A Fantasy Religion?; Why Keep the Law?
On January 14, 2017, Robb Harris will present the sermonette, titled, “A Fantasy Religion?,” and Eric Rank will present the sermon, titled, “Why Keep the Law?”
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.
Our True Focus of the New Year
by Michael Link
According to the human calendar of Western civilization, we have now entered the “New Year.” The “holiday” season has just passed, referring to Christmas and New Year’s Day. We know that we are not supposed to be celebrating these man-made holidays because we understand that they are pagan and God never commanded us to observe them. In fact, He commands us not to do so. The world views their New Year as a brand new start. True Christians also experience a brand new start but in a different way and at a different time.
First of all, according to God’s Hebrew calendar and the Bible, we know that God’s New Year doesn’t start in the dead of winter. In Exodus 12:1-2 we have a pretty good indication when the New Year would begin for us. This is when Passover starts, followed by the Days of Unleavened Bread, the start of the Spring Holy Days, usually at the end of March or early April. Notice here that the New Year begins in the Spring, when everything is springing back to life, when everything is in bloom – when a renewal occurs.
We have all heard the saying or heard people say what they will do at the start of the “New Year”; what their “New Year’s resolutions” are; and what their new goals are going to be. A lot of the times however, it is only a mere saying; something that really isn’t taken all that seriously, and before February comes, those “New Year’s resolutions” have been forgotten or broken. And then the next year comes, and those same goals and resolutions are repeated without any positive outcome.
Is this what we do every year? Do we also make goals for ourselves or new resolutions in which we commit to bettering ourselves and learning from our past mistakes? We actually must do this, but not during the same time the world celebrates New Year’s Day. The difference here is that we have to take it seriously, by learning from our mistakes and realizing that we SHOULD accomplish our GOALS – our goals of keeping God’s commandments. We do this during God’s New Year, in the Spring, during Passover when we re-commit to God and reconfirm our covenant with Him; when we repent of our sins; and when we ask Him for forgiveness, by refocusing on the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ. This is the time of reflection as well. When we take the Passover seriously, our slate of sin will be swept clean. Our renewal occurs, so that we can continue striving for perfection. This process is also symbolized by the foot-washing ceremony (compare John 13:10).
Before we took the Passover, we were given a new life when we entered into God’s Family as Spirit-begotten members and we received His Spirit of power. We had to repent from all of our sins and start our new life and live in the way we were commanded to do. This was during our baptism which was necessary for us to be permitted to later partake of the Passover so that we can continue living God’s Way and ultimately inherit eternal life. We were dead and now we are alive (compare Romans 6:1-14). Just like the ways of this world are dead, but the Way of God is life. This world celebrates the New Year in the dead of winter while God’s New Year is in the Spring, picturing renewal and fullness of life.
We know just how tricky Satan can be and how he deceives this whole world. New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are viewed by many as a time for partying, a day of celebration, but many fail to realize their pagan origin as they party into the night, welcoming a new start of the “New Year.”
Our “New Year’s resolutions” must occur at our baptism when we become a new man, and each year during the Passover season when we reconfirm our covenant with God, repent, and are cleansed of our sins. We are here for a reason; to grow towards God’s perfection and to be good examples to others. This is where our true focus should be.
We begin with a report on Florida’s mass murderer who was apparently directly influenced by demons; continue with Donald Trump’s ambitious wishes to build a wall at the US-Mexican border and to repeal and replace Obamacare; and we speak on Mr. Trump’s reactions to the Russian hacking of Democratic computers and shameful, irresponsible, unsubstantiated und largely disproven allegations against him.
Focusing on Israel, we report on an agreement by the US House of Representatives to condemn the anti-Israel UN resolution; the contemplated move of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which is expected to take place in May; and the reasons for the world’s hatred of Israel. In this context, please view our new StandingWatch program, “Why the Hatred for Israel and God’s Law?”
Turning to Germany, we publish several articles on the return of American tanks in Germany and the perceived compelling need for Germany and France to lead Europe.
We continue with an article about the controversial and uncomfortable role of Prince Charles as the new British monarch; and speak on the world’s fear of World War III, terrorist attacks and the use of nuclear missiles.
We conclude with a disturbing and highly objectionable decision by the European Court of Human Rights, violating the religious rights of Muslims in Switzerland; and new findings regarding mammograms.
This Week in the News
Florida’s Mass Murderer Heard Voices Telling Him to Watch ISIS Material
The New York Times wrote on January 6:
“Federal law enforcement officials said they were investigating whether the gunman who opened fire on Friday at the airport in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., killing five people and wounding eight, was mentally disturbed and heard voices in his head telling him to commit acts of violence [and to watch ISIS material]. According to a senior law enforcement official, the gunman, identified as Esteban Santiago, 26, walked into the F.B.I. office in Anchorage in November and made disturbing remarks that prompted officials to urge him to seek mental health care.
“Mr. Santiago, appearing ‘agitated and incoherent,’ said ‘that his mind was being controlled by a U.S. intelligence agency,’ the official said. Other officials said it was too early to tell whether Mr. Santiago, who was captured in the airport, had been inspired by terrorist groups, including the Islamic State. The officials said he had viewed extremist materials on the internet…
“Mr. Santiago was discharged in August from the Alaska Army National Guard for ‘unsatisfactory performance’…
“The shooting comes at a tense time for a nation that has been watching nervously as terrorist attacks have occurred elsewhere in the world…”
ISIS is an organization thoroughly controlled by Satan and his demons. If Florida’s murdering gunman indeed heard voices ordering him to view ISIS material, the conclusion would be compelling that demons were telling him to do this.
Building a Wall
The Guardian stated on January 6:
“Donald Trump was forced to say that Mexico would pay for his planned border wall ‘later’ after Republican officials indicated Congress and US taxpayers would first foot the bill…”
Deutsche Welle wrote on January 6:
“On Twitter, Trump took to blaming the media: ‘The dishonest media does not report that any money spent on building the Great Wall (for sake of speed) will be paid back by Mexico later.’”
Breitbart added on January 6:
“‘When you understand that Mexico’s economy is dependent upon U.S. consumers, Donald Trump has all the cards he needs to play. On the trade negotiation side, I don’t think it’s that difficult for Donald Trump to convince Mexico that it’s in their best interest to reimburse us for building the wall,’ Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) explained to CNN… As the Associated Press observes, congressional Republicans believe no new legislation will be necessary to secure financing, because existing law [from previous US President George W. Bush] ‘already authorizes fencing and other technology along the southern border.’”
Repealing Obamacare Without Replacing It Simultaneously?
Newsmax wrote on January 7:
“Republicans are increasingly jittery over rushing to demolish much of President Barack Obama’s healthcare law without having a GOP alternative that’s ready to go.
