Update 497


Paul’s Letter to the Philippians, Part 8

On June 25, 2011, Norbert Link will give the sermon from California, titled, “Paul’s Letter to the Philippians, Part 8.”

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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Why Christ’s Suffering and Death?

by Rene Messier (Canada)

When we think of Christ’s prolonged suffering and excruciating painful death, we might perhaps ask ourselves, could there have been a better or easier way to accomplish the purpose and end result of His First Coming?

Why did He become a Man to die? We know that God the Father created everything—including man—through Jesus Christ. As man’s Creator, Christ’s life was of more value than the sum of the entire creation. He died by shedding His blood, and there is no forgiveness of sin without the shedding of blood. The penalty for our sins is death, and Christ died to pay our penalty on our behalf. His death was necessary for the remission and forgiveness of our sins, with man’s potential of inheriting salvation and eternal life in the very Family and Kingdom of God.
But why not choose a fast and nearly painless death, such as beheading in the manner in which John the Baptist  was killed? Christ would still have died for the sins of mankind; He would still have shed His blood for us–but that was not what God and Christ had decided before the world began. And there are reasons for that decision—in fact, no other way would have been possible (compare Matthew 26:36-42).

Focusing on the events after the last Passover that Christ observed with His disciples, we find that Judas betrayed Him to His captors in the Garden of Gethsemane with a kiss; that all His disciples forsook Him and that Peter betrayed Him three times; that He was illegally “interrogated” all night; that He was brought before Pilate, Herod, and again Pilate for further “questioning” during the day; that He was brutally beaten by the Romans—apparently three times—with no limitations on the amount of stripes which He received; that He was spit on, mocked, ridiculed (with a crown of thorns placed on His head, inflicting further pain and wounds); that the Romans beat him on the head with a reed; and that He was finally sentenced to death by crucifixion, after He had been repeatedly declared to be innocent by Pilate and Herod, and while Pilate instead released a convicted murderer in His place.

By the time He was nailed to the stake at the place called Golgatha (the Place of a Skull), together with two convicted robbers, He had been without sleep for some 30 hours. He had lost blood by the beatings and scourging which all by themselves could have caused the death of a person. He was indeed greatly weakened because Simon of Cyrene had to assist Him in carrying His stake to the place of crucifixion, where His hands and feet were pierced through with nails and where He endured terrible agonies and thirst on the stake for another three hours, being continuously blasphemed and ridiculed by bystanders, before dying at around 3 o’clock in the afternoon, when a soldier murdered Him by piercing His side with a spear.

Why did God the Father and Jesus Christ allow this kind of inhumane and cruel “punishment” to be executed against the very Son of God? And why did they allow the kind of suffering that Christ endured throughout His human life—and especially during the hours following the Passover? Christ knew all that would happen, and He told His disciples that He had desired to eat the Passover with them before He would suffer.

One answer is, of course, that God the Father and Jesus Christ chose this manner of suffering and death of the very Son of God so that they could never be accused of taking the easy way out. But there is much more to the answer.

We read in 1 Peter 2:24 that Christ “Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes [we] were healed.” (Compare Isaiah 53:2-5; Matthew 8:16-17).  While the shedding of His blood made possible the forgiveness and redemption of our sins, His numerous wounds, stripes and beatings made possible the healing of our physical deformities and sicknesses.

We also read that Christ learned obedience by all the things that He suffered. He came in the likeness of sinful flesh to overcome sin in the flesh. He never sinned once—but He had to experience in His flesh what it took to be always obedient to God, even in times of excruciating pain and prolonged suffering.

We read in 1 Peter 2:21-23 that Christ “suffered for us, leaving us an example that [we] should follow His steps: ‘Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth’; who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously…”

Let us truly appreciate what Christ went through on our behalf. It was not a light matter to pave the way for our spiritual forgiveness and physical healing, and God expects of us to live worthy of our calling by following Christ’s sinless example in everything—especially in times of temptation, trial, sickness and severe suffering.

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We begin reporting on a disastrous and incredibly stupid program by America’s ATF; continue with the question of the legality or illegality of America’s involvement in the war in Libya; and speak on the extremely uncomfortable and disgusting political landscape in the USA and Bilderberg’s alleged role in the same.

Turning to Europe, we report at length on the Greek crisis and the consequences it might have for the future of Europe; and quote from a revealing interview with Germany’s Defense Minister.

We report on the economic situation in America and China; with the growing cooperation between China and Russia; and conclude with interesting articles on global warming; Dutch Freedom Party Leader Geert Wilders’ acquittal; and a new U.S. Census with surprising—or perhaps not that surprising—results.

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Fast and Furious…

CNN reported on June 17:

“The Mexican government’s fight against drug cartels has cost thousands of lives with guns smuggled in from the United States helping to fan the flames of this deadly fight… the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (or ‘ATF’ as it is commonly known) conceived of Operation Fast and Furious. The idea was to allow some guns to cross the southern border in the hope of seeing where those weapons ended up.

“But once those guns arrived in Mexico there was no way of tracing them until they turned up at a crime scene. Sadly, one of those guns turned up near Rio Rico, AZ next to the body of Customs and Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. Now Congress is asking questions. Lawmakers want to know who allowed this operation to go forward. And answers have been in short supply.

