Update 528


The Church of God

On February 11, 2012, Robb Harris will give the sermon, titled, respectively, “The Church of God.”

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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When the Answer Is “No”


When we have come before God in prayer asking fervently, obediently, faithfully, humbly and persistently for something … what are we to do when God says, “No”?
First, we can realize that we are in good company.  God has said “No” to many notables in the Bible: David, when he wanted to build the temple; Paul, regarding the thorn in the flesh; and even Jesus when He asked that the cup be taken from Him.  If God has said it on occasion to this most illustrious group, then surely we can expect that He is going to be saying it to us at times. 
As we look back on the many things that we have prayed about, we may realize that this is already the case – perhaps many times over.  What next then?  We need to accept it, learn from it, and move on.
Obviously “No” is not the answer we wanted, and it may even be difficult for us to swallow.  This is not the time to lack faith or get upset.  Understanding that our God is all-knowing and a loving Father, we should realize that He knows and does what is best for us.  If God is completely and totally in charge of our life, then we can take solace and comfort in the fact that the right things are going to happen at the right time. 
Even though we get a negative as an answer, it is really a positive.  God does not capriciously reply to our prayers.  When He says “No,” it is for a reason and a purpose.  His hope is that a good result will come out of it.  We should pray, “Show me Your ways, O LORD; Teach me Your paths” (Psalm 25:4). We need to learn from the way that God is working in our life, so that we may continue to grow in the Godly righteous character He is trying to facilitate in us.
When we petition God, it is for His Will to be done in our lives – and now that we can better understand it, all that is left is for us to move on in the direction that God is guiding us in, and not on the route we thought to take.
God sees us and hears us (Psalm 34:15, 17), and His arm is not too short that He cannot save us (Isaiah 59:1).  Know this!  Keep it in mind!  In the end, God’s ultimate goal is to see us make it into His Family, and He will do what it takes to make sure that we are with Him in the end.

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We begin with interesting developments involving Syria, Russia and China on the one hand, and the EU and the USA on the other hand. An alliance between China, Russia, Syria and other Middle Eastern nations against the EU and the USA is becoming more and more obvious. We are also reporting on Russia’s refusal to provide the EU with much needed oil.

Turning our attention again to Iran, we note that Iran is preparing for war, apparently even with the intent of launching a “pre-emptive strike against Israel.” Pakistan has declared that they will come to the help of Iran if Israel were to attack. Again, we see certain potential coalitions forming against the West and Israel, while Germany’s position on the matter of Iran remains murky, and the USA and Israel disagree with each other. We are also reporting on a rift between Argentina and Great Britain and the most recent developments in Greece.

Focusing on social issues, we read about a controversial decision pertaining to German conduct in World War II, which decision is nevertheless welcomed by the EU. We also hear about a decision of one of the most liberal courts in the USA, regarding same-sex marriages; learn about a nightmare scenario in respect to genetically modified mosquitoes and the creation of a deadly bird flu; comment on America’s divided and disillusioned GOP; and conclude with a piece showing the tremendous political influence of the Roman Catholic Church organization in the United States.

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Russia and China Veto UN Resolution Against Syria—“Security Council Should Be Abolished”

Der Spiegel Online wrote on February 6:

“In the end, the joint resolution drafted by the Arabs, Europeans and Americans failed, and the killing continued in Syria… The resolution didn’t even contain any sanctions. The text of the resolution had already been watered down before the vote in response to considerable pressure from Russia. Ultimately, Moscow still refused to support it — making the tone of the conversations in Munich on Sunday even angrier.

“Pointing to Russia and China, Yemeni Nobel Peace Price [sic] recipient Tawakkul Karman lamented: ‘In the name of the Arab youth, I condemn the position of these countries. They support the criminal regime of Bashar Assad.’ Kenneth Roth, the head of… Human Rights Watch, added that the actions of Russia and China had made the Security Council ‘irrelevant.’ US Senator Joe Lieberman railed that the Chinese and the Russians… had now isolated themselves in the international community, just as Assad himself had done.

“Moscow doesn’t seem particularly moved by the outrage over its veto… Russia is firmly sticking to its support of Assad… Damascus purchases Russian rockets, Yak-130 fighter jets and it cooperates on a large scale with Russian energy companies… Beijing also continues to work together with the Assad regime…

“US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton offered a grim scenario if Assad remains in office: ‘More bloodshed, increasing resistance by those whose families are being killed and whose homes are being bombed, and a greater likelihood that Syria will descend into civil war.’”

Der Spiegel Online published the following related article on February 6:

“… the international community remains divided after Saturday’s move by Russia and China to veto a United Nations resolution condemning the violence in the Middle Eastern country. Syrian opposition leaders expressed outrage over the veto… On Monday, the US moved to close its embassy in Damascus and withdraw its diplomats and staff because of instability in the country.

