by Brian Gale (United Kingdom)
Being “fickle” is defined by “thefreedictionary.com” as follows: “… characterized by erratic changeableness or instability, especially with regard to affections or attachments; capricious (of whim or erratic).” Wictionary has another interesting definition: “… quick to change one’s opinion or allegiance; insincere; not loyal or reliable.” The more this word is investigated, the greater the number of definitions. Further synonyms are “faithlessness,” “infidelity” or “unreliability”.
That is quite a list of descriptions for just one word, but how revealing it all is. On the CBSNews.com website, it stated the following on November 4th: “The 2010 midterm elections were not just big news for all Americans. The rest of the world took notice too. For some, it was yet another sad step down for President Barack Obama, who took office with near rock star-like popularity internationally.”
This was the President who was greeted in victory in near messiah-like proportions not that long ago–someone who was going to really change the USA, and it would all work out well for the nation. Two years later, the nation was “quick to change one’s opinion or allegiance; not loyal or reliable,” as fickleness was defined above. It could be argued, of course, that this sort of “fickleness” was necessary in order to change things, which may not be considered right.
On a mundane and much less important level, consider the many sports supporters who are watching their team being soundly and heavily beaten by a much better side. Many may leave the stadium early, not wanting to support their team if they’re losing. They are fair-weather friends and fickle supporters, rather than appreciating the ability and class of the opposition.
Let us consider fickleness when it comes to our faith. We would shudder if we were accused of it and would roundly deny that this was part of our Christian way of life. However, the Bible does include many warnings for us in this regard.
Proverbs 24:21 instructs us as follows: “My son, fear the LORD and the king; Do not associate with those given to change.”
Gill’s Exposition on the Whole Bible explains that in religious things, we are to avoid those who “make innovations in doctrine and practice, always love to hear or say some new thing; turn with every wind, and shift as that does; are tossed about with every wind of doctrine, fickle and inconstant, carried about like meteors in the air, with ‘divers and strange doctrines’…”
Ephesians 4:14 tells us that “we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine….” Hebrews 13:9 instructs us along the same lines, and in James 1:6 we read: “But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.”
In addition, the attitude of fickleness is clearly revealed in Hosea 6:4: “O Ephraim (the British people), what shall I do to you? O Judah (modern Jews), what shall I do to you? For your faithfulness is like a morning cloud, And like the early dew it goes away.” In the book of Hosea, Ephraim is mentioned over 30 times, and their “faithfulness” is described as fickle and fleeting.
It could be said that the opposite of “fickle” is “constant,” which is the position that the true Christian must maintain throughout his life. We must never waver, whatever happens! Fickleness is a way in which many in the world may behave, but it must not be an accurate accusation that could ever be levelled at us. It simply must never apply to our calling, as we keep and “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3), and as we trust in the supreme God–at all times!
We begin with an incredible and unprecedented breach of US security through the release of highly classified documents, and the resulting melt-down for the USA around the world is devastating. The reports picture the USA as a weak and irresponsible power, and whatever trust its allies might have had seems to have all but vanished (notwithstanding some political and unbelievable lip services to the contrary ). It should be obvious that the God of the Bible–the God and Father of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ–has turned His back on His people, as His people–from head to foot–have turned their back on Him.
A related article pictures the US citizens’ gradual loss of liberties and freedoms, referring to the fact that tax exemption can be denied for organizations which are not in accord with “established public policy principles”–as this vague term is conveniently defined.
The Bible prophesied these regrettable and devastating developments thousands of years ago. The warnings have always been there, but especially the USA and Great Britain have been refusing to heed them. We are beginning to reap the consequences. We pray that the reader will meditate on the following articles and recognize the signs of the time. The handwriting is on the wall. It is MUCH later than many would wish to think.
We also report on China and Russia–two superpowers which, like the proverbial leopards, do not change their spots–and we discuss at length the future of the EU and the euro. There is much confusion as to what the future holds for continental Europe, but the Bible has reported it in advance thousands of years ago.
This Week in the News
USA — a Weak Superpower
Der Spiegel wrote on November 28:
“251,000 State Department documents, many of them secret embassy reports from around the world, show how the US seeks to safeguard its influence around the world. It is nothing short of a political meltdown for US foreign policy…
“Never before in history has a superpower lost control of such vast amounts of such sensitive information… Never before has the trust America’s partners have in the country been as badly shaken…
“In the major crisis regions, an image emerges of a superpower that can no longer truly be certain of its allies — like in Pakistan, where the Americans are consumed by fear that the unstable nuclear power could become precisely the place where terrorists obtain dangerous nuclear material.
