Update 685


Today and Freedom From What?

On April 25, 2015, Eric Rank will present the sermonette, titled, “Today,” and Robb Harris will present the sermon, titled, “Freedom From What?”

The live services are available, over video and audio, at http://eternalgod.org/live-services/ (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.

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Lights in the Growing Darkness

by Robb Harris

The U.S. is currently trying to negotiate a massive Trans Pacific trade deal.  Congress, as written in the Constitution, is charged with giving advice and consent on trade agreements.  Over the past few decades though, Congress has given up that right to the president by granting him authority to “fast track” trade negotiations.  The intent is that the president can speed up the process and avoid partisan politicking.  And still, the lobbying and scheming between opposing parties is as vigorous as ever.

Detractors, among other things, point to previous trade agreements (NAFTA) as failures.  Proponents promise success through economic growth and more jobs.  And between all of the rhetoric one important fact is lost—God’s role!

God alone controls the events of the world as Daniel states, “He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise And knowledge to those who have understanding” (Daniel 2:21).

The great fault of mankind is their utter refusal to acknowledge and submit to God. Instead, our nation pins its hopes on men. Nothing done by man’s own hands is going to change the Will of God. It can be easy to root for one man’s opinion over another, especially when those opinions appear to point in godly directions.  But knowledge of God’s Will in this world’s affairs is beyond comprehension for those in spiritual darkness.

“This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness” (Ephesians 4:17-19).

This world continually postulates why God can’t exist.  Nations make plans to better themselves and the world through their own ingenuity, and ultimately through their own greed for power. And with all of the greatness that humanity aspires to, it is pointless when God is forgotten and ignored.

It’s in this climate that we are called upon to shine as lights to the world. “So you, son of man: I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore you shall hear a word from My mouth and warn them for Me” (Ezekiel 33:7). The world will hate us for the way we live and for the God we profess, and yet we are to shine ever more brightly as this world grows darker.  Let’s always rejoice that we have been given this opportunity—to know God and to be living examples of His Will on earth.

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We begin with further revelations regarding Iran and their dubious game; report on the escalating conflict in Yemen and Russia’s ambition in the Middle East as well as murders of pro-Russian journalists and politicians in Ukraine; speak on the sentence of former Egyptian President Morsi , which has been termed a “travesty of justice”; focus on controversial statements by US Republican and Democratic Presidential Candidates on homosexuality, same-sex marriages and enlisting in the military; and point out one of the biggest legal scandals in the US, revealing the conviction of many innocent people due to false testimony of FBI employees.

We quote an article regarding the hot debate as to the causes of the Holocaust and genocide; and continue reporting on Greece’s “poker game” with the USA, the EU and Russia, which, it seems, is presently being won by Russia, as well as drastic measures of the Greek government to try to avert the seemingly inevitable. We conclude with an article on unbelievably restrictive and Pharisaical Sabbath regulations in modern Judaism—pointing out that this kind of teaching is exactly what Jesus Christ expressly rejected and strongly condemned.

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No Inspections in Iran–Ever!

Newsmax reported on April 20:

“A top Iranian commander said over the weekend that Tehran will never permit outsiders to inspect the regime’s military sites under any nuclear agreement, the state media organ Press Television reported. Brigadier Gen. Hossein Salami, the number two official in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps, said a harsh response would await anyone who raised the subject of inspections. ‘Visiting a military base by a foreign inspector would mean the occupation of our land,’ Salami said. Even discussing the subject is tantamount to ‘national humiliation,’ he added.

“Iran and six world powers – the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and China – announced  earlier this month that they had reached a framework deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program in return for lifting sanctions. Participants said they would work to conclude a final agreement by June 30. A fact sheet on the framework accord issued by the State Department said Iran would be required to grant the U.N.-affiliated International Atomic Energy Agency access to any ‘suspicious sites,’ the Associated Press noted.

