Update 431


"Fear" and "Honor"

On February 13, Kalon Mitchell and Michael Link will give split sermons, titled, respectively, “Fear” and “Honor.”

The services can be heard at www.cognetservices.org (12:30 pm Pacific Time; 1:30 pm Mountain Time; 2:30 pm Central Time; 3:30 pm Eastern Time). Just click on Connect to Live Stream.

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As a child of God, how well do we represent our Father? How do those around us view our actions?

When we are going about our daily activities, do we let our light shine in such a way that we mirror what God has revealed to us? When others see the way that we act in various situations, is it the way a true Christian would act?

God has taught and aided us through many devices. He has revealed His Way, The Truth, and given us all that we need to be a “good child” and not a child of the world. He has and will continue to do His part perfectly.

Our job can be seen in 1 John 3:10, which states: “In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother.”  It is incumbent upon us to practice righteousness and to love our brethren, so that when society observes us, they catch a glimpse of our Father in the reflection.

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In this edition, we focus primarily on events pertaining to and affecting Europe. We begin with an article about Britain, showing how interest groups and political maneuvering are trying to keep a party and a leadership in power which have–by all objective standards–shown themselves to be politically bankrupt.

We then address the present difficulties that European unification is facing. It is being proposed that because of European disarray, America’s President has no need to even listen to or meet with Europeans. The duplicity of European and other nations in dealing with Iran is now being matched by Iranian duplicity in its dealings with Europe and others.

Realizing the sad state of European affairs, especially German politicians are now pleading for a unifying European army–realizing that Britain will probably not have a part in such a project. At the same time, frictions between Europe and America continue.

We conclude with a lengthy report on Germany’s Catholic sexual abuse scandal, which is casting a very dark and disturbing light on the very “image and system” of the Catholic church itself.

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Britain’s Corrupt Political System

The Daily Express wrote on February 8:

“Britain’s standing in the world has fallen dramatically while our debts have soared. Our democracy has been corrupted, our economy shattered, our freedoms removed and our national identity weakened.

“Yet in the face of these disasters, support for the Labour Party [Democrats] remains remarkably strong. The bulk of the blame for Labour’s resilience is being heaped on Tory [Conservative] leader David Cameron, who is accused of being over-cautious and indecisive. There is some justification in these charges. The Conservatives seem to have neither a clear economic plan, nor any robustness on crime, immigration or Europe. But the weakness of the Tories’ prospects is not entirely Cameron’s fault. Even if he were a cross between Winston Churchill and Benjamin Disraeli, the Conservatives would still be struggling to make headway. For the truth is that for decades the entire political system has been outrageously biased in favour of Labour…

“In recent opinion polls, Labour’s support has consistently hovered at 30 per cent, no matter what the depth of the recession, the splits in the Cabinet, the expenses abuses of ministers or the politically correct idiocies of the Government. To some critics this seems utterly bizarre, a sign that the British public has taken leave of its senses. But in truth, the 30 per cent conundrum is easily explained. The fact is that Labour has developed three large voting blocs which guarantee that its vote will not fall much below a third of the electorate, no matter how dismally the government performs.

“These three blocs comprise public sector employees, immigrants and welfare claimants, all of whom are dependent on the state either for their living or their residency here. It is no coincidence that each of these three groups has massively expanded during the past 13 years of Labour rule, with crude party advantage playing a vital role in this policy.

“The public sector has grown by at least one million people since 1997, not counting all the staff in quasitate positions like contractors or GPs. Moreover, workers on the state payroll have enjoyed higher pay [raises], better pensions, shorter hours, longer holidays and greater job security than their counterparts in the private  sector. In many Labour strongholds, the public sector is now by far the largest employer.

“Similarly, mass immigration has significantly helped Labour’s cause, especially since the Government is radically extending the franchise by dishing out more than 200,000 British passports a year. According to authoritative studies, around 80 per cent of migrants and ethnic minorities back Labour, while the pressure group operation Black vote claims that at least 70 marginal seats at the coming election will be decided by the ethnic minority vote.

