|Editorial||It’s That Frog Again!|
|Current Events||This Week in the News|
|Q&A||Who will build the Temple of Ezekiel? (Part 2)|
|Forum||Tree House Shack|
|The Work||Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock|
On February 23rd, 2013, Dave Harris will give the sermon, titled, “Unawares!”
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.
It’s That Frog Again!
by Brian Gale (United Kingdom)
On the 5th February 2013, MPs in the House of Commons overwhelmingly backed the plan to legalise “gay marriage” in the UK by 400 votes to 175. Even some of those who voted against this measure said that there was insufficient time given to debate this issue. As members of the true Church of God know, on such a matter no debate is necessary; the answer defining right conduct is there in the Word of God. End of story!
The Prime Minister, David Cameron, approved and promoted this plan, after the two previous Prime Ministers, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, had been equally enthusiastic about promoting this ungodly practice.
All three of these politicians profess to being Christians, but not one of them seems to be in the least bit bothered by what God’s instruction manual, the Bible, has to say on this matter. I mentioned this trait in my last editorial (“Instruction Manual Ignored Again,” Update 572, week of January 11, 2013, about the Church of England voting about the ordination of women bishops. God’s Word never seems to be properly and correctly studied, or even consulted, when such situations arise; it’s the 21st century, and we have to move on and “get with it”.
But how did we get into this mess? It’s that frog’s fault yet again. For anyone who hasn’t heard this analogy, Wikipedia explains it as follows: “The boiling frog story is a widespread anecdote describing a frog slowly being boiled alive. The premise is that if a frog is placed in boiling water, it will jump out, but if it is placed in cold water that is slowly heated, it will not perceive the danger and will be cooked to death. The story is often used as a metaphor for the inability of people to react to significant changes that occur gradually.”
The significant changes that have occurred in society, like “gay marriage”, have come about slowly over quite a period of time. Of course, our societies’ problems are manifold, and “gay marriage” is just one of its many evils. But it shows how “changes” are introduced and accepted over time. The Sexual Offences Act 1967 was an Act of Parliament in the United Kingdom which decriminalised homosexual acts in private between two men, both of whom had to have attained the age of 21. At that time, public opinion was very much against this abhorrent act. (The Church of God does not take a stand or utter a position whether or not homosexual conduct should be considered a crime punishable by our human governments. We understand that this is Satan’s world, and that true Christians are not to engage in political acts or agendas, but they are ambassadors of the world tomorrow, when Christ will set up the Kingdom of God here on earth and establish true and fair laws regulating human conduct.)
However, in the next 38 years much was done, without too much publicity, but was moulding public opinion wherever and whenever possible. The old saying that it is a “cinch by the inch but hard by the yard” perfectly describes how “progress” was made. Stonewall, the lesbian, gay and bisexual charity, has been in the forefront of helping to change public perception, and as time passed, hardened views were softened.
Wikipedia again reports that “since 2005 same-sex couples have been allowed to enter into civil partnerships, a separate union which provides the legal consequences of marriage.” Former Prime Minister Tony Blair was a great advocate for the homosexual lobby. As Shadow Home Secretary, before he became Prime Minister, he not only supported the lowering of the age of consent for homosexuals from age 18 to 16, but quite literally championed it. When such high profile individuals support and promote such a cause, others are galvanised too, and it then increases in intensity. Many who were implacably opposed to this before may now take a more “live and let live” approach.
It has taken about half a century of hard work and constant application to arrive at the stage where “gay marriage” is now seen as a good thing, and many people who would have thought otherwise 50 years ago are now in favour of this. It’s that frog again! Unfortunately, in such a climate, young people are raised in a society where this “alternate lifestyle” is now accepted as normal.
What can we learn from all of this? Given enough time, enough commitment and enough patience, all manner of evil can be foisted on society, and indeed has been. The year 2013 is a very different place, and with very different acceptances, than was the case 50-60 years ago. This is how the verse in Isaiah 5:20 can be explained: “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” And the next verse answers why: “Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, And prudent in their own sight!”
Politicians think they know better than God. Others ignore biblical teaching and many scoff. The time is coming when our countries will be punished severely, and they will wonder why. The answer will have been there all along for those with eyes to see and ears to hear.
The analogy of the frog can help us understand how Satan works and what he has achieved. We need to understand such workings and to make sure that we will never be taken in by them. We can also learn the lesson that we have a lifetime to make progress in our Christian lives, and little by little, perhaps indiscernibly at times, we should be improving, growing and overcoming which is pleasing in the sight of God. When we become more and more accustomed to positive change, then a modified “analogy” about the frog will have a desirable effect in our lives.