“Speaking at a joint press conference in Paris after a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said, ‘France and Germany will not abandon the Syrian people. We will not accept that the international community remains blocked.’ Russia and China, however, have staunchly defended their positions…

“Editorialists in the German press on Monday unanimously condemn the veto, saying it sends a worrying signal about the reliability of Russia and China as future partners in international affairs…

“The conservative Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung writes: ‘It is a disgrace that Russia and China have cast their veto against a resolution that contained neither sanctions nor a weapons embargo. It didn’t authorize military intervention either. It merely condemned the genocidal behavior of the Assad regime. The fact that even this was too much for the rulers in Moscow and Beijing reveals a lot about their mindset and their authoritarian view of government. It’s almost as if they are saying that a dictator should be allowed to wage war against his own population… For Syria that means the killing and the civil war will go on…’

“The Financial Times Deutschland writes: ‘… the West and the Arab League certainly won’t be able to stand back and watch Assad put down the protests for much longer. They must build a new forum to organize resistance to the regime without Russia and China…’

“The left-leaning Die Tageszeitung writes: ‘…The Russian and Chinese government’s decisions make a mockery of the Security Council… When the Security Council cannot even agree to verbally criticize the merciless slaughter of citizens by a dictator’s clique, then it has revealed itself to be redundant. The shelved resolution should, in the future, be used as a reminder that this body has squandered its opportunity. The way the Security Council is composed should be abolished along with the right to a veto.’”

A coalition between Russia and China, hostile to European interests, is clearly forming. There are also more and more voices advocating the abolishment of the Security Council and even the entire UN, which have indeed been irrelevant, while replacing them with a more “competent” body.

Syria and Russia vs. the Arab League and the West

BBC News reported on February 7:

“Gulf Arab states say they are expelling Syrian ambassadors in their countries and recalling their envoys from Syria. The Gulf Cooperation Council said Syria had rejected Arab attempts to solve the crisis and end 11 months of bloodshed. The US closed its embassy in Syria on Monday, and several European countries have recalled their ambassadors. The moves came as Syrian government forces continued their fierce assault on the restive city of Homs, and Russian officials visited Damascus.

“Separately Russia’s ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, denied reports that he had threatened Qatar’s prime minister during talks at the UN last week. Someone was trying to drive a wedge between Russia and the Arab world, he said.”

Germany Expels Syrian Diplomats

Deutsche Welle reported on February 9:

“German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said Thursday that he was expelling four members of the Syrian embassy in Berlin, after two men were arrested for allegedly spying on opponents of the Syrian regime. Diplomatic sources said there were ‘clear indications’ that the four were guilty of ‘acts not in accordance with diplomatic law.’… Westerwelle summoned the Syrian ambassador to discuss the arrests. ‘The position of the federal government was made unmistakably clear at this meeting that the possible action against the Syrian opposition in Germany will not be tolerated,’ the ministry said.”

“Deja Vu as Russia Gas Cuts Hit Eight More EU Countries”

The EUObserver wrote on February 3:

“Eight EU countries have joined Italy in noting a sharp drop in Russian gas supplies, in events recalling the massive 2009 crunch. Gazprom deliveries to Austria and Slovakia reportedly fell by 30 percent on Thursday (2 February). Shipments to Poland fell 7 percent and Czech distributor RWE Transgaz said deliveries are ‘several’ percent lower than normal. The European Commission on Friday added that Bulgaria, Greece, Hungary and Romania have also been affected.

“The cuts began in Italy on Tuesday. Earlier this week it reported a 10 percent drop, but the figure hit 20 percent on Thursday.  Member states created special reserves after the 2009 gas crunch – which cost EU firms hundreds of millions of euros and which saw blackouts in some former Communist EU countries in the middle of a harsh winter. But there are signs the 2012 crunch could also get nasty.”

Deutsche Welle added on February 7, 2012:

“From France to Ukraine, Europe continues to freeze under a continental cold spell. Add a Russian gas shortage to the mix and you’ve got a problem – though one that’s being felt differently around the EU. The European Commission came out Tuesday (February 7) with a mollifying announcement regarding the flow of Russian gas to western Europe… The Commission gave further reassurance that everything was under control, saying that supplies had returned to normal in a number of EU member states.

“However, the tone in one of those member states, Italy, is entirely different at the moment. Officials were said to be holding emergency talks in Rome on Tuesday to ensure that gas supplies could keep homes heated. The death toll from the cold snap in Italy has hit 26, making it the hardest hit among all western European nations… Italy has far less gas on reserve than its northern EU compatriot, Germany, which is one of the reasons why Germany – despite having its supplies cut by Russia – isn’t suffering as much… What’s more, a country located as far south as Italy isn’t built to cope with the cold as well as Germany… Indeed, Italian demand for gas has reached record heights…

“Russia’s state-owned Gazprom gas supplier rejected calls on Tuesday to make up for last week’s shortages by sending extra supplies, with both the company and the Russian government saying Russia had its own gas problem to deal with amid the cold snap… Gas prices in Europe have indeed soared this week, with the UK recording its highest levels since winter 2006…”

Europe will not sit back idly for long if it feels continuously threatened and provoked by Russian conduct—especially if such conduct affects the European economy.

Iran–Waiting for the Mahdi

WorldNetDaily wrote on February 5:

“Amid crippling sanctions over its nuclear weapons program, Iran is continuing to prepare itself for war against the West, and now is warning of a coming great event.  ‘In light of the realization of the divine promise by almighty God, the Zionists and the Great Satan (America) will soon be defeated,’ Ayatollah Khamenei, the Iranian supreme leader, is warning. Khamenei, speaking to hundreds of youths from more than 70 countries attending a world conference on the Arab Spring just days ago, told a cheering crowd in Tehran that ‘Allah’s promises will be delivered and Islam will be victorious.’ The countries represented included Bahrain, Egypt, Libya and Tunisia, all of which have been involved in the Arab Spring…

“Many clerics in Iran have stated that Khamenei is the deputy of the last Islamic messiah on earth and that obedience to him is necessary for the final glorification of Islam… Khamenei has been heard to say that the coming of the last Islamic Messiah, the Shiites’ 12th Imam Mahdi, is near and that specific actions need to be taken to protect the Islamic regime for upcoming events.”

