The Trap of Idolatry
On November 10th, 2012, Norbert Link will give the sermon, titled, “The Trap of Idolatry.”
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.
The “United” States of America
Having just had the Presidential election I can now safely say that in this democratic nation of ours, we are united. Even though the diametrically opposing views of the populace brought out the worst in so many and only served to make us more at odds with one another — we are still in agreement as to how to solve the problems that beset us.
This country was and still is united in the belief that a man of a particular political persuasion can make this a better country. Of course, half of the people believe their guy is the right one for the job and the other half believe theirs is.
Two days ago, Barack Obama was re-elected to the office he has held now for nearly 4 years, and I am telling you now that this once greatly blessed land of ours is going to continue going downhill. Now what you will not read in most editorials and commentaries is that had Mitt Romney been elected or ANYONE else on the ticket for that matter, the same could have been said about them as well.
To have faith that either of the two leading candidates has the answers to this country’s problems is misguided. In the end it did not really matter who won, because we as a nation are going to continue on a path towards self-destruction–and because it is not within man to guide himself or know right from wrong and then do it.
Religion was never heavily brought into this race. Without true Christianity, this society will continue spiraling out of control and into oblivion as is prophesied — it is coming to pass before our very eyes. Our society and the freedom and prosperity it has enjoyed is coming to The End.
After that THEN we will have true unity! This will only happen with God and His Way and the Oneness that comes with His Spirit. No longer will we be divided and laboring in cross purposes and wrong directions. When this time arrives we will begin to act as one body in unison advancing towards the right goals.
For now though, we are to be “looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God” and pray to Him in all of this that “Your Will be done” and not what we want or think is right and best for us or for this nation.
We begin reporting on the re-election of Barack Obama to the office of President, and the reactions in the USA and overseas, as well as the possible future of American relationships with other nations. We also focus on the terrible impression which the USA has given to the world, even prior to the results of the election, due to the dirty and extremely costly Presidential campaigns, which, it seems, have not brought about any change in and for a country which is as divided as ever.
We continue focusing on Israel and Turkey, as well as the entire Middle East; address interesting developments in Europe; and conclude reporting about another major earthquake—this time in Guatemala.
This Week in the News
Barack Obama Wins Election With Help of Hispanic Voters
The New York Times wrote on November 6:
“Barack Hussein Obama was re-elected president of the United States on Tuesday… as a divided nation voted to give him more time.
“Hispanics made up an important part of Mr. Obama’s winning coalition… And before the night was through, there were already recriminations from Republican moderates who said Mr. Romney had gone too far during the primaries in his statements against those here illegally, including his promise that his get-tough policies would cause some to ‘self-deport.’
“Mr. Obama, 51, faces governing in a deeply divided country and a partisan-rich capital, where Republicans retained their majority in the House and Democrats kept their control of the Senate. His re-election offers him a second chance that will quickly be tested, given the rapidly escalating fiscal showdown.
“For Mr. Obama, the result brings a ratification of his sweeping health care act, which Mr. Romney had vowed to repeal. The law will now continue on course toward nearly full implementation in 2014, promising to change significantly the way medical services are administered nationwide…”
The fact that the Republican Party missed the opportunity of engaging in meaningful dialogue with Hispanic voters is also being emphasized in articles below.
No Reason to Celebrate
Der Spiegel Online wrote on November 7:
“Barack Obama may have won the election, but it is a victory devoid of triumph.
“Republican candidate Romney proved instead to be an opponent who will quickly be forgotten by history — an inept, even awkward politician. Far more historic in this election was the Republican Party’s foolishness in failing to make a decisive effort to attract the minority groups that increasingly determine the outcome of American elections. African-American voters were expected to stand by Obama. But Hispanic voters could well have been drawn to the conservatives, given the difficult economic situation in which the US finds itself…
“American elections can no longer be won on the strength of white men’s votes alone. The Republican Party must recognize that the increasing numbers of immigrants and Americans descended from immigrants not only plan to remain in the country, but they want to be involved in the decision-making process too. Even… Fox News television host Bill O’Reilly has acknowledged that ‘the white establishment is now the minority’…”
This is true. As the Bible predicted, the American white establishment is now indeed in the minority.
The Achilles Heel of American Democracy
The Washington Times wrote on November 7:
“All that for nothing. It was the billion-dollar election that did not decide one single… thing. Republicans control the House. Democrats control the Senate. And the White House remains in Democratic hands with absolutely no mandate whatsoever. Another four years with no hope of change.
