Update 522


“The Sin of Hypocrisy” and “To Fight or Not to Fight”

On December 31, 2011, Kalon Mitchell and Michael Link will give split sermons, titled, respectively,  “The Sin of Hypocrisy,” and, “To Fight or Not to Fight.”

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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by Brian Gale (United Kingdom)

I recall Mr Herbert Armstrong saying that ingratitude was one of the worst sins we could commit. It is certainly a major failing in anyone purporting to be a Christian.

This is the time of the year in the Gregorian calendar when many may be contemplating making some New Year’s resolutions. Perhaps some may think about appreciating their family, friends and standard of living more than they have in the past. However, those who have been called to God’s way of life shouldn’t need one of the world’s festivals to remind them about something that should be an ingrained Christian habit.

When we hear about and maybe receive letters from brethren in other countries who don’t enjoy all of the amenities, the standard of living, the freedom that we have and many other things that we may take for granted, does this jolt our conscience and, perhaps, only temporarily, stir us to action?

When we read about ancient Israel, we may find it difficult to understand how ungrateful they were at times, particularly after seeing many heart-stopping miracles and manifestations of God’s great power on their behalf. And yet, if we had to go days without food as happened to them on occasion, wouldn’t most of us be just as complaining?

Ingratitude must be something that we have left behind, or are strenuously working at leaving it behind. Are we grateful for our calling, first and foremost, and for the teaching we are constantly given for the way of life that sets us apart from the world? We should give God thanks for the food we have in such abundance, and the protection and help that HE gives us, but does it stop there?

This editorial is part of the weekly Update which takes many hours to compile, and quite a number of people to put together and publish. Do we take this for granted? Do we take the new booklets and the monthly letters for granted?

And do we just sit and listen to sermons and sermonettes without thanking those who give them and for their help, instruction, guidance and teaching that they have presented and who may have spent many hours of time in researching and preparing those messages? It can be easy just to sit in a congregation, listening to these messages and, after services, not even think of giving thanks to those who may have put in so much effort. An e-mail, letter or phone call thanking someone for what they have done can be so encouraging.

Let us ALL be more grateful for all the good gifts that God gives us and never take anything for granted. And when we succeed, we may then not be found guilty of the sin of ingratitude, which is so prevalent in our societies today.

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We begin with an article addressing NATO’s fear of the revival of Germany and Russia; report on anti-Putin demonstrations in Russia; address the meaning of Iran’s military exercises; speak of the possibility of the rise of a new Egypt with anti-Israeli sentiments; discuss the deteriorating relationship between Israel and Turkey as well as Turkey’s anger with France; report on Ethiopia and the “euro crisis”; and continue with reporting again on controversial new American laws, which may threaten our constitutional rights; and on another request to raise the US debt ceiling.

We conclude with several articles on Christmas, showing its pagan origins and the irresponsible and stupid conduct of parents and governmental officials to keep the lie of Santa Claus alive, while spending exorbitant amounts of money on Christmas celebrations and vacations.

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NATO Afraid of Russia and Germany?

RT.com reported on December 26:

“Although Germany and Russia have developed into modern democracies with free-market systems, NATO still fears the revival of the former Nazi and Soviet states, says Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin… ‘No matter what Russia may be – imperial, communist or democratic – they see us with the same eyes as they did in the previous centuries,’ he said.

“The same attitude applies to Germany, Rogozin says, the largest and most successful economy in the European Union. ‘The relationship with Germany also remains complicated, because they still fear it,’ he said…

“Indeed, many in Germany have been calling for the creation of a European army that will eventually replace NATO…’ The long term goal is the establishment of a European army under full parliamentary control,’ German foreign minister Guido Westerwelle told an audience last year at the Munich Security Conference, noting that the German government ‘wants to advance along this path.’”

The comments of the German Foreign Minister regarding a European army are quite telling, as this will undoubtedly be the next big event in the development of a United States of Europe. In addition, we will also see a revival of the former Soviet states and the build-up of a confederation of Russia and other Far Eastern countries, such as Japan and China.