“While nothing about revamping the nation’s $3 trillion-a-year health care system will be easy, Republican leaders want congressional committees to have legislation dismantling much of Obama’s overhaul ready by late January. They’re hoping Congress can quickly send a measure to incoming President Donald Trump phasing out the law, perhaps a couple of months later.
“Crafting a GOP replacement is likely to take longer, thanks to Republican divisions and solid Democratic opposition. With 20 million Americans now covered under Obama’s law, one political nightmare for Republicans would be repealing the statute and then proving unable to pass a new version.
“Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., told reporters Friday that Republicans might find themselves in a ‘box canyon’ if they erase the healthcare law without a substitute in hand. One part of Obama’s law Republicans are eager to repeal is its tax increases on higher-earning people and segments of the health care industry that help finance expanded coverage. Corker said that if those taxes are voided but Republicans temporarily continue subsidies to help people buy coverage, ‘that means Republicans would have to vote for a tax increase’ to pay for them — usually a non-starter for the GOP…
“While Republicans will likely just need a simple Senate majority to approve their repeal bill, for procedural reasons later replacement legislation will probably need 60 votes in a chamber the GOP controls by just 52-48. That means a need for at least eight Democratic votes, though there will be pressure on 10 Democrats facing re-election next year from states Trump won in November… After repeatedly trying to repeal Obama’s law since its 2010 enactment, Republicans are under tremendous pressure from their voters to annul it swiftly.
“But GOP leaders have talked about their repeal not taking effect for perhaps two or three years. They’re discussing providing some type of revenue during that period to maintain coverage for people and perhaps for insurers so they won’t immediately abandon markets…”
Repeal and Replace Obamacare at the Same Time
Reuters wrote on January 10:
“U.S. President-elect Donald Trump on Tuesday pressured fellow Republicans working to repeal Obamacare in Congress to pass a replacement for the healthcare law at the same time or soon after they vote to dismantle it… With Trump set to succeed Obama on Jan. 20, Republicans, who control both chambers of Congress, face a dilemma. They have a chance to make good on their promise to gut the law, but forging an agreement on a replacement plan has eluded them.
“If Congress does not put in place a substitute, millions of Americans with the insurance may be at risk of losing coverage… House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan said on Tuesday that some elements of an insurance substitute likely would be ready when lawmakers vote to repeal Obamacare, but others would take longer. Some Republicans have said it could take up to two years to craft a replacement. Trump said a delay of that length was unacceptable…”
Russia Responsible for Hacking… While Mr. Trump Blames Democrats for Gross Negligence
Newsmax reported on January 6:
“President-elect Donald Trump slammed the Democratic National Committee late Friday for its ‘gross negligence’ that allowed Russia to hack into its systems during the presidential campaign. Trump ripped the Democrats on Twitter: ‘Gross negligence by the Democratic National Committee allowed hacking to take place. The Republican National Committee had strong defense!’
“The post came after Trump earlier Friday was briefed by U.S. intelligence officials on a report blaming Russian President Vladimir Putin for directing the hacking of the DNC and other party operatives to try to sway the election to the Republican candidate…
“The findings concluded that Putin and the Russian government ‘aspired to help President-elect Trump’s election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary [Hillary] Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him… All three agencies agree with this judgment,’ the document said. ‘CIA and FBI have a high confidence in this judgment; NSA has moderate confidence.’
“Trump had publicly questioned the veracity of the intelligence community’s conclusions on Moscow — even characterized them as a ‘political witch hunt’ seeking to undermine his administration.”
The Huffington Post added on January 6:
“On Friday, Trump listed Russia as one of several entities that could have been behind the theft and release of thousands of DNC emails… ‘While Russia, China, other countries, outside groups and people are consistently trying to break through the cyber infrastructure of our governmental institutions, businesses and organizations including the Democrat [sic] National Committee, there was absolutely no effect on the outcome of the election including the fact that there was no tampering whatsoever with voting machines,’ Trump said.”
The Guardian wrote on January 7:
“On Saturday, true to unrepentant form, Trump used Twitter to issue [his] comment. ‘Intelligence stated very strongly there was absolutely no evidence that hacking affected the election results,’ he wrote. ‘Voting machines not touched! Only reason the hacking of the poorly defended DNC is discussed is that the loss by the Dems was so big that they are totally embarrassed!’…
“Trump has also consistently spoken favourably of Putin and urged a closer relationship with Russia. On Saturday, he added: ‘Having a good relationship with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing. Only ‘stupid’ people, or fools, would think that it is bad! We have enough problems around the world without yet another one. When I am president, Russia will respect us far more than they do now and both countries will, perhaps, work together to solve some of the many great and pressing problems and issues of the WORLD!’”
Discriminating and Compromising Information about Donald Trump?
CNN reported on January 10:
“Classified documents presented last week to President Obama and President-elect Trump included allegations that Russian operatives claim to have compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump, multiple US officials with direct knowledge of the briefings tell CNN.
“The allegations were presented in a two-page synopsis that was appended to a report on Russian interference in the 2016 election. The allegations came, in part, from memos compiled by a former British intelligence operative, whose past work US intelligence officials consider credible. The FBI is investigating the credibility and accuracy of these allegations, which are based primarily on information from Russian sources, but has not confirmed many essential details in the memos about Mr. Trump…
“One reason the nation’s intelligence chiefs took the extraordinary step of including the synopsis in the briefing documents was to make the President-elect aware that such allegations involving him are circulating among intelligence agencies, senior members of Congress and other government officials in Washington, multiple sources tell CNN.”
Even though CNN admitted that the allegations were not “confirmed,” CNN engaged in shameful conduct of reporting about them, opening the door for a left-liberal news agency to even publish these most outrageous allegations (many of them were subsequently disproven), while other liberal media, including the New York Times, refused to do so. Mr. Trump’s outrage about such irresponsible conduct by CNN and those of the intelligence agencies who leaked this “write-up” appears justified. Note next article.
Trump and Russia React
Deutsche Welle and Newsmax wrote on January 11:
“Trump took to his favorite medium, Twitter, to fire off an angry response about the allegations… ‘Russia just said the unverified report paid for by political opponents is “A COMPLETE AND TOTAL FABRICATION, UTTER NONSENSE.” Very unfair!’ ‘Russia has never tried to use leverage over me. I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA – NO DEALS, NO LOANS, NO NOTHING.’
“‘I win an election easily, a great “movement” is verified, and crooked opponents try to belittle our victory with FAKE NEWS. A sorry state!’ ‘Intelligence agencies should never have allowed this fake news to “leak” into the public. One last shot at me. Are we living in Nazi Germany?’
