The Black Swan
In the first century A.D., the saying, “A rare bird in the lands, like a black swan,” was meant to convey something that was not believed to exist. At that time, the European world had only seen white swans. So you can imagine their surprise more than 1,600 years later when the first one was seen and later caught and brought back to Europe. This changed the way many thought, even to the extent that the saying, “A rare bird in the lands…” was used ironically.
Recently, an author has taken this story and come up with the Black Swan idea. His criteria for such an effect is:
1. The event is a surprise (to the observer).
2. The event has a major impact.
3. After the fact, the event is rationalized by hindsight, as if it had been expected.
Furthermore, he also states that these events can be either positive, negative or both.
An example of a Black Swan event would be the first coming of Christ. It was unexpected by most; affected many in a profound way; and now nearly 2,000 years later, many have said that Jesus was merely a man who caught the imagination of the people of His time, as so many before and after Him have done.
There is another Black Swan event on the horizon that will catch most everyone off guard; completely change the whole world; and after it has come to pass, most will be able to see that it was the consequence of predictable occurrences. Of course, I am speaking of the return of Christ and all that immediately precedes and follows His second coming.
The world will not expect His coming at the time He arrives, nor in the manner in which He does. In one respect, it is amazing that we can live in a time where the Bible is the #1 best selling book worldwide, year after year, and yet most are unaware of its contents, thus making Christ’s future return a Black Swan event.
In addition to being a surprising event for most, Christ’s return will of course have a major impact. He will save mankind from utter destruction, and this present evil world will be totally changed for the better. And the third criterion of this concept is that Christ’s second coming will be viewed after the fact, as having been foreseeable. This will be the outcome, after the Kingdom of God rules this earth and God has made His Spirit available to all and their minds become open to the truth. They will read the prophecies of the Bible, and the words will jump off the page at them, as they wonder how they did not see this before.
It should not and can not be this way for us today! The events of the very near future are not concealed to our eyes and therefore, should not be a bombshell to us, as it will be to the rest of humanity. Those, guided by the Holy Spirit, who correctly study the Word of God and watch and pray always, will see all of this fermenting.
We should not be oblivious to what is coming down the pike; rather, we should be knowledgeable and prepared for Christ’s second coming. The result of this Black Swan event will be a dire outcome for many, but it should not and can not be that way for those who have been given an ear to hear and eyes to see.
We begin with breaking news from Europe, followed by a series of articles showing the unwillingness of the American government to deal with pressing issues, such as the massacre at Fort Hood, and growing criticism of the American people (left, center and right) regarding President Obama’s actions–or the lack thereof–over here and abroad, including his non-statesmanship-like bow to the Japanese “emperor.”
The U.S. health care debate is continuing and is becoming the object of frustration, unbelief and ridicule. As Politico reported on November 18, “In the Battle of the Health Bills, the Senate wins out, bulk-wise – weighing in at 2,074 pages. The House health reform bill was a mere 1,990 pages when introduced. That means the Senate bill — like the one in the House — runs more pages than War and Peace, and has nearly five times as many words as the Torah. The table of contents alone is 14 pages… And if Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) gets his way, senators will get a chance to hear every word of it. He’s threatening to the read the legislation from start to finish, which by some estimates could take as long as 48 hours.”
And while America’s role as a leading superpower diminishes and the ongoing recession deepens, China seems to be pushed into a leadership role in the Far East, and Israel continues to defy the USA.
Focusing again on Europe, calls for a European army and a powerful “superhuman” EU foreign minister are accompanied by German considerations to withdraw their troops from Afghanistan. The Russian Orthodox Church decided to cut all ties with the German Protestant Church, due to a woman having been elected as the leading bishop, and frightening historical ignorance of British school children gives credence to the old saying that if we don’t want to learn (from) the lessons of history, we are bound to repeat them.
This Week in the News
Europe’s New President and Foreign Minister
Deutsche Welle reported on November 20:
“EU leaders have agreed [unanimously] to appoint Belgian Prime Minister Herman Van Rompuy as EU president and Britain’s Catherine Ashton as its foreign affairs chief [i.e., “foreign minister”]…
“During the mid-to-late ‘90s, Van Rompuy (62) held the post of budget minister under the Christian Democrat-led government of Jean-Luc Dehaene. He was regarded as a budgetary hardliner and has been critical of governments spending their way out of recession. Prior to entering politics Van Rompuy held a position in the Belgian central bank. He is also known as having strong religious convictions…
“Catherine Ashton, 53 and formally a Baroness, has been a close ally of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown since joining the UK Labour Party. Ashton had held a number of mid-level positions in the UK government related to education, justice and human rights before being promoted to the position of EU trade commissioner a year ago. During her time in Brussels Ashton has been a central figure in trade negotiations with nations such as China and Russia…
“[Gordon] Brown admitted that he would have preferred seeing former British Prime Minister Tony Blair in the top EU job… But Brown acknowledged that it soon became clear that the European conservative alliance wanted to have one of their own members as president of the European council.”
Reuters added on November 19:
“European Union leaders named Belgian Prime Minister Herman Van Rompuy, who is little known outside his own country, as the bloc’s first president on Thursday… They also chose Baroness Catherine Ashton, a Briton little known even in her own country, as EU foreign affairs chief…
“Van Rompuy, 62, and Ashton, 53, are compromise candidates… Agreement on the positions took weeks, undermining efforts to present the bloc as a united force, partly because Britain had demanded Blair should be president… EU leaders had sought a political balance to satisfy member states and the European Parliament, whose approval is needed for Ashton. This was achieved by appointing a center-right president and a center-left high representative for foreign affairs…
“Blair had long been the front-runner but many other states wanted a candidate more likely to lead by consensus, and Germany and France joined forces to block his candidacy. They remain powerful forces in the EU although they have none of the top jobs which also include a Portuguese, Jose Manuel Barroso, as European Commission President.”