Russians Protest Against Putin

The Los Angeles Times wrote on December 24:

“More than 100,000 people took to the streets Saturday in the biggest show of protest in Russia’s capital since the breakup of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s. ‘Russia without Putin!’ the crowd chanted as it protested alleged election fraud during the recent parliamentary vote that saw Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party garner nearly 50% of the vote.

“Many in the crowd said they were fed up with Putin, who served as president for eight years beginning in 2000 and is now seeking a return to the presidency in an election scheduled for March… Thousands of people also protested in cities and towns across Russia…”

Whether or not Putin will be re-elected, the upheaval in Russia signifies developments which may not be good news for Europe.

Iran’s Military Exercises

AL Jazeera reported on December 25:

“Iran’s navy has started a 10-day drill in international waters near the strategic oil route that passes through the Strait of Hormuz. The exercises… could bring Iranian ships into proximity with United States Navy vessels in the area… The war games cover a 2,000km stretch of sea off the Strait of Hormuz, northern parts of the Indian Ocean and into the Gulf of Aden, near the entrance to the Red Sea… submarines, surface-to-sea missile systems, missile-launching vessels, torpedoes and drones will be employed in the maneuvers…

“The Strait of Hormuz is of strategic significance as the passageway for about a third of the world’s oil tanker traffic. Beyond it lie vast bodies of water, including the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Aden. The US Navy’s Bahrain-based Fifth Fleet is also active in the area, as are warships of several other countries that patrol for pirates there… Both the US and Israel have not ruled out a military option against Iran over its nuclear program.

“Iranian hard-liners have come out with occasional threats that Tehran would seal off the key waterway if the US or Israel moved against the country’s nuclear facilities. The US, Britain and Canada announced new measures against Iran’s energy and financial sectors last month and the European Union is considering a ban, already in place in the US, on imports of Iranian oil.”

Iran’s PressTV reported on December 26:

“‘The [Iranian] Navy’s military maneuvers in the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman indicate the power and dominance of Iran’s Navy in regional waters,’ member of the Majlis (parliament) National Security and Foreign Policy Committee Zohreh Elahian said Monday… Elahian added foreign media have admitted that Iran and its Navy are so powerful that if threatened, the country can take control of the Strait of Hormuz as the global economic and energy conduit.”

Reuters reported on December 28:

“The U.S. Fifth Fleet said on Wednesday it would not allow any disruption of traffic in the Strait of Hormuz, after Iran threatened to stop ships moving through the world’s most important oil route… Analysts say that Iran could potentially cause havoc in the Strait of Hormuz, a strip of water separating Oman and Iran, which connects the biggest Gulf oil producers, including Saudi Arabia, with the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea. At its narrowest point, it is 21 miles across.

“But its navy would be no match for the firepower of the Fifth Fleet which consists of 20-plus ships supported by combat aircraft, with 15,000 people afloat and another 1,000 ashore… The United States and Israel have not ruled out military action if sanctions fail to rein in Iran’s nuclear work.”

Deutsche Welle wrote on December 29:

“Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have rejected a warning from the United States not to close the strategic oil transport route, the Strait of Hormuz, saying it will protect the country’s vital interests… Iran says it will close the Strait if the US and European Union impose fresh sanctions over Tehran’s suspected nuclear program. Deputy President Mohammad Reza Rahimi said earlier this week that ‘not a drop of oil will pass through the Strait’ if the West broadens its current sanctions.”

It is to be feared that Iran will retaliate if it should be attacked by Israel and the USA, and the turmoil that would ensue may plunge the Middle East into a major war, forcing Europe to intervene militarily.

The Rise of a New Egypt?

ynetnews.com wrote on December 22:

“Last Saturday, violent groups of Islamic-Salafi radicals burned the famous scientific institute established by Napoleon in Egypt after its first encounter with the West. Some historians consider it the start of modern times in the Middle East. The site, L’Institut d’Egypte, held some 200,000 original and rare books, exhibits, maps, archeological findings and studies from Egypt and the entire Middle East, based on the work of generations of western researchers. Most of the artifacts were lost forever, burned or looted…

“All of this is happening while the confused West is lauding the new democracy established in Egypt, without understanding that this democracy is erasing the historic Egypt that was intimately connected to the West and its culture; a new Egypt shall rise on the ruins of the great fire. What we are seeing here is not a battle for power, but rather, a battle for perception, memory, heritage and historiography; that is, the writing of history.”

