Update 659


The Fast of God

On October 4, 2014 (Day of Atonement), Dave Harris will give the sermon, titled, “The Fast of God.”

The live services are available, over video and audio, 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.

The Update will not be published again until the week ending October 24, 2014, due to our observing the Feast of Tabernacles and Last Great Day.

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Are You Ready?

by Eric Rank

With Atonement, the Feast of Tabernacles, and the Last Great Day of 2014 approaching quickly, our anticipation should be near its peak. Whether you have been planning for a year, a week, or somewhere in between, there are probably details in your life that need to be coordinated to ensure that you can observe these days to their fullest potential. Preparing our clothes, packing our things, and making final arrangements are all necessary for those who are traveling. But, getting our minds in the right shape is what we really need to focus on, while casting physical distractions that impede our spiritual preparation out from our field of view.

We may encounter real, genuine obstacles to our physical preparation for the Feast days. Perhaps getting time off from work is a challenge, or perhaps our travel arrangements have seemingly impossible gaps that we don’t know how to fill, or maybe we have something at home that needs our attention. These obstacles, and others, are instruments that Satan will use to keep us focused on the physical world – the world that he rules – and turn us away from spiritually preparing.

A large part of preparing for the Fall Holy Days involves setting priorities in order. This is a time of the year when we are especially commanded to draw near to God, and we can only imagine how angry and jealous this makes Satan. He will look for our weaknesses, and tempt us to find reasons not to observe God’s Feasts. As we are advised in 1 Peter 5:8, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” With this in mind, let us be prepared to overcome the weaknesses that cause us to neglect observing the Feast with the right spiritual state of mind.

When we are told to be sober and vigilant, this means that we must be on guard, especially when we know that our actions are an affront to Satan, causing him to become angry with us. This can be a very difficult affair. The strength that we have personally might not be enough to confront the temptations we encounter, but fortunately, we have the strength of Jesus Christ living in us to help. Paul reflects upon this fact in his own life in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” This strength promised to us includes the ability to face the physical obstacles that we experience on our path to observe the Feast.

The world may throw obstacles in our way, distracting us from our spiritual growth, but this world is passing away (1 John 2:15). An age of perfect Spiritual rule will imminently replace it. What better way to prepare for that coming age than to make ourselves spiritually ready for the upcoming Feast days this year? Whatever physical and spiritual state we are in, we must be certain that we allow nothing to stand in the way of our observance of these Feast days to the absolute best of our ability—and with God’s help we can!

Are you ready?

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We begin with reports on America’s new military adventure in the Middle East which will at best require a lengthy engagement for many years to come—with boots on the ground—and seems to be, at worst, destined to utter failure with devastating consequences for the USA. Even liberal newspapers, magazines and websites point out that President Obama has forsaken his [perceived] role as “peacekeeper” and has become a “war president.” Bild Online wrote that because of his weak leadership, he is leaving behind a world of chaos. At the same time, Germany’s military is in a terrible condition, and voices are being heard to transform its “military feet of clay” into feet of iron.

In other news, we report on Eric Holder’s resignation (sort of) and Julia Pierson’s resignation as Secret Service director becoming effective immediately; then the disturbing fact that married couples are now a minority in the USA.

We conclude with addressing Russia’s ongoing threats and Japan’s links to Neo-Nazis along with quoting the Pope’s urging that we are to pray to angels!

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Obama the New War President

Politico wrote on September 23:

“With his new offensive against Islamic State terrorists in Syria, Barack Obama has a chance to revive his presidency, but the only way he can do that is to become a brand-new president, one who will be almost unrecognizable to his supporters…

“So is Obama now a war president? As air strikes in Syria commenced Monday, there was no longer any doubt that this is his new role… what is happening now no longer falls into the category of cleaning up old wars… This is a wholly new war, Obama’s very own, and it is out in the open…

“It’s not that Obama has been shy about using force in the past six and a half years. But he has preferred to do it covertly…

“The risk today… is that Obama will be forced to compromise on his pledge of no new boots on the ground. In his Sept. 10 speech, he said: ‘It will not involve American combat troops fighting on foreign soil.’ And yet as many as 1,700 U.S. troops are now acting in a vague role as advisers and trainers in Iraq, and it is reasonable to think that some U.S. operatives are helping to direct air strikes into their targets in Syria. The question is whether that can continue, or whether Obama will be forced to widen U.S. involvement…”

Quite a Different Message

US News wrote on September 24:

“Obama appears to be edging toward justifying a larger war. On Tuesday, he said the current attacks in Syria—which are opposed by the Syrian government—are designed to send a message “to anyone who would plot against America and try to do Americans harm that we will not tolerate safe havens for terrorists who threaten our people.” He also said the conflict will be lengthy and difficult.

