|Live Services||Meeting Isaiah; Where is Peace?|
|Current Events||This Week in the News|
|Q&A||Would you please explain the concept of not giving offense to others? (Part 1)|
|The Work||Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock|
Meeting Isaiah; Where is Peace?
On, November 23, 2019, Frank Bruno will present the sermonette, titled, “Meeting Isaiah,” and Eric Rank will present the sermon, titled, “Where is Peace?”
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.
by Michael Link
To be truly dedicated takes commitment and long-suffering with much patience. It’s a life-long commitment to follow God’s laws, especially if we have chosen to live that way when God has called us out of this world to something far greater which will only be manifested at its full potential when Christ returns back to this earth to establish His Kingdom. Then we will see what we have been longing for our whole lives. But before we get to that point, we need to evaluate ourselves by truly asking how dedicated we are in the Church of God. As we live our daily lives, being preoccupied with our jobs, school, activities and such, do we sometimes wonder if we are dedicated enough; that is, dedicated in our spiritual lives, what we believe in, and also dedicated to our Bible studies? Are we dedicated to the Work of God and to our calling? We like to believe that this is true since fruits have shown how the Work has progressed, how the Word has gone out, and how we, the called-out ones, have listened and responded.
It takes dedication to keep the Sabbath, ALL of God’s commanded Holy Days, ALL of God’s laws and statutes and to LIVE by them. We devote our time, our efforts and ourselves to a particular purpose, the very choice we made for something far greater.
We have committed ourselves to God because we trust in Him (Psalm 37:5; 31:1-5). We also show a dedication to the Work, which God has indeed blessed and it’s amazing how much we are in fact getting done even with our limited resources. However, with God, there is no limit. God tells us in Proverbs 16:3 that if we commit our works to God, our thoughts will be established. The Work and this Church have certainly been established with much more work to do on the horizon. It requires a lot of faith, patience and trust.
We have also devoted ourselves to God and by doing that, with the right attitude, we can expect God to truly bless us (compare 2 Chronicles 31:4-12). Proper tithing does in fact bring forth blessings, and it does take a certain type of devotion to God to do it correctly with faith, not grudgingly with doubt.
By keeping God’s Law, we sacrifice what the world has to offer, for we have given up something valued in “man’s eyes” for the sake of something else regarded as more important or worthy. It took a sacrifice to attend ALL of God’s Feast Days and to keep the weekly Sabbath day, for example. What are we sacrificing? By living God’s Way, we are living sacrifices. Romans 12:1-2 states: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
By doing good and sharing, we also offer a sacrifice which is pleasing to God (Hebrews 13:15-16). When we fast occasionally or when we observe the Day of Atonement, we sacrifice the physical food and drink and replace it with spiritual food and drink. We sacrifice for something better by humbling ourselves to God (compare Leviticus 23:26-32; 1 Kings 21:27-29).
By dedicating our lives to God, there is no doubt that God will bless us for it. The Bible proves that God had blessed others like Abraham (read, for example, Hebrews 6:14), and all he had to do was obey. In Haggai 2:15-19 God promises blessings as He says in verse 19. Because we keep God’s Law, we also fear God in the correct manner as explained in Psalm 128:1-6. And when we continue in this way by being truly dedicated, God will bless us! “The LORD will give strength to His people; The LORD will bless His people with peace” (Psalm 29:11).
by Norbert Link
We begin with interesting articles about Pope Francis and the Catholic Church [please view in this regard our StandingWatch program, titled, “Is Pope Francis the False Prophet of the Bible?”]; speak on Iran’s move to cut off Internet access and ways to turn the Internet back on for Iranian citizens; and address the rise of anti-Semitism in Germany—including in at least one popular and influential German party—and also across Europe and in the USA.
We speak on further movements and ideas in Israel to build the third temple, including the thought of just moving the Dome of the Rock to a different location; report on America’s reversal of the concept that Israel’s settlements are illegal and reactions and possible consequences; speak on Israel’s uncertain future due to the failure to form a new government; and address the interesting thought, as published in an Israeli paper, that Donald Trump might be the last President of the United States prior to the coming of the Messiah. [In this regard, please view our new StandingWatch program, “How Near Is Christ’s Return?”]. We also quote from an article asking the theoretical question as to whether America would be ready for an “openly gay” president.
We continue to speak about the nuclear crisis and the many countries which have nuclear weapons or which may acquire them soon.
We conclude with reporting on controversial mandatory vaccinations in Germany and on the travesty of an abominable court decision for Planned Parenthood and against undercover Video journalists.
Throughout this section, we have underlined pertinent statements in the quoted articles, for the convenience and quick overview of the reader.
This Week in the News
The Pope’s Stance on Nuclear Weapons, Death Penalty, Euthanasia, Abortion and Suicide
The Associated Press wrote on November 17:
“[Pope] Francis has gone further than any other pope by saying that not only the use, but the mere possession of nuclear weapons is ‘to be firmly condemned.’…
“Francis changed Catholic teaching last year by declaring the death penalty ‘inadmissible’ in all cases. He has also denounced today’s ‘throwaway culture’ where euthanasia, abortion and suicide are often considered acceptable…”
The disagreements between the Pope and conservatives within the Catholic Church continue.
Pope Condemns Groups like the Churches of God
Vatican News wrote on November 11:
“Pope Francis… warned against those who tell us that the end is coming immediately, that ‘the time is at hand.’ … ‘The poor facilitate our access to heaven,’ he said.”