The Arab Spring has been a devastating development from the start, and the future will show how wrong those have been who applauded and supported the revolutions and rebellions in the Middle East. See also the next article.

Egypt’s Forces Raid Offices of U.S. and Other Civil Groups

The New York Times reported on December 29, 2011:

“Egyptian security forces stormed the offices of 17 nonprofit groups around the country on Thursday, including at least three democracy-promotion groups financed by the United States, as part of what Egypt’s military-led government has said is an investigation into ‘foreign hands’ in the recent outbreak of protests.

“In Cairo, heavily armed men wearing the black uniforms of the central security police tore through boxes, hauled away files and computers and prevented employees from leaving the offices of the two American groups, the National Democratic Institute and the International Republican Institute, which are affiliated with American political parties and financed by the United States government. The security forces also raided the offices of Washington-based Freedom House.

“The raids were a stark escalation in what has appeared to be a campaign by the country’s military rulers to rally support by playing to nationalist and anti-American sentiment here. But for the military rulers to suggest that American government funding may have played a role in the recent unrest is remarkable, in part because the Egyptian military itself receives $1.3 billion in annual American aid.”

Israel Cancels Contract With Turkey

The Washington Times wrote on December 23:

“Israel’s Defense Ministry announced Thursday the last-minute cancellation of a $140 million contract with Turkey over fears that a sophisticated aerial surveillance system could end up in Iran’s hands. The Israeli electronic defense firms Elbit Systems and Israel Aerospace Industries had contracted three years ago to provide the multimillion-dollar surveillance system to Turkey, which has cooled relations with the Jewish state and has warmed to Iran— Israel’s existential enemy. All defense-related contracts are subject to Defense Ministry approval…

“The cancellation comes a week after Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told parliament in Ankara that Turkey’s Middle East policies had ‘brought Israel to its knees’ and had isolated the Jewish state… Israel’s once close defense and political relationship with Turkey began to unravel as the Turkish government sought to extend its influence in the Arab world during the past few years. The relationship turned hostile after Israeli naval commandos killed nine Turkish militants last year on a flotilla attempting to break Israel’s naval blockade of the Gaza Strip.”

The relationship between Turkey and Israel is bound to deteriorate.

Turkey Accuses France of Genocide in Colonial Algeria

 BBC News wrote on December 23:

“The Turkish prime minister has accused France of committing genocide during its colonial occupation of Algeria. Recep Tayyip Erdogan was speaking after French MPs passed a bill making it a criminal act to deny that Ottoman Turks committed genocide in 1915-16 Armenia… Ankara has already recalled its ambassador to France and frozen political visits and joint military projects over the bill…

“If passed into law, Thursday’s bill would mean anybody who publicly denied the Armenian ‘genocide’ would face a year in jail and a fine of 45,000 euros (£29,000; $58,000)… More than 20 countries have formally recognised the killings as genocide.

“France invaded Algeria in 1830 and it remained under French rule until independence in 1962. The number of people killed in the eight-year independence war from 1954-1962 varies widely according to different sources, ranging from 300,000 to more than one million.”

Even though Turkey is angry with France at this time, the Bible shows that ultimately, Turkey will support Europe against the state of Israel.

Ethiopia Provokes Europe

Deutsche Welle wrote on December 27:

“Two Swedish journalists are considering a legal appeal after an Ethiopian court on Tuesday sentenced them to 11 years in prison for supporting terrorism and entering the country illegally… Last week’s guilty verdict was slammed in Sweden, where Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said the two journalists were innocent and should be let free. The convictions also provoked anger and accusations in the Swedish media that the case was politically motivated.

“Rights groups, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, have criticized the trial, and the Swedish Union of Journalists has called for Schibbye and Persson’s release… Schibbye and Persson say they met ONLF leaders in London and Nairobi before travelling to Ethiopia as part of a journalistic investigation into the activities of Swedish oil firm Lundin Oil. The ONLF has been fighting for independence of Ethiopia’s southeastern Ogaden region since 1984.”

