Volume 11, Number 1, July-August 2007

Appreciate Genuine Effort

Letter:           July 17, 2007


This is John & Francine Heykoop from Newington, Ontario,Canada. We would like you to know that we appreciate all the genuine effort you're doing for God. We want you to know that we want the whole thing to work out all right at the end of all the trial that you had until now.

We are in our good 8 years of financial trial ourself and can really help you with prayers, but when the relieves comes we are thinking to help as we can.

We are sure that all the effort to help God's people will be rewarded.

By for now.

—John & Francine Heykoop, Ontario

Response: Thank you very much. Your letter came on a day when we needed the encouragement.There is nothing like an 8-year trial to encourage us (who have only been in a 3-year trial). May the Eternal strengthen you in yours!

 — NSE

Learns from Servants’ News, Hebrew Roots

Letter:           July 1, 2007

I heard you were putting out another issue of Servants' News after a lengthy absence, while you were pouring yourself out for the Port Austin Bible Campus.

I just would like to say that, for a lot of us Canadians, "we've missed you" in the pages of SN. We have fewer, good, wholesome, non-corporate Christian sources north of the 49th (parallel).

In the past, you made reference to Hebrew Roots, published by Dean and Susan Wheelock [PO Box 400, Lakewood, WI 54138; 715-757-2775], and over the last several years I have slowly but progressively been becoming more familiar with our Israelitish background, not as a lot of us learned through WCG or British Israel, but in the area where we have seemingly been "afraid to trod", where the word "Israel" has been changed for "Hebrew". In our past WCG connection and possibly having a Protestant or Catholic subconscious, we think "Hebrew" or "Jewish" is connected with man-made tradition. Now this got planted and stuck.

We have cut ourselves off from a vast amount of knowledge and instruction that Israel and the early church would have had. This includes better and more informed ways to worship God, and understand the beautiful indepthness of his holy feasts. For instance, I read a lengthy article of Dean Wheelock, called "Counting after years of stumbling through Passover season with what meaning was available to us". This article added clarification in a profoundly meaningful observance. How much more would we also like to know about the spiritual aspects and manner of observing the Fall Feasts? I have found this publication inspirational to date. They like to use a number of Hebrew interpretations of names, but if we can step out of our boxes and accept other people's choices, it's often to our benefit.

I remember, during much religious (not Christian) striving years ago, happening upon Servants' News. It was that great aid that cleared the way for so many of us, and has continued to be "an opening of minds" from confined doctrinal limitations, and fear of stepping out of those "walls" for furthering our knowledge in God's truth.

I know that your time now is very accounted for, with your newer project of PABC, a huge undertaking, and we pray a very successful one. I feel you did a great service to the brethren (of any denomination that reads SN), to help ready us for necessary growth in God's truth now and going forward even in our communities to serve. I really hope and pray you can continue to produce the SN, perhaps just in season. It's too good to lose.

But, if you can't continue on with Servants' News, there is no substitute out there for it that I know of, but God knows the answer.

I referred to Hebrew Roots as being very informative, but I am not suggesting that everyone who connects themselves with Messiah's name, the term Messianic, is all informed or correct, as the web and some groups have a real mixture of good and bad.

However, we must pray and study and grow, and fear more, I suspect, being an unprofitable servant and fearful of the journey. Thank you to you both, for your journey is certainly a full and rewarding one.

May the peace of God be with you always,

Marilyn Harris, Canada

Response:There is a lot of good and bad teaching from both Christian and Jewish sources. I encouraged the Wheelock’s to start their Hebrew Roots ministry years ago. They have been a blessing to many. Life is simpler if we believe that one group has “the truth”—but it just isn’t true. All teachers and writers should be determined to teach what is true—not what is best for their organization.

 — NSE

Finding It All Worthwhile

Letter:              May 18, 2006

Hello Norm,

We did get the Servants News; like the print magazine, pictures, and being bound. No matter my intentions, I never  did get around to putting the loose sheets in folders, to my dismay.

The renewal form is in my folder I take to work, want to send you a check, but felt it was important to get a quick message out anyway first. I drive almost 3 hours a day, things get put off.