We can safely say that this appointment of compromise candidates does not constitute the final configuration of the biblically prophecied united Europe. Especially Germany will continue to heavily influence the EU, and the final European leader–called the “beast” in the book of Revelation–will still have to manifest himself on the world scene.
Obama to Congress: Don’t Investigate Fort Hood Massacre
The Associated Press reported on November 14:
“President Barack Obama on Saturday urged Congress to hold off on any investigation of the Fort Hood rampage until federal law enforcement and military authorities have completed their probes into the shootings at the Texas Army post, which left 13 people dead. On an eight-day Asia trip, Obama turned his attention home and pleaded for lawmakers to ‘resist the temptation to turn this tragic event into the political theater.’ He said those who died on the nation’s largest Army post deserve justice, not political stagecraft. ‘The stakes are far too high,’ Obama said in a video…
“Several members of Congress, particularly Michigan Rep. Peter Hoekstra, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, have… called for a full examination of what agencies knew about Hasan’s contacts with a radical Muslim cleric in Yemen and others of concern to the U.S. Hoekstra confirmed this week that government officials knew of about 10 to 20 e-mails between Hasan and the radical imam, beginning in December 2008.
“A joint terrorism task force overseen by the FBI learned late last year of Hasan’s repeated contact with the cleric, who encouraged Muslims to kill U.S. troops in Iraq. The FBI said the task force did not refer early information about Hasan to superiors because it concluded he wasn’t linked to terrorism. Lawmakers, however, already have announced they want their own investigations and were frustrated with what they view as a less-than-forthcoming administration.
“Rep. Howard McKeon, R-Calif., said he wanted to go ahead with an investigation from the House Armed Services Committee, where he is the top Republican. He said he wanted an investigation that wouldn’t compromise law enforcement or military investigations that were continuing on separate tracks. In the Senate, Sen. Joe Lieberman, a Connecticut independent, said his Homeland Security Committee was opening an investigation.
“Obama said he was not opposed to hearings — eventually…”
But there may be more behind this request to Congress not to investigate. However, Mr. Liebermann and others announced that they will not abide by President Obama’s request. For further information, please view our new StandingWatch program, Why the Fort Hood Massacre?
Too Scared to Learn the Truth?
The Financial Times wrote on November 13:
“Ten days ago, Major Nidal Malik Hasan allegedly shot a dozen people dead at the Fort Hood army base in Texas, reportedly shouting ‘Allahu Akbar” – God is great – as he fired. Since then, the question of what motivated him has sat in the middle of the American public debate. The public is increasingly certain that the killings are a case of terrorism. Government and military leaders argue that we must not leap to conclusions… A lot hinges on whether we think of Maj Hasan as a mental case or a soldier of jihad.
“Maj Hasan had been radicalised in the name of Islam as he understood it… Public doctrine insists on a distinction between Islam and Islamism. Islam is a religion… Islamism is a violent political ideology… Maj Hasan was… an Islamist… And those who had the authority to monitor him more closely were either unable or unwilling to.
“It is hard to see what Maj Hasan could have done to make his ideology more obvious. In June 2007, he gave a medical lecture at the Walter Reed army medical centre that turned into a harangue, on Koranic grounds, about how Muslims in the US military should be exempted from killing other Muslims. The most troubling conduct ascribed to Maj Hasan is the correspondence he initiated with the Yemeni-American jihadist imam Anwar al-Awlaki… Mr al-Awlaki is not merely a ‘radical imam’. He is probably the most cogent exponent of the view that US Muslims should wage jihad against their country…
“There was a deadly shooting rampage at an Arkansas recruiting station last June that was very similar to the Fort Hood episode. The Arkansas perpetrator – an American who had converted to Islam and changed his name to Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad – had himself visited Yemen. The FBI knew about Major Hasan’s contacts with Mr al-Awlaki. So did the Joint Terrorism Task Force. Why did they lack the will or inclination to act on it?… Maj Hasan’s colleagues, the Economist writes, say he thought the war on terror was a war on Islam…
“General George Casey Jr spent much of last weekend on national television engaging in… wishful thinking. ‘A diverse Army,’ he said, ‘gives us strength.’ Does it? Or is that a platitude? Diversity can be a strength. But diversity as an ideology produced, in Maj Hasan’s case, bureaucrats who were too scared of giving offence to speak their minds – and to act on the information they had. There was, it seems clear, no balancing act between protecting soldiers from harm and protecting minorities from prejudice. Protecting soldiers was simply made priority number two. That is what makes the Hasan case so explosive.”
This development does not say much for our government’s willingness to identify or fight against radical Islam and terrorism.
9-11 Terrorists to be Tried in Civilian Court
The Washington Post wrote on November 14:
“Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the self-proclaimed mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, and four co-conspirators will be tried in Manhattan federal courthouse less than a mile from Ground Zero, the Justice Department announced Friday…
“But the effort to criminalize the events of Sept. 11 and accord Mohammed the full panoply of rights enjoyed in a federal trial has infuriated and dismayed Republicans, as well as some organizations of victims’ families. They argued that military commissions at Guantanamo Bay offered a secure environment, a proper forum for war crimes, and adequate legal protections for a ruthless enemy.