“The full cynicism of Labour’s eagerness to exploit immigration for electoral ends was laid bare in the diaries of former minister Chris Mullin, who at one point privately bewailed the Government’s reluctance to tackle misogynistic abuses in Asian culture… But then added, ‘At least 20 seats, including Jack Straw’s, depend on Asian votes.’

“The third great bloc is made up of benefits claimants, on whom over £180billion a year is now spent. Thanks to remorseless expansion of the welfare system under Brown, there are more than five million people of working age living on social security. They are hardly likely to vote for a tougher regime under the Tories.”

Politics all over the world is dirty business. Political parties and politicians come to power and stay in power, not necessarily because of achievements and competence, but far too often because of political maneuvering, sickening compromise and the “buying” of necessary votes. This is true–not just in our political systems–but everywhere where a candidate for whatever office or position is dependent on the votes of others.

Europe’s Voice Does Not Move Anyone

Der Spiegel Online wrote on February 9:

“The relationship between the US and the European Union is cooling. By declining to come to Spain for a trans-Atlantic summit, President Barack Obama made it clear that Brussels is far down on his priority list… The message, though, couldn’t have been any clearer. The president has plenty of time in his schedule to visit Australia and Indonesia in March… but the European Union has slipped far down on his priority list. The Europeans are none too pleased. Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero defiantly told a confidant that the US shouldn’t forget that Europe is ‘an economic power and an important political actor’…

“All too often, Europe gets lost in diplomatic protocol… At the Madrid summit, the unassuming Belgian Herman van Rompuy, who has been president of the European Council since December, was insistent that he be the first to greet Obama. But advisers to Zapatero, the Spanish host, refused. After all, the Spanish prime minister also currently holds the position of ‘president of the European Council.’ The EU, as it happens, is still holding on to its tradition of bestowing a rotating ‘presidency’ on a different EU member state every six months…

“A compromise was eventually found. Zapatero would get to say the first ‘hi,’ Rompuy would then be able to sit to the right of Obama at dinner. But soon enough, other EU top brass voiced complaints. The seat planned for Rompuy was actually a privilege reserved for European Commission President Manuel José Barroso, who is in third place on the current scale of most important people in Brussels…

“And what about Catherine Ashton, the EU’s new ‘high representative for foreign and security policy’? Her role at the summit hadn’t even been addressed. The skirmishing does little to dispel the unfavorable impression Americans have about Europe’s foreign policy…

“Europe seems intent on using etiquette to compensate for its diminishing role on the world stage. No one wants to admit what everyone can see: Europe’s voice doesn’t move anyone at the moment — neither future major powers, like India and Brazil, nor leaders in Washington, Moscow or Beijing. And how could it? The EU may be a successful economic community, but it is just as deeply divided on questions of foreign and security policy as it is on issues like climate change and inner security.

“When it comes to foreign policy, each member state is looking out for its own interests. This is particularly clear when it comes to relations with the United States. The Brits continue to guard over their ‘special relationship,’ French President Nicolas Sarkozy always tries to edge his way to Obama’s side in group photos — and then the Spaniards wanted to use the US-EU summit to bask in the spotlight.

“Now officials are searching for a substitute date for the EU-US summit — possibly in the autumn, when Obama plans to fly to Portugal for a NATO summit. But the more important question is whether European leaders have really listened to the ‘wake-up call for Europe’ that many EU observers are speaking of following this American affront.”

Europe is realizing that it is becoming irrelevant on the world scene. Strong forces within the EU will try to change that development.

As the next articles show, the ongoing European duplicity of its member states can clearly be seen in their dealings with Iran. And now, Europe is beginning to reap what it has been sowing.

Iran’s Duplicity

AFP wrote on February 7:

“Iran will begin enriching uranium to 20 percent from Tuesday, the Islamic republic’s atomic chief announced on Sunday just hours after being told to do so by hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The decision raises the stakes in a dispute with the West less than a week after Iran had appeared to accept a UN-drafted nuclear deal on the supply of fuel for a research nuclear reactor in Tehran. Ahmadinejad’s move drew fire from Britain and the United States, and analysts said it was a bid to exert pressure on Washington and drive a wedge between the six powers over attempts to impose new sanctions on Tehran…

“Britain and the United States condemned the declaration… US Defence Secretary Robert Gates called for mounting ‘international pressure’ on Iran… A Western analyst who asked not to be named said Iranian declarations such as Ahmadinejad’s on Sunday were attempts to ‘delay potential sanctions by dividing the six world powers without backing down on the nuclear programme.'”

