Update 1088


Ears to Hear / Compassion, Mercy and Forgiveness

On November 4, 2023, Michael Link will present the sermonette, titled, “Ears to Hear” and Norbert Link will present the sermon, titled, “Compassion, Mercy and Forgiveness.”

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.

Back to top

When We Feel Like Giving Up

by Michael Link

Life is indeed hard sometimes, and every day distractions can be a hindrance to what is most important.  How strongly are we committed to the Truth and God’s Way of Life?  We may sometimes have that feeling of quitting, having doubt or a lack of faith, and that kind of thinking could even bring us to the point of giving up.  We have to be careful that we don’t think that way. 

In the 13th chapter of Matthew, Christ talks about the parable of the sower.  In verse 19, He states, “When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart.”

We must be diligent in understanding the Truth, and we do that by studying God’s Word and asking God for His wisdom and understanding.  Satan the devil is very eager to draw us away from God’s Truth, and he loves it when we stumble. 

Instead, we are to be joyful when we hear God’s Word (verse 20).  The key is that we remain joyful and enthusiastic about God’s Way of Life, lest we drift away, due to various trials in our lives.  Verse 21 states, “… 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.” 

Christ also describes a category of people who do know the Truth but are still attached to the world in some way:  “Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful” (verse 22).  We cannot serve God and mammon  (Matthew 6:24).  Being caught up in the world is a huge distraction from God’s Way of Life, and therefore, it is impossible to bear fruit.  In verse 23, Christ states: “But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.” We must also remember the fact that we, as converted Christians, were predestined to be called, and we were chosen for this life, to know God’s Truth and His Law.  God has called us out of this world to a potentially better life that is to come in the near future.  With this understanding that we have, we must act on it, and whenever we may have that feeling of giving up, know that God is always there to help us and that we will be blessed far more than we can ever imagine. Keep going, and we will see what God promises the faithful.

Back to top

by Norbert Link

We begin with further updates on developments in the Middle East and the world’s hostile stance against Israel, with frightening reactions in Turkey, England, Germany, Spain, Russia and the USA; speak on the horrors of war; new animosity between Russia and Europe; and the devastating destruction of Acapulco/Mexico through an unforeseen hurricane.

We report on problematic conduct and declared goals of Donald Trump and the question whether Joe Biden’s fate is sealed; and we conclude with a deeply disturbing and irresponsible article about “safely” communicating with the dead with the help of Ouija boards.

Please view our new StandingWatch program, titled, ‘“Harmless Communication with the Dead?”

Throughout this section, we have underlined pertinent statements in the quoted articles, for the convenience and quick overview of the reader.

Back to top

Israel Expands Ground Operation in Gaza

The Associated Press wrote on October 27:

“Israel on Saturday expanded its ground operation in Gaza with infantry and armored vehicles backed by massive strikes from the air and sea, including the bombing of Hamas tunnels — a key target in its campaign to crush the territory’s ruling group after its bloody incursion in Israel three weeks ago.

“The bombardment, described by Gaza residents as the most intense of the war, also knocked out most communications in Gaza

“The Palestinian death toll in Gaza on Saturday rose to just over 7,700 people since Oct. 7, with 377 deaths reported since late Friday, according to the territory’s Health Ministry. A majority of those killed have been women and minors, the ministry said…

“Israel says its strikes target Hamas fighters and infrastructure and that the militants operate from among civilians, putting them in danger…

“The intensified air and ground campaign also raised new concerns about dozens of hostages dragged into Gaza on Oct. 7. On Saturday, hundreds of relatives of hostages gathered in a square in downtown Tel Aviv, demanding to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallat. Some in the group demanded that Israel push for the release of all hostages before proceeding with the campaign against Hamas…

“The overall number of deaths in Gaza and Israel far exceeds the combined toll of all four previous Israel-Hamas wars, estimated at around 4,000…

“The conflict has threatened to ignite a wider war across the region. Arab nations — including U.S. allies and ones that have reached peace deals or normalized ties with Israel — have raised increasing alarm over a potential ground invasion, likely to bring even higher casualties amid urban fighting.”

Whether these maneuvers mark the official start of an invasion is unclear and may pose a question.

“Netanyahu seemed to confirm that himself: ‘This is our second war of independence,’ he declared Saturday evening. ‘We are only at the beginning’” (Deutsche Welle, dated October 29).

Widespread Support in Gaza for Hamas

Israel Today wrote on October 26:

“Despite claims now being made that the majority of Gaza’s population desires peace and is being held captive by Hamas, data and evidence collected over the past two decades consistently demonstrates the opposite. Hamas enjoys widespread support among Gaza’s civilian population, which voted Hamas into power and would likely do so again. This support finds expression not only in public opinion polls, but in active participation in Hamas attacks.