“Responding to the rumors on Wednesday, the Kremlin also described the reports as a ‘complete fabrication’ and denied having compromising material on either Trump or his ex-rival Hillary Clinton. ‘This is an obvious attempt to harm our bilateral relations,’ spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, concurring with Trump’s comment of a ‘witch hunt.’”
The Telegraph added on January 11:
“[Donald Trump] said [during a press conference] the publishing of the report had been done by ‘sick people’ and suggested intelligence agencies had leaked it. ‘I think it was disgraceful, disgraceful that the intelligence agencies allowed any information that turned out to be so false and fake out there,’ he said.”
He also reiterated during the conference that the conduct of these intelligence agencies, leaking the “report,” mirrors something that Nazi Germany would have done and did.
Britain in the Crossfire
The Telegraph wrote on January 12:
“Britain has been dragged into the frantic row over the ‘dirty dossier’ on Donald Trump after it was claimed that the Government gave the FBI permission to speak to the former MI6 officer who compiled it. Sources in the US have told The Telegraph that Christopher Steele, a former spy, spoke to officials in London before he handed the document to the FBI and met one of its agents.
“The document… was leaked earlier this week, and Britain now finds itself caught in the crossfire of accusations between Russia and the US.
“On Thursday Russia publicly accused MI6 of ‘briefing both ways’ against Russia and Mr Trump and suggested Mr Steele was still working for the Secret Intelligence Service.
“Mr Trump has angrily rejected the information in the dossier as ‘fake’ and the involvement of a former MI6 officer is unlikely to help Britain’s intelligence-sharing relationship with the US when he becomes president later this month.
“Mr Steele, who friends say fears for his safety, has gone into hiding while the veracity of the claims made in his dossier, and his own reputation, continue to be fiercely debated… Mr Steele was hired to find information on Mr Trump by a Washington-based consultancy that was being paid by Republican opponents of the president-elect – the BBC claimed they were acting on behalf of fellow nominee Jeb Bush – and, later, by Democrats…
“The Daily Telegraph was told during a meeting with a highly-placed source in Washington DC last October that the FBI had contacted Mr Steele asking if they could discuss his findings with him. The source said that Mr Steele spoke to officials in London to ask for permission to speak to the FBI, which was duly granted, and that Downing Street was informed…”
Rex Tillerson’s Confirmation Hearing for US Secretary of State Position
Deutsche Welle reported on January 11:
“Rex Tillerson, who’s slated to be the next US Secretary of State, told his confirmation hearing that Washington needs to redefine its relationship with Moscow. The former-Exxon Mobil boss was given a nine-hour grilling. Tillerson said on Wednesday that Russia was one of several ‘adversaries’ posing ‘considerable threats’ to the world. But he refused to label Russian Preisdent Vladimir Putin a war criminal for [the] country’s role in the Syrian conflict.
“The former oil executive said that Russia’s ‘recent activities have disregarded American interests,’ in reference to the country’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and its military intervention in Syria a little over a year ago…
“Tillerson did make a clear break from Trump in his thoughts on Ukraine. ‘Russia, today, poses a danger, but it is not unpredictable in advancing its own interests,’ he said, criticizing US President Barack Obama’s ‘very weak response’ to Crimea…
“In comments likely to threaten US-China relations, he said Beijing should be denied access to islands it has built in the contested South China Sea…”
Newsmax added on January 11:
“Rubio extensively grilled Tillerson during the hearing, attacking the retired Exxon Mobil CEO for refusing to call Russian President Vladimir Putin a war criminal for his army’s role in the Syrian civil war and arguing over new bipartisan legislation calling for mandatory sanctions against Moscow for its meddling in the U.S. election and other aggressive behavior worldwide… Rubio, who was re-elected to a second term in November, is one of 11 Republicans on the Senate’s Foreign Affairs Committee. With 10 Democrats on the committee, Rubio would almost certainly be the swing vote if he votes against Tillerson. That would kill the nomination and prevent it from going to the full Senate for a vote…”
“Mad Dog” James Mattis’ Confirmation Hearing for Defense Secretary Position
Deutsche Welle wrote on January 13:
“Retired General James Mattis’ confirmation hearing was far from contentious on Thursday, receiving praise from Democrats and Republicans alike. Mattis appears ready to be confirmed to become US President-elect Donald Trump’s defense secretary…
“During confirmation hearings, Mattis disagreed with Trump’s policies on Russia. While Trump wishes for stronger ties with Russia, Mattis warned that Russian President Vladimir Putin was ‘trying to break the North Atlantic alliance,’ going so far as to say Russia ‘poses a danger to US and European interests’…”
The Times of Israel added on January 12:
“President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee to head the Pentagon said Thursday that the United States should continue treating Tel Aviv as Israel’s capital, breaking with Republican members of Congress and intimations the incoming president could fulfill his campaign pledge to move the US embassy to Jerusalem.
“Asked during his confirmation hearing with the Senate Armed Services Committee if he supported the embassy’s relocation, retired Marine Corps general James ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis said, ‘Right now I stick with the current US policy.’
“Facing an hours-long session of questions from senators, he emphasized that ‘The capital of Israel that I go to, sir, is Tel Aviv, sir, because that’s where all their government people are.’ He also noted, however, the determination was not part of his remit as defense secretary nominee. ‘I would defer to the nominee of Secretary of State on that, sir,’ he said.”
US House of Representatives Condemns Anti-Israel UN Resolution and Obama Administration
JTA wrote on January 5:
‘The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly agreed to condemn a U.N. Security Council anti-settlements resolution and the Obama administration for allowing it through. The resolution, which passed Thursday evening by a vote of 342-80, said the Security Council vote last month ‘undermined the long-standing position of the United States to oppose and veto United Nations Security Council resolutions that seek to impose solutions to final status issues.’
“The U.S. abstained, refraining from exercising its veto and allowing the Security Council resolution to pass 14-0. U.S. officials said then that they could not endorse the resolution because of the inherent anti-Israel bias of the United Nations, but did not want to veto it because they agreed with its premise that Israeli settlement construction was illegal and an obstruction to advancing peace…
“109 Democrats backed the resolution and 76 opposed it. Just four Republicans opposed the resolution…”
Move of US Embassy to Jerusalem Would Be “Catastrophic”
JTA wrote on January 6:
“Jordan’s government spokesman warned of ‘catastrophic’ repercussions if President-elect Donald Trump moves the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem as he indicated he would. Such a move could affect relations between the United States and regional allies, including Jordan… An embassy move would be a ‘red line’ for Jordan, would ‘inflame the Islamic and Arab streets’ and serve as a ‘gift to extremists,’ [the spokesman] said, adding that Jordan would use all possible political and diplomatic means in a bid to prevent such a decision.
