Update 1093


Sweet Smelling Aroma / Can You Forgive God?

On December 9, 2023, Michael Link will present the sermonette, titled, “Sweet Smelling Aroma,” and Norbert Link will present the sermon, titled, “Can You Forgive God?”

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.

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To Have Fervent Love

by Kalon Mitchell

In the New Testament, two of the Church leaders, Peter and Paul, spoke about the same attribute that Christians need in their lives. They encouraged everyone to have love for each other.  It is easy to say, “yes, I have love,” but do we really show love in our actions?

The first Scripture that I want to use is found in 1 Peter 4:7-9: “But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers. And above all things have fervent love for one another, for ‘love will cover a multitude of sins.’ Be hospitable to one another without grumbling.“

Peter’s encouragement for us is to be aware that, as we draw closer to the end of this age, there are going to be more opportunities for each of us to show love for one another. But not just love, but fervent love! The word “fervent” can mean, “having or displaying a passionate intensity”—like a fire: hot and burning. Being on fire for showing love is a proper way to think about it. In the letter to Titus, Paul iterates it in a different way but with the same meaning, saying in Titus 2:14 about Christ “who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.”

Our use of love in a Godly sense means that we need to be going above and beyond in our love for each other—in prayer, in deeds, in actions, and in our thoughts. We need to be thinking about HOW we can show love more fully. Christ’s warning in the book of Matthew comes to mind where we are warned that as this world grows darker, there is a real danger that the love of true Christians will grow cold; that it will no longer be fervent and zealous (Matthew 24:12).

In what ways can we allow this fervent love for each other to become manifest? We bring this love to fruition by looking for opportunities and then taking action. This is going to be different for each person—but make no mistake: when we take the opportunity to show this love, the immediate impact may be unknown; and yet, it will have lingering effects. In every relationship that we have in this life, the most powerful thing is love. With Godly agape love, we are fulfilling God’s law.

In 1 Corinthians 13, the apostle Paul writes under inspiration about how this love of God should be manifesting itself. This love is not for us—it is for the people around us. When I review these words from Paul, it becomes apparent how I fail in regard to having these actions show up in every situation. And yet, the opportunities to show and prove this Godly love are there, but we have to take advantage of these opportunities.

These actions of love encourage and help people to deal with life. The life that we each live now is not an easy life, and it will get harder. The challenge for each of us is to grasp that each person, Christian or not, is dealing with the effects of sin. This whole world is under the subjection of Satan and his demons.

We are truly living in the most challenging of times.

This is why I find the following Scriptures encouraging.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 says in the New International Version: “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”

From our children to our elders, we are to be encouraging—and building one another up. It is so much more powerful to show encouragement and solidarity in love than it is in finding fault and tearing each other down. It is so easy to find fault and to tear into people for their wrong doings or failures—but in the long run, we ourselves have just as much failure. There is a common idiom: Before you judge a man, walk a mile in his shoes. This means, before judging someone, we must understand their experiences, challenges, thought processes, etc. It is no easy thing to do. Another idiom is: Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.

As we spend time and meditate on our opportunities for love, we should realize that God the Father and Jesus Christ show us the ultimate love. We are so blessed to have their example.

1 Peter 2:4-5 tells us: “Coming to Christ as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

This Scripture, paired with 1 Thessalonians 5:11, is very powerful: We are precious in God’s sight. We are worthy of love because He deems it so. And it is because of this knowledge that we can grow in our love for each other and for the God Family.

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by Norbert Link

We report on the end of the temporary cease fire in Israel’s war with Hamas; Europe’s fear of terrorist attacks; an attack on a US warship in the Red Sea; and on a disturbing report about Israel’s alleged prior notice of the Hamas attack in Gaza on October 7 (while the USA denies any knowledge). We continue with Israel’s determination to kill all Hamas leaders worldwide; and with allegations that America has stopped Israel in the past from securing victory against its enemies; and that there is concern that the USA will do so again.

We introduce you to a deeply controversial White House advisor who is claimed to be one of the most powerful men in Washington; and speak on President Biden’s continued denial of what seems to be the obvious truth.

In other news, we focus on the situation regarding Russia and Ukraine with special emphasis on the question as to how most Russians view the war with Ukraine;  the allegation that Germany is trying to reduce financial aid for Ukraine; the debate in the USA and elsewhere on how and whether to continue supporting Ukraine militarily and financially; the accusation that Zelensky is becoming an autocrat who has lost the trust of many Ukrainians; the assassinations of “dissidents” by Ukraine’s intelligence service; and Hungary’s objection to Ukraine’s EU membership.

We speak on Germany’s fear of war with Russia (please see in this regard our new StandingWatch program, titled, “War Between Russia and Germany?”) and address claims that Europe must (and will) become a superstate; and we conclude with the realization that Germany has a big problem. In this regard, please view our new message, titled, “The Rise of the Beast—Comments on News and Prophecy, December 2, 2023.”

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

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War Resumes After Hamas Violates Ceasefire

Israel Today wrote on December 1:

“Shortly after 7 am Israel time, the Israeli army resumed its military offensive against the Hamas terrorist infrastructure in Gaza. Hamas had until that time every morning to provide a list of at least 10 additional hostages it planned to release in order to buy one more day of ceasefire. It failed to provide a list by the specified time this morning… [Netanyahu said:] ‘The Government of Israel is committed to achieving the goals of the war: Releasing the hostages, eliminating Hamas, and ensuring that Gaza never again constitutes a threat to the residents of Israel.’…

“The Biden administration has stressed in recent days that it expects Israel to be ‘more careful’ to avoid civilian casualties in southern Gaza than it was in the north of the coastal enclave. The insinuation of the demand was seen by many Israelis as an insult, as though Israel had purposefully killed thousands of civilians in northern Gaza, or at best had coldly disregarded them.