“In the 2006 Palestinian parliamentary elections, the last to be held in the Gaza Strip as well, Hamas won 76 of 132 seats in the Palestinian Legislative Council. Of the 24 seats assigned to the Gaza Strip, Hamas won 15 (62%). Following Fatah’s refusal to recognize the results of these elections, Hamas violently took control of the Strip in 2007, and no general elections have been held in Gaza since. However, public opinion polls conducted in recent years indicate the Gazan public’s continued support of Hamas. According to an average of polls conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PCPSR) during 2022, approximately 60% of the Strip’s residents on average supported the ‘armed struggle’ (i.e. terrorist attacks) against Israel, compared to approximately 40%-50% of West Bank residents. In March 2023, support for armed struggle among Gaza residents rose to 68%… In a June 2023 PCPSR poll… support for armed struggle was at 64%.

“In this poll, 38% of the Strip’s residents felt that the rise of armed Islamic movements such as Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and their armed struggle against Israel, were the best thing to have happened to the Palestinian people in the last 75 years… Local journalists in Gaza have described widespread public support for the massacres committed by Hamas [on October 7]… All  available evidence indicates that approximately 60% of the Gaza Strip’s population supports Hamas and its armed struggle against Israel…

“This leads to the conclusion that claims regarding the existence of a clear ideological or political demarcation between the majority of Gaza’s residents and Hamas are entirely unfounded. None of the above is intended to conflate uninvolved Gazan civilians with Hamas terrorists, whether or not those civilians support Hamas, in the context of Israel’s ongoing war against the terror group. International law makes a clear distinction between uninvolved civilians and those taking part in military activities. However, both with regard to decisions related to the military campaign, and to post-war arrangements in the Gaza Strip, it is important to present an accurate picture regarding the widespread support in Gaza for Hamas.”

Erdogan’s Outrageous Claims and Threats

Politics Today wrote on October 28:

“Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, addressing a massive pro-Palestinian rally in Istanbul on Saturday, October 28, denounced Israel’s role in the ongoing bombardment in Gaza. He stated that Turkey would introduce Israel to the world as a war criminal.

“The ‘Great Palestine Meeting,’ organized by Turkey’s governing Justice and Development (AK) Party, saw hundreds of thousands gather at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport to protest Israel’s continuous bombardment of the Gaza Strip and advocate for a ceasefire.

“Erdoğan emphasized that the Western world has been instrumental in legitimizing the massacre in Gaza…  Erdoğan reiterated that Hamas is not a terrorist organization and that Israel’s main grievance lies with the West, which he accuses of being the real instigator behind the devastation in Gaza.

“President Erdoğan said: ‘We are on the side of the oppressed’ and rebuked Israel. During his speech, which caused an outcry among the public, Erdoğan said: ‘From now on, we will continue on our path with the motto that we may suddenly knock on your door one night.’”

In other words, he is threatening with military intervention in the Middle East and in Gaza, and with an attack on individual Jews. According to Bild Online, dated October 29, he also accused Western countries of creating a “crusade” atmosphere against Muslims, a new war between “cross and crescent moon.”

These threats should not be taken lightly. Erdogan is a ruthless dictator, filled with rage and hatred for the state of Israel and the Jewish people. As Turkey is part of NATO, NATO members admit now that Erdogan’s comments pose a serious problem for NATO.

Spain Condemns Israel

Yeni Safak wrote on October 28:

“Spain’s acting Social Rights Minister Ione Belarra on Saturday issued a passionate appeal to the EU countries, calling on them to respond to the recent escalation of attacks by Israel in the northern region of Gaza and other areas.

“‘After this hellish night in Gaza, I have a very simple but very important message for European leaders. Do not make us complicit in genocide. Act. Not in our name,’ she said in a video message on X… She further underscored that many Europeans are growing increasingly concerned about the situation and are asking: ‘Is no one going to do anything about what’s happening in Gaza?’

“Belarra put forward several concrete measures that she believes the European nations should take. She called for cutting diplomatic ties with Israel, imposing economic sanctions as a deterrent against those responsible for the ongoing violence, and advocating for the prosecution of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes against humanity.”

Spain’s persecution and horrible murders of Jews in the past are well known. With unqualified comments and irresponsible demands and antisemitic lies by governmental officials, Spain should be VERY careful not to give the impression of wanting to repeat past atrocities.

“Germany, We Have a Problem!”

Bild Online wrote on October 29:

“Our world is in chaos, and we are right in the middle of it. Since the terrorist attack by Hamas on Israel, we are experiencing a new dimension of hatred in our country – against our values, democracy, and against Germany.

“The recent days reveal what has been simmering and boiling in our society for a long time: In our country, there are many people who oppose our way of life. People who celebrate the murder of innocent civilians. Those who teach their children to hate others, because they are ‘infidels’…  We must not accept this! This cannot continue!… Germany must now say NO!…  Because: Never again is now!…  Never again anti-Semitism in Germany, never again tyranny and racism. All of this applies to all people who live in this country….”