“One thing that is known is that the Mexican government wasn’t informed of the operation…”

On June 15, CNN had given the following additional information:

“Operation Fast and Furious, as the program was known, was ‘a colossal failure of leadership,’ said Peter Forcelli, a supervisor at the Phoenix field office…[Another] agent, John Dodson, told lawmakers: ‘I cannot begin to think of how the risk of letting guns fall into the hands of known criminals could possibly advance any legitimate law enforcement interest…

“Operation Fast and Furious focused on… people who legally bought weapons that were then transferred to criminals and destined for Mexico. But instead of intercepting the weapons when they switched hands, Operation Fast and Furious called for ATF agents to let the guns ‘walk’ and wait for them to surface in Mexico… The idea was that once the weapons in Mexico were traced back to the straw purchasers, the entire arms smuggling network could be brought down…

“The committee’s chairman, California Republican Rep. Darrell Issa, called the operation ‘felony stupid.’ As many as 2,000 semi-automatic rifles reached the hands of the cartels as a result… Issa also was upset over heavily redacted documents that his committee had received from the attorney general’s office.”

Newsmax added on June 20:

“Kenneth Melson, the acting director of the Bureau of Tobacco, Alcohol and Firearms (ATF), is expected to step down in the wake of the ‘Fast and Furious’ gun-running scheme… But the plan went disastrously wrong and the weapons have been used in at least 150 shootings. The ATF now admits it lost track of two-thirds of the guns.”

One has to shake one’s head over the degree of stupidity—and worse—with which this operation was concocted and conducted. It is additional testimony to the fact that God has indeed poured out a spirit of stupor on this nation (compare Romans 11:8). You might also review our recent article, “Senseless U.S. Dealings…” in the Current Events section of our Update # 495, to find more incredible examples of senseless U.S. dealings…

Questionable Legal US Operation in Libya

The New York Times stated on June 17, 2011

“President Obama rejected the views of top lawyers at the Pentagon and the Justice Department when he decided that he had the legal authority to continue American military participation in the air war in Libya without Congressional authorization… Jeh C. Johnson, the Pentagon general counsel, and Caroline D. Krass, the acting head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, had told the White House that they believed that the United States military’s activities in the NATO-led air war amounted to ‘hostilities.’ Under the War Powers Resolution, that would have required Mr. Obama to terminate or scale back the mission after May 20.

“But Mr. Obama decided instead to adopt the legal analysis of several other senior members of his legal team — including the White House counsel, Robert Bauer, and the State Department legal adviser, Harold H. Koh — who argued that the United States military’s activities fell short of ‘hostilities.’ Under that view, Mr. Obama needed no permission from Congress to continue the mission unchanged.

“Presidents have the legal authority to override the legal conclusions of the Office of Legal Counsel and to act in a manner that is contrary to its advice, but it is extraordinarily rare for that to happen. Under normal circumstances, the office’s interpretation of the law is legally binding on the executive branch…

“[The House speaker, John A. Boehner, Republican of Ohio, said:] ‘The White House says there are no hostilities taking place. Yet we’ve got drone attacks under way. We’re spending $10 million a day. We’re part of an effort to drop bombs on Qaddafi’s compounds. It just doesn’t pass the straight-face test, in my view, that we’re not in the midst of hostilities’…”

Whatever the accuracy of the legal interpretation of the resolution in question, America’s involvement in the ill-perceived and –conducted “war” against Libya and its internal struggle regarding the lack of “advisability” of such action only add to the downfall and demise of the USA. As the EUObserver reported on June 20, even NATO’s “limited” goal for Libya is coming under pressure.

According to the news agency, “Nato on Sunday… admitted its first major airstrike blunder causing civilian casualties in the four-month long Libyan campaign against Moammar Gaddafi… Nato’s blunder – the first such admission since operations began four months ago with the aim of ‘protecting civilians’ from Gaddafi’s mortar shells and airstrikes – comes shortly after the outgoing US defence minister Robert Gates highlighted the technical and intelligence shortfalls of the alliance in Libya.”

AFP added on June 22: “Italy called for a suspension of hostilities in Libya on Wednesday in the latest sign of dissent within NATO as the civilian death toll mounts and Moamer Kadhafi shows no signs of quitting power… France, which has taken the lead in military operations against Kadhafi, immediately ruled out any pause in the Libya campaign… Despite repeated calls for unity within NATO on its air strikes, the strain has begun to show in the alliance and Norway’s recent decision to withdraw from operations sparked fears others may follow.”

Romney’s Ever-Shifting Positions…

On June 18, 2011, Reuters reported the following:

“Republican White House hopeful Mitt Romney restated his support for a reversal of Roe vs Wade Saturday after opting not to sign what he called an ‘overly broad’ pledge promoted by an anti-abortion advocacy group. ‘I am pro-life and believe that abortion should be limited to only instances of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother,’ the former Massachusetts governor wrote in an editorial on the conservative National Review’s website. [He] was attempting to blunt criticism of his decision not to sign a pledge pushed by the Susan B. Anthony List, an anti-abortion organization.