“Jordan, a key U.S. ally in the Middle East, is the custodian of Islam’s third holiest shrine, the Al-Aqsa mosque, in eastern Jerusalem. Israel captured eastern Jerusalem from Jordan in 1967 and annexed it to its capital. The Palestinians want to establish the capital of a future state in Jerusalem…
“Last month, Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway was quoted as saying that moving the embassy to Jerusalem is a ‘very big priority’ for the president-elect. Trump’s choice for U.S. ambassador in Israel, David Friedman, has said he looks forward to working from Jerusalem.”
Newsmax reported on January 10:
“President-elect Donald Trump’s team is moving ahead with plans to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel out of Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, although diplomats and officials are ramping up warnings against the move. CNN reports that speculation in Israel is that the U.S. will announce the move on May 24, a national holiday in that country. Earlier this month, President Barack Obama renewed a waiver that blocks the move for six months…
“Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas wrote to Trump saying that he opposed the move, and has also written letters to the leaders of Russia, China, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the Arab League… Secretary of State John Kerry also opposed the move, saying, ‘You’d have an explosion — an absolute explosion in the region, not just in the West Bank and perhaps even in Israel itself, but throughout the region.’”
Why the Hatred of Israel?
The Washington Times wrote on January 4:
“Secretary of State John Kerry, echoing other policymakers in the Obama administration, blasted Israel last week in a 70-minute rant about its supposedly self-destructive policies. Why does the world — including now the United States — single out liberal and lawful Israel but refrain from chastising truly illiberal countries?
“Mr. Kerry has never sermonized for so long about his plan to solve the Syrian crisis that has led to some 500,000 deaths or the vast migrant crisis that has nearly wrecked the European Union. No one in this administration has shown as much anger about the many thousands who have been killed and jailed in the Castro brothers’ Cuba, much less about the current Stone Age conditions in Venezuela or the nightmarish government of President Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines, an ally nation.
“President Obama did not champion the cause of the oppressed during the Green Revolution of 2009 in Iran. Did Mr. Kerry and Mr. Obama become so outraged after Russia occupied South Ossetia, Crimea and eastern Ukraine? Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power was never so impassioned over the borders of Chinese-occupied Tibet, or over Turkish-occupied Northern Cyprus.
“In terms of harkening back to the Palestinian ‘refugee’ crisis that started in the late 1940s, no one talks today in similar fashion about the Jews who survived the Holocaust and walked home, only to find that their houses in Eastern Europe were gone or occupied by others. Much less do we recall the 11 million German civilians who were ethnically cleansed from Eastern Europe in 1945 by the Soviets and their imposed Communist governments…
“When Mr. Obama entered office, among his first acts were to give an interview with the Saudi-owned news outlet Al Arabiya championing his outreach to the mostly non-democratic Islamic world and to blast democratic Israel on ‘settlements.’ Partly, the reason for such inordinate criticism of Israel is sheer cowardice… Partly, the cause of global hostility toward Israel is jealousy… the astounding success of Israel bothers so many failed states that the entire world takes notice. But partly, the source of anti-Israelism is ancient anti-Semitism… The world’s problem is that Israelis are Jews…”
Another reason—actually, the REAL reason—is that such end-time hatred towards Israel was prophesied in the Bible.
American Tanks Back in Germany
The Local wrote on January 6:
“Three years ago the US withdrew their last tank from European soil… The arrival of three US military cargo ships at the north German port signals a step up in a military stand-off between NATO and Russia, after Moscow annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014. On Wednesday the cargo ship Resolve docked at Bremerhaven. By Saturday, Freedom and Endurance will have followed in its wake. After unloading, the tanks will make their way towards Poland, mainly by train, before being deployed across eastern and central Europe in military training exercises…
“A Bundeswehr (German army) spokesperson told the Märkische Oderzeitung that trains with a total length of 14 kilometres will be needed to transport all the tanks… most of the tanks will be transported by train. But military convoys will pass through Hamburg, Lower Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Brandenburg…”
Germany and France Must Lead Europe
On January 5, Euronews published the following editorial by Joschka Fischer, German Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor from 1998 to 2005:
“After the shock of the United Kingdom’s Brexit referendum and Donald Trump’s election as President of the United States in 2016, this will be a decisive year for Europe… Trump’s inauguration on January 20 may someday be remembered as a watershed moment for Europe. Judging by Trump’s past statements about Europe and its relationship with the US, the EU should be preparing for some profound shocks. The incoming US president, an exponent of the new nationalism, does not believe in European integration.
“Here he has an ally in Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has long tried to destabilize the EU by supporting nationalist forces and movements in its member states. If the Trump administration supports or turns a blind eye to those efforts, the EU… will have to brace itself for challenging times indeed.
“The consequences for the EU will be even more serious if, in addition to setting the US relationship with Russia on a new foundation, Trump continues to call into question America’s security guarantee for Europe… Europeans would suddenly find themselves standing alone against a Russia that has increasingly employed military means to challenge borders, such as in Ukraine, and to reassert its influence – or even hegemony – over Eastern Europe.
“… it will fall to its two largest and economically strongest countries, France and Germany, to bolster Europe’s defense. Other countries such as Italy… will also have a role to play, but France and Germany are indispensable.
“… Europeans cannot harbor any illusions about Russia’s intent. The Kremlin … will always prioritize military strength and geopolitical power over cooperative security arrangements.
“Russia does not view weakness or the lack of a threat from its neighbors as a basis for peace, but rather as an invitation to extend its own sphere of influence… If Europe wants a stable, enduring peace, it first must ensure that it is taken seriously, which is clearly not the case today. Europe can credibly strengthen its security only if France and Germany work together toward the same goal, which they will have an opportunity to do after their elections this year…
“The old EU developed into an economic power because it was protected beneath the US security umbrella. But without this guarantee, it can address its current geopolitical realities only by developing its own capacity to project political and military power. Six decades after the Treaty of Rome established the European Economic Community, history and current developments are pushing France and Germany to shape Europe’s future once again.”
These are remarkable words… almost prophetic.
“Merkel: No ‘Eternal Guarantee’ for United States Cooperation with EU”
Deutsche Welle wrote on January 12:
“German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said it would be ‘naïve’ of the European Union to rely on US support. Instead she called for more solidarity within the EU in the wake of the Brexit vote and Donald Trump’s election.
“As concern grows in Europe about US President-elect Donald Trump’s commitment to transatlantic cooperation, German Chancellor Angela Merkel pushed for the European Union to ‘take more responsibility’ on the world stage during a speech on Thursday in Brussels.