One thing to your credit is your "doing" things to further the Cause, which I admire. From the old Servants’ News, to playing the music when in Haslett, to starting the Port Austin "work", along with the new Servants’ News. Most important: the positive way you impact your boys.

Hope to visit you someday up "there"

Thanks again,

       —Don Kylman, Onondaga, MI

Response:Thank you for the encouragement!

Using PABC CD in Worship

Letter:              April 1, 2006

You all did a wonderful thing...we are sharing this CD with others in our fellowship as well as outside our group. We are a Messianic fellowship but for us to sing it is no problem for us to alter our pronunciations a bit.

Someday we will all be on the same page, but for now we'll just have to read out of the same 'BOOK' and wait for that day.

In Our Savior's healing Name;

—Dennis & Rebecca Whited

The Lewiston Berean Fellowship, Idaho

Response:Thank you very much for your encouragement. We cannot all wait until we understand our Father perfectly before we praise and worship Him. We must share our understanding and grow a little at a time.

We hope other young people will be encouraged by it.

 — NSE

Will the Second Coming Be Unexpected to Some?

Letter:           August 29, 2003

I have a couple of questions for your consideration that were never properly addressed by WCG that I know of.

1) How is it that the world will have gone through uprisings (Mat 24:7), martyrdoms (Mat 24:9), famines (Rev 6:6), plagues (Rev 6:8), massive earthquake, darkening of the sun, meteor shower (Rev 6: 12-13), a third of trees being burned (Rev 8:7), comet strike (Rev 8:8), and not be expecting the Second Coming? If you read (Mat 24:38-39), there will be some place on this earth where people seem completely oblivious to what has gone on. The Second Coming will be totally unexpected to these people (Mat 24:43). There will still be governments functioning (Rev 17:12-13) and even capable of fighting a war (Dan 11:40). I don't understand the paradox.

Response: This is a great question that I think deserves an answer.

First, governments do not tell the truth about what is happening, and unfortunately, most people believe the false stories because they seem popular. For example, some Jews in the 1930s did their research, realized that Hitler wanted to eliminate their race, confirmed the rumors that he was doing just that, and left their country—often leaving their wealth behind. Other Jews believed the oft-repeated official lies that they were just being relocated. When they found themselves unloaded from a train at a concentration camp it was too late. As hindsight has shown, the governments of many other nations knew of these atrocities, but did not report them or attempt to help.

Today, many people believe that other nation’s governments lie, but not their own. I would love to write an article covering some of the major areas where the government of the USA is lying to its citizens, but most people would dismiss me as a “nut-case” without iron-clad, irrefutable proof. Such proof takes a long time to prepare so it is both thorough yet easy to understand. For example, I have seen the declassified military documents obtained through the Freedom of Information act that show that our military considered shooting down one of our own planes with USA citizens on it, and then blaming Fidel Castro for the job so they could go to war with Cuba. However, there are multiple complex documents that refer to each other, so putting everything together to explain what happened, while still maintaining proof that these are all genuine, unaltered documents can be a little difficult.

To summarize my first point, governments and news media will probably minimize their reporting of many of the prophesied perils in order to keep the citizens loyal and obedient. Our media has long under-reported the many thousands of Christians that have and are being killed in Sudan, China, and Islamic countries. After we abandoned South Viet Nam, most news media ignored the massive carnage in South Viet Nam, Laos and Cambodia.

Secondly, I do not think most Bible readers understand prophecy, so they may be looking for the wrong things. To some degree, I include myself in this. The Bible encourages us to seek the ability to prophecy ourselves (1 Cor 14:1) and tells us that the Spirit “will guide you into all truth”. However few receive this gift. In regard to prophecy. Daniel 12:10 says “none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand”.

But where do most Christians get their understanding of prophecy? From the Holy Spirit? From sitting down afresh with a history book and a Bible and figuring it out? How many people do you know who have taken one of these two approaches and came up with exactly the same understanding as another believer? I can only remember two ladies who each claimed to have come to the same prophetic understanding on their own from the scriptures—but that was a few years ago. And they said Messiah would come in 2005—then 2006.