“There are similar fears in Yemen, where the US, against its better judgement, allows itself to be instrumentalized by an unscrupulous leader… Even after the fall of Saddam Hussein, it still remained a challenge for the victorious power to assert its will on Iraq. In Baghdad… it is now up to Vice President Joe Biden to make repeated visits to allied Iraqi politicians in an effort to get them to finally establish a respectable democracy. But the embassy cables make it very clear that Obama’s deputy has made little headway.
“Instead, the Americans are forced to endure the endless tirades of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarek, who claims to have always known that the Iraq war was the ‘biggest mistake ever committed’ and who advised the Americans to ‘forget about democracy in Iraq.’ Once the US forces depart, Mubarak said, the best way to ensure a peaceful transition is for there to be a military coup. They are statements that add insult to injury.
“On the whole, the cables from the Middle East expose the superpower’s weaknesses… And it is drawn into the animosities between Arabs and Israelis, Shiites and Sunnis, between Islamists and secularists, between despots and kings. Often enough, the lesson of the documents that have now been obtained, is that the Arab leaders use their friends in Washington to expand their own positions of power.”
USA Diplomats Deride World Leaders
BBC News reported on November 29:
“European countries have reacted with irritation to the release by whistle-blowing website Wikileaks of secret memos written by US diplomats. The messages describe… Russia’s Vladimir Putin as an ‘alpha dog’… President Nicolas Sarkozy is compared to an ’emperor with no clothes’…
“Among the comments released by Wikileaks is a reported conversation in which a senior advisor to the French president branded Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez ‘crazy’ and Iran a ‘fascist state’. Mr Sarkozy himself was described in cables penned by US diplomatic officials as ‘thin-skinned’ and ‘authoritarian’… the leaks… include descriptions of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi as ‘feckless’ and ‘vain’… Mr Erdogan had ‘little understanding of politics beyond Ankara’.”
Tensions Increase in Middle East
Deutsche Welle wrote on November 29:
“Tensions in the Middle East are increasing as the fallout from the latest WikiLeaks revelations continues to spread. Previously reticent Arab states have been exposed as having discussed strikes on Iran with the US… Among the most inflammatory [documents] were those between Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah, US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker and General David Petraeus in which the Saudi monarch urged the US to stop Iran’s nuclear program by any means necessary… King Abdullah called on the United States ‘to cut off the head of the snake’…
“The documents show the level of concern within the Middle East of Iran’s nuclear ambitions and, contrary to the public declarations of a number of Arab states, the apparent willingness to deal with the threat militarily. While Israel’s favoring of air strikes is well-known and documented, no Arab nations have gone on record as saying they would support US action or take their own to stop Tehran. A particular danger to stability now lies in the perception that Arab states named in the documents are on the same page as the US and Israel in regard to policy toward Iran.
“… while Iran may not be shocked into action by the revelations, factions within Saudi Arabia may be. There is an escalating unease in the kingdom itself over its allegiance to the United States, and its willingness to support the US and even join in with any military action it mounts against Iran…”
“Crisis For German-American Relations”
The Local wrote on November 29:
“In a message attributed to a US diplomat in Berlin dated March 24, 2009, the State Department is told that Merkel is ‘risk averse and rarely creative’… The Americans argue that the chancellor views international diplomacy above all from the perspective of how she can profit from it domestically…
“Merkel’s vice-chancellor and foreign minister, Guido Westerwelle comes in for harsher criticism in the secret documents and is described as incompetent, vain and critical of America… An embassy cable from Berlin from September 22, 2009, days before the general election that put him in office, describes Westerwelle as having an ‘exuberant personality’ but little foreign policy experience…
“Meanwhile Defence Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, Germany’s most popular politician, is quoted as telling the US ambassador to Germany, Philip Murphy, in February 2010 that Westerwelle was the real barrier to a US request for an increase in the number of German troops in Afghanistan. Guttenberg also disparages his boss, saying that Merkel has trouble implementing her own economic policies.
“And Horst Seehofer, the head of the Christian Social Union, the Bavarian sister party to Merkel’s Christian Democrats, is shown as unaware that half of 40,000 US troops in Germany are based in his state, which he also governs…
“A German diplomatic source said that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had called Westerwelle on Friday to ‘express her regret about the impending publication of internal US documents.’ Meanwhile US Ambassador Murphy said Monday that there is no reason to apologise to either Westerwelle or Merkel for the information contained in the leaked documents…
“Former US ambassador to Germany John Kornblum, who served in Berlin from 1997 to 2001, told broadcaster ZDF on Monday that the leaks were a crisis for German-American relations. ‘Diplomacy…must function on the basis of trust, and when that trust if broken, as is the case now, then one must begin at almost zero again,’ he said.