The end IS near, and we do NOT go to heaven when we die.
“The Pope Has Gone Further Away from God”
Breaking Israel News wrote on November 17:
“Pope Francis received the Grand Imam… of Egypt at the Vatican on Friday… a joint statement signed by the Pope and the Imam in February in Abu Dhabi intended to promote a ‘culture of mutual respect.’
“William Kilpatrick, a professor at Boston College… was skeptical of the agreement. ‘It’s unlikely that the Muslim parties will stick to their end of the bargain’, he wrote upon its signing, noting that the document ‘seems to have been written almost entirely in Rome. [The agreement is] geared to obfuscating the dangerous differences while emphasizing the surface similarities between Christianity and Islam… This is not what Muslim converts want to hear from their pope….That the Pope seems to propose the Quran as a way of salvation, is that not cause for worry?’
“The meeting at the Vatican comes at a time when traditional values in the Catholic Church are changing. Pope Francis has taken on a policy in which homosexuals are welcomed into the church… Pope Francis stated that homosexual ‘tendencies are not a sin…’
“Catholic dioceses in the United Kingdom are reportedly hosting homosexual Masses designed to welcome homosexuals into the church and combine ‘gay pride’ with the Eucharist and other Romish sacraments… these pro-homosexuality events have received blessings from the local Roman Catholic bishops…
“Rabbi Hillel Weiss, the spokesman for the Sanhedrin, noted that… rather than take the time to repent, the Pope has gone even further away from God…”
The Algemeiner wrote on November 16 that “Pope Francis said on Friday politicians who rage against homosexuals… remind him of Hitler.”
The Pope’s fascination with homosexuals is quite remarkable.
Strengthening the Bonds with Other Religions?
Deutsche Welle reported on November 20:
“Once again, Pope Francis is traveling to countries where Catholics make up a small percentage of the population… the pope, who arrived in Thailand on Wednesday, has made it his mission to use such trips to foster understanding between faiths. The pontiff said he sought ‘to strengthen the bonds of friendship that we share with many Buddhist brothers and sisters.’…
“Francis [has] gone further than his predecessors by making… astonishing statements… about religious diversity…
“Media outlets will give heavy coverage to the pope’s visits to the memorials to the victims of the atomic bombings in Hiroshima, where he will participate in an interfaith peace conference, and Nagasaki, where he intends to deliver a rebuke of the use of nuclear weapons… Francis will become the second pope to visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki. John Paul II visited in 1981, at the height of the Cold War…”
As we reported in our last Current Events section, and as it is discussed in our StandingWatch program, titled, “Is Pope Francis the False Prophet of the Bible?”, Pope Francis’ attempts to bring non-Christian religions under the Roman Catholic Church’s umbrella is being heavily criticized by conservative Catholics.
Iran Cuts Off Internet Access
The Associated Press wrote on November 17:
“Iran’s supreme leader on Sunday cautiously backed the government’s decision to raise gasoline prices by 50% after days of widespread protests, calling those who attacked public property during demonstrations ‘thugs’ and signaling that a potential crackdown loomed.
“The government shut down internet access across the nation of 80 million people to staunch demonstrations that took place in a reported 100 cities and towns… By Saturday night, connectivity had fallen to just 7% of ordinary levels… The semiofficial ISNA news agency reported Sunday that Iran’s Supreme National Security Council ordered a ‘restriction of access’ to the internet nationwide, without elaborating.”
This shows how easy it is for autocratic dictatorships to cut off access to the Internet. But note the next article.
How the USA and the EU Could Turn the Internet on for Iran
Deutsche Welle wrote on November 19:
“Richard Grenell, the US ambassador to Germany, tweeted that the United States and EU could ‘turn the internet on’ for Iran after the regime shut it down during protests against fuel price hikes. [He] followed up with a tweet to cellphone manufacturers and social media companies, encouraging them to join in the task…
“It’s nearly impossible for ordinary users with computers and routers to quickly access familiar internet services if a regime blocks network connections. However, limited communication may still be possible with a fair amount of effort…
“Before the World Wide Web got going in the 1990s, plenty of people already used the internet to communicate without being online all the time. CrossPoint (also called XP) brought together the function of discussion forums with those of an email program. Simple PCs equipped with one or two telephone modems acted as servers. These CrossPoint servers only needed to call one another every now and then on a normal telephone line to exchange their data packets.
“The technology works in countries run by authoritarian regimes, too. The Zamir Transnational Network demonstrated that starting in 1991, during the wars in the former Yugoslavia. As long as the servers were able to reach a telephone number in a free country, communication with the internet and the rest of the world was assured… It could still take days for an email to reach its recipient, but it was far faster than sending a letter.
“The backbone of a contemporary system in Iran and other countries with authoritarian governments would be the hundreds of thousands or even millions of smartphones that people carry around with them… Each of those phones would become a server and connect with other phones nearby. A massive parallel internet would emerge through which users could communicate with each other…
“The free internet for Iran that Ambassador Grenell has called for could possibly be implemented with a cleverly designed app that would include a number of secret servers operated inside the country that allow telephone communications abroad… If a country blocks all channels of communication abroad, what’s left is communication into space…”
Today’s technologies and their potential are just amazing. God will assure that the gospel message will be proclaimed in all the world as a witness before Christ’s return.