Israel goes to great lengths to avoid collateral damage in battle, much more so than American forces in recent Middle East wars, and this often comes at the cost of higher IDF casualties. That thousands of Gaza civilians are dying is entirely the fault of Hamas, which uses them as human shields. But Washington can’t complain to Hamas, so it instead blames Israel.”

Newsmax added on December 1:

“The United Nations said the fighting would worsen an extreme humanitarian emergency. ‘Hell on Earth has returned to Gaza,’ said Jens Laerke, spokesperson for the U.N. humanitarian office in Geneva… Hamas accused Washington of giving a green light for an Israeli ‘war of genocide and ethnic cleansing.’”

Fear of Terrorist Attacks in the EU

Deutsche Welle wrote on December 5:

“European Union member states are facing a ‘huge risk of terrorist attacks’ over the holiday season due to the ongoing war in the Gaza Strip, EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson said on Tuesday… Johansson referred to a Saturday’s knife attack in Paris, where one German tourist was killed and two people were injured. The attacker reportedly pledged allegiance to the so-called ‘Islamic State’ (IS) and expressed anguish about Muslims dying, notably in the Palestinian territories…

“‘With the war between Israel and Hamas and the polarization it causes in our society, with the upcoming holiday season, there is a huge risk of terrorist attacks in the European Union,’ Johansson said. ‘We saw [it happening] recently in Paris, unfortunately, we have seen it earlier as well,’ Johansson added.”

If such attacks were to happen in Europe, there is no telling what Europe might do.

Attack in the Red Sea on US Warship

The New York Post wrote on December 3:

“A US warship and multiple commercial vessels were attacked in the Red Sea on Sunday, the Pentagon said — a frightening development ratcheting up maritime tensions in the Middle East during the Israel-Hamas war. 

“The USS Carney — which previously shot down missiles and drones aimed at it as it escorted a commercial vessel through the war-torn region — was targeted along with at least two other commercial ships starting around 10 a.m. local time in an assault that lasted about five hours, the Pentagon and an unnamed US official said…

“Yemen’s Houthi rebels — who have proclaimed they would attack ships on the Red Sea  over Israeli’s ground incursion into Gaza — later acknowledged that they had targeted two Israeli commercial ships Sunday but did not mention the US Navy vessel.”

Did Israel Know About Hamas’ Attack Ahead of Time?

The New York Times wrote on November 30:

“Israeli officials obtained Hamas’ battle plan for the Oct. 7 terrorist attack more than a year before it happened, documents, emails and interviews show. But Israeli military and intelligence officials dismissed the plan as aspirational, considering it too difficult for Hamas to carry out.

“The approximately 40-page document, which Israeli authorities code-named ‘Jericho Wall,’ outlined, point by point, exactly the kind of devastating invasion that led to the deaths of about 1,200 people.

“The translated document, which was reviewed by The New York Times, did not set a date for the attack, but described a methodical assault designed to overwhelm the fortifications around the Gaza Strip, take over Israeli cities and storm key military bases, including a division headquarters.”

Gatewaypundit added on December 1:

“… As Channel 11 reported on Tuesday, in May 2023, the Gaza Division’s intelligence officer created a slide presentation… setting out in detail how Hamas intended to bring down the security fence and invade Israel at up to 60 separate points, invade the division’s bases and enter civilian communities to commit mass murder and seize hostages. In a follow-up report from August, the intelligence officer even explained that Hamas intended to carry out its plan either on Shabbat or on a holiday when only a small cadre of soldiers would be on duty. His work was dismissed as unrealistic and out of line with Hamas’s true intentions by senior intelligence officers at Tel Aviv headquarters…”

The Huffington Post wrote on December 3:

“The National Security Council claimed on Sunday that United States intelligence had no prior knowledge of a document detailing Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack plan, after a bombshell report recently revealed that Israeli authorities obtained such information a year ago… The report adds to the already existing public outrage in Israel over Netanyahu and his government’s failure to prevent the attack despite several warnings.”

Israel Determined to Kill Hamas Leaders All Over the World

The Wall Street Journal wrote on December 1:

“Israel’s intelligence services are preparing to kill Hamas leaders around the world when the nation’s war in the Gaza strip winds down, setting the stage for a yearslong campaign to hunt down militants responsible for the Oct. 7 massacres, Israeli officials said.

“With orders from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s top spy agencies are working on plans to hunt down Hamas leaders living in Lebanon, Turkey and Qatar… For years, countries such as Qatar, Lebanon, Iran, Russia and Turkey have provided Hamas, a U.S.-designated terrorist group, with a measure of protection…

“Targeted killings abroad can violate international law and run the risk of blowback from nations in which assassins operate without their permission. In practice, however, Israel and others have pursued targeted killings and weathered the repercussions…

“Perhaps no other nation has Israel’s experience in carrying out worldwide assassination campaigns. Since World War II, Israel has conducted more than 2,700 such operations…  Even before Israel was founded in 1948, Jewish militants killed European diplomats who were involved in the British administration of Mandatory Palestine. In the 1960s, Israeli spies used letter bombs to target former Nazi Germany scientists helping Egypt develop rockets…