“Those signing the list vow to nominate judges and appoint executive branch officials who are opposed to abortion. Signing on have been Minnesota Congressman [sic] Michele Bachmann, former House speaker Newt Gingrich, Texas Congressman Ron Paul, former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum. Romney, Georgia businessman Herman Cain and former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson opted not to sign…

“Democrats charge that Romney has changed his views on abortion at least once. In 2002, while campaigning for governor in socially liberal Massachusetts, he vowed to ‘preserve and protect’ a woman’s right to have an abortion.”

Politics and more politics… and in reading the next article, one wonders what IS really going on in our countries…

Bilderberg Holds True Power in America?

On June 20, The Drudge Report provided a link to the following article by Infowar:

“Every indication suggests that Bilderberg-approved Texas Governor Rick Perry is set to become the frontrunner in the Republican race to challenge Barack Obama for the presidency, illustrating once again how a shady, secretive and undemocratic global elite holds the reigns of true power while Americans are distracted by the delusional notion that they have a genuine choice in 2012…

“While spewing Tea Party-style rhetoric about secession, shooting coyotes and courting the favor of Christian evangelicals, behind closed doors Perry has been quietly selling out Texas to globalist interests, auctioning off highways to foreign companies to turn them into profit-driven toll roads.

“‘Speculation that Perry is the Bilderberg group’s ace card was prompted by the current political climate, which can largely be gleaned from the fact that Perry is a longtime, unwavering supporter of the NAFTA Superhighway and related infrastructure projects,’ wrote AFP’s Jim Tucker earlier this month. ‘These pave the way for the Bilderberg-supported North American Union (NAU) proposal that would merge the U.S., Canada and Mexico.’

“Perry has also given enthusiastic support to former Mexican President Vicente Fox’s efforts to turn Texas into a sanctuary state for illegal immigrants. He also aggressively promoted the Rockefeller Foundation-backed HPV vaccination campaign in Texas that has led to deaths worldwide. David Rockefeller is a prominent Bilderberger, attending each annual meeting without fail.

“Perry attended the June 2007 Bilderberg conference in Istanbul, Turkey… Look beyond the rhetoric and study what Perry has actually done in his role as Governor – he’s the ultimate globalist – his every action illustrates how he’s the diametric opposite to the image of the Tea Party populist that he attempts to portray. That’s why he’s the perfect pick for the globalists, someone who can suck in the trust of the American people only to stab them in the back upon becoming president, just as Obama did before him.

“Bilderberg has proven its kingmaker role time and time again not just in US politics but worldwide. Bill Clinton was a little-known Governor of Arkansas before he attended a Bilderberg meeting in 1991 and went on to become President a year later. Similarly, British Prime Minister Tony Blair attended Bilderberg before his election in 1997. According to Euro Weekly News, Maria Dolores De Cospedal’s attendance at Bilderberg 2011 in St. Moritz Switzerland also ‘augurs a victory in Spain’s next general election’ for her Partido Popular party.

“Obama himself was reportedly vetted by Bilderberg when he infamously disappeared to a secret location with Hillary Clinton in June 2008 in Northern Virginia, at precisely the same time and location the Bilderberg Group were convening in Chantilly. Bilderberg luminary James A. Johnson was also responsible for selecting Obama’s running mate Joe Biden, having also previously selected John Edwards as John Kerry’s right hand man in 2004 after Edwards had impressed Bilderberg elitists Henry Kissinger and David Rockefeller with a speech he gave at the globalist confab in Italy that year…

“Bilderberg’s continual influence in picking US presidents and potential vice-presidents again serves up a reminder that the real power structure steering the planet goes beyond teleprompter-reading puppet presidents and rests in the hands of multi-generational globalists, central banking moguls and the CEO’s of the world’s biggest corporations, all of whom routinely attend the Bilderberg Group confab every year.”

This sounds almost too far-fetched to be believable… but then, stranger things have happened. One thing is sure… this world is ruled by invisible conspirators virtually unknown and unnoticed by the masses. We are talking about Satan and his demons… and Satan’s wrath is great because he knows that he has only a short time left. We can therefore expect horrible and surprising developments to occur in the near future before Christ returns to put an end to Satan’s terrible rule over man. For more information, please read our free booklet, “Angels, Demons and the Spirit World.”

America’s Ongoing Catastrophes

Reuters reported on June 22:

“Emergency sirens sounded in Minot, North Dakota on Wednesday telling up to 12,000 residents to evacuate immediately because the rising Souris River is about to overflow flood levees… The Souris River at Minot is expected to smash the previous flood record in 1881 by about 5 feet and reach up to nearly 8 feet higher than 1969 flooding local residents have been using as a benchmark as they prepare to evacuate…

“Heavy rains over the past six weeks have swelled Canadian reservoirs in the Souris River basin, forcing unprecedented water releases. In turn, U.S. officials must release water from the Lake Darling Dam above Minot at a rate more than double what the recently fortified protections can bear… The massive flooding on the Souris River, which flows into the Red River basin, was the latest problem as flooding threatens communities from Montana through Missouri.The swelling Missouri River threatens the North Dakota capital of Bismarck, the South Dakota capital of Pierre and other communities for hundreds of miles downstream…”

Germany and France Find Common Ground on Greece

Deutsche Welle reported on June 17:

“The German and French leaders emerged from a meeting in Berlin on Friday with a common message on helping the ailing Greek economy. The pair called for a swift solution to the country’s debt crisis, which threatens the stability of the euro single currency. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy said Greece would need a second bailout package to buttress a 110 billion euro ($157 billion) bailout agreed last year. The issue of a second aid deal, expected to be worth around 80 billion euros to 120 billion euros, has divided eurozone members, with the two leaders saying they had reached a ‘breakthrough‘ on the matter and that time was of the essence…

“The leaders also stated that private sector involvement in a second bailout should be on a voluntary basis and be conducted in coordination with the European Central Bank, the European Commission and the International Monetary Fund… Merkel reiterated her support for the euro and said Germany’s prosperity was dependent on its future stability. Germany and France were determined to defend the common currency, Merkel told reporters, saying ‘we will do everything to preserve and support the euro. ’”

“On June 20, Deutsche Welle stated  that “The Greek finance minister says he is sure the parliament in Athens will give the green light to fresh austerity measures, after eurozone finance ministers made this a condition for the release of further bailout funds… They said the parliamentary approval must be given before Athens can receive an additional 12 billion euros ($17 billion) in emergency loans to prevent it from defaulting on its public debt. The money is part of the 110-euro bailout package the country secured last year. Greece needs the funds by mid-July to stave off insolvency.”

The EUObserver wrote on June 22:

“The freshly reshuffled Greek government has won a vote of confidence by the country’s parliament in an attempt to show strength days before a possible national default. Meanwhile, according to the latest Failed State Index, out this week, Greece was ‘by far the poorest performer’ in political deterioration… The rest of the eurozone and international lenders are now holding their breath until 28 June when the government, hit by a series of resignations and widening civil unrest, will attempt to push through an unpopular series of fresh austerity measures amounting to €28 billion as well as €50 billion in public asset sales.

“The confidence vote came just hours after Fitch, one of the big three credit ratings agencies, declared that it will assess Greece as in default if private bondholders agree to even the softest of voluntary participation in any second bail-out of the country. EU leaders hope to convince private creditors to roll over Greek debt as bonds mature in order to pare back the involvement of the public purse in a second rescue.”

The Bible makes clear that ultimately, Greece will be at least associated with the final configuration of the revived Babylonian system, in oppostion to the state of Israel.  A frightening prophecy in Joel 3:6, addressing the Babylonian system under the designation of mystical Tyre (verse 4), states the following: “Also the people of Judah and the people of Jerusalem You have sold to the Greeks, that you may remove them from their borders.”

The Greek Crisis and the Euro

Der Spiegel Online reported on June 20:

“If the rest of Europe abandons Greece, the crisis could spin out of control, spreading from one weak euro-zone country to the next…

“… When things get serious, as they are now, decisions will no longer be made in the somewhat democratically legitimized EU bodies, but at the more or less secret meetings of a handful of leaders. During the German chancellor’s and the French president’s quiet walks together, and at the behind-the-scenes meetings of discrete central banks, policies are being made that are then handed to the parliaments to rubber-stamp, even though hardly any of their members understand them… One of the reasons that Europeans are so incensed at their respective governments is that they are not involved in the decision-making process…

“The euro debt crisis has already swept aside two governments, in Ireland and Portugal, and the Spanish and Greek governments could soon follow. Things are also getting precarious for the government in Berlin, where Chancellor Angela Merkel could lose her parliamentary majority in upcoming votes on bailout measures…

“A collapse of the monetary union would set Europe back by decades, dealing it a blow from which it might never recover… This is why Europe’s politicians want to defend the euro at all costs, and why they are approving one bailout package after the next. They are playing for time… The business community is supporting their efforts, too. In a major advertising campaign scheduled to run in leading publications this week, top German business executives… promote the monetary union and insist: ‘The euro is necessary’…

“More than anything, the euro was a political project. Its advocates, most notably then German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and then French President François Mitterrand, wanted to permanently unite the continent’s core countries…

“There are essentially two alternatives. The first is a radical one, in which the governments pull the plug and leave the beleaguered countries to fend for themselves. The second, more pragmatic solution is to continue muddling along, though somewhat more efficiently, and to hope that things improve. Neither option will be cheap.

“The radical cure works like this: Disappointed by the lack of progress and prospects for improvement, the euro-zone countries leave Greece to fend for itself… The country would quickly become insolvent… If Greece slides into uncontrolled bankruptcy, investors might refuse to invest their money in other ailing euro-zone members. Even more banks could collapse in the ensuing chain reaction…

“In light of these incalculable developments, many are now considering the nuclear option as a real alternative: Greece withdraws from the monetary union and reintroduces the drachma… The crisis would not end after Greece’s withdrawal. In fact, it could even get worse… At the end of such a development, the monetary union could disintegrate into a hard-currency bloc and a group with its own, weaker currencies…

“To prevent this from happening, many politicians specializing in financial and economic affairs recommend bringing about the political union of Europe as quickly as possible, a union with a strong central government. They argue that if the nations in the euro zone formed a closer union, they could coordinate their financial systems more effectively, thus providing the common currency with a political foundation.”

We should take note of several ideas in this article. Firstly, political and economic decisions are being made in secrecy. Secondly, the euro crisis could drastically change the political landscape of Europe. Some governments may topple, and a core Europe could develop (but the core countries would keep the euro, not abandon it). Thirdly, this crisis could motivate European nations to establish a powerful political bloc, with a strong centralized government. These ideas could lead to the fulfillment of key prophecies on Europe. For more information, please read our free booklet, “The Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord.”