“Obama… is now sending a far different message than he did when he ran for president. That message was so impressive that Obama won the Nobel peace prize shortly after taking office in 2009 because of his stated commitment to working for peace around the world and ending the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Bild Online wrote on September 26:

“That’s how quickly it can happen, Barack Obama—from being the Winner of the Peace Nobel Prize to becoming War President… What has gone so terribly wrong?…  In one word: Weakness. His motto, ‘leading from behind’ is devastating. … Obama leaves behind a world of chaos…”

At War for Generations to Come?

Chicago Sun Times wrote on September 24:

“America will be at war for generations to come… It is impossible to feel optimistic about prospects for peace in Syria, or true democracy in Iraq or an end to Muslim sectarian strife anywhere in the Middle East. It’s hard to feel optimistic even about the ‘broad coalition,’ including Arab states such as Jordan and Saudi Arabia, that Obama has pulled together to fight ISIS, which he called a ‘network of death.’

“Obama gave no hint as to just how fragile and queasy that coalition really is. All five Arab nations on board have declined to even mention the United States in their official statements of support… This war, and others to come, could go on for years…”

German analysts stated that the new war would go on for at least 20 years…

A Divided and Deeply Inconsistent Coalition…

The Huffington Post wrote on September 25:

“The U.S. administration… is between a rock and a hard place: Saudi Arabia desperately wants Assad’s head on a plate and volunteers to fund the ‘war’ effort for that end. But, for Obama to assent to Iranian-Russian conditions [to leverage the ‘war’ precisely (and only) at ISIS in Syria and Iraq]– and thereby indirectly strengthen President Assad — he will cause outrage in the Gulf and amongst the ‘moderate’ Syrian exile insurgents. By doing as the Gulf wishes (attacking Assad’s forces), however, he will almost certainly tip Russia, Iran and Hezbollah into overt opposition and escalation, which will greatly complicate the war on ISIS in Syria (and in Iraq, too).

“Turkey, too wants to ‘use’ the war on ISIS, but the Turkish immediate objective is not to weaken ISIS, but rather to help ISIS undermine the Syrian Kurdish semi-autonomous region that lies adjacent to Turkey’s own restless (and far from autonomous) Kurds.

“… in the final analysis, the deep inconsistency — and likely cause of this whole enterprise’s ultimate failure — is simply the paradox that the West’s allies of choice will not, and cannot, be true ‘partners’ to this ‘war.’…”

“Why the Military Campaign Against ISIS Will Fail”

The Times of Israel wrote on September 26, republishing an article which had appeared in The Globalist:

“No matter how much Washington and its allies may wish otherwise, the military campaign against ISIS will fail, possibly with disastrous consequences.  Surprisingly, this outcome is not dependent on the issue that is currently so hotly debated – whether or not there will be ‘boots on the ground’ (and whose).

“To understand why, one needs to consider the dynamics and legacies of history. In the ultimate analysis, the existence of ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) can be ascribed in good part to the fact that… there was no reformation in the world of Islam…

“If one bears in mind the immense contribution made by the Arab world to science and civilization in centuries past — and indeed the fact that not that long ago cities like Baghdad, Damascus, Beirut, Cairo and Alexandria were booming global centers of commerce and creativity — notably in the arts — then one can arrive only at one conclusion. The panorama of the Arab world today is indeed depressing and discouraging. Compared with most other parts of the world, it is in regress as opposed to progress.

“It can only be remedied by the Arabs themselves, based on a profound reform and indeed renaissance of Arab society…  by virtue of insight — and not by external military force. Until and unless these reforms — this reformation and renaissance — occur in the Arab world, all Western interventions will fail, and indeed in all probability make the situation worse. The proposed battle to ‘the gates of hell’ against ISIS will suffer the same fate…”

Deja Vu as UK Heads Back to Iraq

Deutsche Welle wrote on September 26:

“The UK Parliament voted in favor of joining the military action against the ‘Islamic State’ in Iraq… The move was approved on Friday by a vote of 524 in favor to 43 against.

