,’ and that the West should now focus on preventing the Russian president from creating more precedents in eastern Ukraine… Keeping eastern and western Ukraine together is currently Merkel’s most important goal.
“When German Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel met with Putin in Moscow last week, he told the Kremlin leader that Russia would suffer considerably under sanctions. He also tried appealing to the Russian president on a personal level, saying it was now up to him, Putin, to prevent Europe from sliding into a new Cold War. But the Russian leader remained impassive.”
Russia, China and other Far Eastern nations will unite against a United States of Europe under German leadership.
Merkel Condemns Putin
Deutsche Welle wrote on March 13:
“German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday issued her strongest condemnation yet of Moscow’s intervention in Crimea, calling it a clear breach of international law. ‘If Russia continues down the course of the past weeks, it would not only be a catastrophe for Ukraine,’ Merkel told the German parliament, the Bundestag. ‘As Russia’s neighbors, we would not only consider it a threat. It would not only change the relationship of the European Union as a whole with Russia,’ Merkel said.”
Ukraine’s Political Spectrum—Opening of Pandora’s Box?
The International Business Times wrote on March 7:
“Ukraine’s leader of the far-right Pravy Sektor (Right Sector) paramilitary movement Dmytro Yarosh has announced his presidential bid in elections planned for 25 May. The ultra-nationalist movement’s chairman Andriy Tarasenko said that Right Sector will also become a political party… ‘We remain the leaders of this revolution. We are mobilising, we are preparing to react to foreign aggression,’ Tarasenko added, claiming that the movement was ready for a full-scale war with Russia.
“A leading figure in the 2014 Ukrainian revolution, Yarosh advocated a ‘national revolution’ during the protests and dismissed ousted Viktor Yanukovich’s administration as an ‘internal occupational regime’. Yarosh, who considers the far-right Svoboda ‘too liberal’, wants to ban both the former ruling party (Party of Regions) and the Communist Party of Ukraine.
“Tarasenko distanced the movement from the pro-EU government led by interim president Oleksandr Turchinov… Russia opened a criminal investigation against Yarosh for incitement to extremism and terrorism. Right Sector was condemned by the US State Department for ‘inflaming conditions on the streets’… Yarosh revealed that the ultra-nationalist movement had amassed a lethal arsenal of weapons. The movement’s ideology, which rejects any foreign influence over Ukraine, borders on fascism…”
JTA added on March 7:
“Israel’s ambassador in Kiev, Reuven Din El, and a Ukrainian ultra-nationalist movement agreed to work together to ‘prevent provocations.’ The agreement came at the end of a meeting held last week between Din El and Dmitry Yarosh, the leader of the Right Sector paramilitary group, which participated in the overthrow of the government of President Viktor Yanukovych… Yarosh’s troops had a decisive role in the revolution that forced Yanukovych to flee to Russia…
“Yarosh said that ‘non-Ukrainians’ should be treated according to principles set forth by the late Ukrainian nationalist leader Stepan Bandera. A onetime ally of Nazi Germany who later turned against the Nazis, Bandera said non-Ukrainian allies should be treated as brothers and neutral parties should be respected.
“The Simon Wiesenthal Center and other Jewish organizations have condemned the glorification in Ukraine of Bandera, whose troops are believed to have killed thousands of Jews when they were allies of the Nazis in 1941…
“Svoboda’s leader, Oleh Tyahnybok, has in the past referred to a ‘Moscow-Jewish mafia’ which he said ruled Ukraine.”
Taking these last two articles together, we see a very unfavorable picture emerging in Ukraine, which is not reported widely in the Western press. We might be reminded of the chaotic consequences of the “highly praised” Arab Spring. Are we seeing a repeat in Ukraine?