“But Iran has questioned numerous points in the fact sheet – including Washington’s claim that sanctions against the Islamic Republic would be lifted only after the IAEA verified Tehran’s compliance with commitments it made in the talks. Iranian leaders, by contrast, have said the deal requires that sanctions be removed immediately, and have accused Washington of lying about its contents…

“Salami declared that permitting foreign inspectors to visit a military base was unacceptable because it would potentially expose Iranian ‘military and defense secrets,’ the Associated Press reported.”

So where is that great deal now? It sounds like it’s a fairy tale of delusional politicians.

Conflict in Yemen—US vs. Iran

The Associated Press reported on April 20:

“The U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt is steaming toward the waters off Yemen to beef up security and join other American ships that are prepared to intercept any Iranian vessels carrying weapons to the Houthi rebels fighting in Yemen.

“Navy officials said Monday that the Roosevelt was moving through the Arabian Sea. The U.S. Navy has been beefing up its presence in the Gulf of Aden and the southern Arabian Sea amid reports that a convoy of about eight Iranian ships is heading toward Yemen and possibly carrying arms for the Houthis. Navy officials said there are about nine U.S. warships in the region, including cruisers and destroyers carrying teams that can board and search other vessels…

“The U.S. has been providing logistical and intelligence support to Saudi Arabia-led coalition launching airstrikes against the Houthis. That air campaign is now in its fourth week… So far… U.S. naval personnel have not boarded any Iranian vessels since the Yemen conflict began.

“White House spokesman Josh Earnest… said the U.S. has concerns about Iran’s ‘continued support for the Houthis… These are exactly the kind of destabilizing activities that we have in mind when we raise concerns about Iran’s destabilizing activities in the Middle East.’”

On April 20, Deutsche Welle added the following about the Pentagon’s usual denial:

“Later on Monday, Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steve Warren said the US Navy had sent an aircraft carrier and a guided-missile cruiser into the waters near Yemen to conduct maritime security operations. However, he denied that the vessels were on a mission to intercept Iranian arms shipments.”

Russia’s Ambitions in the Middle East

BBC News wrote on April 21:

“Russia’s decision to go ahead with the sale of the advanced S-300 surface-to-air missile system to Iran has angered its critics in the West and alarmed the Israeli government in equal measure. For some it has raised additional question-marks over the fate of any putative nuclear deal between Iran and the international community. But more significantly it may also mark a renewed effort by Moscow to bolster its diplomatic profile in the Middle East…

“During the years of Washington’s active engagement in Iraq, Russia’s once-strong role in the Middle East seemed to have been eclipsed… But in many ways appearances are deceptive. Russia had never really gone away and it has seized upon every opportunity in the wake of the failed ‘Arab spring’ to maximise its influence.

“No more so than with the government of its long-standing ally Syria, whose President, Bashar al-Assad, is anathema to the West, but not for the Kremlin… In addition, its former ally Egypt is again cosying up to Moscow. A major arms deal was signed last year; a sure indication of the military government’s frustration at its dealings with Washington.

“Moscow has also developed a highly pragmatic relationship with the region’s other major power, Turkey…

“Israel gave up arms deals with Georgia and has hesitated to sell lucrative drones to Ukraine in an effort to win favour with Moscow. Closer ties with Iran will also frustrate the Saudis and others in the Gulf…

“These are indeed difficult diplomatic waters to navigate, given the many regional rivalries that have only come to the fore as significant parts of the region’s political landscape have descended into chaos and blood-letting.”

Israel’s attempts to cozy up to Russia will back-fire.

Murders of Pro-Russian Journalists and Politicians in Ukraine

Deutsche Welle reported on April 21:

“… near the center of Kyiv, Ukrainian writer [and pro-Russian journalist] Oles Buzyna was shot dead last Thursday in broad daylight… The presumed assassination of the controversial journalist is particularly sensitive. Only a day earlier, on Wednesday evening, opposition politician Oleh Kalashnikov was shot dead in the Ukrainian capital. He too articulated Kremlin-friendly views. The 52-year-old was a former member of parliament for the pro-Russian Party of Regions.