Germany’s Volkstrauertag and the Rise of Extremism
Deutsche Welle wrote on November 17:
“German dignitaries paid their respects to the victims of war, oppression and violence on Sunday, as they took part in annual Volkstrauertag (“Remembrance Day”) ceremonies in Berlin…
“The president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Josef Schuster, used the day of remembrance to caution against what he called ‘a creeping tendency’ of right-wing populism and extremism… Schuster spoke of ‘a real danger’ of becoming accustomed to right-wing extremism, citing ‘regular neo-Nazi concerts’ and the electoral success of the far-right AfD party…”
Antisemitism is clearly on the rise in Germany and throughout Europe.
Antisemitism in the US and across Europe
The Jerusalem Post wrote on November 17:
“Over the past five years, the world has seen record high numbers of antisemitic incidents in the United States and across Europe. Holocaust survivors say verbal and physical attacks against Jews and their property in 2019 are in many ways akin to what they experienced in Germany in the 1930s, which has created a deep-seated fear that another Holocaust is possible…
“Polls done on the subject of antisemitism in Austria and the United States have yielded frightening results. In the US, 58% of Americans believe that something like the Holocaust could happen again… 68% of people believed that antisemitism was prevalent in the United States… nearly a third of all Americans and more than four out of 10 millennials believe that substantially less than six million Jews were killed (two million or fewer) during the Holocaust…
“In a similar survey done… in Austria this year, similar results were reported. More than half (58%) of Austrians said that they believe that something like the Holocaust could happen again in other European countries. More than a third of Austrian adults – 38%, who are 43% of millennials and Generation Z – believe that National Socialism/Nazism could come to power again…
“Prof. Judy Baumel Schwartz of the Department of Jewish History and Contemporary Jewry at Bar-Ilan University said the hatred of Jews didn’t start with the Holocaust. ‘Hatred of Jews began a very long time before Hitler’… Following the Holocaust and until the 1980s, it wasn’t fashionable to be antisemitic, but this was just a temporary situation and ‘now Europe has gone back to the way it always was.’”
This is frightening and deeply depressing. The propaganda promulgated on the Internet and in the social media is dangerous when false information is disseminated—such as the hoax that the Holocaust did not exist.
German Neo-Nazis and Green Party .. .an Interesting Symbiosis
The Jerusalem Post wrote on November 15:
“The EU’s top court has been engulfed since Tuesday in an antisemitic legal scandal because of its singling out of Jewish, Israeli products from the disputed territories for a punitive labeling system. Critics say the legal ruling is discriminatory.
“What has been omitted from the rage over the alleged European Union discriminatory ruling is that Germany’s main neo-Nazi party and the German Green Party advocated a labeling of Israeli products from the disputed West Bank, Golan Heights and east Jerusalem territories as early as 2012 for the Nazi party NPD and for the Greens in 2013…
“First, the Nazis: In 2009, Jürgen Rieger, a Holocaust denier and then-deputy chairman of the neo-Nazi National Democratic Party of Germany, called on Germans to boycott Israel. In 2012, the NPD party submitted a legislative initiative in the parliament of the German state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania to mark Israeli products…
“A mere five months later, in 2013, Germany’s influential Green Party introduced an initiative in the federal parliament that largely mirrored the neo-Nazi-sponsored legislation from the previous year… Both initiatives use the historical model of the German Nazi regime boycotts of Jewish businesses starting on April 1, 1933, and invoking the mass slogan: ‘Germans defend yourselves. Do not buy from Jews!’… The much-documented antisemitism of the Green Party has been reported on over the decades…
“A striking feature of the Green Party’s deep obsession with targeting Jewish products with disciplinary action is that the party, like the EU’s top court, ignores the over 100 other territorial disputes in the world. Put simply, the Green Party seeks no economic warfare against Turkish products, for example, for Ankara’s illegal seizure of Northern Cyprus…
“The Israel Hayom columnist Caroline Glick tweeted on Tuesday: ‘Weren’t the Nazis rooted in the Green Party beginning in the late 19th century? And didn’t Nazis play a key role in establishing the postwar Greens? Didn’t the Greens push to label Jewish Israeli goods? (Yes, all the above is true.)’ Glick , a former columnist for the Post, hit a button about the Nazi roots of the Green Party.
“Take the example of August Haussleiter, who, as co-founder of the Greens in 1979, played an important role in the party’s development. Haussleiter was active in Hitler’s Munich Beer Hall Putsch in 1923 and praised the German Wehrmacht in 1942. Baldur Springmann, a former member of the SA, the Nazi Party’s original paramilitary organization, also played a critical role in the nascent phase of the German Green Party. He left the party in 1980.”
This is a very revealing article, as it exposes the deeply anti-Semitic culture of Germany’s neo-Nazis and the popular environmentalist Green Party—not unlike Britain’s Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn.
Removing the Dome of the Rock?
Breaking Israel News reported on November 18:
“The Supreme Court of India ruled that an ancient [Hindu] temple must be rebuilt and a mosque that was built in its place must be relocated elsewhere. The case is surprisingly similar to the situation at Jerusalem’s Temple Mount and some see this as a precedent paving the way for the return of a Jewish Temple.