“In 1997, Netanyahu, then serving his first term as prime minister, ordered Israeli spies to kill Meshaal, a Hamas founder who was then living in Jordan. The Israeli team entered Jordan posing as Canadian tourists and attacked Meshaal outside the Hamas political office in Amman. One Israeli assassin sprayed a toxin into Meshaal’s ear but he was captured along with another member of the team before they could escape. Meshaal fell into a coma, and Jordan threatened to terminate its peace treaty with Israel. Then-President Bill Clinton pressed Netanyahu to end the crisis by sending his Mossad chief to Amman with the antidote that saved Meshaal’s life. Israel then secured the freedom of its operatives in Jordan by agreeing to release Yassin, the Hamas spiritual leader, and 70 other Palestinian prisoners…

“It was the deadly Palestinian militant attack on Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics that cemented the nation’s embrace of covert assassinations as a tool of government policy.  Palestinian gunmen with a group known as Black September took a group of Israeli athletes and coaches hostage in the Olympic Village, leading to a two-day standoff that ended with a failed rescue attempt by West German police. All 11 Israeli hostages were killed.  In response, then-Prime Minister Golda Meir ordered Israeli spies to hunt down and kill all Palestinian militants involved in the attack. The covert campaign was dubbed Operation Wrath of God and became the subject of an Oscar-nominated 2005 Steven Spielberg movie.

“Israeli assassins spent 20 years hunting those linked to the Munich attack. They killed Palestinians in France, Italy, Greece, Cyprus and Lebanon. They used a remote-controlled bomb hidden inside a phone in France and used guns with silencers to kill targets in the streets of Rome… But Operation Wrath of God also led to one of Israel’s most embarrassing covert failures in 1973, when a team of Israeli operatives killed a Moroccan waiter in Norway who they had mistakenly identified as a Palestinian militant involved in the Munich attack. Six of the 15 Israeli operatives were arrested and five were sentenced to short prison terms for their roles in the killing.”

Israeli attacks in countries such as Turkey would create incredible hostility.

Repeating the Mistakes of the Past?

Israel Today wrote on November 30:

“The Biden administration is frantically looking for a way to stop Israel from fulfilling its vow to its citizens to defeat Hamas and eliminate it as a military and terrorist threat. America has a history of stopping Israel just short of actually defeating its enemies. In 1967 and 1973, Israel’s most famous full-scale wars came to a sudden halt when Washington insisted on a truce just as the IDF was preparing its final assault. The First Lebanon War in the early 1980s concluded with Israel being pressed to accept a deal whereby Yasser Arafat and his PLO could escape to fight another day.

“And the same formula is now being discussed in regards to Hamas. According to the Wall Street Journal,  the Biden administration wants Israel to consider a deal under which the Hamas leadership, along with thousands of Hamas gunmen and their families, will be allowed to leave Gaza to a third country… all of this ignores the lessons learned, or not learned, from the Lebanon War fiasco. After destroying Lebanon, Arafat and his men were allowed to leave and take shelter in Tunisia, from where they continued to conduct a global campaign of terror…

“Honestly, the biggest obstacle to peace in the Middle East at this point is the short-sighted incompetence of Western leaders.”

In a somewhat cryptic message,  “in a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu [last Thursday], Blinken also reportedly said Israel may only have ‘weeks’ left to fight, rather than months” (JTA, dated December 1). Does this mean that America will again put pressure on Israel to stop fighting against Hamas? And not surpassingly, but quite expectedly, it seems that Europe might be blowing the same horn.

AA wrote on December 3:

“The EU’s foreign policy chief [Josep Borrell] on Saturday expressed ‘regret’ over the resumption of Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip, emphasizing Tel Aviv’s obligation to respect international humanitarian law and the laws of war, which he described as ‘not only a moral obligation but also a legal one.’”

“A Deeply Controversial White House Advisor”

The Huffington Post wrote on December 1:

“Four men in Washington shape America’s policy in the Middle East. Three are obvious: President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and national security adviser Jake Sullivan. The fourth is less well-known, despite his huge sway over the other three ― and despite his determination to keep championing policies that many see as fueling bloodshed in Gaza and beyond.

“His name is Brett McGurk. He’s the White House coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa, and he’s one of the most powerful people in U.S. national security… He controls whether global affairs experts within the government ― including more experienced staff at the Pentagon and the State Department ― can have any impact, and he decides which outside voices have access to White House decision-making conversations…

“It’s a stunning degree of authority for a 50-year-old operative with a deeply controversial career…  McGurk’s primary focus, a deal between Israel and Saudi Arabia, has come to dominate American diplomacy in the region… Saudi Arabia, the wealthy spiritual hub of the Muslim world, has long said it will only establish ties with Israel if a Palestinian state is established…

“A White House official told HuffPost that McGurk and the Biden administration prioritize Palestinian rights, including during talks about Saudi-Israel normalization… But skeptics fear McGurk’s focus on so-called Saudi-Israel ‘normalization’ will mean centering America’s Middle East strategy on a Saudi-Israel deal that lacks a settlement that satisfies Palestinians, sowing the seeds of future discord ― and that the deal would disregard U.S. values by, for instance, including huge arms sales and security commitments despite documented Saudi and Israeli misuse of American military assistance…”

Saudi Arabia will ultimately become one of Israel’s enemies.