We begin reporting on the recent meteor blast over Russia; tackle the growing problem on drone warfare and the use of drones in general; and address the power struggle in the Catholic Church after the pope’s announcement of his resignation.
We continue reporting on China and its return to the terrible philosophies of Marx and Lenin; speak about the irresponsible conduct of North Korea and the controversial conduct of the Obama Administration regarding Syria; address the EU’s telling ongoing military involvement in other countries, including Mali; and show that European governments are really nervous about the forthcoming election in Italy.
We conclude with an article regarding Islam’s wrong teaching on the consumption of horsemeat.
This Week in the News
Meteors and Asteroids a Real Danger for Planet Earth
NBC News reported on February 16:
“Scientists have raised their estimates of the size and power of what turns out to be the most widely witnessed asteroid strike in modern history. The size estimate puts the object that caused Friday’s meteor blast over Russia in a troublesome category of asteroids: big enough to cause damage, but small enough to evade detection.
“The new estimates, based on additional readings from a sensor network built to detect nuclear blasts, suggest the meteor released the energy equivalent of nearly 500 kilotons of TNT. That’s about 30 times the power of the Hiroshima atomic bomb. NASA now says the Chelyabinsk object must have been about 55 feet wide (17 meters wide) with a mass of 10,000 tons before it entered Earth’s atmosphere… The space agency said Friday’s Russian meteor was the largest reported since 1908, when an asteroid roughly the size of 2012 DA14 exploded over a remote wooded areas [sic] in Siberia’s Tunguska region. That blast flattened millions of trees over a 820-square-mile area, but was not widely seen. Friday’s event, in contrast, took place over a city of 1.1 million inhabitants, and hundreds of millions more watched the videos that were distributed over the Internet.
“As powerful as the meteor blast was, it’s on the low end of the asteroid impact scale. Astronomers estimate that there are about a million potentially hazardous near-Earth objects smaller than 100 meters (330 feet) in width, and only about 1 percent of those have been cataloged…”
Fox News wrote on February 15:
“On the same day that the world’s scientists were polishing their telescopes in anticipation of asteroid 2012 DA124, a meteor broke apart over the Ural Mountains in Russia and rained down fire and debris — reportedly injuring nearly 1,000 people. So why didn’t they see this one coming?
“Apparently, size matters… The Russian meteor — estimated to be just 10 tons and about 15 meters or 49 feet wide — entered the Earth’s atmosphere at a hypersonic speed of at least 33,000 mph and shattered about 18-32 miles above the ground. It released the energy of several [hundred] kilotons above the Chelyabinsk region.
“That’s relatively small compared with asteroid 2012 DA14, which will make the closest recorded pass of an asteroid to the Earth — about 17,150 miles — later today. And while NASA’s Near Earth Object Program and other skywatchers track thousands of larger asteroids like it, the countless smaller ones in the heavens are virtually impossible to locate. ‘This thing is probably pretty small compared to DA14,’ explained K.T. Ramesh, professor of science and engineering at Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering and founding director of Hopkins Extreme Materials Institute. ‘If you think about objects the size of the one that came into Russia, you’re probably looking at 100 million up there. Of those likely to intersect Earth, there’s less, maybe 100,000,’ Ramesh told FoxNews.com…”
BBC News reported on February 15:
“An object of similar size to 2012 DA14 carved out the magnificent 1.2km-wide depression known as Meteor Crater in Arizona. This object was metallic – composed of iron and nickel – ensuring that it reached the ground relatively intact… The impact implicated in killing off the dinosaurs… was probably caused by an object some 10-15km wide. The space rock hurtled through our atmosphere, striking Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula. Scientists estimate that the explosive energy released by the impact was equivalent to 100 trillion tonnes of TNT – billions of times more explosive than the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
“The huge crater that remains from the event is some 180km in diameter and surrounded by a circular fault about 240km in diameter… Initially, the Chicxulub impact triggered large-scale fires, huge earthquakes, and continental landslides which generated tsunamis. Then the hot rock and gas blasted at high velocity into the atmosphere shrouded the planet in darkness. There is evidence for considerable cooling following the asteroid strike; this ‘impact winter’ could have lasted up to 10 years. An object of this size hitting Earth today could potentially wipe out civilisation.”
Please see our new broadcast on YouTube, titled, “The Stars Are Falling.”
President Obama Speaks Out
Breitbart reported on February 17:
“During a Google+ Hangout responding to a question about immigration, President Barack Obama made a stunning remark: ‘This is something I’ve struggled with throughout my presidency,’ said Obama. ‘The problem is that I’m the president of the United States, I’m not the emperor of the United States. My job is to execute laws that are passed.’”
The problem is that he is not an emperor? Or, that he is the President?