“… last week, the Indian Supreme Court gave its final ruling that the land required to build the Hindu temple be handed over by the Muslim authority…
“Assaf Fried, the spokesman for the Temple Organization, noted the unmistakable similarities between the case in India and the situation on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem… ‘The situation is precisely like the one in Jerusalem. Though it cannot be used in Israeli jurisprudence, conceptually, it is compelling… The structure of the Dome of the Rock, which is not a mosque but only a monument, can be moved to another location on the Temple Mount or in Jerusalem. It could even be transferred to Mecca.’…
“Yaakov Hayman, chairman of the United Temple Movements, agreed that the case in India was identical to the situation at the Temple Mount… He suggested moving the Dome of the Rock… ‘It is a beautiful building but it doesn’t need to be precisely there. That specific site is holy to the Jews. I think that what was shown in India is what should be done. If it was done in India, it can be done in Israel.’”
The push towards building the Third Temple gets more and more intense…
USA Reverses Decision to Call Israeli Settlements Illegal
Breitbart wrote on November 18:
“Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Monday that the U.S. had reversed the policy of Presidents Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama, who declared Israeli settlements in Judea and Samaria (the ‘West Bank’) illegal. Israel took over the region during the Six Day War in 1 June 1967, after Jordan, ignoring pleas from Israel to stay out of the unfolding war with Egypt and Syria, began shelling western Jerusalem. Israel’s counter-attack was victorious.
“Though the area is commonly described as ‘occupied,’ Israel has long maintained that the territory is actually ‘disputed,’ since Jordan had no sovereign right to the territory. If anything, Israel has a superior legal claim, resting on the Balfour Declaration on 1917 and the subsequent League of Nations approval of the British Mandate, which included provision for a Jewish National Home in Palestine. Palestinians also claim the area for their future state.
“Jews had lived in portions of Judea and Samara for millennia. It is the Biblical cradle of the Jewish faith; Jews also lived in Jerusalem, Hebron, and other areas. Many were killed or expelled in the 1948 war of independence, but some began coming back, and establishing new settlements on state land, from 1968 onward…
“Secretary Pompeo issued a statement explaining the administration’s legal reasoning…: ‘After carefully studying all sides of the legal debate, this Administration agrees with President Reagan. The establishment of Israeli civilian settlements in the West Bank is not per se inconsistent with international law.’…
“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders celebrated the U.S. decision…”
The Associated Press added on November 18:
“The European Union warned of the potential repercussions in a statement following the announcement that did not mention the U.S…. The international community overwhelmingly considers the settlements illegal…
“Shortly after Pompeo’s announcement, the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem issued an advisory warning for Americans planning to travel in the West Bank, Jerusalem and Gaza…”
The Associated Press wrote on November 20:
“The Vatican on Wednesday expressed concern that ‘recent decisions’ could undermine regional stability in the Middle East, in an apparent reference to the US reversal of position on Israeli settlements.”
The Netherlands Objects
The Times of Israel reported on November 20:
“The Dutch parliament on Tuesday approved a motion pushing back against a European Court of Justice decision that ordered the labeling of Israeli goods made in West Bank settlements. The motion, approved 82-68, calls on the government to object to the ruling, unless similar standards are applied to all disputed territories around the world. It deems the singling out of Israel in such regard unfair and discriminatory…
“The Dutch vote, supported by Christian groups in parliament and backed by the governing coalition, does not compel the government to act and is largely symbolic. However, diplomatic officials told the Ynet news site that the strong support from the coalition indicated it would guide government policy to an extent.”
The Netherlands is the exception. Most European countries, including Germany, reject the American position. Even though somewhat symbolic, the statement of the USA will set the stage for a coming clash in the Middle East. Note the next article.
Netanyahu Moves Ahead
Breaking Israel News reported on November 20:
“While much of the world screamed at the Trump administration’s announcement that international law does indeed grant Israel the right to Judea and Samaria, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took the opportunity to move forward towards redemption. As per a campaign promise made before the September 17 election, Netanyahu announced on Tuesday [that he] approved a bill that would annex the Jordan Valley. The initiative for the bill actually came from Sharren Haskell (Likud) who, in light of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s announcement, requested that the bill be exempted from the mandatory six-week waiting period and be fast-tracked with a Knesset vote held next week. The move would include about 20 percent of Judea and Samaria into Israel…
“The vote should go through with ease since Benny Gantz, head of the left-wing Blue and White party, announced two weeks ago that he supported annexing the Jordan Valley and the area adjacent to the Dead Sea. The left-wing party responded to Netanyahu’s campaign promise by saying, ‘[We are] happy Netanyahu is adopting the Blue and White policy platform’…
“Rabbi Yehudah Glick, a Temple Mount activist and former Likud Member of Knesset, described the annexation of the Jordan Valley as the beginning of redemption. ‘The Jordan Valley, in particular, Jericho, was where the Jews first came into Israel,’ Rabbi Glick told Breaking Israel News. ‘That was the beginning of the first redemption. It was where we first became a free nation. This announcement is more than a political agenda. Just like the Jews who first crossed the Jordan River after the Exodus from Egypt, this is an announcement to the world that we are home… Like Abraham, we are saying, ‘Hineni’ (Here I am). We are here, and we are ready to settle the entire land,’ Rabbi Glick said.”
This will surely give rise to further anti-Israel resolutions and actions.
Israel’s Uncertain Future… a Third Election on the Horizon
Deutsche Welle reported on November 20:
“Benny Gantz, Blue and White party leader, announced on Wednesday that he will not be able to form a new government… President Reuven Rivlin had given him a midnight deadline… He now returns the mandate to Rivlin. This announcement deals a major setback to Gantz’s hopes of replacing Netanyahu as prime minister.