“‘The Obama Administration’s irresponsible decision to prosecute the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks in New York City puts the interests of liberal special interest groups before the safety and security of the American people,’ said House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) in a statement. ‘The possibility that Khalid Sheik Mohammed and his co-conspirators could be found “not guilty” due to some legal technicality just blocks from Ground Zero should give every American pause’…
“While in CIA custody, Mohammed was subjected to a series of coercive interrogation techniques, culminating in waterboarding. Asked about the prospect that defense attorneys could use the acknowledged waterboarding to derail the case, [Attorney General Eric] Holder said he would not have authorized the prosecutions if he were not convinced the outcome would be successful.
“Prosecutors must still present evidence before a New York grand jury, and while the specific charges they will seek remain unclear, Holder said Friday he was all but certain to order the death penalty against the five Sept. 11 conspirators…
“Excluding those detainees destined for transfer or trial still leaves as many as 75 inmates who will probably be held in some form of prolonged detention because they are too dangerous to release but cannot be prosecuted…”
McCain Stands Up to Obama…
Newsmax.com wrote on November 13:
“Sen. John McCain issued the following statement Friday on his Web site regarding the Obama administration’s decision to try five Sept. 11 suspects in New York City:
“‘I am extremely disappointed with the Obama administration’s decision to try in U.S. civilian courts the al-Qaida terrorists who planned, supported, and conducted the September 11th attacks. These terrorists are not common criminals. They are war criminals, who committed acts of war against our citizens and those of dozens of other nations.
“‘Terrorists who have declared war against our country should be treated as war criminals and tried for their crimes through military tribunals. In a letter sent to Congress just last week, hundreds of families of victims of the September 11th attacks urged the Administration to try these terrorists in military tribunals, and I fully respect and agree with their position…
“‘If military tribunals are suitable for the terrorists who attacked our sailors aboard the USS Cole, as the Obama administration has decided, then military tribunals are certainly the right venue to try the al-Qaida terrorists, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who murdered thousands of innocent civilians on Sept. 11, 2001.
“‘Today’s decision sends a mixed message about America’s resolve in the fight against terrorism. We are at war, and we must bring terrorists to justice in a manner consistent with the horrific acts of war they have committed.'”
Of course, others have also criticized President Obama and his administration for the highly controversial and unpopular decision to try enemy combatants in a civilian court. The Bible predicts that the USA–and especially its leadership–will be losing the pride of its power and the willingness to address and solve its problems. You might want to watch our recent StandingWatch program, Why Aren’t We SOLVING Our National and Global Problems?
Obama Being Attacked by the Ultra-Left
You know it must be bad when MSNBC’s ultra-left hosts, such as openly gay host Rachel Maddow, or liberal or so-called “progressive” hosts such as Keith Olbermann or Chris Matthews, attack President Obama. For them, Obama’s left-liberal changes don’t go far enough.
The left-liberal New York Times wrote on November 15:
“[Rachel] Maddow pretended to celebrate the passage of a health care overhaul bill in the House, calling it ‘potentially a huge generational win for the Democratic Party’ — but then halted the triumphant music and called it an ‘electoral defeat.’ The Stupak amendment, she said, was ‘the biggest restriction on abortion rights in a generation.’ Then she wondered aloud about the consequences for Democrats ‘if they don’t get women or anybody who’s pro-choice to ever vote for them again.’ She returned to the subject the next four evenings in a row.
“This is how it looks to have a television network pressuring President Obama from the left. While much attention has been paid to the feud between the Fox News Channel and the White House, the Obama administration is now facing criticism of a different sort from Ms. Maddow, Keith Olbermann and other progressive hosts on MSNBC, who are using their nightly news-and-views-casts to measure what [Maddow] calls ‘the distance between Obama’s rhetoric and his actions.’
“While they may agree with much of what Mr. Obama says, they have pressed him to keep his campaign promises about health care, civil liberties and other issues… MSNBC — sometimes critically called the ‘home team’ for supporters of Mr. Obama — has even hit upon the theme with a promotional tagline, ‘pushing back on the president,’ in commercials for ‘Hardball,’ Chris Matthews’s political hour.”
Incredible–President Obama Bows Again…
The Los Angeles Times published the following photographs and wrote in an accompanying article on November 14:
“How low will the new American president go for the world’s royalty? This photo will get Democrat President Obama a lot of approving nods in Japan this weekend, especially among the older generation of Japanese who still pay attention to the royal family living in its downtown castle. Very low bows like this are a sign of great respect and deference for a superior. To some in the United States, however, an upright handshake might have looked better…
“Obama could receive some frowns back home as he did for his not-quite-this-low-or-maybe-about-the-same-bow to the Saudi king not so long ago.
“Akihito, who turns 76 next month, is the eldest son and fifth child of Emperor Showa, the name given to an emperor and his reign after his death. Emperor Showa is better known abroad by the life name of Hirohito. He became emperor in 1925 and died in 1989, the longest historically known rule of the nation’s 125 emperors. Hirohito presided over his nation’s growth from an undeveloped agrarian economy into the expansionist military power and ally of Nazi Germany of the 1930’s… after Democrat President Harry Truman ordered the two atom bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the summer of 1945… Akihito’s father went on national radio… and… pronounced that the country must ‘accept the unacceptable.’ It did.
“As the conquering Allied general and then presiding officer of the U.S. occupation, Gen. Douglas MacArthur, decided to allow Japan to keep its emperor as a ceremonial unifying institution within a nascent democracy. Tojo, on the other hand, was hanged. MacArthur treated Emperor Hirohito respectfully but… was not particularly deferential…
“Akihito assumed the throne on Jan. 7, 1989. Within weeks he began a series of formal expressions of remorse to Asian countries for Japan’s actions during his father’s reign… In 1959, Akihito married Michiko Shoda, the first commoner allowed to enter the Japanese royal family. That was two years before the birth of Akihito’s future presidential guest, Barack Obama.”