The Washington Times published the following editorial by Sen. Rand Paul:
“The recent leak of a Department of Justice white paper on the legal justification for the use of drones to execute American citizens abroad accused of terrorism raises some very important constitutional and moral issues. Politicians should not decide the crime and the punishment for American citizens here or abroad. A trial by jury with a judge is a right to be prized by American citizens… Mr. Obama tells us that an ‘imminent threat’ need not be ‘immediate’… my opposition to his drone killing is an opposition to any politician, Republican or Democrat, becoming an imperial executioner-in-chief. No politician should ever be granted that power…
“Why can we not just kill Americans who dissent? For one, because our government has already shown recklessness in defining who is a terrorist. Fusion centers in Missouri defined pro-life and pro-border-security hawks as potential terrorists. The Department of Justice produced a list of characteristics of terrorists that we should report to the government: people missing fingers; people who’ve changed the color of their hair; people who like to pay in cash; people who have more than seven days of food; and people who buy weatherized ammunition.
“Mr. Obama’s pick for drone-killer-in-chief, John O. Brennan, says the 2001 authorization for military force after Sept. 11 authorizes him to kill American citizens, and it ‘does not contain a geographical limitation’…”
The Washington Times reported on February 18:
“House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said the White House doesn’t necessarily have to confess to killing American citizens by unarmed drones. It all depends on the situation, she said in reply to a Huffington Post reporter who asked if President Obama’s administration should acknowledge when it targets a U.S. citizen in a drone strike…
“At least one Republican House colleague is outraged. ‘Anytime the government willfully executes a citizen, regardless of the circumstances, it is a very serious issue,’ said Rep. Mike Lee, from Utah, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee… ‘As the body that oversees executive branch actions, at the very least, Congress should have a full accounting — even if it must sometimes be in a classified setting — of the specific considerations that went into the decision.’ Mrs. Pelosi said her views would be the same even if a Republican held the White House.”
Please view our new StandingWatch program, titled, “Tyranny in the USA?”
Will Drones Destroy Our Remaining Privacy?
The Sydney Morning Herald wrote on February 17:
“…drones that can record video footage are being sold in large retail stores, alarming privacy experts who say they could be used to spy on people. The drones sell for as little as $350, making them increasingly popular with the general public, and worrying those who believe the technology has the potential to be a peeping Tom in the sky. Associate Professor Kevin Heller from the Melbourne Law School says the idea that private citizens can buy drones and record footage directly onto smartphones had serious privacy implications.
“He said that while ‘not everybody who buys these drones is a closet criminal … there are infinite mischievous possibilities’… Victoria Police is also concerned that drones could be used unlawfully… Police departments throughout the US are already using aerial drones for surveillance purposes.”
Power Struggle in the Catholic Church
Der Spiegel Online wrote on February 18:
“A shift is taking place in the otherwise immovable Catholic Church. A global struggle has begun over the prerogative of interpretation, opportunities, legacy and positions — a silent battle for Rome. The ultimate effects of the pope’s resignation are thus far impossible to predict…
“In the modern age, a pope has never resigned from the office, one that some believe is the most important on earth. There hasn’t been an ex-pontiff since the last years of the Schism, after Gregory XII and the Avignon pope agreed to resign to reunite the church. That was the last time that an ex-pope spent the rest of his days strolling around the Vatican gardens as nothing but a simple brother. Never before has the decision of a single pope presented such a challenge to the Catholic Church as this one. Zero hour has begun at the Vatican. The pope’s resignation was certainly ‘great’ within Dante’s meaning. But it was not made through cowardice. On the contrary, it was probably the most courageous step in a long-drifting papacy marred by scandals and misunderstandings. With his revolt against tradition and the church machinery, Benedict XVI may have brought more change to the church than he did in the seven years and 10 months of his papal reign…
“Vatican correspondents agree that there will be a battle for control. The focus is already on holding on to power, the threat that heads will roll and on the web of relationships within the curia after Ratzinger’s departure… There is a saying in secular Rome: ‘morto un papa se ne fa un altro’, or ’if a pope dies, one simply makes another one.’ But it isn’t that easy this time. The pope is still alive and the curia is divided, which makes everything so difficult to predict… Joseph Ratzinger, Bishop of Rome emeritus, will not be present at the conclave. He is five years too old for that. For days, papal spokesman Federico Lombardi has denied that the soon-to-be-ex-pope could nevertheless influence the conclave’s decision, saying that Benedict is too modest. But no one believes Lombardi.
“Every word Benedict will utter in the coming days will be carefully analyzed and possibly even interpreted as a message to the conclave. This was already evident at the Ash Wednesday mass, at which Benedict spoke of ‘religious hypocrisy,’ of ‘individuals and rivalries’ and of ‘sins against the unity of the church and divisions in the body of the church.’ All of this is unambiguous criticism, a settling of accounts, as well as an allusion to the conclave and a preview of what could come in the next few weeks.