“… government spokesman Steffen Seibert told a regular press briefing that Berlin’s ties with Washington would weather the diplomatic storm. ‘The German-American relationship is mature, it has grown so robust over the decades, it is such a deep friendship based on shared values that it will not be seriously damaged by this publication,’ he said.”
Whom is he kidding?
German Papers Not Amused
In a related article, The Local wrote on November 29:
“As Washington scrambled on Monday to explain leaked diplomatic communiqués disparaging leaders in Berlin, newspapers in The Local’s media roundup tried to assess the damage to German-American relations… there’s little doubt the leaked communiqués will do little to improve transatlantic ties…
“The left-wing Berliner Zeitung said much damage had been done to US foreign policy by the leak… The paper said the incident will ‘sow mistrust’ and ‘destroy human and political ties,’ which will in turn weaken US diplomacy around the world.
“The Düsseldorf-based Rheinische Post called the episode a disaster for America that would ‘cool Angela Merkel’s already troubled relationship with Barack Obama’…”
Der Spiegel Online wrote on November 30:
“The dust is still settling after Sunday’s revelations about the contents of 250,000 confidential US diplomatic cables, but it’s already clear that the WikiLeaks disclosure is hugely damaging for the American government… While it remains to be seen what the lasting impact of the explosive leaks will be, it is already clear that the revelations are a huge embarrassment for Washington and a massive setback for US diplomacy. American representatives abroad may find it difficult in the future to find informants who are as willing to talk openly as they might have been in the past, now that reams of supposedly confidential conversations have been made public…
“The center-left Süddeutsche Zeitung writes: ‘… The damage to the US as a result of the documents’ publication is immense… The diplomatic facade has crumbled, revealing just how calculating the business of international politics really is… America’s reserve of trust is empty. … The US has already been struggling for decades to maintain its credibility on the global stage. WikiLeaks has now acted like a weapon of mass destruction on the last traces of trust.’
“The center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung writes: ‘…Washington now looks like one giant leak. Who would now trust the Americans to keep confidential conversations confidential? Mistrust will spread, and not only among minor informants. Leaders of the US’s allies have been embarrassed in public, with unpredictable consequences for the relationship between their countries and the states and politicians that they talked about…'”
Nuclear Weapons Hosted in Europe
The EUObserver reported on November 29:
“The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Turkey have US nuclear weapons situated on their soil, the WikiLeaks whistleblower files have revealed. The four countries, along with Italy, had long been suspected of being home to a collection of American nuclear armaments, but neither the states nor Nato had ever officially confirmed or denied their presence…
“According to estimates found in a 2007 report using a variety of different sources to catalogue deployment of US nuclear weapons in Europe from the Natural Resources Defence Council, an American environmental protection NGO, the continent is home to 480 such weapons.
“The report estimated that… Belgium… housed 20 nuclear weapons. The same document reckoned that another 20 are housed… in… the Netherlands. Nuclear weapons are thought to have been stored there since the 1960s and the Cuban Missile Crisis. Some 20 nuclear weapons are believed to be stored in [Germany]… Last October, the country’s foreign minister, Guido Westerwelle, came close to admitting their existence when he called ‘for a country free of nuclear weapons’…
“Italy is also thought to host a total of 90 such arms… Turkey… is believed to store 90 such weapons… Beyond the undeclared European nuclear states, the UK, an admitted member of the nuclear club, is home to 110 US nuclear weapons…”
Should Hillary Clinton Resign?