“The decision makes the UK the latest country to join the anti-IS coalition. As well as the Arab states taking part in the US-led military campaign against the terrorist militia ‘Islamic State,’ France has already bombed targets in northern Iraq. Denmark too announced on Friday that it was sending seven F-16 planes to join the campaign, while Belgium and the Netherlands have also sent combat aircraft…

“It seems that the West is now irrevocably set on another bloody adventure in the Middle East, less than three years after US troops were finally withdrawn from Iraq following a nine-year war.

“That war is now widely seen as a mistake in the UK – former Prime Minister Tony Blair’s fall from popularity was largely down to his support for it – and Cameron on Friday was eager to suppress the obvious comparisons… a study published in April this year by UK-based think tank the Royal United Services Institute found that ‘there is no longer any serious disagreement’ that Britain’s participation in the 2003 Iraq war contributed to the radicalization of many young Muslims in Britain.”

Mr. Cameron told the UK Parliament that the military engagement would go on for “years.” It was noted in the press that the UK was acting cautiously—even though the UK Parliament authorized military actions – because of distrust towards the USA.

Boots on the Ground

Deutsche Welle wrote on September 27:

“General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that between 12,000 and 15,000 US-trained and –armed rebel fighters would be required in Syria to defeat IS… Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt has also offered seven F-16 fighter jets… for use over Iraq, not Russia-ally Syria… Germany has committed weaponry, humanitarian aid and training for Iraqis either fighting against or displaced by the ‘IS’ advance, but has ruled out direct military intervention. The first German weapons deliveries arrived in Iraq on Friday.”

Die Zeit Online reported on September 26 that the USA is in need of 15,000 Syrian rebels to fight for the coalition and against ISIS. According to Der Spiegel Online, dated September 27, 2014, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan indicated some willingness to support fighting against ISIS, provided, among other conditions, that there would be boots on the ground.

The Huffington Post wrote on September 28 that House Speaker John “Boehner also said he believes that at some point the United States will have to send combat troops to fight the Islamic State. ‘At the end of the day, I think it’s going to take more than airstrikes to drive them out of there,’ Boehner said Sunday. ‘At some point, somebody’s boots have to be on the ground.’ Asked if those boots had to be American, Boehner said, ‘We have no choice.’”

Was There Really an Imminent Threat from Khorasan?

The website of Kansas.com (linked by the Drudge Report) published the following article on September 26:

“European counterterrorism specialists say their American counterparts never mentioned an imminent plot by al-Qaida operatives in Syria to attack Western targets and didn’t brief them on the group that’s supposedly behind the plan, a previously unknown terrorist unit that American officials have dubbed the Khorasan group.

“The interviews with the specialists, from two European NATO allies with close intelligence ties to the United States, raise questions about why the United States used its first series of airstrikes on the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, in Syria to also attack eight installations belonging to the Nusra Front, an al-Qaida affiliate that anti-government rebel groups consider an important ally in their fight to topple the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad… U.S. officials… said the strikes were intended to break up a plan for an imminent attack.

“The European specialists, who meet regularly with U.S. officials on terrorism issues… said… [such] an omission [to warn them]… seemed unlikely if the plot were truly imminent.”

“Germany’s Military Feet of Clay”

The Local wrote on September 25:

“On Thursday at 10.30am a German military plane left Bonn for the Senegalese capital Dakar. It was carrying ten tonnes of supplies and a field hospital to help fight Ebola in Liberia. Almost nine hours earlier, but 12 hours late, a Dutch air force flight took off from Leipzig taking military equipment to Kurds in Iraq fighting the Islamic State (Isis). This is the role Germany wants its military to play on the world stage – transporting humanitarian aid and where necessary military trainers and equipment to help in the world’s trouble spots. But its military appears unfit for the task.

“Last week, the first military trainers being sent to join the Kurds were delayed after their own Transall aircraft broke down. Much of the Bundeswehr’s equipment is not combat ready. Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen defended the Bundeswehr in the media on Wednesday, describing it as ‘highly capable’…

“German units are still in Afghanistan. Others are providing air defence in Turkey, hunting pirates off the coast of Somalia, and training troops or providing logistical support across Africa. But politicians’ promises that Germany will use its troops and material to intervene abroad and provide disaster relief, as in Iraq and West Africa, are placing a heavy load on the already strained Bundeswehr.