Obama Strongly Criticized for Inappropriate Bow
ABC News wrote on November 15:
“An old friend — an academic with expertise about the Japanese Empire, and in general a supporter of President Obama — sends me the following note, relating to photographs of President Obama bowing to Emperor Akihito of Japan…
“‘The bow as he performed did not just display weakness in Red State terms, but evoked weakness in Japanese terms….The last thing the Japanese want or need is a weak looking American president and, again, in all ways, he unintentionally played that part.'”
AFP added on November 16:
“Outrage in Washington over Obama’s Japan bow… Bill Bennett said on CNN’s ‘State of the Union’ program: ‘It’s ugly. I don’t want to see it. We don’t defer to emperors. We don’t defer to kings or emperors. The president of the United States — this coupled with so many apologies from the United States — is just another thing,’ said Bennett.
“Some conservative critics juxtaposed the image of Obama with one of former US vice president Dick Cheney, who greeted the emperor in 2007 with a firm handshake but no bow… Some said the gesture was particularly grating coming after Obama’s bow to Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah at a G20 meeting in April…
“The gesture appears to have touched a particularly raw nerve among Obama critics who said the president has hastened America’s decline as a world superpower by being too apologetic and too deferential in his dealings with other world leaders.”
Rather than showing to the world, that America is still willing to lead, its leader gives the clear impression that he is rather willing to bow before others. For more information as to the reasons, please read our free booklet, “The Fall and Rise of Britain and America.”
“Obama on the Loose Embarrasses All of Us”
On November 17, The Washington Times published this biting article:
“Barack Obama on the loose in a foreign land is enough to frighten protocol officers and embarrass the rest of us… No president before him so abused custom, traditions, protocol (and the country he represents)… the bow to the Japanese emperor was… a sign of a really deep sense of inferiority… This is not the way an American president impresses evildoers that he’s strong, tough and decisive.
“… it’s true that this president seems never to have studied much American history. Not bowing to foreign potentates was what 1776 was all about… Can anyone imagine George Washington, John Adams or Thomas Jefferson making a similar gesture of servile submission? Or Harry Truman? Or FDR…? John F. Kennedy, on the eve of a trip to London, sharply warned Jackie not to curtsy to the queen…
“But Mr. Obama, unlike his predecessors, likely knows no better… He was sired by a Kenyan father, born to a mother attracted to men of the Third World and reared by grandparents in Hawaii, a paradise far from the American mainstream. He no doubt wants to ‘do the right thing’ by his lights, but the lights that illumine the Obama path are not necessarily the lights that illuminate the way for most of the rest of us. This is good news only for Jimmy Carter, who may yet have to give up his distinction as our most ineffective and embarrassing president.”
“Climate Change”–Obama’s Admission of His “Massive Failing”
We most certainly do NOT agree with many of the assertions in the following article, but the tragic truth is that President Obama AND the American society are blamed for a global economic crisis and for global warming. The article also includes this frightening accusation: “The US hardly has a claim any more to the leadership of the Western world… [It is] indirectly, a major threat to world peace in the 21st century.”
Will Europe “preemptively” strike the USA militarily to ensure “world peace”? The Bible gives the startling answer, which is repeatedly explained in many of our free booklets and our weekly Updates.
Der Spiegel Online wrote on November 17:
“US President Barack Obama came to office promising hope and change. But on climate change, he has followed in the footsteps of his predecessor, George W. Bush. Now, should the climate summit in Copenhagen fail, the blame will lie squarely with Obama… George W. Bush… was too busy waging war on Iraq and searching for a legal basis for extraordinary renditions to pay much attention to the real threat facing humanity…
“But few people expected that Barack Obama, of all people, would continue his predecessor’s climate change plan. When he took office at the beginning of 2009, it was clear that the success of the UN Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen in December depended almost entirely on the US — that America needed to take a clear leadership role on a problem that could shake civilization to its very core…
“On the weekend, Obama announced that there would be no agreement on binding rules in Copenhagen. It was the admission of a massive failing — and the prelude to a truly dramatic phase of international climate policy… Barack Obama cast himself as a ‘citizen of the world’ when he delivered his well-received campaign speech in Berlin in the summer of 2008. But the US president has now betrayed this claim. In his Berlin speech, he was dishonest with Europe…
“Obama’s announcement at the APEC summit that it was no longer possible to secure a binding treaty in Copenhagen is the result of his own negligence… And he has left it to the Europeans to take the lead… If the Copenhagen summit, which energy strategists and environmentalists have been preparing for two years, is a failure, then it will mainly be Obama’s fault.
“Many Americans clearly also believe that real climate change is just something dreamt up by the entertainment industry. Obama has proven himself to be unable to put an end to the lies that modern American society is based on. He is unable to overcome the entrenched lobbyists of the oil and coal industries and make the reality clear to his compatriots: They are the worst energy wasters on the planet — and are thus, indirectly, a major threat to world peace in the 21st century. Although they do not enjoy a higher quality of life than Europeans, Americans consume twice as much fossil fuel per capita.
“… if the worst-case scenario becomes reality at Copenhagen and at the follow-up conferences — if, in other words, world leaders ignore the findings of the global scientific community — then the US will find itself in a very uncomfortable position. America will be seen as the primary culprit of global warming — and this after the US, with its rampant real estate speculation, has given us a global economic crisis that has not only destroyed assets, but pushed 100 million people worldwide into hunger.
