Letters to the Brethren – October 31, 2002

Dear Members and Co-Workers,
What amazing times we are living in today! For decades, the Church of God has forcefully and boldly proclaimed – even when it seemed “ridiculous” to do so – that the friendship between the United States and Europe, and particularly Germany, will cool off. We have also been told that when this happens, and when we see a mighty economically, politically, militarily and religiously unified power bloc developing on the European scene, we will know that the end is near.
My wife and I just returned from a one-month trip to Great Britain (where we kept the Feast of Tabernacles) and Germany. What we found during our travels was truly shocking – and sadly, not much focus is given to it on the news in this country.
On September 30, 2002, Der Spiegel reported extensively about the “German-American Breaking Test.” It asked the pointed question in its cover story, whether the two nations are now “Friends or Enemies.” It continued, “In five decades of German post-war history, the relationship between the United States and Germany seemed to have never been as shattered as in the past few weeks. With thundering pathos, Chancellor Schroeder… insisted that decisions regarding essential questions of the German nation could only be decided in Berlin. U.S. President Bush barked back, ‘Either you are for us or for the enemy.’”
Former UN-Ambassador of the United States, Richard Holbrooke, agreed. In an interview, published by Der Stern on October 2, he explained that the relationship between the United States and Germany has never been more shattered than now. He added that he regretted this fact, as “the Germans are the most important American allies.” Der Stern had already concluded on September 26, in its article titled, “The Love is Gone,” that “Germany is no longer considered a close ally of the United States.”
While Germany was celebrating its Day of German Unification (“Tag der Deutschen Einheit”) on October 3, President Bush congratulated German President Rau in a letter, but poignantly avoided addressing reelected Chancellor Schroeder, or to congratulate him on his slim electoral victory in the September election. (Bild, October 4). It is no secret that President Bush would have preferred Chancellor Candidate Mr. Edmund Stoiber to be Germany’s new Chancellor.
The alienation is not limited, however, to just the United States and Germany. It has been emphasized correctly in recent news that Germany has become the European leader in its opposition to American politics, especially in regard to the Iraq question. Since there is a leader, others will follow. In October, former President Jimmy Carter received the Nobel Peace Prize. Mr. Carter’s disagreement with President Bush’s present Iraq policy, which concerns are shared, of course, by the German government and most of the German people, had been widely publicized. It should come as no surprise, then, that Gunnar Berge, Chairman of the Committee in Oslo, confirmed that the decision to give Mr. Carter the Nobel Peace Prize was also to be understood as a clear criticism of the present U.S. administration (Bild, October 12).
Die Frankfurter Rundschau stated in its article, dated October 16, that the “ways of Europe and of the United States are separating.” It pointed out that “Americans and Europeans understand each other less and less in important strategic questions. This situation is not just temporary – the differences are deep and cannot easily be cured.”
While in Germany, my wife and I were shocked about the overall increase in prices. In many cases, prices actually doubled, since the Euro became the only currency in continental Europe. This has understandably angered the Germans, as promises had been made that the introduction of the Euro would have no negative effects on German pocket books. In addition, Germans are becoming upset about the re-elected government’s handling of the German economic situation. Many feel betrayed, as promises had been made before the election, that there would be no tax increases. Chancellor-Candidate Edmund Stoiber already spoke about a terrible fraud and betrayal in the election campaign, and he predicted that the current government will not last for one year.
This anger, coupled with an increasing sense of uncertainty of Germany’s stance in the world, might lead to surprising developments. Newsweek stated in its edition of September 20, 2002, that the British don’t know “what Germany stands for anymore,” while the editor of a German newspaper is quoted as saying, “We Germans aren’t sure of our place in the world, or where we’ll end up.” By now, you should have received our new booklet on “The Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord.” This booklet explains, from the Bible, where Germany, and the rest of Europe, “will end up,” and what will happen to the United States of America and other nations such as Great Britain. As long as there was a 2 — close friendship, especially between Germany and the U.S., certain end-time events, as depicted in the
Bible, could not have happened. But things are changing. New alliances are being formed, and a very powerful “Fortress Europe” is appearing on the scene.
In its October 2 edition, Der Stern alleged that the real victor of the German election has been German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer. According to the magazine, he “celebrates a resurrection” and is now the “superstar of German politics,” “mightier than ever before.” Mr. Fischer’s advocacy for a strong Europe, a European Federation, and a centralized European government under a powerful European Presidency, has been widely publicized. Although he is known to have warm and friendly feelings towards the United States, he nevertheless stated in an interview with Der Stern: “The Chancellor and I have made a clear commitment…. Germany will not participate in a war against Iraq. Our position has not changed since the election…. We will not get militarily involved.” If other European nations – and perhaps the United Nations – follow Germany’s lead in matters such as the one involving Iraq, the United States and
Great Britain are going to be very soon isolated powers on the world scene, ever decreasing in political influence.
This present world system is coming to an end. We just celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles, depicting a new and Godly world order, which is coming soon. Are we preparing for these awesome events which will take place, from all that we can see, within a few years from now? Satan is very angry. His time is short (Revelation 12:12). He will give his power and authority to the last resurrection of the ancient Holy Roman Empire, typical of what he had done in the past (Revelation 13:4) – only, this time, the ensuing destruction will stand unparalleled in the annals of human history (Matthew 24:21). The power bloc in Europe, once it has reached its final structure and configuration, will persecute the Church of God (Revelation 13:7; 17:6; 6:9-11). Some, who will have been counted worthy, will escape these terrible times (Revelation 3:10), while many other church members will not. In addition, the last resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire will begin a war against the United States and the British Commonwealth nations, as well as the modern state of Israel, with terrible consequences for those nations. The Bible clearly prophecies this coming war – and its outcome – and nothing that man may do or believe or say will change what has been preordained to occur.
Today, we are to warn the world, as much as God allows us to. We are to share with others the knowledge, which God has granted us. When we do so, and the more we do so, we are preparing for the Kingdom of God, and we may be counted worthy to escape all these things which are surely going to come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man (Luke 21:36). As Mr. Armstrong told us time and time again, the more our heart is in the Work, the more we overcome our own problems, and qualify thereby for the Kingdom. This is true, as we are focusing on others – and not only on ourselves. Rather than concentrating on what our needs are, we are also looking at the needs of others – and this world NEEDS to be warned. Some WILL listen and respond – but they would not even have opportunity to repent, if the Church did not preach the gospel to them TODAY (Romans 10:14-15).
We could also describe this process of qualifying for God’s Kingdom and His new World, by saying, when we are involved in the work of God, we are thereby developing Godly love – since love is outgoing concern for the welfare of others. No one, who does not have Godly love, will enter the Kingdom of God, since God IS love, and since WE are to become as God is (Matthew 5:48). If, on the other hand, we are increasing in the work of God, which will help us in developing Godly LOVE (2 Peter 1:7), we will be granted a sure entrance into the everlasting Kingdom (2 Peter 1:10-11). What a glorious time awaits us if we continue today our fight and daily struggles, so that in the process, we can develop in our lives God’s very character. It’s well worth it – and the hope of our salvation is not far away. Christ tells us, “I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.” (Revelation 22:12).
Rather than growing weary in well doing, we must increase in our diligence to do what God requires of us! Brethren, as the world around us enters its darkest days, we must continue to exhort and encourage one another, and that even more, as we see that the Day is fast approaching (Hebrews 10:25).
With brotherly love,
Norbert Link