“Parliament now has 21 days to rally around Gantz, Netanyahu or another candidate to avoid the third election within twelve months… Avigdor Lieberman, leader of a smaller Israeli party and dubbed ‘kingmaker’ in the election, said earlier on Wednesday that he would not support Gantz, all but ensuring Gantz’s failure. He previously also ruled out working with Netanyahu.
“Neither Gantz nor Netanyahu have the required majority in parliament to form a government in their own right. Despite rounds of meetings, both have been unwilling to bend on key issues… A third election now seems likely with no other solution on the horizon.”
This means, Netanyahu remains Prime Minister for the time being.
JTA wrote on November 21:
“Benjamin Netanyahu has been charged in three corruption cases, marking the first time a sitting Israeli prime minister has been indicted.
“The charges, announced on Thursday evening by the Justice Ministry and Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, include bribery and breach of public trust.
“Netanyahu has denied the charges and called the investigations against him a ‘witch hunt.’…
“He has 30 days to request that the Knesset grant him parliamentary immunity in order to avoid a criminal trial. Government ministers are required to resign if faced with a criminal charge, but not the prime minister.”
The Jerusalem Post added:
“The indictment will significantly impact the ongoing efforts to form a coalition before December 11 when the period of 21 days expires.”
Donald Trump—the Last US President?
On November 13, Breaking Israel News published an article with the following headline:
“Rabbi: Blessing Trump as King Shows He is the Final President Before the Return of Davidic Dynasty.”
The article continued:
“President Trump attended an Orthodox Jewish fundraising event at the Intercontinental Hotel in Manhattan on Tuesday evening. Four hundred Orthodox Jews participated in the event… Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Jacobson recited the blessing said upon seeing a non-Jewish ruler… The crowd responded with an enthusiastic ‘Amen’ and chants of ‘Four more years.’ The Talmud states that it is a mitzvah (Torah commandment) for a Jew to go out of his way to see rulers and kings, whether they are Jewish or non-Jewish… ‘Though it is true that Trump is not technically a king but he is the most powerful ruler of the world,’ Rabbi Hollander told Breaking Israel News. ‘In that sense, Trump is more of a king than other kings.’…
“Rabbi Berger noted that the blessing of Trump as a king was timely indeed. He cited Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki, the medieval commentator known by the acronym Rashi, explains that this mitzvah is incumbent on Jews who will see the coming of the Messiah… ‘The Messiah will come to fix the mess that has been made of governments around the world, in almost every nation. America and Israel are both having crises in leadership,’ Rabbi Berger said.
“‘We are seeing that democracy simply does not work. The Bible does not talk about democracy. If the U.S. had a king, there would not be any spurious impeachment process or pointless investigations. Democracy allows people who hate the country, who hate God, and even hate half of the people, to run the country. This breakdown of government is intended to turn people to the real king.’ ‘If Israel had a king, there would not be any election reruns,’ Rabbi Berger said. ‘Since David was the king, he went out and dealt with the Philistines in a true and decisive manner. Because Israel does not have a king, it is 70 years and we are still getting attacked by the same Philistines.’ ‘We need the real king and all this conflict over how to run the country will end with the emergence of the true king,’ Rabbi Berger said.”
We have suggested for quite a while that Donald Trump might indeed be the last President of the United States. And as the article points out, only the Messiah will be able to make an end to the mess which we have created.
“Is America Ready for an Openly Gay President?”
AFP wrote on November 18:
“As young Democrat Pete Buttigieg emerges as a genuine contender in the 2020 White House race, his rise poses the question of whether America is ready for an openly gay president… The latest national polls put the Afghanistan veteran fourth behind… former vice president Joe Biden and… senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders… While Buttigieg does not dwell on his sexual orientation, he has spoken candidly about his decision to come out four years ago, and his engagement in 2017 to Chasten — with whom he hopes to start a family, perhaps even in the White House.
“Unlike Europe where half a dozen countries have elected gay leaders since 2009, the barrier to LGBT presidential candidates, as well as women, remains unbroken in the United States. Barack Obama, the first black man elected president in 2008, was preceded in the White House by 43 white males, none openly gay… Now we have two [openly gay] governors [and] two [openly gay] US senators… The first openly gay presidential candidate was Fred Karger, who sought the Republican nomination in 2012, although his candidacy never took off.
“On its website, Victory Fund regularly updates a map of elected LBGTQ officials in the United States: the number currently stands at 762 across all levels of government and all states except South Dakota and Mississippi… In May, a Gallup poll found 76 percent of respondents said they would vote for a gay candidate, three times more than in 1978. Among Democrats… the share rose to 83 percent… Most [opposed] were able to overcome their reservations after hearing him speak in calm and measured tones and once he had reminded them he is a practicing Christian…”
The change in the USA—and around the world—pertaining to “openly gay” politicians is quite remarkable and a telling sign of the times. The Bible condemns the practice of homosexuality. But the discussion as to whether America is ready for an “openly gay president” may only be of theoretical interest, because Donald Trump will be reelected in 2020.
The Nuclear Crisis
Project Syndicate wrote on November 18:
“Iran has begun a slow but steady process of getting out from under many of the agreement’s limits… It may… be calculating that these steps could dramatically reduce the time it would need to produce nuclear weapons without being attacked. But it is at least as likely that Iran’s actions will lead the US, or more probably Israel, to undertake a preventive strike designed to destroy a significant part of its program.