Ethiopia will still play an important role in its relationship with Europe.

“There Is No Euro Crisis”

On December 29, 2011, Der Spiegel Online conducted an interesting interview with “the former head of Deutsche Bank, Hilmar Kopper [(76), who] was once the most powerful banker in Germany.” We are bringing you the following excerpts:

“Never in the history of mankind has there been so much money in circulation, and never before was it possible to trade with it so quickly. And never before has this money used the entire planet as a playing field, as is the case today in the era of globalization… We’re dealing with multi-causal failure. It didn’t just start with the American central bank, the Federal Reserve, which permanently made money cheap after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2011. It was the declared goal of American policy, under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, that every American was to own his own home. Many poor people, in particular, were lured in, people who couldn’t afford this dream at all. The banks turned this into a huge business, the rating agencies provided incorrect ratings, and many countries — both the United States and in Europe — did not have their debt under control before the financial crisis erupted…

“I’ve hardly heard it [the Occupy movement] utter a single reasonable sentence so far. It’s all vague criticism of capitalism, markets and the market economy in general. I’m not interested in political correctness and I’m not about to pretend to have any sympathy for this movement now… The United States isn’t my role model. If that was ever the case, it was after World War II, when we were slowly emerging from the Stone Age we had fought ourselves into…

“[Spiegel: Fifteen-trillion dollars in debts, a crumbling infrastructure, high unemployment, food stamps for one in five children …] … and the Americans still want to spend even more money. I’m horrified when I look at the politics there, with all the backstabbing and squabbling in Washington… I see a dollar crisis, but not a euro crisis. Europe has a debt problem, whereas the United States also has a problem with its balance of payments.

“[Spiegel: Can the euro still be saved?] Of course… The Maastricht Treaty ratified by all member states provided the rules, so that more pressure could be applied to countries that don’t have a handle on their budgets. It was legitimate, and it still is legitimate. And now we Germans are seen as the evil ones in the European concert, just because we insist on stability and sticking to the rules…”


The Business Insider wrote on December 22:

“The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) — a censorship bill — and the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) — which contains provisions allowing Americans to be detained without trial, and even transferred to foreign prisons — near ever closer to becoming reality in the United States…

“The cable networks continue to ignore these bills, in favor of covering holiday shopping lists… One noteworthy exception: Judge Napolitano on FOX Business Network… is the only American news anchor giving this issue the serious and dire coverage it probably deserves.”

The Hill added on December 26:

“GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul warned that the National Defense Authorization Act, which was passed by Congress this month, will accelerate the country’s ‘slip into tyranny’ and virtually assures ‘our descent into totalitarianism.’”

Politico added on December 27:

“The conservative and liberal blogospheres are unifying behind opposition to Congress’s Stop Online Piracy Act, with right-leaning bloggers arguing their very existence could be wiped out if the anti-piracy bill passes… ‘Of course, restrictions of results provided by Internet search engines amount to just that: prior restraint of their free expression of future results. Google and others, under SOPA, are told what they can or can’t publish before they publish it. Kill. The. Bill,’ conservative blogger Neil Stevens argued…”

These laws may indeed be a grave threat to our constitutional freedom and liberty. For more information, please view our StandingWatch program, “Destruction of US Democracy?”

More New Controversial Laws in the USA

The Washington Times wrote on December 26:

“California… becomes the first state to mandate the teaching of gay history. A new law requires schools to include in the public-school curriculum the contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans, along with disabled persons and others. The statute, which has no age limit, also bans instructional material that discriminates against those groups… Also in California, children must remain in car booster seats for an additional two years, until they reach the age of eight, or until they hit 4 feet 9 inches, whichever comes first…

“In Delaware and North Dakota, public workers will be required to make larger contributions to their retirement funds. In Arizona, public workers employed after Jan. 1 will receive benefits lower than those of current staffers…”

Request to Raise Debt Ceiling

CNN reported on December 27:

“The Obama administration will formally ask Congress later this week to raise the nation’s debt ceiling by $1.2 trillion… The latest request is the third of three requests authorized by the contentious debt ceiling agreement reached last August and is expected to come on December 30 – the day the debt is projected to fall within $100 billion of the current $15.194 trillion ceiling. The new request asks the ceiling be raised to $16.39 trillion.”

