Update 269 for the Week ending November 24th, 2006

NetServices The Books of Ezra and Nehemiah
Editorial Drifting
Current Events USA, Israel and Australia vs. the Rest of the World
Q & A "In that Day..."
Prayers Updates and Requests
From Our Readers What Our Readers Say
Matt 28:19-20 Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

 

NetServices

The Books of Ezra and Nehemiah

On November 25, 2006, Norbert Link is scheduled to give the sermon, beginning a two-part series on the books of Ezra and Nehemiah.

The services can be heard at www.cognetservices.org at 12:30 pm Pacific Time (which is 2:30 pm Central Time). Just click on Connect to Live Stream.

We are wishing all of you a meaningful Thanksgiving Day weekend.

Editorial

Drifting
by Dave Harris

Drifting means to be carried along by a force, such as water or air. That is a different action than deliberately choosing a direction and maintaining it--regardless of extraneous influences.

Paul spoke about drifting in the context of God’s Church. After introducing why there are appointed offices within the Church, he adds this underlying objective: “that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting” (Ephesians 4:14).

Time and again, Christians are warned to not allow themselves to just drift along in their lives. Ask: “Do I drift from one Sabbath to the next; from one Holy Day to the next--without a true sense of personal focus?” We have to do more than just “show up!”

Jesus Christ warned His Church of a very dangerous condition of drifting--that is of ceasing to watch, of not staying ready and engaged in the calling of God. In His parable of the ten virgins, Jesus said, “‘they ALL slumbered and slept’” (Matthew 25:5).

None of us wants to apply this to ourselves--or, at least, we don’t want to be guilty of this right now! How can we know that we are awake and ready and not asleep?

Stop drifting! Look closely; examine yourself by the light of God’s Word! Here is something else Paul presented--both a goal and a way to reach that goal so that we are not merely adrift as Christians:

“...speaking the truth in love, [that we] may grow up in all things into Him who is the head--Christ” (Ephesians 4:15).

Current Events

USA, Israel and Australia vs. the Rest of the World

UPI reported on November 18:

"Israel's ambassador walked out on the United Nations session that resulted in a strong call to Israel to end its military operations in the Gaza Strip. The 192-member General Assembly voted Friday night 156-7, with six abstentions, in favor of the non-binding resolution in an emergency special session. The United States, Israel and Australia voted against the document, while all the European Union members supported it after last-minute changes were made to soften the tone. Israeli Ambassador Dan Gillerman conducted a news conference nearby and blasted the session as a 'farce' and a 'circus.' U.S. Ambassador John Bolton called the resolution 'one-sided' and said its adoption would only 'increase tension and serve the interests of those hostile to Israel and that do not accept Israel's right to exist.'"

Little Positive Change in the Middle East

Der Spiegel Online reported on November 21 about the popularity of President George W. Bush and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, as well as the current unchanged situation in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip:

"Both men have enjoyed few successes recently. Olmert is just as unpopular in Israel as Bush is in the United States. He has only been in office since last spring, and he has been isolated since the invasion of Lebanon...
"Israel made a number of mistakes in rapid succession, mistakes for which Bush's America, with its theory of war as a suitable tool for bringing about change, is partly responsible. The invasion in Lebanon was based on the illusion that Hezbollah, under its leader Hassan Nasrallah, could be dealt a devastating and possibly quick military defeat. But when faced with large numbers of civilian casualties, Olmert was eventually forced to agree to a cease-fire. An international force has now been deployed to the region to keep the peace, but Israel has little confidence in its effectiveness, as evidenced by Israeli military aircraft routinely flying over German ships and ignoring Lebanon's territorial sovereignty. In taking such action, the Olmert administration is in violation of United Nations resolutions.

"Little has changed in the Gaza Strip. Palestinian militants are still firing Qassam rockets into Israel, but their range and availability have increased, thereby increasing the risk of Israelis being killed or wounded. The rocket attacks are met with retaliatory action by the Israeli air force and army. In an inadvertent attack on Nov. 8, the Israelis ended up massacring 19 civilians, including women and small children, in the town of Beit Hanoun in the Gaza Strip...