Then, Bild published a “manifesto” with 50 points, describing what is expected from those who live in Germany. Sadly, many of these points are outright ludicrous.

Violence Breaks Out in London

Express wrote on October 28:

“Pro-Palestinian protests have descended into violence as activists marching in support of the state’s civilian population ahead of an anticipated Israeli ground invasion take to UK streets… Police expected about 100,000 people to join the demonstration in London organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign demanding a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war, with other rallies organised elsewhere in the UK – including in Manchester and Glasgow…

“Senior police have warned that Iranian agents are deliberately stoking Gaza protests ahead of today’s demonstrations, with The Times reporting that counterterrorism officers have privately said that Tehran is trying to heighten tensions at rallies. The publication said the officers ‘have warned of increased hostile-state activity in Britain’ which is ‘directly linked to the Iranian regime’.”

Only those who are willfully blind and deaf may deny the FACT that Iran is behind Hamas’ vicious attacks and terrorist activities.

The Horrors of War

The Sun wrote on October 28:

Where I live in North West London, you see a lot of heartbreaking posters put up on walls, showing kidnapped Israeli children.  And you see the same posters torn down, ripped up and lying in the gutter. It is profoundly shocking — all of it. The smiling faces of those lost children. Recalling the sadistic brutality of the terrorists who kidnapped them. And, most shocking of all, the tragic fact that in tolerant, diverse, civilized London,  there are plenty of people who tear those posters down and laugh as they are doing it. Or snarl with unhinged rage…

“I can’t comprehend how someone can tear down a poster of a kidnapped child…  Do they think the kidnappings did not really happen? Is it all just wicked Israeli propaganda? Or are they in denial? Is it that they just can’t face the sickening reality of the crimes of Hamas?  

“The only human response is to feel pity for children stolen from their homes by Hamas, just as anyone who has anything resembling a heart feels pity for the Palestinian children who are currently having their names written on their ­bodies by their parents, so that they can be identified if they are blown to bits by a bomb. As the tanks roll in, we do well to remember that there are no guilty children in a war.

“There are no children — Israeli or ­Palestinian — who deserve what they get…

The mind struggles to comprehend the world we are living in… Nobody ever murdered, raped and ­kidnapped their way to freedom.

Palestinian-born Queen Rania of Jordan told CNN: ‘I just want to emphasise that this conflict did not begin on October 7, although it has been portrayed as that. This is a problem that far precedes Hamas and will continue after Hamas.’

“Yes, this conflict goes back through 75 years of war and conflict since the formation of Israel in 1948 and two peoples claiming the same land as their home. And it goes back beyond 1948 to the gas chambers of the Holocaust, and ­further back still to the pogroms of ­Eastern Europe, and all the way back to the Jewish diaspora in the Bible.

“Queen Rania is right. The conflict won’t end when Hamas is destroyed…  This conflict did not begin on October 7 and it is impossible to see how it will end within our lifetimes. Because when there are fools who can laugh as they rip down posters of kidnapped children, how can there ever be peace?”

This conflict will ONLY end when Jesus Christ returns to bring peace to the world. Hopefully in our lifetimes.

Worldwide Antisemitism

CNN wrote on October 31:

“The Hamas attacks – a pogrom against Jews that killed 1,400, mostly civilians – have initiated a sequence of events that have left Jewish people around the world feeling threatened… In the United States there is a climate of growing fear.

“Jewish day schools have canceled classes. Synagogues have been locked. Social media has pulsated with hatred against Jews, leaving a community that can never escape its historic trauma yet again wondering where and when it can ever be safe.

“… The idea that Jewish Americans studying at Cornell University could so fear for their lives on their Ivy League campus in rural New York that they couldn’t even eat together in 2023 seems almost impossible to believe. Yet it’s the case after death threats were posted online…

“The frightening online threats at Cornell, which are just part of the spate of antisemitism exacerbated by the fallout of the Gaza war, has many Jews wondering if their safety can be guaranteed in the United States — let alone in Israel where the attacks shattered illusion of security for the Jewish people. Pro-Palestinian protests at some universities have crossed over the line into antisemitism and prompted Republicans and some Democrats to warn campuses are in the grip of far-left radicalism.

“Elsewhere, in one of many other incidents, a Beverly Hills home of a Holocaust survivor was daubed with antisemitic graffiti… There have also been multiple cases of antisemitism in Europe, which was often criticized by US officials in years past for doing too little… In one of the most shocking scenes, a crowd of people stormed an airport in Russia’s mostly Muslim region of Dagestan, where a flight from Israel arrived on Sunday, chanting, ‘There is no place for child-killers in Dagestan.’ These are scenes with chilling echoes of the 1940s…

“Nearly a century after the rise of Nazism and the beginning of the Holocaust, which killed at least 6 million European Jews, descendants of the dead are yet again being threatened because of who they are, their history and how they worship… antisemitism could grow more pervasive in the coming weeks.”