Germany Will Not Intervene in Syria

On June 20, Der Spiegel Online published the following revealing interview with German Defense Minister Thomas de Maizière. We are bringing you the following excerpts:

“In Afghanistan, we’re demonstrating that the Bundeswehr (…the German military) is a fighting army whenever it has to be…

“Our decision to not participate in the military part of the Libya mission was based on carefully considered reasons. It remains correct… The Americans did ask us for military assistance again at the most recent NATO meeting. We turned them down… When you start something, you of course always have to know how long you can keep it up…

“The world can’t tolerate the regime currently in place in Damascus. But we also have to frankly admit that having Syria disintegrate would be very difficult for the entire region… The same thing applies in this case as for Libya: We will not get involved [in Syria]….

“The problem with our [military] budget is not its size but, rather, its structure. A major share or our total-budget investments — or roughly 22 percent — go toward armaments. That’s high compared with other countries. But almost all of that is tied to old orders, including some that we no longer need as much. Budget commitments need to be designed in a more flexible way… Almost all of my colleagues in NATO and the EU — the Dutch, the Poles, the French — are in the process of adapting their militaries to changed conditions. All of them want more agility, more quality instead of quantity…

“It is in our vital interest to make sure that the United States remains a European power and that it doesn’t look primarily westward. I am always telling the Americans: We Europeans are exhausting and sometimes even difficult and at odds with each other. But, compared with everyone else, we are still the most reliable partner in the world when it comes to stability, democracy and, ultimately, money, as well.”

However, the Bible shows that this will change… very shortly.

European Money for “Defense”

The New York Times wrote on June 22:

“NATO’s disarray has begun to chip away at the wider European-American relationship currently contributing 14 million jobs and $3 trillion in commercial sales. American officials regularly berate the Europeans with calls to spend ever more money on defense, even when the European Union’s total defense budget is already $300 billion, pretty close to America’s defense budget prior to 9/11.

“The real problem is the way in which this money is spent — for example, the wasteful duplication of weapons procurement programs. This will not change unless there is political will among E.U. leaders for change… this will to change will only come about when America decides to take away its defense credit card and asks Europe to take responsibility for its own security.

“The E.U. is increasingly capable of defending itself under its Common Security and Defense Policy, through which the E.U. has already deployed 27 military and civilian missions from Asia to Africa, and just approved the 28th — a military force for Libya that is ready to be deployed as soon as the U.N. asks for it.”

European Leaders Back Obama’s Troop Withdrawal from Afghanistan

Deutsche Welle reported on June 23:

“In a televised speech to the nation on Wednesday evening, US President Barack Obama announced plans for the withdrawal of 33,000 troops from Afghanistan by autumn next year, saying the end was in sight for the NATO-led coalition… NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen on Thursday welcomed Obama’s announcement to begin a drawdown of US forces… German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle has applauded Obama’s decision, saying it indicated plans for [bringing] NATO troops back were becoming more concrete and that the US was signaling its cooperation with the international strategy in Afghanistan… ‘It’s our goal as well to start [bringing] back German troops by the end of the year, ’ Westerwelle added…

“French President Nicolas Sarkozy also lent his support to Obama’s decision… saying France would stick to a similar time frame for gradually bringing home its… troops in Afghanistan. However, Obama remains keen that any withdrawal should not be carried out [too] quickly. The situation is still described as  ‘unstable ’ by generals and the gains made up to this point are not irreversible… The president also spoke of the cost of the exercise, which currently amounts to $10 billion (7 billion euros) per month. Over the course of the last decade, the US spent around $1 trillion on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the president said. Given the difficult economic situation faced by the world, he said it was now time to focus on domestic investment…

“The president also informed Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, as well as the leaders of nations committed to the NATO-led effort, including Chancellor Angela Merkel. The future of Afghanistan will be discussed at a conference in the German city of Bonn in December. In addition, a further conference is planned for May next year in Chicago… ”

“America Flirts With a Fate Like Japan’s”

The Financial Times wrote on June 19:

“The stalling of the US recovery raises big, scary questions. After a recession, this economy usually gets people back to work quickly. Not this time. Progress is so slow, the issue is not so much when America will return to full employment but what ‘full employment’ will mean by the time it does….

“Last week President Barack Obama called the pause a ‘bump in the road’. Others think the slowdown will persist and might get worse, fears that cannot be dismissed. One alarming possibility is that the traits the US has relied on to drive growth in the past – labour market flexibility, rapid productivity growth – might have become toxic. If the US is unlucky, traits seen as distinctive strengths are now weaknesses, and a ‘lost decade’ of stagnation, like Japan’s in the 1990s, might lie ahead.”

Sadly, this is exactly what the Bible predicts to occur—notwithstanding the “optimistic” but unrealistic and unbiblical viewpoints of Republican candidates for the Presidency. For more information on the spiritual reasons for this prophesied development, please read our free booklet, “The Fall and Rise of Britain and America.”

China May Still Fall… Like Japan

The Financial Times wrote on June 14:

“Until 1990, Japan was the most successful large economy in the world. Almost nobody predicted what would happen to it in the succeeding decades. Today, people are yet more in awe of the achievements of China. Is it conceivable that this colossus could learn that spectacular success is a precursor of surprising failure? The answer is: yes.