Politics Daily wrote on November 30:
“Should Hillary Clinton resign as secretary of state due to the WikiLeaks revelations?… Clinton, like predecessor Condoleezza Rice, signed orders instructing U.S. foreign service officers to spy on the diplomats of other nations. Cables went out under her name telling State Department officials overseas to collect the fingerprints, facial images, DNA, and iris scans of African leaders, to obtain passwords, credit card numbers, and frequent flyer accounts used by foreign diplomats, and to gather private information on United Nations officials, including Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
“Of the many WikiLeaks revelations that have emerged in the past few days — and more are to come in the next few months, as the renegade website continues to release batches of the 251,287 State Department cables it has obtained — the news that U.S. diplomats have been turned into part-time spies certainly warrants thorough investigation. Obama administration officials, of course, have tried to make the leak itself the paramount issue. Attorney General Eric Holder has promised prosecutions if ‘we can find anybody involved in breaking American law.’ Clinton has called the leak ‘an attack on America’s foreign policy interests,’ claiming it has endangered ‘innocent people.’ Republican Rep. Peter King urged Clinton to determine if WikiLeaks can be designated a terrorist organization. Sen. Joe Lieberman has called on the United States and other governments to shut down WikiLeaks. Sarah Palin, naturally, blamed President Barack Obama’s ‘incompetence’ for the leaks…
“Yet there have not been such passionate calls for investigating the transformation of U.S. diplomats into undercover snoops. The administration’s strategy — as is to be expected — is to focus on the easy-to-demonize messenger, not the hard-to-explain message…
“In many other nations, news such as this would indeed prompt resignations of high officials. The United States does not have this noble tradition. Here, government officials hold on for dear life when trouble erupts. (How many U.S. officials resigned when it turned out the Bush-Cheney administration was wrong about WMDs in Iraq? None.) So one can expect Clinton to dig in her heels, as the administration decries the leaker and ignores the leaks…”
IRS targets Pro-Israel Groups
Politico reported on November 24:
“A Pennsylvania Jewish group that has claimed the Internal Revenue Service is targeting pro-Israel groups introduced in federal court today a letter from an IRS agent to [an] unnamed organization that tax experts said was likely outside the usual or appropriate scope of an IRS inquiry.
“‘Does your organization support the existence of the land of Israel?’ [an] IRS agent… wrote the organization… as part of its consideration of the organization’s application for tax exempt status. ‘Describe your organization’s religious belief system toward the land of Israel.’…
“The IRS can deny tax exempt status to groups that work against ‘established public policy,’ a precedent established in its denial of a tax exemption to Bob Jones University over racial discrimination.”
There are many more or less independent and/or unsupervised powerful institutions within the US government which are perceived to threaten our individual and collective freedoms and liberties.
China Has Not Changed…
CNN reported on November 26:
“Having just enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner, the American soldiers were told they would be home by Christmas as they launched their final offensive. In fact, they were driving into the greatest ambush in modern history. Twelve miles to their north, 380,000 brilliantly camouflaged enemy fighters lay in wait. In the days that followed, the U.S. Army would suffer its most harrowing ordeal of the past half-century. Two American regiments were massacred at a pass called Kunu-ri; another was annihilated beside a frozen lake called Chosin. The time was 60 years ago; the battlefield was North Korea; the enemy was China’s People’s Liberation Army.
“Despite wide-ranging global changes — the fall of European communism, the end of the Cold War, China-U.S. rapprochement, the rise of China as economic superpower — there has been no indication that Beijing has altered its stance toward maintaining the isolated regime in the peninsula’s north since it routed U.S.-led United Nations forces in Korea in the winter of 1950.
“‘China does not want to lose North Korea as a buffer zone vis-a-vis a pro-U.S. country — South Korea,’ said Kim Won-ho, dean of the Graduate School of International Studies at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies. ‘The last thing China wants to see is U.S.-style democracy in North Korea,’ added congresswoman Song Sun-young, who sits on the South Korean National Assembly’s Defense Committee. ‘Even if they apply open-door policies to their markets, China wants North Korea to follow the Chinese style’…
“North Korea, in addition to its strategic position on China’s doorstep, is a rare voice of support buttressing China’s historical role at the heart of Asia… Meanwhile, South Korea’s relationship with China is conflicted… Six decades after China crossed the Yalu River to fight in Korea, the competing alliances borne of that conflict — the world’s last remaining Cold War battlefront — remain firmly in place.”
Beware of Russia
Der Spiegel Online wrote on November 26:
“Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin wants the EU and Russia to forge a massive free trade zone. German commentators are wary of the wily politician’s true intentions and urge Europe’s politicians to read the small print…
“The reaction to Putin’s piece was mixed from the German side. German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle welcomed Putin’s suggestion… Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg described it as an ‘interesting proposal,’ but added the caveat that ‘there are certainly a few things that need to be done first.’ Merkel was more reserved in her response, saying on Thursday that recent steps by Russia did ‘not exactly point in the right direction’…
“The business daily Handelsblatt writes: ‘Without political reform in the direction of greater democracy and a freer market, without Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organization, and without the release of [political prisoners], proposals like those regarding the free-trade zone will remain nothing but a smokescreen that Putin is creating in a bid to polish his tarnished image in Europe.’