Especially the situation at Cornell University, displaying utter incompetence of the police and the attempts of the left-wing media and university officials to downplay or even deny the real dangers for Jewish students, shows to what extent this country has sunk into the abyss of irresponsibility and helplessness.

The West—Incapable of Helping the Jews?

The Wall Street Journal wrote on October 30:

“The disturbing fact of the past month is that Jews are under attack not only in Israel and not only by Hamas. The weeks since the barbaric Oct. 7 Hamas invasion of Israel have witnessed physical assaults on Jews the world over, including in the U.S. and Europe. This most modern of pogroms—global, televised, politicized—demonstrates exactly what is at stake as Israel ramps up its defensive war against Hamas in Gaza.  The Islamist group and its Western enablers are pursuing or justifying a genocidal war against Jews, not merely a territorial dispute with Israel…

Germany has witnessed a spate of anti-Semitic incidents, including an attack with Molotov cocktails against a synagogue in Berlin on Oct. 18. Some Jews found Stars of David painted on their homes, an echo of the Nazi persecution. German politicians have been forceful in their denunciations, but apparently not forceful enough in their policing.

“Two Jewish schools in London closed for a period over safety concerns, and some British Jews  no longer feel safe wearing visible symbols of their faith. They’re probably right to worry the state can’t protect them. Tens of thousands of protesters in London over three successive weekends called for ‘jihad’ and chanted ‘from the river to the sea,’ a demand for the erasure of Israel and by extension its citizens. A crowd in Sydney, Australia, chanted ‘gas the Jews’ after the Hamas attack.

“Americans like to believe such things couldn’t happen in the U.S. They have…

“Yet many Western intellectuals—and a growing number of politicians—[have] seen what Hamas has done to innocent Israeli civilians, and what pro-Hamas protesters have said and done in Western streets. They’d nonetheless forgive any violence by Hamas or Hezbollah against Jews as anticolonial defiance. This is why… it’s inexcusable for any Western politician now to demand a cease-fire in Gaza. No leader who is demonstrably incapable of protecting Jews in his or her own country should try to prevent Israel from defending itself…

“This global war on Jews also clarifies what is at stake for Western societies in this fight. The West spent the decades after the civilizational catastrophe of the Holocaust vowing never again to allow itself to slide into such barbarism. What we see now in the attacks on Jews is how that slide began.

“Before there was a Chancellor Hitler in 1933, there were roving bands of Brownshirts inflicting political and anti-Semitic violence on the streets of Germany. They too often went unchecked by police, prosecutors and politicians who didn’t understand the menace, sympathized with the offenders, or merely felt overwhelmed by the scale of the danger. Hitler gained power in part because the German state no longer could maintain its monopoly on violence in defense of democratic values.

“… one lesson is the same and is crystal-clear: A Western society that can’t or won’t muster the will to defend its Jewish neighbors and fellow citizens won’t be able to defend itself.”

America’s downfall IS irreversible.

“Europe Will Be Next”

JNS wrote on October 31:

“Israel is at the forefront of a global clash of civilizations, Israeli President Isaac Herzog said Tuesday. ‘Hamas, Al Qaeda and Islamic State are all together in wishing to ban us all from the face of the earth,’ he told a group of European Jewish leaders. ‘It starts with Israel, it starts with the Jews. It will never end there. Europe will be next. And that is why we are fighting a battle on behalf of the entire world.

“Herzog expressed serious concern about the significant rise in antisemitism in Europe and around the world in recent weeks. ‘This is a message that must be heard loud and clear,’ he said. ‘When [anti-Israel protesters] say “from the river to the sea,” they mean without any Jews… When they demonstrate on campuses against Israel—they mean without Jews. When they criticize Israel fighting to defend its people, and fighting against the most brutal attack that humanity has seen in last generation—they mean no Jews,’ he added.”

Herzog is absolutely right. And the anti-Semitic hatred will not be limited to fighting the Jews, but it will be directed at anyone who believes and practices religious concepts which they would classify as “Jewish.” Famously, Martin Luther, in his hatred for the Jews, wrote a pamphlet, entitled: “Against the Jews and All Those Who Keep the Sabbath” or the “Sabbatarians.”

Russia Threatens Europe

Reuters wrote on October 29:

“Russia will confiscate assets belonging to European Union states it deems unfriendly if the bloc ‘steals’ frozen Russian funds in a drive to fund Ukraine, an ally of President Vladimir Putin said on October 29.

“Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, said on October 27 that the EU executive was working on a proposal to pool some of the profits derived from frozen Russian state assets to help Ukraine and its postwar reconstruction. Vyacheslav Volodin, the State Duma chairman, said Moscow would retaliate in a way that would be more costly to the bloc if the EU moved against Russian assets.”