"The Iraq war has only exacerbated the problem, because it has fueled the rise of the radical Hamas in Palestine and Hezbollah in Lebanon -- and, of course, Iran's push to become a nuclear power. Israel still has the monopoly on nuclear weapons in the region, although it has never admitted to being a nuclear power... With the military deprived of its mystique, the people disappointed and the administration weakened, Israel now even faces the prospect of waning support from its traditional ally, the US."

Anti-Syrian Minister Murdered in Lebanon

AFP reported on November 21:

"Lebanese Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel has been assassinated in a northern Beirut suburb in the latest in a spate of attacks to target anti-Syrian politicians... The head of the anti-Syrian majority in parliament, Saad Hariri, interrupted a press conference to accuse the Syrian regime of 'trying to kill every free person' in Lebanon. 'The cycle (of killings) has resumed,' he said. He was referring to a spate of assassinations and attempts in the past two years. These included the murder of his own father, five-time premier Rafiq Hariri, in a massive bomb blast on the Beirut seafront in February last year... The Syrian regime has denied links with the attacks."

Britain's Intervention in Iraq a "Disaster"?

The Daily Mail reported on November 18:

"Tony Blair admitted that British intervention in Iraq has been a disaster last night--sending shockwaves through Westminster. In his frankest admission about the war to date, Mr Blair admitted that Western forces have been powerless to stop the descent into violence... Challenged by veteran interviewer Sir David Frost that the Western invasion of Iraq has 'so far been pretty much of a disaster', Mr Blair said: 'It has.' ... In a chilling warning to those who want Britain to cut and run from the foreign adventures that have characterised Mr Blair's premiership he warned that Britain would be involved in the Middle East on a 'generational' basis, though he stressed he did not expect British troops to remain in countries like Iraq and Afghanistan for a generation... The Prime Minister used his interview to again offer a partnership with Iraq's neighbours Iran and Syria but warned that they are not yet doing enough to warrant a friendly relationship."  

Downing Street was quick to respond to Blair's interview. As AFP reported on November 18:

"Downing Street has moved swiftly to dampen an apparent overnight admission by British Prime Minister Tony Blair that the US-led invasion of Iraq had been a disaster...  Downing Street insisted Saturday that Blair's comments had been misrepresented. 'The Prime Minister does not use the word disaster,' a spokesperson told AFP. 'What he does is set out that the violence in Iraq is of course hugely regrettable, tragic and very very difficult, but that this violence is a result of malicious external intervention, not some planning error three years ago.'... A spokesperson for the main opposition Conservative Party added that the Prime Minister's comments highlighted the need for an inquiry into how Britain joined the war in Iraq."

How Kissinger Sees It...

The Associated Press reported on November 20, 2006:

"Military victory is no longer possible in Iraq, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said in a television interview broadcast Sunday. Kissinger presented a bleak vision of Iraq, saying the U.S. government must enter into dialogue with Iraq's regional neighbors--including Iran--if progress is to be made in the region. 'If you mean by "military victory" an Iraqi government that can be established and whose writ runs across the whole country, that gets the civil war under control and sectarian violence under control in a time period that the political processes of the democracies will support, I don't believe that is possible,' he told the British Broadcasting Corp.

"But Kissinger, an architect of the Vietnam war who has advised President Bush about Iraq, warned against a rapid withdrawal of coalition troops, saying it could destabilize Iraq's neighbors and cause a long-lasting conflict. 'A dramatic collapse of Iraq--whatever we think about how the situation was created--would have disastrous consequences for which we would pay for many years and which would bring us back, one way or another, into the region,' he said."

Australian Drought

Der Spiegel Online reported on November 21, 2006:

"Farmers in Australia are suffering their fifth year of continuous drought -- and the summer hasn't even started yet. Now, farms along the Murray River have been cut off... And there is little Australia can do... over 50 percent of the country's agricultural land has now been declared drought-stricken... The drought has got so bad that officials are now talking about the worst dry spell in 100 years on the continent... More and more farmers are giving up hope and a wave of farmer suicides has hit the country, with a farmer taking his life every four days. The rate is already twice the national average... The situation has even shocked the government in Canberra out of their stubborn position on global warming. 'Certainly, it has taken people beyond the denial phase on climate change,' Senator Bill Heffernan told the International Herald Tribune recently. 'For the first time, the cities are focused on their worries about the future of water supply. Everyone has taken for granted that you turn the tap on and water comes out. I think they now can see that that might not necessarily continue to be the case."