“Benedict is giving up power and, at the same time, is accusing his underlings of being obsessed with power, and of clinging to power and of thus being unable to follow their hearts, as he has done. A comparably explosive constellation hasn’t been seen at the Vatican in a long time…
“Benedict has been careful to point out that he intends to ‘hide from the world.’ Nevertheless, he will be a source of conflict for as long as he lives… ‘Benedict threatens to become a shadow pope,’ says Swiss theologian Hans Küng. One cannot simply stop being pope, says Benedict biographer Andreas Englisch. ‘In the worst case, a part of the church would split off, perhaps because Ratzinger believed that his successor was doing great harm to the church’…
“What it’s seeking is a miracle. The Vaticanisti agree that, given this job description, none of the six German cardinals (Paul Josef Cordes, Walter Kasper, Karl Lehmann, Reinhard Marx, Joachim Meisner, Rainer Maria Woelki) is a possibility. If the new pope is to be a European, he will most likely be an Italian. After almost 35 years of foreign rule, first by a Pole and then by a German, an Italian pontiff would certainly be desirable. The problem is that the Italians in the curia are divided, into both territorial groups and theological factions… The Latin Americans, among others, have great expectations… Africa too is hoping for a change of course… ‘… let’s hope it’s not an African!’ Stefan Hippler, a foreign priest in South Africa, said in April 2005 before the white smoke rose from the Sistine Chapel marking the beginning of Benedict’s papacy. The ultra-conservative Cardinal Francis Arinze from Nigeria, now 80, was among the favorites at the time.
“This time around, though, Hippler would consider 64-year-old Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson a good choice. The Ghanaian, already dubbed the ‘Obama of the Vatican,’ is multilingual and has been a member of the Roman curia for more than three years. He is also ranked highly on gambling sites. Turkson is relatively young and open-minded on social issues. He represents positions of Liberation Theology and advocates a cautious correction of course on the issue of condoms. A 63-year-old Brazilian with ancestors from the German state of Saarland, Odilo Pedro Scherer, is also on the list of likely possibles, as is French-Canadian Marc Ouellet, a close friend of Ratzinger who could garner the votes of North and South Americans, thereby bridging the old and new worlds.
“New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan, 63, a representative of the wealthy US church, is also frequently mentioned as a possible candidate. And then there is another candidate, the ‘Wojtyla from the Far East,’ Luis Antonio Tagle, Archbishop of Manila in the Philippines. He is said to possess the brain of a theologian and the heart of a shepherd, as well as being more charismatic than most in the College of Cardinals. But at 55, he is also the second youngest in the College of Cardinals, practically a baby by Vatican standards…
“The next pope could be a black man, an African. He could be a charismatic South American or an Italian apparatchik or a reformist European. He could be someone who continues Ratzinger’s course or someone who takes advantage of zero hour…”
Ratzinger—A Future Shadow Pope?
Der Spiegel Online wrote on February 18:
“Progressive Catholic theologian Hans Küng, whose authority to teach Catholic theology was rescinded by the Vatican in 1979, spoke to SPIEGEL about the challenges facing the next pope and the need for reform of the Catholic Church… ‘Benedict XVI could turn into a shadow pope who has stepped down but can still exert indirect influence. He has already assigned himself a place within the Vatican.
“‘He is keeping his secretary, who will also remain prefect of the papal household under the new pope. This is a new form of nepotism, and one that isn’t appreciated in the Vatican either. No priest likes to have his predecessor looking over his shoulder. Even the bishop of Rome doesn’t find it pleasant to have his predecessor constantly keeping an eye on him.”
Please see our StandingWatch program, “Peter of Rome—The Last Black Pope?”
China’s Problems and the Return to Marx and Lenin
The Wall Street Journal wrote on February 6:
“Karl Marx would be pleased. After decades of ‘from each according to their ability,’ China’s rulers are promising a bit of ‘to each according to their need.’ A wide-ranging plan to address income inequality, endorsed by China’s State Council on Tuesday, is meant to head off social unrest by closing the gap between rich and poor. It should also help get China’s economy on an even keel, with more equal income distribution fostering higher levels of consumption…
“Not everyone will be pleased by the plans. Liberalizing interest rates—and restricting fees—will erode profits at the banks. Higher wages will impose costs on manufacturers and exporters already struggling with razor thin margins. The luxury sector could suffer from a crackdown on corruption and more taxes on high-end goods and services. The winners are firms that can sell into the broad, shallow markets of China’s emerging middle class…
“Making progress, though, won’t be easy. Beijing will have to swallow lower growth… Look out for the return of Marx to China’s markets.”
