Update 87


What Lies Ahead?

Norbert Link will give the sermon this Sabbath. The title is: “What Lies Ahead?”

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

Back to top

Keeping of Passover

by Norbert Link

In lieu of our regular editorial, as a service to any of you who will be unable to observe the Passover with one of our local congregations and will be observing the Passover in your home, we are providing these general instructions for your convenience.

There will be a pre-taped Passover Service available on our Web site (in the AUDIO section) for any who choose to use that service; or, a tape of that service can be provided by mail for those who request it.

–The Ministry of The Church of the Eternal God.


In advance, purchase or prepare a small amount of plain unleavened bread. In most cases you will be able to buy it at the grocery store if you so desire. There are several kinds of unleavened bread, including matzos. But don’t assume all flat bread is unleavened. Check the label to be sure the bread does not contain any leavening (yeast, baking soda, baking powder, etc.).

You will also need a small amount of natural red wine. Be sure you obtain a natural, unfortified wine. Alcohol content will be between 10 and 13%. (Wines containing 19 or 20% alcohol are fortified with brandy and should not be used.) Any natural red wine, such as a cabernet sauvignon, claret or burgundy can be used.

Be prepared to observe the sacred ordinance in the early evening after sunset. This is a special occasion, so provide a clean and neat room with complete privacy if possible. Have a small amount of the unleavened bread, very small glasses of wine (one for each person) prepared on a tray or table. Pour no more than two tablespoons of wine into each small glass.

The Passover includes the foot-washing service, so pans, water, and towels will be needed at the beginning.

When the time has arrived for the ordinance, let those participating in the service quietly come into the room. Older children and unbaptized adults may attend as observers only, if they are genuinely interested in learning about the service. They should not, under any circumstance, partake in the eating of the bread or drinking of the wine. There should be no frivolous talking, laughing or joking, though normal greetings should be exchanged. You are meeting on the most solemn occasion of the year, and should do so reverently.

The leader can remind the others at the start of the service that this is the most solemn and sacred occasion of the year – the anniversary of the death of our Lord and Savior, and a service observed in memory of His sacrifice. The one conducting the service should open the Bible and read Luke 22:7-8 and verses 13-15. Then go to Matthew 26:17 and verses 26-30, followed by Paul’s instructions in 1 Corinthians 11:23-30. Next read John 6:53-54, pointing out that this is commanded for all Christians. Then, read John 13:1-17, concerning the foot-washing.

Then, if two or more people are participating, wash one another’s feet. If one person is observing it alone, this part of the ordinance is omitted.

The pans and towels can be removed if necessary.

(At this point, scriptures concerning the bread may be repeated if desired.)

Next, the one conducting the service will give thanks and ask God in prayer to bless the bread as a symbol of Christ’s physical body, broken for us, showing that His sacrifice covers our physical infirmities and makes healing available to us (cite 1 Peter 2:24). Then, break the bread into small bits and pass it around. Each worshiper should quietly eat one small piece of the bread, reflecting on its significance.

(Scriptures concerning the wine may be repeated here if desired.)

Then, over the wine, the leader will pray, giving thanks and asking God to bless it to this sacred use as the symbol of Christ’s blood shed for the remission of our sins. Next pass the wine, and let each participant take a glass and quietly, reverently drink it as a renewal of his acceptance of the blood of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.

The leader should then read aloud from John 13:31 through John 17. These are the words Jesus spoke to His disciples after His last Passover supper with them, just before He was arrested and crucified. Since it is rather long, the leader may, in advance of the service, mark certain portions of these chapters, instead of reading every verse.

After the scripture reading, sing a hymn before exiting, just as Christ and the disciples did (cite Matthew 26:30). Then dismiss quietly, leaving the room without undue conversation.

After the service has ended and the worshipers have left the room, the one in charge should burn any portion of the bread and wine left over from the service, which had earlier been consecrated by prayer for this special use only.

Back to top


As the ultimate battle for world opinion rages, US officials speak of the certainty of victory–the inescapable conclusion that the coalition will prevail and that Saddam and his regime will be removed. Yet, outside of the United States, including British opinion, the picture is not quite so rosy.
In a headline from Gannet News Service (4/1/03), under the banner, “U.S. losing international public-relations battle,” the following: “…massive antiwar and anti-U.S. protests have swept through the Middle East. Polls there show almost universal opposition. The United States is seen overwhelmingly as an invading aggressor out to colonize Iraq and its oil, not a liberator out to make the world safer.”

That this attitude is not confined to the Middle East was pointed out and summarized in the April 2, 2003, edition of the “Rocky Mountain News:” (The Times of India”) “…It is difficult to predict the outcome of the war. The only certainty is that a lethal blow has been inflicted on the U.N. by the unilateral Anglo-American action and from which the world body may not recover.” The “News” goes on to quote (The Moscow Times), “According to a number of recent television polls, some 80 percent of Russians–and probably more–want Iraq to win the war…”

There is a call for Jihad and martyrdom for the Islamic nation–all aimed at the US and its coalition partners. Inevitably, Israel is linked and targeted as a part of this call for revenge.

Although a different powerful enemy will arise in the near future against the British and American peoples, current events appear to be setting the stage for the world of Islam to seek to unify and develop the combined power to resist the “infidel” that threatens them. The Middle East is the world’s greatest resource for oil, and because of that, tremendous wealth will continue to flow into the region. That wealth will once again be turned into armaments. Note this precise prophecy in Daniel 11:40, ” ‘AT THE TIME OF THE END the king of the South shall attack him; and the king of the North (the coming Beast Power) shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter the countries, overwhelm them, and pass through.’ ” This speaks of a time yet to be fulfilled. The very dramatic events of the current Iraq war are merely setting the stage for the conclusive “time of the end” leading to the return of Jesus Christ and the establishment of God’s Kingdom. A Kingdom that will begin to rule in Jerusalem, and one that will quickly fill the earth!