Ethiopia's Rare Lions Are Being Killed

The Associated Press reported on November 22:

"Rare Abyssinian lion cubs are being poisoned at a zoo because staff cannot afford to keep them... Ethiopia's lions, famous for their black manes, are the country's national symbol and adorn statues and the local currency. Wildlife experts estimate that only 1,000 Ethiopian lions, which are smaller than other lions, remain in the wild... it costs around $6,000 a month to run the zoo, but it only receives $5,000 in revenues from entrance fees... the poisoning has been going on [for] at least two years...The zoo is a popular local attraction, although poor facilities have led to concerns by international wildlife organizations. It was built in 1948 by Emperor Haile Selassie and currently has 16 adult lions and five cubs."

How is Germany's Angela Merkel Doing?

AFP reported on November 19, 2006:

"German Chancellor Angela Merkel has had a testing first year in charge, holding together a fractious coalition government, presiding over a fall in unemployment and thawing relations with Washington. Merkel came to power last November 22 after a messy, inconclusive election eventually produced a negotiated compromise -- she would rule over the unusual combination of her conservative Christian Democrats and the left-leaning Social Democrats of her predecessor Gerhard Schroeder... As Germany's first woman leader, Merkel has led the so-called grand coalition to major policy decisions, reforming the funding of the healthcare system and raising the retirement age while tinkering with the tax system. Unemployment, which bubbled ominously around the five-million mark before the election, fell in October to its lowest level in four years at around four million and debt is down too.

"But a panel of company bosses polled by the Allensbach research institute found that 55 percent of them believed the economic recovery had nothing to do with the work of the government. 'After five lean years, Germany is for once enjoying the sweet side of the business cycle. It won't last forever,' said Bank of America analyst Holger Schmieding. Worse, he suggested, is that 'the cyclical upswing has sapped the appetite in Berlin for tackling the really unpopular issues.' While the infighting between right and left within her government has restricted her room to manoeuvre at home, Merkel has been able to express herself in the field of foreign policy...

"The US-German relationship was severely strained by Schroeder's outspoken opposition to the Iraq war, but Merkel has made it work again and she was instrumental in ensuring Germany leads the naval component of the peacekeeping force after the Lebanon-Israel war. Her surprisingly high profile abroad saw the pastor's daughter from the former East Germany voted the world's most powerful woman by Forbes magazine. Yet Merkel has enjoyed a year of two halves -- riding a wave of popularity in the first six months, almost drowning in the cross-party bickering over the healthcare reforms in the second. Surveys now show only a third of the country supports her conservatives, their lowest score since 2000. And with Germany set to take over the presidency of the Group of Eight most industrialised nations and the European Union on January 1, Merkel will find dangers lurking around every corner."

Der Spiegel Online wrote on November 20, 2006:

"It's been one year since Chancellor Angela Merkel came to office at the head of a grand coalition of her conservatives and the center-left Social Democrats. How has she done? Conservative Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung writes: 'There's no mood of celebration on the first anniversary of the grand coalition. There's general disappointment that this alliance didn't use its big majorities in the Bundestag and Bundesrat to achieve great things. Even its members don't deny this. But they never announced gigantic plans in the first place... The weight of the grand coalitions' seats has proved to be an optical illusion. Even the chancellor's own party is divided on many issues.'"

The Unspeakable Horrors of the Holocaust

The Associated Press reported on November 19 about the terrible reality of the Holocaust during World War II. Even though the appalling fact of the Holocaust has been firmly established and verified, some still deny its existence, or the gravity of the same. The following article of the Associated Press should put any doubts to rest and remind the world of the unspeakable atrocities man has been willing--and is still willing--to inflict upon his fellow man:

"The 21-year-old Russian sat before a clerk of the U.S. Army Judge Advocate's office, describing the furnaces at Auschwitz, the Nazi death camp where he had been a prisoner until a few weeks previously. 'I saw with my own eyes how thousands of Jews were gassed daily and thrown by the hundreds into pits where Jews were burning,' he said. 'I saw how little children were killed with sticks and thrown into the fire,' he continued. Blood flowed in gutters, and 'Jews were thrown in and died there'; more were taken off trucks and cast alive into the flames.