“Putin the Great” Enjoys All-Time High Approval Rating in Russia
Breitbart wrote on March 7:
“Russian President Vladimir Putin may have to endure the stern disapproval of U.S. President Barack Obama, and the occasional insult from German Chancellor Angela Merkel, as a result of his invasion of Ukraine. But at home… [over] 70 percent of Russians support Putin’s tactics in the Crimea… even some Russian opposition leaders are praising Putin. One… claims, ‘If Putin returns Crimea to Russia without blood, he will go down in history as a great, and there’s nothing you can do about that’…
“Praise for ‘Putin the Great’ has not been universal. Former international chess champion Garry Kasparov, who is also an important Russian opposition figure, wrote… that Putin’s domestic political gains are the whole point…
“Although a U.S. Navy destroyer entered the Black Sea on Friday, and the west has extended economic aid [to] Ukraine while applying some sanctions to Russia, the global response to Putin has been symbolic at best…”
How Putin Controls the Russian Media
The Washington Times wrote on March 13:
“Russians looking to get a different perspective on the Ukraine crisis will essentially have to settle for whatever story Vladimir Putin tells them — the Kremlin banned four opposition websites on Thursday… The move comes on the same day that U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry warned Russia that ‘there will be costs’ if Moscow continues to escalate the crisis in Ukraine.
“Former world chess champion and Kremlin critic Garry Kasparov, whose website was taken down within Russia, tweeted: ‘Obviously Putin is preparing something drastic if he’s blacking out the last sources of truth in Russia. I fear for the safety of Ukraine.’”
The Russian Fighting Machine
The Washington Times wrote on March 6:
“President Vladimir Putin has turned a once-moribund Russian military into a lean, quick-strike force that can invade Chechnya, Georgia and now Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula… Mr. Putin has built a military that can unleash a force to reclaim territory lost in the Soviet empire’s demise…
“The re-emergence of the Russian bear has rattled Europe and the Obama administration… Moscow’s 2013 defense budget funds a 40 percent increase over the next three years… putting the Kremlin only behind the U.S. and China in military spending… ‘There is no great mobilization capacity in Russia today,” [Mr. Kipp, of the Army’s Foreign Military Studies Office] said. ‘What that means is, in a crisis, if the military gets into problems, the Kremlin has some very unappealing options. What they’ve been doing in their exercises is, when the conventional forces fail in defense, they go nuclear.’”
NRP wrote on March 7:
“Senior U.S. officials were warned of imminent Russian military action in Crimea about a week before the troop movements that have sparked a major international crisis over Ukraine, the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency tells NPR…
“Barely a week after the ouster of Ukraine’s pro-Russia president, Viktor Yanukovych, Ukraine accused Russia of sending troops into Crimea… The action… has pushed relations between Russia and the West to their lowest level in years.”
Ukraine and Crimea—The Conflict Continues
Deutsche Welle reported on March 11:
“Ukraine’s ousted president Viktor Yanukovych has blamed his opponents for the crisis in Crimea. Meanwhile, Crimea has voted in favor of adopting a declaration of independence ahead of Sunday’s referendum to join Russia… Yanukovych, who surfaced in Russia after leaving Kyiv late last month, also reiterated that he was Ukraine’s legitimate president and would soon return… He also lashed out against the West for acting as ‘protectors of the dark forces’ currently in power…
“On Tuesday the European Commission agreed to offer Ukraine trade breaks worth about 500 million euros ($675 million) a year as an immediate gesture of support for Ukraine’s economy… The measure would need to be approved by EU leaders and the European Parliament.
“German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has assured ex-Soviet Baltic states that NATO and the EU stand behind them amid rising tensions over the crisis in Ukraine… Steinmeier said the EU would rather avoid confrontation with Russia but would have to prepare a response if the country did not back down… French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius… told the radio station France Inter that the planned referendum in Crimea on joining Russia would be illegal…”
Libya Slides Into Chaos—The Curse of the Arab Spring
Reuters reported on March 7:
“Two-and-a-half years after the fall of former leader Muammar Gaddafi, the oil-rich North African state [of Libya] is struggling to contain violence between rival forces, with Islamist militants gaining an ever-stronger grip on the south of the country… [W]ith violent disputes between rival tribal factions disrupting exports of Libyan oil, the lack of a stable political foundation is causing growing concern for energy-hungry western countries, several of which were involved in overthrowing the Gaddafi government.”
Deutsche Welle reported on March 11:
“Parliamentarians in Libya have passed a vote of no confidence in the country’s Prime Minister Ali Zeidan. It comes after a ship full of Libyan oil exported by a militia escaped into international waters. Libya’s Defense Minister Abdullah al-Thani will step in as the country’s premier for two weeks, until a permanent replacement is approved by the General National Congress… Authorities in Tripoli have struggled to control much of the country since a revolt in 2011 which led to the downfall of dictator Moammar Gadhafi.