News reports of recent weeks highlight the war of words between North Korea and the United States. However, an epic conflict with troublesome potential is smoldering between North Korea and Japan. Note this report from The Coloradoan (4/1/03): “The North Korean test of the short-range, ground-to-ship missile came just days after Japan launched two satellites into orbit to keep watch over Pyongyang’s missile and suspected nuclear arms programs.”

China is also deeply suspicious of Japan’s capacity to mount a military presence. Chinese news reports continually cite with muted alarm any actions on Japan’s part that hint of Japan’s former worldwide military influence. This regional fear only tends to propel the various sides into a growing armaments race.

Once again, we must continue to look at where the events of the moment are leading. The stage is being set as all of the pieces of prophecy are now coming together to clearly mark what the Bible calls “the time of the end!”


Lost in the headlines and play by play events of the Iraq war, events are now shaping up in central Europe that will profoundly affect the balance of power that places the US as the only super-power. In The Coloradoan for April 1, 2003, a short summary reports on the ascending role of the EU–this time, militarily: “the European Union took over peacekeeping duties in ethnically divided Macedonia on Monday, A FIRST MILITARY MISSION that will test the EU’s ability to handle trouble spots without help from NATO or the United States. …The mission, dubbed Concordia, is set to last six months and cost $6 million. It is considered a key test of the 15-nation bloc’s ability to eventually build a 60,000-strong rapid reaction force able to deploy swiftly for humanitarian operations.”

Biblical prophecy clearly reveals that this emerging power will become the greatest of all history. As it dwarfs and surpasses the US and Britain, the ominous repercussions for these two peoples will be catastrophic! Only if those who watch these things turn wholeheartedly to God in obedience to Him will there be safety in the tumultuous times shortly ahead.

Back to top

Q: Does it violate the Biblical injunction against consumption of unclean meat to use medicines, vitamins and mineral supplements derived from unclean animals? Is it a violation to use gelatin products, which might be derived from parts of unclean animals?

A: The Bible prohibits the consumption of the “flesh” of certain animals, designated as unclean in passages such as Leviticus 11:1-8 and Deuteronomy 14:7-8. The Church has long understood that the use of medications, mineral supplements or vitamins derived from unclean animals does not violate the Biblical injunction against eating the FLESH of unclean animals. Until recently, diabetics had to use insulin derived from pigs, and the Church did not prohibit such use. (Now, the best form of insulin is derived synthetically). This is based on the understanding that medication, drugs and supplements fall into the category of non-food. For instance, calcium can be extracted from oyster shells.

The consumption of these types of non-food items is not the equivalent of eating the flesh of unclean animals. Likewise, blood transfusions are not Biblically prohibited [although the Bible does prohibit the consumption of blood], since the transfusion is not the equivalent of eating blood. If one were to carry the Biblical prohibitions too far, kissing or sexual intercourse would be prohibited as well, due to the exchange of bodily fluids.

Regarding the consumption of various gelatin products, most gelatin is a meat by-product made from beef, calf or pork skin. It is used in many natural and unnatural forms, such as cereal bars, ice cream, yogurt, certain dairy drinks, medicines and chocolate, among other things. It is often difficult to find out if the gelatin is pork or beef derived. There are, however, vegetarian and kosher gelatin products available as well. Gelatin products derived merely from beef include Emes Gelatin and Three Star calf gelatin. When the question of the use of gelatin relates to the use of vitamins, supplements or medications, the principles would be the same as set forth in the first part of this Answer.

For instance, the modification of natural amino acids in gelatin is used to stabilize the shelf life of vaccines and therapeutic proteins and to enhance the attributes of various products. Gelfoam, a biodegradable carrier for osteogenic (bone producing) cells, is derived from pork gelatin. This procedure is used for the healing of the bones in cases of fractures and bone defects. Gelatin has also been used, with some success in some cases, in the treatment of arthritis, digestion, intestinal disorders, anemia, muscular dystrophy and even cancer.

Even apart from gelatin used in medicines, vitamins or minerals, an orthodox rabbi has certified JELL-O gelatin as kosher, although JELL-O gelatin is extracted from the skins of beef, calf and pork. This certification was based on the belief of many that during the manufacture of gelatin the composition of the original material undergoes a complete change or metamorphosis, that is, its original source becomes unidentifiable. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not consider gelatin to be a meat product. Nevertheless, they have also stated in 1998 that gelatin derived from cattle residing in, or originating from, countries reporting BSE should not be used.

Each Christian has to make the decision as to whether, and in what circumstances, to partake of the products as described herein. While it is true that the kingdom of God is not eating or drinking (Romans 14:17), and that “nothing that enters a man from the outside … can defile him” (Mark 7:15), the prohibition of the consumption of unclean flesh is still clearly valid, and we are admonished to honor or glorify God in our bodies (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) and not to defile the Holy Spirit that dwells in us (1 Corinthians 3:17). Based on the foregoing, we must never eat or drink or do anything that violates our conscience if we feel that we would be compromising with the Word of God (Romans 14:23).

We must all strive to live our lives correctly administering the Biblical patterns revealed to us. As Jesus Christ so clearly explained in applying God’s Word, the religious leaders of His time had so burdened the people that the Way of God was stifled in long lists of “do’s” and “don’ts”. As we in the Church of God strive for a right balance, let us all seek God’s continual guidance so that we may do only those things, which are pleasing in His sight.

Back to top

How This Work is Financed

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

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

Technical Team: Eric Rank, Shana Rank

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

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

Donations should be sent to the following addresses:

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

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

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

©2024 Church of the Eternal God