"Today the Holocaust is known in dense and painful detail. Yet the young Russian's words leap off the faded, onionskin page with a rawness that transports the reader back to April 1945, when World War II was still raging... The two pages of testimony, in a file randomly plucked off a shelf, are among millions of documents held by the International Tracing Service, or ITS, an arm of the International Committee of the Red Cross.

"This vast archive--16 miles of files in six nondescript buildings in a German spa town--contains the fullest records of Nazi persecutions in existence. But because of concerns about the victims' privacy, the ITS has kept the files closed to the public for half a century, doling out information in minimal amounts to survivors or their descendants on a strict need-to-know basis. This policy, which has generated much ill-feeling among Holocaust survivors and researchers, is about to change.

"In May, after years of pressure from the United States and survivors' groups, the 11 countries overseeing the archive agreed to unseal the files for scholars as well as victims and their families. In recent weeks the ITS' interim director, Jean-Luc Blondel, has been to Washington, The Hague and to the Buchenwald memorial with a new message of cooperation with other Holocaust institutions and governments. ITS has allowed Paul Shapiro, of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, to look at the files and has also given The Associated Press extensive access on condition no names from the files are revealed unless they have been identified in other sources.

"'This is powerful stuff,' said Shapiro, leafing through the file containing the Russian's statement and some 200 other testimonies that take the reader into the belly of Hitler's death machine-- its camps, inmates, commandants, executioners and trusted inmates used as low-level guards and known as kapos. 'If you sat here for a day and read these files, you'd get a picture of what it was really like in the camps, how people were treated...'

"Another subject is the sheer scope of the Holocaust system. The files will support new research from other sources showing that the network of concentration camps, ghettos and labor camps was nearly three times more extensive than previously thought. Postwar historians estimated about 5,000 to 7,000 detention sites. But after the Cold War ended, records began pouring out of the former communist nations of East Europe. More sites were disclosed in the last six years in claims by 1.6 million people for slave labor reparations from a $6.6 billion fund financed by the German government and some 3,000 industries. 'We have identified somewhere in the neighborhood of 20,000 camps and ghettos of various categories,' said Geoffrey Megargee of the Holocaust Museum in Washington, who is compiling a seven-volume encyclopedia of these detention centers... Between 1933 to 1945, the Nazi persecution grew to assembly-line proportions, slaughtering 6 million Jews and an equal number of Gypsies, homosexuals, mental patients, political prisoners and other 'undesirables.' Tens of millions were conscripted as forced laborers.

"To operate history's greatest slaughter, the Nazis created a bureaucracy that meticulously recorded the arrest, movement and death of each victim. Sometimes even the lice plucked from heads in concentration camps were counted. But as the pace of genocide stepped up, unknown numbers were marched directly from trains to gas chambers without being registered. In the war's final months, the bookkeeping collapsed, though the extermination continued. What documents survived Nazi attempts to destroy them were collected by the Allies to help people find missing relatives... Some 50 million pages--scraps of paper, transport lists, registration books, labor documents, medical and death registers--make reference to 17.5 million individuals caught up in the machinery of persecution, displacement and death."

Violent Games Blamed for German School Attack

Reuters reported on November 21:

"Leading German lawmakers demanded a crackdown on violent computer and simulated war games on Tuesday over concerns that they may have helped inspire a young man to attack his former school with guns and explosives. The masked 18-year-old man stormed the Scholl secondary school on Monday in the western German town of Emsdetten, wounding as many as 27 people before committing suicide. The young man, identified only as Bastian B., was known to authorities and due in court on Tuesday for weapons violations, local police said. According to German media reports, he had a fondness for war simulation and computer games.

"Wolfgang Bosbach, the deputy head of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) in parliament, said it was time to consider banning games that simulate wanton killing. 'We need effective guidelines to protect children from exposure to different types of media, but we don't need (simulated) killer games that can lead to brutalisation,' Bosbach was quoted on the Netzeitung news Web site as saying. Bosbach added that scientific studies have shown violent games have disturbing effects on some children.

"Christa Stewens, family minister for the conservative-led state of Bavaria, called for a nationwide ban on war games like paintball and laser tag, in which players hunt down and pretend to kill each other with guns firing paint balls or laser beams. 'The federal government must finally ban (simulated) killer games... Bavaria has had such a ban in place since 2002,' Stewens said in a statement. She added that children should also be prevented from playing violent computer games. The federal government has so far refused to ban such games."