On February 5, the Tampa Tribune published the following article:

“Iran is an overwhelmingly Islamic nation, and almost all Iranians belong to the Twelver sect of the Shia branch of Islam. This sect awaits the return of the 12th Imam, or Mahdi, a direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammed anointed by Allah himself. According to the Twelvers, the Mahdi has been in hiding in caves since the 9th century… but he will return just before the Day of Judgment. According to the Hadith, his return will be preceded by three years of chaos, violence and cataclysmic events. He will rule over the world for a period of seven years, eliminate all tyranny and oppression, and usher in an era of peace…

“Some Twelvers, including the current president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and the Iranian Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khameinei, believe that they are to prepare the way for the return of the Mahdi. In order to do so, they are to bring on the state of chaos and destruction, which will precede the Madhi’s return. The worse things get; the faster they win…”

The literal belief in a Mahdi at a time of great upheaval is without any doubt of tremendous importance and significance, if one wants to understand the motives and actions of the Iranian leadership.

Iran Ready to Destroy Israel?

WorldNetDaily wrote on February 5:

“The Iranian government, through a website proxy, has laid out the legal and religious justification for the destruction of Israel and the slaughter of its people. The doctrine includes wiping out Israeli assets and Jewish people worldwide… Because Israel is going to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities, Iran is justified in launching a pre-emptive, cataclysmic attack against the Jewish state, the doctrine argues.

“On Friday, in a major speech at prayers, Khamenei announced that Iran will support any nation or group that attacks the ‘cancerous tumor’ of Israel.”

The hatred of the Iranian leadership towards Israel is unabated. As the next article shows, other non-Christian and non-Jewish nations, such as Pakistan, are apparently willing to support Iran in case of war.

Will Pakistan Help Iran?

Y-Net News wrote on February 5:

“Is the world counting down to ‘D-Day’? After US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta estimated that Israel would attack Iran by June, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned government officials against  ‘Iran chatter,’ a  European diplomat based in Pakistan said that if Israel attacks, Islamabad will have no choice but to support any Iranian retaliation. The diplomat’s statement raised the specter of putting a nuclear-armed Pakistan at odds with Israel, which is widely believed to have its own significant nuclear arsenal.

“To some, the greatest risk of an attack was to the moribund world economy. Nick Witney, former head of the EU’s European Defense Agency, said ‘the political and economic consequences of an Israeli attack would be catastrophic for Europe’ since the likely spike in the price of oil alone ‘could push the entire EU, including Germany, into recession’… Witney… added that ‘the Iranians would probably retaliate against European interests in the region, and conceivably more directly with terrorism aimed at Western countries and societies.’”

Germany’s position is really dubious in this matter. Will they turn against Israel if it were to attack Iran?

USA Sanctions Against Iran Increase

Newsmax reported on February 6:

“President Barack Obama ordered a freeze on all Iranian government and central bank assets held in the U.S. or any foreign branch of a U.S. entity… Previously, only assets belonging to sanctioned Iranian entities or individuals were frozen. The order signed by the president yesterday blocks all property and interests in property belonging to the Iranian government, its central bank, and all Iranian financial institutions, even those that haven’t been specifically designated for sanctions by the U.S. Treasury.

“Longstanding U.S. regulations already prohibited American citizens or entities from virtually all direct and indirect transactions involving Iran or the government of Iran, aside from those exempted under general licenses for transactions involving food, medicine, remittances and humanitarian relief. The measure was mandated as part of Iran sanctions legislation that was passed by Congress and signed by the president Dec. 31.”

USA and Israel At Odds Over Iran

The New York times wrote on February 8:

“Amid mounting tensions over whether  Israel will carry out a military strike against Iran’s nuclear program the United States and Israel remain at odds over a fundamental question: whether Iran’s crucial nuclear facilities are about to become impregnable… The difference of opinion over Iran’s nuclear ‘immunity’ is critical because it plays into not just the timing — or bluffing — about a possible military strike, but the calculations about how deeply and quickly sanctions against Iran must bite.”

Argentina vs. Britain

The Telegraph wrote on February 8, 2012:

“‘The sending of a destroyer to accompany the Royal heir is a militarisation of the South Atlantic,’ Mrs Kirchner said. ‘We will present a complaint to the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly, as this militarisation poses a grave danger to international security.’ Mrs Kirchner said the Falklands was not only a ‘regional issue’ but had become a ‘global cause’…

“Tensions have increased to their highest level since the end of the conflict 30 years ago as the Duke of Cambridge, a Royal Air Force helicopter pilot, began a six week tour of duty in the islands at the weekend… The Royal Navy also announced last week it was sending its most powerful warship, HMS Dauntless, to the South Pacific…

“Argentina has received the backing of Latin American countries for its claim of sovereignty over the remote, wind-lashed islands, which were occupied by Britain in 1833. The dispute erupted into warfare April 2, 1981 when Argentine troops seized the islands, only to be routed in a 74-day war that claimed the lives of 649 Argentines and 255 Britons.

“Diplomatic friction between Argentina and Britain has intensified since 2010, when the Government authorised oil exploration in the waters near the islands.”