“A multitude of former rebel militias have carved out their own areas of control, particularly in the oil-rich country’s east. Last October the now-former prime minister Ali Zeidan himself was briefly abducted by a militia group in Tripoli.”
These further consequences of the “Arab Spring” which was highly favored by the West, have only brought about more headaches, chaos and total confusion.
Saudi Arabia and Qatar at War with Iraq—The Curse of the Iraq War
AFP wrote on March 8:
“Saudi Arabia and Qatar are destabilising Iraq by supporting militant groups and have effectively declared war on the country, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said…‘They are attacking Iraq, through Syria, and in a direct way, and they announced the war on Iraq,’ the premier said in an interview with France 24, in a rare direct attack on the Sunni Gulf powers.”
America’s unrealistic wish and goal to bring democracy to Iraq has terribly back-fired and brought about complete chaos.
Arab League Refuses to Recognize Israel
JTA wrote on March 10:
“The Arab League refused to recognize Israel as a Jewish state in the framework of current peace talks with the Palestinians, as per Israel’s demand. On Sunday, Arab League foreign ministers released a resolution at a meeting in Cairo that supported the decision by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. ‘The council of the Arab League confirms its support for the Palestinian leadership in its effort to end the Israeli occupation over Palestinian lands, and emphasizes its rejection of recognizing Israel as a ‘Jewish state,’” the resolution said…
“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made the signing of a peace agreement contingent on the recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, the first prime minister to do so. The U.S.-backed peace talks are scheduled to end on April 29. Abbas has said he will not allow for an extension of the nine-month process.”
There will never be a peace treaty between Israel and the Arab nations, nor will there be a peace treaty between Israel and Germany. All these concepts are fanciful ideas of the unlearned human mind which are nowhere supported in Scripture.
The Local wrote on March 7:
“Germany is a land infested with saints. Travel more than a few miles in any direction and you’re liable to trip over a shrine to some ascetic or hermit with the reputation for performing miracles. It seems like every village church has an ornate shrine dedicated to their local holy hero, usually incorporating a grisly, preserved body part… Here in Germany nothing is done by halves and this is especially true of those the Catholic Church has seen fit to canonize.
“St Alban of Mainz… [a] 5th century bishop sent from Milan to preach to the heathens was so caught up in his work that he lost his head to angry locals. Not particularly perturbed by this change in his circumstances, he picked up his severed noggin and walked (accounts vary on the distance) to where he wanted to be interred.
“St Emmeram of Regensburg demonstrated similar levels of endurance when he was martyred in the 7th century. Having taken the blame for getting a duke’s daughter pregnant (the real father being a member of the Duke’s court), the understandably upset father and his son ambushed him, cutting him into pieces and reducing him to a limbless trunk. Amazingly, this wasn’t enough to kill him and he lingered on until he was found by some of his followers. They carried the (still alive) bishop to a green and lovely place where he saw fit to die. Some say at this point a ladder extended down from Heaven to take him up… Upon being interred, legend states that it rained for 40 days and nights, until frustrated locals dug him up and floated him down the river to Regensburg, where his various bits and pieces can be found today…
“St Corbinian, who also lived in the 7th century in Bavaria, was said to have power over beasts. Once, on a pilgrimage to Rome, a bear attacked and killed his horse. Without missing a beat, the saint commanded the unruly bear to take his belongings and carry them to Rome. Once he arrived, he released the bear, who quite happily loped back into the woods…
“Eucharius of Trier… was said to have been given St Peter’s staff, which he used quite liberally to bring the dead back to life. Another saint with this gift was St Fridolin, who was once memorably employed by a nobleman to raise a dead man so he could testify in a legal case…
“Hildegard of Bingen was just a girl when she entered the convent at Disibodenberg, in what is now Rhineland-Palatinate, during the 12th century… She wrote poetry, based on visions that she had, that are still being printed and reprinted to this day. She staged deeply mystical plays, using her nuns in an early form of liturgical dance.”
Especially the Catholic part of Germany has many saints. We might read an article which we quoted above and shake our heads in unbelief, or laugh about such superstition, but the fact of the matter is that such “beliefs” in saints will lead the way to the arrival of a religious “Christian” leader—called the false prophet–who will bring about miracles and signs. He will be empowered by Satan the devil, but people will be deceived thinking that he is used by God. It is he—not the political leader called “the beast”—who will be sitting in the temple of God—a newly built temple in Jerusalem—claiming to be God.