Corruption in Ukraine

Breitbart wrote on October 31:

“A top advisor to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has reportedly admitted that corruption is so rampant in the wartorn former Soviet state that officials are ‘stealing like there’s no tomorrow’.

“Speaking anonymously to Time magazine, what is alleged to be a top presidential advisor to Zelensky said that the Ukrainian government’s efforts to stamp out corruption have proved fruitless, given that they were implemented too late to have any impact…

“The issue of corruption in Ukraine, which has been ranked by Transparency International as the most corrupt European country except Russia, is becoming a major issue in Washington D.C. as President Biden continues to push for more American taxpayer dollars to be sent to the former Soviet state…”

Another piece of evidence to show that Ukraine will NOT win the war against Russia.

Utter Destruction in Mexico

Daily Mail wrote on October 27:

“Aerial footage has emerged showing the devastation Hurricane Otis caused in Acapulco after the storm ripped through the city. At least 27 people have died after 165 mile per hour winds caused power outages, widespread flooding and debris across the area. Desperate residents have turned to looting supermarkets left in disarray with pictures showing locals taking bottled water and food from ransacked shelves while others have packed their belongings into plastic bags in hope of finding safe shelter. 

“Due to the severe winds that Otis brought with it, it is now on record as the strongest landfalling Eastern Pacific tropical cyclone. The disastrous weather front was centered about 55 miles south-southeast of Acapulco, and its ruinous effects were also moving north-northwest at 9 mph. 

“Otis turned from mild to monster in record time, and scientists were struggling to figure out how and why they didn´t see it coming…

“Many of the once-sleek beachfront hotels in Acapulco looked like toothless, shattered hulks a day after the Category 5 storm blew out hundreds – and possibly thousands – of windows. While some 10,000 military troops were deployed to the area, they lacked the tools to clean tons of mud and fallen trees from the streets.

“Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador toured an area of the city on Thursday and said that Otis toppled every power-line pole in the region… Hundreds of trucks from the government electricity company arrived in Acapulco early Wednesday, but seemed at a loss as to how to restore power…

“Acapulco is at the foot of steep mountains – where luxury homes and slums alike cover the hillsides with views of the Pacific Ocean. Once drawing Hollywood stars for its nightlife, sport fishing and cliff diving shows, the port has in recent years fallen victim to competing organized crime groups that have sunk the city into violence… Otis was a stronger hurricane than Pauline, which hit Acapulco in 1997, destroying swaths of the city and killing more than 300 people.

This example serves as a reminder how quickly and unexpectedly terrible disasters can strike.

Is Trump Losing It?

Media TV wrote on October 28:

“Former President Donald Trump raged at Judge Arthur Engoron over his demand that former First Daughter Ivanka Trump testify in the fraud trial currently unfolding in New York.

“Trump has appeared frequently during his trial in the fraud case brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James and presided over by Judge Engoron… His last appearance culminated with Trump stunning his Secret Service detail by abruptly storming out of court after repeated legal smackdowns by Judge Arthur Engoron that included a $10,000.00 fine for violating his gag order again.

“But despite threats of further punishment, Trump completely lost it on social media Saturday morning over Judge Engoron’s decision that Ivanka must testify in person, which she is appealing. On his Truth Social platform, Trump raged at Engoron and repeated other attacks about the trial:

“‘My daughter, Ivanka, was released from this Fake Letitia James case by the Court of Appeals, but this Trump Hating, Unhinged Judge, who ruled me guilty before this Witch Hunt Trial even started, couldn’t care less about the fact that he was overturned. I also won on Appeal on Statute of Limitations, but he refuses to accept their decision. I truly believe he is CRAZY, but certainly, at a minimum, CRAZED in his hatred of me. This case should have never started, but now must be dismissed. Financial Statements were LOW, NOT HIGH, had a 100% Disclaimer Clause, Banks were fully paid, ‘on time, on schedule,’ with never even a minor default, there was NO VICTIM, EXCEPT ME. Any other Judge in the Country would have thrown this case out on day one. He’s an out of control ‘Nut Job,’ who fined me $10,000 over a ridiculous Gag Order so that the publicity for the day would take over from the fact that Racist James and the Judge’s Star Witness admitted LYING TO CONGRESS on the stand – CASE OVER!”

The prosecution’s “Star Witness” was of course disgraced, disbarred and convicted felon, former Trump’s attorney Michael Cohen. Trump is most certainly correct with his assessment that Judge Engoron is biased and should have recused himself. But his verbal and unhinged attacks on him could backfire. It has also been commented on social media that Trump looks “worn out.”

On the other hand, Trump is clearly the Republican frontrunner, with no one even coming close, and several candidates dropping out of the race, like Mike Pence, Perry Johnson and Larry Elder did last week. (While Johnson and Elder endorsed Trump, Pence did not). Others who have no chance of winning, such as Chris Christie, will undoubtedly drop out soon.