Biden Keeps Denying the Obvious

Daily Mail wrote on December 6:

“President Joe Biden denied ‘interacting’ with Hunter Biden’s business partners and called allegations a ‘bunch of lies’ when asked about the Republican impeachment probe. He insisted there weren’t any communications with scandal-hit son’s associates, despite the GOP sharing evidence of at least 22 phone calls the then-vice president sat in on, dinners with Hunter’s associates at Washington, D.C., restaurants and participation in coffee meetings…

“He was asked about polling showing that nearly 70 percent of Americans think he did something unethical or illegal with family business interests and why he interacted with ‘so many’ of his son Hunter and brother James’ associates… Earlier this week, House Oversight chairman Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.) released bank records that Republicans say indicate he got at least three monthly payments [in the amount of $1,380 each] from a company owned by Hunter Biden that took in millions from China…

“The president has repeatedly denied being in business with his son, but former Hunter Biden business associates have testified he would briefly pop on conference calls or drop by meetings.”

Politicians lie. Joe Biden is no exception.

“Biden Can’t Stop Lying”

 The New York Post wrote on December 7:

“Three times on Wednesday, Joe Biden denied that he has interacted with his son Hunter and brother Jim’s business associates, when it is an undeniable, documented fact that he has interacted with them dozens of times… But Joe Biden can’t stop lying. The hole he has dug for himself is too deep.  The evidence already amassed by the three congressional committees working on the impeachment inquiry is overwhelming. It shows that when Joe Biden was vice president, he was intimately involved in the lucrative scheme his son and brother were running to extract millions of dollars from countries that were America’s adversaries or supplicants and in which he wielded enormous power as the point man for the Obama administration…

“But the cover-up of the Biden grift is even worse since it involves the corruption of institutions that are supposed to keep us safe: the FBI, DOJ and CIA. The only reason we know about the cover-up is because a handful of noble whistleblowers from those institutions have exposed the wrongdoing… But in the end, it will be up to the American people to cast judgment on Joe Biden’s lies.”

Most Russians Against Ukraine War Continuation?

Euronews wrote on December 2:

“Support for the Ukraine war in Russia has hit rock bottom, according to a recent poll. The independent pollster Chronicle found that the number of Russians who fully support the invasion has almost halved since February 2023.  Their survey revealed those who favour peace far outnumber pro-war voices, with more Russians supporting the departure of the country’s troops from Ukraine than not.”

However, Atlantic Council wrote on November 30:

“Despite some indications of war weariness, most Russians continue to support their country’s invasion of Ukraine, according to a comprehensive new report published this week. Based on polling and focus groups conducted by Russia’s only internationally recognized pollster, the Levada Center, and the Carnegie Russia Eurasia Center, the report found that the majority of Russians had ‘gotten used to’ living against the backdrop of a brutal armed conflict and had consolidated around the Kremlin…

“Debate has raged for the past twenty-one months over the true extent of Russian public support for the invasion of Ukraine. Many continue to question the validity of polls conducted in wartime Russia, with skeptics arguing that very few members of the public would be comfortable expressing anti-regime opinions to strangers. Indeed, given the draconian legislation adopted in Russia since February 2022 criminalizing criticism of the invasion, there is good reason to treat all research data coming out of the country with caution.

“While there are legitimate doubts over the credibility of polling data, the findings detailed in this new report and the Levada Center’s more regular monitoring both closely mirror the available anecdotal evidence, which indicates high levels of public acceptance for the ongoing invasion. Perhaps the most compelling evidence has come from personal interactions between Ukrainians and their Russian relatives. With family ties connecting millions on both sides of the border, there has been ample opportunity for Ukrainians to get a sense of how ordinary Russians feel about the war. This has led to countless painful conversations with Ukrainians frequently finding that people they have known all their lives now parrot Kremlin propaganda, blame Ukraine for the war, or deny core aspects of the invasion altogether.

“The almost complete absence of any meaningful anti-war activity in Russia is a further indication of public support, or at least acceptance, of the invasion. During the first weeks of hostilities, there were some attempts to hold anti-war rallies in a number of Russian cities, but these modest efforts soon ran out of steam. Some commentators have since argued that it is simply too dangerous to protest. However, wartime restrictions have not prevented Russians from freely voicing their opposition to various specific aspects of the invasion…

“The more than one million Russians who are believed to have fled the country following the full-scale invasion of Ukraine have also proven largely unwilling to voice their opposition to the war, despite not facing any of the restrictions in place inside Russia itself. While there are large Russian diasporas in multiple cities across Europe, there have been very few anti-war rallies since February 2022 or any other attempts by Russian citizens to protest against the invasion being carried out in their name…

“All this is very good news for Vladimir Putin. The Russian dictator had initially hoped to secure a rapid military victory in Ukraine, but he is now actively preparing his country for a long war. He has already moved much of the Russian economy onto a war footing, and seems to have succeeded in convincing the vast majority of his compatriots that they are engaged in a struggle with the West that is both existential and unavoidable. With his home front looking remarkably stable and no sign of any domestic challenges on the horizon, Putin can look ahead to 2024 with a degree of confidence.

“These latest indications of continued Russian public support for the war will further dampen any lingering hopes in Western capitals that internal opposition could yet derail the Russian invasion. The timing is particularly unfortunate, with talk of a battlefield stalemate in Ukraine already fueling doubts over the future of Western military aid. For now, Western leaders remain adamant that they will continue to stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes. However, they are extremely unlikely to be aided by any kind of anti-war uprising inside Russia itself.”

Is Germany Trying to Reduce EU Funding for Ukraine?