The New York Times added on February 14:
“When China’s new leader, Xi Jinping, visited the country’s south to promote himself before the public as an audacious reformer following in the footsteps of Deng Xiaoping, he had another message to deliver to Communist Party officials behind closed doors. Despite decades of heady economic growth, Mr. Xi told party insiders… China must still heed the ‘deeply profound’ lessons of the former Soviet Union, where political rot, ideological heresy and military disloyalty brought down the governing party… he demanded a return to traditional Leninist discipline… He has also repeatedly demanded that the military show unflinching loyalty — a principle that, in his view, the Soviet Communist Party under Mikhail S. Gorbachev fatally failed to uphold.’”
North Korea Threatens Final Destruction of South Korea
Reuters reported on February 19:
“North Korea threatened South Korea with ‘final destruction’ during a debate at the U.N Conference on Disarmament on Tuesday, saying it could take ‘second and third steps’ after a nuclear test last week… ‘If the U.S. takes a hostile approach toward the DPRK to the last, rendering the situation complicated, it (North Korea) will be left with no option but to take the second and third stronger steps in succession,’ [North Korean diplomat Jon Yong Ryong said]. His comments drew immediate criticism from other nations, including South Korea and Britain… U.S. Ambassador Laura Kennedy said she found North Korea’s statement profoundly disturbing.”
Does President Obama Support President Assad of Syria?
Deutsche Welle wrote on February 19:
“Syrian activists say that the conflict raging in their country is not a ‘civil war’ at all – it’s a massacre perpetrated by the government on its own people. The United Nations high commissioner for human rights Navi Pillay this month put the latest death toll for the two-year conflict at ‘approaching 70,000’ – but the relentless reports of atrocities in Aleppo and the suburbs of Damascus have done nothing to move western governments to intervene in the conflict…
“For the Syrian activists abroad, this lack of action equals support for President Bashar Assad’s brutal regime… Just what is preventing the West’s intervention in the Syrian conflict? In last two weeks, it has become clear that one significant obstacle is US President Barack Obama…”
EU Dispatches Military Training Mission to Mali
Deutsche Welle reported on February 19:
“The German cabinet has given the green light for German military instructors to begin the training of the Malian army. Germany’s armed forces are to provide logistical support, but will not be deployed in combat…
“The Malian army is poorly trained and equipped, which is why the European Union has decided to dispatch a military training mission. More than a dozen EU countries will be taking part in this mission which is due to start in the next few weeks… German foreign minister Guido Westerwelle says Mali’s security is crucial for Europe…”
The Future of Nuclear Weapons
Deutsche Welle wrote on February 19:
“Just hours after US President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address last week, in which he announced a new push to convince Russia to jointly reduce their respective nuclear arsenals, North Korea went ahead with its third nuclear test. Iran, meanwhile, is suspected of working on its own ‘bomb,’ despite international efforts to contain the program, while Pakistan, a highly unstable country, already has an atomic weapon…
“A world without nuclear weapons appears to be a distant dream. Is there any chance to achieve a nuclear-free world…?
“In addition to the recognized nuclear powers – USA, Russia, Britain, France and China – at least India, Pakistan and North Korea also have the bomb. Israel is believed to possess nuclear weapons, but this has never been officially confirmed by the government. All four of these countries have not signed the NPT and are not likely to join any international effort at global disarmament…
“In the case of Pakistan and India, these two adversarial nuclear powers are right next door to one another. A resolution of their long-standing regional conflict, not to mention nuclear disarmament, will only ever be achieved through bilateral negotiations. North Korea is also not interested in disarmament… An Iranian atomic bomb would seriously disrupt the balance of power in the entire region… The road to a nuclear-free world… is a long way off.”
And with it the hope for world peace. Only the return of Jesus Christ will accomplish both.
Berlusconi—a Real Danger for Italy and the EU
Der Spiegel Online wrote on February 19:
“It was German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble who allegedly fired the first shot. In an interview with the Italian newsmagazine l’Espresso late last week, Schäuble warned Italians against voting for Silvio Berlusconi in general elections scheduled for Feb. 24 and 25… ‘my advice to the Italians is not to make the same mistake again by re-electing him.’ A Finance Ministry spokesman was quick to deny that Schäuble had said such a thing. But this week, given Berlusconi’s seemingly inexorable climb toward the top of Italian public opinion polls, two more top German politicians have warned against re-electing a man who many see as being partially responsible for the economic troubles facing the country.