Trump: I Will Restore the Travel Ban

Newsmax wrote on October 29:

“Amid Israel’s war on Hamas and an uptick of antisemitic hate against Jews, former President Donald Trump vowed to bring [back] the travel ban of those from countries markedly in support of terrorist-designated organizations…

“The controversial travel ban policy that was legally challenged and upheld in the courts during the early days of the Trump administration in 2017 will return, Trump vowed.”

Even though reasonable on the face of it, the travel ban was clearly overbroad and abused in the past, and it would certainly be abused again in the future.

Is Biden’s Fate Sealed?

Axios wrote on October 29:

“On the foreign policy front, President Biden’s re-election bid is playing out similarly to that of the last Democratic president who failed to win a second term: Jimmy Carter… Three destabilizing overseas crises have taken place during Biden’s presidency: The chaotic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and now, the prospect of a regional war in the Middle East.

“The chaos across the globe is leading many Americans to conclude that we’re facing a moment of historic danger…  That sense of fear and dread…  is very bad news for any president running for re-election…

“There are some striking similarities to the political challenges Biden is facing and the headwinds faced by former President Carter, who was dragged down by twin foreign policy crises heading into his re-election.

“Carter’s demise was fueled by the 1979 Iranian Revolution that ousted the pro-American shah for an Islamic fundamentalist regime still in power today. The Iranian regime’s holding of dozens of American hostages dominated the headlines — and drained Carter’s political capital — through his re-election campaign.

“In December 1979, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, prompting the Carter White House to take a harder line with the Soviets. But that newfound toughness did little to change American perception that the world was adrift.

“Once again, a Democratic president is facing wars fueled by Iran (led by Hamas and Hezbollah, its proxies in the Middle East) and Russia. Once again, American hostages are being held — and the U.S. looks like it’s struggling to deter its enemies. Like Carter, Biden faces softening support from a key part of the Democratic coalition: young, progressive voters…

“The demand for global leadership against hostile powers… is running up against a growing isolationism and dismissiveness of America’s role as a guarantor of global security — within both parties…”

Interesting parallels.

“Safely” Communicating with the Dead?

Life Site News wrote on October 27:

“The New York Post published on Wednesday an article titled ‘How to use a Ouija board — your guide to communing with the dead safely this Halloween,’ raising concerns that dangerous contact with preternatural forces could be encouraged. While Ouija boards are purportedly designed to communicate with the dead, exorcists have warned that using them opens the door to communication with evil spirits.

“Kyle Clement… explained… how Ouija board use can open the door to diabolical influence and even possession

“Reda Wigle noted that over 68% of Americans believe the boards ‘possess supernatural abilities,’ with a third of respondents saying they would never attempt to play. A quarter of those who have played say they would avoid doing so in the future…

“The response to the New York Post article has been overwhelmingly negative, with many commenters warning that the use of Ouija boards is dangerous and some advising that there is ‘no safe way’ to play with it.

“Ouija boards are considered a form of ‘divination,’ something explicitly forbidden in Scripture…”

Fox News added on October 30:

“Attempting occult practices, such as purportedly trying to contact the dead via an Ouija board, are a way to open oneself up to demonic activity inadvertently, said Reehil [a Catholic priest]. ‘Demons lie and impersonate dead people,’ said Reehil. ‘When asking a board for information about a deceased person, or a life decision, they are all too happy to embed themselves into your life. Using an Ouija board is inviting a demon into your life, whether the person has that intention or not.’

“The Ouija board was first developed in the late 19th century as a parlor game; these were formerly called ‘talking boards.’ At the time, séances and other spiritual practices were quite popular activities. The board consists of an alphabet, the words ‘yes,’ “no,’ ‘goodbye,’ and the numbers zero through nine. To operate the board, a person places their hands on a ‘planchette,’ which spirits purportedly move to spell out answers to questions. 

“In 1890, a Baltimore spiritualist and medium named Helen Peters asked the talking board what she should call it, said the website for the Talking Board Historical Society. The board responded ‘O-U-I-J-A,’ which it said meant ‘good luck.’ The Ouija board was patented the following year. Legend regarding the Ouija board’s patent says that Peters accompanied attorney Elijah Bond to the patent office, where the two were instructed by the patent officer to prove that the board worked by spelling out his name, said Smithsonian Magazine. Peters reportedly asked spirits for assistance, and then spelled out the patent officer’s name.”

This practice is foolish and VERY dangerous. So are active participations in Halloween activities.

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.

Back to top

What is the purpose of the Second Tithe, and how should it be used?

Recently, questions arose as to the purpose and use of the second tithe.