“With that kind of track record, the US hardly has a claim any more to the leadership of the Western world — let alone a Nobel Peace Prize for its leader… The Nobel Committee should postpone the award ceremony for the Nobel Peace Prize from Dec. 10 to Dec. 20. Only if Obama has achieved a convincing deal at the Copenhagen conference will there be a real reason to honor him.”
Global Warming — or Not?
Der Spiegel Online wrote the following on November 19:
“Global warming appears to have stalled. Climatologists are puzzled as to why average global temperatures have stopped rising over the last 10 years… meteorologist Mojib Latif… one of Germany’s best-known climatologists, says that the temperature curve has reached a plateau. ‘There can be no argument about that,’ he says. ‘We have to face that fact.’… [This] does raise doubts about the predictive value of climate models, and it is also a political issue. For months, climate change skeptics have been gloating over the findings on their Internet forums.
“This has prompted many a climatologist to treat the temperature data in public with a sense of shame, thereby damaging their own credibility. ‘It cannot be denied that this [is] one of the hottest issues in the scientific community,’ says Jochem Marotzke, director of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg. ‘We don’t really know why this stagnation is taking place at this point.’
“Just a few weeks ago, Britain’s Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research added more fuel to the fire with its latest calculations of global average temperatures. According to the Hadley figures, the world grew warmer by 0.07 degrees Celsius from 1999 to 2008, and not by the 0.2 degrees Celsius assumed by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. And, say the British experts, when their figure is adjusted for two naturally occurring climate phenomena, El Niño and La Niña, the resulting temperature trend is reduced to 0.0 degrees Celsius — in other words, a standstill…
“The controversy sends confusing and mixed messages to the lay public. Why is there such a vigorous debate over climate change, even though it isn’t getting warmer at the moment? And how can it be that scientists cannot even arrive at a consensus on changes in temperatures, even though temperatures are constantly being measured?… no one really knows what exactly the world climate will look like in the not-so-distant future, that is, in 2015, 2030 or 2050.”
America’s Unemployment and Recession–The Worst Is Yet to Come
The New York Daily News wrote on November 15:
“Think the worst is over? Wrong. Conditions in the U.S. labor markets are awful and worsening. While the official unemployment rate is already 10.2% and another 200,000 jobs were lost in October, when you include discouraged workers and partially employed workers the figure is a whopping 17.5%…
“The long-term picture for workers and families is even worse than current job loss numbers alone would suggest. Now as a way of sharing the pain, many firms are telling their workers to cut hours, take furloughs and accept lower wages. Specifically, that fall in hours worked is equivalent to another 3 million full time jobs lost on top of the 7.5 million jobs formally lost.
“This is very bad news but we must face facts. Many of the lost jobs are gone forever, including construction jobs, finance jobs and manufacturing jobs… Other measures tell the same ugly story: The average length of unemployment is at an all time high… it is most likely that the unemployment rate will peak close to 11% and will remain at a very high level for two years or more. The weakness in labor markets and the sharp fall in labor income… increases the risk of a double dip recession.
“As a result of these terribly weak labor markets, we can expect weak recovery of consumption and economic growth; larger budget deficits; greater delinquencies in residential and commercial real estate and greater fall in home and commercial real estate prices; greater losses for banks and financial institutions on residential and commercial real estate mortgages, and in credit cards, auto loans and student loans and thus a greater rate of failures of banks; and greater protectionist pressures.”
China a New Global Leader?
The Wall Street Journal wrote on November 13:
“Now, at the dawn of the 21st century, the world is looking to China to assume an unfamiliar role of global leadership. At a time when American prestige is fading, China’s status is rising. President Barack Obama arrives in China next week seeking help on everything from climate change to North Korea’s nuclear threat. At meetings of the Group of 20 nations, China’s opinions are urgently sought on issues such as banking reform and executive pay… History has done little to prepare this country for the kind of leadership that an anxious international community seems so ready to thrust on it…
“Now, as the global economy emerges shakily from the worst recession since World War II, China is attracting admiration from new corners.While the Western world hurtled towards the financial abyss, China was moving ahead cautiously. It has emerged from the crisis with an economy growing powerfully. Its banks are unpolluted by toxic assets; hardly a ripple disturbs its vast pools of national savings. This year, property markets in Beijing and Shanghai are sizzling…
“Critics say that China’s record in the world’s trouble spots, from North Korea to Iraq and Darfur, suggests that it defines its responsibilities in ways that enhance its economic interests. On North Korea, China… is hesitant to threaten the flow of Chinese oil and food that keeps the regime alive. Skeptics in the U.S. say that China holds back because it fears a collapse of North Korea that would not only unleash a flood of refugees across its border but also place U.S. forces face-to-face with its own.
“Similar tensions between China’s economic interests and international obligations play out in Africa, where Chinese companies are investing massively in energy and raw materials to fuel China’s growth. The ‘no-strings’ investments from Nigeria to Ethiopia fly in the face of Western efforts to link investment with improvements in human rights and the environment. In Sudan, China has sent peacekeepers to the war-torn region of Darfur, while bolstering the government by buying oil and selling arms.
“Iran may provide the biggest test to date of China’s willingness to lead. Washington and its European allies see China’s role as critical in the effort to pressure Tehran over its nuclear program. So far, China has resisted tougher sanctions against a country that is its second-largest oil supplier after Saudi Arabia…
“China is rapidly modernizing its military forces… A military parade last month to mark the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China sent a powerful message to China’s 1.3 billion people… [It] signaled that China not only was at last a strong country, but also could project power beyond its shores.