“‘From the point of view of some of our traditional partners – and I am thinking here as well about the transatlantic relations – there is no eternal guarantee for a close cooperation with us Europeans,’ Merkel told an audience in Brussels after receiving honorary doctorate degrees from Belgium’s prestigious Leuven and Ghent universities.
“Although the chancellor did not mention Trump by name, she appeared to be referencing the incoming US leader’s remark that he would consider a country’s financial contributions to the NATO alliance before coming to their aid. ‘Europe is facing the biggest challenges for decades,’ Merkel said mentioning conflicts on its borders like that in Ukraine. She added that it would be ‘naive always to rely on others who would solve the problems in our neighborhood.’
“Merkel said that Great Britain’s shock vote to leave the EU increased the importance of solidarity within the rest of the bloc, which has been discussing measures to boost defense cooperation and other issues. ‘We should see this decision as an incentive to work together (for the goal), to hold Europe together now more than ever, to improve it further and to bring the citizens closer together again,’ she said.”
“The EU agreed to take first steps toward expanding security and defense cooperation at a summit in December.”
German Drug Companies Impacted by Mr. Trump’s Statements
The Local wrote on January 12:
“German pharmaceutical firms saw their stock prices drop on Thursday morning after US President-Elect Donald Trump used part of his chaotic press conference the day before to say that the US should negotiate better prices from drug companies.
“German pharmaceutical and biotech stocks were particularly impacted by Trump’s statements on Wednesday, and Germany’s DAX dropped by 0.59 percent within the first hour of trade on Thursday morning.
“Chemical giant Bayer had fallen by about 0.68 percent from the previous day as of 11am on Thursday, while Merck had dropped by about 1.96 percent…
“Medical supplies company Fresenius Medical Care had dropped by about 1 percent as of Thursday at 11am. The European pharmaceutical sector was the weakest on the Stoxx 600 with a drop of 2 percent…
“Trump said at his press conference in New York that he would make the pharmaceutical industry bid for government contracts… US law currently does not allow federal insurance programme Medicare to negotiate drug prices, essentially allowing the pharmaceutical industry to set their own drug prices. ‘They’re getting away with murder,’ Trump said about the industry. ‘Pharma has a lot of lobbyists and a lot of power and there is very little bidding.’
“It wasn’t just German pharmaceutical companies that felt the immediate effects of Trump’s pledge… the Nasdaq Biotechnology Index and the Standard & Poor’s 500 Pharmaceuticals, Biotechnology & Life Sciences Index both had their biggest single-day drops in three months, falling 3 and 1.7 percent respectively.
“The trend was also replicated on stock markets across Europe on Thursday morning, with pharma firms also underperforming in Denmark, Spain, France, Switzerland and Italy.”
Prince Charles—Britain’s Next Controversial Monarch and Uncomfortable “Defender of the Faith”
International Business Times wrote on January 5:
“The succession of the throne in Britain may be meticulously planned, but when Queen Elizabeth II does eventually pass on the crown to Prince Charles, it will be a process that is far from devoid of complications. The prince, who has been first in line to the throne for longer than any person in British history, will not only be the head of the United Kingdom, and likely the Commonwealth, but also of the Church of England. It is that title that is sure to bring up much painful and controversial history for the 68-year-old…
“While there has been speculation that Charles could abdicate and immediately pass on the responsibility to his eldest child, Prince William, that is considered highly unlikely… Still, his ascension to the throne is sure to bring up some ghosts he would rather leave in the closet. As king, Charles would be ‘Defender of the Faith,’ according to parliament decree. And in some ways, he could be seen as the perfect person to fill such a role given the history he shares with the Church of England.
“It was, after all, King Henry VIII’s failure to be granted an annulment of his marriage to his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, by the Pope in the 1530s that led to the Church of England becoming the established church in England and splitting with the Roman Catholic Church. Charles, too, has gone through a divorce, having split from the much-loved Princess Diana 20 years ago. Despite its history, the Church of England does not encourage divorce and teaches that marriage is for life.
“But Charles’ complications extend far beyond simple divorce. He has also not only gone on to marry, but to marry a divorcee. While remarrying, as Henry VIII did, is permissible in the church if the couple’s former spouses are deceased, it is far less clear when a former spouse is still living. That was the case with Camilla Parker Bowles, who divorced from her first husband in 1995. It was a situation that forced King Edward VIII to abdicate, the only British sovereign to do so voluntarily, less than a year into his reign in 1936 so that he could marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson.
“Fortunately for Charles, the Church of England altered its stance in 2002, decreeing that in ‘certain circumstances’ a divorced person may marry again during the lifetime of a former spouse. Still, when Prince Charles came to marry Camilla in 2005, he did so in a civil ceremony rather than a church. That’s because not only was he marrying a divorcee, but he was marrying a divorcee with whom he had committed adultery. In a 1994 interview, Charles admitted to infidelity during his marriage with Diana…
“A year later, Diana gave her own hugely publicized interview in which, when asked if Camilla was a factor in the breakdown of the marriage she said ‘there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded.’ The public agreed. Even 10 years after the interview, shortly before Charles and Camilla were due to wed, one poll indicated that 65 percent of Britons blamed Camilla for the break-up of Charles and Diana’s marriage.
“… it was stated before the ceremony that Camilla would not take the title of queen when Charles took the throne. Yet, while many now support him becoming king, for some, he will be an uncomfortable ‘Defender of the Faith.’”
Great Britain would be much better off with Prince William as the next monarch. Prince Charles would indeed be a controversial figure, but on the other hand, he would reflect and mirror quite accurately the immoral and ungodly conditions in Great Britain.
The Fear of World War III and Terrorist Attacks
The Independent wrote on January 7:
“With superpowers backing different sides in the bloody conflict in Syria, Isis continuing to fight in the Middle East, a spate of terrorist attacks across the globe and Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump both talking a tough game, the YouGov survey of 9,000 people across nine countries found popular opinion thinks world peace has rarely been further away.
“People in the US were most likely to predict a world war, while French, German and British people were also pessimistic. Some 64 per cent of Americans think the world is close to a major war, compared to just 15 who think world peace is likely. Britons are only slightly more hopeful: 19 per cent believe peace is possible but 61 per cent say war is a distinct possibility.
“The same survey revealed people in Europe and America tended to see Russia as a major military threat, with British people the most fearful of Moscow… Some 71 per cent of Britons feel threatened by Russia…
“In every nation except Finland, those surveyed thought a terrorist attack in their country was more likely than unlikely in the next year. French people were most concerned about terrorism, with 81 per cent believing an attack would happen compared to just 11 per cent predicting there would be none. An attack was also predicted by a large majority of people in Britain, Germany and the US.”