Express wrote on December 2:

“Ukraine has been caught off-guard after it was revealed that Germany wants to cut the amount of money it gives to an EU fund for Kyiv’s war effort… European capitals were reportedly stunned by Olaf Scholz’s U-turn… Ukraine is also understood to be alarmed by the news, since Germany, the EU’s largest economy, contributes a quarter of the EPF’s total funds…

“The dramatic German reversal followed a recent shock constitutional court verdict that blew a €60billion (£51bn) hole in Berlin’s budget. The court ruled that Chancellor Scholz’s government had breached a debt brake, which places a limit on public spending…

“The news comes less than 24 hours after President Zelensky admitted that Ukraine’s counteroffensive against invading Russian forces did not achieve the success he had hoped for. The counteroffensive is widely viewed as having failed to quickly deliver the hoped-for gains, despite significant Western backing…”

Joe Biden Threatens Congress Over Ukraine

Daily Mail wrote on December 6:

“President Joe Biden on Wednesday warned that American troops could have to fight Russian forces if Congress prevents further aid being sent to Ukraine. He demanded that lawmakers approve his request for tens of billions in military and economic assistance…

“His administration is warning of dire consequences for Kyiv if lawmakers don’t act to keep support flowing and European allies are increasingly alarmed at the consequences for democracy in their backyard.”

US Nearly Out of Money to Help Ukraine

Deutsche Welle reported on December 5:

“The United States is running out of time and money to help Ukraine fight back against the Russian invasion unless Congress can approve a new spending package, the White House said on Monday. The Biden administration had asked Congress in October to approve a $106 billion (€98 billion) package to fund aid for Ukraine and Israel, as well as for border security, but it was voted down by the Republican-controlled House.

“In a letter to the speaker of the House of Representatives on Monday, President Joe Biden’s budget director Shalanda Young said time was running out to help Ukraine… ‘without congressional action, by the end of the year we will run out of resources to procure more weapons and equipment for Ukraine and to provide equipment from US military stock’ she wrote… ‘Cutting off the flow of US weapons and equipment will kneecap Ukraine on the battlefield, not only putting at risk the gains Ukraine has made, but increasing the likelihood of Russian military victories.’

“House Speaker Mike Johnson gave the letter a cool response. ‘The Biden administration has failed to substantively address any of my conference’s legitimate concerns about the lack of a clear strategy in Ukraine, a path to resolving the conflict, or a plan for adequately ensuring accountability for aid provided by American taxpayers,’ Johnson said in a statement on social media. He also said that any national security supplemental package ‘must begin with our own border.’”

Fox News added on December 5:

“NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said in a recent interview that the Western military alliance should ‘be prepared for bad news’ in the Ukraine war ahead of the winter months… without elaborating.” 

Is Zelensky an Autocrat to Create an Authoritarian State?

The New York Post wrote on December 5:

“Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is becoming an autocrat who is reshaping Ukraine into an authoritarian state no different than Russia, Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko has shockingly claimed. Klitschko, a former heavyweight boxing champion-turned-politician, took the unprecedented step of publicly attacking Zelensky, an ex-comedian and actor, so vehemently for the first time since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine 21 months ago.

“While the pair have been political foes, such a blistering public condemnation was still shocking to many, given the country’s war crisis. ‘At some point we will no longer be any different from Russia, where everything depends on the whim of one man,’ Klitschko said in a new interview with the German news outlet Der Spiegel.

“Klitschko, who has served as the mayor of Kyiv since 2014, praised his fellow mayors and regional governors for thwarting Ukraine’s descent into authoritarianism… Klitschko… claimed that the president has become isolated…

“In a separate sit-down with the Swiss news site 20Minutes, Klitschko accused Zelensky of lying to the public about Ukraine’s progress in the bloody conflict. Klitschko, 52, argued that Zelensky’s popularity has been declining since the start of the war in February 2022, when he emerged onto the world stage as the symbol of Ukraine’s struggle for survival — and the mayor predicted that the president will eventually find himself out of power as payback for his ‘mistakes’

“But despite his litany of grievances, the mayor stopped short of calling for Zelensky’s immediate ouster. ‘The president has an important function today, and we have to support him until the end of the war,’ Klitschko said. ‘But at the end of this war, every politician will pay for his successes or failures.’”

Eventually, Ukraine and Russia will unite. Then, Ukraine will not be any different from Russia.

Sky News added on December 4:

“Volodymyr Zelenskyy is ‘paying for mistakes he has made’ and the Ukrainian people are wondering why the country was not better prepared, Vitali Klitschko, the mayor of Kyiv, has said in interviews with various news outlets. Mr Klitschko said Ukrainians were losing trust in the wartime leader’s handling of the crisis… ‘There was too much information that didn’t match reality…’

“The former boxing champion also claimed the Ukrainian leader had authoritarian tendencies… ‘At some point we will no longer be any different from Russia, where everything depends on the whim of one man.’”

Ukraine Assassinates “Dissidents”

Breitbart reported on December 6:

“Ilya Kiva, who was a Member of Parliament in Ukraine until the war started and dissenting lawmakers were purged, was shot in the head in an assassination claimed by the Ukrainian intelligence service. The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) confirmed they were responsible for the killing of a former Member of Parliament of the nation who was found dead in Moscow, Russia… The report from the Ukrainian state news outlet described Ilya Kiva as a ‘top traitor, collaborator and propagandist… criminal’ and stated he was ‘liquidated’ with ‘small arms’, or gunfire.