“Such a strike could lead several other regional powers, including Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt, to develop or acquire nuclear weapons of their own. Turkey, increasingly estranged from many of its allies, has suggested that it may choose to develop nuclear weapons regardless of what Iran does. North Korea is far ahead of Iran: it already has several dozen nuclear weapons and missiles, has tested missiles that can reach the US, and is developing submarine-launched nuclear weapons.
“The notion that North Korea will agree to give up its weapons and ‘denuclearize’ is fanciful. Its leader, Kim Jong-un, believes that only nuclear weapons can ensure his regime’s survival, a belief understandably strengthened by the experience of Ukraine, which accepted security guarantees in exchange for giving up the nuclear weapons it inherited from the Soviet Union, only to be invaded by Russia 25 years later.
“One risk is… that North Korea’s neighbors, including South Korea and Japan, will determine that they, too, need nuclear weapons given the North Korean threat and their diminished confidence in the reliability of the US and its guarantees to protect them with its nuclear forces. The danger in both regions is that a race to acquire nuclear weapons could trigger a preventive war…
“India and Pakistan, two countries with a long history of bilateral conflict, are both nuclear powers. Nuclear deterrence cannot be assumed
“… the number of countries [known to have] nuclear weapons is… nine… But with nuclear technology increasingly available, arms control unraveling amid renewed great power rivalry, weakened alliances as the US pulls back from the world, and fading memories of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we are entering a new and dangerous period. Nuclear competition or even use of nuclear weapons could again become the greatest threat to global stability. Less certain is whether today’s leaders are up to meeting this emerging challenge.”
A nuclear all-encompassing World War III is prophesied to happen soon.
Vaccinations for Children Soon Mandatory in Germany
Deutsche Welle wrote on November 14:
“On Thursday, the German parliament — the Bundestag — passed a law to make immunization mandatory. The ‘Measles Protection Act’ stipulates that as of March 2020 children and staff in kindergartens and schools, medical facilities, and community facilities must be vaccinated. These include residences for asylum seekers, refugee shelters and holiday camps. Parents who do not vaccinate their children of school age will face hefty fines of up to €2,500 ($2,749), while younger children could face a ban from day care facilities…
“After months of debate, the law approved on Thursday wasn’t passed without criticism. Pediatrician Dr. Steffen Rabe… said every parent should be allowed to decide whether they immunize their child. ‘The law is unnecessary, ineffective and unconstitutional,’ Rabe told DW, quoting the right of bodily integrity…
“As the measles vaccination in Germany is only available as a triple — and sometimes quadruple — shot, the mandatory measles vaccination will also indirectly make immunization against measles, mumps and rubella, and in some cases chicken pox obligatory… ‘Some parents don’t want to vaccinate their children against all three diseases due to concerns about possible… side effects later in life,’ Rabe said.
“The German Association of Cities was also critical, saying that the law will affect the legal right to a place at a kindergarten and the difficulty of finding an available spot — an ongoing issue in Germany. German Health Minister Jens Spahn defended the new law.”
Many can be influenced by following the popular mass-media-driven notion endorsed by many governments regarding the necessity of vaccinations, while overlooking or suppressing potential side effects. Spahn who is openly gay has also been instrumental for the enactment of other laws which are likewise quite controversial.
In addition, Bild Online reported on November 20 that Germans are overwhelmingly disappointed with their government. Only 26% feel the quality of their government constitutes strength for their country, and only 57% have confidence in the political stability (down from 81% a while back). 73% of East Germans think that the current government is too weak. Further, the coalition between CDU and SPD is being rejected by a large portion of the population, but so would be a coalition between the CDU and the Greens.
Jury Sides with Planned Parenthood Against Undercover Video Journalists
Breitbart wrote on November 15:
“The jury in the federal civil case brought against the undercover video journalists who exposed Planned Parenthood in its alleged trafficking of the body parts of aborted babies found in favor of Planned Parenthood Friday. In the case of Planned Parenthood v. Center for Medical Progress (CMP), the jury found the pro-life journalists caused significant harm to the abortion chain with its sting video series and awarded punitive damages to the abortion chain of over $2.2 million, according to the Thomas More Society, which represented David Daleiden, who headed the CMP project.
“In a statement, Daleiden said: ‘Justice was not done today in San Francisco. While top Planned Parenthood witnesses spent six weeks testifying under oath that the undercover videos are true and Planned Parenthood sold fetal organs on a quid pro quo basis, a biased judge with close Planned Parenthood ties spent six weeks trying to influence the jury with pre-determined rulings and suppressed the video evidence, all in order to rubber-stamp Planned Parenthood’s lawsuit attack on the First Amendment. This is a dangerous precedent for citizen journalism and First Amendment civil rights across the country, sending a message that speaking truth and facts to criticize the powerful is no longer protected by our institutions.’
“Prior to the start of the trial, U.S. District Judge William Orrick III ruled the jury would not be allowed to consider any information Daleiden gleaned from the video recordings… Orrick has been the subject of controversy as he presided over the case, during which he imposed a gag order on CMP regarding the online publication of the National Abortion Federation (NAF) and Planned Parenthood video footage… the Good Samaritan Family Resource Center — an entity that is in partnership with a Planned Parenthood affiliate, a member of the NAF — had named Orrick as an emeritus member of its board… Orrick’s wife’s Facebook account was found to have included posted public comments — along with a photo of her and her husband — that indicate support for Planned Parenthood and criticism of Daleiden and CMP.
“Planned Parenthood has yet to be prosecuted for any of the allegations of profiting from the sales of the body parts of babies aborted in its clinics….”