“The center-left Süddeutsche Zeitung writes: ‘… Has the great chameleon Russia now decided to change its color once again?… The global economic crisis may have caused great damage to many countries, but it left Russia in ruins. The country will not be able to head into the future relying on its oil, gas and metals any more. The model of a great power based on raw materials is a thing of the past, and Moscow can no longer depend on energy prices as it once did. Russia must open itself up… In the long term, the country has more to gain than to lose…’
“The Financial Times Deutschland writes: ‘… He wants Russian companies to have access to Western European know-how and capital — but under Russian conditions. The Russian prime minister may have recognized the problem, but he has reached the wrong conclusions… The country’s potential can only be tapped when companies are given freedom and legal security… Freedom, however, is an idea that Putin still finds it hard to get to grips with.'”
The Future of the Euro
Bloomberg wrote on November 25:
“The European banking system would be ‘nearly bust’ if the euro were to be abandoned which means the 16-member currency ‘cannot and should not go,’ Evolution Securities Ltd. said. ‘If the euro is abandoned, and we go back to the peseta, lira, escudo, drachma etc., devaluations would follow immediately,’ said Arturo de Frias, head of bank research at Evolution in a note to investors today, adding the industry is a ‘great buying opportunity.’ Devaluations mean write-offs ‘of a size that would render the whole European banking system completely insolvent.’
“Contagion from Europe’s sovereign debt crisis is spreading to Spain, sparking concern that the European rescue fund set up in May isn’t large enough. French, German and U.K. banks could lose 360 billion euros ($479 billion) if the euro collapsed, assuming a 30 percent devaluation in the wake of the restoration of national currencies, said de Frias.
“The damage caused by the abandonment of the euro would be such that such an outcome is impossible and the ‘only way forward’ for Europe is fiscal union, he said. ‘It is simply too late,’ he wrote. ‘There are too many cross-border investments in Europe to go back to national currencies.’
“If Spain, Italy, Greece, Portugal and Ireland devalue by 30 percent on the way to readopting national currencies, total losses for German banks alone would be 120 billion euros, said de Frias. That’s almost half the total equity of German lenders, he said… In such a scenario, losses at U.K. banks would reach 80 billion euros, equivalent to nearly half the equity of Barclays Plc, Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc and Lloyds Banking Group Plc., he said.
“’And this is only the banks. What would happen with the investments of the large European multinationals’ like Siemens AG, Tesco Plc and others…”
Did Britain Do It Right?
The Daily Express wrote on November 25:
“From this day forth our energies will be directed to furthering the cause of those who believe Britain is better off out… After far too many years as the victims of Brussels larceny, bullying, over-regulation and all-round interference, the time has come for the British people to win back their country and restore legitimacy and accountability to their political process….
“This newspaper has always been hostile to the dilution of national sovereignty that EU membership entailed, but it has also always acknowledged that economic arguments were key. So long as there was a case to be made that leaving the EU would risk jobs and investment in Britain there was a powerful brake on thoughts of leaving altogether… We were told that staying out of the eurozone would be a financial disaster, yet it is now clear beyond doubt that the opposite was true… “
Just merely based on monetary considerations, this view point might sound correct in the short term, but the Bible shows that in the longer term, continental EU and the euro will be dominating and all-powerful factors to be reckoned with. In fact, the EU will fight and win not only a monetary, but also a military war against Great Britain. For more information, please read our free booklet, “The Fall and Rise of Britain and America.”
Practical Impossibility to Leave the Euro-Zone
BBC News reported on November 24:
“Much has been written about the theoretical attractions for financially troubled countries in exiting the euro-zone. But the question of how a country would go about it is less well explored. And the more closely you examine the question of ‘how’ – as opposed to ‘why’ – a country might leave the euro, the clearer it becomes that the practical difficulties are huge.
“To establish a new currency a country would have to convert all existing euro-denominated savings at a fixed rate on a given date. But savers and businesses would not wait passively for that date to arrive… The first practical problem, then, is that if it becomes clear that a country is seriously thinking of leaving the euro a huge amount of money will leave the country. This is sometimes referred to as ‘capital flight’. The overall effect would be to trigger huge transfers of deposits out of the country and wreck the banking system…
“But if a prolonged national debate about leaving the euro creates a risk of capital flight, would the alternative be to prepare in secret and announce it suddenly?… the idea that huge numbers of new bank notes could be prepared and distributed in secret… is absurd…
“However, suppose for a moment that these practical problems could be overcome, where would the country leaving the euro stand financially? It would have a large national debt denominated in euros…
“The euro came into circulation without too many hitches, albeit with many years of preparation. East Germany’s Ostmarks were converted into Deutschmarks. But the key difference is that in these cases the currency into which savings were being switched was perceived to be stable. The incentive for capital flight did not exist.