Iran a Nuclear State

On February 11, Mail-On-Line reported:

“Iran is now a ‘nuclear state’, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced this morning. As Gordon Brown warned that the world’s patience is wearing thin, Ahmadinejad told scores of cheering Iranians that the Islamic Republic is capable of producing weapons-grade uranium.

“He spoke as tens of thousands of people took to the streets in Tehran to mark the 31st anniversary of the Islamic revolution. Despite fears of violence, opposition supporters found themselves largely overwhelmed by the clerical regime and pro-government demonstrators.

“The massive security clampdown appeared to succeed in preventing protesters from converging into a cohesive demonstrations.”

Iran’s Chess Game With the World’s “Super Powers”

Deutsche Welle wrote on February 8:

“Since 2004, the European Union has publicly claimed the united position that the row over Iran’s nuclear program should be resolved diplomatically, but has reserved the right to back United Nations Security Council sanctions if Iran does not comply to international demands. Yet, consistently since that time, individual nations have indicated a willingness to establish independent relationships with Iran, both political and economic, which seemingly ignore Brussels’ position. Europe claims to be united, but a closer examination shows that this unity is an illusion.

“For instance, Germany has developed deep business ties with Iran, with more than 50 German companies basing their offices there. Trade volume between the two has increased steadily over the last decade despite UN sanctions, with Germany having the largest share of Iran’s export market. Italy also has developed a strong relationship, both political and economic, with Iran. Last year Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini met with his Iranian counterpart Manouchehr Mottaki in Tehran to discuss a host of matters from the Italian, not EU, perspective. Italian companies also have frequently done business with Tehran, selling them goods and services that could have both military and civilian uses.

“These relationships have helped Iran to sustain and continue its nuclear program. As of Tuesday, Tehran plans to enrich uranium at a higher level than previously, prompting the United States to renew its call for heavy sanctions against Iran…

“The EU’s public front masks internal disagreement and double-speak. Charting a course for allies to have a united front will be difficult, let alone getting countries like China and Russia, reluctant  to punish Iran, to back stronger sanctions. And as the international community dithers over what action to take, Israel is looking to Europe to take the lead. The prospect of unilateral Israeli action looms…

“US President Barack Obama has followed through on his promise to diplomatically engage Iran, taking a much different approach than predecessor George W. Bush. But no progress has been made, despite promising talks last fall in which Iran appeared to agree to a deal to move nuclear fuel out of the country. Yet the deal was abandoned by the Iranians at the last moment…

“This lack of faith, combined with Iran’s insistence that it would not retreat from what it deems its right to develop a nuclear program, has led to a recent escalation in tone from Washington. At the end of January, White House officials indicated that they would  increase missile defenses in the Middle East to protect Gulf state allies against Tehran. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has publicly pressed China for tougher sanctions.

“The United States also has begun to pressure European allies to lessen business ties with Iran. It seems to have had an affect; last week, German manufacturer Siemens announced that it would cut future trade ties with Iran. Italian companies have yet to do the same, but Italy’s Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi indicated last week that a nuclear Iran was not acceptable.

“France holds the UN Security Council’s presidency this month and is widely expected to bring a resolution calling for strict sanctions…

“Even with the United States and its allies on the same page, Russia or China still need to support sanctions if they are to succeed. China has close energy relations with Tehran – energy which is needed to sustain China’s economic growth – and is loath to do anything that risks them. Russia, meanwhile, has been Iran’s loudest defender. It has provided Tehran with a number of materials, from weapons to heavy machinery with dual-use nuclear purposes. Moscow has consistently watered down sanctions in the past, and has yet to indicate whether it would be willing to revisit that stance…

“The United States did itself no favors by recently announcing a deal to sell weapons to Taiwan. But other factors in the Middle East might force China’s hand and compel them to acquiese to sanctions supported by the United States and its European allies…

“Israel has used unilateral military force in similar situations in the past, taking out nuclear sites in Iraq and suspected nuclear sites in Syria. Iran presents a more unique challenge, as its nuclear sites are spread around the country and are difficult to target.”