‘The murders of Buzyna and Kalashnikov are the latest in a series. Ukrainian media have tallied around a dozen murders and suicides of members of the former ruling class in less than a year…

“Opposition politician Olena Bondarenko has received police protection. ‘I have to leave Kyiv,’ she told DW by telephone. She did not want to reveal her current location. The 41-year-old lawmaker and former member of the Party of Regions is known for her pro-Russian views…

“The two recent murders have further fueled the already tense atmosphere in Ukraine…  Whether on television talk shows or social networks, the division in the country has become noticeably deeper. Not infrequently, Ukrainian activists and ordinary citizens even go so far as to praise the killings of pro-Russian politicians, whom they consider ‘traitors.’”

If this continues, Russia will undoubtedly use this as justification to intervene militarily in Ukraine.

Morsi’s Sentence a Travesty of Justice?

Deutsche Welle reported on April 21:

“A Cairo court on Tuesday sentenced Morsi to 20 years for his role in attacks against people protesting his rule in 2012, convicting the former president and 14 associates of use of force, false imprisonment and torture against protesters. Rights group Amnesty International called the verdict ‘a travesty of justice’ and called for Morsi to be either retried, or released. The verdict is subject to appeal. ‘This verdict shatters any remaining illusion of independence and impartiality in Egypt’s criminal justice system,’ said Hassiba Hadj Saharaoui, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at Amnesty International. ‘Any semblance of a fair trial was jeopardized from the outset by a string of irregularities in the judicial process and his arbitrary, incommunicado detention.’

“Morsi’s questioning took place without his lawyers present during his detention in an undisclosed location for four months following his ouster in July 2013. Amnesty also said Morsi’s lawyers could only access case files days before the trial’s start, and that only evidence of violence by Morsi supporters – and not of violence against them – were documented in court…

“Lawyers for the victims, however, told reporters in Cairo that they had anticipated a sterner sentence against the ex-president with regards to the dropped incitement of murder charges. ‘We were expecting them to be convicted of murder,’ Ramy Ghanem, a lawyer for an anti-Morsi protester wounded in the clashes…

“Twenty-two Morsi supporters received death sentences on Monday. The Brotherhood’s leader, Mohammed Badie, faces a death sentence but can appeal; all capital sentences in Egypt must go to an appeals court…

“Though democratically-elected, Morsi was toppled after major public protests against his government, with some in Egypt appealing to the military to intervene. The 63-year-old famously interrupted the first day of his trial repeatedly with cries of ‘I am the president of the republic!’…”

It is a sad truism that, no matter as to how one wants to look at this verdict, many of those in power (especially in dictatorial countries in the Middle East and elsewhere) rule without justice and mercy, until they are toppled by others who will rule without justice and mercy.

Controversial Statements of US Republican Presidential Candidates

Bloomberg News reported on April 19:

“Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio says he does not believe sexual orientation is a choice for the ‘enormous majority of people.’ [He added:] ‘In fact, the bottom line is, I believe that sexual preference is something people are born with…’… [He also] said he would attend a same-sex wedding…

“Texas Senator Ted Cruz said he has never had to make such a decision, dodging the question. Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, who has not announced a campaign yet, said he would not attend such a wedding. Ohio Governor John Kasich, another possible candidate, said he and his wife had been invited to a same-sex wedding and plan to attend…”

The only one who is clear and correct on this particular question, as quoted, is Rick Santorum. You might also want to review carefully the Q&A in this issue, regarding the topic of homosexuality.

Newsmax reported on April 18:

“Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee told Iowa radio talk-show host Jan Mickelson that the Obama administration had ‘an open hostility toward the Christian faith’ — urging prospective military recruits to enlist after President Barack Obama leaves the White House… ‘There’s nothing more honorable than serving one’s country and there’s no greater heroes to our country than our military,’ Huckabee said. ‘But I might suggest to parents, I’d wait a couple of years until we get a new commander-in-chief who will once again believe in “one nation under God” and believe that people of faith should be a vital part of the process of not only governing this country, but defending this country.’”

Mike Huckabee is correct in advising people not to enlist in the army now, but he is incorrect in advising people to enlist in the army later. For more information, please read our free booklet, “Should You Fight in War?” 