First Christmas Celebration in Pagan Shrine

ABC News reported on December 25:

“A recently discovered pagan shrine dedicated to Rome’s legendary founder Romulus and his brother Remus is being linked by some experts to the first celebration of Christmas held on the date that still marks the festivity today. Last month Italian archaeologists unveiled an underground grotto, which they believe ancient Romans worshipped as the place where a wolf nursed the legendary twins. Now, a top Italian scholar thinks a church built on the site of the shrine was where Christmas was first marked on Dec. 25 — making it a symbolic place in efforts to link pagan practices and Christian celebrations…

“He said the site of the ‘Lupercale’ shrine was chosen by the 4th century Emperor Constantine to build the Basilica of St. Anastasia — the first church to rise not on the ancient city’s outskirts, but on the Palatine Hill, the palatial center of power and religion in imperial Rome… Placing the church just a few steps from an important pagan shrine was part of Constantine’s strategy of promoting Christianity while linking it to the practices of the more ancient religion… [Constantine] presided over the Council of Nicaea in 325, which among other things homogenized the dates of important Christian festivals.

“The council opted to mark Christmas… on Dec. 25 to coincide with the Roman festival celebrating the birth of the sun god… The ‘Lupercale’ shrine was named after the ‘lupa’ — Latin for she-wolf — who according to legend saved Romulus and Remus, the twin sons of [Mars,] the god of war [whom Mars] abandoned in a basket and left adrift on the River Tiber…”

This article gives further evidence for the thoroughly pagan nature of Christmas. For more information, please read our free booklet, “Don’t Keep Christmas.” Please also read the next articles, showing the irresponsible conduct of parents and governmental officials in an effort to perpetuate the stupid lies of “Santa Claus” or their waste of exorbitant amounts of tax payers’ money on “Christmas vacations” so as “not to disappoint the children.”

Why Do Kids Believe in Santa Claus?

On December 23, the Associated Press reported the following:

“Why do kids believe a chubby guy in a flying sleigh can deliver joy across America? Because their parents do. A whopping 84 percent of grown-ups were once children who trusted in Santa’s magic, and lots cling to it still… Two-thirds of parents with kids under 18 say Santa’s an important part of their celebrations this year…

“In multicultural America, Father Christmas isn’t just for Christians any more. Three-fourths of non-Christian adults say they believed in Santa when they were children. And half feel he’s important to their holiday celebrations now. Developmental psychologist Cyndy Scheibe… said lots of Jewish children told her that Santa Claus was real, even though he didn’t stop at their houses on Christmas Eve.

“And many non-Christian parents embrace Santa because they see Christmas serving as a secular as well as religious holiday in the U.S., she said… Even among Christians, there’s tension about how big a role, if any, a jolly old elf deserves in the celebration of Christ’s birth…”

Kids believe their parents. Parents lie, and kids believe them. But even once they find out the truth, they still go ahead and tell the same lies to their children. However, God is not the author of lies. Satan is. He is called the father of lies, and the truth is not in him. And don’t believe that these are just harmless lies. A lie is a lie. Period. And God thunders at us: “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”

…And the Stupid Lie Continues…

USA Today wrote on December 23:

“NORAD, the premier U.S.-Canadian air defense directorate, is once again using its super high-tech tracking equipment to keep tabs on jolly old Saint Nick. For 365 days of the year, NORAD is dead serious about tracking the skies over North America. But beginning at 3 a.m. Saturday, the generals and air-sovereignty commanders will be telling Virginia that, yes, there is a Santa Claus. And they’ve got the satellite tracking of his sleigh to prove it.

“This is the organization’s 56th year of providing children with up-to-the-minute telemetry on Santa’s whereabouts. Calls to 1-877-Hi-NORAD will be answered by one of more than 1,200 volunteers who crowd into the call center at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs. For many it’s a family Christmas tradition, says NORAD’s Lt. Cmdr. Bill Lewis. Last year, the volunteers logged 80,000 calls, he says.