“… if the fundamental problem is substituting a weak currency for a strong one, the most practical solution would be for the strongest members of the euro-zone to leave the currency union. It means that… Germany could leave the euro while weaker countries could not… it seems massively unlikely that a German government would initiate the break-up of the euro. The euro was not designed with any possibility of break-up in mind… the point of a currency union is that it is supposed to be unbreakable.”
The EU was destined to unite, and the euro is one of the means of such unification. Please also read the next article, which proves as well that the notion that the euro could be exchanged for national currencies is just ridiculous. To believe such speculation would be tantamount to questioning biblical prophecy. For more information, please read our free booklet, “The Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord.”
Comeback of National Currencies Would be a Disaster for EU and Germany
Der Spiegel wrote on November 29:
“Europe is discussing the horror scenario of a break-up of the euro zone. At present, that still seems unlikely, but experts are alarmed. A comeback of national currencies would be fatal — especially for Germany… what would really happen if the euro collapsed? Would it really herald a return to the good, old days, to a Germany that uses the much-revered deutsche mark? Or could it actually be a harbinger of chaos and economic depression?…
“Germany has reaped all sorts of benefits from the euro. A collapse of the common currency would have dramatic effects. Here is a list of possible consequences:
“… the high transaction costs alone would cause massive damage to the national economy. For example, huge amounts of new bank notes would have to be printed, and mountains of coins would have to be minted… Merchants and restaurant owners, for example, would have to re-adjust all their prices…
“… leading German economist Peter Bofinger said: ‘Many Germans’ eyes would start to glisten with emotion if the deutsche mark were to come back.’ But he also warned that ‘the economic consequences would be disastrous’… [It] would make German goods dramatically more expensive abroad, which would result in a serious competitive disadvantage, especially since roughly 40 percent of German exports go to other euro-zone countries.
“Last summer, Gerhard Cromme, chairman of the supervisory board of German engineering giant Siemens, described the consequences in drastic terms: ‘Prices would shoot up so high that those of us in the industrial sector would no longer be able to sell anything out there in the world.’ …
“Experts calculate that there would be severe job cuts in Germany if this were to happen… German companies would also have to assume billions in additional costs. For example, without the euro, they would have to hedge themselves against major currency fluctuations. Thanks to the common currency, this has not been necessary when exporting to countries within the euro zone.
“What’s more, a collapse of the euro… would throw financial markets into chaos. At the moment, all the big German banks have euro-denominated government bonds issued by other EU countries on their books. Were the common currency to disappear, these countries would be forced to repurchase these bonds in… whatever currency they assumed. But this would present the banks with a serious problem… German banks would be threatened with enormous loan losses…
“A defeat of the euro would be a victory for the dollar, which would continue on for the time being as the unrivalled currency for all major international transactions. At the same time, a breakup of the euro zone would also cause damage at the political level. As Andreas Scheuerle, an economist with DekaBank, said last summer: ‘Europe would suffer a massive decline in importance vis-à-vis the United States and China.’…
“The political consequences would be downright devastating… an end to the euro zone could lead to significant tension between EU member states. In the end… the entire European Union would be threatened.”
The Bible predicts that this will not happen–at least not until sometime AFTER the beginning of the Great Tribulation.
USA vs. Germany?
Reuters reported on December 1:
“The United States would be ready to support the extension of the European Financial Stability Facility via an extra commitment of money from the International Monetary Fund, a U.S. official told Reuters on Wednesday… U.S. Treasurys’ [sic] prices fell and the euro strengthened against the dollar on Wednesday after the news that the United States would be prepared to support an enlarged EFSF.
“Germany, whose leaders have expressed frustration at the market backlash against their plans to solve the euro zone’s debt problems, does not want to make the stability fund larger.”