The once bright star of the British Empire is surely sinking…

Greek Deal Reached… Or Has It?

Deutsche Welle reported on February 9:

“Greek political leaders have clinched a deal on austerity measures required so as to receive a second package of international loans… The talks had dragged on for several days. Cuts to state and private pensions worth some 300 billion euros ($398 billion) had been amongst the most contentious measures. The deal was inked as eurozone finance ministers gathered in Brussels ready for further talks on Greece… The euro, safe haven German sovereign bonds and several stock exchanges responded positively to the news… Greek and European leaders have been working against the clock, as the government in Athens needs fresh capital to meet a 14.5-billion-euro bond repayment due on March 20.”

Der Spiegel Online added on February 9:

“The highly indebted euro-zone country is close to insolvency, and the government in Athens appears to be willing to meet most of the demands made by the troika, comprised of the EU, IMF and European Central Bank (ECB), responsible for determining if Greece has fulfilled its aid requirements…

“German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble… expressed skepticism that the agreement reached in Athens would be enough to secure funding… Europe had increased pressure on Greece in the final rounds of negotiations after earlier talks failed to produce a breakthrough. A spokesperson for European Commissioner for Currency and Monetary Policy Olli Rehn pushed all sides to hurry in order to prevent a Greek default…

“Overnight, the party chiefs… agreed to reduce the minimum wage by 22 percent… The country is also expected to eliminate 15,000 jobs in the public sector by the end of the year. And in the private sector, all wages are to be frozen for as long as it takes to reduce the current unemployment rate of 21 percent down to 10 percent…”

In a related article, Der Spiegel Online wrote on February 9:

“In Greece, a consensus has developed as to who is to blame for the country’s economic misery. Age old stereotypes are flourishing. Georgios Trangas had launched into a tirade — yet again. He… stared into the camera and turned to his favourite subject: the Germans, and how they are cold-bloodedly shoving Greece into the abyss. ‘Germany doesn’t care that 3 million pensioners are dying here,’ he raged. The sentence is one of his more harmless utterances on this evening. But such verbal artillery is hardly out of the ordinary on the Athens television broadcaster Extra 33, a channel full of angry broadsides against the ‘German occupiers’…

“The problem, of course, is that Trangas… is on primetime television… Trangas is a cult figure. What he says carries a certain amount of weight in Greece. He quickly reduces complex problems to mere slogans and just as rapidly identifies who is to blame. And only seldom are those responsible to be found in his own country…

“Trangas is a master of hyperbole, and has won many viewers with his tirades. But his core message is one that many in Greece share. Seeing the EU as the ‘Fourth German Reich’ is hardly a novelty in the country — and one almost has the feeling that the sentiment against Germany grows more poisoned by the day. Indeed, just this week, the associations representing doctors, lawyers and structural engineers met in Athens and agreed on a unified boycott of products from Germany. Just how the boycott will be put into practice is not yet clear. But it could mark the beginning of a broader anti-Germany movement. Already, the burning of German flags, and the display of swastikas, has become de rigueur at anti-austerity demonstrations in Greece.”

These anti-German feelings don’t bring about much sympathy in Germany—given the fact that the consensus is that Greece is to be blamed for their current problems—not Germany. In fact, most Germans are angry with their own government, feeling that Germany is already doing far too much for Greece. It is not unlikely that Greece won’t be part of the final configuration of core Europe.

Human Rights Take a Back Seat to Sovereignty

Der Spiegel Online wrote on February 3:

“An international court ruled on Friday that Germany cannot be held liable for paying reparations to the descendents of victims of a massacre perpetrated during World War II in Italy. The verdict has implications far beyond Nazi-era war crimes, and was welcomed by countries far and wide. It sounds like a paradox: Germany takes Italy to court and wins — and Rome is secretly pleased with the ruling. In addition, several other governments around the world are breathing a sigh of relief on Friday. After all, had the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled differently, people in Afghanistan or Ethiopia, in the Balkans or in Libya, would have been able to take countries to court whose soldiers committed war crimes on their soil. It is a situation that governments everywhere wanted to avoid.

“And now they have. The ICJ ruling threw out a 2008 decision by the highest Italian appellate court which sought to force Germany to pay reparations to the families of victims of World War II-era war crimes… Human rights organization Amnesty International said in a statement that the ruling was a ‘great step backwards in the protection of international human rights.’… And in the future, the families of Afghan, Iraqi or Ethiopian victims of human rights abuses perpetrated by foreign countries will have no more legal recourse than did the Italians and Greeks in the case decided on Friday in The Hague.”

Der Spiegel Online wrote in its headline, “Human Rights Take a Back Seat to Sovereignty.” Fortunately, the time is soon coming to an end when sovereign countries or individuals, including politicians and diplomats, can hide behind the cloak of “immunity,” thereby preventing just and fair prosecution of and punishment for their deeds and conduct.

Constitutional Right for Same-Sex Couples to Marry?

The Wall Street Journal wrote on February 7:

“A federal appeals court panel here ruled Tuesday that California’s voter-mandated ban on gay marriages was unconstitutional, in a closely watched case that eventually could lead the U.S. Supreme Court to decide whether same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry. In a 2-1 vote, the panel of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said California’s 2008 law, popularly known as Proposition 8, had used the state’s initiative power to target a minority group and take away a right the group possessed, without legitimate reason.