“Each year at www.noradsanta.org, families can track Santa’s flight across the world — live. Last year the site had more than 15 million visitors. There’s also a second-by-second Countdown to Track Santa clock [sic]. For kids who can’t wait, a Kid’s Countdown Village has links to holiday facts on Google Maps and North Pole-themed games.

“Clicking the house labeled 22 in the village opens up a ‘Super Top Secret NORAD File’ featuring technical details of Santa’s sleigh and reindeer. This year, the organization is also making a Track Santa app available for smartphones via Google Maps for mobile at the noradsanta.org site…”

This is really the epitome of incredible stupidity. And whole countries engage in such irresponsible nonsense!

“Modern” History of the Christmas Tree

The Local wrote on December 23:

“…the history of the Christmas tree remains… mysterious to many… Christmas does of course have a pre-Christian history, and decorating the house during the dark winter months is a tradition that precedes Christianity, and its German connection, by thousands of years.

“Many ancient societies included the custom of bringing evergreen plants into homes during the cold months as a reminder of the summer. From northern European Vikings, to the Romans and ancient Egyptians, urging the sunny months back and warding off evil spirits with evergreens was commonplace.

“Skip forward a millennium or so, and a more recognizable Christmas tree was beginning to take shape, thanks to a guild of German merchants who supposedly erected the first [modern] Weihnachtsbaum in 1510… The introduction of the Christmas tree to the US can also be credited to Germans. Reports suggest that German settlers in Pennsylvania and Ohio put up the first American Christmas trees in the 18th century. It took a while for the custom to spread through the country, however, as the Puritan movement managed to force a ban on Christmas trees into the 19th century.

“But as Puritanism waned, it was the power of the celebrity that finally brought the Christmas tree transatlantic popularity, when a picture of Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and family with a decked-out Christmas tree was published… The man behind the Queen’s continental Christmas choice was none other than her German husband, Prince Albert, who apparently longed for a reminder of home in the palace during the festive season…”

Of course, the Christmas tree predates the birth of Christ by thousands of years. For more information, please read our free booklet, “Don’t Keep Christmas.”

Costly Vacation

Newsmax reported on December 23:

“President Barack Obama may need a vacation from his vacation. Obama plans to travel Friday afternoon to Hawaii for a delayed Christmas vacation. But the cost of the trip — about $4 million total — has created a firestorm.

“Michelle Obama insisted on the pricey Hawaiian holiday while her husband had said he preferred a short trip to the presidential retreat at Camp David, Md., The Daily Mail reported Friday… The trip to Hawaii is expected to cost taxpayers almost $4 million, and is the latest example of Michelle Obama’s skyrocketing spending…

“‘The President’s advisers have told him that Michelle’s spending has spiraled completely out of control,’ the National Enquirer quoted one source as saying. ‘Barack read his wife the riot act, but his words fell on deaf ears. Michelle said there was “no way” she was going to disappoint her daughters.’

“The White House announced the president’s departure plans Friday shortly after the House and the Senate approved a deal to extend payroll tax cuts after House Republicans reversed course Thursday night and dropped their opposition. With Washington deadlocked, Obama delayed his annual December trip to the Honolulu area… The president’s wife and daughters have been in Hawaii since late last week. The Obamas plan to return to Washington in early January.”

Especially during times of great financial hardship and national debt, such wasteful spending of tax payers’ money is hardly justifiable.

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What is depicted by the seventh plague of the seventh trumpet?

In our previous Q&A, we began discussing the Day of the Lord. We showed that the Day of the Lord describes and encompasses the seventh seal of the scroll which the Lamb opens—and the seventh seal consists of seven trumpets, and the seventh trumpet consists of the seven last plagues or bowls of God’s wrath. We addressed the first six plagues of the seventh trumpet, pointing out that during the sixth plague, the kings of the east and other powers of this earth will assemble at a place called Armageddon or “hill of Megiddo,” which is about 55 miles north of Jerusalem. From there, they will move towards Jerusalem, where they will try to fight the returning Jesus Christ. That “battle” will take place in the Kidron Valley, bordering Jerusalem on the East.

We will now begin to discuss in detail the events occurring during and subsequent to the seventh and last plague of the last trumpet, as well as prior events.