Controversial Statements of US Democratic Presidential Candidate

The Website of eonline.com reported on April 15:

“Just a few days after officially announcing she will run for president in the 2016 elections, Clinton has addressed one of the most hotly debated topics in politics—marriage equality. In her first remarks about same-sex marriage in nearly a year, a spokeswoman for Clinton’s campaign says [Clinton] hopes the Supreme Court will embrace marriage equality when it considers cases out of four states on April 28. ‘Hillary Clinton supports marriage equality and hopes the Supreme Court will come down on the side of same-sex couples being guaranteed that constitutional right,’ Adrienne Elrod told the Washington Blade today. This means Clinton is the only declared candidate for presidency who believes that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry.”

Hillary Clinton is wrong on this issue, and the Supreme Court might very well decide this issue wrongly as well.

One of US’s Biggest Legal Scandal Unfolding

Deutsche Welle reported on April 20:

The FBI has admitted that most of the experts in its forensic unit gave flawed testimony over two decades. This testimony was crucial in several rape and murder cases, some of which carried the death penalty… The US domestic intelligence service admitted officially that the Washington Post revelations on Saturday were correct. The paper had reported that 26 of 28 examiners with the FBI’s microscopic hair comparison unit had overstated matches of hair at crime scenes in ways that favored the prosecution’s cause. Wrong evidence was included in over 95 percent of the 268 trials reviewed for the twenty year period leading up to 2000.

“The paper… found that of the 32 defendants who were sentenced to death during that time, 14 had been executed or had died in prison… The review of a total of 2,000 criminal cases in which the FBI conducted microscopic hair analysis of crime scene evidence is being conducted under an agreement with the US government. It was launched after three men were exonerated by DNA evidence in three separate cases where different FBI analysts had provided scientifically invalid evidence…

“The report reveals one of the US’s biggest legal scandals, revealing that the courts had failed to recognize dubious scientific information that contributed to wrongful convictions in more than a quarter of 329 cases since 1989 where defendants were later exonerated on the basis of DNA evidence…”

How could a true Christian sleep at night if he had served on a jury and convicted a person to death, based on such false evidence and testimony?

How Could the Holocaust Happen?

The EUObserver wrote on April 21:

“The director of the US intelligence service FBI James Comey has caused a diplomatic row between his country and Poland with comments on Polish and Hungarian complicity in the mass killings of Jews during the Second World War. Hungary has also protested against the comments he made… [He said:] ‘In their minds, the murderers and accomplices of Germany, and Poland, and Hungary, and so many, many other places didn’t do something evil. They convinced themselves it was the right thing to do, the thing they had to do. That’s what people do. And that should truly frighten us.’…

“Historians estimate that during the Second World War six millions Jews have been killed. Many of Nazi Germany’s death camps were in the occupied region that is now Poland, but there was no independent Polish government at the time. In 1944-45 Hungary briefly had an anti-Semitic government which killed thousands of Jews…

“Many of Europe’s nations struggled after the war with the question how the genocide could have been allowed. Anti-Semitism was widespread in Europe, and according to historian Mark Mazower governments that were approached for support for the so-called Final Solution, ‘tended to be particularly cooperative in handing over Jewish refugees and other non-nationals’. It is difficult to determine how widespread support for the extermination of Jews was in the popular opinions of regular people in occupied Europe, Mazower notes in his book Dark Continent.

“However, ‘approval of the Final Solution was not a common phenomenon. In response to the horrors of occupation, most people living under Nazi control had retreated into a private world and tried to ignore everything that did not directly concern them.’”

People become complacent and indifferent about the horrors which are happening all around them… and which will increase in the near future. But this is not the attitude which a true Christian should have. He is most certainly not to participate in any violent action or military intervention, but he IS to “sigh and cry over all the abominations that are done…” (Ezekiel 9:4; compare also 2 Peter 2:7-8 and Psalm 119:136).