Religious Persecution and Hostilities Worldwide
The website of pewforum.org published the following article on January 14, 2014, which just came to our attention. Although somewhat dated, it is still very relevant:
“The share of countries with a high or very high level of social hostilities involving religion reached a six-year peak in 2012, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center. A third (33%) of the 198 countries and territories included in the study had high religious hostilities in 2012, up from 29% in 2011 and 20% as of mid-2007. Religious hostilities increased in every major region of the world except the Americas. The sharpest increase was in the Middle East and North Africa, which still is feeling the effects of the 2010-11 political uprisings known as the Arab Spring. There also was a significant increase in religious hostilities in the Asia-Pacific region, where China edged into the ‘high’ category for the first time.
“The share of countries with a high or very high level of government restrictions on religion stayed roughly the same in the latest year studied. About three-in-ten countries in the world (29%) had a high or very high level of government restrictions in 2012, compared with 28% in 2011 and 20% as of mid-2007. Europe had the biggest increase in the median level of government restrictions in 2012, followed closely by the Middle East-North Africa – the only other region where the median level of government restrictions on religion rose.
“Looking at the overall level of restrictions – whether resulting from government policies or from social hostilities – the study finds that restrictions on religion are high or very high in 43% of countries, also a six-year high. Because some of these countries (like China) are very populous, more than 5.3 billion people (76% of the world’s population) live in countries with a high or very high level of restrictions on religion, up from 74% in 2011 and 68% as of mid-2007.
“Among the world’s 25 most populous countries, Egypt, Indonesia, Russia, Pakistan and Burma (Myanmar) had the most restrictions on religion in 2012… As in previous years, Christians and Muslims – who together make up more than half of the global population – were harassed in the largest number of countries (110 and 109, respectively)…
“The study finds that the share of countries where violence, or the threat of violence, was used to compel people to adhere to religious norms also increased in 2012… Governments used force against religious groups or individuals in nearly half (48%) of the world’s countries in 2012, up from 41% in 2011 and 31% as of mid-2007…”
Religious persecution will continue, including through powerful religious organizations and governmental agencies against religious minorities. The Bible warns of a soon-coming worldwide persecution of God’s true followers.
Large Earthquake in California
On March 10, the Los Angeles Times reported the following:
“The magnitude 6.9 earthquake off the coast of Northern California on Sunday night was the largest on the West Coast since the 7.2 Baja California quake in 2010. Sunday’s temblor was followed by a series of at least 13 aftershocks as large as a magnitude 4.6… The big quake occurred at 10:18 p.m. 50 miles west of Eureka in Humboldt County in the Pacific Ocean. The USGS put the depth of the quake at about four miles. Several of the aftershocks were much closer to land, including one about 16 miles off the coast that registered as a magnitude 3.4…
“The Eureka area is considered seismically active, and there have been similar-sized quakes in the area with some regularity… In 1964, an 8.8 earthquake in Alaska caused catastrophic damage on the North Coast…
“By California standards, Sunday’s quake was large. Two larger recent quakes occurred in remote areas: the 1999 Hector Mines temblor, magnitude 7.1, and the 1992 Landers quake, which was magnitude 7.3.”
The steady increase of strong earthquakes is a sign of the times, indicating the last days and the beginning of sorrows.
Alleged Benefits of Medical Marijuana
On March 6, CNN Health published the following article by Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN Chief Medical Correspondent:
“It’s been eight months since I last wrote about medical marijuana, apologizing for having not dug deeply into the beneficial effects of this plant and for writing articles dismissing its potential. I apologized for my own role in previously misleading people, and I feel very badly that people have suffered for too long, unable to obtain the legitimate medicine that may have helped them. I have been reminded that a true and productive scientific journey involves a willingness to let go of established notions and get at the truth, even if it is uncomfortable and even it means having to say ‘sorry.’
“It is about emerging science that not only shows and proves what marijuana can do for the body but provides better insights into the mechanisms of marijuana in the brain, helping us better understand a plant whose benefits have been documented for thousands of years. This journey is also about a Draconian system where politics override science and patients are caught in the middle. Since our documentary ‘Weed’ aired in August, I have continued to travel the world, investigating and asking tough questions about marijuana.