“In this environment with this economy and all the gravely important matters pressing against the very existence of this country, it should have been a tsunami election… Instead… it was the rape election. The contraception election. The binders full of women election. It was about who was born where and whether she really could claim to be a Cherokee Indian. It was about former president George W. Bush. And it was about gay marriage…
“Just about the only thing the election wasn’t about was the economy, which everyone agrees was the only thing voters actually cared about…
“The most disturbing issue of the election was how President Obama managed to win re-election in places like Ohio and Pennsylvania and Michigan by talking about the highly unpopular bailout of General Motors. By taking billions of dollars in hard-earned money from taxpayers during a deep recession and giving it to a couple of huge companies, Obama managed to buy the votes he needed to eke out re-election. Taxpayers remain on the hook to the tune of $25 billion.
“This is the Achilles heel of a democracy. Politicians simply tax those who do not support them and give the money to those who do. Or give the money to those they would like to have support them…
“What happened last night is the same thing that has been happening for decades in America. Politicians deploy all this highly precise technology to slice and dice voters into little micro-groups… The result is you have all these states vote for one side and all these other states vote for the other side and it all comes down to Florida and Ohio… The only way this gridlock is finally broken is when politicians grow up and decide to… seriously address like adults the $16 trillion in debts they have racked up on our credit card.”
No amount of voting and politicking and propaganda and false and broken promises will change the fact that only God’s coming government can and will bring true freedom, equality, liberty, justice, prosperity, peace and happiness for all.
Why Mitt Romney Lost
Newsmax wrote on November 7:
“It was the worst of times and the worst of times… Perhaps the easy explanation is that two hurricanes… killed Mitt Romney’s chances. The first hurricane was Isaac, the one that skirted Tampa in late August during the Republican convention. That one seriously disrupted the official schedule… Then the second hurricane, Sandy, struck on Oct. 29. The campaign went into ‘freeze’ mode while Obama swung into ‘commander in chief’ mode. Romney’s surge was suddenly frozen too…
“Romney’s choice of Ryan was almost inexplicable… Ryan was unqualified for the job of vice president, and therefore the job of president… Romney’s VP selection was the most important one of his campaign, and by it he telegraphed his lack of political wisdom to the nation… Ryan’s plan, which first called for abolishing federal Medicare in 10 years and later for a substitute voucher program, proved to be disastrous for Romney and other Republican candidates…
“This election was just like every other one in modern times — about winning middle, swing voters… Romney did much to annoy them (like backing the Ryan plan) and almost nothing to reach out to them…
“Romney promised to create 12 million jobs. That’s not a plan, it’s a promise. He didn’t clearly articulate how he could fulfill that promise. In fact, Romney’s team offered the fewest specifics of any presidential campaign ever…
“As the elections of 2000, 2004, 2008, and now 2012 have demonstrated, demographics are trumping ideology in national elections. The Republican Party has a difficult time grasping this concept. Romney seemingly ignored this truth by taking an ultra-hardline on immigration — one so tough he called for the ‘self-deportation’ of illegal immigrants. Not only is such a plan impractical and immoral, it is unacceptable politically, as yesterday’s results proved… The one Hispanic group that has voted consistently for Republicans — Cuban-Americans — gave Obama a record number of votes this year…
“The GOP will learn from this debacle. The Republican Party might start the process with an image makeover — putting away the Wall Street look in favor of a Main Street one — while it takes back the mantle of Lincoln; a party that fights for the underdog and appeals to the aspirations of the American people.”
That would be nice… but this is hardly to be expected.
Reactions from Germany
The Local wrote on November 7:
“By Wednesday morning President Joachim Gauck and Angela Merkel had both offered their congratulations. Tens of thousands of Americans living in Germany were celebrating and the country’s newspapers were examining one of the most nail-biting nights of 2012.
“Der Spiegel magazine hailed Obama’s second victory as the dawn of a new era and a chance for the President to use his second term to ‘tackle the politics of change in the right way.’ The President’s re-election represents the ‘defence of his controversial political agenda,’ giving him the opportunity to secure a legacy ‘as one of the great presidents.’ If the economy picks up in the coming years, wrote the magazine, ‘it will be ascribed to Obama’s policies.’
“America voted for Obama because he was the lesser of two evils, claimed the Süddeutsche Zeitung, taking a more cynical view on the 51-year-old’s victory. The chances of him changing a lot in his second term ‘were not large.’ Remaining president was ‘not an illustrious victory,’ it said, and the US did not re-elect him for being successful, but because ‘they were not ready to put Mitt Romney in his place.’