“… just 24 of the air force’s 56 Transall transport planes, which will be critical for the Iraq and West Africa missions, [are] fit to fly. The air force is close to overload with its fighter planes also well under half strength. Helicopters, too, are a weak point, with half the navy’s fleet grounded and only 16 of 83 CH-53 transport helicopters flight ready.

“There are also problems with the army’s Boxer personnel carriers and the navy’s frigates. Just 70 of the 180 armoured vehicles and seven of the 11 ships are in fighting condition… Germany spent €48.8bn, 1.4 percent of GDP, on its military in 2013, well below the target of two percent confirmed at a NATO summit in Wales in early September.”

Even though the German people might not like it, politicians will very soon work on substantially improving the Bundeswehr and bringing it up to speed.

Eric Holder’s Resignation Long Overdue

The Washington Times wrote on September 25:

“The nation thirsts for a successor who goes back to the old model, where the attorney general doesn’t check party affiliation before deciding whether to act or what to do… The next attorney general will have an uphill battle in repairing the damage done to the integrity of the Justice Department. John Fund and Hans von Spakovsky, authors of ‘Obama’s Enforcer: Eric Holder’s Justice Department,’ cite inside sources who describe Justice as ‘racialized and radicalized’ under Mr. Holder ‘to the point of corruption.’… Mr. Holder has consistently put partisan politics at the top of his agenda.

“He bashes America as a ‘nation of cowards’ because Americans don’t want to listen to harangues about race… It’s not a good sign that Al Sharpton, the noted theologian and race hustler, says that he is ‘engaged in immediate conversations’ with the White House about the selection of Mr. Holder’s successor…”

The involvement of the infamous and highly objectionable Al Sharpton—who truly gives religion a bad name—is  a matter of the greatest concern.

The Huffington Post wrote on September 28: “Holder has agreed to remain in his post until his successor is confirmed by the Senate — so, given the current state of D.C. dysfunction, he may be AG for some time to come.”

NEXT: Julia Pierson Resigns as Secret Service Director

The Washington Post reported on October 1:

“Julia Pierson resigned as Secret Service director on Wednesday after just 1 1/2 years on the job following a series of major security lapses that eroded President Obama’s confidence in her ability to run the agency tasked with protecting him.

“Pierson’s abrupt departure — one day after Obama expressed full confidence in her — came as lawmakers from both parties were calling for her ouster after her halting performance during a Tuesday House hearing.

“A decisive factor in the president’s change of heart, aides said, was that he learned only from news accounts Tuesday that a private security guard with a gun and a criminal history had not been screened before being allowed to board an elevator with him last month in Atlanta.”

Embarrassing as this latest resignation is for President Obama’s now lame-duck administration, the world is being given more and more evidence that America is no longer a dependable or even a capable ally.

“Married Couples Now a Minority in US”

“Married couples have become a minority in the United States during the past few years, while those married pairs with children comprise just one in five households… married couples living together, with or without children, accounted for 48.7 percent of households…

“In 2012, women living without a mate accounted for 15.2 percent of households, while men living without one comprised 12.3 percent. ‘Other family households’ accounted for 17.8 percent, mostly unmarried couples living together, with or without children, and to a lesser extent married couples living apart…

“The consistently decreasing percentage of Americans who are married is surely related to the rising percentage of U.S. babies born to unwed mothers… 36 percent of the generation of Americans born from 1993 through 2012, who are beginning to turn 21 this year, were born to an unmarried mother.”

Russia Puts Pressure on EU Against Ukraine

The EUObserver wrote on September 26:

“Russian energy minister Alexander Novak has warned that EU states which re-export gas to Ukraine will face cut-offs… Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia earlier this year began shipping Russian gas to Ukraine in order to help it cope in winter after Russia stopped supplying Ukraine in a price dispute which is bogged down in legal arbitration.

“Earlier this month, Russian gas flows to Poland temporarily dropped by 45 percent and to Slovakia by 10 percent in what was blamed on technical reasons. For its part, Hungarian gas distributor FGSZ on Thursday said it will no longer supply Ukraine ‘until further notice’ also due to ‘technical reasons’ linked to increased demand at home. But Ukraine transit firm Naftogaz said in a statement the decision is political.

“… two recent EU-brokered deals, on a ceasefire in east Ukraine and on EU-Ukraine free trade, have attracted criticism.  The ceasefire, agreed on 5 September, has seen Ukraine pass laws to let pro-Russia rebels stay in place in Donetsk and Luhansk and to create a buffer zone between the two forces… [Regarding the] EU-brokered trade deal…  Russian leader Vladimir Putin has said in a letter to the EU commission… that he will impose trade sanctions on Ukraine if it starts to make any pro-EU economic reforms in the next 15 months. He added that the substance of the trade treaty must be modified to meet Russian demands.”