That violent computer and other games may have a contributing role in brutal and senseless murders cannot be denied. However, the real problem lies much deeper. To gain a thorough understanding of the matter, please read our free booklets, "Should You Fight in War?" and "The Keys to Happy Marriages and Families."

Is Europe Going To Leap Ahead?

The EUobserver reported on November 20:

"Several former EU politicians have called for a 'leap' on the European political scene to create enough impetus to see through institutional reform in the bloc by 2009. A joint declaration, published in Florence on Friday (17 November) urges member states to 'get back on the path to reform of the European institutions.' Signed, amongst others, by Valery Giscard d'Estaing, the architect of the frozen EU constitution, ex-German foreign minister Joschka Fischer and the former presidents of Italy and Portugal, the text calls for a 'political leap by all the parties concerned so that the new process is concluded at the time of the new European parliament in spring 2009.'

"Going into detail, it says that the whole of the first and second parts of the constitution--dealing with the values and aims of the bloc as well as the fundamental rights of citizens--should be kept and that the contentious parts of the third section--detailing the policies of the EU--should be clarified... Talk about reviving the EU institutional reform process--put off track by the rejection of the European constitution by French and Dutch voters last year--has gone up a notch recently. This is mainly due to the twin prospect of the German EU presidency in the first half of next year as well as French elections in April--with only a concerted effort by Berlin and Paris thought to be enough to get reform back at the top of the bloc's political agenda...

"Germany has made progress on the constitution--calling for an 'ambitious' text--one of the main issues of its six-month stint at the helm of the EU. Now it is waiting to hear what Paris has to offer... For its part, Germany is planning to have a concrete timetable on the constitution and institutional reform on the table by an EU leaders summit in June--with a view to bringing the reform process to fruition in 2009."

Remnants of Lost Ten Tribes in India?

The Scotsman reported on November 21:

"A group of 51 Indians who claim to be descendants of one of the ten lost biblical tribes were on their way to Israel last night, in what is viewed by their supporters as a fulfillment of prophecy. They were converted to Judaism in India by rabbis after Israel's chief rabbinate last year recognized about 7,000 people from the remote north-eastern states of Mizoram and Minapur who claim ancient Israelite ancestry through belonging to the Bnei Menashe, one of the ten tribes that were lost after being exiled by the Assyrians in 586BC. Michael Jankelowitz, spokesman for the Jerusalem-based Jewish Agency, which is co-ordinating the Indians' arrival, said 'they have lived a Jewish way of life for decades' including by keeping Saturday as the Sabbath and observing Jewish dietary laws...

"Some researchers say certain practices involving animal sacrifice were similar to ancient Hebrew traditions, while an ancient song among one tribe talked of crossing the Red Sea... Exiled from ancient Israel by the Assyrian empire around 730BC, the tribe was apparently forced east and travelled through Afghanistan and China before settling in what is now India's north-east.

"On the way, they forgot their language, their history and most of their traditions... Among the clues... were traditions resembling those of the ancient Israelites, including having places of refuge for those who had killed someone by mistake. [They] also practised circumcision, albeit with sharpened flint rather than a knife... By Rabbi Avihayil's estimate, there are tens of millions of descendants of the lost tribes of Israel living in [other parts of the world]."

We can safely say that the group of 51 Indians are NOT descendants of the ancient tribe of Manasseh, as these descendants migrated westward--not eastward--after the Assyrian captivity, and settled in Europe and ultimately in the United States. However, many people had come in contact with the Israelites before and after their captivity, so it stands to reason that they adopted some of the Israelite laws and cultures--something that God had prophesied would happen, to an extent. For more information, please read our free booklets, "The Fall and Rise of Britain and America," and "The Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord." We have also still available for distribution some copies of the full-color booklet, "America and Britain in Prophecy...," which was written by Raymond McNair.