Even though Israel may be looking at Europe to lead in this controversy with Iran, Europe, due to their financial interests, may not be willing to do so. America, on the other hand, might not want to, either. So, Israel may face a situation where it alone might try to act decisively, even including using military force. This might be a fatal development.

As Die Süddeutsche Zeitung wrote on February 8:

“All this is triggering a tragic momentum that will boost all those who favor a military strike against Iran. But we should be careful: before engaging in all the careless talk about military options, the arsenal of alternative options must be exhausted.”

At the same time, the Frankfurter Rundschau pointed out the undesirable results of tough economic sanctions: “… the UN veto powers plus Germany are walking a tightrope. There are no special sanctions that could target just the regime or the Revolutionary Guards. Sanctions only make sense if they really hurt — and that inevitably entails hurting the population. The regime could seize on that as an opportunity to call for the great national struggle against the evil rest of the world and to choke off its domestic opposition…”

Germany For European Army

The EUObserver wrote on February 8:

“German foreign minister Guido Westerwelle has said Berlin supports the long term goal of creating a European army, which will bolster the EU’s role as a global player… Mr Westerwelle, who is just a few months into the job as Germany’s top diplomat as part of a ruling Christian Democrat and liberal coalition, suggested that moving further on common security and defence will be the ‘motor for greater European integration’…

“Under EU rules, member states with certain military capacities and the political will to move in this direction can club together to move forward on common defence. In recent years, the need for an EU army has often been floated in political discussions – politicians in France, the UK and Poland have also spoken favourably of the idea…

“Within the EU’s 27 member states, France and the UK have the greatest defence means. Their co-operation and willingness is seen as essential for any possible development of EU military defence… Britain called for enhanced military action between itself and France… Analysts suggest that the pressure on defence budgets caused by the economic downturn may spur further defence sharing among EU member states.”

Germany is becoming painfully aware of Europe’s present political irrelevancy in world affairs. Voices for a unifying European army are becoming louder, as the next article shows as well.

“The EU ‘Has No Vision of Where We Are Heading'”

On February 9, Der Spiegel Online published an interview with former European Commissioner Günter Verheugen, whose 10 years in office ended Tuesday. We are bringing you the following excerpts from Mr. Verheugen’s comments:

“With the 27 members that it has today, compared to the 15 that it had back then, the EU has obviously changed dramatically… There seems to be no vision within the Union of where we are heading. There is no consensus over where the borders of the EU should lie in the future, and there is no consensus over how we should define our role in the world… The Americans expect more participation in global affairs from our side…

“Take the war in Iraq, which the overwhelming majority of Europeans opposed. It wasn’t possible to bring Europe’s weight to bear and to dissuade the Americans from pursuing this folly. From the very beginning, we Europeans were divided into two irreconcilable camps regarding this issue… I believe that having a global role won’t be possible as long as Europe continues to see itself exclusively as a ‘soft power.’ It’s an illusion to think that you can conduct global politics just with humanitarian assistance and diplomacy. One also needs to have the means to enforce your decisions…

“I believe it’s necessary to have a common EU military force, for reasons of efficiency apart from anything else. Today, Europeans have 2 million soldiers under arms, but they are not even able to deploy 60,000 of them somewhere…

“Probably it could only be those heads of government [to create a defense project] who have both a strong desire to lead and a European vision. But it is precisely those member states who are currently strongest that lack both of those things. Take Britain, for example. Elections are about to be held there, and if the pollsters are right, there’s probably going to be a new government which isn’t particularly pro-Europe and which will therefore be unwilling to push European integration forward.

“[The Franco-German motor is] not running perfectly at the moment. And even if it were, it would no longer be enough. We need at least three countries from the group of the strongest member states which don’t always immediately form a kind of blocking alliance within the EU in order to hinder each and every proposal that is put on the table… We had Britain, but we can’t depend on it anymore. We also don’t need to talk about Italy at the moment. Spain is in a critical economic situation and isn’t able to exercise a leadership role. Poland is heading in that direction, but [it] still got a long way to go…

“Reinvigorating this partnership [between France and Germany] would be a good thing for Europe whatever happens, particularly if France and Germany don’t just revert to pushing their own national interests…”

Europe will build a most powerful unifying army, and it stands to reason, based on biblical prophecies, that Britain will not have a part in it. For more information, please read our free booklets, “Europe in Prophecy” and “The Fall and Rise of Britain and America.”