“… it has passed America as the world’s largest auto market. No emerging nation on earth has seized the opportunities of global trade more enthusiastically than China… Surpluses from foreign trade—particularly with the U.S.—have helped China rack up more than $2 trillion in foreign-exchange reserves.
“So what does China want to do with the enhanced status that it craves, and which the world seems equally anxious to concede to China? Last month, the Frankfurt Book Fair offered the world a glimpse into the internal workings of the Chinese state… China was invited to the fair as the guest of honor. The Chinese government had invested millions of dollars in the event, lining up some 2,000 Chinese writers, publishers and artists to attend. All went well until organizers invited two Chinese dissidents to a prefair symposium titled ‘China and the World—Perception and Reality.’ Furious Chinese officials threatened to boycott the event and backed down only when organizers withdrew the invitations. ‘We did not come to be instructed about democracy,’ Mei Zhaorong, China’s former ambassador to Germany, icily declared.”
The Bible shows that in the end time, kings from the East will combine their efforts, get involved in a war with Europe, and invade the Middle East. Similar powers from the Far East will launch another attack on the descendants of the ancient House of Israel, shortly after Christ’s return, when these descendants have been brought back to the Promised Land (compare Ezekiel 38). China will play a dominant role in all of these actions.
Israel Defies USA
On November 17, The Financial Times wrote:
“Israel on Tuesday defied US pressure when it gave preliminary approval to a plan to construct 900 new housing units in a suburb of Jerusalem built on occupied Palestinian land in a move that could stoke regional tensions. Washington said it was ‘dismayed’ by the plan to build 900 new units in Gilo, south of Jerusalem. ‘At a time when we are working to relaunch negotiations, these actions make it more difficult for our efforts to succeed,’ said Robert Gibbs, President Barack Obama’s spokesman.
“In a strongly worded statement, he added: ‘The US also objects to other Israeli practices in Jerusalem related to housing, including the continuing pattern of evictions and demolitions of Palestinian homes.’
“Washington has urged Israel not to expand settlements in the West Bank and Arab East Jerusalem, which have been under Israeli occupation since 1967… Israeli officials have long insisted building in East Jerusalem must continue, claiming the entire city is Israeli territory. Israel annexed its eastern neighbourhoods after 1967 – a move never endorsed by the international community.
“The settlements plan was approved on Tuesday by an interior ministry committee. It will be put to public consultation pending a final decision, and it may be years before construction actually starts…
“Last week, Palestinian negotiators suggested that they could instead unilaterally declare independence based on 1967 borders – a proposal condemned on Tuesday by both the US and the European Union… Carl Bildt, foreign minister of Sweden, which holds the rotating EU presidency, added: ‘The EU has said [in the past] we will be ready to recognise a Palestinian state but the conditions are not there as of yet.’…The EU is the biggest aid donor to the Palestinians.”
New EU Foreign Minister Needs “Superhuman” Strength
The EUObserver wrote on November 16:
“The tasks of the proposed new EU foreign minister look relatively clear-cut and powerful on paper but analysts and politicians in Brussels suggest the person will need to be superhuman to manage all that is foreseen under the Lisbon Treaty… [The] position puts foreign policy clout and the financial means to implement it into the hands of one person…
“Spanish centre-right MEP Inigo Mendez de Vigo, who was an influential member of the convention that drew up what would eventually become the Lisbon Treaty, said the foreign minister is the ‘crucial one’ when it comes to the EU’s external actors. He noted that [we must make sure that the EU foreign minister was] ‘no longer the obedient servant of the council.’ He pointed out that getting it agreed that the foreign minister would chair the monthly foreign minister meetings was a make-or-break point…, [guaranteeing that] the person [was not] ‘subordinate’ to other foreign ministers.”
The book of Revelation shows that the ultimate leader of Europe WILL have “superhuman” strength. For more information, please read our free booklets, “The Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord,” and “Is That in the Bible?–The Mysteries of the Book of Revelation.”
New Europe Needs a European Army
Times On Line wrote on November 15:
“Italy is to push for the creation of a European Army after the ‘new Europe’ takes shape at this week’s crucial EU summit following the adoption of the Lisbon Treaty. Franco Frattini, the Italian Foreign Minister, said that the Lisbon Treaty had established ‘that if some countries want to enter into reinforced co-operation between themselves they can do so’.
“This was already the case with the euro and the Schengen accords on frontier-free travel, and could now be applied to ‘common European defence’… The Lisbon Treaty, which comes into force in December, will be sealed on Thursday with an EU summit to choose an EU President and Foreign Minister…
“It was a ‘necessary objective to have a European army’, Mr Frattini said. ‘Take Afghanistan: at present President Obama asks Poland, or Italy, or Great Britain for more troops. If there were a European army, he would have a “toolbox” to draw from. He might need 30 aeroplanes: he would be able to ask if the European army was in a position to provide them’…
“There was also a case for joint naval patrols in the Mediterranean, Mr Frattini said. ‘Europe could deploy a joint naval fleet or air force in the Mediterranean: why not? We could say, look, one group of nations is ready at once, and leave the door open for others to join, as with the euro.'”
Europe will have their army in due course; and especially core Europe–ten European nations or groups of nations–will become a powerful military alliance. For more information, please read our free booklet, “Europe in Prophecy.”