Most Christians understand prophecy by what they read in someone else’s prophecy book. If the complete revelation of all Bible prophecy is published in a book, the wise, the wicked and everyone else will be able to understand it. I think many misguided people will miss the second coming because they will be expecting what some prophetic teachers have told them, not what God has revealed to them.

2) My second question is a lot simpler. How was John the Baptist able to escape Herod's edict that all children under the age of two be killed?

I realize that you are a busy man and that you most likely won't be able to give a direct answer, but I hope you will consider what I have asked. Thank you.

RC, South Carolina

Response: The Bible does not say. But God had a plan for John, which would not be thwarted, so he was protected, as Jesus and Moses were protected from a massive slaughter of infants. John’s parents could have taken him to safety, an angel could have protected him, or the soldiers could have simply missed him.

There is a good lesson here that should be added to the first question: When God has a purpose for your life, he protects you. Whereas, there are a lot of people who spend a lot of time trying to figure out the time, place and mechanism whereby God will protect them. I don’t see a promise for their protection, but a statement saying:

And He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, "If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all" (Mark 9:35).

Bible Answer ManQuestions

Letter:           March 14, 2006

I am trying to reach Norman Edwards.

Response:You have!

Letter: I am a long time follower of his website Servants’ News, though I have no ties to the WCG or any of the splinter groups following.

Response:There are certainly others like you.

Letter: have not worshiped on the Sabbath until recent conviction, though I still also attend Sunday church because it provides a great mission field.

Response:I think that approach is biblically acceptable. Paul went to synagogues that met on the Sabbath, but that did not believe in Jesus. Paul was sometimes heard and sometimes thrown out. He would have gotten beaten up less if he stayed in the homes of believers, but that was not his mission. On the other hand, Galatians 6:1 comes into play. If you are tempted to sin because all of the people around you are doing it, then you should leave.

Letter: To get to the point, I very much respect his opinions, and wanted to ask about his thoughts on the recently aired program, Bible Answer Man (Hank Hanegraaff), and Joseph Tkach, Jr.

Response:I did not hear the program, but I used to hear Joe Tkach talk regularly, so I can possibly answer.

Letter: I do not believe we must keep the Old Testament commandments for our salvation, but  that salvation is through Christ alone, and not works.

Response:Many, if not most believers over the past 2000 years did not even have access to a complete Bible. Yet, there were those with the Holy Spirit in them who lived by it and what Scripture they knew. God promised in the New Covenant that He would write His laws in our hearts—hose are the same physical and spiritual principles in the Old and New Testaments. However, God also ended the Levitical priesthood in 70 A.D. and it has never restarted since. I believe that He no longer expects believers to do any of the laws that require a priest or Levite, though there are principles we can learn from all of them.

Letter: Having said that, I also do not believe it is prudent to engage in activities or practices unhealthy to the human body. For instance, to say " I am free under the law of Grace to eat Pork" seems to me to be an ignorant statement.  Sure you are free to do that, you are also free to drink lake water at your whim, but is this wise?

Response:I agree with that. But a person who enjoys swimming might not completely stay out of a lake, even though they know they might accidentally swallow a mouthful of the water. Similarly, a believer might fellowship with those who do not keep the dietary laws and someday ingest some unclean food that was added without his knowledge. One can ask in faith for God’s healing in those situations. One who knowingly ingests polluted water or unclean food may have a much more difficult time pleading with God for restored health.

Letter: It seems as though Mr. Tkach has abandoned the belief that there is a "need to heed" many of the Old Testament commandments.

Response:Yes he has. He appears to take a mainstream Protestant approach, which correctly emphasizes Christ as the central part of Christianity, but does not encourage people to "live by every word of God." I am happy for the people who are brought to God by this mainstream Protestant approach, but I think it is sad when a church group that used to teach a lot of the Bible decides to teach much less of it.

Letter: I figure Norman Edwards might have a better read on this, so I am writing to ask if Tkach, Jr. is correct and I am misled, or if I am seeing this wrong.

Response:I do not think that Joe. Tkach, Jr. is correct. When His father, Joseph Tkach, Sr. became the leader of the WCG, Joe, Jr. was not even attending the WCG regularly and had never even been a "church pastor". His father brought him to the Pasadena Headquarters and placed him in charge of the ministry worldwide. As the international ministers refused to accept him, he was then placed in charge of only the USA ministry. It appears to me that he received his position primarily because he was his father's son.