European Parliament Rejects SWIFT Deal for Sharing Bank Data With US

Deutsche Welle reported on February 11:

“The European Parliament has voted against a controversial deal that would have led the EU and US to share bank transfer data, something Washington has said is crucial for counter-terrorism investigations… The parliamentarians resisted appeals from Washington to continue a nine-month interim agreement allowing US authorities to monitor Europeans’ financial transaction data from SWIFT, an international banking transfer system…

“‘The majority view is that the correct balance between security, on the one hand, and the protection of civil liberties and fundamental rights, on the other, has not been achieved,’ European Parliament head, Jerzy Buzek, said in a statement after the vote… The United States expressed its regret after the vote, calling it a ‘setback for EU-US counter-terror cooperation’…

“A temporary agreement with the US was ratified by EU member countries in November – just one day before the European Parliament would have taken on its additional Lisbon powers. With the Lisbon Treaty now in force, the European Parliament’s rejection of the interim deal can be seen as a drive to ensure that its expanded powers are respected in practice.

“The Lisbon Treaty allows the parliament to decide jointly with EU governments on legal affairs, and the SWIFT vote happened to be the first opportunity for the deputies to demonstrate their new strength… The EU Commission, which was in favor of the deal from the outset, is now faced with the task of re-starting negotiations with the US for a new data sharing agreement, one that completely ensures EU data protection standards.”

The Wall Street Journal wrote on February 11:

“In the runup to the vote, Washington put considerable pressure on the parliament to clear the deal, saying access to the sensitive financial information has been vital for foiling terrorist activity, including a planned attack on a transatlantic flight. Several senior U.S. officials, including Vice-President Joe Biden and the secretaries of state and the Treasury, told numerous EU officials, including parliamentarians, ‘about the importance of this agreement to our mutual security,’ the U.S. mission said in a statement.”

The outcome was unexpected. As Der Spiegel Online commented on February 11:

“The demonstration of European power surprises Washington. [It’s a] slap in the face for Washington.”

Germany’s Catholic Sexual Abuse Scandal

Der Spiegel Online wrote on February 8:

“The Catholic Church in Germany has been shaken in recent days by revelations of a series of sexual abuse cases. Close to 100 priests and members of the laity have been suspected of abuse in recent years. After years of suppression, the wall of silence appears to be crumbling…

“It started when Berlin’s Canisius College, an elite Jesuit high school, recently disclosed the sordid past of a number of members of the order, who had abused students at the school in the 1970s and 1980s. After that, new victims began coming forward on a daily basis. By last Friday, at least 40 of them had accused three Jesuit priests of molesting children and adolescents, first in Berlin and later at the St. Ansgar School in Hamburg, the St. Blasien College in the Black Forest and in several parishes in the northern German state of Lower Saxony…

“For decades, German bishops tried to look the other way when their pastors engaged in sexual abuse, as well as to downplay the problem by characterizing it as isolated incidents. Now they are finally revealing their own figures, though hesitantly. According to a SPIEGEL survey of Germany’s 27 dioceses conducted last week, at least 94 priests and members of the laity in Germany are suspected or have been suspected of abusing countless children and adolescents since 1995…

“A tremor is currently passing through the Catholic Church in Germany. It could be merely the beginning of an earthquake of proportions which have so far only been seen in the American and Irish Church. Tens of thousands of abuse cases were brought to light in both countries. Could Germany be next?

“The scandal is just beginning, and yet it has already made a deep impression: on parents, who expect Catholic schools to provide their children with moral guidance; on the victims, who are now confronting their dark past after living with it half their lives; and on the faithful, who now regard their church with dismay. Their shock stems not only from the fact that there are pedophiles in the church, as there are elsewhere in society. It also comes from the fact that the church systematically protected the perpetrators and ignored the victims, and that it repressed and covered up sexual abuse in its own ranks for decades — and in doing so enabled pedophile priests to leave behind a trail of emotional devastation throughout Germany.