We begin by quoting from our free booklet, “Is that in the Bible?—The Mysteries of the Book of Revelation”:

“(7.7.7) The SEVENTH OF THE SEVEN LAST PLAGUES… describes a tremendous earthquake to shake the earth ‘as had not occurred since men were on the earth’ (Revelation 16:17–18; compare Isaiah 2:12–19; 13:6–13; 24:1–20), causing the ‘great city’ of Jerusalem to be ‘divided into three parts’ and ‘all the cities of the nations’ to fall (Revelation 16:19). Further, every island will disappear and mountains will be leveled (Revelation 16:20). A great hail of tremendous size will destroy everything in its path. Again, man will not repent, but will continue to blaspheme God because of the hail (Revelation 16:21).”

“When the seventh angel sounds and when Christ returns, the saints—converted Christians—will be resurrected to immortality, or they will be changed to immortality, if they are still alive (1 Corinthians 15:50–56; 1 Thessalonians 4:13–18)… They will meet Christ in the air and descend with Him, on that same day, on the Mount of Olives. Zechariah 14:3–5 indicates that, apparently due to the great earthquake of the seventh bowl, mentioned in Revelation 16:17–18, the Mount of Olives shall split in two, making a very large valley, where the final battle of God Almighty will take place.

“Christ will overcome the armies that will be trying to fight Him, as well as the modern leaders of modern ‘Babylon’—the military ruler (‘the beast’) and the religious leader (‘the false prophet’) (compare Revelation 19:19–21). The destruction of the armies is more fully described in Zechariah 14:12, 15. The beast and the false prophet will be cast into ‘the lake of fire burning with brimstone’ (Revelation 19:20)…”

Revelation 14:19-20 informs us in regard to that “battle” in the valley of Jehoshaphat or the Kidron Valley, that the “great winepress of the wrath of God… was trampled outside the city [of Jerusalem], and blood came out of the winepress, up to the horses’ bridles, for one thousand six hundred furlongs [lit. stadia, about 184 miles in all].”

In addition, we read that ten European kings or kingdoms had given their authority to the beast (Revelation 17:12-13). They will also participate in the battle against Christ, but they will be likewise defeated (Revelation 17:14). This could refer to the fate of ten literal leaders or “kings” and/or ten nations or groups of nations (“kingdoms” and “kings” are used often times interchangeably in Scripture), endowing the beast with dictatorial authority and placing their armies under his autocratic rule.

We also find that even prior to that final battle, these ten kings or kingdoms will turn against the religious power and “make her desolate” (verse 16), apparently confiscating her property. The coming strong European alliance between church and state is prophesied to crumble. Ultimately, modern Babylon, that is, the religious and economic European system, as well as the city of Rome (Revelation 17:9, 18), will be destroyed in one day (Revelation 18:8) and in one hour (verse 17). This will apparently occur during the time of the seven last plagues or bowls, since Revelation 17:1 explains: “Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and talked with me, saying to me, ‘Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot [i.e., Babylon, verse 5] who sits on many waters’” [i.e., peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues, verse 15].

In a recent Q&A on the prophesied future of Libya, we stated the following:

“… the Bible shows that after ten European nations under modern Assyria (‘the Babylonian system’) will have subdued and conquered many nations, they themselves will be defeated in war by the modern Medes (Compare Isaiah 13:17, describing the destruction of modern ‘Babylon’ through the hand of the modern ‘Medes’ or Russians and Ukrainians. Verses 6, 9 and 13 designate the timing as occurring during the ‘day of the LORD.’ Compare also Isaiah 21:2 and Jeremiah 51:11, 27-29).”

It appears that before or while moving towards the place called Armageddon in the Middle East (after the Euphrates river has dried up)—depicted by the sixth plague of the seventh trumpet—at least parts of the armies of the kings of the east will apparently sweep through Europe, create devastating havoc there, and destroy the city of Rome. Jeremiah 51:27-28 refers to horses, as coming up against Babylon like the bristling locusts, indicating that they will use some of their tanks and of their air force to destroy modern Babylon. They will be especially led by the modern “Medes” or Russians and Ukrainians. At that time, the beast and the false prophet will apparently be dwelling in Jerusalem, so they will not be personally affected by these attacks on Europe. Neither will be the ten kings and their armies. They too will apparently be in Jerusalem at that time, as they will fight with the beast against the returning Christ (compare again Revelation 17:15).