Germany Considering Withdrawing All Troops from Afghanistan
Deutsche Welle reported on November 16:
“In a shift, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle and Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg have been speaking frankly about devising a plan to get German troops out of Afghanistan… Germany has some 4,250 soldiers in Afghanistan, the third-largest number of troops in the NATO contingent. Based near the northern city of Kunduz, soldiers have had to strike back against an increasingly fierce campaign by Taliban insurgents… Guttenberg said that Germany needed to re-assess why it was in Afghanistan and how long it wanted to be there…
“German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, leader of the Free Democrats (FDP), went further during a television appearance. ‘We need to get to the point during this four-year legislative term that we are ready to talk about a potential exit strategy in Afghanistan. We don’t want to be there forever,’ said Westerwelle…
“The FDP, the CDU and the SPD are all beginning to talk exit strategy… The withdrawal debate in Germany is changing, and could be on a course that sees Germany getting out of Afghanistan earlier than many had thought.”
If Germany will do this, and wavering Britain is also considering the withdrawal of their troops, then America will soon be left all alone, assuming that there is even American willingness to continue their war in Afghanistan–a war which the West cannot and will not win.
Russian Orthodox Church Upset With Female German Bishop
Deutsche Welle reported on November 13:
“Russian Orthodox clergy are outraged by the election of a divorced female as the head of the EKD. The Russian Orthodox church does not allow women to become priests, let alone take on leadership roles. Russian Orthodox Reverend Georgy Zaverershinsky says the election now makes dialogue between the two churches impossible…”
The Local wrote on November 13:
“The Russian Orthodox clergy is threatening to cut ties with Germany’s Protestants for electing a divorced woman, Margot Käßmann, as the head of their church. Dialogue between the churches, which has been strong and steady for the past 50 years, was no longer possible because of Käßmann’s election, said Rev. Georgy Zavershinsky, spokesman for the Russian church’s office of external relations in Moscow. The church permitted no ordination nor even leadership roles for women, he said. ‘This question is very serious,’ said Zavershinsky. Ultimately, the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Cyril I, would have to rule on the matter, he said.
“In late October, Käßmann, 51, was elected to lead Germany’s Protestant church, or Evangelische Kirche Deutschland (EKD), for the next six years. She is the mother of four children but was divorced from her husband in 2007. However, it appears to be the fact of her being a woman, rather than a divorcee, that the Russians object to.
“The leader of the Russian church’s foreign office, Hilarion Alfeyev, Archbishop of Volokolamsk, said the planned celebration of 50 years of dialogue between the two churches, scheduled for late November, would be the last contact between them… The end of co-operation between the churches appeared to have the backing of Russian media on Thursday, with one paper, Vremya Novostei, writing that ‘the Patriarch must not deal with the new leader of the German Lutherans.’
“Many conservative Protestants in Russia also supported the decision. Alexander Prilutski, the leader of the Protestant church of Ingria – a Christian denomination based around St Petersburg – called Käßmann’s election a ‘sign of crisis in Western society.'”
The Bible prohibits women to preach in church, let alone being ordained to the ministry. As the Bible predicts a unification of most “Christian” churches under the umbrella of the Roman Catholic Church, it is interesting to see how this conflict of women preachers will be solved.
Frightening Ignorance of British Schoolchildren
Bild On Line wrote on November 6:
“Many British schoolchildren think Adolf Hitler was a German FOOTBALL COACH, a shocking new study has revealed. The study of 2,000 kids found that 64 years after the end of the Second World War, one in twenty believes the Nazi dictator was merely a sporting figure. And the same number of students also thought the Holocaust was a celebration marking the end of the war.
“The survey was conducted by the British war veteran charity Erskine to mark Remembrance Day, which is observed in the UK on November 11 in memory of all the victims of both World Wars. But it seems a few British teenagers may not have been paying attention in their history lessons because the results were unbelievable. Some 40 per cent of the pupils questioned didn’t know what Remembrance Day was for, and a quarter didn’t care about the fallen soldiers.
“Another particularly disturbing finding was that one in six students thought Auschwitz was an amusement park rather than a concentration camp. And every twelfth student believed the German ‘Blitz’ bombing campaign on London from 1940 was actually part of the clean-up effort in 1945.”
This is indeed frightening. What a generation of young people are we witnessing! Future leaders who have no concepts of history! When Neville Chamberlain met with Adolph Hitler, he pronounced “peace in our time,” being totally unable to recognize Hitler’s true ambitions. Is Great Britain doomed to repeat the same mistakes of the past, unwilling or unable to learn from history?
1 Timothy 6:10 says, in the Authorized Version that the "love of money is the root of all evil." Other translations say that it is "a" root. Which rendering is correct, and what does this passage mean?
It is true that many translations say that the “love of money is a root of all evil” (compare the New King James Bible; the New International Version; the Living Bible; the New Revised Standard Version; and the Amplified Bible). Other translations, besides the Authorized Version, maintain that it should say that “the love of money is THE root of all evil” (compare the Revised Standard Version; the Revised English Bible; the New American Bible; the New Jerusalem Bible; Moffat; Scofield; and Lamsa).
The Interlinear Literal Translation states that the original says, “For a root of all evils is the love of money,” but it continues to render the phrase as: “For the love of money is the root of all evil.”
From a practical standpoint, the difference between the two alternate renderings is slight, because in each case, it says that the love of money is the root or a root of ALL evil. (Some, like the New King James Version, render this as, “all kinds of evil.” They add the words “all kinds of,” but these words are not in the original.) The point is, whether the love of money is a root or the root, it leads to ALL evil or ALL evils.
What did Paul mean by that?
To fully understand, we need to read the passage in context. Paul states in 1 Timothy 6:6-12:
“Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a [or: the] root of all… evil [or evils], for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”
Paul is describing here two ways of life–the spiritual way of godliness, contentment, righteousness, love of God and faith; and the physical way of greediness, the desire to become rich, and the love of money.