“Doing so, wrote Judge Stephen Reinhardt in an 89-page majority opinion, violated the 14th Amendment’s equal-protection clause… Tuesday’s decision is likely just the second stop in a battle that could next be appealed to an expanded 11-judge panel of the same court—or directly to the Supreme Court… Proposition 8 defined marriage in the California state constitution as between one man and one woman…

“Six states, plus the District of Columbia, now permit same-sex marriages… Gay marriage has become a political lightning rod. President Barack Obama has stopped short of supporting gay marriage but has backed other gay-rights legal concerns. The major Republican presidential candidates, except Ron Paul, have signed a pledge saying they are committed to a federal Constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. In a poll of U.S. adults last fall by the Associated Press and the National Constitution Center… 53% of respondents said the government should give legal recognition to marriages between people of the same sex.”

Nightmare Scenario—Genetically Modified Mosquitoes

ABC News reported on February 4:

“A British biotech lab has released huge numbers of genetically modified mosquitoes in an effort to combat dengue fever… They buzz very, very quietly… Their victims can’t hear them until it’s almost too late… The insects in question are female yellow-fever mosquitoes, some of the most dangerous animals on the planet. In addition to the illness after which they were named, they also transmit the dengue virus.

“Dengue fever is on the rise worldwide and spreading faster than any other insect-borne viral disease. Every year, female mosquitoes infect at least 50 million people in tropical and subtropical regions (the males don’t bite). More than 20,000 of their victims — most of them children — succumb to their illness. The mosquitoes at the lab near Oxford serve a rather different purpose: To save human lives. Scientists have implanted a gene they hope will wipe out these mosquitoes’ wild cousins. When males from the lab mate with wild females, their larval offspring die within a short space of time. The lab insects have been produced to commit infanticide…

“The yellow-fever mosquitoes from Milton Park have since been released in Malaysia… They specialize in feeding on humans [and] are also currently buzzing around near the city of Juazeiro in eastern Brazil. Mosquitoes are due to be released in other dengue-plagued countries too, including Panama, India, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. They could also soon turn up in Key West, Florida, as early as March; preparations there are underway…

“The problem is that genetically-modified female mosquitoes can still bite humans. This means the protein which kills their own larvae might be injected into humans when the mosquitoes suck their prey’s blood, with unknown consequences for the human organism…”

One must wonder how far man will go in the name of science to fool around with God’s creation—not knowing or realizing what kind of Frankenstein monster they are creating. Note also the next article.

Nightmare Scenario—Scientists Create Most Deadly Form of Bird Flu

The Daily Mail wrote on February 8:

“Details of secret experiments by scientists who have created the most deadly form of bird flu in the lab will inevitably be leaked – potentially into the hands of terrorists.. When H5N1 bird flu erupted over seven years ago, out of the 584 people known to have caught it, 335 died. What stopped it from becoming a world-wide killer was its inability to jump from birds to humans easily.

“However, a mutation of the virus was made by Ron Fouchier and his team at the Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam in Holland, which was just as deadly and passed easily between ferrets, the animal that best indicates whether humans will catch it. In December, the NSABB asked the journals Nature and Science to censor publication of the study, and similar research conducted by American scientists, setting off a furious debate in the scientific and public health communities.

“The move followed a voluntary 60-day suspension of a study into the virus by the researchers themselves, who became worried that their work could lead to a pandemic. Fears were raised that the engineered viruses may escape from the laboratories… or possibly be used to create a bioterror weapon. In a letter published in Nature and Science, 39 scientists defended the research as crucial to public health efforts.”

One must wonder what kind of a sick mind would want to create such a deadly sickness—and that in the name of science and the “greater good.”

Global Warming Threat Incontrovertible?

Newsmax reported on February 5:

“An editorial signed by 16 prominent scientists in the Wall Street Journal takes sharp issue with calls for drastic action against global warming, asserting that the threat is far from ‘incontrovertible’ as alarmists claim… The ‘most inconvenient’ fact cited by the scientists is the lack of global warming over the past 10 years… Why then does the call for action against global warming persist? The scientists say: Follow the money. ‘Alarmism over climate is of great benefit to many, providing government funding for academic research and a reason for government bureaucracies to grow,’ they declare…

“Temperatures in some areas in Europe on Thursday sank to minus 26.5 F. Parts of the Black Sea froze near the Romanian coastline and rare snow fell on Croatian islands in the Adriatic Sea.”

It seems, money rules… no matter what. But NOT for much longer!!!

Trouble for Mitt Romney from Catholics and Evangelicals?

Newsmax reported on February 7:

“Mitt Romney is vociferously attacking a provision in Obamacare requiring religious employers to cover birth control in employee health plans — but the healthcare bill he enacted as governor of Massachusetts also contained that requirement. C.J. Doyle, executive director of the Catholic Action League of Massachusetts, told the Boston Globe that Romney’s criticism of President Obama is hypocritical because as governor he did not lift the state-level requirement of contraception coverage. ‘The initial injury to Catholic religious freedom came not from the Obama administration, but from the Romney administration,’ Doyle said. ‘President Obama’s plan certainly constitutes an assault on the constitutional rights of Catholics, but I’m not sure Gov. Romney is in a position to assert that, given his own very mixed record on this.’…

“Romney GOP presidential rival Newt Gingrich also has attacked Romney over the birth control provision. ‘The Obama administration is raging a war against the Catholic Church,’ Gingrich said on ABC’s ‘Good Morning America’ last week. ‘Well guess what? Mitt Romney’s Romneycare — he specifically refused to exempt Catholic hospitals, he specifically cut funding for kosher meals for Jewish senior citizens in Medicaid in Massachusetts. There are a lot of parallels between these two guys. Romneycare and Obamacare are essentially the same… In the long run, the Republican Party is not going to nominate the founder of Romneycare, a liberal Republican who is pro-abortion, pro-gun control, and pro-tax increase.’”