The Danger of Nuclear Missiles
The Independent wrote on January 6:
“A group of arms control experts has urged President Barack Obama to take America’s nuclear weapons off a state of high alert before Donald Trump takes office to stop him ‘impulsively blowing up the planet.’… It said the ever-present risk of a nuclear exchange being triggered erroneously, combined with Mr Trump’s incendiary comments and temperament, could risk the ‘worst disaster imaginable’. The demand has received the support of politicians, retired military officers and government officials…
“The President-elect has startled policy observers by his calls to expand America’s nuclear arsenal, to encourage countries such as South Korea to develop its own weapons and even his apparent willingness to engage in an arms race…
“The group, which is made up of scientists and policy experts, has for many years urged Mr Obama to take US weapons off high alert. They argue having almost 1,000 land-based missiles ready to launch in minutes is a dangerous holdover from the Cold War…
“Indeed, keeping them in such a state increases the danger of a missile being launched by mistake. There have been numerous reported incidents over the past 30 years of the US believing it was under attack from the Russians, only to discover – with just minutes before a potential counter-strike – the ‘Russian launch’ was in truth a computer glitch or else a Scandinavian weather satellite… ‘President Trump will be able to launch, within minutes, one or one thousand nuclear warheads without any vote, any check, or even any serious deliberation. Just one missile could kill millions. Once launched, the missiles could not be recalled.’’
Dangerous European Decision Against Religious “Freedom”
The Daily Mail wrote on January:
“Muslim students will now have to take part in mixed-gender swimming lessons, even after the European Court of Human Rights said that religious freedoms were being interfered with. Switzerland won a case at the ECHR on Tuesday after a ruling said that authorities were justified in saying that mixed-gender swimming lessons were part of a ‘full school curriculum’ and the children’s ‘successful integration’ into society.
“While the ECHR did say that religious freedoms were being interfered with in the lessons, judges said unanimously that the interference did not amount to a violation… The law involved with the right for freedom of religion… was made ‘to protect foreign pupils from any form of social exclusion,’ the ECHR said in a statement.
“The court said that schools are important for social integration… Exemptions, the ECHR said, are ‘justified only in very exceptional circumstances’. ‘Accordingly, the children’s interest in a full education, thus facilitating their successful social integration according to local customs and mores, prevailed over the parents’ wish to have their children exempted from mixed swimming lessons,’ the court said.
“In 2010, the parents had to pay a fine of almost €1,300 (£1,100) ‘for acting in breach of their parental duty’… In 2012, Switzerland’s highest court in Lausanne ruled that the obligation to attend mixed-gender swimming lessons was not a violation on religious freedom.”
This decision sets an extremely dangerous precedence. It is clearly driven by political “correctness” and contains objectionable language to justify the desired results. When Muslims can be told today to violate their religious convictions, then tomorrow true Christians might be told the same thing, compelling their children to participate in abominable sex education classes or pagan religious activities at the times of Christmas and Easter. It is already very difficult to obtain an excuse from school attendance for the children of true Christians during the biblically-commanded annual Holy Days.
Mammograms Leading to Over-Diagnosis and Overtreatment for “Breast Cancer”
Thomson/Reuters reported on January 10:
“Widespread breast cancer screening may catch more small, slow-growing tumors that are unlikely to be fata…, a Danish study suggests… The current study offers fresh evidence linking routine screening to over-diagnosis of non-aggressive tumors… ‘Overdiagnosis means that healthy women get unnecessary breast cancer diagnoses,’ said lead study author Dr. Karsten Juhl Jorgensen, of the Nordic Cochrane Center and Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen. ‘A breast cancer diagnosis is a life-changing event for the woman and her family, with substantial implications for their quality of life,’ Jorgensen added by email. ‘It also leads to overtreatment with surgery, radiotherapy and sometimes chemotherapy – we know these treatments have serious, sometimes lethal, consequences.’
“… researchers examined data on more than 1.4 million Danish women aged 35 to 84 from 1980 to 2010… [The results raise] doubts about whether mammography reduces breast cancer deaths, the researchers conclude. In addition, researchers estimate that as many as one in three breast tumors diagnosed in women who got mammograms would never have caused a noticeable health problem or led to death – and are therefore examples of overdiagnosis… the study adds compelling evidence that routine mammograms carry a risk of overdiagnosis…
“Beyond screening, there are other preventive measures women shouldn’t overlook like eating well, getting plenty of exercise, and maintaining a healthy weight… So for now, that means accepting that overdiagnosis and screening go hand in hand, along with the potential for some women to get unnecessary treatment.”
We are not taking any position for or against cancer screening, but we are cautioning against blindly accepting and undergoing unnecessary and potentially very dangerous overtreatment.
How Does the Church of the Eternal God and its International Affiliates Differ From Other Christian Churches? (Part 2)
In the first installment of this series, we discussed the fact that according to the Bible, not every Church organization, claiming to be “Christian,” is indeed accepted by God. In addition, not all of those Christian groups which might even be part of the spiritual Body of Christ may manifest the spiritual requirements which are necessary to receive God’s approval, blessing and support. The Bible shows us that a falling away from the Truth is still going to occur prior to Christ’s return, and we are all warned not to become involved with wrong teachings and practices which will contribute to and facilitate the departure from the Truth and the true faith which has been once for all entrusted and delivered to the saints (Jude 3). The Church of God must remain to be the foundation and pillar of the Truth (1 Timothy 3:15), and it has the responsibility to retain and preserve the Truth, in spite of tempting obstacles and the enticing spirit of compromise.
We have set forth our foundational teachings and practices in our Statement of Beliefs. Under “The Holy Bible,” we say that “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.”
This means that we will not deviate from the Truth, as we have been given to understand it, and this has many practical consequences for our daily lives. In addition, we believe that the Church of God has existed throughout the ages since the founding of the New Testament Church in 31 A.D., and Christ said that the “gates of hell” would never prevail against God’s Church (Matthew 16:18; Authorized Version); in other words, the Church of God would never “die” and cease to exist. Therefore, it must exist today, in these end times, just prior to Christ’s return. We realize that the Book of Revelation describes the history of God’s Church, by referring to seven distinct Church eras, beginning with the time of the early apostles and ending with the time of Christ’s return. During these eras, the Church would sometimes lose some aspects of the Truth, which would then be restored in the next era, only to be lost again to an extent, and to be restored again. However, as long as a particular era existed, some fundamental teachings would always be retained by the Church in that era, such as the observance of the weekly Sabbath. But when an era ended, then even the Sabbath command might have fallen into oblivion.