“I have met with hundreds of patients, dozens of scientists and the curious majority who simply want a deeper understanding of this ancient plant. I have sat in labs and personally analyzed the molecules in marijuana that have such potential but are also a source of intense controversy. I have seen those molecules turned into medicine that has quelled epilepsy in a child and pain in a grown adult. I’ve seen it help a woman at the peak of her life to overcome the ravages of multiple sclerosis.
“I am more convinced than ever that it is irresponsible to not provide the best care we can, care that often may involve marijuana. I am not backing down on medical marijuana; I am doubling down.
“…many doctors and scientists, worried about being ostracized for even discussing the potential of marijuana, called me confidentially to share their own stories of the drug and the benefit it has provided to their patients… Marijuana is classified as a Schedule I substance, defined as ‘the most dangerous’ drugs ‘with no currently accepted medical use.’ Neither of those statements has ever been factual. Even many of the most ardent critics of medical marijuana don’t agree with the Schedule I classification, knowing how it’s impeded the ability to conduct needed research on the plant.
“…the United States already holds a patent on medical marijuana…. Patent No. 6630507: Cannabinoids are found to have particular application as neuroprotectants, for example in limiting neurological damage following ischemic insults, such as stroke or trauma. However, this particular issue still bothers me: How can the government deny the benefits of medical marijuana even as it holds a patent for those very same benefits? Members of the Food and Drug Administration declined my repeated requests for an interview.
“This past year, President Barack Obama told the New Yorker magazine, ‘I don’t think (marijuana) is more dangerous than alcohol.’ And yet, as alcohol remains available to any adult, the president has not moved to remove marijuana from the list of the most tightly controlled substances in the country… cocaine and methamphetamine are actually more available than marijuana to patients, physicians and medical researchers: They are Schedule II drugs, with recognized medical uses… on average, a person dies every 19 minutes in this country from a legal prescription drug overdose, while it is virtually unheard-of to die from a marijuana overdose…
“I am a father myself, first and foremost. I don’t want my children taking or being offered a psychoactive substance. As a neurosurgeon, I know that the developing brain is more susceptible to the most harmful effects of cannabis and that brain development continues well into our mid-20s… Yes, I know there is a concern that many people out there will feign ailments just to get marijuana. But withholding legitimate treatment for the needy is a very unjust way of addressing that concern.
“As a physician and reporter, I feel a deeper obligation to present the real stories, soundly supported with the science from all over the world. When I first apologized for my previous marijuana reporting, I was thinking about the impact that reporting may have had on Charlotte Figi. She is a sweet little girl whose brain was locked in nearly nonstop seizure activity. Without success, she tried seven different medications, stringent diets and high-dose supplements. Modern medicine had nothing more to offer, which is why her parents turned to an ancient plant. As you know, it worked.
“And, as you will see, she is one of so many patients out there, suffering from different ailments, who believe cannabis rescued them when nothing else did. For conditions like Charlotte’s, the American Epilepsy Society says that there are a million people for whom existing therapies do not control their seizures. The society recently said anecdotes about medical marijuana ‘give reason for hope’ and said it supports ‘well-controlled studies that will lead to a better understanding of the disease and the development of safe and effective treatments.’ You should know that Charlotte continues to do well.
“When I saw her around the holidays, she ran over and gave me a hug. She looked me in the eyes, took me by the hand and led me all around to meet her friends. She is a delightful, happy and now healthy little girl. I know the discussion around this topic will no doubt get heated. I have felt that heat. But I feel a greater responsibility than ever to make sure those heated discussions are also well-informed by science.”
We reported on the alleged benefits of medical marijuana in our Update #624, where we said:
“If it is true that medical marijuana—especially those products in the form of oil with a greatly reduced or eliminated amount of THC (the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana)–help patients who are suffering from serious and otherwise ‘untreatable’ diseases, such as cancer, kidney failure or epilepsy, then the federal law’s all-encompassing universal prohibition of the same seems to be highly suspect. Sadly, the desire of many to allow and legalize marijuana for ‘recreational’ improper personal purposes has clouded or even suppressed the recognition of a need for research regarding a potentially beneficial medical use of certain marijuana products with virtually no THC.”
The statements in the above-quoted article by Dr. Sanjay Gupta support our comments, especially in light of the fact that the U.S. government denies “the benefits of medical marijuana even as it holds a patent for those very same benefits.” This is not merely suspect—it appears to be driven by ulterior (monetary) motives and/or highly hypocritical conduct.