But one will have to wait and see whom the deeply divided GOP will nominate—especially in light of ultra-conservative Roman Catholic Rick Santorum’s surprising and unexpected victory in three states.

Newsmax wrote on February 8, 2012:

“A resurgent Rick Santorum made a clean sweep in presidential contests Tuesday night that showed the importance Christian activists hold within the GOP. He took Colorado by a narrow margin… won Minnesota’s Republican caucuses with ease [and] was victorious as well in a nonbinding Missouri primary…”

The Washington Post added on February 8:

“In the aftermath of Rick Santorum’s clean sweep of Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri, Mitt Romney is still, in fact, the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination. But the lack of enthusiasm for his candidacy among conservatives foreshadows a potentially ugly road ahead to Tampa and general election problems if he is nominee…

“The arguments advanced by Romney advisers are not incorrect. He did not spend real money in these states. He did not campaign in them very much. There were no delegates awarded in any of the three. Missouri was simply a beauty contest. Arizona and Michigan, whose primaries are at the end of the month, look favorable for Romney. Super Tuesday offers more opportunities to win. Santorum and Newt Gingrich have limited resources…

“The issue is not whether Romney has been significantly derailed from his path to the nomination, but rather what kind of nominee he might be and what kind of party would be behind him… But that methodical path they [supporters] describe also could give him the nomination while leaving his party fractured, the base uninspired and his opponents bitter and slow to reconcile… Republicans are fervent in their desire to defeat the president in November but can’t work up much enthusiasm for their own candidates…

“Two of his victories came on friendly turf: New Hampshire, where proximity to Massachusetts helped Romney; and Nevada, where the sizeable Mormon population was a great asset. On more neutral terrain, he owes his success in considerable part to the power of negative campaigning. He almost won Iowa, and came close only after he and the super PAC behind his candidacy spent millions trashing Gingrich with negative ads. His victory in Florida came after another heavy investment in negative ads aimed at the former speaker…

“After South Carolina, Gingrich thought the contest would come down to him versus Romney. Santorum now will try to become the lone alternative to Romney. For that reason, Gingrich was the other big loser Tuesday night…”

Roman Catholics May Prevail Against President Obama

Newsmax reported on February 7:

“Roman Catholic pressure to get the Obama administration to back down from its insistence that they provide free contraceptives in their healthcare plans appeared to be paying off on Tuesday. Now the White House may be ready to work with the church to find a way to get around the mandate, said David Axelrod, a top adviser to President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign…

“Axelrod said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius had already given churches an exemption to the mandate, against the recommendation of the Institute of Medicine. ‘The question now is about these extended affiliated institutions … and there are tens of thousands – hundreds of thousands – of women who work in these hospitals and universities who are not Catholic or they may be Catholic and they use birth control…

“The administration’s insistence that religious organizations provide insurance that covers contraceptives – including abortifacients such as the morning-after pill – has led to claims that Obama is anti-religion. Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, who converted to Catholicism in 2008, said last week, ‘The Obama administration is raging a war against the Catholic Church.’

“Fellow Catholic candidate Rick Santorum said the church should have fought harder against the whole Affordable Health Care Act. ‘I told the Catholic bishops years ago when they were … promoting Obamacare, be careful what you wish for,’ he said. ‘They got what they deserved.’

“Catholic bishops wrote letters that were read to parishioners from the pulpit over the weekend. ‘We cannot – we will not – comply with this unjust law,’ was the message in the letter from many of the bishops… But whether the bishops have the backing of their followers is unclear. A USA Today poll released Tuesday showed that 58 percent of Catholics support compulsory contraceptive insurance. That figure rose to 62 percent among Catholic women.”

This whole matter is a two-edged sword. First, mandated compulsory healthcare coverage is morally wrong and also unconstitutional, in our opinion. Secondly, to demand covering abortifacients such as the morning-after pill is likewise wrong, as such a pill kills human life. On the other hand, contraceptives preventing impregnation are perfectly alright and in that regard, the Catholic Church’s teaching is unbiblical. What is interesting to see is the tremendous political influence of the Catholic Church in the USA. At the same time, a spokeswoman for the Democratic Party was very reluctant to make any commitments or concessions in favor of the Catholic bishops in an interview with CNN on February 8.

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What will Christ do after the defeat of the human armies in the decisive battle in the Kidron Valley, just outside Jerusalem?

We explained in the last Q&A regarding Christ’s battle with hostile armies at the time of His return, that Jesus Christ will come back “on clouds”; that His holy angels will accompany Him; that He will be met “on clouds” in the air by His saints—true, converted Christians who will be resurrected and changed to immortality at the time of His return; and that all will descend together on the same day to the Mount of Olives to make an end of deceived hostile human armies and their leaders (Revelation 19:11-21; Zechariah 14:1-15). After that, Christ will deal with the real author of destruction and deception—Satan the devil along with his demons.

We read in Revelation 20:1-3:

“Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. He laid hold on the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while.”