“Not much had changed, agreed the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. That the Democrats had retained control of the senate was ‘no surprise’, and, since the Republicans held on to their majority in the House of Representatives, this would not make Obama’s second term ‘any easier than his first. Now in the political centres of power in Washington everything will remain as it has been: in the White House, in the House of Representatives and in the Senate,’ said the paper.
“Meanwhile, the daily tabloid Bild used the occasion to make demands on the new president on behalf of the world, calling for the US economy to be restored, an end to the Afghanistan conflict and to keep all options open regarding Iranian nuclear ambitions. During the next four years, the paper said, ‘it will be up to the US president to stop the Mullahs’ in their drive to build a nuclear bomb. This ‘maybe with sanctions’ but may be ‘also with military action. For the security of Israel.’…
“Although divided on the significance of Obama’s narrow victory, the German press did agree that the campaign had been what Der Spiegel called ‘harshest and dirtiest in the history of the United States.’ For the first time in the US, said Die Welt, the campaigns were tinged with negativity, as the Democrats ‘painted Romney to be a heartless multimillionaire, who wants to widen the divide between rich and poor with his tax plan.’”
The Bible shows that America is indeed in decline—and we should not expect a substantial improvement of our economy. It is interesting that the following articles agree with this assessment—even though they do not know anything about biblical prophecy.
“America Has Already Lost…”
Der Spiegel Online wrote on November 5:
“The United States Army is developing a weapon that can reach — and destroy — any location on Earth within an hour. At the same time, power lines held up by wooden poles dangle over the streets of Brooklyn, Queens and New Jersey. Hurricane Sandy ripped them apart there and in communities across the East Coast last week, and many places remain without electricity. That’s America, where high-tech options are available only to the elite, and the rest live under conditions comparable to… those of a developing nation. No country has produced more Nobel Prize winners, yet in New York City hospitals had to be evacuated during the storm because their emergency generators didn’t work properly.
“Anyone who sees this as a contradiction has failed to grasp the fact that America is a country of total capitalism. Its functionaries have no need of public hospitals or of a reliable power supply to private homes. The elite have their own infrastructure. Total capitalism, however, has left American society in ruins and crippled the government. America’s fate is not just an accident produced by the system. It is a consequence of that system. Obama couldn’t change this, and Romney wouldn’t be able to either…
“Romney, the exceedingly wealthy business man, and Obama, the cultivated civil rights lawyer, are two faces of a political system that no longer has much to do with democracy as we understand it. Democracy is about choice, but Americans don’t really have much of a choice…
“From a European perspective, it doesn’t matter who wins this election. Only US foreign policy is important to us — and Obama is no dove and Romney no hawk. The incumbent president prefers to wage his wars with drones instead of troops, though the victims probably don’t care if they’re killed by man or machine. Meanwhile, despite all the criticism, his challenger says he wouldn’t join Israel were the country to go to war with Iran because the US can now no longer afford such a thing.
“In any case, it is wrong to characterize Republicans as the party of warmongers and Democrats as the party of peace… After all, it was Democratic presidents Harry S. Truman, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson who started the wars in Korea and Vietnam. Republican presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and Richard Nixon ended these wars. And Ronald Reagan… was a peaceful man compared to the standards we have since become accustomed to…
“The truth is that we simply no longer understand America. Looking at the country from Germany and Europe, we see a foreign culture. The political system is in the hands of big business and its lobbyists. The checks and balances have failed. And a perverse mix of irresponsibility, greed and religious zealotry dominate public opinion.
“The downfall of the American empire has begun. It could be that the country’s citizens wouldn’t be able to stop it no matter how hard they tried. But they aren’t even trying.”
In a related article, Der Spiegel Online wrote on November 5:
“The United States is frittering away its role as a model for the rest of the world. The political system is plagued by an absurd level of hatred, the economy is stagnating and the infrastructure is falling into a miserable state of disrepair. On this election eve, many Americans are losing faith in their country’s future…
“After a brilliant century and a terrible decade, the United States, in this important election year, has reached a point in its history when the obvious can no longer be denied: The reality of life in America so greatly contradicts the claim — albeit one that has always been exaggerated — to be the ‘greatest nation on earth,’ that even the most ardent patriots must be overcome with doubt.