Germany Not Liked Too Much in Europe
Der Spiegel Online wrote on November 26:
“Everyone is talking about German Chancellor Angela Merkel these days — and most of what they have to say isn’t complimentary. Her plan to create a bankruptcy mechanism for euro-zone countries, they say, has worsened the debt crisis in Ireland and elsewhere. Merkel’s name, once widely respected, is now mud…
“Ever since the sovereign debt crisis began shaking the euro zone, Germany has been the target of criticism more frequently than it has in a long time. And the image of the chancellor has been badly blemished…
“In the middle of Europe’s crisis, the former image of the ugly German — all-powerful and arrogant — has returned. Groaning under the weight of the euro crisis, Ireland sees itself as a victim of German conceit. The Irish press writes of ‘neo-colonialism.’ One of the largest newspapers in the country, the Irish Independent, quotes Fine Gael politician Michael Noonan, saying: ‘Can I ask whether this is what the men of 1916 died for: a bailout from the German chancellor with a few shillings of sympathy from the British chancellor on the side?’…
“The president of the Euro Group, Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, has hinted at his own concern about Germany’s European policies… ‘That in Germany federal and local authorities are slowly losing sight of European public good, that does worry me,’ he told the newspaper Rheinischer Merkur…
“The influential Spanish daily El País wrote about ‘the clumsiness of Europe’s leaders.’ The article claimed that German unintentionally made things much worse for Ireland by demanding that private investors be held partially liable for losses… Many German taxpayers have been wondering why they should have to foot the entire bill for a mess in which the banks were also heavily involved… Experts in the financial industry are not very impressed with the Germans at the moment…”
However, the time will come–and soon–when Europe will grudgingly ask Germany to lead them–and they will even surrender their power and authority to a charismatic German or Austrian leader. For more information, please read our free booklet, “Is That in the Bible?–The Mystery of the Book of Revelation.”
What does Christ mean when He refers to the many who are “called” and to the few who are “chosen” as recorded in Matthew 22:14?
Verse 14 summarizes the Parable of the Wedding Feast spoken by Jesus Christ in which He teaches about the Kingdom of God and about the accountability that people have when God offers them salvation—that is, eternal life (compare Matthew 24:1-14).
Contrary to what many teach and who say that parables were used by Christ to make His teaching more clear, just the opposite is true. The Bible addresses this:
“All these things Jesus spoke to the multitude in parables; and without a parable He did not speak to them, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: ‘I will open My mouth in parables; I will utter things kept secret from the foundation of the world’” (Matthew 13:34-35).
In a previous account, His disciples directly asked Jesus why He taught the people with parables. The answer is revealing:
“He answered and said to them, ‘Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says: “Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, And seeing you will see and not perceive; For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, And their eyes they have closed, Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them.” But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear; for assuredly, I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it’” (Matthew 13:11-17).
Jesus asked His disciples, “‘…Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?’” (Matthew 16:13). They responded with various answers, and Jesus then asked His disciples, “‘…But who do you say that I am?’” (verse 15).
Peter’s response was this: “‘…You are the Christ, the Son of the living God’” (verse 16).
Jesus then makes this profoundly important statement—showing that understanding of this kind came through God’s revelation:
“Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven’” (verse 17).
We should also note what Jesus further instructed these disciples concerning His own identity and the revelation that was given to them at that time (that would change once Jesus Christ had died and then was resurrected by God the Father):
“Then He commanded His disciples that they should tell no one that he was Jesus the Christ” (verse 20).
As the record of the New Testament shows, Jesus had specifically chosen twelve disciples—along with others—to preach the gospel of the Kingdom of God (compare Luke 6:12-16; 9:1-6). Through the teaching and the many miraculous things done by both Jesus and His disciples, many people both heard and saw; yet, it was only the few who continued with Jesus:
“From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. Then Jesus said to the twelve, ‘Do you also want to go away?’ But Simon Peter answered Him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God’” (John 6:66-69).
Others had the opportunity to follow Christ, but they, like the many, rejected it. Such an example of a person “called” is found in Matthew 19:16-22:
“Now behold, one came and said to Him, ‘Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?’ So He said to him, ‘Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.’ He said to Him, ‘Which ones?’ Jesus said, ‘”You shall not murder,” “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “Honor your father and your mother,” and, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”’ The young man said to Him, ‘All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?’ Jesus said to him, ‘If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.’ But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.”
In the Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13:1-9; 18-23), Jesus speaks of those who hear “the word of the kingdom” (verse 19). He then explains this parable to His disciples showing how some hear and don’t understand; some readily understand but fade away when trials arise; some understand but then choose what this world offers; some (the few) hear, understand and—like Christ—bear “fruit” (compare Galatians 5:22-23).
As the Parable of the Sower reveals, being “called” is a first step in gaining entrance into the Kingdom of God. We should understand that God alone does this. Being a Christian has its beginning point with God’s calling—something that Jesus Christ emphatically taught:
“‘No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day’” (John 6:44); “And He said, ‘Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father’” (John 6:65).