EU Condemns Russia

The Local wrote on September 26:

“The EU condemned Russia on Friday for barring entry to the German leader of the Green fraction in the European Parliament who flew to Moscow to observe a trial of a Ukrainian pilot accused of espionage… Rebecca Harms, who co-chairs the Greens group in the European Parliament, said she was refused entry on Thursday despite holding a diplomatic passport. She said she was then sent on a flight back to Brussels after authorities told her they objected to her voting for sanctions against Russia…

“European parliament president Martin Schulz said he would lodge a formal protest with the Russian embassy in Brussels over the treatment of Harms. ‘I strongly denounce this grave diplomatic incident which is a worrying setback for relations between the European Parliament and Russia,’ he said.”

“Japan’s Cabinet Rocked by New Claims of Links to Neo-Nazis”

The Independent wrote on September 28:

“Japan’s government is weathering accusations of links to far-right groups that promote racism and hate speech. Several members of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s cabinet, including the Police Minister, have been forced to deny their neo-Nazi links after photographs surfaced of them posing with far-right figures…

“Mr Abe’s government has raised eyebrows with its far-right profile. Sixteen cabinet members belong to the League for Going to Worship Together at Yasukuni, a Tokyo shrine that honours leaders executed for war crimes. Sixteen support Nihon Kaigi, a nationalist think-tank that advocates a return to ‘traditional values’ and rejects Japan’s ‘apology diplomacy’ for its wartime misdeeds.

“Many belong to a parliamentary association that… deny many wartime atrocities… In August, Mr Abe sparked controversy when he paid tribute to soldiers, including war criminals, who gave their lives for ‘the foundation of the fatherland’. The tribute was sent to a temple housing a monument to 1,000 ‘martyrs’ who fought in the Second World War…”

Pope: Pray to Angels!

CNA reported on September 29:

“On Monday’s feast of the archangels Pope Francis spoke of the ongoing battle between the devil and mankind, encouraging attendees to pray to the angels, who have been charged to defend us…

“Pope Francis concluded his homily by encouraging those present to pray to the Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, and to recite the prayer to Saint Michael often.”

While this may represent Catholic doctrine, suggesting that we should pray to angels flies in the face of what Jesus Christ taught in Matthew 6:9 in which He said we are to pray to the Father.

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What will we do as God Beings?

The Bible teaches that it is the potential and destiny of man to enter the Kingdom and Family of God; that is, to become an immortal and eternal God being. The Bible tells us that we, who are called today, will be what Christ is today. We will be like Him, as He is. We will share the Father’s and Christ’s very divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). We are to inherit “all things” with Christ.

As God beings, we will of course have the ability to create, as God the Father and Jesus Christ create. But we will always be UNDER the authority of God the Father and Jesus Christ. We will never do ANYTHING contrary to the Will of the Father and the Son. As God Beings and members of the God FAMILY, we will be TOTALLY unified with the Father and Christ—we will think and act EXACTLY as they do.

1 Corinthians 15:45 tells us that Christ is “a life-giving spirit.” That is, He is a Spirit being who can give and create LIFE. In fact, that is what He did before He became a human being. That is what He is doing today, and what He will continue to do after His return. We know, for instance, from the book of Revelation that all living things in the oceans and rivers will have died before His return (Revelation 16), but we also read in several passages that there will be fish in the Millennium (Ezekiel 47). This shows that God will create LIFE – in this case, physical fish. He created life when the surface of the earth was renewed; and He created (“had prepared” or “had made”) a great fish or “sea monster” to swallow up Jonah (Jonah 1:17).

This understanding has wide-ranging consequences. Some have wondered about the fate of our pets, when they die. Even though the Bible does not say anywhere that animals will be resurrected, as human beings will be, there is also nothing in the Bible that says that they will not be. We read that animals have a spirit, and while Solomon states that the spirit in man will go back to God who gave it, he wonders about the fate of the spirit of animals, without giving a decisive answer (Ecclesiastes 3:21). Consider that God can CREATE animals—including those resembling our pets. When scientists can clone animals today, how much more will God the Father and Jesus Christ be able to create or recreate animals that God had created in the first place?