We read that Satan will be thrown into the “bottomless” pit. As we will see, that same fate awaits all the demons under his control. We write on pages 53 and 54 in our free booklet, “Angels, Demons and the Spirit World,” under “The Fate of Satan and His Demons”:
“… a full one-third of God’s angels sinned in times past, thus becoming demons. God did not prevent them from sinning. He created them as free moral agents and He knew that they could sin. The angels who sinned are presently in chains of darkness, to be reserved for future judgment (2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6). They are living today in a state of darkness. They are spiritually imprisoned by their own perversions… They are not literally imprisoned and jailed at a certain place. Rather, they are roaming to and fro on this earth. Satan is compared to a roaring lion, walking about, to see whom he can devour (1 Peter 5:8).
“Demons are waiting for their judgment. Demons asked Christ whether He had come to ‘torment’ them ‘before the time’ (Matthew 8:29). Luke 8:31 adds that they begged Christ not to command them ‘to go out into the abyss.’ At this point in time, they are not yet in that ‘abyss.’ Satan is not in it either; rather, he will be placed in it at the beginning of the Millennium (Revelation 20:1–3, 7—the word ‘abyss’ is translated there as ‘bottomless pit’).
“What is the ‘abyss?’ The word is used in Romans 10:7, where we read, ‘Who will descend into the abyss? (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).’ In Romans 10, the ‘abyss’ is used as an analogy in association with the dead who are buried. It is also used as an analogy in Luke 8 and in Revelation 20. When Satan and his demons will be placed in the ‘abyss’ at the beginning of the Millennium, they will be as good as dead—unable to influence and deceive the nations any longer during that time period (compare Revelation 20:3). The fact that they won’t be able to destroy others will give them spiritual torment—that is why they asked Christ whether He had come to torment them before ‘the time.’
“Satan’s spiritual torment, and that of his angels, will continue. After a time period called the Great White Throne Judgment, Satan and his demons will be cast into the lake of fire, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever (Revelation 20:10; Matthew 25:41). Their torment will be spiritual, as they will see all of their evil works destroyed by fire (compare 2 Peter 3:10–13), and their influence on others will be gone forever. Their final fate might be revealed in Jude 13, referring to ‘wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.’ Compare, too, 2 Peter 2:17.”
Even though only Satan the Devil is specifically mentioned in Revelation 20:1-3, it is obvious that the demons are included. This becomes also clear when reviewing carefully the fate of Satan and his angels at the time when the Millennium ends. Revelation 20:10 says that the Devil will be cast in the lake of fire, and that “they” will be tormented day and night. Some claim that the reference is to the beast and the false prophet, but this is not the case. Rather, the torment relates to Satan and his demons. We write in our free booklet, “Is That in the Bible? The Mysteries of the Book of Revelation,” on pages 139-140, under “Lake of Fire Prepared for Satan and His Angels”:

“Let us quote again from the Revised English Bible, to note how they continue their rendition of Revelation 20:10: ‘Their seducer, the Devil, was flung into the lake of fire and sulphur, where the beast and the false prophet had been flung to be tormented day and night for ever.’ Of course, by not placing a comma after ‘had been flung,’ they give the impression that it is the beast and the false prophet who will be tormented forever and ever. But since the clause, ‘where the beast and the false prophet had been flung,’ is clearly an inserted thought—a relative sentence—the rendering should obviously include a comma after ‘had been flung,’ making it clear that it is the DEVIL who is to be tormented day and night forever. We see, then, that the translation of the Revised English Bible should read: ‘Their seducer, the Devil, was flung into the lake of fire and sulphur, where the beast and the false prophet had been flung, to be tormented day and night for ever.’…
“… we [need to]  understand for WHOM the lake of fire was prepared… We read in Matthew 25:41 that the lake of fire was ‘prepared for the devil and his angels.’ Therefore, it will be the devil and his demons who will be tormented in the lake of fire, for as long as that lake exists. Since spirit beings cannot die (compare Luke 20:36), they will be tormented—in a spiritual way—while being confined to the lake of fire, when they come to the realization that they are unable to deceive man anymore, and when they see all their ‘works’ and evil ‘accomplishments’ replaced by the good and prosperous ways of God…”
The New King James Bible translates that after the Devil is cast into the lake of fire, “THEY will be tormented day and night.” We explain in our aforementioned booklet:
“The Bible uses that way of speaking on occasion. Note one example of this ‘figure of speech’ in the report of the demons possessing the herd of swine. In the record of Matthew, we are clearly told that Christ dealt with TWO demon-possessed men (Matthew 8:28–32). However, in the record of Mark, we are only told about ONE demon-possessed man (Mark 5:1–13). It is obvious, then, that the one man mentioned in Mark was the spokesman or leader of the other man, mentioned in Matthew. In the same way, the devil in Revelation 20:10 is the leader or representative of all the demons, mentioned or referred to in the latter part of the same sentence.”
The same is true for Revelation 20:1-3, which mentions that Satan—the ruler of the demonic world—will be bound in the abyss or bottomless pit for a thousand years. Even though only the ruler over the demons is mentioned here, the demons themselves are included as well. Conversely, in another passage (discussed below), only demons are mentioned, but there, Satan, their ruler and the highest of all the demons, is also included.