“Japan’s gross domestic product per head… jumped from a fifth of U.S. levels in 1950 to 90 percent in 1990. But this spectacular convergence went into reverse: by 2010, Japan’s GDP per head had fallen to 76 per cent of U.S. levels. China’s GDP per head jumped from 3 percent of U.S. levels in 1978… to a fifth of U.S. levels today. Is this going to continue as spectacularly over the next few decades or could China, too, surprise on the downside?…

“Premier Wen Jiabao has himself described the economy as ‘unstable, unbalanced, uncoordinated and ultimately unsustainable…’”

Even though the Bible prophesies a military confederation of Far Eastern powers (including China and Russia, see next article), it is also clearly revealed that Europe (the revived Babylonian system, compare Revelation 17) will become the most powerful economic bloc in the end time. In light of this, it is not to be expected that China—or any other nation or power bloc—will remotely match Europe’s economic success. Therefore, China’s economy will have to experience a downturn pretty soon. The same goes for the faltering economy of the USA… as the previous article showed.

Chinese and Russian Cooperation

The Pravda wrote on June 16:

“In the past decade, the development of China-Russia ties has made remarkable progress. Political and strategic mutual trust between the two nations have deepened continuously. The two countries have established mechanisms for high-level exchange of visits and all-round cooperation… The two nations have become each other’s major trading partner, and have coordinated closely in dealing with major world and regional affairs…

“Two months ago, the Chinese and Russian [Presidents] met… [and] agreed to further improve cooperation and safeguard common interests… The China-Russia oil pipeline started operation at the beginning of this year, and the fifth round of their strategic security consultations last January was a great success.”

For more information on the Chinese-Russian “political” and “security” cooperation and coalition, please read our free booklet, “Is That in the Bible?—The Mystery of the Book of Revelation.”

Doubts Over Global Warming

The EUObserver wrote on June 22:

“European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso is apparently unconcerned that the chief architect of the EU’s forthcoming multi-annual budget has major doubts over the existence of global warming. Environmental groups are sounding alarm bells however, warning that EU budget commissioner Janusz Lewandowski’s scepticism towards climate change is almost certain to affect his drafting of the crucial EU document which will shape the bloc’s policy for years to come (2014-2020).

“‘There’s an emerging point of view, that the thesis about coal energy as the main cause of global warming is highly doubtful,’ Lewandowski told Polish trade magazine Nowy Przemysl earlier this month. ‘Question marks are appearing ever more frequently over global warming itself,’ added the Polish commissioner, whose country relies on coal for 90 percent of its electricity generation.

“A spokesman for Lewandowski confirmed the accuracy of the statements. ‘His overall line is that it would be impossible for Poland to shift away from coal overnight. But he also expressed his doubts over climate change, in a personal capacity,’ Patrizio Fiorilli told this website.”

Netherland’s Geert Wilders Acquitted

Bloomberg wrote on June 23:

“Dutch Freedom Party Leader Geert Wilders was acquitted by a court of charges that he made remarks defaming Muslims, ending a three-year prosecution that he described as a bid to restrict his freedom of speech. Wilders, 47, was charged with inciting hatred and discrimination and insulting Muslims for calling the Koran ‘fascist’ and comparing it to Adolf Hitler’s book ‘Mein Kampf’ in a 2007 Dutch newspaper editorial. A year later, he released his movie ‘Fitna,’ in which he urged Muslims to rip out ‘hate-preaching’ verses from the book…

“The movie led to protests in Islamic-majority countries including Indonesia and Pakistan and prompted Malaysians to call for a boycott of products from the euro area’s second largest exporter. Wilders, whose party backs the minority Dutch coalition government, has been under constant police protection since a Muslim radical murdered filmmaker Theo van Gogh in 2004… ‘Today is a victory for freedom of speech,’ Wilders said… ‘The Dutch are still allowed to speak critically about Islam, and resistance against Islamization is not a crime.’… The Netherlands has about 850,000 Muslims… Most are of Turkish or Moroccan origin. The country’s population is 16.7 million.”

US Minorities Becoming the Majority

The Guardian wrote on June 23:

“Non-Hispanic white children now make up the minority of babies born in the US for the first time, according to latest census estimates, highlighting demographic changes that could reshape US government policy. Preliminary census estimates also show the share of African-American households headed by women – comprised mostly single mothers – now exceeds African-American households with married couples…

“Demographers say the numbers provide the clearest indication yet that non-white minority groups will become the majority in the US by the middle of the century. Currently non-Hispanic white children make up just under half of all three-year-olds in the US, the youngest age group shown. In 1990 the proportion was more than 60%. Demographer William Frey from the Brookings Institution, which analysed the data, said the data released so far suggested minorities already outnumber whites among babies under two. By contrast non-Hispanic white people make up the vast majority of older Americans – 80% of the over 65s and 73% of those between 45 and 64…

“The census figures come amid heated debate on a number of controversial issues including immigration, gay marriage and the rising cost of welfare benefits. Alabama became the latest state this month to pass a wide-ranging anti-immigration law which requires schools to report their students’ immigration status to the authorities. This follows tough immigration measures passed in similarly Republican-leaning states such as Georgia, Arizona and South Carolina. But Massachusetts, New York and Illinois have all opted out of a federal plan to deport criminals who are not US citizens, saying it has made illegal immigrants afraid of reporting crimes to police. California may also opt out.”