Since we will be as Christ is, we will be given the same capabilities.

Romans 8:20-23 tells us that the entire creation waits for us. Why? Ultimately, as we will discuss below, to be transformed into the glorious liberty of the children of God. The entire physical creation will be freed from corruption – it will become spirit, too. But that won’t happen until God creates new heavens and a new earth—which will be long after Christ’s return. So, what are we going to do prior to God’s new creation?

When Christ returns, this earth will lie in ruins, and we will assist Him in the momentous project of rebuilding the ruins so that the earth will become a beautiful paradise. We will assist Jesus Christ to beautify it, which includes, CREATING physical life. Once we have entered the Family of God as immortal God Beings, we will have the same abilities and capabilities which God the Father and Jesus Christ have. We will rule angels and possess more and higher powers than they do. We will heal people. We will assist Christ in judging mankind. And we read that we will rule forever and ever (Revelation 22:5). Over what will we reign, forever and ever?

First, under Christ, over man. But once God’s plan for physical mankind has been completed and all human beings who qualified have become immortal God Beings (while those who committed the unpardonable sin will have been burned up in the lake of fire), then what will the next step be in God’s great master plan? It appears that we will then begin to rule over and beautify the vast universe. Romans 8:18-23 tells us that “the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility in hope; because the creation itself [the entire universe] also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption [or “decay,” compare New International Version and Revised Standard Version]… into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now…”

This passage indicates that once we are God Beings and full members of the God Family, we will participate in the process of beautifying and finishing the creation of the presently unfinished universe.  The universe is in decay—the planets are, from all that we can tell, waste and empty. But it is our human potential to become God and, under the leadership of Jesus Christ, to free the universe from decay and corruption.

This has been the long-held understanding of the Church of God under its late human leader, Herbert W. Armstrong who died in 1986.

In his book, Mystery of the Ages, chapter 3, “The Mystery of Man,” he wrote on page 103 [hard copy version]:

“Once… man [has been] BORN INTO the divine FAMILY of God, restoring the government of God to the earth, [he will] then participat[e] in the completion of the CREATION over the entire endless expanse of the UNIVERSE!”

In Chapter 7, Mystery of the Kingdom of God, he stated on pages 355-362:

“God says… that he has decreed the entire universe–with all its galaxies, its countless suns and planets–everything–will be put under man’s subjection… Why should the whole universe—the creation—be waiting with eager longing for the actual birth and appearing of all these sons of God to be born into the family of God? The… verses [of the Bible] portray a universe filled with planets in decay and futility—yet as if subjected now to this dead state in hope!…

“Could the whole universe with its myriad of other planets have been created for the eventual purpose of sustaining life?… when we (converted humans) are born of God—then having the power and glory of God—we are going to do as God did when this earth had been laid ‘waste and empty’… Christ… was renewing what had been destroyed by the rebellion of the sinning angels…

“[The Bible] indicates precisely what all astronomers and scientific evidence indicate—the suns are as balls of fire, giving out light and heat; but the planets, except for this earth, are in a state of death, decay and futility—but not forever—waiting until converted humans are BORN the children of God; born into the very divine family of God, forming the kingdom of God… even the whole universe is to be ruled by us, who, with God the Father and Christ, become the kingdom of God… We are to be given jurisdiction over the entire universe! What are we going to do then? These scriptures indicate WE SHALL IMPART LIFE to billions and billions of dead planets, as life has been imparted to this earth. We shall create, as God directs and instructs. We shall rule through all eternity!”

The foregoing quotes describe our role as God Beings in helping, under the Father’s and Christ’s direction, to beautify and impart LIFE to the entire physical universe. (But as pointed out in previous Q&As, and as will be mentioned again below, this will NOT include the creation of human life. That aspect of God’s master plan will have been completed).

In addition to the beautification of our physical earth and the physical universe, the Bible reveals even more.

We have already pointed out that after these events, God will create new heavens and “a new earth in which righteousness dwells.”  The new heavens (including the entire universe) and the new earth will no longer be physical, consisting of matter, but they will be spiritual—consisting of spirit. When the heavenly Jerusalem (a city consisting of spirit) descends to earth, it will descend to an earth consisting of spirit.

The Bible does not only speak of the physical colonization of the universe, as a type or forerunner, but also ultimately of our spiritual “colonization” of an universe which has been transformed into spirit.