Letter: Please help this outsider figure out who to listen to, and whose teaching to avoid.  Thank you for your time.

Trying to discern,

  —Gina Kjar

Response:Thank you for your letter. If you are looking for a Sabbatarian group to attend, I would be glad to help you find something in your area. Please let me know where it is.

 — NSE

Friday Night or Sat. Service?

Letter:           April 13, 2004

The church members and I have read so much of your literature and have enjoyed them very much. I came across your ministry on the web site. And have made many, many copies of your literature to give people who have really appreciated reading it. However, I have a question that I hope you may be able to shed some light on the matter.

Would you please clear up a serious matter that has separated the members of the church I attend. Some members have begun to have Sabbath service Friday night, instead of Saturday. Some argue they are still observing the Sabbath, because the Sabbath begins Friday after sunset.

The minister also believes it is all right to do so, therefore, he has two services. It has caused a division within the church service. I still attend the Sabbath (Saturday) service.

Would you please provide me with biblical information stating it is ok to have Friday night service.

Thank you so much,

Shirley Reed, Kentucky.

Response:The main scripture telling us to assemble on the Sabbath is Lev 23:3. We see lots of examples of Jesus and Paul meeting on the Sabbath in the New Testament and Hebrews 10:25 says “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together”. The scripture gives times for various things in the temple service, but, to my knowledge, says nothing about the time for a Sabbath service meeting.

Some people teach that the Sabbath is morning-to morning, so I can see why they would not want a Friday night service. However, if that is not an issue for your congregation, then I would rejoice that your congregation now has two services, and would do what I can to encourage others to come.

For many years I have attended congregations with both a Friday night Bible study and a Saturday service and I frequently attended both. When I really needed the rest, I rested and attended only one. The Church of God (Seventh Day) in Owosso, Michigan, where my children go to school has that arrangement now and I still like it.

However, if people want a Friday night service so they can treat Saturday like any other day, then I see a difficulty with that. But it would be better that they continue to attend a Friday service where they could hear messages about why the Sabbath is a whole day and why God deserves our attention on it.

Church groups do not participate in the first resurrection or salvation. Only individuals do. If you can learn, and be a good example to others by attending one or both of your services, please do so. The double service will also allow you to attend your congregation on Friday night, and then visit another group on Saturday.

May the Eternal give us the desire and resources to fill the world with services to honor Him and edify his people!

 — NSE

Must Explain Nature of God?

Letter:           August 26, 2003

It is important for Norman Edwards to state his beliefs on whether Jesus Christ is Eternal God or not; if he can’t state in clear terms, how can he teach others?

  Aloysius Abdiel, Malaysia

Response:I think this question can be fairly well answered by these scriptures:

But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest answered and said to Him, "I put You under oath by the living God: Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God!" Jesus said to him, "It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven" ( Matt 26:63).

“that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself...” (2Cor 5:19).

By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world ( 1Jo 4:2-3).

And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life (1Jo 5:20).

There are other questions about the nature of God which are not easily found in the scriptures. Does one need to answer them to be a teacher?

A cranial biologist may say to us, “Why are you teaching me? You understand almost nothing about the functioning of your own brain cells.” A nuclear physicist may ask, “Who are you to teach when you don’t understand the nature of the matter of which you are composed?”

The simple answer is that God has made these things to work quite well and that we can know many other things and do a lot with our life without understanding the fundamentals of how the matter of the universe or the cells of our brain work. We just use them. Similarly, we can understand what God and Christ want us to do and we can see Them working in our lives and in the world without knowing Their internal nature.

In my study on eternal judgment, I found many scriptures that said we would give account for what we said and did, but almost nothing that said we would be asked to explain the nature of God.

If I have studied only certain subjects in the Bible, and not others, I should write about the ones which I have studied. If you have studied other subjects, then you would write about those. One of the greatest causes of error over the centuries occurs when people who are very knowledge able and respected in one field begin writing in an area where they have little knowledge. Often, people listen to them anyway. I would hope that no Bible teacher would take up a strong position in an area where he feels he has not thoroughly studied.