“The BBC reports a spokesman for Ukraine’s military intelligence not only confirmed the state-sanctioned assassination but said more would follow

“The former Presidential candidate had been a parliamentarian for the pro-Moscow ‘Opposition Platform — For Life’ party in Ukraine’s Parliament but was stripped of his seat in 2022 after he spoke out in favour of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Days after Kiva was kicked out of Parliament, his entire party— along with 11 other Ukrainian pro-Russia parties — was banned as part of the nation’s state of emergency martial law rules. Kiva fled Ukraine to Russia, and was convicted in absentia of high treason for his support of Russian military action.

“The killing came… amid a slew of other former Ukrainian opposition lawmakers — ‘traitors’ — apparently also eliminated. Kyiv claimed responsibility for the killing of another pro-Russian Ukrainian politician last month, with Mikhail Filiponenko of the Russian-occupied Luhansk region being killed by a car bomb…

“Another apparent car bomb killing took place just today, although in this case the Ukrainian state has not yet claimed responsibility. Oleg Popov, also a Ukrainian collaborating with the Russian occupation of Luhansk was killed after his car exploded, reports Le Monde. The New York Post states Popov had already survived one alleged assassination attempt last year and that sources claimed the SBU were responsible for his killing today, but that has not been confirmed.”

Is Ukraine copying the assassinations of dissidents for which Russia is famous?

Hungarian PM Demands Ukraine’s EU Membership Be Taken off Agenda

Sky News wrote on December 4:

“Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has demanded that Ukraine’s membership in the EU and billions of euros in funding meant for the country be taken off the agenda at a summit of the bloc’s leaders next week… Mr Orban insisted that a ‘strategic discussion’ is needed first about Ukraine’s European future and warned that forcing a decision could destroy EU unity…”

Ukraine will never become a member of the EU.

Europe Must Become a Superstate

The Telegraph wrote on December 1:

“The European Union should become a single megastate as it is not working in its current form, according to… Mario Draghi, who led the European Central Bank (ECB) and served as [Italy’s] prime minister during the pandemic… It made no sense, the former premier said, to have 27 separate national armed forces and 27 separate drug control agencies…

“Mr Draghi… has hopes of becoming the next president of the European Council, according to Italian media reports. ‘By expanding the European Union to 28 members [prior to Brexit] we made a colossal error: to think that it could work with the rules that were put in place when there were just 12 members,’ Mr Draghi said in a speech in Rome. For the EU to have a future in a multicentric world dominated by big powers such as the US and China, ‘it should become a state’, Mr Draghi said…

“The former prime minister compared the EU in its current state unfavourably with ancient Rome, lamenting that it had no common foreign policy or single army. He criticised the bloc for not being engaged enough in the Israel-Gaza crisis, saying ‘it needs to do more’… ‘The European market is too small,’ he said, adding that European companies often sell up or move to the US once they become successful.”

The comparison with ancient Rome is interesting; given the fact that the coming United States of Europe will be the tenth resurrection of the ancient Roman Empire.

The Record wrote on December 1:

“Charles Michel, the president of the European Council — the EU body that sets the bloc’s political direction — proposed on Thursday the creation of ‘a European cyber force … equipped with offensive capabilities’… Michel said: ‘I feel that the time has come to create a real union of defence, coupled with a true defence single market.’”

Up until now, Europe stated their forces should be used strictly for defensive purposes.

War in Europe?

Die Welt wrote on December 6:

“Because the West is hesitating, time is working for Vladimir Putin in Ukraine. And that’s just the beginning… with consequences for Germany that no one can imagine…

“Among those who are still interested in the Ukraine war, there are two camps: those who believe in a victory for Kiev. And those who dream of negotiations with Russia. But on the front, Ukraine is at a dead end. And Putin has no reason to negotiate because time is working for him: support for Kiev is dwindling in the USA, and the prospect of a new Trump presidency is becoming more real on the horizon.

“Putin, for his part, has staying power – and allies. The Emirates and Saudi Arabia are among six states that will soon join the Brics alliance – which so far includes Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. The alliance is united by one goal in terms of power politics: to end the supremacy of the West. With its imperialist drive, Russia is only the tip of the spear, but has the tacit approval of many states as long as it does not disturb their circles.

“For Putin, the military problems in Ukraine were just a setback on a path that he is continuing undeterred. His goal remains the conquest of the entire Ukraine. Secret services assume that Russia would need six years after the war to arm itself for an attack on NATO territory. If NATO still exists.

“…while Putin is investing huge sums of money in his army, the Federal Republic’s enthusiasm for armaments has already dried up.

“Germany is risking what hardly anyone in this country can or wants to think at the moment: that war will come to our country one day not far away.” 

Please view our new StandingWatch program, titled, “War Between Russia and Germany?”

“Germany, We Have a Problem”

The Daily Mail wrote on December 1:

“When 1.1 million migrants arrived in Germany in 2015, Bild Zeitung launched a ‘welcome’ campaign, echoing the sentiments of then-Chancellor Angela Merkel, who had unilaterally opened the country’s borders to Syrians fleeing civil war in their homeland…

“Which makes the new campaign by Germany’s favourite paper, known to everyone simply as Bild, quite extraordinary. Under the front-page headline ‘Germany, we have a problem!’, it has published a highly controversial 50-point manifesto telling migrants how to behave as the country experiences a national culture clash.

“’Our world is in chaos, and we are in the middle of it,’ says the paper. ‘Since the terrorist attack of Hamas on Israel on October 7, we are experiencing a new dimension of hatred, against our values, our democracy and against Germany. In our country, there are many 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” (non-believers), those who forbid women from wearing trousers; those who listen to radical preachers because they want a different society. Germany must say no!’