“‘We are of course not a party in the Italian campaign,’ German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle told the center-left Süddeutsche Zeitung in comments printed on Tuesday. ‘But whoever ends up forming the next government, we are emphatic that (Rome’s) pro-European path and necessary reforms are continued.’ Given Berlusconi’s fiscally irresponsible campaign promises combined with his anti-European rhetoric, it isn’t difficult to guess who Westerwelle’s verbal darts were aimed at. But just to be sure the message was clear, the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in German parliament, Ruprecht Polenz, also spoke up. Polenz, a senior member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats, said: ‘Italy needs political leaders who stand for the future. Berlusconi is certainly not one of them.’…
“The anxiety apparent in the comments is the result of Berlusconi’s astounding rise from political afterthought last autumn to a genuine threat to win a fourth term as Italian prime minister… A Berlusconi victory, many fear, could result in an immediate rise in Italian borrowing costs and a return to the critical situation in which Rome found itself in late 2011, when Berlusconi was essentially forced to step down in favor of the technocratic government led by outgoing Prime Minister Mario Monti… One Italian bank even went so far this week as to issue a report arguing that a Berlusconi election would almost certainly force the country to apply for emergency bailout aid from the EU…
“And Chancellor Merkel? She has so far remained silent on the Italian campaign. But her antipathy for Berlusconi is not something she goes out of her way to hide… Just this week, Berlusconi called Merkel an ‘Eastern bureaucrat,’ a reference to her having grown up in communist East Germany. That, of course, can be regarded as a compliment in comparison with some of the things he has said about the German leader in the past.”
How anyone could vote for Berlusconi is beyond comprehension. But especially in Italy, the land of Benito Mussolini, strange things do happen.
Koran—Wrong Again on Horsemeat
The Local reported on February 19:
“The Berliner Zeitung daily reported on Monday that traces of horse and pork had been found in kebabs in Berlin [and] in Leipzig. Normally made from lamb, döner sandwiches with pork would be outrage for Germany’s Muslim and Jewish communities. Horse is also not considered kosher, although it can be halal according to Islam… Traces of horsemeat were detected in processed meals sold in a number of German supermarket chains last week. Horse has also been discovered in beef tortellini manufactured in Germany by a Liechtenstein-based group, Hilcona, and sold by budget retailer Lidl.”
The Bible prohibits the consumption of horsemeat. It is “unclean” and can’t be made clean. The Koran does apparently teach that horsemeat is “halal” or permissible.
As one Website informs us, “In Arabic, the word halal means permitted or lawful. Halal foods are foods that are allowed under Islamic dietary guidelines. According to these guidelines gathered from the Qu’ran, Muslim followers cannot consume the following: pork or pork by products; animals that were dead prior to slaughtering; animals not slaughtered properly or not slaughtered in the name of Allah; blood and blood by products.”
As one can see, these dietary laws are a mixture of right and wrong. Only the true God of the Bible tells us with authority what animal meat is good for food, and in a conflict, we are to obey God and not human beings.
Who will build the Temple of Ezekiel? (Part 2)
Jesus very clearly said that the Temple of God which existed in His generation would be utterly destroyed (compare Matthew 24:1-2; Mark 13:1-2; Luke 21:1-6). However, He also spoke of startling prophecies for our day in answer to His disciples’ questions: “‘…Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?’” (Matthew 24:3).
Among the future occurrences Jesus related, the following astounding statement is made by Him—warning of an event that was not yet fulfilled, but it would be shortly before His return:
“‘Therefore when you see the “abomination of desolation,” spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the HOLY PLACE’ (whoever reads, let him understand)…” (Matthew 24:15; also, Mark 13:14).
Jesus continued to warn His disciples, especially about “‘false christs and false prophets’” in verse 24, and He added this intriguing caution:
“‘Therefore if they say to you, “Look, He is in the desert!” do not go out; or “Look, He is in the INNER ROOMS!” do not believe it’” (Matthew 24:26).
“INNER ROOMS,” along with what Jesus had just said about “the abomination of desolation… standing in the HOLY PLACE,” gives strong evidence that a Temple of God will exist in the City of Jerusalem at the time leading up to Christ’s return, and that the “inner rooms” might refer to the section of the Tabernacle and later the Temple called the “Holiest of All” (Hebrews 9:3)!
There is more proof that this will happen, and we find it in the writings of the apostle Paul. In his second letter to the Thessalonian Church of God, Paul cautioned the brethren there not to believe what some were falsely teaching about the return of Christ being imminent:
“Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God IN THE TEMPLE OF GOD, showing himself that he is God” (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4).
“The man of sin” has not yet been revealed, nor did someone fulfill this prophecy in the first century A.D. before the Temple of God was destroyed by the Romans! Indeed, Paul reveals that the man he is writing about will be living when Jesus Christ returns:
“And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved” (2 Thessalonians 2:8-10).