Greece’s Poker Game With Russia, the EU and the USA

The Telegraph wrote on April 18:

“Greek sources have told The Telegraph that [Greek’s] Syriza may sign a deal with Russia for Gazprom’s ‘Turkish Stream’ pipeline project as soon as next week, unlocking as much as €3bn to €5bn in advance funding. This confirms a report in Germany’s Spiegel magazine, initially denied by both the Russian and Greek governments. It is understood that the deal is being managed by… Greece’s energy minister and head of Syriza’s militant Left Platform, a figure with long-standing ties to Moscow…

“Bridging finance from the Kremlin would transform the situation, allowing Greece to avert a disastrous clash with the IMF… The drama has escalated into a bizarre form of brinkmanship for the highest stakes, with Greece effectively playing off Moscow, Brussels, and Washington, against each other in three-way geo-strategic poker… it is not yet clear whether Syriza can expect much more than a comfort blanket from the US… The Kremlin appears to have outbid the White House in the latest round. Brussels has yet to make any bid at all.”

The Telegraph added on April 20:

“The Greek government has ordered a mandatory transfer of cash reserves from state-owned enterprises to its central bank, in a desperate bid to gather enough cash to remain solvent. Citing ‘extremely urgent and unforeseen needs’, the government issued the emergency decree which will apply to all local government bodies immediately… Even the most conservative estimates calculate the government’s coffers will run dry in a matter of weeks.

“Despite the risk of violating its fiduciary obligations, the decree could now help the government meet its monthly €1.7bn wage and pension bill, averting a default on its own citizenry. It is thought the confiscation of reserves held in commercial banks to the Bank of Greece could raise as much as €2bn for the government.”

Fortress Europe for Migrants?

The Guardian wrote on April 23:

“Only 5,000 resettlement places across Europe are to be offered to refugees under the emergency summit crisis package to be agreed by EU leaders in Brussels on Thursday.

“A confidential draft summit statement seen by the Guardian indicates that the vast majority of those who survive the journey and make it to Italy – 150,000 did so last year – will be sent back as irregular migrants under a new rapid-return programme co-ordinated by the EU’s border agency, Frontex. More than 36,000 boat survivors have reached Italy, Malta and Greece so far this year.

“The draft summit conclusions also reveal that hopes of a major expansion of search-and-rescue operations across the Mediterranean in response to the humanitarian crisis are likely to be dashed, despite widespread and growing pressure.”

Genetically Modifying Human Embryos?

The Telegraph wrote on April 23:

“China has been ordered to ‘rein in’ scientists who have edited the DNA of human embryos for the first time, a practice banned in Europe. In a world’s first, researchers at the Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou confirmed they had engineered embryos to modify the gene responsible for the fatal blood disorder thalassaemia.

“The team, led by Junjiu Huang attempted to head off fears of eugenics by claiming the embryos were ‘non-viable’ and could never had become babies. But critics warned that China was becoming the ‘Wild West’ of genetic research saying it was the first step towards designer children and called for a worldwide ban on the practice…

“Advocates of gene editing say that it could eradicate devastating inherited disease. But others are worried that it crosses an ethical line, allowing children to be genetically engineered. And because the genetic changes are happening to embryos the changes will be passed down to future generations…

“Huang said he had abandoned the current project to go back to working out how to minimise the unexpected mutations in adults cells and animals. However at least four groups in China are believed to be currently working on genetically modifying human embryos.”

Ridiculous Pharisaical Teachings in Modern Judaism

JTA wrote on April 16:

“By changing the way a light switch works, the patented Kosher Switch offers a novel — and, its backers say, kosher — way to turn light switches (and, perhaps, other electrical appliances) on and off during Shabbat, circumventing one of the Sabbath’s central restrictions: the use of electricity… But critics say the Kosher Switch isn’t really kosher for Shabbat at all…

“At issue is whether the device’s permissibility for Shabbat relies on a Jewish legal loophole that applies only to extraordinary circumstances like medical or security needs. The loophole, known as a ‘gramma,’ allows for indirect activation of electronic devices on Shabbat. How does gramma work? If, for example, a non-life-threatening field fire is burning on Shabbat, jugs full of water may be placed around the fire to indirectly cause its eventual extinguishing. Dowsing the fire directly — a Sabbath prohibition — is permitted only in life-threatening circumstances.