“… the clerics are still a long way from any sort of true self-criticism or far-reaching analysis, because it would require them to examine the Church’s repressed sexual morality that is dictated from above. It would require an honest discussion about celibacy and its consequences, particularly when it comes to the Church’s recruitment practices. In a church that is having trouble attracting men to the priesthood, particularly as a result of the ban on marriage, the number of good candidates has become so small that too many inappropriate candidates get admitted…

“In addition to the Canisius College and the schools in St. Ansgar and St. Blasien, there have now been revelations of abuse at the Jesuits’ Aloisius College in Bonn’s Bad Godesberg neighborhood, where entire generations of children of politicians and diplomats went to school… Many parents in Germany have long regarded Catholic schools as an attractive alternative to poor quality public education… But now cracks are beginning to appear in this carefully cultivated image…

“Whenever rumors surfaced in Catholic schools, parishes, youth groups and children’s homes, or victims overcame their shame and reported the abuse, the church would downplay the cases, characterizing them as isolated, regrettable exceptions or the misconduct of an errant priest. This was the position taken by the Vatican and by German bishops, who were unwilling to accept that the problem could lie in the system itself. But what happens when the number of cases begins to rise, as it did in other countries?

“In the United States, it also began as a problem of individual priests who had molested altar boys or students. Like their German brothers, American Catholic bishops tried for years to protect the priests, downplaying the accusations and ignoring the victims — until US courts, politicians and the public started demanding answers, and forced them to pay compensation. In the state of Delaware and elsewhere, for example, lawmakers lifted the statute of limitations, leading to a flood of new lawsuits. The resulting rulings forced dioceses to open their archives. More and more victims came forward, and in the end the Catholic Church in North America was overrun by the biggest scandal in its history.

“The US bishops concluded that there were credible accusations against around 5,000 priests involving the abuse of about 12,000 children and adolescents since 1950. Several dioceses, including Tucson, Arizona and San Diego, California, had to seek bankruptcy protection when they were unable to pay the financial settlements ordered by the court on hundreds of claims that had been filed. The Archdiocese of Los Angeles alone was ordered to pay more than $660 million (€470 million) in damages, which represented a substantial share of the more than $2 billion paid out by the US Catholic Church as a whole. A series of sex scandals also shook Ireland, where a commission concluded that about 35,000 children were beaten and abused in Catholic children’s homes and orphanages between 1914 and 2000…

“The prevailing view at the Vatican is that the public outcry over abuse cases is used as an excuse to revive old animosities toward the Catholic Church as a whole, as well as to fuel the usual criticism of the pope by secular intellectuals and the disenchanted…

“Celibacy, which has only been a general requirement since 1139, is seen as the main reason for the repressed accumulation of sexual urges, which sometimes erupts in brutal ways, within the clergy. Celibacy and the prohibition of marriage are rigorous standards that not all members of the clergy can live up to. Although surveys and studies have produced a wide range of figures on the sexual behaviors of Catholic priests, they all arrive at the same conclusion: Very often, the sanctimonious show of chastity in the church is at odds with reality. According to a US survey, two-thirds of priests adhere to their vows of chastity, while the rest have sex in all shapes and forms: heterosexual, bisexual, homosexual, monogamous, promiscuous.

“There is widespread agreement that this climate of repressed sexuality promotes sexual molestation of children in schools, homes and parishes. A number of studies in the United States conclude that about 2 percent of all Catholic priests are pedophiles. When applied to Germany, this figure suggests that of a total of 20,000 Catholic clergy, at least 400 could potentially be pedophiles…

“The Vatican’s attitudes toward homosexuality are particularly inhibited, despite the fact that it is somewhat widespread within the church and appears to be relatively tolerated, as long as it is not discussed… many priests who become sex offenders have never learned to develop close and intimate relationships…

“In light of its recruitment problems, the church accepts almost anyone who decides to become a priest. However, few in the official church are willing to admit that the new recruits include more and more young men who find the priesthood so appealing in part because they believe it will allow them to conceal their sexual problems. It is a vicious circle… the official church stubbornly adheres to the vow of celibacy and the prohibition on marriage…”