In our free booklet, “Tithing—Today?”, we explain that the Bible speaks of three different types of tithes—the first, second and third tithe. In this Q&A, we will concentrate merely on the second tithe. In this regard, we state the following in our booklet:

“The SECOND tithe (or a second ten percent of one’s earnings or other income) is an additional tithe of one’s ‘increase’ (Deuteronomy 14:22–26). Soncino confirms that Deuteronomy 14:23 discusses the ‘second tithe.’ They state, ‘This refers to the second tithe, because the first tithe was to be given to the Levites who were allowed to eat it anywhere (cf. Num. xviii. 26, 31).’ The Ryrie Study Bible has a similar comment pertaining to Deuteronomy 14:22–27, confirming the existence of a ‘second tithe.’ So does ‘The New Bible Commentary: Revised,’ copyright 1970, on page 220: ‘This is the so-called “second tithe,” as contrasted with that tithe of the produce given to maintain the Levites (see Nu. 18:26–28).’

“The individual saves the second tithe each year for use in observing God’s annual Holy Days, mainly the Feast of Tabernacles (FOT), as members are commanded to travel for the FOT to one of God’s designated feast sites. (For more information, please read our free booklet, ‘God’s Commanded Holy Days.’) This tithe is to be saved for use by the individual. Only ‘excess second tithe’—the portion of the second tithe exceeding necessary individual use—should be sent to the Church. The Church will distribute such amount to members who were unable to save sufficient second tithe for the Holy Days, and it might use remaining funds for necessary Church-related Feast expenses (such as hall rentals).”

In regard to the second tithe, the following comments in our booklet are also relevant:

“More than 30 years ago, God’s Church made the administrative decision to ask Church members and co-workers to send one tenth of their second tithe to the Church to be used for necessary Feast of Tabernacles expenses, including rental for Church halls. Since then, the Church has usually referred to this amount as the ‘tithe of the tithe.’ Church members and co-workers were asked to calculate the amount of second tithe that would be available to them at the time of the Feast of Tabernacles, and to send ten percent of that (calculated) amount to the Church, in advance as directed by the Church. This practice has allowed the Church to avoid using general contributions for the payment of Feast expenses, instead of being used for preaching the gospel and feeding the flock….”

In this Q&A, we want to set forth the long-standing teaching of the Church regarding the purpose and use of the SECOND TITHE, by quoting selectively from numerous Church publications.

In “The Good News,” dated October 1961, the article “Help the Poor” points out the following regarding the second tithe:

“This tithe is a specific command for all to come and rejoice before God on His annual Feast days—especially the Feast of Tabernacles. Included in this tithe –THE SECOND TITHE – are also the Levite…”

In “The Good News,” dated August 1980, the article, “How to Use Your Second Tithe,” states this:

“[The second tithe] is to provide for your Feast expenses – for your transportation, lodging, food, entertainment and pleasure during these days…  If your car needs repairs for you to attend the Feast, you may pay a certain portion of the cost from second tithe…”

The following cautionary remark is added:

“You could spend the bulk of your second tithe fixing your car and then not have enough money left to pay for Feast expenses. Obviously this would not be the thing to do…”

The article continues:

“Normally, you should not plan to buy clothing with your second tithe, except for special types of clothing that would be needed for the Feast but would not normally be a part of your wardrobe… Rarely should you buy an integral part of your wardrobe with second tithe. However, such an exception might arise in the case of an individual who simply does not have proper clothing to wear to attend God’s Feast and could not otherwise afford it. We should all appear before God well-groomed and nicely dressed.”

It was also pointed out in the article that it might be a good idea, for some, to deposit the second tithe money in a separate bank account (or use other safe procedures) to make sure one does not “borrow” from the second tithe… perhaps with the intent to pay it back later, which normally does not occur. Also regarding clothes, an example was given when brethren from warmer climates travel to a Feast site with cold weather where warmer clothing is needed; in such cases, second tithe could be used.

Regarding what type of items could be bought with second tithe, the article continues:

“Even though [certain] items would not be used primarily at the Feast, [some] reason that the scripture says you are to buy ‘whatever your soul desires,’ and their soul certainly desires … tricycles… or fishing equipment [unless they are being used during the Feast, such as some modest fishing equipment for a fishing trip]. This is erroneous reasoning. God is talking about buying whatever you might desire to be used at the Feast—primarily food, drink and good-quality housing. The whole reason for spending your tithe this way is that you may rejoice and look forward to the wonderful time of the Millennium.”

“Then is it wrong to buy gifts for the children and family? No. But use wisdom. You should not buy your child expensive gifts simply because it is from your second tithe. Suitable toys, books or games that will help make the Feast enjoyable for our child are perfectly all right. But do not buy the year’s supply of toys on the way to the Feast.”

In addressing the travel to the Feast, the article explains that one needs to be careful with sight-seeing trips and journeys for other reasons than going to the Feast, stating, “But when the trips [by car] begin to entail additional hundreds of miles in the opposite direction of the Feast, they should not be taken on second tithe… If the reason for the trip is to see the family—and incidentally, you are going to one of God’s Festivals—that is wrong.”