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Does the Bible say anything about Esau and his descendants? Is Esau the ancestor of modern Turkey?

The Bible has indeed much to say about the descendants of Esau in our times. In this Q&A, we will discuss the history and the modern identity of Esau. In a subsequent Q&A, we will be addressing the future of Esau, as prophesied in the Scriptures.

Esau was the twin brother of Jacob. Due to the fact that he sold Jacob his birthright for some red stew, he became also known as “Edom,” which means “red” (Genesis 25:30). Later the name Idumea (Isaiah 34:5, Authorized Version; the New King James Bible says, “Edom”) was applied to some of the descendants of Esau or Edom. Herod the Great was an Idumean. (It was Herod who killed the male babies in Bethlehem and surrounding areas, from two years old and under, compare Matthew 2:16.)

Edom is also referred to as the land of Seir (Genesis 32:3). Edom, or at least the southern part of Edom, became known as Teman, who was Edom’s oldest grandson (Genesis 36:10-11). (One of Edom’s other grandsons was the fierce warrior Amalek, Genesis 36:12.)

The Easton Bible Dictionary informs us that Edom “extended from the head of the Gulf of Akabah, the Elanitic gulf, to the foot of the Dead Sea… and contained, among other cities, the rock-hewn Sela, generally known by the Greek name Petra [2 Kings 14:7, compare margin of the New King James Bible]. It is a wild and rugged region, traversed by fruitful valleys. [Edom’s] old capital was Bozrah (Isaiah 63:1). The early inhabitants of the land were Horites. They were destroyed by the Edomites (Deuteronomy 2:12), between whom and the kings of Israel and Judah there was frequent war [2 Chronicles 28:17].

“At the time of the Exodus they churlishly refused permission to the Israelites to pass through their land (Numbers 20:14-21), and ever afterwards maintained an attitude of hostility toward them. They were conquered by David (2 Samuel 8:14…), and afterwards by Amaziah (2 Chronicles 25:11, 12). But they regained again their independence, and in later years, during the decline of the Jewish kingdom (2 Kings 16:6), ‘Edomites’… made war against [the house of Judah]. They took part with the Chaldeans when Nebuchadnezzar captured Jerusalem, and afterwards they invaded and held possession of the south of Palestine as far as Hebron. [Biblica–The Bible Atlas, adds on page 308 that “Judah’s final destruction occurred when Edom enticed Judah to join in an anti-Babylonian coalition… but… Edom then participated with Babylon in the destruction of Jerusalem that followed.” As we will see in a subsequent Q&A, similar events will occur again in the near future.]

“At last, however, Edom fell under the growing Chaldean power (Jeremiah 27:3, 6)… After an existence as a people for above seventeen hundred years, they have utterly disappeared, and their language even is forgotten forever…”

But this last statement is not true. As we will see, the Bible contains many prophecies about the nation of Edom for the end time; therefore, descendants of Edom must exist today. They may not be living in the areas where they used to live, and they are not known today as Edomites, but they must exist somewhere. The Encyclopedia Britannica, 1959, states for instance under Edom that “many of the Edomites, pushed out of their former territory by the Nabataens, drifted westward across the Araba…”

We also need to note that many commentaries apply end-time prophecies regarding Edom to ancient times and claim that these prophecies were already fulfilled. This is a grievous mistake, precluding those authors from realizing what is announced to happen in the near future.

We read about an interesting “blessing” in Genesis 27:39-40, which Isaac gave to his son Esau, after he had been deceived to bless Jacob. It says that Esau or Edom would dwell “without” [as it should be rendered] the fatness of the earth and the dew of heaven [in comparison with the blessing which Isaac had given Jacob]; and that he would live by the sword and “serve” his brother (Jacob or Israel) [This last statement is actually a repeat of the prophecy pertaining to Jacob and Esau, which Rebekah received in Genesis 25:23].

Isaac also told Esau that in due time, he would break his brother’s yoke from his neck. Halley’s Bible Handbook claims that the Edomites “were subservient to Israel; and in time, they did throw off Israel’s yoke (II Kings 8:20-22).” Biblica—The Bible Atlas states on page 114 that “Herod the Idumean—better known as Herod the Great, the ruler who played a pivotal role in Jesus’ early life—murdered the royal family of Judea, including one of his own wives and a number of his children, and forged alliances with Rome. From that time on, Jewish tradition saw Rome as the embodiment of the continuing struggle between Jacob and Esau.”

While all of this may be partially true, we will see that Isaac’s prophecy for Esau is far more encompassing and applies also and foremost to more recent historical and even still future events. Edom is not just a symbolic reference to Rome or the modern Roman or Babylonian system in the end times, but a distinctively existing nation—which will however, to an extent and for a while, support modern Babylon in an attack against the state of Israel.

The Church of God has taught for over sixty years that many Edomites are today to be found in the modern nation of Turkey, and that biblical prophecies relating to modern Edom mainly address the Turkish people. (As an aside, the famous mountain of Ararat where Noah’s ark rested after the Flood, is situated in Turkey).