These terrible scandals turn back the dark curtains from a worldwide church organization which, in order to protect its image and status, has been willing to ignore terrible crimes which were being perpetrated by pedophile priests on helpless young victims. As pointed out in the article above, enforced celibacy and the Catholic church’s dubious and unbiblical stance on the holy institution of marriage are contributing
largely to a culture where priests (and nuns) are trying to find fulfillment in the practice of homosexual conduct. However, the growing criticism of outraged parents and victims, as well as society as a whole, could back-fire. The Catholic church, being pushed more and more into a corner due to appropriate criticism, might respond by attacking its critics, in order to solidify the priesthood and the faithful within its own ranks. Historically, the Roman church has had its terrible episodes of incredible abominable crimes, perpetrated by popes and priests, which were oftentimes accompanied by violent attacks on their critics.

You might also want to read our Q&A in Update 339 for the Week ending April 11th, 2008, addressing the issue of Compulsory Celibacy.

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What was the exact hour of Christ's crucifixion (compare Mark 15:33-37)?

At first glance, it might appear that the accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John gave inconsistent times pertaining to Christ’s crucifixion. However, this is not the case. Apparent inconsistencies are explained when we realize that Matthew, Mark and Luke used the Jewish reckoning of time, while John gave the Roman reckoning.

(1) According to the JEWISH reckoning, a day of 24 hours duration begins at sunset and ends at sunset, and the (approximate) twelve hours of the daylight portion BEGIN WITH SUNRISE, while the (approximate) twelve hours of the night portion BEGIN WITH SUNSET.

Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible states [in regard to Mark 15:25] that the Jews “divided the day into four general parts. The first began at sunrise. The second three hours after. The third at mid-day. The fourth three hours after, and continued till sunset.”

Likewise, in passing, Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible also informs us [in regard to Matthew 14:25] that in New Testament times, the Jews divided the night into four watches: “The first watch began at six o’clock in the evening [or sunset], and continued till nine; the second began at nine, and continued till twelve; the third began at twelve, and continued till three next morning; and the fourth began at three, and continued till six [or sunrise].”

(2) According to the ROMAN reckoning, days were counted from MIDNIGHT and from NOON, as we commonly do today. Even though we realize that according to the Hebrew calendar, days begin and end with sunset, we would today give a commonly accepted and understood time when we want to meet someone, by using the Roman reckoning. We would not say, “I’ll meet you three hours from sunrise,” but, “I’ll meet you at 9:00 a.m.” The same is true for the Apostle John’s choice of giving time.

John wrote his account considerably later than Matthew, Mark and Luke. J.H. Blunt, The Annotated Bible, points out: “John was writing long after the destruction of Jerusalem… he used the ordinary Roman method of computing the day.”

At the same time, we need to realize that John did not approve of the Roman reckoning of time; he just used it as a point of reference. He quoted Jesus in John 11:9-10 as saying: “Are there not twelve hours in the day?… but if one walks in the night, he stumbles…” This shows that Jesus accepted and taught the Jewish reckoning, dividing the day-light portion of the day (beginning with sunrise) from the night portion (beginning with sunset).

(3) Our conclusion that John used the Roman reckoning as a point of reference is not undisputed. A case in point is his statement in John 1:39: “They came and saw where He was staying, and remained with Him that day (now it was about the tenth hour).”

Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible states: “The Jews divided their day into twelve equal parts, beginning at sunrise. If John used their mode of computation, this was about four o’clock p.m. The Romans divided time as we do, beginning at midnight. If John used their mode, it was about ten o’clock in the forenoon. It is not certain which he used.”

But as we will see, John clearly used the Roman reckoning when relating the account of Christ’s crucifixion. It would therefore be difficult to see why he would be switching back and forth between the Jewish and the Roman modes of computation.

J.H. Blunt, The Annotated Bible, concurs, stating regarding John 1:39: “‘… for it was about the tenth hour.’ They had been walking for four or five hours in the early morning, and it was now what the Jews would have called the fourth hour, but what… John calls the tenth, because he uses the Roman method of reckoning the time of day, a method exactly similar to our own… Jesus doubtless halted thus early in the day that there might be time for Simon Peter to be sought out by his brother and brought to Him.”