“This realization became only too apparent during and after Hurricane Sandy, the monster storm that ravaged America’s East Coast last week, its effects made all the more devastating by the fact that its winds were whipping across an already weakened country. The infrastructure in New York, New Jersey and New England was already in trouble long before the storm made landfall near Atlantic City. The power lines in Brooklyn and Queens, on Long Island and in New Jersey, in one of the world’s largest metropolitan areas, are not underground, but are still installed along a fragile and confusing above-ground network supported by utility poles, the way they are in developing countries…
“Although parts of New York City, especially the island of Manhattan, are only a few meters above sea level, the city still has no extensive system to protect itself against storm surges, despite the fact that the sea level has been rising for years and the number of storms is increasing…
“America is no longer the great, robust global power it once was. Europeans who make such claims have always been accused of anti-Americanism. But now Americans themselves are joining the chorus of those declaring the country’s decline… The worst thing about it is that the country still refuses to engage in any debate over the reasons for its decline… Criticism is seen as a betrayal of America’s greatness… At the beginning of the 21st century, this American dream, which consisted mainly of confidence and optimism envied the world over, is failing…
“In the 2012 campaign, many Americans have realized for the first time that the US’s role as a global power is no longer uncontested… The upheavals in the Arab world took America’s diplomats by surprise, and they ended Obama’s offensive in the Islamic world. But they also showed how poorly connected and, ultimately, uninfluential the United States is in the region today. A member of the Muslim Brotherhood is now Egypt’s president, Iran apparently remains undeterred in advancing its nuclear program and the situation in Israel is more precarious [than] ever. These are all signs that America has far less influence than many Americans still want to believe. This is not solely attributable to an American decline, but also has to do with various shifts in the global power structure…”
The Future of American-Israeli Relationships
The Guardian wrote on November 7:
“It was hard to imagine champagne corks popping in the Israeli prime minister’s Jerusalem residence as Barack Obama took to the stage to make his victory speech. Much more likely was a mood of sombre resignation, possibly spiked with trepidation, as Benjamin Netanyahu reflected on his heavy bet on the wrong horse.
“Judging by the swiftly delivered official response, there is no problem: Netanyahu and Obama will continue their close, warm and strategically aligned partnership. No one who has observed the deepening chill and distance between the two leaders over the past four years is likely to buy that. But, assuming Netanyahu is still prime minister after Israel’s general election on 22 January, the day after Obama’s re-inauguration, both men will be forced to recalibrate their difficult relationship.
“… some observers believe Obama will seek ‘payback’ for Netanyahu’s perceived high-handedness, attempts to browbeat the US into a tougher line on Iran, refusal to restrain settlement growth in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and meddling in the US election process…
“Danny Danon, the deputy speaker of the Knesset, urged Obama to ‘reset his course relating to Israel and our region for the next four years. Rather than dictating ill-advised policies that endanger the well-being of America’s only true ally in the Middle East, now is the time for President Obama to return to the wise and time-honoured policy of “zero daylight” between our respective nations.’
“Two issues will characterise the relationship between the US and Israel over the next year. The first is Iran… Israel – the political, military and security leadership, as well as the general public – would much prefer joint action with the US, not least because of questions over Israel’s military capability to strike unilaterally. But Obama’s reference in his victory speech to moving ‘beyond this time of war’ indicates his strong aversion to military confrontation with Iran.
“The second issue is progress towards a settlement of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. This is the most likely arena for any possible ‘payback’, especially if Obama decides, as so many previous second-term presidents have, that he wants to make this a legacy issue.
“Netanyahu, whose inclination is to ‘manage’ the current situation in which millions of Palestinians live under occupation, rather than advance towards a two-state settlement of the conflict, will attempt to resist pressure…”
The Holy Scriptures tell us that the relationship between the USA and Israel will continue to deteriorate. In the end, Israel will find itself all alone. Please also note the next two articles.
“Netanyahu Vows to Stop Iran, Even in Defiance of the United States”
The Times of Israel wrote on November 5, 2012:
“Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed on Monday night to put a stop to Iran’s nuclear program by whatever means necessary — even in outright defiance of American objections — if neither sanctions, nor other international action, achieves that goal. ‘There is no doubt about Iran’s intention — to destroy us,’ Netanyahu said… Asked in an interview whether, if reelected in January, he would ‘pledge that Iran won’t have a nuclear program by the end of your next term,’ Netanyahu said simply, ‘Yes.’