“Kalati, 43, says his switch does not rely on the gramma loophole. When the switch is in the off position, a piece of plastic blocks an electronic light pulse that when received turns on the light. Turning the switch on moves the piece of plastic, which is not connected to anything electrical, so that it no longer obstructs the pulse. Because the light pulse is subject to a ‘random degree of uncertainty’ and won’t instantaneously kindle the light when in Sabbath mode, it is kosher for use on Shabbat…

“But Yisrael Rosen, head of the Zomet Institute, the leading designer of electronic devices for use on the Jewish Sabbath, says the Kosher Switch is unfit for Sabbath use… The son of another rabbi… Rabbi Oelbaum said his father’s true position is that while the switch does not involve a technical violation of the Sabbath prohibition against labor (which forbids electricity use), it is a desecration of the Sabbath spirit…

“For decades, Sabbath-observant Jews have used electronic timers set before Friday night to control lights and appliances like air conditioners or hot plates. Multistory buildings throughout Israel and some in the United States have Shabbat elevators that can run on autopilot. In 2004, Canadian rabbi and entrepreneur Shmuel Veffer invented a bedside-style lamp called Kosher Lamp that could be “turned off” by twisting a cylinder encasing a lit bulb so that the bulb was completely concealed.

“The Zomet Institute, located in the Jerusalem suburb of Gush Etzion, in the West Bank, has invented baby sensors, sump pump gadgets, hot water heater contraptions, and special switches that modify wheelchairs, hospital beds, electronic scooters and staircase elevators for use on Shabbat. However, many of these devices rely on the gramma loophole and are permitted only for medical or security use.

“Many observant Jews also rely upon non-Jews for help circumventing Sabbath restrictions, though such requests for help are forbidden from being expressed explicitly…”

These kinds of ridiculously burdensome, ungodly and UNBIBLICAL restrictions pertaining to the Sabbath were expressly and explicitly condemned by Jesus Christ. He stated that these human traditions (as opposed to God’s Law) made the Sabbath a burden, explaining that the Pharisees had done away with the commandments of God (including, how to observe the Sabbath in the RIGHT way), in order to uphold their own traditions (also referred to as “Judaism” in the Bible.). For more information, please read our free booklet, “God’s Commanded Holy Days”.

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As Christ Himself Didn’t Condemn Homosexuality, is the Practice Acceptable for a Christian?

This is an interesting question and one that proponents of those who are “Christian” homosexuals, and their supporters, will use. But is it in line with Scripture?

In one American television drama, a person, who was a wedding organiser, was asserting her right as a business person to refuse to serve a homosexual couple because of her Christian faith.   She was told that nowhere is Jesus quoted as even mentioning the subject and yet He mentioned marriage on three occasions. She couldn’t answer this clever ploy! If we are asked the same sort of question, we need to be able to answer this correctly and with conviction!

Society has been actively promoting homosexuality as an alternative lifestyle for many years and even many mainstream churches have fallen into line with this approach, ignoring the biblical teaching on this matter, which should be the foundation for their teachings. When this happens, secular and religious views combine, thus giving this biblically condemned behaviour an approval which cannot be sustained or upheld by the Word of God.

It would seem that the biblical injunctions on this issue are rarely reviewed, and when they are, they are usually dismissed by some clever arguments that seem, on the face of it, to allow such sinful behaviour. Isaiah sums up such behaviour and “understanding” as: “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20).

In the Old Testament, we read that homosexuality is condemned (please see Genesis 18:16-33; 19:1-29; Leviticus 18:22; Leviticus 20:13; Deuteronomy 23:17; 1 Kings 14:24; 1 Kings 15:12; 1 Kings 22:46; 2 Kings 23:7). This is also true in the New Testament (Romans 1:26-27, 32; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; 1 Timothy 1:9-10; Revelation 21:8).   For a full explanation, please see our Q&A on the issue of homosexuality in the Bible.

Now back to the question asked which was “Christ Himself didn’t condemn homosexuality, is the practice acceptable for a Christian?”   The assumption here is that if Jesus did not specifically denounce the lifestyle, it can be interpreted to mean that He in fact approved of it.