The following was stated in an article by The Plain Truth, dated 1966, titled, “Turkey in Prophecy”:

“Turkey can be identified by research in encyclopedias, or history books dealing with the subject, as the descendants of Esau… One of the grandsons of Esau was Teman (Genesis 36:11). Teman became a great leader among the peoples… As the Edomites began to expand…, portions of the land began to bear the name of Teman… much of the area… including … Turkestan… became known as the ‘Land of Temani’ (compare Genesis 36:34 [according to the Authorized Version; the New King James Bible says: “the land of the Temanites”)… Is it any wonder then that the indelible stamp of Teman, one of the leading dukes of ancient Edom, was carried down into modern history in the form of the ‘Ottoman’ Empire?”

The Ottoman Empire existed for about 400 years and ended with World War I. The Funk and Wagnalls New Encyclopedia tells us that the Ottoman Empire or the “Turkish state was the dominant power in the eastern Mediterranean from the 16th to the 19th century. It was broken up at the end of World War I, and its Anatolian heartland became the modern Republic of Turkey.”

During its high days and years of conquest, the Ottoman Empire ruled over countries and areas such as Algeria, Tunisia, Yemen, Egypt, Syria, Palestine, Arabia, Iraq, Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia, Armenia, Georgia and the Crimea, and it even besieged Austria’s capitol, Vienna (in 1529). It had at that time broken the yoke of Jacob (including Jacob’s son Judah) from his neck.

The fact that the name of the Turkish Ottoman Empire is derived from or related to Teman is confirmed by other authors as well. For instance, the encyclopedia Wordnik states regarding Edom: “Edom is O’theman of the Bible, and O’theman of the Bible is Turkey.” Also, many claim that the name “Turk” is associated with “Turkestan,” where, as we recall, many of the Edomites and more precisely, the Temanites, had settled. We are also told by some that the Khazars called the Byzantium Emperor the “King of Edom.” (Note that the name Byzantium is ancient for Constantinople, which is today Turkey’s capitol Istanbul.)

Turkey did in fact live by the sword, as Isaac had told Esau, but, as we showed in the Current Events section of our last Update (Update No. 496), it has now advanced to a very prosperous country in the Middle East, manifesting more and more its (ongoing) independent status from the house of Judah—the Jews—and now also increasingly from the modern descendants of the ancient house of Israel—the USA and Great Britain. This means, then, that biblical prophetic references to Esau, Edom, Seir, Idumea and Bozrah refer mainly to the modern nation of Turkey.

(To Be Continued)

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

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Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

The Church of the Eternal God is now being featured on Facebook.

A new member letter has been posted on the Web and sent out. In the letter, Norbert Link reminds us of man’s incredible accomplishments and miseries, and he points out the need to focus on our awesome future, even and especially in times of trial.

Our new booklet, “Germany in Prophecy,” was sent to our Graphic Designer, Shelly Bruno, for finalization.

We are starting a new Internet advertisement campaign in Great Britain, offering our free booklet, “Angels, Demons and the Spirit World.”

A new StandingWatch program has been posted on our Web site and on YouTube, titled, “Why So Much Sickness?” Are you eating mislabeled and wrong fish? Up to 70% of Americans do so. Are you eating poisoned shellfish-with levels so high that one mussel could kill several people? Are you suffering from the incurable E.coli virus? And did you know that due to our own fault, the antibiotic-resistant bacteria MRSA kills more Americans annually than AIDS, and that wrong food kills one American every two hours? It is high time to focus on God’s health laws.

A new German AufPostenStehen program has been posted on our Web site and on YouTube, titled, “Gehsteigberatung ungesetzlich?” In addition, several German sermons, which had been posted before on blip, have now also been posted on YouTube.

A new German sermon was posted on the Internet, titled, “Die Suche nach der Wahrheit” (“The Search for Truth”).

Please feel free to proceed with making reservations for the Feast of Tabernacles 2011 with the Hilton Garden Inn at 601 James Way, Pismo Beach, CA 93449. When you call under 1-805-773-6020, please make sure that you mention that you are attending the Feast convention of the Church of the Eternal God. Further information is available on our Web site (www.eternalgod.org), under “Feasts.”

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Many Words

by Eric Rank

Throughout the course of a normal day at work, I interact with a lot of different people. An increasing part of my job lately involves the task of communicating with others. I communicate with my team to build plans and organize the goals we have. I communicate with the clients to keep them informed of the progress we’re making on our projects. I communicate with my supervisors to keep them up to date on the current issues my team and I face. It all means that I do a lot of talking throughout the week. While it seems like a simple thing to provide information to the right people at the right time in the right amount, doing it well can be very challenging.

Most of the time, I have enough of a solid foundation to present things in an adequate manner. However, I recently noticed a peculiar habit I’ve developed. On occasions when I don’t know much about a topic, but I am put on the spot to communicate an idea or present some other analysis anyway, I tend to say more than I would if I had understood the topic inside-out. The Bible teaches that a fool is known for his many words. To my chagrin, I’ve come to learn this first hand! However, being aware of this tendency, I’m learning to recognize when I’m heading into uncharted territory, and admit to myself that I have more to learn. Indeed, the first step in achieving growth is submitting to the need for it.

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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