Regarding “excess second tithe,” the article explained:

“What if you are one of those who was abundantly blessed by God and have an excess of second tithe? God’s way is the way of giving, sharing and outgoing concern… God repeatedly exhorts us to remember the Levite, the widow, the fatherless, the poor and the stranger within our gates. The Levitical priesthood was replaced by Christ’s ministry today. God’s ministers do not save a second tithe [at least, they do not have to, but some choose to save the full or at least a portion of their income for second tithe], even as the Levites didn’t. Your excess second tithe helps pay their way to the Feast so they might teach you the plan of salvation.

“Your extra second tithe also is used by the Church to help some of the elderly or widows who have no second tithe to attend the Feast…”

In using some of the second tithe for attendance during the other annual Holy Days, it was pointed out that a small amount could be used “because that is where God has put His name for these feasts.” But this cautionary remark was added: “Never cut yourself short by spending too much money at the other feasts so that you cannot be with God’s people at the great Feast [of Tabernacles] in the fall.”

In “The Good News,” dated September 1981, the article “The Festival Tithe—Your Questions Answered,” contained additional comments as to the use of second tithe:

“This permission in unusual circumstances [to use some second tithe, “where there is sufficient money to take care of the other needs as well,” to buy “proper clothing so that (one) might be better able to go to the Feast”] has been used by some to justify large or expansive purchases of clothing or even whole wardrobes. Using the festival tithe in this way violates the basic spiritual intent of the law.”

The article also pointed out:

“…some people have overdone the giving of gifts at Feast time, sometimes buying expensive items they couldn’t really afford. Usually such items are used during the rest of the year as well. This goes far beyond the principle of using the festival funds to provide a joyous, happy Feast…”

Again condemning the idea of “borrowing” or rather “stealing” from the second tithe with the intent to pay it back later, the article addressed extra second tithe as follows:

“There are always those who have insufficient tithe to attend the Feast, or not enough to go and pay for normal expenses. To provide for this need, it has always been the practice of the Church members who have more than they need to turn in this excess to the Church. The Church then… uses these funds to take care of such needs… [Regarding new people who have not been tithing long enough to save enough festival tithe to attend,] it may be possible to assist them with enough funds for this one year, so that they can go.”

Other considerations should be mentioned.

We are commanded to give God an offering during each annual Holy Day. This offering should not be paid exclusively from second tithe. It is however possible to supplement the offering with second tithe.

Gifts for and at the Feast of Tabernacles should not become a substitute for Christmas, which could easily become the case if we are buying expensive gifts for just everyone.

The second tithe for the Feast of Tabernacles would not be ten percent of increase from the entire year, but somewhat less, as portions of the second tithe would have been used for the other annual Holy Days [making sure, however, that there is enough second tithe left for attending the Feast of Tabernacles].

Regarding the question of saving some of the second tithe for a special international trip to a Feast site the following year, this should be discussed with one’s pastor who can give advice based on special circumstances.

Finally, regarding assisting others financially, the individual desirous to do so should know the reasons why someone else does not have enough second tithe. Assisting someone who has mishandled his or her funds may not be the appropriate course of action, and it would be wise to counsel with a minister who might know more about the individual situation.

This Q&A was intended to give some guidelines and principles as to the proper use of second tithe, and undoubtedly many more questions might arise. In most cases, an honest self-examination, based on the statements set forth in this Q&A, will lead to the correct answer, without the need of consulting a minister. In unusual cases, the ministry is most certainly available to help.

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

Back to top

Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

compiled by Dave Harris

“Harmless Communication with the Dead?” is the title of a new StandingWatch program, presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:

It was recently claimed that people can communicate safely with the dead with the help of a Ouija Board. Many have warned that this practice is very dangerous. Why are they so concerned, and what is the history of Ouija Boards?  

“Gefahrlose Kommunikation mit den Toten?” is the title of a new AufPostenStehen program, presented by Norbert Link. This German language program covers the same topic as described above.

“Was hat es mit dem zweiten Zehnten auf sich?” this Sabbath’s second split German sermon, presented by Norbert Link, is now posted. Title in English: “What about the Second Tithe?”

“Die Zeit, die uns noch bleibt,” last Sabbath’s German sermonette presented by Christoph Sperzel, is now posted. Title in English: “The Time Which We Still Have.”

“Give Me a Vision,” last Sabbath’s sermonette presented by Kalon Mitchell, is now posted.

“How Satan Rules the World,” last Sabbath’s sermon presented by Norbert Link, is now posted. Here is a summary:

Satan is the god and ruler of this world. He is worshiped by man, even though many don’t realize it. He is ruling man, even though most don’t realize that either. In this sermon, we will show the terrible deception and destruction Satan and his demons have been, are and will be causing, and how God’s people can avoid their evil influence.

Back to top

How This Work is Financed

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

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

Technical Team: Eric Rank, Shana Rank

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

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

Donations should be sent to the following addresses:

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

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

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

©2024 Church of the Eternal God