Quoting from our Q&A, “What will we do after the Third Resurrection?”  

“The heavenly Jerusalem will come down from heaven, after the physical earth and the physical heavens are burned up, and after God creates new heavens and a new earth (2 Peter 3:7, 10–13)… which will remain (Isaiah 65:17; 66:22)… 2 Corinthians 4:18 tells us: ‘…For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.’…

“Lamsa renders [Hebrews 12:27] in this way: ‘And these words, once more, signify the CHANGE of things which may be shaken, because they are made in order that things which cannot be shaken may remain.’

“Romans 8:18–23 tells us very clearly what those invisible things will be: ‘For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption INTO the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption [sonship], the redemption of our body.’

“We saw in verse 21 that the creation will be delivered from corruption ‘into’ (‘eis’ in Greek) the glorious liberty of the children of God. Moffat renders verse 21 in this way: ‘The hope being that creation as well as man would one day be freed from its thralldom [bondage] to decay and gain the glorious freedom of God’s children.’ The Revised Standard Version writes: ‘…the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and OBTAIN the glorious liberty of the children of God.’ The Luther Bible states, ‘The creation, too, will be freed from bondage of temporary existence INTO the glorious freedom of the children of God.’

“The Greek word for corruption or decay that is used in verse 21 is ‘phthora.’ It is the same word used in 1 Corinthians 15:42, where we read: ‘The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption.’ It is also used in Galatians 6:8: ‘For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption.’

“This physical creation, patterned after God’s spiritual creation, waits to be delivered from corruption to obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God. The glorious freedom, which the universe will receive, includes freedom from death. In that new universe, DEATH will be unknown, and so will decay and corruption… In order to obtain such freedom from death and corruption, this universe will have to be changed into SPIRIT, as we also will be changed into Spirit beings. In this way, the new heavens and the new earth will remain, for only the things that the human eye cannot see will remain.”

What will remain is the new earth and the new universe, consisting of spirit (what the human eye cannot see). The physical existence will not remain forever; that is, the physical earth and the physical universe, which can be seen by the human eye, will be changed into spirit (which cannot be seen by the human eye).

We do not know how much time will transpire after the end of the third resurrection period and before the physical earth and the heavens will be dissolved (2 Peter 3:11-12); new heavens and a new earth will be created (2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:1); and the heavenly Jerusalem will descend to earth (Revelation 21:2). As Spirit Beings, time will be of no consequence for us. For God, 1,000 years are just as one day (2 Peter 3:8) and “like a watch in the night” (Psalm 90:4). We do not know how much time will be spent to beautify the physical earth and maintaining its beauty, while colonizing the physical universe, before God will create new heavens and a new earth. The Bible would allow for millions, if not billions or trillions of years, if viewed in human terms.

Some may ask why we should even colonize a physical universe, if it is only to be burned up later? The same question could be asked about this physical earth, which we will beautify and rule for a very long time after Christ’s return. It too will be burned up. But the emphasis is on the creation of spiritual heavens and a spiritual earth which will last forever—not on the temporary physical universe and the earth which will expire. Nothing physical will last forever.

We need to remember that the Spirit world was first, and God created first spiritual beings and “things” within the Spirit world. We read of a heavenly spiritual city, a spiritual temple, a spiritual mountain, a spiritual altar and a spiritual tabernacle, as well as spiritual trumpets, spiritual clothes etc. After this spiritual creation, the physical universe and the earth were created—first the spiritual, and then the physical.

But in the distant future, that process would be reversed—first the physical, and then the spiritual (1 Corinthians 15:46). When man was created, he was created physical with the potential of becoming a Spirit Being. And so, the physical world and universe will ultimately be changed to consist of spirit as well. Once the beautification of the physical earth and the physical universe (as a first physical step) has been completed, then they will be transformed or changed into something spiritual. And as we hinted above that physical animals which died might be brought back to physical life, so, ultimately, they might be transformed into spiritual existence. (After all, even angels have animal-like features, but they existed first, and animals were, to an extent, created after their pattern.)

But we do not suggest that our work of the beautification of the earth and imparting life to the universe (physical and spiritual) would include the creation of human beings. As mentioned, this phase of God’s master plan will have concluded with the third resurrection. And we do not suggest that we will ever create angels, or that God will create additional angels. Nothing is mentioned about this in the Bible. Rather, it appears that God created all the angels, whom He wanted to create, before He created man, as they were apparently created for man (Hebrews 1:14). But since we believe that we are going to create at first physical and later spiritual life on earth and in the universe, it remains to be seen what type of life this is going to be.