Why don’t we hear about God raising anyone from the dead, today?
The question you ask relates to people who have died and who have been resurrected to physical life—an example of the unparalleled power of God.
The Bible records specific examples of individuals who were miraculously healed by God—and note that in every case, a servant of God was instrumental in the act:
Elijah raised the Zarephath widow’s son (1 Kings 17:20); Elisha raised the Shunammite woman’s son (2 Kings 4:32-37); a dead man was raised after accidently being brought into contact with Elisha’s bones (2 Kings 13:21); Jesus raised Jarius’ daughter (Mark 5:41-43), the son of a widow (Luke 7:11-17)—and Lazarus (John 11:43-44); Peter raised Dorcas (Acts 9:40-41); and Paul raised a young man named Eutychus (Acts 20:9-12).
Another example of people being returned to physical life occurred at the time of Jesus’ death:
“Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many” (Matthew 27:51-53). However, understand that these examples of being raised from the dead resulted only in a return to a physical existence! They all eventually died—again!
We read in Matthew 10:5-15 that Christ’s commission to His twelve disciples prior to His death was to, among other things, “raise the dead,” but we do not read the same general commission to His disciples after His resurrection (compare Mark 16:15-18).
Jesus Christ was given great power to perform miraculous signs. When John the Baptist sent two of his disciples to Christ to ask about who Jesus was, note the response:
“When the men had come to Him, they said, ‘John the Baptist has sent us to You, saying, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?”’ And that very hour He cured many of infirmities, afflictions, and evil spirits; and to many blind He gave sight. Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Go and tell John the things you have seen and heard: that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the gospel preached to them’” (Luke 7:20-22).
John the Baptist performed no miraculous signs (John 10:41), but Jesus said, “‘Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist…’” (Matthew 11:11).
For John the Baptist, it was not necessary that he perform signs. He did not raise anyone from the dead. Yet, his role in the Work of God was fully accomplished.
On the Day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was given in a wondrous way, and for a while, more signs followed:
“Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles” (Acts 2:43). We even read that people were healed when the shadow of Peter fell on them (Acts 5:14-15).
The Apostle Paul also had his ministry magnified:
“Now God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul, so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them” (Acts 19:11-12).
This example has application for us today. Generally, God instructs us, when we are sick, to call for the elders of the Church of God to pray for us and to anoint us with oil – a symbol of the Holy Spirit – and to lay hands on us, so that we can be healed (James 5:14-15; Mark 16:18). If such a visit is not possible, then elders are permitted to use and pray over a cloth, anointing it with a drop of oil as the symbol of the Holy Spirit, and asking God to heal the sick person who will receive this cloth. This is based on numerous passages in the Bible, showing us that people were healed when touching the garments of Christ (Mark 6:56) or the aprons or handkerchiefs from Paul’s body (Acts 19:12).
We see, then, that there is precedence for people having miraculous intervention from God—even that of being resurrected. We also understand that these few examples were done through the power of God and for His purposes—that they were the exception and not the rule. However, all point to the ultimate goal of being resurrected to eternal life—never to die again:
In the occurrence of Lazarus’ resurrection, Jesus made this profound statement:
“‘…I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live’” (John 11:25).
This is what the Church of God has been given to preach, and it is a message of resurrection into the spiritual Family of God:
“Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory’” (1 Corinthians 15:50-54).
Now, back to the question at hand, “Why don’t we hear about God raising anyone from the dead, today?”
The answer is, first and foremost, that God has not chosen to do so!
First, we must understand that those whom God has called for salvation and has given His Holy Spirit will not die “accidentally,” because of “time and chance,” but the timing of their death occurs according to the Will of God. There would therefore be no need or logical reason to raise them again from the dead. We explain the following in chapter 4 of our free booklet, “Human Suffering, Why… and How Much Longer?” : “The very idea that a true Christian could die or become terribly sick because of time and chance, limits God and weakens our faith. It is a patently unbiblical concept. When a Christian dies, it is because GOD has DECIDED that it was time for His son or daughter to die… God’s involvement, when it comes to the death of a true Christian, [is] clearly revealed in Scripture.” Please read the entire booklet for a thorough explanation.