“When it was put to him that the US has opposed a unilateral Israeli resort to force, Netanyahu said President Barack Obama had stated that Israel has the right to defend itself as it sees fit, and that Israel dare not entrust its future to others, even to the United States. Israel’s prime ministers had ignored US disapproval in establishing the country in 1948 and preempting the Arab attack in the 1967 war, he noted…
“Asked whether he believed Netanyahu had the guts to order a strike on Iran, the prime minister’s former national security adviser, Uzi Arad, said he had ‘no doubt.’… Vowing that Israel ‘is ready to act’ against Iran, Netanyahu said he was watching the Islamist regime ‘advancing step by step… toward producing nuclear bombs.’ When the Jews were being murdered by the Nazis, they were unable to save themselves, he said. But he, as Israel’s prime minister, did have the capacity to protect the Jewish nation. ‘When we didn’t have a state, we begged others’ to defend the Jews, he said. ‘Today, we’re not begging, we are preparing.’… Netanyahu said in his interview that he was ‘not eager for war’ and hoped sanctions or other international action would thwart Iran.”
Israel and Turkey
Deutsche Welle wrote on November 5:
“Soured relations between Turkey and Israel are likely to receive another blow this week with the beginning of a controversial trial in a Turkish court against four Israeli generals for killing pro-Palestinian activists. The Israeli generals are charged with commanding a deadly raid on the Mavi Marmara flotilla, which attempted to break Israel’s naval blockade of the Gaza Strip two years ago. The raid killed nine Turkish citizens aboard one of the ships… Israel has already dismissed the case as a ‘unilateral judicial process’ and refused to cooperate. Many experts also question whether the Turkish criminal court has jurisdiction on the matter… observers view the legal validity of the trial and the practical imposition of the penalty highly questionable…
“The deterioration of ties between Turkey and Israel has been a growing concern for the US administration and European governments. Turkey and Israel enjoyed special and close relations for more than a half-century, despite various ups and downs. Turkey had been the first majority Muslim country to officially recognize Israel and open an embassy in Tel-Aviv. Ankara has also mediated for closer relations between Israel and other Muslim countries.
“During the 1990’s, Turkey and Israel pursued close ties in defense projects… Close relations continued in the early years of the Islamic-conservative AKP government. Erdogan mediated between the Israeli and Syrian leaders Ehud Olmert and Bashar Assad, but a two-year long effort by Ankara collapsed with an Israeli operation into Gaza in 2009. This was a turning point in Turkish-Israeli relations. Erdogan expressed great frustration with Israel when then-Prime Minister Olmert started a Gaza offensive only days after his key visit to Ankara. Relations received another major blow with the Mavi Marmara incident in 2010.
“During the 1990’s, Israeli companies had been among the leading contractors of Turkey’s strategic defense and modernization projects, reaching billions of US dollars. With the rising political tensions between the two countries all military agreements and defense cooperation was suspended, including work on a strategic aerial intelligence system.
“Turkey has blocked NATO’s closer cooperation with Israel… The Turkish-Israeli dispute has caused serious damage to political ties, defense relations and tourism…
“Erdogan told journalists on a plane en route to Ankara from Berlin that he had plans to visit Gaza soon; a plan that is likely to draw Israeli anger. The prime minister said that German Chancellor Angela Merkel had asked him (on Wednesday) to take steps to normalize ties with Israel and he reiterated the Turkish position: ‘All our three demands must be realized,’ Erdogan told journalists, ‘Turkey is not open to options that include offering an apology and compensation, but not lifting the Gaza blockade.’”
The past, present and future relationship between Turkey and Israel is quite interesting, given the fact that their ancestors, Jacob and Esau, were brothers.
Radioactive Water Threatens Middle East
Der Spiegel wrote on November 5:
“The Middle East and North Africa suffer from water shortages and pump millions of liters a day from ancient aquifers. But the water contains high levels of naturally-occurring radioactive contamination. Experts fear this will increase the cancer risk for millions of people.
“True masters of water management once lived in the desert of what is now Jordan. It took the Nabataeans only a few decades to carve the city of Petra out of sandstone cliffs. In addition to crafting now world-famous decorative tomb facades, they built a sophisticated system of water pipes and cisterns, which made it possible for the city to exist in the dry wilderness in the first place — more than 2,000 years ago.