We believe that when the Philadelphia era was reached, much of the Truth was restored which had been lost by the end of the prior Sardis era. This included, for example, the observance of God’s annual Holy Days which had been forgotten. We believe that that restoration in the Philadelphia era occurred under the human leadership of the late Herbert W. Armstrong, in the then-called Worldwide Church of God. Subsequently, after the death of Herbert W. Armstrong, the Worldwide Church of God entered the Laodicea era, but it did not remain to be a part of God’s Church in that era. Rather, it began to dismantle virtually all aspects of the Truth, including the weekly Sabbath and the annual Holy Days, and it ceased to be part of the spiritual Body of Jesus Christ. We see ourselves as part of the continuation of the Philadelphia era, and in our Statement of Beliefs, under “Doctrinal Foundation,” we state the following:
“The major doctrines of the Church are those, which were taught by Herbert W. Armstrong, derived from the Biblical teachings as followed by God’s faithful servants, and originally established by Jesus Christ through the founding of His Church in the time of His chosen early apostles. Since we are to increase in the knowledge of Jesus Christ, we are committed to review and alter any of our teachings, if and when proven to be wrong by the Bible.”
We understand that we must grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18). This means that the Church of God, being faithful to God’s Truth, will grow in deeper understanding, and if it is realized that biblical clarifications and amendments to our understanding must be made, we will do so. In this, we follow the example of Mr. Armstrong who made changes in Church teaching when he realized that those changes were compelled by God’s Word, the Bible. But we also realize that these changes must always be based on the foundation of the Truth which has already been laid by Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 3:11; Ephesians 2:20). This means, we will not throw away everything which we had once understood, and start “from scratch,” but we will abide by prior teachings, unless they are clearly seen to be in need of modification, based on Scripture; and this approach includes “gray” areas, fully believing that God gave His authority to His Church to bind and loose; that is, to make binding decisions for the purpose of perhaps clarifying something which might have been “ambiguous” or “unclear” to some (Matthew 16:19; 18:18).
At the same time, we strongly reject the false concept that nothing can be changed after Mr. Armstrong’s death in 1986. This wrong idea places trust and confidence in a man, rather than in God.
The Church of God is organized hierarchically. In our Statement of Beliefs, we say the following under “Church Government“:
“We believe that the proper form of government within the Church is ‘hierarchical,’ as explained in many Scriptures in the Bible, such as 1 Corinthians 12:12-30; Ephesians 2:19-21 and Ephesians 4:11-16. God the Father is above all, and Jesus Christ, the Head of the Church, is under the Father. Christ appoints those under Him who are to serve, lead and guide the Church on a human level.”
Let us give you some examples of the way in which God’s government functions:
We understood very clearly that it is wrong and a SIN to smoke; to take illegal mind-altering drugs; to get involved in political affairs in an attempt to try to make this world a better place; to serve and judge on a jury; to vote in governmental elections; or to join the military. Even though some argue that none of these actions are expressly designated as “sinful” in Scripture and must therefore be permitted, the spirit of the law clearly condemns all of them. Further, the Church of God in the Philadelphia era made the biblical decision that these actions are sinful, and since one cannot remotely argue that the Bible endorses and promotes such conduct and makes it mandatory for Christians, we abide by our understanding that Christians must refrain from those actions.
Further examples are the celebration of Christmas and Easter. You will not find an express proclamation to the effect that “it is sin” to celebrate Christmas, or that “it is sin” to celebrate Easter, as neither Christmas nor Easter are mentioned, by name, in Scripture. At the same time, it is abundantly compelling from the spirit of the law that these pagan festivals are not to be kept by true Christians, even though orthodox Christianity does so by placing a “Christian” mantle on them. In addition, as the Church of God in the Philadelphia era made the doctrinal decision, which was clearly based on the teaching of the Bible, that it IS sin to celebrate Christmas and Easter, we naturally abide by this decision.
Other examples include our acceptance of the Hebrew calendar and when, exactly, to observe Passover and Pentecost. Some believe that we must design our own calendar to determine as to when to celebrate God’s annual Holy Days, and utmost confusion has been the result. We abide by the established understanding in the Philadelphia era under Herbert W. Armstrong that we will accept the current Hebrew calendar as binding authority, including any postponements within the calendar, but we also abide by the understanding that we must observe the Holy Days according to the Bible, and not according to modern Judaism. This means that we recognize that the Jews keep Passover one day too late, and that they sometimes count or determine wrongly when to keep the Day of Pentecost.
When a decision might have to be made regarding possible modifications to our teachings, this will not be done hastily, but only after prayer to God for wisdom and for a clearer understanding of the Bible. We realize that it is Jesus Christ—not any man—who leads the Church of God (Ephesians 1:22; 5:23; Colossians 1:18), and if we want to be true and faithful Christians, we must follow Him, wherever and however He leads us. We believe that Christ inspires and leads us when it is revealed to us that we must alter a particular aspect of our teachings, and we conduct regular meetings within the ministry to evaluate those matters. We are not a democracy where un-ordained members and attendees rule and decide what the teachings of the Church should be; nor do we operate as a presbytery with all ministers having one “vote” to determine and decide by majority opinion in a given matter.
We do believe in and teach the existence of God-given ranks within the ministry (Ephesians 4:11; 1 Corinthians 12:28) and ultimately, the highest-ranking minister will have to make a final decision, but he must not do so with a self-willed stubborn attitude, without first obtaining counsel from especially the high-ranking ministers and carefully evaluating the entire matter. Hearty counsel is always appreciated and welcome; and a true minister of God will be very careful not to engage in useless speculations. At the same time, he will not refrain from announcing necessary biblical and godly decisions because of fear as to how others might respond. It has been our experience that after honest prayerful discussion and humble submission to the lead of God’s Holy Spirit, God’s minsters have been in agreement with whatever doctrinal decision had to be made, but it is ultimately the responsibility of the highest-ranking minister to make and pronounce such a decision, as he will have to give account to God for it.
We realize that the Church of God is a “Spiritual Organism,” as we say in our Statement of Beliefs, continuing:
“We believe that it is not a building that constitutes ‘the Church,’ but that the Church is a spiritual organism; that Christ is the Head of the Church; and that the Church is composed of members who have living within them the Holy Spirit of God (1 Corinthians 12:12-13,17). We believe that Church members must be called by God (John 6:44) and when they have truly repented and believed, they are baptized by immersion and, after the laying on of hands by one of God’s true ministers, receive the Holy Spirit (John 6:44; Acts 2:38,47).”