In general, God is not trying to fix or save this world ruled by Satan. Rather, He is poised to send His Son, Jesus Christ, to establish a godly Kingdom on earth. At the same time, the first resurrection will occur, and faithful men and women will be raised from the dead (or instantly changed) to rule with Christ for one-thousand years and on into eternity. Others—the rest of the dead—will be resurrected to physical lives afterward. They will either become obedient to God and receive eternal life or perish!
Jesus warned us, stating, “‘An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign…’” (Matthew 12:39).
And even though Jesus did resurrect people from the dead and masses of people knew of His miracles, something more important was required—that was to believe Him (compare John 12:37).
For those who can only believe if they see manifestations that defy explanation, that titillate and excite with wonder, the Bible also reveals a time of worldwide deception coming through false miracles and stupefying signs (compare Revelation 13).
During this time, God will have His own witnesses, two men empowered by God to withstand Satan. Note some of what is prophesied about them:
“These have power to shut heaven, so that no rain falls in the days of their prophecy; and they have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to strike the earth with all plagues, as often as they desire” (Revelation 11:6).
When the time of God’s choosing comes, He will work in startling and miraculous ways to bring about His purpose. Let’s not be among those who can only be satisfied by signs; rather, now is the time to focus on believing God and on following the example of Jesus Christ—which will lead us to the resurrection of life!
Lead Writers: Dave Harris and Norbert Link
by Noelle Link
I have lost three jobs in less than a year; yes, three!! In between two of those jobs I was unemployed, without any financial assistance, for almost 6 months. I’ve been in the dental field for almost 20 years and haven’t come close to experiencing so many setbacks. So, why now?
In the beginning of this year I was offered my “dream” job, a job that I had applied for numerous times. It was with a very reputable dental office in the town we live in and very close to our home. However, it turned out to be the furthest thing from a “dream”. After only 3 weeks of employment I was fired because I refused to work more days and hours than we had originally agreed upon, and this was after I had already agreed to add one additional day. They couldn’t understand that being home with my family, especially with having a 3-year old, was more of a priority.
Prior to accepting that job I had interviewed at another dental office just as close to our home, but the timing just wasn’t right. However, as soon as they heard I was no longer employed, they immediately contacted me, and I began working there one week later.
I’m happy now. I feel a huge sense of relief and a lot less pressure at my new job. Yes, it’s only been one week, but I know God allowed all of this to happen. He tested me and my husband so many times in the past year. It got very difficult at times; we didn’t know if we would be able to pay rent from month to month, but He always provided. As Passover draws near, I know I will encounter more trials, but I feel as if the majority of them are behind me. Together with my husband, as a team, we passed so many tests, and we are stronger now than we have ever been. I wouldn’t change anything that has happened in this past year. We wouldn’t be where we are now, if I did.
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
“Is Christ the End of the Law” is the title of the new StandingWatch program presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:
Many will tell you that Christ came to abolish the law of the Ten Commandments. They say that this is what Paul meant when he spoke about Jesus being the end of the law. But is this correct? Why did Christ say that those who transgress the law will not be in God’s Kingdom, and that those are liars who claim to know God, but refuse to keep His commandments? This program gives you true answers from your Bible and rejects carnal arguments which are hostile to God.
A new Member Letter has been written by Norbert Link. In it, Mr. Link announces the publication of our new booklet, “Hidden Secrets in the Bible“–which was mailed in the USA to those who receive our letters. Also, Mr. Link encourages us to look forward to the “spiritual world of splendor and beauty, joy and peace” which God has in store for His children.
Our new German Member Letter (Rundschreiben) with Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread information/schedule was just sent out to our German members and subscribers.
“Die Schlüssel zur glücklichen Ehe und Familie,” one of our German language booklets, has had an order placed for a printing of 700 copies. The English version of this publication is “The Keys to Happy Marriages and Families.”
“Old Testament Laws—Still Valid Today?,” is the title of our newest (39th) English language booklet, written by Evangelist Norbert Link. This booklet has now entered its final review process.
“Christi Gleichnisse vom Reich Gottes,” is the new German sermon for this coming Sabbath. This is a series which begins discussing the parables of Jesus Christ. This sermon addresses several parables in the book of Matthew. Title in English: “Christ’s Parables of the Kingdom of God.”
A new StandingWatch Global Trailer, “Is God a Trinity?,” has been recorded by Pastor Brian Gale (United Kingdom). In addition, Pastor Rene Messier (Canada) has prepared a new StandingWatch Talking Points program, “Should you Fight in War?”
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