I have not made an extensive study of the nature of God, Christ and the Holy Spirit, so I have not written extensively on the subject. Christ places gifts in His Body as He wills—we do not all have the same gifts. We should avoid thinking that our own gifts must be more  important than everyone else’s.

 — NSE

Perils of Polygamy

Letter:           August 1, 2006

Thanks for the update.

I'll probably be going back to Lake Murray for the FOT, that is where I have been going for the past several years, except for when I've been invited to the USVI.

I hope you have a wonderful Feast.

I have a question. Have you encountered any couples who are living in Polygamous marriages? What is your opinion of them?

  Marsha, Oklahoma

Response: When you say couples, I guess you mean husband/wife couples plus additional women. I do not know of anyone who biblically claims that a woman can have more than one husband at a time (Gen 20:3).

I do know of men who are married and think it is all right to have another wife. I have heard of one who is actually doing it. I also know of married men who think it is all right for them to have a girl friend as long as she is not married to anyone else because they consider her another "wife" or “concubine”, even though they have had no marriage. I have actually known of cases where a man may consider himself married to a woman who has no idea that he thinks so. (Not much open marital communication here.)

Of all the men I know who have desired or obtained multiple wives, there are none that I would consider good husbands to their first wife. They need help! Some of them do not work much and try to get their wives to support them. The men who do work usually treat their wives like property.

It is my understanding that some Rabbis allow a man who has small children and is married to a woman who has become totally disabled to have a second wife. This allows the man to continue to take care of the first wife at home, and allows the children to have a committed mother rather than a series of nannies. There may be some wisdom in this, but it is not lawful in most countries. I have no experience with such a situation.

The Old Testament allows a man to have multiple wives, but the examples do not work out well. 1Timothy 3:2 and Titus 1:6 show that leaders should have only one wife.

If anyone is asking you to be their second wife, run!

 — NSE

Philippine Brethren
Praise God

Letter:           January 7, 2004

Praise be the name of the Almighty Eternal God who says,

"I am God, and there is none like Me,…My counsel shall stand, and I will do My pleasure."

"For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there,

But water the earth,

And make it bring forth and bud,

That it may give seed to the sower,

And bread to the eater,

So shall My Word be that goes forth from My mouth:

It shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it” (Is 46:9-10; 55:10-11).

Your email came at a time the Fellowship needs encouragement. Presently, we are in mourning for the passing away of one of our elders. Mr. Servillano Miguel, 62, left the land of the living January 6, at 4:13 in the afternoon, having succumbed to a stroke. He was comatose for a little over 2 days, and was "taken away from the evil to come." He is survived by an only son, Arnold, and his family, Analiz, and two sons, Earl (7), and Steve (6). Arnold is being used as one of the lead men.

Your letter, which carries a glimpse of "light at the end of the tunnel," so to speak, gladdens a heart in mourning. Such a piece of good news… "as cold water to a weary soul, so is good news from a far country." (Prov. 25:25) "and a good report makes the bones healthy" (Prov. 15:30).

And how humbling and moving to be asked to have my letter printed. God's Word says:

"O give thanks to the Lord!…

Make known his deeds among the peoples

Talk of all His wondrous works...

Remember His marvelous works which He has done,

His wonders and the judgments of His mouth” (Psalm 105:1-2,5).

"And in that day, you will say:

Praise the Lord, call upon His name;

Declare His deeds among he peoples. Make mention that His Name is exalted for He has done excellent things, this is known in all the earth." (Isa 12:4-5).

If the letter I have been inspired to write you will in any small way contribute to these "telling the wonders that God performs" (in my life) to God's glory, honor and praise, I will be more than grateful to God to share it with all.

Our love to one and all, and remember, you are always in our prayers.

—Priscilla Cardona , Makati City. Philippines

Response:We are glad that our announcement of the Port Austin Bible Campus inspired you. Your letter encouraged us very much. We are sorry that we were unable to respond to it or publish it during this time. However, we can be at peace knowing that our Father in heaven takes care of each local fellowship. When older leaders pass on, he raises up new ones. When opposition against Him arises, His purposes stand. When our plans fail, we humbly learn and grow.

Thank you again.

   — NSE &


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