The capture of Satan is symbolically portrayed by the Day of Atonement—one of God’s seven annual Holy Days. For more information on the importance of that day which is still to be observed today, please read chapter 3 of our free booklet, “The Sacrificial System and the Tabernacle in the Wilderness.” We state the following on page 51 regarding an ancient procedure in Old Testament times–the removal of the “Azazel Goat,” which pictures Satan the Devil:
“Leviticus 16:21 explains that Aaron had to lay both his hands on the head of the Azazel goat; confess over it all the iniquities, sins and transgressions of the Israelites; put them on the head of the Azazel goat; and send it away alive into the wilderness by the hand of a suitable man. Leviticus 16:22 continues to instruct that the Azazel goat, bearing all the iniquities of the Israelites, was to be let go alive in an uninhabited land—a wilderness. Modern Babylon, a city built on seven hills, and, at the same time, a description of a military, religious and economic system—symbolizing the end-time generation of this evil world—will become such a wilderness (compare Isaiah 13:19–22; Revelation 18:2).

“The removal of Satan is described in Revelation 20:1–3: ‘Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. He [the angel, pictured by the suitable man who took the Azazel goat into the wilderness] laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan [pictured by the Azazel goat], and bound him for a thousand years; and cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. [This is pictured by the fact that the Azazel goat was not killed, but placed alive in the wilderness, far away from the camp of Israel.]’”

What exactly is that bottomless pit, mentioned in Revelation 20:1-3, where Satan and his demons will be bound? It is not a mystical fiery “hell” way down under the surface of the earth—such a “hell” simply does not exist, and nowhere in the Bible is it remotely mentioned. Even the lake of fire in which Satan and his demons will be cast before the Great White Throne Judgment begins, will be ON the earth—not UNDER the earth.

Now note again the reference to modern Babylon in Revelation 18:2: “And he [an angel] cried mightily with a loud voice, saying ‘Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a dwelling place of DEMONS, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird.”

In this passage, Satan is also included as the highest demon and the ruler over the demons.

What, then, is the relationship between the bottomless pit or the abyss and the wilderness of the modern city of Babylon, which is built on seven hills?

We write the following in chapter 7 of our free booklet, “The Book of Zechariah—Prophecies for Today,” on pages 55-56, when addressing Zechariah’s seventh vision, pertaining to a wicked woman in a basket, which pictures the modern system and city of Babylon (please read the entire chapter 7):

“Some commentaries identify the woman in the basket [in Zechariah 5:5-11] as the woman or harlot riding the beast, as described in the book of Revelation. There, she is called ‘Mystery, Babylon the great, the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth’ (Revelation 17:5). She is also described as a religious city built on seven hills (Revelation 17:9, 18, New International Version, Living Bible)—in other words, Babylon the great, in the book of Revelation, signifies a false religious, political, military and economic system…

“We read that the woman, personifying worldwide wickedness or iniquity, is confined to a basket or container, but she is trying, unsuccessfully, to escape from her prison (verses 7–8). This gives us the time setting of Zechariah’s vision—it describes the woman’s future judgment—which will occur when Jesus Christ returns. The modern CITY of Babylon the great—as well as the SYSTEM which it represents—will be destroyed with fire (Revelation 18:8, 21; 19:3). Depending on the translation, it will become a ‘dwelling place’ or a ‘habitation’ or a ‘house’… or a ‘home’ (New International Version) of ‘demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird’ (Revelation 18:2).

“This fact explains why two women with wings of a stork (Zechariah 5:9)—perhaps angels—carry the imprisoned woman to the land of [Shinar or] Babylon, to build a house or dwelling place for her (verse 11)… The two women will assist in removing ‘wickedness’—the wicked system—from this earth… wickedness will be placed ‘forever in Babylon’ (compare Geneva Study Bible); that is, the burned and destroyed location and area of the modern city of Babylon will become a ‘house’ for demons during the time of the Millennium…”

We see, then, that the abyss or the bottomless pit, where Satan and his demons will be shut up, describes the destroyed areas where currently the modern city of Babylon is situated. We read that the modern city of Babylon will never be rebuilt and inhabited again (Isaiah 13:19-22).

After Satan and his demons are confined to the bottomless pit or abyss of the wilderness of modern Babylon, unable to deceive the nations anymore during the time of the Millennium, Jesus Christ will proceed with freeing the enslaved peoples of  the modern houses of Israel and Judah. We will address these events in more detail in a subsequent Q&A.

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

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Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

A new member letter was written and sent out this week. In the letter, Brian Gale addresses the present worldwide lack of competent leadership, warns of worse times to come, and presents the solution to all of our problems.

A new StandingWatch program was posted on YouTube and on our Website www.standingwatch.org. It is titled, “The Predestined Future of Europe.” Why did some proclaim correctly more than 80 years ago what is happening in Europe right now? Why did they understand the Bible, while others did not? Why is it that today some announce accurately the future of Europe, while most are oblivious as to its destiny? While speaking of the euro crisis or a socialist Europe, they are blind as to what the Bible says.

Norbert Link’s new video-recorded sermon, “The Heavenly Signs and the Day of the Lord,” was posted on YouTube.

Two new radio programs (Numbers 9 and 10) were recorded this week, titled, “Satan’s Imprisonment” and “Europe’s Future.” They will be broadcast, respectively, beginning Sunday, February 26 and March 4, 2012. Our radio broadcasts are being posted on our Website, www.standingwatch.org.

A new German sermon was posted on YouTube, titled, “Die Zerstoerung Europas.” (“The Destruction of Europe”).

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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