“Though Bild calls its manifesto a ‘sort of house rules’ for everyone living in Germany, it is clearly aimed at migrants. And its significance cannot be overstated. With its racy pictures and eye-grabbing headlines, Bild — which sells one million print copies a day — has a massive impact on the German people’s mindset.  Twenty regional editions serve every corner of the country and each month its website attracts 25 million visitors, almost a third of the nation’s adult population

‘The move marked a sharp turning point for Germany and its increasingly uneasy relationship with mass migration. Since the beginning of 2015, three million asylum seekers and illegal arrivals have come with far-reaching economic consequences. This week, as Germany flirts with recession, the Federal Employment Agency announced that six out of ten welfare recipients are migrants who are fit and able to work. Many are aged between 16 and 25, and many are women who have been in the country for years…

“A report on Germany’s migrant population produced by Harvard University warns that, instead of adapting to the liberal way of life in their new host nation, many remain attached to the austere conservative Islamic customs of their countries of origin

“At least 250,000 migrants have arrived in Germany this year. Some will be genuine asylum seekers but many are not. Berlin fears that Hamas terrorists fleeing Palestine and hoping to harm Europe are infiltrating the incomers. Police checks have been re-introduced at four German borders, but the flow continues. The atmosphere is growing tense. Berlin-based Iranian whistleblower Kazem Moussavi, who arrived as a refugee escaping Islamic persecution 30 years ago, has warned the German government for years that some mosques are fomenting hatred against Jews, Christians, women and the Western way of life…

“He may be right…  Many ordinary Germans, who feel their past generosity has been hurled back in their faces, think it is an important message to send out in these very uncertain times.”

Germans will not continue to tolerate this situation much longer; especially, since they do not see any action taken by their weak government.

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.

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How do you regard the culture of the time argument when it comes to biblical matters? (Part 1)

In a Q&A in April 2017, entitled “Does God Change?” we quoted the following observations.  We have underlined key phrases:

“In an article in April 2015 in the New York Times, a columnist wrote: ‘And homosexuality and Christianity don’t have to be in conflict in any church anywhere. That many Christians regard them as incompatible is understandable, an example not so much of hatred’s pull as of tradition’s sway. Beliefs ossified over centuries aren’t easily shaken.  But in the end, the continued view of gays, lesbians and bisexuals as sinners is a decision. It’s a choice. It prioritizes scattered passages of ancient texts over all that has been learned since — as if time had stood still, as if the advances of science and knowledge meant nothing. It disregards the degree to which all writings reflect the biases and blind spots of their authors, cultures and eras. It ignores the extent to which interpretation is subjective, debatable.’”

Can we see how subtle and deceptive this all is? The article goes on to show how “advances” in understanding have been made with respect to slavery, contraception, gender roles and same-sex marriages. This author and the people he quotes who share many of his views obviously think that they know better than God.

We continued in our Q&A:

“God does NOT change when it comes to the eternal truths that He has made clear in His Word. God has, and is, perfect character which cannot change and we have to have the spiritual insight and understanding to comprehend this, rather than lumping everything together. 

“Moral absolutes are just that – absolute. They cannot be changed and God does not change in this area.” 

We reviewed a few examples where God DID change His mind, but none of these changes involved alterations to His unalterable spiritual law. For example, Abraham debated with God how many righteous were to be found in Sodom and Gomorrah that would save it from destruction and he negotiated it down from 50 to 10 – but God does NOT change when it comes to the eternal Truths that He has made clear in His Word.

Another example we quote is in Numbers 14 which tells the story of Israel refusing to enter Canaan and instead of entering the land immediately, God changed this by deferring their entry for 40 years. These are just things of a temporary nature but nothing changes about God’s eternal Law.

A further example was when God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon the Ninevites – because of their repentance.

And so, let us look at the “culture of the time” argument.

You’ve no doubt heard this argument.   A while ago, the Episcopal church in the USA, which is part of the Anglican movement worldwide and allied to the Church of England, were debating the appointment of a practicing homosexual to a senior position. The following comment was made live on television:

“The Bible has to be interpreted in the light of contemporary society – not in an arcane way” (that is, a primitive or outdated way).

In other words, as society becomes more and more liberal and permissive and controlled by the media and those with vested interests, God’s Word has to be altered and manipulated to fit in with the world’s ways. This would, in reality, be moulding and shaping God into the form that we wanted or suited us – and that is preposterous.   It would mean that those who are “influencers,” to use a modern word, could come up with all sorts of ideas and then God’s Way would have to be interpreted in the light of their musings and pronouncements!!  What utter nonsense that is!

In short, today, many can use the arguments that as culture changes, God will go along with the flow and bend according to the particular dictates of man at any given time. They don’t phrase it that way of course, but that is how they view it.

How ridiculous that would be, but it is the way of some – but, hopefully, not those of us in the Church of God!  If that were the case, we could justify ANYTHING – anything at all.    God does not change – and His Word doesn’t change.   That’s the way of the world.  

Hebrews 13:8 says: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.”  Does Jesus Christ “move” with the times and go along with the musings of men?  

In Malachi 3:6, we read the following: “For I am the LORD, I do not change;”  

Barnes Notes on the Bible read:

“I am the Lord, I change not – better, more concisely, ‘I, the Lord I change not.’  The proper name of God, ‘He who Is,’ involves His unchangeableness. For change implies imperfection; it changes to that which is either more perfect or less perfect: to somewhat which that being, who changes, is not or has not. But God has everything in Himself perfectly.”