The Catholic Position

VIS reported on November 17:

"... at one of the regular meetings of the heads of dicasteries of the Roman Curia... [the] value of the choice of priestly celibacy [compulsory refusal to marry] in accordance with Catholic tradition was reaffirmed...  [The Pope also stressed that] 'the aim of the ecumenical movement remains unchanged: the visible unity of the Church. ... Vatican Council II considered the re-establishment of full unity among all Christians as one of its principal concerns. It is also my concern... The eastern and western parts of Europe are coming closer together, and this encourages Churches to coordinate their efforts to safeguard the Christian tradition.'... In this context [of the ecumenical movement], the [Pope] mentioned 'the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification,' signed with the World Lutheran Federation, and to which the World Methodist Council has also given its approval."

Internet Libel Law

The Associated Press reported on November 20:

"Websites that publish inflammatory information written by other parties cannot be sued for libel, the California Supreme Court ruled Monday. The ruling in favour of free online expression was a victory for a San Diego woman who was sued by two doctors for posting an allegedly libelous e-mail on two websites. Some of the Internet's biggest names, including Amazon.com, America Online Inc., EBay Inc., Google Inc., Microsoft Corp and Yahoo Inc., took the defendant's side out of concern a ruling against her would expose them to liability. In reversing an appellate court's decision, the state Supreme Court ruled that the Communications Decency Act of 1996 provides broad immunity from defamation lawsuits for people who publish information on the Internet that was gathered from another source.

"'The prospect of blanket immunity for those who intentionally redistribute defamatory statements on the Internet has disturbing implications,' Associate Justice Carol Corrigan wrote in the majority opinion. 'Nevertheless ... statutory immunity serves to protect online freedom of expression and to encourage self-regulation, as Congress intended.' Unless the U.S. Congress revises the existing law, people who claim they were defamed in an Internet posting can only seek damages from the original source of the statement, the court ruled."

Q & A

Would you please explain the meaning of the terms, "latter days," "last days," "time of the end," "end of the world," "day of the LORD," "in that day," and the "time of Jacob's trouble."

When trying to understand Biblical prophecy, it is critical that we are familiar with the meaning of certain key prophetic phrases. For instance, all these terms listed in the Question have a FUTURE prophetic application. This means that when we read a passage in the Old or New Testament, which uses one of these phrases, we should recognize that the passage refers to the future!

Here is an overview of the meaning of these phrases:

The LATTER DAYS:

When we come across the term "the latter days" (in Hebrew, "acharith" for "latter"), we are being introduced to events which will happen at the end of this age or present civilization, including the first resurrection or the "resurrection of the just," and the beginning of the Millennium.

After a powerful Spirit being had given Daniel an important vision, he told him, in Daniel 10:14: "Now I have come to make you understand what will happen to your people in the LATTER DAYS, for the vision refers to many days yet to come." Ancient King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream once, and Daniel told him, in Daniel 2:28: "But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the LATTER DAYS." The events pictured in his dream would culminate in the return of Jesus Christ and the establishment of the Kingdom of God here on earth (Daniel 2:44-45).

We read in Jeremiah 23:20: "The anger of the LORD will not turn back Until He has executed and performed the thoughts of His heart. In the LATTER DAYS you will understand it perfectly."

The LAST DAYS

When we find the term "the last days," as used in several translations, including the Authorized Version and the New King James Bible, we should realize that this term--and its meaning--is closely related to the term, "the latter days." In the Hebrew, the words for "last" are either "acharith" (same as for "the latter days") or "acharon," and in Greek, the word is, "eschatos." This phrase describes basically the same time period as the term, "the latter days."

We read in Isaiah 2:2-4 about the time of the Millennium, when God HAS established the Kingdom of God on this earth. It says: "Now it shall come to pass in the LATTER DAYS [Authorized Version: "LAST DAYS"; in Hebrew, "acharith" for "last"], That the mountain of the LORD's house Shall be established on the top of the mountains, And shall be exalted above the hills; And all nations shall flow to it. Many people shall come and say, 'Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, To the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, And we shall walk in His paths.' For out of Zion shall go forth the law, And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, And rebuke many people; They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, Neither shall they learn war anymore."

We read in Job 19:25 (Authorized Version): "For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the LATTER DAY upon the earth." In the Hebrew, the word for "latter" is "acharon," so that the entire phrase can also be translated as "He shall stand at the LAST DAY upon the earth."

We read in 2 Timothy 3:1: "But know this, that in the LAST DAYS perilous times will come..." The Greek word for "last" is "eschatos." It is also used in John 11:24: "Martha said to Him, 'I know that he [Lazarus] will rise again in the resurrection at the LAST DAY."