(4) Focusing on the time of Christ’s crucifixion, according to Jewish reckoning, Christ was crucified at the third hour. As mentioned, the accounts of Matthew, Mark and Luke use the Jewish reckoning of time. Mark 15:25 says: “Now it was the third hour, and they crucified Him.” His crucifixion began to take place on the third hour or three hours after sunrise, on a Wednesday morning. According to Roman reckoning and our designation of time today, this would have been Wednesday morning at 9:00 a.m.

Mark 15:33 informs us: “Now when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour” (compare also Luke 23:44 and Matthew 27:45). This darkness occurred, according to our modern reckoning of time, at midday–about noon or 12:00 p.m.– that is, six hours after sunrise. It lasted until the ninth hour, or 3:00 p.m. (that is, nine hours from sunrise according to the Jewish reckoning, or three hours from noon according to the Roman reckoning).

Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible confirms this:

“The darkness began at the sixth hour, about our twelve o’clock at noon, and lasted till the ninth hour, which answered to our three o’clock in the afternoon.”

(5) Confusion might set in when considering a passage in John, which also talks about the “sixth hour” on the crucifixion day of Wednesday, but relates to events PRIOR to the actual crucifixion. We read in John 19:14-16:

“Now it was the Preparation Day of the Passover [i.e., of the First Day of Unleavened Bread, an annual Holy Day, which fell that year on a Thursday, beginning Wednesday evening, at sunset], and about the SIXTH hour. And he [Pilate] said to the Jews, ‘Behold your King!’ But they cried out, ‘Away with Him, away with Him! Crucify Him!’ Pilate said to them, ‘Shall I crucify your King?’ The chief priests answered, ‘We have no king but Caesar!’ So he delivered Him to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus and led Him away.”

It is obvious that this conversation took place BEFORE Christ’s actual crucifixion, but still wrote that it occurred on the “sixth hour.”

Some commentaries state that John simply made a “mistake” in numbers or that he did not mean to be “accurate.” Others suggest that a copying scribe incorrectly wrote “sixth hour” instead of “third hour.” But as mentioned, John was using the Roman reckoning of time, not the Hebrew reckoning, as is also confirmed by Scofield Reference Notes. This means that this event (in John 19:14-16) occurred about six hours past midnight–the time around SUNRISE. The Nelson Study Bible states regarding the reference in John 19:14: “The sixth hour was 6 A.M. according to the Roman system of time.”

(6) Jesus died on the NINTH HOUR according to the HEBREW or Jewish calendar (compare Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:33-37; Luke 23:44-46); that is, about 3:00 p.m. He was buried just before sunset on Wednesday late afternoon, so that His body “should not remain on the cross on the [annual] Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day)… Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. So there they laid Jesus, because of the Jews’ Preparation Day, for the tomb was nearby” (John 19: 31, 41-42; compare also Luke 23:50-54, stating in verse 54 that the “[annual] Sabbath [of the First Day of Unleavened Bread] drew near”).

Since Jesus said that He would be in the grave for three days and three nights, or for seventy-two hours (Matthew 12:40), He left the grave on Saturday evening, just before sunset.

For more information on the exact timing of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection, please read our free booklet, “Jesus Christ–A Great Mystery.”

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

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Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

Two new StandingWatch programs were posted on the Web, “The State of the Union Address and No Solutions…” and “Encouragement in Economic Hardship.”

A new German StandingWatch program, titled, “Wahnsinn–Der Krieg in Afghanistan” (“Insane–The War in Afghanistan”) was posted on YouTube.

A new German sermon, titled, “Die Rolle Kirchlicher Lehrer” [“The Role of Church Teachers”], was posted on the Web.

Here is the link for the video of Norbert Link’s recent message on “Passover Preparations“:

Here is the link for the video of Norbert Link’s recent sermon, “Honor Father and Mother

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How This Work is Financed

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

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

Technical Team: Eric Rank, Shana Rank

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

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

Donations should be sent to the following addresses:

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

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

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

©2024 Church of the Eternal God