We read in the Pulpit Commentary:

“For I am the Lord, I change not; or, Jehovah, I change not. This is to show that God performs his promises, and effectually disposes of the allegation in Malachi 2:17, that he put no difference between the evil and the good. The great principles of right and wrong never alter; they are as everlasting as he who gave them. (our emphasis). God here speaks of himself by his covenant name, which expresses his eternal independent being, ‘the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning’ (James 1:17). ‘Therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed’. Because God’s eternal purpose stands good, and his ‘gifts and calling are without repentance’ (Romans 11:29), therefore the Israelites are indeed chastised and corrected, but not wholly consumed; they have a place and a nation, and the great promises made to their forefathers will all be fulfilled in due time (Jeremiah 30:11; Micah 7:20).”

If God does not change, neither will His Word.  2 Timothy 3:16 is further evidence of the permanency, constancy and dependability on the Word of God whichever century or millennium it applies to: “All Scripture (not just that which is convenient – but ALL Scripture) is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.”

And there is yet another passage of Scripture that those who want to bend God’s Word into their own interpretation and ignore its clear instructions, would find very hard to defend. John 17:17 quotes Christ’s words: “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.”

Our approach is exactly the opposite to that of the world – we DO believe God.   Sanctify means to set apart – and true Christians are set apart by the Truth – and God’s Word is Truth. Why can’t others see this?   We know that at the right time, God will remove their spiritual blindness.  But we have been called now – and we know the Truth.  And as we take the approach of the Bereans by searching the Scriptures, we will ensure that we find out what God’s Will is and subjugate our own human reasoning to His perfect Will and Way. That is the approach that God expects of His children.

Some time ago, one letter in a newspaper said:

“The Church of England should go the whole hog and just sling the Bible in the bin.   It could then preach its ‘anything goes’ philosophy to its largely empty churches.   The rest of us will have moved on to a Christian church.”

The Daily Caller wrote on August 30, 2023: “The Church of England’s (CofE) liberal drift continues as a new survey shows that a majorities of priests now support abandoning traditional Christian sexual ethics.

“A survey by the Times found that 62.6 percent of priests believe the church should relax its teaching that all premarital sex is sinful. A smaller majority (53.4 percent) voiced their support for same-sex marriage. The Church of England currently allows marriages only between men and women, though the General Synod — the CofE’s legislative body — voted in February to offer blessings to civilly married same-sex couples.”

While this was talking about the Church of England, it could certainly be extended to cover many more in mainstream Christianity.   There is no leadership in the most important area of all – that of Bible understanding. Judges 21:25 tells us, and this was applicable thousands of years ago and is certainly applicable today:

In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”

This is a repeat of what is stated in Judges 17:6. The fact that this concerned royalty does not deflect from the principle.   For “king,” we can substitute “leader” – and the fact that there is no clear, unambiguous and moral leadership in the Church of England, and in so many other churches allowing women in the ministry, and many other things, which are not approved or sanctioned by Scripture—means that everyone is doing what is right in his own eyes.  

(To be continued)

Lead Writer: Brian Gale (United Kingdom)

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Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

compiled by Dave Harris

“War Between Russia and Germany?” is the title of a new StandingWatch program, presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:

Many in Germany are concerned that “war will come to [their] country one day not far away,” as the German paper “Die Welt” put it. It even gives an approximate time as to when this might happen. And sadly, it will occur, but only after a dramatic event has taken place first, which has been recently described by Italy’s former prime minister and leader of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi.

“Krieg zwischen Russland und Deutschland?” is the title of a new AufPostenStehen program, presented by Norbert Link, covering the same topic as the StandingWatch program. 

A new Member Letter (December 2023) has been posted and mailed to our subscribers. Kalon Mitchell draws analogies from the struggles of preparing for and facing winter to what Christians are now facing as more and more trials challenge us to fight against the evil of Satan’s influence—especially, as we prepare for the return of Jesus Christ!

We have started this week an advertising campaign for our new booklet, “The Fall and Rise of Germany and Europe.” An advertising campaign for the German booklet, “Aufstieg und Fall von Deutschland und Europa,” will follow soon.

“Der Brief des Paulus an die Galater—wie er zu verstehen ist,” our new German booklet, has been translated from, “Paul’s Letter to the Galatians.” Graphic artist, Shelly Bruno, has completed design work and the booklet has been sent to the printer and will soon be available.

“Ängste und Sorgen und die täglichen Probleme,” last Sabbath German sermon by Christoph Sperzel, is now posted. Title in English, “Fears and Worries and Daily Problems.”

“Verantwortung übernehmen,” last Sabbath’s German sermonette by Robert Indlekofer, is now posted. Title in English: “Take Responsibility.”

“The Rise of the Beast—Comments on News and Prophecy, December 2, 2023,” last Sabbath’s sermonette presented by Norbert Link, is now posted. Here is a summary:

Germans lose all confidence in their leadership—arguably the weakest and most incompetent German government since World War II—and the German mass media, such as the mass tabloid Bild, attacks vehemently Germany’s immigration policy. America’s cluelessness, self-deception and past mistakes, and the pope’s “Jewish problem” are blamed for Israel’s dilemma and for Hamas’ joy. How tired are Russians really of the Ukraine war? And are UFOs proof for aliens, angels or demons? What have all these events to do with the rise of the beast and the false prophet?

“Choices and Consequences–Cause and Effect,” last Sabbath’s sermon presented by Rene Messier, is now posted. Here is a summary: 

This message will look at biblical examples of the choices people made, and at the outcome of those choices. Some were good choices with a good outcome, while others were not so good.

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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

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