This Judge should have been disqualified, as he was obviously biased. This is a travesty of justice and an abominable judgment of shame in favor of an organization which is admittedly engaged in terrible and ungodly conduct. How could a true Christian participate in jury trials like these?
Acknowledgement and Disclaimer
These Current Events are compiled and commented on by Norbert Link. We gratefully acknowledge the many contributions of news articles from our readership. The publication of articles in this section is not to be viewed as an endorsement or approval as to contents or accuracy of the selected articles, but they are published for the purpose of pointing at worldwide developments in the light of biblical end-time prophecy and godly instruction. Our own comments are provided in italics.
Would you please explain the concept of not giving offense to others? (Part 1)
We need to carefully examine this misunderstood question. We will start with statements about Christ and His conduct; show what giving offense really means; and we will examine what Paul wanted to convey when talking about not offending our weak conscience or that of another person.
Let us first notice that Jesus Christ was called a stumbling stone and a rock of offense.
Isaiah 8:14 states this about Christ:
“He will be as a sanctuary, But a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense To both the houses of Israel, As a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.”
Romans 9:30-33 adds:
“What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness of faith; but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness. Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone [Greek: proskommatos]. As it is written: ‘Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone [Greek: proskommatos] and rock of offense [Greek: skandalon; literally, stumbling block], And whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.’”
1 Peter 2:6-8 confirms:
“Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, ‘Behold, I lay in Zion A chief cornerstone, elect, precious, And he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.’ Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, ‘The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone,’ and ‘A stone of stumbling [Greek: proskomma] And a rock of offense [Greek: skandalon; i.e., stumbling block].’ They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed.”
Finally, let us notice 1 Corinthians 1:21-24:
“For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block [Greek: skandalon] and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.”
These Scriptures tell us that people would be offended by Christ and His actions and they would accuse Him of being a stumbling block to them.
Let us focus on some of Christ’s actions, His teachings and His entire purpose for His First Coming which were offensive to people. Christ was perceived as one who was guilty of causing offense to people and of causing them to stumble, but Christ never sinned.
Galatians 5:11 reads:
“And I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why do I still suffer persecution? Then the offense [Greek scandalon] of the cross has ceased.”
People were offended by the fact that the Messiah should die on the cross. But Christ did not alter God’s plan by refusing to die that way in order not to offend people and to avoid the “stumbling block of the cross.”
Matthew 11:2-6 states:
“And when John had heard in prison about the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples and said to Him, ‘Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?’ Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who is not offended [Greek: skandalizo; lit., to cause to stumble] because of Me’” (compare also Luke 7:23).
Even John the Baptist had doubts as to whether Christ was the Messiah because He did not act in the way that he had expected. But Christ did not change His behavior, even if that offended people.
Matthew 13:54-57 emphasizes that Christ offended people simply by who He was. They thought that God would have worked it out differently, if Christ were really the Messiah:
“And when He had come to His own country, He taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished and said, ‘Where did this Man get this wisdom and these mighty works? Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James, Joses, Simon, and Judas? And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this Man get all these things?’ So they were offended [Greek: skandalizo] at Him. But Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house.’ Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief” (compare Mark 6:3).
They thought He should have stopped preaching, given who they thought He was. As a consequence, they were offended when He did not do what they wanted Him to do, and so He could not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief and refusal to accept Him as the Messiah.
John 6:41-62 continues this theme by pointing out that people were offended by what Christ taught, whom they thought they knew, and they left Him because of that:
“The Jews then complained about Him, because He said, ‘I am the bread which came down from heaven.’ And they said, ‘Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it then that He says, “I have come down from heaven”?’ Jesus therefore answered and said to them, ‘Do not murmur among yourselves. No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day…
“‘I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.’ The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves, saying, ‘How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?’
“Then Jesus said to them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. This is the bread which came down from heaven–not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever.’
“These things He said in the synagogue as He taught in Capernaum. Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, ‘This is a hard saying; who can understand it?’ When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, ‘Does this offend [Greek: skandalizo] you? What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before?…’ From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.”
Jesus spoke figuratively by referring to the partaking of bread and wine at the Passover. He then made reference to His death, resurrection and ascension to heaven. He could have said it differently and less “provocatively,” but He did so on purpose, thereby dividing the wheat from the tares, knowing that many of His disciples would be offended by His words.
Matthew 15:1-12 gives another example to show how little Jesus cared about offending the scribes and the Pharisees.
“Then the scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came to Jesus, saying, ‘Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash [ceremonially] their hands when they eat bread.’ He answered and said to them, ‘Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition? For God commanded, saying, “Honor your father and your mother”; and, “He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.” But you say, “Whoever says to his father or mother, ‘Whatever profit you might have received from me is a gift to God’– then he need not honor his father or mother.” Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition.
“‘Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: “These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.”’…
“Then His disciples came and said to Him, ‘Do You know that the Pharisees were offended [Greek: skandalizo] when they heard this saying?’ But He answered and said, ‘Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch.’”
Rather than saying that from now on, He and His disciples would ceremonially wash their hands, He told the Pharisees and scribes that they were guilty of breaking God’s commandments by their traditions. He knew of course that they would be offended by His words… that He would be for them a stumbling block and a rock of offense.
Let us note additional examples where Christ’s actions were opposed to the expectation and ideas of others, which offended people.
He talked to the Samaritan woman at the well, which was against the custom of His time, and so His own disciples were astonished when He talked in public to a woman.