What exactly God has in store for us after the new heavens and the new earth have been created, we don’t know. But we do know that God says that we will rule forever and ever, and that His peace and government over the new earth and the entire new universe will have no end. God the Father will dwell on the newly-created earth, consisting of spirit, and the new Jerusalem, consisting of spirit, will come down from the third heaven, after the physical earth and the physical universe have been dissolved. Undoubtedly, the new earth will be God’s headquarters over the entire (new) universe, and it appears that we will be assisting God, in the way that He directs.

For more information and Scriptural evidence on this intriguing subject, please read our free booklets, “Angels, Demons and the Spirit World”; “God Is a Family”; “The Gospel of the Kingdom of God” ; “Biblical Prophecy—From Now Until Forever”; and our Q&As on born again; and what we will do after the third resurrection.  

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

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Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

Norbert and Johanna Link flew to Germany this week in preparation for the upcoming Holy Days to be observed with the brethren there.

The 2014 “Feast Brochure” for those attending Pismo Beach, CA, is now posted.

“Hope in Trials,” is the title of a new StandingWatch program presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:

The Gospel of the Kingdom of God is a message of hope-it is God’s good news to man about his future. In times of trials, it is important to remind ourselves about what God has in store for us. Most have no idea, but the Bible clearly reveals that it is the potential of man to become God-“gods” or God beings in God’s Family! Blasphemy? That’s what they said when Jesus preached it. That’s what many say today. And that is why they despair and are without confidence in God’s help when problems come. We are offering you our free weekly Update and our free booklet, “The Gospel of the Kingdom of God.”

Norbert Link presented a special introductory message during last week’s Sabbath services, which is now posted. The title is “War and Our Christian Duties.” Here is a summary:

America’s new war in Iraq and Syria does not seem to have any chance of success. Statements in numerous papers allege that “Obama leaves behind a world of chaos”; that America “will be at war for generations to come”; that the “military campaign against ISIS will fail, possibly with disastrous consequences”; and that “the West is irrevocably set on another bloody adventure in the Middle East.” How should a true Christian view this situation? Is there ever justification for us to fight in war? We are quoting extensively from Herbert W. Armstrong’s writings on military service and war and from our free booklet, “Should You Fight in War?” We point out that historically, true Christians have steadfastly refused to fight in war—but that many nominal Christians compromised in the face of political propaganda and persecution.        

“The Helmet of Salvation,” is the title of last Sabbath’s sermon presented by Norbert Link. Here is a summary:

Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:17 to “take the helmet of salvation.” What else are we to “take” from God, and what is the connection with the helmet of salvation? Why are we reading about the cup of salvation; the shield of salvation; and the garments of salvation? The Bible speaks also about the helmet of the hope of salvation. What exactly is this hope? What exactly is salvation? And what is the only way to obtain salvation? 

The remaining 2014 Fall Holy Days will be observed on the following dates: Day of Atonement–October 4; Feast of Tabernacles–October 9-15; Last Great Day–October 16. The speaking schedule for October has been posted, including the speaking assignments for the Day of Atonement, the Feast of Tabernacles and the Last Great Day. Just click here.

Observance of the Feast of Tabernacles and Last Great Day will be conducted in Pismo Beach, California, for those in the US. For Europe, the location will be in Templin, Germany. Just click here.

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Be of Good Cheer!

by Delia Messier    

It has been a most exciting, busy and sometimes very challenging summer! The house was full of children and grandchildren, friends and extended family from far and near. There was much love but also some sadness and bitterness!

My mind goes back to my six  “D’s” that I have incorporated over time since my conversion: devotion, dignity, discretion, discipline, discernment and dedication. To help my spiritual growth, build better relationships and have a better life, it is necessary to attain and perfect my six “D’s.”

I have learned that everything boils down to overcoming Satan, this world, while not being overcome by them and myself. Though I have striven for so long to become victorious, I am still struggling! Then I begin to remember and really appreciate what Christ said: “Be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world.”

This really hits home for me! This gives me hope and the courage to keep striving and not to quit. Then one day I may be able to say:  I have overcome too!

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How This Work is Financed

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

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

Technical Team: Eric Rank, Shana Rank

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

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

Donations should be sent to the following addresses:

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

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

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

©2024 Church of the Eternal God