The Book of Revelation, written well after the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D., gives us more detail about “the man of sin” or the “false prophet,” as well as the religious system which he will represent and lead:
”Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon. And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived. He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed. He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666” (Revelation 13:11-18).
The fate of this individual is to be thrown alive into a burning lake of fire (compare Revelation 19:20; 20:10). This serves to confirm that the “man of sin” is uniquely singled out for the horrific actions he will commit—including his pretense of being “God” and of daring to enter into the inner rooms of the Temple of God!
Just before the two witnesses identified in Revelation 11 begin their prophesying for a period of one thousand two hundred and sixty days, mention of an existing Temple of God is made:
“Then I was given a reed like a measuring rod. And the angel stood, saying, “Rise and measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there. But leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the Gentiles. And they will tread the holy city underfoot for forty-two months” (Revelation 11:1-2). Some feel that the reference to the Temple in 2 Thessalonians 2 and Revelation 11 is meant to apply to the Church of God, which is sometimes described as a spiritual Temple, but the context of these passages and the intended meaning prohibit such an interpretation.
We see, then, that the New Testament, with writings from before and after the destruction of the Temple, contains prophetic evidence that another Temple of God will be present at the end-time.
We have already established in Part 1 of this Q&A that the Old Testament both foretold and then reported on the building of the Temples of Solomon and Zerrubabel. It also contains remarkable prophecies about the Temple of God to which Jesus Christ will come!
As referred to by Jesus, Daniel speaks of “the wing of abominations… who makes desolate” and of the “abomination of desolation” in the visions given to him by God (compare Daniel 9:27; 11:31; and 12:11). The Temple of God constructed by Zerubbabel suffered a prefiguring of this prophecy when Antiochus IV Epiphanes ruled over the Jews in the second century B.C. From the Illustrated Dictionary of the Bible; Herbert Lockyer, Sr., Editor; Antiochus, page 69:
“Antiochus IV (175-164 B.C.), surnamed Epiphanes (God manifest) but called by his enemies Epimanes (madman). Antiochus IV was one of the cruelest rulers of all time. Like his father, Antiochus III the Great, he was enterprising and ambitious; however, he had a tendency to cruelty that bordered on madness. His primary aim—to unify his empire by spreading Greek civilization and culture—brought him into direct conflict with the Jews. This conflict broke into open rebellion in 167 B.C. Accounts of these conflicts are found in the apocryphal book of 2 Maccabees.
“The revolt began with Antiochus’ edict that sought to unite all the peoples of his kingdom in religion, law, and custom. The Jews were the only people who would not adhere to this edict. Antiochus issued regulations against observing the Sabbath, practicing circumcision, and keeping all food laws. These regulations were followed by the ‘Abomination of Desolation’ (Dan. 11:31)—the erection of the altar of the Greek god Zeus over the altar of the burnt offering in the Temple. Jews were forced to participate in heathen festivities and were put to death if they were caught with the Book of the Law in their possession.
“As the revolt, led by Judas Maccabeus, gained momentum, the people of Israel united to overthrow Seleucid domination of their land. The Syrians were routed and the Temple was cleansed on the 25th of Chislev, 165 B.C. This cleansing is now observed by the Jews as the Feast of Lights (Hanukkah), around December 25. According to ancient writers, Antiochus IV withdrew into the East following his defeat. He died in Persia a madman…”
Understand, however, that this event foreshadowing what would happen in a future Temple of God was just a type and not the ultimate fulfillment. Daniel was told to “‘shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end…’” (12:4); and, that “‘the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end’” (12:9). Then, in verse 11 of Daniel 12, we find this extraordinary statement:
“‘And from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days.’”
This prophecy is speaking of a situation which will occur in the final generation, the one to be living just before the return of Jesus Christ! It addresses the forceful cessation of daily sacrifices—something which could only rightfully be happening at the site of the Temple of God. It is true that in the past, the Jews sacrificed at the Temple site before the Temple was actually built. But they did so after the foundation of the Temple had been laid, and in anticipation of the final completion of the structure. It also reveals that a yet future idolatrous act of sacrilege will take place—the very thing we have already cited from what Jesus warned and the apostles Paul and John wrote.
Jeremiah also addresses the desecration of the Temple of God.
In chapters 50 and 51 of the Book of Jeremiah, God’s judgment on Babylon is proclaimed. While parts of this prophecy pertain to Babylon in the time of King Nebuchadnezzar, there is duality in applying and understanding what is written.
Focusing on the future fulfillment of this prophecy, carefully consider the following:
“‘In those days and in that time,’ says the LORD, ‘The children of Israel shall come, They and the children of Judah together; With continual weeping they shall come, And seek the LORD their God. They shall ask the way to Zion, With their faces toward it, saying, “Come and let us join ourselves to the LORD In a perpetual covenant That will not be forgotten”’” (Jeremiah 50:4-5).