There are many issues that the Bible doesn’t mention that Jesus Christ specifically commented on. There is no mention that Jesus commented on abortion but we know that this is sinful (For further information, please read our free booklet, “Are You already Born Again?”.) Christ didn’t specifically comment on racial discrimination, sexual discrimination, drug abuse, terrorism, bestiality, polygamy, paedophilia, Sunday worship, Christmas or Easter celebrations or a range of other issues, but does this mean that these are neither important nor covered by the Bible itself in other places?

In our Statements of Beliefs, under the heading “The Holy Bible,” we state:

“Our doctrines and practices are based upon a literal understanding of the teachings revealed in the entire Bible. We believe that the Scriptures of both the Old and New Testaments are God’s revelation of His Will to man, inspired in thought and word, and infallible in the original writings; that said Scriptures are the supreme and final authority in faith and life, the source of Truth and the foundation of all knowledge.”

We do not “pick and mix” selecting parts of the Bible that we feel comfortable with and ignore those passages that we may not agree with or feel that they are not applicable today.

In John 16:12-13 we read that Jesus said: “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when [it], the Spirit of truth, has come, [it] will guide you into all truth; for [it] will not speak on [its] own authority, but whatever [it] hears [it] will speak; and [it] will tell you things to come.”

First of all, please note that we have substituted the word “it” for “He” as the use of the term is strictly a grammatical issue, and the Holy Spirit is the power of God, both of the Father and of the Son, given by God to a truly repentant person at the time of baptism (See our Statement of Beliefs under the heading “The Holy Spirit of God”, as well as our free booklet, “Is God a Trinity?” ). For further insight into this matter, please watch Norbert Link’s recent video-recorded sermon, “The Mystery of the Holy Spirit.” 

Secondly, Jesus said that then was not the time to tell them many things they needed to know, and in John 14:26 we read: “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, [which] the Father will send in My name, [it] will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you,” which is obviously how the Bible was written with the Holy Spirit, the mind of God, guiding that which was written.

We read in John 21:25: “And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen.”   To expect that everything that Jesus spoke about and did is answered by this verse, is obviously not correct.

There are Scriptures that clearly tell us that the whole of God’s Word is applicable.   In Deuteronomy 8:3 we read: “So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD.”

Psalm 119:160 reads: “The entirety of Your word is truth, And every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever.”

Proverbs 30:5 reads: “Every word of God is pure….”

Matthew 4:4 reads: “But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”   (Please also see Luke 4:4)

Romans 15:4 reads: “For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.”

1 Corinthians 10:11 reads: “Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.”

In 2 Timothy 3:16 we read: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness…”

But, is it even true that the Bible does not record that Jesus spoke about homosexuality? Consider the following: In Matthew 19:4-6 Jesus spoke about marriage: “And He answered and said to them, ‘Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning “made them male and female,” and said, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh”? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.’”

Here Jesus was endorsing marriage but he condemned sexual activity outside the confines of the marital union. When asked by the rich young ruler which commandments to keep, Jesus said: “‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness’…” (Matthew 19:18). Jesus here condemned adultery and He also condemned fornication (please see Matthew 15:19).

We see that Jesus only approved of sexual intercourse for those who were married and condemned such sexual activity outside the confines of marriage [a union between a man and a woman], which would include homosexuality and all other wrong arrangements. The only conclusion that we can arrive at is marriage between a man and woman is the only approved and authorised estate that God allows.

We ought to consider further that “the WORD”–the Logos or Spokesman, the God of the Old Testament–became Jesus Christ in the flesh. Therefore, He inspired all the Old and New Testament passages which we quoted above regarding homosexuality; and it was He who stated in Genesis 2:24: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”

Jesus Christ was and is the Word of God in Person (compare John 1:1; Revelation 19:13); and the entire Bible is the Word of God in writing. The Scriptures are clear on what, sexually, is right and wrong. It is true that in Old Testament times, some practiced polygamy, but this was never in accordance with the Will of God; compare our Q&A on that issue.

We conclude that with all of this information, the Scriptures were inspired by God through the Holy Spirit, and homosexuality is roundly condemned. Jesus Christ, by approving the estate of marriage only, backed up the writings of the Old Testament and this included the condemnation of homosexuality as we have seen.