The TIME OF THE END

When the term, "the time of the end," is used (in Hebrew, "eth" for "time" and "qets" for "end"), it describes the end of this age, culminating in the return of Christ and the establishment of the Kingdom of God here on earth.

We read in Daniel 12:4, 9, 13: "'But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the TIME OF THE END; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase...' And he said, 'Go your way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the TIME OF THE END... But you, go your way till the end; for you shall rest, and will arise to your inheritance at the end of the days.'"

The END OF THE WORLD or AGE

Some translate the phrase "end of the age" in the New Testament as "end of the world." In Greek, the word for "end" is "sunteleia," meaning "full end." The phrase actually refers to the end of this present age (in Greek, the word for age is "aion"), and the beginning of a better world or age to come, under the rulership of God.

We read in Matthew 24:3, that the disciples asked Christ: "Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the END OF THE AGE [Authorized Version: END OF THE WORLD]?"

In Matthew 28:19-20, Christ promised His disciples to be with them "always, even to the END OF THE AGE." And we read in Matthew 13:49-50: "So will it be at the END OF THE AGE. The angels will come forth, separate the wicked from among the just, and cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth."

The DAY OF THE LORD

The term "day of the Lord" refers to God's end-time intervention in the affairs of this world, just prior to the establishment of His Kingdom here on earth, and it also describes events at and after Christ's return. A full explanation can be found in our free booklet, "The Great Tribulation and the Day of the LORD." Please also note our Q&A in Update #139 on the "difference" between the great tribulation and the day of the Lord.

Concerning the beginning of the day of the Lord, we read in Zephaniah 1:14-17: "The great DAY OF THE LORD is near; It is near and hastens quickly. The noise of the DAY OF THE LORD is bitter... that day is a day of wrath, A day of trouble and distress, A day of devastation and desolation, A day of darkness and gloominess, A day of clouds and thick darkness, A day of trumpet and alarm Against the fortified cities And against the high towers. I will bring distress upon men, And they shall walk like blind men, Because they have sinned against the LORD."

We also read in Zephaniah 2:3: "Seek the LORD, all you meek of the earth, Who have upheld His justice. Seek righteousness, seek humility. It may be that you will be hidden In the DAY OF THE LORD's anger."

The day of the Lord describes the time when God begins to intervene in human affairs, but it also includes God's rule from that time forward. We read in 2 Peter 3:10: "But the DAY OF THE LORD will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise [this will happen more than 1,100 years after Christ's return, compare Revelation 20:4-6, 11-15; 21:1], and the elements will melt away with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up."

IN THAT DAY

When the terms "in that day" or "that day" are used, they refer to the time just prior to and at Christ's return, and they also may include the time after Christ has returned. They are virtually synonymous with the term, "the day of the Lord."

We read in Isaiah 2:10-12, 20-21: "Enter into the rock, and hide in the dust, From the terror of the LORD And the glory of His majesty. The lofty looks of man shall be bowed down, And the LORD alone shall be exalted IN THAT DAY. For the DAY OF THE LORD of hosts shall come upon everything proud and lofty... IN THAT DAY a man will cast away his idols of silver And his idols of gold, Which they made, each for himself to worship, To the moles and bats, To go into the clefts of the rocks, From the terror of the LORD And the glory of His majesty, When He arises to shake the earth mightily."

TIME OF JACOB'S TROUBLE

The term, "the time of Jacob's trouble," refers to the time of the beginning of the great tribulation, which is followed by heavenly signs and the beginning of the day of the Lord. While the day of the Lord is described, in its beginning stages, as the wrath of God, the great tribulation is described as Satan's wrath against God's people (compare Revelation 12:12-17). However, the great tribulation and the day of the Lord "overlap" for approximately one year; that is, the great tribulation begins about 2 1/2 years before the day of the Lord, but it will be ongoing for approximately another year, together with the day of the Lord, until the return of Christ who will cut short the great tribulation (Matthew 24:21-22).