Christ warned us that we cannot serve two masters–God and mammon. He explained that we must not lay up for ourselves treasures on earth (living a way of life which is manifested by our love of money, riches and physical possessions), but that we are to lay up spiritual treasures in heaven. He continued: “For where your treasure is, there your HEART will be also… No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon” (Matthew 6:19-21, 24).
Christ makes the same point that Paul is making: Either we love God and His way of life with all our heart, including our desire to be spiritually rich before God, or we love foremost mammon or material possessions, including our desire to be physically rich in this world. Christ continued to explain the incongruity between both ways in Matthew 6:25-34, when He compared the physical worries in this life with what must be our main priority: “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (verse 33).
As Paul said in 1 Timothy 6:11, we must “flee” the physical desires to be rich, which are so important in this world, and rather “pursue righteousness.” John explained that the love of God is not in us when we love the world or the things in the world (1 John 2:15-17).
But how and why is the love of money THE ROOT or A (most important) ROOT of ALL evil? How does it lead to temptation and a snare, foolish and harmful lusts, many sorrows, perdition and destruction (compare 1 Timothy 6:9-10)?
Consider man’s first sin. Adam and Eve disobeyed God and ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Eve was tempted by Satan to do this. She looked at the tree and saw that it was good for food, pleasant to the eye and desirable to make one wise (Genesis 3:6). In other words, the love of something physical motivated her to give in to the temptation of eating from that tree; it produced greed and the harmful lust to do so, and it resulted in her destruction. Adam followed Eve’s lead, and both were punished with many sorrows and death.
The Nelson Study Bible states to 1 Timothy 6:10:
“Greediness may cause a believer even to stray from the faith. Christians may be blinded by greed and materialism to such a degree that they break away from their faith… A life focused on material things produces only pain…”
The Life Application Bible adds: “Greed leads to … marriage problems, robbery, blowups in partnerships. To master greed, you must control it at its root. Get rid of the desire to be rich.”
There are reasons why Christ warned us that it would be very difficult for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God (Matthew 19:23-24). The main problem is that a rich person may love his riches too much, and he may be unwilling to give them up, if necessary, in order to follow Christ without reservation.
Because of the refusal to follow God whole-heartedly, Mary said about rich people that God “filled the hungry with good things, And the rich He has sent away empty” (Luke 1:53). Christ spoke this timeless warning: “But woe to you who are rich, For you have received your consolation” (Luke 6:24).
James adds that the rich man “also will fade away in his pursuits” (James 1:11), continuing, “Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon you! Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have heaped up treasures in the last days” (James 5:1-3).
Notice! James’ warning is for our time–the “last days.” When our worldwide economic troubles increase–and especially in the United States of America–all our wealth, riches and money will be useless and without value. None of them will help us–people will throw their gold (which some today are desperate of acquiring, because of its high temporary and artificial value) as well as their silver into the streets, treating it as refuse, because it will be totally worthless (Isaiah 2:7, 20; Ezekiel 7:19).
Then it will be too late. Proverbs 28:20, 22 says: “A faithful man will abound with blessings, But he who hastens to be rich will not go unpunished… A man with an evil eye hastens after riches, And does not consider that poverty will come upon him.”
Again and again, the Bible tells us not to give in to the love of “money” or materialism, and not to work for, as our main focus, the physical riches or possessions in this life. Proverbs 23:4-5 says: “Do not overwork [or: “wear yourself out”] to be rich; Because of your own understanding, cease! Will you set your eyes on that which is not? For riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away like an eagle toward heaven.”
In the parable of the rich fool, Christ warned all of us: “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses” (Luke 12:15). After telling the rich fool who had heaped up treasures for himself that he would die that very night, He concluded, “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God” (verse 21).
And so, Paul admonishes us today–and especially those who are rich in this world–to get our priorities straight:
“Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor TRUST in UNCERTAIN riches but in the living GOD, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do GOOD, that they be rich in good works, READY TO GIVE, WILLING TO SHARE, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life” (1 Timothy 6:17-19).
Rather than pursuing the love of money, wanting to become rich, or perhaps glorying in our riches (Jeremiah 9:23) and parading a cocky attitude of self-contentment and -sufficiency (Revelation 3:17), we are to “buy” the true spiritual riches from God (Revelation 3:18), and to pursue God’s love of helping others and sharing with them our physical and spiritual riches.
Lead Writer: Norbert Link
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
Dave Harris’ new member letter and a recent Editorial were sent out this week. Both are also posted on the Web.
A new StandingWatch program was posted this week on StandingWatch and YouTube. It is titled, “Why the Fort Hood Massacre?” In the program, Norbert Link asks, Why are the mass media and the government unwilling to acknowledge Maj. Hasan’s radical Muslim faith as “the dominant factor” in his decision to mount his attack? Is there an overlooked connection between the desire to be “politically correct” and the President’s belief system and his goal of strengthening U.S. ties with Muslim nations, while distancing himself from Israel? And what does any of this have to do with biblical prophecy?
Norbert Link’s new sermon (“Letter to the Galatians, Part 5“) was posted on the Internet and on our Webpage.
Our new German sermon, titled, “Was ist das Paradies?” (“What is Paradise?”) was posted on the Web.
Our new German StandingWatch program has been posted on the Web. It is titled, “Homosexualität–Religion und politisches Programm?” (“Homosexuality–Religion and Political Platform?”)
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
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While we do not solicit the general public for funds, contributions are gratefully welcomed and are tax-deductible in the U.S. and Canada.
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