The spiritual pyrotechnics and mental gymnastics that the mind of man comes up with can confuse and disorientate Christians if they are not close to God and fully understand His Way of Life.   We must not let such clever arguments mislead us as we know that Satan is behind all of the confusion that abounds in the world.   We read in 1 Corinthians 14:33: “For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints,” showing the exact opposite approach to that of our adversary.

As a final note, we would make the point that reformed or non-practicing homosexuals can still be true Christians. We read in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 that some Church members in the early Corinthian Church had been homosexual prior to their conversion, but had repented of that wrong lifestyle. The same is true for others who had engaged in wrong conduct, including, but not limited to, fornication, adultery, idolatry, theft, covetousness, drunkenness, revelry and extortion. There is hope for all of those who are prepared to turn from their wrong ways and follow the true way of God.

Lead Writer: Brian Gale (United Kingdom)

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Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

A new Member Letter has been mailed. In it, Dave Harris offers a short review of our recent Conference along with summaries relative to Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread in both the U.S. and Germany.

“Wrong Political Opinions and Your Reaction,” is the title of a new StandingWatch program presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary.

US political candidates have begun their battle for the presidency, while uttering opinions which are totally opposed to the Holy Scriptures. What is your reaction when you hear those comments, or when you see how the nation is descending further and further into the abyss of lawlessness and ungodliness? Are you indifferent about it, thinking it does not matter? The Bible tells us unequivocally what are abominations in God’s eyes, and He pronounces severe punishment on such conduct. We are also clearly informed as to how we, as Christians, must behave when we are confronted with transgressions of God’s Law.

“Seit Wann Wirkt Gott in Ihrem Leben?” is the title of a new German sermon. The title in English is (approximately), “How Long Has God Worked in Your Life?”

“Perseverance,” the sermonette given by Mike Link last Sabbath, is now posted. Here is a summary:

Despite difficulty in the trials we go through in our lives, are we strong enough to remain faithful to God’s way of life?

“Sinning Against the Holy Spirit,” is the sermon given last Sabbath by Norbert Link. This powerful presentation addresses ALL Christians with unmistakable warnings found in God’s Word!

Here is a summary:

The sin against the Holy Spirit is the unpardonable sin, which will not be forgiven. Why is this so? And how can we determine whether we are in danger of committing the unpardonable sin? The Bible gives us important hints.

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In Search of…

by Phyllis Bourque

In attending the Feast in recent years at Pismo Beach, California, one of the things I have enjoyed doing is going to the local farmers markets. There is a plentiful array of fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh squeezed juices, dried fruits, smoked fish, local honey, nuts, fresh cut flowers, and so much more!

While meandering among the bountiful displays, I noticed a sign at one of the apple vendors that read “dry farmed” and I wondered what it meant. When I asked the vendor, he explained that they do not irrigate. The trees are well-established and the roots are deep enough to go in search of ground water, so irrigation is not necessary. He named some other crops that were also dry-farmed, which I found interesting, considering that much of the growing regions of California have been suffering from drought for multiple years.

I read in Wikipedia, regarding dry-farming: “In California, where torrential rains saturate the soil in the winter and the summers are bone-dry, our climate naturally allows for dry farming, a method where all irrigation is cut off after the plants have become established. This lack of water stresses the plant, forcing its roots deep into the soil in search of water and focuses its efforts on producing fruit.”

It was interesting to consider the spiritual parallel in my life. I began to question how deep my spiritual roots go and how established they are. I am certainly “well watered” with sermons every Sabbath and the annual Holy Days. I have my Bible and I have over 40 booklets, hundreds of weekly Updates with Q&As and Editorials, and numerous member letters within easy reach for studying specific topics. But hearing the messages and reading the words is not enough. What is there in my life that would incline my spiritual roots to go in search of the deeper life-giving water and to become well-established?

I would have to say it is, at least in part, the stress of various trials that God allows me to be subjected to, so that I will be motivated to go in search of a deeper life-giving relationship with Him in order to be well-established and produce fruit acceptable to Him.

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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

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