“Today trucks rumble through Jordan to supply the population with drinking water. The water sloshing back and forth in their tanks is often thousands of years old, pumped from fossil groundwater reservoirs that filled up when the region wasn’t as dry. Millions of cubic meters of water are now being pumped from such aquifers every day in the Middle East and North Africa…
“Tests have revealed that the water contains high levels of naturally occurring radioactivity, with samples exhibiting radiation levels well above World Health Organization (WHO) radiation guidelines. The health risk doesn’t just affect Jordan, but virtually all of the countries in the Middle East and North Africa…
“This is a worrisome conclusion, since fossil groundwater is now essential for the survival of agriculture in the region… Saudi Arabia already derives about half of its water from aquifers. Israel also pumps water from fossil reservoirs to irrigate its fields in the Negev Desert, and Egypt has pumped fossil groundwater in oases since the 1980s. But Libya operates the world’s largest pumping operation…
“Saudi Arabia, at least, is treating fossil groundwater and removing radioactive particles… But elsewhere, especially in rural parts of North Africa, the situation is ‘problematic.’… Libya lacks water-treatment technologies…
“There are already initial signs of the possible health consequences. In 2010, King Saud University examined 10 men who change filters in underground wells. Their blood was found to contain 11 times as much chromosomal damage than that of controls… These changes in genetic material can lead to cancer and illnesses in offspring…”
No Summit Between EU and Ukraine
The EUObserver wrote on November 5, 2012:
“The EU and Ukraine will ‘most likely’ not hold a summit this year, but diplomats blame it on technical instead of political reasons… The two sides have held a summit every year for the past 15 years. The break in tradition comes amid a sharp deterioration in ties since Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych came into power in 2010.
“The EU already cancelled a meeting with him in Brussels last October after he jailed his main political opponent, former PM Yulia Tymoshenko. Top EU officials did go to Kiev last December to initial an EU-Ukraine trade and political association agreement. But the frosty meeting in the Ukrainian capital ended with a warning the pact will not be signed unless Tymoshenko goes free.
“They told Yanukovych’s Prime Minister Mykola Azaraov to ‘stay home’ in May this year. EU leaders the same month boycotted a regional summit in Yalta and later boycotted the Euro 2012 football championships in Ukraine. Meanwhile, Ukraine’s parliamentary elections in October did nothing to repair damage.
“International monitors, the Vienna-based OSCE, said ‘democratic progress appears to have reversed in Ukraine’ in their assessment of the vote…”
The Bible tells us that the Ukraine will break any ties with Europe and instead become Russia’s ally.
Tony Blair: “Europe Needs a President”
The Telegraph wrote on November 7:
“In a move interpreted by some as a job application, the former prime minister said the EU could do with a strong leader approved by the people. He also warned that too deep a political divide between Britain and the core eurozone countries could lead towards a break-up… Mr Blair [said:] ‘A Europe-wide election for the presidency… is the most direct way to involve the public… An election for a big post held by one person – this people can understand’…
“Speaking in Berlin, he said the EU must not allow too big a divide to grow up between Britain, which wants to claw back powers from Europe, and countries like France and Germany opting for more political union… European states, such as Finland, have expressed fears that the UK is waving ‘bye bye’ to the EU.
“Mr Blair today made it clear that forging Britain’s role in the EU as it changes will be a ‘tricky task. But it is an essential one if the UK is not to be sidelined and Europe to be without the active participation of such a large and significant member of the existing union,’ he said.”
And such strong leadership will arise in Europe… ultimately, Europe’s final leader will be the one described in the Bible as the beast, the king of the North, and King Jareb of Assyria.
Big Earthquake Strikes Guatemala
Fox News reported on November 7:
“The earth shook violently in Central America Wednesday morning, as a 7.5 magnitude quake took over the Pacific coast of Guatemala, rocking the capital and shaking buildings as far away as Mexico City and El Salvador. According to Guatemala City fire officials, 15 people died buried under rubble in three different Guatemalan towns.
“Landslides were blocking roads in some areas, authorities said, and about 40 houses had been severely damaged in the quake, which occurred at 10.35 am local time. The U.S. Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said there was a possibility of a local tsunami, within 100 or 200 miles of the epicenter, but they were not issuing an immediate warning for the broader region. The earthquake, about 20 miles deep, was centered off the town of Champerico.”
We should recognize the recent intensity and frequency of major earthquakes, as foretold in the Bible.
When Christ rules on earth during the Millennium, how will the non-Israelite nations come to the point of repentance and acceptance of God’s Way of Life?
In previous Q&A’s, we showed how the survivors of the modern descendants of the houses of Israel and Judah will be brought out of captivity and led to the Promised Land, where they will settle down. We discussed a subsequent invasion of Far Eastern nations into the Promised Land at the beginning of the Millennium, and how God will deal swiftly with these hostile armies. We also discussed the fact that Christ will come to bring spiritual and physical restoration for all peoples, but He will rule in Jerusalem over—at first–the Israelite nations. How, then, will “Gentile” nations come to and accept the truth?