We realize that this does not mean that the Church of God is not organized physically. The opposite is true, but the Church of God will always be a “little flock” (Luke 12:32). The Church of God is not a physical building, but Church congregations meet in buildings to conduct Church services (Hebrews 10:24-25). The Bible does not endorse independent “individual Christianity” apart from God’s Church. Without God’s true ministers, nobody could even become a Christian, as it is the duty and responsibility of God’s true ministers to teach the Truth (Romans 10:14-17) and to baptize a repentant person, with the laying on of their hands (Hebrews 6:2)… and only then can a person rely on God’s promise to receive His Holy Spirit (Acts 8:14-18; Acts 19:5-6). But without God’s Holy Spirit living within us, we are not even true Christians (Romans 8:9).
It is therefore important that we recognize where God’s true Church exists today, and we are not just talking about a spiritual organism.
One of the identifying signs of God’s true Church is its correct name. Many church groups have adopted names which are not biblical, and they are therefore disqualified from claiming that they belong to the Body of Christ… without even realizing this fact. Christ Himself made clear what the true name of the Church of God would entail and include.
He said in John 17:11,12: “Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name…” Revelation 14:1 describes the future of true Christians, saying that the “Father’s name” will be “written on their foreheads,” and Revelation 22:1-4 confirms that at the time of the New Jerusalem’s descent from heaven, “God’s name shall be on the foreheads” of Christians having been made immortal. Revelation 3:12 says that Christ will write on true Christians “the name of My God.”
In addition, Christ said that He came “in My Father’s name” (John 5:43); and that He did the works “in My Father’s name” (John 10:25). Ephesians 3:14-15 tells us: “For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named.”
To identify the true Church of God, we need to understand what the Father’s name is.
God is a Family, consisting, at this point, of the Father and the Son (the Holy Spirit is NOT a person, but the power and mind of God emanating from both the Father and the Son), as well as Spirit-begotten Christians who have received the gift of the Holy Spirit at the time of their baptism. We must realize that the Father is the HIGHEST Personage within the God Family; and we will see that HIS Name is “GOD.”
We read in 1 Timothy 2:5: “For there is one GOD and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.” 1 Peter 1:3 tells us: “Blessed be the GOD and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ…” In John 5:18 we read that the Jews wanted to kill Christ “because He… said that GOD was His Father, making himself equal with GOD.”
In John 20:17, Christ clearly identifies the name of the Father as God, saying, “I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My GOD and your GOD.” Paul elaborates on this, saying in 1 Corinthians 11:3 that “the head of every man is Christ… and the head of Christ is GOD.”
Even though the name of the Father is GOD, we are instructed by Christ to pray to God by addressing Him as “Our Father.” This shows our intimate relationship with Him.
Having identified the name of the Father as “God,” notice how the New Testament Church is described and named in the Bible—realizing that Christ would preserve the Church in the NAME of the Father:
Acts 20:28 says: “Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.”
1 Corinthians 1:2 speaks of “the church of God which is at Corinth.”
1 Corinthians 10:32 states: “Give no offense… to the church of God.”
1 Corinthians 11:22 warns not to “despise the church of God.”
1 Corinthians 15:9 states that Paul “persecuted the church of God.”
2 Corinthians 1:1 speaks again of the “church of God which is at Corinth.”
Paul repeats in Galatians 1:13 that prior to his conversion, he “persecuted the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it.”
1 Timothy 3:5 explains who should be a minister to “take care of the church of God.”
1 Timothy 3:15 defines the “house of God” as “the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.”
In addition, there are three Scriptural passages which speak of the “churches of God” in reference to all the local church congregations in a collective sense (1 Corinthians 11:16; 1 Thessalonians 2:14 and 2 Thessalonians 1:4). Sometimes, Paul would in that regard talk about “all the churches” (1 Corinthians 7:17); “every church” (1 Corinthians 4:17); and “all the churches of the saints” (1 Corinthians 14:33).
In identifying just one or a few local congregation(s), he would speak of “the church that is in their house” (1 Corinthians 16:19; compare Philemon 2); “the churches of Galatia” (Galatians 1:2); “the churches of Judea which were in Christ” (Galatians 1:22); or of “the churches of Asia” (1 Corinthians 16:19); and he even refers one time to local congregations as “the churches of Christ” (Romans 16:16), since Christ is the Head of the Church. However, these are just general references or character descriptions and not designations of the Church’s name.
Based on all the Scriptural evidence, it is abundantly clear that the true Church will include in its name a reference to “God,” since Christ prayed that the Father would preserve His Church in His name, and the Father’s name is “God.” In one case, we read about the “Church of the living God,” and other references talk about the Church of God by adding a local designation (for example, “which is at Corinth”). Accordingly, our Church organizations are known by correct biblical names; i.e., “Church of the Eternal God” (in the USA); “Global Church of God” (in the UK); and “Church of God, a Christian Fellowship” (in Canada); and by corresponding expressions in other languages, such as, in German, “Kirche des Ewigen Gottes.”
(To Be Continued)
Lead Writer: Norbert Link
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
A new Member Letter (January 2017) has been written by Eric Rank, and it is now posted and has been mailed to our subscribers. In this letter Mr. Rank addresses the calling God has given to us—pointing out that we each have an individual responsibility to remain zealous in the Work of God.
Our newest booklet, “The Fall and Rise of the Jewish People,” has entered its final review process. We anticipate printing and distribution of this publication in the next few weeks.
“Why the Hatred for Israel and God’s Law?,” is the title of a new StandingWatch program presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Included in this presentation is a special video clip presented by Michael Link highlighting our newest booklet, “God’s Law or God’s Grace?” Here is a summary of the StandingWatch program:
On January 4, 2017, The Washington Post wrote about reasons for the world’s hatred of the state of Israel and the Jews; and one of these reasons explains why especially “traditional” Christianity teaches that Christ came to do away with the Law of God and to replace it with “grace.” If YOU believe in this deceptive concept, it may lead to YOUR physical death in the near future, and ultimately, to your eternal death. Our free booklet, “God’s Law… or God’s Grace?” shows you the TRUTH from the BIBLE which you MUST know in order to survive the terrible times ahead of us.
“Warum die Kirche des Ewigen Gottes? (Teil 2),” is the title of this Sabbath’s new German sermon. Title in English: “Why the Church of the Eternal God?” (Part 2)
“Are We Ready?,” the sermonette presented last Sabbath by Thilo Hanstein, is now posted. Here is a summary:
Did you know that Christ will come back soon? Do you know what to do before Christ comes back? Do you believe that you are ready for the return of Christ? Listen to what Christ tells us.
“Not Because of Our Own Strength,” the sermon presented last Sabbath by Norbert Link, is now posted. Here is a summary:
Many try desperately to solve their problems, based on their own strength. This will never work. It is God who must fight for us and strengthen us. But how does that happen, and what mistakes can we still make, even if we recognize our own weakness and our dependency from God?
The Church Conference for 2017 will be conducted in Escondido, California, with arrivals on March 23 and ending on March 28.
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