He told the parable about the merciful Samaritan which angered the Jews who looked at Samaritans as “dogs.”
He ate with harlots and tax collectors, which upset the self-righteous Pharisees.
He allowed His disciples to pluck grain on the Sabbath, which offended the merciless Pharisees so that they condemned the innocent.
He healed on the Sabbath, which offended the Pharisees and others who taught that healing should not take place on the Sabbath.
He allowed children and babes to praise Him when He entered Jerusalem, which offended the Pharisees.
He allowed several women to anoint Him with oil, which offended all of His disciples, who followed the lead of Judas Iscariot in that matter (John 12:1-8; Matthew 26:1-13). He did not tell the woman who followed the example of Mary not to anoint Him, after Mary had been condemned by His disciples. He did not say: Please do not do this as you are offending My disciples. And of course, His disciples complained again. But Christ’s reaction was one of praise for both women.
We should also take note of the fact that people will become so offended that they will leave the Church, but it does not say that other members were at fault.
Matthew 13:20-21 quotes Christ’s words when telling the parable of the sower:
“But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles” (compare Mark 4:17).
The Authorized Version translates: “he is offended.” The Greek word is skandalizo, which means, as we have seen, “to cause to stumble.”
There are many warnings of Christ to the effect that we must not become offended at a given situation or even at Him when we are victims of persecution.
In John 16:1-4, Christ states the following:
“These things I have spoken to you, that you should not be made to stumble. They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service. And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me. But these things I have told you, that when the time comes, you may remember that I told you of them…”
The Authorized Version reads: “…that you should not be offended.” The Greek word is skandalizo.
Matthew 24:8-10 adds this warning for the end time:
“All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended [Greek skandalizo], will betray one another, and will hate one another.”
Sometimes, we may not realize how easily we can become offended.
Matthew 26:31-34 reports that Peter did not think it was possible that he would ever be offended by Christ, but he was. We read:
“Then Jesus said to them, ‘All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written: “I will strike the Shepherd, And the sheep of the flock will be scattered.” But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee.’ Peter answered and said to Him, ‘Even if all are made to stumble because of You, I will never be made to stumble.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Assuredly, I say to you that this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times” (compare Mark 14:27-29).
The Authorized Version reads: “all ye shall be offended because of me… though all be offended… I will never be offended.” The Greek word is skandalizo throughout.
They were all offended because of Christ, including Peter, and they all had denied that it could happen. This shows that we must be very careful not to become offended by what Jesus Christ is doing today in His spiritual body—the Church.
Rather than becoming offended, we must be careful that we don’t cause God to place a stumbling block before us because of our conduct. David prayed that those who reject God should be given a stumbling block—that is, they will even stumble more over the Word of God, by upholding their own traditions and opinions.
We read in Romans 11:7-9:
“What then? Israel has not obtained what it seeks; but the elect have obtained it, and the rest were blinded. Just as it is written: ‘God has given them a spirit of stupor, Eyes that they should not see And ears that they should not hear, To this very day.’ And David says: ‘Let their table become a snare and a trap, A stumbling block [Greek skandalon] and a recompense to them.’”
(To Be Continued)
Lead Writer: Norbert Link
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
compiled by Dave Harris
A new Member Letter (November 2019) has been written and mailed to our subscribers. In this letter, Pastor Dave Harris reminds us to look to exactly what it means to be called into the Truth of God.
A Ministerial Skype Meeting was conducted last Sunday morning (November 17, 2019). We established a date for next year’s Church Conference—Thursday, March 26, 2020, through Sunday, March 29, 2020—to be held in Escondido, California. Also, ministerial assignments for the 2020 Fall Holy Days were determined.
A new StandingWatch program was produced by Evangelist Norbert Link, titled, “How Near Is Christ’s Return?” Here is a summary:
One of the reasons that we know that Christ’s Second Coming is just around the corner is the fact that the Jews are anxious to build the third temple in Jerusalem. An interesting case in India might be used as compelling precedence for removing the Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa mosque. America’s new policy stating that Israel’s settlements are not illegal was rejected by the EU and the Vatican and will also contribute to turmoil in the Middle East, especially in light of Israel’s plans to annex the Jordan Valley. Finally, the anointing by a Jewish Rabbi of President Trump as King constitutes for some the necessary fulfillment of a command in the Talmud, leading to the Coming of the Messiah.
“Was bedeutet es, keinen Anstoß zu geben?” is the title of this Sabbath’s new German sermon, presented by Norbert Link. Title in English: “What Does It Mean Not to Give Offense?”
“Wie wir jederzeit dankbar sein sollten,” is the title of this Sabbath’s new German sermonette, presented by Michael Link. Title in English: “How We Should Be Thankful At All Times.”
“President Trump’s Destiny — Comments on News and Prophecy (November 16, 2019),” is the title of last Sabbath’s commentary, presented by Norbert Link. Here is a summary:
Some feel that President Trump is fulfilling a prophetic role in relationship to the state of Israel, which is similar to the role of Cyrus, King of Persia, who helped the Jews to build the Second Temple. They say that Trump will be used to help build the Third Temple, as a prerequisite for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Trump seems to believe this himself.
“Sermon – Words – Part 1:” is the title of last Sabbath’s sermon, presented by Pastor Brian Gale. Here is a summary:
This sermon looks at the importance of words, and explores seven areas where words impact on church members lives today.
How This Work is Financed
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