We read in Jeremiah 30:7-9: "'Alas! For that day is great, So that none is like it; And it is the TIME OF JACOB'S TROUBLE, But he shall be saved out of it. For it shall come to pass IN THAT DAY,' says the LORD of hosts, 'That I will break his yoke from your neck, and will burst your bonds; Foreigners shall no more enslave them. But they shall serve the LORD their God, And David their king, Whom I will raise up for them.'"

This is a prophetic passage regarding the modern descendants of the house of Israel or Jacob. To learn about their identity, please read our free booklet, "The Fall and Rise of Britain and America."

Regarding the time sequence, let us notice Joel 2:30-31: "And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth: Blood and fire and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, BEFORE the coming of the great and awesome DAY OF THE LORD."

All these terms describe still future events. It is important that we understand them correctly, so that we can know what is prophesied to happen in our times.

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

Prayers

Updates and Requests

On November 22, we received some very encouraging news concerning Edwin Pope. As medical people conferred with Joan Pope (with Norbert Link and Margaret Adair in attendance), the specialist spoke very loudly to Edwin, literally ordering him to open his eyes--and there was a definite response as Edwin did open his eyes, slightly! This was followed with other requests for Edwin to move his toes--also something he was able to do!

The medical staff, to say the least, was both astonished and hopeful at this development. This is the FIRST such very obvious response from Edwin since his heart attack. This also occurred at the last possible moment, because several of the medical personnel felt it was time to remove the ventilator. In fact, one of the doctors had declined to perform a tracheotomy to assist Edwin in preparation of the ventilator being removed. He is now committed to do this procedure, which will make it easier for Edwin to breathe. The doctors still plan to remove the ventilator in the near future, as this is a necessary step to take in the treatment process.

To all who have so earnestly given an outpouring of loving concern for Edwin and Joan, we say thank you! Please continue to implore God to intervene and restore Edwin to full health and that all is done according to His will.

Rhonda Cagle informed us that the operation went well. However, the doctors were NOT able to pin the bone back so it was removed. They found a lot more damage to the knee than they expected. There are several micro fractures in the bone with cartilage damage and a torn ALC ligament. They will not know until a few months from now whether their procedure helped . Rhonda would appreciate our continued prayers that she will not need a partial or full knee replacement.

Lois Bargar reported that her kidney doctor ordered an x-ray of her catheter and it didn't turn out very clearly, so Lois has to have the surgery again to see if they can reposition it. Lois will see the surgeon on November 28, to schedule the surgery. Lois is asking for our continued prayers, concluding: "They said it is so very rare that these things don't work, but leave it to me to be the one."

From Our Readers

What Our Readers Say

From the Philippines:

"The booklet "Teach Us To Pray" just arrived yesterday! I'm starting to read it during my office break. During and after the Feast we distributed your booklets to some new and old members from different affiliates and they were not biased about them. They in fact appreciate them, especially some booklets of yours which they cannot find from another source. Again many thanks to you for the booklets you sent us. You can be sure many will benefit from your booklets. Thanks to Mr. Norbert Link and the other writers of your booklets. You are all gifted speakers and writers."

From the USA:

"Dear Friends: Thank you for sending me your new booklet, "Teach Us To Pray." It is a wonderful booklet. We need booklets like this. Thank you for explaining Jesus' model prayer in booklet form, verse by verse. In order to further my study, could you send me the following... [names titles of several booklets]."

Matt 28:19-20

Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

A new StandingWatch program was recorded, titled, "Nuclear Terrorism." Set forth below is a brief summary of the program:

During a Senate hearing on November 16, 2006, it was pointed out that the threat of nuclear terrorism is real. It is not a question of "if," but only of "when." Are you prepared to face devastating destruction in this country and around the world? And why would God let it happen?

The video-recorded version of Norbert Link's latest sermon, "Christian Suffering," was placed on Google Video (The audio version was placed, as usual, on our Web site).

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, Joan Pope, Johanna Link, Eric Rank, Robb Harris, Michael Link, Noelle Link, Manuela Mitchell, Dawn Thompson

Technical Team: Eric Rank, Shana Rank

Regular Contributors: Terry and Connie Grade, Kalon Mitchell

How This Work is Being Financed:

Our activities and literature, including booklets, weekly updates, sermon tapes, 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 2111, Derby DE1 1ZR, England




Matthew 5:14

"You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden."

-Matthew 5:14
Church of the Eternal God Booklets

"And the gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come."

-Matthew 24:14