The Bible makes very clear that after Christ’s return, He will sit on the throne of David in Jerusalem (Luke 1:32) to rule the entire world. But it will be a process—all the nations will not automatically and immediately know and embrace the truth; they will have to be taught and their minds will have to be opened.
How is this going to happen?
As mentioned, Jesus Christ will deal at first with the survivors of the modern descendants of the houses of Israel and Judah. He will convert them and bring them back to the Promised Land, under the resurrected David, their king (Jeremiah 31:8-9). They will submit to Christ’s rule. We also read that the original apostles will sit on thrones and rule the tribes of Israel (Matthew 19:28).
The effect will be that there will be no more hurt or destruction in all His holy mountain, and ultimately, the earth will become full of the knowledge of the LORD, and the Gentiles will seek Him, as we read in Isaiah 11:6-10.
Why will the Gentiles seek Him?
Isaiah 2:2-4 gives us a clue. We are told that the Gentiles will hear or somehow learn about the righteous rule in Jerusalem, and they will want to learn more about it. They may at first send ambassadors or messengers to Jerusalem to inquire more about what they have heard, and to report back to them (compare Isaiah 14:32. For historic examples, see Jeremiah 27:2-3 and 2 Chronicles 32:31). As a consequence, since God will be opening their minds, the Gentile nations will be led to forsake war and choose peace (compare Zechariah 9:10).
But this is a process. Recall that at the beginning of the Millennium, Asiatic hordes will try to conquer the land of Israel (compare chapters 38 and 39 of the book of Ezekiel). But notice WHY God will be dealing with the hordes supernaturally, mightily and swiftly. For one reason, He wants to have the survivors of Israel and Judah understand, once and for all, HOW powerful God is, and that He will always defend them, and that there is never a need for them to fight in war. In fact, God wants them to realize that it would always be wrong for them to fight in war.
Notice Ezekiel 39:22: “So the house of Israel shall know that I am the LORD their God from that day forward.”
Compare also verse 7, first part: “So I will make My holy name known in the midst of My people Israel. And I will not let them profane My holy name anymore.”
Israel profaned God’s holy name by violating His commandments and by refusing to make a difference between the holy or clean things and the unholy or unclean things (Ezekiel 22:26). They violated His holy Sabbath and His annual Holy Days, and substituted them with human holidays and religious practices which had been invented for the purpose of worshipping pagan gods and demons (Ezekiel 20:11-13,16, 18-21, 23-24; compare Psalm 106:35-38). Even though God had commanded them to keep His Law for their own good (Deuteronomy 6:24) and not to worship or offer sacrifices to demons (Leviticus 17:7), they continued to do so (Deuteronomy 32:17; Amos 5:25-26).
And so, as God had “given them up” to the worship of idols in the wilderness (Acts 7:42-43)—that is, He did not force them to keep His Law, as He gave them free will to decide—so He later “gave them up” to statutes that were not good (Ezekiel 20:25). And such is the case with the modern descendants of ancient Israel—as is the case with all of mankind—even though Paul warns us that we are not to engage in the worship services of unbelievers, as they are serving demons and not God (1 Corinthians 10:20-21).
But once Christ rules on earth, all of this will change.
Let’s return to the description of events in Ezekiel 38 and 39, and continue reading the second part of Ezekiel 39:7:
“Then the nations shall know that I am the LORD, the Holy One of Israel.”
Notice also Ezekiel 38:23:
“Then I will magnify Myself and sanctify Myself, and I will be known in the eyes of many nations. Then they shall know that I am the LORD.”
God’s mighty intervention for Israel at that time, after He allowed them to go into slavery and become captives of war, will help to cause an interesting change in the minds of the nations, and it will reinforce in Israel’s mind the need to glorify God and obey Him.
Note Ezekiel 39:23:
“The Gentiles shall know that the house of Israel went into captivity for their iniquity; because they were unfaithful to Me, therefore I hid My face from them. I gave them into the hand of their enemies, and they all fell by the sword.”
But when God intervenes for Israel and when He brings the Far Eastern nations into judgment with a great earthquake, pestilence and bloodshed, flooding rain, great hailstones, fire and brimstone (Ezekiel 38:19, 22), so that even the troops of the hostile armies will begin to fight each other (verse 21), then it will become clear to the nations that God is now hallowed in Israel, and that Israel’s former sins have been forgiven. But equally importantly, Israel will know and understand this too (compare Ezekiel 39:27-29).