However, as we explain in our booklet, “Are You Predestined to Be Saved?,” in the box, “Many Are Called, But Few Are Chosen,” on pages 52-54, the first three types of people in the Parable of the Sower were not really “called” to salvation:
“In the parable with the sower, in Matthew 13:18–23, four types of people are mentioned who all hear the Word of God. But only one person accepts the Word and produces fruit (verse 23), while the other three give up and fall away. Does this mean that all of them were truly called by God to salvation? And—that God was caught by surprise when the first three fell away, although He had predestined them to be called in this day and age? Hardly! God very well knew that only the fourth person would respond and continue in His calling, as God knows the hearts and minds of people. Only the fourth person was predestined to be called and chosen in this life.”
Paul teaches, “that you would walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory” (1 Thessalonians 2:12). Again, Paul reminds us, “God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:9).
Being called into knowledge of the Truth of God is not the only thing that must occur—we must then bear the fruit of righteousness in order to be among those who are the “chosen!” In this process, as we continue in our calling to follow Jesus Christ, we have this assurance—as written by Paul:
“[B]eing confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6).
We find this additional confirmation:
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified” (Romans 8:28-30).
As an example of this promise being fulfilled, let us consider the apostles of Jesus Christ—note what Jesus taught them:
“‘You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you’” (John 15:16); Also, “‘If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you’” (John 15:19).
Judas failed in his calling as an apostle and was replaced by Matthias to become among those specially chosen to rule over the twelve Tribes of Israel once Jesus Christ returns to establish the Kingdom of God on this earth (compare Matthew 19:28; Revelation 21:14).
Paul fulfilled his calling, and he knew he was chosen to receive eternal life in God’s Kingdom:
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:7-8).
While the many heard Jesus preach and saw His works, most are the ones who fulfilled His parable found in Matthew 22—invited guests, but they refused to actually fully participate in God’s calling. For a thorough explanation of this parable, please read the entire above-mentioned box in our free booklet, “Are You Predestined to Be Saved?”
This parable has much broader application than just the many who rejected or the few who followed Jesus during His ministry. The Work of God and Jesus Christ, as Head of the Body, the Church (compare Ephesians 1:22-23), has continued—and so it does in our time and will into the future of this age!
The opportunity that God is now presenting is a calling to be among the firstfruits of salvation—called “a better resurrection” in Hebrews 11:35 (compare John 5:24).
When Jesus returns to the earth to powerfully remove the rule of Satan and his many demonic followers, He will establish the government of God—God’s glorious and everlasting Kingdom! When He does this, He will not be alone; there will be a precious few with Him:
“‘These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are CALLED, CHOSEN, and FAITHFUL’” (Revelation 17:14).
Lead Writer: Dave Harris
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
A new member letter was written and will be sent out early next week.
Our new booklet, “Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians,” has entered the final review cycle.
A new StandingWatch program was posted on the Web, titled, “Will the Euro Survive?” Some predict that the euro-zone will disintegrate and that the euro is finished. But what would be the practical consequences, if the euro-zone countries were to abandon the euro and replace it with national currencies? Why do some feel that such a scenario is “massively unlikely” and “unrealistic”? Why do they conclude that the euro will remain one of the “world’s most important currencies”?
Norbert Link’s recent video-recorded sermon, “The New Covenant,” was posted on the Web.
A new German sermon was posted on the Web, titled, “Die Welt der Engel, Teil 1” (“The world of Angels, Part 1”).
Joy in the Small Things
by Cali Harris
Lately I’ve been thinking about how to live more joyfully. In one of his sonnets, William Shakespeare wrote, “Joy delights in joy.” When I read it, I had to think about it carefully. What does that line of poetry really mean?
To me, it means that joy self-perpetuates. It has its own internal momentum, so that when I share joy with someone else, the joy spreads. It has a rippling, reverberating effect.
As I think about how to live more joyfully, I’ve realized it’s not only the grand plans or gestures that make life more joyful. Instead, I’m beginning to see how the smallest of gestures can have the most joyful impact. I’m focusing on smiling—and really meaning it—when I say “thank you” to a shop clerk or restaurant server. I’m slowing down while driving and waving people to go ahead of me. I’ve been sending more postcards and greeting cards with notes of “Thanks!” or “Hello!” or “Thinking of you!”. And because so much of my work is related to technology and the web, I’m taking time to send quick text messages or emails to friends, family and clients.
Although they may seem insignificant, it’s these actions that bring joy not only to those around me—but help me live more joyfully, too. And this, I believe, is how “joy delights in joy.”
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.
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