This is an event which has never happened, but it will in the future as many other scriptures support!
“‘The voice of those who flee and escape from the land of Babylon Declares in Zion the vengeance of the LORD our God, The vengeance of His temple’” (Jeremiah 50:28; compare 51:11, 24).
“You who have escaped the sword, Get away! Do not stand still! Remember the LORD afar off, And let Jerusalem come to your mind. We are ashamed because we have heard reproach. Shame has covered our faces, For strangers have come into the sanctuaries (better, Holy places) of the LORD’S house” (Jeremiah 51:50-51).
Again, what Jesus indicated would happen regarding the defilement of the Temple of God finds mention in prophesied events at the close of the age!
There is great significance to the Temple of God which has yet to arise in Jerusalem—prophecies from both the Old and New Testaments make mention of it! And while this Temple will again become part of Jewish life, it will also be profaned when it is seized and occupied by the final resurrection of the Roman Empire—Babylon the Great!
(To Be Continued)
Lead Writer: Dave Harris
Tree House Shack
by Shana Rank
Not too many years back — before marriage, before university, and before kids — I found myself in an adventure of a lifetime. Newly baptized and my backpack full, I left my home in Colorado to live on an Island far out at sea. Kauai is the “Garden Island” of the Hawaiian Islands, and this was my new home.
I temporarily lived in a hostel, helping out throughout the week for free room and board, though I had my sights on a more permanent residence on the North Shore. After I got a job at a coffee shop in Hanalei, I began asking around and checking the local advertisement boards for a place to live. A friend shared a listing with me and off I went to check it out.
I remember walking into the “space” and laughing in disbelief to myself. What my eyes saw was a shack—literally boards nailed together around a tree, kind of like a kids’ playhouse. There was an outhouse and an outside shower. The footprint of the house was approximately 8 x 12 feet, with a loft to sleep in. The front door was a screen-door with a simple latch hook. I left that shack shaking my head and wondering who on earth could live in a place like that!
I could, and I did end up living in that shack. At first, I could not see the silver lining to my situation. I began to understand that my happiness and well-being did not hinge on square footage and air-conditioning. I also learned to find great contentment in only what I needed and nothing more. As a newly begotten member of God’s Family, I was taken care of; I had running water, and shelter and a place to grow. My lesson continues to be this: never doubt God’s Hand in my life—even when my eyes may deceive me!
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
The new member letter for February, written by Rene Messier, has been sent out and posted on the Web.
Our new booklet, “Biblical Prophecy—From Now Until Forever,” is being printed and should be ready for distribution by the beginning of March.
Evangelist Norbert Link has recorded a new StandingWatch program, titled, “Tyranny in the USA?” Here is the summary: The Guardian speaks of the usurpation of radical and dangerous powers in the context of drone warfare. Retired General Vallely speaks of tyrannical ways of the president. Der Spiegel warns of the demise of the political order to be replaced by a global police state. Deutsche Welle accuses the US government of illegal killings of suspects without charges and trial. Senator Rand Paul accuses the government of recklessness. President Obama laments that he is only the president and not the emperor. And Time magazine warns that one day, the U.S. will bitterly regret its course of conduct. What is going on? Are we observing U.S. tyranny in the making?
This program will also be broadcast on radio, beginning Saturday, March 16, 2013, following the broadcast of the program, “Peter of Rome—The Last Black Pope?”, beginning March 9, 2013.
We have now posted the videos from last week’s sermonette and sermon, both presented by Norbert Link. Here are the titles and summaries:
“The Stars Are Falling”: Fox News asked the question as to why scientists didn’t see the Russian meteorite coming. The answer is simple: There are just far too many asteroids and meteors out there, and it is estimated that 100,000 of them are likely to intersect with Earth in the future. The Bible shows that in the past, these impacts did happen, and it prophesies terrible calamities in the future.
“Europe—an Economic Power Bloc”: What does the Bible say about Europe’s future? Some have taught that Europe’s “experiment” of unification will fail, and that the euro will collapse. They are terribly wrong and don’t understand what the Bible teaches. Europe is destined to become the most powerful economic bloc in the world. It will exceed by far the United States, Great Britain, the Arab nations or China. However, at the height of its prosperity, it will suddenly fall—but not before it has launched unparalleled persecution on true Christians.
“Europas Reichtum” is the title of this week’s German sermon. In English, the title is “Europe’s Wealth!” It covers the wealth of united Europe and its demise, as well as the prince of Tyre–or false prophet–and the persecution of Christians (similar to the sermon from last Sabbath).
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