In addition, God’s punishment and His wrath will be poured out over everyone who worships the beast and his image, and who receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand. We read that he “shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the PRESENCE of the Lamb” (Revelation 14:10).

Compare also 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9, which explains what will happen “when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. They shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the PRESENCE of the Lord and from the glory of His power.”

Even before fire destroys them, they will live in fear of their future. Compare Luke 21:26-27: “…men’s hearts [will be] failing them from fear and expectation of those things which are coming on the earth…Then they will see the Son of Man coming in the cloud with power and great glory.” Because of their fearful expectations, they will be having “no rest day or night” prior to their death (Revelation 14:11).

Some might think that the blowing of the seventh trumpet depicts just the event of the resurrection or change of the saints, which will occur within a time span of a few seconds. It is true that when Christ returns, the saints will be resurrected or changed “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye,” at the time of the blowing of the seventh and last trumpet (1 Corinthians 15:52). As was pointed out above, the resurrected and the changed saints will be “caught up together… in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air,” and they will from then on “always be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:17). All will descend to the Mount of Olives on that same day, and it is then when the armies of the powers of the world will be destroyed.

As we have seen, the seventh trumpet will “blow” for quite a while, as it consists of the seven last plagues, which will begin to occur prior to Christ’s return. For example, during the sixth plague, the armies of the world will move to and assemble at Armageddon. Obviously, it will take those armies a certain amount of time to get there. Then, they will move towards Jerusalem to fight against Christ, again requiring some time to move to Jerusalem.

Beginning with Revelation 20, additional events are described, which will occur after Christ has returned to this earth. An angel will bind and imprison Satan and his demons for 1,000 years or a Millennium, so that Satan cannot deceive mankind during that period (Revelation 20:1-4). After the destruction of God’s human enemies and the banishment of Satan, the Millennial rule over all of mankind will begin. The resurrected saints will govern with Christ on this earth for 1,000 years. But mankind will not immediately embrace God’s way of peace. Instead, more human attempts to fight in war will have to be dealt with, which will be discussed in a subsequent Q&A. We will also discuss in a future Q&A how some members of God’s Church and modern Israelites and Jews will be protected during the times of the Great Tribulation and the Day of the LORD.

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

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Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

US Contributions for 2011:

Donations and contributions received with letters postmarked in 2011 AND with enclosed written checks, dated in 2011, will be included in the detailed donation receipts for 2011. These receipts will be printed and sent out in January of 2012. Cash contributions must also be received prior to January 1, 2012 (or, if sent by letter, the letter must be postmarked in 2011), in order to be included in the donation receipts for 2011. All contributions not falling into the categories described above will not be included in the donation receipts for 2011.

A new StandingWatch program was posted on You Tube and on our Website www.standingwatch.org. It is titled, “Why No Peace on Earth?” When the angels announced the birth of Jesus to the shepherds, did they also promise peace on earth for all men? If so, why haven’t we experienced peace since then? How do we explain the paradox that nearly all really great religious and political leaders have acknowledged the utter futility of war, while war is ongoing? Did early Christians fight in war? What did Christ teach us? Is the concept of righteous war in accordance with the Bible? Will we ever experience peace on earth?

Norbert Link’s video-recorded sermon, “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Part 2,” was posted on YouTube and on our Website www.eternalgod.org.

A new German sermon was posted on YouTube and on our Website, www.aufpostenstehen.de, titled, “Schutz vor Gottes Zorn.” [“Protection from God’s Wrath.”]

As was announced before, contracts for a new weekly radio broadcast have been signed, initially for a test run of six months. A complete list of the radio stations, locations and times was published in Update 520. On an average, the programs will be about 13-14 minutes in length. The first program will be airing on Sunday, January 1, 2012. It will discuss the four horsemen of the Apocalypse. The second program will begin airing on January 8. It is titled, “Destruction and Hope.”

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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