These events will also make clear to all peoples that God will not allow compromise with His holy Law (compare Isaiah 11:4).
Undoubtedly, that message and the word of the events will spread. People will want to know what is happening in Jerusalem and the Promised Land, and why God is acting so powerfully on behalf of Israel. And so, their ambassadors and messengers will appear in Jerusalem and return and report back to them, telling them about Jesus Christ’s rule with mercy, justice and righteousness, and what the requirements are to please God (compare Psalm 98:1-9). One of these requirements will be the abolishment of war and the destruction of all the weapons of war, and the observance of the Feast of Tabernacles.
But not every nation will be immediately prepared and willing to obey God and keep His Sabbath and His Holy Days. We read in Zechariah 14:16-19, that not every nation will immediately worship God in the right way—some will refuse for a while to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. When this happens, God will deal with them. He will withhold certain blessings—rain in due season which is necessary for a good harvest—and so they will learn swiftly that it does not pay to disobey God.
People will have to be taught—Israelites and Gentiles alike. Christ’s government and peace will increase. His rule will start in Jerusalem with the nations of Israel and Judah, but it will spread from there to the entire world (compare Isaiah 9:5-7). Isaiah 60:1-3 explains that the Gentiles will come to Christ—quite literally, by sending ambassadors first and then appearing in Jerusalem themselves, for instance during the Feast of Tabernacles—and most certainly also spiritually, in that they are accepting the Way of God and are “coming to Him” in spirit and truth. They will come to the right understanding, as Jeremiah 16:19-21 explains. Even Gentile kings will want to please God (Psalm 68:28-29). They will be drawn to Christ the King (Isaiah 49:5-7).
Gentiles will recognize that God is ruling in Jerusalem, and that Israel and Judah have been responding to God’s call. And so, Gentiles will want to show their respect, not just for God, but also for modern Israel and Judah (Isaiah 60:14; 61:9; Jeremiah 33:9).
Gentiles will want to seek Jesus Christ, the LORD, in Jerusalem. They will realize that God is with the Jews, and so they will ask them for help (Zechariah 8:20-23).
In addition, we are told that Israelites and Jews will be sent to foreign lands to teach the Gentiles (Isaiah 66:19). They will declare God’s glory to them, and the Gentiles will come to see His glory (verse 18). Note that some of those peoples include survivors from the country of Tubal, who had sent their armies previously against the Promised Land, as we read in Ezekiel 38.
But as Jesus Christ will deal and work directly with the Gentile nations, so will His born-again disciples who have become immortal members of the Family of God. As they will help Israelites and Jews (Isaiah 30:20-22), so they will help other nations as well.
We read in Obadiah 21 that they will become “saviors” to judge the “mountains of Esau,” when the Kingdom of God has been established on earth. They will be saviors in the sense that they will help the nations to come to salvation. As Christ will rule with uncompromising righteousness and mercy (Psalm 2:8-9), so will they (Revelation 2:25-27; Psalm 149:5-9).
During the entire Millennium or one thousand years, they will rule under Christ on this earth (Matthew 5:5; Romans 4:13; Revelation 5:10; 20:4, 6; compare also Daniel 7:27, clarifying that their rule will be on earth, as the Kingdom of God will be established “under the whole heaven”). Their rule will spread from Jerusalem, until God’s peaceful and righteous Way of Life engulfs the entire earth, as water covers the sea (Habakkuk 2:14).
Lead Writer: Norbert Link
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
“How the Nations Will Learn!,” is now posted. In this sermon, given on the Sabbath of November 3, 2012, Evangelist Norbert Link examines eye-opening, prophetic statements from the Bible–here is the summary: When Christ rules on earth during the Millennium, how will the non-Israelite nations come to the point of repentance and acceptance of God’s Way of Life? Is it going to happen “overnight,” or will it require some time? How is God going to reveal Himself to them? Why and how will they seek God and learn the truth? Why are the events, which are depicted in Ezekiel 38 and 39, significant in this regard?
A new StandingWatch program, titled, “Why I Don’t Vote!,” has been recorded and is now posted; here is the summary: Should Christians vote in governmental elections? Some feel that they should not do so. However, many will try to argue that one must vote, even it is for the lesser of two evils. But what does the Bible say? In this program, God’s position on this important matter will be explained.
In this week’s German sermon, Norbert Link continues with the second part of the series on Ezekiel 38 and 39; this time, it covers Ezekiel 39–the title in English is “War During Christ’s Rule?, Part 2.”
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
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